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Chance Meeting Near Du-Khang

Posted on Fri Feb 4th, 2022 @ 11:13pm by Quinlan Barrett Poe & Shepherd Harley

Mission: Someday, You Will Miss Today
Location: Independent Army Encampment, Du Khang, 13 Months Before the End of the War
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 0000

Death and destruction. That's what war was and that is all that Sula had seen for she could not remember how long. Whatever was so important about Du-Khang, Sula did not know. What she did know is that after each siege, she had another set of people that needed bullets removed and more that needed stitching.

Certainly, she had no love for the Alliance. Who did? They screamed omnipotence and oppression. Perhaps if she was better situated, she could have become a doctor. Perhaps if she knew more, she could have saved her brother. Maybe she could have helped her parents escape Ithendra.

Today, however, was a good day. The rain was falling and had been for a few days. Battle would not occur. Footing was uncertain. However, for now, it was a misty, light falling rain, the kind that fogged up the sky but did not soak the soul. She had just finished ministering the wounded. But now, now was time for herself.

She set about a short walk, letting the dampness fill her. Sula walked makeshift hospitals with bloody floors without slipping before. However, exhaustion must have set upon her. She had walked about a half a mile in an unforeseen direction. Was it a stone that tripped her up? It did not matter. In those split seconds of falling, all she could think was, I'm letting them down. I cannot let them down. I can't get hurt.

However, her fall was broken. She looked up. A man had caught her. Looking up into his face, she smiled stupidly.

Donnie smiled back, steadying the medic with one hand placed under her elbow. "You alright," he asked. His voice, back in the days when his Mama had dreams of him being a musician, was a clear tenor. Trained, though he only sang these days to the men in his unit.

Words failed Sula. Her eyes sparkled. He's got the face of an angel. Instead, she stood up, pulled her hair back and tried to tie it back. However, she stumbled again, not really able to get her footing under her after her stumble. She shrieked, "Woah! Oh! Uh...." as she stumbled forward again.

He reached out automatically, concern lighting the depths of his blue eyes, as he steadied her. He searched the immediate area and guided her to an oversized crate. "Here," he said, "have a seat. My sarge will have my head if I let one of the medics get broken."

And so polite She continued to stare into his eyes. Sula allowed herself to be guided onto the crate. It was wet and she felt the dampness as she sat. However, it did not bother her. The water may as well have been glue. She was not about to move from this spot. "Uh huh," she continued dumbly. Oh, God, get a grip on yourself! Say something intelligent! "Sula," was all that came out.

"Well, Sula to you too," he answered. He knelt in front of her, keeping his voice calm and gentle, as he looked her over. No visible signs, he thought. What were the warning signs again for head trauma. Slurred speech maybe. "Not a greeting I know particularly. Is it common where you're from?"

Sula shook her head. He was cute even when he was confused. "No, no. That's my name. Sula." She giggled like a schoolgirl and turned away shyly before returning back. "And who do I have to thank? You know, for, um, catching me."

"Oh me, I'm Donovan," he said as he pulled off his hat and shook out his curly blonde hair. Cleaned up, the girls used to say that his hair was like captured sunlight. These days, it was dirty. Like everything else in this war. "12th Cavalry. I'm one of the pilots."

"So what are you doing on the ground?" Sula teased, her hair starting to become heavier from the misting rain. "Surely it was not just me."

"Loading fuel," he said at once. "Well that and I got about twelve hours to sleep." He nodded toward the tents squatting against the hillside a short walk from where he stood. "Maybe catch a meal when I wake up if I'm lucky and the food holds out." He smothered a yawn behind his hand. "Sorry. Been pulling thirty-six hour shifts."

"Twelve hours of sleep would be heavenly," Sula replied dreamily. "And you have no reason to be sorry, Donovan. You saved me from becoming Humpty Dumpty. You have a last name?"

"Atkins," he said, his brows beetled together a bit as he pondered the reference. Earth-that-was, he was fairly certain, though the origin eluded him. "And you?"

"Harley. Sula Harley. That's me," she said with a silly giggle. "Medic. Just out for a leisurely walk.... So, um, why are you out and about Donovan? I mean, sleep would have been the other direction. You don't need a medic's help, do you?"

"No ma'am," he said as he rose to his feet; he took a step backward as though warding off even the thought of a medic. "Ain't got no call to see a medic. For once, we came back more or less intact. And ... I sleep just a few feet in that direction he said. Well, we all do. Take turns and the like."

"Oh!" she exclaimed. "I'm interfering with your sleep, aren't I?" She got up in a fluster, but managed to keep her rear facing away from Donovan. Having him see it in with her wet pants stuck to her bottom just would not do. "I...I'm sorry about that. I can't be responsible for you not getting sleep," she informed him in quickening speech. "I will not be responsible for you not beating back the Alliance and having to patch you back up! I'd much rather you in one piece!" If the lighting was better, Donovan might have seen Sula's cheeks starting to pinken.

"Well then," Donovan said with a slight bow, "I'd best be getting to sleep then. Coz' all things considered, I'd much rather be in one piece my own self. Mind where you walk, okay? Its rough out here."

"Oh, yes!" Sula replied obediently. "I'll do just that." She stifled a giggle and turned to head back from whence she came, completely forgetting about her wet behind. She started to rush off when she turned her head, whisking her now flattened long hair out of her way with shake of her head. "Be safe too. I want to see you, er, us all in one piece after this. Ya hear?"

"I hear," Donovan said, stifling a yawn. He shook his head slightly as he watched her walking away. What a strange woman, he thought. He ran a hand through his hair with one hand, thoughts already wandering, and yawned again. "Bed," he murmured. "Bed would be good."


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