Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | August 12, 2013

Sixth in the Series – Non-action Scenes from Thrillers

These are linked scenes from V-Trooper, Second Mission-The Demon.  The protagonist-vampire, Wil Boyd, has been wounded. His superior officer, Vic Russel calls in the Battalion Surgeon, Amanda Bristow,  to check him out–she’s astounded at his healing power. After checking Boyd’s wound, she and Vic have coffee and things start to get warm.

*********

Amanda Bristow, the surgeon for Russell’s Sustainment Battalion, was curious. The major had asked her to come to his office at 1700 hours to check on a wounded soldier. He’d called at about 0900 and offered no other information. If the soldier was wounded, even slightly, why wait eight hours to treat him? She’d not asked, since Major Russell had delivered his request in a calm and matter-of-fact tone.
The major was a man she could enjoy getting to know better. She knew he had a prosthetic leg and wondered— but wouldn’t ask—how he lost part of the limb. Since he wore proficiency badges and tabs one wouldn’t expect in a supply and services unit, she knew he was not a logistician. He also wore the crossed arrows of the Special Forces, not the Quartermaster Corps’ insignia, as his Army branch identification.
An interesting, attractive man.

No. Down, girl; we need to keep this professional. Still…
She packed the bag her father had given her when she graduated from medical school. It was an extravagant gift; rich leather and brass buckles. A doctor’s bag hearkening

back to an earlier age when physicians commonly made house calls.
“Mandy, you may not use this very often, but it’s a symbol of what I hope you’ll be as a doctor: ready to help the sick and wounded,” her father had said.
She arrived at Major Russell’s office at 1655, exactly five minutes early. Since she’d visited him for her welcoming conversation, the only time she’d seen Russell was across the room at the dining hall. She hadn’t spoken to him, even on the telephone, for nearly two months. When she’d heard his voice, though, she’d immediately recognized the baritone and disciplined delivery.
The door was open. She tapped on the frame and peeked inside.
Major Russell sat behind his desk, Sergeant Major Flynn was in a chair to the left of the desk and someone she’d never seen sat in a visitor’s chair immediately in front of the major’s desk.
“Come in, Doctor,” Russell said.
He rose from his desk with a barely-discernible hesitation from the C-Leg prosthesis below his right knee. He waved a hand toward the man sitting in the middle of the room.
“This is Sergeant Boyd. As I told you on the phone, he was slightly wounded when a thief took a shot at him. He scared the man away by returning fire. He says he doesn’t need any medical attention, but I want you to look at the wound, just to be certain.”
When she rounded the chair to stand in front of Boyd, the first of his features to hold her were the slate-gray eyes.

The shade was darker than she’d seen before and seemed, as she directly faced him, to emit a brief, intermittent glow.
“Well, Sergeant, you were lucky. That bullet barely missed being extremely serious or fatal,” she said.
After sliding examination gloves on her hands, she touched the scab that had formed on a trench above his left ear. Her fingers barely rested on the wound, but she obviously knew what she felt and saw.
“When did this happen?”
“This morning—about three o’clock, I think,” Boyd said.
No. The wound couldn’t possibly have healed to this degree in fourteen hours.
“Do you still have pain from the wound?”

“No, it burned and bled a little, but went away.”

“How about headaches?”

“No, Ma’am. I slept well today and feel fine.”

“Doctor, Sergeant Boyd is working the night shift to improve the security of our warehouses,” Flynn said.

Bristow nodded and leaned over to examine the wound again. She found a thermometer in her bag and after putting in Boyd’s mouth; she turned to Russell, who’d been watching while he leaned, half-sitting on the front of his desk.
“Major, Sergeant Boyd appears to have been extremely lucky. First, he wasn’t fatally wounded. Second, he possesses an admirable constitution to heal so quickly,” she said.
Her words, completely sincere, contained an unasked question.

What’s going on here? There’s no way he could heal that quickly.

She retrieved the thermometer, observed the normal temperature reading and then replaced the device in her bag. She found a tube of ointment and handed it to Wil.
“Rub this salve into the wound two or three times a day, it’ll help prevent infection and soften the scab. You’ll probably have a scar, but the hair above should grow to cover it. If the wound feels fevered, or you develop headaches, come to see me immediately.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Boyd said.

She turned to face Russell.

“Major, let me know if there’s any way I can help. I wouldn’t have objected to being called out early in the morning to treat Sergeant Boyd. I’m a part of the unit and we are in a war zone.”

“Thank you, Doctor. I probably should’ve called on you then, but Boyd seemed to feel it unnecessary.”
Amanda closed her doctor’s case and started to the door.
“Doctor, I’ll walk with you back to your office, if you’d like.”
He followed her out the door without waiting for a reply. Over his shoulder, he spoke to Flynn.
“Sergeant Major, will you please close up the office for me? I’ll be going to my quarters after dinner.”
Flynn nodded but didn’t speak. His eyebrows made a brief jog upward and back as he gave Russell a smile that was little more than a twitch at one side of his mouth.

*********
Russell walked beside Amanda Bristow to her office in the battalion’s dispensary, which stood in a separate building about two hundred meters behind Russell’s headquarters. Their conversation was companionable and restricted to official business. Boyd wasn’t mentioned.
“Captain Bristow, since we haven’t had a chance to talk since our introductory conversation, why don’t you put up your bag and join me in the dining hall. I can’t promise any special gourmet treats, but we can become better acquainted.”
“Certainly, sir, I’d like that. By the way, unless military protocol forbids; please call me Mandy.”
For the first time in their walk, she turned to face Vic. Her smile brightened the gathering dusk.
“And Mandy, unless we’re in the company of others, where military custom requires it, call me Vic.”
Their dinner in the battalion’s dining hall could have been filet mignon and lobster, or meat loaf. Neither would have noticed.

The sergeant who managed the dining hall watched as the battalion commander and surgeon picked at food and talked until it was time to send the troops in the kitchen home. Finally, he approached their table.
“Sir, is there anything I can get for you or the captain? How was your dinner?” he said.
“No, no Sergeant. We’re just finishing here. Everything was excellent,” Vic said.
“Yes, we were just getting caught up on some business and lost track of time. The food was delicious,” Mandy said.
The two officers scraped their chairs back on the concrete floor to get up. The noise echoed in the almost- empty hall.
As the major and captain headed to the exit, the food services sergeant smiled, wondering why it took so long for the major to notice the doctor.
*********
“Mandy, I’ll walk you to your quarters. I hope we have a chance to talk more, soon.
After a few silent steps in the semi-dark lane, Bristow answered.
“After chatting with you tonight, I’m going to make it a priority to keep a closer relationship with battalion headquarters.”

She looked up as they walked. Their eyes linked with no need for bright light. Russell’s right hand found her left.
His touch is light and gentle for such a powerful- looking man.
They were about fifty yards from the building that housed Mandy’s quarters. Russell squeezed her hand lightly and stopped, turning to face her.
When she looked up, he released her hand, touched her chin with his fingers and touched her lips with his as lightly as the landing of a butterfly.
“Night, doctor Mandy.”
A tiny tremble ran through her. She was unsure of her voice.
“Night, Major Vic.”
She went to bed wondering if her voice had quavered.

Maybe not.

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