Title: Under the Black Collar
Description: Open for Confederation
Memory Liles - June 5, 2008 03:33 PM (GMT)
“You’re test results are in, Ms. Viles.”
“That’s why I’m here, Doc.”
The man in a white coat flipped a paper over the top of his clip board. “Not too bad, but you’re borderline anemic, which isn’t good, especially for you.” He flipped the page back. “I’m going to subscribe an iron supplement and have you come back in a few weeks,”
“Yay pills,” Memory said sarcastically.
The doctor smiled and began writing up the prescription.
She used to hate it, coming to the medic, stripping down to that paper dressed and sitting exposed on a cold table while a stranger prodded her, but it was so second-hand to her now she’d feel out of place without the visits. And Doctor Moore was hardly a stranger anymore.
Doctor Moore placed the prescription on the table next to her and shined his flashlight into her vivid, orange eyes. He looked down her throat, in her ears, and up her nose. He checked her breathing and heart beat, from the front and from the back. He poked her glands and took her blood pressure. He wrote down numbers and measurements to be compared to her last checkup.
“Not too bad today,” He finally said. “What are the plans for today, Miss Liles?”
“I have to run drill for the new privates in half an hour,” she said, hopping off the table and fetching her clothes off the floor. “Then I get to report to the Hell God.”
“I take it you refer to General Villa?” The doctor asked, trying not to smile. That’s why Memory liked him—he wasn’t nearly as uptight as the other medics in the Confederation. He even cracked a joke on occasion.
“He’s my favorite!” Memory announced with false enthusiasm, putting her pants on.
“Well, I’ll give you some privacy. Be sure to pick this up,” he tapped the prescription.
A smile, and the doctor left. Memory ripped off her paper gown and equipped the full regalia of her uniform, completely concealing every tattoo that adorned her body. The only marks that were visible when she finished button her shirt were the stream of blue spots that cascaded down the left side of her face and neck.
She checked her watch, and, with the walk of an officer, left the room.
Lelouch Villa - June 5, 2008 08:33 PM (GMT)
Being stationed on Onderon wasn't Lelouch's favorite. In fact, he found it quite dull--it wasn't exactly the most civilized station they could have stuck him and his men at, especially as they had them training out in the middle of the jungle. But he'd been here for about six months now and was definitely aiming to get out of here on another mission. That was the one saving grace he had--he could use the excuse of his own explosive expertise to get himself leading a field team instead of stuck behind a desk and observing the lesser creatures beneath him.
"Sir, you requested to know when Lieutenant Liles began the drills. She has begun." Lelouch was quick to dismiss the saluting officer, eyes moving back to his paperwork that he'd been flitting over. They were in need of a supply refill here on the moon of Onderon, and of course it fell to him to make sure that happened. Cursable waste of his time...
It took a while before he could excuse himself from his office. Dressed in full uniform for once, he continued to wish to be out of here. He hated dealing with other Confederates. He'd prefer to be out there dealing with the terrorists and those they rallied beneath them.
Heading out into the relatively dangerous jungled area that was Onderon, he made his way towards the area where the new privates would be running through their initial drills. He knew from experience that showing up unexpected was a very good way to keep everyone in line--they didn't goof off if they thought that you could show up at any given time unannounced.
Memory Liles - June 5, 2008 08:54 PM (GMT)
The drill involved an incredible relay of obstacles. There were about twenty privates participating—two women, the rest girls. It wasn’t hard to spot Memory. Her hat was off, exposing her neon-colored hair the sunlight. She looked like a light bulb. Her uniformed jacket was tied around her waist; a white tank top adorned her torso.
“Go, go, go!” she shouted, waving on several privates who blurred past her and leapt up a vertical wall at her side. One of them slammed into it, falling backwards to the ground.
She blew a whistle around her neck. “Back of the line, Wales! Move!”
She stepped back, waving her hands for the next batch to pass her. Privates—they needed instruction in everything. Her free hand reached into her front pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. She coughed into it quickly and concealed it just as fast. Looking up, she again blew her whistle.
“This is not a lunchroom, Private!” She shouted to one of the men in line. “I will not tolerate chit chat here!”
The man to whom she referred quickly straightened, but a frown was secured firmly to his face. However, the girl he had been speaking to looked somewhat relieved.
It wasn’t until all had leapt for the wall and lined up that Memory noticed their eyes glancing behind her. She turned around and spotted none other than General Villa.
What’s he doing here? she thought. She had a briefing with him after training. Yay surprises.
Memory took the same stance as the privates, feet together and hand saluting at her forehead.
Lelouch Villa - June 5, 2008 10:21 PM (GMT)
The heat of Onderon's daylight was getting increasingly warm, but after months of existing in this climate, Lelouch had learned to adjust. Most days would have found him dressed down, but he'd had enough meetings today that he had been forced into uniform for the duration. The dark material soaked in the sun, however, and made him feel slightly overheated and thusly irritable despite himself. He was from a colder planet, and that was his excuse for finding Onderon so damnably unbearable.
He had stationed himself behind Lieutenant Liles, watching as she directed the recruits through their vigorous training exercises. She was a commanding officer, just like she should have been. However, he was notoriously difficult on her. For one, she was a woman. For another, she was Theelin. And he knew how she was when she was off-duty and didn't have any disillusions about how she felt about him. He'd heard the rumors well enough. Still, she was an asset and so he let her remain. She seemed to regret her transfer sometimes, but he wasn't about to let her transfer again.
She didn't notice him until the exercise was done, but that was fine with him--she was more genuine when she didn't notice him. Lucky for her, her genuine self was up to standard at times like these.
He saluted back briefly, motioning for the lot of them to stand at ease. It was too hot out here and he couldn't afford any of the newbies locking their legs and passing out in this heat. His steps controlled and precise, he moved towards the Theelin woman.
"Lieutenant Liles," he greeted sharply, eyes flitting shrewdly over her dressed-down form. It wasn't an unusual sight for even the officers to strip a few layers here on Onderon, but it was hard to approve of such when he was stuck in his stifling uniform jacket. The rank indicator on his jacket blazed in the light. "Excellent work." A dry compliment, but honest. If he'd thought her useless, she would have been told as much. "If you wouldn't mind having them one more run, I'd like you to join them--I'll observe." It wasn't so much a request as an order. He knew she was ill, but that never once had stopped him from pushing her physically. He was a strong believer that officers had to be willing to do what they demanded of those beneath them, and often enforced that among those he commanded.
Memory Liles - June 5, 2008 10:42 PM (GMT)
Memory stood at ease when the general gave his signal, and from the sound of it, so did the other privates. This was good—she didn’t feel like looking like an idiot today. It had been a good day, so far. Memory’s stare remained firm and respectful as Lelouch approached.
“Lieutenant Liles—Excellent work.”
A compliment? This was good.
“Thank you, Sir.” She replied sharply—not in a rude manner, but rather in the voice of a soldier.
"If you wouldn't mind having them one more run, I'd like you to join them--I'll observe."
That threw Memory off guard, but she tried not to show it in her face. Sadist. She thought. Of course, General Villa had never made mention of her medical conditions, but assuming he did his work—which she was sure he did a quite thorough job of—he was very aware of it.
Then again, Memory never expected—or wanted—to be treated as a handicap…. Even if she was. The drill was strenuous, but short. It wouldn’t harm her, or so she hoped.
Memory gave a firm nod. “Yes, Sir!” Hands against the small of her back, she turned towards the privates. “Run the drill again! Line!”
“Sir yes Sir!” The privates replied, quickly forming into a line. Memory stood in the second line. She blew her whistle.
The first set of three ran forward, leaping over three separate jumps at one, 2.5, and 2.5 meters high. They then made a mad run for the vertical wall of roughly 10 feet, leaping, grabbing the top and hauling themselves over.
As they did so, Memory blew her whistle and her line ran. The obstacles were easy compared to her own training, so her nerves weren’t too high. She leapt the jumps and sprang for the wall like a cat, whistle still in mouth. She blew it and leapt over, running with her companions to the back of the line. This was repeated three times, and again the privates lined up.
“You’re dismissed. Report back at 0900 hours!”
“Yes Sir!” And the line broke.
Memory pulled out her handkerchief and coughed into it. Her chest hurt, but it wasn’t severe—not yet. She palmed the cloth and turned towards the general, at attention. “Is our briefing still on schedule, Sir?”
Lelouch Villa - June 5, 2008 11:03 PM (GMT)
Yes, General Villa was a sadist. He enjoyed watching others suffer; his sense of humor was based off of the concept. He knew he had taken the Lieutenant off guard with his order, though she hid it well. But still, those vibrant orange eyes flickered in that unmistakable way and he let his own amusement slip into his eyes. Her medical files were definitely not unfamiliar to him, and he knew she was supposed to take it easy, but he also knew that at any given time she could be called upon to enter the field and she had to be prepared to push herself. If she couldn't survive a recruit training exercise... well, he'd rather lose her at base than lose her when they might be forced to depend on her for real.
Watching in dark satisfaction as she joined the privates in their run, he noted the ease with which she performed. He did this for another reason--to test her resolve. The Confederation would demand much and she had to be willing to at least pretend to do it with vigor, even when she might have not wanted to. Same went for everyone. As a Dolomarian by birth, he held the pride of the Confederation of Dolomar very high and the bravado that was sometimes needed in a tough situation was something he took very, very seriously.
He remained silent, almost passive as he watched them from beneath the brim of his cap which shaded his eyes. Already some of the privates were outperforming their comrades, pulling ahead of the pack. Future leaders among them. He memorized faces as he watched, but soon the run was over and the First Lieutenant he'd initiated that run specifically for was calling for the privates to dismiss.
He didn't miss the cough, however and was amused despite himself that not everything could be kept behind her steely cover.
“Is our briefing still on schedule, Sir?”
"Yes, if you would accompany me back to the office." He turned on a heel, knowing she would follow. "Feel free to be frank, Lieutenant, as we talk. I've had more than enough formality today."
Memory Liles - June 6, 2008 02:22 PM (GMT)
Memory gave a firm nod and followed General Villa back towards the base. She untied her shirt as she went, re-dressing in her full uniform. The cap was secured on her head as they entered the air-conditioned structure. The hat his almost all of her fiery hair.
“To be frank, Sir, I’m a little confused as to what the briefing will be on. I received two separate agendas for it,” she explained. Someone, somewhere, wasn’t paying attention to their works, and it filtered down through the ranks. It was irritating. Regardless of Memory’s attitude and behaviors outside of work, she took her job very seriously.
“If we don’t plan on address recruitments, then I would like to report the statistics to you,” she tagged.
As they walked, they passed another lieutenant. Memory nodded to him quickly.
For the briefest moment, she felt light-headed, like she hovering a few inches off the floor. She hsut her eyes, still following her superior. Not now, not now, not now. C’mon, you were fine this morning!
As if listening, the dizziness faded away. She took a deep breath.
Lelouch Villa - June 6, 2008 06:03 PM (GMT)
“To be frank, Sir, I’m a little confused as to what the briefing will be on. I received two separate agendas for it."
Lelouch rolled his eyes at this statement, not in contempt for Memory Liles, but in disdain at the fact that someone around here had a hard time keeping things straight. This wasn't the first time something of this fashion had happened, though he was glad that the Lieutenant had at least received a memo this time and hadn't been left in the dark about a pending discussion because some idiots didn't realize it was their job to get these things sent around to the right people. He may have to do some demoting among his ranks--again. If there was one thing he made sure of, it was that his men and women would know that they would pay the price if they screwed up. He was no gentle hand and never intended to be.
“If we don’t plan on address recruitments, then I would like to report the statistics to you."
"That will be fine, Lieutenant," he stated, almost bored. If he was being perfectly honest with himself, he wasn't exactly looking forward to the coming discussion. There was no punishment or reprimand to currently deal out to her--pity. That was the only thing that made talking any fun whatsoever.
As they neared his office, he felt a curious flicker in the back of his mind--that odd sixth sense that had always trailed him. Frowning, he opened the door to his office, entering and turning to motion for a seat for her to sit in, meanwhile giving her an odd look. He'd never inquired over her illness before and he'd not start now, but she didn't seem entirely well.
Even with her seated, he remained on his feet for now, though he did stand behind his rather bare desk. "So, report." Statistics would do for now, then he'd ask his more probing questions.
Memory Liles - June 6, 2008 06:29 PM (GMT)
It was funny how the general seemed to insist that he not only out-rank her, but he stand over her physically as well. Power-hungry dogs. Memory could have been in his very spot a decade from now if fate hadn’t had other plans for her. She hoped to one day be able to advance to at least captain… unless she lucked out and found a magical panacea to cure all her ails. If she wasn’t always strict with work (and been told by the doctors that the atmosphere shouldn’t have played any significant roles to her predicament), she would go back to Bespin and investigate herself.
She frequently got a queasy feeling in Villa’s office—one that had nothing to do with her health, which, other than the Lilmem, was quite good. Maybe it was the way Lelouch Villa looked at her. He looked at everyone with a haughty air of distaste, but he looked at her like she was a clay doll waiting to be pricked and tossed into a fire.
Of course, rather that than the look he gave to the true aliens.
Maybe it was his natural, tainted aura, or the way he spoke, or the way she could tell he was thinking something that wasn’t at all pleasant. Maybe it was the fact that he was actually a brilliant general and she was a dying weed. Maybe.
Her clipboard wasn't with her--but she didn't need it. She could remember everything that had been jotted down on it. She had a knack for that kind of thing.
“Recruiting counts are down, especially in the neutral planets, which isn’t a good sign for us. The latest income of privates is 30% lower than the average. I should have had 40 troops in training today, not twenty.
“I’m sure the Diflu incident isn’t going to help our case much, either, Sir.”
Lelouch Villa - June 6, 2008 08:52 PM (GMT)
He scowled to himself at her report. He'd thought they were seeing less and less new blood, and he was right.
“I’m sure the Diflu incident isn’t going to help our case much, either, Sir.”
The mention of the terrorist attack on his home planet made him bristle slightly despite himself. Damnable terrorists and their tactics. They didn't know what they were fighting against, and while that meant their eventual downfall, it still was a pain for the Confederation to deal with. His hands tightened obviously, his eyes flicking instinctively to the weapons locker where his rifles were stored.
He'd need those. Soon.
"Yes, the attack on Diflu was terribly unforgivable. In fact." He cut himself off, sliding into his chair suddenly and opening a drawer. He grabbed a datapad, turned it on, and tossed to to Lieutenant Liles, making it obvious she should read it. "I have been assigned to a mission against the Alliance on Denon. I am required to bring a subordinate along for support. You're coming with me."
It might have seemed an odd choice, especially to the Lieutenant herself, but Lelouch had his reasons, even if he wasn't sharing them. "We leave tomorrow evening at 1800 hours."
It was going to be a dangerous operation, but Zero himself welcomed the trouble eagerly. It would be a chance to get off Onderon. It would be a chance to help ruin the terrorist's foolish uprisings. He'd have done it on his own if his order's hadn't stated otherwise.
Memory Liles - June 6, 2008 10:17 PM (GMT)
Memory stiffened a little at the alertness that spread through the general. Ever so slightly, she pushed her steel-toed boots into the floor and slid her chair back. Yeah, bad news, but she had to admit she was a little afraid of him right now. His eyes flickered to something behind her, but she didn’t know what. Hopefully a scapegoat.
Memory watched with a sort of scared-fascination as the general slithered into his seat, opened his drawer, and tossed her a datapad, which she accepted immediately.
"I have been assigned to a mission against the Alliance on Denon. I am required to bring a subordinate along for support. You're coming with me."
Bawhaddahuh? Memory’s orange irises flickered up at Lelouch, then down again at the datapad. She scrolled through the information, memorizing it with ease. Denon? She’d never been there. It wasn’t unusual for something like this to just pop out of mid-air—though knowing Villa, he wouldn’t have liked giving her time to prepare.
An order was an order.
The Alliance, huh? She thought. A small, mischievous smile found her lips. This wasn’t just an order, this could actually be worth something. And, order or no, Memory would jump at the chance to go up against those rebels. They sought to destroy everything the Confederation was trying to build. They were children who needed to be disciplined, and now she had the chance to play mommy.
By why her? What did the general have up his sleeve?
"We leave tomorrow evening at 1800 hours."
“1800?” Memory repeated. Definitely last-minute, as in now she had a lot of packing and planning to do, as well as cancellations to make. She thought quickly and nodded. She switched off the datapad—whether or not he intended her to keep it, she had the information stored. “Yes Sir. It’s a privilege.”
And oddly enough, it was. Despite the fact that Villa may have been the most irritating superiors she’s ever had (well, no. There was the one who never spoke, the masochist, and the Sergeant she served under as a private who had too much libido to do anyone good…) she was eager to fly to Denon if it meant exerting the Confederation’s authority.
Lelouch Villa - June 9, 2008 03:37 PM (GMT)
Lelouch had that effect on people at times: scaring them without the full intent of doing such. But even with not having meant to give Memory Liles a reason to tense in her seat, he did thrive off the energy she put off. He was a bit of a predator in that sense, always looking for a good high off the increased heart-rate and a chase to the death. He was definitely the sort to make sure he was the hunter and not the hunted, and he was happy to report he'd kept it that way for the most part since his induction into the Confederation almost two decades previous.
He watched the Lieutenant intently as she read over the pad, pleased by the small smirk that crossed her features when she realized what they were doing. Good, he'd chosen well, then. She'd be useless to him if she didn't want to go delving into the nest of terrorists and hurt them herself. Many would balk at the idea of slipping into the middle of that potentially deadly hive but Zero welcomed the pending doom.
Sometimes being a little crazy was all it took to be successful in a world of averages.
“Yes Sir. It’s a privilege.”
He nodded to her then. "You are dismissed then. Pack civilian clothing as well as any field gear. I'll brief you of the details en route. Until then, Lieutenant." He'd stood back up, his hands splayed on the desk in front of him, his weight there while he watched her. He'd watch her until she was out of the door, in fact.
Memory Liles - June 9, 2008 04:28 PM (GMT)
Memory pulled a sleek suitcase from the back of her closet and located the most conservative civilian clothes she owned. A lot of her wardrobe was black, she noticed, even outside the several confederate uniforms that hung neatly pressed in her closet. She folded them and placed them nicely in the case. She was obviously good at it—she could fit a lot into that bag.
She wondered what the general’s objectives were to bringing her along, but after the pondering turned to irritation, she decided it better to just drop it… for now. She raided her small bathroom and chucked the essentials in with her—a comb, a toothbrush, and a well-size plastic bag of prescriptions. She tucked that away between layers of clothing. There wasn’t any need for it to be out for the naked eye to see.
Almost as in complaint to seeing the pills, a sinking dizziness pulled on Memory’s head from her chest. Her vertigo was going—not surprising. She had gone almost the whole day without any problems.
Leaning against the walls, Memory lowered herself to the bathroom floor before the dizziness got much worse. The vertigo let up, but a seering pain in her chest took its place.
“Mmmm….” Memory shut her eyes, pressing her palm between her breasts. She coughed hard and scooted herself to the shower. She coughed and coughed until she could taste blood in her mouth.
The fit lasted only a minute. Memory spat again the white tile and dragged herself up to the sink, where she rinsed out her mouth thoroughly. She pulled a white inhaler from her belt, shook it, and took a long dose.
She turned the showerhead on and rinsed the bloody saliva from the tiles.
The next morning Memory headed to the hangar, fully decked out in tan civilian wear, her suitcase rolling behind her.