Terry and Julia were up early, Julia to prepare to go to Aloxa for marriage and Terry to Verecunda for war.
Julia turned to Terry and said, “I’m frightened…just twenty-four hours ago, I was an army officer, with no parents or boyfriend. Now everything is changed—I am to be married, have a new country, a new family, a new life. I don’t know how I should feel.”
“You are making a lot of changes,” Terry said, “but you’re not alone. Your God is going with you too. He’s been with you from the start. He’s brought you through persecution and orphanage. He’ll be there for you. And He’s prepared people—like Queen Arlene—who will be there in His name for you. Don’t be frightened—the best is yet to come. ‘And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such as time as this?’”
Julia began to weep at Terry’s quotation. They sat down and prayed together, and then Terry anointed Julia with oil and prayed a special prayer. After this, they got Julia’s things together and went outside.
It was shortly after dawn, but they were greeted by about 200 or so Aloxan soldiers, shouting, “Long live the Prince and Princess!” The Aloxans were energised by the engagement. They opened up to make a way from the quarters to the truck that was to take them to Aloxa. It was a Verecundan medical truck, with a big red cross on the side. They went around to the back.
“You are late,” Peter said from the back of the truck.
“It’s nothing,” another man said. “Only a minute or so. Waiting for his wife is something a man must learn to do.” Terry recognised the man as Charles Cassidy, Queen Arlene’s brother and a member of the General Staff. “We are going to Uranus first to pick up some wounded and take them home, along with our sweethearts here.”
Terry and Julia hugged one more time, and then Peter helped his bride onto the truck. “Will you be able to come to our wedding?” Peter asked.
“I’d love to,” said Terry, “but given the speed of your schedule and the demands of your king and mine, I can’t commit. But I’ll hold you honeymooners to come to Drahla.”
“You can count on it!” he shot back. The truck then pulled out, first slowly as the crowd backed off to make way, then rapidly out of the camp, making the left turn onto the highway and on the road north.
Terry watched the departure as long as she could; she felt as it she had given away her own daughter. When the truck was no longer visible, she turned around to return to her quarters, only to be met by Leslie himself.
“Get the Serelian sleepyheads out of bed—we have a war to finish,” Leslie said. “Advance parties are going into to town to check for resistance. The North Army Group will go down the west side of town. We with the main body will go down Central Avenue and receive the surrender of their government a little later.”
“With pleasure,” Terry replied.
As she turned, Leslie said, “By the way, thanks for taking my wife’s place a bit with Peter and Julia. I know she will appreciate it—it’s doubtless for the best.”
“No one can really take Her Majesty’s place, but your sentiments are kind.” She went back into the quarters. The noise outside awoke George and Darlene, who had seen Julia’s departure and now were putting themselves together for the day.
Unfortunately the Aloxans, after their victories of the previous day, were having trouble getting organised again. First, Leslie wanted to wait for some report from the advance parties, the marines at the port, and the North Army Group before deciding whether to enter as conquering heroes or urban fighters. The reports were sporadic; they ran into the occasional Inland Police, and both saw and participated in looting at a pace that was not as fast as they thought it would be but which was growing. North Army Group was making the best progress, coming down West Bay Drive and meeting only token resistance. In the process they disconnected the Verecundan television station’s transmission tower, which the Aloxans wanted to prevent dissemination of any battle scenes in the city. They also got warm welcomes in neighbourhoods where people from Aloxa and their descendants were in the majority. The only disturbing reports were coming from around the university, where demonstrators were gathering.
Back at the base, the Aloxans were getting into a world where nothing worked as it should. First, after being on foot all yesterday, they decided they might like to ride into town. They discovered that many of the vehicles there lacked spare parts to run; moreover, the base was nearly out of fuel, having used most of its allocation to get the armoured fighting vehicles to Uranus and their destruction. Low on ammunition, they also discovered that the Verecundan arsenal left at the fort was a collection of weapons that were missing parts and lacking ammunition. Finally a party from North Army Group came from the Inland Police’s main station near the airport with plenty of working weapons and ammunition, although their motor pool was mostly out when the station was seized. They also finally got some fuel and working vehicles when the Ministry of the Environment’s main facility near the IP’s station was also seized.
Leslie was becoming exasperated at the situation, but about 1130 he had enough weapons, ammunition, vehicles and fuel to let at least a good portion of the army ride and all of them be properly armed. They lined up in formation; Leslie ordered that the Aloxa City regiment be the main vanguard of the march into town. From there they moved out, turning right on Central Avenue and heading southeast into town.
No army—not even Beran—had ever taken Verecunda from the land in its history. To get into Verecunda proper, they had to go through North Verecunda, a collection of neighbourhoods, many of the larger government facilities, and the airport. They were prepared for resistance along the way; what they got was a stunned populace that just stood or sat along the road and watched the Aloxans as they marched or rode into town. Leslie put the Royal Caravan about fifty metres behind the front of the column.
They crossed the city limit into Verecunda proper, and the scene improved a little, but not much. The people who lined the road were still in shock that their city had fallen; the thought of losing a war, especially as quickly as they did, had never crossed the minds of the vast majority of Verecundans.
The Aloxan march was somewhere between a strict formation march and a large group of people just ambling into town. As was the case when they came in from the other end, Terry’s emotions were high, and memories of her past life there flooded back. George and Darlene just took it all in, amazed at the whole sequence of events that got them there.
Time for reflection stopped with the march; the front of the column was about three blocks from the north boundary of the university when the order to stop was given by the front commander. Leslie got up on the roof of the Land Rover to see what was going on. Through his binoculars, he could see a crowd of protesters coming at the column from the south. They were the usual angry bunch, with signs, epithets, and the usual arsenal of objects to throw and in some cases slingshot. Leslie handed the binoculars to Terry, who had joined him on the roof. She took a look at the oncoming spectacle.
“Who are these idiots?” Leslie asked.
“Committee for Personal Liberty,” Terry said. “We’ve had trouble from them before on this trip. What do you plan to do about them?”
“The front commanders have their orders,” he said, nonchalantly. He got off of the roof, and helped Terry off as well. The protesters kept coming, screaming, throwing things. The Aloxans gave them one warning with the bullhorn, but it had no effect. Fifteen seconds later the Aloxans opened fire on the protesters, a collective burst of bullets that lasted about five seconds.
The CPL protesters were in total shock; for more than two decades they had free run in the city. As bodies of their fallen comrades fell to the street, the rest of them took to their heels and fled southward. Some fled back down Central Avenue; others ducked into the side streets, especially those on the east side of the street that could lead back to the university. Many fled with bullet wounds, bleeding all over themselves, each other and the streets. They were in such a panic that they made little effort to recover the bodies of the dead. Within about sixty seconds Central Avenue was cleared of the living in front of the Aloxan army.
The Aloxans, having seen this kind of protest on television and having heard of them from relatives in Verecunda, were ready for it; they had a special team to come out and clear the streets of the dead. Within five minutes the whole gory affair was history; the Aloxans’ progress continued down the avenue.
It wasn’t long before they reached the Government Plaza. The advance column, fresh from its victory over the CPL, went a little further to guard the entry of the Royal Caravan and units assigned to secure the Plaza. The Caravan pulled up in front of the Presidential Palace; with guards in the advance, Leslie, Terry, George and Darlene got out and, with some of Leslie’s aides walked up the stairs and into the foyer.
President Connolly and some of her cabinet and aides were there to receive them; they were aware as anyone of the previous day’s events and were resigned to their fate. Leslie and his party walked up to make their formal greeting.
Before anyone could say much of anything, though, they heard a voice from a far part of the room, shouting at people unknown. The speaker became quickly visible as Richard Marlowe, with his chief aide. Richard stopped both walking and shouting when he made eye contact with the visitors, and especially with his sister. The entire room fell silent as Richard, helped by a cane, resumed his stride and walked up to Terry and her colleagues. Richard’s slow pace gave a timeless aspect to the moment.
“I trust that you have been well since our last meeting,” Terry said to her brother, breaking the silence.
“Quite, until just now, thank you,” he said. He then turned to Connolly. “Well, are you just going to stand there and let these people run over us? You are the president. You took an oath to defend the Republic. Letting the likes of these take charge isn’t fulfilling that oath, is it?”
“It’s over, Richard,” Connolly said. “The army is gone. The Inland Police are dead or scattered—they even slaughtered the Sacred Band yesterday. Collina is gone; they took the Point. I don’t see the purpose of any more bloodshed; I just want to save as many lives as possible.”
Richard fell silent at his president’s statement. “Any movement or nation whose agenda requires the coercive power of the government better be prepared to back itself up with force,” Terry noted.
“I don’t need a political science lesson here, least of all from you,” he replied curtly. Then he turned to his right and shifted himself and his attention towards George. “So you’re the one who put this thing together. I should have known. I thought your father was a wiser man than to believe you. Your country would have been a lot better off if it had accepted our offer. Instead you had to concoct this scheme of yours and drag my all too willing sister into it.”
“My father rejected your offer before consulting me or anyone else,” George replied. “Your little performance at the reception didn’t help either.”
Richard then turned a little left to Darlene. “I can’t believe that you would dishonour your brother’s memory by teaming up with his murderer.”
“If you had come through with what you were supposed to have,” Darlene said, “we would have won the war.”
“I only deal with the possible,” he replied, “I leave the matter of miracles to my sister.”
“Possible—like keeping the Ministry of the Environment from arresting us?” Darlene responded.
“Well, from the looks of things now, it seems that they were justified going after you about that smelly lake of yours,” Richard responded, haughtily. He then turned a little further left to Leslie. “So you finally decided to go through with your plans. I suppose you needed some ‘encouragement.’ I’ve heard that your son took a wife from our army—perhaps if you had known that sooner, you’d have done this a long time ago.”
“You left her an orphan because her parents were Christians—what do you care?” Leslie asked.
“In a tolerant society, there is no room for the intolerant,” Richard replied. “They must be gotten out of the way. The fact that they died in prison is regrettable. If we had been more diligent, she would have ended up there also.”
Finally he turned to his sister. He took a step back; he was slightly unsteady on his cane. He began, “So, it has finally come to this. Our final confrontation was inevitable—I regret that it did not turn out differently, for us, for Verecunda, for this Island. Had we worked together, everything would have been better.”
“Better for whom?” Terry asked bluntly.
“That’s the problem—you don’t understand what’s really better for anybody, least of all yourself. You obviously never learned anything from our collective experience.”
“My, my, how soon we forget. Oh—perhaps we should go over it again, if nothing else for the benefit of those who have joined us. If you remember, when we were young, we lived in a society that had all kind of silly expectations and demands on us. Society wanted to tell us everything—what we should believe, what God we should worship, how we should behave, what career we might have, with whom we should have sex, when we should have sex with them and more importantly to them when not, in short the whole idea of life then was to beat everyone into society’s mould so that we would know what ‘role’ we should play and how—and with whom—we should play it. The whole object of this country was to mass produce one generation after another of phonies whose only purpose was to serve crass materialism while hiding their real intent under a blanket of lies about ‘community service’ and religiosity. All of this pursuit took place while we were raping the earth, polluting our water and air and extinguishing species far faster than they can evolve—as is the case with some people to this day.
“But then we got a little older, and things began to change. We learned that there was a better way of life, a life where we didn’t have to waste our existence hiding our true selves while living up to others’ ridiculous expectations. We found out that we could be authentically ourselves, that we could leave behind our phoniness, that we could discover ourselves and actually live our lives accordingly when we did. We didn’t have to hide behind our masks any more, guilt ridden because we didn’t meet someone else’s expectations. Best of all, we found out that we could live this life while embracing our true mother, the Earth, not to conquer her but to live with her in harmony and peace—to live simply so that we and others could simply live.
“But there were those who could not stand this new way of life. They wanted to keep their masks on, to go through life never knowing the reality of themselves or the beauty of the world around them.” Richard stopped momentarily—he coughed a bit, and Darlene thought she saw some specks of blood hit the floor. But he resumed: “I still find it hard to accept the fact that one of those was my own sister.” He turned and looked straight into Terry’s eyes. “First you leave your country, your family without even saying goodbye. Then you get mixed up with all kinds of characters, most of which were associated with that religion of yours that turns everyone it touches into phonies. Then you start a bloody civil war, which not only destroys the families of our Serelian friends, it even destroyed your own. Now look what you’ve done—you’re so consumed by your own complexes that you’ve brought in these jungle bunnies”—
“ENOUGH!” shouted one of Leslie’s bodyguards. He swiftly drew his revolver and took one shot at Richard. It hit him squarely in the chest; he was thrown back and across the floor, coming to rest almost behind his aide.
Terry let out a shriek that echoed back from the terrazzo and glass, but his aide, visibly shaken, said, “It’s just as well.”
“What do you mean?” George asked.
“Richard was in the final stages of AIDS,” he replied. “He was already discussing things with the Hemlock Society. He would have done it sooner had it not been for his work and his care for his mother.”
The room fell silent as Leslie walked out of the crowd and towards Richard’s corpse. He stopped and stood over the lifeless body, looking at it for a moment before saying, “Checkmate.” He then turned to Terry and said, “What is Your Excellency’s pleasure regarding your brother’s arrangements?”
Without emotion, Terry replied, “He should be done with whatever honours these people have. He died doing what he believed in, and that’s more than most people manage in this life.”
Leslie turned to Connolly and said, “Let is be as she requests. His funeral will be the last act of your government.” Connolly motioned to Seamus Gallen, who went over to the aide to comfort him and start the process. Leslie then motioned to George and his brother Desmond for them to come over; Leslie himself walked up to Connolly and said, “We need to arrange a smooth transition.”
“We can meet in my office,” Connolly replied. “Only leave that trigger happy bodyguard of yours out.” Leslie looked at some of the soldiers that had come into the grisly scene and said, “Arrest him—I’ll deal with him later.”
As they all started for Connolly’s office, the whole impact of the scene sank into Terry, who began to stagger and sob, then went into hysterics, saying that Richard had gone to hell and that she could not have stopped it. Darlene, who wasn’t sure what to do up to that point, ran over and grabbed a hold of Terry before she could collapse to the floor. Darlene had a hard time holding up one who was considerably taller than her, so she told some of the Verecundans around, “Help me get her somewhere where she can lay down.” They took the two of them to Connolly’s administrative assistant’s office, where Terry could be sat on the couch.
Terry was still in hysterics; the administrative assistant asked Darlene, “Should I call for a doctor to administer a sedative?”
Darlene thought for a second and said, “Do you have an herbalist here?”
The administrative assistant was surprised by the question. “Yes, she works in the Ministry of Health. She keeps her herbs there as well.”
Darlene grabbed a piece of paper on the coffee table in front of the couch, wrote what she wanted, and handed it to the assistant. “Tell her to bring this, but don’t mix the herbs or make the tea until I’ve had a chance to look at everything. Take one of those Aloxan soldiers with you”—she motioned to one of them—“so you won’t get waylaid in the confusion.” The assistant left with the soldier.
All the while, between giving orders, Darlene sat next to Terry, embracing her like a mother would a child, unable to fight back tears herself. Terry was beginning to calm down a bit but was still crying profusely, alternating between sitting upright and bending over. About five minutes later the soldier returned with herbalist and herbs. Darlene inspected the herbs and approved them; the assistant had already put together some tea service. Darlene made the tea, then pulled Terry upright enough for her to drink her tea. All the while everyone stood around in disbelief at all of the events. When Terry was calmed down a little bit, the herbalist asked, “That was the perfect herb. How did you know that?”
“I used to grow and administer them some on my family’s estate,” Darlene replied. “This is what I gave my mother when we learned my own two brothers were killed in the war.”
Terry started to calm down and sit up more, but wasn’t very conversational. It wasn’t long, though, before the herb had its effect and Terry was asleep.
Over in the presidential office, those gathered were going through the hard decisions. Leslie’s demand was first for unconditional surrender of the Republic of Verecunda, which he got, and Connolly reluctantly signed. The second announcement he made was for the new government. He announced that his brother Desmond would be appointed Viceroy for Verecunda proper and his second son Marc would be Viceroy for Uranus; the two territories would be administered separately. After these major announcements, they got down to some details. The detail that was hardest to swallow for the Verecundans—and the one they resisted the most strongly—was the abolition of what was left of the Inland Police. Leslie was unmoved by their pleas; it was officially abolished. As things wore on, Leslie became impatient. The Verecundans were consummate policy wonks, and they had all kinds of details for the Aloxans to ponder. Leslie finally informed the Verecundans that Desmond could work out many of these matters, but that he had more important things to attend to. He asked George to come with him, then left the room. As he left, Connolly asked in desperation, “Since you won’t allow the Inland Police to continue, perhaps you would consider reconstituting the army.”
Leslie thought for a moment, then said, “If I did, I would ask the soon Princess Julia to command it, but right at the moment she has more important matters to attend to.” With that he and George left the stunned Verecundans to Desmond and his aides.
As the two left the office, George mentioned to Leslie, “Let me check on Darlene and Terry.” He went over to the other office, ducked in and motioned for Darlene to come out a second. She came out.
“Is she all right?” George asked.
“She’ll be OK, after a while,” Darlene answered. “I’m staying with her.”
“You don’t trust these people, do you?”
“Do you?” With that question, he kissed his wife and walked away with Leslie.
They got into the Land Rover and, leaving the Plaza, turned right and headed down Central Avenue. There were signs of looting everywhere, but things seemed to be calming down, as they saw few looters around. The Aloxan army was patrolling the street, in some cases with the help of the Verecundan city police. They reached the port, which the Aloxan marines had themselves secured yesterday. The one cruise ship in port had already left; a cargo ship or two remained. Leslie was cheered as he got out of the Land Rover and was greeted by their commander.
“Everything well here?” Leslie asked.
“Very well, Your Majesty,” the commander replied.
“You men did fine work.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty. Oh, the Collinans have seized the Point, and their commander, Andrew Dell, would like to chat with you about a few things. What should we do?”
Leslie thought for a second, and then said, “I’ll meet with him later. Don’t worry about the Point—he and Prince Desmond can sort things out when the town settles down.”
“Have you heard anything about the Royal Serelian yacht?” George asked.
The commander thought for a second, and then said, “We understand the Ministry of the Environment impounded it over on the Point. Should we help you get it back?”
“In a minute,” Leslie interrupted, saluting the commander. He and a mystified George got back into the Land Rover; Leslie ordered the driver to go east. The king stopped about where the jetty met the shore just shy of Evan Point. Leslie got out, George following, and they walked up to the riprap on the shoreline.
It was another nice day, a little brisk perhaps. Almost in front of them was the Point Collina lighthouse; most of the vista was of open water. Leslie and George just stood in silence for a minute.
“I had no idea my bodyguard would kill Richard,” Leslie said. “I gave orders not to kill government officials unless they resisted us with force.” He paused a minute, then wiped a tear from his eye. “I also had no idea that Terry would take her brother’s death so hard. Perhaps I overestimated their rivalry. She is too tender hearted for her position.”
“Looks like she’s not the only one,” George observed.
“I think this whole thing is getting to me—I didn’t think it would. But seeing my subjects in battle, and seeing Terry, and knowing that there are many Aloxan women who are going—or about to go—through the same thing and experience the same pain, it is harder than I thought. Do you really think it is worth it? You’ve just been through worse, in many ways.”
George thought for a minute, and then asked, “How long did they keep your foreign minister when they arrested him?”
“About three weeks,” Leslie said. “He was so traumatised by the experience, he committed suicide a week after he got home. Many of my subjects were imprisoned by these people—mostly for ‘economic crimes,’ as they call them. All of them said their prisons were hell—they’re ruled by internal gangs, the guards are just referees. There’s no hard labour, so they have nothing else to do but to attack each other. One merchant told me he’d rather be in my prison—and he had been in both. Others told about some of the prisoners being paid off to ‘take care’ of prisoners of conscience—political dissidents, religious prisoners like Julia’s mother and father, and so on.”
“I think you just answered your own question…but it’s still not easy. Darlene’s mother has never gotten over losing her sons. Losing my two older brothers has wrecked my father’s health. Did all of your sons come through the fighting?”
“With a few nicks and scratches, yes. I am very lucky. My wife would say blessed—perhaps she is right.”
“Civil wars and revolutions are the worst. Families—especially the Serlins—were split down the middle. After their unsuccessful offensive into Serelia proper, the Drahlans sent word they were ready to make a deal, but Ronald was so enraged by their attacking his family estate that he bullied my father into continuing the war—it didn’t take much, admittedly. So we bludgeoned on until my father almost ran out of sons, and then it all ended.”
There was another period of silence. “We need to put a stop to all this,” Leslie said. “We need to stick together.”
“Do you think you can hold this place?” George asked.
“That’s the question the whole Island would like to know. So would I, for that matter. It’s not easy to govern a country with at least three times your population, even if they are all wimps. We will see. I’d rather be where I am now than where I would be if they took control of Claudia…by the way, are you serious about having Peter and Julia in Serelia for their honeymoon?”
“Absolutely—if Terry doesn’t nab them first.”
“Consider it done,” Leslie said. “They’ll have enough time for both countries—we wouldn’t want to start your war again, would we?”
They chuckled at this. “Darlene told me that Julia was, among other things, the chief marksmanship instructor for their army—she had a good number of medals for it. Maybe we can find out how good she is while she is visiting.”
A big grin came over Leslie’s face. “This is going to be better than I hoped—our next hunting outing will be special. Let’s go find your boat—I really need to speak with Andy anyway.” They got back into the Land Rover and went back to the port.
Terry was coming awake and sitting up, still a little dazed and groggy. The Palace had been abuzz with activity all afternoon but she had been totally oblivious to it. Darlene was with her, as she had been since her collapse.
Desmond wound up his meetings with Connolly and her colleagues about 1700. Connolly could not leave though; the Aloxans were evicting her from her office and she had to stay and pack things up. They were also evicting her administrative assistant, but were holding off because of Terry. About the time the meetings came a woman who hadn’t been there up to then came in.
“Hi, Patty,” Terry said, half there. It was her cousin, the Minister of Education.
“I’m sorry about Richard,” Patty said, not knowing what else to say.
“So am I. I’m also sorry I made such a spectacle out of myself.”
“You couldn’t help that,” Darlene said. “You did what the rest of us felt like doing but didn’t.”
“Is she going to be okay?” Patty asked.
“I think so,” Darlene replied.
“I’m not so sure about the rest of us,” Patty said. “You’ve got a group of scared people on your hands. Did you really have to put us through all this?”
“This isn’t the time to discuss that,” Darlene snapped. “We live in reality. We’ve been through all this and more.”
“We never wanted to live in your ‘reality,’” Patty retorted. “If these people give me the chance, I’m moving to the mainland—I’m not going to stay and live with the law of the jungle.”
Darlene almost lost it at this remark, but was beat to the punch. “How much of a jungle the law is depends upon how high up the food chain you are,” Terry observed calmly.
“We have friends on the mainland—you won’t get away with this,” Patty said, and with that stormed out of the room.
“If they hadn’t bankrupted themselves long ago, they might make a threat like that stick,” Terry observed. While all of this spleen venting was going on, no one noticed that the herbalist from the Ministry of Health had come in and sat down in a corner chair. Her presence startled Darlene.
“Are you feeling better, Ms. Marlowe?” the herbalist, whose name was Maeve Martin, asked.
“Much,” Terry replied. “Thank you so much—you did an excellent job.”
“Was that the Minister of Education that just left?” Maeve asked.
“Unfortunately,” Darlene sighed.
“She’s my cousin,” Terry observed. “We don’t get along in our family. It’s very sad.”
“Have you seen your mother recently?” Maeve asked.
Terry paused, and then said, “Not in twenty years. I would like to. Where is she? And how is she?”
“Those are the best kept secrets in Verecunda,” Maeve replied, “there are probably only about a dozen people that know the answer to both. Your brother was very powerful and was able to keep her out of the public eye. She hasn’t been seen in public in a long time. But,” she added with a gleam in her eye, “I made some discreet inquiries and found out at least where she is.” She handed a piece of paper to Terry, who opened and read it.
“It’s on the Point,” Terry said, “I know exactly where it is. I can get there.”
“You’re very sweet to do this,” Darlene said, “is there anything we can do for you?”
“Well,” said Maeve with an excited look, “Ms. Marlowe, don’t you live in Drahla now?”
“Barlin, to be exact.”
“Could you tell me about—and maybe give me a chance to meet—Ann Gilbert?”
“The herbalist?” Now the gleam was in Terry’s eye. “What would you like to know, and when would you like to come?” That opened up a whole new conversation, where Terry told her about the famous herbalist, some of the healing she helped to bring, and ultimately how—and why—an herbalist can be a Christian.
Their conversation was winding down when they heard a voice from the door. “Aren’t you girls ever going to go home tonight?” It was Desmond. “The King and Prince George are establishing their headquarters at the Elaron Beach Hotel, and they would be charmed with the grace of your presence.” Then he looked at Maeve and said, “Who is this?”
“This is Maeve Martin,” Darlene replied, “she is the chief herbalist at the Ministry of Health. She helped Terry after her difficulty.”
“North Army Group could use some help—their field hospital at the fort is short handed. Can you come up tonight and help out for a bit?”
“Yes, I can,” she replied, a little reluctantly. “but I’ll need some help with the mobile unit.”
“I came down with them,” Terry added, “they’re great people. All of these people are wonderful.”
“We’ll give you the help you need,” Desmond said.
Darlene and Terry were taken to the hotel, where the men were waiting. George had arranged for the three of them to stay in a suite so that Terry would not have to spend the night by herself. They spent part of the evening going over the day’s events but it wasn’t long until exhaustion overtook them all and they retired early.