#4600016 - 05/21/2211:38 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 731epower
Joined: May 2012
Carrick - Quite right. Gadzooks may not an expression my generation embraces but it's entirely appropriate here. The rabbit hole was deep. Only long experience kept Raine and I from falling all the way to the bottom. __________________________
Taking the weekend off. Postings will resume Monday evening, May 23rd.
#4600125 - 05/23/2209:59 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 731epower
Joined: May 2012
5 August 1927 Oak Park, Illinois USA
Talk of Eliza giving birth in a hospital. She was having none of it.
“Such a load of balls!” she exclaimed. “I was born at home, so were you, Oliver. We turned out just fine and so did our mothers. The very idea that childbirth is some kind of evil, pathological process demanding medical intervention is nothing more than male physicians trying to cement their position at the expense of trained midwives. Look no further than the American Medical Association and their hateful lobbying to repeal the Sheppard-Towner act! They fear the competition.
“Dr. Joseph DeLee’s insane ideas** continue spreading. Women have been giving birth since time immemorial. We do not require sedation, an episiotomy, or forceps extracting the fetus and placenta from our incapable bodies. If DeLee and his scalpel wielding acolytes have their way, we’ll soon be cutting the mother open and making Caesarian a standard practice instead of a last-ditch emergency procedure.”
Eliza’s blood was up and I was in no position to argue with her about medical matters. My curiosity got the better of me. I asked what an episiotomy might be and wished I hadn’t.
“I like my anatomy the way it is…as do you, my love,” she said, her expression softening. “So no, I shall not go to a hospital. Dr. Brookhurst will remain on call in case of emergency or complication.”
12 August 1927 Oak Park, Illinois USA
Fear of the unknown bedeviled me during her twenty hours of labor. Sitting downstairs without any occupation, helpless to render assistance as her cries of effort echoed through the house, Phobos and Deimos ran riot. I remembered Ernesto’s story of Nick Adams’ father delivering a breech baby in an Indian Camp, and how the child’s father, terrorized by his wife’s suffering, slit his own throat in despair. I had no mind to take my own life, but I’d sooner face the Baron’s Circus alone than endure Eliza’s pains again.
Eliza sat up in bed, nursing the boy. A new energy animated her features and she showed no ill effect from her recent ordeal. She glowed with a hard-won maternal beauty. By contrast I was utterly exhausted.
“We never discussed a name, Oliver.” “True, and that was my doing.” “We could name him Michael, after your father,” she said. “Or William after yours,” I replied. “There’s always Hezekiah, after Smokey,” Eliza countered.
“A heavy burden for a young man in the 20th Century,” I said.
Then in a flash of inspiration I had the answer. When I told Eliza my idea, she started to cry. I don’t think I’d ever seen her so happy.
Tomorrow I shall wire Mother and Father:
13 October 1927 Oak Park, Illinois USA
This creature fascinates me. I feel Tommy’s skin against my own as I hold him. His strong infant’s grip seizes on the finger I dangle before his befuddled vision. He can smile at me now when he’s awake and alert. I feel a love and joy I’ve never known. Joy, like a great wave rising higher and higher, carrying all before it. I am undone.
Eliza mocks me.
“Oliver, I carried this child for nine months. I bore him into the world and nurse him daily so I know I’m his mother but I swear, in every other way he is yours.” Looking up in mild shock I made to protest but she laughed. “You’re a sap, Oliver. A complete sap for Tommy. I never thought I’d see the day.” She leaned over and kissed the top of my head, her arms wrapped around me in one of her fierce hugs. “You make me very happy.”
I always scoffed at those histrionic blowhards carrying on about how children change one forever. Blah, blah, blah. Blast them if they weren’t right. Once again, my life is no longer my own. It belongs now to Eliza and this child I hold against me.
I will pass on to him all that I learned from Mother, Father, Smokey, Mr. Fairbairn, and my other teachers. All my books shall be his. He will learn the ancient stories. I will teach him to ride, to drive an automobile, conn a ship and to pilot an aeroplane. I will teach him about the natural world and all that’s in it. I will show him how to play baseball and the triangle game ‘The Children’ taught me. He will know the joy of catching a fish and letting it go. He will see the stars at midnight and know their names. He will be a true friend to all his companions. He will see the sun rising on a better world.
Tommy may grow up a rich man’s son but he must know the world as it is. I will show him the beauty as Mother and Father did for me, but I will show him the ugliness too. He must learn the hard truth that not all live in comfort and that the measure of a man has nothing to do with how many coins line his pocket.
Walt Whitman’s words dance in my memory:
“I am the teacher of athletes; He that by me spreads a wider breast than my own, proves the width of my own; He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher.
The boy I love, the same becomes a man, not through derived power, but in his own right, Wicked, rather than virtuous out of conformity or fear, Fond of his sweetheart, relishing well his steak, Unrequited love, or a slight, cutting him worse than sharp steel cuts, First-rate to ride, to fight, to hit the bull’s eye, to sail a skiff, to sing a song, or play on the banjo, Preferring scars, and the beard, and faces pitted with small-pox, over all latherers, And those well tann’d to those that keep out of the sun.”
I dare not spoil him. He must learn humility and the value of work. Summers on the farm in California when he’s old enough. To sea with Smokey. I will teach him to stand up for what is right and for those who cannot defend themselves. I will teach him the hard things. I will teach him to fight in the hope that he will never experience war.
I will raise him be a just and honorable man. He shall live a life of usefulness and reputation.
Tommy will be a better man than I am.
**In 1920, Dr. Joseph DeLee, author of the most frequently used obstetric textbook of the time, argued that childbirth is a pathologic process from which few escape “damage.” He proposed a program of active control over labor and delivery, attempting to prevent problems through a routine of interventions. DeLee proposed a sequence of medical interventions designed to save women from the “evils” that are “natural to labor.” Specialist obstetricians should sedate women at the onset of labor, allow the cervix to dilate, give ether during the second stage of labor, cut an episiotomy, deliver the baby with forceps, extract the placenta, give medications for the uterus to contract and repair the episiotomy. His article was published in the first issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. All of the interventions that DeLee prescribed did become routine.
Last edited by epower; 05/24/2208:37 PM.
#4600201 - 05/24/2211:21 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 731epower
Joined: May 2012
21 November 1927 Oak Park, Illinois USA
Today of all days, they abandoned me. Why did they not come? If they did, why did they not reveal themselves? So easy since the war to summon them at will or see them intrude unbidden into my waking vision. My dead. On this day, they did not come.
I needed to see him in their company, not as the infant he was but grown older. The soul of a dead child must continue on and evolve. Must it not? It must. It must. I asked Fr. O’Shea but the question caught him flatfooted and he answered with platitudes about his God’s plan and Tommy being amongst the angels. I thought it a load of simplistic rubbish and told him so in no uncertain terms.
The small party gathered. Only the heaving grey cumuli, stark blown by a cold November wind, bore witness as we laid his tiny coffin in the churchyard ground next to his great-grandfather. I kept searching for them as Fr. O’Shea’s eulogy, intended in good conscience to heal, flew wide of the mark. His words meant nothing to me. My son Tommy is dead.
Is this punishment for the men I killed?
‘One Dead, Three Injured in Accident,’ read the headline. Succinct. Just the facts. Ernesto’s iceberg theory of writing.
Pale, arid words that say nothing of the human cost: Tommy killed, Eliza miraculously unharmed, Mrs. Ludlow seriously injured. The driver ramming their car amidships launched through his windscreen and not expected to survive.
My boy is gone.
18 January 1928 Oak Park, Illinois USA
The automobile accident that killed Tommy also sent Mrs. Ludlow to the hospital for six weeks with a broken leg and internal injuries. She is home at present and mending well. Eliza throws herself into hospital work, then cares for her mother in the evenings. Exhausting, but the routine gives Eliza a focus.
It is two months to the day since he died. I find only desolation. In quiet moments, my mind is a scene from the Christian Hell like that painting Orpen made of Zonnebeke.
No tormenting demons, only emptiness, ruin, and the absence of anything meaningful. Devoid even of a God or gods to rage against. I dare not let Eliza see my despair. Were it not for her I would take the coward’s exit and flee. Run as far away from this house as my means might carry me and seek my death day in the Yukon, or in the wide Pacific’s mountainous waves.
Despite the bitter cold, I fly the Sportwing when weather permits. The stinging icy wind focuses the mind and numbs the pain. Aloft, none hear my cries of anguish. None hear me as I curse the Gods. I curse them all.
2 February 1928 Oak Park, Illinois USA
The Roman Priest O’Shea visited Mrs. Ludlow again. He comes each week to offer her communion. Tommy’s death woke her long dormant Catholicism. She recovers incrementally but is not well enough to attend mass. I drop by to meet him as I have come to enjoy our ongoing conversation, or more accurately, our ongoing argument. He is a good sport in this regard and unlike any Christian Cleric I know. I almost believe that he has an open mind and that his faith is fluid. I think him a seeker. Today, in a particularly vile mood I baited him. I condemned his Abrahamic god for the death of my son. His riposte stopped me cold.
“Does he think by punishing me I shall come to love and worship him?” I snarled.
“You believe God punishes you?” He spoke calmly. “Because of the men you killed in war?”
“That thought has occurred to me.”
“As it might,” he replied, “but there is another possibility.”
“That you are not being punished, rather you are being tested.” ____________________________
So long I resisted this. Here was a place I dared not look but now was the time. Shame. Grief for a friendship lost, and that my own doing. Opening the pages with trepidation I reread his inscription with a new understanding. How could he have known?
21 March 1928 Oak Park, Illinois USA
Snow on this first day of Spring. I went with Eliza to our son’s grave. Tiny snowflakes glinted on the fresh flowers Eliza laid there. Her other Tommy lies not far away. She changes the flowers on both their graves every week, regardless of weather. I wasn’t sure if this practice eased her grief or made it worse. I feared it was the latter. Today Eliza confirmed my suspicions.
“They’re both here, Oliver, both my Tommys. I used to love Chicago, but now this city just reminds of death. I’ll never know peace if we stay.”
Last edited by epower; 05/25/2211:25 PM.
#4600260 - 05/26/2212:24 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 731epower
Joined: May 2012
11 November 1928 Westminster London, England
Tenth Anniversary of the Armistice. Last minute decision, heavily influenced by Eliza’s not so gentle nudge. Swift boot to the arse would be more accurate. She was correct. Better to regret attending than to stay home and afterwards wish that I’d gone. Took the overnight train from Newcastle. Little sleep. I left my kit at King’s Cross Station anticipating an afternoon return and wandered the morning streets of London. Eventually, I found my way to Westminster. Crowds already gathering despite the early hour.
The hour at last and there in the assembled crowds I saw them. Arthur, Pixley, Grevelink, Richard, Jimmy, Steve Clement… all of them. This was a mistake. I should never have come. I should never have worn my medals. The Victoria Cross and my other decorations standing prominently against my black overcoat drew curious glances. Most people had the decency not to stare.
The King approached the Cenotaph, wreath in hand. Flight was now impossible.
The service complete I wandered with the dispersing crowds. Behind Westminster I saw the poppies. Thousands of poppies on tiny crosses, neatly arranged, each bearing a name. So many. I’d never seen the like.
An older man missing a leg leaned down and, balancing on his crutch, he set a small cross in the ground. After standing for a moment in reflection he moved swiftly away.
I walked round the many beds and found an RAF section at last. Lost in thought, I scanned the names, none of which I recognized. A small voice sounded at my side. A bright child’s voice.
Looking down I beheld a small girl, no more than 6 or 7 years of age. Blond hair strayed from under the grey cloche hat. The blue dress showing under her black coat stood at odds with the solemnity of the day. There was something familiar about her. Bright eyes, not quite grey or green regarded me with an almost preternatural calm. She smiled up at me cautiously. In her extended hand she offered one of the red poppies of General Haig’s fund.
‘Pour vous, monsieur.”
I squatted down to greet her. As if realizing her words were French, the child spoke again.
“For you, sir,” the child repeated.
Her plaintive offer of the poppy was the final drop. The hastily constructed dam of my resolve threatened to burst. A gasp stuck in clenched throat. My eyes blurred as I took the silken flower from her hand.
I managed to blurt out thanks and by some effort of will I mastered my emotions.
“What’s your name, young lady?” I asked, voice still hoarse.
“Vivienne,” she said.
“And where might your parents be?”
Before the girl could answer I saw from the corner of my eye a woman approaching. I stood up to greet her and the shock of recognition landed like a physical blow.
The black dress and fur coat did nothing to hide her beauty. If she’d aged at all in the past seven years I couldn’t tell. The athlete’s body was the same. Her blond hair, plainly visible despite the hat she wore, still held a warm yellow-golden color. An oval, high cheek boned face shone in perfect symmetry and with a hint of the exotic. Light brown eyes, so like Eliza’s, flashed gold even on this misty grey day. The darker brows above, statuesquely arched and angled, now rose in greeting.
Artemis, delighting in arrows, ...of lovely shape like none of the heavenly gods
Seven years since I saw her last. Two unforgettable days and nights in Warsaw. It felt like yesterday. I remembered every second of it. We were of one blood, the two of us, and always would be. Any illusion that time and separation might sever that bond vanished instantly into the mist.
The full lips I’d kissed with such passion long ago lifted into a smile.
“Hello, Oliver,” she replied, setting a hand on the child’s shoulder.
“Vivienne, this is Major Winningstad,” said Clarissa.
“Just a Captain now. Retired.”
“Bonjour, Capitaine Winningstad,” said Vivienne.
“Mama?” she asked, accenting the second syllable in the French manner, “could Capitaine Winningstad come to tea?”
“I think that an excellent idea,” said Clarissa. “What say you, Capitaine?”
It was a good mile and a half walk back to Belgravia and Clarissa’s home. I thought Vivienne might tire but she seemed filled with a boundless energy. She held to her mother’s hand and walked between us. After a while she took hold of mine as well and gleefully swung herself into the air as we stepped over puddles.
Tea was a surreal experience. Vivienne was the focus of our attention. She knew it and took full advantage, peppering me with questions and telling me about her recent adventures with Clarissa in Paris. Finally, the events and excitement of a long day caught up with her and despite the very ladylike covering of yawns, it was clear the child was exhausted. She pouted briefly when Clarissa mentioned nap time and summoned the nanny. A desperate negotiation with her mother came to naught.
I held Vivienne’s hands in mine as she said goodbye.
“Au Revoir, Capitaine Winningstad,” she said, then without warning she leapt toward me and wrapped her arms around my neck, holding me tightly. She embraced me with the familiarity of a child hugging a parent, or a beloved Uncle, then just as suddenly she dashed away with her nanny. The experience of it was surprising, and deeply stirring. Tommy might have done exactly this had he lived.
“Vivienne likes you,” said Clarissa.
“She’s lovely, Clarissa. Such a precocious child. An older soul, I think. She takes after her mother. I know it’s a bit late, but I am dreadfully sorry about Antoine. I wasn’t sure if you got my letter.”
“You were kind to write. Martlet House was a good choice. Vivienne stays there with Nana when I go abroad.”
“The family business?” I asked
“Indeed. You too, mon aviateur magnifique. A little bird told me you were working with Special Branch.”
Does this little bird have unsettling black eyes and answer to the name of Tennyson?”
“It’s possible. I don’t recall, but one hears things,” she said with a disturbingly enigmatic smile.
“Your bird wasn’t wrong. What a nest of corruption that turned out to be. It still is, but we got who we came for, your old friend Maundy Gregory in fact. Pity the b@stard avoided justice. Broke his network, and by that, I mean Zaharoff’s London network. MG or should I say ‘Hades’ is defanged but still well protected. Knows too much about certain governments officials, the past three Prime Ministers among others. That’s why Lloyd George cashiered Sir Basil Thomson, head of Special Branch.”
Clarissa raised a quizzical eyebrow briefly then sipped her tea.
“Where are you now?” Clarissa inquired.
“Newcastle. Eliza took a surgical position there in June with her old mentor, Mr. Grey Turner.”
“The dreary North,” she said, taking a small scone from the tray. “Hearth and home after all. Good for you. Children?”
“A son, last year. He did not survive.” For the first time since his death, I spoke those words without feeling emotional violence. My voice didn’t catch. I felt sadness but no compulsion to rage or scream. I spoke a simple statement of fact as I might when recounting the death of a comrade. And there it was. Some locked room in my mind opened then and I saw Tommy now as a boy of 5 or 6 years old running along a grassy field. I imagined Arthur teaching him to spin the fat rugby ball. I knew then that Tommy would go on. He was with them now.
“Oh, Oliver...” she said. Clarissa’s shield of reserve fell. She reached a hand over and squeezed mine. We sat in silence for a minute.
I saw the ring on her finger.
“You are married again?”
“Not for long,” she said flatly.
Gods Below! Does she mean divorce or something more drastic?
I looked upon at the mantle clock. Not much time.
“Clarissa, I have to go or I’ll miss my train.” Her expression spoke volumes. She desired me to stay. Part of me desired that as well. Clarissa rose and pressed a button summoning the Butler. The Chauffeur had the car around front in a trice.
I took my leave, now deeply grateful for my hurried itinerary. Clarissa remained standing on the steps, as the car pulled away. I looked back at her and felt the old familiar pang of loss.
Last edited by epower; 05/26/2212:28 AM.
#4600376 - 05/27/2212:56 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 731epower
Joined: May 2012
5 November 1929 Newcastle on Tyne, England
I stood in the library before a roaring fire this Guy Fawkes Day, whiskey in hand and belting out the ‘Song of 54’ when I saw Eliza standing in the doorway. I had no idea how long she’d been there watching me.
“Good heavens, Oliver, are you drunk?” she asked with a wry grin.
“I don’t think drunk, exactly,” I replied after due consideration of the question, “but I have set a great acreage of canvas, as you can see.” I raised my glass toward the half empty bottle of whiskey on the sideboard. “If I crack on as planned, I shall be there soon enough. May I offer you a drink?””
“I think not,” said Eliza, her face now revealing concern. “What’s come over you?”
“I’m broke, my dear. This recent stock market crash buggered my finances. Fortunately, Mr. Finlay rescued me from complete ruin but I’ve taken an enormous on paper loss and we’ll be facing some leaner times and err…challenges of liquidity, shall we say. Yes, that’s it. Challenges of liquidity, for some years according to Mr. Finlay. He is confident that the positions will recover when the economy turns around but I no longer have an income. I’m paying the price now for the handcuffs I put on him.”
“Handcuffs? What handcuffs?” she asked.
“I forbade him from investing my funds in any company that feeds the monster…so to speak. Anything supporting the military or having to do with armaments was out of bounds. Vickers for one and a number of other very lucrative opportunities. I don’t know if I frustrated Mr. Finlay or if he took it up as a challenge, he never did say. Doesn’t matter. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time yet now we suffer for my … ethics, if you can call them that. My naivete might be more accurate.”
“Nonsense!” Eliza declared. “You acted on principle. That rarely comes without cost. We’ll economize, that’s all. I know you like spoiling me but we don’t need to live such an extravagant lifestyle. I still have my salary at the hospital...”
Eliza trailed off as she saw me slowly shaking my head.
“Two million Britons unemployed and that will only get worse now. Oh, the ‘bright young things’ and the monied middle classes will be fine, but what of the ordinary working folk? How will they get on? Seven men in ten in these northern counties have no work. I don’t see a future for us here.”
“Is it raining?” she asked.
“Eliza, it’s the north of England in November…”
She stared at me, waiting patiently for me to catch up.
“Oh, you meant metaphorically.”
“Yes,” she said.
“It’s drizzling for certain but I think these clouds will pass. The Swiss funds we save for true emergencies, not mere setbacks. For the real storm when it comes. The next war. You’re right, my dear. We must economize. I’ll sell my aeroplane. I’m sure Aunt Rhea will give me a fair price for the Bentley. She’s been green with envy ever since I purchased it this Summer. How could she resist a 4.5 Litre, with a custom supercharger and Vanden Plas coachwork?"
Eliza’s face fell. “I’ll miss that car. I’m not sure which of us loved driving it more.”
I hate to part with it but sacrifices must be made.
“My days as a gentleman adventurer, flying instructor and sometime air racer are over for the time being. I must face the full horror of our predicament, Eliza. I must go seek honest work.”
“Oh dear. Has it come to that? You’d best pour me that drink now,” she replied, dropping into one of the large club chairs. I handed her a large sherry.
Standing with my back to the fire I felt the heat warming the tweed jacket. I’d need a more varied wardrobe where I planned to go. Now was the time to see if Eliza was game.
“I’m ready for a change of scenery. I think you are too, Eliza. Neither of us care much for Newcastle, despite all the new friends we’ve made here. You can’t stay working with G.G. forever. It’s time you established your own practice. Didn’t he imply as much when we last had him over for dinner? You’re a traveler, so am I. We’ll live in one place for a few years then move on. Maybe that will change one day but for now, the world awaits. What say we go someplace warm?”
“What do you have in mind?”
“Shanghai. Pearl of the Orient. True, it is the most dangerous city in the world. Drug gangs, shootings, stabbings, all manner of mayhem, but you would have no shortage of trade for your surgery.”
“What would you do in Shanghai?”
“My old teacher Mr. Fairbairn is now a Superintendent of the Shanghai Municipal Police. I have a place there if I wish it. I’d be starting at the very bottom but the pay is good and our money would go very far in Shanghai.
“A Policeman? I thought you detested the Police?”
“Not at all. Hell, I practically served as one in my time working with Special Branch. It’s the corrupt ones I can’t stomach, half the London Metropolitan force for example, and the bullies like those Chicago cops in Capone’s pocket. Men who seek a badge because it gives them power over civilians. Those are the ones I truly despise. It doesn’t take many to completely undermine the work of honest policemen.”
“This sounds like another crusade, like Poland.”
“Poland wasn’t a crusade, Eliza, it was expiation.”
“Won’t you miss flying?”
“Very much so, but we won’t be in Shanghai forever…”
I could see Eliza’s mind turning over and making full revolutions. The cancer research she’d done with George Grey Turner would yield her authorship of yet another paper. Important work. As G.G. so emphatically stated, despite his legendary surgical prowess, “we shall never overcome cancer by surgery: it will be something we will inject…”
The past year working with one of the world’s greatest surgeons was the final step in her long apprenticeship.
Eliza stared silently into the fire for a long time. I knew better than to say anything when she was like this. I refilled my glass and waited.
“Shanghai then. We’ll go in the Spring.” she said at last, holding out her glass. As the driving rain tapped relentlessly against the library windows, we drank to the start of our new adventure.
Last edited by epower; 05/27/2212:57 AM.
#4600407 - 05/27/2201:36 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
epower – Delighted to find these two latest instalments of Oliver's story. Have we seen the end of Clarissa? She has a strange hold over Oliver. And now we enter the depression years. Moving to the Far East is probably a good idea for the two of them. On the other hand, I'm not sure that Oliver will find the Shanghai police to be as corruption free as he would like. Splendid work!
#4600807 - 06/01/2208:56 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
OH No , Oliver should stay out of the Far East . Theirs Traffic congestion and other Curves thrown at you in small Hamlets.
Last edited by Polovski; 07/12/2202:42 PM.
#4600819 - 06/01/2211:45 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Mar 2011 Posts: 923VonS
WWI Flight Sims on a Mac
WWI Flight Sims on a Mac
Joined: Mar 2011
Very nice to see the DiD III thread being given an extended life gents' - with Oliver's continuing adventures. And pleased to see your epigrammatic and humorous posts once again Carrick; have missed those. I also need to catch up on Raine's latest installments under the DiD IV thread on CombatAce - been a bit busy lately.
Been away from posting having lost my Op, System and all games, mods, passwords. Bummer ! However, I will endeavor to persevere
#4607091 - 08/29/2202:53 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 731epower
Joined: May 2012
Gods below! Talk about being ‘Shanghaied.’ That subterranean labyrinth (Shanghai in the 1930s) was and remains deep, deep, deep. Up again to the sunlight at last. There’s a book or two there at the least but that must wait for another year.
It’s been a long time since I posted last. I’ve let too many anniversaries slip by as I grind toward the conclusion of this story but I cannot allow today, 28 August 2022, to go by unremarked.
Oliver’s tale is in many ways a tribute to my father, whose love of history and lifelong fascination with the Great War inspired my own. A fascination that survived his experiences in both WW2 and Korea. Were he living still, I believe he would thoroughly enjoy reading all the adventures of our DiD pilots. His life journey and Oliver’s share some of the same road, and so on this day, my father’s 100th Birthday, I continue…
I stood on the palace wall outside the royal apartments. Night had fallen but the festival of Athene continued throughout the City of Priam. The warm summer breeze floated in from the Aegean swirling gently through the sleeping quarters and back out again. I smelt lavender and something new… Jasmine! I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned; it was she. The oil lamps in our bedchamber shone behind her. Their light cut through the gossamer silk of her dress, illuminating the strong lines and delicate curves of her body in a fiery glow.
Another stood with her. Golden hair, taller, with the body of the athlete.
‘Artemis, delighting in arrows, ...of lovely shape like none of the heavenly gods.’
Each so different, but their eyes were the same light brown, flashing gold in the firelight.
“Come to us, beloved. Love us,” they whispered in unison. My mind swam as they pulled me toward them, the pressure on my shoulder increasing all the while.
Another voice spoke, unintelligible at but insistent. The ancient city began to fade. “Sir…
No, not now. Go away…Oh hell, it’s going. Dammit.
“Time for your walk, sir!” Nurse Helga’s annoyingly cheerful voice rouses me to full consciousness. She stands over me smiling patiently. Behind her veiled head the wretched ceiling fan spins its endless cycle. White walls of the hospital room, a private room no less, glare back reflecting the afternoon sun. #%&*$# leg still hurts like the devil.
Bloody Hell, I’m still only in Shanghai…
I haven’t had that dream in years, and with both of them this time. That never happened before. Blast the woman and her dreadful timing! A grand dream interrupted. It’s a respite at least, a respite from the other one that’s haunts my nights here. I see her face even now. Neither the drink my visiting comrades smuggle in, nor the morphia the nurses administer for the pain is any use. I may become numb, but I have no power to banish the image, or the memory.
#4607097 - 08/29/2209:13 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
If there were more people like you epower the world would be a better place. But why do dreams cease just when they're getting interesting. Perhaps the brain really is a troll and moves in mysterious ways.
#4607520 - 09/03/2205:08 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Ah, the appropriately named Nurse Helga interrupted your dream at a most inopportune moment, indeed!
And more intrigue! Who might this third woman be, who haunts your waking hours? Not Nurse Helga, I trust!
“With Major Lawrence, mercy is a passion. With me it is merely good manners. You may judge which motive is the more reliable.”
#4607925 - 09/07/2208:03 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 731epower
Joined: May 2012
Who know what the future holds, boys?
Catch, the 'Walls of Troy,' dream is a very old and recurring trope in Oliver's Tale. Goes way back to the beginning. Speaking from experience, if you have 15-20 hours to spare you could read this entire monster thread, and that (in the worlds of the immortal Ken Watanable's Katsumoto) would not be wasted time...
BB, you're right, there always seems to be another woman with Oliver. Not sure why that keeps happening but there it is. FWIW, it's not nurse Helga. Could it be a certain blonde femme fatale? Time will tell
For those of you keeping score at home, as much as I wanted to resume our tale forthwith, at present I'm laid up (temporarily) like Oliver, not with a wound but with symptomatic COVID. Deeply unpleasant and definitely not recommended. I'm lucky to live in a house where I can isolate comfortably, but still sneak into my office when SWMBO is away at work so I shall beaver away in the interval.
#4607934 - 09/07/2210:27 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)