Hope Springs Eternal Mar 9, 2018 2:07:48 GMT -5
Post by Catherine Smith on Mar 9, 2018 2:07:48 GMT -5
Crandall Field House, United States Military Academy - West Point, New York
Finally, I get to relax, Dr. Favell thought as she walked over towards the edge of the Olympic-size pool inside Crandall Field House, setting down her beach towel and holstered .45 semi-auto along a nearby wall and limbering herself up for what had become a respite of peace and quiet and tranquil serenity for her - an exercising swim in the pool.
It was the one luxury she accorded herself; ever since leaving San Simeon with pretty much nothing more than her backpack, the clothes on her back,...and her life; remembering the Yakuza man's admonition that they never run across each other's path again, Catherine had taken those words to heart. Traveling east, she had encountered some of the worst of humanity: slavers in Kansas, a bloodthirsty cult on the western fringes of the Motor City...and some of her own deepest moments of despair, coming within minutes of ending her own life. Yet, through all that, she never hit rock-bottom, a testament to her Sicilian heritage...and it was as she was walking east, passing through deserted towns and abandoned highways, Catherine had made the decision within herself to drop her old name, her old ways...if she wanted to live, she could no longer be the Catriana Faviello of her youth and most of her pre/post-apocalyptic adult life.
It had not been easy, though: unfortunately, even in this day and age, people had heard of the woman some survivors referred to as "the Evil Doctor", one who used her medical skills to torture and kill people and as luck would have it, when she finally ran into a U.S. Army patrol south of Buffalo, it didn't take them long once she identified herself and told them her journey to that point before they figured out who she was...and that, in Past Times, would've brought her a whole new raft of problems...but, the same winds of luck that'd found out her past also brought her a reprieve; as General Laura McArthur had herself told Dr. Favell at the general's forward TOC in Buffalo, "I'm granting you a conditional parole but don't abuse your good fortune; any mistake, any slipup or illegal action and I will personally see you hang for everything you've ever been accused of, Dr. Favell, do you understand?"
In short, Dr. Favell knew that every day she was alive was a day to the good and she didn't intend to waste any of them; upon her arrival at West Point she'd been - because of her medical skills; after all, a Doctor of Medicine is a Doctor of Medicine - assigned to the Medical Staff under Col. Geisbert, who had been welcomed her aboard with a simple admonition to (a) do your job to the utmost, with compassion, dignity and honor and (b) remember your parole conditions. But it wasn't as simple as that for her: because her reputation had preceded her to West Point, everyone in Medical had treated her with respect but other than that, they'd kept their distance and she'd kept hers' from them. She pulled her shifts, did the work, took care of the sick and infirm...and felt as lonely as one could; after her shift would end, she'd eat dinner in Washington Hall, walk around the campus a bit and then, as the sun set each evening, retire to her quarters in Jefferson Hall, read her bible or study up on medical literature and then catch some sleep.
Her one luxury, her one oasis - as she jumped into the pool and began to swim down the 50-meter length to the other end and back - was her daily swimming routine. Dressed only in a one-piece high-cut swimsuit, she would swim back and forth from one end to the other, until she'd completed 1000 meters...at first; she could now do almost 2000 meters but it wasn't the distance that kept her sane and focused on medicine, it was the quiet solitude of the field house. Although the field house was regularly used by everyone at West Point - civilians and American and/or Russian military personnel - most only used the swimming pools when they had to re-certify their fitness tests every few months (at least on the American side)...and so, she would swim every day, using the swimming to keep her mind focused and her body as athletically fit as possible. Every morning, she would swim...and every day, she'd return to her quarters, change out of her civilian clothing into medical scrubs and report for duty over in Medical.
And so it was, that one fateful morning, as she was getting her morning swim out of the way, that someone would cross her path, someone who'd change her life in ways immeasurable, someone who would remind her of what it was like to be human in the land of the walkers....