|Richard Stadler||The bar at the Ritz-Carlton, late at night, was mostly empty. No one running the bar itself meant that the bar itself was simple a room with a counter top and a few tables, lights on, the plush carpet swallowing up what meager sound there was right now. At one of the tables, sits a man rapidly approching 40, dressed United States Army underdress, a tie loosened around the shirt the only concern he's taken for comfort. He has his own bottle of scotch, snuck in from a liquor store, and a glass stolen from the bar itself. He picked up the glass, examining the slight amount of amber liquor in the warm light. Someone in the know would know that he probably didn't get that uniform out of Raccoon... which means he would have had to order it.|
|Trixie||Trixie had been passing the bar on her way back to her room from somewhere, but the sight of one man in U.S. Army garb in the otherwise empty room piques her curiosity. Especially since there is something familiar about his silhouette. She turns and walks into the bar, her soft sneakers making little sound on the plush carpeting, eyeing the man curiously.
It's only as she gets closer that she realizes where she's seen him before. "Sir? Major Stadler?" she asks softly.
|Richard Stadler||Stadler takes a moment, still looking at the glass, before he hears his name, turning his head around, and giving a very small smile over to Trixie. "Ahh..." He says, looking at her for a long moment. "I'm sorry, I don't- Mackenzie." He says, snapping his fingers. "There we go. I thought you looked familiar, but I've only seen you in the combat get up. They have you here at a room, too?" He says, before nodding his head over to the bar. "I could never finish one of these bottles by myself. You'd help me out if you could grab a glass and work at this problem with me." He says, holding the bottom of scotch up for emphasis. His attitude seems to be one that's... if not morose, then a bit disconnected.|
|Trixie||"Sergeant Mackenzie, yeah... assuming that field promotion stood up and I'm not back to plain ol' Corporal Mackenzie again," Trixie replies, with a wry smile. "I can't seem to get any response from the Guard on anything right now." She gives him a more concerned look, leaning closer. "I wouldn't /try/ to finish it, Sir... and I might be more useful if I focused on the problem with you. With your permission to forego the..." She leans down to look at the label on the bottle. "...scotch, Sir?"|
|Richard Stadler||Stadler gives a shurg. "The bottle /is/ the problem. Well, one I can handle, at least. But there's other problems too, I suppose." He says, taking the class up and swallowing what remained in it, feeling the alcohol burn on the way down before pouring himself another small glass. At the very least, he knows moderation. "Guard just hemmorged a lot of people in the fighting over Raccoon City... or what once was Raccon City and is now scorched rubble. That and you have people sifting through the rubble, watching the airport..."
He shakes his head, this time sipping. "I filled out my after action report. As best I can. All the paperwork needed, and I have no idea where any of it is. So... I'd just call yourself Sergeant until someone tells you otherwise." He says.
|Trixie||"Raccoon City..." Trixie murmurs, her eyes distant and remote for a moment. "Still having nightmares over it. And trying to arrange some more permanent place to stay, since I'm effectively homeless right now, and I'm sure I've got a /lot/ of company in that problem. One more reason I wish the Guard would talk to me."
She gives the bottle a speculative look. "I'll take that advice, Sir. May I join you? With your permission, of course," the young would-be Sergeant asks. "I'm hoping I can help you with those /other/ problems you mentioned. What little we can do anything about, anyway."
|Richard Stadler||"I... want there to be nightmares. The normal type, at least. The death, and... blood, and corpses. The faceless ones, not the ones I know. I'd love to get one of those instead of those dreams about the time I left my family." He says, quietly. At least he's able to smile a bit when she says she's homeless. "I can releate to that, at least. My house is gone, my car is gone, my job is a crater from a company that seems to be slightly north of the Nazi's at the moment, and most of my money was being managed by a credit union in Raccoon. I'm not even sure I have bank records. I had to call my goddamn parents like I'm 15 and ask for them to wire me some money for my uniforms. Because those are gone too." He says.
Almost as an after thought, her waves to a chair in front of him. "But those problems aren't ones I can help. Just going to wake up in a cold sweat, and not know where my life is going now." A pause. "No. No, that last part, I know."
|Trixie||"Ohmigawd, yes... faceless dead I can handle, I think. But the squad... four people I couldn't save," Trixie whispers, taking the offered seat with a blind lurch toward it and a fall into it, one hand over her eyes. "Remind me to recommend that crazy bastard Stetson for the Medal of Honor or something close to it. When we got cut off and almost surrounded, he was bringing up the tail... covered our withdrawal. I thought he was behind us, but he wasn't. He was just standing there and firing into them, dropping them where they were. There were just too many... he couldn't keep them back forever, and he had to have known that. But when they finally got him, backed him into a doorway, he uncorked our last two grenades... I'd been wondering what had happened to those things." Her eyes go distant. "Took himself up with at least a dozen groaners and brought part of the building down on the rest. All but cut them off from us, at least for a while. He had to be kept on a short leash, but that triggerhappy nutball sure knew how to go out..."
She picks up a stray napkin from the table and dabs at her eyes, sniffling softly. "You still have parents, Sir. I'm glad they could send you the money. But I'm wondering where your life's going, 'cause right now I have no idea about either of us. You got us out of Raccoon, and that alone says to me that you'd be a good one to stick with. Dad always said that you never let go of the good ones, or you're a damned fool if you do."
|Richard Stadler||"Don't..." he starts, then catches himself in silence. "I was about to say, 'don't blame yourself for it', but I don't think that's going to help. Look up the paperwork for recommending a commendation. It's there, and I'm sure they'll throw something at the dead to make sure the family's are mollified... and because we have some heroes that didn't make it out of that Godforsaken circle of hades." He says. Listening to the story that she gives, silently, before nodding, slowly. "He... sonds like a good man. Someone who wanted to make sure his buddy got out." No second guessing here; that he could have survived while on the move, that he should have realized he didn't have enough ammo, that those grenades could have been used more effectively. Monday morning quarterbacking the dead wasn't going to help anyone. "Write it up. I'm... sure he'd appreciate it. Him and his family. All right?"
A lift of his glass, at the mention of his parents. "Something left in this world. I suppose I could move to Michigan again, like a 20 something after failing a job. But... well."
He loks to her for a long moment. "I don't know... if I could do that again. Too many risks, too many times I could have been a corpse. My stomach still hurts. I shouldn't be drinking, but to hell with it. That city did one thing for me."
He moves to the tie that was loosened, tightening it up. "It... made things clear. Why I stay in the reserves after Desert Storm, dragged my feet after Iraq. Acted like I was going to be in for a while when my wife and I both knew I'd be leaving. The uniform... that's all I'm left with. In a way, that's all I've actually wanted. I'm moving to the regular Army. Active duty. And I could use a Sergeant."
|Trixie||"You're right. It won't," Trixie murmurs, staring down at the table, still dabbing at her eyes. "I've got the details written out. I'll make sure they get them when I can get anything out of the Guard besides a busy signal. Same for the family, 'cause he deserves that, just like they do. If he hadn't done what he did, crazy as it was, the groaners would've had all of us within a block of where he died. Added seven more faces to your nightmares."
She takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly. "Are you offering to take me with you, Sir?" she asks, after another moment of silence, looking up slowly. "Not like there's anything left for me here. No home, no family... all I have left is wanting to make sure those people can never, ever do that to another city again." She sighs, a brief, wry smile flickering across her face. "Now I know how Josey Wales must've felt."