See the new
Fan Fiction Story Based on G.I. Jane
by Kay Linne
The de-briefing had progressed quickly. Lieutenant Jordan O'Neil stowed her gear under the bunk to which she'd been directed and peeled off the dusty layers of desert camouflage, letting them drop to the floor. It felt good to be rid of her scratchy, sand-covered fatigues. She donned a cover-all, stretching cramped but otherwise undamaged muscles. The helicopter had made a decent landing aboard the aircraft carrier with her entire squad intact. The only injured man, Master Chief John James Urgayle, had been carried off on a stretcher by some of the ship's medical crew, and taken to sick bay. Jordan stayed behind, knowing that she had done everything possible for the chief. It was up to the doctor now to care for the wounded man.
One by one, following their de-briefing, Cortez, McCool, Wickwire, and the rest of the SEAL CRT trainees had found their way to their assigned quarters. They were somewhat of a sober bunch, having just gone through a literal trial by fire, but once back together, their chatter started and quickly escalated to physical rough-housing, a release for pent-up tensions. Jordan tried to join in, but it didn't feel right. She figured some quiet time alone would better serve her mood. She had some issues to sort through, not the least of which was a bone to pick with a certain Master Chief regarding his behavior and possible endangerment of their mission.
"Anyone check on the Master Chief before coming back here?" she asked of her noisy team members.
A chorus of 'no ways' and 'not mes' and 'are you fuckin' crazys?' answered her question. She smiled and shook her head, setting her cap firmly over her very short hair. She left the room, muttering, "Buncha chicken-shits!" over her shoulder.
With a few wrong turns and a couple more-than-helpful sailors, O'Neil found her way to the ship's sick bay. A medical corpsman sat perched on a stool in front of a counter, looking at slides under a microscope. Jordan cleared her throat, "Excuse me."
Rising and snapping to attention, the corpsman asked, "May I help you, Lieutenant?"
"Looking for Command Master Chief Urgayle."
"The injured SEAL? Doc's just finishing up with him," the sailor informed her, gesturing toward the next room. "He's in there."
"Can I see him?" Jordan inquired.
"Let me check," the corpsman poked his head into the next room. "Doc, your patient has a visitor. Okay to let her in?"
Jordan didn't hear the reply, but the corpsman gave her a nod and stepped out of the way. She stopped in the doorway, arms crossed, scanning the room. A very young looking doctor was concentrating on his latest patient. An IV bag hung above the unconscious master chief, slowly dripping into his arm. Sheets beneath his leg were bloody. He'd been stripped down to his gray tee and Navy issue shorts.
The medic finished up his stitching, applied a dressing and covered the Master Chief's wounds with a bandage. Removing the soiled linen from beneath the injured man's leg, he straightened up, gesturing for Jordan to enter as he pulled a light blanket over his patient.
"He gonna live?" O'Neil asked, moving into the small room.
"You the one did the field dressing?"
"Yeah, with help."
"You did good work," the medic commented. "Bullet tore a hole in his thigh, ripped it up good. Lost a lot of blood. But he's tough. He'll make it."
"He won't have any trouble - you know, getting around? Walking?"
"There's some damage to the bone. I've done what I can, he'll be okay here for a while, have to evac him out on a helo as soon as we can. He'll face surgery back on the mainland. Physical therapy should get him back on his feet, maybe even without a limp."
The subject of their conversation groaned, the pain of his injuries rousing him as morphine and local anesthetic wore off. He tried to move.
"Sit tight, Master Chief," the medic put a hand on the injured man's shoulder. "I've got another dose of morphine for you right here."
"No," O'Neil said quietly.
The medic looked at her sharply.
"I need to talk to him. I need him lucid. Just a few minutes."
"O"Neil, that you?" Urgayle's eyes were still closed. His voice sounded strangely weak to her ears.
"Yes, Master Chief, it's me."
Urgayle opened his eyes, focused on the medic.
"'S'okay, doc, give us a few minutes, will ya?"
The medic backed away as O'Neil walked up to the bed, her eyes widening in surprise as she took in the tight and drawn features of the Navy SEAL instructor. His dark mustache stood out in stark contrast to the pallor of his skin. In the helo she had unconsciously brushed back the straggling hair from his face before she realized what she was doing. The funny thing was, Urgayle hadn't pushed her away. She blamed that on the morphine. She was sure she'd eventually have to face the lecture on a woman's nurturing tendencies, which had no place in that helicopter, or here on the ship. She kept her hands clasped behind her back this time.
"Guess I should thank you, Lieutenant," Urgayle growled.
"No, Master Chief. Just doing my job. You in a lot of pain?"
Urgayle looked up at her for a moment, and turned away.
"Pain is your friend," O'Neil repeated the words drilled into her by the master chief. "your ally. It will tell you when you are seriously injured. It will keep you awake and angry. But you know the best thing about pain?"
Urgayle closed his eyes, his reply a soft, "yeah..."
"It lets you know you're not dead yet," O'Neil whispered.
There was no humor in the master chief's laugh. "Then I'm not dead yet."
"Nope. Could be, though," Jordan took a deep breath, plowing on with what she felt she needed to get off her chest. "That was a damn fool thing to do, shooting that guy."
Urgayle snorted. "You'd be lying on a concrete slab if I hadn't."
O'Neil didn't bother to keep the anger out of her voice. "You know how pissed I was?" she snarled.
Urgayle looked at her, shrugging.
"You never even gave me a chance!" she accused.
The Master Chief closed his eyes. "My call."
"Should have been my call! I could have taken him."
Urgayle shook his head, sucking air through clenched teeth. "No. You couldn't."
"I took you," Jordan retorted.
"You ever kill a man?" the master chief's eyes bored into her soul. She held his gaze for a long moment before looking away. He shook his head. "You never killed a man before. You'd be dead and I'd be..." his voice trailed off.
"I'd be hip deep in shit for letting you get yourself killed," Urgayle finished in a ragged voice. He pulled his right arm up and over his eyes, taking a deep, shuddering breath. "Now we live to fight another day, Lieutenant."
Jordan mulled over his reasoning, saying nothing, standing quietly, watching the master chief. He showed no sign of the pain that must have been flooding his senses until she looked closely at his clenched fist and white knuckles. She moved aside. "Doc."
The young medic was at Urgayle's side immediately, syringe in hand. The master chief never felt the needle, its small prick lost in the sea of growing agony threatening to consume him. "You planning on staying here a while?" the medic asked O'Neil.
"Got no where else to go at the moment," she responded.
The medic nodded curtly, "Okay, I've got some paperwork to fill out. I'll be in the next room if he needs me."
O'Neil stayed where she was, watching the morphine take hold of the patient. Slowly, Urgayle's muscles relaxed, his arm fell to his side. He looked at her through drug-clouded eyes. "You still here? Don't you have - someone else to irritate?"
Jordan allowed a tiny smile to touch her lips. For some odd reason she could not stay angry with this man. "You are six kinds of a son of a bitch, you know that, Master Chief?"
He feebly waved her off, closing his eyes, sighing in relief as the drug pushed the pain to farther corners of his being. She quietly stepped closer and brushed the straggled hair from his forehead.
"Be careful, Lieutenant," Urgayle cautioned, his voice quiet, sleepy-sounding. "Don't start something you can't finish." Jordan chuckled, remembering how good it felt to bust this man's nose.
"Back there - in th' helo," the master chief continued, though O'Neil could tell he was having a difficult time concentrating. "You enjoyed that, dincha?"
Here it comes, she thought, a royal chewing out. "Enjoyed what?" she tried to sound puzzled.
"Stabbing me - w'that needle," Urgayle's words were slightly slurred.
"Oh, yeah," Jordan admitted, both surprised and relieved at his question. She cringed a bit, remembering the agony present in the man's strangled cry as she drove the syringe into his thigh. "That was good. You were just the best."
Urgayle attempt at laughter turned into a coughing fit. Jordan slid her arm underneath the man's shoulders and propped him up until the cough subsided.
"Need - t'sleep," a heavy sigh escaped Urgayle's lips. "Can't keep - eyes - open."
"Rest easy, Master Chief. Everything's under control." She eased him back onto the narrow bed, straightening the coverlet over his body.
Urgayle features darkened and he gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head. "Control..." he snorted. "Can't control - anything - anymore... Not even - own actions."
Jordan kept silent, waiting.
"My fault. This - my fault," he gestured weakly toward his leg.
"Well, yeah," Jordan agreed hesitantly, well aware that the drugs in the man's system were probably loosening his tongue. "If you'd have let me take him like I wanted, you wouldn't have given away our position, and it wouldn't have been a problem."
"Problem. I am - problem. Vulnerable. Your presence makes us - all vulnerable," Urgayle's voice was down to a whisper, almost as if he were talking to himself. Jordan had to lean close to hear. "Wouldn't have had - trouble letting one of th'guys take him out. He was a big boy. Couldn't let myself wait, knew she couldn't take him."
Jordan shook her head. It would take this man a long time to come to terms with women in a combat role, if he ever did. She recalled some of the first words she ever heard from the Master Chief. I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. She chuckled. "Ah, self pity. You wouldn't be tempted to wallow in it, now, would you , Master Chief?"
He didn't respond. Long moments passed. She stood there, listening to the sounds of the aircraft carrier as it plowed its way through rolling seas.
"Know - what - what I - could use?" Urgayle's question startled her. She had thought him asleep.
"What's that, Master Chief?" she asked.
"Cold - beer," he replied with a tired smile.
The injured man nodded slightly.
Jordan quickly sought out the corpsman and returned with a cup of ice water and a straw. "Master Chief?" she whispered hesitantly, not wanting to disturb the man if he were asleep.
"Still here," he replied quietly.
"Struck out on the beer. But this should help." Jordan held the straw to the man's lips. Urgayle slowly sucked the liquid from the cup. A trickle of water found its way out of the corner of his mouth, coursing down through the stubble on his jaw. Jordan brushed it away with her hand.
"See, you make - good nurse," he mumbled. "Wasted - soldiering."
"Yeah, you keep thinking that way," Jordan replied, "and next time I'll think twice about saving your sorry ass."
"Next...?" Urgayle groaned. "God - please - no..."
"You're stuck with me, Master Chief," she laughed at the look of dismay on Urgayle's face. Gently touching his shoulder, she turned to leave, but not before noticing his left hand and forearm, still covered in his own dried blood. Looking around, she found a small basin which she filled with warm water. She soaked a towel in it, squeezed out the excess water, and wrapped it gently around Urgayle's arm. His eyes were closed again and he did not pull away. Jordan figured he'd finally dozed off. Wiping the blood from his fingers, she worked her way up his arm, scrubbing at some particularly stubborn spots on his forearm, kneading and massaging as she went. So intent was she on removing the gore that she did not see the Master Chief turn his head and open his eyes. He watched her as she worked, a brief look of something akin to longing momentarily flashing across his face, but the combination of morphine and her ministrations lulled him into an inescapable lethargy. His eyes slipped shut and his breathing evened out.
Jordan finished her task and straightened up, stretching. She gently lifted Urgayle's hand to pull the towel away, and felt the Master Chief's fingers curl around hers. She froze for a moment, searching his face, but his eyes remained closed, his breathing slow and steady. Crooking a leg around a stool at the end of the bed, she pulled it closer and sat down, fingers still entwined with Urgayle's.
"Hoo-yah, Master Chief. Hoo-yah," she whispered.
"I remember holding on to you ...
Lyrics from "Goodbye" performed by The Pretenders on the G I Jane soundtrack, 1997