Who Guards The Guards?

Southern Methodist University Campus

Green grass carpets the campus area, the central focus of which is a large concrete fountain. Tall sprays of water spout straight up from the center, with smaller sprays blossoming out closer to the edge. Seven low buildings in a variety of architectural styles are arrayed around the fountain.
To the right is the old Science building. Continuing in a counter-clockwise manner, there is the Humanities Building, then the library, a track, two tennis courts, a gymnasium and finally the dormitories.

Early afternoon in SMU's quad, and while the school year technically should have begun, it has not. Instead, the area is filled with refugees from Katrina's ravages; people look lost even though they have their physical needs taken care of for the moment. Food, water, a roof over their heads, medical attention.. all is within the power and ability for SMU to deliver. Now, all the transplants truly wait for is the ability to go home, or rather, to know if they will ever get to go home, or will have to look for a new life elsewhere.

There are some who have actually begun to 'move on', that is, have decided there is no going back and all they truly want to do is to move forward. It is to a small group of them at a picnic table that Dr. David Trudeau speaks, the shade of the tree under which they sit giving some semblance of cover should the clouds decide to open and rain. On the table, remnants of a picnic lunch are scattered and plastic bags of garbage filled with used paper plates and apple cores hang off the side. The doctor's jacket is off, and his work shirt-sleeves are rolled up. He's settled on the bench seat, his hands gesturing as he speaks, accenting the information with gestures.

"I'm sure we can get some help for the forms for affordable housing.."


Mignonette, as well, looks as though she at least started the day dressed for work. No jacket, but a neat pencil skirt and tailored shirt. But this is certainly not the law offices of Savoy and Savoy, and she's not currently interviewing clients. At least, not in the way she usually does. What she is doing, is sitting at the table not far from David, a stack of forms in hand, as she assists with the information session the doctor has been running. "We have a number of law firms that have agreed to assist in applications, and in finding the best fit for those of you wanting to relocate, either temporarily or permanently to the city." The lawyer's soft voice is a little bit of home, for most of the people gathered at the table, rich and lilting with her cajun accent, turned slightly more bayou and slightly less upper crust Baton Rouge, as the need warrants. "It's going to seem overwhelming, and it's going to seem impossible, but we have the help on hand to make sure it's neither."


Kate's been on sight since just before the break of dawn, just like every day since she's come down to the disaster area and received her official red cross assignment to help out with the shelters in Dallas. At least she now has something close to an official uniform, still wearing her blue cargo pants from her work with the NYC EMS and a loaned shirt for the Dallas EMS, though she's got the sleeves rolled up and the first few buttons un done in efforts to not totally pass out in the Dallas heat. She's been working all morning and early afternoon straight, bouncing between newly arrived refugees and any medical developments that might have come up with those present. Finally, an hour and a half later, they've given the paramedic a lunch break. It's the first time any of them could afford one.

Still in her uniform, stethoscope, radio on her belt, pockets full of all the little things she might need like penlights and writing utensils, Kate steps away from the medical area, pulling out her pack of menthols and lighting one up the moment she's beyond the barrier. She looks like a half drowned disaster victim herself, coated in sweat, a few damp strands of blond falling free of the messy tie at the base of her throat. Her shirt is half soaked through too, but she's just gotten used to it. She'll get a shower sometime later. Her eyes flicker over the other help stations, the people eating food, giving lectures… just studying it all in numb silence.


To ask why an epidemeologist from the CDC is working the front end for housing for potential transplants and the response will be, 'To stay out of the way'. Dr. Trudeau has useful contacts, and in this case, rather attractive ones with the 'correct accent' to go along with it, for that added bit of 'home and hearth'. That is why he is currently out of doors in the coolish (for Dallas, anyway) weather, under a tree, doing his part to contain any potential outbreaks by relocating people.

That's his story, anyway, and he's sticking to it.

(He's really in it for the food.)

Nodding as Mignonette takes up her part in the discussion to underscore support in the words, David allows his gaze to wander a little after, checking on his immediate environs and pushing up his rimmed glasses as he does so. The overtired EMT is seen, and rising to his feet, he offers his partner a raised finger and a quiet, 'une moment..'. A bottled water is grabbed, and it's a couple of long strides in order to catch Kate's attention.

"Hey.. c'mon under the tree. Bit cooler, and you'll want this.." At the word 'this', he tosses the bottled water into the air towards her. "You look like you're about ready to pass out from heat exhaustion." At least the woman is still sweating.

Just in case there is any argument, "Doctor's orders."

Twisting around at the table left behind, he tries to catch where they are in the whole conversation, but misses most but a few, 'emergency school budgets' and 'continued support..', to which he offers in a call back, "Medical follow-ups, and immunizations."


Mignonette looks up, only briefly, as David rises from the table, leaving him to take care of other business, as she continues with the people at the table, many, if not most, of which are women, some with children. It's not entirely unusual either. When you have children to support, you can't afford pain, or pride, or hurt. And these women, yes, look tired, they look dejected, but they look like what the south is known for, strong backs and a willingness to keep on keeping on. But, just briefly, there's laughter, as Mignonette's voice answers David, though, with him already walking away, it's more for the ladies than anything else, "Il aime a etre impliques." «He likes to get involved.» Laughter and something so normal. So very, very…southern. Women sitting at a table talking story. "Vous voulez dire 'il aime mettre sa rame'." One of the women offers instead, «You mean he likes to stick his oar in.» This is really Mignonette's gift. To be able to speak to those around her, to make them comfortable, to make them feel 'at home', in this instance, by simply giving them a little bit of laughter, a few minutes of women, talking about men. The world is still the same, and it goes on. All women do it. That's what you have girlfriends for. But the 'joke', such as it is, only lasts for so long. And it's clear the group feel comfortable with both the lawyer and the doctor. Which is really David's gift. To be, not a doctor, but a healer. And that's much more than fixing the body. And that's his gift. "So yes, we've got all of the forms for you. Translators as well, if you need them. We'll make this as easy for you as we can. And we are here for you. Whenever you need us."


The offer of water and shade makes the paramedic blink, a brief cut of shame crossing her flushed, freckled features as she realizes how back she must actually look. She accepts the water from David, not too proud to actually follow a sensible plan, but she shakes her head almost immediately at the comment of heat exhaustion, "No, no, really, Doc, I'm fine… I know my limits." She reassures him, proud and firm, having worked harder beats than this, just probably never in the Dallas heat or so many in a row. Where there's cajun and southern accents everywhere around, Kate's voice stands out in it's touch of Brooklyn yankee. Definitely not from here in -anyway-. She does take a drag of her cigarette, though, letting it linger between her lips as she uses both hands to screw open the bottle of water and prep it to drink.

The quick french of the other women draws Kate's attention, not used to those sorts of accents up north. Also, the laughter, it makes her smile somewhat. Good to see people holding up through the worst of thing. There was a bit of humor inside, near the emergency medical area, but most of it was gallows humor, meant to keep sane in the face of death and descrution. This is far healthier. She returns her eyes from the group towards the doctor, "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt…" And nods him back towards his group, as he smoothly delves back into the lecture.


"Really, come into the shade. You should know better." Why is it that medical people always take worse care of themselves? Particularly when they know what the score is?

David waits, watching to be sure she has some of the water at least before the words behind him truly register. He'd heard Mignonette's words, and there is a slight flare of almost.. embarrassed self-consciousness as he dips his head slightly and pushes on his glasses again at the innuendo. He's no prude, certainly, but—!

Clearing his throat as he turns around again, the sound is made loud enough such that those women who'd made it and giggled soon after are aware that he, too, heard it. Well, most of it, and got the gist of the rest. That sends the young women and mothers into more laughter, their eyes darting towards Migs again.. knowingly? Or perhaps, encouragingly?

Then, he attention comes back around to Kate, and he waves the EMT over again, this time, over his shoulder as he heads back. "Not interrupting.. just finishing up here."

With those words, David stands behind Mignonette and looks at those in attendance. "Just contact us, you've got our contact information, if you need anything else." He smiles, the action genuine, "Getting out of the dorms is pretty high on the 'to do' list, so my guess is, they'll be looking at the applications quickly."


Mignonette, southern belle that she is, looks completely unashamed, as she catches sight of David, and realizes that she heard what they've been saying about him. She does lift a hand, motioning the paramedic over and out of the heat. She looks full tuckered. Still, she offers a conspirator's smile to the women, before she puts her work face back on, masking all but the final traces of laughter in her eyes, and at the edge of her lips. The women too, turn back to the task at hand with renewed determination, and with less of the doldrums with which they came. Almost all of them, to the one, offer smiles at the doctor's reassurances, before they begin to rise, picking up the packets of paperwork and taking them either back to their rooms, or over towards the table where paralegals and other aides have been set up to help them fill out the forms and answer questions.


"And you should worry about the people we're here to help, doc. Really. I'm fine. It's hot. -Everyone's- hot." Kate reassures him, pride prickling just a bit. She really hates to pull the attentions of the other medical workers when they're her to help refugees, not each other. Kate's not passing out or near so, so she remains straight on her feet, though she does head towards the shade with the doctor, in the direction of his lady love and the flock of women that are around.

Also, to assure him, she shoves the cap of the water into her pocket and alternates a drag of her cigarette with a few good gulps of the stuff. See? She's hydrating! No worries! Once she's got it down, she gives him another smile. "Thanks. Just been a fair amount of running today. I don't even know what time it is… How are things out here going?" She asks them both, casual respect in her New York voice, just a touch huskier than normal with cigarettes and exhaustion.


David's brows rise with Kate's words, his mouth opening to reply about how yahoo medics should be the ones to be setting a good example. Instead, he goes that different route, "If you're overtired, you're going to make mistakes. You make mistakes and puts more work on the others." Voila. "Ergo, I am worried about the people we're here to help."

Kate moving to the shade allays some of the fears that the doctor may have of her passing out, and he's able now to divide his attention.

He offers 'good byes' to the women and children before he reaches to place a hand on Mignonette's shoulder with a, "Another group of satisfied customers. I really think it's the waffles."

It's simply a brief touch before he brings his gaze back around to the EMT. "They're going," he begins. "It'll be a long haul, but in the end, pretty sure things'll work out."

Realizing, he extends a hand, "Dr. David Trudeau, and this is Miss Mignonette Savoy, of Savoy and Savoy."


There's a smile, but to answering touch, as David returns, and Mignonette continues until she runs out of packets to hand out. But each woman is greeted and bid farewell with a smile, with a word, with a name. A person, not a case number. "It'll be about…I think 20 or 30 minutes, before they send the next group in. Might be the last of the day." At least for this pair, who've been here since early in the morning. "I'm telling you. My waffles are not a joke. And neither is my friend chicken." Mmmm. Chicken and waffles. Once the introduction is offered, Mignonette also rises, to offer her had in turn.

Now in the shade, near that table, Kate sets down her water bottle so she can offer one of her small, strong hands in the pair's direction. First to David, since he started the introductions, then towards Mignonette, giving each of them a firm, strong pump of hands, even if her palms are still rather clammy with sweat from the day. At least they're in the shade now. "Kathryn Clarke… though Kate is just fine. Of… well, I guess technically the Red Cross at the moment." No fancy lawyer titles or anything like that for the paramedic. Just a volunteer's badge and a lot of double shifts. She finishes the hand shakes and takes another drag of her cigarette before picking up her water.

David's initial comment, however, still draws a smirk from her full mouth, the most feminine thing about her tom boy features. "Dr. Trudeau… have you seen the workers in there? We're -all- over tired. Not nearly so bad off as the people coming in… but double shifts and hot bunking at the Belmont isn't exactly ideal circumstances. Hell… there isn't a single thing about this mess that's ideal. If we're getting the people the care they need and managign to stay at least half staffed… that's what matters. I'm fine. Trust me, we pull people out when they're not." At least two medics had gone down this week, not used to the heat and not hydrating properly. Kate sure as hell doesn't need that embarrassment. So she sips at her water. Mignoette's final words get a bit of a quirking grin…"Chicken and… waffles? Seems… odd." Ah, such a Yankee is Kate Clarke~


David takes the hand in introduction and once the pleasantries are taken care of, he nods. "Red Cross is good."

It's to the other words, however, that a scowl slowly appears on the usually affable and unflappable man. He exhales slowly and pushes up on his glasses as he faces Kate. He's obviously not yet ready to call her by her first name. "Yes, Miss.. Clarke, and you have to remember that this is Dallas. There are a great deal more communities closer to the Gulf that are doing just as much if not more. Burning yourself out does nothing for these people. You simply cannot run on adrenaline. If you don't remember that course, I have my notebooks from med school that I can lend you that go into much greater depth as to the breakdown of the body due to stress and lack of care." David isn't the excitable type, and his Canadian accented words are calm and even, offered politely.

He smiles tightly, "Right now, I'm certain that I'll be checking in with the aid services. Or, having my boss do it." Not that David has much to do with the actual workings of the large-scale relief efforts. Agency doesn't necessarily speak to agency.

"I can't really trust that people who are just about to pass out of exhaustion are being pulled."
He chuckles at Mignonette's words, the brief shadows that show on his face lifted, if only for a moment. "The waffles are certainly not unwelcome. And the chicken.." He whistles softly, and with Kate's observation, David shrugs. "They're pretty good. She makes some killer chicken." Pretty good? Pretty good?


"Working on the front lines is an admirable thing, Miss Clarke. And I'm certain there's quite a bit of bravado that goes with it." Certainly, Mignonette has seen enough of it, what with her working with law enforcement and usually, on the opposite side of a courtroom. "But there is such a thing as taking it too far. Yes, these people are in need. Yes, they require all of the assistance we can give them. But you cannot help anyone, unless you're first willing to help yourself. And perhaps that bravado might be a necessary face for these people to see, but it's not necessary in this instance. We've all been in the thick of it since this began, none of us are blind to what's been going on and the conditions under which people are living and working. If Dr. Trudeau is concerned after your well-being, it is because, like you, his job here, is to care for the well-being of -everyone- in this situation. Not just the evacuees. And in the same way that you clearly expect others to respect the manner in which you do your job, perhaps you should also extend the same courtesy and respect the manner in which he does his." It's not often that the lawyer's ire is piqued, but it is right at this moment. And so, the culinary discussion will have to wait.


Kate really didn't get it. She didn't think she looked, or felt, all that bad. Accustomed to running on fumes, the confusion on her face is genuine as she looks between both of them and their concerned words. She delays with a longer drink of water, almost having finished the bottle now, but once she's swallowed it leaves her frowning. "Look, ma'am… Doc… I really respect your words and your worries. It's sweet of you to be caring for everyone. But I'm not near dropping here, I swear. Most of us pull back if it gets to be too much. We're not trying to be stupid heroes, I promise. We're just here to work. So… don't worry so much, alright? I dunno what I can do to assure you… but it ain't that bad." Kate's really trying to be honest, staring between them wide eyed, suddenly wondering when her pseudo-parents showed up in Dallas, breathing down the back of her neck.


David can only go by what he sees. Drenched shirt, clammy wet hands, that special 'tired' look one gets when a double shift is pulled and knowing the heat? The 'half drowned disaster victim' look coupled with the numb expression.. the doctor is no fool.

Putting his hands up in a display of 'defeat', David shrugs. "We're here to work, yes." His tones echo and now underscore his backing off. One can only help a person who allows help.

Exhaling in a softly audible exhale, he presses his lips together in a tight line. "I.. uh.. we might be done for the afternoon, Mignonette. I'm going to have to drop by my office in the CDC to check on one of the tests in Sector C, across town."


And that's all Mignonette has to say about that. Now, back to the other conversation at hand, "It's very popular in the deep south. Southern fried chicken, I put a bit of honey in mine, plus waffles. The perfect anytime meal. There's more than enough fixings here, if you're hungry." A shift in her attention, as David returns to the reality of pulling double duty. As a government man and a humanitarian, "Alright, David. I'll stop by the office on the way home." Which really means waiting for him in the lobby, but hey. Can she help it if she doesn't have the clearance for most of his building?

As David backs off like that, Kate actually looks a touch more apologetic, not meaning to have come across as quite such a bitch, but possibly the heat really is getting to them all. At least emotionally. "…Sorry, Dr. Trudeau, really. I didn't mean to be… offish. I'm just fine." She gives him one last attempt at a smile, hoping she can reassure more than anything. And then she gazes back to Mignonette, nodding in thoughtful approval…"Sounds good… once this mess is over, maybe I will have to bother you for some. But truthfully, I should get back to it. I was just on break. Still got a few hours to go. It was nice meeting both of you… Good luck at the office, doctor?" Kate offers warmly, before chugging the last bit of her water and, with that, turning to head away, back to the medical shelter.


"Great. Give me a call when you're there. I'll be sure I'll be down quickly."

David accepts the peace-offering, such as it is. He ducks his head slightly to catch Kate's face, and he pauses before he nods, his expression loosening enough to allow a genuine smile. "Just remember. You can't take care of anyone if you don't take care of yourself." Thus endeth the lesson?

"And you really should get some of her chicken and waffles." There. Food. Shows that there's no hard feelings. "She makes a mean poutine, too."

Reaching out to take Mignonette's hand briefly, he leans in to press a quick kiss to the side of the woman's lips. Casual, but not. The first 'real' display of affection of the day. "I'll definitely see you later. And Kate," the word is almost a question in itself, "thanks. I'll see you around, I'm sure. Really. Take care of yourself and I'm sure we'll run into each other again. City's pretty big, but apparently we may run in something of the same circles."


And with the paramedic and the doctor both wandering off, what is there for the lawyer to do? Clearly, make herself a second helping of lunch, and begin to prep for the last informational meeting of the day, before the big dinner rush begins. How she keeps the belly pudge away is a medical mystery.


Kate nods curtly towards both of them, smiling earnestly. She gives a brief salute in a sort of farewell before she turns on the ball of her foot and actually does jog it back to the shelter. See? Perfectly fine! Hell, she might even sleep well tonight.

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