Goodnight Saigon
by Maureen

music and lyrics by Billy Joel, Val and Catie belong to Disney and I am not making any money off of this. Trust me.

This is the stand-alone sequel for Ohio. You don't have to read it to understand this fic, but it would help. Minor swearing. Enjoy.

For Nick - kick butt, take names.

***

We met as soul mates
On Parris Island
We left as inmates
From an asylum
And we were sharp
As sharp as knives
And we were so gung ho
To lay down our lives


iDear Catie,

Boot camp is hell, but then what else did we expect? My hair is now about two inches long, it makes it easier to care for and it can't be grabbed if I am attacked. Everything is very methodical, which is how it should be for both the military and for the medical corps, but I don't know...I came her to save lives and they are training me to take them. I have to go, I ship out in two days and there is a lot to do.

love, Val/i

Val looked up from her letter, tears beginning to form in her eyes. It was short, but Catie would understand. Gone was the perky, peppy cheerleader and in her place was a shell of a woman in combat fatigues with an overgrown buzz cut.

"Hey Linear!" Baker, one of her squadmates called, "I got a razor! Let's get this done!"

She was referring to their hair. All the girls had started boot camp several months ago with hair at about their shoulders or longer, thinking that medicorps wouldn't have the same training as infantry, but they weren't ordinary medicorps. By some horrible twist of fate, they were field medics, which meant they went into battle with everyone else. It also made long hair impractical, even if it was allowed. Most of the girls had been cutting their hair shorter and shorter, trying to prepare themselves for what was about to happen.

They were going G.I.Jane and shavng their heads. Setting her jaw, Val stepped up to the electric razor, not ready but determined to go through with it. After they shaved their heads they took a group picture using the poloroid camera they had. Val stuck her copy in Catie's letter before sending it out.


We came in spastic
Like tameless horses
We left in plastic
As numbered corpses
And we learned fast
To travel light
Our arms were heavy
But our bellies were tight

iDear Catie,

China is terrible. The humidity is trying to strangle me, the bugs are out for my blood and I don't care if it is summer, I haven't seen the sun in nearly a week I think. And this is without commenting on the food, living conditions or my fellow troops. The guys aren't so bad, I know they mean well, but....I'm not like them. Enough about my complaints though. Let me tell you about what I'm really doing.

We are patrolling some piece of god-forsaken land that I doubt the Chinese even want. And I get to carry my pack plus medical supplies with me and give out benadryl and calamine lotion, because the worst medical ailment are more bug bites than we know what to do with. DDT doesn't seem to be working, but what do I know?

Right now we are on a break until tomorrow morning, then we are supposed to attack this bunker that intel found. I suppose I'm excited to do something different, but I'm nervous. This will probably be real war. Violence. I may have to kill. I may have to perform emergency surgery or something. A man may die because of me. God, I'm scared Catie. I'm so scared.

love, Val/i

Sealing the letter and putting in the out going mail, she headed towards her bunk to clean her gun before going to sleep. They had been trained to kill and to fight and damn it if she was going to admit to these yutz's that she was scared shitless. Only Catie was allowed to know.

We had no home front
We had no soft soap
They sent us Playboy
They gave us Bob Hope
We dug in deep
And shot on sight
And prayed to Jesus Christ
With all our might


iDear Catie,

The battle was beyond description. Remember the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan? Like that, but much, much worse. Oh Catie, I miss you. I had to amputate this mans arm on the feild to save his life. I feel horrible. I just want to curl up and die. I look back at my life BW (before war) and now and I can't believe how much I have changed. I just want you officer people to get the politicians or whoever to end this so I can go home! I miss Brooke and you and Tyler and Hank and I even miss Carlson! I know you don't believe me or anything, but I do. I didn't realize it then, but life was so much simpler. /i

Val put the letter away to finish later.

She hefted her backpack once more, wishing the blistering sun would let up. She didn't mind the marching for miles everyday so much anymore, but she really hated the sun. It had burned her skin raw and it was now peeling. At least now she wouldn't burn more. If only the bugs wouldn't think she was such a good meal. Then she'd be on her way to happiness.

It was odd, she reflected, how her values had changed. A shower or a bath with good soap and shampoo in a tiled bathroom seemed like heaven to her. Only a few months ago she would have considered that a basic necessity, not a luxury.

Later that ngiht, she set her pack down for the evening she pulled out her paper and pen to finsih her letter.

iOkay, back now. I'm sunburned and peeling, very unattractive, but there are not beauty pagents here. I hope you're having fun in college, wish I was there (and I wish you never come here!).

love, Val/i

We had no cameras
To shoot the landscape
We passed the hash pipe
And played our Doors tapes
And it was dark
So dark at night
And we held on to each other
Like brother to brother
We promised our mothers we'd write


iDear Catie,

I liked the stickers you sent me. I put one my gun, on the butt where no one will see it. I want to put them on my helmet, but I think the bright pink flowers would attract attention. A few guys have tried to hit on me, there aren't too many female feild medics, but I won't do anything with them. I am not waiting for Tyler or anything, but now is just not the time, I want to sleep at night. Maybe in different circumstances I would date a few of them though. They aren't hopeless...just deprived.

They send girlie mags to the guys, but nothing to the women here. I'd like some soap. Good scented soap and a pumice stone. I know you can't send them, but a girl can dream right? I think that's all that's sustaining me right now. Dreams. And of course your letters.

Never stop writing, please.

Love, Val

PS please don't tell my mom any of this, she'd freak. /i

And we would all go down together
We said we'd all go down together
Remember Charlie
Remember Baker
They left their childhood
On every acre

iDear Catie,

My squad had it's first casualties today. As we were marching we were attacked, it was a short battle but we lost Baker, the other female medic with me and Charlie, a nice boy from Oklahoma who never once made a pass at me and would blush and be all awkward around me. Poor boy still believed in Uncle Sam and the Tooth Fairy I think.

I have tried to keep some distance from my squad simply because I am a woman and I don't want to be labled as a 'dyke', but I have tried hard also to not be labled a snob. Can you believe this? I was the first to label people, right Ms. Bleacher Junkie?

Anyways, I will miss them. It is so different working on random soldiers and then the next one, without you even realizing it, is one of yours. It's like when that kid died back in high school. We didn't know him or have classes with him, but we mourned with everyone else. Well now imagine he was in your class, but not your friend. The blow hits closer to home, even though it isn't as close as it could have been.

All of this has me thinking about death more now...but more on that in my next letter.

love, Val/i

And who was wrong?
And who was right?
It didn't matter in the thick of the fight
We held the day
In the palm
Of our hand
They ruled the night
And the night
Seemed to last as long as six weeks

Val looked at her last three letters, all returned to her. "Return to sender" was written to the first one, "recipient deceased", tears welled up in her eyes. No, she wouldn't cry right now, she had a job to do!

"Problem, Linear?" her commander asked, gruff but still caring.

"No sir," she replied, wiping her face with blood stained hands and succeeding in smearing the blood across her face.

He looked at her.

"My best friend died. She was in officers school...not in combat. I'll be fine." Val trid to assure him. "I can still perform my duties."

"I'm sorry about your friend, Valerie," he said, suprising Val by using her first name. She wasn't even sure he had known it. "But you are needed here, you need to save these boys so their mother's don't get letters like yours."

"Yes sir!" Val replied, ready to head back to work. It was how she had always been, once the shock passed sh edid anything to keep her mind busy and in the heat of battle there was no time to mourn.

On Parris Island
We held the coastline
They held the highlands
And they were sharp
As sharp as knives
They heard the hum of our motors
They counted the rotors
And waited for us to arrive

As the dawn broke, Val and the other medics worked quickly despite exhaustion. They were so concerned with their current patient, they didn't notice the Chinese solier as he krept up behind them. He shot Val before she even knew he was there, as she fell to the ground she knew what had happened.

"I'm coming Catie," she thought before everything became black.

And we would all go down together
We said we'd all go down together
Yes we would all go down together