For a moment, Regina could only feel pain. Pain from the bullet lodged between sinew and muscle. Pain from the feeling of failure. Pain from the unknown if her fellow lieutenant was alright. That moment was broken when she felt a body kneeling down beside her; Regina looked up, and her spirits lightened somewhat, the pain fading from mental distraction. Anke was there. Regina looked up to her, her gaze a mix of pain and frustration as Anke began to fashion a makeshift tourniquet out of her fatigues. "I'm fine." Regina didn't exactly know how to clear Anke's fears about her potential of being killed. "I am more concerned about..." Regina grit her teeth as Anke tied the bandage on her leg. "Your well-being. He did not hit you, did he?" Regina spoke as calmly as she could, fighting through the pain and bloodloss. She had been tried to fight through pain like this and she had maneuvered herself as best she could to minimize injury. Not all damage was avoidable.
Regina wondered what Anke was so worried about. "I did what I should as a soldier...but were you to be hurt a second time because of my failure to act properly...I would have taken that very personally. I do not wish to see you harmed again." Regina spoke softly, her hand still gripping her thigh gently as Anke spoke with her, a moment of clarity amidst the chaos that was the public and the quickly thronging cameras and voices of the media. Regina had only made a single media appearance, when she had first joined Osnen's ranks. She had said exactly what was expected of her; she mentioned the procedures that made her what she was, and her dedication to Osnen's cause. She had not spoken to them since, her image only appearing publicly on posters and on television.
Anke's comments on her own body vision had Regina narrowing her eyes. "That is ridiculous, Anke. You are..." Regina shook her head. She needed to speak objectively, and not let these foolish emotions get in her way..."You are one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. The dress you chose was absolutely elegant and you wore it wonderfully. I...do not have the capability to express what went through my head when I saw you. I cannot say I properly comprehend it, but it was..." Regina didn't get to finish her thought, as two Osnen-branded vehicles quickly rolled up onto the scene. The first was filled with Osnen special ops, tasked with taking the offender into custody. Regina shook her head with a neutral face as he seemed to come to terms with the severity of his consequences. What did he expect would happen? This wasn't the first time Regina had apprehended a misguided member of the Resistance, nor would it likely be the last. Perhaps she'd hear those screams again the next time she went in for maintenance.
The other car was far more important. Two faces Regina knew well were within, as well as one she knew much less intimately. General Llewelyn immediately took to Anke, sweeping her away from Regina after she was helped to her feet, very gingerly walking to avoid putting weight on her injured leg. That left the two she knew...Bertoldt and Herzberg. As they approached, Regina saluted rigidly, fighting off the pain that flared from having to stand at attention. After a moment, Commander Herzberg waved her down. "At ease, Lieutenant. Walk with me." Regina followed behind as the two walked to the car, Regina getting into the backseat as was expected of her. Once the Commander and researcher were inside, the car sped back to Osnen headquarters, barely giving Regina time to buckle herself in.
Regina was silent as the Commander spoke. "That was good work protecting your fellow soldier. Why in the world were you out there in the first place? You never leave the compound." Herzberg got straight to the point, casting his scrutinizing gaze in her direction. Regina did not react; any sort of reaction would likely lead to punishment. She wasn't about to lie to her superior.
"...shopping, sir." Regina spoke after a moment, causing the Commander to raise an eyebrow and stroke his stubble.
"Shopping, eh? Unlike you, Lieutenant. And you don't even have anything to show for it." Regina went rigid, her mind's eye immediately picturing the abandoned shopping bag, lying on its side by the store's entrance. She'd forgotten about it in the chaos.
"Ah...de Heer did purchase something for me, but the ensuing circumstances led me to forget about it. It was in a dull red paper bag..." Regina shook her head, evidently lamenting its loss. The car was silent for a minute, only whispers between Herzberg and Bertoldt breaking up the stark quiet. Another minute passed before Herzberg spoke again.
"We'll be sure to retrieve it for you, Carlisle. What did she get, by chance? The two have you have been spending a fair amount of time together since she transferred to the main barracks." Regina felt interrogated, likely because that was exactly what was going on. Regina stared her superior in the eye, even as she felt the heavy hand of punishment looming overhead. She had to be honest...
"...." It took a moment for her to speak. "A....dress, sir. It appealed to us and de Heer wished for me to...wear it." More silence as Herzberg's eyes widened. Regina knew why; this was an unprecedented development from the normally emotionless, desireless soldier. However, his reaction seemed...far more subdued than she was expecting. Almost as though it was somewhat expected.
Nothing was said for a long time before Herzberg cleared his throat. "I see. As you know, you are forbidden to wear such garments publicly, whether on the compound or in the public eye. However, given your...recent results on the range, we are prepared to offer exception for the moment." Now it was Regina's turn to widen her eyes. She was being offered forgiveness?
"...sir?" Regina asked quizzically, trying to move as little as possible so as not to aggravate her still throbbing wound. Where is this going...? Regina would have folded her arms if she could have, instead settling for sitting in silence, waiting for the chance to be transferred to the medical ward. It would only be a matter of time before they arrived back on the compound.
Herzberg nodded. "It is evident Lieutenant de Heer is having an effect on your performance for the positive. At first, we believed it merely friendly competition between two accomplished soldiers, but given the last few days, we are inclined to believe it may be some other source. We are uncertain, but have been monitoring your performance. Until such a time as we have a conclusion, Bertoldt has informed me from my superiors that you are to be given certain...exceptions, for the time being. We wish to monitor your and de Heer's relationship as coworkers and see how it may further aid your growth as a soldier."
Regina blinked once, evidently confused by what Herzberg was saying. So she would be allowed to continue...whatever it was...with Anke? Or was there some caveat she was unaware of? She hadn't been given any sort of permissions to show emotions, and she wasn't about to ask. "So I should continue as I have?"
Bertoldt nodded this time. "Ah, yes, my darling prototype, I cannot wait to see how you and de Heer make each other that much more fearsome to our enemies." His gaze trickled down to Regina's thigh, no longer leaking blood but still gaping open, the bullet buried deep within her flesh. "If you like, I could give you a much more efficient leg. One to match your left!" Regina's immediate shaking of her head had Bertoldt shrugging. "Ah, alas...perhaps that would be taking too much of the human away..." He devolved into his own musings, leaving Regina staring down at the floor of the vehicle. What was she to do with all this new information...?
Luckily, she did not have to think about it long. The vehicle pulled to a halt, and Regina was immediately greeted by a full team of doctors and a stretcher. Regina hauled herself onto the uncomfortable board, where within a moment she found herself injected with a syringe. She watched the liquid flow from the glass vial into her body, and her consciousness left her moments later, leaving her in the boundless dark as doctors swarmed about her, checking vitals and doing what they could before surgery proper could begin.
July 25th, 20XX. Osnen Main Headquarters, Urlachen. 12:23.
Regina blinked twice as consciousness rushed back to her, leaving her staring at the gray ceiling of a sick room. She hauled herself to a sitting position, groaning as the world spun around her. She found an IV in her right arm; memories of the day before came rushing back, and her hand flew to her thigh, finding nothing but flesh there. She pulled the blanket from the bed, inspecting her leg carefully. Nothing was there save bare flesh and a surgery scar underneath her medical gown. She heaved a sigh; the surgery had been a success. Whatever incredible healing technology Osnen had, Regina knew not, but she was thankful for it all the same. She would miss no time in the field, and likely just needed to run the treadmill for a bit to make sure her muscles didn't receive any lasting damage.
She turned to the corner of the room, where Osnen News Daily was playing on loop. Regina recognized Anke standing at a podium, speaking at length about Osnen's might and the evil of the Resistance. Regina nodded in agreement with the words, but noted the hollowness in her voice...even across the airwaves, Regina was quickly beginning to parse Anke's mannerisms. Her heart wasn't in those words...whether it was due to beliefs or because her mind was elsewhere, Regina couldn't tell. She hoped it was the latter. She knew what happened to people who expressed a lack of confidence in Osnen's path. Hopefully the media hadn't kept her up too late. Regina looked to her IV, shaking her head with disappointment. She wasn't going to be able to leave until a nurse let her out...