That Game We Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn
5/9/16. Read on Tor.com.
A man and a woman from different sides of a just-ended war get together to play chess.
Technician/Nurse Calla comes from Enith, whose people are not telepathic. Major Valk Larn comes from Gaant, where the people are. A war between the two nations has just ended, and Calla is in Gaant to visit the Major, who is recovering from surgery. She wears her uniform, which makes her stand out, but because they are telepathic, those she passes are curious but knowing and she has no major problems getting in to see him. During the war, she was one of his nurses while he was a prisoner of war. Due to their telepathy, the POWs were kept sedated, but while he was in her ward he saw her playing chess with another nurse and was curious about it. Later in the war, the tables were turned: her entire unit was captured and Valk Larn was now much higher up. He ends up asking her to teach him how to play chess and she makes "the ugliest chess set ever" with cardboard. To combat his telepathy, since chess is a game of strategy and he knows everything she is thinking, she decides to try pure randomness. She just moves anything right away and sees where it goes from there, which gives her at least a slight chance of winning but at worst, at least an enjoyable game. When they play together after the war, many of the nurses and staff come to watch the game and hear the thoughts between the two. When the game ends and they tell Calla her companion must rest, she starts crying, realizing that the war is over and they can play anytime. However, neither of them will ever forget any of the dark times they experienced together. Perhaps that's what cements the bond.
Thoughts or Additional Info:
When you have a terrible shared experience, the people who were there with you will never leave you. It is comforting to know that we all kind of just understand that. No one knows what something is truly like unless they were there.
"From the moment she left the train station, absolutely everybody stopped to look at Calla."
Memorable Lines or Passages:
telepathic, telepathy, war, prisoner of war, chess, strategy, nurse, soldier, hospital, game
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