19 October 2006

In Which Sarge Argues that the Immortal Soul is the Ethical Soul


As I scratch these hurried lines, I am in one of those trucks you only see in Africa, more rigging than rig, kept alive because it needs to be alive more than anything else, and we are looking through powerful binoculars at what must be Mercerier's camp. A Gaulic face, a circle of shadow under the large desert sun, suggests we have gotten lucky, and yet I must write, your last letter so disturbed me.

We swung back north on a hunch, I had noticed a hidden room in a storefront in Bokoro (you will recall, this is where MacFendrich got his, the poor bastard, with his "Birds of the World" guide always to be found in a random pocket - one bullet was actually stopped by that most civil of books, it was the 16 other bullets that ripped him to shreds - his face was bloody oatmeal), well, there was a nervous man there with a satellite phone and a copy of a 1974 National Geographic (a great article in there about the Phoenicians by the way), and so Nwargo grabbed him and immediately spoke in some language that was completely unknown to me. I couldn't pick up anything, but Nwargo was angry and the man shrank back and began to talk in a desperate ramble, I went over and smacked him to quiet him down and Nwargo pointed in his face. The man hurriedly began to make a map, drawing it right on a table, and we have him bound with us now.

The map has led us here.

I am nervous Cpl., we have a chance here, I shake with anticipation, or perhaps a stronger pull sways me. My mouth is dry, my pulse echoes in my retinas and I want to feel needle breaking skin, and then I want to kill Mercerier.

He is there. We will move against him soon. There is nothing here for me but the action. Nwargo too is nervous, he looks at me and looks away quickly. I know he does not trust me completely, how could he? I radiate addiction and I hold four grenades in a belt across my chest. I have a gun holstered and a rifle next to me as I write this. None of these things can give me relief. Mercerier is there, I must move soon. Yet this stillness seems an eternity behind me and an eternity in front of me. The sun trips over infinate stairs as it makes its way across the wide sky just north of the equator, I must wait. Nwargo looks over again and begins to pace. Somewhere a bullet's flight away, Mercerier looks through some papers, or perhaps receives some information from somebody somewhere. Perhaps I am a bullet's flight away.

That is the difference between Mercerier and I: I know I am always a bullet's flight away. His confidence must betray him sometime! It is only in consistency that we can measure what we are, heroes of moments rarely are heroes of years. We must fight every minute, but how I long to slip into bliss for at least mere hours occasionally. To be lost in the pleasure that feeds me, sustains me, starves me with absence when I need it most. I must leave it with the past, I am in agonies, for just a few grains of the pure stuff to make this time something not defined by this empty stretch of desert, I am afraid of what I would sacrifice.

But the mission is all. I write, I am distracted enough. As we make our way toward night, I will let this mission mean everything.

Nwargo approaches, we must make final arrangements.

I will be in touch directly. If what you say about Calrissian is true, there is a mole. And one who's lair is deep.

If they pursue me, you know you become that much more vulnerable. Try to distance yourself from me for now, and see if you cannot get some little closer to Calrissian.

I will make inquiries from others when this is over.


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