15 December 2008

Ranger - The Bear


I believed this channel had been compromised. Until last month, I feared the worst for Corporal. I received of all things a telephone message from him. From what I could understand, he was headed in the direction of Georgia. I was not certain what business he had there. I had begin to fear that the stranger he met on the train to Berlin was less than a chance meeting.

I am in Seattle. Close to home, though with the recent American election all hell has broken loose here. One team of operatives has left for Guantanamo Bay to retrieve a few special friends. Another small group is monitoring market changes. A large group of traders seem to be shorting an essential market, resetting it at will. Mercerier's fingerprints are all over it. My group has been hard at work with dive training and cold environment weather amphibious landings. The locks here seemed an ideal place to train. We hope to be able to assist you in the near future.

The Moscow Roll you recommended was brilliant. Reminds me of my grandmother's Farina rolls which I have never been able to successfully replicate. I am told she always left out a key ingredient in the recipe. I have enclosed the information our office here was able to retrieve on Fu Shan - it is sparse, but I have hope you will be able to make some use of it.

If nothing else, remember fondly my first day of training, with your soundless blade at my throat, and Calrissian emerging from the bushes with his words of wisdom for me - "knives never run out of ammunition."

leges barbarorum,


08 December 2008

March to the Sea

It is cold.

When I inhale, the mucus in my nose freezes, only to thaw again when I exhale, the vapor crystalizing on my beard.

The numbing cold invites me to rest while the gentle pain of inhalation reminds me of the consequences of breaking stride and resting.

The snow gently slopes to the frozen river, and I cross, ears piqued for the telltale sounds of the death that waits below my snowshoes. It is only thirty meters or so to the other side.

Half way across. I smirk as I remember, "To Build a Fire." It is not quite so cold as it was in that story, but it is cold.

Death is the natural result of life, and it gives me great pleasure to deny Death while placing myself just outside his cold grasp. One day, it will be over; there will be a mistake: an unheeded warning, an unheard silence, an unseen emptiness. I only hope to die quickly rather have the gnawing beast within slowly suck the flesh from my bones and leave me sunken eyed in a hospital bed gasping for air while tubes push fluids in and suck fluids out. No, rather the ice should collapse beneath my feet!

The mixture of bravado and stoicism keep my mind focused, and the river is now behind me. Two more hours of daylight. Three more hours before I reach the coast where I will rendezvous with Marshall, who will have our assignment. The isolation of Arctic Norway has been good. Twelve months at a listening post intercepting messages and sending coded messages to Ottawa. Now, someone else will take on this task. I am glad that our Philosopher Kings have seen fit for me to move on; happy that my old tracks have faded; rejoicing that Corporal will once again rise from the dead to strike Canada's enemies.

11 November 2008

In Which Sarge Catches Up Corporal on the Action in Shanghai or "Quiet Days and Monkey Scream Nights"


Thank you for the package of the 29th of last month. You were right, and it was used with great effect during an ambush on a river wharf this last week. Around me men bled life into the river which carried that sacrifice along its unceasing current without sense of time. I screamed into the night when the young Ya Hui fell to a frenzied knife and I made the killer taste the river water with his dying lips. Medicine Man was there, overseeing it all, of course. Directing it like some mad conductor trying to raise a symphony out of the death-sounds of an ambush gone wrong. Finally, I was one step ahead of him. I even got one shot off at him, knowing it would miss, but cracking his veneer of impenetrability just the same.

I screamed to him something I cannot remember. Something of death and Canada. He only smiled and directed a sniper's bullet which missed me by a hair as I wheeled behind three barrels which were soon shot into shards as I doubled back to destroy the shipment of "pearls" Medicine Man had so dearly wanted.

Han and Willoughby fought with aplomb, Han's matter of fact ways with a knife belie an expert and steady hand, and perhaps the one bit of comedy in the midst of the chaos was the odd vision of Willoughby behind an old English Maxim gun firing at Medicine Man's henchmen who attempted to flee on along a path near the river. I see Medicine Man's game though and know I must go to Fu Shan again.

I asked later Willoughby where he had found the Maxim and he laughed.

"These warehouses," he said, "are odd jumbles of history and patient investment."

I think it is more complicated than that, but whatever it was, it kept them from any ideas of doubling back. There were riots in the Yangpu District last night, the night was filled with burning things and the police, oddly, were content to let it play out. Perhaps they were bribed and I wonder what went hidden then, under the generic chants of undirected discontent that quite conveniently broke up just as two o'clock was struck? Cody was restless all night.

We are closer though, than we have been. The months of planning have led, as late, to quick spars that are like the wild punches of two careful boxers, who know now that they must fight all night. Han told me that Nwargo had sent a communique, he had found a dried hand, cut off and covered in a film of dirt along a garden path he is in the habit of walking as of late. Han then held up a sculpture that had been brought to him in the Putuo District by several boys as he made his way to a meet-up: it was of a withered hand.

There are more disappearances and I have heard from someone who knew once, the true measure of pain I felt that night in Fu Shan.

with warmest hopes that we again know each other by sight!


27 June 2008

Ranger - The Return


It has been too long.

I have been in London for quite some time. Menial work. The people at the Schengen Office are sometimes clueless, which is fine. I hear stories from old men about the "good times" at the height of the cold war when movies glorified our work and anecdotes about pulling concealed messages out of the carcasses of dead rats. Their stories about the local girls only hold my interest temporarily. But I prefer their stories about the hot war. If only the world could still open up for me like that.

I found myself in a toy store of all places the other day and saw a model of a Me 262 Schwalbe and thought of you.

Write when you can. I can only hope that one of us has accomplished something in these last few months.

- Ranger