‘We are expected only to bring this sort of information back and let others make of it what they will. Is that not so Sergeant?’
‘If those Security types had expected us to do that, they would not have told us. Might even have taken the risk to put an end to us here and now corporal,’
‘Yes. Instead they tell us, mere rifle carriers and grenade throwers about a movement to involving part security services to support the opposition they are supposed to be hunting down,’
‘Yeah, well with an idiot of a Popular President of The People who thinks he can play the FDR off against the SDR and the other way around, it’s a survival response. Better you control your narrative than have others start writing it for you. It would be a general signal to both sides. ‘You know we have a fool at the top. Let us deal with it. Don’t try and bring your own hirelings into the game,’ . It’s an old part of an older game,’
‘Why tell us though? They should have used the soft, slow lines which get set up once our armies move in,’
The pair sat, for once not feeling threatened in the locality, looking out into the night, towards an horizon which in due course would smear with light.
‘They probably have. But,’ he turned and gestured with his vape ‘Not about this one small detail, though. The last two known members of a prominent opposition group whose leader,’ Faigai thought about the right word.
‘The way that girl tells it, he sacrificed himself so they had time to flee with the most sensitive information. I would have thought it a hard task to place on your pregnant granddaughter until I spoke with her and her husband,’ for an instant her teeth caught the moonlight as she grinned ‘Dedicated and,’ the next word she drew as a blade ‘Sharp,’ followed by a brief laugh ‘She told me everything like a briefing and her just a mother. You would not think her inoffensive nervous looking young husband, was the master tactician of the group, the could put together demonstrations, media attention. The Carpenter,’
‘One of those old foxes mentioned him with some admiration,’
‘Someone approaches,’ she said without turning around. All the headiness of the earlier part of the night was gone from her.
‘It’s the security trio,’ he said, with a sigh ‘What are they about to shovel on us?’
As one the duo turned about to face uncertainty. The fellow who had talked to Faigai was obviously the spokesman, his comrades were wearing the blank expressions favoured by those who were not wishing to intimidate, just judge. Or maybe evaluate. On the whole life would have been simpler if he had not be so good at this job and just another rifle carrier, he would have seen less options.
‘What conclusions have you reached?’ the spokesman asked and was rewarded with two expressions of disbelief. Who asked soldiers, rifle carriers for their thoughts?
‘We have nothing to report,’ the corporal said, ill-tempered as she flicked the remains of the vape away. ‘There is a small village, which our commanders knew about already, and I, for one knew there was someone from the other side creeping around but could not see them,’
Cocked one eyebrow to the sergeant.
‘Not one thing of any importance,’ he said ‘Nothing to do with us. We have our own problems. Which I may add will be coming this way soon. You should tell your people to move away. It’s only a question of time before the shooting starts here. Am I right Corporal?’
‘Ideal place,’ was her bitter comment ‘Two brigade sized forces in a desolate place can have a sparing match. Only light casualties and some civilians of course,’ she studied the skyline ‘I should be returning. You do not want a patrol coming out here to look for,’ more bitterness, this time as a laugh ‘My body. Do you?’
The Banner Sergeant recognised the sudden arrival of weariness arriving on her. The tension of starting a patrol, the rush of relief at a truce, then the puzzlement at the locals’ actions, with a finality with the usual no clear answer. Yeah, you got so tired of it all and worse knowing what was to come upon folk who were just trying to make something out a mess they were part of, and also not part of.
‘You should try and get them to move,’ he said as a parting comment to the elder men ‘Whatever plans you have won’t stop this village being shot at. Someone will decide we need to take it,’
He could feel that weariness coming now, and sloped off following the corporal.
They reached the place they had first met, each facing the way they should go, briefly back to the other.
‘Take care Sergeant,’ she said, shaking her head and dropping low to merge into the cover before moving off.
‘Try and stay sane,’ he whispered and set off in the other direction.
To be continued…