The incomprehensively drunk General Debinani Rahl sat at the stone table in the Intelligence Center and caught himself staring blankly at the sheaf of blank papers he had brought down with him for the purposes of taking notes of import from the day’s intelligence gathering. With a sigh, he chose to bounce his head against them instead.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” he muttered to himself under his breath, whacking his head against the papers with each word, “mustn’t bed Privates…mustn’t bed Privates.”
He stopped thunking his head against the desk, as it was beginning to hurt. She was certainly an attractive one though, he mused to himself, allowing himself a bit of a smile. His drunken serenading barely an hour before had been in front of officers and enlisted both, and even though the words had come clumsily, they had appeared to have been working. But the CO didn’t need to be drinking with, getting drunk with, and especially trying to get under the skirts of the soldiers. That was lesson number one, he was sure he had read it somewhere. Besides that, every woman he’d ever taken to his bed had been used as a weapon against him at one point in time or the other, often to their own demise.
“Back when I was younger and in practice…and more sober…I would’ve swept the lass off her feet.” The wall he was explaining all this to didn’t seem to care – or if it did it made no noise or motion to acknowledge that the man’s ramblings were worth its attentions. Ignoring the wall’s disregard for his soliloquy, the General pressed on. “And why not?!?,” he shouted, pointing to the wall for emphasis, “ Everyone else seems to be pairing off like bunnies in springtime…” He trailed off as another wave of depression slid over him. “No…, “ he muttered to the wall, “wouldn’t be proper. Would be dangerous, and irresponsible…”
He lowered his head more gently to the desk this time, and let it lie there against the cool stone for a moment. “Two wives, “ he muttered to the desk, “two wives, three children, and a thousand soldiers. My brother died…and I survived, “ he continued, quoting his toast from earlier, “ Soldiers live, and wonder why.”
He allowed himself a moment to weep.
A twinge in the back of his head startled him out of his reverie. He heard the voices again, like from the dream, but fewer, and more quiet.
“MY LIFE FOR HER, MY LIFE FOR HER,” they chanted.
He rose from the desk and moved to look out the window over the bay, but unlike in his dream, Trinsic was not burning, there were no sounds of battle, no scent of death. The chanting was coming from the jungle, and slowly, painfully, he realized that he wasn’t dreaming, and the chanting was real.
“CAPTAIN!!!” he shouted as he charged out of the room.