He was exasperated, and the heat didn’t help. He needed the required information from the object chained to the chair in his tidy little office/bedroom.
There was a reluctance to cooperate. He had promised the Big Six.
He stood and stepped outside of the room. He told the eager young man that he needed it to speak, ASAP-15 minutes, tops. But leave the eyes, throat, tongue, etc. intact: he had to talk to it. It was important.
The young man’s gaze was withering, bone-chillingly cold. He was unaware of this.
He put his hand on the young infantryman’s shoulder, “Clear?”
“Yes sir. Clear.”
He went to another room and cleared his mind and composed his report-nothing written: he was a student of history and knew the potentially disastrous results of written documentation.
He had to have a tight, cogent report: the Colonel was an outstandingly bright man, much like Dad. The Colonel and Dad shared many similarities: the same age; while the one was receiving a diploma at West Point, the other was receiving his diploma at Princeton; the same focus, the same blinding stare, the same drive, the same mentality: he had learned as a small child that you had to-absolutely had to-perform to the expected and required standards of The Best and The Brightest.
The Colonel and Dad were remarkably similar. It was an interesting phenomenon, but something for another day.
You did not approach either man to waste his time, or you would be crushed.
He radioed the Big Six.
“What do you have, 2?”
“Confirmation of the launch sites, Sir. I’ll need fast-movers and gunships to block the passes.”
They changed frequencies. He continued.
“I don’t want any self-removal of product from the valley, Sir. I will need engineers for product disposal. I recommend…”
He was cut off, “Do it. You also have three batts of infantry to block those passes coming your way. When?”
“I need ten more minutes, Sir, for the rest.”
“Outstanding. Call it in when it’s time.”
“Will I have the Big Eye?”
“None here. You’ll have to coordinate on the ground.”
The report had gone well. The Colonel had obviously been pleased.
He stood and opened the door to his office. He glanced at the object-still seeing and breathing, voice box intact. He dismissed his guard.
The young man sat down in his chair and produced false photos of two children and a woman, blindfolded. He began to speak in the other language.
“Just tell me what I need to know, and they will continue to receive the best food, shelter, read the precious book. If you can’t help me… well… I can’t really guarantee anything.”
The hatred from the object in the chair was palpable. But, whatever.
The young man took out a pen and asked it for the names, the names of the other leaders in the region.
He finished writing, called to his orderly, “Please take this to my other desk for confirmation.”
He smiled. “So, in 48 hours I know if I can continue to protect them, or not…
A scream. “Wait!!! Wait!!! I will tell you!!!.”
The young man returned to his pen and paper and wrote down the information.
He took a well-worn book from a makeshift shelf and asked if he might read to the object, or if it would prefer to do it itself: Whichever passage, verse preferred.
He had been taught to be decent.
The chanting was done. The young man returned the tome to its proper place on the shelf.
He removed his sidearm.
After re-holstering the weapon, he asked his two guards to straighten out the mess in his room.
He called in the gunships first, to block off the passes out of the valley, and also, to burn all of the surrounding hillside such that no product might escape.
The fast-movers were next.
He didn’t want an ant walking out of that valley.
He knew that the engineers and infantry batts were on their way.
He retired to his quarters. He was pleased: perfectly sanitized and fresh-smelling.
Tomorrow was going to be a busy day: razing the town; preserving what infrastructure that could be preserved; and of course, the report to the Colonel. Oh! And had to call Mummy-it was her birthday. Daddy would kill him, otherwise, and she would be hurt, besides. And Amy. He took her picture from its plastic wrapping to gaze upon her beautiful image for a moment.
The imperious young New Englander called out as he went to sleep, “Three hours. No more, no less.”
He watched the orange and white light flicker in time with explosions on his walls. He fell to sleep, breathing easy.
It had been a good day.