I stand on the pile of rubble, survey the area. I hear gunshots in the distance. Isn't it funny how we're revolutionaries, and now we're fighting rebels?
"What do you call an anti-revolutionary?" I ask Adrian. He looks at me warily.
"Is it the same thing as a loyalist?"
Adrian covers his face. He looks like hasn't slept in about a week.
"Lion." He says. "Shut up."
Figures in the distance. I shade my eyes.
"It's the lieutenant."
"They're coming over here. I have to go tell Jacks." Adrian slides down. He looks relieved get away from me.
"You must not mistake coming with arrival." I call after him. "For that would be a fatal mistake. Although this time you could, with impunity. For you would be right in doing so."
He pretends not to hear me. I turn back to the figures. It looks like he's got some other officers with him. What does he want with us? I wonder what we're supposed to be doing right now, and if we're going to get in trouble for not doing it. Hold down the area, they told us.
Well, it's not like it's going anywhere.
They're getting closer. They shouldn't be walking here, in a dangerous area like this. What if there was a sniper nearby? I barely stifle my laughter in time. My sides ache with the effort of holding it in. It's hard for me to remember, but Jacks told me, I have to. Have to remember when it's all right to laugh.
By the time I get control of myself, they're already here. The lieutenant calls everybody over.
"Get down here, soldier," he yells at me. I sit down instead. I'm comfortable here.
"I'm not a soldier." I call down at him. He does a take, like he's not used to being contradicted.
"I'm a human being. A dreamer."
I like this feeling, of being up here.
"Get down here!"
"No, I think I'll stay right here." Everybody falls quiet. Jacks looks at me, horrified.
"I'm not a soldier," I tell them. "All these changes won't change me. The gold-hearted person I used to be."
"I've got soul. But. I'm not. A soldier." The laughter spreads, gets louder. Some of the officers are even smiling.
The lieutenant's eyes harden.
"Get. Down. Here." he repeats.
Jacks looks so distressed. I feel sorry for him. I suppose there's no helping it. I jump down.
"Come over here."
I walk over. I can't remember, am I supposed to salute him or something?
He hits me so hard that I nearly black out. I see blue.
But he's not done with me yet.
"What's that on your coat."
That pin I picked up from some dead guy. It reminded me of somebody.
"It's an oak leaf." He looks like he's going to hit me again. "Sir."
"And are you aware of what that stands for?"
"Yes. It's the loyalist symbol. Sir." Jacks facepalms.
"So. Tell me. Why are you wearing it."
It looks good with the revolutionary colors. I catch myself just in time.
"I was trying to make a statement." I consider. "About human nature."
He's looking at me more closely. Does he recognize me? He suddenly turns away, leaves me alone.
"Listen up." He surveys everybody. I wonder what he thinks. We're a pretty motley crew. "Those reporters are coming over here today. You know what to say." A threatening pause. "You better not make me look bad."
If silence could kill, this would be it.
He turns to leave, stops at the pile of rubble.
"And all this better be cleaned up before they get here."