Voyage of the Colonel Darvish

Hearts and Minds, Diego is finished

“So in essence, you wish to win the hearts and minds of any outlying community rather than conquer them through military or police action? Excuse my terseness, but even though you may choose a more passive-aggresive approach, isn’t it still a means of acquisition? It isn’t as if you are announcing your existence to the world or area at large. You must admit, and I’m sure this has been considered, but your clandestine existence will put people in charge at unease, and should word spread of this community and the wonderful accomplishments it has fulfilled, officers and statesmen alike will want to acquire your enterprise at any means necessary!

Diego had heard enough, he felt that Ken was just another follower of some lost ideal. Blowing out hot air propaganda so he replied to Ken’s words……

“Now please, I don’t wish to be a naysayer, and I am certainly no governmental lackey or snitch, but you must understand with your continued progress and evolution, it will simply be a matter of time before someone, some entity, will want to take what is yours, seeing the societal and civilized advancements you have made, and I am sure that transition will be bloody and revolting, and it is in this future that I don’t wish to take any part.”

Diego continued, to a now stern faced Ken. “So, and if this delectable cup of tea is any indication, you obviously have a community that is well advanced beyond any other post-war, outlying regions, be it municipal, county, etc., I really am not sure how well I would fit into your future plans.”vDiego is almost delighting in the fact that he has changed Ken’s demeanor. Diego had always been a critical thinker and would take arguments often just for arguments sake.

Ken replies “You are still missing the point Diego,” Ken’s voice turns stern, " We do not wish to acquire anything, we have all we desire. And you are free to serve the military community that you do now. You are free to continue serve the organization that caused this war. Your point about others coming to take what is ours is astute. I am buoyed, by the fact that you say you are not a MilGov lackey, but your complacency within their system says otherwise."

“So if that is your wish Diego then so be it,” Ken replies “We were asking, as we always have, for people to do what is right. And much like the people who have caused this war, the people you still serve, you are free to ignore the obvious. Return to your little hovel, work on the small problems. Other more visionary men and women will fix what you and your kind have caused or at the very least choose to ignore.”

Ken stands and leaves the room. Diego politely but deliberately sips his final, savory drop of the ‘house blend’, contemplating his decision, but perhaps because of his age and experience, his concerns for the future are one of a conservative, and not wanting to change his benign, if not repetitive lifestyle, Diego believes his decision to be a sound one.

“Now, gentlemen. Ladies, Delores, I believe I must get back to lesson plans and finish my grading. Delores, I expect I will be seeing you in class?”

The guards return as does the military officer looking man. Diego sensing it is time to go takes the last sip of tea and stands placing the cup in front of him on the desk. Diego not waiting to be asked strolls defiantly out the door and toward the entrance to the mausoleum. Delores follows first then the 2 guards and officer. Boot heels clacking on the mausoleum’s scarred marble floor they reach the front door.

As the group moves outside into the light of day Diego spins offering the papers back to Delores, “You’ll be wanting these back I suppose.” Delores speaks sternly, " No Diego, we wish people to come to believe in our causes by choice. Put those on a shelf somewhere. If you come to a realization that the Military Complex that runs this area is not the future that you wish to pursue, then use it to come back to us. We want the intelligent, but only if they are willing…free willing."

The two guards board the grounds cart and it ‘putt-putt-putts’ to life, the light odor of burning alcohol exhaust ticks the nose. Diego and Delores climb inside and the vehicle putt-putt-putts away toward the gate. Diego gets out and turns to say “class on Monday…..” But the cart has turned and accelerated away, leaving Diego just outside the gate with the two gate guards eyeing him cautiously.

Diego nods to the guards and turns and begins walking back toward the school. It is about noon, skies are overcast, it is in the mid 50s with a light breeze blowing. Diego grabs the brim of his hat to keep it on his head as he decides to take a meandering casual stroll home.

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