Alek holds himself confidently and always walks with purpose, always. His strength is seen in all that he does, whether he is holding a weapon while training his men or making love to a woman: Standing at the ready, pointing the weapon toward the spot in which his target disappeared, the roping muscles underneath the uniform that Alek wears stretches tightly over his forearms, perhaps about to burst the seams. His peppered jaw is clenched so tightly that his teeth make a horrible grinding sound, almost as if his jaw would pop out of its socket. As he bends slowly to the ground to avoid being seen by his opponent, the jet black hair that he has tied with a leather thong into a tight queue at the nape of his neck falls forward onto the weapon itself, covering the butt that he holds securely to his armored right shoulder.
His breath was labored and he could hear his own heart-beat, beat, beat in his ears. His efforts to capture his opponent were causing his muscles to harden and heat with the energy he was expending. The lines of tendon and muscle throughout his entire body rippled with each tiny movement. Alek crawled on his belly through the wet grasses searching for the enemy. Not the true enemy, after all this was just training exercise, but his efforts were the same. He would win this session.
When the men became to fatigued to raise their weapons, Alek decided to allow them to rest for the night. He called out to Jared, “We will stop for the night. Jared, choose five men to prepare the meal and all the others will clean the weapons. Oh, if you could meet me up on the hill after you’re finished delegating, I have a few things to discuss.”
“You sound tired, Alek. You don’t plan to continue your preparations anymore tonight, do you? I think you need to get some rest, even more than these men. I think you need to just stop for the night. If not, you’re going to overload and break down.”
Alek was tired. He knew in his bones that if he sat down this minute, he would not be able to pick himself up off the ground. He looked at Jared with weary eyes and said, “I’m pretty damn sure that the guards aren’t going to take a break tonight Jared. I don’t know how they just keep coming at us the way they do, but we cannot let them hurt us again. Lane and William were good men. They both had families. Now who’s going to feed their wives and children? Who’s going to protect them?”
“I know. You’re right. I’ll meet you on the hill in twenty minutes” Jared shook his head as he walked toward where Ash and six other men stood. “I’m sorry Alek,” he said softly to himself.
He stood on the side of the hill watching the men as they trained – They’re trying so hard. I can’t believe that these hard men are so innocent, so naive. How in the name of hells blazes are these men going to fend off the guards. Those guards are so well trained, so ruthless in their attacks, so powerful; and there are so many of them!
It’s been such a long time since I spoke to God that I can scarcely believe He’ll know my voice, but I think that without His help in this we are doomed.
These are good men. They are honorable and just, with wives and children that are counting on them, waiting for them to come home. I think that even though I will do my best in training them, my best may not be good enough.
All I can think is: How in the hell are we going to pull this off?
I understand starships, laser weaponry, light-speed, and quantum physics, but this warfare! I cannot imagine how these people actually survived this time period. All they can do is their best, and they are trying. I can see it in the sweat on their brows, in the strain in their backs, the blood on their knuckles, and the dirt on their clothing.
Because of their efforts, I cannot abandon their cause, our cause. I must also do my best to teach them, to train them, and to be the example to them. I’m so tired! As are all these men. But we must not stop. The enemy is standing at the gate and if we do not stand against their entrance they will break it down, taking no one prisoner, but killing all that cross their path.
Oh! Marcus is returning. He has men with him, not many, but every man is of the greatest worth now.