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Negotiation

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Worcester, England: 900 A.D.

A king stands atop his castle letting his eyes wander across the once green and luscious valley set before his walls. Today none of that valley can be seen, it’s color hidden beneath the shadows of 10,000 men. The King does not move, his body does not shiver nor do his palms sweat. A hint of confidence, or maybe arrogance, inspires a slight shift in his lips. He knows the odds are against him, but fear is not something inherited through the Charles bloodline. His name is Lawrence Charles III, King of England, and servant only to the Lord himself. He has honored this title for over a decade, unmatched in power, wealth, and popularity among the people. However, no man can rule forever. And as the sun rises he can feel eminent death before him.
His men stand, unmoved by the intimidating opponent. And just as their King, they do not speak. Not even as the enemy starts to march toward to castle walls. Marching turns to running, and soon the entire French army storms across the valley, screaming, with swords drawn. The king looks behind him at his knights; each one of them ready for battle. He picks up his helmet and slowly places it on his head. He draws his sword and point to the mob of enemy soldiers. As he turns back French men are already climbing onto the towers by ladder. Not wasting any time King Charles roars, and runs toward the invaders swiping and cutting fiercely. His men follow knowing that the option of negotiation is out of the question. Their king was never one to back down from a challenge. They draw their swords and the battle begins.

Litchfield, Connecticut: 1776

His soldiers are battered and weak. They have marched for days to reach Boston and have had to ration the little food they managed to save to avoid starvation. As a Colonel, his men are looking to him for guidance. But what do you tell a group of men who have broken spirits, and wounded bodies? That everything will be better once they reach Boston? He has made many a promise to his men, and doing so again would not boost their moral, only fill them with the sad realization that no matter what their commander tells them, he is only doing so to avoid mutiny. Spending a weak in retreat is not something that Colonel Charles is used to doing. Usually the one to strike first he has taken the safer route and tired to escape the battle scene at least until they reach Boston.
Charles takes his rifle and starts to walk through the forest. He doesn’t exactly know where they are, but it is somewhere near Litchfield. Litchfield is right by the border of Massachusetts, so it probably won’t take more than two days to reach the Capitol. He sits on a log and wonders about his family. He hopes they are safe and sound, undisturbed by the Red Coats. He takes up his gun again and starts to stand up when “BOOM!” Gunshots erupt in the distance. Charles hears the shouting of men in the distance, and the wailing neigh of horses. Flashes of red and white dart though the trees and he ducks down so he cannot be seen. “How did they find us?” he thinks to himself. Paralyzed by fear he makes no noise, and does not move a muscle.
Shortly, the battle dissipates, and he can hear the crying of horses riding off. He looks up first to make sure the enemy is gone. Then walks cautiously back to the small camp he and his battalion had set up. As he looks upon what remains of his fellow rebels and friends, he sheds a long and painful tear. His brothers, every one of them, lay lifeless on the forest floor brutally massacred. God must have spared his life for a reason, for Col. Edward Charles is a man of faith. “Why?” he says aloud.

D-Day Normandy, France: 1944

“I need ammo!” someone shouted from across the beach. “I ain’t got any! Get Charles!” Charles was a man that the soldiers trusted. If you had a problem, he could fix it, plus, he had an ammo boy following him wherever he went. But Charles wasn’t around. While the rest of the army was fighting on the beach, he was already making his way up the hillside, taking out enemy bunkers one by one. “Is that him up on the hill?” “Jesus Christ!”


He busted through the door, unloading an entire clip into the five Germans crowded within the tiny room. “Bastards!” He says to himself while reloading. His ammo boy, a small, scrawny private out of Westin Vermont stares blindly at the dead men. His body is shaking violently and the shotgun shells inside the box he is holding rattle. “Loosen up Boy!” Charles shouts with hearty laugh. “You’ve lasted longer than any private I’ve had follow me around before!” He slaps the kid on his back, and runs back out the door in search of any more Nazis willing to get in his way.

“That guy is insane!” “Well at least he’s doing something… look at you, you’re waiting here like an idiot for someone to bring you a couple shells.” “Yeah, yeah. If you haven’t noticed now’s really not the time to be arguing. All I’m sayin is that guy is one helluva daredevil… gotta respect him though.”

Charles grabbed a grenade, ripped the pin out with his teeth, and hurled it across the trench into a cluster of Nazis manning a turret. “Think you can touch this!” he screams, grabbing a line of machine gun rounds off of the quivering private. “Just try it!” He loaded the gun and held the trigger down until there was nothing left to shoot.

Baghdad, Iraq: 2008

The camp is quiet. It’s about 9:00 in the morning and most of the men are still asleep. I can’t get any rest because I keep having nightmares about war. Not just this war. But wars from different time periods. They feel so real, like I’ve actually been there and fought those battles. Every night for the past week it’s been something different. One time I actually dreamed that I was king in the 900’s and that I was protecting my own castle. I told Sergeant Wheeler about it and he just laughed at me. “What, do you think that means something?” he told me sarcastically. I’ve been thinking about it and the only thing that I can relate between the dreams is that in every one of them, I am this brutal, fearless soldier. I’ve dreamt that I’m always the first to fight, yet whatever happens on the battlefield I seem to live through it. It’s starting to creep me out, and it’s taking away form my focus on the missions because I’m losing sleep from continuously waking up in a cold sweat. I know that my family has a long military history. My father fought in Vietnam, and my grandfather and great grandfather fought in the two world wars. Past that I don’t know, but I assume that their fathers and grandfathers did the same. I stop thinking about it and go into my tent for some coffee.

“Uhm.. Excuse me… Captian Charles…” Private Johnson is walking into the tent and he seems to have something on his mind. “Yes Johnson?” I ask. “Oh, well sir… sorry to bother you but I was just wondering about the mission today. I mean, I’ve heard rumors that the terrorists know we’re hear and that they are going to attack sooner that expected… and I--” “There’s nothing to worry about Johnson, I have it under control. “I heard from Intel that Zahir Ravkeh, the military leader of the group we’re fighting is willing to negotiate. I’m going to see what I can do.” Johnson sighs with a bit of relief. “Oh.. alright sir, I’ll tell the other men. And good luck.” I chuckle at his formality. “Alright Johnson.”

Charles steps out of his tent and starts walking down the street. He knows that the terrorists’ base is located somewhere near the Baghdad central square. As he turns the corner he thinks to himself about the lives he will be saving by negotiating instead of turning to fighting first. “If mom taught me one thing its use your words” he says to himself with a smile on his face. He continues down the narrow street and is completely oblivious to the sniper posted on the rooftop of a surrounding building. The sniper has him clear in his sights and his finger on the trigger. Zahir Ravheh is standing behind waiting to give the signol.

Johnson is sits in Charles’ tent waiting for his return “Where’d Captian Charles go?” asks Sergeant Wheeler strolling into the tent. “He went to a meeting with Zahir.” “Oh alright… well tell I need to tell him something when he gets back ok?” “Ya sure”
A gunshot explodes in the distance. “What the--! Did you hear that? “Ya sounded like something powerful, maybe a Barret sniper. These streets are loaded with ‘em.”
“Man…” Johnson twists the pencil between his fingers. “Now that’s something I wouldn’t try to negotiate with.” “Yeah,” says Wheeler laughing “Me neither.”





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