Oh...and how's the action in the woods, please? Suggestions of any kind would be so awesome. thanks!
“Colonel Sael, Chief Radeeb is on the phone for you in the next room.”
Sael rose, straightening his suit while taking a deep breath and shot a glare at Buckeimer as he exited the room.
Derek stood by the window and watched Nateel pace back and forth on the elaborately woven carpet in the grand room while Buckeimer lounged in an easy chair and puffed on his cigar.
“You don't need to be so anxious, my friend,” the general said to the island native. “Radeeb will see that he has no choice but to agree to my terms and your home will be safe. Relax.”
Nateel turned on his heel and look across the room at the fat German, then walked across the room and stood in front of him. “General, do you not see?”
“Sir, my entire family is on the island! My mother, brothers and sister. My wife is dead and I have seven children. All but my oldest son are very young and they are all innocent. They, my family and everyone at my home, have done nothing! Would you punish them for our chief's choice if he decides to appose you? They don't deserve to die. Not like this.”
Derek watched Buckeimer's expression graven as he leaned forward in his chair, setting the cigar down in an ashtray on the table next to him. “Listen to me, Nateel. I don't work for people. I don't work for money. I don't work for land. I work for power and nothing else.”
“Power should be used for people, General. Not against them. Anyone who thinks otherwise shouldn't be given it.”
“I am not going to be given it, islander! I am taking it. That is the only way to really get anything and anyone who is in my way will either get out on their own or will or be forced out. Am I not clear enough?”
Nateel nodded and sank down on the couch next to him, resting his head in his hands. “I think I am beginning to understand.”
“The sooner, the better.” Buckeimer leaned back in his chair and picked his cigar back up to puff on it. Then he turned and looked back at Derek. “Come over here, Hollister.”
Derek shifted before walking over to stand beside the general's chair.
“Sit. Sit. You are a guest here right now, not a servant. So, tell me,” he said as Derek took a seat on the other end of Nateel's couch.
“What, sir?” He glanced uneasily at the native who sat with his head still rested in his hands and his shoulders slumped.
Buckeimer cleared his throat and said, “What do you think? Should someone only have power if they are going to waste it by being pushed around by those under him? Does that sound like power to you, boy?”
Derek stared at the ground for a minute, wrinkling his eyebrows together and folding his hands in his lap, then he glanced over at Nateel again and back at the General saying, “I believe it can be power, sir. But there are many kinds of power and many kinds of leaders.”
Buckeimer shifted with a chuckle and said, “Do elaborate.”
The young German cleared his throat and rubbed his sweaty palms together, pondering whether or not he should appose the General's obvious opinion on the matter. He looked over to see Nateel looking intently at him and their gazes locked for a moment before Derek dropped his and shifted it back to Buckeimer. Taking a deep breath, he said, “Well, sir. I believe that, well, it seems to me that-”
“Spit it out, boy! You've been taught to speak your mind with confidence! I hope our program did better than this.”
Derek nodded and resumed, looking the old man firmly in the eyes, “General, I believe that real power in the hands of a real leader is not being able to control as many people on as much land as possible. A real leader will swallow his pride and show real power by doing what is best for his people by ignoring what anyone else might say. Otherwise, he has no real power, but is simply a slave to his own will and the pressure from those who think they know what they are talking about when, in reality, they know nothing more than narcissism and are little more than prisoners to themselves and their ideas. That...is what I don't see as power, sir.”
“Where did you learn that kind of talk, soldier?”
Derek rubbed his hands together again and looked over at Nateel who's eyes were red with tears. “I-I was never taught it, sir. It-I have read and thought a lot in my years in the compound and it seems to me that-”
“What do you know?” Buckeimer said, waving his hand in disgust. “You're just a boy, barely a man! You've had no life experience. You have clearly not interacted with enough people. And perhaps-” He sat back and stroked his fat chin.
“Perhaps what, General?” Derek squeezed his hands together in his lap so that his knuckles turned white.
“Perhaps-” he looked over at his young comrade. “Are these your real thoughts on the matter, Hollister?”
Derek swallowed and leaned forward. Taking a deep breath he looked back at Nateel who was, once more, staring hard at him, he nodded and said, “Yes, sir. They are.”
“Very well.” Buckeimer brought his cigar back up to his mouth and puffed smoke into the air as he stared into space. “Perhaps you're not ready after all.”
Melody felt the blood drain from her face as the two gunman approached Jason and one of them patted him down, pulling his large pocket knife from his pants then motion with his rifle. “Put your hands on your head and get on your knees.”
“Jason!” She jumped up and stood, frozen as the youngest of the men snapped his aim at her.
“Don't move, Melody!” Her brother screamed, twisting around on his knees with his hands folded on top of his head. Then he looked back at the tallest and oldest member of the trio and said, “Let her go. Tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it, but just let her go. She doesn't know anything.”
“Like heck, we'll let her go!” The young man said, lowering his rifle and walking towards her. “Check it out, Max! Didn't see this coming, did we? Hottie!”
“Shut up, James!” The old man replied. “Just grab her and come on. We've got to get out of here before the rest of them come. They'll be looking for them and I don't intend to be here.”
James began to walk towards her and she took a step back as panic swelled in her chest. “Jason?”
“Do what they say, Mel.” He twisted around again to look at her. “They won't hurt you. Just do exactly as they say.”
The boy began to grab her arm, but slipped his hand around her waste and she saw him wink at her. She kicked his leg and stomped her foot like a three year old, screaming, “Don't touch me, you maggot!”
“Melody!” Jason whispered.
James laughed and grabbed her arm. “It's okay, sweetheart, I can't do anything while I'm on duty.”
She gritted her teeth as he led her over next to Jason who stood up with his hands still on his head.
“Jason, what is going on?”
“Be quiet. Don't talk. Just follow.” He looked at her out of the corner of his eye, but it was a cold, hard look.
She swallowed down the lump in her throat and nodded.
“Hey Max, how about I take care of her? I couldn't handle the dude.”
Max yanked Jason by the arm and began walking. “Whatever. Just no funny business. Got it?”
“Oh, yeah. Of course, of course.” James pulled Melody forward and began walking behind his leader as he leaned over and whispered in her ear. “Not too much funny business that is. Right honey? Not while I'm on duty anyways.”
She cringed and twisted her arm as she trudged along next to him, trying to make him loosen his grasp on her, but he only drew it tighter, sending pain shooting up and down it.
She could hear Max muttering something ahead, but couldn't tell if he was talking to Jason or himself.
“I'll take good care of you, Melody.” James stepped closer to her as they walked. “You'll be like my little pet. Won't that be fun?”
She didn't respond, but just looked up at the treetops, squinting to make out their shape in the dark.
“Hey, come on. Talk to me.” He soothed, leaning his head closer to hers. “I'm not going to hurt you.”
“Hit the dirt!” Max screamed dropping to the ground and pulling Jason with him.
Melody looked up to see a bright blue light burst out of nowhere just before James slammed her to the ground.
A deep voice boomed from in front of them. “Send them both over and nobody gets hurt!”
James wrapped his arm around Melody's waste and pulled her close to him.
Max shouted back, “You'll have to come and get them, first! And if you try to shoot us, you'll be shooting right at them!”
Melody glanced down at the knife in her captor's belt. She looked up, squinting in the bright blue light and saw what must have been a dozen or more men positioned with guns of different shapes and sizes in front of several large military vehicles.
“Don't you dare make a sound,” James whispered directly into her ear.
She shifted under his grasp and laid her hand right next to his knife. Opening her fist, she laid her fingertips on the knife handle and was just grasping it, preparing to pull it out when a gun shot rang out and she snapped her gaze up to see Jason jump to his feet and run into the group of men.
Max cursed and jumped up shooting three rounds at them before he turned and ran back, snatching Melody up and screaming for James to follow.
She let her feet drag, trying to slow them down, then yanked back and ripped herself free, falling to the ground for a split second before she sprang to her feet and darted towards the crowd of soldiers.
Max yelled at her and she looked back to see him and James running towards her. She screamed and quickened her pace, but it wasn't enough and she felt a hand land on her shoulder, snatching her back and slamming her on the ground. She felt her head smash against something hard and everything flashed bright white as a chorus of shouts rose in the air. She scrambled to her feet and stumbled back, falling to the ground again, overtaken by dizziness. The bright blue light faded to gray and the trees swirled around her. Then she felt her heart rate decrease and she closed her eyes as everything went black.