I wonder, sometimes, if we're now in the business of manufacturing martyrs.
It started as a political theory. Well, no, it really started because people were fed up. Fed up with being bled, with nothing to show for it. So there was a revolution, which is hardly anything new. With most revolutions, all that changes is whose boot is on whose neck. It's even worse if the theorists get a hold of it, because we're all just numbers to them. They have no compunctions and no hesitation when it comes to making those numbers add up. Somehow, we pulled the lucky number. Or maybe this is God's little joke and we just haven't seen it yet.
I don't know most of the details, and those I do know I shouldn't write down. Or speak about. It might just be superstition, but most of what keeps us alive is what people don't know. It buys us a little more time, another few minutes when the
invaded or bombed or glared at by the U.N. Republic
Even our name is a joke.
It's a horrible thing, to survive buying your life a few minutes at a time. If we're still lucky, things will get better, and we won't be the Most Important Thing to anyone any more. That's what we really want; for people to forget we exist.
Anyway, the Boss has a new job for me, so it's my turn again to go out and maybe die for my country. He seems to understand my mixed feelings about this; he's a regular guy underneath all the Orwell and Heinlein and Rand novels. He doesn't expect a True Believer, doesn't want one, even. He called me because I volunteered and I haven't quit yet.
And I'm a pretty good shot.
How does a small country survive when everyone around is bigger and better-armed? It should be impossible. They should roll over us and not even notice, like giants stirring in their sleep. So, instead, we knock off the ones who make the threatening noises. Kill the man before he gives orders to kill us. That's our theory.
Is it working? Who can say? In practice we don't dare get too ambitious, and picking the right targets means you have to be practically omniscient. Sooner or later, it just has to fail. It's a strange country.
We're all assassins now.