FROM THE PRIVATE DIARY OF SGT. EAGLE
A letter to:
Doctor Cosmonaut, #1000 Journey’s End, wherever commies go when they die
Temptation has come and alighted on my shoulder, again.
I felt your shade was disquieted when I re-donned the mask, as
I wrote you then. I wonder how you feel now? My recent “successes”
have borne the penalty I should have expected, but didn’t: Crusader
came to me last night, with word of a raid a local supers group is
planning against a Viper nest. These supers (the Freedom Bunch, or
something of the kind) are recruiting for the mission. I was
grateful for the invitation (although not as grateful as I had been
for Crusader’s aid against the Astrologer; Crusader is really top
drawer stuff). The thought of going up against Viper again filled me
with a poignant longing; the Captain always loved fighting those
snakes-in-the-grass. Remember the time you teamed up with them, in
Chicago? It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “political
machine”. If it hadn’t been for the traffic jam on Lake Shore Drive,
you might actually have gotten away with it, but then you’ve never
been lucky, have you? Especially not that last time.
But that’s enough of auld lang syne. I went to Freedom Tower,
to hear their pitch. They’re an odd bunch. Their leader, Vanguard,
seems steady enough, although his cape flaps gently even when there’s
no breeze (and yes, I said I was done with capes, but you don’t see
ME wearing one, do you? Others can wear them if they choose – that’s
the American Way). Durante I didn’t get a clear read on, he comes
across much like he does on television. The negro, Trauma, had a
plucky sense of humor, reminding me somewhat of the way Flamestar
used to wisecrack all the time (you remember Flamestar, don’t you?
Summer of ’60, Malaya. We really cleaned your clock that time).
The real joker in the pack, though, was the one they called
Mason. I’ve seen him before, down by the docks, driving trucks.
He’s tied in with those Klu Kluxers. Dinky dow. Clearly he’s a
double agent for someone, but the question is: Who? Are the Free
Bunch infiltrating the segregationists, or is it the other way
around? I don’t have enough information, yet, to answer that, but
during the Viper raid it shouldn’t matter. I can keep an eye on the
mole for the present. I don’t want to go shooting my mouth off when
they still regard me as wet behind the ears, that’s just asking to
get my can kicked.
That’s the penultimate difficult with this, actually: Trying
to be honest without dragging my whole, sordid past across the
table. This isn’t about me, after all, it’s about them and their
mission; I’m just one-time fire support. I’ve told them that I’m
primarily a martial artist, and that I have some gadgets, and all of
that is true. What I used to be doesn’t come into this, at least not
much. As Sensei says, do not strike at the dragon while stalking the
The ultimate difficulty, of course, is how you would feel about
all this. That bothers me. In life your feelings were the least of
my worries, but in death they still haunt me. Karen’s right,
though: to refrain from doing good is no way to atone for doing evil.
We go in tomorrow. I’d better close this and get some sleep.
I hope it’s not too warm where you are.
Your only mourner,