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SHORT STORY


TITLE: Four Soldiers
By Linda Ellis
12/06/12
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All will be appreciated. Note: The Mission statement was not written by me. The author is unknown. But it was the inspiration for the story of Four Soldiers.
The Mission

"Reason faces up to life, and sees things as they are.
Hope sees things as they ought to be, and wishes on a star.
Faith dreams of miracles to come that only God can do.
Love goes to work with patient hands to make these dreams come true."



Four Soldiers

Colonel Reason prided himself on having excellent vision, able to see things as they are. Unreasonable and foolish, full of fantasy, he had decided were his three companions. Reluctantly, he would tolerate Major Hope, though his star gazing was becoming a significant source of irritation. But Major Hope was the lesser of the three evils reasoned the Colonel. He would need someone to agree with his decisions and orders on this mission. Otherwise, there could be mutiny in the desert, most likely in the middle of a sand storm, since most of the desert was in a drought.

` Colonel Reason knew that if he could keep Major Hope away from the dreams and visions of that old windbag, General Faith himself, the Major could be persuaded to see reason. Talk about dreams... General Faith was the Colonel's worst nightmare. The Colonel remembered a few weeks back, he had reasoned that the sky was clear and blue without a hindering cloud or storm in sight, so he had ordered everyone to break camp and prepare to move out. But then General Faith had yelled across the camp, “Wait Colonel. There’s a cloud,” pointing to a speck in the sky no bigger than his fist. Before the Colonel could respond the General shouted across a sudden wind, “There’s going to be heavy rain with blowing winds. Take cover Colonel Reason and keep Major Hope by your side. If the sky goes dark Major Hope will find a light, even if it’s just a star.”

Almost before the horses could be securely tied, the dry sand was at the bottom of a muddy river. Major Hope was all excited about General Faith seeing that tiny cloud. No matter how much the rain had been needed, the sight of chaotic and flooding rivers couldn’t restore order and reason, when the Major went searching for stars in the rain. Indeed the Colonel wanted to keep distance from the General. It took days and sometimes weeks following an encounter with the ways of the General to get Major Hope back into a compliant frame of mind to see reason and act like he had good sense.

Colonel Reason didn’t know what the mission of this journey was really all about. He had been told only that it would be his last and that the package to be delivered was priceless. Then he could retire as he’d let Major Hope talk him into hoping he could do. His orders had been brief, so all he knew was to head in an easterly direction across the desert. Further information would be on a "need to know basis."

The Colonel didn’t mind the need to know restrictions so much, for it came with the job and duties of a soldier, but why for heavens sake did they have to send General Faith along, especially since he was supposed to be retired. New changes in government policy had forced the General into retirement a few years back, so he wasn’t traveling as a ranking officer in any recognized uniform. But he was still the only Seven Star General, EVER, the Commander had shouted, when Colonel Reason objected to the General’s presence on this mission. He knew the General, retired or not, outranked him. But that wasn’t really the Colonels main concern or problem. His problem was much greater than just the rank of a General, although Seven Stars was above impressive, not to mention unheard of in any army.

It was more than frustrating that General Faith could find the holes in the Colonel’s every plan and reason. That was his concern, for holes in his plans and powers of reason could effect all his retirement benefits and plans. But his greater problem was his pride. The Colonel simply refused to admit that he was sometimes wrong, and the General was always right. Gazing at a star he’d decided was following them, Major Hope injected that the General was a lot like Admiral Justice. Losing patience with the Major’s obsession with stars and the General, Colonel Reason shouted that he didn’t care about any Admiral named Justice, or General Faith. He simply wanted to get the package they were transporting delivered, and have this mission accomplished so he could go home, and retire with his family of Reason.

But the package was beginning to be as much trouble for Colonel Reason as General Faith. Ambassador Love, as he was called, stuck by General Faith like a bee on honey. In fact, Ambassador Love had yet to move, or even speak without the General echoing his every word. He was a mystery from the get go, dressed in black rags, like he was in mourning without a penny to his name. Commenting in derision that he didn’t look so powerful and important, or like any Ambassador he had ever seen, Colonel Reason realized too late that his audience was unimpressed with his powers of reason, when the General glared as if he could see his every thought, reminding him that he had never actually seen an Ambassador before this mission. Then Major Hope cheerfully volunteered that the Ambassador was dressed in the traditional mourning robes of ancient kings.

Shaking his head with the hopelessness of lost causes, the Colonel reasoned that he was surrounded by idiots and aliens from some other world. “If there were any further delays, like tiny clouds raining floods, this mission was going to cost the army a fortune, not to mention the delay in his retirement, and the loss of good sense and sanity of reason,” he shouted to no one in particular, as he stormed out of the camp in search of peace and calm, if there was such a place in this God forsaken desert, he thought.

Little did the Colonel know that Ambassador Love had personally paid for this mission and many others, including the Colonel’s paycheck and his upcoming retirement benefits. And little did the Colonel further know that it was for the Colonel's own benefit that the Ambassador wore the mourning clothes of ancient kings. And sadly, neither did Colonel Reason know that the desert was far from being forsaken by God.

“Colonel! Colonel Reason! We have urgent need to know orders,”
gasped a wheezing Major Hope, who had run some distance in search of the Colonel.

“Well what are the orders Major? Read them to me,” growled the Colonel, who had obviously not found peace and calm, and seemed not to notice the Major’s need to rest and catch his breath.

. ..........URGENT NEED TO KNOW ORDERS...........
Colonel Reason, intelligence sources have uncovered a well organized plot to take your life in the next city. But fear not, Colonel. Ambassador Love has volunteered to move forward on your behalf. General Faith will accompany him. For the sake of your own life and the Mission, you are to switch uniforms with Ambassador Love, who will enter the city disguised as you, Colonel. Remain with Major Hope until further need to know.
........ End Urgent Need............

Dressed in the mourning robes of ancient kings, Colonel Reason watched as Ambassador Love, now wearing the uniform of a lowly Colonel, rode East with General Faith by his side. Confused by this sudden turn of events out of his control, the Colonel wondered why someone as influential as Ambassador Love now appeared to be, would volunteer to put his own life in danger for someone who had judged him to be a foolish impostor, lacking in worth and intelligence? This made no sense to such a man of intellectual pride, reason and judgment, as Colonel Reason. Turning to Major Hope, the Colonel quietly asked if the Major could perhaps explain.

“Certainly Colonel, I’m glad you ask. In addition to serving my Country, I’ve served in the Lord's Army all my life. The General and the Ambassador and myself have been best friends, and served beside each other forever. Together, we've embarked on many mysterious and dangerous Missions. Every Mission for which we journey, always begins with four soldiers. They are "A Star and Three Wise Men." But in the end, only one of the four leads the way to accomplish the Mission. That one has always been and always will be, Ambassador Love."

Rubbing his hands across his eyes as if to clear his vision, the Colonel grabbed the Major's arm and spoke through clenched teeth, "Major, I must be more tired than I thought because I've never heard of the Lord's Army, and I thought I knew about every army. Does Commander Light know about this? To be frank, I heard everything you just said, Major, but I don't understand a word of it, and I want some answers soon, or somebody is going to lose their head."

Though Major Hope was in much pain from the tight grip the Colonel had on his arm, he stood tall and straight, and proceeded to do his job as a soldier in the Lord's Army..

"I understand Colonel. If you've never even heard of the Lord's Army how could you possibly understand what I said. But it's okay. You just keep holding on tight to me, your own Major Hope. Let's sit outside under the sky while we wait for new orders. We'll count the stars and make a wish. That will help us focus and put everything in perspective."

While the Colonel glared, the Major smiled as if he knew a secret.

"Oh by the way, Colonel, the answer to your question is, yes. Commander Light knows all about the Lord's Army. He is a prominent member and travels for every Mission. He'll be along soon; probably while we're counting the stars. Commander Light would never think of skipping out on a Mission that involves General Faith and Ambassador Love. Why that's when he shines the brightest. He's really quite amazing to watch. I learn something new everytime he's around. General Faith calls it, "being enlightened." Just relax now Colonel. You'll see. Wow! There's a lot of stars out tonight. We better start counting. Do you have a wish, Colonel Reason?"
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