The national anthem is sung with the low murmur of extra-terrestrial beetles, I feel my head spin. We are explorers on Mars; proud solid men cloud-bursting, wandering and confused by the spin of gravitational waves. A group of kids scurrying in the canyons; here and there we rush into a little skirmish with the local tribes. Five hundred years ago, a Conquistador explorer came here, looking for lost cities. He left a trail of little trinkets. Finders, keepers; losers, weepers. I guess that’s why we are here, really. Treasure.
My father entrusted me with the fate of the nation, as well as sperming-on the dynasty. I am a good soldier, I am. He was an archaeologist, in search of a Faith. He found a silver coin in a needle-cave on a spear-shaped island, and I have admired him ever since for his bravery, tomfoolery and audacity. I have been educated with she-books carrying images of Byronic scenes of battle: the losers and the lost, the Turkish and the Russian, the Persian and the Greek.
The traitorous Alp, a long way away from the twisted city surrounded by walls of water, Herodotus at Thermopylae, and all the rest. In victory, I have found that coal is a long-lost commodity on this side of the diamond-studded sky. In defeat, we empirical soldiers have followed the way of the Little Bighorn. But now I am a winner, a gold-showered recruit in the imperial troops, fresh from days of jubilant massacre.
The undead rebels may be wallowing in the basalt marshes, or rising in the wasteland, weathered in the alkaline dust of native tribes. The curse of the living carries on. I am as tense as violin string, that’s why in fifth grade my school-teacher chose yours truly as an ambassador of the Truth-nation. The eternal monkey stares at me through this thin carbon dioxide atmosphere (sprinkled with argon), and as we trek across the wide craters, the long valleys, the ginormous volcanoes towering, full many an imaginary gem bursts from the crust’s dread mouth.
As recruits, we walk in pairs, in utter silence, almost tip-toeing hand in hand. I am a sailor of the Empire’s Class-Xenophon Frigate, driven by guilt, fear and worthlessness. These are my favorite emotions. Everything I do, everything I own is tinged by the colour of these thinly scraped emotions. My space suit is replete with shame to the brim, my cosmic gait is somewhat slow and immodest at the same time as being irrelevant. Our black uniforms absorb the light of the not-so-distant star; inwardly we decry imperial meritocracy and corruption. But then we slither on, lacking the humour to complete this morning’s walkies, an unremarkable task unsuited for us superior centaurs of unremarkable prowess.