From the Story Arc: Scholar, Soldier, Superhero

Next Story in the Arc: Shooting the Messenger by Crimson Tao (Monday, August 15, 2005)

(posted Thursday, July 21, 2005)

Seating himself at his recently acquired desk, Crimson Tao drew a brush and began stroking the familiar symbols he had been envisioning for years. Perhaps this would be accomplished faster using a computer, but Tao was not ready for such technological encumbrances. He understood the need for these silicon warriors in military operations, and even in the day to day lives of the masses. But only a brush could truly convey what the captain had wanted to say for many years.

The Balance of Warfare, A Treatise on Combat by Sun Kai

The calligraphy dripped from his brush as he reminisced on the words he had given to his lieutenants and soldiers, preparing their minds and souls for war.

“In war, as in peace, all things must be in balance.

The first balance is between the Army and the State.

The ultimate responsibility is to the People. When the Army betrays the ideals of the People, the State must reform the Army. When the State betrays the ideals of the People, the Army must reform the State. Thus the People must agitate for this reform when a harmonious balance is not in place.”

Tao smiled stiffly. Was it because of this principle that he had been exiled to this capitalist wasteland? Was he here to reform or be reformed?

“The second balance is between the Commander and the Soldier.

The Commander must plan his strategy wisely. The Soldier must execute his orders faithfully. When the Commander is foolish in his plans, or when the Soldier is unfaithful in his duties, the Army falls into disarray. When the Commander distrusts the Soldier to act loyally, or when the Soldier distrusts the Commander to act with wisdom, the Army falls into the hands of the enemy. If both actions and trust are in balance, the Army will achieve objectives far beyond its reach.”

Dipping into the inkstone, Tao reflected on the tragedies that had solidified his belief in this balance. Ambushed by their supposed allies, the New Fourth Army was overwhelmed by Kuomintang forces. An imbalance of trust and action. An imbalance that had shattered the Army.

“The third balance is between the Soldier and the Soul.”

Here, the words bled out, and the brush was returned to its resting place.

Tao whispered to the empty room, “These words are not ready to be written.” Knotting his mask tightly, the captain set out once more to discipline the counter-revolutionaries… and to search for his missing words.