Originally published in Remote Control 18
My Enemy, My Friend
A strange…alliance…for lack of a better word, exists between us, Sergeant Troy. A kinship, of sorts. The first time I looked across the field of battle, meeting your eyes in an instant of chance, I recognized it.
American; German. Sergeant; officer. We are so similar, yet so very different in our backgrounds – and in what we fight for. Yet, in another world, another time, would we be friends? Would we be enemies? Or would we be as we are now – in a limbo somewhere between the two?
The word ‘enemy’ feels wrong when I apply it to you. ‘Adversary’ feels more appropriate somehow. It has a nobler connotation.
If circumstances were to warrant I could – I would – kill you. Yet I would regret it until my dying day. But if duty – and honor – required it, I would do what was necessary. And I know you would do the same were you to find me in your sights. Neither of us could do any less and still remain true to our inner selves. Yet…would it be like killing a part of myself? I hope the time never comes that I would find out.
You are a worthy opponent, Sergeant. Wily, imaginative, adaptable; working – dare I call them miracles? – with four men and two jeeps. Pulling off – to use your colorful American vernacular – missions that that should prove to be impossible with a larger force – yet you and your men accomplish them with ridiculous ease. Time after time, thwarting my operations, often making me look like a fool. Causing me to face the opprobrium of my superiors far too often.
Why do I sit here, then, complimenting the bane of my existence?
Perhaps because I recognize a singular talent which transcends nationality, ideology, or alliance. The epitome of the resourceful American spirit.
One day, this war will be over. Perhaps then, if we both survive, we will meet. And perhaps today’s enemy can become tomorrow’s friend.