Sun Tzu said: Strategy is the Great Work of the Organization.
We are looking up at the map of Paris projected onto the wall. Red triangles mark our planned targets. We have plotted the probable response of the French police and military. We have watched and waited and planned for eight years. We know our enemy as well as we know ourselves. It is time.
The men around me, they believe that in doing this we bring great glory to God. The war against the heathens, the infidels, this is the Greatest Work. Those that disrespect holiness must be punished. We are the Scourge of God. We will bring His Will to bear.
I focus on dismantling my weapon. The smooth, cold metal beneath my fingers keeps me in the moment. The oiled mechanisms assist in the sureness of my movements. In seconds I am reassembling the firearm. The soft clicks of metal upon metal are reassuring. I am doing the right thing.
Sun Tzu said: Attack when the opponent is unprepared.
In one fluid motion, I chamber the first round and fire a burst at our Glorious Leader. The bullets tear through him, his eyes and mouth open wide with surprise. I quickly fire a second burst at our Second-in-Command. He tries to react and dive behind a crate, but all three of my rounds catch him in the side. Even if he survives, it will not be for long.
The first rounds of return fire fly through the air as I slip behind a post. I fire more three-round bursts at my comrades, hitting two more who were caught in the open. My clip is half-empty. The other people in the room are now behind cover, returning fire. Two more arrive in seconds. Bullets tear through my left leg and my right arm. Concrete shards pierce through my body as the post I am behind is shredded by gunfire.
Sun Tzu said: Much computation brings triumph.
I computed that I could kill our Glorious Leader, our Second-in-Command, our Intelligence Officer and at least two more. I have exceeded my calculated kill count by two, but our Intelligence Officer was not present. I still claim victory.
The trigger of my gun now brings only clicks. The clip is empty. I drop it and pull out my pistol. I manage to empty three bullets into the chest of the man I stood watch with last night before I felt my back burst.
It was a good death. I had planned to fight with these men as a mercenary, for money. Then my sister was killed in the line of duty as she responded to the attack we made on the offices of that satirical magazine.
I was always the black sheep of my family. She was the good one, never thinking of herself. She pulled me out of many bad situations. I owed her this. I give my life in this war, but not to the side that I had expected.
I achieve in death that which eluded me in life. Redemption. Peace.
This post is a response to the Daily Prompt of January 10, 2015, which was first posted on January 5, 2013. The first line of this post is the first sentence of The Art of War, by Sun Tzu. The theme of the post is influenced by the Paris shootings that occurred recently. I am not Charlie, but I do not believe that the attacks had anything to do with religion.