“Sure’n they look like the picture o’ military precision when you light a fire under them,” Dunbar commented to Kurga. He was standing looking aft as Emmit’s tank towed them away from the camp, out of the rocky defile and up into the deep sand and the ever present wind.
“Are we leaving too soon, Mr. Dunbar? I feel as though some effort should have been made to find Ch’Voga,” Kurga said to him.
“To find his husk, y’mean.”
“Pour obtenir nous-mêmes bu!” Justine called from the rigging overhead.
“Aye! There’s the right of it. ‘Nother day in that cursed place would’a been one day too many. Count’cher self lucky to be seein’ it in our wake.”
“But the patrol only found the husk of the lizard he was with. How do we know he did not escape?”
“Because, mon ami,” Jacques said, “he did not return. There is nowhere else for him to go. Alive he may yet be, les buveurs are sometimes known to keep a victim alive… for a while.”
“Food keeps better on the hoof,” Dunbar chuckled, or shivered, it was hard to tell in his metal suit.
“Oui, but if he were free, he would surely choose to be with us.”
“So we just abandon him?”
“Aye, we do. And save our own asses in da bargain!”
“Cheer up, messieurs! Your friend finally got what he wanted.”
“Oui, he has become a martyr.”
As the crew of the catamaran laughed at the captain’s joke, Kurga couldn’t help but remember Ch’Voga’s words, “Do you know, Captain, the original meaning of the word ‘martyr’?”
“I confess I do not.”
“It meant, ‘witness’. He wasn’t afraid to die but I think he wanted his death to mean something.”
“I’ll tell ye what his death meant,” Dunbar said, “It meant we spent far too long in that bloody place!” A look was exchanged between the metal man and the captain. It was not a friendly look.
“Capitaine, une explosion dans le camp!” Justine called from the mast. The sound reached them then. All eyes turned aft to see one of the trailers of Camp Temporary disappearing beneath a black cloud.
“Well, mon ami,” Captain Jacques said, “I shall honor his death with a bottle of pinot noir when we arrive in Jabip. For it would seem his sacrifice came, pas trop tôt. In the nick of time.”