Photographs in Words 25 – Commandant

15:00 hours.
Lugash Military Forces Central Garrison. Red Alarm. All leave is cancelled. At 04:00 hours, in four columns, the counter revolutionaries are going to march to the centre to capture the flag. Commandant Leruk is charged with defending the main flag. Arms are handed out to the corps. Leruk has his written orders.

Lugash Military Forces recognize only the rank of commandant: it is stipulated that every soldier, including privates, is the commandant of at least one other soldier; privates are also ranked as commandants based on length of service and other seniority factors. For the Lugash Military Forces, the private at the very bottom of the hierarchy is accepted as an exception.

There are no ranks in uniforms. Each and every commandant is expected to tell there and then who has more seniority and act accordingly. However, Commandant Leruk once shouted at another commandant (Lek), saying, “How disrespectful of you. Stand at attention!”, before realising that Lek and not himself was the commandant. On another occasion, a commandant (Lergu) less senior than Leruk ordered him to stand at attention. Before the situation was clarified, Lergu and Leruk had sworn at, kicked and bitten each other.

23:00 hours.
The tanks quietly lay siege to the center. Leruk is pacing up and down the long corridor of the garrison.

In the commandership rooms on each side of the corridor, commandants are playing card games at tables in groups of four. Commandant Moustache (does not comply with any written or oral “no moustache!” order), Commandant the Lion Hearted Softie (every commandant’s trouble also instantly troubles him), Commandant Eleven to Twelve (starts describing recipes an hour before every lunch) and Commandant Who Is That (when drunk dials wrong numbers instead of his girl friend’s number to declare his love – once he rang the Commandant-in-Chief) are among the players.

00:00 hours.
The commandants lie on the floor in their uniforms, ready to get up at precisely 04:00. Leruk is lyıng in the same room as Lek and Lergu, the former on his right, the latter on his left. They are charged with defending the other flags. Leruk has the written orders in his pocket. What if the crowd does not pay any attention to the “Stop!” order? What if they are not armed? The written orders just say “Fire!”. Leruk finally resolves not to obey the order. However, no sooner has he started opening up to Lek and Lergu, than they both say, “If I get the chance to confront one of them, I’ll shoot him myself.” Furthermore, it is well known that Lek, when angry with his own soldiers during the Magneton War, fired on them. Both Lek and Lergu have also had command disagreements with Leruk in the past. So they might say, “There he is, the counter revolutionary, right in front of us!” and shoot him.

04:00 hours.
The Red Alarm is cancelled. No marching to the centre. Why was this alarm given?

It was to be discovered later that two separate commandant organizations, totally unbeknown to each other (Lek belonged to one, Lergu to the other), had given the same alarm, at the same time, using the same pretext, while rehearsing for the seizure of power.

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