The arendt files, p.36
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       The Arendt Files, p.36

           Ivan Rosemblatt
Arendt stood alone on the prow of the battleship looking out onto the vaste, dark blue ocean. A light spray from the choppy sea below rose hitting her face bringing with it its briny smell. The mass of grey painted metal gave way gently below her feet. To starboard the gulf coast shoreline was a hazy line almost dissipated in the liquid air. She took a deep breath and allowed herself a slight smile. She couldn't tell whether it was her fear of hubris, developed through endless reading of the greeks, or plain superstition that kept her elation in check. She knew that she didn't want to tempt the fates, or god, or history, or any power that might take issue with expressions of vanity or pride on her part. “One battle doesn't win a war, no matter how daring.” Still the whole operation had been a staggering success. After years of marshaling their forces, maneuvering for survival,l they were ready to bring the war to them, take the initiative. She was confident history would would mark it as the beginning, the moment when the resistance became the army, when the nation re-engaged the enemy.

  There had even been a touch of luck, most of their sailors had been on shore leave. Those left behind fought for a short while but were quickly overrun by a force that appeared as if out of nowhere and advanced relentlessly, without fear, rifles held high, moving in teams of three to specified positions, making quick work of any resistance along the way. The pragmatists amongst them jumped overboard to escape capture. Once they secured a ship each soldier manned their stations, a highly trained skeleton crew putting all of their skills to the test, rushing to cast off as quickly as possessive.

  Once released from land they unleashed the fleets artillery on the naval base itself. The munitions warehouse went up in a massive fireball seen for hundreds of miles. The twelve ships under their control accounted for less than five percent of the German Navy but after sinking the ships they couldn't man they had taken half of the Pacific fleet from them. They had some time, some breathing room.

  Otherwise they had spent their last two days on the Gulf Coast working furiously, loading and unloading troops and civilians, almost 10,000 refugees in all, men, women, and children, freed person's, whole towns of resistance fighters. Each had made their way to the rendezvous points along the Atlantic coast where they had been scooped up and brought on board. Now with the addition of the sailors brought in from Mexico their fleet was well manned. A third of the freed men and women had chosen to stay on board and were being trained as sailors, woken up at dawn, shouted at and corrected mercilessly throughout the day. She felt bad that they had almost no time to celebrate their liberation but it was their choice. There has never been a victorious army in the world that had coddled its new recruits. She wished she could have been there though, to see it, more so she wished they had the equipment and resources to film it for posterity.

  Nazi trucks pulling up plantation roads, black soldiers in green infantry fatigues streaming out of the back, taking over. Freed men and women ran in from distant fields as word spread like wildfire and embraced their liberators, their brethren, tears streaming down their faces. Each was greeted with with warmth and a gun or a rifle and directions of where to go and what to do next. All the owner families were executed on the spot as were the staff. Some were spared when this or that former slave interceded on their behalf, explained quickly why they should be allowed to live. All this in a matter of minutes.

  Rows of cars and trucks pulled in from the towns that had provided support and cover for the operation. Everyone packed in together, laughing, smiling, shaking hands, embracing. And finally the caravan out to the ocean, waving the stars and stripes hanging out of open windows, singing the national anthem, honking their horns non stop along the road, people rushing out of their homes staring wide eyed at the spectacle. They had encountered patrols along the way, lost people, but the enemy was quickly overwhelmed, everyone wanted nothing more than to go straight at them with no fear for life and limb.

  She looked back in the direction of land and thought of all the changes and disruptions that about to be visited on the utopia of warriors. Nothing is more disruptive to the highly disciplined ranks of a military society than the arrival of civilians with their chaotic opinions, their needs and desires and personal concerns. There would be the added pressure of racial tensions as soldiers integrated into a unified chain of command. Their homogeneous isolation was now ended, as was their autonomy. They were now firmly back in the regular army, under orders, at least she hoped so. It is what they had discussed in excruciating detail. She and Robeson had quickly promoted a large proportion of their soldiers to ensure they had firm ground to stand on, protection from possible marginalization. “Paul will have his hands full. I don't envy him at all.”

  Her arrival at the head of their ragtag transport fleet of fishing boats and skiffs had been greeted by a seventeen gun salute (she had been awarded the rank of Admiral by central command). The sideboys ushered her up under the boatswains watchful eye with all appropriate ruffles and flourishes. She had been greeted by the officer of the watch after making her way through the two rows of sailors, salutes held all the way through. She had relieved Mabel of her brief command with proper ceremony, “I relieve you Maam” and “I stand relieved”. She had wanted to make sure the career admirals she brought with her to take over the day to day administration of the fleet knew she had no intention of breaking Naval tradition or reforming the military. This was no revolution, just war.

  She noticed Mabel approaching from a distance. She stopped ten feet away and saluted.

  “You requested me Admiral.”

  “Yes. Please act normal. Call me Hannahh. I can't keep up these military appearances twenty four hours a day.”

  “As you wish.”


  “Yes please. Jaspar gives me nothing but grief about it. Tells me it is unbecoming.”

  They both had to work to shield the flame of the lighter from the wind with their hands. Finally they both stood back and smoked.

  Mabel spoke first “Well that was more trouble than I expected.”

  “Yes, indeed. I'm sure the sailors are laughing at it. Their must be some simple way to light a cigarette in the wind we are unaware of.”

  “I suppose so. Everyone is an expert in some bullshit.”

  “Just so. Congratulations again Mable. It was quite a success.”

  “Thank you General. It's a good start I hope.”

  “There are some things we need to discuss.”

  “Of course.”

  “You executed twenty one of your own people in the last year.”

  “That's correct General. I believe I sent you reports on each of those.”

  “Yes, read the reports. They would stand up well in court yet the offenses seemed minor.”

  “You put me in charge of the mission.”

  “I did, under Mr. Robeson's counsel.”

  “The expectation would be for you to be promoted after a victory like this but I am unsure.”

  “I chose to take my casualties before the battle. Any mistake could have meant our doom, the loss of some of our best soldiers. It was a risk I was willing to do whatever was necessary to prevent that. People are naturally sloppy, loose. Especially what a woman is in charge, a black woman at that.”

  “We are already treading on dangerous territory ethically when we deal with collaborator's. We must hold to higher standards amongst ourselves. We can't allow our desire for power to seep into the organization.”

  “I'm sorry if you feel morally ambiguous as to your own policy. I however am quite clear. Those of us who stand for the liberation of working people around the world will do whatever it takes.”

  “The ambiguity is important, crucial even. I think you could do with a heavy dose of it Mabal.”

  “Yes General, a heavy dose of ambiguity it is.” Mabel held Arendt's silent stare defiantly

  “The Mormon operative, he was supposed to be here.”

  "He left in the middle of the fight.”

  “You were under orders to br
ing him here to me.”

  “As I said”

  “You sent him on a side mission, an execution.”

  “Yes General I did.”

  “Those were not your order's.”

  “No General.”

  “As a proponent of revolutionary discipline it seems you favor convenience.”

  “There was a Nazi who needed to be killed. The Goy was the man for the job.”

  “The Goy?”

  “The Mormon soldier, that's what they called him.”

  “How absurd, who comes up with such things?. In any case discipline is disciple. Unless you feel you answer to some other chain of command.”

  “No Maam.”

  “You are far too comfortable deciding who deserves to die.”

  “Judge me all you want. This one needed to go.”

  “If you kill a our soldier's without consulting with your second officer or if I feel that you have crossed the line in any way I will stripped of your command and have you prosecuted for war crimes and insubordination. Understood?”

  Mabel nodded. Arendt was pacing back and forth in front of her arms clasped behind her back. “And where is John

  "He chose to lead and coordinate from the plantation. There was no way for him to make it back to us in time. His plan was to join our forces in Appalachia. Perhaps you have heard, one of the men from your or Jewish front has made remarkable progress in organizing up there."

  "We will need to stop addressing ourselves to these splinter groups, in particular the religious ones.. From now on we are simply the United States Armed Forces."

  “I wouldn't be concerned about this group. They are fully on board, they made contact with us requesting orders.”

  “To continue harassing the enemy until further notice.”


  “We will have to try to get him back. I need him here with me, but it will have to wait. We have a great deal of ocean to cover.”

  “Where are we headed?”


  “Argentina? What the hell for?”

  “It seems there has been a breakthrough down there of some kind. We will need to see for ourselves. I am told it might change everything.”

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