Entry 38 – Southeast Bound
As we headed south-east, the green of the live-giving sea quickly gave way to a rocky desert landscape of sharp-edged cliffs, boulders, and sand. We had to bypass Tunisia, which meant a detour of hundreds of miles through some of the most hostile desert imaginable.
I took a quick sip from my canteen, observing the bleak surroundings from the hatch of my Jaguar. It only took several hours to sort the supplies received from the American ship and a few more to set us on our way. Gail was constantly finding excuses to work alongside me the whole day and the hours passed really quickly – what do you know, Einstein was right, time is relative. Her Puma passed alongside my vehicle and I waved at it, sure that she was observing me through her machine’s optics. And, surely enough, the gun quickly waved up and down. I love when I am right.
Our escorts were nowhere near as friendly though. It seems that hating mercenaries... sorry, ‘private security forces’, is a trait common to all soldiers no matter what culture they come from. Having been a soldier myself, I didn’t blame them – it’s always more honorable to fight for your country and your loved ones back home. But honor doesn’t keep you fed, nor does it warm you at night. In short, we at Perihelion were all at peace with our lot in life and a couple of grumpy troopers just couldn’t make us feel bad about the choices we made. One thing I noticed, though, was how well the Algerian paintjob blended in. The tone was almost perfectly concealing even the heavy vehicles and I, for one, felt a ting of envy. Too bad we didn’t have the time to re-paint our own machines.
But make no mistake, none of us wanted to be there. We all heard terrible things about Libya and for once I was inclined to believe them. We’ve seen what terrible strife did to Spain and we knew this was ten times worse. The country’s been defunct for a very long time and it didn’t look like that was about to change.
Our escorts turned back half-way. This wasn’t what was agreed upon but after a quick session with Ferguson who was always in touch via a satellite connection, we decided to let it go. It was far more dangerous to press the issue as we all felt they’d turn on us the moment it became convenient and I, for one, had no intention of staying in this God-forsaken place forever.
One thing I must admit though. Nights in Sahara are amazing. Without the light pollution ever-present in the West, the sky, riveted with stars, shines like a belt of diamond against the pitch-black dunes. But there is darkness in the desert, far deeper than any rays of starlight can reach – a darkness that seeps into the hearts of men, making them do insane things. That was something I was about to learn the hard way.