enough and healthy enough that’s left here and train them for a last ditch defensive battle.”
Linda interrupted him, “Let me get this straight: you plan to leave the women and children and elderly here to fight against the men that will have defeated you?”
Adrian looked at her for a moment, noting that her face was turning pink and there was fire coming from her eyes. He said, “No, that’s not the total plan. The plan is that the women and children and old folks will evacuate to someplace miles away. Part of that plan is to create a fighting force of the able-bodied women and older children to fight a rear guard action, if necessary, to protect the evacuation point. To protect them in their new and hidden location. It’s either that, or they keep running, and that won’t work; by definition, they won’t be a group that can travel and survive because of the number of very young, very old, and the infirm. Whether you’ll be able to come back here someday or have to start over somewhere else is anybody’s guess. It’s the best safety valve I can think of. The reason I asked for your advice is that I’m hoping that you three can come up with a better plan.”
The four sat in silence for several minutes. Then Linda said, “That plan stinks, but I’ll be damned if I can think of a better one…for now. Roman, Sarah, got any better ideas?”
Sarah said, “Unfortunately, no.”
Roman shook his head silently with a grim expression.
Adrian waited a minute and then said, “All right, then, until a better plan comes along, we’ll need to get started on this one.” Patton said, “‘A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.’ I fully believe that. My idea is that Sarah will lead the villagers to the remote location. I think it best if none of the men that are going out to fight know where that location is. Then, if they’re captured and tortured, they can’t give it up. Linda, I believe you’re the best choice to lead the rear guard fighters. I don’t know you all that well, but what I have seen leads me to believe you’re mentally and physically tough enough for it. You two willing to take these jobs on?”
Sarah said, “I’ll get started today, talking to the people I know won’t be going out. There is a pecan orchard—”
“Hush!” Adrian said quickly, interrupting her. “I don’t want to know where it is, either. I don’t believe any man can stand up to torture if the person doing the torture is skilled. I’ve seen a few instances of that.”
Sarah replied, “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking. Anyway, I know of a good enough place—it’s quite a ways away from here and not likely to be found.”
Linda impatiently said, “I can shoot and usually hit what I aim at, but I don’t know anything about fighting tactics. I’m a farmer. I’ve never been in a gunfight of any kind. Never shot at a man before. I don’t know anything about leading a combat team. Surely one of your Army buddies would be much better?”
Adrian looked into her eyes. “Any rational person would have your doubts. If I left one of the men to lead you ladies into combat, I am afraid he would be too conservative, too unwilling to risk women’s lives. It’s a cultural failure we have in this country, men are over-protective of women. It goes against a man’s grain to put women into harm’s way. A woman, on the other hand, won’t have those un-natural ideas about leading women. A woman leader will be more objective, even clinical, in doing what has to be done using other women.
“I also believe that women will trust a woman leader more readily than they will a man. Besides that, just about everyone else has attachments to the people that will be left in the village, and that will hamper their thinking. You have only your son here, and I think that enhances your ability to think clearly. You won’t be hampered in the way others would. The main thing a leader has to be able to
David Levithan, Rachel Cohn