And call each man by his name and his father's line, show them all respect. Not too proud now.
We should be the ones doing the work.
On our backs, from the day we were born,
It seems that Zeus has piled on the hardships."
With his order clear, he sent his brother off while he went after Nestor, the old commander.
He found him beside his black ship and shelter, stretched on a polyurethane mat, his weapons at hand, his CGL and AK-47 as well as his helmet.
His utility belt lay beside him, the leather dried and cracked.
The old man clinched it on whenever he'd harness up, marching his to war where fighters die
Nestor gave no ground to withering old age.
He propped himself on an elbow and craned his head and probed sharply, whispering through the dark,
Who's there? Who's sneaking along the ships, alone through the camp in the dead of night when we're trying to sleep.
Trying to get a wireless signal or looking for someone? Say something!
Don't sneak around in silence any more - what do you want?"
The lord of men Agamemnon reassured him:
"Nestor, son of Neleus, pride of Achaea, don't you recognize Agamemnon? The one man, above all others, that Zeus has caused so much trouble year in, year out, for as long as the life breath fills my lungs and the spring in my knees lifts me,
I'm out walking around because I can't sleep
I'm worried about the war, about the agonies of the Achaeans.
A fear the worst for our comrades!
My mind is torn, I'm sweating bullets, my heart is pounding through my chest and my legs are wobbly.
But if you want action now you can't sleep either, it seems come, let's go down to the sentry line and see if number with exhaustion and lack of sleep they've nodded off, all sense of duty out of their minds, the watch done.
Our blood enemies are camping nearby. How do we know they're not about to attack us in the night?"
And the old commander liked the sound of this challenge:
Great marshal Atrides, lord of men
Hector and his high hopes? No way.
Zeus' plans will never bring them to fruition, those dreams of glory inspiring Hector now.
Oh, I think he'll have his problems to shoulder, and plenty of them, if Achilles ever grows a set and sucks up that anger deep inside him.
Follow you? Surely. Let's wake others also,
Diomedes is a killer shot with a CGL, Odysseus, quick Little Ajax and Phyleus' brave son.
And if one would go and call the rest, giant Ajax strong as a bull and King Idomeneus they're not close, their ships at the far end of the line.
Bu I will blame Menelaus, as great a guy as he is, even if you get pissed off at me - I must, can't hold back. How does he even sleep?
He has you do all the work.
Now's the time for him to get off his ass, to e-mail the leading captains and beg them all for help.
We're in tough - we can't hold out much longer."
Agamemnon replied, "You're right, Nestor,
I'd expect you to be mad at him any other day.
So often he just hangs back with no heart for the work, not that he shrinks from action, skittish or off guard but he looks to me, waiting for me to make the first move. This time, though, he woke up before I did and came to me first and I sent him off the call the men you're after.
So let's move out, overtake the rest at the gates, with the sentries where I ordered them to group."
Nestor was down with that:
True, when the man steps up like that no one can blame or disobey him, no Achaean, not when he spurs the troops and gives commands."
With that he slipped a black T-shirt over his chest, put on his time-beaten army boots, snapped up his leather jacket, torn, restitched and torn again, and gripping a CGL with an extended range barrel, he walked along the ships of the Argives armed in steel.
And reaching Odysseus first, a mastermind like Zeus, the old commander roused him from sleep, shouting out,
Wake up!" The cry went through his ears and out of his tent he came, shouting in return,
What the hell? Why prowling along the ships and camp, you along in this bracing, godless night what's the crisis now? Where's the fire?"
To which Nestor replied,
Son of Laertes, Odysseus, great tactician, no time to be bitter now we're all suffering a lot here.
Follow us, come, so we can wake the next man, some captain fit to map our strategy here, whether we cut and run or whether we stand and fight."
Backing into his tent, the great tactician slung his bulletproof armor over his back and joined the party striding toward the son of Tydeus, Diomedes,.
They found him passed out with his gear outside his shelter, buddies sleeping nearby, jackets beneath their heads,
CGLs standing nearby on a rack on their butt ends the shiny barrels flashing into the distance like the forked lightning seen every other lunar cycle over Troy.
But the veteran fighter lay there fast asleep, his 600-year-old Turkmen carpet spread beneath him, blanket fragment stretched beneath his head old Nestor moved in and woke him roughly, dug a heel in his ribs, talking smack to his face,
Up with you, Diomedes! What, sleep all night?
Haven't you heard? Trojans hold the high ground, over the beachhead there, camped against the ships only a narrow strip of land between us and certain death."
So he prodded and Diomedes woke from sleep with a rippin' hangover and a burst of foul epithets:
You're an *****, old man - a real prick.
You never give up the self-righteousness, do you?
Where are the younger soldiers when we need them?
Why don't they go wake each king in turn walking up and down through the camp?
You, old fart, you'd overpower us all!"
And Nestor the grizzled biker answered warmly,
Right you are, and straight to the point.
I've got sons of my own - hardy, handsome boys, and friends, too, lots of men - any one of them could go out now and summon the kings.
But a crisis has overwhelmed our armies.
Our fate, I swear, it stands on a razor's edge:
life or death for Achaea, and a gruesome death at that.
So get off your ass! Go wake up Little Ajax and Meges, too.
You're so much younger - come on, cut an old man a break."
And on his back Diomedes put on his carbonfiber coat, loose-fitting hand-me down, grabbed his CGL and walked away and woke up those men to leave their beds and march.
And now as they filed among the mustered guard they found the chief sentries were far from sleep they were on the alert, ready and set with weapons.
Like sentrybots keeping watch on the precious livestock, nervous, bristling watch when the bots detect poacher sneaking down across the desolate scrubland, stealing towards the pens, and the cries break as he charges, the noise of men and alarms, and their sleep is broken, gone so the welcome sleep was taken from them, the guardsmen trying to keep watch that night.
Always turning toward the plain, tense, to catch some sign of Trojans launching an attack.
The old biker warmed to the sight and cheered them on with these words:
Keep it up, my boys, that's the way to watch!
Nobody fall asleep you'd give great joy to the men who'd take our lives."
With that the biker clambered through the trench.
They took the old captain's lead, the Argive kings all called to the muster now. And flanking them Meriones came quickly with Nestor's handsome son the kings had summoned both to share their counsel.
Crossing out over the deep trench they grouped on open ground, where they found a sector free and clear of corpses. In fact the very place where Hector in all his power had wimped out from cutting Argives down when the night closed in.
There they settled, conferring among themselves til the grizzled biker opened with his plan:
My friends, isn't there one man here, confident of himself and his nerve, he'd infiltrate these overreaching Trojans?
Perhaps he'd seize a straggler among the foe or catch some rumor floating among their lines.
What plans are they hatching, what maneuvers come next?
Are they bent on holding tight by the ships, exposed?
A or heading home to Troy, now that they've trounced our armies?
If a man could gather that info, then make it back unharmed, why, his reputation would spread across Aquarius, and in the eyes of every man…