[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein's truest attempt at fiction. Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar - a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]
November 17, 1943
To My Beloved Betty,
As I write to you I sit aboard a vessel that, despite being a giant in its own right, is dwarfed by the mammoth that is the Pacific. If it weren’t starting to turn crimson with the blood of good, honest (and not so honest) men, I’d swear this ocean is the embodiment of God himself.
All of the supposed comforts provided by this battleship are revealed as mere feats of human ingenuity – designs of imperfect and selfish beings – when one understands the magnificence of its supporting body of water. I spend a lot of time on deck, staring out into its vastness, wondering how it is that I’ve ever managed to feel important.
The ocean is natural and timeless. Humanity’s current path seems to be anything but.
However, when I think of you and the love you’ve given me I can’t help but remember why it is that I continue. In the long term, I truly believe that we — people, human beings, civilization — will be but a flash in the pan. With that being said, there’s no reason to settle for less during our moment.
In reality, I believe that mankind’s finite nature only reinforces the need to strive for perfection; we will not be around forever and therefore apathy is absolutely unacceptable. Instead, we must resist evil, seize opportunity, help those who cannot help themselves, and recognize the value of kinship, joy, and love.
From what I’ve been told (which, admittedly, isn’t too much at all) we are only a few days away from seeing some real action. We are planning to invade Tarawa, a coral island that the Japs are occupying. Halfway between Hawaii and the Philippines, Tarawa is an ideal site of operation for this theatre. So it looks like we’re going to go in there and raise hell.
As you know, I’ve been waiting nearly two years for this very moment. Seeing the newsreel of paradise being blown to smithereens is something that still haunts my dreams. That day will live in infamy not just because FDR told me it would and not just because it claimed my brother Pete, but because the American Dream was impeded upon.
I truly believe that at its best our country represents an optimism and sense of possibility unlike any other. And I cannot, in good conscience, simply stand by as that small bit of hope and freedom, the resistance to predetermined failure, is bombed into oblivion. It is with this frame of mind that I prepare myself for the oncoming battle. I am fully prepared to sacrifice my life if it means that others will be able to pursue those few hidden paths of fulfillment.
…I just re-read what I’ve written, and I hope it hasn’t come off as too foreboding. It’s probably just the beer talking — we got our hands on what is believed to be the last case and made sure to savor every drop. Anyways, I love you Betty. You are the light of my life and I eagerly await my return home to you (and that special little thing you do with your elbows).
Take care of Reilly for me.
All the love in the world,
PS — James Manning & Clark Millar send their regards.