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Letter #6

Hi Cath,

Now, don't get all huffy on me because I haven't written for the past month. It's not just an excuse when I say I was busy – I was really busy. I wasn't even near a mail courier for most of the time, so it wouldn't have mattered how many letters I wrote.

Remember we came down here to find out what we could about what Scar and Miles told us, about Aerugo arms supplies coming in by the southern desert route. Breda and I teamed up, and Falman and Fuery, and we went on scouting missions to see what we could find out. A couple of Ishvallans came along with each team, and we visited as many little refugee settlements as we could. That's where the malcontents are going to be, if they're anywhere.

Mustang gave me a long, hard look when he was giving us our assignments one night. I think he was wondering if my stiff back was going to cause me problems. But it's been feeling a lot better lately – or it was till I started sleeping on the ground on just a thin blanket on this mission – and anyway, I'm not going to let it stop me from doing what I need to do. I'm either back on the team and pulling my weight, or I should get out. And I don't plan on getting out. So I stared back and didn't say anything, and he didn't mention it. He was wearing those glasses, and I think he knew I'd start talking about how well he was doing his job when he was half-blind at night. (And yes, that's an exaggeration.)

It's always kind of fun to argue with the Colonel, you know. We can let fly, and none of us ever takes anything too personally. We know he's always got our backs (especially mine), and we've always got his. When you know that, everything else is just small stuff.

Anyway, Breda and I did find out about a kind of loose network of people who are still not happy, and looking for trouble. We managed to dig up a few names, but nobody would talk to us much. Back home, I normally manage to get info by scruffing up a bit and hanging out in a local tavern, and getting into conversations. But they don't go in for taverns here much. That's when you know you're in a foreign country. How can anyone live without some kind of tavern where guys get together for a cool one now and then? You can't spend all your time at the temple. I couldn't, anyway.

We only found one weapons cache, and Falman and Fuery dug up a couple. We could see right away that they were second rate weapons, and wouldn't be any sort of match even for our everyday weapons. If these Ishvallans think they're getting real help from Aerugo, they'll be in for a big surprise if they ever try to use these against us. I think Aerugo is just hoping to cause trouble for us. They couldn't care less about Ishval.

Anyway, we got as much information about the main people as we could dig up. And Mustang and Hawkeye agreed with our assessment of the situation, when we all got back and presented our findings. In fact, the Colonel has a great idea about how to start countering whatever minor plotting is going on. He's already sent for as much building material and construction personnel as we can spare from up north. We had scheduled some rebuilding projects to start down here soon anyway, but he's really stepping them up.

And what he's decided is that whenever it's possible, the first new houses will go to the families of the people who are plotting. I mean, we won't do that if other people need homes even more than they do. But just when we can.

We all know people who are angry, who will take whatever they can from you, and still plot against you even if you're trying to help them. We know some of these guys will be like that. But if they've got wives and brothers and sisters and kids who start enjoying having a good roof over their heads again, and having a little security and prosperity, those are the people who will put a stop to whatever their husbands or fathers or brothers are plotting. Most of them, anyway.

Kind of like that kid with the burns. We see him and his dad in the marketplace when we go there, and you can tell the dad still doesn't like us. I mean, would you find it easy to let go, if someone had done that to your kid? I understand why he feels that way. But the kid doesn't want him to do anything to retaliate, so he's trying his hardest. He's not going to do anything that upsets that boy of his, if he can help it.

Mustang has been meeting with as many elders and village leaders as he can get to talk with him. We haven't seen too many from farther south coming up to see him while he's here, and the whole group may go to some of them instead, before we head back north. But the boss is good at listening to what the locals think is the highest priority, and then planning around that. Once or twice, he's overruled what they want, but only after explaining how it relates to the larger picture. So far, they seem to be satisfied with that.

I think we'll be heading back north soon. And by the way, Cath, you might be wondering why I'm telling you as much as I am about what we're doing. It's partly because we're trying to be as open as we can, so nobody can accuse us of having a hidden agenda. But it's also because I know the couriers available to us, as Mustang's people, are very secure. And I want you to have a record. Just in case. We're still in Ishval, and not everyone likes us. So you know, I just want it written down somewhere, in case.

Love you,

(Letter 7)

Date: 2012-02-20 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] havocmangawip.livejournal.com
There will be something much more coherent later. This is really really amazing.

I smiled at Havoc's thoughts on Tavern's. One of my favorite things to write is HavocxBeerxBreda = Bromance

Well, maybe I just like beer? In a bottle? There's something quite excellent about it.

The depth here, the strategy... I am in awe. This is the kind of thing I love to read and try to write. It's all so very real.

Mustang and Havoc injuries infighting has the potential to be amazing and also hilarious, because I can just imagine Jean playing that card with no reservations about it.

"It's always kind of fun to argue with the Colonel, you know. We can let fly, and none of us ever takes anything too personally. We know he's always got our backs (especially mine), and we've always got his. When you know that, everything else is just small stuff." Loved this part so much...

Date: 2012-02-20 01:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kashiwrites.livejournal.com
Awww, glad you're liking it so far. I don't think it's going to be more than three or four more letters (though you never know), but I'm really enjoying doing things from Havoc's viewpoint for a change.

I agree with you, that he didn't get nearly the attention or action he deserved along the way. But of course, he wasn't one of the primary characters, and Arakawa went way over the originally projected number of manga volumes as it was.

So I guess it's up to the rest of us to fill in the gaps, isn't it? :D


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May 2012

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