Letters from a Black Angel
From the Pen of One Legend to the Door of Another...
“I preserve these select notes, and innumerable others, as a testament to the friendship of one of the bravest, finest, and kindest souls I ever had the privilege of knowing. Leonard Ford Godred. Seeing as I’d rather them be enjoyed by visitors than collect dust in my drawers, I dedicate this collection to the Memorial Library. You’ll find the complete dates of authorship in the metadata index.” — Eric M.
To My Dearest Eric,
The debt of gratitude Gwen and I owe you is more than even the payment can cover. Betsy’s been a part of the family since God-knows-when. It’s cliché to say she was my great-great-great-quadruple-grand-pappy’s hot rod, but that Fleetline’s been on this Earth for a good 500 years, and for all the pomp and circumstance of running a fighting force armed to the fangs, I would be a mess without her on the field. So I thank you. I thank you for all you’ve done for me and for us. There’s been enough of a lull in activity, so I’m getting a card game together here at the Base. Nice rest cure for the soldiers and officers interested. Good for this Friday?
All my best, Leo Godred
Hope all’s well. Thanks again for swinging by the game. Thanks for bringing the ale too! Didn’t know you could put the stuff away like a wine rack. Glad you stuck through the three-card brag we were trying out. Bit of old English fun for the guys and gals that night. Been studying up on 18th century games, and figured, what the hell, why not? Was a good way of teaching them a little history during the rest cure too.
By the way, what exactly did you use on the Apache? The protective sealant for surface damage that is. I believe you coated Betsy in the stuff too, right? The boys in the shop aren’t too happy with the Lab’s current formula and were hoping you might be able to school them in a few things. If you can swing by sometime in the next two weeks, we’d all be most grateful for your time and knowledge.
Cheers to the Mage, Leo Godred
To Eric M.
Requesting your services for burial on August 25th, 2452 at 0900 at Ambiorixian HQ. Battle 8232452-A resulted in loss of 50 soldiers. We ask that you lead us in sending them heavenward. May God welcome them all into his kingdom, open armed.
Forever grateful, General Leonard Ford Godred
“Mors in Machina, Vita ad Sanguinem”
If that last note sounded cold, I was dictating it. Didn’t pen it by hand. Didn’t have it in me. Losing Charles to the fight hasn’t been easy on Gwen, May, nor myself. He and I were military men through and through, he to the last. And I’ll never not love him for that. Any son of mine willing to die for his freedom, and the freedom of his brothers-and-sisters-in-arms, and for the freedom of his mother and father is a son I wish to see again when my time comes. I only wish I had told him that before he left for battle. Still had a mean fucking handshake on him though. I still feel the kid’s grip even as I write this.
Thank you for laying him to rest with me last Thursday. It meant the world to Gwen, myself, and to our entire family here on the Force.
May God Bless You, Dear Friend. Leo
Business here on Base prohibited the sending of this sooner, but I have a whole world’s worth to tell you about. And first, regardless of when this makes it to you, Happy Birthday! Way to age.
Sealant worked a treat. Test range day at Alpha Base. Squad of 10 cars and 10 bikes went through the ringer. It took on the character of a molecular-bonded shell during laser tests. Even the five derelicts, weakened bodies and all, held up to every form of firepower on site. After a pounding, shielding held at a steady 89.2% for the derelicts and a fantastic 96.7% for the fully operational rides. Even Betsy, her coat being a few months old, still held out at 95% protection. I’m commissioning monthly coats for all rides on Base, as well as making it mandatory practice post-overhaul. Keep up that sweet alchemy my friend.
Gwen also sends her regards. It was wonderful seeing you there for dinner that fortnight back. Sorry that the chest pains almost spoiled the evening, but I’m glad you had something on you for them. I’m watching myself best I can in the field.
Enclosed are a couple of 45s I figured you’d dig. Went rummaging through the old collection and found some old Kinks and Purple tunes. They were dupes, but I recognized some of them were ones you and I had talked about. Hope these freshen that bubbling jukebox at your garage. Put a quarter in for me next time!
Roll on Speed King, Leo Godred
To Eric M.
Urgent request to see General Leonard Ford Godred. At 0445, General woke up complaining of pains in the chest. Upon arrival at Sickbay, suffered a significant heart attack. After stabilization at 0530, EKG detected a persistent arrhythmia that has yet to be resolved as of writing this, 1000, October 10th, 2459. He has personally requested to see you, and as chief of staff in Sickbay, I second the recommendation, seeing has you’ve served as secondary care for the General when off-base. Please respond as soon as possible.
Dr. Paul Adderley Chief of Medical Staff, Ambiorixian Acensores
“Mors in Machina, Vita ad Sanguinem”
To my dearest friend,
I hope, from the bottom of my heart, you’re doing well. And that isn’t just another dose of Leo’s black humor.
You are the first man I’m telling this to, and certainly not the last. Last fall gave me a lot to think about. My life as a soldier, my life as a lawman. My life as husband, father, and grandfather. A life lead of doing battle, kicking ass, taking names, and keeping everyone I hold dear safe. Been thinking an awful lot about this fight picked with me some 50 years ago. Some 50 years ago, I was a healthy sonofabitch. And for 75, even after taking one in the ticker, I’m still the superintendent for the School of Hard Knocks. But I want to be around for as long as I can, to get the young bucks where they need to be when I’m gone. I want them to stoke the fire that fuels this great big steam loco we call Liberty so they can ride that bitch clean across the Marshalls and right to the foot of Empire Square and right through the building itself.
All this is to say that I’m stepping down as General. I’ll be promoting officers at the start of July this year, and will announce the retirement there. I’ll stay on as consult for the new General. I think you’ll like this kid. Tough bastard named Adam Knox, got himself a metal arm and a chick who knows what’s up. They’ve been instrumental in improving project development at the Lab. I’ve got Captains and Commanders lined-up too. Lot of longtime killers I want this man to work with. Tomas, Martin, Donald, Atlanta. I’m talking these are the Untouchables, and that bitch ACES is about to get the best pair of cement shoes Capone ever deserved.
May’s being given clearance to visit me often in between her Hell Patrol gigs. Gwen missed her dearly, so I guess something good came out of all of this if I get to see our baby girl between crooks. Toughest part of the gig for both of us, I reckon. Evil never dies when you want it to. It’s only dead when it’s good and dead.
I invite you to the ceremony. Fourth of July, on the button at 0900. Be there with bells on. I’ve never known a finer mechanic, a finer medicine man, or a finer pal. I want you there Old Friend. And with any luck, provided you aren’t too busy, maybe I finally can swing by the shop and hang out. Get some grease on these old paws of mine. Not that you could see the stuff anyway with all the black fur!
Thanks for shepherding me through it all. And I hope to see you there.
All my best, Leo Godred
To L.F. Godred. General, “Principal,” Friend.
(2385 - 2464)