Cooper Wilson stood before the mirror, his thoughts making him too preoccupied to really pay attention to his reflection. He absently tugged at his collar while he considered what he was about to do. The throne speech had been simple, and direct. The West, the King said, had grown complacent, and had allowed itself to hate the beliefs that had made the West different from the East. The West allowed itself to be seduced by the idea that all beliefs were of equal value, and that humanity had thrown God off of his throne, without ever being cognizant of installing its own vanities in a seat that was never unoccupied, despite man’s best efforts. And in a short stretch of time, the world that was characterized by those vanities became seared by them. As a result, he was lifting the ban on Christianity, and would be instituting a new chaplaincy in the Commonwealth Military.
The days and weeks that came after seemed like a blur to Cooper. While he did not have to handle to logistics of this new command within the military, he was nonetheless its head, and expected to see and be seen in this new role. Many under his command were those who had kept the faith alive as an underground movement, from one side of the Commonwealth to the other. And though many risked everything to shepherd their flocks, they came when the call went out. Many of their stories touched Cooper, and many more made him feel ashamed, believing that in comparison, his faith was small, and their trust and deference to his authority, undeserved. This feeling became that much more acute when he realized that he would, in the course of his duties, give orders that would undoubtedly lead to death for some of them.
“Are we ready?”
Lise’s voice snapped his eyes into focus, as he silently appraised his reflection, and thought to himself “You’ll do.”
He turned, and she immediately set upon him, taking it upon herself to straighten his tie, as a look of consternation fell across her face. She brushed off his shoulders, stopping when she came to the old United States flag on his arm. His eyes followed hers, and he said “Stop. Please. I feel self-conscious enough already without you staring at it. Her eyes met his, and her lips pursed, then opened as if to say something.
“I think it suits you, hoss, and frankly, I think you have earned the right to wear it.” Rick Gearhart’s voice boomed from the doorway.
Cooper nodded, and stepped in to the short hallway leading to the pulpit. Before stepping out, he closed his eyes, and whispered “Lord, let me do no damage to it.”, and then he stepped out before a cathedral filled with men and women in uniform.