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Love, Death And Revolution (Chapter 7)

Stefanny Irawan adalah seorang cerpenis dan penyunting serta penerjemah lepas. Kumpulan cerpen pertamanya yang berjudul Tidak Ada Kelinci di Bulan! diterbitkan pada tahun 2006. Dia sangat menyukai teater dan memperoleh gelar M.A. dalam bidang Arts Management di State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo dengan beasiswa Fulbright. Kini ia menjadi dosen tidak tetap di Universitas Kristen Petra, Surabaya, Indonesia.

Stefanny bisa dihubungi melalui stef.irawan@gmail.com



Chapter 7

It had been two days since Sadeli returned to Singapore. Umar Yunus returned from Sumatra bringing valuable cargo. The weapons and radio interceptors had reached their destination point safely. Also, three boats carrying sugar had docked in Singapore.

Sadeli was very happy. He had arranged David’s maiden flight with great care. He made secret radio contact with Colonel Suroso and contacted the Indonesian Air Force. He had wanted to join this flight, but Colonel Suroso ordered him to stay put and wait for the next order.

Now Sadeli was simply waiting for the maiden flight to take off. They had chosen Bangkok-Singapore-Jambi-Lampung-Yogyakarta as the route, and the plane would fly along Java’s southern coastline. Sadeli would send Ali Nurdin on the flight not just to carry a message for Colonel Suroso, but also to write an article for publication.

Ali Nurdin suggested inviting a couple of foreign journalists on the flight. It would be beneficial for their revolution in terms of international propaganda. Sadeli sent a telegram to Yogyakarta, asking for approval. A shipment of much-needed medicine was ready to be loaded on David’s airplane. Doctor Banerji had donated some medicine, and other Indians living in Singapore had also made contributions.
Ali Nurdin had done his job very well. Indonesia had the attention and support from people in Singapore and Malaya. The red and white colors of the Indonesian flag were very popular.

The only problem left for Sadeli was how to handle Umar Yunus’ case. Umar Yunus’ bookkeeping turned out to be inaccurate. Based on the audit, there was about half a million Singapore dollars missing. Since he returned from Sumatra, Umar Yunus seemed somewhat distracted and after Sadeli’s audit he became even tenser.

At first, Sadeli told Umar Yunus to return the half million dollars and in exchange he would ask Colonel Suroso not to prosecute him. Sadeli also suggested Umar Yunus resign from the intelligence service.

Umar Yunus had turned pale and said, “What will happen to me?
You’re so cruel.”

“In my opinion, this is the best way for all of us,” Sadeli said calmly and added, “Don’t forget, we’re still in the middle of a revolution. Under revolution law you will receive the death penalty.”

Umar Yunus’ face paled further. “How can I pay back half a million dollars?”

“You still have the florist, the car, and the house that are partly under your name and partly under Rita’s. You can sell all the jewelry you gave her.”

“No, not that,” Umar Yunus’ voice trembled, “Have mercy on Rita. I don’t have the heart to take things away from her. You don’t understand; you’ve never been in love. You’re cruel. You’re nothing but a tool of the revolution!”

Sadeli shrugged and said, “Think about it. Don’t be angry at me or even consider me an enemy. I’m just carrying out an order. Consider this: you’re having fun here using the revolution’s money while there are soldiers back home who have to die because of the lack of medical supplies. Who knows, if that money…”

“Stop!” Umar Yunus interrupted and covered his ears. “You’re mean. Didn’t I perform the task you gave me? Shouldn’t you take that into consideration? Haven’t I been loyal to the revolution since the Proclamation Day on August 17, 1945? I admit I made a mistake. Can’t the revolution forgive me? Are the revolution, Colonel Suroso, and you all heartless robots?”

“Our revolution is a revolution of freedom for all humans. The spirit of our revolution is love for mankind. I didn’t come with the order to kill you, did I? Didn’t I give you a way out?”

“You came and ruined my happiness. Believe me, I’ve never been as happy as I am with Rita. Will you destroy that? Does your duty allow you to destroy the lives of two people?”

Sadeli sighed. He wondered how he could make Umar Yunus understand his utmost responsibility. Since his experience in Bangkok with Sheila, Derek, David, and Pierre, Sadeli did not take human emotions lightly. Perhaps Umar Yunus did love Rita with the profound love between a man and woman that he had never felt. A love so great it appeared to have a Godly quality someone would die for. Sadeli wondered if he had the right to ruin such an exceptional love. He reasoned that if people found such kind of love, they needed to nurture and protect it, but he was unable to pinpoint the difference between this love and its surrogate.

Sadeli decided to be patient in dealing with Umar Yunus. He didn’t want this to become a scandal in Singapore. It would undoubtedly hurt Indonesia’s reputation and the Dutch would definitely use it for their propaganda. He couldn’t afford for that to happen. He warned Umar Yunus, “You’re still a captain in the Intelligence Service of the Indonesian Republic, and you must obey all orders given.”

Sadeli didn’t want to ask for new orders from Colonel Suroso regarding Umar Yunus. The colonel had given him full authority to take any necessary action.

When Umar Yunus asked for a week to think about everything, Sadeli agreed right away. He also needed time to think about his decision. He was not the cruel person Umar Yunus accused him of being, but he had a heavy responsibility, obligation, and trust to bear. He couldn’t let Umar Yunus off the hook for stealing that much money from the revolution. He asked himself if he should take Umar Yunus’ love for Rita and Rita’s life into consideration. His sense of responsibility toward the revolution told him not to.
The revolution for freedom was most important. Everything else had to give way to it. Personal interests, love, and happiness had to yield. It would be impossible to seize freedom without total dedication to the revolution. Umar Yunus had betrayed the revolution by putting his own happiness above the safety of the revolution and didn’t deserve any special consideration. Sadeli sighed. He now realized how difficult it was to find the right path.

He picked up the phone and asked for Inspector Hawkins’ office. He was happy to hear the inspector’s voice on the other end. “It’s Sadeli. I just came from Bangkok,” he said, “How are you? How are things here? What’s new?”

“Ah, welcome back! Your friends are very upset. They’ve been waiting for their flower delivery, but it never showed up. When can we meet for lunch? You know I owe you one.”

“Alright, I’ll call you tomorrow or the day after. I’ve been quite busy lately.”

“Okay, be careful. Someone had a bad experience a few nights ago and wants revenge.”

“Thank you and goodbye.” Sadeli put down the receiver and chuckled. The inspector undoubtedly referred to Tan Ciat Tong. He noted that Hawkins really knew everything that happened on this island. He had no concerns about dealing with Tan Ciat Tong, but was glad he wasn’t alone on this mission.

Ali Nurdin had done a good job and proved himself to be a talented intelligence agent. Sadeli had given him some intelligence training and told him to read books on the science of intelligence maneuvers. Ali’s unit, as small as it might be, operated efficiently. Now they could mobilize the dockworkers to hold a protest rally against the Dutch vessels at any time. With better funding, Sadeli hoped they would be able to boycott the Dutch ships one day.

Five days later, Sadeli received a coded telegram from Colonel Suroso ordering him to buy radio interceptors and weapons to be shipped to Riau. Considering its large population of Chinese people with questionable loyalty, the Republic wanted to reinforce the
intelligence unit and troops in that area. Moreover, the Riau Islands were very close to Singapore and played a significant role.

Colonel Suroso had ordered Sadeli to take the speedboat, check out the area, and report to Yogyakarta as soon as possible. Then he had to return to his post in Singapore and wait for the next order.

David Wayne and Pierre de Koonig would soon fly to Indonesia. Sadeli worked day and night on the preparation of the flight. He had to purchase the radio interceptors and weapons. He needed to buy the items from someone else, through a third party. He could ask a member of his organization to serve as the go-between and be on constant alert throughout the process. He had to always remember three things: safety, safety, safety.

After a few busy days passed, Sadeli realized Umar Yunus hadn’t shown up for days. When Sadeli phoned him he was told that Umar Yunus was not home. He was about to find out more about Umar Yunus’ strange behavior, when a wire from Bangkok arrived. Tomorrow at eleven – David. Sadeli put his concerns about Umar Yunus aside to focus his attention on the more pressing matter at hand.

Sadeli was so excited, he completely forgot about Umar Yunus. He told Ali Nurdin to get three foreign journalists ready for the trip: one from the International News Service, one from Reuters, and the other from the Associated Press. They also had to inform the local newspapers in Sumatra.

The next morning, long before eleven, Sadeli and Ali Nurdin were already at Changi airport, waiting. Soon, the three foreign journalists joined them. They were ready for the maiden flight.

At a little past eleven, the loudspeaker announced the Dakota plane from Lotus Flights Inc. was about to land. Sadeli’s heart pounded as he watched the yellowish-gray plane descend and make a smooth landing. Now the air connection with my country is established, Sadeli thought happily, as if the plane was actually his.

After David Wayne and Pierre de Koonig exited the immigration room, Sadeli couldn’t hold back his excitement and shook their hands vigorously. “You can just fly out after this. I’ll have the cargo loaded right away. And you have four passengers,” he said and introduced them to Ali Nurdin and the three journalists.

An hour later, the Dakota took off. “Godspeed,” Sadeli wished as the plane disappeared into the clouds.


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