EXT. MELANESIAN ISLAND – DAY
TRAIN V.O. What’s this war in the heart of nature? Why does nature vie with itself? The land contend with the sea? Is there an avenging power in nature? Not one power, but two?
WITT I remember my mother when she was dying. Looked all shrunk up and gray. I asked her if she was afraid. She just shook her head. I was afraid to touch the death I seen in her. Couldn’t find anything beautiful or uplifting about her going back to God. I heard people talk about immortality, but I ain’t seen it.
[Flashback to Witt’s mother’s death]
WITT V.O. I wondered how it’d be when I died. What it’d be like to know that this breath now was the last one you was ever gonna draw. I just hope I can meet it the same way she did. With the same… calm. ‘Cause that’s where it’s hidden – the immortality I hadn’t seen.
[CHOIR OF ALL SAINTS – “Soon my Lord”]
WITT Kids around here never fight.
MELANESIAN WOMAN Sometimes. Sometimes when you see them playing they always fight!
WITT Is she afraid of me?
MELANESIAN WOMAN Little bit.
WITT Are you afraid of me?
MELANESIAN WOMAN Yes.
MELANESIAN WOMAN ‘Cause you look… You look as army!
WITT I look army?
MELANESIAN WOMAN Yes.
WITT Well, that don’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Baby’s tired.
MELANESIAN WOMAN Yes. If it’s dreams she wants, she will sleep.
[CHOIR OF ALL SAINTS – “Jisas, yu holem hand blong mi”]
HOKE Witt, patrol boat! She’s American. What’s it doing out here all alone?
INT. BRIG – DAWN
WELSH You haven’t changed at all, have you, Witt? You haven’t learned a thing. All a man has to do is leave it to you, you’ll put your head in the noose for him. How many times you been AWOL? Been in the army, what? Six years now? Ain’t it time you smartened up and stopped being such a punk recruit? I mean, if you’re ever gonna.
WITT We can’t all be smart.
WELSH No, we can’t, and that’s a shame. Look at you. Truth is, you can’t take straight duty in my company. You’ll never be a real soldier, not in God’s world. This is C Company, of which I’m First Sergeant. I run this outfit. Captain Staros, he’s the CO, but I’m the guy who runs it. Nobody’s gonna foul that up. You’re just another mouth for me to feed. Normally, you’d be court-martialled. But I worked a deal for you. You oughts consider yourself lucky. I’m sending you to a disciplinary outfit. You’ll be a stretcher-bearer. You’ll be taking care of the wounded.
WITT I can take anything you dish out. I’m twice the man you are.
WELSH In this world, a man himself, is nothing. And there ain’t no world but this one.
WITT You’re wrong there, Top. I seen another world. Sometimes I think it was just my imagination.
WELSH Well, then you’ve seen things I never will. We’re living in a world that’s blowing itself to hell as fast as everybody can arrange it. In a situation like that all a man can do is shut his eyes and let nothing touch him. Look out for himself. I might be the best friend you ever had. You don’t even know it.
INT. CELL – DAWN
HOKE He hates you worse than poison.
WITT I never felt he hated me, ‘cause I don’t hate him. I love Charlie Company. They’re my people.
— The Thin Red Line