Words by Ryan Croker Art by James Kenison
Letter from a Dying Soldier
Tomorrow I ride off to battle and I do not know if I will survive. We are outflanked and our supplies are low. Our commander is nowhere to be found and we suspect he has deserted us. I write you the letter with the hope that one day we will meet again. But should I be slain, I want you to know my wishes for my final resting place.
They may offer to inter me with other honored war dead, but you must refuse. Though my compatriots are the finest men I know, I do not want to be just one more fallen solder in a massive war memorial with a standard military funeral.
Instead, I wish that you use my death to honor the things I valued most in life. To that end, I wish you to dress me in my favorite clothing—my Lt. Commander Data costume. In order to match the clothing, you must also apply white makeup to my swollen, possibly blood-covered face so that I might look like an android.
Should any of my limbs be severed or ripped apart by cannon-fire, please use only the finest linen to fill the empty sleeves or pant legs. I trust only you to do this, Imelda, and I cannot stress just how much you must give me the appearance of the Enterprise’s second-in-command. Indeed, should Brent Spiner himself attend my funeral (and it is also my wish that you invite him), I want him to suffer an existential crisis from not knowing if he himself is in the casket.
To make preparations easier for you, I have taken the liberty of having a taxidermied cat in the likeness of Data’s pet, Spot, stuffed and mounted in the event of my death. I want the cat placed in the casket as if I am petting him. I have also ordered a signed photo of Joe Piscopo that you must place with me as well. Joe Piscopo appeared in season two’s “The Outrageous Okona,” and I wish to be buried with that episode playing in the place of a eulogy.
My dear love, our time together was far too short. And though I have longed to return to your tender embrace, I know in my heart that my fate is to die tomorrow. I might be shot. I might be run over by a tank. I could even be struck down by dysentery just as I am about to do something really cool and save everyone. However it might happen, know that I loved you nearly as much as I loved Data.