“They have taken the road to Bangassou,” said Gbaya. “And they say that Mbomou is about to fall. Then men we will face today are but the first drops in a rainstorm.”

“That is why we have been placed here,” said Boganda. He stroked the heavy DShK machine gun mounted in the bed of the army Toyota. “If they come, we will kill them.”

“You are not listening,” Gbaya said, pounding the truck’s side. “The rebels are overwhelming at every point. If Bangassou is cut off, it will soon fall–it cannot be supplied by river or air, not with petrol rationed as it is. And if they take Mbomou…can Bangui be far behind?”

Boganda continued staring down the road.

“By next week, they could be sitting on the lawn of the National Assembly in Bangui. We’d be the rebels then, and they the government. Rather than a bulwark against a flood we would be an island in a sea.”

“Are you trying to get yourself shot for treason?” Boganda growled. “If the lieutenant hears that sort of talk you’ll be up against a wall.”

“No,” said Gbaya. “I’m just wondering what the hell it is we’re doing out here, expecting to stop the rising tide of a revolution with fifteen men and a technical.”