Chapters 33-34 Summary
On the tenth of February, the men of Third Squad were arrested again. Taken from their boardinghouse, they were jailed for eight days in separate cells. Paul Berlin saw no one, his meals delivered through a sliding panel. He passed the time sleeping, but he was awakened and blindfolded while his neck was shaved. The blindfold removed, he was taken to another room where the other soldiers were handcuffed to a pillar. Captain Fahyi Rhallon comes in, apologizing. He tells them that their situation is very serious. They are charged with sabotage, along with several other crimes including desertion. This strikes Oscar Johnson as funny. The American Embassy in Tehran has no verification that they are traveling under official auspices; in fact, they have never heard of the Third Squad. There are no regulations of Geneva, 1965, as Oscar claimed on their previous arrest. They entered the country heavily armed without passports. Oscar explains again that they are not deserters but are going after a deserter, Cacciato. Rhallon says he will try to do something, but he is doubtful.
Back in his cell, Paul thinks of his past. He went to junior college for two years but had not gone on to the University of Iowa, though he thought about majoring in education. Instead, he went home and worked for his father, even though he is now eligible for the draft. When he is drafted, he is not surprised. His father tells him he will see some terrible stuff, but he should try to see some good things, too.
When the men are taken back into the larger room, Rhallon tells them that the verdict is the same, and they will be executed the next day. He says there is always hope for a pardon, since anything could happen. Another officer comes into the room, calling them a bunch of clowns.
Back in the “Lake Country,” Lieutenant Sidney Martin told them to search the tunnels before blowing them up. The men, however, refuse, and Martin writes down all their names. They know that somehow, Martin will use this against them. As Martin walks away, the men agree to just throw the grenades in. When Martin returns, they act as if they are done searching the tunnels. They throw four grenades into the tunnel before it collapses.