• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 06
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And so it was defiance. With every breath he took he abjured rank convention, forsook humility unless it fit the time and place, the team’s full press. And then, his vulnerability surprised his alter ego into tears. He was so much more gentle than his peers, than even I could ever understand. And I had thought myself an empathy corporeal. One slip, one last among the many accidents that dogged his rich fore- shortened life. Olympic rings were mentioned at the funeral, and certainly his stature in the fire force was on a near- athletic verisimilitude. But by the means of tributes, words that showed us something of the way that he defied the slings and arrows of life’s ever-present pitfalls, by those specific means then all of us began to see that it was this intrinsic fire — this soul fire that could not itself be quenched that still remains, somehow, to help us too to try to carry on, defiant to the end. [In memoriam: Nigel Geoffrey Baynes]