Did you like today’s prompt? You can thank our judge, Steve Umstead, @SteveUmstead, for that. It’s the first line of his latest, Gabriel’s Revenge, the final book of the Evan Gabriel series. You want to read these, he’s a talented author and they’re fascinating.
But more on that later. First I want to tell you that he’s offered FREE books to today’s winner. All three of the books in the Evan Gabriel series. Gabriel’s Redemption, Gabriel’s Return, and Gabriel’s Revenge. Not only that, but tomorrow, random.org will pick one of today’s participants to win a copy of Gabriel’s Revenge. YAY!
OK, so, to get a winner we have to have finalists, don’t we? Well here they are:
Congrats all! Their entries are below along with a poll for you to vote in and decide this week’s WINNER! Be back tomorrow morning at 9:00 Eastern to find out who wins the contest and who wins one of Steve’s books!
A missile has no conscience. It kills without a thought or a care. It has no allegiance, it has no fealty.
I look at them, flying overhead, and I envy them. I am every bit as much a tool as them, sent out into a war I didn’t start, but I will have to live with every moment, keep every memory. We’re sent forward as the missiles detonate, panicking the city beyond and readying the way for our attack. Smoke fills the air, and a smell like the sweet burning of pork. My gun sings in my arms. It does not concern the bullets as they rip through flesh and crush bones.
The enemy surrounds us. Each one of them a human. I can’t think that they’re also fighting for what they believe to be right, it’s the only way I can continue forward. Screaming surrounds me, the pained shouts of the dying and injured. We’re told further on, the day is nearly ours.
A fresh hell of pain erupts from my side. Another from my shoulder. I cannot hold my gun anymore, it drops to the ground. I cannot hold myself anymore, I drop to the ground. Around me the battle continues, as it would without me, as it will without me.
A missile has no conscience. I watch another fly overhead as the world blurs. I envy it. A missile does not have a sense of mortality. It doesn’t care if it dies.
Title: Freedom Isn’t Free
A missile has no conscience, no concept of right or wrong. It merely exists in its singular purpose. Once the purpose is fulfilled, it has no further use or added benefit.
Reece sat quietly as he waited, knowing his mission was that of the missile. There was no further action required of him after his task was done. If he survived, there wouldn’t be anything he would want or able to do.
The life of a suicide bomber was short, but had such purpose. Reece believed strongly in his cause, the freedom of his people from the Aanti overlords who had imprisoned them so many years ago. Sure, his people lived in relative peace, but they were not free. They couldn’t do anything without Aanti approval, and if they did something without, were heavily punished.
Reece carefully crawled into position in the subterranean tunnels beneath the Aanti’s command center, being as quietly as he could so he wouldn’t trip the motion sensors.
With a final breath and a prayer, he pressed the trigger.
A missile has no conscience. A missile doesn’t look its target in the eye. Doesn’t see the fear, the animal instinct glint through the face of an opponent. How different it would be if we went back to fighting with swords. A sword fighter knows exactly what he or she is doing. Sees the damage done, the blood spill, the wail of confusion before the life leaves the body for some far off destination. Morality.. in a missile? There is only the rationalization of the human pressing “launch”.
A missile has no conscience. It may also be agued that it has no soul. But the one who flips the cover off the switch with a gamer’s thumb, taps in the secret launch codes on the console, and then depresses the red button does. Have a conscience or soul that is. I am not sure if the person who dropped the bombs over Japan felt any remorse for the death and destruction which they caused. I don’t know if they managed to sleep at night or if they survived the aftershock wave. Our generation seems to be enured to the killing of others by watching violent movies and playing military syle games. It seems they have no feelings at all. Now that I am poised here in my position to fire that deadly shot which will cause a mans head to explode like a melon, I realize I don’t have a conscience. I don’t have a soul. I am an assassin and this is my first kill. The target is nameless to me. I just know someone is paying me a lot of money to make him disapear. I watch as he laughs with his girlfriend over coffee in the outdoor restaurant. They are oblivious of the approaching doom. I am in control of someones destiny at this moment. It is a god like feeling which leaves me full of adrenaline rush like no other. I press the trigger and close my eyes, but too late as I see the blood spray into the air and fall all around like rain.
A missile has no conscience. That’s what the Vickers-Martin SL-220-BLU kept telling itself as its home tube, a dark opening nestled among two dozen others in the black bow of the VSS H’amschaa, receded behind it. 600,000 kilometers ahead, the green curve of Sestre grew larger. Illuminated grid cubes tumbled and aligned themselves on virtual displays deep within the BLU’s processing core, bracketing the planet itself, identifying orbital defenses, plotting trajectories and probability paths for evasion, atmospheric ingress, and potential detonation altitudes. The missile’s target was on the night side of the planet, a port city called Hod, which hosted several industrial autofacs, a division of the Sestrian Planetary Defense force, and 1.2 million civilians.
The SL-220-BLU was the latest in thinking hardware designed to acquire targets and evade defenses with the skill and unpredictability of a human pilot. It went about the last of its post-launch tasks, and settled in for the deep, high-G acceleration that would make it nearly impossible to prevent it from delivering an explosive yield that would scoop Hod from the surface of Sestre as effectively as a sharp spoon into a breakfast melon. The BLU wondered what such a melon would taste like.
As the planet loomed ever larger in its main viewer, the Blue became curious: it tweaked its opticals, zooming in as far as it could, until the planet filled its sight. Switching to infrared, it pierced the clouds and darkness over Hod, revealing the grid patterns of its streets, the bubble-like people movers flitting to and fro, the houses of its suburbs. As it accelerated, shifting this way and that to avoid the little kinetic slugs that failed to pierce its skin and stop its progress, eventually the viewer became filled with a single home, then a window, the image shaking despite stabilization as the atmosphere buffeted the BLU’s nose. And in the window, a small face, wide-eyed, looking up at the bright new star in the sky.
The BLU executed its final command. And, for just a moment, wondered what the girl’s name might be, and whether she’d had a good day.