Today, I'm happy to participate in the "Overcoming Adversity" Bloghop, hosted by writer and blogging friend, Nick Wilford. Nick has asked us to write a piece that revolves around the theme, overcoming adversity. The entries will be compiled into an anthology with all proceeds going to his stepson's college fund. Nick's stepson, Andrew, has cerebral palsy and hopes to attend a specialist college in Scotland, but reaching this dream has been difficult. It is through actions like this that Nick and his family hope to generate awareness and get Andrew the education he needs. We truly hope they achieve their goal.
I decided to write a flash fiction piece that's a smidgen over 500 words, sorry Nick (; Not sure why, but this is a character I often find myself writing about. Anyway, hope you enjoy. (:
The Final Test
Krato stood at the pinnacle of a skyscraper that dominated the skyline of a densely populated city. Night had fallen and his eyes scanned the swirl of color in the streets below. Krato had been sent to this planet before though under different circumstances. Tonight however, felt different and his uneasiness usually presaged adversity. Sensing a presence behind him, Krato steadied himself.
“Are you aware this is your final test?” the Perion Commander asked as he stepped out from the shadows.
Krato kept his eyes on the nightlife below, he knew better than to look directly at his Commander. Ten years in the forging camps had taught him many things about pain, suffering, and proper procedure.
“Yes Commander, I am aware,” Krato replied.
“And are you also aware that should you fail, you will be deported to IO66?” the Commander said. Krato clenched his teeth but held his stance. IO66 was a drilling colony on planet Denobola, roughly 3 galactic years away from Krato’s former home planet. Only trainees labeled as unworthy were sent to IO66, and they never returned.
“Commander, failing is not an option,” Krato stated. He had spent a decade weaponizing his body with the conviction that all the sacrifices he made would culminate into this one defining moment. At last, Krato would gain access to the Universal Guard with rank, respect, and power.
“Good. Everything you see in this city, the infrastructure, the landscape, the inhabitants, all of it, I want destroyed," the Commander ordered.
For the first time in ten years, Krato hesitated. “Commander, you want me to extinguish thousands of innocent lives?”
“You will obey me or face deportation!”
Over the past decade, Krato had traveled to planets throughout the universe and taken the lives of many. Never did he experience doubt for all his targets had committed themselves to evil and destruction. This however, was different. These humans were innocent. Doubt suddenly consumed him as he tried to sort through the confusion of conflicting emotions.
“As your Commander, I order you to destroy the entire city!”
Krato’s body tensed and his mind warred against his Commander’s orders. This was not right; Krato was opposing the code and everything he was trained to do. Krato smacked the back of his left hand with his right, causing a small patch of skin to become transparent. Beneath the epidermis, a diamond shaped touchpad appeared. Against everything he knew to be true and just in the universe, Krato entered in the destruction codes. Both his hands charge until the power of the stars could be felt at his fingertips. This is wrong. The words boomeranged through his mind, but still he continued as ordered. He raised his arms out toward the city. Plasma filaments began to spark in jagged arcs from his hands, but when the moment arrived to amplify the energy and release it onto the city, he simply could not do it. He lowered his arms and his hands went cold.
“Commander, I cannot do this and I understand the consequences of my actions.”
“You cannot or will not?” the Commander probed.
“I will not and now I have failed. Take me to IO66.”
“No Krato, you have passed.”