Wednesday, September 11, 2013

All endings are also beginnings

Phalad Sahantun.  It meant "patient shield" in the language of his ancestral  homeworld, the embattled planet of Intaki.  He'd picked the phrase as his designation upon beginning the training to become one of the new breed of immortal mercenaries being drawn to the battlefields of New Eden.  He was filled with a sense of trepidation as he contemplated his last assignment, possibly his last assignment ever.  As the final act of their old lives, and to complete the process that would turn them into immortal clone soldiers, each candidate had to take their own life.

The purpose behind this act was twofold, the first was to complete the physical portion of their transformation.  Cranial implants which they received at the end of months of mental and physical conditioning were designed to record their consciousness up to the moment of death.  The second, and more important purpose was to test the candidates' willingness to face their own deaths and to overcome that fear.  The form of this test would differ depending on the group or government issuing it, but the candidates were all given a finite  amount of time to perform the final act of their lives. 
Talking with other clone mercenaries had revealed numerous grisly methods.  One had been led into a room with a table, a chair, and a gun.  Another who had also received a chair and table, but was instead greeted by a glass of water and inconspicuous but near instantly lethal medical capsule.  Phalad had even heard tales of a paraplegic who had turned down the gun, instead throwing himself off of a skyway. 

He'd been given the better part of three days to make his decision, and told it would be better if he didn't do extensive damage to his cortex beforehand.   Never being fond of the mind altering, and generally mind damaging substances his peers were fond of, found Phalad wandering the streets reading the latest news on a handheld datapad.  His fascination with the rising tensions between the Gallente and Minmatar almost kickstarted his career as a mercenary, just barely being being able to dodge the speeding vehicle of a joyriding couple.  Thinking to himself as he leaned against a nearby building for support, he realized that he didn't want to lay his life at the feet of someone else.  He'd much rather his death came as a consequence of his own thoughts and actions than someone else's, or worse in his mind, Mother Nature's.  

Returning to his training base, Phalad told his trainers he was ready.  He was led to a blank room with a pill and a glass of water waiting for him.  Leaving a shoe to jam the door open he grabbed the pill and water before turning back around.   Never hearing the door close his escorts had turned around to see him walking back out.  Moving to restrain him they stopped as their eyes glazed over, and upon receiving their new orders they escorted him back to his quarters.  As they left him alone he quietly said to himself, "Suprab Nahi..."  The guard on the left nodded his head respectfully, while the one on right who looked eerily similar simply gave a thin smile before they both turned and walked away.

Slipping out of his remaining shoe and then all but his training shorts, Phalad moved to sit on the side of the cot in his nondescript room.  He grabbed the pill and water the guards had left on the side table and quickly downed them both.  Lying down and folding his arms behind his head, he closed his eyes and fell asleep for the last time, wondering what the future might hold...

No comments:

Post a Comment