For this weeks’ Flash Fiction challenge, formidably hosted by Terribleminds.com we were asked to create a title using a random number generator and two lists of words. Then rather unsurprisingly we had to write our piece of flash fiction using that title as a prompt, but using no more than 1000 words.
I rolled Diamond Firestorm
Hope you enjoy it. If you want to comment on it, please do otherwise all those little comments boxes at the bottom of this post will begin to lose their purpose in life. Which is not fair on the little buggers.
Ravi Groen sat in front of his console, diligently checking the course he had plotted. It was his first assignment on the war-ship Potempkin and he was determined to do his duty to the best of his ability.
He looked around at Captain Kallace, who was sat bolt upright in his chair, watching the giant view screen with a stoic tenacity that exuded confidence and professionalism. The other crew members on the bridge were focussed on their own view screens. He had heard about the reputation of the Potempkin, a no-nonsense ship whose crew would always do what had to be done. Nobody questioned the Captain’s orders. In fact Ravi had found it hard to get anyone to even talk of their mission other than that the Vertigons had created several weapons capable of destroying Earth, and had issued threats to the various World Leaders. The Potempkin had been assigned to neutralise the Vertigons planet, Vertig 12 a small red planet on the outside of the star system.
The word ‘neutralise’ didn’t set well with Ravi. It was dishonest, they weren’t neutralising they were destroying. They had brought the Diamond Firestorm with them, a weapon powerful enough to wipe out every inhabitant on a planet without harming the buildings or the technology. Maybe in this neutralise was the right word, they were about to neutralise a races entire evil existence.
‘How long until we reach Vertig 12, Helmsman?’ barked Captain Kallace.
Ravi looked at his screen, ‘About 6 minutes, Captain. Short range scans are underway’ he stuttered.
‘Belay that, Helmsman. We know what we’re dealing with.’
‘Erm Yes, Sir.’
‘And try to relax; we’re in no real danger.’ The Captain smiled, though his eyes didn’t.
‘I will. Thank you, sir.’ Ravi started scanning the planet anyway. It was protocol to scan all planets upon approach. He was going against an order, but if it turned up nothing then he would not advertise the results, but he would notify his captain if the situation was worse than planned. That was the duty of any good helmsman.
‘Sergeant Manners, what is the status of the Diamond Firestorm?’
A woman with short red bobbed hair pushed buttons on her console keypad. ‘The Diamond Firestorm is primed and ready to fire, awaiting your orders Captain.’
‘Thank you, Sergeant.’
There was a little less than five minutes until the Potempkin would reach Vertig 12, and Ravi’s scan results had started to come through.
This wasn’t right, the results were wrong. Nothing looked how it should. Ravi pushed a few buttons and restarted the scans; he still had time to re-run them before they arrived. Better safe than sorry.
The scans came through again, and they looked exactly the same as the first.
The planet showed no signs of any weapons capable of destroying a planet; the inhabitants were few and scattered around, and in fact judging by the energy output of the planet Ravi found it highly unlikely that they had even mastered rocketry.
He had to give this information to Captain Kellace now. This planet was of no threat to the human race, probably wouldn’t be for millennia. As soon as the Captain knew this he would call off the attack.
‘Captain, there’s nothing on this planet. My scans show that there are no weapons, or armies on Vertig 12. There’s nothing. We can’t just destroy them.’
The Captain looked concerned, stood up slowly from his chair and approached Ravi’s console.
‘You see sir, look’ Insisted Ravi. ‘These scans are all coming back negative.’
Captain Kellace peered at the scans.
‘So you performed scans, against my orders. Maybe I didn’t make it clear Helmsman. If I give you an order you follow it. Clear?’
‘But Sir’ Ravi protested. ‘The Firestorm… Vertig 12… We have to…’
‘Continue as ordered, Helmsman.’
‘What? Are you all going to let this happen?’ Ravi looked around the bridge. The crew continued with their duty as if they couldn’t hear him. ‘What is wrong with you all? They’re innocent people.’
‘We found out that the core of Vertig 12 is rich in Borecium. A substance so powerful that one cubic inch can power every city on planet earth. The sheer amount of power will eradicate the fuel crisis and secure human kind’s position for millennia to come. Unfortunately, we could note move the entire inhabitants of a planet, so it is regrettable in this instance that the planet will have to be cleaned.’
Cleaned? There was another one of those words. ‘That can not justify what you’re about to do.’
‘What is the cost of one planet to save an entire species.’
‘Quite a lot if it’s your planet that’s being destroyed. This isn’t right? Its genocide.’
‘It’s not about right and wrong, my orders are to deploy the Firestorm. So, we will deploy the Firestorm. Are my orders to you clear?’
Ravi was stunned. How could he be in this situation? How could the Captain ignore such acts of horror?
‘Helmsman!’ Shouted the Captain. ‘Is that clear? You will perform your duty or you will be replaced’
Ravi stood up and faced Captain Kallace, nose to nose. ‘I will not follow any order to commit genocide on an innocent planet. I’m sorry sir, but if you don’t like that then you will have to throw me in the brig.
The Captain looked back at this upstart. ‘Sorry, Helmsman. We don’t have a brig.’
Ravi saw the Captains hand move to his hip. A loud whizzing noise was instantly followed by a searing pain in his stomach. Ravi fell to the floor, quickly beginning to lose consciousness.
Ravi looked up the Captain who had knelt next to him, ‘You see, if it wasn’t us, they would just send another ship. One way or another, this planet would be destroyed.’
Ravi closed his eyes, and his breathing slowed until it stopped altogether.
Sergeant Manners looked up from her console, apparently unaffected by recent events. ‘Sir, we’re within range of Virtig 12.’
‘Sergeant?’ the Captain said, returning to his chair.
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