This one's an elegy dedicated to all those non-essential characters that writers decide to sacrifice for 'the plot'.
I think of, the past as I descend into darkness,
To when death gives me a cold kiss,
I think to, when I took life as it always came,
To the regret I now feel for my disdain,
I think of, the moment I had before this hell,
To when I was under life's spell,
I think of, the anarchy when people break,
To when came forth the outbreak,
I think of, the things that I regret I did,
To when my hands were blooded,
I think of, the fear and rush of adrenaline,
To when the bullet pierced my skin,
I think of, the way I am so insignificant,
To how the writer, decided me killed,
I think of, the future, as I ascend to the light,
To how finally, I'll be in respite.
Ah, I should've used 'Writer' or 'Author' then, that would've maintained the theme then right? I was trying to create the exact deeper interpretation behind the simpler interpretation, but using writer in common noun form probably breaks the theme.
"Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Mizalius the Wise? I thought not. It's not a story the Admins would tell you. Mizalius was a Dark Moderator so powerful and so wise, she could use force to influence the site users... To create... Productivity. She had such a knowledge of the dark side, she could even keep the ones she cared about... From sitting around."
"She could actually... Save people from Minecraft?"
"The Dark Side is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be... Unnatural."
"What happened to her?"
"She became so powerful, the only thing she was afraid of was not finishing her Mandatory Stories. Though of course she didn't. It was ironic... She could save others from procrastination... But not herself."
Okay, I am trying a bit of sci-fi here. I can possibly expand this if people like it, and my story does end on a cliff hangar. The "outbreak" is implied. This is a new genre for me... so feedbacks please!
“Can’t this thing go any faster?” Mark asks again, staring at the throttle over your shoulder. His red-hair brushes against your cheek, reminding you that Mark is bad at maintaining good boundaries.
“Like I told you last time, we have to stick to the Ion Thrusters while in deep space. I will get us home as fast as possible,” you respond, following your statement with a tired sigh.
“You need to rest man; I can handle things here.”
“Are you sure you can do that without turning on the final stage rockets?”
“Well, I still don’t get why we don’t use the rockets to get home faster…”
“Mark, we are already shutting down every non-essential system to put all of our solar electricity into the Ion Thrusters. Keeping them on will constantly accelerate us, so we are ‘going faster.’ However, like I explained to you many times now, we will not be able to stop this thing with Ionic Thrust. We would have to fire them for only half the trip, then use the other half of the trip to stop. Since the rockets will produce way more thrust, they can stop us once we enter the solar system. Do you want to get Ru to Earth? Or do you want to crash her into Earth?”
“I want to get her to Earth…”
“This is the fastest way then.”
With that, Mark grumbles something under his breath and walks away. You check your heading and run the calculations again. If you are off by even a small percentage, this ship will end up millions of miles away from Earth when you stop. Sighing again, you curse yourself for signing up for the first manned exploration into deep space.
It was the first joint project between the Chinese and American governments. Only one person from the U.S. and China were permitted to go on the trip. You were the resident engineer and pilot that eagerly signed up like a fool. Everything started off well.
Your shuttle was aboard the Challenger Space Shuttle launch in 1986. The solid rocket booster did not malfunction, though people back home probably assume it did. Rather, it was the primary stage rocket for your shuttle. Once the main rocket was not necessary for you to get into space, it broke away as planned. You were told that they installed a new escape system you designed to ensure the other crews safety in the controlled crash; however, there was no way to build in a communication system to make contact with Earth after the mission started.
Since then you have been flying through deep space in search for a habitable planet, which you never found. There was one location where landing was possible. That was where things went wrong.
Prime 1 was the size of Earth’s moon; however, it had a thin nitrogen and oxygen rich atmosphere. Water was also visible on the surface of the planet. Excitement had built when you made the call to land and test the plants atmosphere and water. The small size meant that the gravity was low enough that you could land, take off, and head back to Earth with enough fuel to land again. This opportunity was too perfect to pass.
Ru Shi, the Chinese member of your expedition, was more excited than either you or Mark. She had said that the recirculated air was ‘getting to her.’ Perhaps you should have made it clearer that the goal was to test the air with a spectrometer. Ru Shi didn’t wait for you to test anything and became the first person to breath air from a different planet’s atmosphere.
At first, she seemed fine. You and Mark took 10 minutes to suit up and another twenty to get her to agree to putting a space suit on. Thankfully, the atmospheric pressure was just enough to keep her from exploding outside of a suit. Over the next few days of exploring, Ru Shi started developing a severe case if bronchitis. That is what you think, anyway.
Her coughing spells worried Mark, who had grown close to the small Chinese woman. Their height difference of well over a foot and a half made them seem like a strange couple to you, but they seemed to be as in love as two people could be on a non-stop flight through space. It made things awkward. The sleeping quarters are shared, by everyone. Regardless, Mark convinced you to head back to Earth less than a week after landing on Prime 1.
Now, Ru Shi is in the medical bay. You have been flying the ship for a few months, constantly accelerating towards home with whatever electricity you can afford. By now, your travel velocity might be the highest ever recorded. Still, that might not buy you enough time to save her or you. Whatever she had, you and Mark both contracted it as well.
Rather than think about the lack of medical supplies you had packed to make room for food, water, air, and a small garden to supplement the first three items, you drift to an uneasy sleep. Traveling out to Prime 1 took two years, but with how hard you are pushing the ship, Earth is probably close.
“WARNING, ENTERING USER SPECIFIED GALATIC COORDINATES. COMMENCING WITH SHUTDOWN OF IONIC THRUSTERS. PLEASE SLOW APPROACH VELOCITY TO MANAGEABLE LEVELS,” Siri, a next generation computer intelligence system you designed specifically for this mission, screams.
You jolt awake and smash your head against the control panel as the ship cuts off the Ion Thrusters and lurches backward. Rubbing what will probably be a bruise, you check several screens. Everything looks good, except your Ludacris speed readings.
“What happened? Are we there?” mark asks, walking up to you despite the glowing signs that read ‘remain seated.’
“Close. Buckle,” you say gesturing toward Mark’s chair. This isn’t the time to get distracted. If your ship doesn’t slow down in a hurry you will burn up in the upper atmosphere, and your rescue mission will be over.
“How much longer?”
“It will be over fast if you keep talking,” you shout, shooting an angry glare at the tall man.
Your attention turns back to the monitors. Rockets are way more effective than Ionic Thrusters, but you are cutting it close. Having enough fuel for a safe, controlled landing is out of the question at this point. When you are exactly six million miles from the Earth, you activate the rockets.
Slamming backwards into your seat, you feel the g-forces compressing your body as if the universe is ringing you out like a sponge. This shouldn’t kill you, but you will be surprised if you are able to stay awake through it all. Blood rushes to your head, making you feel like you are about to pop, when it hits.
It took less than a minute to hit Earths atmosphere, and the rocket fuel is gone. Gravity takes over and you tumble through what you hope is the sky. Mark makes a gurgling noise next to you as your vision starts to fade. A metallic screeching noise lets you know that the ship is coming apart. You grit your teeth and try to reach forward, but the g-forces keep your hand glued to the chair.
“Siri! Break away the passenger compartment and activate the parachute!” you yell above a creaking noise. Shedding the rockets, activating the parachute, and having the cords attached hold is your only chance at this point; however, you blackout without seeing or hearing anything else.
“He is awake!” you hear a woman shout as your eyes flutter open. Everything is black, until your eyes come into focus, then everything is white.
“Where…” you start to say, but your throat is sandpaper.
“You are in a military hospital located near the Hubei province of China,” an imposing dark-skinned man said, answering your attempted question. “We pulled you out of the East China Sea two weeks ago.”
“Others?” you manage to mumble.
“Your friends didn’t fair as well as you did, unfortunately. I have some questions for you, though. For starters, who the hell are you? Where did you come from? And what the hell did you bring with you?”
Well, here goes part two... I hope people are enjoying this very accurate account of where COVID-19 came from! I fear that it is not entertaining enough, but it fits with the times and is an attempt at being accurate (too a degree) scientifically.
“I don’t buy it,” Commander Willis says. He is the tall, imposing, dark-skinned military officer in charge of U.S. military operation in China. Apparently, you are his number one priority after bringing a disease that started a worldwide pandemic back to Earth. “I’ve never heard of a joint space venture with China, and his story doesn’t add up!”
“Commander, I can confirm the mission really existed,” a woman says as her face pops up on the T.V. screen in your hospital room. Things have changed a lot since you left Earth. They told you this is called a ‘video conference’ and that a collection of scientists and government officials would be watching you tell your story ‘live via the internet.’ From your understanding, they found a way to miniaturize cameras and create a two-way connection so people could talk to videos of each other. Genius.
“Who the hell are you?”
“I am Ellen Stofan, former Chief Scientist at NASA.”
“Very well, what do you know?”
“The operation was kept secret, especially after the death of seven U.S. citizens.” You wince as she mentions the last part: no one was supposed to die for this. “It was intended to get a shuttle off the planet without the public noticing.”
“Still, that was in 1986! If the shuttle was flying for three years, then they couldn’t have left that long ago!”
“Actually, it is possible.”
“How? Time doesn’t just stop to support conspiracy theories!”
“That is true, but time is not constant. While moving through deep space there is no resistance from gravity or air, so ships can glide forever. If what we heard is true, and they really used ionic propulsion to constantly apply thrust, then they would have been traveling at incredible speeds.”
“I don’t see how that is relevant.”
“We have found that at any speed greater than roughly one-tenth the speed of light can measurably dilate time… In other words, they were traveling so fast that they slowed down time on their ship.”
“Is that possible?”
“It isn’t just possible: time dilatation is a fact. What is incredible is how much they managed to dilate time.”
“Yes, I realize that,” you interrupt. “We managed to squeeze ten years on Earth into one year on the spaceship, which means we were moving faster than previously thought possible…”
“How fast is that?” Commander Willis asks.
“According to my rough calculations, about 185,511 miles per second.”
“Can a spaceship handle a speed like that?”
“Well, without any aerodynamic forces from wind, the ship can handle any speed. Only accelerations create a force on the hull. It means that it is possible for us to travel that fast, if our accelerations were at a constant, manageable level. However, we should have died from the deceleration. I made my calculations for approaching Earth assuming a much slower speed…”
“Well, it almost did kill you. Your friends are still comatose.”
Mark and Ru Shi are alive. Their bodies are bruised and battered like the loser of an MMA fight, and their flu-like symptoms haven’t died down. At least they are still alive though.
“So,” Commander Willis continues, interrupting your thoughts. “Let’s say we believe they were on an official secret space mission from NASA, does this information about the discovered planet, Prime 1, help us with the pandemic?”
“Possibly, sir,” a timid man about your age says. “The air and soil samples have helped us to isolate strains of the virus. This is definitely where COVID-19 came from…”
“That’s great, but this isn’t a damn science experiment! What does that mean for a cure?”
“Well… There is not a ‘cure,’ but we can probably make a vaccine from a less potent strain of the virus.”
“We have been trying to isolate the virus and grow cultures. These samples have already done that: the virus is the only living thing in every sample. We have enough samples that we can identify different mutations of the virus. Usually, we must weaken the virus or genetically modify it so that it can’t reproduce, but these samples have strains that already can’t reproduce.”
“Then, we already have a vaccine?”
“It is not quite that simple…”
“None of these strains can survive once we unseal the samples. Changing their environment quickly kills them.”
“What would it take to make them survive?”
“Umm, Commander,” you interrupt again.
“They are probably dying because the atmospheric pressure here is greater than what they are accustom to. Think of it like decompression sickness in reverse; they are being over compressed by atmospheric pressure.”
“If that is true, how is this infecting everyone on the planet?”
“Because it came to Earth in a host. Our bodies could adapt to their planets pressure, so maybe being in a human body gives the virus time to mutate into something survivable!”
“That is possible…” the timid man answers. “That would make sense with all of the data we have.”
“What are you saying then?” Commander Willis asks. “That we need to send the virus into space to develop a vaccine?”
“Yes,” you and the man on the screen say in unison.
“What is your name?” Commander Willis asks the man.
“Dr. Dave Sergison,” he answers.
“Well, Dave, I hope you are prepared to go to space.”
“Yes, you and this mad scientist are going up to make us a vaccine.” Commander Willis gestures towards you and stands up to leave. “That’s all, get to it.”
Here's mine. It is a poem about a plague that is about to strike. Of course it can be anything. That's the beauty of it. It is like that. Whatever fate is choosing to throw at us, it can be anything.
If we did all we could,
The world would be safe
It seemed impossible, and it felt bad.
But the problem was, we didn't know why.
I couldn't bring myself to feel bad
About dying and being sick.
In the mirror I saw a man
In sickness and in health.
Even though I never knew the man
I knew that I was in danger.
Even though I never knew his name
I knew that it was my destiny.
The illness took my control
From the height of my euphoria,
I felt the pain and fear creep in.
I didn't want to feel that much fear
But about this,
I couldn't let it affect me,
I could feel no shame in this,
I could feel no shame in my body,
but I couldn't take it nor hurt it,
I didn't want it to,
I didn't want it to,
it was too far away.
My bones had been broken,
lost, cracked, broken.
I felt it;
I felt it,
I felt it,
I felt it.
I lost myself;
It was too far away.
I've titled it "Braces of Destiny" because I'm sure people reading it would think it's all about bracing against the epic tragedies that we can't control. But I'm not talking about a wake-up call, I'm talking about a release. There are things that we can control. We can leave our wallets, our bras, our curtains, our phones at home and do some self-care. We can stop listening to the news and all the canned commercials on TV and movies and turn off the damn noise. We can choose to eat well. We can choose to not sit on the toilet while in the shower and grab the nearest porn tube. And I know that we can do more than just those things.
I like the underlying hidden meaning which, as you said, depends on how one interprets it. As far as the technically aspects go, the poetry had good rhyme and meter to it. Very good use of repitions to add more to the 'feel' of the poem.
Overall nice poem!
Thanks Shoujo! I'm glad you like the poem. I was actually planning to create a good sketch that goes into more detail on how the protagonist changed with the passage of time. You wouldn't believe the amount of hours I spend over-analyzing a poem like that!
A narrative poem, did my best to try and match the meter.
I look upwards high, at the blue azure sky,
I look downwards low, as the crimson pool grows,
I look left, I look right, at the hazy sight, in my eyes,
I look inwards inside me, deep down into my mind,
I think of the moment that brought me to this plight,
To this moment of despair, dread and of utter fright,
I think of the moment that brought me to this
To this monent of need, regret, and absolute respite,
The things that I had done, do they matter anymore?
In the long run, was anything worth it anymore?
Is anything in this wretched world worth saving anymore?
Has everything I had done till now, have no meaning anymore?
I don't know...
I don't know...
I do not know if the glimpses of his radiant smile mattered,
I do not know if the touch of his alluring skin
I do not know if his eyes melting my heart mattered,
I do not know if to me, the fate he met mattered,
But I do know...
But I do know...
I do know that my love, for him did matter,
I do know that my life, for him did matter,
I do know it was inevitable, and it did matter,
I do know it was me or him, and it did matter,
It did matter a lot,
When the disease let him rot,
It did matter a lot,
When death came and brought,
Within it, its desire,
Its thirst as it perspires,
It looks hungry, and admires,
Him, as it desires...
It desires the glimpses, of his radiant smile that mattered,
It desires the touch, of his alluring skin that mattered,
It desires his eyes, melting my heart that mattered,
It desires its fate, sated its desire that mattered,
And so it does come in, and so it does invade in,
Our merry little world, as mighty as an earl,
As if on a shopping spree, of every family,
Our family was next, on the list of death.
The grip of death is subtle, so subtle yet so strong,
It feasts on his smile, turning it to rot,
The once radiant beam, of sunshine and of glee,
Was now twisted wrong, maggots festering along,
The grip of death was horrid, so disgustingly insane,
It then feasts on his eyes, turning them inane,
Those eyes which once had, melted me like hot wax,
Were now staring red, into my would with dread,
The grip of death so cruel, so cruel and unfair,
It stole from me my love, making him irrepair,
It gives him a massage, such a sickening envisage,
It hypnotizes him and makes, him its new slave,
I knew, his fate was sealed the minute his mind,
Gave in to death's cold, yet seductive embrace,
Yet I couldn't accept, Death taking mine!
The only thing that matters in my life!
So I fight with him, no, I, fight with it,
I fight death, taking over him,
I gouge out his eyes, I flail his skin,
So very beautiful and so very pure within,
But little do I know that I sealed my fate,
Gave death an opening, its teeth in me,
I shrieked horrified, not accepting my fate,
As darkness looms, and I feel it in me...
I feel death in me...
I stop my thoughts nigh, as I look upwards high,
On the blue azure sky, as the sun goes by,
Its fiery light ablaze, as it makes me amazed,
It colours my eyes, once lifeless with life,
Then it comes in front of me,
The being that took from me,
It took from me my most dearest,
And has the gall to confront me?!
"Poor little girl, your heart's so pure,"
"That you gave your life away,"
"For something so worthless..."
It laughs maniacally, mocking my choices,
I laugh back too, mocking his choices,
"Poor little death, you're so naïve,
"You thought I gave my life away,"
"I saved him, from your ghastly claws,"
"I saved him from you, by giving you me,"
Death howls in rage, and attacks,
But is pushed back, and relents,
"Your heart is so pure, that I can't get through,"
"I have more easier, impure prey than you,"
And so it let's me go, and I drift away,
Into nothingness, blackness, and dismay,
And I never regret my decisions any,
For he, the love in me, shines brightly,
I also tried my hand at a poem:
Toilet paper, some frozen peas,
And bottled water to my knees.
I have all that I need to stay in,
Waiting for the end to begin.
Now, I'm going to hunker down;
In isolation I will drown.
Away from the rest of the world,
I'll lay with my head and legs curled.
Here I am safe from any danger.
The entire world is a stranger.
While I am here they can not hurt me!
Hold on, what is that beast I see?
A predator in the shadow,
Giving me intense vertigo.
It was here from the start:
The fear residing in my own heart.
Yesterday, I had a burst of inspiration and wrote this. Here goes nothing...
My hands are shaking. I’m drowning in a flood of my own sweat. Of course it’s today. Of all days! For once, I decide to take a break from my tedious study schedule. For once, I didn’t come prepared. Of all the things I hate, the one thing I despise the most is inevitable failure. Then the invigilator walks in.
“Applicants of University SOTF. Please take your seats, the exam would begin in a few minutes.” She has the barest glimpse of a smile on her stoic countenance, almost as if she enjoys seeing us nervous. The she turns towards us, and I have the strangest feeling that her next comment is directed at me. “Remember, only out of the fifty of you get in. So expect to fail.”
The timer is pressed. A frenzy of students all around me begin writing, hastily scribbling borderline legible answers onto the paper. However, my mind goes blank. The world becomes blurry, and everything in the room becomes a distraction. One or two students look up at me, shocked that I am not writing anything, then look back to their papers. Every second is precious, that is what they have taught us to believe. So I decide not a waste another second.
I skip straight to the essay question. It is worth the most marks, so I should start with it. I force my brain to make out the question, to focus on it as if it is the most important thing in the world. Because it is. I have to get in.
Like lots of exam questions, it is unnecessarily dripping with excessively sophisticated-sounding words and a long question that can be summarized by a single phrase. It is almost as if the examiner wants to snidely intimidate students through this paper, creating the aura of fear through the blank spaces after the eloquent block of text. Yet, it is my only chance.
Black Plaque revolutionized the world, his self-acclaimed 'arbitrary’ masterpiece receiving the esteemed title of ‘Pandemic’. Cancer ignited the flames of rebellion, bringing with him the core values of our lands - the values which this University’s name was founded. Yet, in status quo, the Docs and Scints believe those wars are won. Humanity has gotten too comfortable with their weaknesses. Propose a novel solution that could eradicate the weakest links.
The first thing I notice is that the question is not a question. However, I manage to breathe again. This was just creative writing. Nothing more. For once, my overactive imagination seems less like a curse and more like a… blessing. So I write, letting my mind go loose. I think of my estranged uncle, working with computers. What was his name? Ah, Trojan. Mr. Trojan Virusse. What if this solution releases little particles… shapeshifters! What if they could cloak themselves by hiding within unhygenic surfaces and shapeshift when they are ready to consume the Weakies? They would not be easy to detect. And the symptoms… common ones. Being under the radar would mean that the Docs think it is an old attack. It’s always good when we are severely underestimated by our enemies. How about the beginning? Where would it all start? Animals! Bats! I’ve always liked bats. Or can it be undefined? That would take the Scints longer to learn about it. I let my mind wander, entertaining the endless possibilities. This was certainly novel! I mindlessly doodle ‘novel’ in front of my name, smiling. Could that be what the solution would be called? Then I immediately continue writing the essay. Before long, the time is up. And with a sinking feeling in my gut, I realize that I have only attempted the essay and nothing else. As I said, I have already failed.
Today, I’m waiting with a group of other hopefuls in the hall. Sooner or later, the principal of SOTF would emerge from the mahogany door, announcing the name of the one lucky student selected to attend. My horrible performance ensures that I would not get picked, but I decided to come anyway to cheer for my friend Bacty as she has a high likelihood of getting in. The doors open. The principal walks out to give his speech.
“Now, I’m sure that you know the values of our University. The acronyms make it obvious - Survival of the Fittest. To honour this, we only pick one student each year. However, under some… special circumstances, one of you have performed exceedingly well in a specific area of the test. Your place at the University is not guaranteed, but it is imperative we have a chat. So, I would first like to meet with you, Ms. Virusse.”
Bacty turns to me, her eyes as wide as saucers. I cannot believe that my name was called. However, the principal beckons towards me, so I hurry forward. The doors were close behind us. He looks at me, and says something that would change my life forever.
“How would you feel about making your novel solution a reality?”
The Docs have been working since morning, and the Scints are still buried under mountains of paperwork. But this new enemy is relentless. I have heard rumors that the attacks were orchestrated by a teenage girl, but I do not know what to believe. It’s a crazy idea, with shapeshifters and the like. The Docs are being pushed back. It’s the worst time to be an intern.
As if to prove my point, a Doc shoves a heavy pile of boxes in my face. “New protection gear! Pass them around, will you, intern.”
I cautiously peered into the box, only to find… “Amulets?”
“Yes, amulets. Weakens the force of our enemies, makes them more susceptible to attacks. Key Ingredients: Wash hands, don’t touch your face, and social distancing. Also, we’ve ran out of masks.”
“Social distancing?” I remembered what I had learnt last semester about it. “Isn’t that a very rare ingredient, only reserved for the most dangerous attacks? And…” I let the unsaid words hang thick in the air, remembering what was written: ‘If used, there’s a high chance that the war’s already lost’
“How about Water?” I ask, eager to change the topic. “And Fire.”
“Well…Fire is on the side of Hygiene, as usual. As you know, Hygiene always opposes Unhygiene, and Unhygiene has never failed the aristocratic family of Virusse.”
I just nodded. The attacks have been long suspected to be works of the Virusse house. “What about Water? She used to be close to Hygiene-”
“Key words being ‘used to’. Water has decided to sit out of this. She allows the new Virusse soldiers to travel via her channels and air particles in order to affect the weakest of us. However, when bonded with Heat, Soap, or even a high pressure, Water can prove useful in killing the Virusse attackers.” Then he wave me along to pass out the amulets.
It’s been a long war, and it all becomes a hazy memory. I remember running, hiding, healing, eating, passing out defensive weapons, and a hardly sleeping. Until darkness burst out of the cracks of the Earth, hope was vanquished with a swipe of a blade, and was left to bleed a flood of hopelessness, despair, and failure. It washed over everyone of us, and the optimistic lens through which I viewed the world was so brutally snatched away from me. I noticed the sagging shoulders every Doc had gained from days of endless fighting, the bruises through which all remaining strength seeped out slowly. We had not heard word from the Scints - those Scientists were still hunting for social distancing. Now and then, we heard that a remedy was found. But it was only Hope’s evil twin - False Hope.
One day, they broke through our final defense line. We were completely, utterly exposed. By this time, all my dreams of becoming a Doc was drowned along with thousands of innocent infantile desires. All that we could wish for was to survive one day at a time, and that in itself was a miracle.
I watched as they got snatched, consumed. The people I grew up with. The people who brought joy to my life in the darkest times. And for what reason? Because some arrogant Virusse decided that these people were ‘weak’. Who were they to judge? Who gave a dam about Survival of the Fittest when innocents were feeling the last strands of life leaving their cold, empty bodies? Then, in that moment of cold fury, I felt a sense of righteousness surge through me. I was going straight to the source.
Ever felt as though your whole life was a facade? All part of an act, a play, a pretense. That’s exactly how I feel. In just a few moments, I met with countless officials, most of them whose faces I could not remember, let alone their names. I smiled, I chatted, I nodded. But it seems that all they were interested in was the mask, not the face behind it.
Years ago, this would have been a total freak out moment. However, I managed to just nod emotionlessly as they told me that I was to ride behind our forces as we manage to overcome the Docs - or if I have to be formal - Warrior Doctors of the Twelfth Line of Defense… and yup, pretty sure I said that wrongly. But I go on with the act. The haughty, elegant, born - battlequeen Virusse. Just before I leave the house, I throw on a dark cloak. It looks something like a Grim Reaper outfit, a replica of Death’s cloak. To the untrained eye, the Virusse symbol and the delicate stitching of the embroidered patterns around the wrist would be missed or easily mistaken. Yet it is important for the show. To complete it, I obscure my face within the shadows, the mask before my face. Because it is not me that should be here today, but rather the mask. Virusse rather than Connie.
The march goes smoothly. From the hood, I can only make out silhouettes. The sounds tell me that we are winning. So I go on. Then I heard a different sound, a shout of anger in a sea of triumph. I lift my hood slightly, and make out a boy around my age. His face is contorted by anger.
“Fight me if you dare, you coward!” he screamed. “It’s just so easy to sit there all high and mighty, isn’t it? But come down to where the action is! Where innocent blood is on your hand, and no amount of Water may wash it off, no Fire is strong enough to burn the cruelty in your heart - the cruelty you have inflicted upon us!”
The guards readied for attack, but I signal them to lower their swords. This was not the first time something like this happened, so I spare the boy.
“Your people would not hesitate to do the same thing to us,” I remarked. “It’s just that this time, we are the victors. So accept it, and leave.” I nod to the guards to continue walking, all while ignoring the reporter’s writing down my every word. Several guards knock him down unconscious, but they spare him as he was not weak. The show had to go on.
After hours, I had enough. As soon as possible, I excuse myself. It was exhausting, having one meeting after another. I could not stand it any longer - having to manage my posture, think of witty statements, and being the opposite of the girl who used to sleep in class. Sometimes, I just felt like asking “Is my true self so repulsive that you all feel the need to suffocate me within layers of extravagant clothing, give me a glare when I ask a question that is slightly inarticulate and eradicate every fiber of my being which makes me who I am?” Then with a shock, I realize something - unnecessarily dripping with excessively sophisticated-sounding words. I sounded exactly like that paper.
I am so lost in thought that I no longer realize where I am going. With a shock, I realize that I am heading into the enemy’s territory. However, they don’t dare to attack. The few survivors don shocked looks intermingled with fear, hostility, and the strange look that results from one trying to restrain themself. So I keep walking.
Soon, I find myself utterly and completely lost. Within a few minutes, I am sure that a cavalry of soldiers would be riding through the destroyed town, searching for me. So I keep going. Then I see the boy, and curiosity sparks. I follow him, deeper and deeper into the miserable land of ramshackle houses. Unfortunately, I am not the most agile.
He does not attack immediately. He scans the surroundings, as if sensing a threat. Then, in a voice so soft it could be the wind, he says “My people would never do this. Killing innocents.”
He is learnt, but so naive. I ask a question - “Would you kill one person to save thousands?”
“What does that have to do with anything?” His voice is louder now, and he tries to choke back his rage.
“If these people do not die, they would pass their weaknesses down to generations. But through our attacks-”
“So you are killing them for who they are? For thing they cannot control?”
I sighed. “If you found out that a man would accidentally set off a bomb in the near future that would kill the whole world, would you kill him?”
“Just stick the dude in jail or some equally secluded place for all I care. Killing is a bit… extreme.”
“What if he is the bomb? It was somehow placed into him when he was born and is unable to be removed-”
“Enough with these theoretical questions! You are killing innocents, and killing is wrong. That is all that happens-”
“You are blinded by the present when you have to look to the future-”
“The future! There’s no end to this. You’ll kill the weakest, but as long as there are people, there would always be the stronger and the weaker. These killings would never stop.”
“But with the current levels of weakness-”
“Who are you to judge who is weak and who isn’t?”
I heard the guards arrive, but I have to have the last word. “You asked who I am. My friends call me Connie. But to you, I am Virusse, Corona Virusse. You asked who I am to judge. So I’ll show you what it truly means to be weak.”
Enough pretending. As I raised my hood, I finally let the world see me for who I truly am - flawed. I despise the system, I despise the weak, and despise those who kill them. I despise everyone who had ever put me down, everyone who hated me for who I was. Who I am. Most of all, I hated Inevitable Failure.
“That is a creative name, Infal. Could it stand for… I don’t know… Inevitable Failure? But I guess he cannot stop naming his victims after himself. Let me guess - you don’t remember anything. Of course you don’t. But ever notice how bad luck seems to be attracted to you?” I smile. Reading books about villains help if you want to deliver threats.“If you want the attacks to stop, you’d better tell me where to find Mr. In-”
The horses gallop in. A dozen guards pick me up. They worry and ask me questions to determine if I was all right. Perhaps I had to put the mask back on for a little while. Get more allies first. Wait for Infal to remember. Until then, Justice had to wait. I was going to rescue him, and I could do it without University SOTF.