a tense conversation and an abrupt end

“What you are proposing is … is … genocide, but on a scale that goes beyond the grasp of that word.  You will annihilate world populations of not just our species, but all species.  You will send this world to a fiery death.”

“True, yes, that is what I propose.  But, those who survive will rise from the ashes of that cleansing fire like a phoenix to build a better world than we can imagine.”

“They will face an impossible task of just learning how to survive.”

“They will learn and adapt.”


“Your thinking is stuck in terms of the people you see around you every day: weaklings, puppets of men and women, scum who have been allowed to thrive in an environment that was developed to cater to the least of us.  These will be wiped away, if not at first, over time as they fail to survive in the harsh landscape of our future.  The strongest, the wisest, the best of us will be the only ones to find a way to struggle on until they can thrive again.”

“And if that actually comes to pass, what then?”

“They will have a clean slate to start over and create a great society again, to create what we should have become rather than what we are now.  They will have the lessons of the past to guide their actions along with the life-of-death necessity to succeed.”

“What if you are wrong?”

“I’m standing on a precipice here.  If I fall one way, I will be the greatest villain the world has ever known.  If I fall the other?  I will be immortalized as the hero who helped forge the greatest civilization since the rise of men.”

“… you are contemplating this because you want to be a hero?”

“No, you missed the point.  By the time my name has been placed in the tomes of history as a hero, my bones will have been reclaimed by the dark soil of earth where I fall, or am buried if I survive initially.  I am meaningless.  I am nothing but a name on a page.  But, this action…  this one moment… this grand gesture of faith in our ability to survive and overcome and achieve greatness when given the chance to start over…  That is that truly matters.”

“You are going to kill trillions of lives across the globe on the hope that those lucky enough to survive will be able to do better than we did?”

“Luck will not factor here.  Steps have already been taken to ensure that key people will survive the initial strikes, at least.  What they do after that is up to them.  Faith, however, does play a part.  I have unwavering faith that they will succeed, that’s why I’m giving them this opportunity.  I’m setting the stage for them to step out of the shadows, perform, and excel.”

“I think you might be insane…”

“Perhaps, yes, perhaps I am.  Isn’t that just further evidence that this needs to be done?  The world has slipped so far from what it could have been that a crazy person could be in my position of power.  What does that say about the people who elected me?  What does that say about the people who work for me?  What does that say about our allies across the globe?  We’ve had our chances to turn things around and we have only made things worse.  We have to start over.  This is the only way.”

“This can’t be the only way.  I know you.  You wouldn’t throw away all those innocent lives so callously, riding on some fanciful hope for the future.”

“You’re right, I was joking.  I don’t give a damn about our future.  I’m just bored and want to see what happens.”



18 thoughts on “a tense conversation and an abrupt end

  1. I enjoyed this story right up until the last line. The subject and treatment reminded me of a great sci-fi short story. However, the abrupt shift in character for the last speaker was very jarring to me. Very solid otherwise, thank you.

  2. It’s been ages since I’ve read your blog (sorry, I was playing outside), and then when I return to reading your work I’m rewarded with this – boom! Great work 😉

    • Everyone would simultaneously want to be your friend, and want to know what you were doing every minute of the day. You’d be an ant in a glass house… but, you’d be an ant in a glass house with a thermonuclear detonator. So, all in all, things wouldn’t be too bad.

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