The Admiral

Out there, beyond the windows of my starship’s command bridge floats a single green orb dwelling within this endless black void.  It’s vast wheat-fields and lumber yards are something legendary within humanity’s boarders.  My father came here once and told me of all the landscape that is this world, showing off its exotic and peaceful wildlife.  The locals say even the predators are friendly to us humans.  But peace has ended here. 

  I always feel like a god when I do this, executing judgement on who should live and who should die.  There is nothing more that I utterly hate.  Every world the Earth High Council tells me to obliterate has military purposes.  But Dagamar-3, has never had a garrison, not even pirates have attacked it.  Its people are loyal and hospitable.    

That paragon down there, Dagamar-3, is no longer that beautiful paradise my father told me about.  The reports tell me it was a bacterium some scientist discovered in the planet’s tropical zones that has jumped over to humans.  A third of the population is dead. 

Doctors say this plague rivals that of the so-called Black Death two thousand years ago, and if it spread to the rest of the worlds we might all go extinct.  At least that’s what they say.  I doubt it, we humans are too tough to go out into the night like that.  Mass hysteria is all it is, and mass hysteria ends civilizations. 

“Admiral Jethro,” Captain Antonio says over the holo communications display, “my frigates are in position.”  I’ve received reports like this all day. 

My stomach turns over itself, making me want to puke.  I don’t want to give the order.  The Fleet Admiral ordered me to destroy this planet, that it was too dangerous to send anyone to the surface, even doctors.  I think he’s insane.  I think the whole of humanity’s governing council is insane.

Dagamar-3, that planet, those people.  I’m not killing them.  What did they do other than getting sick.  These aren’t the rebels in the Centauri Station, or an enemy held world – we’re not even at war!  The Earth High Council treats its worlds like they’re disposable.  I’d know, I’ve destroyed enough of them, and I’m sick of this madness.  Destroying a rebel army is one thing, executing suffering civilians is another.  Can’t we set up a blockade instead?  At least then they’d have a chance. 

The rumors are that a medication is working on the surface, at least slowing the spread.  But the military doesn’t operate on rumor.  I can’t stand this waiting around, trying to see if the Fleet Admiral wants me to pull the trigger.  I don’t want to kill anyone on this world.  They aren’t rebels.  They aren’t an invading force.  They’re citizens, law-abiding in every way. 

I turn around and see the control and nav. stations filled with my crew members.  A few of them are selecting targets for orbital bombardment.  My lips curl in disgust at this display.  What are they, non-sentient AI’s doing as their programing dictates? 

My eyes fall back towards the bridge windows.  That beautiful planet.  That beautiful civilization being destroyed by something so small.  I can’t do this.  There has to be hope.  The rumors have to be true.  My palm finds itself against the windows.  I am not doing this.  I do not want to destroy this planet. 

The holo comms buzz, pulling my gaze behind me.  The image of the Fleet Admiral materializes.  It doesn’t matter if I give my formal greetings and respects.  I don’t care. 

“Admiral, are your ships in position yet?” Fleet Admiral Markus says, his voice even, professional, uncaring. 

“They are, but we can’t give the order,” I say peering over my shoulder at the image, refusing to look at him directly. 

“This is an order from the High Council, you know we can’t disobey,” I can feel Fleet Admiral Markus stare into me from across the endless night, eyes stern like a disappointed father.

“I’m not giving the order.  These people won’t die because of someone’s fears,” I return sternness.  This time I won’t destroy a burning world.  I’ll save it.  “These people have a cure.  I know it.  I’m not executing anyone.” 

“Admiral Jethro, you are committing a capital crime by ignoring . . .” I cut the man off. 

“Such is the thread the Fates spun for me,” I slam the holo comm off before hailing every ship in my fleet.  “Prepare your supplies and troops for planetfall.  These people will live.” 

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

I’d like to thank you all for reading this Flash Fiction piece.I hope you all enjoyed it.It is the debut piece for my personal Science-Fantasy world.Hopefully more will come from there in the coming months. Thank you to Marshall Tankersley, of Soundsmyth Productions, for creating the wonderful cover as always.Thank you to all my lovely patrons for sponsoring me and helping to support me on this journey.And thank you to all the readers out there for enjoying my work and supporting me by simply being here and helping me do the thing I’ve always wanted to do, write.It means so much.Next month I have a special premiere:The Song of the Evil Eye: Prologue and Book I, the first parts of an Epic Poem I’m working on for you all that combines both Nordic and Irish mythology, dated to be released on December 5th, 2018.

Please leave a comment, I’d like to hear from all of you.