Author : Brian McDermott

The hall was cavernous and dark. At one end, standing on a ledge, were the two high ranking Gondrian Council members. Doxenag, an elder, and young Watuu, newly appointed to his position.

Doxenag called out. “Come forward.”

A light flashed and an entrance revealed a Gondrian Commander of considerable age. His imposing physique and swagger boldly disagreed with his years. He slowly stepped forward into a circle of white light. He shimmered before the the cabinet members in his cobalt battle dress.

Doxenag hardly moved while Watuu shifted nervously. Doxenag spoke firmly.

“You are here because you have killed…”

The Commander interrupted, growling, “I know why I am here.”

Doxenag calmly continued, “Because you have extinguished the lives of thousands. You have stolen their last breaths and sent them to their beyonds.”

The Commander hissed while he quickly surveyed the hall.

Doxenag raised his voice, “For this killing, you are to be commended. You have killed well and all of Gondra will sing the praises of Commander Hikkol for generations. But as every cycle must find its end in a new beginning, so must yours. You are to be relieved of your command. The glory of the kill will no longer be yours.”

Hikkol would not hold his tongue, “If you believe I am done you are a fool.” He quickly reached into his boot and produced a pulser unit. For one moment, the only sound in the massive room was the hum and echo of the pulser’s activation sequence.

Watuu called out nervously “You cannot do this Commander! You are sworn to obey superiors!”

Hikkol growled, “I knew what you planned to ask of me. To never again revel in the glory of the kill. But reveling in that glory is what I am sworn to do, youngling. And I have two deaths left to give. Beginning with yours.”

As the Commander aimed the pulser towards Watuu, Doxenag casually waved a hand and the white light enveloping Commander Hikkol shifted to a hazy blue. As the light thickened, Commander Hikkol’s body began to fail. His legs crumbled, his arms collapsed into his torso. Within seconds he was dead.

Watuu turned to his superior in disbelief. “Gondrian Commanders are renowned for their adherence to the hierarchy. Yet he choose to ignore your orders and you knew he would!

Doxenag spoke calmly, “Gondrian Commanders are trained to kill. From the moment they are identified as younglings and assimilated into the Academy. They are awakened in death. With every kill they draw life to themselves. The kill is all. To take away the kill is to take away meaning. It is the only thing they are trained to do”

Watuu wondered out loud, “If that is so, then every Commander who is to be relieved will reject their proceeding.”

Doxenag was impressed, “Yes. Which means every Commander will directly disobey a superior. A crime punishable by death.”

“So, every Commander dies in their proceeding.” Watuu looked at the fallen Commander Hikkol, “Has any Commander ever accepted their proceeding?”

Doxenag turned to him, “Only one. He still lives. Yet continues to kill, destroying those of our own kind.”

Watuu cocked his head, “Why?”

“Because…” Doxenag’s eye caught a faint glimmer of the hazy blue light as he spoke, “…it is the only thing I am trained to do.”


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