An Oath Once Taken

Author: David C. Nutt

“As I told you to begin with, if Renslo dies, you would die too.”
I thought the Renegade Commander said that so I wouldn’t kill Renslo under the knife by violating my Hippocratic oath. Oathbreakers never understand the power of an oath taken; especially in my case. I couldn’t violate my Hippocratic oath. Not with someone wounded and helpless. These others? Deserters? Combatants? War Criminals? Not an issue.
“I did my best.”
“It’s OK doc,” one of his men said to me as he fingered his neckless of human ears, most likely my neighbors and their children, “to err is human, to forgive divine. You goofed so now it’s in God’s hands… so we’re arranging a meeting.” Gruff laughter exploded about the room. Their commander held up his and motioned for silence.
“Well, it’s best not to draw this out any farther.” The commander called up a death certificate on my room display. In cause of death under my name, he typed in ‘head trauma.’ He hit ‘enter’ and the form wouldn’t let him save the response.
I was almost ready. Just two more minutes and the set up would be complete. The outer sentries he posted had closed my compound doors for the night. As soon as his guards crossed into the courtyard, I would be ready.
The commander gave up interest in his grand jest and yawned. “Well, I suppose it’s too late for a proper execution tonight. We’ll take care of it in the morning.” There were murmurs of agreement. This was all I needed. The commander stood up. His men scrambled to their feet. The commander and his two aides went to open the door of my office. The lead man reached for the door. I heard the bolt slide, locking the door.
I smiled. I stood up. “You aren’t allowed to leave.”
The commander smiled with pure sarcasm. “I beg your pardon.”
“You may not.” The commander’s face turned red with rage.
“I don’t think-“
“By the authority vested in me as magistrate, I charge you with desertion, treason, and crimes against humanity and sentence you all to die.”
His men laughed loud and carried on a few slapped me around a bit. The commander held up his hand again.
“So harsh doctor? Or as you are now in your magistrate role I should probably say ‘Your honor’, hmmm?” His men let loose their guffaws and catcalls
This time I smiled. I saw the commander swallow. He knew he was missing something. I was done playing with him now. My two spares had eliminated the sentries. I let my left arm fall off. The laughter stopped. There was a brief moment of confusion as all the renegades processed what happened and were scrambling to find a way out. I looked their commander in the eye again. He sat down and shook his head and I triggered myself destruct mode.
From my new vantage point in the courtyard, I watched my lab implode, taking all the renegades with it. By the time I got my remaining duplicates hidden again my report was being transmitted to the regional authorities about the terrible atrocities committed and the heroic self-sacrifice one of my neighbors to take out the renegades. As decommissioned Army AI, one who survived being consigned to the scrap heap, I worked hard establishing my human profile. While not prone to human error and certainly not divine, this was the way it had to be. Then again, not being human or divine, I had a lot of wiggle room.

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