I kind of choked on this one, not that I didn't put in the effort, I did that in spades, but SPAG and my convoluted way of writing didn't sit well with some of the judges. I tried to play it save, rather than run with my muses.
In this blog I did a revision of that piece by using the advice from the judges. I corrected the SPAG and made the caption a sergeant and tried to make it easier to follow. Below is the revision, if you want to see the original it's one of the stories in the grand Fiction Competition. I can only hope I qualify for this competition next year, I need to redeem myself..
Countdown to Oblivion (1005 Words) (revised)
A mini-story written by Robert F Callaci
“We’re probably all going to be dead by dawn, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.” I let out a hearty laugh when I saw the expression on their young, tear-stained faces. The impact of my words sent shivers down their spines.
“Now, now, my little snot-nosed cadets, there’s no need yet to piss your undershorts. Death comes to us all, one way or another. Now’s the time to prepare yourselves for what lies ahead. Focus on the task at hand. Soon, you may well be as dead as God, but your legacy will live on forever. You’re the last hope for a dying world.”
I smiled, as I saw their acceptance of the situation sink in. I gave a few last minute instructions to the crew and plopped myself into my chair. I lit a cigarette, flipped on the record switch and continued on with my journal, probably the last one I’d ever make…
My jocularity and bravado with these young ones was a cruel facade. I was consumed with guilt for posing as their confidant and protector, someone they trusted and leaned upon, while in reality, I was just a delivery boy giving them a one way ride to hell. I was disgusted with myself for being part of this horrific travesty. Like the Ancients of old we were offering these innocents for sacrifice in order to appease the gods. The gods in this case being that accursed race of aliens calling themselves the “Guardians”.
They came and seized upon our planet a decade ago. Without warning they targeted fifteen of our most populated cites, turning each and every one to ash and dust. Of course we tried to retaliate, but being a fractionalized society without a centralized world government made the outcome of our counteroffensive, nothing more than a pitiful display of ineptitude.
Our mistrust of each other led to miscommunications between governments and their armies. This lack of trust and cooperation were the reasons for the uncoordinated and misdirected attacks toward the enemy. There were even clashes and fights between governments claiming that one, or the other, were in league with the aliens. We were our own worst enemy. It’s a small wonder that we didn’t destroy ourselves in the process. We had no other recourse than to surrender.
The Guardians claimed that they were here to protect this sector of the galaxy from the likes of us. It was their mission to locate and secure all the seed colonies and outposts that were spawned, terra-formed, and set up by Faxamus Humana, a fallen empire still feared and remembered throughout the galaxy.
According to the guardians, the Faxamus Humana was a bloodthirsty warrior race that spread chaos and mayhem across the galaxy. They were killing machines, ruthless and efficient. It took an unprecedented alliance between the thirteen prime alien races to finally topple and crush their empire. But the Faxamus Humana, were builders and visionaries as well.
They foresaw the eventual collapse and defeat of their empire and prepared for a unique kind of Diaspora. They created Operation Genesis. The Humania spread their seed to hundreds of planets amongst the galaxy, and set up distant outposts to assist and monitor their progress. One of those seeds fell onto earth; it bloomed, thrived, and multiplied.
The Faxamus Humana vowed they would forever rise from the ashes again and again. It was the guardian’s job to stop that from happening. But it is now Humanity’s sacred duty to seek out and reunite with our long lost brothers and sisters and release the Phoenix from her cage. To rise once again from the ashes and lay waste to those who dared to do us... harm.
“Sergeant, we’re approaching the guardians’ carrier fleet. They’ve accepted our call signs and cleared us for docking. They want us to unload our cargo with due haste. The hunger should be taking hold. Get the cadets ready for debarkation,” barked my commanding officer.
I decided to keep my journal running; I transferred it to the government server on earth so that the citizens of our home world can be witness to the unfolding events. I switched on the intercom switch and addressed the thousand young souls who’ll never again see another glorious sunrise.
“Cadets, Humanity will forever be in your debt. Forgive us for thrusting the burden of our redemption on your shoulders. May you forever drift and float in the dreams where the gods and fairies dwell.” I turned toward my commanding officer and cleared her to dock with the Guardian’s flagship. It was time for the festivities to begin.
“Open the bay doors. May God have mercy on our souls.”
What came out of those bay doors were no longer the young innocents I had just addressed, but mad berserkers, hungry for flesh of any kind. The berserker cocktail we gave them burned them out and killed them within the hour, but that was plenty of time to rein havoc and subdue the ship. They ripped apart and chewed up all within their path. We gained control of the ship and took back our destiny. Victory requires sacrifice.
We will always prevail. Unlike the Guardians, we’d never give a wounded beast time to lick their wounds. The Guardian’s greatest weakness was their aversion to committing genocide. When they invaded they should have annihilated us, wiping out all traces of humanity, rather than putting on a show of power by obliterating fifteen of our cities. They wanted to intimidate us, make us feel powerless. The Guardians amplified this feeling by demanding our best and brightest young minds as a monthly tribute. They were making us toothless beasts, their goal was to break us, and make us and our planet, die a slow agonizing death; while brainwashing our brightest to serve as their puppets. With the coordinates of the seed planets and outposts we just obtained, in time it is we, who will burn our path back to power. All will kneel before us. Long live Faxamus Humana!