Choices

Posted: February 16, 2012 by writingsprint in Science fiction, Writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

Light and darkWarning: fan fiction ahead.

About a month ago I started playing the video game “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” SW:TOR sets itself apart from other online RPG’s through the use of cut scenes and voice acting to make the game more immersive. At key points of the game, you step inside the story through an interactive scene where your character can interact with other characters in the game, and make decisions that change the course of play. The game designers have set things up so that, often, you wind up needing to make moral choices. This gives you Light or Dark Side of the Force points — it’s Star Wars, after all — and it gives the game a taste like bittersweet chocolate: intense, memorable, and oh so addictive.

Now and then I’m going to post my rendition of a scene that happened in the game that inspired me.

Mission accomplished. Cartog brushed ash off his armor, and rubbed his nose against the stench of burned power couplings and the tang of electrified air. If he held up an old incandescent bulb, there was probably enough charge left on his skin to give it a glow. The rebels’ bomb was destroyed; the city was safe, for now.

Callie slumped against a generator, armor blackened and bleeding from a nasty slice in her head. Cartog started over, but then she took out a cigarette, lit up, and smiled at him. Cartog cocked a grin. Callie would light up after shutting the door to the Inferno’s gates. Just another day. She brandished a medpack and started taking care of her wounds.

Cartog heard a cough. In the corner, whimpering, one of the rebels was still alive. He lay in a puddle of his own blood, barely keeping a wound under control.

“Well, look at you,” Cartog said. He knelt in front of him, far enough away to keep from being sliced with a hidden blade or choked with a poison breath capsule if the rebel was faking.

“You won’t stop us. We fight for freedom. Go on and kill me, you Imperial pig!” the boy snapped. He was trembling, and barely twenty.

“Is that what they told you? This was a suicide mission; you have to know that. You were just cannon fodder to them.”

“It doesn’t matter. At least it was for a worthy cause. Go ahead and kill me.”

Cartog’s hand slid to his blaster. He didn’t like being called out, especially by young punks like this. The rebel winced, half in fear, half in… Cartog froze. It looked like hope. “You want me to kill you, don’t you?”

“Yes!” the rebel gasped. “Please! I don’t want to die like my friends did. Half of them went mad. Eyes, red…bloody… I can hear them coming for me. Please!”

The blaster came out of Cartog’s holster. The rebel breathed in, but Cartog couldn’t lift it.

“Damn it.”

He thought of the last mission he’d completed, that cackling bitch with her army of cyborgs. Before that, he’d served an idiot megalomaniac with his happy, burning gun turrets. Cartog thought of the snickering, callous voice inside the Sith lord’s helmet that he served on this planet, and didn’t want to take one more step towards being ashamed to show his face to the outside world.

Not today.

He jammed the blaster back into his holster with his right hand. His left hand snatched a medpack from his belt. “Here,” he said, shoving it into the rebel’s belly. “Take this, heal that wound, and get the hell out of here. I know your face. I know how to find you. You owe me.”

Callie snorted and kicked the ground as the rebel trooper ran off, still looking over his shoulder to make sure Cartog didn’t shoot him in the back. “I’m disappointed, Car. you going soft?”

Cartog wheeled to backhand her, but her reflexes were good. Scary good. She blocked his arm, punched his ribs, and had a knife jabbing them before he saw her first hand move again. Just hard enough to make him suck his breath in, not enough to pierce his armor. Barely. “Ah ah ahhh…,” she said softly. “Remember who your friends are, agent.”

Cartog didn’t flinch, daring her to stab him. If she did, he would have two seconds to snap her neck if he could get to it before he died. Fighting while dying was the last step of combat training.

“Even I can’t be cruel every day,” he said. It sounded weak, noble, but it was honest.

Callie held his eyes. They were black glass marbles that let nothing in. She must be a hell of a card player. The knife went back to its sheath with a click. “Shall we?” she asked.

He held her eyes now. What did it mean? Respect? Understanding? A knife in the back?

“Let’s get out of here.”

Cartog led the way back out of the temple. She has a chit on me now, he thought. Something she can use against me to Intelligence Command if the time comes.

So what if she did. She already trusted him. He could say the word and have her killed, even now. That made them even. He could live with that.

Yeah. He liked it better that way.

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