Poison of Humanity

Submitted for Contest #44 in response to: Write a story that starts with someone returning from a trip.... view prompt

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The last remaining human has been destroyed. The galaxy would once again be at peace

 

“Zeltrex Mission Log 6Я5: Planet Tryzion year LX92, Day αMδ

 General, operation ‘Apocalypse’ is complete. I have destroyed the remaining civilisations on their home solar system, and I’ve taken no prisoners.

As ordered, I’ve kept their terraformed planets in-tact to allow your survivors to seek refuge. The radiation left by the bombs on some planets and moons; including Mars, Triton and Europa may be too high for your people to safely settle. But could provide refuge for our allied species that are adapted to high radiation on their home planets.

 I am currently on course to return to Tryzion and am expected to arrive in a few short moon cycles. My ship has sustained moderate damage so cannot give you an exact time, nor exact location, so will require assistance upon landing. 

I have heard that the soldiers on Proxima Centauri and Rigel B have also succeeded on taking back our territory. I can only hope this will mark the end of the galactic civil war.

End transmission.”

 

 I could only hope. The war had raged on for eons, and I was ready take even the most infinitesimal glimmer of hope for a sign to mark the end of this brutal bloodbath. As a child of war, I’d never known what it meant to be at peace. I wonder if it meant I could finally be free of following orders like a programmed machine. Or perhaps sleep soundly at night without the worry of waking to face the barrel of an enemy blaster.

I gazed out of my window and watched the desolate green planets shrink, slowly fading into the eternal emptiness of the dark abyss. I looked down on the planets and moons coated in emerald greens and sapphire skies. The vibrant colours that coated the red stained surfaces down below. It was common knowledge that no sound could travel through space. Yet their haunting cries and bloodcurdling screams were carried through the void and echoed endlessly among my thoughts. The eruption of battle cries, the desperate begs for mercy, and even the silence of the petrified screams. 

Humanity. A race that once spanned across hundreds of solar systems, and thousands of planets and moons. Once an empire classified as a type II civilisation, capable of harnessing stellar energy and resources. They were on the verge of becoming a type III civilisation, capable of harvesting an entire galaxy to their own will. Or they would have been, had they not just been exterminated.

150 BILLION lives. I alone am stained with the blood of 150 billion men, women and children. If I had dedicated a second of prayer for the million I massacred in the first city, I'd be praying for 11 earth days straight. A second of prayer for each of the one billion slaughtered in each continent; I’d be praying for over 31 earth years. Could you imagine, spending the end of your days repenting for the 150 billion souls that were ripped away? 

One planet among this eternal darkness caught my eye. Earth, the planet where they first began, and the planet where their history had come to an ending. The planet I once walked upon, and where I was created. I walked among the earthlings, but I would never take upon the abhorrent title of ‘human being’. 

Though, the stories that would be told of them would be true, they once were a race who’s might reigned terror in even the far shadows of the galaxy. They had the power to wield the energy of a black hole, to create a sun on a planet with the energy of a supernova, small enough to hold in the palm of their hands. They had the knowledge to create life from mixing a mere few chemicals together, and program sentience biologically in the brain. If there were ever a race as omnipresent and omnipotently godlike, it would have been humans. And that could only mean that I've just killed god.

My vision focused on the soldier on the window, staring back into me. A crack fissured through the screen of my helmet to reveal an eye, whose gaze pierced through the metallic crevasse, fixed on the image of a human. Yet I knew from the hatred that spread across with the blood that I bled, that it was no human; that I was not a human being. Though I resembled their image, I would never define myself that. Though I cannot comprehend what it means to be human. 

I only hold their image because I was created by them, shaped to their image. I pierced back into my two black eyes and empty, expressionless face. That’s how they designed me in their labs – an expressionless soldier built to kill without mercy or remorse. I looked down at my 4 limbs, 2 arms, 2 legs, 10 fingers and 10 toes. The exact same features most humans share. But make no mistake, I am no human. I do wonder though, what does it mean to be one of their own? What does it mean to be human?

My days on Earth spent learning that human history was filled with nothing but war and conflict. Even without our modern technology that had the capacity to kills billions with the push of a button, there still existed those that have killed millions upon billions without the need of our technology. They turned on their own kind for their own selfish goals, without sparing a trace of remorse. I was programmed in that way to not feel empathy, yet they seemed to hold that trait within them since from their earliest days. It’s almost paradoxical. The possibility of a race who had spent their existence conflicting with each other, to ever have the ability to unite and build such an advance society, one that spanned to the outer most reaches of the galaxy. 

A war-obsessed race they were. Bred to hate any different to their own kind, and also those indifferent themselves. I’ve observed younglings play with toy blasters and swords, as if the act of war was coded within their race from birth. I doubted the existence of an innocent human, even a child, not that there are any remaining to exist.

I did however question the galactic federation’s decision to initiate operation ‘Apocalypse’ – the genocide of all human beings, to bring an end to their empire. An all-knowing, all-power race hell-bent on nothing but destruction – they all deserved to die. Or did they? Killing a soldier is one thing, it’s their job to kill or be killed while serving on the battlefield. But innocent bystanders? Humans who had not yet leant the ways of their own kind, who were naïve to the abilities of their malice. Perhaps it was for the greater good, left to prevent them forever discovering their deadly potential.

But I too was created for the sole purpose to kill and exist to hate. If the acts of war and hatred were what it means to be human, the makes me indifferent from them?

The console screen suddenly flared up, blaring its siren for my attention. But I kept my gaze on the figure reflected on the window against the darkness of the void that encompassed my surroundings, as the transmission was played.

  

“Zeltrex, this is the Lieutenant.

We were on course back from P. Centauri, when the new orders had been given.

Operation Apocalypse has been extended. The federation wants allies of the humanity exterminated too. We’ve been ordered to restock and recuperate on Tryzion and prepare for the extermination of the Retteling race.

Though they have fully surrendered, the federation has deemed them too dangerous to be kept alive. I can only offer apologies, as I cannot begin to imagine the horrors you've just been through. But that’s the order you’ve been given. There’s nothing that’s going to change their minds.

Zeltrex, you are the ultimate soldier, your skills rival none. You alone have the power to complete this task. So this burden too falls on you alone.

End transmission”

 

 The impact of the message left me winded, as I struggled to catch my breath. The Retellings were a nomadic race. Or at least, they began as peaceful beings, until allying with the humans. Humanity’s poison had spread to their race, and now they too would be severed alongside the human infection. The federation had just ordered a second wave of genocide.

 The screams of the dead were getting more and more deafening with each passing moment. I was programmed to be void of remorse, but not regret. I knew I could never again sleep while their haunting screams were doomed to keep me awake for eternity. But I don’t know if I could live to be awake hearing the cries of another exterminated race, one who was only a victim of humanity’s poison.

I gazed at the human face on the window that pierced its gaze back at me, carrying behind the expressionless face that masked its scars. I reached out into my belt cavity, slowly materialised my blaster and pressed it deep into my skull. The order was given – eradicate all human beings across the galaxy. If the act of war and a heart of hatred was what it meant to be a human, then my soul, if I had one, was tainted with humanity.

My hand blaster cupped around the trigger, poised and aimed. Ready to disintegrate my brain at the flick of a finger. I despised humans, they had programmed my every desire and every trait, and subsequently stripped me of love, empathy and of any remorse. I would rather die than carry a trace of humanity within myself. But I now realise that my fate was always inevitable, especially since they created me this way.

 Now I realise that all of civilisation was built on war and conflict. Humanity’s venom was universal. Even the federation was tarnished by their own desire for power and glory. My thoughts were programmed to never surrender, and never run away, so I had to complete the mission. I had to finish operation apocalypse and rid the galaxy of all humans, and rid all traces of humanity.

There were two ways I could complete my mission. I had a choice to make. I lowered my blaster and looked back at the console. I could conclude the operation and end the poison of humanity that ran through the blood in my veins. I could end this cycle by emptying the blaster barrels into my brains. Or I could begin the new revolution, turn against the federation, and all of civilisation itself, and sever all that were infected with this parasite that hungered for more power and conflict.

Just as the Lieutenant said, I alone had the power to carry out such as task, meaning with me gone, the genocide could not occur. But I alone had the power to destroy the federation and ensure no following orders were carried out by any other being. 

 “Zeltrex, do you copy? This is the General. Do you copy?” His face stained a bloodthirsty expression on the console. The transmission was live. I was within range of radio contact. I was close to Tryzion and would soon arrive at the federation HQ. Time was closing in, and I had to make my decision.

The screams of the dead humans shrouded my mind, and I struggled to hear my own thoughts. The screams accompanied by the cries of the Retellings souls that were to be extinguished. I could silence those voices now with a flick of the trigger, or I could silence the authority that reined over the civilisation built upon war and bloodshed.

“Do you copy? I repeat, do you…” I fired the trigger. The screen went dark.    

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22 comments

20:20 Jun 14, 2020

Very well-written; gotta love a good sci-fi story!

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A.j Blink
13:38 Jun 08, 2020

That's it. I'm a fan! You write so beautifully..

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Emily Nghiem
18:55 Jun 07, 2020

This is an extremely compelling story and well written narrative, that drew me in and pulled me along for the ride! With your exceptional talents where all your words and descriptions flow naturally, the editing errors that would normally be huge seem negligible in comparison because the rest is so near perfect, it almost doesn't matter to me, and I can be very picky. That's more a compliment to you as a true writer, though any English teacher might be upset with you for turning in a masterpiece without proofreading as this deserves! (EX: wh...

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Maggie Deese
17:35 Jun 07, 2020

Have I told you how much I admire you as a writer? This story was just...AMAZING!! Amazing is honestly quite an understatement. I was engaged right from the start and could not stop reading. This is possibly the best story I've read from you. Really well done, A. y. R. :)

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A. y. R
22:21 Jun 07, 2020

Thank you so much! But would you be surprised if I told you that I actually didn't like writing this story? I'll be honest, I just lost interest a few paragraphs in. Can't begin to tell you why, I really just wasn't feeling it for some reason. But I still decided to finish it by channeling my apathy through my character and posted it for the sake of sharpening my writing skills. And even though I didn't enjoy it, I'm sure there are others who will. In that same sense, I really enjoyed your last story! And I'm glad I got a chance to read it!...

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Maggie Deese
00:21 Jun 08, 2020

Oh my goodness! That's incredible. Well, I'm glad I got to read this one just like you were for mine :) thank you for the support and encouragement, you have no idea how much that means to me!

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Jack Fitzgerald
17:58 Jun 05, 2020

I don't know why I did this math but out of you and everyone on the current karma leaderboard, you have the highest karma-to-story average with over 90 karma gained each story you release. Zilla Babbit, who's at #1, only gains around 40 karma with each story. Again, I'm not sure why I decided to do this, but the numbers are astonishing. :)

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Elliott Laurence
09:07 Jun 05, 2020

A.y.R this story will be relevant about some civilization somewhere in time for eternity. Great job.

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06:34 Jun 05, 2020

Again, I love your stories and your style of writing. The way the main character acted like a robot was pretty awesome, and the flaw in his design was that he wasn't programmed to not feel regret. Pretty awesome! Even the ending was mind-blowing, and I really enjoyed it. Also, please could you read my latest story, 'the man with the key to her heart', and give me feedback on my work? I'd really appreciate that. Once again, great story. I look forward to reading more from you.

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Haruko Otonashi
02:29 Jun 04, 2020

This is good, man. Good job!

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Corey Melin
00:41 Jun 04, 2020

Very well done. I have read countless sci fi and you are up there with the greats.

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Aqsa Malik
13:32 Jun 03, 2020

“As a child of war, I’d never known what it meant to be at peace” okay first of all, with everything that’s happening in the world right now, this line hits home so hard :( really powerful. I love that throughout, I felt like the robotic narrator had more emotions than humans themselves, which is so ironic yet interesting. Especially with the influx of AI and what it means for the future of robots. I noticed that you’ve replaced “my” with “by” a lot- I don’t know if that’s probably your autocorrect but just be wary of that one. The ...

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A. y. R
22:42 Jun 03, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Yeah my auto correct has been really funny with me lately, but thanks for pointing it out!

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Harken Void
12:42 Jun 03, 2020

Well now, I don't think I've ever been gripped so tightly by a story from the first line to the very last. This was a dark and gripping story, filled with great description (I especially loved how you wrote that there is only silence in space, yet you could hear the screaming in your soul). I loved the protagonist (who is also the villain, nicely done) and his contemplation. It's amazing how you spin the prompts with your stories, going for something no one else would have thought of! I must ask, how do you write? Is it like an idea that po...

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Harken Void
17:55 Jun 03, 2020

Also, forgot to mention, this time we both wrote a story on the same prompt and on a similar subject ( I accused humanity of destroying their planet and you took one step further and executed the whole of humanity). Pretty cool, I must say :D

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A. y. R
22:10 Jun 03, 2020

Wow, that is so true! I have a strange feeling that it's almost too coincidental to not have been planned... Almost as if something is controlling and joining our ideas from a hive mind...

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A. y. R
22:34 Jun 03, 2020

With my ideas, it's a mixture of ideas just popping into my head from reading the promt, having a couple of them lying dormant in my mind, waiting for the right prompt to be released, and also finding inspiration when I'm daydreaming on my long walks

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Harken Void
08:09 Jun 04, 2020

Haha, we are The Swarm (Starcraft reference). That's very cool. I often complain over the prompts being 'too vague', but you've just proven with this story that one can do ANYTHING with ANY prompt. Super cool!

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Himanshi Y
09:13 Jun 03, 2020

I am always amazed by the unexplored dimensions, an imagination or a good story can take us to. This story is one of them for sure.

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Khadija S.
05:50 Jun 03, 2020

Bravo!

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Agnes Ajadi
04:15 Jun 03, 2020

I so much love this story. Keep it up!

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Laura Landau
00:08 Jun 03, 2020

This was really interesting, especially once it is revealed that the person was created by the very people they are being sent to destroy. I also really enjoyed the realization they have toward the end. Some things are unfortunately universal. Well done.

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