Challenge #01982-E158: Sufficient MotivationsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  10 months ago

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“You can still save the world.”
“I could,” grinned the human, “if I wanted to.” Behind them, the Capital burned.
“But you won’t.” My voice was more hoarse than I’d ever heard it, and I could taste the bitterness of my own blood running down my cheek.
The human’s “shrug” was silhouetted by the flames.
“Convince me.” -- Anon Guest

What motivated a human? Greed? No. This human was already profiting from the current course of events. Events that were literally destroying everything I had known for my entire life. This world could still make it... if the human wanted to make that happen.

Sex? Gross. No. Never. Besides, the plumbing wouldn't allow their bodies to mesh. Excitement? What could possibly excite a human more than the rampant destruction currently underway?

What mattered to a human more than any of that? I wracked my brains. Going through everything I could remember about their species. And then... a moment of pure genius and inspired desperation.

"Bet you can't," I said.

The human turned away from hir comms device, where ze had been lining up more comets to pepper my homeworld's surface with burning death. "What?"

"I bet you can't save my world. You lack the capability. This is something you've started and lack the power to stop."

Quick and hurried words into their comms. "Hold the release a mo. Call you back." Ze stared at me for a breathless moment. "You've heard about my kind. I could step on you and end your life."

"Then I'd win," I said. "I'd never see whether or not I was right and you couldn't collect."

"Well you are wrong. I can stop this any time I want."

"Prove it," I challenged. "Unless you're scared."

The Human seethed. But they still called up their wrecking crew, "Harvest those for water and volatiles. We're preserving this site." A pause for objections. "Who's paying your wages, here? That's right. Me. Do what you're told." They spared me a moment to give what I had to presume was a rude gesture. "Yeah. CRC? Some asshole's comet-bombing the fuck out of an inhabited planet. Follow this signal." And then ze removed hir comms and tossed them at me.

I caught them awkwardly.

"Proof," said the human. "What do I win?"

I sent the recording I had made to the cloud backup, so that the information wouldn't die with me. "The last chance to pull this shit ever again."

Live or die, my people would know. The Cogniscent Rights Committee would know. The data was spreading from the planetary network to the system network and out through the wormhole to the rest of the galaxy. They would know this human's face. They would know their business practices. They would know, and they would persecute to the fullest extent of the law.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / fredmantel]

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