About the Contest
Now, Logiczombie contests are one of the peculiar kind which calls for new and some times, unchartered ways to look at the situation. If you understand the case, then you come out with a story to explain the situation.
The situation that is expected to be discussed here is the Cyber Pirates vs Werewolf Ninjas. What are they? And how do you participate? Go ahead and check the link that I have shared.
Have fun participating!
Dying for A Cause
The recruits had to prove themselves by jumping into the ice-cold river. On first look, it appeared to be an easy task, but a closer look painted a different picture; especially, when the recruits wore nothing but their underpants while jumping into the river.
When a person jumps from near-zero atmospheric temperature into water at sub-zero temperature, the shock that the body experiences is good enough to cause a stroke. If that did not do the job, then the sudden drop in body temperature could cause hypothermia and the possibility of a person going into shock and never surfacing. But first, if the water has ice crust on the top, the mere chance of crashing into it would leave the person breaking his nose or even neck, and therefore, dead by the time the body enters the water. All this for the sake of proving their allegiance to the Sword.
A tree bark about three hundred meters above the water surface acted as the jumping point. The surrounding hills and snow-covered area was home to wolves as the apex predator. But when the apex predator was compared to the ruthless humans, they appeared to be the better ones. These warriors of the Sword, had given up their emotions of doing, being or acknowledging the good in anything or anyone. The only feeling that was encouraged was hatred and enmity; enmity with anyone who did not conform to the warriors' way of thinking.
Warrior X12 was the next to take the plunge. For a crude group of individuals, they did not give a name to warriors but only alpha-numeric identification. The alphabet "X" stood for the group name and "12" should for the numerical sequence of the member in the group. X12 had already witnessed the demise of seven warriors before him and two with a bloody nose. He didn't have to be a scientist to know that the chances of coming out alive were next to Nothing. Even in that terrifying thought, he could gather himself to make some quick assessment.
The warriors who had jumped before him had caused the thin crust to crack, and therefore, created a clear opening to jump into the water. He just had to make the right push to fall in that opening. So, dying because of hitting ice was eliminated. Since he was twelfth in the row and already exposed to the weather for so long, he felt that he could survive the colder water. At times, the belief was more potent than the supposed reality. X12 did something more. He took some snow from the tree bark and put it into his underpants and immediately withered in pain and minor shock. His handler was watching closely. Warrior X12 stood about a minute in that writhing pain until he heard a command.
"Jump," the handler yelled.
He could not wait any longer as not following orders were reason enough to be eliminated immediately; eliminated not from the group but his life. He took a deep breath and jumped. Soon, an enormous splash was heard, and the body remained submerged for about five seconds. It would take a person nearly ten to twelve seconds to surface again. Few seconds from that time, the person may have experienced shock. Another ten seconds from there, good chance that the recruit was dead.
Warrior X12 took more than ten seconds to surface. The handler turned to have the next Warrior, X13, to move on to the branch. There was no remorse over the loss or any attempt to retrieve the body. Their cause was over-and-above every life, including the recruits'. As X13 took nervous steps on to the tree branch, another splash was heard in the water. Warrior X12 surfaced, albeit, a lot later than usual, but still breathing. He had made it. The handler had a wry smile on his face.
Warrior X12 was assigned to Handler F01, one of the oldest and smartest of the group. He was the same one who ordered the recruits to jump into the water. The alphabet "F" meant that he was recruited eighteen groups before Warrior X12. That could mean that Handler F01 would have been Warrior X12's father's age in the real world. But no such relations existed among the warriors of the Sword.
Warrior X12 would be briefed on his mission and tracked until the successful completion of the task. The mission was to eradicate an enemy outpost closer to their country's border. Why? Because the perceived enemy did not comply with the Swords' way of thinking. Not that somebody found out if they complied or not, they just assumed that the perceived enemy did not comply with the perceived right path of the Sword. Warrior X12's mission was to blow up the enemy post and even die doing so if required.
Warrior X12 was on his way while staying in touch with the Handler. Crossing over to the enemy country was through a tunnel that they had dug under the international border. Once in the enemy territory, he had to put up a façade to make through the few days before the mission. The proximity of the two countries and allied environment allowed the physical features to appear the same. This meant that Warrior X12 would easily blend among them. He even had a new name – Mamoz.
As Warrior X12 made his way through a mud trail, he soon reached a paved road. He took out his GPS device to check where he was and continued crossing the street. At that moment, a car screeched to a halt and hit him. X12 went tumbling over the road about fifteen feet from where the car hit him. He came to rest at the pavement, and as he reached for his GPS device, he sensed things growing darker. It was darker than when he had jumped into the river.
X12 came to senses in a warm room with wooden furnishing. The aroma of baking bread filled the house. He realized he must be a floor above the ground. First, he thought he would jump out of the window and leave, but then that would put eyes and ears looking for him. He decided to do the second-best option. Talk to the people in the house, make them feel good and leave – all part of the training of handling unarmed enemies.
As he got up, he felt a bandage around his head. He must have hurt himself in whatever happened to him. X12 opened the door and walked down the stairs to some old classical music. He could hear a few voices and estimated about three people in the house. Two female and one male. Easy to neutralize, if need be. As he got down, one of the ladies saw him.
"Oh, thank God, you are fine." Hearing her, the other two occupants of the house came to the living room.
"Sonny, you just brought our breath back," the elderly man said. X12 thought he would be the age of F01. Then he heard a young lady's voice. Even before he turned, he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"I am so sorry," the lady in her early twenties said, "it was the snow. I could not stop in time."
"I am fine now. I will leave," X12 said.
"No, no. Be with us. I have prepared food," Catherine, the elderly lady said.
"Yes, please stay. Besides, you are hurt, and you could use some rest," Carla, the young lady added.
X12 realized that it only made sense to stay put. He would have anyway stayed in a hotel and conducted his recce, so now it would be easier to do it from this home. No doubts. "Okay, but I don't want to be a burden," X12 said.
"No, it would be our pleasure," Sam said, "we caused you this. Where are you from?"
The trio got chatting with X12, who introduced himself as Mamoz and unleashed his polished, civil and kind-hearted façade on the family. Little did the unsuspecting family know that he could kill them without batting an eyelid if push came to shove. That night they were just lucky.
Once on the road, they came across the first checkpoint. Carla explained. "We will come across three more before we reach the grocery store."
"Hmm. Hm. Why do you need these check posts?"
"Well, father said that there was a time when things were open and free, and then the neighbours started eyeing this place. They still do, and then the violence started, and this is the result. We have to be checked to be safe."
"Who started the violence?" X12 asked.
"Father says, it was the those across the border."
"That's a convenient way,"
"What convenient way?"
"Good to blame the other side when we could be the one wrong," X12 debated just for the sake of it while he was keeping a keen eye on the check post and for any signs of weakness.
"Maybe we are but do you see so many checkpoints on the other side?" Carla's point derailed X12 completely.
"What does that have to do with right or wrong?"
"Don't you see, we are being attacked, and that's why we have to check. We do not attack people on the other side, so they move around freely. Isn't that telling you something?"
For the first time, X12 had a different perspective on what he had been told his whole life. For a moment, he went back to his training and all that he was taught. But he also went back to how life was, on the other side. Carla was right. Other than the Warriors, even the general public had no issues moving around. It wasn't the case here. "How do we know that they aren't attacking us for what we did?"
"What did we do?"
X12 had no answer.
"The only thing we did was lost lives now and then when these soldiers were blown up mercilessly. They have families too, you know."
X12's training was never about these people. It always started by saying that these were evil people against the Sword's laid down guidelines of living life. X12 felt a tug at the last thought – all training started with the assumption that these people were terrible. Never explaining how or why they were bad. And Carla was giving him the impression that they were very different from what he had expected them to be.
"Thank you, officer," Carla kept her license inside and rolled up the window. They were on their way again. X12 was lost in thoughts. He wasn't sure if he wanted to carry out the mission anymore. Then he heard Carla.
"You are thinking a lot. What happened?"
"Nothing. I was thinking about my slopping road crossing."
"Don't think about that too much. Allow yourself some slack. You are fine now, and that is what matters."
X12 was dumbfounded. He had come to attack the enemies, and here the enemies not only saved his life but were happy that he was fine. X12 thought of going underground for some time. He took out his GPS device, rolled down the window and gently let it fall off his hand. For the first time, he experienced freedom. He felt that he should assess things himself and not go by what his Handler said.
Was he turning a new leaf? We wouldn't know…
In our current world, most misunderstandings stem from one's perceived erroneous notion about the other. Some people have these notions so hard coded that it turns to hatred and then they start propagating this hatred among similar minded people. Over a while, this hatred finds its way to different people who have nothing to do with the hatred in the first place. All these actions culminate into a generation of people who do not have a valid reason to hate somebody and continue to hate them, nonetheless. This hatred then takes a life of its own and is passed from generation to generation, and by then, nobody even bothers to check the reason for hate.
In such a complex world as explained above, Warrior F01 and his kind become the Cyber Pirates while Warrior X12/Mamoz who want to know the other side become the Werewolf Ninjas. The latter, though, is a rarity. A sane mind to make sense of all this hatred and putting things in perspective is the Logiczombie, who in this case is Carla.
I hope you enjoyed the story!
Image Courtesy: Logic Zombie Logo and Pixabay [Source]