BENNY’S CON­FLICT

The Wokingham Paper - - EDUCATION - By James Lo­max Part 24 of 26

Benny and his crew’s mis­sion has suc­ceeded. After be­ing ar­rested, be­ing shot at, and es­cap­ing cer­tain death many times, they have fled the prison planet with Car­los’ res­cued par­ents. But al­though they de­serve a long, re­lax­ing break, it seems that their trou­bles aren’t over yet…

BENNY couldn’t un­der­stand how he had felt so many dif­fer­ent emo­tions in such a short amount of time.

In about ten sec­onds, he had gone from hope­less fear to in­cred­i­ble hap­pi­ness and now fear­ful con­fu­sion. Shana Vees, a faith­ful part­ner through his ad­ven­tures, had taken the shield-ri­fle she had used mo­ments ago to shoot at se­cu­rity bots, and now aimed it at Car­los’ par­ents, Bernard and Bertha, the very peo­ple she had been try­ing to save.

Car­los im­me­di­ately walked for­ward to stop her, but she pointed the weapon at him, and he backed away.

“Don’t try to stop me,” she warned him. “I’ve been mean­ing to do this for a long time now.”

“But… why?” Car­los sounded con­fused and be­trayed, and Benny felt the same.

“Your par­ents used to be ma­jor threats to my free­dom fight­ers, long be­fore I joined. When Benny came to me with the op­por­tu­nity to find them, I took it.”

“Why? Why my par­ents? What did they do that makes you want to kill them?”

“For decades your par­ents have been fierce sup­port­ers of the hu­man su­prem­a­cist Izen Dopolous.”

Car­los’ look of be­trayal stayed on his face, but it wasn’t di­rected at Shana any­more. In­stead, he turned over to his par­ents, who were no longer cow­er­ing.

“Is it true?” he asked them with a faint voice. “You worked for Izen Dopolous?”

The first to an­swer was Car­los’ fa­ther Bernard. “We didn’t work for him. We worked with him. We gained his trust so com­pletely that whole areas of his op­er­a­tion were left to our com­mand.”

Car­los’ mother Bertha pitched in. ”Then, when we were on Earth II, we had you. So we took a break from our work to raise you, which im­pacted us fi­nan­cially dur­ing the war. Soon, we knew we had to give you up, so we put you with S.T.A.R, where Izen’s roots run deep, hop­ing you would grow up to join our cause.”

“After that,” Bernard con­tin­ued, “we were res­cued by Izen, and shortly after we were ar­rested. Dur­ing all our in­ter­ro­ga­tions, we never be­trayed his lo­ca­tion or much of what we did. Still, they had enough ev­i­dence to im­prison us for life. But not any­more! Now you’ve saved us, and you can take us back to Izen.”

“No,” Car­los’ voice was heav­ily emo­tional now. “That won’t hap­pen.

You see, while I was in S.T.A.R I didn’t be­come what you wanted me to be­come. I broke free. I be­came more com­pas­sion­ate. Hu­mans aren’t the only liv­ing crea­tures in the uni­verse. There’s

noth­ing that sep­a­rates us from aliens. And for over a year I’ve been fight­ing to make sure oth­ers re­alise that.”

Both his par­ents looked down at the ground with shame, but Benny could tell it wasn’t them­selves they were ashamed of. He looked over at Shana, who was still hold­ing the shield-ri­fle. Car­los looked at her, and nod­ded, then turned to face the wall.

“Hold on now,” Benny in­ter­rupted be­fore Shana could fire. “Surely there has to be a bet­ter so­lu­tion than killing them. I mean, Izen him­self is dead. Isn’t that enough.”

“I would not be so sure about that,” echoed a metal­lic voice from the cor­ner of the room. Ev­ery­one turned around, and saw Carlson the an­droid stand­ing up, the Free­dom Cube still plugged in to the back of his head. But the voice that had spo­ken out of the an­droid wasn’t the friendly, ap­proach­able one it usu­ally had. This voice was deeper, and more evil.

There was noth­ing ap­proach­able about Carlson now, and Benny knew what was stand­ing be­fore them wasn’t the an­droid. In fact, he was sure it was the su­prem­a­cist him­self, Izen Dopolous.

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