Friday, July 1, 2011


The following audiolog was recovered in the office of General David Martin, Commander of the OWPEN Station, by the emergency squad sent by the United Nations to recover the station on July 26, 2026 in the aftermath of his breakdown. It is General Martin's last audiolog. It is presented here in it's entirety, and is highly classified. Sharing any part of this audiolog is considered an act of treason, and is punishable by death.

Begin Recording

After consultation with the senior officers, the decision was made...

The decision was made.

That’s such a weird turn of phrase. Like the decision came around of it’s own accord, unbidden. From the depths of consultation, nobody’s fault, and nobody needing to take responsibility. It’s the sort of phrase that only gets used by somebody trying to avoid the predictable consequences of his actions. Trying to weasel out of something. It’s a politician’s phrase. And I’m not much of a politician. Never have been.

I’m a soldier. And I’ve always done my best never to weasel.

Soldiers take responsibility for what they’ve done. So I apologize, and I’ll start again.

After I consulted with my senior officers of my orbital platform, I made the decision. I accept responsibility for the decision, sole responsibility, and I happen and for the record to stand by it.

Circumstances being what they were, I could do nothing else.

It’s easy, with the benefit of hindsight, to suggest that there may’ve other, less destructive options, and yes the fact that we now know we only lost communications with the installation due to sunspot activity and not to any failure at the facility itself makes my later actions seem rash, but put yourself in my position and examine the facts for a moment.

At 8:45 Tuesday morning, a sample of an experimental neurotoxin was compromised, and by the time the air filters could scrub the atmosphere back to a safe level, some unknown number of researchers had been infected with a highly contagious, extremely lethal virus.

The virus has an abnormally long gestation period, followed by a period of mental breakdown in which the infectee is prone to bouts of murderous rage. By the time these violent symptoms emerge, however, weeks or months have elapsed, and god knows how many new people may have been infected. There is no treatment, and the end result is death in ninety six percent of case studies. It’s the perfect weapon, the perfect killer.

And, the minute that sample was compromised, the perfect tragedy.

I am aware that Dr. Hendrickson believed he could reverse engineer an antivirus before the gestation period was up, of course I am. As the Command of the orbital platform, I’m present at all high level briefings, and was at the meeting wherein he made his admittedly eloquent case in favor of being given more time to attempt just such a thing. But tell me, if we’d given him the time he requested, and one person, just one, had somehow gotten out of the compound, did we even have a plan to contain the area?

I’ll save you the time looking that up. We did not.

So yes. I conferred with my staff, and then I made the decision.

And my decision was to turn the weapons platform on the compound, killing everyone inside and sterilizing the area. I did this for reasons I believe are self-evident.

The fact that the compound was inside a city of six hundred thousand is obviously regrettable, but in my estimation that’s well within the acceptable range of collateral damage.

Yes, I am aware that due to the secrecy of the project the public can never know why I did what I did. It is, after all, already being reported by the news networks that I abused my position as part of a larger mental breakdown. I’ve seen the coverage and while that fact is upsetting I understand the rationale.

I’d like to say this recording is an attempt to win my freedom, or salve my reputation, or even beg for my life, but I know better. I am, after all, a good soldier, and I know that there are times when tough decisions must be made.

And really: The damnation of one innocent man verses admission of our government’s participation in an illegal biohazerdous weapons program? Not a particularly tough decision.

So rather than an argument, consider this recording... a goodbye. You’ll find it near where I put a bullet clean through my brain. I’ll die instantly, and you can claim anything about me you like, anything you believe will assist in covering up this program, and the tragedy it resulted in.

I have no doubt whatever story you concoct will be entertaining in the extreme.

I also have no doubt said story will paint me in the worst possible light.

I have no doubt I’ll be thought a monster for what I’ve done.

And I regret it not one bit. My name will be cursed by seven billion still living people, and I hope they have a damn long time to curse me. I hope they teach their still living children to hate me, too, and I hope those kids have good long lives in which to use my name as a pejorative.

I didn’t know I’d be called upon to die like this, there was no way I could have known, but I knew dying for what was right was a risk when I signed on as a soldier. With this in mind, yes, I do go willingly.

So... goodbye, I guess. Goodbye.

Computer? End recording.


  1. Was this intended for the Drabblecast? It certainly reads like it's intended to be heard. Cheers!

  2. due to the awkward length, i never even thought about submitting it, perhaps i ought to've...

    ...but yeah, definitely a monologue as much as a story here. glad you liked it!

  3. Yes, I could imagine this in audio. Enjoyed the story, there is a sadness to this where he doesn't attempt to leverage the outcome to keep this from happening in the future, but to accept taking the fall.