I’ve lost count of how many worlds I’ve burned. In the beginning I anguished over each of them, seeking to justify my actions. Would I save more lives than were taken? How many more would I be saving in the fullness of time? How quickly would this new massacre end the war? The loss of one world could stop an aggressor from reaching our core worlds. It could be a warning, a slap in the face, even the punishment for breaking a technology pact. The tactical value of seizing shipyards… the list became endless.
I sat and watched the galactic scanner. Somehow the simple graphics in front of me made it easier for me to deal with than a real-time feed would. As I watched eight fleets descended, stripping eight worlds of their precious resources, crippling the economy of a fledgling empire. They would no longer be a threat to us.
“How many worlds have I burned?” I speak, letting the thought out of my head. All alone in the command centre it seems so loud against the low, constant hum of the computer.
Several second later, the computer bank, MERF, whirrs and spits out a small white data card. I had forgotten that the voice commands were active.
Leaning over I took the piece of card. Not turning it over, I carefully held the corner over my lighter and watched as it blackened and burned. As I watched it turn to ash I knew in my heart that I no longer cared how many, I only knew I would never stop.