Celebration

Supreme Admiral Timothy Ganondry was having a good day. The ships were lining up, the starfighter's were being manned; the War was coming to an end at last, after nearly four years.

The celebrations had already started. According to the latest news reports, parties and rallies on thousands of different planets were underway, with people screaming and cheering their joy and relief. Timothy had seen a variety of different forms of celebration. From meditation periods to extensive drinking, to banners flying high over vast cities. A few of those colorful banners thanked the Admiral personally, an honor Timothy graciously appreciated and was flattered by. Religious factions praising their omnipresent, potent, all-powerful, good-guy Gods, were spreading enlightenment, thanking their Creators for all their hard work in watching over the war and making sure that it went in the right direction–that only seven trillion lives had been taken instead of more. Timothy was still getting v-mail from several million zealots from all over the Known Galaxy, who praised him as their "savior," calling him "Messiah" and "God-on-(whatever planet they were from)," and what not. Though he did thank them, by now he did it via a copied form of his signature.

All that–all of it–celebrating the end of the now historic First Galactic War. The Great Galactic War as some historians had written it.

But the good news had yet to be delivered.

The final battle hadn't been fought. It was just starting. The ships were lining up, the starfighters being manned. The guns were fully charged, and the rockets at the ready. The hulls reinforcements had reinforcements, the power cores sealed off in their chambers. Engines had fuel rushing through system "veins." The controls tested themselves, repairing any damage, prepping for the fight.

Cadets, Lieutenants, Lieutenant Commanders, Commanders, Commodores, Admirals; all drilling or being drilled. For what they weren't quite sure. Many of them feared the upcoming showdown; many didn't know what to think or fear or believe. The tacticians slept or did nothing, empty and useless; the people you could pity.

The war machine was ready again. Ready to spill the blood one last time. And so Supreme Admiral Timothy Ganondry was having a good day as he stood in the light of his quarters, standing alone, staring down, deep in thought as his reflexes concentrated on batting the barrel of the handgun against the lines of his right palm.

The room was deathly silent, not a hum in the walls, or the floor, or the ceiling, as if it was listening to the steady rapping noise. Nothing moved at all.

The Admiral's eyes darted around, staring at, and at times following, the design of the lines in the carpet, but not seeing them. Instead he was focused on an image that wasn't there, a distant world nobody else could see. He saw the stars, the planets, but they meant nothing to him. In one moment passed one year, in another passed only a single, solitary second in time. The faces of the living, the dead, the bold, the scared, the wise, and the insane flashed into his pupils, filling every particle, every atom, every nook and cranny of his vision. His remembrance of every one of them was clear, their emotional and living eyes tucked under his ghostly pair–

Finally, he blinked, ridding his eyes of the visions, and returning him to his quarters, the journey through his mind completed. Without a sound, he tightened his grip on the handle of the gun, freezing it on his palm this time. He gently lowered it onto a small coffee table, and set it down there. With a leap of slow confidence and a lifting of his face, the Admiral at last looked up, somber as ever, glued to the empty far wall, forcing himself not to stare out his window at the immense fleet that had gathered out in space's blackness, for fear of giving in to his pride, thus he would start to admire its power and hold over him and his life, as it has so many times before. The room was now in complete dead silence. He swallowed nervously. "Computer, create personal log file for today, June Seventh, 2342." Crossing his arms over his chest, the young-looking war veteran opened his mouth, inhaling a mouthful of air as the computer complied with his request, signaling with a sharp double-tone when it was ready.

"First entry begins now. Supreme Admiral Timothy Ganondry, June Seventh, 2342. 0530 hours military time." He cleared his throat and exhaled.

"It's almost over at last. This damn War it's...almost done. I can't it–I thought it's never end, the way we were fighting. I mean...The last four years have been nothing but slaughter;–" his heart raced in his chest, pounding with the fury of war–"slaughter and murder and corruption and..." he swallowed heavily...."God knows what else." He paused momentarily. When he opened his mouth the next moment, however, nothing came out except a long sigh of air. More moments passed in silence. It was a long pause until he spoke again. "This probably going to be the last battle of the war. I know I kind of already said that but...it's just so hard to believe that I have to say it again. It helps...I mean four years!...I'm hearing that they're starting to call it Armageddon now. Armageddon is something from the Christian bible, which is a book that symbolizes a major religion in humanity....Armageddon is the end of the world. Of course, the Commanders of the fleets are trying to shut those people up now..." he was sounding like an idiot, and for the first time in his life, he cared about it. "I know I don't sound like an Admiral right now; I don't sound confident, I don't sound sure, I do sound scared but...I am me, Supreme Admiral Timothy Ganondry. I've just seen so much–" he swallowed again, dry and hard–"killing, so much blood spilled, I suppose Armageddon fits in with the other stupid names we've given some battles. Like the Battle of 'Cowards,' and the Battle of 'Smashers," and of course lets not forget the stupidest one of them all, the Battle of 'Bloodspill!' I mean, look at us, how arrogant we are!" Timothy made a sickening face at nothing, his muscles tempting him to lash out at the visions in front of him, of some of the mentally insane soldiers who thought of those nicknames. "It sickens me really, even though I know those men who named those names weren't mentally sound, were retarded, at the time they said that stuff." He stopped, breathing heavy, stealing glances every now and then at the gun on his coffee table. "Oh, who am I kidding? Myself? I'm going insane too; my mind is rotting in my skull. This War!..." he let the sentence trail off, as he now sat in one of his plush armchairs, hands gripped tightly to his forehead. "God, I hate this fucking War! What is this galaxy's problem? Can't go a decade without a war of some kind. I mean, its so stupid, humanity never did anything to these enemies. Never! Anything! To them! We'd like to be their friends, their allies if they'd only let us. But for some reason, its humanity and its allies that they hate the most! But no, to them we're inferior. We're always inferior. Why? Because we do the right thing; because we stand for morals over power, over conquer." He stopped again. "Well, I hope they're happy." His mind raced in thought, eyes once again thrown onto another reality–back into the eye of his brain. "Because they've won." His eyes drew him to the scene outside the window, where starfighters were running their final drills, and the big starships ships were forming up into their final formations and squadron assignments. He gazed out at the awesome sight of millions of fleet elements, gathered like clouds in space. It was a scene that was so beautiful that it was ugly. Ugly as hell. "They chewed us up and spat us out. We seem more like them everyday, with our big warships and our unsatisfied hunger for action, excitement; for war. We now yearn for blood like they do. We'd rather see an enemy's head on a stick than his signature on a document. The worst threat to humanity has finally hit home: in going to more extremes to prevent ourselves from becoming more like our enemies, we have become them anyway. We are now the threat, we are now the power. We are the enemy to morals, to peace." Timothy forced his eyes away from the fleet, closing the door on lust for war one final, solid time. "But not me. I won't allow myself to be sucked into this black hole of black hearts. Never again will I take a life. I've watched thousands men of men die in the blink of an eye, I've watched mothers cradle their babies and tell them that they love them moments before a bomb turns them all to ashes. Two species have I seen become extinct, died right in front of my eyes; their millions of years of existence and development dashed against the rocks in a snap, their suffering never heard. Today won't ever be the end of it, no matter who wins, no matter who survives, no matter what comes after. People, historians, and admirals, and dictators, and presidents can cheer what they want. This battle will mean nothing at all to the future. The deaths will mean nothing either. They'll just be an insignificant statistic–an unimportant number– in a dead toll. And I'm proud not to be a part of it. Many honorable men and women will never know the outcome of the end."

Timothy raised the gun barrel to the side of his head and found the trigger. " And neither will I."