|“Class, I require your attention. Please direct your gaze to the front of the room,” Professor Oland commanded. She presided as the head instructor of intelligence analysis for an elite group of precocious young individuals. Though used to the eclectic and habitually rebellious nature of prodigies, one particular individual caused her to suffer a significant degree of strife.
“Why, professor?” David queried, moving to sit upright. She grew wary, as he did not express his usual desire to beguile his fellow students.
“I’m afraid the time for training has come to an end. Due to the escalating nature of our conflicts overseas, we are going to need you to exercise your abilities in the field posthaste. All of you will be sent to designated positions later this afternoon.” She held herself with the rigidity of a consummate professional, though her eyes were tortured by the knowledge of impending tragedy.
“So someone has conjectured that not only will we be advantageous to the war effort, but we will want to? Is it so preposterous to think some of us would like to exercise our free will, for once?” David’s expertise was computer programming. It was simple for him to create a ghost program that extracted classified information about the programs and protocols that were governing his life.
“David, I’m afraid I simply can’t-” Her voice broke slightly, betraying her weakness. David smirked; it confirmed that he was right.
David interjected, “Your didactic efforts have been duly noted, but let us assume- and rightly so- that classroom educational experiences do not translate to genuine skills. Realistically, have you considered that some of us simply may not have the mettle to function in a professional, not to mention stressful, environment?”
“We have services and programs in place to ensure any lapse in moral or confidence is dealt with in a prompt and appropriate manner.”
“How foolhardy can you be?” David seemed to espousing an unusually humanistic point of view as opposed to the typical youthful harassment he was known for.
“I fail to understand what you’re referring to.” She fidgeted, clearly perturbed by the spontaneous ferocity of his argument.
“In simplistic terminology, there is incontrovertible evidence that shows people of higher intelligence need a greater period of time to adapt to new surroundings, are less tolerant of stresses and are less likely to seek assistance should something be amiss. We are young men and women of unsurpassed intellect- and I quote you when I say that- so from have you drawn such audacity as is necessary to treat us like a common soldier?”
“I will not be assailed in this manner! All of you are to report to wing B-3 for dismissal from this stage of the program immediately.”
“So, in other words, you haven’t the slightest bit of concern for our genuine well-being and instead are shipping us off to unannounced and likely unpleasant areas of the world where some sycophant can bark malapropisms at us in the most grating and demeaning manner possible?” He had read scores of field reports dictating the failures of other students from the same program; they would implode due to the stress of battle, despite being tucked away behind the troops, bulwarks and bunkers, causing utter catastrophe.
Those men and women- some of whom were mere boys and girls- would be consigned to the fate of on who commits treason. The rationale was that their failures endangered the country and caused the deaths of fellow soldiers, but according to the program results, the failures should not have happened, so they must have been cause deliberately. Marshall Law did not grant mercy.
“Report to wing B-3 immediately,” she repeated, feeling a pit of dread growing in her stomach. David’s peers were glancing between the two. The atmosphere felt charged, like a powder keg; they were waiting to see who’d light the fuse.
“Answer one question: Are we going to war zones or governmental agencies?” Upon registering for the program, they had been informed that the outcome would be a position at a federal law enforcement or military agency.
She remained silent. He knew she had nothing to say. Operation reports showed that the intelligence collected and put forth by former program attendees was being used to kill the enemy more efficiently. He had signed up to save lives, not to end them.
The others felt the tension buried beneath her cold complexion. Murmurs began to stir as the others shifted in their seats. They clearly as he did but did not have the strength to act first.
“Well that settles it,” he hissed, rising abruptly to his feet. “I will not serve as an intelligence analyst for an organization that refuses to provide me with intelligence, I refuse to aid any group that does not offer me full disclosure and, above all, I would never serve a party that so unequivocally intends on treating us like cattle!” David flung the door open. “We are not soldiers. We do not do this to sate your bloodlust! If you wish to kill more efficiently, train your soldiers more efficiently. I will never let human blood be on my hands!”
“If you depart from this building, you will be branded as a deserter. You signed a binding legal document swearing your assistance. For you to leave now would brand you a traitor to the nation!”
He glanced back, “I would prefer being a traitor to this country than a traitor to myself.”