by K.L. James
Jedrick reaches his lifelong dream, only to by caught by the hand of destiny.
|The Hand of Destiny
A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead and into his eye as he ran through the dense jungle. He could hear the sounds of frightened animals surrounding him, but the sounds of his enemy were elusive. He crouched down in a small glade of young trees wiping the stinging sweat from his brow as he looked around him. The jungle suddenly became very quiet and he knew his enemy was close by. He slowed his breathing and kept his body as still as possible while his eyes scanned the shadows around him. He watched as a green leaf floated down in slow motion, then he looked up firing his weapon into the emptiness above him. He was just in time to see his enemy jump into the glade. Jedrick fired one more time before his enemy was on top of him. Working swiftly, he jabbed his enemy in the side and pressed a concealed button.
He heard an alarm and watched as his enemy’s chest armor lit up bright red. Jedrick released his breath and sunk down onto the soft ground. As his body relaxed he heard his enemy start to laugh.
“Pulsars, why did I've to be paired up against you?” Lesern asked. “I could've beaten anyone else.”
“That’s why I requested you,” Jedrick said. “I wanted to go up against the best.”
He rose and then helped Lesern to his feet. Together they walked back to the starting line arm and arm. It had been a fun challenge but Jedrick had known all along that he would win the war game. He had never lost, expect to his oldest brother when he was only a small kid.
Now he had past his final test and was ready to join the military along with the rest of his family. He felt bad about going up against Lesern, but he had known if Lesern had gotten close then he too would pass the test and be ready to join. Jedrick was a master at numbers and knew exactly how many points each person needed to advance. He also knew if he did not beat the second best in his class he would not have enough points to beat his older brothers’ entrance scores. He not only wanted to get into the military, he wanted to be the best.
The two emerged from the jungle to cheers from the rest of the recruits. It was obvious from the flashing red vest who had lost and who was victorious. But everyone came up and congratulated both of them.
“We watched you two on the motion sensing video surveillance. You guys were amazing.”
“Pulsars, Jed and Les, I’m just glad you two are on our side.”
The men talked and congratulated each other until their commander emerged from the surveillance building. He had a smile on his face as he turned towards the recruits. Instantly, they were on their feet standing at attention. All of the noises stopped and their smiles were wiped off their faces.
“I have to say, this is the best group of recruits I've ever had. You pushed each other to your limits and all of you have passed. I've never had an entire group of recruits make it into the military.”
He called each of the men forward and gave them their first medal, Military Apprentice. He waited to call Jedrick Wishard’s name last. As Jedrick stepped forward, everyone cheered.
“Wishard, you have been well trained and are prepared to take your place in the military. As I am sure you know, you have earned enough points to not only be a Military Apprentice but an Ensign. You will be a good leader, I have seen you learn the strengths of each of your comrades and then encouraged them to excel in those areas. You shine by helping others find their personal success. I look forward to seeing how well you serve your military.”
Jedrick did his best to keep a smile off his face as the commander pinned him with the Ensign insignia. When he was done the commander slapped him on the back as he whispered in his ear.
“You can smile, no one would expect anything less.”
Jedrick let a smile cross his face before he stepped back into line.
"You are dismissed," the commander spoke in his authoritative voice before a smile broke across his face. Then he added in a near whisper, "Officer Wishard, a word."
Jedrick held back, while the rest of his class moved on to a party in the mess hall.
"Your performance has caught someone high ups attention," the commander said in a friendly tone once everyone else was out of earshot.
"Who?" Jedrick asked.
"The Emperor," the Commander replied nonchalantly. "He was watching your performance today and he has a special mission for you. You are to report to the Asteroid at 0900 hours tomorrow."
"I haven't even started my officer training yet."
"I know. This is highly irregular. But let me give you some advice. No matter what kind of mission he offers you, accept it. You have a promising career but you could easily find yourself on a remote planet doing nothing for the rest of your life. And don't go around telling people about your special invitation either."
Jedrick shook the commander’s outstretched hand before walking away with a forced smile on his face.