Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Earl of Zerces: chapter 14

“Ah,” the Earl stretched his arms and smiled as he and Lang stood safely in Zerces. “That went well.”

“What did I just do?” Lang barely whispered, still in shock.

“You just blew up a planet,” the Earl looked at Lang with surprise. “You just killed billions of Martian people, destroyed centuries of Martian creations, and lost millennia of Martian culture.”

“But, why?” Lang asked. “Why did I have to do that?”

“Well-“ the Earl started to explain, but then stopped. “Wait a minute.”

“Answer me, dammit!” Lang shouted.

“Shut up!” the Earl yelled at Lang, and immediately Lang fell silent.

The Earl poised his head as though listening for something; then suddenly he pulled Lang away from the Martian door and hid the both of them behind another. Lang, curious, craned his neck over the side of the door to look at where the Martian door was, only to see a shock.

The door was opening, and out of it slumped (no it couldn’t be) a short, anthropomorphic frog carrying a badly injured Martian. The little wheels in Lang’s head started turning in overtime and then stopped suddenly. This defied all logic, even illogic. What was a frog doing on Mars? Come to think of it, what was a frog doing standing on its back legs and wearing clothes? Lang banged his head on the back of the door. He knew it was pointless, but he hoped that this was all just a bad dream. As the frog and Martian limped over to another one of the doors and stepped inside, the Earl chuckled.

“Well, well, well,” the Earl grinned. “It seems the Count’s meddling actually ended up working in our favor. Out of all the Martians we killed, he alone survived. This makes our job so much easier.”

Immediately all the pain and agony and screaming and charred remains and smoke and fire came rushing back to Lang, and he exploded on the Earl.

“Why!?!” Lang screamed at the Earl. “Why didn’t you tell me!?!”

“Would you have done it if I had?” the Earl looked away from Lang in disinterest. “Seriously though, I had a good reason for destroying a whole planet. If you let me down, I’ll explain.”

Lang seethed with unrivaled fury. His fists shook, his breath became steamy, his eyes started to glow with a savage instinct to smash that stupid Earl’s grin, and his face with it. But deep, deep down, a small whisper of reason told him to put the Earl down and let him explain.

“Lang,” the Earl put his hand on Lang’s fist in all seriousness. “I know you think I’m just some insane clown who destroys things for fun, but I assure you, I did have a good reason. Please let me explain.”

Lang glared furiously at the Earl for a moment, but then finally put him down. The Earl smiled sadly at Lang, and said a genuine “Thank you”.

“Now then,” the Earl began. “As you know, my enemy, whom I call the Count, has been meddling with various worlds. In that particular world, the Count managed to give the Martian populace the technology to cross through into other worlds.”

“Alright,” Lang said. “But don’t you already have doors that go to other worlds?”

“I do,” the Earl agreed. “However, only a handful of people from each world notice the doors, and even fewer can actually cross through them. The Count was giving the Martians technology that would allow countless numbers of people to cross from one dimension to the next, without having to even stop through Zerces.”

“I still don’t see where that merits genocide,” Lang crossed his arms.

“Think of the barrier between dimensions as a giant wall,” the Earl continued. “To get through the wall, you can either a) walk through the door, or b) smash through the wall on your own force. This technology was essentially going to allow the Martians to do the b) option. However, by smashing through the “wall”, they risked destroying the structural integrity of the rest of the “building”. In other words…“

“By going through dimensions, they would end up destroying all the other worlds,” Lang finished the sentence in realization. “But couldn’t you have just destroyed the technology? You didn’t have to destroy the whole planet.”

“Unfortunately,” the Earl’s face turned frighteningly somber. “I did. This technology’s power source was the core of the planet itself. If I wanted to destroy the tech, I’d have to obliterate the planet’s core, and to do that, I needed to destroy the planet.”

“But what about the people?” Lang pleaded. “Couldn’t you have saved the people?”

“Haven’t you been paying attention Lang?” the Earl grinned happily. “I’m God. I can do whatever I want, and right as the bomb went off, I did just that.”

“You snapped your fingers,” Lang tried to wrap his head around what that meant.

“And with that snap,” the Earl smiled. “I made a carbon copy of everything and everyone, well, most of it, on the planet, and sent them all to the Mars of another world. That Mars was currently uninhabited, so it all went smoothly.”

Lang paused. Was it true? Could the Earl really do that? Actually, from what he had seen so far of the Earl, such a feat wasn’t very hard to accept. But didn’t that mean that all the Martians on the world they had been to had still died in fiery agony? The screams and charred flesh and smoke suffocated Lang’s lungs and boiled his brain once again, and he felt sick.

But in a roundabout way, the Earl had saved them all, hadn’t he? It was odd, but all those people who had died had been given a second chance on another world. Half of Lang felt strange and uncomfortable, thinking about the ramifications of it all, but another half of him felt glad that the Martians were safe. At least…most of them. What did that mean?

“By most of it,” Lang asked. “You mean you didn’t make a copy of me, you, the Count, or his technology?”

“Well,” the Earl placed a finger to his chin teasingly. “And that Martian we saw coming through the door.”

“Why not him?” Lang wondered.

“He’s special,” the Earl left it at that. “Now then, would you like to see this New Mars?”

“I would,” the pain and suffering in Lang had subsided.

“Well I’m sorry,” the Earl slapped Lang on the back. “But it’s going to have to wait until after we do this one job.”

“And what job would that be?” Lang questioned.

“We’re going on a rescue mission!” the Earl beamed.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback