Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Flash Fiction - Video Games

War Games

“When was the first time you played?”
“Uh, about a month out of training I think. I remember expecting to play right away and then just sitting there for several weeks.”
“And you were part of the team for how long?”
“Two years.”
“How many times did you play in those two years?”
“Fifteen... maybe more. All the windows in the complex are blacked out and I was working nights so it’s really hard to gauge what memories go where. Only the really bad ones stand out. Maybe there were more than fifteen.”
“‘Really bad’ what do you mean by that?”
“The ones that went wrong. We’d mess up, have bad information, get the targets confused, but there was nothing you can do after that to try to help or make it right. You just sit there staring at the screen. Sometimes I’d be really disturbed, but by the time the game was over for the day, I’d just feel numb.”
“How did you feel on the days you didn’t play?”
“When I’d just go in, with no mission?”
“At first I liked those days. I’d just sit and listen to everything happening on the base, kinda amazed that we had technology like this, but also a little relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the game and moral struggle that day. By the end though I just felt restless on no-fly days.”
“Yeah. My mind would wander. I’d start imagining what it was like to be in the games instead of playing them.”
“In what way?”
“I don’t know... just thinking what it’d be like if I was just chilling out with my buddies in my living room and an attack happened. In training they tell you that they don’t, but you really start wondering if the targets on screen have lives too you know?”
“Is that why you quit?”
“Yeah, I guess when it comes down to it. I just couldn’t reconcile it. All I had to do was go to work and push a button. I’d watch an orange body on screen change color until it matched the blue ground, then get up and eat a sandwich you know? I was in a war without any personal risk, and I guess our brains weren’t made to deal with that or something... you’d know the technicalities of it... but it just felt unfair. I was raised to respect life like it was more than just a video game.”

I intended to add some more depth to this but its been a distracting week and it's now or never.

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