On the Nature of Sacrifice
Sacrifice; a noble word rendered vulgar through overuse. Who is it that defiles such a paragon of lexicon? The braggart? The sympathy seeker? And for nothing more than vanity. It will not always be so. One day I will teach them something of sacrifice.
You may wonder at my vexation over such a linguistic quibble. But it is no mere quibble, there is an inherent danger to semantics; an undermining of meaning when a word is over—or improperly—employed. To be ubiquitous requires a measure of baseness and therefore the less impact it carries.
I ask you, is sacrificing a morning wash for ten more minutes of pseudo-sleep really a sacrifice? Or foregoing that last delectable taste of pie to spare an expanding waistline? If so then what shall be the term for damning a brother to save a family?
Tars Tarkis, our Martian ally was the first to fall; unable to process the horror of what he was seeing: the lifeless eyes of of his own kin, impelled by alien science, driven to consume. Overwhelmed by numbers, he stumbled before them, brought down with ravenous ferocity, his heart torn from his chest even as his screams resounded off the walls of this ship.
I must confess to a fleeting sense of professional jealousy as I witnessed the alien horde sate their hunger with such mindless dedication. I could have swooned as I watched them feed upon the fallen warrior. But then, to my horror, sweet Möbius (his potential seemed boundless) was the next to be brought down, his cries muffled beneath a seething mass of horror.
A suffocating rage takes hold of my soul at the sight of such a grievous insult to our kind. That our brother—our brother since the time of the fire—should be consumed by foreigners rather than his own family. I balled my hands in anger, forgetting for a moment I still held the device given me by Tars before he was so savagely killed. I felt a brief vibration in my clenched fist, as though the machine had suddenly come to life. I could hear a low hum emanating from the long thin box. In an instant the army of dead Martians stopped, held upright by their metallic exoskeletons.
There was a button that was flashing green. I touched it. As if perfectly choreographed the reanimated dead, mechanically-enhanced Martians turned and faced me. What was it Tars had said of this device? That it was not unlike the equipment used by their engineers to control factory automata.
Mourn with me, friends, let us together lament the loss of poor Möbius, stripped to the bone by claw and tooth. His was a sacrifice in the truest and undiluted sense of the word; a favourite son, a tragic loss that in the end might just save a kingdom. The headset worn by the dead Martian warlord—I slip it on and adjust the straps. Join me brothers, Malus ad portas.