Featured Story, Week of July 15, 2018: "The Mech Driver"
Each week we feature a story written by one or two of our group members at our weekly meetings. For this week's featured stories, we all chose a favorite existing scene of conflict (from a movie, book, etc) and discussed the protagonist's motivations in it. Then we each wrote a piece inspired by that discussion from the point of view of an antagonist's motivations. We had 20 minutes to write.
The Mech Driver
By Maureen Fonken
Rechayneesha’s mech was simply not making the progress she’d anticipated during the charge forward. While she might be the best operator on the Koch’s security detail, after the ultra-wealthy had taken all their best people and retreated to New Zealand, there hadn’t been a lot of upkeep performed on the large equipment kept on site. Those fools really thought they’d never need it. When they retreated, the best shot the wealthy thought they’d at safety was blowing up anything that could float, fly, or in any way target their location. Using their political clout and an unknown amount of hush money, they’d managed to get it all taken down. Missiles rained down on major cities and ports for days while they quietly took everyone with them they thought they’d need to maintain their lifestyle. Taking private industry’s best engineers, medical teams, and scientists, and having consulted with all the experts they thought they needed, they made sure they had every single thing they thought they could ever need. Having brought the most skilled people, it hadn’t dawned on them that there could ever be a rebellion.
Rech wondered what they’d learned in their elitist schools. She had gone along with all of their bullshit, because she could see the writing on the wall and didn’t want to be stuck in crazy-ville, which is how she thought of the rest of the “modern” world. Food shortages, lack of medicine, and absolutely no medical care, living on the street, constantly watching for someone to literally stab her in the back, or try raping her, none of that appealed much, and she really wasn’t interested in sticking around to see what else would go wrong.
She had mad skills and used them to secure her place. You don’t get as far as she did in her field being unable to think ahead. The rebellion, though? Yeah, she saw that coming, too—from miles away. It took exactly 11.7 years before everything had blown up. As far as Rech was concerned, rich people are great at hoarding resources, but delusional when it comes to creating societies that work for everyone. Hoarding resources and then investing them in more resources to hoard those, too, just so they can do it all again doesn’t do a single thing to make the world a better place. If anything, it destroyed the quality of the companies they were buying and selling left and right, not to mention what it did to those working there, or the health of people buying their products. If the wealthy had been more interested in making cool things, or quality things, than acquiring or destroying their competitors, maybe they would have been useful. But kinds of wealthy people who used their talents to create weren’t the type of rich who made it to the island. The ones who did were the ones who’d spent their lives living like cutthroat parasites, enriching themselves off everyone else’s creative success while patting themselves on the back, saying their value grew in stature to the size of their portfolios. Just thinking about it all over again made her gag. These were the people calling the shots, and their closest advisors had lied to them about the rebels for as long as they could, because the parasites so full of themselves that they thought they knew it all. Have you ever tried telling someone who thinks they are omniscient that they are wrong? HAHAHAHAHA
Yeah, no. So, here it came, the underground was finally at full-blown rebellion and coming at her malfunctioning mech. A few had tried to get her to join them, but when they told her their plans, she didn’t want to be a part of it, at all. The rebels had decided to kill all the wealthy people, even their kids, and, she was pretty sure just listening to them, even their dogs, and go back to instituting another very classist system of their own, not exactly forward-thinking—the same classist crap that got everyone here in the first place. As far as Rech was concerned, they weren’t on any kind of moral high ground. She was not going to participate in any kind of blood thirsty free-for-all. Besides, she was pretty sure that with what they had in mind, she was going to wind up in worse shape than she had since she landed here.
What was she supposed to do? Both sides thought they were morally superior. At least as far as she could tell, the rich had stolen from everyone in society their entire lives in ways that were manipulative, shady, and legal, while the other ones just wanted to steal everything back, killing the rich, and reinstating the same mess that got them here in the process. Nope, when she thought about it, all she could do is decide which side she was going to get shafted by the most and join the other one—the only one left. So, it wasn’t Rech with the rebellion. It wasn’t Rech with the rich. There was only Rech for herself.
So, she dug in, drove her mech forward towards the onslaught, and realizing there was no way she was going to get out of this in one piece, she determined to step on, and take down, as many of these self-satisfied losers before it was too late.