I cracked my knuckles furiously, focuses directly on my objective: to win.
I looked at the goal with good intent. For myself anyway. It was time to strike the final blow. This score would break the neck and neck tie I had with my contestant.
Time to go for the win. I thought as my opponent stood guard, taking a strategic defense point to keep me from the victory I so rightfully deserved. I could feel the sweat bursting from my pores as I broke into a sprint for the bouncing sphere that was before me. My lungs hard at work already, I punted it.
My enemy noticed me take action and jumped to try and stop the sphere from striking at his goal. The silver-blue circle floated blissfully through the vacuum of zero-gravity. I jumped to meet it in the air. The opposition had fruitlessly attempted to stop me. I managed to get another strike into the sphere with my left foot. Despite the sphere being made of a hard metal, it was nearly weightless, not to mention the boots I currently donned.
The ball bolted for the hollow space that was labeled as my enemy’s goal and made its way in, the space sealing closed and wrapping the ball in shackles and the red lights flashing, a loud booming noise filled the room as the events unfolded.
I screamed in victory. “HAHA! I threw my arms up. “Ha! Aiden wins!” I paused for a second to look at my defeated enemy, a large frown painted on their face. I started to laugh. “Ha-ha! And Richard loses at his best game!”
I Jumped again into the vacuumed space and began floating in all directions. The spinning and twirling never got to me. I was much too excited to care after all.
Richard stood on solid ground. He was pouting because I, his younger, skill lacking, self-absorbed brother beat him at his own game. It was the last thing he was counting on, I knew. Even though he was eighteen years of age, he still acted as if he was my age. He yelled at me from below. “Yeah yeah, so what? You beat me? Don’t be such an ingrate!”
I took position on the upper ceiling with the magnets on the soles of my boots. I looked down at him. He looked as small as me from where I was standing. “Don’t get mad at me brother.
It’s not your fault. It’s mine. For being so skilled.”
Richard scoffed. Catastrophe was his domain. It was also one of the last bastions of activities that I didn’t surpass him in. Being defeated by his twelve year old brother didn’t go so well with him either.
I could tell he was angry just by looking down there at him. He crossed his arms, stood up straight and it would seem as though if we were to pass in the halls, he wouldn’t even spare a glance.
Despite my resentment at causing him so much pain, I still laughed at his defeat. “Good things don’t last forever Richard!” I yelled down at him. “Especially power! It always-“ He cut me off.
“Fades with time I know! I know!” He started moving for the doors when our mentor entered the arena. He looked slightly miffed.
“Aiden! Richard!” He yelled to us. “What are you two doing?!”He was yelling. Someone was definitely in trouble if he was yelling.
Richard froze when Norman came through the door. He appeared right in front of him. “Playing a friendly game of Catastrophe mentor! Nothing else.” Richard laughed nervously. On the ceiling, I laughed to myself. Norman still hadn’t forgotten about me.
“Aiden! Come down here at once!” He ordered.
Following his command, I jumped from the ceiling to the floor to meet Richard and Norman. “Yes mentor.”
As I landed before him, Norman asked me a question. “What are you doing right now?”
I almost didn’t know how to answer. “Uh…playing catastrophe.”
Norman began to stare down at me. I felt like I was being interrogated. Richard, still being taller, towered over me also.
“Yes and what should you be doing?” Norman prodded.
I sighed and also hoped my attitude didn’t show too much. “Training with the others and in class.”
Norman crossed his arms. “Good. Now tell me…why aren’t you doing those things?” Norman stared at me with angry eyes. “Answer truthfully.”
I stared at the floor. “I wanted to spend time with my brother…and because I wanted to beat him at Catastrophe…”
Norman looked at Richard next. “Well? What are you supposed to be doing?”
Richard looked slightly surprised. “Oh! Um…training?”
Norman rolled his eyes. “Both of you get back to your duties. Remember your purpose. What are they?”
“To serve the Empire and fulfill its needs. To pave the way to power and prosperity for the good of our brothers, sons, and fathers. We are the way and the will, the sword and the shield, and the hammer with the anvil. Our enemies will all fall before the might of the Empire. We live to serve. Domination is the way.” Richard and I both answered in unison.
Norman looked satisfied, but still disappointed. “Exactly. Now go.” He pointed towards the halls. We both exited the arena. I looked back at the goal, the sphere still held in the goal. The red lights still flashing. I smiled back and kept walking so I didn’t lose them.
Norman was ahead of me and Richard. As I caught up to Richard, he leaned over and whispered to me.
“Next time, you are going DOWN” The last word apparently was audible enough for Norman to turn his head.
“What are you two whispering back there?!”
We both stood straight up as if nothing happened. “Nothing!” We said together. Richard and I laughed as we walked back to the facilities.