All or Nothing

Defiance, by nature, is an act of aggression. A determination to go away from the flow. To destroy the flow. To be so other, that people can’t help but see that there’s more than one way. Defiance can be an arrowhead, or it can be a shotgun blast. So pointed, or a desperate barrage that reaches whatever it can. Regardless of form, it’s strong, and steady. Always strong and steady. Without those qualities, your defiance is nothing. A tantrum. An act. Defiance can’t be so weak. It’s a mountain in the midst of a storm. A stance that stays strong, no matter what the cost.

No matter the cost.

I’ve never been so determined in my life.

Tossing another grenade, I wait for a few moments before rushing forward.

This is it.

The moment I’ve been waiting for.

The moment I’ve lived for.

And, more than likely, the moment I’ll die for.

Either way, it doesn’t matter.

I’ll show them.

The walls cave in a bit, cracking at the impact of the blast. I come in strong right after it, sweeping my laser cannon right after it. Cleaning up the guards that it missed with one sweep.

Without pause, I keep going.

There isn’t time to stop.

This is it.

I’d like to say it’s “do or die” but, at this point, I’ve already achieved what I’ve wanted to achieve.

To die now would only solidify my stance. Reinforce my statement. Immortalize my work.


A thousand planets enslaved by one measly monster. By a creature with no soul. Bloodthirsty, angry. His claws reach into the depths of the galaxy and draw the innocent out. Smears their blood among the stars. Paints the suns red with their helplessness.

He’s a monster.

Planets who bow to his whims are rewarded. Not oppressed as much as others. Generally speaking, anyway. There are a few exceptions to that general rule. Though, in my humble opinion:

It shouldn’t be a rule at all.

Why let a tyrant rule you? Isn’t life uncertain enough without a madman running things? There are enough strings being pulled by things you can’t see. Why let a rabid dog pull the ones you can see?

It doesn’t make any sense to me.

Actually, it makes sense to no one on my planet.

We’re some of the few. Fighters who refuse to bow. Who refuse to be taken advantage of. Who refuse to let our fate rest in the hands of someone who’s stained with blood.

We refuse to be told what our lives can and can’t be.

If it were fate himself, that would be different. We might accept our hand—to a certain extent.

But this?

Letting this fiend decide?


Absolutely not.

We’ll defy the fate he lays out for us. The lives of torment he so desperately wants to saddle us with.

We defy it.

Defy him.

And we’ll continue to do so until he is defeated.

Or until we’re all dead.

Such is the price of freedom. All or nothing. That’s how it goes with men like him. And, yes, we’d rather not gamble it at all. We’d much rather make an honest living, put in a day’s work, live our lives as we thought we would.

But, with tyrants, it’s never that simple.


I rush onward, through the halls of his ship. This makeshift prison. I rush with the urgency of a thousand soldiers, a hundred stampeding stallions. I run with the urgency that lightning has, doing its best to beat out the thunder.

I won’t surpass anyone. Won’t come up the winner. Won’t be victorious in anything but this:

I was defiant.

Until the very end.

My goal is simple. Make it to the ship’s command center…

…and wreck everything.

Blow it all up.

Destroy all of these bits and pieces.

Let nothing of this atrocious cruiser survive. My defiance will wipe it from existence.

And I’ll go too, if I have to.

I’m not afraid.

I’ve never been afraid.

If I had been afraid, I wouldn’t have boarded this ship. Wouldn’t have taken it upon myself to show my defiance in such a way. To show others that I’m not afraid—that I wasn’t afraid—I’ve decided that this is the way to go. This was the one thing that I wanted to accomplish before I die.

Making my defiance count.

This is one of those ships. The ones where they cart off people like me. Where they strangle planets to death by shipping off their spirited inhabitants. By choking their free thinkers. By imprisoning the passionate.

I’ll show them what this prison can hold.

On the main deck, there are several of the tyrant’s men. All waiting for me, weapons poised to strike.

But I’m ready for them as well.

I run right by the door, overshooting it by a lot. I can practically feel the confusion oozing out of the room as none of them fire. Shocked.

But it isn’t for no reason. I’m extra careful to leave my greetings as I run by the door.

Six nova grenades.

In the next instant, they flash. They’re accompanied by a solid BANG, BANG, BANG sound that rings through the hall of the ship.

Without stopping, I ricochet myself off the walls. One, two, three, leaping off of each one. Changing my direction to move back toward the door, all without losing an ounce of my momentum.

When I reach it, I find that it’s charred. Most of the men are on the ground, bleeding. I recognize a few of their species, the planets which they come from rattling off in my mind.


All of them.

Not a single one comes from the tyrant’s home planet. None of them grew up to think that the only place they could live was under his thumb, or otherwise, under his boot. They were all born free. Born with choice. Born knowing that this monster was coming. That this abomination would try to sway them.

And they were.

By fear or promise or luxury, these people were swayed.

It’s sad. Being his minions makes them monsters as well.

As I shoot the only two still breathing, I can’t help but wonder:

Do they think it was worth it?

In wars like this, there are only two options:




Whether you sit or stand, it makes no difference. You’re giving your all, or you will receive nothing. Take nothing, or forfeit your all. Sit, stand, kneel. No matter what you choose, you will be giving your all.

What did they receive for it, I wonder?

What price did they sell their freedom for?

Are there any among them that pull against these reigns? Or are they horses now? Simply lead where their master whips them into going.

How pathetic.

How painful.

To give up your fight like that…

Defiance is not an act of rebellion. Is not about winning or losing.

It’s about letting them know:

Defeat is not physical. And it isn’t something you’ll accept.

Trap me.

But I’ll keep fighting.

I set the sequence. The countdown starts. Loud and blaring. I know others can hear it. They’ll arrive soon to try to stop the destruction.

I fire my laser cannon at the controls, blowing them to bits.

The countdown won’t stop.

And now, it will be a race. Can I make it to an escape pod in time? Will I go down with this ship? This ship that I commandeered?

Who knows?

Sprinting down the hallway, the urgency returns. That need to keep going, to keep doing. The idea occurs to me:

I think I’ll make it.

I’m not done yet.

I’ve defied imprisonment, space tyrants, and enslavement.

I think I can defy death as well.

Just this once.

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