The necessary sacrifice
James stares at the white light
on the ceiling as his muscles
stiffen. “James, there is no need
to be anxious,” says Dr Ella Brown
reassuringly to the UK soldier whose
eyes remind her of a tranquil dawn.
“Today you will be part of a
breakthrough - not only for science,
but also for your country.
two deep breaths and I will inject the
drug into your vein. In a few hours
we will laugh about the victories
“Yes, Doctor. You know I will die for
Today marks a quantum leap for
Doctor Brown has been
developing the new ‘superhuman’
drug for the last twenty years and
today is the victory date when it
will finally be tested on the United
Brown steadily injects the green fluid
into James’ vein, pushing the needle
deeper while glancing at the monitor
to ensure that his condition remains
stable. As the soldier doses off, she
grips his bed tightly, suddenly not
wanting to send this man into the
arena.“Such beautiful eyes … this
father-soldier offering his life for his
country,” she muses.
Reality calls as Sir George Adams,
the Secretary of Defence, flings open
the door. “Hurry Doctor. The other
patients are already waking up – we need to start monitoring them and
get James in there now.”Today is a singular day.
One where clinical trials
aren’t performed in hospital
rooms, but in this arena
where soldiers will be fighting artificially intelligent robots. The ultimate test of
the superhuman drug is on
Golden sunbeams penetrate the
clouds as Sir Adams and Dr Brown
monitor the behaviour of the patients.
Brown’s shoulders relax somewhat.
There seem to be no signs of any
shortcomings and Sir Adams gives
her a thumbs up as they witness the
scene of success before them.
“The wonders of science are beyond
our realm,” says Brown.
“Just look at
these super soldiers. Their muscles
are like those of a gorilla, their brain
power has increased tremendously
and…do you see it? Look at their
red skin and clenched jaws. That’s
extreme aggression pulsing through
Inside the arena James is performing
His muscles flex
like lightning. The anger inside
his body boils into loud, sadistic
cries. Strategically, James circles his
enemies – always attacking from
the more favourable position. His bare hands claw and rip apart the
electronic arms of a hundred robots.
Facing his final enemy, he digs his
razor-sharp fingers into the robot’s
neck. A rainbow of electric sparks fills
the air. The excitement is tangible.
Then, sighing deeply, he sags to his
knees as his energy drains away.
The project is a total success. A first
“We have seen no defects in the
patients. None! Sir Adams, that
means that we can start with the
next phase of testing,” says a smiling
Doctor Brown later, back at the
“Congratulations and thank you for
We can start once
The door blasts open. “Doctor Brown,
you need to come immediately,”
screams one of the nurses. As they
rush to the emergency room Brown’s
stomach cramps terribly. She halts
before a scene of dread.
“But... he… he was healthy and…”
she stutters. It is no longer James
Burton lying on the hospital bed, but
rather a pale, limp body. Lifeless, as
if his soul has left behind the dregs
“James, it’s Doctor Brown, do you
remember me?” No response. She
holds James’ icy head, gently moving
it left and right. His eyes remain rigid.
Tears stream down her cheeks. James
is brain dead.
“It is the necessary sacrifice for our
country, Doctor. He is a hero,” says
“His daughter, Sir, is only eight years
old and his wife died a year ago.
She is all alone! The compensation
will not counteract the fact that his
daughter has no parents. We are
not ready for the next phase.” How
could she have been so arrogant?
She remembers promising victory,
negating his anxiety.
she made, the lies she told.
“Doctor,” says Adams impatiently.
“Enough. We will support James’
family financially, as the contract
stated. But more than that we shall
not do! James is our only casualty.
Therefore, we will continue with the
next phase. Now get back to work!”
As Brown leaves the room a young
girl wanders inside.
“Have you perhaps seen my father?”
she asks, smiling.
“His name is James Burton. He told
me to wait at the reception until they
are done with the experiment. But he
has not come back yet. I think he is
playing hide and seek. Daddy always
does that.”Sareez Basson