Parable of the Weeds by Shane Knolltrey

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SUMMARY: A Flash-Fiction

Parable of the Weeds

(First, we have a perfect duty not to act by maxims that result in logical contradictions when we attempt to universalize them)

Lieutenant Ca'enth squatted before the red sun, his rifle barrel smoking. He bent down further and realized he was squatting over a thrown shoe.
Private Rhals raced up to him and clapped his back.
"Yooo-hee! The end at long last! Light in the tunnel! Sunlight for the crops! Huzzah!"
Ca'enth rested his head in his hands.

Of all the factions, Verwirk Licht's was the worst.
The madman with the foxy red hair sowed seeds of evil wherever he went; those seeds invariably grew into thick weeds of strife and civil war when left to fester. Verwirk's mark on civilization was a black streak of blood that trailed in his wake as surely as a cloud of locusts follows a bountiful crop. Ca'enth, the ‘fox-hunter', and his team were given a categorical imperative: protect the public from this evil monstrosity.
Weeks turned into months. Then years passed: Verwirk's faction suffered defeat after bloody defeat. Ca'enth, ever in pursuit of the red-headed madman, pushed ahead with campaign after deadly campaign against the warlord. The sly fox-hunter was quickly closing in, but Licht knew this all too well: with his defeat inevitable, the insane tyrant did something quite unexpected.
In the cold wasteland of the Ceres planetoid Verwirk happened upon a certain Botanist who'd concocted a frightful germ: it was a large seed, no bigger than a human fist, which could fester and grow for years untroubled until, one day, it bursts forth and spreads a cancerous briar patch adorned with fatally poisonous thorns.
"Who's to say when it hatches, and who's to say how far it spreads?" The Botanist crowed. "The only certainty is that the chrysalis WILL burst, and the thorns WILL spread!"
Licht stole several of these demonic seeds from the Botanist- for he had a great many stored in the bowels of his sulfurous laboratory- and the mad fox concocted a vicious plan for revenge against the pursuing governments.
Verwirk immediately had one seed sealed deep within his body, placed in such a way as to make its removal impossible, short of causing his own death. He rounded-up his war-council, his lieutenants, and his LIEUTENANT'S lieutenants: all went under the knife, and all carried the seed from that day. And from that day forth, Licht implanted this lethal chrysalis into anyone he could reach.
Informed by a traitor- and outraged by Licht's monstrous behavior- Ca'enth and his fox-hunters waged their bloodiest campaign yet: Verwirk's war-council met their end by an ambush near the frigid wastes of Pluto; Licht himself fell under Ca'enth's rifle at the Battle of Ganymede.
From that day forth Ca'enth and his group were no longer ‘fox-hunters', but ‘weed-pullers': they were tasked with eliminating all traces of that dark chrysalis from civilization, and in doing so bury the last desperate throes of that murderous madman. Ca'enth's mission, as it stood, was changed, but it wasn't all that different: before, he was tasked with removing a festering cancer on society, and now he was merely excising malignant flesh.

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