Prompt 322-Opportunity

If given an opportunity is there anything you wouldn’t do?

My eyes struggled to open under the bright fluorescents. My head ached from the blow that had knocked me out to bring me here. Where was here? The room seemed to be nothing but light; no windows, no door. Just four walls, a table and a chair.

“There he is,” a voice sang. “Comfortable?”

I strained against bindings that held me tightly to the chair, thrashing as the reality set in that I couldn’t easily escape from whatever this was. I tried to glower at the suit opposite the table from me, but the effect was weakened as my eyes squinted to adjust to the brightness of the room. “Where am I?” Panic set in as I remembered I hadn’t been alone before I was brusquely kidnapped. “Where’s Troy?”

The creature—that snake-like smile couldn’t be human—grinned at me. “Your partner is in our care, Mr. Williams. We will return him to you once we have finished here.”

“And what is it we’re doing here?” I snarled.

“A game.” He pulled a small box from the breast pocket of his jacket and set it on the table. “You have an incredible opportunity today, Mr. Williams. You get to save the world.”

The box was perfectly square. Atop it, an enticing round button. I couldn’t hold in the burst of laughter that fled my lips. “You have got to be kidding me.”

“We do not kid.” A shiver ran down my spine. There was only the one, but the way they spoke only fueled my suspicions that they weren’t human. “Catastrophe is coming to your planet. This key is linked to the person who will bring about ultimate destruction. Push the button, and they will cease to exist.”

I gaped at them. Kill one person to save the world? Were they for real? I swallowed hard. “I’m not a murderer.”

“Ah, but that’s the beauty of the thing!” they exclaimed. “You don’t have to kill anybody!”

“If I push that button, I will be pulling the trigger on someone’s life. It amounts to the same thing.”

They frowned at me. “Not even to save your planet?”

“There’s always another way.” I nodded my chin towards the button. “If not, you would have already done it.”

They shook their head. “We cannot. It is not our planet or our people. The button will only work for one of the target’s own.” Their frown turned angry. “You must press the button.”

My stubbornness took control of my tongue. “And what if I don’t?”

They rose to their feet, a cobra preparing to strike. “Then we are not done here and we do not return Troy to you.”

My stomach dropped into my lap. There it was. The Catch. They didn’t say it, but I could read between the lines. Either the person to start the apocalypse dies, or Troy does. How long would they keep me alive if I still refused?

My hand trembled as it stretched out in front of me.

Notes: I can’t decide if I love or hate the broadness/vagueness of this prompt. What sorts of opportunities are we talking here? It feels like it wanted to be a moral quandary, but it wasn’t really specific enough. I decided to go a “Would You Push the Button” route with this one. Some other potential dilemmas/opportunities: stumbling on a large pile of cash (what do you do with it?), facing your rival in single combat, turning in a wanted loved one, an immoral deed with no repercussions, etc.

Basically, any risk/reward scenario in which you do something good at the cost of something bad or you do something evil to achieve a positive outcome. Where do you draw the line? It’s an important thing to know about your characters, too. How far are they willing to go to get what they want? What will they absolutely not do?

I’d like to say I would never kill someone even if an opportunity arose where I would face no repercussions for doing so. I hope I never experience a scenario where that would even be plausible. It would have to be a pretty desperate situation involving my husband or my sisters or something. Desperation can make people do things they never believed possible of themselves after all, and I have no idea how I would react if I was backed into a corner.

That’s all I got for tonight! Have a great Wednesday! See you in the evening!

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