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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: A Matter of Conscience
By Christina Banks
10/07/09


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“You can’t just sit there and pretend this isn’t happening.”

“What do you expect me to do, Bill?” Chuck relaxed back into the soft leather desk chair, propping his chin up with one hand.

“Raise the alert level. Let the people out there,” Bill pointed out the huge office windows, “know they’re in danger.”

“You really think that raising the level to Red is going to make a difference. If what your informant tells us is true...”

“What do you mean ‘if’? Come on. This guy is facing death if the terrorist cell figures out he’s a snitch.”

“Doubts have been voiced about the accuracy of his claims.” Chuck opened a drawer and pulled out a thick file. He plopped it down on the marble desk top. “Nothing he’s warned us of has ever come to fruition.”

“That’s because you’ve always listened to him, and taken precaution against the threat.”

“That was before.”

“Before what?”

“Before now.” Chuck opened the folder and pushed it forward. Bill saw his informant’s picture and a list of recent criminal activities listed in neat columns.

Bill threw his hands up in exasperation. “Are you telling me that you are just going to sit back and let this threat go unanswered?”

“Perceived threat.”

“They are going to blow up the whole subway system, and you call it a perceived threat?”

“What evidence do you have beyond the word of your doped-up informant?” Chuck asked, pointing a chunky finger at the rap sheet.

“You know how difficult it is to get hard evidence in cases like this.”

“I rest my case.”

“Fine!” Bill said, closing the file. “If you’re not going to take an active role in keeping this country safe, then at least alert the media. The people out there have a right to know that they’re in danger.”

“The masses are happier living in ignorance.”

“Call the Red Alert!” Bill hissed through clenched teeth, pointing a boney finger at the big man in the chair.

“Easy, Bill.” Chuck said putting his hands up in a non-threatening pose.

“If you won’t do it, I will.”

“You don’t have the authority to call the alert yourself.”

“I’ll go to the press.” Bill walked toward the office door.

“Alert the media, and you will lose your job.”

“At least I’ll keep my conscience.”


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This article has been read 398 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/08/09
Very timely, and so glad he did the right thing!

I'd have liked to know more about these men--what officials were they? A few titles or descriptions of official trappings would make this seem less like just two guys talking. And is an important decision like that really left to just one official?

Sometimes I wish we could just go back to before...
Allen Stark10/11/09
Good flow of dialogue to keep the reader's interest. Sounds similar to a conversation I overheard in Washington, D.C. back in the 70's.