“Establishing target coordinates. Captain, your key,” called Ransom.
In the angel’s hand glinted a titanium key. Corwin reached instinctively into his side pocket and his fingers closed on the cool, hard edge of its partner. Among the switches and dials on the panel in front of him was the slit of a lock.
“On the count of three!”
“Remind me why I’m doing this?”
“One, two . . .”
It doesn’t matter. None of this is real, thought Corwin, but no matter how much he tried to rationalize it, everything about the situation felt disturbingly wrong. An angel wouldn’t start a nuclear war, right?
The captain and his first mate twisted their keys in unison. Above a bright red button shielded by glass, the word “armed” blazed ominously. Ransom leaned over and flipped up the guard.
“It’s all yours, Captain.”
“Hold on a second!” Corwin’s finger trembled over the fateful button. “I don’t understand. At least tell me the circumstances!”
“What difference does it make? Just press the button!”
“It makes all the difference in the world!” insisted Corwin. “I don’t even know who we’re firing at! Are we the defender or the aggressor? How many people are going to die if I push that button?”
“Perhaps ten. Perhaps ten million. One number is as good as the next,” Ransom said dispassionately.
“This is insane! I must know the situation!”
“And if I told you, would you understand which course of action to take?”
“Surely an informed decision is better than a blind one!”
“But I thought that all true understanding is scientific understanding. Explain to me why firing a nuclear missile is just or unjust. Explain it with science!”
“I, but that is,” Corwin choked on his words. Could he quantify the value of human life? Taking a labored breath, he struggled to think clearly. “It’s in our genes, a feeling evolved from herd instinct.”
“You’re dancing around the subject, Captain!” growled Ransom. “I didn’t ask you to explain why you feel a sense of justice. I asked you to validate that feeling scientifically. Show me the equation that proves why the jumble of atoms you call a living human being is better than the jumble of atoms you call a corpse.”
“I can’t!” stammered Corwin. “There is no such equation!”
“Then the answer cannot be known scientifically. The question must be irrelevant!”
“I won’t do this! I won’t play your game!”
His voice shaking, Corwin snapped shut the guard and took a fearful step away from the button.
“Our orders come straight from the top. To disobey is treason!” In a flash, Ransom drew his sidearm, pressing its cold barrel to the side of Corwin’s head. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to relieve you of command, Captain.”
“Whoa!” Corwin threw up his hands. “I thought we were past the whole persuasion-by-physical-abuse stage in our relationship!”
“Let me make this easier for you. In a short time, this world’s sun will explode in a supernova, extinguishing all human life. Why not push the button?”
“Because . . . Because I . . .” Corwin’s mind groped for an answer, finding nothing.
“If I pull this trigger, science can tell me the velocity of the bullet, the heat in the chamber, the trajectory of the blood that splatters on the wall. But science cannot tell me if I should pull the trigger or not. Answering that question requires something more.”
When outspoken atheist Corwin Holiday dies an untimely but heroic death, he’s assigned a chain-smoking, alcoholic angel as his defense attorney in the trial to decide the fate of his soul.
Today many cast Christianity aside, not in favor of another faith, but in favor of no faith. We go off to school or out into the world, and we learn that reality is godless and that free thinking means secular thinking. But must faith entail an end to asking questions? Should not the Author of Reason be able to answer the challenge of reason?
Dead & Godless is a smart and suspenseful afterlife adventure that explores the roots of truth, justice and courage. In these pages awaits a quest that spans universes, where the stakes are higher than life and death, and where Christianity’s sharp edges aren’t shied away from, because we’re not called to be nice. We’re called to be heroes.
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Genre - Christian Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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