"Let's hope we're in the right universe."

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The metal on metal clanging that filled the cavern was a constant reminder that their death was imminent. Despair clawed through the stale dark air and tore at the souls of the broken men in the back of the cavern. Even the sharp, jagged cuts of rock gave them no reprieve or comfort. Each shard of cold stone demanded a payment of blood, skin or clothe. Each of their breath was ragged and shallow filled with intermittent gulps of the thin air. Tears seeped from eyes and blood flowed from wounds, some as payment to the stone and others for wounds suffered at the hands of their pursuers.
One man rose from the group and limped back to the door to ensure that the rivets held fast. His left pant leg was shredded to pieces with blood oozing from untreated wounds. He used his rifle as a crutch, probably not the best idea, but in his current situation, it certainly was not the worst. After a quick inspection of the doorframe, he turned and gave the last of his men a once over. In the cold dark, they didn’t look bad physically, but their silence was telling. In all of their adventures together, his men had never been quiet. They had always complained about something. This was not a place in which hope could find root.
“Get up, boys. We have one more fight tonight,” he said gruffly to the squad.
“What’s the point, boss,” Links muttered. “We have zero chance of making it out of here.”
“Yeah, that’s one way to look at it, but it’s not how I look at it. Someone give me a realistic number to work with,” he asked as he patted his uniform pockets in search of a smoke.
“10 percent, boss man,” one voice called out from the darkness.
“So from zero we go to 10. Why’s that?” he queried as he successfully found a crumpled, slightly damp pack that yielded 4 broken cigs.
“Well as I see it if we get past the two buggers at the door, then we might catch the other ones at rest and if that is the case, we can walk right out the front door of this hellacious mine.”
“What if I told you that there was a way to guarantee success, but we may not live to see it?”
That caught their attention as he flicked a spark from his lighter and lit the smoke in his lips. Men sat up, eyes that were closed opened, ever so slightly, and someone cleared their throat. Such is the way that hope is born.
“We are alive in this very moment and if you think about it, that’s pretty amazing in and of itself, but if you really think about it, you will realize that all of this had to happen. Every action that we made today led us to this very moment. We few here made it, but had we made one choice differently today, we may not have. In some other universe, we didn’t make it this far. In another, we have already tasted success. Hell, in a million universes our little merry band never met, some of us were never even born, and other would already be dead.”
He paused and as he looked around he knew he had enough of them to push them a little further, but he needed all of them on board in order to make it work. If even one of them still harbored doubt in their mind, then it was all for naught. A sliver of doubt can cause a man to react slower or act in a careless manner and in that moment all would be lost.
“We live in a universe that has infinite possibilities for hope. Outcomes exist outside of our perception, but I can tell you this. Nothing’s impossible. In this here and now, our future is open to all possible outcomes. We don’t need to worry about success or failure, because when we move success is already there. We just have to do one thing.”
He paused again and let his statements linger in the air and like the burgeoning dawn burning away the mists from the previous night, hope burned away the despair.
“What do we need to do?” one hopeful voice asked in the dark.
“We need to visualize that we will win. We won’t know until we do it and I can’t guarantee that we are living in the right universe, the one in which we succeed, but the realm of possibility exists and we can get off this rock and go home for good. We made it this far and we can make it a little bit more, but I am not asking you to believe that we can fight out of here. I need you to know that we will make it out of here in this universe or another. You hear those monsters at the door. Their beats are getting slower and they are getting tired. They already have success in their mind. Now let’s show them another universe where they lose and we win.”
Each man rose, filled with the knowledge that they would taste victory there, right then, one way or another, in this universe or the next.