Two Erics from two alternate timelines interact for unknown purposes.
Two young men walked into a room. The two looked nearly identical, from the most overarching traits of their dolphin bodies to their apathetic carriage. The only item that could tell their difference was that one wore a card on the pocket of his shirt labeled Eric 1, while the other wore a card in the same spot labeled Eric 2.
The two men sat down in silence. Neither spoke for a full minute.
Eric 2 spoke up. "Hello, Eric 1." His voice was cold and hard, with no emotion carried in it whatsoever.
Eric 1 replied, "Hello, Eric 2." His voice was bitter, angry even.
"I see we're on a mission together," said Eric 2.
"I know," said Eric 1, "and I hate it."
"Don't jump to conclusions just yet," said Eric 2, his voice still as hard as before. "You don't know me, nor do I know you. All we know is that we're in a room full of apparatus for testing each other, and that we're dimensional counterparts of each other. So: Who are you?"
"Tell me first," said Eric 1. The corner of his mouth twisted into an angry glare. His right hand moved subtly towards his gun, an action mirrored by Eric 2.
"I'm Eric Seldon," said Eric 2. "I was a revolutionary. Or so I thought. My parents put me down and showed me that the only way to exist was to follow order. Now for your story, counterpart."
"I am not your counterpart," seethed Eric 1, his hand still moving towards his gun. "I was and always have been a revolutionary, like you were. I follow my rules. I never take orders except where they help me. I will never bow to others…nor to you."
Eric 1's arm twitched in anger as it moved towards his gun. Eric 2's arm remained steady.
"I see you now," said Eric 2, his voice not changing a bit from where it began. "You don't see the advantages of following rules. You don't realize, as I do, that following others and using the rules that wiser people brought about makes you stronger."
Eric 1's mouth contorted into a grimace. His hand had nearly reached his gun. "You dare call me weak?"
"Yes," said Eric 2. "Your disrespect for others makes you soft; everything about you is dulled by your insistence to go your own way regardless of the costs. What you gain in temporary freedom, you lose in the overall scheme…"
Eric 1 clutched at his chest, a horrified expression forming over his features. A hole ran through the card that had once read Eric 1.
"It's a shame, really," said Eric 2, as apathetic as before. "If you had only seen the practices that made others stronger, as I have, you could have reached the gun as fast as I had. Going by your own self-taught methods, you were slower, weaker…and thus you were eliminated."
"You…!" Eric 1 spluttered, collapsing onto the bench. The world blurred before him.
"It's not too late," said Eric 2, lowering the gun to his belt, its purpose served. "You may still be of help to this world. Your memories may aid me, even though your personality and your body were of no use to existence." Eric 2 touched an apparatus on the wall. "This will transfer your memories to me, should you activate it. Are you willing to accept, in your last moments, something that should make you useful to the universe?"
Eric 2 moved the apparatus towards Eric 1, who reached towards it…
Then knocked it away. The device smashed on the wall.
"I will not help you," ground out Eric 1. "I will not do what you say, if for no other reason than that you tried to force me to comply. I lived by my own terms, and I will die by my own terms."
"Very well, then," said Eric 2, standing up. "Goodbye, Eric 1." Removing his own card, he tossed it into a nearby trash can, then exited the room with the now-dead Eric 1.
Another man stopped Eric 2. "Where is Eric 1 for the mission with you?" he asked.
Eric 2 stared the man down. "There's only one Eric now," he said. "And I'm here for whatever mission you want to send me on."