“Welcome to Life Quest,” the emcee’s voice rang out from somewhere off-stage. “We have an exciting show planned for today. Both contestants committed treason, and it’s up to you, our studio audience, to determine who will live and who will die in the final round of Life Quest. And now, the host of our show—Steeeeve Becker.”
Steve Becker sprinted in from the left side of the studio. “Hello everyone, are you ready to play Life Quest?” The audience erupted into wild applause. “As you know, we will ask each contestant one question, and you, the studio audience, will decide their fate based on their answers. The loser gets life in prison, and the grand prize winner gets to go to heaven tomorrow night on DNC’s reality show, Send-Off.” Steve Becker smiled into the camera. “We have a great program lined up for today. Are you ready to meet our contestants?” Applause filled the studio as the camera moved in for a close-up of the contestants, chained to a console.
“Contestant number one is Elizabeth Winters. Elizabeth is a housewife from Lexington, Kentucky. Our beloved Messiah’s Gold Shirts caught her teaching Bible stories to innocent children. When confronted with this crime, said she must obey God and not man.” Her black eye and split lip from the jailer’s beatings just added to the audience’s excitement and lust for blood. Her tear-filled eyes looked down at her restraints as she contemplated her children’s fate without her.
“Our second contestant is David Albright from Houston, Texas. His family, loyal to our Messiah, reported his treason. David is guilty of hiding traitors and holding Bible studies in his home. He says he would rather die than take our Messiah’s mark.” David’s jaw tightened as he closed his eyes. He was seeking mercy for his tormentors.
“Are you ready? Let’s begin. Elizabeth Winters,” Steve directed the camera to Elizabeth’s bruised face, “What is life?” The audience waited breathlessly for the answer that would condemn her.
Her wounds did not mar her beauty. Tangled dark hair hung loosely around swollen cheeks. Longing for the release of death, she smiled through cracked, bleeding lips. “Life is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” The frenzied audience shouted for blood.
“David Albright, same question. What is life?”
Balding and rotund, David Albright smiled despite the pain inflicted by his tormentors. “Knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior.” Though he could barely stand, David spoke with power; his deep voice resonated throughout the studio.
His bold declaration sent the audience into a frenzy. More guards ran from the rear, erecting a barrier around the stage. A few audience members leaped from their seats, rushing toward them. “Ladies and gentlemen, keep your seats! Please! You’ll have a chance to be heard.” Steve Becker consoled. The audience murmured and reluctantly returned to their chairs.
“I think we’ve heard enough, don’t you?” Elated, Steve Becker turned to the agitated audience. He loved their reaction to such headstrong contestants.
“Audience, it’s time to choose who lives and who dies, Elizabeth Winters or David Albright? You’re the judge and the jury. Cast your votes on the console on your right.”
This was Steve’s favorite part of the show. He thought it strange that Christians wanted the grand prize: death. It saddened him to see contestants like Elizabeth Winters so severely beaten and brutalized. However, she broke the laws of the New World Federation. Steve Becker smiles directly into the camera. “It’s time now to find out who will live and who will die.”
Lively music played as he raised a hand toward the contestants. “What’s your verdict for Elizabeth?” Every eye turned to center stage as the word DEATH lit up the console.
“Okay, how about David?” The console flashed, DEATH.
“Okay, folks, it looks like we have a tie. Before the show, our producers drew a name and sealed it in this envelope in the unlikely event this would happen.” He held a white envelope up to the camera.
Elizabeth and David held their breath, waiting. Steve slowly opened the envelope and pulled out its contents. “Be sure to watch right here on Channel 14 tomorrow night as the new reality show, Send Off, gives a World Federation send-off to Elizabeth Winters, our grand prize winner.” The audience went wild.
Elizabeth turned her face toward heaven and wept openly, giving thanks to God. David Albright held his head down; a single tear escaped. He knew what prison meant.
Steve Becker smiled into the camera. “Coming up next, stay tuned to DNC, for this year’s Oscars, hosted by Hollywood’s newly reunited Brad Spit and Jennifer Annister. Good night everyone. We’ll see you next week on Life Quest.”