God Of a Man
Across Two Eternities
“Integral to every right is an obligation that bounds it.”
Chapter Two: I thought kill
Dated: 8th November, 2460
No right is absolute, even if strictly personal, for contained within every right is an overbearing obligation that defines its’ bounds. Without this implied or apparent inbuilt obligation, the content and extent both, of the right in question, would be too ambiguous to lend itself to any description. Consider for example the ‘right to free speech’; not only does it mean that a person has a right to freely express their opinions, but it is clearly apparent, that person will have to tolerate the views of others at the same time, for else this same right of those others would stand denied. Same could be said about the ‘right to dignity’, which means no one can offend an individual. But, it also means that individual cannot offend others, for offence is not a privilege than only an individual or a minority can enjoy!
It is but imperative, that every right brings with it a greater responsibility, than the privilege it might confer. A species may have a right to exploit a world’s resources, but it is also obliged to do so in a sustainable manner, for the obligation it owes is not just limited to other contemporaneous species that have a competing interest over those resources, but rather extends to include its own posterity.
A world stripped of its natural resources dies long before the life it sustains atop! Commercialism may be the right of the intelligent, but that right is circumscribed by the need for sustainability. Use and throw cannot be considered an epitome of advancement, but is rather a return to primitive life where everything was consumed by the end of its life cycle, and the only thing relevant was how long could that life cycle be stretched. Today a band of humans stands at the doorsteps of a resource field. They may never return to this world again, or ever need its resources again, or even if they had too, those resources would still be available in gratuitous quantity, but wastage would still reflect inefficiency.
“So the air is safe?” Mishansa quipped as she walked up behind Captain Connors, who was stationed outside the ship, to guard against any danger.
“Captain Ahluwalia is leading two men on a reconnaissance of the buried ruins,” Bradley replied, as Mishansa stepped right next to him and folded her arms, trying not to shiver too hard in the freezing temperatures.
“Can I ask you something,” she continued after taking a deep breath, “You people are planning to build at least three to five new ships. Is it possible that I could get one, a very small one at that, just so I could go out and search for my people?”
Her question did not surprise Bradley, but he still turned around to look at her face, lit lightly by the glow of the light coming out of the spaceship’s open hatch. He took a few seconds before coming up with the words Mishansa feared he would, “You know I don’t have any say on that, don’t you?”
Mishansa took another deep breath and replied, “I know, but could you please at least try?”
Bradley grimaced a bit before replying, “I sure can, but we both know what the answer would be. Every bit of resources that we muster, are important, for time is only finite, and we have an overarching responsibility of getting everybody to a safe new home as soon as we humanly can.” He then paused to gauge Mishansa’s reaction before continuing, “But I am sure once we have fulfilled that responsibility, we would be able to provide you with every bit of help that you need.”
“And you think that is going to be the case?” Mishansa looked square in his eyes and queried, “There will always be a reason good enough to not do exactly that. Once you have found a new home, your responsibility would shift to bringing the rest of your kind to that new home. And that would not only mean you would need all the resources to transport them, but also, all the resources to find where they are in the first place.” And Mishansa turned away to walk back into the ship.
Bradley took a quick step forward and grabbed her by her elbow. “Mishansa, listen, you don’t understand,” he tried to reason with her, “It is not like we don’t care for you, or don’t know what you need.”
But Mishansa gently pulled his hand off her elbow, and cut him short in his reply, “I do understand Bradley. I am not as important as your own kind, and I am just grateful that you people have saved me. But I just can’t forget everything and everybody that I care about or love.”
“Listen, do you trust me?” Bradley looked straight into her eyes and asked with a conviction writ large in his own.
“You and your brother, I can trust either of you with my life, anytime any place,” Mishansa replied nodding her head.
“Then I give you my word,” Bradley replied, “Once I get my people safely to a new home, I don’t care what anyone else decides, but I will personally accompany you in your search for your own.” And his gaze descended further deep into her eyes, as she looked back into his. The trance however was broken by a radio communication.
“Alpha to Charlie,” Second Officer Christina Woods’ voice boomed on the radio, “Captain Connors, we’ve got company.”
And Bradley immediately looked up, and saw a space craft come to a halt in the sky, lit not by any star’s light, but by the light generated by its own motion until it came to a standstill. “I think I know who it is,” Bradley replied. And sure enough, he wasn’t wrong, for in a matter of seconds, a drone already familiar to Bradley came flying past to him.
“How are you buddy; things looking sweet?” a now familiar voice emanating out of the drone’s speaker asked.
“Alex, am I glad to hear your voice again?” Bradley replied, “So how did you go?”
Alex took a deep breath before replying, “You were correct my friend, it was indeed a set-up.” He paused and then continued, “And to think of it; I came all the way here hoping that I would turn the war upside down in one single move. I mean; everybody told me, or should I say warned me that things don’t work like that. But am I the idiot no one would like to know today!”
“You are not an idiot my friend,” Bradley however tried to comfort him; “You only had the best intentions at heart, for had it been true, you would have saved a lot of blood and heart break across the spectrum of races.”
“Yes, but what’s the point,” Alex replied, “Now I am stuck here deep behind the enemy lines, with no guarantee of my or Mish’s safe return. To put it in perspective; I am at least six months away from the region of space where our influence outweighs that of the Tyrenes, and almost a year from the Earth.”
“But you also saved us,” Bradley however reminded him of the bright side.
“Hey, that’s true,” and suddenly Alex too found something to cheer him up, “At least I haven’t been a total loser. I can live with half-a-loser, no problems!”
And this made Bradley and Mishansa laugh. Mishansa finally jumped into the chat, “So Alex, what’s your plan now? Bradley has told me a lot about you. In fact he literally hasn’t stopped chatting about you since the day you first met everybody. So, are you going to, you know, pop the question?”
“Hey! Shush!” Alex immediately jumped up, “Boy am I lucky Mish has walked out of the cabin to fix me a sandwich! You would have totally ruined the surprise.”
“As if she wouldn’t be expecting by now,” and Mishansa laughed at his ignorance about a girl’s insight.
“Oh c’mon, she definitely doesn’t know when and how though,” Alex however reasoned.
“The boy’s got a point,” Bradley rushed to his rescue.
“But then, if not now, then when?” Mishansa asked, “You have just analysed your own situation. So why not make the best of it, and perhaps this trip would turn out to be more memorable than anything else in your life.”
Her words made Alex contemplate, and he finally agreed, “You are right. I don’t know what is going to happen in the next six months time, or for that matter, within the next twenty four hours. Maybe I should do what needs to be done now, or at least soon enough.”
“Best of luck buddy,” Bradley quipped with a thumbs up gesture pointing at the drone’s camera.
“Hey, I almost forgot,” Alex however continued, “I have brought four Tyrene guns for you people. Sorry, that’s all that could be loaded in the drone’s chamber. I’ll leave the guns with you for your defence, as they are more powerful than anything you might have on you right now, and also, I’ll leave the drone with you too. There’s an instruction manual inside the chamber that would help you to communicate with me, or send any message to our Earth. It uses a special tech that accelerates communication frequencies many times above the speed of light. Your message would reach Earth in three months, and if they send a reply, then if you are still around in this space, it would get back to you in another three.”
“Thanks heaps,” Bradley fumbled as he struggled to find the right words to express his gratitude, before finally remembering something he hadn’t already mentioned, “Hey Alex, nearly forgot to mention; the Tyrenes are developing a new laser weapon whose discharge would travel close to the speed of light. I’ll transfer the relevant tech to the Earth today itself. You people better watch out.”
“Oh the pathetic Tyrenes, they are so behind us in everything,” Alex’s reply however took Bradley by surprise, “I just received a message from Earth today, that they have developed a new laser gun whose fire travels at twice the speed of light. The first generation guns are going onboard all crafts over the next six months. By the time we’ll get back, we would probably get the second generation upgrade on our craft. Bradley, they say it’s like ‘killing by thought’, that’s how fast it is. You press the button in your craft and the enemy craft thousands of miles away gets destroyed before you can even look up. And in a war like this, that’s all the advantage you need to destroy your enemy even before you dodge the fire that had been directed at you.”
“Wow, talk about impressive,” Bradley shook his head in amazement, and then after a pause, asked, “So I guess you’ll be heading back now?”
“I wish I could’ve done more for you guys, but I can’t hang around lest they get a whiff of what’s happening out here,” Alex quipped in reply, before quickly adding his word of caution, “I must warn you though; this planet is perilously close to one of their ten major trade routes. So you are best advised to keep a very low profile, and be as discrete in your activities as you possibly could be.”
“I am aware of that Alex, and I have already informed my crew about the situation,” Bradley assured him, “But hey, thanks a lot for your concern.”
“Hey, what are friends for after all,” Alex replied.
Friends after all do a lot of things that seldom make sense until the fruits are already there to be had. They may foresee things that one doesn’t necessarily see at the time, but one is best advised to remember; at the back of their minds is always whatever is best for their friend.
“Wait! What are you doing?” a surprised Doctor Rukhsana Leung exclaimed as Doctor Xavier Adams dragged a trolley with a television set atop, into the intensive care unit where Mrs Suzanne Smith Ahluwalia had been lying in coma since that fateful day in March.
“You will find out soon,” Doctor Adams exclaimed as he quickly powered up the device and set it to show a particular news channel. He then turned around at Mrs Ahluwalia, and exclaimed, “I know you can hear me Mrs Ahluwalia, for of all the senses, ears never rest, and never wait for permission to respond to any sound. So here it is; news that would force your mind to take notice, and wake you up.” He then turned the volume up, as Shelly Layne, the newest news anchor in town, went about repeating the breaking news.
“For those of you who might have missed the biggest news of the morning,” Shelly continued with her pitch, “The current talk of the town is none other than the brave warriors aboard the former NSS ‘Full Bloom’, which is now christened NSSS ‘Full Bloom’, a state of art spaceship that is even more advanced then the much maligned NSSS ‘Maa’. The biggest story in months is that Rear Admiral Gurubaan Ahluwalia is still alive, hale and hearty, and leading his rowdy bunch of our very own cowboys through another space odyssey.” The news item them went on to flash images uploaded by the NSSS ‘Full Bloom’ crew as a part of their then update from their host planet, with Rear Admiral overseeing various operations, including the dismantling of the old ship, and building up of their new space age gem.
“What is this supposed to mean?” Rukhsana confronted Xavier as she put her hands on her hips, “You are disturbing my patient.”
“Or am I?” a smile grew on Doctor Adams’ face, “Have a look at her heart function.”
Doctor Leung turned around, and to her surprise for the first time in months, Mrs. Ahluwalia’s heart function had suddenly and steeply improved. “Oh my holy grail,” exclaimed Rukhsana.
“Exactly,” quipped Xavier as he strutted out before turning around and adding for effect, “You are welcome!”
Welcome is the sunshine that brings warmth after a chilly night. Welcome is the rain that brings respite from sweltering heat. Welcome is always the cheer that gives hope to the dipping faiths.
“Hey Jenny, look what I found,” an excited Jack exclaimed as he pulled out a box from underneath a bed on the property they were scavenging just for the fun of it, “Movies!”
“Let me have a look,” exclaimed Jenny as she walked around to him and pulled out a disk, “Dumb and Dumber; you know, I’ve never seen this one, but they say it was one of the best movies an actor called Jim Carey did back in the day.”
“Who was Jim Carey?” Jack asked.
“He was an actor many centuries ago,” Jenny exclaimed, “Most of the works of his time, just like the world of his time, lay buried under the sands of time, until one day a massive video library was uncovered by our people. They saved whatever they could, and re-printed everything. Oh I am glad you found this. At least now we’ll have something to kill our time with.”
“And what about this movie, it says Basic In,” Jack asked as he pulled out another disc.
“Oops! That’s not for you,” Jenny however quickly grabbed the disc off his hands, “You can watch this when you grow up.”
Growing up however means more metaphorically than physically. Perhaps maturation is a better word to express what growing up really means. But at the end of all the discussion, it is all about what one has learned from their experience of life.
“Ms President,” a concerned Miss Ivanka Manning, the secretary to Mrs Michelle Davis, exclaimed as she rushed into the President’s daily meeting with the Admiral.
“What’s it Ivanka?” Mrs Davis asked.
“Our Antarctic space observatory has just dispatched an urgent message,” Ivanka exclaimed as she thrust a picture onto the table, along with her hand held device set to replay the audio message received.
“Respected Madam President,” the recording started, “We have just observed something that could be very concerning for our future. Scanning through the space around us, our telescope detected strange but very weak flashes of light. On concentrating on that region in space, and compiling the images into a single time-lapse image, we ended up with a giant flash of light, as if something had exploded. Since this giant flash is made up of many tiny, individual and otherwise almost undetectable flashes of light, captured over a span of about seven hour period, our understanding is that this possibly represents either of the two scenarios. Either there was a battle in space, where a lot of destruction took place, or there were multiple collisions between thousands of rock pieces, that created flashes of light on account of resulting frictional forces. The second of these possibilities appears least likely as there is no oxygen in space to support combustion. But in general, spacecrafts carry both fuel and oxygen, which could easily explain their explosive demise. It is hard to calculate exact time as there were no nearby heavenly objects to determine distance, but it appears that these events occurred somewhere between six to twelve months ago.”
“That sounds entirely consistent with the information that was a part of the update sanctioned by the Rear Admiral,” Admiral quipped as he stared back at the concerned President’s face.
“Quick Admiral, no matter what it takes, but make sure this information never becomes public,” President exclaimed without hesitation, “The last thing we need is more panic on the streets.”