God Of a Man
Across Two Eternities
“Every privilege is tied to a history that justifies its existence and a responsibility that guarantees its continual enjoyment.”
Chapter Three: Spirituality of Science
Dated: 9th November, 2460
No need arises until experience has lost its innocence to an eventuality. And then when the need arises, not every need may inspire a universal demand for relief. But the ones that manage to stir up such gigantic hue and cry, generally leave the posterity enriched with privileges that guarantee safety against such situations, should they arise in future. These privileges are there not for enjoyment, but rather to safeguard. It is another matter than intellectual beings generally do not distinguish use from enjoyment, unless they are arguing at an abstract academic level. But the nature of privilege aside, there are two more aspects that give a privilege its aura and life; the historical context that created the privilege, and the responsibility that needs to be fulfilled to ensure its uninterrupted and continuous tenure, respectively.
Deep in history lies the story of inception of a privilege; a story that spells out both the reason why, and the detail as to how, a privilege came to be. This history foretells a distant future that may or may not materialize were the privilege to be lost in the sands of time, for history has a tendency to repeat itself, for history is linked to organic psyche. The story of the turmoil that makes up every history is the warning about the cost posterity might have to pay, were the privilege to be lost.
Thus tied to a privilege, out of necessity, is the responsibility to ensure its sustenance. And this responsibility could be a simple one commitment demand, or a multi-dimensional investment of fortitude and effort. A posterity that fails to fulfil this demand is bound to lose the privilege and suffer history as a part of its future. This they know, those who seek natural wealth of an unknown world, to secure their future. Thus conservation would be the key, even when the opportunity to spoil their selves is tantalizing.
The shrill sound of the drilling machine appeared to have destroyed the tranquillity of the entire ghostly planet, and done this unashamedly for hours, digging through frozen ice and carbon-dioxide. It took Captain Ahluwalia’s team close to ten hours to finally get to the level of an artificial structure. But now the only thing left to be taken out of the way had almost yielded.
“We are ready to break in,” Captain Ahluwalia radioed back to the ship, before turning to his two allies in that mission, “I’ll get the hose in place while Harry pulls out the drill. Liandra; turn the compressor on as soon as I signal.”
“I’m ready when you are,” Liandra Folly, a mechanical engineer, knew what her job was.
Heavily pressurised contents buried underneath the frozen matter were expected. Some of them would have condensed into liquid form, while some might have been gaseous. Oxygen was no guarantee anymore underneath that surface, but whatever was to be found inside, had to be sucked up and compressed into cylinders for later evaluation by the scientific team onboard the mother-ship. Nothing could be left to escape freely into the atmosphere, unless it had been determined to be harmless. Being there on a planet freezing at under a minus hundred fifty degree Celsius; who would have thought it could be a privilege?
The problem with thinking beings is not that they dwell too much, but that they often dwell when it is too late. Values are often realized once they have already been lost. And then new schools of learning may emerge out of that loss.
“Who knew this part of the world would ever see snow on a daily basis,” Lady Davis quipped as her secretary walked into her living room.
“They say our oceans will freeze one day,” Miss Manning quipped as she joined her leader, and gazed outside the window into a dark world, now only lit artificially, “And I thought I didn’t like the fact that it is middle of the afternoon and it is pitch dark.”
“The oceans will, but not too soon dear,” Lady Davis replied, “They are full of salt, and it will take a lot more time for them to freeze. I am more worried about our fisheries. They are what we need to feed ourselves for as long as we are still stuck here.” She then turned around to face Ivanka, and asked her, “What’s the status update on the artificial heating system fittings at all our dams?”
“It’s been taken care of,” Ivanka informed her, shaking her head in affirmative, and pushing a file towards her, “It’s the status update we received today morning.” She then paused to let Michelle have a fleeting look at the contents of the file before continuing, “Your next engagement of the day is with Doctor John Morris, from New Saisho Institute of Astronomy. Admiral Abdullah would meet us there.”
Intellect itself is a privilege that not every species enjoys. The responsibility to keep it abreast with latest knowledge is however by no means little, for like every privilege, intellect too is not confined to one minority only.
“Why do we always have to fight with aliens?” little Jack asked Jenny, as they just finished watching an old movie, “Can’t we just be friends with aliens?”
His question surprised her, for something that sounded really simple, it was indeed a question that might have skipped the most intelligent of minds. “I don’t know,” a speechless Jenny shrugged her shoulders, “I guess, we just can’t trust someone whom we don’t know.”
“But why can’t we trust them?” Jack probed her further.
“Maybe because we don’t know if they want to hurt us,” Jenny replied, “And maybe because, even they don’t know if we want to hurt them.”
“But then, can’t we just talk to them?” Jack however wasn’t the one to be satisfied with such simple answers.
“Yes, but we won’t know their language; and they won’t know ours,” Jenny however did have a reasonable answer, “And maybe even if we did, we still won’t be able to trust them, and them us.” She gently stroked his hair and continued, “And then, maybe neither of us would like to share what we have, or what we find, like say this planet of ours. Aliens would want this all for themselves, and we would want it all for ourselves. No one would want to share it with someone they don’t have to. It is not like sharing a world with rabbits which cannot own it, or kill us to take over it, or make us their pets. It would be like sharing with another someone who is as intelligent, powerful, and possibly as bad as us.”
Her answer finally quietened Jack, but not for long, “Jenny, are we bad?”
And his question made her contemplate, as she took a deep breath and held him close to her heart. “Maybe we are!” she quipped.
Bad, like any virtue, cannot however exist without a contrast. A quality is always so defined because there is always another which is nothing like it, and yet could stake a claim to same territory as occupied by that quality.
“Our calculations, now backed by the update received from the Rear Admiral’s team, confirms what had thus far only been speculations,” Doctor Morris informed Lady Michelle Davis and Admiral Mir Abdullah, as the two intently attended to his discourse. “Our earth is not exactly lost in interstellar space, but is really orbiting that very far off star,” Doctor Morris continued, “However, don’t be fooled by the looks, for that star is at least a hundred times more massive than our Sun; potentially more.”
“So we are not going to stay here forever,” Lady Davis asked, “That is; our planet is mobile.”
“Just like it always was,” the Doctor quipped, “Only this time it will take it a century or more to go around that star, and our axial movement is so slow, that it would take a few months over a year to finish one day.”
“Is there anything that we should be concerned about in our near future?” Admiral however asked the most relevant question.
“Two things,” Doctor Morris replied, “The least concerning is the fact that the other star that we see, which appears a bit bigger, about three months away, enough to make no difference to our world; would potentially come closest to us in another ten years, and then we don’t know how its gravity would affect our world.”
“We’d be long gone by that time,” Michelle quipped nodding with a conviction, “What is the more concerning part?”
“What concerns me more is the fact that the star that we are orbiting,” Doctor Morris replied, “Its’ equivalent of our Sun’s Kupier belt lies two months to our outside. Luckily this system has been in existence way longer than our solar system, and it appears its’ belt is not as busy as our Sun’s. But I’d be very watchful of whatever still rests there and is ready to fly in.”
“We don’t have much of an atmosphere to protect us have we,” a concerned Admiral asked.
“Given the low levels our seas have fallen down to, the rapidly declining atmospheric movements, our increasing reliance on packaged oxygen and pitch dark beyond the limits of our artificial lights,” Doctor Morris replied, “I’d be only concerned about the prospect of something hitting the Australian mainland.” Finally, to give them some relief, Doctor Morris added, “Luckily we won’t be facing outwards for another nine to ten months.”
Facing adversity also makes one appreciate the goodness of what they have with them that helps them survive the adversity. Learning, understanding and appreciation often happen together.
“What are your observations thus far?” Bradley asked Keith and Shelly, the Chemist and the Physicist onboard ‘Maa’, about the effect of interaction between the matters of the two universes; Alex’s drone and Doctor Dawson’s mittens.
“It is interesting how the matter from the two universes maintains its form and integrity, when put in contact with each other,” Doctor Shelly Dawson replied, “So much that we are surprised how you were affected so differently by your experience.” She then looked on at Doctor Keith Harvey to join in the comment.
“Our understanding is that perhaps something else intervened in your case,” Doctor Harvey added to the conversation, “Something that initiated the change that culminated in making you what we would describe as dead matter, for the lack of a better term.”
“Forget about me Doctor,” Bradley quipped shaking his head, “But are you suggesting that our people can interact with these pieces of equipment without worrying about the effect they might cause.”
“To a limited extent, and if there is no choice left, we think it’s alright,” Doctor Dawson replied, “In fact, given the findings I took the liberty to read through the instruction manual of Alex’s drone and guess what I found?”
A smile came up on Bradley’s face as he quipped, “I have no idea!”
“You remember how you could hear Alex’s voice in space while you couldn’t speak to him because of the vacuum, and you asked me how that was possible,” Doctor Dawson continued, “It so happens that they don’t use voice to communicate.”
“What do you mean?” her information intrigued Bradley.
“They use visible light to transmit voice,” Doctor Dawson’s reply left him gobsmacked.
“What? How is that even possible, when I know I heard his voice,” Bradley asked, or rather protested vehemently.
“You think you heard his voice,” Shelly replied, “But it was actually typed words transmitted as visible light that your eyes picked up. Think of it this way; when you read written words, your brain is actually reading them aloud internally while your eyes go over each one of them. What they do with their technology is, they convert written words into light signals, and beam them at accelerated speed. This way not only their messages travel way faster than anything else, but because they are using an undetectable amount of visible light to transmit messages while the enemy is busy scanning through radio frequencies, their messages don’t get intercepted. And the best part is; you don’t need any special equipment to decode the messages. All organisms are naturally born with the apparatus to decode visible light, provided they understand the language.”
“Then how come I heard his voice?” Bradley however was still not convinced.
“You didn’t,” Doctor Harvey joined in this time, “You see, our brain is a very efficient masterpiece of creation; it fills up missing details by its own construction. When you look away into distance, you only focus on a very small part of the view, while your eyes still see everything, or at least you think they do. What the brain is doing in that situation is; it is completing the picture by using average expressions of various views that it has accumulated over your life-time, as an internal stock image base. This is what your brain did when it received Alex’s message; it supplied an average voice to the message that you identified as an unknown voice. The picture for the purpose of your brain was completed when you met Alex in person for the first time, which is when your brain made the requisite connection between what you had already observed, and what you observed then; his message and his voice.”
“This is weird,” Bradley quipped shaking his head.
“Talk about weird,” Harvey chipped in response, “Who the hell would’ve thought we would meet an alien that looks just like us and speaks our language too?”
“Alex is no alien,” Bradley immediately contested Doctor Harvey’s version.
“Oh he is,” Doctor Dawson jumped to her colleague’s defence, “His kind is as much alien for us, as much we are for his.”
“Interesting, isn’t it?” Doctor Harvey quipped.
“Interesting indeed,” exclaimed Bradley as his face consternated.