God Of a Man
Across Two Eternities
“Knowledge is useless without understanding.”
Chapter Four: Brittle yarn
Dated: 10th November, 2460
Knowing is not half the battle won, rather it is the beginning. Understanding what you know is the real challenge. An apple had always fallen down to the ground, and the entire humanity always knew it. Yet it was for Newton to question why an apple did so, that humanity finally understood gravity. And while knowing where an apple would go once detached from a tree never served much purpose for humanity, understanding gravity filled up libraries across its world, and for the first time humanity began to understand worlds beyond its own.
An idea is a seed that cannot germinate without the soil and moisture of knowing what it could lead up to, and what could or should be done to make it materialize. An idea can originate in many variations across many minds, yet it is the mind that conceptualizes the most practical iteration of it, that really makes a fruitful contribution. Practicality of course is undeniably linked to the understanding of how things might work, and thereafter workout.
Nurturing minds and their conceptual abilities is thus half the battle won. The rest is all about indulging them into intellectual work. Bodies will follow what minds would command, and aware of this are minds onboard Spaceship Maa, who find themselves situated in the unenviable position of pioneers of a new world.
“You can’t just walk in through there with a light in hand Captain,” Jhiang argued as he explained why he didn’t support Captain Aman Ahluwalia’s plan of manually scavenging the underground, “Firstly, even if we pump out all the liquid built up in there, which shouldn’t take us more than a couple of days, it wouldn’t make it any safer underground. It is more likely to make the structure more unstable, as the buoyancy of the fluid would be lost. And who knows how long these ruins have been buried under this thick blanket of solid frozen matter. It could all collapse all around your team, and we would have neither any way of locating you, or rescuing you quick enough to save your lives.”
“Then how about we just leave the fluid in there and just float through it,” Aman came up with another suggestion, “We would be using oxygen cylinders anyway.”
“I am afraid that’s equally impractical,” Jhiang however was quick to put in the dampener, “Firstly it is not clear water in there that we are talking about. They are highly cooled gases turned into liquid. You will freeze into mummies down there in spite of your safety gear. Secondly, who knows what debris float or lie buried in there, leave alone the allergen or poison contamination levels? The only action recommended is to send in an unmanned small drone to scan the interiors, spot the points of interest, and then dig closer to those points. Even this shouldn’t be undertaken until it is absolutely clear what matter makes up the atmosphere deep in there. The last thing we need is an explosive mixture of highly volatile components igniting and destroying your team above the ground. There will be plenty of oxygen in there, and there is plenty of it outside to make exactly that happen.”
“But at this pace of progress we might be stuck here on this planet till next dark ages,” Aman however complained.
“I would much prefer to be stuck here then lose any of my crew Captain,” Anne however decided it was time to make the decision, “You are not going to risk your life when it can be avoided.”
“But,” Aman however wanted to argue further, alas Anne was in no mood to give in to his demands.
“No Captain, I will not allow any of my crew to be put in harm’s way,” Anne exclaimed forcefully as she held up her hand to stop Aman’s words in his mouth.
“No one else needs to go down there, I’ll do it alone by myself,” Aman however came up with a lame argument.
“And I will not let you do it,” Anne however had already made up a clear decision.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to do it,” Aman however tacitly reminded her of the compromise she had reached with him, that she would not ask him to do what he doesn’t approve off, taking Anne by surprise, as her jaw dropped down, and a blank stare was all that was left marking her eyes, as she stared deep into his eyes haplessly.
“Of course, she doesn’t want you to do it,” Doctor Suzanne Dillon, who was unaware of the arrangement between the two, jumped on to Anne’s side.
“I am sure she won’t stop me,” Aman however knew what he wanted to do.
Anne was left motionless for a fleeting moment, not even a breath escaped her, when finally, dejected at her powerless position with him, she almost choked on her next few words, “Not under my watch Captain; never under my watch!” And she immediately turned around and walked away, barely holding back her tears. Jhiang too looked at Aman, shrugged his shoulders as if he didn’t care, for he had already made his views amply clear, and then walked away towards his research area. He had set up Gas Spectrometry tests, to run on the samples of condensed gaseous mixture collected by Aman’s team the previous day.
“What is wrong with you?” Suzanne however wasn’t done with Aman, “Don’t you care about her feelings?”
“Of course I do,” Aman, taken aback, retorted back, “What has anything got to do with her feelings? It is just a job that someone needs to do!”
“And this is all that you make of the situation, of what is going through her mind,” Suzanne asked him as she grabbed him by his arm, “Through her heart?”
“What has it got to do with her heart?” Aman however was taken by total surprise now.
“Can’t you see?” Suzanne however complained, “She loves you!”
“What?” and her words shook Aman to his core, as he fell a couple of steps back, “That’s not true! We are just friends!”
“Oh yes you are,” a frustrated Suzanne quipped, “But for you only!” By this time however she was beginning to feel really impatient with him, “You and your brother; two masterpieces of their own kind.” She then took two steps towards Aman, grabbed him from both his arms this time, pulled her face next to his, and then literally threw the words straight at him, “Damn it Aman, she’s a woman!”
“But I love Jenny,” Aman struggled to blurt out his reply.
“And you think you will find her now?” a disgusted Suzanne finally gave up on him and walked away.
One can walk away from their love, their responsibilities and even their life, but what one can never walk away from is their own inner self. And this inner self never fails in reminding them what they are about to leave behind, and would always reason back as to why not to leave behind what is about to be left behind. The only time one makes a mistake is when they lose the argument to their inner self, and yet follow up on their decision.
Jenny had just finished drawing up the last remaining sketch of her family; Rear Admiral Gurubaan Ahluwalia. Jack, who had just woken up, walked up to her side and asked, “Who is he?”
“He’s my father-in-law,” Jenny replied before a sadness took over her heart, “I wish we hadn’t missed his team when they came looking for us. I wish we hadn’t gotten us stuck into that situation.” And then she broke down.
Situations happen not because they have a tendency to happen, but because they are an eventuality of the vast probability at play. However, they are governed as much by the events leading up to them, as much they are a function of the probability that might transpire out of that events’ play.
“How is your work coming up young man,” Rear Admiral asked his Chief Engineer Marcus Dodd.
“Great Sir,” Marcus replied, “I have updated our radar software and data algorithm. Now we can detect any artificial movement half a light year away in one light year time.”
“That’s still too slow I am afraid,” Rear Admiral replied with a deep sigh, “We are dealing with unknown intelligent life that can probably travel faster than light. We would still be nothing more than sitting ducks even if were to detect their exact position half a year ago.”
“Sir, unfortunately we don’t have the technology to speed up our radiations,” Marcus shook his head as he reminded his Commanding officer what their technical limitations were.
“And our unknown friends or enemies probably have,” Rear Admiral quipped as he contemplated on something. He then gave a further instruction to his flight team, “Chief Flight Officer Marks, please make sure we are always aware of closest rocky neighbourhoods including asteroid belts where we could take refuge should an emergency arise.”
There was a silence in the cabin for a moment, as everybody let the feeling of haplessness sink in. Finally Chief Flight Officer Antonio Marks asked his officer, “Sir, do you think we would ever see our families again?”
“I certainly hope so son,” Rear Admiral replied without a hesitation, “For I love my kids, and I love my wife.”
Love has a strange habit of cooking up situations that people are happy to get entangled into, but curse every moment of living through them. None leaves this web until they have realized how ugly they could be at their worst. And yet, it leaves memories that are the most cherished of all time.
“Here, I made you a coffee,” Doctor Rukhsana Leung said as she pushed a cup towards Doctor Xavier Adams, who was obviously surprised.
“Thanks,” he exclaimed as he took the cup from Miss Leung’s hand, as she looked back into his eyes, making him uncomfortable. “I just came to check up on Mrs Ahluwalia,” Xavier fumbled out his explanation, “She is Captain Connor’s adoptive mother.”
“Yes, I know,” Doctor Leung replied as she took a sip from her cup, looked at Mrs Ahluwalia, and then again looked back at Doctor Adams. “I actually admire what you did for your friend Suzanne,” she exclaimed as she giggled like a school girl, “Who in this day and age puts their own life at peril for their friends like that?”
“I am flattered,” Doctor Adams replied as he took an uncomfortable sip from his cup, “Actually, it is just a matter of perspective as to whose life is really in peril.” And the two finally gave out a comfortable laugh.
Peril of life always feels lesser than the peril of heart, and peril of heart always lesser than the peril of limb. It is hard to live with a broken heart, and harder to comfort a heart that beats in a body deprived of a limb.
“I don’t trust that bitch,” Margaret exclaimed as she chatted with ‘Rocker’ Jean Perry.
“I don’t understand why you hate that poor creature so much,” Rocker replied back, as both sat in the cabin, oblivious to Doctor Dillon who had just walked in.
“I can’t trust a bitch that can get into my mind whenever she wants to,” Margaret however was quite upfront of her distaste for Mishansa.
“Don’t worry,” Rocker quipped, “I am sure Bradley will take care of her.”
“Bradley,” Suzanne exclaimed in surprise as she joined in, “What would he do with her?”
“Well hello! Where have you been?” Rocker replied with a surprise, “This is the talk of the ship; the two are an item!”
“Bradley and Mishansa,” a shocked Suzanne asked.
“Who, Bradley,” even Margaret was slightly shocked and surprised, “But I thought she was hitting up on Captain Ahluwalia!”
“Now wait a second,” Rocker however confronted her on her assertion; “Whoever gave you that idea?”
“But she is not with Bradley, is she?” a shocked Suzanne looked back at Margaret, trying hard not to raise any suspicions.
“She always is with Bradley,” Rocker however replied.
“No way,” Margaret countered him, “I see her way more with Captain Ahluwalia.”
“But why would she need to hit on Bradley?” Suzanne asked, but then realized she was sounding too obvious, so added, “I mean, we don’t even know what has happened to him.”
“She doesn’t care,” Rocker quipped.
“I swear she is not with Bradley, but with Aman,” Margaret however replied.
“Wait!” Suzanne however had had enough of this disagreement, “Is she with Bradley, or is she with Aman?”
“Or is she playing them both,” Anne stepped inside the cabin, having overheard all their conversation.