God Of a Man
Across Two Eternities
“The better man just does his work.”
Chapter Five: What we seek
Dated: 12th November, 2460
Petty are those who spend their entire lives trying to prove how much better they are from anyone else. Better they will never be, for greatness would never be their forte. What a waste of life and talent it is, when the creative and intellectual faculties are pre-occupied by prejudice! The bitterness that clouds their work masks the sweetness that success should have left as after-taste.
A better individual never wastes time, to emphasize what makes them better, for what does so is not their argument, but their work. They instead proceed on to their next endeavour, with same fervour as they had approached their previous task. Greatness is just the aftermath of their creations that would always be there for the entire universe to judge for itself, as to who was better. The better person just carries on!
This disconnect is itself a part of the virtue, of being better, for a better individual is not concerned with whether their work would be appreciated or not. It is not appreciation they seek, but rather accomplishment; the feeling of satisfaction that comes from the fact that no stone was left unturned in pursuit of what hath to be done. And this is why they are better; just like the band of brothers on board NSSS Full Bloom.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” Chemist Noel Flaherty exclaimed as he threw his hands up in the air, having gone through the data generated by Chief Engineer Marcus Dodd’s algorithm.
“Why’s that Sir?” Lieutenant Jake Reginald, who had been patiently watching the two men of science rake their brains on a puzzle, couldn’t keep his curiosity in check anymore.
“Every form of matter Jake, is characterised by a strong conformity to its form and substance,” Noel tried to explain, “Unless we mix two highly reactive substances, or excite a highly unstable substrate, two different materials do not react unless something external exerts a strong influence on their condition; say for example heat, or presence of an acid, etc. This is what we classify as reactions; chemical or nuclear.”
“What has this got to do with our universe, or our universes?” Jake however didn’t understand what his scientifically trained senior was trying to allude to.
“Think of our universes as molecules, for the purpose of this explanation,” Noel tried to explain his statements at a bit more basic level, “Normally I wouldn’t expect two Universes to collide with each other interactively, unless something external to them is causing that strife. This is because gravity has a peculiar way of organizing things. Look at any solar system, and how planets are always circling around their stars in set paths that they seldom deviate from; just like electrons in an atom. Then look at galaxies; bundles of billions of stars that maintain their own position within those galaxies, seldom showing an inclination to collide with their neighbours. Even the black holes don’t fly away in any direction, but rather maintain their position within their galaxies, like nuclei of atoms, sucking only what comes onto them. Everything you see is maintaining a perfect balance with its surrounds. And in light of these observations, it appears highly uncharacteristic of two universes to collide with each other, especially on their own.”
“Maybe you are right, or maybe it is just similar to the situation that exists between Andromeda and Milky way galaxies; two objects on a collision path,” Marcus joined in the conversation, “But what difference would that make to our situation?”
“It could potentially alter our model,” was a short and precise answer from Noel.
“I didn’t think about that,” Marcus immediately saw the flaw in his creation, “That would mean we might have to factor in the possibility of the two universes coalescing together, and then continuing to exist as one combined bigger universe from thence on; like a new molecule generated by a chemical reaction.”
“You know Sir,” Jake quipped to his seniors, “I may not know how the two universes would eventually end up, but this entire scenario reminds me of a post-historic world myth, that on a judgment day the sky will swallow the earth and everybody would die. The way things have happened, they come perilously close to that description.”
“That was just a superstition young man,” Rear Admiral, who had overheard the comment as he had just walked in to take charge of his ship for another day, quipped as he patted his shoulder, “Neither it’s the sky that has swallowed the earth, and nor are we all dead.”
“But sir, if I may say so,” Jake however argued in defence of his assertion, “Aren’t we too uncomfortably close to annihilation? I mean; we don’t even know what would happen tomorrow, or how long we, or anyone else we know that may still be alive, are going to live?”
“Not if our science can help us,” Rear Admiral however replied, “If we find ourselves at the rough end of the stick today, then that’s because we wasted too much time and lives on fighting over superstitions and for greed, than developing our science.”
“But sir, doesn’t the failure of science justify superstition?” Jake asked as others looked up to their commanding officer.
“Science, young man, would always be superior to superstition, and rationality better than belief,” Rear Admiral however emphatically replied, “For while superstition espouses a lot, it is only science which explains and thus reveals everything, and while belief may motivate one to do something, it is rationality which would explain why something needs to be done.”
“But why go through so much pain, if our science is only going to help us only so far,” Jake however wasn’t satisfied yet, “Why not just live in blissful ignorance, blaming someone unknown for all the troubles, and hoping that same unknown would save you when worst comes? If everyone is going to perish anyway, why not just live free of worries?”
“Because life is about hope, and science gives us that,” Rear Admiral replied, “Belief only gives us wishes that we seek all our lives, without ever getting them in that life. We strive for we know science will potentially save us when faith will leave us at the mercy of probability, for faith is not about fighting against probability, but rather accepting whatever it has to offer. Science will never be perfect, but the more we will improve it, the more the chances are, the judgment day would never come, for judgment day is a creature of belief, and it is about accepting whatever probability has to offer, and not fighting against it.”
Fighting however is easier, when the war is with another. Tough however are the battles that rage inside. And while the external battles may drain your energy, the internal ones bring about emancipation.
“Hi Xavier, how are you?” a vibrant Rukhsana asked as soon as she entered her colleague’s office. “Just wondering if you are free today evening?” was a question that followed quickly without even waiting for a customary response.
“I am not sure,” a confused Doctor Adams quipped as he warily looked at his colleague, “What’s the big fuss about?”
“Nothing big as such,” Rukhsana however clarified, “My friends are just coming over for a little dinner tonight, and I was wondering if you would care to join us.”
Her words however put Xavier on caution, as he consternated before motioning her to sit down, “Why don’t you grab a seat?” As Rukhsana sat down, Xavier heaved a big sigh and took off his glasses. He wiped his eyes, and then with great labour, exclaimed, “Look Rukhsana, I don’t know where and what we are getting at, but there’s something I want to say to you, and I assure you, I am not feeling comfortable at all saying this.”
His words immediately made Rukhsana concerned, “What is it?”
Xavier took another deep breath, before blurting out, “I am gay!”
“Oh I know that,” was a cool and relaxed response from Doctor Leung as she realized what the mole hill was.
“But,” a perplexed Xavier however was left stuttering, “I thought!” And after a bit of struggle, he finally exclaimed, “Why the heck was I getting this feeling?”
“That I am falling for you,” Rukhsana however cut his speech and supplied the words he was struggling to speak up. She took a pause, inclined over, and then continued, “I really admire you a lot Doctor Adams, because you are a good man. But love; I don’t think so! Not that I am aware of any such feelings yet.” Her words finally put Doctor Adams at ease, but it wasn’t meant to last, for her next put him in a spot, “But what would be so wrong even if I was to?”
Xavier uncomfortable pulled back, looked away in every direction, his jaw having dropped down to his tummy, before finally exclaiming, “It just won’t work out. For you sake, I hope that is never the case, for you are one of the best girls I have ever known.”
“But why won’t it work out,” Rukhsana however was in a mood for a discussion.
“Because I would never be interested in a girl as a sexual partner,” was the prompt response from Xavier.
“What has sex got to do with love Xavier?” Rukhsana asked, “We don’t have sex with every person that we love. Some of the most intimate relationships in our life are based entirely on undying love and yet do not involve sex.”
“I agree wholeheartedly dear, but they are not the ones in which we are meant to have sex,” Xavier remarked, “Most of them are blood relations, and some of them are relationships of trust and bonding.”
“I know, but that’s exactly the point,” Rukhsana however calmly replied, “Love and sex; the two are not the same Doctor Adams. Love is a free bird, whereas sex is an intentionally restrained act. We are free to love anyone in the world, but we actively build borders around our sexual limits.”
“Yes, but why would a girl be interested in a boy if she wouldn’t want to have sex at some point in their relationship?” Xavier however raised a very basic question.
“Sex has got nothing to do with love, but everything to do with our mind,” Rukhsana however explained, “We may love anyone either because we find them physically attractive, or because we find ourselves intellectually compatible with them, but we restrict ourselves to having sex to specific categories of people. The relationships that are based solely on love have got nothing to do with sex because our sexual interests in those relationships are deliberately cut out. And they are cut out either because of social, moral or personal preference restrictions that we put on them ourselves, right from the start of our lives.”
“Just like I have put restrictions on the female sex,” Doctor Adams calmly quipped, “Which is why I asked; wouldn’t it be a waste of time for a girl like you to fall in love with a man like me who would probably never cross those self-established bounds, as you have just described?”
“Well, if straight people can turn homosexual, by just removing the restrictions that they had originally put on their minds,” Doctor Leung argued in response, “Doesn’t that imply that a homosexual person is equally likely to turn heterosexual, provided they change their restrictions? When humanity believed in god and souls, there might have been an argument to say that there’s a soul of one sex trapped in another body, but now that we know none of that is true, doesn’t that mean that there is not scientific reason for a person to have any sexuality.”
“Possibly; but why would a person change their sexual preference?” Xavier asked.
“Why do you think they develop such a preference in the first place?” Rukhsana asked in reply.
“Because they like people of a particular sex, and want to have sex with them,” Xavier guessed the answer.
“But that should mean that those people don’t like people of the other sex at all,” Rukhsana argued, “For if they do, then the only reason they won’t have sex with that other group would be an intentional setting up of bounds, as to who is included in sexual compatibility list, and who is not.”
“But that’s just what we discussed,” Xavier exclaimed throwing his hands in air, “The important question is; why do those initial attractions develop, that lead to the setting up of those bounds?”
“At least nature has a role to play in heterosexual lifestyle,” Rukhsana argued in response, “Men have something that women don’t have, and women have something that men don’t. Curiosity leads to attraction and adventurism, and must have originally established a pattern of behaviour. This pattern of behaviour would have subsequently been formalized as physically correct, and subsequently as morally correct. Further bounds on sexual behaviour must have developed over time from that basic premise.”
“That is absolutely agreeable,” Xavier exclaimed, “But that still doesn’t explain; why would a man or a woman feel attracted towards members of the same sex? Why does nature not act the same way in case of homosexual individuals?”
“Nature is not to blame Doctor Adams, for nature is no longer the master of human psyche,” Rukhsana replied, “We are more a creature of intentional conditioning of our brains than anything else. Why else do you think we put bounds around relationships that are not included in our sex lists? Nature plays an equal part in every individual’s life, but it is an intentional choice that a homosexual individual makes at some stage in their lives, to put a bound around the sexes as to which one is included, and which one excluded out of their sex list. It is a personal decision motivated by an individual’s intellectual situation at the time they make this choice. This is what accepting your sexuality is about; intentionally putting bounds around a sexual choice. Thereafter, the individual just lives with that choice for the rest of their lives, reinforcing it in their minds at every opportunity, shutting out the other option.”
“But that means that anybody can turn homosexual,” Xavier exclaims.
“And anyone can turn heterosexual,” Rukhsana replied back, “Through a conscious choice of their own. And this is why it is all the more important to promote heterosexual lifestyle, for else humanity stands to lose the only natural way of propagating itself. We are not subjects of nature anymore.”
“You can easily say that because you are a heterosexual, but why would I want to promote heterosexual lifestyle? I am gay, and I would love to see more men gay, for it gives me more mating options,” Xavier exclaimed in horror, “Even if I agree with every word of your explanation, it doesn’t give me a reason to rearrange my bounds. There is science to help humanity breed. Why should I turn heterosexual when I enjoy having men in my life more? Having a man on top of me makes me feel.”
“Vulnerable and subjugated,” Rukhsana chided him as she cut short his words, without realizing that she was offending him.
“As a woman, do you feel vulnerable and subjugated when you sleep with a man?” Xavier however kept his composure, and asked without letting his displeasure colour his tone.
“There is a natural power differential between a man and a woman, thanks to physical size differences between the two sexes, and aggressive hormonal influences in males,” Rukhsana continued to reason back, “Besides, we women enjoy it as much as men do, and it is consistent with the most comfortable position the natural act would allow.”
“You are just arguing to justify yourself,” Xavier however confronted her explanation, “Besides what makes you think that I don’t enjoy the act as much?”
“How could you, when you are not even using what you need to, to derive that pleasure, and are instead being forced through a pain that you don’t have to?” Rukhsana was almost getting graphical with her questioning now, but Doctor Adams was himself to blame for letting the cat amongst the pigeons.
“Oh I very well am using what I need to, and twice if I may say so,” Xavier exclaimed with an emphatic nod.
“Oh well, don’t they say men love digging up shit,” Rukhsana however laughed.
“You are offending me Doctor Leung,” Xavier however was beginning to lose his patience at his friend’s insensitivity now.
“Doctor Adams, if I were you I wouldn’t be worried about what I just said,” Rukhsana however got up to leave, but wanted to say something that really concerned her, “I would be more worried about my true feelings for Doctor Suzanne Dillon.”
“What do you mean?” a shocked Xavier asked as he looked up.
“Doctor Xavier, if you really loved Bradley, you would have gone on that ship, instead of putting Doctor Dillon on it,” Rukhsana replied, “Love makes us do stupid things that we don’t understand ourselves. You put Doctor Dillon in there because you wanted to save her, and not because you wanted Bradley to have a happy life, or for that matter, because Doctor Dillon was your best friend. You put her in there because you couldn’t live with the thought of leaving her to die.”
“If that were true than don’t you think I, and not Bradley, should be there with her right now?” an agitated Xavier asked her.
“You would have been, if only you could have dared face her after what you had done,” Rukhsana replied, a bit argumentatively perhaps, “Or should I say; if only you could have dared face yourself, for the toughest challenge that any man ever faces is the prospect of accepting that he was wrong all the time.” And with that Rukhsana walked out of his office, leaving Doctor Xavier caught up in a web of emotions and turmoil.
Emotions block rational thought, simply because they draw out so much more hormones into an organism’s blood stream. And hormones easily overpower behaviour, which only a highly trained mind can then exert any effective control upon.
“So what are your findings Professor Dunmore,” Anne asked her scientific advisor, Professor Sean Paul Dunmore.
“The findings are encouraging, to say the least,” the professor replied optimistically, “You see; this alien technology is way more advanced than ours, which means we have enough material and fuel available onboard this craft itself, to satisfy all our semiconductor needs for two compact mother-ships and three attack crafts, and also fly them for almost the same span of time as this one, only many million times faster.”
“Two mother ships and three attach crafts,” an astonished Anne exclaimed before asking, “But why would we need such a large fleet? Just one advanced mother-ship is all that we need. Why waste our time scouting for resources then?”
“I wouldn’t have dared disagree with my Commander-in-Chief, but,” Professor however calmly explained, “Our recent experience clearly demonstrates how vulnerable such a choice would leave us. A few days back, what was just a work of great literary imagination for most part of our history till then; came true. In light of this experience, there is no way I can start making recommendations from below the count of two mother-ships.”
“I understand your point Professor,” Anne nodded in agreement, as Bradley, Chris and Charles looked on, before continuing, “But what is the use of three attack crafts?”
“Two of course, would provide necessary protection to the convoy, twenty four by seven, for they would have the ability to travel a few times faster than the mother-ships, and a lot more potent attack prowess,” Professor explained his recommendation, “The third attack craft would give us the advantage of scouting the space around us more closely, leaving the convoy traversing its programmed path without deviating, only to fall back at the time of inter-universal crossing. And should a need arise, we would have a limited ability to spare a craft to assist in rescue, should our scout get in any trouble.”
“I second Professor’s suggestion,” Charles interrupted to put his weight behind the man, “And our seasoned warriors on the committee; I am sure they would agree too!” And as everybody looked at Bradley and Chris, they too confirmed their agreement with the proposal.
“So what are our needs then, beyond our spaceship,” Anne asked the professor.
“We can either dismantle our current ship, and then build two mother-ships from scratch,” the Professor replied, “Which obviously would be very inconvenient, almost to the level of impracticality for us; or we can hope to recover enough metallic resources from this planet, to design our ships. We luckily have the flexibility of developing quite a few sturdy alloys, all of them good enough to serve the purpose.”
“What are our manpower and equipment requirements?” Anne asked.
“We have four three-dimensional printers at our disposal,” Professor explained the situation, “They can generate all the internal components, including engine parts, for all the crafts, which of course would have to be assembled manually. So we would need all hands above, say thirteen or fourteen years old, up and about, doing the assembly-line work with trained engineers controlling the operation, while a two member scientific team would easily oversee component production. Trouble would arise when producing external and skeletal body parts for the crafts. We would have to first produce some other machines instead, that would then produce those structural elements independently.”
“Is all this possible?” Anne calmly asked.
“Yes it is,” was the calm reply.
Unfortunately the calmness was only short lived, for a radio alert soon demanded everybody’s attention.
“Bravo calling Alpha,” Liandra’s voice boomed out of the radio set lying in front of Anne.
“Alpha receiving,” Anne replied.
“Emergency Alpha,” Liandra exclaimed, “We have pumped out all the fluid that would come out of the hole, but Captain Aman Ahluwalia has descended down for a manual inspection.”
“What? Has that man gone nuts?” a shocked and exasperated Anne jumped out of her seat, “Why didn’t you stop him?”
“Sorry Chief, but he’s our senior, and wouldn’t listen to anyone,” Liandra replied.
“Would someone please explain to me what I am supposed to do with a man like this?” a frustrated Anne haplessly asked those around her.
Bradley however took a deep breath, before inclining forward and calmly replying, “I am not surprised.”
“Sorry, what was that?” an agitated Anne however asked.
“You don’t understand Commander,” Bradley calmly continued, “That man is not living because he wants to, but only because he has to. And he is living for only one reason; no matter what it takes, one day he will return to find his mother and his fiancée. And until that happens, he would continue taking the most ridiculous risks, even those that only have a remote chance of yielding him a result that might favour the success of his plans.”
“Are you saying that none of us wants to find a home quickly, and then return to those that we have left behind,” a surprised, frustrated and enraged Anne asked, “Do you see any of us behaving like a maniac, like that man is? Would you yourself ever behave like him?”
“Don’t be too sure, Commander-in-Chief,” Bradley however quipped in response, “We are deserters. We gave up on those whom we loved, and made a compromise with the reality, that we would save those that we can. Everything else that we tell ourselves is just a justification we are making to our conscience, so that it doesn’t trouble us.”
“Do you want to say that we are not going to find our loved ones, once we have found a new home?” a shocked Anne fumbled out, as the intensity got the better of her.
“The question is; do we really believe we will ever find them?” Bradley however put it squarely, “This man does, and not only he does, he is trying to make that happen.”
“Captain Connors, you want me to believe that you are a man who gives up on those he loves, that he is a deserter,” a still not satisfied Anne asked.
“I am a young orphan,” Bradley emotionally replied, “Captain Ahluwalia’s parents have not only raised me as their child for most of my life, but I have often felt that they gave me more love than him; a reason why I have always had a troubled relation with him. But all this has made me a strange individual; bound to my responsibility, bound to fulfil my duties. I am here on this mission because as one of the best men available, it was my duty to make it succeed. I am no more than my heartless duties. You can’t compare me and Aman. That man is driven by love and belonging!” He finally got up to leave, before continuing, “You need to learn and understand those that make your team Chief, for not only will it help you utilize their abilities better, but would also help you accept their eccentricities. These are the best of the humanity that have been put at your disposal.”
His words left Anne speechless, while Chris and Charles looked on at each other’s faces, not sure what to say.
“You might want to assemble a good rescue team quickly, to relieve me,” Bradley said as he stopped at the door and turned around.
“What do you mean?” Anne asked.
“I am going to the sight, to mount an immediate rescue should anything go wrong,” Bradley replied, “But there’s only so long I would be able to stay up in pitch dark, for our handheld torches won’t feed me energy for long. You’ll need a better rescue team up there.”