God Of a Man
Across Two Eternities
“Even greed can fan revolutions!”
Chapter Six: Enough to burn
Dated: 12th November, 2460
Human needs, like any animal, are basic; safety from danger, food for survival, and procreation for propagation. Beyond these three basic needs lies the realm of desires. Society is a complex of both man and material; or perhaps describing in another way, a complex of both physical and psychic. There are many elements that combine to give shape to a society, and each one of these is indispensible; humans to constitute a society, culture to bind it together, goods and services that human efforts generate, and a market to dispense those goods. All these elements interact to drive a consummative force that promotes consumption of everything that makes up the society, be it culture, goods, or even humans themselves. The needs that every human living in a society thus has are not basic.
It is true that desire leads to more desire, and uncontrollable desire is called greed. It is also true that greed, when mixed with power to control any of the elements that make up a society, inevitably truncates the balance of consumptive power, with a few having all the means to splurge, and most others being left out of that sphere of privilege. But humans may be weak, physically or resource wise, but they are never rid of desire. There would always be those who would be just on the edge of that sphere of privilege, and those who would refuse to accept that they cannot be in that sphere with their efforts, in spite of their present predicament. Then there would be all others who would know how to desire, but would either not know how to get it, or have guts to do so. This would be a perfect substrate for revolution, and no matter what the circle of elite may design, this greed would always get the better of them, with the fate of elite being as worse as great their efforts to avoid it would be.
But it is not always a question of giving everything to everyone. Sometimes it is just about giving what people really need at that point in time. Problems don’t arise when people are getting what they want, even if not everything else. Problems arise when people don’t get anything at all, or feel like they won’t were they to seek. Although it is another matter, when people would start getting one thing, they will get used to it, and then they would start needing another. There is no way around this inherent revolution in social setup of a progressive society. Consider the case of Captain Aman Ahluwalia, who already has an opportunity that can one day put him in a position to pursue a quest for lost love and family. Yet he feels he needs to get this done as soon as possible. And if there is an authority that stands in his way, that authority need not be obeyed!
It was cold and pitch-dark, both inside as well as outside the big chamber that Captain Ahluwalia had just descended into. Even when he was standing right under the hole that he had entered into, thanks to the thick sheet of layers of frozen atmosphere, no light was to be detected entering the cursed surrounds. He was not only alone, but lonely too, considering the fact that he was barely a fifty odd feet away from his team above the surface. Yes he had a gun in his hand, and yes there was a torch right at the business end of its barrel. Yet its’ light got lost barely a few feet from him, such was the black of the dark.
He turned around in every direction before even taking a step further from his spot; vary of the slippery sheets of frozen gases lining up the floor beneath. His spiked shoes made it possible for him to stand, but laborious to move. The mummifying freeze was not going to help his case either. But those were the least of his concerns. All he wanted to find was one wall, to follow around. And yet there was none to be seen from where he was.
If the activities of the last two days weren’t enough, his presence had churned the air in there, raising temperature just enough, to turn ice into fumes. Dark was thickening with fog, and doing so pretty quickly! The rising fumes were just about beginning to make haunting sounds, with their echoes reverberating across the underground, loud enough to wake up the dead, if it were possible.
But Captain Ahluwalia needed to make a move, and that’s exactly what he did. Tentative of how hard he were to stomp his foot, firm to maintain his place and balance, and yet not too strong to capsize the floor underneath, he moved a few steps in one direction. Soon enough he found a wall, all layered by frozen mass, all looking blank, with no tell-tale signs of a story that must have thrived in those confines at some point in a time gone by. But that wasn’t all the frozen armour was guarding; possibly hidden behind it were the frailties that the structure might have developed post apocalypse.
Whatever sight the faint light of his torch afforded, Captain Ahluwalia made the most of it. Having scanned that wall thoroughly, he slowly followed along its edge, until he came to a corner, and found another wall. There was nothing noteworthy to discover, except pitch dark front, back, left, right, above and below. Even his own hands weren’t visible; the only thing that he could see was the tip of his gun, lit by his torch’s glare, and just fumes of cold gases in front of it. He would scan the floor in front, then look for anything protruding out of any sides or above, and then take a step or two forward.
After an hour long agonizingly slow march around the chamber, wall to wall, Captain Ahluwalia finally found a door, except that it wasn’t there, and that was the only bright side of it. What lay ahead was only a guess, but the march was still at a snail-pace. However, something was different about the ambience in this section of the buried site. And finally Captain Ahluwalia decided it was time to leave the walls behind, and march through the heart of it. Alas, only a few steps in and his march stopped at the edge of a pit full of fluid. There was no way to tell how far it stretched, and how deep it went. It was just cold liquid mass.
Captain Ahluwalia knelt down to inspect the liquid better. It was just no different than what they had pumped out for two days on stretch already. It just so happened that this level of fluid was below the level of what their pump would have sucked out. Captain Ahluwalia took a deep breath and stood up, only to be frozen down to his spine by what happened.
It wasn’t a tap on his shoulder, but rather a forceful impact, and whatever hit him, stayed there. In a flash he turned around, his gun instinctively pointing ahead of his sight. Any lesser man would have already pressed the trigger too, but Captain Ahluwalia managed to keep his composure within some confines of sensibility. But a rude shock awaited him, for as soon as the torch atop his gun lit up the site in front, the view was enough to imbalance him, toppling him into the freezing fluid.
Luckily for him, where he had paused, was a set of stairs. The steps were deep, but not too deep for him to climb back up quickly, although the highly viscous fluid tried hard to drag him underneath. The added weight of the protective gear he was wearing made his situation worse. It wasn’t as easy a struggle as he made it appear, but he emerged out of the fluid as soon as he could, with his gun barely hanging by his side. As soon as he climbed out of the freezing fluid, he grabbed his gun again, and pointed it back in the direction he had previously inspected.
The sight that scared him stood still, like a rock; made of mummified organic matter. It was like a giant bug from Jurassic Age, and Captain Ahluwalia understood for the first time what the intelligent specie of this world had looked like.
“How are you doing down there Captain?” a familiar voice emanated out of the radio set built into his helmet.
“Still alive,” Aman replied back, before asking, “Where you at Captain?”
“I am above ground,” Bradley replied, “I am your rescue team should there be a need.”
“Looks sweet for now; I’m done,” Aman radioed back, “By the way, could you please have a look at the radio scanner and mark my position on it?”
“Yep, I am looking at it right now,” Bradley replied.
“Great, how far am I from the hole?” Aman asked.
“About fifteen-twenty feet,” Bradley quipped in response.
“Is that all?” a shocked Aman exclaimed, “It really felt like a kilometre down here.”
“I am sure it must have,” Bradley replied, “But negative; the blip on the radio scanner shows you barely fifteen-twenty feet from your entrance.”
“OK, mark that site,” Aman continued, “I’ll take a few steps towards the exit now, but remember my current location. We need to dig afresh five to ten feet further up from there. There’s a lot more fluid to be drained out. This looks like a warehouse or something.”
“Sure thing,” Bradley replied.
To be sure about something is always the first step towards success. Before that stage any efforts are not even a wild goose chase, for there is none to be chased. One needs to be at least sure of what they want, even if they are not sure about how they will get it, or how much and what it will take to get it.
“Lady Davis,” Admiral Abdullah sought the attention of his President, “We have a problem!”
“We always do Admiral,” Michelle replied shaking her head, “What is it this time?”
“The details are in and the scientific consensus is; we won’t be able to find enough fissionable material to fuel our entire fleet,” Admiral informed her.
A sigh escaped Lady Michelle Davis’s lips, as she lamented, “Now isn’t that a shame? I mean; we can’t leave anyone behind, and we can’t fuel enough ships to carry fifty thousand people too.”
“At least we have time on our side now,” Admiral commented a bit optimistically.
“Do you really think so?” Michelle asked, “Life is not going to get any easier out here.”
“Yes, but it won’t become unbearable any time soon either,” Admiral argued in support of his assertion, before pausing to reflect on something. He then continued, “But, if I may, we do have another option open to us now.”
“What do you mean?” Lady Davis was immediately intrigued by his assertion.
“Rear Admiral’s new found world,” Admiral replied, “His update talks about a huge stockpile of Uranium isotope on that world. And we have the means to tap it now.”
“Go on, you have me hooked,” Michelle inclined forward as she actively devoted all her concentration on to Admiral Abdullah’s words.
“This new technology may have undone all our previous six months work, but,” Admiral continued, “It has also provided us with a solution that enables us to travel way faster than what was previously possible.”
“And how does that help us?” Lady Davis asked.
“While it will take at least two years for us to produce our entire fleet of mother-ships on an assembly line,” Admiral explained, “We can assemble a smaller ship in about three weeks time, and dispatch it to that planet to source Uranium to meet our fuel needs. By the time our fleet is ready, that ship would easily end up making at least four trips to that planet and retrieve all he Uranium that we need for our purposes.”
“That is not a bad idea, provided it is feasible,” Michelle quipped as she took off her glasses and put one of its’ limbs in between her teeth, “What do our scientific team say about the possibility?”
“We may not have radar technology to map unknown universe and alter our course on the fly,” Admiral informed her all that he had been told, “But we have a very good idea of what lies between our planet and that planet. Our team can not only travel way faster than what Rear Admiral’s own team might be travelling at right now, given the limitations they have identified in their model, but I think it would be a good test of the new technology too, before we put the fate of entire humanity in its’ hands. It should get there in just under three months time, and back in about the same, giving it a week and a half every six months, to scavenge that planet for resources.”
“Sweet,” Lady Michelle Davis quipped, “Admiral, you have my go ahead. Get a team ready to leave for that planet.”