God Of a Man
Across Two Eternities
“Conscience is the act of self-judgment.”
Chapter Seven: Trouble flies faster
Dated: 19th November, 2460
Humanity may have conflated the distinction between right and wrong with religion, but that does not distract from the issue the core concepts that define the two. There is no crime in nature; crime itself being a product of society. A bird of prey heartlessly kills it feed, before proceeding to feast on its’ flesh. A mammalian male ferociously defends its’ marked territory, even if the confrontation leaves another mortally wounded. The mammalian female does not have a choice, except to mate with the strongest male who wouldn’t let a weaker male warm up to her. An animal’s needs may be limited, but there is no crime in claiming what lies there to be taken, irrespective of who discovered it first. Where are the concepts of murder, assault, rape or theft in nature?
But society is not a place nature extends to, for it is an artificial construct. In fact, the birth of society itself lay in the need to restrict nature and its’ vagaries to what is absolutely unavoidable. It was a means of defying the impact of nature’s law on a life as intelligent as a human being; a product of intelligence, to defend the intelligent. And out of this establishment arose the concepts of right and wrong. What one wouldn’t want another to do to them, for they won’t like the result, is what one shouldn’t themselves do to another, for the other would feel as a bad about it as they would have felt themselves. This is what the distinction between right and wrong is; what would hurt another or their feelings is wrong, and not doing it is right. But then, everybody is not a straight thinking well behaved socialite, and hence the birth of religion; or the fear of unknown.
Conscience has got nothing to do with religion however, for conscience is merely the personal appreciation of the impact of one’s actions on another, and then proceeding to perform or avoid the same. Conscience is an act of self-judgment; about what one is doing, what its’ impact would be, and should it be done, or what should be done if something has already been done. Conscience is the judge with access to evidence that none else might have, and also the most unbiased, although it is no more powerful than the will that wields it. Life will always test individuals with circumstances that will test their will, and only the best would pass it with flying colours, something people like Captain Ahluwalia are always aware of.
A new hole had been dug, but the fluid was drained out only after a well insulated broad-spectrum scanner had been dipped into it, to estimate the worth of the effort. The results were more than encouraging; it was a gold mine of resources that humanity’s torch bearers had stumbled upon. Alas with the fluid, their patience also drained out. There was no point in risking lives, and no time to carry out a stretched out and planned excavation. Whatever frozen material could be scrapped away, by their light excavator, was taken away, and then the rest was blown into the hollow chamber below with light explosives. It was much easier and quicker to remove the debris than follow elaborate safety protocols and a stretched out retrieval plan. They were already over the concept of preserving what was already dead, and had little or no concern to humanity, beyond its’ scientific curiosity.
“What do you think Doctor Harvey?” Anne asked Keith.
“I believe we have stumbled upon a distress establishment of this doomed specie,” stated Doctor Harvey in response, as he continued inspecting the stockpile of externally rusted but internally pure material, “It seems like this is the place where they were desperately attempting to come up with a solution to avoid the fate that awaited them.”
“So what happened?” a curious Anne asked.
“I have no idea beyond a guess, that their technology wasn’t good enough for the rescue operation,” Doctor Harvey replied as he turned around to look at his Commander-in-Chief, “Perhaps Shelly might know something more than what I can explain.” He then paused and gazed beyond Anne’s shoulder, before exclaiming out to his fiancée, “What are your findings my love?”
“Rather interesting,” came a reply from Doctor Dawson, who was intently inspecting what looked like an air-craft; or was it a potential space craft? “From what I can tell from the panels and internals of this machine,” Shelly continued as she manoeuvred her way around two mummified bug bodies, trying not to destroy what could be avoided, “Their science was pretty advanced, almost to the levels of human science in early twenty first century, and yet they don’t seem to have figured out a way to develop a workable aircraft.”
“That’s because they probably didn’t need to,” Doctor Suzanne Dillon joined in the conversation, as she walked up to Anne to ask about something, “They had wings! They never had the need to develop transportation means beyond those absolutely needed to move heavy material. Their science never knew a use for an aircraft.”
“That makes sense,” Anne exclaimed as her eyes lit up in the dim glow of portable artificial lighting being used at the venue, “They would have never even thought about something to assist them in flying. So when everything happened, their fate would have been instantly sealed, with all their efforts then being reduced to valiant attempts at avoiding the unavoidable.”
“Exactly,” Suzanne exclaimed before she popped her query to Anne, “Now Commander, I have inspected the material here for biological infection, and all the tests are expectedly negative. Any microbial activity would have ceased a long time ago, for this place seems to have been frozen for more than a few centuries now. I can always inspect more material once a big chunk has been removed from the surface if that’s alright!”
“That would be just fine Doctor,” Anne cleared her proposal instantly, before turning to Doctors Harvey and Dawson, “What are your estimates about the material that we have available here?”
“Well, having gone through the requirement list supplied by Professor Dunmore, it is safe to assume that we have plenty to build more than ten mother-ships if we want to,” Doctor Harvey replied, “It’s all about setting up alloying and manufacturing lines now.”
“That’s wonderful news,” a delighted Anne exclaimed, and then paused to point at the two mummified remains, and asked her scientific team, “Is it possible to determine how old these specimens really are?”
“It would take up too much resources and time,” Doctor Harvey replied, “We don’t know what the Carbon composition of this world was, and then what the Carbon isotope composition of this world’s carbon content was. The frozen layers would require further study, and a comparison of the remaining atmospheric contents of this world would be necessary. It might be better just to collect some samples and raw data for now, and then conduct the scientific evaluations at a later time, just for research purposes only.”
“Fine doctor; I’ll leave you guys to finish your work here now,” Anne exclaimed shaking her head, as her gaze fell on Aman, who had just walked in to inspect, and was about to turn around and leave. Anne quickly walked up to him. “Captain Ahluwalia,” Anne almost whispered, as if not to make any noise, “I wanted to thank you for what you did out here.”
“Oh, thanks,” a hesitant Aman quipped, not knowing what to say. The two walked up into the temporary elevator set up to access the site, with an uncomfortable silence between them. Once above ground, Aman led the lady to her waiting motorized sledge, and finally said, “I hope it won’t be long for us to get back up and flying now.”
“I sure hope too,” Anne exclaimed as she looked back at Aman, a bit confused. She embarked onto her sledge, ready to leave, when she finally asked Aman what had been bothering her, “Aman, why are you trying to avoid me?”
“Who; me?” taken by surprise, Aman fumbled, “No, absolutely not!”
“Do you really want me to believe that?” Anne asked as she put out her hand and put it on Aman’s, “Look, I know I didn’t want you to do what you did, and you expressly went against my wishes. But that’s fine! I see the results of your work now, and there’s nothing you should be uncomfortable about.”
“Oh, thanks! I am glad you understand,” Aman exclaimed as a sigh of relief escaped his lips.
“OK, I’ll see you back at the spaceship then,” Anne exclaimed as she steered her sledge off and away.
“You can’t just avoid her,” Suzanne, who too had followed behind the duo, and overheard their conversation, exclaimed, “She needs to be told the truth, but not in a way that would destroy her.”
“And you really think I have the ability to do exactly that,” a frustrated Aman turned around and asked Suzanne, who herself knew, she was asking too much of a man who only meant well, but had nothing more to offer in the circumstances.
There is inherent ability, and then there is training. The former cannot replace the later, but the later can cover up for the lack of former. What the former however brings to the table is the smoothening of the learning curve, and an enhancement of adaptability with the later.
“Captain Shania Williams reporting for duty, Sir,” exclaimed Captain Williams with a ceremonial salute to the Admiral, as she arrived for a special assignment that she had been specifically called out for, relieved of her current charge of NSS ‘The Mighty’.
“At ease Captain,” replied the Admiral as he looked up from the file in his hand and turned around to brief his young officer, “But not for long, for you will be leaving straight away for New Saisho Space Research Centre. Your new ship is being readied; two more weeks to go. It’s called NSSS ‘The Impact’.” And Captain Williams’ eyes lit up, and all doubts and misgivings vanished from her mind.
Training generally provides one with only a limited range of readymade answers, but it does prepare one in finding many others. Resourcefulness is about finding the right ones when needed, and ability is about how quick one is in finding them.
“Sir, I think I have a plan,” Engineer Dodd briefed his Commanding officer, “Camouflage!”
“Camouflage,” a surprised Rear Admiral asked as his hand immediately grabbed his chin at the possibilities, “How are we going to achieve that here in open space.”
“Sir, if I may,” Marcus continued, “In nature, species that deploy such a strategy tend to imitate their surroundings, and I agree that open space is not one such helpful environment. But there are ways.”
“And which one do you think suits us best?” Rear Admiral asked.
“The flying rock,” came the short answer, which of course was expected to be elaborated, and Marcus obliged, “Some bigger rocks than our spaceship fly around in space, and at great speed too. They are detectable in many ways; by radars or visible inspection. While the former distinguishes between neither a rock and nor a craft, the later requires either a distant telescopic observation or a close personal inspection, and would always be necessary before any action is taken.”
“So what do you propose?” Rear Admiral asked.
“We can use strategically placed projectors that we can easily install out of the various hatches that our craft has all over its body,” Marcus detailed out the plan, “Thanks to frictionless space that won’t be a problem, and the projectors would easily project the image of a rock onto our craft’s body.”
“What about our craft’s thermal and metallic imprints?” Rear Admiral inquired about the drawbacks that could still be detectable.
“Sir, while many rocks are metallic in nature anyway,” Marcus replied, “Both thermal and metallic imprints might require a much closer inspection than any other detection technique. Plus at the speed that we travel at, thermal imaging from any distance would be highly inaccurate, and not of any help to a spying entity.”
“What are our logistic requirements and projections?” Rear Admiral didn’t need to waste anymore time in making up his decision.
But not all decisions are easy, especially those that concern matters of personal concerns and convictions. It takes more than proper reasoning, to determine things one way or the other.
“Thanks for wrecking my brains Rukhsana, but I want to say something to you today once and for all,” a furious Doctor Adams barged into Doctor Leung’s room, exactly a week after their last conversation, and launched into her right away, “I do not love Doctor Dillon, and she is just a very dear friend, and I do not need to confirm to your choice of sexuality, or anyone else’s choice. I’ll live the way I like, preach the choice I make, and promote what suits my interests, and it is nobody’s business.”
“I am glad you know exactly how you feel Doctor Adams, but why don’t you take a seat and relax,” Rukhsana however smiled as she gestured her colleague to sit down and settle for a moment, “I don’t think you understood what I meant.”
“I am not sitting down here with you anymore, and I know exactly what you were saying,” Doctor Adams however had really been worked up by her comments, and had obviously struggled to cope with them over the week, “You have no right to tell me what I should do.”
“I agree Doctor Adams,” Rukhsana tried her best to maintain her smile, and continued, “I have no right to tell you what to do, but as a friend, or at least as a colleague, don’t you think we can have a healthy discussion about issues that concern us?”
“You are more than welcome to discuss issues that trouble you, and I will be more than willing to help you too,” Xavier replied in a still agitated tone, “But you were not discussing issues concerning you, but rather commenting upon what I should do with my life, about what I should think, and how I should live.”
“Well, and what makes you think that the issue of sexuality does not trouble me?” Rukhsana asked, her gaze going deep down into Xavier’s eyes, “What about issues that affect my future kids and their future?”
“What about them?” Xavier exclaimed, his temper now almost to a boil.
“Doctor Adams, I am a heterosexual woman, and I have every right to hope and expect that my children would be heterosexual too,” Doctor Leung replied, “Homosexual life style and its’ promotion affects that right directly. So shouldn’t I talk about it?”
“You are such a homophobe,” exclaimed Doctor Adams shaking his head, “And not to mention highly offensive. What’s wrong with your kids being homosexual?”
“I am no more offensive in saying that I want my kids to be heterosexual than someone telling me that they can be homosexual,” Doctor Leung argued back, “Offence Doctor Adams is not a privilege that only a minority can enjoy. Besides, the question is not about my or your rights. The question is much bigger; it is about children’s rights too.”
“What do you mean?” Xavier finally mellowed down a little, to comprehend better what his colleague had to say.
“Promoting homosexuality, and medical intervention to assist in breeding denies one important party all its’ rights,” Doctor Leung replied, “It denies the child every right it might have about their life. We as individuals have every right to decide whether we want kids or not. But once we make a choice, the child to be born also has a right to have a natural life; to be loved by their natural parents, a mother and a father.”
“And why can’t two women or two men be the complete parents?” Xavier protested.
“Because a man and a woman are inherently different in their nature and approach to life,” Doctor Leung continued, “And in nature every child has a mother and a father. How can one deny any child this right and pretend that child would have no reason to be unhappy about the decision, simply because they didn’t have the right to choose and that anything can be good enough for them because we think so, and we know better?”
“What is this rhetoric of a man and a woman being inherently different? What world are you living in Doctor Leung?” Doctor Adams lambasted her now, “Today women are as strong as men, and what a proud moment it is!”
“When women are as strong as men, it is not a moment of pride, but rather a moment of shame for the society, for it means its’ men are not strong enough anymore,” Doctor Leung’s reply however shocked him, “If men cannot maintain a natural differential advantage, then as much as women have improved, the men have let themselves down in equal measure. Now don’t get me wrong! I am a woman, and I value and cherish the freedom and rights women enjoy today. But I am also not the one who denies or fights nature, but I am someone who rather prefers to adapt to it. Both sexes deserve their own space, and that space needs to be preserved for both. Development of either sex at the expense of the other will never be good for any society.”