God Of a Man
Across Two Eternities
“You find what you lost and you discover what was hidden. Neither however is imaginary!”
Chapter Twelve: Imaginary finds
Dated: 13th to 15th April, 2461
There once was a belief, held by many that intelligent beings are born to live and discover god, the one who was in perpetual hiding. However, that belief itself presupposed a god that was in perpetual hiding. So to believe this assertion, one had to already imagine something to exist even before they had discovered it. But merely believing that something exists is no proof that it does. If a thing is imaginary, you can waste your entire life and never find it. None did, except in stories!
But when you are the most intelligent specie of your world, your responsibility is the greatest. Not only are you supposed to ensure your own survival, and that of your species, but you are also the one most likely to save every other species in case of a catastrophe. No, this duty is not a moral obligation. Rather it is a factual necessity, for every living thing is intricately connected in the web of existence, so much that a destruction of its one strand can lead to a total collapse of the entire web. Animals can’t survive without plants, for the food chain will collapse and oxygen eventually consumed. Plants can’t survive without animals helping in pollination, manure-generation and carbon-dioxide addition.
But duties don’t just end at hypothetical levels. Members of the most intelligent specie are also expected to maintain a certain level of peace within their own society. Forgive and forget might enable an individual to live in peace, for they are ready to accept whatever the life has to offer. But that will not fix what is wrong, and that wrong would continue to cause misery to others, for everyone is unhappy with the same pains, for everyone is seeking the same or similar set of things. To find peace inside yourself is selfish, for it relieves you of your duties. Real peace is to be found in the society outside you, and at times it has to be created, defended or restored. The doer fixes what they find wrong! And this very ethos has kept alive the hopes of the small band of humanity, fighting to stay alive in hostile conditions.
The rush was mad, for the situation dire. Two unknown crafts had been detected scavenging the planet for any telltale signs. It wasn’t what they hadn’t expected would happen sooner or later, and it wasn’t something they hadn’t tried to plan as best as they could, but it was something they hoped may not transpire after all. Captain Ahluwalia and Captain Connors, they both rushed their three member teams to two three-gun-batteries that had been set up a few hundred feet clear of their work site and spaceship respectively. They had deliberately limited the radar range to within the confines of the planet’s atmosphere, to avoid attracting unwanted attention, by lighting up space-crafts flying past in space. It kept their profile low and hidden, but it also meant they had lesser time to react.
“Where are they?” Captain Ahluwalia radioed to Jhiang in the spaceship ‘Maa’.
“Two kilometres north-west, at thirty one degrees,” Jhiang replied, “But they have stopped.”
Not satisfied with the info supplied, Aman implored further, “Are you sure there’s no back-up coming?”
“We have just enhanced our radar range to near space, but we detect no back-up,” Jhiang replied.
“Maybe they were on a reconnaissance mission,” Bradley radioed his assessment of the situation, “Possibly in search of the first craft.”
“And possibly they don’t have clearance to engage,” Aman added his assessment, “They might call back-up, or possibly assess our capabilities, and if the need be, tail us.”
“Wait as second guys,” a suddenly exuberant Jhiang however radioed back, “They are leaving.”
“That doesn’t sound good,” a concerned Bradley however quipped.
“I agree! Let me check with Professor and Anne,” Aman radioed back, and then proceeded to radio Anne and Professor Dunmore, “Professor, how long before we are flight ready?”
“I need one more week to fix the guns and radars on to the five ships,” Professor replied, “And test the ships at least once each.”
“What can you do in twenty four hours Professor?” Aman however cut short his ambitious plans.
“Are you kidding?” an exasperated Professor exclaimed, “I can barely equip two attack crafts in that time, and no testing at all.”
“I am afraid that’s all that we will have to do with at this stage Professor,” Aman replied, “We need to leave this planet as soon as possible, or we’ll end up as sitting ducks.”
“Can you equip the other crafts in flight?” Bradley however asked the Professor.
“The speed at which these things would travel,” a hapless Professor answered, “No way! We’ll have to stop somewhere, even if in the middle of the space, to do that.”
“Fine, we’ll do it in our universe,” Aman replied, “Just get us two attack crafts fitted; one to lead and one to tail.”
“But what about testing?” Professor queried in vain.
“We never tested NSSS ‘Maa’, and here we are today,” Aman replied, “Have faith in your creation Professor, for we all will need it.”
Faith, a word that combines confidence and belief into a holy matrimony; there’s another way to look at it, a non-spiritually infested way. That is the way of a master of their art.
“There really is no difference between this universe and our universe,” Jake exclaimed as he gazed out of the flight.
“Appearances don’t always tell the complete story,” Antonio, who was on his shift behind the flight controls, quipped.
Rear Admiral, who had been busy evaluating data collected by the spaceship’s sensors, with assistance from Marcus, interrupted their light chatter, “We still have five days till eighteenth of the fourth. Make sure you don’t slack even for a moment, for in this game a moment could be all that separates life from annihilation.”
“Sir,” the mission Doctor, Andre Boyd, however sought his Commander’s attention, “Going through the retrieved medicinal science data from our space library, I found some interesting information.”
“What is it regarding?” Rear Admiral immediately turned his attention towards him.
“It appears we do have a recorded case of human interaction with matter from this space,” Andre started cautiously, “And although the information here is still very basic and early stage, I am not sure if you’ll find it comforting.”
“Why do you say that?” Rear Admiral was now absolutely curious.
“Sir, the subject happens to be your adopted son,” Andre replied.
“Bradley,” and Rear Admiral’s shock wasn’t unexpected.
There is no such thing as luck, but there are always probabilities that range from best to worst; all colours, all sizes and all brands. Most of the people would eventually get something in the middle of the range, most of the time. Being unexpected, it would all be a lottery. But when one is stumped by a probability from either of the two ends, superstitious would label them as benevolence or suffering. But whatever be the luck of the pot, every probability sets up a ground for another.
“Madam President,” a huffing and puffing Ivanka Manning rushed into Michelle Davis’s room, “We’ve got trouble.”
And the lady, by sheer instinct, slammed her forehead with her hand, “What now?”
“A meteor, as big as Hawaii,” Ivanka spoke as she struggled to get over her panting, “Is headed towards us on its return journey.”
But this information was way more than what even the poised lady was herself capable of handling without giving away to emotions. She almost choked on her words, “How much time do we have?”
“About three to four months,” Ivanka replied as she wiped away her tears.
Emotions however have no place in the realm of reality, for reality is about action. You don’t cry over spilt milk for it needs to be moped up, and you are still hungry!
Thirty-six hours it eventually took Doctor Dunmore and his teams, to dismantle all the gun installations, but the Doctor was industrious enough to utilize the time well and equip at least all three attack crafts with weapons and radars. There was joy all over the crews’ faces as they prepared to depart. But some business still needed to be transacted!
While all the five new ships prepared to lift off, Captain Ahluwalia dragged one man out of them, and on to the surface of the planet below.
“Wait, where are you taking me?” Norman, who had just been woken up from another bout of forced sleep, protested.
“Citizen,” Captain Ahluwalia however was in no mood other than transacting the business he had been entrusted with, “It is my solemn duty today to execute the orders of the wise Defence Core Committee, which in light of your past crimes and misconduct, have decided your punishment to be a life-term desertion on this planet.”
“What, you’re kidding, right,” Norman however was shocked to his bones.
“We have left enough fuel in Spaceship ‘Maa’, to provide you with continuous power supply for forty odd years,” Aman however continued in his business tone, without paying any heed to what Norman was protesting, “There’s enough food to last you a month, while instructions are there to enable you to create more. Everything you may need to know, all past human knowledge, is still accessible from the command deck console. You have all the things to lead a comfortable life, provided you don’t try to fly the ship. Not that it won’t, it just won’t get anywhere far before it runs out of fuel.”
“You can’t just leave me here to die,” Norman however protested vehemently, as all the spaceships lifted off the ground.
“Your crimes were unpardonable,” Aman however responded, “But the Defence Core Committee decided not to order an execution in this case.”
“How am I supposed to live here,” Norman grabbed Aman by his arms and yelled in his face.
“You were not even supposed to be here,” Aman coldly replied as he shook of his grip, “Besides, we are not killing you.”
“But I can’t live alone forever,” the thought nearly froze Norman.
“Oh, you are not alone,” Aman however chided him, “God is with you!”
“You are kidding,” and his words had completely shaken Norman out of his fright.
“Look at the bright side,” Aman continued, “Now you have all the time in your life, to find him.”
“But why not just take me with you, asleep,” Norman however argued.
“Maybe it’s a sign from god,” Aman replied in a reassuring tone, “He wants you to live, so he is taking you out of our group, and out of harm’s way. Who knows what we might encounter, with aliens hot on our heels? We might not even make it to the next space tear.”
“Please! I am ready to die along with you all,” Norman pleaded as he fell to his knees.
“But we are not,” Aman exclaimed as he stepped back, and towards his hovering spaceship.
“Are you ready Captain?” Christine, who was one of the other two members of Aman’s team, asked on the radio.
“Yes, I am,” Aman replied, “Lower the lift pad please!”
“Please don’t leave me,” Norman pleaded as he rushed forward and fell at Captain Ahluwalia’s feet, begging for mercy.
“There’s a revolver with six bullets in Commander’s console,” Aman replied as he shook Norman off his feet, and stepped on to the pad lowered down the hatch, “Feel free to kill yourself when you are fed up.”
“No,” Norman yelled out in fear as he rushed towards Aman. But the lift was too fast for him to grab his feet.
“Alternately, you can wait for us to return," Aman made a final statement, “After of course we have rescued everybody else from our mother earth.”
The hatch closed, and the five crafts flew away, with Aman’s team leading the mission, and Bradley’s tailing it. Norman however was wailing!