God Of a Man
Across Two Eternities
“Enough walls make a comfortable grave; none lets wind blow all away.”
Chapter Thirteen: One betrayal enough
Dated: 16th April, 2461
Balance is always found at the fulcrum and volatility at edges. Too much light is as blinding as too much dark. There is just enough of everything that makes a perfect stockpile. This is true not because it is a law of nature, for nature makes no laws. Nature only leaves open every opportunity for probability to build a dense network of matter interactions. It is these interactions between different forms of matter that set a pattern of existence, with these patterns eventually becoming laws of nature. A star will always be born out of a cloud of dust and gases, leaving behind the non-fusing mass of inert matter to make planets that will revolve around it. The bigger beast will consume the smaller beast to satisfy its hunger. The laws of nature are born out of the traditions of matter interaction!
The important question thus is; how does one find the balance, or more aptly, the point of fulcrum? The answer lies in identifying the direct opposite, or every possible alternative of a given situation. What defends you will also stop you from attacking. To attack you will need an opening, but an opening would also create an opportunity for the enemy. Yet without an opening, an enemy outside will eventually find a way to break in through your defences. To stop that you will have to step out and pre-empt the enemy at some stage. One situation too many variables! The solution probably lies in a defence with an opening that you can control better from behind the defence than the enemy staring down at it.
Once the competing alternatives are determined, the next step is to evaluate all the benefits and drawbacks that associate with each one of them. Thereon it is merely a matter of deciding what one can afford to give up, and what is too indispensible. The choice is then merely a formality. Michele knows this, but her only problem is; she cannot decide on everyone’s behalf what is best for them without considering their opinions.
“So we can actually deflect the meteor mid space?” Michelle asked Admiral for umpteenth time, just to be sure she got the information correctly.
“There is a fifty percent chance that our crude atomic bomb, if it detonates as per our calculations, can yield enough force to alter its’ path,” the Admiral replied.
“The only questions then are,” Michelle exclaimed nodding her head, “What if it doesn’t, or does so too late?”
“We can test a weapon in a couple of weeks,” Admiral replied, “We’ll lose some fuel we were stocking up on, but we would know for sure how good our technology is. The problem that would persist however is; there is only a short window of time to deploy one during the event, because the force of the blast needs to be transferred at a time where it would deflect the meteor far enough that it misses the earth. We cannot blow it into bits by a head on impact, and too early or too late an explosion could mean no significant effect to even acceleration.”
“So we are back to square one,” Michelle let out a sigh as she knelt over and pressed her forearms on the desk, “What is the status of our space-ship construction program?”
“We have enough to save one out of every three individuals,” Admiral replied, but paused before uttering two carefully weighted questions, “But how will we choose whom to save? Or rather; would you want the choice to remain with us?”
His questions had put Michelle in the same unenviable position as her predecessor in office. “But, how can we do what we hate others for having done to us,” an exasperated Michelle raised a question the Admiral was expecting, but she had more to say, “We can’t be like those who left us behind. There is always another choice! We just need to find the correct one.”
Choices do not depend upon circumstances, but rather probabilities that emerge out of those circumstances. Circumstances are merely the condition determinants of the action transpiring, while probabilities are results that could happen depending upon the decision the actors involved in action might make.
Not for the first time in his life had Norman feared for his life, for he had seen his senior partner in crime executed right in front of his eyes. But this time the fear was overpowering as there was no place for him to hide, and he was unmistakably aware that an enemy was on his way. He didn’t have to wait too long, for in less than twenty four hours the dark sky above him was lit up by the lights of an entire enemy fleet. Norman was sharp enough to run out of his spaceship, rather than be a sitting duck in case of an assault. Yet the irony was; he wouldn’t survive without it anyway!
The enemy however was sharp enough not to rush in without having gauged the strength of the defences. A handful of crafts were dispatched immediately, to access what lay in their path. One after the other those crafts flew by, waiting to be attacked from somewhere, so they could spot the defences. But there were no defences; only a single man on his knees, perched atop a frozen mound with folded hands. He didn’t have to wait long. Soon enough one craft flew directly above and in front of him, like a fly ready to swoop down on to a creamy cake. Norman on his part stayed still, lit by the bright spot light fixated at him by the alien craft.
After some apparent discussions with their seniors, three Schneridian warriors climbed out of the hovering craft. Two of them stopped some distance behind, while the leader of the pack stepped up to the knelt Norman, and walked around him in a circle, having a good look at him, while at the same time scanning the surrounds for any activity. Finally, he stopped right in front of Norman, took a couple of steps back, and then tossed a device at Norman’s knees.
“Is this the language that you speak,” the alien asked using a similar communicating device in his hands, “Shake your head three times and pick up the device to communicate.”
Norman for once had a chance to relax his nerves as he energetically shook his head in affirmative and grabbed the device.
“Human,” smirked the alien as he typed away in his device, before turning back to look at his colleagues who smiled back at him.
Being human also means being fallible, for humans are fragile, just like any other animal species. All other virtues of greatness, uprightness, honesty etc are man-made creations; suited to serve various social needs, dispensable at the option of the protagonist should the need be dire and the protagonist unwilling to make the sacrifice needed. These virtues cannot be taught alone, without imbibing the persona with adequate amount of courage and selflessness, again a couple of man-made virtues. This is where stories come into play; some written by imagination and some by suffering.
“Today we are faced with a very difficult situation,” Lady Michelle Davis had decided it was a matter fit for the public to decide on its’ free will, “And once again we have two choices; we can panic and press self-destruct like we did the last time, or we can be sensible like an intelligent specie should be, especially now that we have the ability to make a difference to our fate.”
As the Lady made a complete disclosure to the public, her speech was being broadcast live on every television and radio station, and people everywhere were all ears and eyes. There were no whispers, there was no queer pitch. Everybody had somehow grown ages in only a few months!
“There’s a giant meteor heading our way, and for the first time in human history, we have the technical expertise to take on the giant mid-stride,” Michelle continued as Ivanka stood behind her, “We can not only travel at some fraction of light speed, but we can deploy fissionable charge to deflect the monster away.”
Her words had finally started to make people stand up from their seats, nodding their heads as they grabbed tighter whatever they had in their hands; drinks, remotes, books and all.
“But of course, we cannot be blinded by over-confidence, and must be prepared in case of an unexpected failure,” Lady Davis however cautioned everyone, “But we are prepared for that as well, although not as much as we would have liked to by this point in time.”
Traffic had come to a halt on the roads, as people pulled over to listen safely and keenly to each and every word the woman had to say.
“It took us a lot of time to ensure we would survive on our very own planet first,” Michelle continued, “And then we had a sudden revelation of new technology, thanks to our lost but not forgotten brothers on NSSS ‘Full Bloom’. But thanks to them, today we can take on the monster headed out to destroy us, and should we fail, to save one out of every three people alive today.”
Almost everybody took a deep breath as they realized the time might have come for them to make some tough decisions.
“No, I am not saying we are going to save only so and so,” Michelle continued, “We are not going to do what was done to us; betray our own loved ones.”
Her words had the people nodding in appreciation and understanding once more.
“Instead I want you to decide what you would want to happen,” Michelle continued, “We have three to four months, so I give you one, to send us your suggestions, that we can then shortlist for a quick poll. My suggestion is that you on your own free will pick one member of your family, to be put on board our ships that we would allow to temporarily leave our atmosphere, just in case we fail in stopping the meteor mid-tracks. In case we succeed, they all can come back immediately, so we all may leave together whenever we are ready. But that is just one option that I have come up with. You might have some better! So get sharing!”
And everybody now looked around at those who were around them, each one nodding their head in unison, that this is a good way to deal with the situation.
Michelle however had one last thing to say, “And remember; there is still hope, like there always is!”
One may need to find hope at times, and the tougher it is to do so, tougher are their circumstances. But finding hope itself begins with a hope that some will be found somehow.
“Jenny, look, the sun has got a huge wig,” naughty little Jack had disobeyed Jenny’s instructions to not look at the sun, and gazed at it using a thick blackened glass piece.
“Didn’t I tell you not to look at the sun,” Jenny scolded him as she walked up to him.
“I know, but just look at this,” Jack however insisted, “It looks so funny!”
“Let me see,” Jenny exclaimed as she grabbed the piece of glass from his hands and put it to her eyes. But the sight she saw scared her down to her bones, “That’s a massive surge of energy from the Sun.” Her throat immediately dried out as an immediate fear gripped her. She started palpitating, “I hope it won’t come this way!” She exclaimed out of fear as she watched haplessly the growing storm at the horizon of the sun she was gazing at.
Fear however is not the option when death and life are the only two outcomes possible. If the only other thing that could happen to one is death, then the only choice to be made is staying alive at all costs.
Norman was promised he won’t be killed provided he co-operated. And co-operate he did; explaining not only what he knew about the differences and incompatibility between the matters making up the two universes, but also disclosing their own origins, escape, and current intended direction of the crew that left him behind. Finally satisfied with what Norman had told them, the Schneridian sought final instructions from his superiors, and having got them addressed Norman again.
“We promised not to kill you,” the Schneridian exclaimed, “And we keep our word. However, we are going to make sure your craft is not capable of flying anymore.”
“What,” a shocked Norman exclaimed and inquired, “Are you too leaving me behind? Please take me with you, someplace else, some place warm!”
“We promised not to kill you, and not to save you,” the Schneridian smiled, and replied using his communicator, “Besides you said it yourself, that our matter is of no use to you. So even if we were to take you away, there is no other place that we know of, where you can stay alive. This place is your only hope!” And he walked away, back to his waiting colleagues, and up into his craft, leaving Norman behind to analyse where he went wrong.