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GOD Of A Man

Eternity Versus Eternity

 

“Ignorance is the mother of superstition, science its’ nagging wife.”

 

Chapter Three: Compound Interest

Dated: 15th December, 2459

 

Life within itself is a situation gone averse to your desires! The more you try to sort it out, worst its’ entanglements get. There are complexities involved at every stage that pull an individual towards contrary poles at the same time. Love for one thing generally means a hatred for everything that exists in its’ contravention. Fear of one thing leads to a lasting faith in something else. Such intertwined are the vagaries of life it is often prudent to study the contradictions involved than the individual characteristics at play, to get a clearer picture. To figure out why someone loves something will automatically explain their hatred for everything else that is in any form of contra-association to it. If one understood why they fear something, it will become relatively simple to understand why their faith in something else is so strong.

 

But it is not important to understand the true meaning and significance of life and its’ complexities, unless the intention is to achieve peace of mind. Ignorance in beautiful within its’ inability to feel the stress. But the biggest drawback of being ignorant is, when a hitherto unknown situation confronts the ignorant, it invariably fans superstitions, forcing an urge to blame something else for the troubles. Once rooted deep, these superstitions withhold the future from development, only for the science of a later age to question the validity of such superstitions. Thus science enlightens the ignorance with newer knowledge. If ignorance must breed superstition, then science keeps questioning its’ existence like a nagging wife, breaking it down step by step.

 

With many questions staring at their faces from point blank, the think tank of about fifty thousand strong humanity was huddled together in a huge conference room, waiting for their President Katsuo to arrive and chair the emergency meet in person. The situation was grim because nobody knew what the situation was!

 

As everybody was engrossed in a mini discussion of their own within their respective groups, the physicists, the aeronautical engineers, the Armed forces top brass, the political administration, President Katsuo’s secretary Miss Anne De Villiers announced his arrival, and everybody stood up.

 

“Gentlemen and ladies; please be seated,” President Katsuo was straight onto the business end, “As you must be wondering how serious the situation is that we had to trouble you all to leave whatever you were working on, and attend this conference without a delay, Admiral Mir, would you please brief everybody about the details of the incident.”

 

“Thank you Sir,” Admiral Mir spoke as he rose up to address the gathering, “Gentlemen and esteemed ladies present today, as you all must be aware of the fact that we’ve lost our former Space Station to an unknown oblivion, we finally have an idea as to what might have transpired those miles above our earth. In fact, it is barely more than an idea as you would appreciate the limitations of our science and knowledge, which makes it all the more important that we make the right decisions at the earliest.”

 

“But what is the situation that we are talking about? Is it just about a missing space station which was defunct for all practical purposes?” Mrs Gabriella Downing, the Finance Minister asked.

 

“Madam, as ridiculous as it may sound, but the situation is much more grave than we can imagine,” Admiral Mir tried to answer her reservations, “It is not just about a piece of space junk gone missing, it is about something disappearing into oblivion, without any explanation, and with no available data to predict whether it was just a one off incident, or a beginning of a series!” Admiral Mir then proceeded to add to the gravity of the situation, “We don’t know if tomorrow it is one of us!”

 

“That does sound alarming,” Mrs Downing was quick to grasp the real crux of the matter, “What does your man who witnessed the incident have to report.”

 

“That is the most intriguing aspect of the entire situation,” Admiral Mir replied, “He says the Space Station fell into the Sun!” Admiral Mir’s statement hushed up the entire conference room.

 

Finally the senior scientist from National Space Research Institute, Dr Jonathon Yardley asked, “Any other information about the incident from Astronaut Yuri?”

 

“This is all he could tell us Doctor,” Admiral Mir quipped, “And this is all that we know!”

 

“From the sound of it, it seems like the Space Station either fell through a space gate, or a dimensional tear, it is hard to answer,” Dr Yardley replies, “We need more data!”

 

“What’s happening with the new satellite that our Space Research Organization is working on,” President Katsuo asked, “Can it be modified to collect any data of significance?”

 

“Sir, it is a communications satellite for all practical purposes, but we might be able to add a telescopic eye to it, and if we work around its’ orbit from geo-stationary to polar, we might be able to get some detailed pictures of the space above North Pole,” Dr Stephen Sebastian from the engineering wing replied to the query, “As everyone present would appreciate, we never get a clear view of that part of the space from the ground as the weather in northern hemisphere is always overcast and violent.”

 

“How long will the new modifications take?” President Katsuo enquired.

 

“The electronic telescope has already cleared the field trials as it was being designed for the next project, the other modifications can be achieved within three to four weeks,” Dr Stephen Sebastian assured those present.

 

“If the rest of the members of planning commission have no reservations, you have my go ahead doctor,” President Katsuo looked at his political colleagues for an approval.

 

After a small discussion, Mrs Downing finally stood up to declare, “Mr President, the planning commission has no objections to Dr Sebastian’s proposal!” Everybody in the room cheered the decision.

 

Finally Admiral Mir sought everyone’s attention again, “What about the current situation?”

 

“We need more time to collect the relevant data and figure out the right answers to the puzzle Mr President,” Dr Yardley replied, “It is too early to comment about the exact cause.”

 

“Do you reckon the situation might be much more serious than what we are presuming right now?” President Katsuo’s next query was.

 

“Sir, right now it will be hard to comment about what we are in for,” Dr Yardley replied before adding to the gravity, “We could be in for a major trouble if we are not able to come up with a solution as well as a model for prediction of future events, soon enough!”

 

“What do you mean by soon enough?” President Katsuo enquired.

 

“If this is the beginning of a wave of events, or is the first one in a chain of events, we are completely underprepared and will be dead meat,” Dr Yardley put the situation in cruel but exact words.

 

“Are we space ready?” President Katsuo asked.

 

“Sir, other than Space Shuttle Clara, we have nothing else to bank upon,” Dr Sebastian replied to this query, “The Space plane project is still in its’ infancy. We have developed a craft to lift about a hundred people, and provide them with sleeping cabins on board, we got the oxygen and water recycling units ready for trials, but there are still a couple of issues.”

 

“That doesn’t sound too encouraging,” President Katsuo got grim, “That means we would barely be able to save a hundred people out of fifty thousand, in case there was an eventuality necessitating an escape.”

 

“Sir, that is not the real problem,” Dr Sebastian replied and added to the list of expected fears, “The real issue is; we won’t be able to survive in space.”

 

“And why is that?” President Katsuo’s next question was quite expected.

 

“Sir, Space is so far stretched, with current fossil fuel based technology, we won’t be able to make it to any nearest hospitable planet alive even in over fifty years, which means beyond our generation,” Dr Sebastian answered one bit of the question, leaving the remainder to be a part of the reply to the next obvious question.

 

After a long and serious thought, President Katsuo finally asked, “What if we give a go ahead to using nuclear fuel based technology?”

 

“If I may Sir,” Charles Diamond, another Member of Parliament and Planning Commission interrupted, “We have a strict policy of no use for nuclear technology. We are in this mess because of this cursed science in the first place. Hence I personally have strong reservations on allowing its’ use.”

 

“Your objections are noteworthy and understandable Mr Diamond,” President Katsuo replied, “But if it is the only way left to save humanity, it will be ridiculous on our part to stand in the way of technological advancement, more so when we are fully aware of the dangerous facets of the technology, and unlike our ancestors, we have no reason or intention to put it to a similar use.”

 

Mr Charles Diamond wanted to say something but was cut off by Dr Sebastian’s second half of the alarming truth, “Sir, even if the Parliament gave a go ahead to use the technology, and even if we are quick enough to tap it, we still won’t survive in space. There will be no means to provide food in space beyond a certain time! And even if we land at another hospitable surface in space, food doesn’t grow in a day or two!”

 

Dr Stephen’s revelation shocked everyone into a comatose silence. The noise of air-conditioning was drowned by the sound of palpitating hearts.

 

“So if our worst fears come true, this is the end of humanity,” a dejected President Katsuo asked.

 

“Not if we are able to predict their occurrence and find a way through the anomalies that threaten our existence, and work them to our advantage,” Dr Stephen replied.

 

The room was still tense, when finally after a long discussion amongst the members of Planning Commission, Mr Diamond rose up and spoke, “Mr President, you have full support from the Planning Commission to make any decisions that promote the cause of humanity.”

 

“That is the step in right direction Mr Diamond, and is much appreciated by my office,” President Katsuo acknowledged and then directed the engineering and space research wings, “You will get full support and funding for the various projects that you need to complete, and armed forces will be there to assist you in any special tasks. May GOD be with us!”

 

After negotiating a few more formalities the Conference dispersed to take stock of everything that was needed to be achieved in the nearest possible future. The hurriedness in their steps underlined the fear of the unknown that had hit mankind out of the shadows of the space.

 

A soft summer breeze blew across the empty streets of the sleepy yet spread out city of New Saisho. Fifty thousand is not a small number by any yardsticks, but the numbers that dwelled in the city dwindled during the southern summer. Summer was the time when sailors used to set sail for fishing expeditions, researchers left the shores for exploring the still out of bound places on Earth, the merchant vessels used to get busy searching for resources lost to the depths during the “Centuries of Death”. The town generally gave the look of a deserted ghost town even in the middle of the week, in broad daylight.

 

Jenny’s comfy little car zoomed through the middle of one such lonely street. A quick lesson with the kids at the “House of Faith” and she was returning home. Everything looked so solitary, everything looked so normal! The drive was quick and mundane but the smile on Jenny’s lips was divine. She had just stopped at her favourite grocery store where she had caught the news about Captain Ahluwalia’s latest achievement. It wasn’t like it had been ages since she had last seen her life in person, it’s just that she loved him too much, the thought of him being with her that evening instead of escorting fishermen to Antarctica was too overpowering for her pounding heart.

 

With love in her heart and her magical smile on her lips, she turned the key to her front door. Everything looked quiet and normal, at the right spot where everything should have been all the time. Jenny took a deep breath as she locked the front door, hung the keys on the hook on the wall, and walked up to the dining table in the living room, where she placed her groceries. Something suddenly seemed out of place to her. What was it that had been moved? Something was missing. She immediately looked around! She wasn’t alone!

 

Her heart pounding hard, her mind working overtime, trying to analyse what has been moved, she desperately stretched her auditory limits to hear even the slightest of sounds to arise in her house. Her picture with Aman that used to grace the mantelpiece was missing.

 

A pair of feet stealthily made their way towards Jenny, a pair of hands ready to grab her from behind.

 

“Todd! Is that you darling?” Jenny said in a disenchanted demeanour, pulling out groceries from her bag, “Can you give me a hand with the shopping love?”

 

“Hey! Who is Todd?” Captain Ahluwalia was taken aback.

 

“Oh! It’s you!” Jenny acted surprised but un-interested, “What are you doing here?”

 

“What? You didn’t hear the news?” Aman said boastfully.

 

“Don’t tell me they are after you,” Jenny said in a staged shock, “What have you done this time?”

 

“I didn’t do anything,” Aman retorted, “Actually I did something! I saved the space shuttle from being lost to the sea! They are going to award me a special commendation medal next National Day!”

 

“Really?” Jenny acted as if not too impressed, “They are not too discrete with their standards of achievement are they?”

 

“What?” Aman was taken aback, “You are so mean! And by the way who is this Todd!”

 

“Oh! Todd,” Jenny acted delighted, “He is so sweet!”

 

“Now what does that suppose to mean?” Aman’s heart was now pounding.

 

“Look,” Jenny tensed up, and with a grave look on her face, continued, “I think we need to talk about something!”

 

“Talk about what,” Aman was on his feet immediately, “You are not leaving me! You cannot leave me! Who is this Todd? I will kill him!”

 

At this point Jenny burst out laughing, “Oh! Look at you!”

 

“Now that is downright mean,” Aman said and pounced on Jenny as the two wrestled with each other.

 

“You think I can leave you?” Jenny asked Aman as she looked deep in his eyes. Aman looked in hers’, smiled, and then hugged her tightly.

 

“I love you Magic,” Aman whispered in her ears.

 

“I love you too,” Jenny said as the two sat in an embrace.

 

They might have lost track of the time but a phone call broke their embrace.

 

“Hello Rosie, how are you?” Jenny spoke as she put the phone on loudspeaker.

 

“Jenny, is my brother there with you?” Rosie asked in her cute voice from the other end.

 

“Hey sis, I am here! But how do you know?” Aman asked.

 

“Duh! Where do you find penguins?” Rosie asked.

 

“Antarctica?” Aman replied sheepishly.

 

“In water duffer,” Rosie replied in a disgust, “You are such an idiot!”

 

“Hey, that’s not true,” Aman complained.

 

“Are you coming home tonight?” Rosie asked in her cute voice, “I have no one to play today! My friend Janice is not home!”

 

“Offcourse I am coming home tonight love,” Aman replied, “I just came to see Jenny here. And I’ve got something for you!”

 

“Ok! Which one is it this time?” Rosie asked as if she knew what her surprise gift will be.

 

“What which one?” Aman asked.

 

“Ok then, how many are they this time?” Rosie changed her question.

 

“What are you talking about? How do you know what I have got for you?” Aman asked again, surprised.

 

“As if I don’t know,” Rosie replied with innocent disdain, “Every time you bring me something it is either a doll, or candies. You have already given me the same doll three times now!”

 

“Hey, that is so unfair,” Aman complained, “What about the ping-pong I gave you the other time?”

 

“Aman,” Rosie commented with the possessiveness only reserved for a cute little sister like her, “Didn’t mama tell you I’m not a boy?”

 

“That is so judgemental,” Aman retorted, “I am not talking to you!”

 

“As if you won’t,” Rosie replied as Jenny burst out laughing, “Jenny would you please come with him too? I miss you!”

 

“I sure will,” Jenny replied, “We will be there before the evening! I love you!” And time flew!

 

The silence of the night can sometimes be mistaken for calmness, but the only truth about nature is, it is always on the prowl. At the middle of the night, a phone ring disturbed the calmness of the Grey House. A pair of eager footsteps tiptoed to the Presidents’ bedroom and knocked on the door.

 

“Who is it?” President Katsuo asked as he got out of the bed, his wife First Lady Lucifer O’Donnell Shoji still asleep.

 

“It’s me, your secretary Mr President,” Miss Anne De Villiers replied from outside the door, “There’s an urgent call from the Director Mr Paul McCartney, Director Oil Rigs in Indian Ocean.”

 

“At this hour?” President Katsuo was surprised, “Must be urgent!” The President walked out of his bedroom and took the phone from Anne’s hand and answered, “It’s President Katsuo here, is everything alright Mr McCartney?”

 

“There’s a very concerning development at the oil rigs Mr President,” the director sounded very concerned at the other end, “Our oil rigs have just run dry!”

 

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