Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss
GOD Of A Man
Eternity Versus Eternity
“Faith is the first in attendance, logic the last to prevail.”
Chapter Four: A Different Bite
Dated: 16th December, 2459
Forging them out of unpredictability, life has a knack of throwing situations in the face of humanity, situations that test its’ will to survive, capacity to learn and ability to adapt. Every situation gives lessons that form the basis of survival instincts in play in a subsequent situation, which itself will lead to a newer learning. Like the scientific approach to solving a problem, formulating a hypothesis and then collecting relevant data to test its’ validity, life situations have a peculiar methodology of teaching their lessons.
The first and natural reaction to every situation is faith; faith which evolves further, in a chronological sequence, motivating and nudging mankind towards the next step. Starting as a faith in the unknown to be the protector, it soon evolves into a hope that the unwelcome test won’t last forever, and finally culminates into a belief that concerted efforts will bring an end to the misery. Faith thus leads humanity to the next stage of response to a calamity; the efforts. Faith thus changes into will!
The will to survive another day can often motivate unprecedented reactions. The efforts, initially blind and directionless, as soon as they yield a positive result, become directed, and are then repeated again and again, building a first reaction knowledge base for future events. The unwilling students get a basis to formulate a hypothesis, from which to work out a solution. The subsequent efforts, often corrected again and again, help build a response to negate the damage already inflicted by the situation. This builds the knowledge base for the secondary response to a calamity; minimizing loses. The efforts are continued till a solution is achieved. Thus a defence that was founded on faith, build upon efforts, culminates in a logical conclusion!
However not all situations give enough breathing space to those in the thick of action, to survive. Some have embedded themselves deep down in history as catastrophes that annihilated every existence that dared breathe in their vicinity. While Dinosaurs ended up in engines centuries later, much of humanity ended up into nothing! The predicament the small surviving New Saisho community faces, hides behinds its’ garbs the intent to annihilate every truth humanity holds dear today!
As the shadows of the night trudged alongside the lonely crescent above, every household in New Saisho looked calm, at peace, and a secure place to dwell. The lights that lit every window, soon faded into a tranquil blackness. But there was one particular house where light was still dancing behind the veils of curtains that dangled blissfully in soft night breeze. From a distance even the brightness looked peaceful, the approach gave no indications of the life that thrived behind the well lit brick walls, but one step inside the dwelling and the verve was infectious in its’ joy.
“That’s a foul, that’s a clear foul,” Captain Ahluwalia was yelling at the top of his voice as Jenny at the other end of the table tennis furniture stood with her hands on her hips, shaking her head in disagreement, firm in her response, “No, it was not!”
“I saw it with my own eyes. Your service landed in the other square,” Captain Ahluwalia protested as he pointed towards the centre of dispute, and a hapless Rosie watched, sitting on the backrest of the couch, her feet resting on the arm-rest, her head clasped between her hands, as she balanced her elbows on her knees. She was clearly not impressed with the two players.
“You are just afraid of losing to me,” Jenny exclaimed, “Admit I am a better table tennis player than you!”
“You a better player than me, you are dreaming,” Aman retorted, “I can beat you any day with one hand.”
“Is that so? Then how come you are losing five games to one?” Jenny replied, “You are a sore loser! You are cheating!”
“I am not cheating! I am just letting you win because you are a girl,” Aman boasted.
“In that case why don’t you let me win this point you magnanimous knight?” Jenny retorted as she marched to the other side of the table to confront Aman as she pushed her chest nearly on to his.
“Because you are cheating,” Aman replied as he took a step back, “If you want to win, win it fair!”
“I am wining fair,” Jenny again took a step closer to him, “It was not a foul, but you have been crying like a child for the last three games you sore loser!”
“I am not a loser,” Aman replied as this time he took a step closer and rubbed himself on to Jenny, pushing her back, “Ask Rosie if you want to?” And they both turned their heads towards Rosie who closed her eyes in disgust.
“Oh GOD, when will these kids grow up!” Rosie’s expression was priceless as she closed her eyes behind her fingers in disgust.
“Hey Rosie, tell Jenny she had fouled,” Aman said as he walked towards Rosie.
“Why should she lie for you?” Jenny hopped on to the sofa’s back rest and sat next to Rosie and hugged her onto the side of her bosom.
“Now don’t try to impress upon our match referee,” Aman complained.
“Oh stop it you two,” the voice of Mrs Suzanne Smith Ahluwalia broke the deadlock, “Do you two brats realize what time it is? It is middle of the night! Stay awake as long as you want to but at least let Rosie go to bed now!”
“But I want to play mom,” Rosie insisted, “Remember I don’t have school tomorrow?”
“Yes I remember dear,” Mrs Ahluwalia replied, “But it is still very late.”
“C’mon mom,” Rosie still insisted, “Aman is going to leave again day after tomorrow, and then he won’t come back for six months.”
“I know my dear, your brother has grown so big now, he cannot even spare time for his family now,” Mrs Ahluwalia complained as she lifted Rosie in her arms.
“That’s not true mom,” Aman was taken aback by criticism, “You know I have a job to do! Army is not run by my dad, is it?”
“Just like your father,” Mrs Ahluwalia protested as she turned her face away, “You don’t even have time to go to your father’s retirement party in January!”
“Mom, we’ve already discussed it,” Aman walked around as he put his arms around the shoulders of his mother and rested his head on the shoulder opposite the one Rosie was resting hers’ on as she sucked her thumb.
“Hey you, put that out of your mouth,” Mrs Ahluwalia pulled out Rosie’s thumb out of her mouth, “Can’t you just take a leave?”
“Mom, we only stay away for six months in a year, and if I took a leave during that then what will be the point of doing this job? And if every soldier took leave because they had a family to fend for, then who will do the job?” Aman tried to reason, “Besides, do you think father would like me to take a leave for his retirement party? He’ll prefer to have me court-martialled, and with his position in the army, he might very well do it?”
“You and your father,” Mrs Ahluwalia shook her head in disgust. “Why me GOD? Was there no other girl to marry in an Army family?” Mrs Ahluwalia continued her tirade.
“Oh C’mon mom, stop exaggerating! You know you love us,” Aman quipped as he hugged his mother.
“Love you? I hate you from your head to toe,” Mrs Ahluwalia acted to be cross, “Will anyone care to tell me what is the army protecting us from?”
“Hey! That is so mean,” Aman retorted, “Why do we have to just protect people when we do so much other stuff for the society!”
“Like what?” Mrs Ahluwalia questioned.
“Like right now I will be escorting fishing vessels for six months, guiding them through the cold waters and terrains of Antarctica,” Aman reasoned.
“So you are fishermen!” Mrs Ahluwalia rubbed in.
“Now that’s unfair and judgemental,” Aman protested, “We do so much other stuff like helping researchers unearth buried vessels in deep waters.”
“So you are in merchant navy, or are you mercenaries?” Mrs Ahluwalia rubbed in further, “I still don’t understand why we still need army when all we need are fishermen, gold diggers, explorers and researchers.”
“Hey, who knows we might be attacked by an alien race tomorrow,” Aman insisted, “Who will come to your rescue then? It will be army!”
“You are fantasising now,” Mrs Ahluwalia shook her head in disagreement, “There will never be an alien invasion!”
“How can you be so sure?” Aman questioned, “Didn’t the space station just disappear into nothing? Who would have imagined that?”
“Ok! Ok! That’s enough of this boring discussion,” Jenny tried to break the deadlock, “I am hungry now!”
“Me too,” Aman said but couldn’t resist the temptation of having the last say, “But we still need army!”
Mrs Ahluwalia was about to respond when Jenny put her hand on her shoulder and tried to lighten the situation, “Mom, can I ask you one thing? How do you survive with two army men?”
“Simple! They are both idiots,” Mrs Ahluwalia had the last laugh though.
Aman’s jaw dropped and it took him a few moments to finally muster, “I’ll pretend I never heard that!”
“Don’t stress out son, I’ll repeat it for you,” Mrs Ahluwalia responded with a rubbing smile stretched on her lips.
Aman was speechless for another moment, then finally spoke, “You too Brutus! I won’t eat half my dinner now!”
“Why eat the other half?” Mrs Ahluwalia asked.
“I am not going to starve to death for you two thankless ladies,” Aman responded as he tried to walk away from the room.
“Oh C’mon you two,” Jenny realized the situation was getting serious, “You know mom really loves you and your father, and she just wants you to be there for his retirement next month.”
“Leave it Jenny! Its’ no use arguing with him or his equally stubborn father,” Mrs Ahluwalia replied as her eyes filled up, “They don’t feel the emotions.”
“That’s not true mom,” even Aman was cheese now as he walked around to Mrs Ahluwalia and put his arms around her again, “You know us mom, we love you! But principles are principles!” Aman tried to reason with Mrs Ahluwalia and continued, “If army men became weaklings like everybody else, the last line of defence would be lost!”
“Last line of defence! Last line of defence! I am sick of hearing this again and again,” this time even Jenny broke down, “Do you people even realize how hard it is to live without you people for so long?”
Now Aman was in trouble as he was one man to fend for two crying ladies, thankfully the youngest one having fallen asleep on her mother’s shoulder because of fatigue. “Hey, you are an army man’s to be wife, and you are already an army man’s wife and mother,” Aman positioned himself between the two ladies as he put his one arm around each of the two ladies, trying to console them, “You cannot be weak like normal next door ladies! You have to be strong enough to sacrifice your most precious belonging for the society when the need comes! You cannot cry like the rest!”
“Oh yes, we have to be strong enough to sacrifice our whole world but no one will care for us or do anything for us or society,” Jenny protested angrily as she broke out into a full blown tear storm.
“Hey, nothing will ever happen to you two,” Aman retorted back.
“Oh yeah? Who will save us if we ever needed you in an emergency? Your army?” Jenny cried out.
“Nothing will ever happen to you as long as I am alive!” Aman’s face stiffened with resolve as he pumped his chest with his fist, thumb side in and hard, “Over my dead body! Over my dead body!” And Aman walked out of the room into another one and stood facing the window that overlooked the street and the scattered houses. His eyes were moist but it was as if the tears didn’t have enough guts to roll down his cheeks.
Jenny immediately wiped her tears and rushed behind him, crashing hard into his back and caressing him tightly to her chest. “I love you,” she whispered as she struggled to control her tears, “I just want to be with you all the time!”
Aman put his hands softly on her hands and caressed her arms between his chest and arms softly, “I love you too! And I can’t live without you! But I have a job to do!”
“I know!” Jenny replied meekly and then burst out crying, “I just love you and I am sorry if I am ever mean to you!”
“Hey, don’t be nuts,” Aman said as he reclined his head back to gently hit her head with his head.
“Ouch! That hurts!” Jenny said as she bit him in return.
The moment was pure bliss for as long as it lasted. A sudden power failure across a complete block, including the Ahluwalia mansion, broke the serenity.
“What’s happened to the damn light,” Mrs Ahluwalia was frustrated. “Amanu,” as she lovingly calls Captain Ahluwalia, “Can you check what’s happened to our lights son?”
“It’s not just our house mom,” Aman replied, “It’s the entire street and block! Looks like some kind of grid failure! I’ll turn the emergency supply on, just hold on!”
This was the first time in their lives they had experienced a power failure, but then things always have a nasty habit of happening for the first time in life!
In another part of the town meanwhile, the lights in the streets and houses were still on, but the one in brain was fading fast as President Shoji Katsuo grappled with the latest news he had received on his phone.
“What do you mean the wells have run dry?” President Ono asked.
“Sir, it was there one hour ago, but now it’s all gone,” Director Paul McCartney was struggling to catch his breath as the panic tensed up his chest muscles, making it hard enough to breath, leave alone speak.
“Relax Mr McCartney,” President Katsuo tried to calm him down, “Just take a deep breath and then try to explain.”
Director Paul took a few moments to let the information sink in his own mind first before continuing, “Sir, the oil in the wells has suddenly gone missing! It was all well until about an hour ago when the pipes suddenly went dry.”
“But last month’s reports clearly indicated that there was oil for another couple of centuries for our small community?” President Katsuo inquired.
“Yes sir, that’s right,” Mr McCartney replied, “But now it’s all gone! Vanished!”
President Katsuo was left speechless as he struggled to put two and two together, “I’ll convene another emergency meeting tomorrow and I want you to be available all through via satellite cam.”
“Yes,” Director McCartney’s call disconnected abruptly before he could complete his sentence. The last bit of sound to be heard was a sudden surprised shriek.
“Mr McCartney, are you there,” President Katsuo tried in vain to re-establish the contact. He tried to call him back but all he got was a no connection tone. Meanwhile another phone had started ringing and Secretary Anne rushed to pick it up.
“Hello, Secretary Anne at Grey House receiving,” Miss Anne De Villiers replied and then listened intently as her expressions became grave.
President Katsuo looked at Anne’s face, expecting an answer as she put the receiver down. “Sir, we’ve got some more disturbing news,” Anne’s voice was trembling.
“What happened?” President Katsuo asked.
“Sir, it was Director Electricity Board,” Miss Anne replied, “A massive transformer managing supply to a section in the city east has vanished from the power station, plunging four blocks into complete darkness!”
President Katsuo gazed somewhere far away, had a deep thought, and finally gave directions to Anne, “Call everybody in right away. Give them one hour to be present! Those far, advise them to use choppers but report immediately.”
“Yes sir,” Miss De Villiers replied as she took her leave. Her work was cut out. She needed to wake up over two dozen people and make sure they were in attendance before President Katsuo made his appearance in the conference room at the Parliament house. However this time, thanks to the desperate situation, President Katsuo beat them all, including Miss De Villiers.
“Sir, sorry I am a bit late,” Admiral Mir, twenty minutes ahead of the schedule, was apologetic as soon as he entered the conference room.
“No need for apologies Admiral, it’s me who is early,” President Katsuo said as he gestured him to take a seat.
“Thanks Mr President,” Admiral said as he took his seat, “Others won’t be too long!”
“That’s fine,” President Katsuo nodded.
“If the President doesn’t mind me asking,” a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, Admiral Mir finally asked President Katsuo, who was lost in deep consternation so far, “It must be something very serious!”
“It is indeed Admiral,” President Katsuo confirmed his suspicions and then gave him a brief description of the couple of events that had cost him his sleep. Meanwhile others trickled into the conference room one by one, Miss De Villiers walking in after making sure everybody had arrived.
“Miss De Villiers, would you please brief the gathering quickly?” President Katsuo motioned to his secretary who immediately took the centre dais and divulged all the details of the two incidents.
“So right now we are awaiting a reply from Captain Bradley Connors, in charge of our aircraft carrier NSS Full Bloom. He had been instructed to send a reconnaissance plane, to have an aerial view of the oil wells as well as try to establish a radio link with our men there,” Miss Anne De Villiers apprised the gathering of the latest situation.
“That impulsive kid, I won’t be surprised if he himself flew in and paradropped at the sight,” Mrs Gabriella Downing commented.
“He is a decorated soldier and highly professional,” Admiral Mir jumped to his ward’s defence, “He will never relegate his responsibility aboard NSS Full Bloom, leave alone jeopardising any of the missions entrusted upon him. He is committed, not impulsive! I would appreciate if the parliamentarians are judicious with their remarks about my men!”
“I am not questioning your ward’s abilities Admiral,” Mrs Downing replied, “But isn’t he the guy who hunts sharks by jumping in the water without oxygen mask, just with a knife, saying it won’t be fair on the sharks otherwise?”
“He is indeed,” Admiral Mir quipped, “But that’s his bravery and strength of character, not impulsiveness!”
“Please, let us not argue needlessly,” Secretary Anne tried to diffuse the situation, “And just to mention Rear Admiral Guruban Ahluwalia is currently onboard NSS Full Bloom for his last official inspection of our Navy’s preparedness before he retires next month. There is no need for any apprehensions!”
“That is insulting to even suggest that without the presence of a senior official like much respected Read Admiral, any of my men won’t be able to carry out their duties professionally,” Admiral Mir was outraged, “I demand an immediate apology from Secretary Miss De Villiers, and also from the Member of Parliament Mrs Downing.”
Sensing the outrage the conversation had caused, Anne was quick to offer her apologies saying it wasn’t what she intended to say, while Mrs Downing too repented.
The conversation had barely died down when one of the phones in the conference room began ringing. Anne immediately answered it, “Hello! Secretary to President Miss Anne De Villiers speaking, is this NSS Full Bloom?”
“I am sorry Miss De Villiers, I am the clerk from President’s office and I have a young researcher from National Space Research Organisation who seeks audience immediately,” the voice at the other end replied, “He identifies himself as Research Fellow Jhiang Chu.”
Anne looked at the President who nodded in affirmation. Anne then replied, “Please send him in?”
“What does your ward have to say Doctor Yardley?” President immediately asked the senior space research scientist.
“I am sorry Mr President but I have no information about what he might have to share with us tonight,” Doctor Yardley answered the query as a huffing and puffing Jhiang rushed into the conference room and crashed on to his knees, in the conference room’s well.
“Sir, I’m sorry sir,” Jhiang didn’t even wait to catch a bit of his breath and immediately blurted out, “But you need to see this!” Panic was writ large on his face as he held out a compact disc.
“Miss De Villiers, please show us what the young man’s got on the disc,” President asked Anne.
“Sir, these are images of Mars taken by our space observatory in Antarctica, that have just been emailed back to the office by our man there, just half an hour ago,” Jhiang struggled to maintain a steady flow of words but managed to complete his statement.
“What do these images show?” Anne asked as she put the disc in the conference room system and projected the images on to the big screen.
“These are a series of images taken of Mars over the last few hours,” Jhiang, who had caught his breath now, spoke with panic dripping like tears from his eyes, “We are all going to die! We are all going to die!” And fear took the better of Jhiang as he broke down.
“Get your composure young man,” Admiral Mir spoke in his military tone, “We all are going to die one day, what difference does it make when?”
“You don’t know what’s happened sir,” Jhiang said as he raised his hand to point a finger at the screen, “Look at the next few images!”
Anne continued the slide show, one image to the next, until an image showed up, which everyone present in the conference room would have happily wished they will never have to witness in their life. The fear that had only been visible on Jhiang’s face so far, suddenly gripped everyone inside the conference room. As the images presented the story of Mars’ revolutions around its’ own axis, an image appeared that showed a big chunk of Mars missing, like it had been bitten off!
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