Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss
GOD of a man
Eternity Versus Eternity
“Tools make the craftsman before craftsman makes his craft.”
Chapter Thirty One: Hammer and tongs
Dated: 1st January, 2460
Intricacy of an artwork is the only true yardstick to measure the expertise of the hands that crafted it. However art being as subjective a field as is, it will perhaps never be free of the debates as to which artist was better than his contemporaries. The matters are further compounded when the only works of art compared happen to be the masterpieces from each one of them. Perhaps a masterpiece is not an objective piece to compare the works, but so are not the less famed works. The best approach would be to compare the frequency of masterpieces amongst the entire range of works by an artist, with that of his contemporaries. Geniuses like Beethoven, Mozart, Da Vinci, are known not for one piece of artistic creation, but rather a whole family of them. And this ability made them stand above the crowd of contemporaries, as well as many after them. Even scientific geniuses like Einstein have been revered much more than the rest amongst their community, for the sheer body of exceptional work behind their names.
A genius, be it an artist, scientist or otherwise, do have abilities that set them apart from the rest, and these abilities include a natural talent to improvise. A genius can get a lot of work done without adequate or appropriate tools in a given situation than what an ordinary mind would possibly accomplish. But it will be wrong to assume that a genius can create masterpieces again and again without having to make use of the appropriate tools. Bare hands, scalper and forceps, hammer and tongs, can all tear down objects, but they also answer completely distinct instances of requirements. Besides, an exception can create an exception, but were he to create only exceptions, than the classification would lose its’ meaning and merit. Tools make a craftsman the artist that he is. They give precision to his abilities, making it possible for him to reproduce in real what exists only in the metaphysical plane of his thoughts. Talent is the source of thoughts, and tools give them their form.
A soldier at battle is also an artist; his talent being in identifying hostile environs, pre-guessing adversaries and neutralising threats, and tools being his weapons and accessories. The genius amongst the soldiers can improvise to create or replace tools, as well as pre-empt their adversaries with a frequency comparable to the artists of extraordinary acumen. However what’s at stake for a soldier in beyond any comparisons, for unlike an artist a soldier seldom gets another chance to make amends. Accolades may be by virtue, but glory is by right! New Saisho is counting on, not one, not two, and not a few, but innumerable geniuses; not everyone a soldier, and none an artist, but each one a class apart. Their tools and temperament might be untested, but their commitment is beyond fault.
The sound of festivities made only a faint presence in the long corridor of the naval headquarters at the Port. The sound of the marching footsteps however had a very urgent rhythm about them. Captain Aman Ahluwalia appeared a man setting out on a mission, than the one making a glorious return from a successful endeavour. The corridor was measured up in no time.
“Captain Aman Ahluwalia reporting Sir,” he energetically exclaimed as he saluted the patiently waiting senior.
Admiral Mir Abdullah, who had been standing by the window looking above the docks, keeping a watchful eye on the festivities many stories below, turned around and nodded his head, “At ease Captain.” As Aman obliged Admiral Mir walked up to him and put his hands on the young officer’s arms, “I don’t have words to mitigate your loss Captain, but I am sure your father would be proud of a son like you.”
“Sir, I am proud to have a father like him,” Captain Ahluwalia replied.
Admiral heaved a sigh, “I am sorry officer, but I can’t afford you time to grieve.”
“Why should I grieve over what makes me proud Sir,” Aman replied, “Who else in the forces today can claim a father like me?”
Admiral looked at the young officer’s face and forehead with pride, “Just like your father, every bit like him.” He then took a long breath and asked his officer, “Captain, who is a true soldier?”
“The one who puts his duty ahead of his self, Sir,” Aman replied.
“What is the duty of a soldier?” Admiral asked.
“His only duty is to follow the orders of his seniors,” Aman replied.
“What if he has no orders?” Admiral asked.
“Then he should wait for orders,” Aman replied.
“What if he cannot wait for orders, or if there is no one above him to issue orders?” Admiral Mir asked.
“Then he should do what is in the best interests of the nation,” Aman answered.
“What if the matter is not related to the nation?” Admiral asked.
“Then he should listen to his conscience,” Aman replied.
“What if his conscience is not clear?” Admiral Mir asked.
“Then he has no right to continue as a soldier and should quit immediately,” Aman replied.
Admiral Mir nodded his head and patted the young man on his shoulder, “Beautiful!” He then stepped away, and as he walked around the room, he addressed the young soldier, “Are you aware of the situation back home?”
“Not yet sir, but I am sure if you had to question me so intensely, it must be serious,” Aman replied, “And I am sure, will be the first thing I will get to know the moment I will step out of your office.”
Admiral took a long deep breath and then walked back to his man, “You have five days! Do what you may need to, within the law.”
“Thank you Sir,” Aman nodded his head and saluted his senior to take his leave.
“And one thing,” Admiral Mir stopped him in his stride, “Officially I cannot help you!”
The strange thing about greed and selfishness is; they make their bearer think everybody else around them is just an idiot. They are so engrossed in self gratification; they never realize how everybody else is looking straight through their acts but is silent, for they are not rude enough to question them bluntly.
As the chilled water from the water cooler filled up Officer Paul Tiffani’s cup, his phone rang. As soon as he looked at the number on the screen, he looked around to make sure nobody was close by to eavesdrop the conversation. He then stepped away from the water cooler and answered the call in a hushed voice, “Hello, what happened?”
“Where are you?” the voice from the other distinctly sounded like Sepoy Eighty Three.
“I am at my station, why?” Paul asked.
“Just wanted to caution you,” Sepoy replied, “Captain Aman Ahluwalia is back in town.”
“How does that matter?” Paul asked surprised.
“If you love your life then it should matter the most to you,” Sepoy replied agitatedly, “He is Jenny’s fiancé and will certainly be on to this case.”
“He can do nothing,” Paul replied, “He’s a soldier, bound by rules and duty. There’s nothing he can do legally against me, and breaking laws is not his job, but mine.”
“Stop living in a cocoon of hypothetical scenarios,” Sepoy exclaimed before issuing him a warning, “If he catches up with you, he will get you talking, and if you dare speak even a word, then he may not kill you; I will.”
Words can describe a situation, words can explain the feelings experienced, but words cannot make their listener feel the heat emanating out of the dynamics of a situation that effected the original actions. Besides, an individual’s reaction to a particular event is not just a calculated response to the variables at play on the spur of the moment. Rather, it is decision emanating out of a sum of the previously held beliefs, the preceding events and the actual situation.
The silence in the room was deafening. Even the sobs were without a sound. Her grief that had been pushed into a silent subjugation by the draining atrocities of the subsequent events, it had finally resurfaced and overpowered her completely. The embrace of her son had broken all the defences she had build up to keep the floods of sorrow in check.
“I can understand why Admiral Mir asked you to not inform me about my father in the middle of such an important task,” Aman spoke as he comforted his mother, “But I don’t understand why he didn’t let you inform me about Jenny’s situation. I could have done something.”
“I wasn’t sure how you would react,” Mrs Ahluwalia explained, “So I asked Bradley and he also advised me to wait before I call you.”
“Why does it always have to be Bradley who knows better than me,” Aman immediately took exception to it, “That’s the whole problem. Even for the things that concern me, you and father had to consult Bradley first. Why?”
“Because he’s always been more sensible than you,” Mrs Ahluwalia replied, albeit a bit taken aback by the directness of her son.
“More sensible than me, is that a joke?” Aman was taken aback too, “The whole world knows how impetuous he is, and my mom doesn’t know her own son.”
“I know both my sons,” Mrs Ahluwalia immediately put things in perspective.
“What do I have to do to prove that I am a better man?” Aman asked.
“Nothing, just like him,” Mrs Ahluwalia’s reply silenced Aman as she stared hard at him.
Finally Aman asked, “Where is Jenny?”
Aman’s query finally broke the stand-off between the two as Mrs Ahluwalia wiped-off a tear and replied, “She’s in your room. I am really worried about her. She’s been absolutely quite ever since she returned from that wretched place. Since that day she hasn’t left your room. She’s keeps sitting in your bed, crying without a sound. When I ask her something she just nods her head and hides her face between her knees.”
Aman nodded in silence and walked into his room. With the curtains drawn and lights off, the room was full of sadness. He switched on the light but Jenny didn’t move. Her head was still held hard between her arms and knees. She was sobbing. She knew Aman was there, but felt no desire to look up or rush to him. Aman stood there at the door for a few moments, took a few heavy breaths, and then walked up to her. He extended his hand and put it on her head, and sat down besides her. He gently stroked her hair as he softly spoke to her, “Hey, won’t you even give me a kiss.”
His voice broke all the shackles that were holding Jenny as she swung around and crashed into his arms, breaking down inconsolably. Aman hugged her tight and continued stroking the hair at the back of her head as he kissed her repeatedly on her head. Finally Jenny looked up at him and showered him with kisses all over his face, as if a desolate destitute had just found the most precious thing in the world. “I love you,” she said as she cried. Aman kept comforting her. Mrs Ahluwalia couldn’t help her tears as she stood and watched the two by the side of the door. Aman stretched out his arm to his mother, and Mrs Ahluwalia walked by the bed side and hugged her two precious gems. All this commotion in the house woke up Rosie, who came rushing into the room wiping her eyes.
“Aman, you are here,” Rosie let out a joyous shriek as she rushed towards them, hopped on to the bed, and literally jumped on to the two as Mrs Ahluwalia watched with a long awaited smile on her face. “You duffer, couldn’t you just have woken me up,” Rosie complained to her brother. The bonhomie was blissful!
Finally Aman asked his mother, “So what’s the situation now?” And Mrs Ahluwalia told him everything including the murder of Bradley’s best friend and Jenny’s lawyer John Shane. After hearing out the entire story in detail, and Jenny’s plight from her own mouth, a fire lit up in his eyes. “Watch me return,” was all he said as he rushed out of the room, and then the house.
Urgency and rush are not the same. While the former is designed to gain time, the latter is employed to recover it. There’s this stark contrast in the way the two operate. While urgency is not influenced by the variables involved at the other end, rush works in a hope that the final event will fail to proceed on its’ due time.
The desert was fuming from the fire that had burnt it all day. There was no breeze to cool it off. The dark grey road that split it into two could be felt from a foot above without touching it. But unmindful of the hostile nature a four wheel drive went tearing down the path, the dying sun glaring of its windscreen. Head on like a raging bull, it kept charging towards the temporary tinned cabins set up in the middle of the desert. It finally came to a screeching halt a few hundred metres adrift. The doors flung open and three pairs of legs hoped out of it and a made a dash towards the rear. They went down on one knee each.
“Simmons, you take the right flank, and Mathew, you take the left flank,” Captain Bradley Connors started giving them instructions, “Simmons, you will cover west and south, and Mathew you will cover East and North. You two will keep a hundred meter distance from me, with Simmons at a forty five degree angle, and Mathew at a thirty degree angle. I will take the centre flank and proceed to the main container in the middle. Whoever notices trouble will immediately caution the rest. We will hold our positions in an unobtrusive way to each other. Me and Mathew will lie prostrate on the ground, and Simmons, you will be the one crouching. We will hold our positions until one of us gives an all clear. Any question?”
“No Sir,” the two replied in unison.
“Good,” Bradley quipped, “And remember; we are dealing with professionals, so be careful. Lets’ go now!”
The three spread out to take their positions, and then started a steady march towards Colonel Davison’s make shift office.
One of the many prominent prophets, messiahs and saints to come out of the Indian subcontinent was the tenth guru of the Sikhs, Gobind Singh. Defending the weak against the cruel, and fighting for justice even in the face of death were some of the virtues he imbibed amongst his disciples. He famously told his followers; “All means of redressing a wrong having failed, raising the sword is both pious and just.” His words will never lose their meaning!
The light was fading away with the drowning sun. The sea breeze made the walk down the lonely walkway to the beach house pleasant. Officer Paul Tiffani, returning from another day in office, had a song on his lips and a pump in his stride as he walked towards the front door, his car keys swinging in his finger. Little did he realize what awaited him!
As soon as he walked inside the house and hung his cap, a tap on his shoulder shocked him. He didn’t even get a chance to turn around on his own as a pair of hard hands grabbed him from behind, twisted him around, and before he could even gather what was happening, a massive jab landed under his chin. He was on floor, on his fours, gasping from breath. But the intruder wasn’t finished yet. Before Paul could grab his firearm or baton, he was pulled up from behind and smashed against the wall. A few more blows and he fainted. As his weary frame sunk to the ground, sliding across the wall, all he noticed was a masked man. When he was tied up, lifted above the shoulders, and tossed into the boot of his own vehicle, he never realized or felt. The next visions that he could see clearly were of an unidentified location, a big warehouse, where he was seated right in the middle of the place, on a wooden chair with hands tied behind, and the masked intruder standing in front of him.
“Who are you?” an exhausted and already battered Paul asked. The intruder finally removed his mask to reveal himself. “It’s you,” Paul exclaimed as panic gripped him. But before he could say another word a big heavy slap landed on his face.
“Why?” Paul asked but in vain. There were no replies coming, just blows. Slap after slap after slap, the mayhem continued unabated. Finally his guest stopped to catch a breath. “Why don’t you talk to me?” Paul asked as he himself struggled to catch his breath.
Captain Aman Ahluwalia paused for a second, scratched his head as if seriously considering the question, and then shrugged his shoulders and shook his head in negative, “Nah, what for?” And before Paul could say another word, another series of heavy blows landed in his stomach as Aman grabbed him by his neck. The battering continued.
“Please I beg you, talk to me?” Paul cried this time.
“I don’t want to,” Aman replied as another of his slap landed on Paul’s face.
“You can’t do this, I am an officer,” Paul yelled in fear as he saw the hand rising in air again. But the hand didn’t stop!
“I will tell you everything,” Paul shrieked out in pain.
“I don’t want to know anything,” Aman replied.
“No, no, please listen,” Paul insisted, “I am involved with the drug mafia in New Saisho. There are high ranking officials involved in it, and we all get a fair cut.”
“See, I knew you will only waste my time. That’s why I didn’t ask you anything,” Aman replied as he took another shot at Paul’s stomach.
Paul coughed, his hapless shrieks filling the air. “Please, please, listen to me,” Paul begged, “Underage sex trade goes on in town too, and a bunch of us that I just mentioned, we all get a cut in the morning every weekend.”
“You are still wasting my time,” Aman shook his head and took Paul to task again.
“Please stop! I will tell you everything,” Paul begged, “It’s your men who are involved in this. I’ve never met their leader, someone called Colonel Davison, but his right hand man Sepoy Eighty Three had asked me to frame your girlfriend in Officer Elle’s murder case. Officer Elle was an extremely honest officer who was about to crack both the drug trafficking and sex trade rackets and was a looming threat on us all. She had the support from the Home Ministry and we had no way to stop her. Putting her on the case of disappearing Reverend was a part of the plan to eliminate her.”
The information shocked Aman who immediately stepped back from him. He didn’t know what to say, so Admiral Mir walked up from behind. “That’s enough Captain,” Admiral Mir patted his soldier on the back, “The District Attorney will take over from here.” And the District Attorney stepped out from behind as well.
Paul was shocked by the turn of events, “I don’t understand! If you were present here why didn’t you stop this crazy man from forcing me into saying things out of fear that are otherwise not true?”
“Everything is on the tape son,” the DA replied, “You better get yourself a good lawyer.”
“You mean him assaulting me,” Paul asked.
“My officer didn’t assault anyone,” Admiral Mir quipped, “He had my verbal orders to use all force necessary to help the civilian society. A written confirmation of the same shall be sent to the DA’s office tomorrow morning first thing.” Paul was left speechless as two soldiers from Military Police walked into the room. “Take him away,” Admiral Mir ordered his men.
“Sepoy Eighty Three,” Aman exclaimed, “I thought that was an urban legend.”
“It’s true Sepoy Eighty Three is an urban legend from the third world war, a part of it true and a bit of it possibly an exaggeration. Looks like someone is using the name to create a psychological effect and enhance their perceived deadliness,” Admiral Mir replied and then continued, “I am sure you will find a mention of the legend in the diary of Captain Ajay Chauhan that you retrieved from ‘INS Ranjit Singh’. But right now we need to inform Bradley and his team about Colonel Davison. He is headed to his location.”
Being forewarned is a boon, but adequate caution can sometimes compensate for the lack of prior inputs. However when caution fails, all that is left to bank upon is the moral strength. No one can prepare for life, but life prepares everyone for future. The only question is how well someone learned the lessons taught by their life.
The entrance to the main cabin at the site was open, but there seemed to be no activity at the site. Bradley raised his hand to signal his men to halt their movement and hold their position as he himself stepped forward and into the cabin to have a look. No sooner had he stepped inside the cabin, a loud bang was heard. A gun had been fired.
“Sir, are you alright?” Mathew immediately asked Bradley on his headset, but he got no response. He looked at Simmons who was looking at him. Mathew tried speaking to Bradley again, but he got no response. “Looks like Sir can’t get my signal. Can you try from your wireless set Simmons?” he asked his partner at the other end. But when he got no response from Simmons too, he looked at him. Even Simmons could be seen trying to talk on his wireless set, but didn’t seem to be getting through. The wireless frequencies had been jammed for the area.
Inside the cabin Bradley had immediately taken up a defensive position with his weapon pointed firmly at the door. He was trying to contact his men, “Mathew and Simmons, do you copy me?” He wasn’t sure where the enemy was, or if someone had been hit on the outside. Caught in a precarious position, he was left with no choice but to wait. Meanwhile Mathew and Simmons had got concerned for the safety of their leader, and they decided to barge into the cabin. Using hand gestures, they co-ordinated their advance to the entrance of the cabin.
“Sir, are you alright?” Simmons asked as he slowly tried to climb into the cabin while Mathew covered his back.
“I am alright, but why did you leave your position?” Bradley yelled from inside. But before Simmons could answer three enemy combatants burst out from underneath the sand, firing heavy weapons indiscriminately. Viper had left Private Grivin ‘Death’ Bentham in charge of two other men, to eliminate Bradley and his team.
Taken completely by surprise, Mathew and Simmons got no chance to react as bullets riddled their bodies. Mathew immediately fell to the ground, his gun firing a salvo aimlessly. Simmons somehow managed to brave the pain and grabbed the door handle, pulling it behind him as he managed to crawl inside, thus securing the bulletproof confines for his senior, even though he immediately breathed his last.
As if watching his favourite men die in front of his eyes wasn’t hard enough, Bradley was now left to fend for himself against three heavily armed adversaries, with only a handgun at his disposal, Simmons’ gun having been damaged by the bullets.
After emptying one round of ammunition on the walls of the container, Grivin and his companions realized they needed to employ another tactic to kill the last remaining threat. They immediately rushed to the Cabin with one man taking position directly in front of the door in case the Captain was to rush out, while Grivin and the third member quickly climbed up the roof of the cabin. Inside, Bradley could hear all the commotion above his head. As Grivin stood guard, the other man removed the roof mounted air-conditioning unit and threw in a smoke canister. But even before the canister could land inside, Bradley kicked it straight out of the same hole it had been dropped in through, and shot it mid air, discharging all its’ contents in a flash.
This surprise move caught the two adversaries by surprise, and before they could gather themselves, Bradley had climbed onto the roof, kicked Grivin hard in his groin to flatten him, turned around and shot dead his other companion on the roof. The second companion who was covering the door stepped back to take aim at the roof but ended up with a hole in the middle of his own forehead instead.
However before Bradley could turn around and shoot Grivin, he had gathered himself up and he kicked hard at Bradley’s hand, disarming him. In a swift move Grivin pulled out his handgun and swung it around to aim at Bradley, but before he could shoot Bradley grabbed his gun from the muzzle and twisted it away from his body. As Grivin pressed the trigger to discharge the chamber, Bradley stepped up close and gave him a hard jab with his other hand. Such hard was the blow Grivin staggered on his feet. But before he could balance himself again, a ten inch army knife had been put to rest through the middle of his heart.
With all threats neutralized, Bradley looked at Grivin’s gun, which was still in his hand. The gun’s muzzle end had been shredded, and so had been the bandage that covered his thumb. The only thing intact was Bradley’s dark grey thumb, the one he had accidently blocked the muzzle of the handgun with while fending off its’ discharge. Bradley looked at his thumb as he held the damaged gun in his other hand. He then looked at the handgun. The bullet was still there, stuck inside the barrel of the gun, badly disfigured, and with a clean print of Bradley’s thumb engraved in it forever.
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