Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss
GOD of a man
Eternity Versus Eternity
“The greatness of a man is a cumulative result of his virtues and his opponents’ disgrace.”
Chapter Thirty Four: Blind strike
Dated: 29th February – 1st March, 2460
A part of every life is a battlefield, philosophical or otherwise, and the remainder of it is always a build-up to that one showdown or another. A conflict does not necessarily have to involve an opponent; it could just be a tussle with one’s own conscience. A build up does not necessarily mean an accumulation of frustrations; rather it could just be a piling up of the questions raised by conscience over a stretch of actions. The hardest fought victories are always the ones where you better your conscience, for not only would you have evolved as a human being, but you would have bettered your own highest expectations. While worldly victories are gratifying, self usurping are satisfying. One can hide from everyone else, but not from self. And when one has no more to answer self, true peace is found within.
The contest is always between good and evil, and the two exist as much inside a human being as much they exist in the world outside. The evil always masquerades itself to avoid being pointed out and ridiculed or eliminated. The hardest place to look for evil is the one inside self, for evil never identifies itself to itself. The voice of conscience is muffled, but not muted however. When a human being finds true strength, it gives him the ability to confront his own evil and better it for good. But what happens when the evil exists in the world outside self? Can goodness of one man be enough to awaken the conscience of every other man, for what exists outside is neither a single man’s prerogative, nor within his power to mend?
This world is still a place worth living in for majority of the people do the right thing, even when no one is watching, for everyone has a conscience that always is. And the world has been lucky, for every time it has found itself engulfed by evil, one or another good man has stood up to touch every other person’s conscience and bring about positive action. It’s true that evil tries every means it has, to raise questions and doubts about a man’s goodness. But true goodness always shines brighter than the dark clouds of evil designs. The greatness of such men provides not just a measure of their own virtues, but also reflects the disgraceful levels their opponents stooped to. New Saisho’s history will be as much a story of the valour of its sons and daughters, as much it will be a story about the deceit and cowardice of those who lost their conscience.
The ceiling fan was whirling around slowly, gently pushing the air around. Their working day having stretched beyond the usual limits, it was now in emergency mode. The mood was pensive as the senior officer sunk further and further in his chair with every passing second. His young officer knew something had gone drastically wrong, but was still waiting patiently for his senior to break down the details to him. Finally the senior took a deep breath, having finally made up his mind.
“Captain Ahluwalia,” Admiral Abdullah spoke, “You are an officer and I expect a certain level of professionalism from you. Am I right in doing so?”
“Yes Sir,” Aman replied firmly.
“Before I tell you what I am going to now,” Admiral tried to spill the beans in a way it won’t jeopardise the final objectives, “I want you to imagine your father Late Rear Admiral Guruban Ahluwalia to be present here in soul.”
“Sir you can order me anything without the need for a premise,” Aman replied.
“Very well then Captain,” Admiral took another heavy breath as he prepared to bombard the young officer with information he had been withholding from him thus far, “Colonel Davison and his henchmen have overrun the secret research facility and residential complex where ‘Operation Salvage’ is housed.”
“Operation Salvage, what’s that sir,” Aman was intrigued.
“Captain, our earth is coming to an end,” Admiral’s words shocked the young officer, “The mysterious occurrences that have plagued our planet since the last few months are going to get the better of us in three weeks time, that is twenty fifth of March.”
“Sir, are we absolutely sure of this?” Aman asked.
“All scientific data has been crossed checked many times, and the end is a foregone conclusion now,” Admiral confirmed the impending doom to him.
“And there is nothing we can do?” Aman asked.
“Absolutely nothing for the majority of the population,” Admiral informed him, “However our scientific community has been working overtime in developing technology that will enable a few of us to survive the ordeal and escape in space.”
“Oh, is that why we needed the nukes, if I may ask Sir?” Aman asked.
“Indeed Captain,” Admiral confirmed it, “The space ship we have designed will fly on nuclear energy.”
“And how many will we be able to save,” Aman asked.
“Roughly a hundred,” Admiral replied, “And that includes both you and Bradley.”
“What about yourself, and what about our families?” Aman inquired.
“I will answer all these questions later,” Admiral skipped the uncomfortable bits, “Right now the news is that Colonel Davison and his henchmen have taken over the research facility where the escape craft is housed, and have thus hijacked the rescue mission. We need to bring them in, to secure the future of those who will represent the remainder of humanity from here on.”
“So we need to mount a counter-offensive and rescue the mission?” Aman exclaimed.
“Unfortunately the details of the mission cannot be briefed to any or many soldiers as these might become the source of unrest, and possibly a revolt amongst our ranks,” Admiral explained the real challenge, “Also, we need to make sure the craft is safe as any damage to the craft would spell doom for the entire humanity, and Colonel knows it. That’s why he is using it as a defensive deterrent against us. So the bottom-line is; we need to salvage the craft without any major damage, and we need to do this without many, or for that matter any men.”
“So I am guessing it would have to be me and Bradley only,” Aman asked.
“That’s true,” Admiral nodded in agreement, “But a big problem is; for one, he has taken hostage families of some of the shortlisted team members. And I have no doubt he wants to use them as a human shield, and also as a point of negotiation.”
“And what’s the other issue,” Aman asked.
Admiral took a deep breath and continued, “You are aware of the unrest in town today. President has put up a tent right outside our headquarters and is staying there in open, to regain public confidence and buy this mission much needed time. His life could be in danger, and Bradley will reach here only by tomorrow morning.” Admiral paused to look at Aman, and then continued, “I need you to help me out tonight and assure our President’s security at all costs.”
“That is my job sir,” Aman replied. But something didn’t feel right to him. He was getting suspicious now and exclaimed, “Sir, you are still not telling me something!”
Admiral took another deep breath and informed Aman, “I just received a call from Colonel with his list of demands, about half an hour ago.” Admiral paused and looked Aman in his eyes, “He’s also got your mother, sister and Jenny as hostages.”
Deceit is the nature of ambitions that don’t fit the shoes they come in. Like toes popping out of undersized shoes, they show their ugly heads at the weakest of spots.
The warm night had matured into its’ middle age. The vegetation was abuzz with nocturnal sounds. The woods were not thick, but lonely enough to cause discomfort to faint hearted. A solitary shadow lurked in the dark on the hill, its’ fear not hard to smell. A voice suddenly startled him.
“Who goes there?” the voice, a familiar tone, asked.
“Who asks?” the shadow replied.
“Friend of foes,” the voice replied.
“The foes’ just came calling then,” the shadow replied.
“Granger, where is Norman,” the voice asked.
“I don’t know Mr Eighty Three,” Granger replied, “We got separated as we gave a slip to the crowd, and I haven’t seen him since.”
“Are you sure he hasn’t made it here already?” Sepoy asked.
“I am pretty sure I am the first one,” Granger replied.
“Good! Then it’s time to go,” Sepoy remarked.
“To the research facility,” Granger asked.
“To hell son,” Viper, who was accompanying Sepoy, remarked from behind.
“What do you,” Granger’s words were cut short as Viper grabbed him from his neck, pushing him down to the ground and against his knee. Granger tried to fight back but was no match to Viper’s brute strength. He struggled but only for a while before all movement in his limbs seized. Viper checked his pulse and declared, “One done!”
“Lets’ go,” Sepoy quipped.
“What about his friend?” Viper asked.
“It doesn’t matter,” Sepoy replied, “He cannot go to the authorities for they are already looking for him, and he cannot go back to the crowd for it will be baying for his blood too. And even if he manages to get in touch with either, the relevant authorities already know where we are, and the crowd, he can tell them nothing for he knows nothing about where we are.”
“So we just go and kill the President now?” Viper quipped.
“He’s not a kid playing in the park on his own,” Sepoy quipped.
“I never said it’s going to be easy, but I don’t understand one thing,” Viper exclaimed, “Why does Colonel want to eliminate the President?”
“Don’t squeeze your rat brain for honey son,” Sepoy replied, “You will never understand military tactics! Chaos is good to keep an enemy engaged.”
An enemy at a disadvantage will invariably resort to overawing tactics, creating red-herrings to divert your attention and resources. Chaos can lead to depletion of resources much quicker than an actual battle. It is a strategy to weaken an adversary at a vantage position where one’s own situation cannot be improved. Shrewd tacticians know the trick, and intelligent warriors know how to cover for it.
Crisis can sometimes patronize exemplary bonhomie. The night might have lulled entire town into sleep, but a handful of vibrant spirits were enjoying themselves around a bonfire, singing songs accompanied by their President, who sure had an intimate connection with their hearts. The security was on its’ toes but none, not even Anne, could convince the President to retire for the night. As the group engrossed itself in merry making, unbeknown to them, a pair of feet made a quick way to them.
“Mr President,” Captain Ahluwalia requested his attention, “Can I speak to you for a moment.”
“Yes officer,” President replied as he looked up at him.
“Sir, in private if I may request so,” Aman said.
“Sure officer,” President said as he excused himself from his audience. Anne followed him.
“What happened?” Anne asked even before the President could speak.
“Sir, you life might be in danger here in the open,” Aman informed him, “We have professional murderers on the loose and Admiral has personally instructed me to ensure your safety.”
“Are you saying that I am not safe in my own city anymore,” President was outraged, “Do I have to walk with my head pulled in like a tortoise, in my own backyard?”
“Sir, the question is not just about your safety,” Aman clarified, “But that of others around you as well. You wouldn’t want to see any innocents get killed in cross fire, would you?”
Aman’s reasons immediately impressed the President who nodded his head and agreed to retire to his secure tent. Aman then ensured the security arrangements were adequate before returning to the main area in the Presidential tent, and took a position. His body might have been breaking with fatigue, but his training kept him agile and alert.
“Are you not going to sleep?” Anne asked as she stepped inside the tent.
“My job tonight is to ensure President’s security at all costs,” Aman remarked, an angst spilling in his speech.
“And what about tomorrow,” Anne asked in a soft voice as she stepped closer.
“Miss Secretary, it’s late at night and you should go to sleep now,” Aman side-stepped the question.
“Why do I feel a heat emanating out of your words? Have I said or done something wrong,” Anne inquired, her eyes constricting.
“Miss Secretary, everything does not have to be about you or linked to you,” Aman however was in a weird mood, “I have a life outside this job. I have a family!”
“What happened to your family,” now Anne was perplexed for Admiral hadn’t briefed her about the situation affecting the Captain at personal level. Admiral never thought it should be of any concern to the Secretary to the President. Admiral was unaware of the real dynamics working behind their professional relationship, as much as the Captain himself was, and as much was the Secretary herself.
“Miss Secretary, I realize I am just another member of the forces for you, but my family is everything to me,” Aman’s displeasure was evident, “My family’s troubles might not even be a routine matter to you, but they affect me right down to my soul.”
“I still don’t understand,” Anne’s confusion grew further, “What happened to your family.”
“Miss Secretary, if you didn’t think it important enough to enquire about it in the first place, why bother now?” Aman, why he expected Anne to be concerned for him and his family, even he wouldn’t have the answer.
“Why are you talking to me as if I am personally and actively involved against your family’s welfare?” Anne’s frustration had grown beyond flashing point now, “How should I know there is something wrong with your family? And why should I know it at all?”
Anne’s question left Aman speechless. Anne’s question left her bewildered. They stood there motionless! Finally their trance broke and Anne pulled her eyes away. She turned around and walked out of the tent to return to her own. No more words were exchanged. The silence dragged the night for much longer than what the night would have walked on for on its’ own. The morning was bright, and the President was up early.
“You are still awake young man,” the President exclaimed as he stepped out of his room and into the main area of the tent.
“Good morning Sir,” Aman greeted him as the President walked towards the exit, stretching himself as he walked. “Sir, you cannot go outside yet,” Aman rushed behind him to stop him. But it was too late!
The fatigue of a long unfinished day had probably slowed down the soldier. The President had already stepped out of the exit and the first bullet went straight through his upper body, just an inch or two below his shoulder.
“Get down Sir,” Aman shrieked as he lunged forward with full force, to tackle the President to the ground. He rolled away with the President held firmly in his arms, as shot after shot were fired by a sniper. The security was immediately in action but the attacker was well hidden behind the bushes.
Chaotic scenes erupted as the early morning risers ran helter skelter when bullets started to rain. Aman meanwhile had dragged President away from the direct firing line, forcing the attacker to leave his secure position. The security, struggling to locate the sniper, started firing indiscriminately at the bushes. That’s when fire was opened from another location. All the commotion and noise woke up Anne who immediately rushed out of her tent, concerned for the safety of her uncle.
“Aman, what happened?” she yelled as she saw Aman holding a profusely bleeding President in his arms.
“Get out of here,” Aman immediately yelled back. But it distracted his attention from the scene for a moment. In a flash Sepoy Eighty Three emerged from behind a tent and opened fire at the President and Aman, this time with his pistol, but from a close range.
Had Aman not been distracted, he would probably have taken him out in an instant. But now he was forced to make another evasive move. Sepoy missed his target once again, but he got an opportunity to take a hostage, the Secretary to the President.
“Nobody move or I’ll splatter her brain all over the camp site,” Sepoy roared to the security as he shielded himself with the girl’s body, and put his gun to her head, “Do not follow me!”
“Anne,” the President let out a weak shriek as he held his hand up.
“Uncle,” Anne too shrieked as Sepoy dragged her away. “Aman!” she gave out another desperate cry.
“Leave me, save her,” President said to Aman, “Please save her!”
“I will Sir, I will. Don’t worry about her,” Aman replied as he waited patiently for the medical aid to arrive. Once he had ensured the President is being attended to and securely covered, he proceeded in pursuit of the abductor.
“Keep moving bitch,” Sepoy yelled as he pulled Anne by her hair, and gave her a massive slap. Anne cried out in pain.
“Did you kill the President?” Viper asked Sepoy as soon as he saw him.
“Would you like to go in and try?” his failure in front of a man he had always despised seemed to infuriate Eighty Three.
“Not with all the chaos you have left back there,” Viper didn’t miss the chance to take a jibe either.
“Where are the rifles?” Eighty Three asked as he realized Viper was empty handed.
“I had exhausted all the ammunition so left the unnecessary weight back there,” Viper replied pointing towards the bushes they were hiding behind.
“Bloody hell,” Sepoy exclaimed, “Give me your handgun, ‘cause I am almost out of my bullets.”
Viper pretended to frisk his body for a concealed weapon but shrugged his shoulders in negative, “Nah! I think I forgot mine back at the facility.”
“Damn you idiot,” Sepoy yelled, “Why did you come here with me then?”
Viper shrugged his shoulders again, “Well, I do have a knife on me!”
“Don’t worry about it,” Sepoy exclaimed, “Lets’ keep moving.”
Meanwhile Aman had made quick ground by then for Sepoy had had a hard time dragging along his hostage.
“Going somewhere?” Aman announced his arrival at the scene.
Sepoy immediately turned around and fired his handgun at Aman who immediately took shelter behind some thick concrete. Two shots fired and the gun was empty! Sepoy looked at his gun before flinging it away in frustration.
Aman realized the two were out of ammo, so he immediately jumped out from behind the cover, his gun pointing firmly at their heads, “How big a cube do you want around your bodies, Six meters by three, or six feet by three?”
“Not so fast kid?” Sepoy quipped as he pulled out his knife and put it around Anne’s throat. He pulled her frame in front of his body as a shield, “Now drop your gun or get ready to catch her head!”
Left with no choice Aman had to lower his gun and put it besides his feet.
“Step away from the weapon smart boy,” Sepoy commanded.
“Here, I’ll take care of the bitch! You get the cowboy,” Viper exclaimed pulling out his knife and putting it around Anne’s throat.
Emboldened by the advantage of having a lady under threat, Sepoy decided to take on Aman. He left the girl with Viper and took a few tentative steps towards the Captain. Aman kept his composure though, his eyes firmly focussed on the advancing adversary. Sepoy lunged forward in full force, thrusting his knife at Aman’s guts. Aman stepped out of the way just in time but Sepoy immediately swung his hand towards Aman’s face. Aman quickly used one of his forearms to block his forearm, then dipped down and swung under Sepoy’s arm. As he dipped and turned, Aman elbowed sepoy hard in his chest, and before Sepoy could react, he grabbed Eighty Three by his collar and swung his body over the head.
Sepoy landed flat on his back, but before he could gather himself, Aman quickly stepped around grabbing his hand wielding the knife, and pushed it down to the ground with one hand. Using his other hand he gave a massive blow to the inside of Sepoy’s elbow joint, disarming him immediately. Aman tried to pick up the knife but Sepoy was quick in kicking him in the side of his ribs. Sepoy sprung to his feet as Aman landed on his back, but Aman quickly rolled over and flung to his feet. Sepoy lunged at him again but this time Aman blocked his raised fist with one hand and landed a massive punch in his chest with the other, and quickly followed it with a heavy jab under his chin. Before Sepoy could react, a heavy foot landed in his chest right on top of his heart, leaving him breathless. Aman jumped in air and landed a massive hit on one of his knees, and a heavy fist in Sepoy’s face. Sepoy collapsed on to the ground.
Sepoy tried to get up but Aman kicked him hard in his ribs more than a couple of times. Blood oozed out of Sepoy’s mouth as he let out a desperate cry of help to his companion, “Help me Viper, please!”
“I can’t! I’m watching the bitch,” Viper however refused him flatly.
Aman grabbed Sepoy from the hair of his head and pulled him up. As Sepoy tried to balance himself on his still agile leg, while grabbing the other one with his hand, Aman landed a massive kick to his other knee as well, bringing him down on his fours. Aman then walked behind his back, grabbed his head with one hand and his chin with the other.
“Death will release you,” Aman exclaimed as he twisted and broke his neck in a flash, “And I give it to you for free!” Aman then turned his attention towards Viper who was still holding Anne on knife point.
“Don’t even think about it,” Viper exclaimed as he pushed the knife firmer against Anne’s neck, piercing it a bit to make her bleed.
“You will do no such stupid thing,” Aman exclaimed, “For you know if anything happened to her, I will kill you right here! She’s your guarantee of a safe passage, a passage you cannot have. So if you want safety, then drop your knife and give up!”
“You think you are crazy,” Viper quipped, “You’ve never known crazy!”
“Your choice,” Aman exclaimed as he rushed towards Viper.
Viper let Aman get closer, and when Aman was close enough, he suddenly flung his knife towards Aman who ducked to avoid it. As Aman plunged forward with full force again, Viper pulled out a handgun from behind his back and fired at him. Too close for comfort, Aman had no option but to dive sideways and escape getting hit. He survived the first shot unharmed, but the second one hit him in his leg.
As Aman hit the ground with a thud and a painful but muted shriek escaped his lips, Anne yelled out, “Aman!”
“Stay where you are bitch, or I’ll pull the trigger on this side of your head and your brain will fly out of the other end, and hang upside down on that tree,” Viper exclaimed pulling her hair mercilessly, twisting her neck backwards. Anne let out a cry. Viper quipped, “Uh oh! I do have a gun on me.” He then pointed the gun at Aman’s head, “Let me release you, for free!”
Viper took aim, but before he could shoot a heavy kick landed hard on the underside of his arm, tossing his gun away. He turned around to have a look at his assailant but his face was greeted by hard knuckles. His feet were lifted off the ground and his body tossed back on to it. He tried to get up quickly but a still heavier punch landed on his face. A strong hand then grabbed his one wrist and twisted his arm behind his back, and another grabbed his neck. His body was dragged up and to the side of the same tree he had threatened to hang Anne’s brain upon. A force too powerful crushed his cheek between his skull and the tree’s trunk.
“Now you are going to lead me to your boss, aren’t you?” Bradley breathed fire in his ear.
“Yes, I will, if you keep me alive long enough,” Viper squeezed a reply out of his hurting face.
Anne meanwhile rushed to Aman as other soldiers arrived at the scene too and surrounded Viper.
“Aman, are your alright?” Anne asked as tears rolled down her cheeks. “We need to get you to the hospital,” Anne exclaimed.
“I’m alright,” Aman replied, “Looks like a superficial wound. A shallow cut! The bullet’s not in there. It just grazed me.”
Bradley walked up to him as his men took Viper into custody, and Anne helped Aman get onto his feet.
“Are you alright,” Bradley laboured to ask, the discomfort between the brothers evident.
“I am fine,” Aman replied as he limped closer, “How are you my brother?”
“Very well,” Bradley replied, “Very well indeed!” And the two probably hugged each other for the first time.
“You go and get his boss,” Aman said to Bradley as Viper looked on, his hands in cuffs behind his back. “I’ll go and get my wound dressed, and make sure the President is safe,” Aman continued. Bradley nodded. The two saluted each other, turned around, and headed in their different directions.
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