God Of A Man
“Time and space are two planes perpendicular to each other.”
Chapter two: Digging Past
Dated: 26th March, 2460
Humanity has struggled for centuries, with the thought of travelling in time, to change the past and possibly even future. Yet time has been that elusive barrier to break. Various concepts have floated around, including the ridiculous suggestion of travelling at the speed of light, or possibly faster, that would supposedly help humanity travel in time. The hard fact however is; whatever speed you will travel in, you will only travel in this space, this space whose existence itself is travelling in time. Time as humanity knows, is nothing more than a mathematical variable, whose value helps in determining the physical and chemical realities of this space. Its value could be written in both positive and negative values, depending upon what point you assume “Zero” time to begin from. But the time that humanity wishes to travel in, exists beyond the confines of everything that exists, and not inside it.
Time is like a plane perpendicular to the three dimensional space, were space to be considered a plane too. Arguably either plane could be considered as sliding across the other, but probably it is time that is stationary and only space that is changing along it. But that’s not the point. The point is; where does the past, present and future of what exists inside the space, lie along this intersection? Perhaps everything that exists inside the space could be assumed to have started out as a seed that germinated into a plant, which will subsequently bear fruit. The seed thus is the past, the plant is the present, and the fruit will be the future. To travel in time would mean to slide the entire existence along the time, so that various stages of the seed’s germination into a plant, and then the plant’s fruition, could be observed.
However, there is one problem with this bi-planer model. It does not account for the probability. Probability is possibly the third plane, perpendicular to both time and space, with an independent movement of its’ own; independent for it depends upon the choices made by individual actors whose moods are as volatile as a gaseous mixture. To move the space plane across the time plane without moving the probability plane would result in a different result with each movement. And probability plane unfortunately cannot be moved as an exact repeat, without involving the very actors whose choice determined its’ original movement. And that is impossible, for to do that one would need to move across the time plane exactly to the moment where they made that choice. Perhaps this is why the best humanity could hope for is, to learn from the past, work hard in the present, to shape its’ future.
As desperate eyes strained at the space in the distance, trying to catch one glimpse of the magical land, hope turned to despair. The focus immediately shifted to the computer screen displaying what the telescopic eye was picturing.
“Where’s earth?” a choking Chris exclaimed, perhaps hoping that someone would say it is there, and it’s just him who can’t see it.
“That is the Earth,” a Jhiang who could barely control his own tears from flowing out, pointed out a piece of lifeless dark rock floating around in space.
“What? That can’t be true,” Anne exclaimed as a shell shocked cabin looked at what Jhiang had just pointed to.
“Unfortunately it is,” Jhiang however confirmed the sad news.
“But that’s not even twenty percent of the Earth,” exclaimed Chris, “And besides, where is our Moon?”
“That tiny ball that you see floating a bit further away,” Jhiang replied pointing out to another mass in space, “That is our Moon. It has escaped the gravitational field of our Earth, and is probably heading towards Sun now.”
“But how is that possible?” Chris asked, and then paused for a moment before something came up in his mind, “Does this mean our Earth is safe and well in the other space then?”
“That is impossible,” Jhiang however had more bad news to offer, “It would now exist either as countless bits and pieces, scattered across a wide space in the other universe, or if it is still intact as one big piece, and has somehow found a star to revolve around from a perfect distance, it would still be inhospitable.”
“And why would be that?” Bradley asked this time.
“You see that piece of rock floating there in front of us,” Jhiang pointed at what was left of the planet Earth before continuing, “That is not just about twenty percent of rock. It is more like fifty percent of the hospitable world.”
“What?” a shocked cabin literally exclaimed in unison.
“Have a look at the thermal print of the image,” Jhiang replied as he changed the screen display from live image to thermal mapping mode. He then pointed out at a bright yellow streak, bordered by various shades of red on a blue background, “That streak is the water from the ocean, escaping the weak gravity of the piece of rock left behind.”
A collective sigh escaped out of everyone’s lips.
“Whatever amount of water Earth has lost in this universe,” Jhiang continued, “It is probably losing a similar amount in the other space. And if not, the water would have receded so far from the shoreline, and got suspended like a bob from a massive rock, that any sea navigation would be impossible; leave aside meeting water requirements from sea water reclamation.”
“But if Earth has found another star, which I seriously hope it did,” Anne commented before asking, “Wouldn’t there be rain?”
“There would be rain, but the water will quickly flow back into the receded sea,” Jhiang replied, “But if there is no star at a perfect distance, then the only source of water left would be the underground water.”
“But you mean that life could still be possible,” Chris asked hoping that something cheering might come up.
“I do not have any empirical data to make a learned comment,” Jhiang replied, “But I doubt it would last more than a couple of years. Remember; if there is no Sun, then there would be no light and no warmth. So not only will there be no crops, but the planet would turn into an open freezer.”
“But isn’t there warmth inside the earth,” Anne asked.
“Yes, there is a layer of molten material around a solid middle core,” Jhiang replied, “But that warmth is not similar to that provided by a Sun, and that would be true even if it has been left exposed by the breaking up of that huge piece from earth. Humanity’s only hope would be nuclear energy. With the sea navigation option not available anymore; access to fossil fuels might not be possible.”
“But shouldn’t that help the population survive for more than two years?” Anne asked again.
“It is not about the energy provision,” Jhiang replied, “It is about the lack of food source, and possible a very thin atmosphere that would be fast losing oxygen without any input from vegetation.”
“But what about seafood,” Anne tried to reason, before realizing the limitation already mentioned, “Yeah, that wouldn’t be available from the receded seas, isn’t it? And the rivers will soon flow out too.”
“But they can still have fish in the dams as food source, can’t they?” Chris exclaimed, hoping that would be the answer.
“That’s probably true,” Jhiang replied, “But then the laws of food chain apply to water based life too. The fish that feed on planktons will perish first, dying due to lack of food, or being consumed by predators. And the predators will be as much a part of human food now, as much they would be competing with humans for the food.”
“There must be something we can do though,” Chris exclaimed in frustration, “We can’t just leave everyone dying like that.”
“We certainly will Captain Davis,” Anne tried to comfort him, “But only after we have found a safer world to transfer everyone too, and then developing a means to get back to wherever the remaining earth might be, if it is still intact.”
But her comment didn’t seem to make an impact on Chris, who looked back at her with a queer gaze, and shaking his head. “You don’t care about anyone do you,” he exclaimed in disgust, “All you care for is this mission, and perhaps some kind of an ego boost that you are the head of the remaining humanity; the one in-charge. All you care for is personal gratification, don’t you?”
His comments shocked Anne as her jaw dropped down. She was left speechless for a moment before she finally stuttered out, “That’s so not true.”
“Really? Tell me about it,” Chris exclaimed, “Have you even shed a single tear for those who have died? Did you ever even love anyone? And is it not true, the fact that nobody chose you to lead this mission, but you were put in charge by your uncle, the President, doesn’t that give you a feeling of power and euphoria?”
“What a pack of rubbish are you blurting out Captain Davis?” but his comments had finally instigated Anne enough to stamp her authority down, “What do you know about my personal life or feelings? How much do you even know about me, or the fact that whether I’ve cried my heart out or not? I am in charge of a mission that determines whether humanity will survive or get extinct. Is that a kind of position that allows me the liberty to be weak?”
The entire crew was now up on their feet, listening carefully to each and every word their commander-in-chief was speaking.
“You talk about choosing someone to lead this mission,” Anne continued, “Have a look around you, at every member on board this spaceship, and then tell me; is there even one other person who you think is in a mental state to be in-charge of this mission?” Her words made Chris lower his head in shame, but she continued, “Look at yourself, and how a grown up intelligent man like yourself has conducted himself so far on this mission, and then tell me; which other person in New Saisho can you think of today, who would have been a better person to lead this mission? How many people you know onboard this spaceship, do you think even wanted to be on this spaceship in the first place, and then think of all those people we left behind and how desperate they would have been to save themselves and their families, at the expense of everybody else. Can you give me one single name you can think of, that would have been a better person to be in charge?” And then Anne stepped closer to Chris and grabbed him by the side of his arms, and yelled in his face, “Give me one single name and I shall step down from my post right now?”
Her words had already left everyone shell shocked, but Chris had no answer, and tried to look away. So Anne yelled once again, “Answer me now!”
And an ashamed Chris, still holding his head down, finally broke down and replied, “I am sorry chief, I got carried away.”
And Anne stepped back; a huge sigh escaped her lips.
“That’s alright Captain Davis. I’m sure the commander-in-chief understands,” Bradley finally stepped in to diffuse the situation completely.
There are only two ways to stamp your authority; either you do it with force, or you do it with deeds. Unless and until you leave your detractors silenced, you cannot gain the respect of your fellow men and women. But once you manage to do that, it is those who believe in you, who propagate your legend through time.
“So what have you found young man,” Rear Admiral asked of his Chief Engineer.
“What would you like to hear first sir; the news or the scientific information?” Marcus asked.
“Give us the hope to live by young man,” Rear Admiral replied, “And that would include a bit of both, sans the details.”
“Sir, so far we know that a spaceship has been developed, that is carrying about a hundred and twenty humans on board,” Marcus replied, “They would be travelling through two spaces; that is, the original space to which we belong, and the other space that we are currently in; trying to keep a seed of humanity alive, until it finds a new Earth to live on.” He then paused to gauge the reactions of his audience that included a whole bunch of seamen, in addition to his commanding officer.
“And I am pretty sure we have the scientific plan to construct a similar ship then, don’t we,” Rear Admiral asked after letting the previous information sink in.
“That’s true Sir, and there’s a bit more,” Marcus replied, “The updated data includes the design for portable Uranium extraction equipment, to allow humanity to harvest Uranium from other planets and heavenly bodies, while the centrifuge on space ship has the capability to enrich the same.”
“Great! We’ll develop the extraction equipment first so that a team can search it for us while we develop the spaceship,” Read Admiral wasted no time in making the decision, “Now who has managed to make it to the spaceship, how are they going to travel across the two universes, and what is the position of the remainder of the humanity?”
“Sir, the last update from the spaceship was an automatic update from the spaceship’s system, just two minutes before they were supposed to fly through the first space tear,” Marcus replied, “It lists Miss Anne De Villiers as the Commander-in-Chief, Captain Chris Davis as the Chief Flight Officer, with a few other names from the military, including Captain Bradley Connors and Captain Aman Ahluwalia.” He paused to gauge his commanding officer’s reaction, but the Rear Admiral maintained his demeanour. Marcus then continued, “There’s scientific information, both about the hardware and software; that can be used to predict the space-gates through which the spaceship can travel across the two universes.”
“Good! We immediately start work on that, and trace our steps back to the point where we were plucked out of our world, and then work our way from that point forward to the point from where we can join our fellow humans in this space odyssey,” Rear Admiral wasted no time in making the next decision, before asking, “What is the news of the humanity still left behind?”
“Sir, the last few pieces of news that made up the updates show that our President was assassinated by one of his guards as he informed the world of the impending doom,” Marcus informed everybody, “There is also some reported panic and rioting after that.” He then paused again to let the information sink in.
Following a brief silence, Rear Admiral asked, “Any other news of importance?”
“The satellite was plucked away after this point, and we have no clue as to what happened to the Earth after that, or for that matter, to any of our families,” Marcus informed everyone with a heavy heart.
Rear Admiral looked around at the faces of his men. They all stood there dejected, and possibly heartbroken. Judging the gravity of the situation Rear Admiral finally addressed his men, “Now I realize; this has been the hardest of the days so far, that we have endured on this new world that we are on. It is hard not because it tests us physically, but because it breaks us emotionally, sucking out the last of the hope that we live by, that one day we shall return to our world and see the beautiful faces of those whom we love. But it shall not be the day when we will let it kill us as humans who lost hope, for hope still exists. There is nothing that suggests that this is the end of either us or our world. Rather this is the day which brings us the news that we have a chance; a chance to make it back to our universe, and possibly back to our Earth, wherever it is now. And we shall take this hope and make a fight for it, for we are humans who thrive on hope, and soldiers who never yield to despair. So rise my men, for it is time we uplift our spirits and take the bull by its horns. Today we resolve to end this impasse, imposed on us by treacherous probability. So rise shall we all; and do so now!”
The toughest part of motivating oneself is that one needs motivation only when one has run out of it completely. Generally it is some hope that provides the seed of motivation in such a scenario, but rarely one finds oneself in a situation where it is not hope, but duty that fulfils the role.
“Thanks for letting me wear your mom’s clothes Jack,” Jenny exclaimed as a grieving Jack sobbed by the side of his mother’s grave.
“That’s fine Jenny,” he turned around and hugged her.
Jenny stood there for a minute or two, stroking his hair, trying to console him. Finally she said, “Now look Jack, we have some really serious work to do.” And Jack nodded his head as he wiped his tears and listened to her. “First of all, we need water,” Jenny continued, “So we are going to find all the rain water tanks installed in the houses that are there on this block, and fill up our containers. Are you ready?”
“Yep,” Jack replied.
“Good!” Jenny quipped and continued, “And of course, we need to find some kitchen gardens and fruit trees, that have some food for us. Tomorrow we will search houses for some stored grain.”
“Yep,” Jack replied again.
“But remember, we have to be very careful,” Jenny however cautioned him, “Stay close to me for we don’t know who else is here; man or beast.” And she picked up the spade lying next to her feet, “Grab that hockey stick Jack.” And Jack followed her instructions.
The two set out, going from house to house, with Jack knocking at the door first to see if someone was home, as Jenny would hide away to see if it was safe for a woman, and then the duo would look around the house for a rain water tank or a kitchen garden.
“Remember Jack, we don’t only need to find some food for now, but we would need to do a bit of gardening too, to grow some more,” Jenny quipped before pausing to reflect on something bothering her, “I am just not sure how having two Suns will affect the plants though.”