God Of A Man
“Actual reality; a heterogeneous mix of real, assumed and negotiated realities.”
Chapter Three: Negotiated reality
Dated: 26th March – 8th April, 2460
As much as an ideal state of affairs never exists, so does absolute reality. Now it might be skinning the hair; to differentiate between absolute and actual realities, but there is a very fine difference between the two. While both lack the perfection of an ideal state; the actual reality is also not what absolutely exists, as in the real state of affairs. Some bits of the actual reality consist of assumed state of affairs; things that are not known or confirmed, but are supposed to exist and expected to behave just like other normal things of the same kind do, say for example reciprocity and commitment in any relationship. Then there is negotiated reality, where one knows that certain things either don’t exist, or if they do then they possibly might not behave the way one would love or expect them to, but for the sake of finding peace with one’s own self, they deliberately assume an opposite state of affairs. They live on, hoping they will either never have to confront the truth, or the truth would turn out to be what they want it to be. An example could be a one sided infatuation, or the surviving kin of a missing person.
Actual reality is also not the same for every individual, for as might be apparent already; everybody assumes and negotiates different set of realities, to complete their own world. For most normal people, generally the real state of affairs is the dominant component of their lives. Fighters are generally those whose state of affairs is dominated by negotiated state of affairs, even though it might be easier to mistake them to be disturbed. They are fighters because generally it’s easier to live the life after facing the truth, for then the real state of affairs becomes the dominant component, and possibly sniffs out their motivation to have a life different than what the truth has to offer. But of course, a few of them might be motivated enough to decide to change the real state of affairs itself; a trait found in rarest of rare specimens.
Surprising it might sound, but help is generally needed by those whose lives are dominated by assumed state of affairs, and the kind of help they need depends upon the extent of assumed reality they live in, and the nature of their dependence. This is because the real component of their reality is so limited, that the assumed component is more likely to fail them on a much regular basis, and people are generally not prepared for such failures of their world. Unlike those who negotiate most of their reality and learn to improvise and live, these people are too dependent on others, and are themselves either not equipped, or trained to handle the situation when others fail them.
“But why do you want me to go?” Doctor Suzanne asked vehemently.
“Because there’s a life waiting for you,” Doctor Xavier replied calmly, “Besides, you are better equipped, both with your specialized training, and as a woman, to be a better doctor on this mission.”
“But I am neither perfect, nor is there any reason to expect my specialization to suit better for the mission than yours,” Doctor Suzanne however argued, “And who says there’s no life waiting for you?”
“You are arguing just for the sake of it,” Doctor Xavier Adams exclaimed as he gently pushed her into the capsule and closed the door on her, locking her inside.
“You can’t do this to me,” Doctor Suzanne’s faint voice emerged out of the small glass window, “Let me out of here!”
“No, it’s time for you to go,” Xavier exclaimed as he waived a goodbye, and the capsule started flying away.
“I don’t want to go Xavier,” Suzanne’s faint yelling resonated out of the capsule as it flew away, deep into the white misty surrounds.
“Don’t worry sweetheart, I’ll always be there with you,” Xavier yelled back at her, rushing behind the capsule for as far as he could, and as fast as he could, “Just call me once and I’ll be there by your side.” And the capsule left him far behind.
“Xavier!” a yelling Suzanne woke up, only to find herself on a small board stretched out of a cocoon.
“Good morning Doctor Dillon, glad to have you awake,” Bradley greeted her, and sensing her mental state, reminded her, “We are on Spaceship ‘Maa’. Commander-in-Chief Anne De Villiers needs to see you whenever you are ready.”
Realizing what Xavier had done, a distraught Suzanne broke down, “Oh Xavier! Why did you do this? What have you done?”
In a flash Bradley realized what had happened. Sensing trouble he immediately stepped in to both comfort her, as well as reason with her, “I am sorry Miss Dillon. Doctor Xavier Adams shouldn’t have forced you on this mission. I wish I could change that, but unfortunately we all are now stuck with what has happened. All I can say is; we all are here for each other now, and there is no one else. And we all need each other.”
But Suzanne continued to sob with her face in her palms, before she realized something and looked at him shocked, “What are you doing here? How did you get in?” And then she remembered the night before the departure, and how Xavier had made her sign the clearance certificate of Captain Connors. “Oh no Xavier, you idiot,” unwittingly she exclaimed as she turned her face away and stared into a distance, hitting her forehead with her palm. And this time Bradley realized the other half of the story. The truth shocked him enough to push him back by a couple of steps. And Suzanne too realized what had just happened as she haplessly looked back at Bradley. “I’m so sorry Brad,” she exclaimed as tears of her own sorrow continued to roll down her cheeks.
Bradley however had been taken aback completely by the unexpected revelation. He murmured something as he staggered out of the cocoons chamber, and walked away.
You can walk away from an unpleasant situation, but if it is not going to rectify itself on its own, the only other choice is to confront it. The results may not always be flattering or satisfying, but at least there would be no other choice left by the time you are done giving it your best shot. And then you can move on and seek a recovery.
“Sir, is there nothing else we can do?” Lieutenant Jake Reginald asked Rear Admiral.
“With the amount of time we have at our disposal, I’m afraid not,” the Rear Admiral replied before continuing, “It’s time to declare the decision.” And he walked out of his camp set up by the beach, as a fleet of around a hundred men waited patiently in ten odd files; NSS Full Bloom anchored firmly in all its glory, made a perfect background.
As the Rear Admiral arrived to address his men, he was greeted by a ceremonial salute that he gracefully returned. And then he started off with his calculated speech, “There are no secrets to be divulged today, for each one of us is physically aware of our predicament. But today is a day of some big decisions.” He then looked towards the ship, and then continued, “NSS Full Bloom; our pride as well as our home, it has served us and the people of New Saisho really well. But today the time has come, to give it the much deserved promotion. Today what NSS Full Bloom demands of us is not just love and attachment,” he then paused for a second, looked around at the blank faces staring at him, and then continued with aplomb, “Today we decide to give it an upgrade.”
His speech caused a wave of murmurs to rise before Jake silenced everyone. Finally one soldier asked, “Sir, are we going to dismantle our entire ship.”
“The word is upgrade young man,” the Rear Admiral replied, “And we will take as much out of it as much is needed. We cannot go back to our homes on what we have. NSS Full Bloom needs to sail, not across the seas no more, but across the skies, and beyond.”
The writing is not on the wall until it is actually put up there. Valiant fight even in the face of a complete loss of hope in the future, for sometimes the hope rests not in the future, but in the efforts themselves, that they might change the future. And more often than not, they do!
“Is it still the same day right now?” an innocent Jack asked as Jenny woke him up with a glass of water and an orange picked from one of the fruit threes they found on the block.
“The world we are on, probably it is,” Jenny replied after taking in a deep breath, “But if our clock is still working correct, then it is just beyond noon on twenty ninth of March.”
“I hate how the sun never goes down over here,” Jack exclaimed.
“They both do go down, if only for about four five hours,” Jenny replied, “But I am glad that is so, for we neither have electricity, nor we know what kind of creatures roam around on this planet.”
“But we have those birds, bees and Don, our rabbit,” Jack didn’t understand what Jenny was saying, so he pointed out their rescued new pet, and a few other species they found on the block.
“I am not talking of these animals from our world Jack,” Jenny replied, but realized Jack was too young to understand what she feared. She then sank down into the couch and started to sob, “I am so sorry Jack I can’t take you back home. I don’t even know if we ever will go back home. I was supposed to be married and living happily today.” She then broke out crying, “I love you Aman, and I miss you so much.”
Watching her cry like that made little Jack cry out as well, as he got out of the bed and walked up to Jenny. He put his little hand on Jenny’s cheek and exclaimed, “Please don’t cry Jenny! I’ll marry you when I’ll grow up!”
When it is hard to predict what is going to happen the very next moment, it is near impossible to predict what will happen tomorrow. It is good to have an expectation, but it is bad to count on it as true, and worse to fear it as a certainty.
“The gate opens in three, two,” Jhiang counted down the opening of a new gate into an uncertain universe, and true to his job, Rocker fired the reconnaissance craft. The craft flew in through the gate, straight to its fate, or perhaps not so straight. The inexperience of the entire crew, right from the top to the bottom was self evident, as fearing the gate won’t stay open for too long, they had been tailing too close to the craft, thus denying themselves a comfortable time to make an emergency call.
“Abort! Abort! There’s a Sun directly on the other side,” a petrified Rocker yelled out as soon as the reconnaissance craft crossed the gate, sending back the live images of the other side, images that were too bright to view even on a limited resolution screen. The reconnaissance craft itself got no time beyond its entry, before it was sucked up by a ball of fire. Perhaps the craft itself became a ball of fire in a split second, but that is not too relevant beyond the point of reality for those who were tailing it.
“Abort!” a freaked out Anne yelled without wasting a split second however; and aborted the attempt was. But as their predicament would have it, Spaceship Maa might have been turned away from the gate, but clearing the hurdle cleanly wasn’t possible on such a short call. The spaceship’s bottom grazed the edge of the gate, albeit only slightly. But it was enough to set the sirens ringing. “What happened?” a terrified Anne asked.
“We’ve got damage to the ship,” Captain Davis exclaimed.
“How bad is it?” Anne immediately asked.
Rocker was immediately on to the job, using robotic eyes fitted all around the spaceship, to inspect its exterior, “It’s hard to say from what I can see through the cameras. We need a physical inspection.”
Anne’s first query was immediately directed to Captain Davis, “Are we clear to continue flying or do we need to stop immediately.”
“We can for now, as we are in space and there’s no external friction to worry about,” Chris replied, “But we won’t be able to fly anywhere close to a heavenly body large enough to have an atmosphere, without getting charred to our deaths.”
Anne immediately turned to Jhiang for her next question, “How much time do we have till the next gate, and how far do we need to travel?”
“Four days until the next event; and we need at least three days of continuous flying,” Jhiang gave her the relevant figures.
Anne immediately turned to a still grieving Doctor Suzanne Dillon, “Doctor, we need astronauts up immediately; ready for a spacewalk and repairs.” She then turned to Captain Chris Davis, “Do we need to halt for the repairs? Can we halt in mid flight?”
“This is space. We can wait here for as long as we want to, mid flight, no problems,” Chris informed her, “And I do recommend carrying out repairs in a stationary state.”
The thing about relativity is; everything is judged in relation to something else. It is as if the thing itself has no worthwhile kinetic character of its’ own. But then that is what the ultimate truth probably is. A thing in absolute stationary state might still be in a motion as a part of the entire space that it exists in. Life is just like that, for even when it is still for the one who is living it, it might still be driving the entire framework of a community’s existence towards an ultimate goal no individual themselves know.
“It looks like minor damage only,” Astronaut Yuri Chekhov replied to the deck, as he and his partner Michael Grey inspected the spaceship.
“Thanks for the heads-up Captain Chekhov, please do the needful,” Anne replied just as Jhiang impatiently waved at her to get her attention.
“We have an asteroid shower heading this way,” Jhiang yelled out as he couldn’t have waited any longer, “Sixty seconds to impact.”
“What?” Anne exclaimed before immediately responding to the emergency and issuing the first set of orders, “Prepare to move in thirty seconds; roll the men in Captain Connors; the countdown is twenty seven, twenty eight,” and she went on with the flow of the job.
“Damn it!” Bradley, who was stationed inside the hatch, suspended in zero gravity, exclaimed as he pushed the lever to roll the astronauts in as fast as the hardware would let him. Even after using the hatch closest to the damage, the astronauts were still fare way outside.
“Fourteen, thirteen,” Jhiang had picked up on the countdown.
“What’s the update Captain,” Anne asked Bradley on the radio.
“Fourteen seconds to return,” Bradley informed.
“Eight, seven,” Jhiang continued as everyone turned around to Anne in anticipation.
“We move out on zero,” Anne however ordered.
The ship propelled right on dot, but the inertia push stretched the poor duo further out again. Bradley, who had planted his feet firmly into a hold around a metal handle in anticipation, immediately latched on to the two ropes and started pulling them in, thus adding to the mechanical pull of the machine. In the end every decision proved out to be good, for the first pieces of rock and ice arrived way ahead of the expected one minute impact time, some of them barely missing the heads of the duo by inches. Had Anne delayed the pull out even by a couple of seconds, it would have been an end of their existence.
Life however has a way of survival of its’ own. While individuals improvise in the face of adversity, species evolve in the face of extinction. But life continues beyond every mass wipe-out.
“There’s a planet on the other side, at a comfortable distance,” Aslam informed the cabin, as they prepared to follow their replaced reconnaissance craft, through the space gate.
“Clear to enter,” Charles Harrison, who was in charge for the night shift, gave the go ahead, just as the day crew walked in to take-over.
“Wow!” That looks beautiful,” Chris exclaimed, “Looks like we’ve found a new earth.”
“I’ll run the elemental analysis on the composition of its atmosphere, using the wave spectrometer,” Jhiang immediately exclaimed.
“No!” Anne however intervened immediately, “We will first relieve the night crew, and then Aslam will run the analysis for us before he retires for the night.”
“Can’t we just land in there and check it out if it is habitable?” Chris asked.
“I am afraid we can’t,” Anne replied as she looked at Jhiang, perhaps with a question.
“That’s right commander,” Jhiang confirmed her reservations, “We need to continue with our flight for we might not have enough time before the next event.”
“But this way we’ll never find a new home,” Chris protested.
“That will not be the case Captain Davis,” Anne however assured him, “We still have about three days till the next event, and while we continue on our journey in the intended direction, we’ll analyse all the relevant data about this planet. If it is a good place to stop and make a new home, we can always come back to it.”
Anne’s explanation gave comfort to the Captain, who nodded his head.
“Hey look at that,” Christina exclaimed pointing out something, “Looks like this planet has got two suns.”
“Wow!” Chris exclaimed.
“Now that is interesting,” Anne joined in.
“And that could be good,” Jhiang exclaimed, before adding a cautionary word, “Or it could be really bad!” And as everyone turned around and looked at him, he continued, “What I would like to know is; which Sun is revolving around which Sun?”