God Of A Man
“You may joke about your education, but never take your education as a joke.”
Chapter Twelve: The dark of the dreaded
Dated: 19th – 21st October, 2460
When one jokes about their education, one inadvertently also critically examines it at the same time. How is this so? Simple; because to joke one has to examine the subtleties of what is being joked about. One sets about a task of finding flaws, some genuine and some very minor, and then proceeds to colour them with their own style of humour; crude, rustic, or otherwise. But in this process, one also ends up evaluating what might have gone wrong, and might proceed to fix it.
But take your education as a joke, and the joke is at your own peril, for an education taken as a joke is seldom imbibed. And what isn’t imbibed; seldom comes to your rescue when you most need it. Education is much less dependent upon the one disbursing it, than the one embracing it. The best of the teachers cannot teach a student unwilling to learn. And when you start taking your education as a joke, this road downhill is what you embark upon.
Education comes to your rescue when your friends are there no more to fight for you. Education comes to your rescue when your parents can no longer fend for you. Education comes to your rescue when the only light that is still left burning is the one inside your heart. Education is both the saviour and emancipator.
“Could Mishansa’s people have really travelled in space for twenty five years?” Anne inquired of Jhiang.
“I asked her about it, and what she has told me has made me evaluate my own model,” Jhiang replied, “I and Aslam are currently working on updating our model, by incorporating what we have understood from her description of travel, in both radial and tangential directions.”
“What do you mean by updating?” Anne was now quite curious.
“This phenomenon of Universal replacement, as we all know so far, is propagating as waves,” Jhiang replied, “And waves have a frequency too, in addition to wavelength and amplitude. While our current model takes into account the wavelength and amplitude, it doesn’t utilize frequency as a repeating pattern.”
“Ah! Simple English please,” Anne finally interrupted Jhiang when she couldn’t make a head or tail out of it.
“What it means is; that the Universal breach-front gets repeated periodically,” Jhiang tried to explain, “Say we are currently travelling along the breach-front ‘Y’. After a specific time interval, the breach-front would repeat itself, say as breach-front ‘Z’. But the only catch is; this front will travel at a distance further away from where we are.”
“So in case we miss our breach-front, we can travel further away to get to the new breach front, is that what you mean?” Anne asked.
Meanings are often obscured by layers of incoherence that need to be peeled off file by file. Often there can be more than one meaning hiding under all those piles. Sometimes it is not the meaning, but the context that determines which one makes a perfect fit.
A distraught Jenny rushed madly behind the spaceship flying away, down the path that connected her home block to the beach, with little Jack following close behind.
“Please don’t go! Please,” a distraught Jenny cried out as she finally gave up the chase, as the spaceship made its way towards the edge of the atmosphere, or perhaps, the edge of the space. She fell down on her knees for the umpteenth time, her bleeding hands clasping her face, as if holding it in place above a torso that simply refused to carry it along any further. “Mom,” cried out Jenny as little Jack joined her by her side, crying his own tears.
How long the duo sat there crying would be hard to guess, but when they finally couldn’t bear the beating sun anymore, the duo laboured back on to their feet. But as the duo turned around Jenny noticed the two barrels of fuel lying by the side of Aman’s car.
“Fuel, is that what we are supposed to live off?” an agitated Jenny exclaimed as she rushed around and kicked one of the barrels hard, only to clench her foot in pain.
“Hey Jenny look, they left something inside the car,” Jack’s inquisitive eye however caught sight of a note left behind by their unannounced fleeting guests.
Jenny immediately rushed to the car, opened the door, and pulled out the note to read it.
“Dear Captain Aman Ahluwalia, this is Lieutenant Jake Reginald, acting under the direct command of Rear Admiral Gurubaan Ahluwalia, currently on board New Saisho Space Ship ‘Full Bloom’,” Jake’s note read.
“Father’s still alive,” finally something brought a cheer back to the crying face of Jenny. She continued reading on!
“Rear Admiral is really upset that you have abandoned your car on this deserted planet, and wants you to immediately remove it from here,” Jake’s note continued, “He says we are coming after you, to find you and discipline you for your injudiciousness. However, as a benevolent officer that the Rear Admiral is; he says if you remove this car latest by the end of next year, he would let you off this time.”
“Do you know what this means Jack?” an excited Jenny appeared to have finally found some reason to cheer, “They will be coming back in a year and a half, to see if the car is still here.” She then continued to read.
“In the meantime, we are leaving behind two barrels of fuel, in case someone wants to steal your car,” Jake’s note left, “After all, it is your mistake to leave it open.” The note was signed and dated the nineteenth day of the tenth month of the year twenty four hundred sixty.
She kissed the note a thousand times, saying, “Thank you! Thank you so much! We will be waiting for you guys! I swear we won’t miss you next time!”
It is natural to miss what you know is missing, but what troubles the mind more is what you are not sure if it is missing. While in the former case it is the thought of the missing object that troubles mind as it learns to cope with the absence, in the latter case the mind doesn’t know how to prepare itself, for it is not sure whether it needs to prepare itself for what is missing, or should it prepare itself to ease the fear that the object is missing.
“Sir, looks like Captain Ahluwalia was having a wedding on the day the car went missing,” Jake replied as he went through the stuff he had recovered from the car, “Here are some of his wedding invitations!” And he passed the stuff on to the Rear Admiral.
“It was the same day that he left on the mission,” Rear Admiral quipped as he flipped the wedding invitation to read inside, “But the list of people on board lists Rosie and Bradley as the only two people from my family on board.”
“It’s weird Sir, for I’m sure your wife wouldn’t have been eligible for rescue on account of her age,” Engineer Marcus quipped, “So both Rosie and Jenny should have been on the spaceship; one of them as Captain Aman’s family member, and the other as Captain Bradley Connor’s family member.”
“It indeed is strange,” Rear Admiral quipped, and then turned back to Jake, “Are you sure there was no one down there?”
“Sir, we did as thorough a check as we could have without searching door to door,” Jake replied after a brief thought, “Do you want us to go back and have another look.”
“Negative,” Rear Admiral exclaimed, “We don’t have any more spare time. I just hope there was no one.”
Hope can often be a lie too; a lie said to ease your own nerves. Such hope doesn’t necessarily have to be grounded in any reality based predictions. It just needs to do its’ job as a booster.
Jenny checked the seat pocket where she had left the note for Aman, and surely enough it was still there. A sigh escaped her lips, “I knew it! No one but only Aman would know where to look for it.” Dejected she left the note back there.
When you don’t know what you are looking for, it is highly unlikely you will find something intentionally hidden from view. It is the knowledge of what to look for, that drives a hunt. Everything else is just pot luck!
“What the hell was that?” a shocked Anne asked a stunned flight deck, as a fine laser beam zoomed past the spaceship ‘Maa’, and the shock wave accompanying the beam was enough to rattle the entirety of it.
“Nothing on the screen yet,” Margaret, who was sharing the flight duties with Rocker in a switched roaster, exclaimed as she frantically moved through various screens on the monitor in front of her.
“We got company,” were the frightful words of Rocker as he finally nailed the culprit, “They are slowing down, and our radio radar is finally picking them up.”
Captain Bradley Connors, who was on duty for the shift, immediately sprung to his feet and pressed the alarm, meant to wake-up and notify Captain Aman Ahluwalia, who was sleeping close by in one of the two specially constructed secret cabins by the side of the flight deck.
“They are coming back,” a frightened Margaret exclaimed.
“Relax,” Captain Ahluwalia’s voice boomed on the radio address, “Operation ‘Dead Duck’ is now on foot. No movement at all, no reaction whatsoever. Turn all the cabin lights off now.”
Meanwhile Bradley had snuck into his secret cabin.
“Aslam,” Anne nodded to her Flight Engineer, who immediately snuck out of the cabin under instructions.
“They are almost upon us,” Margaret informed everyone.
“Stay still, no movement, no reaction,” Aman reminded everyone again.
The alien craft whizzed past spaceship ‘Maa’ at a safe distance a couple of times before it finally took its first shot, a fairly massive one.
“We are hit,” Rocker exclaimed.
“Stay still,” Aman yelled back on the radio again.
The alien craft made another sortie before turning around and taking another bigger shot.
“They are going to kill us,” Anne shrieked.
“Stay calm, stay still,” Aman yelled back one more time.
The alien craft took one more shot, the biggest of them all.
“Level three breached, losing pressure fast,” Margaret exclaimed, “Only one more level to go before we lose our air pressure completely.”
“What do we do now?” Anne almost cried out, “We are going to die!”
“Stay still, stay calm,” but Aman still hadn’t changed his command sequence, “No reaction at all!”
“The centrifuges are working overtime, temperature peak is hitting critical,” Rocker exclaimed as he checked some parameters on his monitor, “We need to turn the artificial gravity off!”
“Negative,” Aman exclaimed, “Stay still! I want them to come in, and we’ll need gravity to make it easier for us.”
“The ship will explode,” Rocker exclaimed.
“Oh my mother,” Anne yelled out.
“It will explode anyway,” Aman retorted back, “We have no means to fight back! Hold on!”
The alien craft took a few more sorties around the craft before its occupants finally decided to inspect their weird company manually. The craft docked at the lower end of the spaceship, attaching itself with four tentacle-like suction pads. Two aliens, dressed in spacesuits from head to toe, and bipedal, sailed out of the craft, attached to it with their ropes. One of them used a hand held laser gun to blow a hole into the underside hatch of the spaceship ‘Maa’. As soon as the hatch was pulled apart, the two entered.