God Of A Man
“Survivors rise when all else has fallen; heroes stand tall when everything can still be saved.”
Chapter Thirteen: The calamity in waiting
Dated: 21st October, 2460
Sometimes all that matters is when you make a stand. The calling may be there forever, might have been there forever, but future is fixed when the call is answered. Those who sleep through the turmoil, only wake up to find all lost and gone for good. All that is left to do then is to salvage what is still in an acceptable condition. The only thing good about this approach is that most of the resistance on either side of the turmoil has already faded, and it costs less to the survivors in personal costs. This is an approach fit for those week and coward or shrewd and opportunist. There however is a big downside; all that one is salvaging out of the rubble of the society, it will not fix the ruins that the society is left as.
The better and more demanding approach is to make a stand when the society can still be saved. However, personal costs are greatest for those who dare to be the heroes. And perhaps it is this cost that makes their crowning glory the brightest. A lot may be lost of the society in the ensuing conflict, but enough is still left behind to rebuild. And even if all is lost except the survivors, then it is the work of the heroes that leaves something behind to be salvaged. Heroes are the chronological ancestors of the survivors of an apocalyptic future, and heroes put them to shade.
The time to make the choice is when the need to react is most dire. Anything later is too late, and it is hard to imagine a choice being made too early for generally the situation doesn’t become apparent until it has risen above the surface. Yes the fate is always avoidable, for fate doesn’t become future until a choice has been made. But of course, to change the fate one has to make a choice which often doesn’t rhyme with their natural tendencies.
“I made some fruit salad for you,” the little Jack exclaimed softly, as he put the salad plate by the side of the bed. Jenny had been down with fever, caused by the mild infection of her wounds. It’s ironic what she found in that fateful temporary lockup of theirs’ was barely enough to bandage her bruised emotions.
“It’s so sweet of you Jack,” a feeble Jenny acknowledged the young kid’s effort, but the mere act of her raising her hand to caress his cheek was enough to drain her out of her energy. Jack had to us all his strength to assist her in sitting up, and then he had to put the fruit piece by piece into her mouth, that she laboured to chew.
Labour of love however is seldom lost, even if misplaced. Those who labour in love, do so without ill intention, unless their love itself is sinister. And when the intentions are honest and love pure, the labour bears a future light as morning breeze.
The two aliens slowly moved through the dark corridor that extended towards the flight deck. One of them kept a keen watch to the front, the other towards the back. Slowly but surely, the two kept moving forward. The first one stopped at the entrance to the flight deck. Carefully he looked ahead, but the controls were all unmanned, and not a single soul was to be seen. Cautiously he put his first foot inside the cabin, and then pulled the rest of his body inside. To his surprise, all the inhabitants of this foreign spaceship that he found himself in were knelt down in a corner, their heads bowed and frames still like statues.
He called out to his companion who immediately rushed in to assist him in covering their hostages. The two spread out into two corners, to cover their catch. Finally one of them yelled something to the motionless captives. In a flash the lights of the cabin came on, as if switched on from somewhere remote, and Anne finally looked up at the intruders. Slowly and slowly she got back up on her feet, not to alarm them. She folded her hands and bowed to the intruders to express her gratitude, which for a less bright person might have appeared misplaced given the way the events had unfolded. But Anne’s first choice had to be reconciliation.
“Please, whoever you are, we mean no harm,” Anne pleaded in a soft voice, “We are just travellers on a journey across the space, to wherever our fate will take us.” Her comrades all looked up at their holders with pleading eyes.
One of the two captives finally stepped forward, and towards Anne. He was about a foot taller than Anne, and possibly had massive hands and feet, well covered by his space suit. He bent over to bring his helmet covered face right on top of Anne’s face, his visor touching her on her nose. It was almost like he was breathing down into her lungs. Anne however maintained her composure and stood her ground. But in a mad fit of rage, the alien let out a yell and slapped Anne hard in her face, sending her flying across the cabin and into the floor with a shriek and a thud.
Rocker and Margaret tried to get up but the alien quickly turned to them and hit the duo in two quick blows. And now everyone panicked, but stayed fixed to the ground, possibly under instructions from Captain Ahluwalia and Captain Connors.
The aliens raised their weapons to shoot at their shrieking hostages, but before any of the aliens’ could discharge their weapons, Captain Ahluwalia broke out of his hiding place and took out their weapons with two set shots.
“Stay still where you are,” Aman roared to the aliens as the surprised duo looked at him, and then at their weapons lying on the floor. Aman’s bullets had only dislodged the weapons out of their hands by their sheer impact, but they had failed to penetrate their space suits and ricocheted in different directions. “Come on out Bradley,” Aman yelled to his mate.
However, emboldened by the presumed lack of bite in Aman’s weapon, the two aliens lunged towards their weapons. But Aman quickly realized the predicament he was in, and immediately slid to the floor, kicking one of them in his legs and sending him flying across the cabin, and fired another couple of shots at the other alien’s hand, to dislodge the weapon he had just picked up again. Before the second alien could react, Aman quickly jumped at him and hit him in his stomach with a massive flying kick, tossing him back.
“Bradley, where are you? I need your help,” a desperate Aman called out for Captain Connors once again. But Bradley surprisingly was missing.
The first alien had meanwhile gotten up, and charged at Aman, who immediately ducked to avoid his stretching out arms, and quickly moved behind his back, to kick him in the side. Rocker and Margaret meanwhile lunged on top of the second alien, and a hand to hand combat ensued as the duo tried to neutralize him.
Meanwhile Aman took the first alien to task, “You bloody idiot; you don’t hit a woman.” He took a wild swing at his helmet, which even though hurt his hand, shook the alien’s head enough to make the alien lose his balance. Anne however watched on from a corner. “She was only talking to you,” Aman yelled out again as he stopped the alien’s kick by his side, and lunged forward to land his own massive kick into the alien’s stomach. In no time the alien was on the floor with Aman on top, landing punch after punch into the sides of his chest.
“Bradley, where are you?” Aman called out to his partner once again, but Bradley still didn’t answer.
Capacity does not always translate into results. It is not the capability of the machine, but the expertise of the handler that determines the extent of achievements.
“How fast are we travelling right now?” Rear Admiral asked Antonio Marks, his ships Chief Flight Officer.
“Sir we are doing good; about a quarter of the speed of light,” Antonio replied, “We might end up at the spot about two weeks in advance.”
“That’s really good,” Rear Admiral lauded the achievement, “That gives us time to scavenge through the nearby space, and search for a planet like ours.” He then took a deep breath, thought for a moment and then asked, “How fast can we go?”
“Sir, we are currently flying the ship at only one third of its’ power capacity,” Antonio replied, “But I am afraid, that is as fast as we can go.”
“And why is that?” Rear Admiral inquired.
“Sir, our technological capability to electronically monitor space environment is relatively limited compared to our ship’s prowess,” Antonio gave a humbling reply to his officer’s query, “And add to that, our intellectual abilities are relatively limited in analysing the massive data our technology is already capable of generating.”
“Marcus, is there a possibility of having a software solution?” Rear Admiral inquired of his Chief Engineer.
“Sir, our software is already highly capable,” Marcus replied, “It is just that we can only get so much out of it. The limitation is in our expertise.”
“That’s true,” Rear Admiral quipped, “It is not what the software is capable of, but rather what the man can make out of what he knows about the software, that determines the quality of his output.”
Output however is not always predictable. Sometimes a protagonist can surprise themselves with what they end up achieving. It is more important to invest an honest effort into the work. The result is merely an inevitable conclusion.
“Are you alright?” Aman asked Anne as she assisted him in tying up the second alien, while Margaret and Rocker tied up the first one.
“I’m fine,” Anne replied, holding back at her tears as hard as she could.
“Bradley, where are you?” Aman yelled out once more.
But while Bradley never answered, Aslam finally showed up with Mishansa, who surrounded by so many ripe and vibrant brains, nearly faded.
“Don’t fade yet Mishansa,” Aman immediately rushed to her side and grabbed her by her arm, “Please tell us what these people are thinking. We need to communicate with them.”
A dazed Mishansa looked at Aman, and then at the aliens. She turned back to Aman and said, “Aman, you are a good man!” And she nearly faded again. Aman had to shake her back to her senses again. Mishansa looked on like a person drugged, and strained at the two aliens. Finally she broke the terrible news, “I’m sorry! I can’t read their minds!”
“Please don’t say that,” Aman pleaded with her, “You can read everyone’s mind.”
“Not if they are not thinking,” Mishansa replied.
“How come I am thinking and they are not?” Aman vehemently asked, “Please try harder.”
“No, they are thinking,” Mishansa replied, “It is just that my mind is not corresponding to their brain waves. Their brain waves are so different, so weird.”
Meanwhile the two aliens used their mighty strength and broke off the chains holding their hands behind their backs. Aman immediately turned around and pointed his gun at them, yelling, “Don’t you dare move!”
At this point, finally Bradley broke out of his hiding place, looking completely dazed, but nevertheless pointed his gun at the two aliens who looked back at him.
“Aaras veis baiszer,” Bradley let out a strange cry, and the aliens halted in their stride.