Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss
“Legends are born, not made!!”
Chapter Twenty Four: Private Curt Sommers
An old saying from the great Indian subcontinent tells us, “A genius identifies himself at birth, the slippery softness of his palms giving away his identity.” The metaphor is perhaps based on the fact that a genius can accomplish a lot more without breaking much sweat physically, by virtue of his intellectual handling and sorting out of complexities involved in a task. And those who don’t have to do much physical work generally have soft hands. During French Revolution the authoritarian and cruel nobility was identified from the softness of the hands and executed.
What a person will become can generally be gauged very early in life. The intellectual abilities, goal orientation, dedication and actions are surprisingly, measurable variables. Their values might be gauged differently by different observers but what each observer will roughly agree upon is whether the individual under observation is destined for greatness or not. Those who are destined for greatness will always know what they want, have an idea how to get it, will work out ways to overcome obstacles and will always be ready to change course if an obstruction is non negotiable. But they will never give up on their favourite quest until they finish it. Legends are born and their actions in every situation bear a testimony to this fact. No amount of planning and execution on the part of others can make an ordinary person a legend.
Mishiida knows her aim, she’s worked hard to find ways to achieve it and even though she may be stuck right now, she will definitely find out a way to get what she wants. She’s a born legend. Alexander wants to make it big in entertainment industry and was working diligently towards it. The twist his life has taken may not have been a part of his plan but he has stood up for his principles and what he believes in to be right. Only he can risk his life for someone he doesn’t even know if she loves him or not because he is pure at heart and dedicated in his actions. He is a legend in his own right.
Today as Mishiida stands in front of us taking an aim at one of the crafts of her enemies, our hearts race faster and faster. Can she really take on these scores of craft on her own?
“No! Don’t do it!” a desperate Corbett lunges forward grabbing Mishiida’s hands and falls down on his knees lowering the weapon right on to his forehead. Our hearts nearly jump out of our mouths and into our hands. “Has he gone nuts? He could have been killed if she had taken a shot,” we mutter to ourselves.
“No! Please don’t shoot!” Corbett pleads with her again shaking his head to make it clear.
Mishiida looks at him surprised and pulls her hands out of his grip and takes an aim again.
“Please don’t!” Corbett stands up and holds her hands again moving them away from the aim line, “You are putting all of us and Alexander at risk.” He points to Alexander and Mishiida looks at him. She realizes what Corbett means and puts her weapon away.
“Why did you do that?” Curt is however incensed, “Why didn’t you just let her shoot down the damn invaders? What do we care? She is one of them and if she wants to kill them let her do it.”
“That’s exactly what I can’t let her do at this moment,” Corbett replies with conviction.
“Why not?” Curt confronts him as he walks up to him.
“Two reasons,” Corbett replies, “Firstly, that will expose her location to them which I don’t want to happen just yet as I want your Colonel Jerome and my Colonel Rick to figure out how best to use her help. And secondly, there are scores of alien crafts hovering above our skies. How many do you think she can take down with her small weapon? If I let her shoot them, not only will her location be disclosed but they will be here in no time, and in hordes. We’ll be dead meat in no time. And perhaps that would be the end of the last chance we have against them.”
“He’s right,” Dr Swift adds her weight behind what Corbett has explained.
“Who are you to comment on military matters?” Curt is however rude and direct.
“I may not be a military official but I do have common sense,” Dr Swift replies with equal vengeance.
“I’ll prefer a referendum on that one,” Curt quips as he walks away and towards the direction they were heading to. Corbett shakes his head and grabs the bed of Alexander and starts pushing it behind him. The rest of us follow suit.
After a few uneventful minutes we finally reach the underground command centre but the look inside gives us the shock of our lives. It is all but empty with only one man managing the entire location.
“What the hell happened? Where’s everybody gone?” Curt asks what we are wondering.
“Colonel Jerome and others have moved to the forward post near the sea,” the officer replies.
“But why?” Corbett asks.
“Colonel Jerome needs to set up a wireless link with the states, so he has moved to the shore,” the officer answered.
“How will the proximity to sea help in it?” Dr Swift is a doctor and hence like us not expected to know the nuances of physics.
“The thing with radio communication is that if you use a frequency high enough the radio waves bounce between Ionosphere of atmosphere above and the sea water below, repeatedly and unobstructed, and can be made to set up a communication channel between Australia and the States,” Corbett replies.
“Wow! You mean I don’t need to pay money to telecom companies to communicate at will with my friends in the States?” Dr Swift jumps at the thought.
“It’s illegal,” Curt gives a curt reply.
“What about mobile phones and landline?” Dr Swift ignores him and asks.
“The landlines and local mobile services were restored temporarily after we lost the satellites but now that all the exchanges and ground level radio towers have been razed to the ground itself, we are mute,” officer replies to her query.
“But how are Colonel and the rest travelling to the forward post?” Corbett asks the officer.
“They are travelling by the underground sewerage system,” the officer replies.
“Won’t that be tough?” Dr Swift asks.
“It’ll be stinky,” Curt replies.
“We’ve got maps for it,” Corbett explains to her.
“In that case you can help me,” Dr Swift comments.
“I’d love to,” Curt says with a wicked smile, folds his arms around his chest and walks up to her with a stretched smile on his lips and blinking his eye lashes.
“Stop pestering her,” Corbett takes offence to it.
“Why? Is she your sister?” Curt takes a dig that enrages Corbett who folds his fist and takes a step towards him when Dr Swift intervenes.
“Guys, relax!” Dr Swift exclaims, “I know he’s only kidding!”
“Don’t be so sure,” Curt says puckering up his lips and turning away smiling at her but giving Corbett a glare.
“Why do you need our help?” Corbett decides not to give Curt any attention.
“You’ll remember I told you I was at the hospital to collect some important medications needed for some patients who’ve been moved to our underground facility at the other end of the town,” Dr Swift reminds Corbett.
“Are they really important?” Corbett understands what Dr Swift wants to do.
“Yes! They are for atleast ten patients,” Dr Swift replies.
“Great!” Corbett gets into retrospection and then finally asks the officer, “Do you have a spare map of the underground sewerage system?”
“I sure do and I can give it to you as well but unfortunately you cannot use the underground sewerage system,” the officer quips.
“Why not?” Corbett asks.
“Because the sewerage system has already been set up for a fight with the aliens and any movement inside is a strict no, no. Colonel Jerome and his team’s requirements were an emergency, and is the only exception that has and will be made. Any other movement in the system will be considered an alien intrusion and will be shot dead,” the officer explains.
“How do we get her to the hospital then?” Corbett asks surprised and dejected.
“Unfortunately all I can do for you is provide you with a headset apiece, for you know what,” the officer says picking up a headset out of a box and tossing it to Corbett while pointing at Mishiida.
We all look around and see Mishiida sitting by the side of Alexander holding his hand.
“Oops! I nearly forgot,” Dr Swift quickly rushes to Alexander’s side and sets up the blood transfusion.
“Is this the best you can do?” Corbett asks the officer with a hope.
“No! No!” the officer replies raising our hopes, “I’ll actually throw in a free M16, modified for anti armour ammunition, just for you.” And the officer goes to another box and pulls out two M16’s. “I am sure the Doctor won’t need it,” he adds with pun.
“Is that all?” Corbett asks dejectedly.
“Oh no, I’ll provide you with ammunition as well,” and the officer goes to another box and pulls out seven loaded magazines from it, “And you can also take a Hummer from the basement under the, what must be former military headquarters now.”
Corbett looks at the headphones and the gun. Then he looks at Dr Swift who is watching him with great anticipation. He then looks at the officer again and finally speaks, “Looks like we’ll have to travel by road.”
“I am ready when you are,” Dr Swift replies.
“And I’ll be ready as soon as I get my tuxedo,” Curt replies, “So when is the date?”
Corbett gives him a glare.
“Let’s go doc,” Corbett says to Dr Swift.
“You could call me Hayley if you like,” Dr Swift replies.
“And you can call me Curt, Hayley,” Curt butts in again.
Corbett ignores him and walks up to Mishiida and says, “I am going with Hayley, you stay here with Alexander.” He uses elaborate hand gestures which we are not sure if Mishiida understood. He continues, “This officer will be here with you all the time.” And he points to the officer and tries to motion to Mishiida that he will be with them at that place. He finally walks up to Dr Swift and nudges her to move. Mishiida gets up to follow them but Corbett gestures with his hand, “Stay here!” Mishiida takes her seat next to Alexander again.
“Would you please do me a favour and pull the drip and blood lines out once the transfusion is complete?” Dr Swift asks the officer.
“Ok! No problem,” the officer assures her.
Corbett and Dr Swift walk out of the basement into the open and Curt follows them.
“We don’t need you,” Corbett says to him in a harsh tone.
“You bet!” Curt replies.
“I said we don’t need you,” Corbett points his gun at his chest.
Curt walks up to Corbett, pushes his chest to the barrel of the gun, “You need me more than this girl and for this girl.”
“No I don’t,” Corbett replies.
“Yes you do! You need me to drive the vehicle so that you can keep an eye if anyone has spotted us so that I can drive you towards safety. Without me, you both will be dead in not time,” Curt replies firmly, “She is not militarily trained for this trip.”
“I would prefer dying than taking your help,” Corbett replies.
“And she will die along you and so will ten patients who need her medicines! Don’t be a jerk,” Curt replies.
“He is right,” Dr Swift understands the importance of what Curt is suggesting and puts her support behind him. Corbett reluctantly agrees. They walk up to the basement of the former military headquarters, grab a hummer and drive out of it. Curt takes the wheel while Corbett gets out of the sun roof to spot any alien movement. We make ourselves comfortable inside the hummer on the passenger seat while Dr Swift graces the back seat. We notice Curt giving Dr Swift a glance every now and then through the back view mirror, his eyes clearly indicating he is smitten. After a while Dr Swift catches him looking at her and gets uncomfortable. She stands up and pushes her head out of the sun roof to join Corbett in spotting. We hop on to the roof as well, right infront of them, resting our face between our palms and our elbows on our folded knees.
“What are you doing up here?” Corbett asks.
“Nothing,” Dr Swift replies as she looks into his eye. She gets lost instantly and so does Corbett, albeit for a brief moment.
“I am here to spot the aliens before they roast us,” Corbett replies with a smile.
“I know, and I am here to cover some work for you and give you company,” Dr Swift replies, her eyes still lost in his eye. Corbett instantly looks away.
“Great! You watch your side, I’ll keep an eye on mine and also the rear,” Corbett says trying hard to divert attention.
Dr Swift also becomes a bit conscious and looks away, pretending to be watching her side. She finally asks, “How did you get that injury to your eye?”
“It’s a long story,” Corbett replies with a sigh.
“Not longer than our trip I’m sure,” Dr Swift replies.
“It happened ten years ago in Iraq,” Corbett gets lost into recollection, “Colonel Rick, then Major, was leading our small battery to assist a small contingent of US marines caught in an ambush just outside Iraq. We reached there and repulsed the attack. While the firing was still on I noticed a small kid caught in the cross-fire, hiding behind a rock, scared. Dead sheep lay behind him. Perhaps he was a shepherd or so, I thought. Inspite of strict refusal from my commanding officer Rick I decided to risk my life and ran to save the kid. My mates provide me covering fire but a bullet hit my thigh. I still managed to drag myself to the child and tried to pick him up in my lap with one arm, firing blindly at my enemy with my other arm when.” He stopped his story at that point.
“What happened then?” Dr Swift became curious.
“He was a suicide bomber,” Corbett replied, “Barely eleven years of age or there about, he smiled at me as I bent over, he folded his jacket away to reveal the bomb tied to him under it and pressed the button, looking at me and smiling.”
“What happened then? How did you escape?” Dr Swift got curious.
“I stood there as if in a shock looking at the boy. Luckily the bomb didn’t go off. The kid was surprised and started to fiddle with the bomb. I turned around to return and the kid grabbed by good leg. I couldn’t shake him away. The firing from the enemies intensified and a bullet hit me just below my left shoulder. I was in pain and desperate. I turned around and blew the kid’s head away,” and Corbett almost breaks down, “I killed a child.”
The two fall silent for a few seconds.
“It wasn’t your fault. He was going to die anyway and you had every right to save yourself,” Dr Swift finally speaks as she grabs him from his shoulder with one hand and puts her other hand on his cheek to cheer him up, “Don’t feel guilty for it.”
“I know you are right but somehow I haven’t been able to forgive myself for it,” Corbett replies, remorse still clear in his voice.
“You need to forgive yourself. I am sorry I reminded you of it,” Dr Swift reasons with him.
They fall silent for a few seconds again before Dr Swift asks him, “But how did you get this injury?”
“As his headless body fell away leaving my leg, I quickly tried to cover ground to be back where my mates were holding position. Midway I turned around to have a look at the body again and the bomb went off. A splinter pierced my eye leaving me blind in one eye forever,” Corbett exclaims with a heavy breath, “I consider it a punishment to me for having killed a kid. I felt ashamed at myself when I was awarded a bravery award for this effort of mine. I had put my own life at risk to save a child in action was what I was told. To date I am not convinced of my own actions.”
“You should stop blaming youself for it now. That kid was a terrorist and was going to get killed anyway. If you hadn’t killed him at that point, he might have killed all your mates at the end of the ambush when you people would have tried to rescue him,” Dr Swift makes a very valid assertion.
“Perhaps you are right,” Corbett says with a sigh which sounded like it just relieved him of a heavy burden.
“What did your girlfriend say?” Dr Swift asks a question and then quickly adds, “I am sorry for getting personal and assuming things, but I am sure a man like you must be having a gorgeous girlfriend, or is it a wife?” Dr Swift looks like she is desperately hoping Corbett will reply in negative.
“My girlfriend left me soon after I left the army after this injury,” Corbett replies with a heavy heart, “After six years of being in a stable relationship with me she suddenly started to feel neglected and told me that I made her feel unwanted and loveless. She left me.” Corbett’s head fell down in sorrow.
“You know what, your story is just like me,” Dr Swift replies, “I got involved in research and this job and my boyfriend suddenly realized that I was insensitive and emotionless. He left me and found love in a model.”
“I am sorry to hear that,” Corbett tries to comfort her, “So he picked up a model ditching a gorgeous and intelligent girl like you? What an idiot!”
“Thanks for the complements but I don’t think I am that good looking,” Dr Swift blushes and replies.
“No, I mean it,” Corbett adds, “What does that jerk do now?”
“I don’t know. The last I heard of him was that model ditched him for a big movie star who subsequently ditched her for a hotter model,” Dr Swift replies giggling.
“See, world is round! What goes around comes around!” Corbett replies as they both burst into a laughter. They seem to gel with each other and enjoying each others company.
Suddenly the hummer comes to a screeching halt and we nearly slide over and off the roof.
“Oye! Is somebody watching the aliens or do I have to do that job too?” Curt takes a jibe at the two.
“You carry on mate, we are keeping a close watch,” Dr Swift replies to him.
“As if,” Curt says shaking his head, “Bloody Romeos and Juliets! I am in the wrong country!”
He drives off again and we stand up on the roof of the hummer as Corbett and Dr Swift watch out for aliens.
What destruction! For the first time we notice how each and every house, office, shop, every building has been razed to the ground. We wonder how many innocent lives have already been lost, lives that couldn’t make it to a secure basement. We hate the site that surrounds the road we are travelling on. Just rubble and rubble everywhere!
“We got company! We got company!” Corbett yells at the top of his voice, “Coming right behind us!” And Curt immediately turns the hummer to a side and off the road. He stops it behind a pile, opens his door and hops out, “Quick! Get out of the vehicle and hide.”
Corbett and Dr Swift get out of the vehicle and run behind Curt as they make their way behind piles of rubble. Two alien crafts arrive at the spot and with one single shot destroy the hummer. The two crafts land and their gates open. Four aliens laced with weapons similar to Mishiida hop out of them. They walk up to the charred hummer and one of them looks inside trying to spot its’ occupants’ bodies. When he fails to spot any body he looks at the others and shakes his head in negative. They converse with each other in jarring sounds which are just about bearable. One of them motions the rest to search for the occupants in the surrounding area.
We notice Curt looking at them from a corner and make a dash to him.
“Quick! Let’s put our ear muffs on!” Curt tells Corbett and Dr Swift, “C’mon lets’ go!”
And the three of them run through pile after pile of razed houses, as fast as they can and as far away from trouble as they can.
“How many of them did you see?” Corbett asks.
“Four!” Curt replies.
“Damn! How are we going to fight them with these guns,” Corbett laments as they run for their lives.
They finally stop behind a pile.
“This is ridiculous! How long are we going to run and where?” Corbett replies puffing, “I don’t even remember the direction we ran in anymore.”
“We need to save the girl and get the medicines to the hospital!” Curt replies, “Besides there’s no point in getting killed anyway, or is it?”
“What do you propose to do?” Corbett asks.
“One of us will have to divert their attention so that the other two can escape,” Curt replies, “They don’t know how many of us were in that vehicle. One body will be good enough to satisfy them as long as the other two stay out of their sight.”
“Great! I’ll have a look where they are,” Corbett says and tries to climb up the pile to have a better look.
“Wait!” Curt grabs his foot and stops him, “Let me have a look! I have got a better pair of eyes.”
“What does my eye got to do with spotting?” Corbett asks a bit incensed.
“There’s no point in arguing,” Curt replies, “Let me do the job!” And Curt climbs up the pile and pushes his head up to have a careful look. We join him at the top.
We notice the four of them have separated from each other and are walking individually, but they are all in a small radius of a few piles to each other to the south of the pile Curt and we are on.
Curt quickly climbs down, “They are coming together from the North West direction. You need to divert them while I take the girl with me to safety.”
“Why him? Why not you?” Dr Swift gets annoyed.
“Why, is he scared?” Curt asks.
“That’s fine Hayley! I can take care of myself as also the invaders,” Corbett says as he grips his gun firmly and gives Curt a hateful glance, “Take good care of her!”
“I will, with pleasure!” Curt replies with a smile.
“No, wait! You can’t go! He should go! He’s the one who’s got a better pair of eyes. He’s the one who spotted them and he’s the one who should take care of them,” Dr Hayley Swift blurts out.
“That’s fine Hayley! It’s a part of my job. A soldier is born to die!” Corbett says as he tries to leave.
“Wait! I will come with you,” Dr Swift insists.
“Don’t be ridiculous Hayley! What will you do? Besides you need to get the medicines to the patients,” Corbett reasons, “Don’t worry about me, and don’t feel bad about me! Just think of me as another face you saw on a station while travelling on the train of life.”
“No! You can’t leave me like this,” Hayley nearly cries as she grabs his hand.
“Hayley! If I never see you again I want to tell you, you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen in my life, the only thing precious in my life at this moment. I wish my life had more moments written in your name!” Corbett says as he pulls his hand out of Hayley’s hand and runs in North Westerly direction. Dr Hayley Swift collapse on her knees puts her face in her hands and starts sobbing.
“What a brave man! Too bad he didn’t live long,” Curt replies in a mocking tone, “The worst is, he loves you and is going to die just for you!”
Dr Swift looks up and burst out at him, “Have you got any shame left in you, you coward scoundrel!” And she spits on his face, in rage.
Curt wipes his face and says, “Why don’t you go after him and save him you brave Queen of Hearts?”
“I would gladly die for him but who will take these medicines to the patients?” Dr Swift replies with hatred writ loud and clear in her tone.
“I can do the honours for you! I’ll take the medicines to the hospital! You go and save him,” Curt replies looking at her with a mocking smile on his face.
“That’s good enough for me,” Dr Swift replies as she pushes the medicine box to Curt, “I just don’t have a gun on me.”
“You can take mine!” Curt replies offering his gun to Dr Swift.
“Fine! Thanks!” Dr Swift replies grabbing the gun from his hand, “Hope you live really long!”
“I will! I will!” Curt replies with a shameless smile. Dr Swift turns her face away from him hatefully and runs in the direction Corbett has taken.
Curt’s gaze follows her as she turns around the corner. The cunningness in his smile fades away into an affectionate grimace as his eyes keep lingering at the corner for a few seconds more before he realizes where he is and what task awaits him.
“Juliet!” he mutters to himself shaking his head with a smile.
He then quickly climbs up the pile again. One of the invaders has just reached the other side of the pile. Curt gets up and gives out a loud war cry and charges at the invader, in the process drawing attention of his other colleagues to him. The invader a weapon-less Curt charges at looks on at him. Curt flings himself in air, his fist clearly aimed at the invaders neck. As Curt’s body approaches the invader, the invader calmly grabs Curt form his neck and hold him up mid air. Curt fails to even connect with him.
Curt struggles with both hands to out of the invader’s grip but he is powerless compared to the stronger adversary. The invader looks on at the hapless human hanging in his hands and the shaking of his helmet covered head indicates to us he is laughing at Curt. The invader slowly lifts his weapon to Curt’s face and takes an aim.
“You look like a man! If it works on us, it should work on you!” and Curt swings his leg as hard as he can and kicks the invader in his groin.
“Ouch!” is what we say as the invader collapses on to the ground seething in pain. Curt who is free of the grip and on his feet notices the invader’s weapon lying next to his feet.
Curt smiles, bends over, picks up the weapon and blows away the invaders head. However the recoil of the weapon tosses Curt metres back in the air and against a pile in the back.
Curt immediately gets back on his feet but before he can even look around to take a stock of the surroundings a laser fire chops off his hand holding the weapon.
Curt yells out in pain and collapses on the ground. We notice the second invader approaching Curt from a side. Curt, still in pain turns his head around and notices him. He looks to the other side and spots the weapon a couple of metres away from him, still held in his amputated hand. He tries hard to overcome his pain and crawls on his threes toward the weapon. The invader slowly walks up to him and just as Curt puts his hand on the weapon, the invader plants his foot on his hand. We notice the invader mockingly shaking his head at Curt.
“You are such an idiot!” Curt smiles and head butts this one in his groin. As the invader collapses on to the ground Curt quickly grabs the weapon again in his wrong hand and blows the invader away. Once again Curt is tossed behind but since he is already next to a pile his flight is not too long. However this time before he can get back on his feet a laser fire hits him right in the middle of his chest and we turn our faces away from the site where this brave son of a man finally falls. Our hearts sink!
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