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Mishiida Alexander

Aiszar Garrison



“Honesty is self-discipline judged by others.”



Chapter

Chapter One: I spy you

Honesty is one of the basic building blocks of any society; human or animal. An animal of prey is honest in that it won’t take more from the nature than what it absolutely requires to feed on for survival. A criminal is honest in that he wants the hands that pay for his services, to be able to repose a certain level of trust in him. Without this trust the basic structural framework of the society; that works like a well oiled machine, will come to a stuttering halt. However, honesty is a matter of self-discipline, even though it is others who judge a person for their actions. No one can force you to be honest, except your own needs and conscience. Yet for each dishonest failing of yours, it is others who would lose trust in you.

But then the only incentives to be honest are not just the social approval to be had, or the personal needs to be fulfilled. Being recognized as an honest person can often be the biggest achievement for most ordinary people, the approval having been earned over an entire stretch of a life, or for a better part of it. The bigger this achievement, the higher the stakes that rest on it, and thus greater is the impetus to uphold it.

But the most cherished appraisal of honesty is the one that one finds for themselves in the eyes of their life-long companion; their better half. When the curtain call arrives, it is the grief of the impending loss that one can see in their companion’s eyes that makes the entire life feel as well lived. And who would be the two better people to appreciate this truth than Mishiida and Alexander.

While Mishiida was the first to lose her strength and get restricted to the bed, just a day before the duo received the invitation, Alexander is lucky enough to be still able to move around a bit more than her. But their strength is progressively deserting them with each passing day. Alas we have no choice but to witness this heart-breaking end to two glorious lives that have achieved way more than anyone before them.

“Good morning mom, dad,” Zenander greets the duo in Penanchthian dialect.

“Good morning son,” Alex replies, “Where’s our robot eyed monster today?”

“Uncle Boo-boo,” Alishiida replies to his query, in English, “He and aunty Hayley should be here anytime now. The breakfast is about to be served.”

“Someone looking for me?” and Corbett announces his arrival in his usual flair, as he arrives in Mishiida-Alexander’s cabin, accompanied by Hayley.

“How are you my friend,” Alex quips, “Are we glad to have you two with us on this journey? How was your sleep?”

“The usual my good old pal,” Corbett quips stroking his newly supported mustache, “Half me slept like a baby, and half me stayed awake.”

His response made everyone burst out laughing. “More than seventeen years and you still haven’t got used to that robotic eye the kind Obeks fitted you with,” Alex quips shaking his head.

“Absolutely not my friend,” Corbett replies shaking his head in negative, “I am still not comfortable with the thought that one of my eyes connects to my part of the brain which is not under my control, and then communicates with me through that end.” He then looks at Hayley before continuing, “And my wife neither trusts me as to where I am looking, nor is she comfortable with it. Five nights ago she woke up in the middle of the night, which of course is a misnomer in this pitch black space, but she woke up and started complaining.”

“Why,” a perplexed Alex asks him for us.

“She said I pinched her bum and woke her up,” Corbett quips as Hayley’s jaw drops at what he just said, “I mean; it wasn’t me. How can I control my subconscious mind from controlling my body when my conscious mind is fast asleep? And besides, what is wrong if my subconscious mind finds my wife attractive and pinches her in the middle of the night?” And everybody bursts out laughing again as Hayley pinches him hard on his arm, making him wince.

“Uncle Boo-boo, is it true that your robot eye gives you X-ray vision?” an excited Zenander finally asks the question, using his communicator cum translator, that he has asked his father a countless times without getting an answer.

“Of course it does! Why else do you think Hayley has been such a successful doctor?” Alex quips in reply, “She has had the services of a portable X-ray machine for the better part of her career.”

“Now that’s not true,” Hayley however complains.

“Let me answer that young man,” Corbett however quips in a serious tone, as he walks up to Zenander and then around him, “When was the last time you changed your underwear?”

This time Zenander’s jaw drops as he exclaims complainingly, “Uncle Boo-boo.” Meanwhile everybody has a good laugh at Zenander’s expense.

“He’s still a greenhorn,” Alex quips shaking his head.

“Great! That should make him grow quicker,” Corbett quips rubbing his hands, “Perhaps next time he won’t ask such a stupid open ended question.” He then walks up to a seat and makes himself comfortable as Hayley joins him on the adjoining seat. Zenander and Alishiida make themselves comfortable on the seats on the opposite side.

“But Uncle Boo-boo, could you please tell us the story of how got this robot eye, please?” an innocent Alishiida asks him in her cute little voice, as we prepare ourselves to re-live that moment.

“Yeah! What happened of Princess Zaira?” Alex asks him enthusiastically, “Oh boy! Was she keen on you?” And Alex has barely finished his sentence when his eyes fall on Hayley, who glares straight back at him with constricted eyes. Escaping her gaze, Corbett reclines back and gestures to Alex to cut it out.

“Who is Princess Zaira?” but we guess it’s too late, for the cat is out of the bag and Alishiida has latched on to it.

“Nothing you kids need to know,” Alex tries in vain to undo the damage.

“But we want to know,” Zenander whispers in Penanchthian, for his communicator to translate it into English for the Corbetts’ benefit.

“Well, it all happened more than seventeen years ago,” Corbett replies to the request as we make ourselves comfortable on the remaining set of unoccupied seats in the cabin, “Your father and mother were, if I am not wrong, tasked on missions in ‘Battle-Front 23’, while myself and Hayley were tasked out in ‘Battle-Front 18’.” And as Corbett continues, we might as well make ourselves a nice cup of coffee, shouldn’t we?

“Hayley had just been expecting our first child for a month, when we were ordered on a set of missions, which were supposed to take us about four months,” Corbett continues, “But as always happens on a battle front, one thing led to another, and suddenly it was eight months gone before we finally managed to complete the set and earn ourselves a break. But that also meant we had no time left to return to Earth for her delivery.”

“Oh my god, was Minas born on the spaceship,” a concerned Alishiida asks, as Minas is the older of the brother sister duo of Minas and Marista.

“Luckily not,” Hayley replies to her question, “We were close to the world of the kind Obeks, and decided to get help there.”

“They are one of the three original members of the ‘Alliance of the Glorious Centuries’, but we still arrived their unannounced,” Corbett fills up the rest of the information, “So the moment we landed, in an open space in the middle of a forest, not knowing where to go, we were immediately surrounded by the Obek crafts.”

“Really!” an excited Alishiida quips before asking, “Did they arrest you?”

“Luckily we the people of earth too had joined the alliance by that time, and your parents and ourselves were the first few people to be granted an alliance identification badge,” Corbett then pulls out a metallic locket hanging from his neck that immediately starts glowing as it is revealed in open. A strange set of holographic figures get displayed in front of Corbett, who continues, “They saw this and immediately recognized us as their allies, and showered us with unmatched hospitality.”

“It was at their hospital where a doctor asked Corbett if he would like to have a robotic eye in place of his damaged eye,” Hayley fills up the rest of the story.

“So who then is Princess Zaira, and how did you meet her?” Zenander asks the question that Corbett would have loved to skip, but looks like he’s not going to get any opportunity today.

“Well,” an uncomfortable Corbett takes a deep breath, sneaks a glance at Hayley who stares hard at him with constricted eyes, and then he continues, “As Hayley was in their hospital awaiting her delivery, I was invited by their local army commander, who was tasked to take care of us; to test ride one of their own version of a motorbike; a bike with no wheels that floats above the surface, and can fly in the air up to a few meters high.”

“Wow! That would have been fun,” Zenander quips.

“It sure was, until we flew into a forest area where Princess Zaira was camping with her friends,” Corbett continues with the story, and informs them who the Princess was, “She is the only daughter of the ruling family; a sister to five brothers.”

“How does she look like?” Alishiida innocently asks as Hayley stares hard at Corbett, making him uncomfortable.

“Well, like we have evolved from apes, the Obeks have evolved from the felines, the cats,” Corbett tells them, trying to stay honest with the story, and yet wary of Hayley, “For people who look similar to us in many respect, and yet are way different from us; she was a highly sought after girl amongst the Obek men.”

“Oh! So she was beautiful,” Alishiida innocently quips as we smirk looking at Corbett.

“Well, unfortunately for her, she wasn’t aware that a kidnapping attempt was about to be made on her,” Corbett however rushes to the next part of the story, “As was a frequent occurrence in those days, given the stage the war was at that time, one of the Obek generals had defected to the Tyrenes, and decided to do a coup d’etat.”

“So did the coup happen?” Zendander asks, almost jumping ahead of the gun.

“Well, it’s a bit complicated,” Corbett replies, “The coup almost succeeded, but luckily the Obeks were able to avert it, and I did get a chance to join forces with them in defeating the coup.”

“So did the kidnapping happen?” Zenander asks.

“Well, just as the general’s confidents were accosting the Princess to their craft, me and the three Obek soldiers accompanying me, reached the site in the forest, unplanned,” Corbett continues, “Taken by surprise, the Obek traitors immediately opened fire at us, killing two of the soldiers and serious wounding their officer accompanying me. The irony is; we had no clue they were kidnapping the Princess. Had they not opened fire, we would have in all likelihood kept on driving past them.”

“So you retaliated,” Zenander is really getting excited by the flow of action over here. We need another coffee.

“Well, not straight away,” Corbett replies to him, “I first had to duck their assault, rescue the injured officer and drive away.”

“So did you return with bigger force?” Alishiida asks this time.

“There was no time for it,” Corbett continues, “As soon as the injured officer was up on the pillion seat, I asked him to contact his base, while I turned the bike around to chase the kidnappers.”

“How many were there?” Alishiida asks.

“There were about ten of them; six in one craft, and four in the other carrying the Princess,” Corbett informs the two, “But the problem was; I didn’t have the time as our bike wouldn’t have flown as high as their craft would have. So I made a decision, the one I regretted really very soon; to ride straight to the craft that had the Princess and four Obeks, and jumped on to it, leaving the controls of the bike in the hands of my injured mate.”

“Wow! That was brave,” Zenander lauds him.

“Idiotic, for the craft was high up in no time with me hanging for my life,” Corbett quipped, “They only needed to fly few thousand meters before I would have frozen to my death, or a few thousand more to asphyxiate me.”

“Oh no! How did you escape? You couldn’t have possibly jumped,” Zenander asks.

“Fortunately I don’t think like your father. Sacrifice is not something that crosses my mind half as often,” Corbett’s response makes everyone in the cabin burst out laughing again. Corbett however continues, “Think fast I had to! So I immediately pulled out my gun and punched a big hole in the side of the craft. I knew this was going to destabilize the craft, but I was hopeful they’ll land it without crashing. And of course I jumped inside through the hole, much to my short lived relief.”

“And why’s that?” Alishiida asks him.

“Well, as much as the Obeks have evolved from cats, they also posses their agility, and possibly more lives than nine. Only one warrior out of the four came to confront me; as two others flew the craft and one kept the Princess under check,” Corbett continues, “And immediately he made me regret each and every decision I had made in the past few minutes. I felt like a football.”

“That would have been bad,” Zenander quips shaking his head.

“You don’t have to be so kind to those rascals. It was far worse,” Corbett replies reminiscing his tough engagement, “But somehow I got hold of a metal rod, and swung it violently around like a mad man. Fortunately enough I got him with a wild desperate swing.”

“Oh boy! What a relief that must have been?” Zenander heaves a huge sigh of relief before asking, “So how did you deal with the rest.”

“Simple, I made sure I don’t lose my gun this time,” Corbett sums it up in one single sentence, “Unfortunately the Princess didn’t know how to fly the craft, and I had a nightmare of a time bringing it safely down to the ground.”

“Wow! But that must have impressed the Princess,” Alishiida quips much to Hayley’s chagrin.

“Impressed!” Hayley chides at the thought, “She didn’t stop stalking him for the next six years.”

“Now don’t be unfair to her Hayley,” Alexander however butts in, “Besides why hate only her and not the others?”

Alex’s comment immediately makes Hayley glare at him as Corbett reclines back smacking his forehead. “Dude, are you trying to get me killed tonight,” Corbett exclaims.

“What others?” Hayley asks Alex in a stiff tone before turning around and look at Corbett.

“He’s just teasing you,” Corbett sheepishly exclaims.

“Never mind Hayley,” Alex butts in to save his companion again, “But I do feel that you are unduly critical of Zaira.”

“Unduly critical,” Hayley’s anger goes up a notch, “That girl caused a diplomatic crisis between Obeks and our world, with the world leaders even making a secret request to me, to leave Corbett for her. Thank god she finally got her senses back, although I don’t know how.”

Well, looks like Hayley’s comment has finally settled the matter, and thankfully we have a door knock too. Looks like the breakfast is ready too, for a respectful Kinemanize attendant has just walked in and bowed respectfully to all of us present here in this cabin.



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