Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss
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“Evolution works at its efficient most when an extinction level event is on.”
Chapter Three: What’s in a name?
There is a unique strength in numbers; it carries with it the ability to survive an apocalypse, and that too as a better evolved surviving number. A human dwelling may only house only one individual human being, but it always houses billions of micro-organisms, not withstanding how sparkling clean the dwelling might be. In fact, a sparkling clean human dwelling happens to be the most active place of evolution. The more effort, energy and chemicals that go into keeping a human dwelling clean, the more do the micro-organisms evolve. For them it’s the chemical sprays that represent a mass extinction level event, and it is only their fittest that first survive, and then thrive, awaiting the next such extinction level event, which is fairly quick in case of a sparkling clean human dwelling. However, bigger the size of individuals in a species, and lesser are the numbers, and less likely is it to survive an apocalypse. But that does not mean that life will be wiped out completely, for it never has been. Life will continue to evolve and sprout again, in new forms.
There is much to learn in this natural design, for the humans. Evolution is as much dependent upon numbers, as much it is on the variety that exists in a gene pool. Homogeneity is an open invitation to annihilation, while more heterogeneous the mix, the more are the chance of survival, for such a stockpile of gene pool covers a much wider spectrum of apocalyptic events. A simple example would be that of a deadly disease which wipes out villages and towns. But everyone may not perish, and those who survive would be the ones who had a genotype resistant to that disease.
But what about evolution at an individual level, where the only thing at stake is one life? Perhaps this is where the resourcefulness of a protagonist comes into play, for to survive repeated near death experiences, one has to have a brain that never runs out of ideas. In that case, it is the number of ideas analysed, perhaps in microseconds, which determines the chances of survival. And we are lucky to know at least five such minds.
“Uncle Jack, is it true that you once won the formula one world championship?” Alishiida asks Jackie as we all walk down the corridor, towards the living space on this space traversing mansion.
“He’s not your average normal Trillionaire,” Corbett replies on his behalf.
“Well, that was a long time back, at a time when I had still not been involved in the war directly,” Mr. Garcia replies, “It is one of the achievements that I still feel proud of.”
“Father always jokes that you could have bought the entire US and European economies if you had wanted to, but is it true?” Zenander asks innocently as everybody bursts into laughter, just as we all enter the living space, and find ourselves a comfortable couch to sink into.
“There was a brief time when my total assets were worth more than the US and European economies combined,” Mr. Garcia replies to the kid, “But then they started to tax me at a flat seventy percent rate. Now thanks to me; all those economies are once again richer than me.”
“He’s lying,” Alex butts in, and is about to say something more when suddenly he grabs his chest and faints, almost falling to the ground in front. “Alex,” is the shout in unison as Corbett quickly dashes forward and catches his friend midway.
“Alex,” Mishiida lets out a faint shriek, and starts to pass out too.
“He’s alright,” Hayley immediately jumps in and grabs Mishiida by her shoulders, and nearly pleads with her, “He’s alright sweetheart. You please stay strong.”
“Dad!” Alishiida starts crying as she rushes to her father, along with Zenander, as Corbett puts him back in the couch and shakes him.
Luckily Alex regains consciousness, and looking at Corbett’s face, exclaims, “Robot eyed monster, how are you?”
“I’m fine my friend,” Corbett almost chokes, and exclaims, “You better take care of yourself.”
“Why? What happened?” Alex comments as he tries to get his bearings right.
“Stop scaring us like that you idiot?” Jackie exclaims as he takes a huge sigh of relief.
“Well, my robot eyed monster won’t let me die so easily, will he?” and Alex tries to make a bad joke, as everybody finally feels relieved that he is alright.
“What’s happening to him?” Corbett asks Hayley.
“It’s the poison, trying to shut down his body,” Hayley exclaims, “I’m surprised he’s carried on for so long and so well, without taking the Elithecian steroids, because they won’t work for Mishiida on account of her different organic polymer chemistry.”
“He’s just special,” Corbett quips, hitting Alex’s face with a soft punch.
“No more than you my robot eyed monster,” Alex quips back.
“Dad, why do you Uncle Boo-boo the robot eyed monster,” Alishiida asks.
“Well, he was actually given the epithet ‘One Eyed Monster’ by the Tyrenes, in the early days of the war, before he got that artificial eye from the Obek people,” Alex explains, “I just updated it with the robot eyed.”
“But why did they call him the ‘One Eyed Monster’?” a surprised Zenander asks, for he hasn’t witness any of Corbett and Hayley’s exploits like we have.
“He just destroyed them,” Alex sums it all up in a short one sentence, “Whichever battle front he was put in, he was just brute force; in, destroy, out!”
“Yeah, and what about you; the Stalking Death,” Corbett reminds Alex of his very own nickname, given to him by the Tyrenes.
“The Stalking Death,” Zenander exclaims with a surprise, “How did that come about?”
“That he actually earned in the very first mission that he went on,” Jackie answer the question for him.
“Could you please tell us the entire story?” Alishiida is completely engrossed in the conversation over here now.
“It was just a few months after the first Tyrene attack on the earth, where I had jumped off from the plane,” Alex starts with the story, “I was still in the hospital recovering, when the government decided to send a mission to Keradora, our galaxy mates, to ensure the Tyrenes haven’t already reached there.”
“So did you go on it?” Zendander asks.
“No, but your mother and Zayeshin were tasked to do a reconnaissance,” Alex continues, “And your Uncle Jack here, he was kind enough to lend them the first new craft that his facility produced. It was a simple mission; one month journey to Keradora, a quick reconnaissance and return, or so it was planned.”
“Then, what happened?” an excited Alishiida asks.
“In a war, things are not always as simple as one might expect, or hope them to be,” Alex continues as Mishiida reclines her head on to his shoulder, “That trip changed our relationship with Zayeshin forever, until his very end, and what an end it was.”
“Why, what happened?” a curious Zenander asks.
“Well, when they got to Keradora, they decided to land in a secluded forest,” Alex explains them the story, “The Keradora people were far behind humans in technology, perhaps only as good as our world war two tech, but the idea was to not attract attention, lest the Tyrenes were already there.”
“So were the Tyrenes already there?” Alishiida however jumps way ahead of the story.
“Yes they were,” Alex nods in reply, and continues, “But your mother and Zayeshin were not aware of their presence; or as your mother would have insisted for the rest of Zayeshin’s life, she wasn’t.”
“Why do you say that? Did Uncle Zayeshin betray you and mom?” an innocent Alishiida asks.
“The way events unfolded, at least that’s what your mother presumed, until he redeemed himself in his last battle,” Alex continues, “But I always thought that he only had the best intentions in his heart, and probably made the best decision, even though he himself might not have liked his own decision at a personal level.”
“What did he do?” Zenander is now really keen on knowing the truth, and it shows in his eyes.
“When they landed, Zayeshin left Mishiida in the craft, to do a reconnaissance of the area,” Alex continues with the story, “The instructions to Mishiida were clear from him; don’t leave the craft, and fly away without him should he not return soon, or in case Tyrenes attack.”
“Then,” Alishiida’s curiosity has hit its peak now.
“When he didn’t return for a few days, Mishiida got concerned, and made a decision to go and look for him,” Alex continues, “But the moment she had left the craft, and barely gone a few yards, a small company of Tyrenes attacked her. She was cut off from the craft, and had to fight out to escape getting caught. But as she ran away with Tyrenes in pursuit, she noticed Zayeshin emerge from the woods and rush into the craft, and then take away without her.”
“He left mom behind,” a shocked Alishiida asks.
“Your mom escaped getting caught, but since that moment she felt Zayeshin had betrayed her to Tyrenes,” Alex confirms her fears, “But Zayeshin’s side of the story was that he saw Mishiida escape from the Tyrenes, and he didn’t want to take a chance of a full blown conflict with Tyrenes so far away from help, and thought it was better to return to Earth and get help.”
“What do you believe father,” Zenander asks him this time.
“Given the fact that had they both been caught and executed by Tyrenes, there was no way we would have come to know of their designs soon enough, I think he made the hard choice giving due weight to all practical considerations,” Alex continues, “Although it did hurt me that he had left the love of my life at the mercy of enemies, in an unknown territory, alone.”
“So what did you do? Did you go after them?” Alishiida asks.
“I had to, even though I still wasn’t ready to walk on my feet, let alone fight, but I just had to,” Alex replies shaking his head in affirmative.
“And that’s the mission he got the name ‘the Stalking Death’,” Corbett chips in with the information, “And it not only stuck with him for the rest of his career, but it became his signature style; he would stalk the enemy installations, build-ups and plans right from their point of origin, tracking them until a vulnerable moment, before launching his devastating strikes.”
“Yeah, in one of his best known battles he sneaked into a Tyrene Garrison, situated right in the middle of a region considered to be a Tyrene stronghold; first drawing their manpower out by launching a distracting attack, and then sneaking in behind them in a stealth vessel, to destroy the designs of their latest and most efficient weapon,” Hayley joins the conversation, “By the time the Tyrenes realized what he had done and returned, he had already destroyed their research and development wing at the garrison, and escaped in one of their stealth crafts. And that’s not all. While the Tyrenes were still taking stock of their loss, and arguing whether or not to pursue him; he asked Mishiida to pick him up from a meteor heading towards that planet. He left their craft positioned on the meteor in such a way that when the meteor entered their atmosphere and burned away, the craft was flung off from it like an atomic bomb, destroying the entire garrison.”
“Wow,” an impressed Zenander exclaims before asking, “So what did he do on that first mission, when Uncle Zayeshin returned.”
“So we went back in search of Mishiida, who lucky had effectively evaded capture both by the Tyrenes, and the Keradorans till then,” Alex continues with the story, “But the only problem was we didn’t know how many Tyrenes were there, and where Mishiida was. So we had to launch a physical manhunt on a heavily forested planet.”
“And it was in those forests that he earned the nickname; ‘the Stalking Death,’ as he not only avoided getting captured by the Tyrenes and Keradorans, while still wheelchair bound,” Corbett informs them, “But he kept on accounting for some of their most prized scalps in the ensuing skirmishes. He would find an enemy post; stalk it long enough to know the ins-outs, strengths-weaknesses, and important manpower; and then launch a calculated attack to eliminate the most prominent of characters, thus demoralizing the remainder of their forces.”
“And finally I found Mishiida, just as she was about to be captured by a small Tyrene company,” Alex replies, “I still remember the relief and love in her eyes that day.” And Alex turns around and gives Mishiida a small peck on her lips, as a weak Mishi tries to reciprocate.
“So what happened of Uncle Zayeshin then?” Alishiida asks him.
“Since Mishiida didn’t trust him anymore, he decided to leave,” Alex informs her, “And we didn’t hear from him until that fateful ‘Battle of Gellar Fidrass’.”
“Is it the same battle that everyone talks about amongst Penanchthians?” an excited Zenander asks.
“Yes, it is,” Alex replies in confirmation, “If one were to study only one battle ever, then that’s the battle to study. In that battle Zayeshin showed why he was considered many times better than Mishiida and everybody else in the academy.”
“In fact, people around the universe go on to say that had the relations between Mishiida and Zayeshin not gone sore after the Keradora events, he would have been a part of our team, and the war might have ended at least five years before it actually did,” Mr. Garcia chips in with the interesting information.
“Really; what did he do?” Alishiida asks in excitement.
“Gellar Fidrass was a suicide mission,” Alex reminisces the events leading up to the battle, “That world was one of the three founding members of the ‘Alliance of the Glorious Centuries’ before two others joined the alliance, and it was the only world left in a region of space completely overrun by the Tyrenes. With their defenses caving in, I and Mishiida were ordered to rescue as many of them as we could at whatever cost, or die trying to.”
“So did you launch an attack?” Zenander asks.
“An attack was out of the question, as it was too deep in a stretch of space controlled by Tyrenes,” Alex replies, “We had to sneak in, and get them out.”
“But that would have been impossible,” Zenander replies straight away, “You could have definitely snuck in without getting caught, but there would never have been a way out.”
“Orders are orders son, and that is the harsh reality of a soldier’s life,” Alex makes a simple point often missed by those who don’t understand an army man’s job.
“So you got caught,” Zenander asks.
“We managed to sneak in and save as many as we could, but the news of our attempted escape spread like wildfire, especially the fact that me and Mishiida were involved in the mission, and soon the entire Tyrene force in that area was heading our way,” Alex replies and then adds, “And we had no back-up!”
“And that’s when your Uncle Zayeshin disobeyed his direct orders, deserted his own fleet, and launched a single handed rescue attack,” Jackie chips in with further details, “And the way he planned and carried out assault after assault, are still considered examples of military genius that stamped his legend in the annals of universal history.”
“Such effective were his strikes, that his fleet too disobeyed the direct command, and joined in to assist,” Alex continues from there on, “And in no time, he had broken the Tyrene strength in that region, not only saving my and Mishiida’s life, but letting the people of Gellar Fidrass escape. Alas he didn’t survive the moment of his greatest glory. He died in my arms, with Mishiida by my side. And that’s when Mishiida’s views about him changed again.”
“Oh that is so sad,” Alishiida almost cries out on hearing the story.
“And it was only after his death that we got to know how he was the first Penanchthian who had been forced to drink Tarandil poison, but had got it removed in time,” Alex exclaims and adds another little known fact into the mix, “It was on their second last day at the academy when he accidentally stumbled upon a group of traitors planning to poison Mishiida. He managed to neutralize them all, but ended up with having to drink the poison, something that affected his performance in their final exams. But due to the highly sensitive nature of the information, this incident was kept a secret from everyone at the academy, and we only got to know about it after he died.”
“He was such a great man,” Zenander exclaims.
“And so is your father,” Corbett exclaims patting Zenander’s shoulder, “Yes, I was always the brute one, but he was always precise. But the mother of all surprises, your Uncle Jack here, he came to be known as ‘the Saving Monk’ universe wide.”
“Really,” exclaims Zenander as he looks back at Mr. Garcia, to hear more about his story.
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