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Mishiida Alexander

Aiszar Garrison

“Life is tough, heroes tougher!”

Chapter Five: Life after future

Being alive can itself be an achievement, when the only option available is to die. Of course there are always a lot of other finer achievements that go into making that achievement possible. And it is these later finer achievements which are generally celebrated by all. Perhaps it is just the value attached to life, by those who live to put it on line at the drop of a hat. It is debatable whether they would make another choice anyway, were it to be made available at the time of selection.

Battles chose their heroes, for there is always only one kind of people whom life has made into persons of interest for a particular situation. But it is heroes who chose to live their lives, true to their growing curve. The absconding best man is just that; missing. It is the appreciation of consequences that make a choice bold, and it is the result of a bold choice which is considered glorious, irrespective of which way it went.

But glory is not served on a platter. It is earned with sweat, blood or both. And those who have earned it appreciate everyone else that seeks it. It is easier to find love, harder to find a man inside you.

The mood has been sombre since Jackie’s revelation. The loss is just too stark in everyone’s face. With only last few hours of this journey left, everyone undertaking it is possibly wishing that weren’t the case, and possibly not because they care for themselves, but rather out of deep love and affection they hold for each other. Tomorrow is literally at the doorsteps, and no one wants to answer its’ knock, but can we blame them for it?

“Looks like its lunch,” Corbett finally breaks the scary silence as the Kinemanize attendant walks in to invite them for it.

No it hasn’t been an easy journey for any of us, but before today none of us were thinking about the day after tomorrow, for we were all busy living in today. It was all fun, stories and food. And now, as we get ready to walk our beloveds to the dining area, the tomorrow is staring us in our eyes hatefully.

“Ah, I can’t get up,” and Alex knows exactly how to rub it in our faces too, “Damn, this is the first time I’m experiencing my joints locking. I hate to ask, but can someone give me a hand?” And Zenander steps in to help his dad.

“You are old my friend,” Corbett takes a light hearted jibe at his old pal.

“And what are you, a sprouting seed,” Alex replies with vengeance. Once on his feet again, he helps Mishiida up, and we all take a stroll to the dining zone.

“Uncle Jack, please tell us something about your father,” Alishiida asks as everybody settles around the lunch table.

Her question understandably makes Mr. Garcia uncomfortable, and he takes his time, a deep breath and a big gulp of water, before starting on a very cautious note, “Well, if there was one man that I owed a lot of punishment to, it was my father. I’ve done some real bad things in my life, things that I don’t want you to know, but let me just say, I was a different man to start with, than what I am now.”

“So you were bad to him,” Alishiida innocently asks.

“I was worse,” Garcia accepts his mistake, “But all that changed once Siyesta came into my life. I changed as a person, and the first thing I did was to submit myself to my father’s will. I gave him the free reign to deal with me as he pleased, and he had every opportunity to go as hard at me as he could, but something stopped him the moment he saw Siyesta. No, she never said a word to him about my relationship with him. She wasn’t even aware of the dynamics. Yet her mere presence that day stopped him. He gave me another chance, although he didn’t reproach with me until she left us forever. In fact, her untimely demise broke him as much as it broke me, a reason why he decided to accompany me to Elithecia, and become a monk too.”

“So that’s why you had to set up a trust to run your business,” Zenander asks him this time.

“No, no,” Mr. Garcia however informs him, “I was in fact so sick of it, I wanted to get rid of it. But when I couldn’t, I decided to make Jason Whitaker, my secretary, the owner of everything. But he refused. I signed the legal documents and tried to force him to take the ownership, but he tore them to bits and threw them in my face. I still remember his words clearly; I’m not with you for your money or business you idiot. That day I realized, Joe wasn’t the only friend I’ve ever had. And my views about people began to change. Subsequently as events unfolded, I became good friends with your parents and Alistair and Hayley too. Otherwise the kind of man that I was, they would have never even let me in their lives.”

“Oh, we hated him with passion,” Corbett joins the conversation, “In fact the government had to force us to deal with him, to try and convince him to rejoin the war, simply because we won’t deal with him under no circumstance.”

“But eventually when they came to see me on Elithecia, they realized that I wasn’t the same man that they had known thus far,” Jackie continues, “And then when I joined the war effort again, our constant dealings slowly grew into lifelong friendships.”

“So how did your father feel about you rejoining the war,” Alishiida asks him.

“Well, this is something no one else has known till date,” Jackie replies to her query, pauses to recollect his memories, then continues, “The death and destruction he witnessed on Elithecia broke the last of strength he had in him. He just couldn’t stand it no more. It was my father on his death bed, who made me promise, not to rest until I was dead or the war was over, but to do everything I possibly could, to save as many innocents from death in war as I could. It was my promise to him that made me join the war effort again.”

His story has silenced everyone again, for as sad it is, it is equally compelling too. It forces one to reconsider what really should be the priorities in one’s life.

“What the,” the silence however is short lived as a frustrated Hayley blurts out at Corbett, “Why did you pour more soup into my dish?”

“Did I?” Corbett however asks innocently, “Sorry love, it wasn’t me. Must have been my robot eye, thinking you haven’t eaten enough, and forced my hand to pour in more.”

“You and your robot eye,” Hayley however is unimpressed, “I am not buying this excuse anymore. You will feed me to death.” And everyone at the table bursts out laughing. “Seriously, it’s not even funny,” Hayley however continues, “Look at my girth, growing faster than the rate of inflation, all thanks to his robot eye that somehow always thinks I haven’t eaten enough. One of these days I’m just going to lose my head and pull it out of its rented socket.” And everyone is literally rolling on the floor laughing at the couple’s bickering.

“Please, let me eat. I don’t want to choke on my food,” Alex quips as he barely contains his laughter.

“I’m sorry darling, but the soup is in the bowl already, and you might like it better when it is still warm,” Corbett exclaims sheepishly.

“You are going to eat this today,” Hayley however is adamant.

“OK! As you wish, but could you please help me just a little by sipping a bit,” Corbett however pleads, “Look, my plate is already full.”

“I don’t care, but you are eating this today,” Hayley sticks to her guns though, and looks like this time Corbett is in trouble. “Tell you what, don’t tell your robot eye,” and Hayley rubs it in too.

“So what’s our retired Brigadier Rick Roxon doing these days,” Jackie asks Corbett once the table has settled down again, “And what were their names; ah, yes, Sandeep and Monty, where are they nowadays?”

“The last time I met him was a few months back at his family farm house,” Corbett replies as he finishes his meal, “A bit fragile now, he is enjoying a quiet retirement.”

“In spite of his decorated career, he didn’t rise much in ranks did he,” Jackie inquires about the uncomfortable truth.

“There was just too much political crap going on in the army those days,” Corbett reminisces, “And the kind of outspoken person that he always was, he had ruffled quite a few feathers upstairs. No wonder they made him pay dearly by denying him some well earned promotions, but he was content. He actually retired soon after the events leading to our first tryst with your business empire, and was appointed the first human ambassador ever, to serve at an Earth mission on another world.”

“And Sandeep and Monty joined him; how did that happen?” Jackie asks.

“He would have loved to have me or Alex with him,” Corbett replies, “But we were both enlisted by the Alliance for active war duty, and he needed someone he could trust. So he asked the US army to depute Sandeep and Monty with him. And it turned out good for them too. Not only did they get a firsthand experience of inter planetary hospitality, but their experience enabled them to branch out into a career into administration. They are both serving as ambassadors now, in different worlds.”

“They did see a bit of action, didn’t they,” Jackie asks, for he had never really kept in touch with them, as he wasn’t as close to them, or in fact close at all.

“They did, predominantly alongside the Brigadier, during the early days of his ambassadorship,” Corbett informs him, “The old man had a way of establishing relationships with some of the most hostile worlds, and was instrumental in winning the alliance quite a few allies from unexpected quarters.”

“So they are stuck in some boring office, signing inconsequential paper work now, are they,” Alex asks, almost as if hoping the answer would be something different.

“No, not really, both are actually assisting some very remote communities in the universe rebuild after the destruction,” Corbett informs everyone, “As a matter of fact, they are amongst the highly commended ambassadors from any community in the universe, with a lot of reputation and respect backing their names now.”

“Really, I am so very pleased for them,” Alex exclaims, impressed by their achievements.

“I’m sure they would have loved to be involved in active war duties a bit more than what they ended up with, but it was the thought of assisting the Brigadier in unknown territories that motivated them to take up his offer,” Corbett quips just as he finishes Hayley’s soup, “And they have really made their choice work for them as well as humanity in a brilliant way.”


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