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Mishiida Alexander

Aiszar Garrison

“A star’s beauty is too bright to be judged from close quarters.”

Chapter Six: Counting breaths

The closer one is to a star, the brighter it appears. Too close, and it could be blinding. The essence of a star’s glory is to be felt and appreciated from a distance, its influence to be judged in time. Accessibility could be a bane of worth. One never values what one can have as their own any time all the time. The value is always generally appreciated better when that precious something either belongs to another, or is sought by another.

It is hard to say whether those who lose their undervalued treasure to an opportunist poacher are more unlucky or just plain imbecile. They can definitely not be classified as victims for it is not the opportunist to blame for their own disdainful attitude. The more disdainful they are, the more it returns to haunt in future, for future is merciless as much as the present is indifferent.

Unfortunate are only those who lose their much valued possession, simply because they couldn’t afford to keep it. It is hard to part with a cherished treasure, in spite of the value left behind to fill the void, for it was never the value, but the treasure itself which had any meaning in their lives. Loved ones are like those treasures, their value being only a commodity of interest for others. And we have not one but three on the line here today.

No it’s not funny, the way Alex and Mishiida have been taking turns in scaring us for the last six or seven months now. The Kinemanize might have confirmed out fears about three months ago, but this heart wrecking game of “I go first” has been our minds’ undoing for much longer than that. And the fact that we have just finished the last dinner on this journey doesn’t make it any easier to see Hayley assisting the Kinemanize medical team in trying to revive an almost gone Mishiida, and an equally hopeless Alex. They have found a novel way of drying everyone’s blood in their veins; one of them will faint first, and the other will start shutting down in response. This time Mishiida has taken the lead, and things are looking really bleak at the moment.

“The oxygen pressure in dropping,” a choked Hayley points out the element of concern to the Kinemanize staff assisting with the apparatus attached to Alex. It is not hard to see why doctors prefer not to treat their loved ones, for emotions can be really weakening.

“Hayley, Jackie’s going down too,” a scared Corbett yells out just as his friend, who had been standing patiently next to him, witnessing the entire turmoil, gives up on his strength too.

“Do something,” Hayley cries out to Corbett as she helplessly watches a couple of Kinemanize attendants rush to Corbett’s aid as he grabs the motionless frame of Mr. Garcia and carefully puts him down in a chair. No wonder the kids are finding it hard to control their tears.

“She’s gaining consciousness,” finally a Kinemanize attendant shares some uplifting news through her digital communicator.

“He’s too,” the other one adds as Alex joins his wife in giving us some more time to cherish their company. Man, don’t you hate these two for putting us through so much?

“And I have him back,” exclaims Corbett as his very basic efforts revive the man under his charge.

“Good lord, this is so stressful,” exclaims a relieved Hayley as she finally sinks down into a chair.

“Robot eyed monster,” Alex quips as he regains his sense of time and place.

“Don’t you dare call me,” Corbett however isn’t impressed and makes it known.

“Why are you getting so upset my friend,” Alex however adds, “You cannot stop time from finishing its’ course.”

“But you can at least wait for the time to do so yourself, can’t you,” Corbett however complains in response.

“I’m doing my best my friend, but I am not the same Alex now, the one that went to war a few years back, am I?” asks Alex. He then turns around to look at the love of his life, still by his side, “Hey Mishi, would you give me your sweat company for another night my love?”

And a weak Mishiida shakes her head with a faint smile on her lips, as a couple of tears roll down her cheeks. “It hurts,” she whispers into her communicator.

“Not as much as you leaving me would,” however adds Alex.

“Please don’t talk about leaving dad,” Alishiida cries out as she rushes to her parents.

“Don’t be stupid sweetheart,” Alex exclaims as he gives her a hug and kisses her on her head, “You are not an ordinary girl. You are my daughter. You have to stay strong.”

“Can we please talk something positive,” Hayley however pleads, “I don’t want to cry just yet.” But tears betray her words as she starts sobbing. Corbett walks up to her and sits by her side, taking her into his arms. “Please say something to change the mood, or I won’t be able to sleep tonight,” pleads Hayley to him.

“How about a pie you pie chucker,” jokes Alex, reminding him of a funny incident that could have easily snowballed into a major catastrophe.

“Yeah, thank you my friend, for that would be a great story to lift up everyone’s spirits,” Corbett quips wiping his tears, “But let us first get you two to your cabin.”

“No, just leave them here tonight,” Hayley however pleads.

“We can move the apparatus to their room if you want us to,” the Kinemanize attendant informs them, sensing the real reason for Hayley’s concerns, “It would be more comfortable for them in their cabin, and besides, one or all of you can stay in there with them for the night.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” Jackie exclaims, finally joining the conversation.

“No, we don’t want to trouble any of you guys,” Alex however insists, “Let us spend some time together, but then part for the night to meet again tomorrow morning.”

“How could being up late and staying in with friends be a trouble you knuckle head,” Corbett however takes a jibe, “Didn’t we do that all the time when we were still young? How did the Pie chucker thing happen?”

Sensing the mood of the room, Alex finally decides to give in, “Alright, just for the old time’s sake!”

“Yay, woo, woo!” exclaims Hayley as Zenander and Alishiida wipe away their tears.

And we proudly march behind the procession of friends, as they make their way to Alex and Mishiida’s cabin. Yes there’s enough space for all of us in that cabin, for it is much like their hearts; big and spacious.

“So what is this pie chucker story about?” Jackie, who is not aware of this little incident, in spite being a brief part of it, asks for everyone’s benefit as soon as everyone settles down for the night in their chosen spots.

“Well, the story is around the time you were living as a monk on Elithecia,” Corbett starts if from where it would link Jackie into the mix, “You remember when Alex and Mishiida came calling, the pretext being sharing Earth’s love with Elithecian kids, although they had been tasked to convince you to rejoin the war?”

“Very well my friend,” Jackie nods in response, “It was just after their futile visit that the Gazintinians launched their dastardly attack.”

“And then you will definitely remember how luckily Alex and Mishiida had just the right amount of weaponry with them, to return to Elithecia quickly and launch a counter attack that repulsed the enemy forces,” Corbett asks.

“So you mean there was more to that lucky chance?” Jackie is finally getting excited about the incident.

“Well, those weapons were meant for us,” Corbett quips as he looks around to Alex and Mishiida to note their reactions.

“What?” a surprised Garcia exclaims as he too looks around at the two couples.

“We were supposed to take an armament delivery to ‘Battle Front Forty Nine’, were a small company of our forces had been holding out an important planet against some repeated assaults by the enemy,” Corbett quips, “And these folks here, they were supposed to bring the joy of potato pasties to the innocent kids of Elithecia, their supposed purpose of visiting the planet, where they were expected to unexpectedly bump into you.”

His starting explanation is enough to put everyone into splits, but Garcia has to ask, “Don’t tell me you end up with pasties to the front.”

“Yes indeed we did,” Corbett however exclaims, before adding, “Almost.”

“What do you mean almost?” Jackie asks.

“Well, as it generally happens in tough times, when you are running on your last bowl of cereals, the dog generally takes away with the bowl,” Corbett quips in reply, “We were ambushed by a motivated platoon of the enemy ally, midway our journey.”

“But you still had a warship to fight in,” Jackie however insists.

“Not when you are loaded with pies,” Corbett replies, “It takes ages for the simplest of manoeuvres to be accomplished, what with the crates flying around in the stocking area, unbalancing the craft.”

“So what did you do then,” Jackie eggs him on.

“Luckily we had a massive planet close by to use, and that’s exactly where we went,” Corbett continues with the story, “While Hayley took the controls of the craft, dodging the tailing firestorm, I risked my life into the middle of projectile pies in the stocking area, secured myself with a rope, and got ready to open the hatch and give the enemy a taste of our pies. As soon as we entered the gravity of the planet, one by one Hayley drew the pursuing enemy into a rising chase, and I would simply open up the hatch and release a load of fresh healthy pies on to the pursuing craft, smearing its face with a thick layer of sticky potato, just enough to give Hayley time to turn around and shoot it down.”

Corbett has finally got everyone rolling on the floor laughing now. Alex however decides it’s time for him to add his two pennies into the hat, “And that’s how he got the short lived epithet; Pie Chucker.”

“But imagine being Alex and Mishiida, when they arrived at Elithecia and built up all the hype about earthly food, only to open the consignment and find advanced weaponry to hand to Elithecian kids,” Hayley adds to the fun.

“But how did the four of you end up in such a mess,” Jackie asks surprised.

“We were living the high military traditions,” Corbett replies, “Like all faithful soldiers leaving for a major campaign, we felt it was our moral duty to piss ourselves into a stupor the night before, and being true and honest friends, Alex and Mishiida joined us. The only problem was; we took our consignment handler along. The next day we all had a hangover. His turned out to be just a tad worse.”

“He must have got sacked,” Jackie quips shaking his head.

“Nah, they just posted him to the frontline,” Corbett adds to it, “They were too short on men to waste even one.”

It is funny how time flies when giggles fill up a room made cosy by the warmth of friendships and love. Sleep is a natural bliss every organism has been granted as a boon to enjoy. We don’t need to though, for we are not organisms. We are just witnesses!

The hours can sometimes fly like wind, and at others drag on like a shadow following the sun. But it is not the hours, rather the beholder who is stuck in the inertia of emotions. This breakfast table is supposed to be the last meal to be served on this spaceship for this part of the journey. Return journey will not be so busy with people unfortunately. Outside we can already see nothing, signalling we are in that part of the space where there is only one place to find a resting spot; the final resting spot.


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