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Mishiida Alexander

Stalking Shadows

“What you seek reflects your aptitude, and how you seek reflects your attitude.”

Chapter Nine: Quick sand

Every human is fighting the biggest battle in the history of mankind. And no, it might not always be the battle that would determine the continuity of human existence in the universe. In fact most of time the battle is only a personal tussle, impacting only a personal interest. But for the one fighting it, it might be the most important aspect of their existence at that given moment. What worth will their victory be, if any to the society, has no significance whatsoever on their personal evaluation of the situation. But does the society ever judge personal victories impartially? Perhaps never, for society is nothing but an aggregate of individuals making it up, and hence selfish. A man will forever be judged by his peers! The greatness of a man has and will always be measured by the cause his deeds serve the society. And a man’s deeds are a function of his choices, which in turn are a function of both his intellect, and his intentions. His aptitude thus determines the battles his blood and sweat will grace.

While the choice of battle is a reflection of the hidden desires and the level of intellect of a person, the means deployed to achieve the ends disclose their inner persona. A man holds dear what is considered an enviable achievement amongst the section of society they come from. Thus what a person fights for gives a fair guess about what part of society they belong to, and how much improvement in society will their actions affect. Self gratification might appear spellbinding, but is seldom enriching! In the same vein, the integrity a person shows seeking victory, gives an idea of how good a heart they have. A man of virtues will uphold his principles the foremost, for tasteless is the victory sans grace! A lot more can be said about a man from the way he seeks his passions, than in the way he camouflages his appearance with clothes, accessories and superficial mannerism. A pig in deer hide will still feast on faeces!

Grace is the hallmark of a true warrior, but loud is an opportunist! It is an opportunist who needs the whole world to know who’s won, for he is forever insecure in his fortune. A true warrior respects the grace of the fallen enemy, for he knows that men of honour will always rise for another battle. It was the Persians who won at Thermopylae, but it is the three hundred Spartans that died there who are still considered better men. Rick might have lost his men to a concealed enemy, but he is one who will get his nemesis before he puts his feet up for the evening. Time is the only thing waiting to be lived by.

“But Colonel, and please pardon my bluntness here, don’t you think it’s a bit insensitive of the army to be going ahead with this felicitation ceremony in the light of recent tragedies? And pardon me once again, but what about the safety of the people attending the function when the killers are still at large?” the TV reporter asks Colonel Roxon in this recorded interview being broadcast on the Australia Day morning.

“I don’t understand. Are you implying I am undeserving of the honour I am receiving for my service? Or are you saying that an army trained and equipped to deal with a threat as powerful as the recent belligerent, should be scared of a couple of mongrels?” Rick however fumes in his reply.

It’s painful to see Rick dismantling and destroying a poor young lassie so mercilessly on national network, but her impetuosity was literally begging for the treatment. Watching her trying her best to avoid fragmenting altogether reminds us of the two idiots we caught up a week ago, after Rick had first divulged his plans to Corbett that morning.

“Captain Pfzarida, this ceremony could be a trap to capture you,” Mr Garcia was reasoning with them via the communication link when we gatecrashed his Los Angeles office.

“They don’t need to set a trap Mr Garcia, for it is their home turf,” Pfzarida had replied at that time. We had then managed to trace him and his second in command to be stationed in an abandoned factory just outside the metropolitan Adelaide. “We will be walking straight into the lion’s den,” he had insisted.

“Then why do you have to, I don’t understand?” Mr Garcia was trying hard to get his head around their weird preoccupation with Colonel Rick Roxon and his men.

“Only revenge shall restore honour Mr Garcia,” Second Captain Draztida had replied at that time, “Our defeat at your hands sullied our reputation universe wide. But we are ready to forgive it all and forge a powerful alliance with you in this part of the Universe, provided you help us get the heads of our enemies. That is why Commander Urzartyre agreed to share their supreme tech with you as a trust building measure.”

“I assure you Second Captain; it is an honour to have the mighty Tyrenes and yourselves as our friends,” Mr Garcia had tried his flattering best in reply, “But I would insist you to take a few of my men alongside, if you have decided to gatecrash their party. If not in assault, they will assist your escape in case things go outside plans.”

The two had reluctantly agreed, unaware of what awaits them here today. Colonel Rick Roxon and his men are not made of cardboard, and neither is Mishiida. The other day, had it not been for Alexander who calmed her down, she nearly ran out in their search alone. Rick had to intervene and assure her how her concerns are being taken care of. And the moment Rick divulged the Australia Day plan to her, her keen interest in the most minute of details, some vital inputs, and then her ferocious preparation for the d-day would have sent chills down their spines had they witnessed it themselves. There is a surprise waiting for them would be an understatement, but something in Rick’s eyes hinted to us; there could be more than one!

The day is setting itself up nicely; neither too hot, nor too cold, a perfect mild southern summer day. We are here in the middle of the crowd, looking around trying to spot our prime targets of the day, somewhere in the stands of the footy oval at the RAAF base Edinburgh. The crowd has gathered in some numbers to witness the army function, and that doesn’t make our job any easier, not to mention the men who are constantly patrolling the stands and keeping a strict vigil. The entry to the venue was a bit relaxed, but not too much to give away any hints to the enemy. The small army parade has now finished and the chief guest of the occasion, the Chief of Army staff is just finishing his address after which he will felicitate Colonel Rick Roxon for his exemplary service during the recent invasion.

Everything looks normal, and we didn’t notice anyone strange entering the venue as long as we were monitoring the gates. But how hard is it to get a fake identity, especially with the help available to the two aliens? Anyway, the Chief of Army Staff has just finished his address, and Rick’s name has been announced for the honour. As Rick marches up the stairs leading to the top of the stage, our hearts pound as we scan our surroundings quickly, to have a glimpse of the expected assailants.

As we search around, rushing through the rows, we almost bump into the back of a tall man. We try to walk around him but he turns around and walks straight through us. Stunned as we are, but whether anyone else noticed it or not, we didn’t miss the black lining around his eyeballs, even when it’s well concealed underneath his goggles. We turn around and notice his companion rising up from another row. The two put their hands into their pockets and pull out small round objects. They fling the two disks up into the air, and as the discs rise, they start releasing a bit of smoke, before blowing into bits with a loud bang, releasing thick clouds of smoke. The crowd is scared into a mad rush in a flash. Kids and women let out screams as everybody gets up from their seats and rushes in all directions. Total chaos!

Some soldiers rush towards the source of all the commotion, but a couple of shots from the alien weapons pins them down with their hopeless weapons in this battle. The two aliens immediately remove their disguise and put their helmets on. They look up towards the stage where commandoes have provided a body cover to the dignitaries present, and are escorting them to safety. But Rick is nowhere to be seen. The two look at each other, and one nods his head in the direction of the stage. The two make a dash, but a leg pulled in front of one of them sends him flying over the rows and towards the ground.

“Uh oh, looks like you won’t make it to the train,” Monty quips as he rises up from behind the row of seats. He is the first half of the surprise the two didn’t account for in their preparations.

The other alien lets out a yell and points his weapon to fire at Monty. But a shot off a similar weapon disarms him in an instant. In fact, the shot would have taken his head off had he not moved his head back to take an aim. Instead the shot clipped his shoulder and disarmed him. He immediately grabs his shoulder in pain and turns around to look at his assailant.

“Remember me son,” Sandeep, the second half of the surprise, exclaims with hatred writ large on his face, “Your mother used to stalk me once.”

Meanwhile the first alien has pointed his weapon at Sandeep and is about to take a shot when a flying kick to his hand disarms him. He turns around and faces square the one who’s been keenly awaiting this face-off; Mishiida.

The crowd has all but escaped from this end of the oval, with a few scared people ducking behind the seats trying to make their way out.

“Well, well, well, looks who’s here?” Colonel Rick Roxon quips with a few claps as he slowly steps into the scene of confrontation, “Now if you gentlemen approve of the reception we organized here for you, I am certain you will appreciate the world renowned hospitality we are going to provide you here onwards! Oops, I’m sorry! I should say Universe renowned from now onwards, shouldn’t I?”

“You two lie down flat on your stomach and put your hands behind your back, or your hands won’t find your heads atop your shoulders anymore,” Corbett yells as he steps in, pointing a previously captured weapon straight at the head of the first alien.

“And I am covering your head sweetheart,” Sandeep quips to the other alien.

The two remove their helmets, as Corbett and Sandeep keep a careful eye on them. The first one, Captain Pfzarida, then laughs and says something to Mishiida, who immediately replies back with ferocity. The bickering exchange continues for a few moments before Corbett intervenes, “Enough! Lie down on the ground now and put your hands behind your backs.”

Pfzarida looks at Draztida, and the duo leap in the air in a flash, attacking and disarming Corbett and Sandeep in no time. Mishiida immediately rushes to Sandeep’s assistance, while Rick and Monty try to save Corbett from Draztida’s grip. But human strength is vulnerable beyond its limitations, and quality opposition wastes no time in exposing the same. Rick, Corbett and Monty, all receive hits that would have knocked out any lesser man. But if they still find themselves on their feet, it is a testimony of their dedication to their duty, and the strength of their inner resolves.

Meanwhile Mishiida manages to distract Pfzarida away from Sandeep. While Sandeep grabs his weapon and rushes to the aid of Rick and Company, Mishiida takes on Captain Pfzarida herself. Power and size, she may have lost it all to a reason we don’t know yet, but agility and presence of mind is still immaculate. Pfzarida takes a couple of steps and throws a massive kick at Mishiida, who bends over her back to duck. But as soon as his foot lands on ground, Pfzarida swings a massive fist at Mishiida, who falls down on her back to avoid the hit. Having missed his second shot, Pfzarida instantly leaps in air but misses Mishiida who rolls over her back and swings back on her feet. She instantly swings one massive kick at Pfzarida’s neck, tossing him away.

As Pfzarida swings back on to his feet, Mishiida rushes down the rows and leaps in air to attack Second Captain Draztida, who is now holding Rick and Corbett by their necks in his arm. Monty and Sandeep are already on the ground, bleeding from their mouths, and grabbing their chests in pain. As Mishiida swings a flying kick at Draztida’s head, he ducks in time to avoid a direct hit, but Mishiida bends her knee quickly enough to land one on the side of his face as her frame flies past his body. Draztida’s grip slackens on his two captives, whose frames fall to the ground, gasping for breath.

As the rumble of heavy machinery rolling down towards the oval raises a din in the far ground, both Pfzarida and Draztida decide to attack Mishiida simultaneously. The soldiers at the scene meanwhile have been forced to hold their fire due to the friendlies involved at the scene. We also notice how two soldiers have pinned Alexander down to the ground. He seems keen on entering the combat in complete disregard to his safety. “Let me go you idiots, they need me,” Alexander can be heard yelling at the top of his voice, but to no avail.

Meanwhile Pfzarida and Draztida launch at Mishiida at the same time; Pfzarida swinging a kick to her head, and Draztida trying to sweep her off her feet. Mishiida ducks and lunges towards the ground through the middle, and rolls on to her feet, turning around and kicking Draztida in his head, and then spinning the other way and blocking Pfzarida’s kick to her ribs with her hand, and then thrusting her own forward placed leg into his ribs. Draztida who had regained his stance, tries to hit her in her stomach, but Mishiida blocks his kick with a raised knee, only to flex her leg and hit his thigh, pushing him off balance. At the same time she uses her hand to block Pfzarida’s kick to her under-chin, then takes a couple of quick steps in towards Pfzarida’s frame, and punches him in his ribs once again. Having lost much of her strength, her hits don’t seem to be causing much affect on the two, but her agility and ability is still breathtaking to watch, and is totally effective in holding off two stronger adversaries at the same time.

As we are lost admiring the hand to hand combat, a huge figure walks past us; almost double the size of the biggest fighter at the scene. Distracted by this new arrival, we look at his huge frame in awe. But he looks nothing like the aliens we have known so far. Green scaly skin marked by deep dark green seams covers his hexa-dactyl hands, with each digit ending in a long, strong and curved claw. His face has the same dark green seems dividing the green skin into pattern, but has dirty brown translucent thorn like projections growing out of the grooves. His red pupils have a diamond shaped iris, and his head bald. With a huge roar he announces his arrival at the scene just when Mishiida had dispatched both Pfzarida and Draztida flying in the air.

Mishiida turns around and stares in a shock as the new arrival rushes madly towards her. Mishiida tries to leap away and out of the way, but the new adversary is too quick for her. He flings a fist at the escaping frame of Mishiida, and she immediately smashes to the ground below. In pain she rolls over to her back, but before she can react, the alien grabs her from her neck with one hand, and stomach with the other. He picks her up in the air like a dummy made of hollow plastic, and tosses her into the stands.

Corbett rushes in to intervene but the alien swings his arm around and flattens him to the ground with a single slap. He raises his foot to smash it right into his chest, but before his foot can even graze anywhere near him, a shrieking Alexander lunges into the air and straight into him. His legs pointed firmly into the alien’s chest, Alexander gives it all his might, and manages to imbalance the alien, while he lands hard on his back.

The alien looks surprised at Alexander, who gets up and lunges in air, this time his fist pointed at the monstrous frame’s head. The alien laughs, and with a hard slap to his face, sends Alexander spinning to the ground. As Alex grimaces in pain, the alien decides to finish him off for good and raises his massive foot to try and smash his head into pulp. Mishiida shrieks and overcoming her pain, rushes from the stands and kicks the alien in his knee. The alien diverts his attention back to Mishiida, grabs her leg, and swings her up in the air from her one leg, and tosses her towards the centre of the oval. The alien breaks a big chunk of bricks and mortar from the wall in front of the stands, and leaps in air with an aim to smash Mishiida’s chest with it.

But just when everything seemed to have been lost, a mysterious figure appears giving out a war-cry as he lands his feet in the alien’s back, sending him over Mishiida, and knocking him into the ground hard using the alien’s own momentum. Everybody looks on at the man supporting a flowing beard, a huge navy blue turban wrapped around his head, dressed in a flowing royal blue robe and white tights, with curved tip leather shoes that adorn his feet. Two heavy steel bangles grace his wrists, and a small ornamental knife hangs by his side. As Mishiida looks on, the man, possibly in his late fifties or early sixties, jumps in air and spins around, just avoiding the flying kick of the alien. In air, just as his frame flies past the alien who swings his arm to try hit him in the second attempt, the man gives a massive thrust to back of the alien’s shoulder, thus overstretching his joint. While the man avoids the hit, the alien lands on his feet, grabbing his shoulder in pain.

Pfzarida and Draztida decide to join in and charge at the man, but Mishiida jumps in between. As Pfzarida and Draztida leap in air with their kicks pointed at Mishiida, the man leaps in air, grabbing Mishiida by her elbow, and spins around swapping her place. But before the kicks of the two aliens can hit him, he spins around in the opposite direction, avoiding the two hits. And as the flying bodies of the two alien pass him, he leaps in air behind them, and as soon as the two land on their feet, he lands a massive kick each in their backs, tossing them away and into the ground, using their own momentum.

The third alien, the new arrival at the scene meanwhile lunges towards the warrior, who also rushes towards him. However, at the very last moment just when the alien tries to clean him of his feet with a swinging arm, he spins around and ducks across the alien’s body and through under his arm. And just as he passes the side of the alien, the warrior raises his hand to hit the inside of the alien’s swinging arm at its elbow. This quick move collapses the alien’s arm in towards self, with his own fist hitting him in his face and knocking him hard on to the ground.

But just when the situation seemed to be getting under control, someone from behind the bushes tosses a smoke bomb at the scene. We can sense someone escaping from the scene, but with this thick smoke making our eyes fill up a pond, it is hard to make out who it is. But I think we all can guess who it could be, so let us just wait for this smoke to settle down.

And no sooner does the smoke disperse Mishiida rushes to Alexander, who is bleeding from his nose. Mishiida grabs his face in her hands, tears rolling down her cheeks as she kisses him on his forehead, and hugs him hard.

“What the hell were you thinking?” Corbett however is none too impressed, “You are not even half the size of their fists. Combat is no place for adventure.”

“But he would have killed you,” Alexander replies panting out of pain.

“Then you should have let me die,” Corbett exclaims, “Don’t ever try to be a hero in real life, for life is not a movie where stuntmen and camera tricks will cover up for your inadequacies.” He turns his head away in disgust, but adds before walking away, “You don’t need to die for army! We’ll do it for you.”

Alexander looks around as everyone including Rick, Sandeep and Monty look back at him. Rick kneels down by his side and asks, “How are you feeling?”

“I am fine,” Alexander replies and then asks, “How about you guys, you all are bleeding too?”

“Don’t worry about us, we’ll be alright,” Rick quips as he pats Alex on his shoulder, “Take care of yourself!”

Alex looks at Mishiida who is still crying, trying to wipe the blood of his face with a handkerchief. “Oh, I’ll be fine,” Alexander exclaims as he gently pushes Mishiida’s hand away and gets up to walk off.

A hand grabs him from his shoulder and makes him stop in his stride. The new warrior walks around and quips, “You have a heart of a lion! You did well, very well!”

“Did I?” Alex quips, not sure of what to say; but walks away anyway. Mishiida too follows him, to comfort him.

“Nihang Mr Surpavitar Singh, my friend, you were right on time,” Colonel Rick Roxon exclaims as he greets the warrior, “Let me introduce you to my team my friend.” He then proceeds to introduce his team to him, and informs everyone, “My friend Mr Surpavitar Singh is the last remaining proponent of the most potent and the only surviving unarmed Sikh Martial arts form from the Gataka family. If it weren’t for his ancestors, this form would have become extinct two centuries ago.”

“It’s an honour to have you amongst us Mr Singh,” Corbett greets the warrior, then adds, “How come such an important and potent martial arts form is on the verge of extinction? I would have presumed more youth would be keen in learning this form.”

“Knowledge, the biggest boon my friend, can also be the worst curse if in wrong hands,” Surpavitar Singh replies, “It’s not about who and how many would be interested in this knowledge, but if there is anyone worthy enough to have this knowledge. The more potent the knowledge, the more judicious should be its’ dissemination.”

“But what makes this knowledge worthy of being kept such a well guarded secret, that even its’ existence is in danger today?” Corbett asks.

“Kaal Kumari Baisno was one of the first and most potent unarmed Gataka techniques to originate and develop behind the great walls of the Anandpur fort,” Surpavitar informs everyone, “When Sikhism was established on 13th April, 1699, there were only six Sikhs in the world, including the Guru himself, plus their immediate families. It was one of the techniques designed to enable the very small minority to defend itself in the face of aggression, when each available warrior was expected to get caught in a combat with ten to twenty enemy combatants at the same time. Such potent is the technique, the proponents of this technique were strictly forbidden under oath, from teaching it to anyone except the most honest of hearts, for the consequences of its misuse would have been very grave.”

“But what use is education that cannot benefit the society?” Sandeep joins in the conversation.

“More important than use is preventing abuse,” Surpavitar Singh replies, “If education survives long enough, it will serve its’ purpose one day. But if it falls in the wrong hands, it will destroy its’ every purpose.”

“So there is no person good enough in this world to learn this technique from you,” Corbett quips as if he has taken an unwanted offence to Surpavitar’s assertions.

“I mean no offence my friend, but every good person is not good to share the burden I carry,” Surpavitar replies to his statement, “A good mother may not necessarily be a good wife. A good soldier may not necessarily be a good General, and a good student may not necessarily be a good teacher. All kids passing out of a school have learnt the same lessons, but apply their learning differently, and end up at different places in life. When you have a secret to share that is meant to be kept, you need a heart that belongs to someone who is willing to leave its’ keys with you.”

“What if something happens to you before you share your secret?” Corbett asks what is bothering all of us.

“My father is too old and sick to teach it to anyone, leave alone finding the right person. And if something were to happen to me, the technique would be lost forever,” Surpavitar replies, “Thirty years since my father told me I am the master of my knowledge, I haven’t spent a single day not looking for the one heart to lock the secret in. Finally, my wait and search are over now.”

“So you’ve found the one you were looking for?” Colonel Rick asks him this time.

“When I embarked on this journey, mists of uncertainty shrouded my conscience. But the light of deeds has now dispersed the mist, and I can see far and clear,” Surpavitar Singh replies, “Yes, I’ve found the one. But it looks like he hasn’t found himself yet!”


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