Monthly Archives: May 2013

6. To the North

It was dark, but the darkness had not spread well enough to hide the beauty of the land which seemed to sparkle in that little dim light which seemed to exist to show the magnificience of its motherland’s terrain to those people who never knew the beauty or awesomeness of the terrain of their own planet. The light kept its opponent right outside the door for a long time, and this period was part of that time when light struggled just like the power source of the Settlement 47.

Helios, the chief military officer rushed into the room with something that looked like a long paper. He looked worried as well as tired.

“Is the pathfinder available. I think we might need to go on a trip”.

“The first thing is that the pathfinder is not designed to take people in it. The orders say that the pathfinder is to be left alone to its job. The second thing is that we are not here for a trip and there is nothing interesting out there for us to go on a holiday. There is nothing near us, and the pathfinder has confirmed it”.

“These are direct orders which asks us to go to the Settlement 44, the closest Northern settlement and get what we need to save us from a possible blackout which would also mean the end of our storage of fresh air”.

“We have started accepting help from them? In other words, they have started developing so much love for us that they are going to help us. As far as we know, they are the kind of people who would take wood from our coffin just to make sure that their total amount of resources exceeds ours”.

“Actually, there was a deal between the Northern and the Imperial Blocs. They actually won the auction for the control of air and water on Earth. They have come up with a common economic policy, and their share of resources would be 12-8 out of 20 in favour of the Northern Bloc. Seventy percent of the air and ten percent of the water is all our bloc shall get, and the rest goes to the Northern Bloc. There has also been the talks about sharing more resources especially outside Earth, which is why we have been notified and ordered to work with the nearest Northern Settlement, which is the Settlement 44, even if it is kind of far away. The pathfinder does have turbo mode, doesn’t it? So it will take only a few days, I guess”.

“So they have finally privatized air and water? I thought the fight between these six blocs would keep it undecided for a long time. Now we have to pay for every drop of water? Do they also provide fresh air in bottles too?”

“You are being a cynic again. This privatization has always done us good. It will make sure that the water and air we get are fresh enough. There will be more factories established to make sure that maximum cleaniness is maintained. The price is not going to be that high, as we have such good technology. The only disadvantage is that we had to agree to the Northern Bloc’s demand to establish one airbase, one naval base and three weapon manufacturing plants on our land. In my opinion, that is just a fair demand. After all, they are stronger and are investing more”.

“What Northern Bloc did was much expected. But still, the privatization of the basic needs? These factories do pollute air and water, don’t they? It doesn’t matter how much they try to hide it, the facts are still facts. Haven’t you heard about the Cochabamba protests? That was about eighty years ago, but the story of humanity still remains the same and you don’t need to see the Andes mountain range to know that part of history. Do you think that the price can be kept at an international standard considering the unavailability of water at some areas? If it is kept standard at an international level, do you think that the purchasing power can be kept the same in every bloc or in each and every nation which make the bloc?”

“Well, just wait till you get home. You will know how much our world has changed for good. There will be perfection and pure awesomeness in the working of both our water and air supply system. I wish they had privatized the Earth and the sky too, if such a thing was possible. You are free to like it or hate it, but what matters the most is that now we are on the side of the Northern Bloc, the most powerful of them all. There is no military collaboration yet, but that should follow, as they have established base on our lands”.

“Well, this is the last time I will be trusting the Northerns. We will obey the order for now, and after we reach Earth, I will decide if I have to trust anybody. For now, I shall not be accompanying you on your journey to meet your future best friends. You can take Zachary and let his assistant do his job here. I need to here, as I am the only qualified mechanic around here. It can only hold two people maximum, anyway”.

Helios stormed out without saying another word. Zachary came into the room and Christian dispatched him with instructions on how to drive the pathfinder. He could hear the pathfinder engine starting and the machine trying hard to move around with the extra one hundred and fifty kilograms which it was forced to drag around. Still, the machine should be good enough to reach the destination, as it is brand new, and can create energy from moondust, even though it would take them months if that source is to be used. The existing power can just get them here if driven in an economic manner. It was all in Christian’s report, but as it was a high priority job to reach the Settlement 44, that risk was to be taken. In simple words, there was no other option.

To be continued…

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5. The Pathfinder

“22 February. Left the camp at 3:30 Lunar Time. Not because I am from one of the colonies on the Moon, but because that is the only wrist watch I have with me. The time is 12:45 and currently in a cave. Seems to be a good resting place. Glad nobody came looking for me. There is no point anyway. Was asked to travel South, but I know no directions. I just believe this is the right path. Should have informed Zachary somehow, but there was nothing positive to come out of such a thing.

23 February. Now at the side of what seems to be a frozen river, but not of water. Not to explore what lies beneath on a terrain which is stranger than the strangest corner of the Moon. No contact with any life form yet, which might be a good thing. The sun is high over the horizon, or whatever it is which looks like the sun. I think it is time to stop the journey for today. Nothing was found and nothing really gained except for the distance travelled on foot. Nothing to be done for now, other than to rust. This tree-like structure seems to be a good temporary place to stay.

24 February. There is a lot of dust flying around for reasons unknown. I wish I was a moondust collector, but sadly I don’t believe in running a business. Saturn is indeed beautiful from here, if that thing I have been seeing for a long time is indeed Saturn. May be the prediction is slowly coming true. May be Jupiter’s moon, Callisto was the better choice, and the Imperial Bloc should have never had a settlement here. There shall be no answers today either. There was no expectation of a quick answer, but some sign should have been here by now. I guess I would rest under this rock for now, for there is always another day. Tomorrow always comes, again and again”.

“This is as far as you could decrypt from the papers? There hasn’t been even one useful word in it, forget the information. Its like saying that he was born, he walked and then he died” said Jack in a disappointed tone. “I always thought that Physics and Mathematics were the worst. Now we are having metaphysical problems just because of a wandering man being unable to find anything useful”.

“The level of encryption just gets higher with every sentence. At least we know that there was a prediction; may be scientific or supernatural; we also know that the Imperial Bloc’s colonization of the Titan was a bad idea. Now the question is whether it was due to their own incapability, problems of the moon, or trouble from other life forms or the other blocs. I wonder how much of a secret might be waiting for us once we get through this. May be this was never supposed to be read and he was just trying to satisfy his urge to write down whatever truth he might have found”.

“He could have stuck to the points instead of writing like that. It would have bored the man himself”.

“He had nothing else to do there. The whole purpose of this journal might be to pass time and also to keep him in memories in case he died early. But these shall provide us with we need”.

“Well, he himself said that there shall be no answers”.

“That is for the day, there is always another day ready to be explored and decrypted by me in the most efficient manner. Meanwhile, he is also waiting for the sign about which he is quite sure”.

“I know what you need right now. You need tea. I shall call for an expert on this”.

“And who would that be? Acheron’s personal advisor and genius who could order my execution with Soren?”

“I would guess it may be you after having tea and resting for a while. You look so much deprived of life right now, and sooner or later, they will classify you as a zombie or a vampire and shoor you down. Even those Twilight fans might not be able to save you, including that daughter of Acheron who wishes to be married to a hybrid – half wolf and half vampire. It is better not to be found pale by her either, as she might decide to stuff you and keep you hanging from her wall as a sample vampire”.

“I have heard about her. Did she even have a name or is she officially the daughter of the city-state?”

“Yes, she did. It was a long name, but she has now renamed herself Bella. She is officially Bella Edward Jacob Acheron now. It is still long enough in total”.

“I would rather have my tea now. Suicide is not something I admire enough to give an embrace”.

Noah takes two cups of tea from the microwave oven, which he had kept ready to be drunk. As they were having tea, the usual call for coffee arrived, and the valve was kept open for the required five minutes after which it automatically closed, and a payment of five hundred coins was reduced from the account of Noah.

“Such pathetic nonsense” exclaimed Noah.

“Well, there is no limit to the millions, billions and zillions. The common man, also known as the donkey can give them all their hard earned money for something they don’t even need a little. There is nothing to be done if they are brainwashed in such a way that their free-will works worse than their pathetic brains. The minions of Acheron may be rich enough with properties to last many centuries, but money is never enough until you die” murmured Jack.

“Thank you dear government for whatever was not needed, and thank you for stealing our money without even accepting that you are the worst of the robbers” yelled Noah.

To be continued…

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4. Tea Revolution

It was the first time Jack has been to such a place where there were more books than open space in a house. It was a clear violation of the government recommendations, but it was inevitable in Noah’s case. His eyes stuck at a book title which looked different, which was The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis.

“How come they didn’t take this one away? I thought they had gotten rid of everything related to religion?” Jack inquired.

“No, this one didn’t qualify as a Christian text, devotional book or religious work. It is just an existential work of fiction”.

“Are you actually on dope, or did your brain just fail you?”

“I had to make a good payment to make a few brains fail. They cleared it as existential fiction, along with Camus’ The Outsider and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. It used to be the most widely read devotional work next to the Bible. It used to be considered a classic. Has any religious book other than Bible been translated into more languages than this one? I don’t think so”.

“Thomas à Kempis should be proud. Is this the last copy of the work, or does anybody who share your interests have another copy? Or have you another one for yourself?”

“I haven’t really bothered about it. Actually, there is something special about this copy. Just take it and have a look”.

“Christian [T7Z44], Chief Mechanic, The Settlement 47 (Imperial), Titan. Sometimes faith is all you got. Have faith. Hold it close to your soul” read Jack from the first page of the book. “This should have belonged to a strong believer of the 2080s after the colonization of Titan”.

“I don’t think that he is just another believer. There must be something more about him. The destruction of Titan and Mars seems to have made the situation a little more complicated, as it is more difficult to get any information from the archives. They have erased the two colonies from the records so that the people will move away from their past which includes religion and spirituality. I still have a few papers which were used as bookmarks in this book. They are small letters which seems to have used an encrypted language and I guess I can make something out of them. I have been trying to decode them, so that I can get something which would help my later progress towards restoring the faith in this world of lies”.

“You have already started planning? And I never even felt so”.

“What do you think about coffee?”

“The most prestigious and the official drink in the city-state. All the coffee is now artificially produced and the people are forced to pay for it and drink the same five times a day at a high cost, with a price which is even higher than fresh air. Eighty eight percent of the coffee in the Imperial Firmament is owned by Acheron, and this business makes him the richest person in the city, nine hundred and eighty seven times richer than the second ranked billionaire. Without it, he might still be three hundred and fourty three times richer than the second, but still coffee makes his business strong enough”.

“The more important thing is that the loss of coffee industry would be a big loss for him, considering the fact that he has identified the drink with nationalism, patriotism and his government. It would cripple his ability to control the middle class.”

“So your plan is to deny the common man their daily coffee? Well, they might be denied air and water, but Acheron will make sure that they will still get the coffee”.

“What do you think about the coffee vents that go to each home?”

“Made of Titanium and coated with Kevlar. One of the most powerful carriers of any medium in the city. You will never get through it”.

“That is exactly what I want. Once I block the flow of coffee and ensure an incredible supply of tea through those vents, they shouldn’t be able to stop it in the middle”.

“So that is how you plan it. Now I know why you changed your workplace for a lesser pay and a lot of working hours”.
“Exactly. I already work in the vents. The beginning of the coffee vents is just above my working place. It is going to be a very easy job. The best part of it is that I would automate the whole procedure before I submit my resignation. Nobody would ever come to know. The coffee vents are also the least checked areas in the city, as nobody would expect a sabotage of the coffee supply. I would easily finish the job and get another job”.

“And what about the large quantity of tea? Where can you find them? You know there is only little tea available in this world of capitalist coffee”.

“Tea is the drink of the common man, unforced and true. I have been getting a lot of it from outside the city, imported as coffee. They have been made to smell and feel like coffee, but not taste like it. I have had some contact with the outside world through encoded messages. They have already sent me enough to make an impact”.
The plan had shocked Jack, even as he didn’t show it. He had considered Noah as a man who had too many thoughts and no action. He was clearly a man of few words, and he had kept himself close to the rules on the outside. Jack had thought that he would do nothing significant in his whole life, and here he comes with an idea which is going to make a difference, even if there was no certainty what kind of a change it would bring to the Imperial Firmament.

To be continued…

Categories: Timeline: 2140 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3. Back to Future

Noah stopped in front of one of those huge televisions which were placed at every junction which had good traffic during the day time. There was some discussion going on in it, and as it is the only television channel which is available for free and regularly uses most of the frequencies, the people will have no option, but to stare at it quite often, even if they are not interested in watching them.

“He should be annihilated with his ideas. I would suggest a slow and painful procedure which can be telecasted in all television channels, thus making the people know that they should stick to the right way of thinking. But any means that will make sure that he stays dead, will have my support”.

That was the opinion of one of the celebrities who was asked to comment about the death sentence of Soren. He sat on that sofa as if he knew everything, and pronounced another judgement, something which will murder the same man and his ideas once again on the minds of his fans. Such an opinion was clearly expected, and the media has done very well in asking the right person whoc could give them the answer they wanted.

“The perfect dystopian environment. Is it what we wished for?” Noah asked himself. “The only visible success of our new perfect world seems to be related to maintaining a constant state of fear. A world which always expects war, the absence of free will supported by government surveillance and filling each brain with what they want us to think. The world doesn’t get any better”.

“Talking to yourself as usual?” Jack entered the walking area with in his usual style. He was a common person in the streets during that time. He had that infatuation towards darkness which none of the others shared. Some of the kids even interpreted it as a sign of vampirism, and he belonged to the vampire hive on the abandoned island outside the Imperial Firmament, but there was no proof of it. He was checked multiple times for an infection, but had come out clear on each occasion.

“Acheron and his government. I wonder how the people could elect such a living sample of selfishness and then suffer his dictatorship with unbelievable happiness even when they know that he has re-written every possible law, and has also made himself the emperor of emperors in a city-state which is limited to one small island”.

“You think so loud. Do you know what happens to the people who make words out of their thoughts? They are tortured and killed so slowly that there will be so much time to know the pain of thinking. Leave it, for you have hidden your thoughts well enough to survive this long. There is no need to go for something you can’t achieve, considering the heavy risks. The world has changed for the worse, and we know that. But there is nothing we can do about it. If you still think and talk about it, and you get in trouble”.

“You shall dare not to dare and continue to keep quiet till the end of your life?” asked a disheartened Noah.

“I have dared so far. I have hidden my vampiric qualities from them so far. It has never been easy, and some of them have known the difference and reported it. But I have kept my instincts under check. Actually vampire is not the correct word for it. I am just infected by a disease which makes me more zombie than a vampire. They call that place a vampire hive as they want to keep the people away from there. A group of dying people on a deserted island with not much food – that calls for media attention and a lot of change in ideology, something which is not recommended”.

“Who are they?” asked a surprised Noah.

“They are the people from the mainland who tried to cross over right after the war. But the policies of the Imperial Firmament resist immigration, and their ship was destroyed, causing them to live in that island which is a dumping yard of nuclear waste underneath. The infection is just an indirect result of the radiation. A few of us have caught the infection while going there on an unsanctioned humanitarian mission, but have successfully kept it a secret so far. We shall join them in a few months, when the symptoms get much worse, and die there unnoticed”.

“It is the information that might change the world, right?”

“It is that information which will never come out, and even if it does, shall never be believed by the common man whose beliefs are no more decided by himself”.

“You have chosen to give up?”

“I have choosen to accept the truth”.

“And what is is this truth?”

“Don’t you see it already?”

“You have chosen your own truth then, but is that the actual truth as true as the real meaning of the word itself? Just come with me then. Take a walk with me on my way home. Lets have some tea and talk. There is more to what you have said than it meets my ears”.

They walked through the shadows. Jack was not comfortable with walking under the lights. The Phainomenon had ended and it was difficult to find the darker areas. But they continued walking.

To be continued…

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2. On the Titan

The Settlement 47, somewhere on Saturn’s moon: Titan. In the year of our Lord: 2080.

Four months have passed since the colonization of Titan. There have been thirteen settlements on Moon, twenty nine on Mars, and there have been five on Titan so far. The last two colonizations had resulted in two world wars, but due to “The Treaty of 13”, there would be no war to follow this settlement at Titan. But the Fifth World War will be due by the expiry of the treaty, on Thirteenth January, 2089. It is an unavoidable fact. All the power blocs have accumulated enough weaponry to claim it in future which might be a devastated Titan. There are six of them right now, the Northern, the Southern, the Eastern, the Western, the Central and the Imperial.

There are many common men who have volunteered to go to the new settlement at Titan in spite of the poor facilities there. Out of the five settlements on Titan, the latest of them is the Settlement 47, and the man in charge of that small world is Christian. It is the only settlement of the Imperial Bloc on Titan. The other four belongs to the Northern Bloc, the most powerful military force in the whole of Earth, against who the Eastern and the Southern has formed an unofficial alliance which might be official with the next world war. This alliance is already planning on a possible future colonization of Jupiter’s moon, Callisto. The Northern Block owns eight out of the thirteen colonies on Moon and twenty three out of the twenty nine colonies on Mars. As the rest owns one each on Moon and Mars, the Central Bloc owns one extra on the latter.

In the fog, and under the light, sat two people in silver outfits. There were guns, books and a few gadgets which shows low battery.

“We are not really the ones supposed to be here, I guess” remarked Zachary, the chief medical officer.

“You are one of them, my friend, it is just me who doesn’t belong here” said Christian with a big frown on his face.

“There are no places of worship here, and building one is out of the equation. There is nothing more of the green world out here, not even a part of what remains on Earth. There is also nothing to be done”.

“I thought religion and spirituality might be the least of your concern here. Now, I do wonder if they sent you here so that you could be taken out of those fixed set of beliefs”.

“They are not just a set of beliefs; and I volunteered to be here. I had even volunteered to go to Mars, but I was a minor then, and had to fulfill the promise to my parents”.

“May be you did. But they still manipulated you into it, for you don’t know the corporate world nor do you know the government. You are just that typical everyman character who knows nothing about what happens behind the scenes. This is just the beginning – wonder how much of a dystopia our world will be, after fifty or sixty years; if there is something left of our world by then. The Northern Bloc already has enough firepower to destroy all the three Settlement planets along with Earth”.

“It is because you are into all of these as an employee. I believe that we will be saved. We might not live long enough to see it, but humanity will find its salvation one day; whoever is left to find it”.

“The one thing I have always been sure about compared to most of the other things; it is easier to convince a corpse compared to you. But I respect that, for there are only a few people left who got opinions of their own, and that number has been going down. Soon, there will be only puppets in a dystopia on a hundred percent dead world”.

The Pathfinder machine breaks the conversation, as it arrives from under the canyon after doing the usual check for unidentified life-forms. There is nothing new to report on its long list of descriptions about the large number of turns it had to make. Christian considered it a waste of power at a time when the settlements were trying hard to keep the lights on. But he had to obey the orders.

Christian made his routine checks on the machine. That was the only thing he enjoyed during his stay there. He has been an expert mechanic right from his childhood, as he repaired his own hover-car, never giving it to the workshop. Zachary had his own problems in the medical fields, as the atmosphere of Titan had something infectious about it, always creating more than one abscess on the body.

The storm alert started blinking. It was the time to get into those titanium-hybrid abodes and have some rest. This resting was such a major thing in their life, that they found it an important event of the routine. There was always the option of exploring more and more, as the next settlement was too far away from them. But there were bots assigned to do the same, and the local exploration was the job of the Pathfinder. A regular journey through the surface of Titan was not healthy enough for a normal human being.

It was in such a world that Christian spent his life. There were just the books on technology and gadgets short of power to keep him company, along with a good number of people who failed to share his interests. Most of the available power had to be used by the machines for the exploration of the surface and underneath the planet in a consistent struggle to keep the settlement safe from any unidentified organism or infectious disease. There were mistakes made on the Moon and Mars, and the experts on Earth were being extra careful during this settlement. To add to it, the Imperial Bloc has been new to the Titan surface, and the experts predict it a colossal task for them to keep themselves working there, with absolutely no help expected from the comparatively well-settled Northern Bloc colonies.

As a representative of everyman who had too much love for nature, God, poetry, art and all the things of a beautiful past, the world was never enough for him. It is out of the situation where the world becomes not enough, that rebellions occur. As long as Christian is considered, there was such a thing already boiling in his mind and soul. He was denied both his spiritual and intellectual satisfaction, and his aesthetic sense had nothing to be satisfied.

To be continued…

Categories: Timeline: 2080 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

1. The Beginning

The Imperial Firmament, somewhere near the Antartic circle. In the year of our Lord: 2140.

It was the darkest time of the year. It was the season of what they called “phainomenon” when everything electronic failed without failure. It occured exactly when the Imperial Clock-hands came together as if to greet each other at the bottom of the clock; thirty minutes after six in the evening. In such a world of self-proclaimed perfection and punctuality powered by the machines, even natural events tend to keep the time.

Noah walked on that land of frost which could easily boast of advanced nuclear weaponry under it. He was twenty seven years old, and had a flask full of tea which was supposed to be his food for lunch.

Noah was not of his age, for the life had made a black hole in him, and his heart was rusted iron. But only the sides of hole were made by the physical world, and the rest were metaphysical, or rather of the soul.

“You shouldn’t be here.” said the man at the gate. “You have no right to be here at this time. If you have any sense left, why didn’t you just come during the day or at least when it is not the darkest hour”.

Noah knew he wouldn’t get to enter his workplace, but the world had become mechanical for him, and to change the routine was for him to cease to exist. He can still drink the tea in the flask and go back home. He had become nothing other than a machine, and this had become worse in the last few months, as his favourite uncle had died. At least, he died a natural death, and that was something rare in Noah’s family.

It was twelve years ago, when he was sixteen, that they had taken away the last religious symbol from the city. Some of the villages of the nuclear wasteland belonging to the mainland might still have some of their faith left, but not the Imperial Firmament. The city was too developed to believe in God, they said. Noah never really had the option to go out of the city, as he was an orphan, thanks to the Seventh World War, the most devastating war in the history of Earth, challenged only by the Third World War which was more of a dumping of the nuclear warheads on whoever they considered “the other”.

The problem was not that people died; the greatest trouble was due to the survival of a few people who were instrumental in created more world wars. This year marks twenty five years without war, but actually there was nothing left to be fighting for. The Imperial Firmament remains the last city-state with enough firepower to create another global disaster. But they don’t want the radiation-affected mainland, and the people of the mainland are already nuked to the stone age, and have mutated too much to become an intellectual or physical threat. The city-state is clearly protected from any attack using a bow and arrow.

Noah had known stories about the mainland, were cannibalism and chaos prevail over technology and rationalism. But that has never affected his hidden desire to visit his hometown there. Neither did it affect his faith, but it has ventured so deep into his soul, that no trace of it can be found from his words or actions. The world has been mechanized, and it is now a crime and a sin to bite back at the machine who provides the man with enough sloth to contribute to the deadly sins.

“You’re one of them, aren’t you?” he asked softly. “Is this Soren’s handiwork? He brought you over to the other side?”

He was named after the nineteenth century Danish philosopher, and had just been caught and condemned to death for having faith. It was as much a crime as believing in miracles. A few hundred years ago, who would have believed that such a day would come? This man in picture was part of the armed forces and proclaimed his religion there – nothing could have been worse. Now, Soren’s death is certain, and Noah would have no part of it.

“No, I am more of a cynic” he exclaimed; “I am still not enough inclined towards religion even for despising it. I never even knew this man”.

He wondered how he learned to lie with so much perfection. His religious teaching had taught him not to lie, and now he is a master in doing the same. He knew Soren very well, as he was Noah’s senior both at school and college, and they even had a few cups of tea together as the representatives of their classes. But he is now good or bad enough to deny them all.

“That should work fine, kid” he said. “But be careful, as it is from extreme hatred, that love rises; you know the case of Soren – the more he hated that drug called religion, the more he fell into it”.

“I know, I know” said Noah walking away, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to hide his beliefs if the conversation goes deeper. The gate-keeper might be one of those secret informers of the Imperial Police. Even if he is not, there is enough reward for him to claim for finding someone who doesn’t think the way the government wants him to, especially someone who is sticking to what the people at the top hated the most. Fear is such a powerful weapon. Hope is also powerful, but for now, fear has the upperhand.

To be continued…

Categories: Timeline: 2140 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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