Friday, November 5, 2010

LACHIT-the last defence(short story)

LONDON:2060

“You really think we are alone? Bhagwad that is a statement I will never buy” said Dr Narlikar as Bhagwad Sharma looked on with a smile in his face. They were in the embassy dinner being hosted in London. UN Wing Commander Bhagwad was India’s number one warfare expert at the young age of 40.They called him “The Strategist” as he had won hundreds of battles for the UN against terrorists in counter insurgency operations. Two kids –Samiran and Kashvi –and a beautiful wife Srishti his life was the story of a fairytale. He was the cynosure of all eyes the prince charming of modern India.

Little however did he realize how true was the statement of Professor Narlikar, as he went to sleep that night .The next day he woke up to an unusually cold London summer, his kids and wife were still in bed. Getting up from the bed he went outside to wake up Eric -3411 his confidante and personal robot .Together they started out for a walk when they realized that the sky was unusually dark. Something was not right thought Bhagwad as he stepped out of the house .There was a cold unusual chill in the air. He took out his PDA and found the temperature was -8 degree celsuis! He was shocked; the last time that kind of temperature was heard was in the Himalayas before they had melted away. He quickly went back to his house while Eric-341 adjusted himself to the new environment by incorporating a heat shield over himself almost immediately. The power was down so was the satellite phone .Left with no choice Bhagwad called up his friend Narlikar as he wanted to know if there was any scientific reason for this climate change. Narlikar picked up the phone almost immediately and said “Bhagwad come over here I have to tell you something urgent and come walking because there is a huge jam in the roads so you won’t be able to use a car ”. It was such a funny request Bhagwad thought as he got ready …Why did Narlikar talk like this? With a thousand questions in his mind Bhagwad started for the professor house .He was there in 15 minutes. The professor was at the door waiting for him .The moment Bhagwad reached the doorsteps the professor grabbed Bhagwad and took him to the lab .There was sweat all over the professor face as he faced Bhagwad and finally said “We are being attacked…..!”.Bhagwad was stunned. “……by aliens”continued Narlikar. Suddenly in a fraction of a second the world made sense to Bhagwad .He was numb.

Slowly he sat down and asked Narlikar to explain the situation to him. Narlikar continued “Today morning when I woke up I was stunned to see the weather so I took out my octometer2 and started scanning the atmosphere as I was sure things were not right .The octometer was not giving correct signals there was some kind of magnetic interference. Sensing some kind of problem I began scanning for iron scraps in the atmosphere left behind by some spacecraft .And you know what I found instead an iron plate whose diameter is about 700 meters the size of Old Trafford ….You know what it is ? It is an UFO .It was emitting some kinds of signals .I called up my friend Jerry and we began intercepting the signals and the programming team at Raman Labs3 began encoding it and the results arrived 9 minutes ago. See what it says” as he handed Bhagwad a paper “26 hours before annihilation!”Bhagwad heart stopped for a second. But he was not the only one, within seconds alert was sounded in London. Annihilation was 26 hours away.

The Indian PM called up Bhagwad almost immediately; he was needed at the capital Delhi. Taking leave of the professor he headed back home. Reaching home he asked his family to pack .They were ready in about half an hour .Bhagwad called for the Mach 8 Indices .The swanky jet arrived in 12 seconds, the family boarded the flight in silence .In 14 minutes they were in Delhi .Once in the airport they saw the representatives of the 7 permanent Security Council members (India and Japan had joined the original 5 permanent members of the Security Council) of the UN waiting for him .Almost immediately Srishti realized what this meant and she clasped Bhagwad’s hand. However he was calm .The PM came forward to shake his hand, Bhagwad clasped his hands and said “Humanity will prevail”. After that the family was whisked away, from the glare of the media as the first breaking news began to hit headlines all over the world “Bhagwad Sharma to lead the team to defend humanity”.

Actually 5 years ago the UN had passed a resolution that in event of an inter galactial calamity a team would be sent to represent earth’s case. At the time when this idea was forwarded it was laughed upon by many. Bhagwad was nominated to lead the team. All that seemed so unreal even to Bhagwad; until today! They reached Pragjyotishpur the new space research facility in India in about 2 minutes .And there they sat down for the most difficult task of choosing the team .Bhagwad zeroed on the team in about 7 minutes .It was:

John Nash (Irish)- Pilot

Lin Giu (Chinese)-warfare specialist

Khaled Zameel (Pakistani)-nuclear arms expert

Cindy Susan (American)-Linguist

Thomas Obuye (Kenyan) - Doctor

The English Premier asked Bhagwad to think of a name and finally Bhagwad answered “Lachit”. The greatest hero his home Assam had ever produced .Srishti began shedding tears as she realized “Lachit” may be successful but the price was going to be high. Preparations began on the Mach 34 “Lachit” and then suddenly; the bombing started from space. Like the Bible had predicted doomsday, all hell broke loose as balls of fire came down from the sky. The team working inside the underground hanger began to work faster .After 6 hours of continuous bombing the shelling stopped .Official counts of loss of lives put it at billions. The Pacific islands were wiped out .Humanity was at peril people began praying all over the world, and Bhagwad sat in a corner with the Gita in his hands. Srishti came and sat beside him, they clasped each other’s hand and for the first time Bhagwad cried. Srishti hugged him tightly .After some time the Indian PM called for Bhagwad and so leaving behind his wife Bhagwad went to the Premier. The PM asked Bhagwad to take some rest and wished him luck .Bhagwad came back to his wife and together they went to the cubicle where his kids were playing .The moment he reached there he ran to his kids and hugged them. After that they sat down to watch Rokeman on Funtoons. Bhagwad laid his head on Srishti’s shoulder while she kept stroking his hair. They stayed like that for hours.

Finally the call arrived he was to get ready. The team assembled at the grounds. The whole world was watching them. The team was introduced to the world by the UN secretary general. Hopes of humanity rested on these 6 persons. One by one the national anthems of the various countries were played and finally the audiophera4 began playing “Vande Mataram”. Bhagwad stiffened ….tears rolled down his eyes .And once the anthem was played he bend down kissed the soil and said “Hey Ai, moi dhonya holu aji je tumi muk tumak seva korar aei sujug dila!”(O Mother am honored that you gave me this chance to serve you).

It was 5 hours before the countdown as the team began boarding “Lachit”. John immediately went to helm and took to the controls. The ATC5 officers cleared the deck and finally with billions of prayers they took off to space. After travelling for about 25 minutes the UFO first came into view. It was majestic; black in color with a thousand lights emitting from it. Almost immediately they were hit by the first shell .John immediately switched the craft to stealth mode and within seconds the craft vanished visually. As soon as they became invisible Cindy got down to work .She began intercepting the signals being emitted and was in constant touch with the programmers in Raman labs (her Alma matter).In about 18 minutes she had developed their language .And all this time Bhagwad was standing beside her .As soon as Bhagwad got the script he asked Cindy to write a message to them in their language. He asked them to come over and talk to them instead of unnecessary shelling on earth. The message was drafted and then it was transmitted over to the UFO.And then the wait began. The shelling on earth had stopped for now. Bhagwad quickly ordered Khaled and Lin to do a damage analysis on the UFO .The results turned out to be not good. Lin answered that the craft was made out of special alloy of titanium and an unknown metal. No amount of firing -even with the arsenal they had -would inflict more than 12% damage on the craft. Khaled answered that the craft could be nuked but only from inside. Bhagwad made a mental note of what it meant. As they were contemplating the results inside the craft suddenly Cindy came running to them .The craft had replied back that they wanted to talk to the commander.

Bhagwad ordered Nash to switch off the stealth mode. After that he changed into the spacesuit and then sat on his space scooter and drove out of Lachit towards the UFO.The gates opened the instant he arrived. And soon he was inside the dome shaped craft. Once inside he was shocked by the technological might display. Soon two machines came upto him and lo and behold they introduced themselves in English! They were purely metallic in structure much like Bhagwad’s own robot but much mightier and powerful. The one who introduced himself as the commander answered they wanted the hydrogen present in earth. It was important for fuel generation in their craft .The humans present were a mere hindrance in their objective. Bhagwad listened quietly and then asked if they could stop shelling earth and search for their hydrogen somewhere else .The aliens replied in the negative. Earth was going to be annihilated and there was no doubt. Bhagwad stood there for a moment and he knew what he had to do.

He asked for the commanders’ permission to return to the base to inform earth and convey the final message. And he asked permission to return to the UFO once he had sent his crew back home. The commander though somewhat puzzled by this strange request accepted it out of pity. Deep down Bhagwad knew he had just one shot and he could not miss it .Bhagwad returned to “Lachit” and informed his crew members about the situation. And then “Operation Retaliation” was framed .Almost the whole crew opposed the plan apart from Nash. Eventually however they had to listen to the order of the commander. As per plan Khaled started nuking up Bhagwad as Cindy kept crying. Others were quite. Lin was giving final touches to the spacecraft missile defence system .Nash was playing a song in the guitar for his wife in front of the visiphone6. She kept crying. Finally Khaled clamped the 1000 fissions per millisecond reactor to the central fuel injection system of “Lachit”.

Bhagwad made a last call to Pragjyotishpur where the world was wating, he didn’t say anything and just blew a kiss at his family .The next moment connections were jammed. And then “Lachit” was evacuated by everybody apart from Bhagwad and Nash .Nash was still singing a song .Bhagwad went upto him and hugged him tightly. It was valor, it was courage, and it was the free Irish spirit, free even in the face of death. The time of reckoning had come. Nash opened the craft door and Bhagwad walked out with his space scooter .And he started maneuvering towards the UFO. Immediately Nash went to stealth mode and began following Bhagwad. Bhagwad reached the doors, they opened and with one last look towards earth Bhagwad entered .Nash followed and in a few seconds the people in earth heard a deafening sound. Srishti wept and so did Nash’s wife. Humanity prevailed as Bhagwad had promised .The sky lit up with a thousand stars and then the first rays of sunlight became visible; and with it came new hopes.

SOMEWHERE IN SPACE 2080:

Wing Commander Samiran Sharma closed “A FEW GOOD MEN” by Kashvi Sharma. He looked up and smiled at the stars after all the stars seemed so near from “Lachit 2” .Only this time he knew….he was confident that he would go back to the lap of his mother.

GLOSSARY OF UNKNOWN TERMS:

Eric-341 - personal robot used by humans and Eric is one such

Robot used by Bhagwad.

Octometer - an instrument used by scientists to scan the

atmosphere.

Raman Labs - the pioneer research facility centre in India established

in A.D. 2050

Audiophera - Modern day loudspeaker system

ATC - Air Traffic Control

Visiphone - A video phone which can be used between the

spacecraft and earth to transmit messages.

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