(For the entire episodes till date, have a look at the category ‘eBook’ and please read from Episode: 1 at the bottom if you want to understand & capture the entire gist of the story… Thank you! 🙂 )
2. STAR BALL.
It was quarter past seven in the night & a shepherd headed to his home with his fleecy sheep flock, leading them through damp uneven soils of the glades. Suddenly he felt a cold spell upon him. The atmospheric temperature began falling rapidly and he immediately cannoned into the midst of his sheep flock & ducked down for warmth. Then he slowly opened his eyes and raised his head to see to his surprise an U.F.O., with great illumination upon it, landing quietly at a nearby crop field. He immediately averted his face from it and clenched his eyes tight, unable to tolerate its glare. The sheep too, spooked at the high illumination and the falling temperatures, began bleating and fleeing helter skelter…
Meanwhile, in the ground control, NASAP (Neon Aeronautics, Space and Alien Probe base) of Candy cap, capital of Anemonia:
“An U.F.O. identified, heading east, over Slipper’s shire. Over!” the controller radioed Neon army.
“Affirmative. An U.F.O. identified, heading east, over Slipper’s shire. Roger that! Activating east wing U.F.O. tracker aircrafts. Over!” came the reply.
Within seconds, a troop of Neon army aircrafts rose into the air and zoomed towards east. A quick meeting for the A.E. (Alien Extermination) Council was called for.
The shepherd, then no more concerned about his sheep, began crawling along on his belly towards the ridge around the field, out of curiosity to discover what was going on out there. His head loomed up behind the reef and his eyes sparked as he gazed at the U.F.O., still shivering in his spine. The Earth beneath him tremored slightly and the lights in the U.F.O. went off as it landed. Then he saw some blue rays from the rim of the U.F.O., zapping the field in a kaleidoscopic manner. And as their horizons widened, one of the rays struck the shepherd and he swooned out instantly as his nerves froze. Right then, the Neon army who have been outflanking the U.F.O. for the past few minutes, came into the scene. Army tankers on the ground and aircrafts in the air boxed the U.F.O. and strafed it.
The next day…
James Minto, the Science wizard lolled back in his sofa and turned on the T.V. to find a reporter on NBC (Neon Broadcasting Corp.) conveying news about the U.F.O. sighting the other day, “At sharp 7.00pm last night, the NASAP identified an U.F.O. heading east and relayed the message immediately to the Neon army, which hunted the U.F.O. down. They spotted it, fetched up in a field in the backwoods of Slipper’s shire, after 20 minutes. They zeroed in on it in a vain attempt to capture it. The U.F.O. jerked a little and zoomed away into the space right in front of the eagle-eyed army, challenging their dexterity.
Nevertheless, tracker planes followed it out into the space. The army rescued a shepherd at the spot who was delirious and trying to stutter out something. He was quickly hospitalised. The Neon-army chief, Mr.Lorentz Montana said that an autonomous U.F.O. hunt would soon be launched to trace out any clue of the U.F.O. paths, origins and to explore their territories. Mr. President responded on the situation and assured the public, safety and security. He also said that they would come up with a promising solution at the A.E. council. Mr. Tony d’souja, CEO of the ‘Intra Anemonian Surveillance giant’ (IAS) stated that a more sophisticated and fine tuned global surveillance project will be launched in alliance with the NASAP and A.E. council to ensure an alien-free world soon.”
“But there’s still commotion in the public”, the reporter went on, “and the cops cordoned off the field, where crop circles were discovered. Will the A.E. council justify its pact? Who will win, the council or the aliens? Stay tuned for an instant forum on the current issue to be debated on by intellectuals from different disciplines. This is Stacy, NBC, Slipper’s shire aka Denver spike, signing off!”
Minto turned off the T.V. “So our friends are back,” he sighed, “and so is the trouble! Must hurry to activate the camouflage gadgets back.”
James Minto, a zealous Scientechnologist and a patriot of his motherland, Anemonia to the core of his conscience had his blood always bubbling for the cause of good. Though he was the sole heir of a $70 trillion property, he never had his heart on it. He had aims beyond money, ideals beyond the horizons of human intelligence and instinct. He graduated from ‘University of Neon’ (UON) with degrees in Biotechnology and Evolutionary sciences.
But, off the record, he had practical knowledge even in Bio-informatics, Bio-chemistry, Bio-physics, Bio-Electronics, Botany, Bio-Robotics (Android or Cyborg designing), Xenolinguistics, Pathology and Psychology, as they were all interrelated and interdependent on each other in some or the other way. Though he was a multiple degree holder from UON, the government of Anemonia permitted him to choose only one field for his professional career. He chose Biotechnology, the one he loved the most.
So, for the world he was a Biotechnologist, but off-the-record, he was a multifaceted Scientechnologist, a Science wizard!
He wanted to see a world, intact and always yearned to use science and technology in the right way to bring about harmony among the world nations. “Think big buddy!” he used to suggest his friends. He worked for ‘NCRBAS’ (Neon Centre for Research in Biotechnology and Allied Sciences), affiliated to the UON. Though he was a first-rate patriot of Anemonia and though he hadn’t had the slightest knowledge about the existence of the aliens, he had an intuitive disagreement with Anemonia’s ‘Neonist policies’, which had ‘Alien free universe’ first on the agenda, and ‘Human reign on all planets’ the second. ‘No doubt, life on Earth is at stake, but it’s all by human means!’ he thought, ‘Even if aliens really do exist, how could they be exterminated just to keep the human race going? Minto felt it savage and absurd. What have aliens to do anyway with the curse humans wrought upon themselves by themselves?’
Yes, we ourselves have deprived the Earth of its ability to support life. We have exploited it and used up all the non renewable resources, industrialised and urbanised every part of the world so much that even plants are giving out toxic gases like a factory. We have polluted the whole Earth and put ourselves in crisis. And today we stand figuratively to protect our lives, endangering the lives of aliens and other creatures. There’s no crime in struggling to exist, but there is when you do it at the cost of lives of other living beings! No creature in this universe tries to harm other beings, unless for self-defence and unlike ‘human beings’.
And aliens are not more dangerous than enemies of the state are.
At first, the Anemonian govt. had subjective suspicions that, if let go free the aliens may even start conquering the Earth. They only wanted to play defence and so they wanted to make a first strike on them. But by the day, its suspicions about the possible ‘eon-termination’ soared. It wanted to dispense security to humans (who can afford to pay huge sum) by shifting them to other planets, where life is supported, so that they can escape the catastrophe and keep their race going on. It had already dispatched teams of astronauts to different parts of the universe to trace un-inhabited planets that can support human life, but in vain. As they realised that they were running out of time, conspired to exterminate inhabitants on other planets, aliens so that humans can be lodged there.
‘What a savage idea!’ he thought. Minto used to cry out in many conferences, “I see a soul, a sole soul binding all the living creatures, both Earth-lings and aliens in this universe together, and it is crying out for help to keep it intact. How can you harm it when you too are bound to the same soul? Go to far off planets, far off galaxies or even far off universes, if they really do exist, but take it from me; Earth is the only planet where we can survive!”
His words echoed through the thick green forests as they swayed in accord, deep blue oceans as they swirled and eddied in concurrence, high marked mountains that changed shades as the sun rays skipped them in euphony, dry brown deserts that shone under the hot sun in harmony, and even through the far away galaxies and universes out in the cosmos, which stood as witnesses and an embodiment of his heart beats, thoughts and conscience! Nature is patient, of course! It cannot always defend the good, but neither will tolerate the bad for long.
So passionate was his approach towards living beings. His love for humankind and his patriotism on the other hand were unswerving. He still felt that Earth could be protected by adopting other ways, the right ways! Every living thing, animal or plant or human or alien must be given the attention and respect it deserves, because no creature can live all by itself. All are interdependent.
He not only sermoned, but practiced too, as he knew ‘practice is the best way for publicity’. He gave away all his lands sharing forest area and its environs to the national treasure to see that no tree or twig is cut down for domestic purposes of his own. He knew what man exactly needed. And he knew that ‘not aliens, but humans are a real threat to humankind’.
At first, he doubted even the existence of aliens. If the aliens were really there, he wondered how they would behave with humans, which are their aliens. When he was twenty five, and not long after these doubts sprang in him, he encountered an alien or something which seemed like one in the deep ‘Shadow woods’ of Slipper’s shire.
A pack of wolves was ready to pounce upon it, when Minto came into the scene and rescued it by threatening the wolves away with his ‘Hyper luminous ray zapper’ (a kind of potential-non lethal Taser, which shoots two jets of electricity conducting nano particles, causing temporary failure of victim’s muscle or shock waves that stun the victim. It bridges a distance of up to 25 m). In spite of the possible threat from the alien he might have to incur, he saved it, because the ‘sole-soul’ concept kept igniting him every second. The alien was moaning and groaning in pain. At first, he hesitated to approach it, but when he saw a pathetic look in its eyes, he went nearer.
It spoke to him in ‘Alieny’ (a language spoken by aliens, whose origins and literature are not known), “Sonas gree ha Jaquin”.
He couldn’t make a bit out of it, but only understood that it was in pain through its groans and gestures. He wondered if the wolves have already hurt it before his arrival. So he probed its body carefully, but found no signs of attack. He wondered if something else was biting it. He toggled on his Zapper and bob’s your uncle, it transformed into a macro syringe with a vial following its butt. He drew some fluid from its body for diagnosis, though he had no any idea what kind of diagnosis goes for it! The fluid was mercurous in colour.
And as soon as he rent the vial apart from the syringe and sealed it, the alien passed on a spherical thing into his hand, “Enmor sa grita ounato”, it said and passed away.
Minto was taken aback by this unexpected incident. His heart turned heavy at the alien’s death, though their companionship lasted only for a while. He sat beside it motionless, its pathetic looks still flashing in his mind. He wondered what was bothering the alien so badly that it has to flee to Earth and to have no choice but to trust a stranger so much into sharing with him its most valuable possession.
After a while, recovering from the trauma he looked around wondering what to do, ‘Bury the carcass or…Yeah?’ Suddenly he had a brainwave, ‘What if I could experiment on the carcass and discover something unprecedented!’ The spherical thing, ‘The Star ball’ drew his attention. He looked at it in examination, but could make out nothing. It was a solid, rich dark-blue ball of the size of a cricket ball with a large golden star engraved on it. He knew the alien had something on its mind when it gave him the Star ball, but what was it? What message did the alien wanted to convey him through the Star ball? He was in a deep thought, when the star on the Star ball blazed as the lunar rays struck it, and only then did he realize that it was already dark and he was late for home. So he took a snap of the alien and probed the surroundings for a perfect covert to hide the carcass for the night, come back the next day and recover it for his fact-finding experimentation. His eyes shone as he discovered an under passage around the corner of a huge tree.
It was frosty, damp and almost half past twelve when Minto reached home, ‘The James villa’. To say about ‘The James villa’, it’s a kickass mansion with hedges on all four sides, highly pillared and architectured, depicting typical mansions of the 18th century. Peace adorned its pillars and prosperity filled the palace. Its grandeur and grace had no bounds. Minto was the sole heir of the mansion, a part of the $seventy trillion property his father, James Walker owned. Valets and maids found their rightful place in the hall. Trust and truce bounded the courtiers, both the masters and the workers in James villa. Besides, the mansion was isolated from the polluted urban environs. And unfortunately, it was close to the ‘Shadow forest’, which people find no guts, even to think about. It’s a gloomy, frosty forest hardly lit by sun rays and held many mysteries in it, unveiled since ages.
Minto wasn’t surprised to see whole of his courtiers awaiting him at the door. His mother, Hanna Liz was already a bundle of nerves and his father was pacing up and down in the patio, puffing his pipe anxiously. Minto creaked the gate open and all the troubled hearts sighed in relief.
“Are you alright?” his father asked walking briskly towards him, when his mother signalled the maids to arrange for dinner.
That night sleep eluded Minto. He laid on bed staring at the Star ball and the vial, constructing all possible theories about them in his mind. The very thought that he’s approaching the territories of a world of fantasy bubbled his heart up, and the thoughts about what he’s gonna discover and encounter amused him beyond imagination. On the other hand, he had suspicions too… ‘What if the Star ball was a Pandora’s box, precursor of a catastrophe, humans might incur?’
Imbibed in thoughts, he fell asleep in spite of himself.
. . . . . . . To be continued the day after tomorrow.