Sunday, August 19, 2012

Damned if you do.. - Part II

Hi friends,

The second part came in a record time. Partially because of some of you pushing me to release it soon. Thanks a lot for your read and i hope Part -II justifies your expectations. Do leave your feedback. It helps me a lot in my writing.

A quick recap - Soon after first inter-species war between humans and far advanced reptilians, a reptilian is captured in the outer fringes of the solar system by General Crush (a Mirror. Mirror.. character). He and sergeant Raghav are interrogating him in the storage bay of a small scouting ship to elicit more information but to no avail. Crush continues to punish the reptilian more by waterboarding as the reptilian resolves to die along with the secret.

Lets see what happens next..


A refreshing splash of acid – that’s just what the reptilian felt before regaining his consciousness. His body was still paining like hell. Level of pain which he never knew existed.  Afterall, for a reptilian this kind of torture was unfathomable. Pain still hindering his thoughts, he belatedly realized that he was in a human spacecraft wanting to die. As his compound eyes adjusted to the light, he could see two tall figures in front of him.

‘Please kill me. Kill me soon’ – he screamed

General Crush let a hearty laugh. Of course he certainly had other plans. He was to become a first person in the last 300 years to use waterboarding for torture.

He pressed a nob on the reptilian’s chair and it straightened up. It caused an unbearable burst of shock to the reptilian’s already broken body as he shrieked in pain.

‘Ok so this will be the most entertaining thing I have done since blasting off that asteroid of theirs’ - said General Crush circled his catch. He looked at it with contempt and disgust.

“Do you know what this is?” – asked Crush while swinging the nozzle of the small cylinder dangling in one hand

Reptilian tried hard to see but the pain caused him to just mumble in a grating voice of his- “I…I..don’t know. But please just give me death. I told you already I don’t know anything. We just lost our way in space and landed in your solar system before you attacked us. Now, just let me go…I can’t tolerate this pain anymore”

Ignoring his request General Crush roared – “You don’t die till you speak you bas***d. I decide if you live or die in my solar system. Start talking and I can promise you an instant death”

“I…don’t know what you want” – murmured the reptilian

“Well…I was kind of hoping you wouldn’t. You see, I was planning to teach Raghav here some new stuff. He is a good man but he respects the system too much. This cylinder in my hand…this is pure oxygen. You know what this means? One minute of this and you’ll die …and it’ll be a painful death.  Very painful. In fact it’s the worst kind of death known to mankind and of course the best talking medicine invented to aid the interrogators. 

It recreates drowning…you know the feeling of not getting enough of vital oxygen to the body. And when that happens, body tries to breathe in more…even if you tell it not too. You will just observe your instincts get best of you and when they do…more water enters into the lungs. And the torturous cycle repeats till you are about to die. But that’s exactly when interrogators stop. Just let enough oxygen to seep and the whole process start again. We might not be technologically as advanced as you but we do have  our methods“

Raghav felt a tingling under his skin. Drowning was certainly the most horrible way to die…you sustain your conscious enough to feel the each and every ounce of pain the body can take. You feel water filling into your lungs before it gets pumped to the body. Red blood cells begin to get diluted and start bursting. The heart ultimately fails and it all ends in a cardiac arrest and you live long enough to experience it all.

 “Except..” – General continued – “You’ll be the first one to go under oxygen boarding. And remember…it’ll all stop whenever you want it to.”
“Time to make you a man young boy” – General Crush said as he handed over the oxygen cylinder to Raghav

“But sir…there has to be some other way” – Raghav tried to argue

“Not anymore”

“But…” – Raghav tried again

“Its an order sergeant” – General screamed

Raghav silently extended his hands to take the oxygen cylinder from the General.

He then looked at the half dead body of the reptilian lying on the chair. He had already broken him as much as his body could take. And now he was about to push it further. His mind protested while his hands obeyed the order.Afterall he was a military man who was trained and disciplined to follow the orders.  He slowly turned on the nob for oxygen and the gas began to flow from the nozzle directed at the reptilian. The reaction was spontaneous. The reptilian body stiffened and began shaking violently as his reflex fought for breath. Raghav could see the mad vibration of his head instinctively trying to keep out of the flow of oxygen. Of course to no avail.

A few seconds later, the movement lessened and Raghav, sensing the cue, turned off the oxygen. Reptilian, coming back from near death,  drew some deep breaths of sulphuric acid said – “Please, please don’t…Just kill me right now…do you humans have no fear of galactic gods..”

“Kill you eh? Ok you see this blaster?” said crush drawing his gun from his holster. He waved it in front of the reptilian as if trying to entice him with a reward.

“Yes. Kill me with it..i can’t take this anymore”

“No. Not yet. But the choice is in with you scum…just tell me what you were doing here and one single clean blast through your head will let you free from all your misery”

The reptilian closed his eyes as if wanting to think something. He wanted to protect the secret till his last breath. But the excruciating pain was now “inside” him. He could feel his heart beating too rapidly. He now wanted to die more badly than live. But he can’t just let his ancestors down. But before he could say anything, impatient General took his silence as an act of defiance.

“Still no? See you are making me do this, and then you say that I am the one who is heartless.” said General Crush sarcastically– “Sergeant, go again and now don’t stop till I tell you to”

Raghav could not believe the extent to which this man can go. He now realized the reason he caused terror in even the strongest soldier’s hearts. But it was his ship and he can’t let this happen without a protest.

“With all respect sir…I just want to say that he will die from this…and we are not authorized to do this”

“You are disobeying a direct order from a General, Sergeant.”..said General angrily as he pointed the blaster in the general direction of Raghav – “Or you just want to increase the collateral damage? Your death won’t be much difficult to explain. I say do it. Now.”

Raghav had no other choice but to take part in the madness. He pointed the nozzle towards the reptilian once again and lethal oxygen poured from the nozzle onto the reptilian’s face. His shrieking pierced through the whole ship as he suffered the agony of getting drowned again and again.

..and finally he screamed – “Please stop this….I’ll tell you everything…but please don’t”

A smile played on General Karl’s lips – “See Raghav…that’s how its done”

Still holding oxygen cylinder in hand, Raghav carefully straightened the chair on which the reptilian was lying. Reptilian was still crying in intense pain the torture has caused him. Raghav, a hardened army man, found himself unable to not to feel terrible for doing that to another being – even a reptilian.

“Species like yours don’t deserve this from us. Its now only fitting that you get to know the truth when you are only days away from your destruction.” – gasped the reptilian from his breath

“I told you…that these guys are going to attack us…”- said Karl

“Listen to me human…we were not here to attack you”

“But if you were not attacking us why you had to come to our solar system…and that too with ship with cloaking device to hide from us”

“To save you! Like we did in the past.“

“Don’t lie to me you filthy creature”

“I am not…I wish I could but I am not human enough. Let me tell you everything. “ – reptilian took a some deep breaths and painfully started narrating

“As you know, our reptilian civilization is 6 billion years old. We existed even before your Sun was still a cloud of dust and gas spread light years across. Even before your Earth existed we gained intersteller travel technology. We first started to explore our own neighborhood and then began to travel even to the distant parts of the galaxy. A civilization’s desire to explore new worlds is only limited by technology and we had conquered that limitation. But as we explored the Universe, we realized that life was not as abundant as we initially thought. Most of the planets had inadequate Suns, others simply lacked  the right combination of right elements, and still others just managed to harbor bacterial life before being destroyed by one way or another. We learned that life is rare..very very rare.

And then we discovered a beautiful planet right at the opposite end of the galaxy. That was your planet. A gem probably even rarer than our own planet. When we first discovered your earth, around a quarter billion years ago – only large reptiles you call dinosaurs roamed on your planet. They were not very intelligent but still it was a significant discovery. We were very excited and waited for evolution to take its course. But we still kept an eye on you.

Everything was going according to the plan. Evolution was paving way for more and more intelligent life forms. But then you had a terrible accident – a large asteroid wiped the earth clean of its life including the dinosaurs. It happened very quickly and by the time we could do anything about it, it was all over. It was devastating – in human terms it was like seeing your own child dying in front of you. And we have always felt guilty about it.

And then, in another few million years galactic Gods gave us another chance to cleanse us of our guilt. Life resurrected on planet Earth again and this time we decided to protect earth like our child.

We took it on ourselves to take care of your planet. Initially it was just like taking care of a new born. We even used to come to your planet to fix smallest of the things for you. We helped you walk on your two legs. We helped you work in groups to help your survival. Our biggest decision came when we realized that your senses were weak to survive in dark. Your human ancestors were nearly wiped out by nocturnal predators. As a father can go to any length for the life of his offspring, we had to take a very big decision. We had to make your absolute dark nights, lit.  And we captured an asteroid  and brought it in your orbit.”

“Are you talking about the moon?” – A wide eyed Raghav exclaimed

“Yes..I am talking about moon. It was a difficult task even for our technology but we did it. Without it life wouldn’t have survived for long. Even now you think that that perfect satellite with just perfect reflective properties was just a galactic coincidence. Your scientists haven’t yet figured out how earth was able to capture such a large body with its weak gravitational pull.”

“Anyway, it started getting complicated after you discovered the telescope about 800 years ago. We had to be more subtle from then on. In fact in the year 1994 we faced with another challenge threatening your survival. A large comet was headed your way and it could have wiped off the whole planet. You were advancing but you were not capable enough to deal with it. We somehow succeeded in diverting it to Jupiter without being detected by your telescopes and satellites. Shoemaker Levy comet would have been your doomsday messenger if not for reptilians.“

The reptilian was now panting heavily. The oxygen was now mixing with his bloodstream and destroying its vessels. Green stream of blood flowed out from his nose. Raghav helped him clean and he continued-

“Listen to me…I don’t think I have much time. I have one last thing to tell you”

“Yes…my friend” – said Raghav with a newfound respect for the species which has protected them and raised them through the last 65 million years

“I wish you trusted us on what we were doing here. But its all futile now. Listen, there is an asteroid 20 Kms in diameter which has lost its orbit from outer fringes you call Kuiper belt. It is headed directly towards the earth and with its velocity it will hit you in another 20 days. Your telescopes have not captured it yet but ours did. And that was when we had to come here with a tractor beam which could have bent its orbit. But now you destroyed it along with my ship. You can not deal with it and even if you fire your nuclear armaments to it probability of it not colliding with earth are only 0.1%. Tractor beam is the only answer to ensure the survival of your species. Listen contact the reptilian base and tell them everything. If they can reach here in time, humans can still be saved“

 “All the best….my frie..” – said the reptilian looking at Raghav and took one last breath

Raghav now stared at now lifeless face of the reptilian and then tears rolled down his eyes.

“They were protecting us all this time…and I killed him” – said Raghav guiltily
“..and its all because of you. You are a monster…”

“Listen Raghav, I did what I felt was most important for humans…”

“Just shut up now..” – shouted Raghav with still moist eyes. – “I am now going to relay to the senate now. And I am going to tell everything. Earth must know the truth about everything. At least in its last few remaining days. It deserves to know about its galactic guardians. Ones who have long protected it from any harm.”

He stood now face to face with his superior. For a moment Gen Karl was astounded by the sheer audacity of Raghav.  But he soon recovered –

“Don’t mess with me sergeant, this is a matter of galactic security and you have to follow the orders. Or I’ll treat you as a traitor to GalPol. Listen now, you will not say a word about what happened here. The reptilian for all we know was a spy who was lying to us the whole time…”

“What? Are you crazy? Did you not hear what he just said? “

“I have…but that may be an elaborate lie to keep us off guard in case of capture.”

“You don’t stop at anything you? you listen to me…I am now going to relay all the information to the GalPol HQ and the better keep your stories for the trial because you will pay for the the crimes you have committed ”

Raghav started walking out of the room towards the control room of the ship. He suddenly felt a jolt at the back of his head and turned. General was holding the blaster in his hand pointed at him. He could see vapors coming out of the gun and before he could say anything he collapsed on the floor.
General Crush walked down to the lifeless body of the Sergeant and sat down next to it.

“I can’t let you do this Sergeant. Earthlings need a powerful enemy to unite and reptilians are it. Wars bring more peace to earth than the any other false ideal. And I can’t have you ruin it. Reptilians were and will remain the ultimate enemy of mankind”

The mechanical voice of the ship’s announcement system beamed -

“Attention. Attention all personnel. This is level 4 alert. A rogue asteroid is observed with tentative orbit intersecting the earth. Probability of collision 76%”

‘That’s 99.9% you fools’ mumbled General while dragging the body of Raghav to the storage bay


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Damned if you do...

Dear friends,

This story is coming after a loooong time. they say, many a times life gives you lemons and a broken hand. And it takes a long time to heal :(.

Well, this story is set in the Universe of my previous story - Mirror, Mirror. Mirror on the wall. 
The events in this story precede those of mirror mirror.. but both are independent stories on their own.

Do let me know what you think about it through the comments. I really appreciate it. Happy reading..

Part - I

“So will he sing?” - asked General Karl looking from between his crossed shoes at the table. Captain Raghav only hated one thing than Karl’s raw behavior - the man himself. But again galactic pol’s hierarchy prohibited him to even ask him to put his legs down. 

Raghav was in many ways the exact opposite of his superior. He had a young stout body which was meticulously toned through 5 years of academy training. And of course, he was the best among best. He had many options after his graduation but he chose Galatic Pol. Romantics of living in space and visiting different planets had always given him a peculiar feeling of belonging which sometimes even he was unable to explain. But whatever it was - his fondness for space has put him in the entry level job at GalPol. Moreover, his mild manners along with his ability to quickly gain other’s confidence, was ideal for inter-planetary trade surveillance. 

His should have been a textbook case of lifelong loyal planetary service. 

Well, if not for the extraordinary events happened recently. His bad luck, he thought, had landed him in this fringe orbits beyond Pluto which was among some coldest places of the solar system. And that was because of the discovery of reptilians - the first intelligent alien life found by humans. Of course, their relationship started on the wrong foot with both species going to a war. But reptilian’s far advanced technology and unmatched kindness led the humans to struck peace with them. More so, their sulphur based biology made sure that none of the civilizations have anything of common interest. Neither humans nor reptilians could have survived for a single day on each other’s planets.

However, the discovery of another intelligent lifeform with far superior technological and social maturity led to significant changes in the way humans perspective. First, the myth of being the supreme creation of the God was soon abandoned. 

Second, all the planetary governments became united under the umbrella of humanity as a species in a way that was unimaginable before. Humans now had a better reason to cooperate. For humans, fear of common enemy has always been a stronger force than love for the mankind. 

Military was also reorganized. Combined military force called Galactic Pol which was just meant to control inter planetary smuggling before the war, now emerged as the first united force which led the fleets during the First War. After the war, it increased its solar outposts by several hundred ships in an unlikely surprise attack by a new found enemy.

These outposts were nothing but one-manned scouting spaceships marking the official boundary of the solar system just around the orbit of Pluto. 

Raghav was assigned to one such ship after the war. He was charting the next day’s course around the Kuiper belt objects for another mundane routine, when he had heard an SOS from merely 1 light-hour away. 

And now, 24 hours later, he was sheltering an reptilian in the storage bay and his ship’s command was taken over by the most hated General in in the GalPol who was nicknamed “Crush” for his merciless attitude towards the reptilians and well…most humans. Standing in front of Crush, he was now cursing himself for joining the GalPol.

Presently, coming out of his thoughts, he replied - “I am not sure Sir, i have tried all the regular interrogation protocols. And i just finished the last level 7 protocol. Even the point-eight AJ naughts (Astronomical Joules or AJ0 was a new galactic unit of energy signifying the energy emitted by the sun in one second) was insufficient. Now i think we should just inform the base and wait for their instructions. We can not legally do anything more to get more information.”

General Karl’s face remained expressionless. However, he retrieved his feet from the table and pulled the ash-tray towards himself. Pulling out the remaining Cigar from his mouth he wryly said - “You know Sergeant, you’d do well if you don’t read too much of those policies. Those were written by land bounds who don’t know an atom about space. Level 7, you say - don’t make me laugh. That won’t even cause a tickle to my grandma.”

“But..sir..” - Raghav tried to speak as he knew that he had already done much damage to the reptilian survivor’s body. He had straightened all twenty of his long tentacle shaped fingers which can only be described as nearly breaking the limbs of a human. He had poured water over his sensitive sets of compound eyes which must have caused an unbearable pain to him. And the General still wants to go farther? He did not even know if there was any farther. 

“Look Sergeant, four humans have been killed. I am sure that reptilians will call it an accident. But don’t you see that they don’t have any business in our solar system. I say thats an attack on humanity and i won’t stop till i know what they were doing here. There could be hundreds or even thousand more ships around our solar system. And, by space, I’ll make this slimy scum’s life hell if he doesn’t talk.”

By his last sentence, General Crush was nearly screaming at the top of his voice. 

“Do you now understand better than to apply your mind in events of greatest threat to the Galactic security?”

“Yes sir. What are my further orders Sir?” 

“Hmmm…that’s better. “ said general with a sigh 

“GalPol’s HQ is 8 light hours away. Any intelligence we send them will take 8 hours to reach them. And if reptilians are planning an attack, we don’t have much time. We should have this reptilian talking soon. We’ll have to think about something more effective. Have you heard Sergeant of a book called “Ancient torture Techniques” - asked General stoically 

“No Sir” 

“I thought so...that was written sometime in 22nd century and was banned since. I have read one copy though - had to take Senate’s permission. And anyway, they don’t teach you any useful stuff at academy nowadays.”

“I apologize for my inadequacy of skills sir” - said Raghav being fearful of having displeased Crush

“Hah..don’t make me laugh with your academy talk ….”

Come with me and i’ll teach you some real skills...ever heard of water-boarding?
Its from one of that books - the simplest yet most deadly of the torture technique. Its so simple that i don’t believe its that deadly - and i really wanted to try it for a long time” - said general with a menacing grin


Reptilian opened his eyes with pain still stinging him like needles pierced deep in the whole body. He tried to lift one of his limbs from the armrest but it triggered another shot of pain through his body. He was warned of violent nature of humans but this was something unfathomable to his species. Of course, reptilians never caused physical harm to each other and they never needed to. It was like, in human terms, hurting your own child. 

Presently, the reptilian tried to look around through his blurry eyes. Though his vision was foggy, he could still make out the lifeless bodies of his four crew mates. He knew for sure that they were lifeless as there was no gas mask or sulphuric acid cylinder on them. 

He tried to recall the events which have led him to this unbearable situation. He and his four crew members were sent on a special mission to Earth. This was not his first one but certainly the most dangerous. And failing at it meant destruction of a whole species. In fact, they had to use their cloaking devices for this mission. But galactic gods had other plans. First his ship was discovered by General Crush who attacked them. Second, in the fighting that ensued, they lost the tractor beam which was critical to their mission. And third, since he was captured there was a possibility that the humans will come to know about the biggest secret reptilians have hidden from them for a long time.

No. I can’t. I must finish my mission else that will be the end of so many years of work. I can’t fail my ancestors. And the secret must also die here with me - he thought
He looked at his sulphuric acid cylinder. The breathing pipe carried the vital gas from the cylinder to his body. 

‘If i pull this cord off. It should end within 2 minutes’ – but as tried to force his fingers towards the cylinder, each and every bone of his body revolted. He realized that he cannot even commit suicide that easily.

And once again pain gave way to unconsciousness as the reptilian reminded himself of dying at the next opportunity…with the secret, of course.