This story is coming after a loooong time. Well...as 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
“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.
TO BE CONTINUED...