Shujaa looked at the night sky once again. The sparkling stars in the inky blue firmament looked beautiful and at peace. But she knew better.
No, she could not see any signs of it. Turning around she zapped herself onboard the Intergalactic Novena 3500 ZXT.
Being the Supreme General in charge of the security of Kepler 186f, was a highly responsible job wrought with stress and risks. There had been a lot of information reported to her, lately. Transmissions intercepted on the Intergalactic communications showed a lot of activities going on in the neighbouring galaxy, right at the edge of hers. Zuri, her subordinate had been reporting “General have a look at this… messages in an unknown language.”
“A fleet of a hundred intergalactic ships are flying towards our planetary system… trying to creep in stealthily. It’s our advanced eye in space that has sent in detailed images.”
“ Let me speak to the Supreme Commander, Zuri. She might be aware.”
The Supreme Commander of Kepler 186f was a highly evolved being of the human race in 3500 CE. Malkia Mwenye Busara was not only wise with a very high IQ but very compassionate as well.
As soon as she entered her opulent dwelling, she was welcomed warmly and offered a comfortable seat.
“Greetings my Malkia” she had said smilingly as she bowed her head and pressed her palms together in Namaste.
“Ah, Shujaa! My most efficient Supreme General, what brings you here?” said the Supreme Commander.
“There are intelligence reports of massive movements just at the edge of the galaxy. A fleet of 100 Intergalactic ships are approaching our planetary system. Radio intercepts have been frequent and garbled. Seems like an unknown language.”
“Hmm, it is a matter of concern. Just give me a moment.” She closed her eyes and seemed to go into deep meditation.
When she opened her eyes, there seemed an agitation in the sparkling green depths. It emerged in her deep commanding voice too.
“It’s those creatures from Gliese 667 Cc. They are looking for a new planet to colonise.”
“But they are such an evolved species. Why would they wish to spread panic and hatred in the universe? The universe is precariously balanced on Laws of positive energy.”
“That we have to find out. That you have to find out Shuja, my brave.”
And that’s how her adventure had begun.
It had been a harrowing few weeks for the tribe of Gliese667Cc. Though they had averted a meteor shower headed to their planet, a few had still landed in places. The huge flaming rock-like structures hurled through their atmosphere, leaving a blazing trail as they wounded the surface, making an angry gash. The planet protested with a slew of its own molten magma, wrenched from deep inside its belly. Like hot tears they spread, causing a spectacular show of a belligerent child throwing a tantrum. Only this was far more dangerous. People ran helter-skelter, trying to escape its fiery tentacles. Few managed their escape.
It was just the beginning.
Many soon turned up at the clinic with boils and sores. Some clutched their throats and some held on tightly to their bellies. No cause was visible. Yet people suffered. Soon their cries of pain rent the skies. The rest of the tribe was busy trying to soothe, care for and comfort those taken ill. But soon to the dismay of all, people started dying. There seemed to be no pattern.
That’s when their Supreme Commander Koningin summoned the experienced and respected warriors. “Friends!” she said. “Something grave is going on. The meteors seem to have brought a deadly disease, which is spreading like wildfire. We have been helplessly watching the members of our tribe, and our loved ones succumbing to this treacherous disease. We need your help… I need your help. Are you with me?”
“Yes, dear Koningin. Command, what is it you want? What is it that our homeland needs?”
“ A cure… an end to this mayhem. I have read about such happenings many, many years ago, though it may sound mythical in our times. Go into the universe and find the cure. Bring it home and save your people. Go in every direction! Go in large numbers, so that in case danger befalls one, some other can be successful!”
“Hail Koningin!” they said as they saluted her and off they went. Not one, not two… but a hundred of them.
Haribraham was one of them. One of the most experienced and revered warriors. One looked up to by the tribe like few others. His Inter Galactic ship was state of the art… Phoenix 5001 BT. He boarded the spacecraft and checked all indicators. Satisfied he boomed off the planet.
Donning his super sights he checked for the most profitable place to look for useful knowledge. A cluster of ancient planets supporting life and living could be sighted at the cusp of the galaxies. He headed that way.
Zipping like a flash, at the speed of light was inevitable. Through the inky blackness of the universe, light reflecting off planets and satellites basking in that radiating from the source of their energy… their star seemed peaceful and idyllic. But that was a myth like the one about the universe- it was doomed to end someday.
The nay-sayers had been harping on the apocalypse, presenting their experiments, making arguments, drawing graphs, bringing evidence from bygone eras and so on and so forth. But the universe had continuously expanded, continued to grow… such was its nature. It started from a moment, a big bang they said but after that, there was no looking back.
His thoughts preoccupied, he nearly banged into a gigantic meteor gently floating ahead across his path. “Damn!” he muttered. Swerving sharply to avert an accident, he spotted a comet coming right down his path. The magnetic field sent his ship into a tizzy. Spinning out of control, it drifted on a tangent. The dials were going wild, alarms were sounding from all around the cabin and craft. His glasses showed him a path out, but he was wrestling with the controls. And slowly the spinning aircraft drifted off his marked route.
Screeeccchhhh! With a crunch and a screech, he realised he had landed on one of the hundreds of floating meteor debris. There was not much light. He gently scanned for radio signals and other communications. Nothing.
Cautiously he alighted. Prepared to fight, to resist capture. Nothing! Silence!
The eerie silence made him uncomfortable. The bristles on his nape stood erect like a hundred antennas.
His eyes and ears twitched. He tried not to think too much… what if the species, the inhabitants were telepathic?
The terrain was rocky, uneven, and far from welcoming. Looking around he spotted some huge boulders and among them a sort of hollow. Using his strength… the strength of his mind… he moved his ship there. When he was satisfied it was fairly hidden, he walked silently towards where his sensors indicated life.
He looked up. The universe looked beautiful and benign. The brightly twinkling stars were like poetry. That’s what their tribe was about after all… poetry, literature and art.
Looking towards the brightest star he sent an SOS “Help! is anyone traversing nearby? I am stranded, my spaceship is dysfunctional!”
He needed to continue on his mission. The lives of his people depended on him. Not for a moment did he think of the 99 others who too were entrusted with the same responsibility.
Shujaa felt the vibes. She turned into the thought waves. It was an SOS for help. Coming from one of the primitive populations. That’s what she was informed by her device. But the message was from an evolved being. She needed to investigate. She turned her ship towards the source.
Just as she spotted the floating debris, she realised the transmitter of the SOS message was Glisean. The very species who had sent the 100 ships furtively. Well, she would soon learn something. A universal secret, probably.
Zoooop! She landed.
“Yeah!!!” “ Gotcha!” “No escape babe!”
Barely had she zapped down, she was surrounded by huge hulks… the inhabitants of that place. Someone had used a Taser gun and knocked her out of her senses before she could escape, or attack.
They shouted in glee, making unusual and terrifying sounds. Lesser beings would have definitely been scared. Shujaa tried to think, but she felt her body and mind incapacitated.
They bound her like a prize in a carnival, and hanging her from a pole, carried her to their king. They would definitely be rewarded they thought. The noise escalated at the thought of a reward.
‘Hail our most respected King” shouted the person who was leading. “We captured this galactic trespasser Your Highness!”
“From where has she come? Who is she?” asked the monarch.
None could reply. “Wake her up! Keep her tied… but enable her to speak!”
Someone got a jugful of liquid and savagely threw it on her face.
“Huh!” she said, getting up with a jerk… only to scream in pain as her limbs were imprisoned in the tight clasp of the ropes. Her mind raced to scan the thoughts around her. Oh, they wanted to kill her. They did not send for help. Where was the Gliesean? She had to be careful with her thoughts… what if someone could intercept them?
Wait, there is a message. Faint but reassuringly there.
“Who are you? Where have you come from? What do you want” shouted the leader.
“I am Shujaa… from Kepler 186Cc. I come in peace. Please release me”
“Shujaa is it? Brave warrior? How can we believe you have come in peace with a name like that?”
“Please believe me. How can I harm you all by myself?” And so she pleaded and cried. Begged and asked to be released. To no effect.
The faint thoughts of the Gliesean became stronger, reassuring her, calming her. She stopped talking. Keeping her mind free to receive the messages.
Carried, all trussed up she was taken to some sort of cellar and locked up. Thankfully they untied the ropes once she was in the cell. There she prepared for a long wait. And began sending her messages telepathically. Very careful not to analyse or think, not wanting to give away any secrets.
Suddenly in the darkness, as her eyes were trying to adjust to her surroundings, she felt a gentle hand clasping her mouth and warning her to make no noise. Assuring her he meant no harm, he thanked her for responding to his SOS. “So I am now responsible for your terrible situation. And I will take you out.” Silently they left the cell… and they could manage to exit without drawing the attention of the sleeping guards, creeping and crawling on all fours. “Is your spaceship fine? Can you lead us to it?” he asked. To which she bemoaned, “No! I was knocked out.”
“Don’t worry, I have my Super glasses, let me check” he said.
The darkness became their ally as they darted deftly between obstacles, tired, sleeping guards and ran towards her spaceship. Coming close to it, they could hear alarms raised in the distance. Her disappearance was noted and alert people ran to nab her, realising she would head to her spaceship.
“Run!” he shouted to her.
“Cmon! Give me your hand!” As she grabbed his hand, she zapped them onto the craft. And without wasting a nanosecond they sped away. Only then did she start breathing. She had been holding her breath for so long!
As the savage land slid away, and they were light years onward she realised she didn’t know his name.
“Haribraham!” he said reading her thoughts.
“Shujaa” she replied, extending her hand.
“So, what were you doing, how come you landed on that savage lot?” Shujaa began.
“My tribe has been afflicted with a dreadful disease. We are looking for a cure. People are dying, falling like nine pins. Their pain and agony is worse than a battle. And you? Where are you from? You seem to be an evolved being. You responded to my telepathy.”
“Ours is an evolved tribe. Around a thousand years ago, my people came from Earth. I have heard from my grandfather, that it was once a beautiful planet but people messed up. Some people were sent to locate and inhabit another planet, to escape a deadly disease that seemed to devour the population.
One of the first few space crafts to carry passengers seems pre-historic compared to our models today. The passengers knew it was a long travel, intergenerational. The outcome was not certain, but they were the pioneers, bravely stepping forward where none had ever.”
“ Sounds like our tribe. Our roots lie in people who were 7 feet tall, due to genetic surgery disease had been routed. They lived long lives, having done away with ageing and all its ailments. They were a bunch of scientists with a great gene pool who decided to go and explore the universe and settle on an alternate planet with adequate liquid water. Gliese 667 C was such a star with a number of planets in the golden zone, inhabitable.”
“So where are you headed now Shujaa?”
“Hmmm not sure… just wanted to get as far away as possible from them.”
Suddenly the spacecraft starts to shudder and spin. “What’s happening?” Haribraham speaks softly so as to not cause Shujaa to panic.
“I don’t know for sure… but I think we just entered a wormhole. Hold on tight. Be calm!”
“That’s what our forefathers taught us… yoga, pranayam and meditation, to harvest the best in our minds.”
“This is such fun… wheee!” she exclaimed.
They were flung into bright light as their Intergalactic spacecraft gently noiseless, drifted down onto a strange land. There was a lot of light… they had to squint their big eyes (which had adapted to see in dim light.)
It was a beautiful planet. The surface was welcoming. A lot of life forms of various kinds could be sensed. Scanning for communications, they found none. Gingerly they alighted.
No, nothing was threatening around.
They found water. Liquid water. Flowing and then falling off boulders and mountains. It made a pleasant sound… like music. The calls of other creatures, like a few birds in their world, sounded melodious and cheerful. Blooms abounded in various hues and pleasant fragrances.
They walked around keeping behind safe structures, their sensors screening all around for any signs of danger.
Finding no threats, slowly they relaxed. “I could compose poetry forever here,” sighed he. She raised an eyebrow quizzically, “strange” she thought, “coming from a man who had set out to stealthily colonise another planet.”
“No, you misunderstood. We are actually looking for a cure for our tribe. Come let’s see what lies there… in that abandoned building.” As they reach there, he moves things, some with his hands and some through telekinesis. She picks up a rod and helps in the search. They find a metallic cylinder. Excited they pull it up through the dirt and debris. As they open it they are stunned. They find books, of poetry and literature, music soft and soothing as well as loud and blaring, some photographs and many odd pieces that needed figuring out.
“This is an ancient treasure,” says Shujaa.
“Let me scan these books, and pieces maybe we will get our cure.” As they carry their treasure back to the spaceship they spot a board and stop to take a picture. It read ‘National Vaccine Centre’.
Gliese 667 C and Kepler 186Cc – exoplanets which can be inhabited
Shujaa – Brave warrior (Swahili)
Malkia Mwenye Busara- Wise Queen (Swahili)
Koningin- Queen (Afrikaans)
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