Saturday, February 5, 2011

End of the World

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24th Aug 2097

Sachi woke up with a start. He heard the alarm beeping. He turned it off and remained in the cozy position for a while. His eyes were still closed. He extended his arms and felt the bed for his wife. But she was missing. He opened his eyes with great effort. It strained a lot, thanks to the alcohol he took last night. He took a PDA like device from the drawer next to him. He switched it on and pushed some buttons. It revealed his wife’s presence to be in the terrace. He pushed some more buttons and the daily news was downloaded. He viewed the main page. It was a video of the President addressing the citizens. He increased the volume and listened to it with rapt attention.

“My dear people, as you watch this video, many of you would be wondering if I really have good news or the same old bad news. Some of you may have already lost trust in me. Well, I don’t blame you. But situations have changed to the better. I wish to reveal more now, but some crisis are to be solved before I go to further details. I give my word, be assured we have devised a plan to come out clean. We have already faced such an ordeal way back in 2012 and our team did a great job then. History is about to repeat itself. Thank you”

Sachi turned the device off. He went to the living room. His wife Molly had come down and was reading an e-book. She was already ready for her work. She looked up at him. Her eyebrows twitched for a moment and then she continued.

“You are late”

“Yeah, I know. Hangover I guess. So, did you check the news today?”

“Yes. It is bothering me” she said in a concerned voice.

“Why?” he asked though he knew the answer.

“We ourselves are not sure about the discovery and our President has gone to the extent of giving press conference”

“He does not have much of a choice. Anyways, he did not reveal anything vital”

“Huh? Are you serious?” she said in a mocking tone.

He shrugged his shoulders and started getting ready for the day. She waited patiently for him. He went inside the bathroom. He goggled with a solution found in a bottle. He spit the solution back inside the bottle that read ‘Re-usable’. He flipped some switch and water was sprinkled all over him. He flipped another switch and he was dried clean. He wore his formal office wear. He went to the kitchen. He opened the jar that read ‘Breakfast’ containing tablets. He gulped in one tablet and came out.

“I am fed up Molly”

“What happened?”

“I understand the government’s need to conserve our resources. But don’t you find this too much. I don’t feel like I really brushed my tooth or had food for a long time”

“Things will change. Now let us start. It is already late”

They went near a huge device. The device had a glass door. She went in and locked the door. She lied sandwiched between two layers of metal. She flipped a button on the side of the device. She was slowly pulled inside by the device. She was getting facsimiled to her office as digital data. Sachi followed suit.

They reached their office in an hour. They entered their block when Sachi heard a beep in his PDA. There was a message asking them to immediately assemble at the conference room. The remaining participants had already arrived. Sachi and Molly were a little embarrassed. Their boss was as usual angry with them.

“Were you both awake all night that made you lazy to get up today?” he asked in a sarcastic tone with the sole purpose of insulting them.

“Well, sorry Sir, we got held up. The digital traffic has increased a lot these days”

“Whatever. We started the discussion half an hour ago and I am not going to waste my time in repeating it. Try to catch up with us” he said in the most irritable voice.

And then he turned towards another man who was probably in his early 60s and gestured him to continue.

“Well, as I was saying, this asteroid is far bigger than the previous one that was on its way to hit our planet in 2012. My father was among the team who went on the space mission to divert its path. And as we all know, they were very much successful. We sent a fleet of spacecraft carrying light-reflecting mirrors that vaporized the asteroid's surface using the Sun's rays. The gases from its surface created a tiny amount of thrust that resulted in diverting it. But the sad thing is, we will not be able to repeat it this time”

“So, are you suggesting we have nothing to do but sit still?” interrupted an angry man who could not be more than 30 years.

“To be honest, I was under that impression until last year. But one day Sachi and Molly came to me with new information which totally changed my opinion. I would prefer hearing from them directly” having said that he turned towards them and gestured them to continue.

Sachi was a little skeptical, but Molly was very eager. She came forward to the video screen in front of her. She tapped on her palm thrice and showed her palm facing the screen. There was nothing for a few seconds, then a beam of green light originated from her palm and reached the screen. She held her palm for few seconds and when she heard a beep, she tapped her palm again thrice.

“Well, that was one of my new discoveries. I am not good with those PDA’s you guys are using. I have a built-in chip in my palm which I use to store all important data. I just transferred it to the screen. So let’s get started”

All seemed impressed with her.

“First I want you to watch this video, later I will explain” she announced.

She tapped a button next to the screen and the video started to play. It was taken from an aerial view. It looked like a planet surface with lots of craters. The atmosphere was clouded with dust and smoke.

“Any guess what you just watched?” she questioned them.

Everyone was silent. Not a single word was uttered. She broke the silence after a few seconds. She turned to the man who spoke before her and continued.

“Your father and his team caused this”

She gave a dramatic pause and continued.

“When they diverted the path of the asteroid, no one would have guessed that it would crash right on our sister planet”

“But…But…” he searched for words to convince her, but failed miserably.

“No Sir, I am not here to blame anyone. They did what they thought was best for our planet. And believe me when I say, the same is going to help us this time too”

All looked at her with utmost attention very eager to know what she was about to say.

“It was an accident that I came across this planet. I was even more surprised when I studied its properties. It has an atmosphere almost similar to ours. When I first notified about it to our boss, he asked me to refrain from telling anyone. We later sent a spacecraft with a robot to collect samples for study. The revelation was unbelievable.”

She gave a pause and smiled at everyone. She was quickening their pulses enormously. Finally she said

“This planet is the perfect replica of our very own”

“And in what way will this help us?” asked someone.

“Well, now we have made some progress. If our experiments go well, we would be relocating to the new planet.”

“Are you crazy? How could we ever move our entire population?”

“Who said so? Only few of us would be moving”

“What about…”

“Can you shut it?” interjected Sachi.

He signaled Molly to take rest for some time and continued.

“If you could just allow us to complete…?” he smiled sarcastically. The audience fell silent immediately.

“Well, Molly missed one more important fact. We…found some survivors”

“Al…Aliens?” stuttered someone.

“Yes, aliens indeed”

“This cannot get anymore crazier” laughed someone.

“I am NOT done” Sachi almost roared. He paused for some time and continued in a calm voice.

“We programmed the robot to bring some of them. We have been trying to communicate with them. They were very scared initially. But now, they have started to open up. Our main barrier is language, so only signs are used to communicate. They are almost in their dying stage. Once we get enough details from them, we can continue our life in the new planet.”

“Was this what our President was talking about in the news today?” questioned someone.

“Yes. We had conveyed to him few months back. We are facing a heavy deficit of resources like water, light, electricity, etc. To top it, the asteroid will be crashing on us in a few years. We need to speed up our research and relocate as many people as we can”

“The aliens…how much information have they shared with us?”

“As of now, we only know how they called their planet”

“And what is that?”

“Well, they called it The Earth