Chapter 5 – Warmth
Author’s Note : Thank you, friends and readers, for reading this far. I am going to update as frequently as possible. Any reviews or opinions privately or publicly are most welcome! If you are visiting for the first time, there are links to the earlier chapters below, you might want to read them ahead of this.
2304 AD – Neutral Zone
Brugu had finally reached the Neutral zone. It had taken him 3 months of travelling to do so. One would expect him to be tired and weary from all the travel that he did. He had scaled a great deal of distance in just a few months; and that from a boy who hadn’t left his home in his life. One would expect him to be homesick, hungry and tired. He would be yearning for familiar faces.
Brugu was the exact opposite of all those things. He could barely contain his excitement. He was wearing his brown tunic and white pants – his official monk understudy clothes. He had met a ton of new people along the way who had given him alms because of his identity. He had enjoyed the company of almost all the smaller tribes on the way to the neutral region. He had sung and danced with them. He had played with their kids, he had made new friends, and he had bird-watched. He did everything that a tourist would want to do and then some; until he finally reached the neutral region.
He had first visited the ocean and received Gaia’s blessings right from her waters. Waters were always called Gaia’s bosom, the forest her stomach, the air her limbs, and our hearts her face. Brugu’s tribe believed that Gaia sees, hears and speaks through all of us. So Brugu had finally come to Gaia’s bosom and he was moved to tears. He had seen a water body back when he had his initiation ceremony at the age of 5. After that this was the first time he got an opportunity to do so.
He had drunk from the waters, he had washed his tired face, and he had sat there looking at the crystal clear water and the fishes that swam in it. He loved it. He could smell the Earth in it.
Once he was done admiring the beauty that was lost from the world, he got up and headed for the launch zone as per the landmark his master had given him. He reached there, and found it empty except for some people who were working on some machines.
He was amazed at all the technology he found in the tall building he had walked into. He was surprised there were no guards around. In his country every important building or monument was guarded heavily. This was new to him. So he walked right through. The people who were working on machines seemed like they were discussing something important, so he figured he shouldn’t intrude.
He walked inside and he found a huge oval platform on top of which there was a curved machine with a metal door, which was open. Brugu was, by virtue, very curious. He walked inside the metal door into the machine, as soon as he went in; there was a staircase that led upwards. He went up the stairs into a cabin. This cabin had glass windows and a lot of buttons and levers.
He pressed a red button that he found in a panel. The machine roared to life. He was sure he hadn’t done anything wrong till now. Brugu was evidently not to be trusted with technology. The noises piqued his interest; he pulled on one of the levers. The machine moved and increased in height. As soon as he had done that, he heard someone shout out “Stop, don’t. Stop, goddamn it”.
He stopped and looked outside the window, he found a tall healthy looking man who seemed to be in his 30s run down the stairs of the building in front of the machine. He looked angry and kept yelling “Stop.” So Brugu quickly got down from the cabin and went outside to the platform to find out what the problem was. He knew he had done something he shouldn’t have but he wanted to apologize as soon as possible.
As soon as he got down, the man running with rage walked right into him knocking him right off his feet, he slapped him across the face and said “What are you doing? Who let you in?”
And before Brugu could talk, the man seemed to recognize him and quickly regained his bearings and got up to his feet and curtly waited for him to get up.
Brugu got up, his back hurt from the sudden jerk he had received. His face hurt too. He looked at the man and said “I am sorry, sir. I am Brugu from Region C. I should have found someone first before touching anything.”
The man was evidently still angry but he softened a bit and said “Hi, Brugu. I was told you’d be coming. I am Robert, the head engineer building the machine you almost ruined. That machine is the one that is to carry you to your destination; any damage to it would impale our prospect right from its roots.”
People were clustering into the place hearing all the commotion. Robert and Brugu realized this at the same instant and both equally got embarrassed; one at what he had done and the older man at his overreaction.
A woman came forward followed by another man. The woman said “Hello, you must be Brugu. I am Jennifer, this is Henrikh, and we arrived ahead of you. Hope your journey was good.” Brugu was excited again, here were more people to talk to. Brugu wasn’t one to keep grudges or hold people to something for more than a few minutes. He quickly hugged Robert, Jenny and Henrikh in their turn. Henrikh seemed surprised at the sudden hug he received, Robert was embarrassed and a little surprised at the lack of hostility, and Jenny enjoyed it and returned the gesture wholeheartedly. Then he asked excitedly “Okay, now where do we go?”
Robert felt a warm sensation from Brugu. The same he felt from Jenny. It felt good although he felt bad for having hit Brugu now but he promised himself to apologize later in private.
He showed Brugu his room and walked back into his cabin and got back to his calculations. That was enough excitement for a day.