Chapter 7 – Noah
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.
2305 AD – Neutral Zone
Robert was looking at the specifications again. Luckily they were well ahead of schedule now. The craft was almost ready. All the people who were to travel had also assembled. It was going smoothly; almost too smoothly even, but Robert wasn’t that much of a pessimist so as to believe this to be the calm before the storm as it were.
The passengers were, as a matter of fact, not in the least bit fazed by the responsibilities they were being given. The five people did their own thing on a daily basis as Robert and his team tirelessly and with great exasperation worked on the craft in a diligent and an almost OCD fashion.
Robert quietly smiled, “Maybe carefree devotion and harmony was exactly what we need right now” he said to himself.
“Not necessarily sir. The reason people like us get to be careful is because people like you work tirelessly to enable it” Came a sound from beneath him.
He looked down startled at the sudden appearance of the little one, Saleem. He could have sworn he was alone. Saleem, though initially quiet and reserved, had become friendly with everyone fast. Two weeks into his arrival, everyone knew him; he had even made a few friends and had become a part of the launch pad atmosphere. He had a mild voice, almost as if a squirrel was talking, but he said the deepest of things. This made him approachable; likeable even.
“What do you mean, Saleem, do you mean to say we can’t be carefree at all?” Robert teased.
Saleem smiled. “No sir that is not what I meant. I meant we all have a task to do, we do them. Be it serious, be it harmonizing, be it carefree, or be it cold and murderous. We are all given a task, we just perform them. Are we all not just puppets in this big world?”
Robert was yet again amazed at the depth of thought this boy showed. He had read the bio that was sent to him before his arrival, but reading the bio hadn’t prepared him to face the real deal. He admired the little one for his wisdom and his friendly nature. The only one who was similar to him in character was Brugu. But Brugu did not indulge in deep conversations such as this; though that might be attributed to his age. Thinking all this, Robert replied, “I see, so you mean to say we should all just be satisfied with the task we are given as long as the big picture gets formed; you mean to say we are all important as we are.”
Saleem looked at Robert and said “Important? No sir, we aren’t even the least bit important. We are puppets. All of us, easily replaced, easily broken”; and with that he walked away back to the chapel where the group had been cooped up since early afternoon leaving Robert in deep contemplation and with a shadow of a smile.
2000 AD – The Palace, Nepal
Suburu went hastily to the palace. He had to find the king. He had to follow the steps given to him by his master with precision. A lot rested on his shoulders. He quickly walked up the palace steps to the guard chamber. The guard, Rim Lau, he had talked to earlier stopped him. He quickly told him it was urgent and that he had news for the king.
Rim Lau quickly ran in to inform the king. As usual hearing that someone had come from the monastery, the king came rushing outside. But this time, he stopped in his steps looking at Suburu. Carefully, he asked – “What happened, child? Is something the matter? You look pale, tell me! Quick!”
Suburu was still panting from the running, but this time, he did not stop to grab a breathe, he said “The sages are dead, times need changing. Let it be known.” He practically yelled those words out, and then promptly passed out.
2305 AD – 10th December, Neutral Zone
The ship was ready. It looked majestic. It was made out of the best metal alloy devised by years of science and assembled by the brightest minds of the era. Robert looked at it as it shone from the sun, with love akin to that of a father’s. The entire crew of scientists who devised it, the engineers who built it and the staff that supported the project were all present on the floor for the completion. Brugu, Jenny, Henrikh, Rajendra and Saleem were all present as well. They were all open mouthed at the machinery in front of them too.
It truly was beautiful. It had a metal alloy exterior which was tapered for aerodynamics. It had a star shaped capsule layer where there were five windows for the five active passengers that were going to travel in it. Robert was going to accompany them as the operator; his cabin was in the dead center of the star. Followed by the capsule, there was a propulsion layer, quickly followed by the rocket’s base. It really was a work of art. It wasn’t just scientifically modern, it was also aesthetically astute. Robert’s love for science was visible in its design.
“Speech! Speech! Speech!” Yelled the staff as someone pushed Robert onto the dias.
Robert was sure he was blushing, as he took the microphone and thought about something to say. He knew the direness of the situation and also that it did not call for much celebration, but this was a moment of pride and achievement for him and he wanted to bask in its glory for a little while longer.
Bracing himself, he said “We had a task when we first started this, five years ago. We knew the importance of what we had to do, sending this fine group of people for a voyage that would define our future, which would define our very lives to come. We worked day and night, week after week, month after month for this day. This machine is a living testimony that science and religion can work hand in hand. We aren’t mutually exclusive of these people” He said as he waved his hands onto the five apprentices, smiled at them as they smiled back, as he continued “And they aren’t of us. Whatever this might lead us to, for good or for bad, here’s to a hope for a better future, I present to you, Noah!”