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*** Today's Maynia Prompt: draconian***
*** Today's Daily Freewrite Prompt: chiseled***
Writers can choose to use one of the prompts, both the prompts or not use the prompt at all. It is all up to you!
I wish to make this into a sci-fi novel. Let's see how it progresses! 😊
The Galactic Interceptors - Day 16
Continued from Day 15. You can read it here.
Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida
Akash had express permission to enter the track. The circuit hosted the first-ever Formula 1 race in India but had to withdraw from the F1 calendar after few years. Akash being a speed aficionado loved watching F1 live at the circuit and the eardrum blasting howl of the F1 cars. More than that, it was the sheer pleasure of watching the legend, Michael Schumacher in action. All that was past now. F1 cars had changed, F1 drivers too, and India hadn't hosted an F1 race since long. Today, though, Akash had other priorities at the circuit.
"Well, he asked us to wait in front of the pitlane at the start-finish line," Akash laughed, "it was a bit odd to hear that from an extra-terrestrial."
"He is an elder…"
"I know, I know, the mind-jag and stuff," Akash involuntarily raced down the track with the Hexa touching 180 kmph, "I meant that Zarqui can speak about it, but would hardly associate with the thrill of those words or what they meant to crazy F1 fans."
"Crazy, does sum it up," Sarvi said. Akash realized that she was getting good at taunts.
"You know, we have something called as F1 cars which can touch 360 kmph on certain tracks. That's like crazy speed for cars," Akash noticed that it did not pique Sarvi's interest. "How fast is Zarqui?"
"Half an aeon length ahead of the next fastest on our planet," Sarvi replied.
"I meant in English. Of course, you wouldn't know."
"About 800 kmph in Earth terms."
"What the..," Akash came to the final bend towards the start-finish line. "That's like nearly three-quarter the speed of sound."
"I told you already. There aren't many human-constructed things that are faster than Zarqui."
"Wait, till you see the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car (SSC) soon," Akash was backing the human pride, "Mr Zarqui will be panting to keep up with it when it shoots at 1600 kmph."
"Talk about things which are already here," and Sarvi punctured the inflated ego with a pin.
"On that note, we are here," Akash stopped the vehicle and got down. It was not Zarqui but the thrill of standing at the track that he wanted to experience. Sarvi followed and walked towards the driver's side of the vehicle.
"This is it," Akash said as he heard a loud thud behind him. Sarvi hit her head on the car as she fell unconscious. It didn't take Akash long to realize who's work that was. As he walked towards Sarvi, Akash heard him.
"Leave her. She'll be down for some time," Zarqui commanded.
"I am not your soldier," Akash picked Sarvi up and realized that she would be weighting at least half-a-ton. He made her lean on the vehicle, "why did you do that?"
"I don't like games being played on me," Zarqui roared, "and I am growing to suspect everyone."
"Then why did you steal the weapon?" Akash let go of diplomacy.
"And that's what I refer to as games," Zarqui yelled, "first I thought it was Olyint who was up to no good, but now, I don't trust her either."
"Too bad for you. There aren't any more of your kind left to trust."
"Human, if I ever need an elder's guidance, I will seek that from Mother Arlenium," Zarqui clenched his teeth, "I don't need a primitive civilization to teach me my conduct or whom to trust."
"I see how advanced and civilized your kind is - killing one of your elders, running off the planet and now harming your own kind," Akash stood up facing Zarqui.
"I know you were hurt when Sarvi hit you," Zarqui stood half-a-feet from Akash towering over him, "but if I hit you, you may find yourself recovering for an extended time."
"That's quite a civilized threat," Akash wasn't going to easily back-off. It did appear that Akash was in for a punch, but for some reason, Zarqui backed-off. He turned and looked around.
"I don't trust them for what they could conceal from me," Zarqui mellowed down on his own, "you, on the other hand, know little but will not know what to conceal. I want to hear your narrative."
"Okay, cool, but first, where is the weapon?"
"I am not the one in possession of the weapon, but I am keen to know how did you conjecture that it was me?"
"Olyint," Akash found Zarqui's idea quite interesting. It could be an aspect of game theory, to get the information from the one who is supposed to be neutral in the equation, "he visited the site and mind-jagged over there. He sensed you entering at your high pace and leaving with the weapon."
"Did Olyint say that it was I who entered and took the weapon?"
Akash went back to the report he was making in the morning. It was not how Olyint put it. "No, Olyint mentioned that someone entered at your pace."
"There. I expected Olyint to be the elder that he is."
"But who else could be as fast as you?"
"That's the question of the immature."
"Oh yeah?" Akash felt offended, "Sarvi said that you are faster than all human-made vehicles, let alone humans, so humans are out of the equation. That leaves only three Arlenians. Now you tell me who?"
"Sarvi told you about my pace?"
"Yes," Akash said. Zarqui looked at Sarvi. He appeared to be thinking. It was difficult to guess what was going on in that Arlenian mind as his countenance hardly betrayed anything.
"I went to the site too," Zarqui spoke after a couple of minutes, "there was someone who entered at almost my pace and left with that weapon."
"Tell me this," Akash said, "you told us the last time that you did not kill the other elder. Then why don't you speak with Olyint and sort this out?"
"Because he will stop me. I don't want to be stopped now," Zarqui said, "there is something big happening here. Someone put me in that hopper, got all of us here on this planet and then steals a weapon. I am starting to believe that there are more Arlenians on this planet now."
Akash gasped. If three weren't enough, the idea of more was unsettling. "You can mind-jag, can't you? Can't you find your kind over here in some way?"
"Your planet does not throw up experiences fast enough as there isn't much Hydrogen in your atmosphere. So, even if I could find another Arlenian, it would be far later."
"That still leaves a question unanswered. Can there by anyone, even an Arlenian, as fast as you?"
"Unless this Arlenian is naturally endowed with speed or one who was trained by another elder."
"But whoever it was, he or she was there when Arkan was desynthesized and was here to steal the weapon."
"Yes, but why didn't Olyint come to this conclusion?" Zarqui turned his back towards Akash. Another couple of minutes dragged through the silence.
"I remember Sarvi telling us about her arm panel which can track hoppers. If there are more, then she would know from her panel?" Akash presented a possible solution.
"That is the most mature suggestion that I have heard in some time," Zarqui turned.
"Then should I wake her up?"
"Not now," Zarqui said, "she doesn't have the arm panel, anyway. Ask her to check once you'll are back. And I want you to do something more."
"What is it?"
Zarqui handed something which appeared like a button and gave him instruction to follow. "Only Olyint. Not even Sarvi, and certainly not any other human."
"This will solve our problem?"
"It will help move towards the solution."
"When do we meet next?" Akash was trying to lift Sarvi from the ground, but she wouldn't budge.
"You will come to know," Zarqui lifted Sarvi with ease and carried her to the passenger side. Akash ran ahead and opened the door. Zarqui carefully placed her on the seat. Akash reclined the seat so that she did not lean forward and hit her head.
"Is there no other way, you can find the weapon or the Arlenians?"
"I will be mind-jagging to check if the experiences come up," Zarqui said, "but I suspect I will be meeting you way earlier than that.
"Hope so. Let's nab this villain and get back the weapon," Akash said.
"We will," Zarqui responded. "You can go now. I will get to you soon."
"Sure," Akash turned to get into the car, and Zarqui was gone.
Way Back from Buddh International Circuit
Akash wasn't sure how to proceed on the instructions from Zarqui. Not telling Sarvi was fine but any other human was impossible. He did want to help but could not keep the interaction away from his superiors. That was what Intelligence was all about - to keep the flow of information going through the trusted channel. Going against it would throw the entire operation in jeopardy, not to mention the trust factor.
Sarvi groaned more than once but did not come back to senses. Akash wondered how hard had Zarqui hit her. He put the air conditioner on fresh-air mode so that she could get a little more oxygen. It worked for humans, and he hoped it did the same for Arlenians. Sarvi once again groaned, rolled a bit and stopped as the seat belt tightened. She opened her eyes to see Akash driving back. It took a minute for her to register what was happening. Then she sat upright, almost hitting the windshield.
"Where are we going?"
"Back," it was Akash't turn to respond in monosyllables.
"Why? Are we not meeting Zarqui?"
"I met him. You were unconscious."
"How? I was there, and then I don't remember."
"Zarqui hit you."
"In a friendly manner. He wanted to know what I knew without any distractions."
"How is an Arlenian a distraction?"
"I don't know. He is your trainer and an elder. I guess you would understand him better than me. But he did have a task for you."
"What is that?"
"He believes there are more Arlenians on Earth. He wanted you to check on your arm panel and let me know if you see any more hopper entries."
"Oh, why didn't I think of that?" Sarvi said. Akash wanted to tell her that he was the one who suggested that idea to bask in the glory of being one of the most intelligent life-form. He smiled at the thought.
"So, you can check and let me know in the evening," Akash handed her a phone, "this is my second phone. Call me once you check."
"Why you? Why not Zarqui?"
"Because he trusts me more than you."
"Kidding," Akash laughed, "he said he would contact me soon. So, I need to have an answer."
Rest of the drive, Sarvi was mostly silent, and Akash was still unable to figure out what he should do with the message that Zarqui had given. He had to handover the button like equipment to Olyint but not in front of Sarvi. That was a tough ask, and it had to be planned along with Radhika. So, humans not knowing flew out of the window.
Akash reached Sarvi's temporary residence. He waited for her to alight and then put the vehicle in gear. But then he heard a tap on the window on the passenger side. It was Sarvi.
"This device. Do I use it to call you only for the hopper information, or can I call you, otherwise?" Sarvi asked. Akash smiled and almost blushed.
"Of course, you can call me for anything."
"Kidding. I have better things to do," Sarvi walked towards her apartment. That was one Arlenian way of getting back at Akash.
Akash's smile evaporated faster than Zarqui's pace on the ground. After a few seconds, he laughed like crazy and accelerated out of the complex. Now, all that he had to do was discuss the developments with Radhika and Arvind.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay