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First pages

“It is not Space we conquer, but ourselves.”

 

The logo at the Enforcer Higher Division, in the planet of Terran

 

 

So other than a few Space Pirates who had stranded him here, no one knew where he was. It was obvious that no help was coming his way. The planet was so cold that he could not even move his body and he was sure that if he stayed in this cold for some more time, he was going to die of hypothermia. His mind was frankly in no condition to work and was in the process of shutting down, both from the cold and pain.

Omkar controlled himself and was struggling to breathe properly as his brain summed his situation in one word – Hopeless....

PRESENT DAY

1 | Alone and Stranded

In the Planet of Benzor, Double Sun date: 36.7.89

 

Major Omkar Navate of the Higher Enforcer Division, woke up abruptly as the biting cold brutally assaulted his senses. A savage groan was torn from his lips because of the slivers of pain shooting up his arm. The pain and the cold was all he could even think about as he was desperately trying to blink away black spots from his vision. Every breath he took just added to his agony. For what seemed like an eternity, Omkar was lying on the hard cold snow, just hoping that something would hurt a little less.

Nothing changed at all.

Other than the fact that Omkar was feeling colder.

He ignored his hands which were badly scarred and were now turning an unhealthy shade of blue, as he slowly pushed himself up.

Strangely, now the pain in his body was numbing slightly.

That was what triggered Omkar’s inborn survival instinct and alerted him to the fact that he was suffering from a classic case of hypothermia.

That thought just made it a lot worse. Worse than Omkar even thought possible.

Trying to beat down the blind panic, he was struggling to control his trembling body when another nagging worry pierced through him. The others – where were they?

After that, the thought just refused to go away.

They would never have left him alone like this.

Not unless...

Probably, the Space Pirates got to them too....

Probably they were all even worse than him....

Probably....

NO!

Omkar would have screamed as he was trying to avoid the graphic images of his mind. He just could not do anything as he lay whimpering and his breath was coming out in gasps as he was almost sobbing and trying to stop thinking.

With an onerous effort, he abruptly and brutally crushed all thought process about his loved ones.

They had to be fine. That was all there was to it and he was not entertaining any other thoughts about them. As it is, he felt like he was hanging on to his sanity by a very small thread. He knew that if he started worrying about his loved ones, then there was no question – he was a broken and dead man. He was licked even before he started doing anything.

Taking another sobbing breath, he told himself to think. He had to think. His body was not following his orders. The pain coming from it told Omkar that something was seriously wrong with it. But he could think. Though the way he was feeling, even expecting that much, seemed highly ambitious.

But he had to see and assess his situation. That was the least which was expected from him.

Squinting and struggling he was trying to focus around him.

Ten seconds later, an involuntary moan escaped him, as he was fervently hoping that his pain numbed brain or tired eyes were giving him the wrong information. But he knew deep down that he was doomed. Really, really doomed. This time, he was stuck real bad.

Nothing short of a miracle was going to help him now.

A few seconds later, his tortured brain told him something else. Even a miracle could not save him from here.

The reason for Omkar's defeatist observations were obvious. All around him, Omkar saw white, cold snow and nothing else. No features, no caves, no trees, nothing.

Somewhere, in some corner of his mind, the lessons that he had learnt from the training Institute of the Enforcers, crashed in...

"The twin planets of Benzor and Beldor, are the most unique planets in our Kor Solar System." Their professor - a neat and precise Jiporan by name Livan Ran, had told them. "While Beldor is a thriving planet which supports all the twelve species living in the Kor Solar System; its twin planet Benzor is completely incapable of supporting any life. Because of the extreme cold in the planet of Benzor, nothing grows there. Nothing at all. In fact, if you ever go to the planet of Benzor, the only structure you would even see there other than the snow is the habitable Biome built by the bipedals species of the Kor Solar System. Naturally, the Biome would have space pods to take you to the space station of the planet in the orbit of Benzor. Other than the Biome, the planet of Benzor has nothing. All you would see on the surface of the planet is snow. No trees, no caves. Nothing. Just plain white snow. The extreme cold was the reason Benzor was passed over for colonization....."

Omkar sobbed another breath as he was shivering even worse because he was 90% sure that he was in Benzor. He was scanning his surroundings, trying to think up of something, just to beat down the blind panic building up in his heart.

That was when he saw something in the snow near him. Something which was not white.

Slowly, he crawled towards it, like a man in ague and tried to focus on it.

Five seconds later, he stifled a groan as he saw the remains of his Communication Link. Nothing from his Link was even visible anymore. The battery was there, but the receiver and the transmitter of the Link, had been fried.

Evidently, someone had destroyed the circuits of the Link with their gun, and just to rub the fact in, they had left the remains of the Link in the snow, for Omkar to see.

Omkar hurriedly slipped the broken down Link inside the pocket of his pants, as quick as his body would allow. He was sure that if he kept staring at the Link, the utter sense of hopelessness which was threatening to overwhelm him, was going to drown him.

He was still struggling to breathe as he mustered up his courage to study his arm, which had been throbbing real bad all this time.

His arm was not in good shape. Not at all.

An UltraZ shot at his shoulder had left it bleeding profusely.

The only upside was that the energy beam from the UltraZ seemed to have missed any artery of importance. Otherwise, despite the cold, his damned arm was burning so badly that Omkar was actually tempted to pull his arm out and throw it away. He was sure that not having an arm was not going to hurt this much.

The Enforcer Uniform which Omkar was wearing, was nicked, torn and burnt at many places. His face was burning in the cold as he remembered exactly how the Space Pirates had used him for punching practice.

Suddenly Omkar stopped studying himself because the examination was just making him more nauseous than necessary. If Omkar needed to survive, this was what he should not be thinking.

Not that the realization helped him in any way. He still could not stop thinking about it.

After a few seconds, Omkar felt something uncomfortable in his pockets. Something other than the Link that he had just put in.

With his trembling hands, Omkar pulled out the things from his pocket and was struggling to focus on it. It took all his stamina not to look at his broken down Link as he looked at the other things.

Currency. Useless, boring currency.

He swallowed painfully, wondering whether he could burn the currency – at least for some warmth. If he could do that, that would be the first time that money was finally proving a little useful to him.

But that was foolish, another part of his brain told him almost immediately. He could not light a fire in this cold. In this featureless planet, where there was nothing else that Omkar could use as fuel, the fire would not even last enough, to heat him up.

Omkar ignored the currency and studied the other contents he had pulled out from his pocket.

His KeyCard.

Like most of the adults of the Kor Solar System, Omkar also had a KeyCard.

Shankar had told him that KeyCards had a magnetic strip, which could recognize the AutoHome computer of a person's home or vehicle and open it. Using the same principle, the KeyCards were also supposed to be used for paying, in case one did not have any currency. Shankar had even told Omkar that the latest KeyCard could be used to track its owner, using the Enforcer Grid. But Omkar's KeyCard was the older version. This could not be tracked.

The Space Pirates had taken away his knife – the one which Omkar always kept inside his belt. They had also taken away the tiny screwdriver which he kept hidden in the inner side of his belt. Not that it was going to be any help right now.

That was when Omkar saw what had been so heavy inside his pocket – his UltraZ – the gun which he had secured when he had passed out of the Enforcer Institute to enter active Enforcer life.

Omkar's heart was beating wildly, as he realized that the Space Pirates really hated him. The Pirates had left a gun with a human after stranding him all alone in an uninhabited planet. The only person Omkar was going to shoot with his gun was himself. That was what the Space Pirates wanted.

So other than a few Space Pirates who had stranded him here, no one knew where he was. It was obvious that no help was coming his way. The planet was so cold that he could not even move his body and he was sure that if he stayed in this cold for some more time, he was going to die of hypothermia. His mind was frankly in no condition to work and was in the process of shutting down, both from the cold and pain.

Omkar controlled himself and was struggling to breathe properly as his brain summed his situation in one word - Hopeless.

When that realization hit him, he wanted nothing more than to just go back to sleep. There was nothing more that he could do – other than accept the fact that he was going to die here in the planet of Benzor – cold, alone and helpless.

"Little brother, stop feeling sorry for yourself and move it!"

Omkar groaned as he heard Shankar's voice in his head.

Shankar was just three months older than Omkar and "little brother" was one of the nicknames which Shankar called him. Just to rile Omkar. Over the years, the nicknames had become endearing and affectionate.

A painfully involuntary smile lit up Omkar's face as he thought of his adopted brother.

A part of Omkar knew that Shankar was not here. But Omkar also knew that this was exactly what his brother would tell him. Because in any situation, no matter how bad, Shankar would not give up. Shankar just would not know how to give up. Omkar’s adopted brother always fought – even when the odds were overwhelmingly against them.

"Don't want to!" Omkar told himself, struggling to keep awake as his eyes were feeling drowsy with the pain.

"Move it!" The image of Shankar snapped at him. "After I have nearly given up hope for you, you finally find a girl. And you have even managed to keep it a secret from me. You cannot give up right now. She is waiting for you. And little brother, mom is going to eat my head, if anything happens to you."

"What am I supposed to do?" Omkar whined to himself. Sleep was so inviting. If he gave in to his body, he would never know the cold which was eating him now. All the pain would be gone.

It would also be his last sleep.

"The Biome of the planet, you ass!" Shankar's voice in Omkar’s head sounded almost angry.

Omkar sighed as he was struggling to wake up.

The Biome. Omkar had to find the Biome. There were supposedly space pods there, which could get him out of the planet.

Sleep! His brain told him in an inviting tone.

"MOVE IT!"

Omkar winced as his face hurt even more because his head was giving him contradictory orders.

Slowly, he pushed himself up.

Twice, he staggered and fell down hard. As he fell, Omkar’s body jarred both from the physical pain and the utter despair of his predicament.

After what seemed like another eternity, Omkar found himself standing as he was trembling both from the cold and the pain.

"My sweet boy!"

This time, Omkar could hear his mother – Lavinia.

She was not here, as well. But Omkar could visualize Lavinia well. His adopted mother ruffled his unruly hair as she kissed him on his forehead. She always did that. Since the time he was a kid. And now, though she barely came up to his shoulder, she still did that. Omkar loved it. He somehow felt safe when she did that. Protected.

"Come home soon!" His mother's image told him.

Omkar nodded though he knew that his mother was not here too.

That was when Omkar was able to visualize her for the first time. The only other her in Omkar’s life, which mattered to him. A lot.

She was tall. Almost Shankar's height. She had brown eyes, which looked incredibly mischievous like she had a secret hidden in those playful eyes. Her shoulder length hair danced like it had life of its own, as she moved her head, rolling her eyes.

"Come on, Major Navate! I am waiting."

“Miss Kritika Kore,” Omkar mumbled and nearly reached out for her, when suddenly everything that his mind was showing him vanished.

The cold stark planet came to his vision again. The coldness, if anything, seemed to have increased almost exponentially and Omkar was trembling even worse.

But then Omkar could not forget that lingering feeling of happiness.

Move it....

Come home soon...

I am waiting....

Omkar knew that there was less than one percent chance for him to make it out of the planet. The stars of the skies told him that it was going to be a four kilometer hike to the Biome – in this cold, with this shoulder.

Omkar studied the stars again and slowly turned left. His face skin was hurting even more and it was much later that Omkar realized that he was trying to smile.

He started walking.

PAST

2 | In the Mixed Environment of the Kor Solar System – Part 1

In the Planet of Terran, Double Sun Date: 34.7.89

 

The energy bolt from the UltraZ was unerring in its accuracy and it hit the Mokrian straight at the heart.

The heart of the Mokrians was roughly in the place where humans had their stomach and it was well protected. But it just did not matter right now. The bipedal Mokrian with his gray skin and broad forehead and six and a half feet height did not even have a chance to blink. The sheer unexpectedness of the shot stopped the Mokrian as he collapsed and fell immediately.

Omkar Navate who had fired the shot did not even notice the fallen Mokrian as Omkar swept his UltraZ in another arc around him checking for others.

For a human, Omkar was very tall. He was almost the height of the Mokrian that he had just shot. Right now, Omkar's intense dark eyes were looking around the dense forest for any sudden movement around him.

The reason for the double check was very obvious. Mokrians worked brilliantly in teams – one always complimented the other. Though Omkar was 90% sure this Mokrian worked alone, he just wanted to be sure.

After a few seconds, he found no one else coming near the fallen Mokrian and Omkar was 98% satisfied that the Mokrian was indeed working alone.

Then Omkar moved forward. He ran behind the first tree for cover, as he reloaded his gun. Instead of the familiar sound of the reloading of the weapon, the UltraZ in Omkar’s hand thrummed gently. That meant that there was a problem with the weapon.

Omkar ignored it as he hid behind the tree. After making sure that he was completely hidden, he first surveyed the place for immediate threats. It was only after he was satisfied that he was safe, Omkar turned his attention to his weapon.

Omkar stifled a sigh as he saw that the energy level of the UltraZ was very low. At best he could manage only five more shots.

A few feet ahead, Omkar saw the weapon of the Mokrian, whom he had just shot.

Omkar wondered whether he could take that weapon and dismissed the idea almost immediately. Omkar himself had used that trick plenty of times – use the weapon of a fallen soldier as bait, while gunning for the next one. In this place, Omkar knew that the others around him were just waiting for him to make mistakes like that.

With that thought, Omkar left the Mokrian's weapon alone.

Sighing, Omkar looked around as he wondered how many of them were still left. It had started with ten of them. Omkar himself had taken out two Arkhorans. Fifteen minutes back, Omkar’s computer had reported that the two Jiporans were out and now this Mokrian was out.

Carefully Omkar tapped on the ear-piece, still looking around. "Computer, people in vicinity?" He whispered trying his best not to make too much noise.

"Four." The computer said immediately.

Omkar nodded realizing that the count included him too.

That meant that there was a high chance that someone had taken out the other Mokrian - Ovarn Thar.

Ignoring the others who could be around him, Omkar peeked from behind the tree, to check the route to be taken from here, because those details would not be available on the computer.

That was when Omkar saw what lay before him.

"You have got to be kidding me," Omkar muttered almost aghast when he realized what he was seeing.

"Request incapable of being deciphered." The computer intoned in an emotionless voice, in his ear-piece.

"Shut up!" Omkar fumed as he angrily switched off his ear piece, wondering when these damned geeks were going to make machines which actually said something useful.

Omkar saw the area ahead of him again and sighed as he realized that it was indeed an under-asteroid geyser stretch in front of him. To people who had never seen one, it was a really horrible place to be in. The surface of the under-asteroid geyser stretch, smoked and could explode anytime, because of the geysers under the surface of the asteroid.

For a brief second Omkar even thought that he saw the ground moving. Cursing angrily, he looked around and wondered whether there was any other way to the other side. Feeling sorry for himself, Omkar realized that twenty minutes back, he had blown up the bridge to get to this side.

And that left this underground geyser stretch as the only way forward.

Cursing himself again, Omkar saw the kilometer wide geyser stretch after which, there were two huge boulders.

Hopefully, the boulders marked the end of this stretch. Hopefully.

As Omkar was looking at the place and a way to get out and the things which he did know about the people around him, he wondered whether anyone was going to set up an ambush here.

Omkar nearly shuddered, hoping that no one was stupid enough to do that, because the surface of the underground geyser stretch was unstable. The slightest touch could set it off and in some cases even cause mild quakes.

Telling himself to stop thinking this way, Omkar set his foot on the geyser stretch gingerly.

Just at that time, on his left, an underground geyser spurt open shocking Omkar. Luckily, he was far away from the geyser for it to actually do any damage.

Knowing that he had very little time, Omkar did not hesitate as he ran across the stretch. He was going mostly by instinct, as he tried to keep his feet movements as light as possible. Three minutes later, he had slipped and fallen twice but he had not hurt himself very badly. Though he could not see it properly, Omkar fervently hoped that the area beyond the boulders marked the end of the geyser stretch.

Two minutes later, Omkar heaved a sigh of relief relaxing a little as he saw some purple trees from the space between the two boulders, feeling glad that this was over.

Naturally, things had to go wrong.

Because just as he was about to go between the huge boulders, Omkar was ambushed.

Arka Verth – the Jiporan, had set up a brilliantly good ambush.

The rocks on the surface of the underground geyser stretch would show no signs of any person having been there. That would effectively cover the tracks of the Jiporan. Being a Jiporan, Arka's skin was transparent, which helped Arka to slightly merge with the surroundings.

Apparently, Arka had waited for Omkar to come right between the two boulders and then had tried to shoot the human.

The ambush would have even worked.

There was just one small factor which Arka had miscalculated. The most important reason why no one ever set up ambushes in asteroids in general and especially in places where there were under-asteroid geysers. The area was dangerous and in such a place, when energy bolts like the UltraZ were fired, there was a very high chance that things could go very, very wrong.

Seeing the gun in Arka's hands, Omkar had fallen back on the hard ground. Omkar was badly jarred and was blinking black spots from his eyes. Worse, in the confusion, he dropped his weapon. Controlling himself, Omkar was trying to get to the UltraZ, when he saw Arka's shot hit the ground beside him.

With the shot, all hell broke lose.

The asteroid started shaking real bad.

Omkar realized that Arka's shot had activated an under-asteroid geyser. Cracks had started appearing on the asteroid as Omkar was horrified because he saw that Arka was standing right on the path of the cracks. Abandoning his weapon, Omkar pushed himself far away.

"MOVE!" Omkar shouted in Jipora.

Omkar was not too sure whether Arka would be wearing the translator and he wanted no misunderstanding, which was why Omkar had spoken in Arka's own language.

But Omkar was late.

Arka did not notice the crack at all.

Omkar winced as he saw Arka’s transparent skin and purple blood show a badly terrified Jiporan. Screaming hoarsely Arka slipped and fell into the widening crevice. Even before Omkar could reach him, Arka was gone.

The only belonging of Arka which was left behind was Arka's UltraZ.

3 | In the Mixed Environment of the Kor Solar System – Part 2

In the Planet of Terran, Double Sun Date: 34.7.93

 

Omkar was almost trembling as he made an arduous effort to control himself.

Stumbling, he slowly walked towards the crevice picking up Arka’s weapon.

Omkar checked the weapon and saw that it was good only for two more shots. He slipped the weapon into his holster and then stumbled towards the boulders.

Omkar then checked the life signs indicator on his wrist and saw that the last fall had done absolutely nothing good to him. He definitely could not take another hit like that.

After the under asteroid geyser stretch, the place was again a dense dark forest and seemed from Mokria. Omkar was sure that this was the Mokrian asteroid environment because that was the only place in the galaxy where there were both purple and green colour plants which looked almost uniformly thin, short and stunted with sharp pine like leaves.

As Omkar was walking through the forest he was suddenly struggling to breathe. There was a sudden difference in temperature as the place grew warm. Omkar took some time adjusting to the change. Further, even the atmosphere around him thinned considerably as in accord to the Mokrian asteroid – because the high content of Nitrogen and Solarium in the Mokrian atmosphere – Solarium being an element found in abundance in the Kor Solar System. Solarium was a really strange atmospheric gas, that way. When the exo-scientists had scanned the atmosphere of the Kor Solar System, Solarium had practically masked the presence of all the other gases.

But then that was not what bothered the exo-scientists. What did was that, Solarium did not seem to be a naturally occurring gas. But thankfully, Solarium did not harm any of the twelve bipedals species which had settled in the Kor Solar System.

Which brought on the next scary feature of the Solar System. There seemed to be absolutely no original inhabitants of the Solar System – worse, all the eight inhabitable planets definitely showed evidence of an extremely advanced species residing in the Kor Solar System just a few centuries ago.

But by the time of the Droid attack on earth – in the year 2456, these original inhabitants of the Kor Solar System had disappeared – vanished without a trace. This species – nicknamed as the Ancients – seemed to be physically extremely strong and powerful – if their vacant cities were anything to go by.

So exactly what happened to that species was left to anyone’s imagination. There was absolutely no dearth in the imagination of any of the twelve bipedal species, at least with regard to the Ancients. Omkar genuinely believed that every single bored scientist in the Kor Solar System had conducted at least one research spouting some wild theories regarding the disappearance of the Ancients.

Omkar took a deep breath as his body was adjusting to the change in the atmosphere. The increase in the gravity was noticeable.

But it was something that Omkar could manage. Fairly easily. Considering that the first lesson in the Enforcer Training Institute of the Higher Enforcer Division was to play a game of SphereStick in the Mokrian asteroid with the Space Bots– no space suit, no artificial gravity, nothing – and the rules were fairly simple – if the person did not fall unconscious within the first half an hour, then the person could be considered for training to the Higher Enforcer Division. Omkar and Shankar were slightly different because they won the game against the Space Bots.

Omkar pulled the UltraZ closer as he took a deep breath and walked ahead when he felt the static in the air around him.

Mokria was definitely a great place to be in, if one loved the weird. The asteroid had a strong magnetosphere and when the Double Sun of the Solar System shone through it, the particles in the atmosphere charged and sometimes there were even freak lightning in the skies. Shankar had tried his level best to explain that phenomenon to Omkar – but Omkar just gave up. Once Shankar started talking about neutrons or electrons or something which sounded like that, Omkar’s brain frankly just shut down.

There was absolutely no better lullaby than listening to Shankar explain soulfully about atoms and things which “existed only at the microscopic levels.

Because Omkar just did not understand what any of these things had to do with him. When Omkar had voiced that particular opinion, Shankar had really blown his top and for the life of him Omkar did not know what he had said wrong.

Omkar was lost in his musings which was why he was finding it difficult to concentrate on his surroundings.

But a second later, Omkar realized that something was wrong.

There was someone else near him.

The purple coloured bush before him, rustled slightly. Omkar hurriedly hid behind the tree and concentrated on hearing.

Though there were three moons in the sky, all of them were right now obscured by smoky, slightly purplish clouds. Omkar's grip on the UltraZ tightened, as he knew that relying on eyesight in here, was a complete waste of time.

One second, two seconds...Omkar nodded to himself as he realized that though the sound was almost muffled, it was a certainty that there was someone behind the bush.

Omkar moved forward slowly.

The sound of the rustling behind the purple bush was repeated, though it was faint. Omkar peered again and thought he saw something red.

That meant that the person behind the bush was probably a Narlaun, which also explained the rustling.

Narlauns were physically taller and stronger than humans but they found it difficult to adapt to sudden changes in environment, when compared to humans.

Omkar knew better than to engage Narlauns in a physical combat. All Narlauns – males and females – were at least seven feet tall and had a physique to match. Though Omkar was very tall himself, he barely came up to the shoulder of any Narlaun.

Omkar did not hesitate. He smelt the place and saw that there was absolutely no static around him and aimed the weapon at the bush – his reasoning was fairly simple – Narlauns had brilliant eye sight, but their hearing was not strong enough. That was the only thing that Omkar could use right now.

Omkar pulled the trigger.

Omkar was rewarded as he heard a thump and a "swish" as he smiled and nodded to himself. He realized that his shot was a bullseye. Whoever it was, was out.

He wondered how many of them were left over.

Cautiously Omkar looked around and saw no one and then tapped his ear piece again.

"Computer, how many in vicinity?" He whispered, as he was still scanning the surroundings for any movement.

"Two." The computer told him.

"And who would the other one be?" Omkar murmured to himself, unable to stop smiling.

"The information cannot be divulged." The computer intoned in an emotionless voice.

"I am really not talking to you," Omkar murmured sighing, as he ran left, keeping to the shade of the trees. He had to tell Mitra Naveretan or Dr. Kon, to make these damned machines talk less. The machines definitely spoiled the concentration by giving irrelevant information at the worst times.

And now as Omkar ran, he had no doubt about who the other surviving person was. Because Omkar realized that he had just shot the female Narlaun Enforcer – A'ahita. Which was why Omkar was running away from the place. Omkar realized that he had given away his position by shooting A'ahita.

Omkar's shoes were making very little sound on the rough grass. He ran towards the clearing closest to the place where he had been in, until a few seconds back. He reached a huge, broad purple colour tree and the leaves of the tree were making a rustling noise as Omkar realized that he had to evacuate this place too, as soon as possible. But right now, Omkar had to see the place he had just evacuated. He needed to know whether he had guessed correctly. Omkar definitely had to know how the last contestant was planning on tracking him.

Omkar peered from behind the tree for any sudden rustling, any sudden change, anything at all to indicate where the last person could be.

Omkar was startled. Badly.

"Rich Boy!" The drawling voice from above the purple tree that Omkar had just hid himself, sounded confident. The voice was laughing as always and it seemed as if the owner of the voice found everything in life too funny and good.

Omkar's shoulder sagged as he could feel an UltraZ pointing right at his chest.

Obviously, Shankar was not tracking him. Shankar was waiting for Omkar to finish A'ahita and come to him.

The purple tree was the first tree in this stretch of flat land after the Mokrian forest. It was obvious that Omkar would choose to come there.

Shankar had guessed it correctly and was waiting for Omkar there.

"Drop the gun, Om!" Shankar continued in his jovial voice.

Omkar turned to see his adopted brother.

Shankar Vishwas was definitely a very good exhibition of the human species, though right now Shankar was well hidden among the thick branches of the purple tree and Shankar’s UltraZ was pointing straight at Omkar's chest.

"You are becoming predictable, Rich Boy!" Shankar scolded him as Omkar threw his gun behind, raising his hands, showing Shankar that he was unarmed.

"I was following A'ahita!" Shankar grinned as he slowly signaled Omkar to get back. "I was never trying to track you. I knew you would get to her. I also knew that you would stupidly be expecting me to track your position from there."

Omkar had wanted to use A'ahita as bait. Shankar had the same idea and Omkar had fallen for it.

Shankar waved Omkar back again.

Omkar said nothing as he walked back, still keeping his hands raised.

Shankar jumped down from the tree and despite that, the UltraZ in Shankar's hands did not even waver from Omkar's chest.

Omkar studied Shankar who with an exact height of six feet, was two inches shorter than Omkar.

Any person, on seeing the two humans would have figured out that the two were not blood brothers – while Omkar with his lean frame had a wiry strength in him, Shankar was slightly muscular and had brown, easy going eyes, which always led people to believe that Shankar was a passive man. Which just went on to say how wrong first impressions of humans could be. Shankar was one of the most tenacious, ruthless and nicest humans ever. An impossible combination, but Shankar brought it out effortlessly.

Omkar saw that Shankar's wavy hair was disheveled and slightly burnt and Omkar realized that Shankar had also had his share of adventures in the underground geyser stretch.

"I win!" Shankar grinned as he pointed the UltraZ at Omkar's heart and pulled the trigger.

But Shankar had underestimated Omkar. A little.

Omkar fell back and rolled over as Shankar's shot from the UltraZ harmlessly hit the surrounding behind them. And as he rolled over, Omkar pulled the knife concealed in his arm and threw it straight at Shankar.

Shankar barely had time to blink, as he fell back hard. Even as he fell back, he clutched his UltraZ tightly and rolled over. As he was getting up, he kept the weapon pointed straight ahead. But Shankar could not pull the trigger.

That hesitation was the only time which Omkar needed, as in a fluid moment, Omkar pulled the UltraZ which he had thrown to the ground.

A second later, both Omkar and Shankar were standing opposite and were pointing their guns at each other.

Both waited.

Omkar had honestly lost count of the number of times, the two of them had been in this very situation.

That was when they both heard a voice from around the surrounding.

"The simulation would be terminated concluding in a draw. Again." The speaker sounded disgruntled and the jealousy in the speaker’s tone was painfully obvious to almost all.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

I grew up with a staple diet of adventure, mystery and mythology books. I have always had a passion for writing and my family's encouragement brought out the story teller in me. So what started as scribbles on scraps of paper graduated to short articles and has now reached the stage of this adventure novel.


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