“Ray, I have never doubted your judgement. But, I am begging to differ today. Religion is an important part of human life. You cannot just obliterate it from the new world!”
“Prof. Rhel, I understand your concern but, believe me, it is for the greater good. Look, how religion has brought this world on the brink of destruction. Three fourth of the population nuked away. The maps are unrecognizable and let’s not discuss the plight of the living one-fourth mass.”
“It’s not a religion, Ray, it’s the hunger for power that has led to this catastrophe. You also know that.”
“Fuelled by religion. Intrinsic human nature is good, religion spoils it. My designed world won’t have this flaw. There will be only one religion, the Religion of Science.”
“Oh, okay, but, what about arts? How come all the database regarding music, poetries, stories are being deleted before transferring to the mother computer?”
“That’s just a waste of time. Storage cannot be overloaded with such nonsense thing.” Then, with a pause added, “Also, these arts will bear timestamp of religion, which is not acceptable to me.”
“Ray, please understand, people need Arts, people strive on arts.”
“Not, when they will be disciplined enough to use their time more judiciously. There is no future for arts, Professor.”
Dejected, Prof. Rhel looked outside. The sky was its usual dark, just after the occasional shower of radioactive black rain. The civilisation on this world was on the verge of extinction. An escapade to a safer refuge was the need of the hour.
And the wealthy futurist Ray volunteered to help in designing the modern Noah’s arc and shift to the next habitable planet, discovered three decades back. The current wealthiest person on the planet, Ray offered his help on one condition that no politician or spiritual leader be accommodated in his designed space shuttle.
Once Ray left the room, Prof. Rhel sat silently for some time, then dialed an intercom number. The screen flashed 3570- Database Chief.
“Hello, Cheryl, I need your help.”
Cheryl immediately called back . Prof.Rhel poured out his anxiety. A new anxiety was added to his already existing problems. He could not imagine a world without arts.
It wasn’t just the responsibility of selecting the right persons to be navigated but whether the Chosen Ones will be able to survive the thin atmosphere of the new planet, Callisto. Long ago in 2040, NASA had initiated an expedition to this planet and by now the scientists knew everything about it.
They could have transferred the people to the earth’s Moon, but that required a lot of oxygen. Callisto had a thin layer of the atmosphere, much thinner than that of the Earth. That would require lesser manufacturing of oxygen. Prof Rhel had another thing in his mind before selecting this planet. The people would be able to see at least some colours unlike just black and white of the moon. Glaring white when the sun was there and pitch dark as soon as it set. No changing hues of dawn and no twilight.
It was not fair to deprive mankind access to arts. But who could defy Ray? This Mission wasn’t even possible without his help. Nothing could be hidden from him. His supercomputers had an assess to the minutest details of the entire mission.
“ Professor, do you remember Sabrina ?” asked Cheryl. Prof. Rhel hesitated for some time and then said,” Yes, of course.” “ Perhaps She will be able to help us .”
He had never dared to talk about Sabrina with Cheryl. It was because of her that their relationship had ended. Not her fault, of course, Rhel could not resist her attraction. Although, he had realised by now and had once even proposed to Cheryl. But she refused saying that she didn’t want to be hurt again.
Four years ago, watching the images from satellites while he was surveying the surface of the Earth, Prof. Rhel had come across a strange patch that appeared greener than the rest of the earth. “What on Earth is this,” he wondered and tried to zoom it. To his surprise, he found a lush green area surrounded by pines, firs, maples, birches, and trees of many more varieties. Inside that, there seemed to appear a human settlement. “ How is it possible when most of the greenery of the earth has gone? “, he thought. There was scarcity of food and water. Dwindling population of the earth depended upon synthetic water and synthetic oxygen. Curious, he decided to explore that place.
He reached the place in his flying jacket, as he made a landing, a sudden gush of breeze brought him back to his childhood. He remembered going to long walks with his father in Central Park. Sometimes inhaling the sea breeze while cycling with his friends along the Battery park. For a very long period, New York was protected from the catastrophic effects of nuke wars. But slowly it gave way. Denizens were forced to stay indoors. Each skyscraper had to be protected. Trees and plants wilted. Earth was becoming a dangerous place to live.
A voice broke his reverie. Out of the twilight, a fairy appeared. Tall, slender, with deep blue eyes but with bruises all over her body. For ages now Prof.Rhel hadn’t seen such a fresh and glowing face. The girl screamed on watching him and fainted. He was in his protective suit and flying jacket that had caused the scare.
She was Sabrina. She had come out of an Amish Village in search of a hospital that her grandfather had visited while he was still a boy. Her grandfather was very sick. But villagers had no idea what had become of the Earth outside their sanctuary.
Prof. Rhel took out his water bottle and revived her. He was still amazed and bewildered. That girl had walked for days clutching a primitive map in her hand. Even during those days of technological advancement and digitisations, they were using primitive means of leading life. They were the Swiss-German followers of Mennonite Church known as Old Order Amish.
Prof. Rhel didn’t want to scare her with her flying Jacket. They had to walk. It was trying time for him to cross the thick Jungle and reach Sabrina’s small village somewhere near Pennsylvania.
Villagers surrounded them as soon as they reached there asking Sabrina several questions. Rhel had to take off his protective suit and flying jacket to make them believe that he was a human being. He treated the old man with the medicines from his box that he always carried with him.
He was so enamored as if he had landed in a Fairy Land. It had an old world charm about it. No modern equipment, no electricity —- perhaps these people belonged to some ancient tribe.
What surprised him most was that that cluster of villages could remain unaffected by the onslaughter of disruptive and dangerous rays that had destroyed the earth.
Back home, Cheryl had become worried about his welfare. She sent many messages but without any response. Rhel had fallen for Sabrina ignoring Cheryl ‘s love for him. He married Sabrina though she was already engaged to her second. cousin Idris.
Rhel could not ignore Cheryl ‘s calls any longer. The Earth was already deteriorating. People were dying of strange maladies. He could feel the heat himself. He knew that he won’t be able to come back to Sabrina any time in the near future, though he was given a warning that if he didn’t return within a year his marriage would be canceled. He also knew that Sabrina would always remain happy with Idris.
He knew he would never be able to forget her. But his work beckoned him. He decided to do something for her abode as the forest area was fast decreasing. Huge graphite walls were erected around and a fine strong invisible mesh of barium covered the entire area. The only access to the place were four pools of heavy water with a crisscross of barium rods that could be taken out if someone was to go in or come out.
Cheryl was hurt but her self respect didn’t allow her to question him. She had no malice towards Sabrina. That’s why she suggested her name. Prof Rhel knew that protected area will not be covered by Ray’s army of robots or his satellites because of the protective covering. He immediately arranged to send entire database about the arts, cultures, poetry, music and everything fine and beautiful to Sabrina’s abode with strict instructions to hide these. Perhaps one day they will be able to convince Ray.
That huge space ship containing 10,000 humans, domestic animals, plants and other essentials started for Callisto leaving behind a huge debris of nuclear waste and poisonous gases making life even more difficult for those who were left behind. Prof. Rhel was worried about those also who were left behind.
Time went on. The initial excitement of the people on Callisto wore off. There were queues for water, oxygen, and food. They had to work incessantly under the guidance of Mr. Ray. They were losing all interest in life. Ray was the only one who was still happy as he had become their indisputable leader. He enjoyed his authority and had attained the position of God Himself His word was law and a new religion. He became a personification of all the things he hated. No doubt power corrupts even the best people. Inmates were becoming mutinous.
That worried Prof Rhel and Cheryl. Desperately they wanted to bring the database from the Earth. They along with their dedicated band of workers were keeping an eye on the Earth also. They had managed to detach surveillance of the Earth from the mother computer.
Amish villagers were helping them to bring about a change on the Earth as well. People were returning to Nature. Leaf by leaf, flower by flower plant by plant the earth was getting its green cover back. The other inmates of the earth were imbibing their simplicity, love for nature and humanitarian philosophy. They believed in universal brotherhood and they would accept anyone who loved nature. The Earth was again becoming habitable.
Ray was inching towards mental instability. That would be disastrous. He collapsed one day after an altercation with the people and was laid up for days together. Prof. Rhel decided to do something. He played the sweetest symphony to revive him and soothe his nerves.
He was exported to another world, a place where love and beauty existed. A world that he cherished before he had become a Demigod. He regretted his decision of eradicating fine arts. Tears started flowing from his eyes. “ Could something be done ?” All along he thought that he was dreaming. .He went into a deep slumber.
He wanted to know if something could be done. The secret was revealed. He was also shown the images of changing the earth . “Oh, God, Oh, God !” He uttered only these words, forgetting that he had hated religion.
Overwhelmed, they decided to bring the entire database from the earth. Lives of the people were enriched and colored. They went about their work with greater enthusiasm. Some of them had missed their old planet badly.
. Ray and Rhel decided to create a space route between the two planets, complete with space stations in between. A route connecting humanity.
Back at earth Prof. Rhel and Cheryl were looking at the new galaxy that was shining brighter than the Milky Way . “ What should we call it darling?” he asked. “Harmonious way,” said Cheryl smiling.
As Prof. Rhel proposed Cheryl once more, she accepted saying,” Glad that you met Sabrina. I am sure of my love now and humanity is sure of its future.”
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