Optagon Publications
  The HighLight Zone Short Stories
 

The HighLight Zone

By Nadeem Haque

Season 1: Episodes 1 to 11, 2010

 

You are now entering a zone whose light is as resplendent as a thousand suns, a zone where space and time are seen as they are.., you are now entering

the HighLight Zone!

 

1.  Park of Purity

Imagine if you owned a fabulous park, with luxurious foliage, aromatic flowers, surrounding pure, glistening streams, with deep green grass that would make the most expensive carpet in existence look like a cheap door mat! Imagine now, if you will, an insurmountable fence around the said park. At the gate of the park is posted a tough-looking security guard who has been instructed to be very selective as to who is to be allowed to enter the paradisiacal setting. Let us now imagine that this security guard is not doing his work properly and is prone to sleep on the job. A bunch of hooligans are hell bent on entering the park and, monitoring the security guard, seize the opportunity when the guard dozes off. They enter and wreak havoc to the property, rendering its streams filthy, and destroying most of the other property. Not only that, they also use their cell phone to call other like minded sub-human individuals to join their ‘party’, for “a good time”. The police, who were called to the rescue, later on, find it extremely difficult to expel the hooligans. Millions of dollars of damage has now been done, which will take ages to repair. As a businessman you now ask a basic question: Is this how you would like to run your business? Is this the key to your success? Does it make any sense?

Now think about something which is even closer to you than the wondrous park, and infinitely more valuable, I must add: Your brain and mind! Every vision, sound, thought and feeling must be appropriately screened by your internal security guard to keep your mind pure. Who, or what is your security guard, though? And who selects the security guard and monitors him or her? The security guard is none other than your consciousness of God (taqwaa) and the manager or owner of this security guard and the park is your will. But taqwaa must be constant, and like the security guard, must not disappear from consciousness but be fully attentive. It must also be properly trained, with the correct criteria for selection. Your taqwaa must be trained by reason, the Quran, constant prayer and remembrance of your Originator and Creator – to keep it always alive and always awake; to make it aware of truth and falsehoods, so  as to be able to distinguish between the beneficial and the harmful. This was the essential message of Muhammad, Jesus and Buddha. If you want to secure true success in this life and the next, make sure that you have the proper Enforcer at the entrance to your mind.

Guard your mind, pristine and pure, for you never know who or what will try to enter to destroy you from within!

 

 

2.  The Cliff

There was a community that once lived near a cliff; every now and then, there used to be violent storms. A man was building a very strong fortress-like structure on the cliff; he said that, from his research, a very violent storm was brewing -- one which would destroy all the homes and the property and sweep everyone off the cliff into the gorge which had a 5,000 feet drop! Hardly anyone believed this man and thought he was crazy. There were only a few who believed him and decided to rent rooms in this fortress like building. Then, one day a violent storm started brewing. Everyone thought that it was only a bit worse than the previous ones and they would be secure; their homes would remain unaffected – after all they had survived intact before, had they not? But this time the storm grew to such an intensity that it made all the previous ones seem like a light breeze in the meadow.

In this night of Terror, those who were in their homes were swept off the cliff together with their homes, into the deep gorge below, screaming – but those screams were to no avail. Others managed to cling onto the edge of the cliff but eventually grew fatigued and fell into the chasm. Yet others were too proud to run towards the fortress and they too, were eventually plucked like flimsy straws and flung into the valley below. Some realized their mistake and headed towards the fortress but it was no use; they were swept away too. There were a few who managed to make it to the last standing structure, built by one who they had considered to be a madman; the fortress building’s  doors were opened to them and they entered into an amazingly designed structure. In this building it was perfectly secure; it was built in such a way that it did not even sway in the greater-than-hurricane-force wind. The unimaginably terrible sound of the howling wind, that sounded like an insane wolf, was not even discernable inside the fortress. In this environment, they were at peace and secure.

“Did I not tell you that this would happen! In any case, please come and get some rest . I have meals prepared for you. I had calculated how many of you would survive. So enter in peace, into my humble abode,” said the ‘madman’.

We live in fast changing times, where social hurricanes of increasing intensity are brewing. In order to avoid being swept away, direct yourself to the straight path that will lead to you the fortress of certainty. That fortress of certainty is based on reason and the Quran. An application of these two  because of their rational divine source, will come up with the best solutions to our modern day questions on how best to live, where we are ultimately headed to, and a true comprehension of the nature of this universe and its integrated laws. Those who do not follow this advice, may suffer the same fate as those who were swept away into the gorge. Will you make it to that unique fortress, or will you be one of those who plunged headlong into the darkness, to be splattered as you hit the ground, so that not a trace of you would  be found intact? Will you be one of those to vanish into the abyss of utter ignominy.

The warning has been given. The pen has written and the ink is dry. Only those who pay heed will be saved.

 

 

3.  The Package

An old recluse, Mr. Todsworth Flibbs, who lives in an isolated place, miles from anywhere, one day receives a parcel. He has never received a parcel in forty years, only bills for hydro etc. He has no friends or relatives. He drives into a nearby village for food and supplies one a month. He spends his time gardening and watching entertainment T.V.

In seeing the parcel, he begins to wonder: where does this parcel come from, who has sent it? Strangely, it only has his name and address on it, and no return address, showing who sent it! He puts his ear to the parcel and hears a ticking sound – is it a toy, a clock, or a bomb, he wonders! He is curious, yet also afraid to open it. “If I open it, will it explode?” he asks himself. Is it something horrible, is it just a joke; is it something wondrous, is it something mundane? Is he imagining the ticking sound? Maybe there are just rocks inside, or boxes within boxes! He shakes the box but it does not hear any other sounds, other than the ticking. He eventually realizes that the ticking sound is his clock and not  from the envelope – he had never noticed the tick-tock of his clock before. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock...goes the clock.  Flibbs discusses the matter with someone as paranoid as him, in the village, who tells him not to open the box for it will destroy him – he asks for no proof or reason, for this advice just reinforces his prejudice.

Flibbs is obsessed about the contents, yet is more obsessed about not being scared. He does not open the parcel for two years. Then one day, 20 construction vehicles show up at his place. “We are building a dam and your house is to be demolished as you know, today!”, says the rough construction supervisor. Flibbs, flips out and shouts: “How can you do that – you never gave me any notice?!”

“The government sent you a notice in the mail two years ago!” responds the construction supervisor, incredulously.

“What notice?” asks Flibbs, flabbergasted. Suddenly, he realizes that this was what the parcel was all about. He goes inside and opens it. There are many documents in it, including an application for relocation assistance, the deadline for which has elapsed one year ago. He collapses on the ground in a severe heart attack, inside the house. Unbeknownst to the superintendent, the foreman starts his bulldozer and the house is flattened – Flibbs, half conscious, is crushed inside.

We have received a divinely crafted package from God – a direct communication, which is the Quran, about 1,400 years ago, but have been afraid to open it and read its meaning. It will be too late when the final angelic construction crew arrives to take away our consciousness. We were given the notice. We thus will have missed our opportunity of staying away from harm’s way, and of receiving a hefty compensation, like our unfortunate and hapless hero, Mr. Flibbs.

If you are irrationally scared about something, then you may miss everything about that which is rationally sacred.

 




4. The 10 Questions

 

Mr. Gordon Cranston. 55 years old.  Ex-convict.  Robber. Gambler. Fraudster.  Murderer.  Liar. Chain smoker. Drug dealer. Possessing other unmentionable, odious proclivities. Now trying to earn a decent living, after 30 years in prison. He finds it exceptionally difficult to do so.

He calls his ex-boss: “Boss”. No marks for imagination or creativity here. Is there another bank job the Boss can put him on? All those years in prison have not dissuaded him to resist his ‘profession’. He is more desperate than ever. He cannot hold a job because of his violent temperament. He wants ‘easy money’. He is obsessed with that phone call he was supposed to receive from the “Boss”, like a person waiting for the phone call from the best company he or she would like to work for. But little does he know what he will be entering. For he has his work cut out for him; or should we say that his work has him cut out, as he enters...The Highlight Zone.

The scene: Cranston’s apartment.

The door bell rings. “Who could it be at this  #$@# [expletive deleted] hour?” blasts Cranston. His heart starts to gallop and he can detect sweat accumulating on his forehead, like dew on morning grass. He squints through the peephole. No one is there. He cautiously opens the door, with his right hand on the gun in his jacket pocket. He might need it.

A tall, slim, young man, with long dark black hair, blue eyes, and plain clothes stands in front of him, at the doorway.

“Did the boss send you?” asks Cranston, with great anticipation.  

“Yes!” replies the calm and cool young man.

Cranston stares at the man for about 10 seconds. He senses something he cannot define.

“Well. Can I come in?!” asks the young stranger.

“Yeah, sure!”

“Do you have the job for me?”

“Yes!” answers the stranger in a placid manner, “but you’ll have to determine who exactly I am by asking me 10 questions. If you ask the right questions and figure out my exact identity in terms of what my role is with the boss, you’ll get the job. If not, then you’ll experience something you’ve never before experienced; a once in a lifetime experience!”

“Are you serious?” asks Cranston, with a nervous laughter.

“Yes, indeed I am. This is no joke!”

“OK – I’m game; looks like tough proposition, but I’ll go ahead. But I’m warning you that no funny games if I can’t figure out who the #$$# you are; you know who I am!”

“I sure do. More than you think. OK – fire away, but I can only reply with a yes or a no!”

“OK, first question. You were sent here to recruit me for the new job?”

“Yes!”

“You were sent here to check up on me?”

“Yes!”

“To check what I was doing?”

“Yes!”

“So you’re one of the boss’s sons?”

“No!”

“You are the boss’s spy?”

“No!”

“You are his hit man?”

“No!”

By this stage Cranston starts getting aggravated: “You are #$#@#$ idiot?”

“No!”

“Do you want me to smack your face?” he asks, making a tight fist and a mean face.

“No! Gordon, you have only two questions left, so please take this extremely seriously!”

“OK. You’re Marsden the lockpicker?”

“No!”

“You’re Sarj, the burgler?”

“No!”

“That’s it, no more questions!” says the young man, slamming his hand on the table.

“Who..who are you then?”

“I have come to take your soul!”

“What is this, some kind of joke?” says Cranston, now becoming really nervous.

“It’s no joke! I’m the Angel of death assigned to you. Had you determined who I was, my instructions were to leave you alone for another 25 years. But since your questions were of a materialistic nature, you never sensed who I was. You are now going to be taken away from this earth to a place of great suffering because you never listened or used your reason in your entire adult life!”

“I..I d..don’t know what you are talking about!” Cranston replies, almost as if he was going to have a fit.

Cranston then pulls out his gun. “If you come near me any more I’ll fire. I swear it!” he shouts.

The young man comes really close to Cranston. Cranston pulls the trigger, but to his utter bewilderment, the bullet passes right through the young man and hits the wall behind him.

“Who or what are you?”

The Angel of Death repeats his mission, but the words just bounce off Cranston like squash balls and do not sink in even one bit.

Under great stress and having high blood pressure, Cranston has a stroke and dies instantly.

The young man calmly leaves the house – not through the door, but through the walls.

We do not recognise the fact that the Angel of Death will come knocking on our door. Unlike Cranston, we must realize that this will happen one day. We must already have asked the 10 questions that lead to this stark realization beforehand.  Let us all hope that we are not going to be meeting the unfortunate Mr. Cranston in the next life; his company was indeed suspenseful, but hardly pleasant.

There is no doubt that The Boss will send for us one day, when we will enter into The HighLight Zone.

 



 

5. The Firing Squad



In our nearest spiral galaxy, the Andromeda, on an earthlike planet, a dominating civilization, Enclypta has devoured the planet’s resources. Only a small band of resistance remains. They too, are at the brink of annihilation. Their leadership council, consisting of five men and three women, is weary and growing paranoid, day by day; they are cloistered in secret locations, while government assassins look for them like a pack of wild dogs.

Now we move to a secret trial which took place in a small village: The Enclyptons had on trial, someone they called the Chief Terrorist and his Infiltrators. But who or what was on trial and where was this going to lead everyone? Find out in this episode of The HighLight  Zone...

Being tried in a secret court was a man, 34 years old (earth time) called Dice Duklu. We join the proceedings when the trial was over and the sentence was pronounced: “Mr. Duklu, this court has determined that you were responsible for destroying the Megenta Corporation’s drills for the eluciaris fluid, which is the mainstay of our global economy and well-being. In this tragic event: three civilians, thirty-five security forces’ personnel of the Megenta corporation and the Vice President of Operations of Megenta were killed. You’re not true environmentalists – this is just a cover. You seek to undermine our democracy. Therefore, tomorrow, at noon, you and your band of infiltrators will be executed by firing squad. Mr. Duklu, do you have any last words or request?”

“My kind jailers: You are under the deluded impression about my motives, and I respectfully submit that your impression borders on insanity. As I stated all along, we had no intention of killing the civilians, who were brought there without our knowledge so that we would not destroy the place, as we do not believe in killing the innocent. We did not know they were there. As for fighting against the corporation, that knows no rights, I make no apology. Your nation, controlled as it is by these corporations, has invaded our lands and those of my ancestors; you have taken over the resources; you are destroying our culture and would like to destroy our religion. If we have defended ourselves with help from the outside forces, then how could we be called terrorists?  And how can some of my fellow prisoners be called infiltrators? You are the infiltrators. You practice the art of state terrorism: the worst kind. My kind jailers – I hope that God can forgive you for what you are about to do; but it appears unlikely that He will. I feel sorry for you who are trapped by the prison of your low desires. My imprisonment has led me more towards God, and His remembrance is the only true freedom and peace. I therefore thank you for making me freer than I was before! And tomorrow, I shall meet my Maker – what could be better than that? He knows who the true winners and losers are!”

The court was silent. They knew that he had spoken the truth. But no one said anything. They marched the fifteen prisoners including Duklu into the squalid cells. At night, like always, there were the horrific screams of men and women being tortured. The fifteen who had been sentenced to death were the fortunate ones – from this place they said that one should either escape or die, for living here was like dying every second without dying. Their fate, it seems had been decided.

In the morning, Dice Duklu with his band of ‘terrorists’, were marched into a field blindfolded. Some of the prisoners were crying, others were groaning and a few were stoically silent. There was one however who was freaking out. They gave him a sedative by injection. They led the emaciated band and tied their hands and feet to poles. Fifteen marksmen, one opposite each prisoner, raised their powerful rifles towards the hearts of the prisoners. Dice Duklu was at great peace and was convinced he was going to a better place; he was, after all, going to give his life for true freedom and justice – the supreme sacrifice. He would be a true martyr. The tension itself was killing, though. All the blindfolded prisoners wanted it to be over. The captain of the firing squad finally said: Ready... aim.. fire. All Duklu heard was a cracking sound, a sharp pain in his abdomen and then ...Duklu woke up feeling groggy. Was he in heaven? This is certainly not what his ‘holy book’ said. Where were the angels? He realized he was still alive, in this world; he managed to free himself as the ropes tying him were, strangely enough, quite loose, though it still took him half 10 minutes (earth time) to do so. With his hands free, he removed the blindfold and untied his feet. Where was everyone? Why was he not dead? Was it a trap, was it as set-up? He felt pain in his stomach. There was some blood from an extremely small hole in his stomach – it was not a bullet hole; the diameter was too small and hardly any blood was flowing out. He heard a noise in the bush – he decided to run pell-mell from the forest and onto a road. He flagged down a car. The driver was a farmer – he told the farmer that he wanted to go to the town to make a phone call. The farmer was very simple and did not enquire the reasons for Duklu’s dire disposition. On reaching the town, he phoned a certain number he had memorized.

“Scoz: I want to speak to Scoz!”

The voice at the other end said: “I need the password.”

Duklu complied: “The riglaths of Comoron Valley have blue tails”

“OK - hold on please!”

“Hi, Scoz!”

“Hey, where are you, Dice?!”

“I was in Gatran prison for 6 months!”

He told him the whole story. “Look, this may be a trap,” said Scoz, “They may be wanting to follow you to us. Lay low for 3 months. If nothing happens then we’ll make a move to meet you. In the meantime, make sure no one is following you and of any suspicious activity. We’ll send you money by special delivery. A baker we know in that town is part of the resistance. Stay low. Change your appearance. It’s possible they had to leave the place in a hurry and forgot to take you off the execution pole – hard to believe but it is possible.” Duklu followed orders to the letter.

Duklu had a theory about what had happened. He had a light graze on his temple. He hypothesized that the markman's bullet had grazed him and left him unconscious. As for the tiny incision on his stomach, it was probably a fuyre fly bite; these flies were common in that forest. As to why he was left there; maybe they wanted to follow his movements, but so far he did not detect anyone engaged in spying. After 3 months, Duklu called back. It was as if he was forgotten. A nonentity.

“Dice! Has anyone been following you?” asked Scoz.

“No. Can I meet you and the leaders now?!”

“No -- wait another two months. It’s too risky.”

Two more months elapsed. Finally Scoz agreed. The place of the meeting had been conveyed to the baker.

The secret headquarters of the resistance – the last hope for their planet, was in an apartment building owned by a millionaire, a supporter of the resistance. In that building, was a secret room where he had kept the Resistance hidden for several months. But they would have to move soon; it was getting too risky.

Dice met all the resistance leaders he had heard of, as well as Scoz and the millionaire, and discussed strategies with them to recruit new members to fight against the government. They vowed not to kill or injure civilians or destroy the environment as a principle of their movement and to move towards peace talks whenever the position was right.

On the day they were packing to leave to another secret hideout, they were pre-empted by the government assassination team, that broke into the apartment. The millionaire was tortured in order to determine the exact location of the leadership council. After torturing the millionaire for one hour, he disclosed the secret entrance to the hideout. There were controls, themselves hidden, which opened up a secret entrance in the floor. When the assassins reached the room they found to their surprise, everyone dead, except Duklu. He too had been shot and was barely alive.

“What happened?!” asked the head of the assassination squad, amazed at the bloodshed.

Duklu, with great difficulty and pain said: “It was impossible for the government to know where we were – three of the members suspected I was an informer and one of them shot me. But he was shot by another member of the council and the thing got out of hand – they all killed each other.”

“Ha! So much for your pious resistance movement. This proves you were a bunch of cutthroat terrorists who have now killed each other. Violence begets violence! You’ve made our jobs easier!”

“The leadership was under great stress and things got out of hand. You may have won this battle but you will not win the war. Your immorally acquired territorial gains will eventually crumble. But, I have one question: How did you find out where we were hiding?” said Duklu.

“The marksman who shot you did so with a special gun that injected a specially devised nanochip that implanted itself into your body – we could then track you wherever you went and also hear all your conversations. We set you up to lead us to the leadership, though we had to be patient and had to wait for months. The nanochip made you unconscious. They grazed your forehead with a bullet to make it seem that the marksman had missed you,” explained the head of the assassins.

“Very ingenious. Diabolical though it is!” said Duklu.

“Thank you! There’s no hope for your movement. If the best – the leadership -- behaves this way, what hope is there for the rest?” said the assassin, sarcastically.

“The masses are living under fear and that fear will disappear – a new order will emerge as it always has in history whenever a tyrannical power ruled with hypocrisy, pretending that it would save the world from some artificially constructed enemy, that would be structured by the media and misinformation,” said Duklu, in a voice now hardly hearable due to his weakness with blood loss.

“Goodbye Duklu – go to your maker – your nothingness, for He does not exist!” said the assassin.

Duklu was shot dead by the head assassin. This time for real.

It was propagandized in the leading papers that the leading terrorists had been caught trying to blow up a school building and were all caught in the act and executed. They made up some stupid excuse for a non-existent hasty short trial and execution.

But it was not really the end of the resistance movement. Some of those who had been involved in the secret trial that had found Duklu guilty, were so affected by his behaviour and speech that day, that they secretly and gradually built a new resistance movement; they had inside intelligence information on the corrupt supergovernment, which they then used against it: this was of a scientific and military nature.

In time, the New Resistance grew so strong that it eventually was able to muster millions of people worldwide against the totalitarian government, posing as a democracy. This decrepit government was eventually defeated and their leaders punished for their horrendous crimes. Scoz, Duklu’s friend who had escaped that fateful day became a living bridge between his now dead friend and his ideas and the New Resistance.

This all transpired because of the remarkable Mr. Dice Duklu, who set forth a chain of events, with his unshakable stance to fearlessly uphold truth and justice...when he saw the clarity in the HighLight Zone.

 

There are many cages and many escapes in life. But sometimes the escape becomes the cage and sometimes the cage becomes the escape. In this episode, we shall follow a most unusual escape from a cage, from which only one true escape exists -- into The Highlight Zone...


6. THE CAGE

 

It was running and kept running. They were closing in on it -- the hunters. It heard them firing at it, and then it was unconscious. A tranquilizer had been shot into one of its legs. It gained partial consciousness as it was dumped in the truck, as one hunter grabbed it by its furry head and carted off to the metropolitan zoo. As it regained full consciousness it encountered many animals, like it, that it had seen in the forest. But it seems that the captors regarded it merely like any other animal. It was thrown into a cell. In the neighbouring cage was another animal – it looked like a gorilla. The recently captured one’s head was spinning – it could not quite understand its captors. But it could understand the gestures and beatings to make it obedient or to comply.

Its only thought now was of escaping from the zoo. But the captors had other plans: they had brought a trainer to the cage. The trainer had a whip. He was training the captured beast to jump through hoops for a spectacular performance for the audience. If it did well, they would feed it well; if not, it would have to go to sleep without any food. It grew to know these rules. After a few weeks of training, ‘the beast’, as it was called, was able to jump through hoops most magnificently, to the sheer pride of its trainer.

One day, many people came to see the show in the cage. The animal trainer whipped the beast in order for it to start the show, as it was most reluctant to perform, as always. But once it got going, it did some very agile and graceful manouveurs. The audience clapped profusely. The gamekeepers then brought an audience member into the cage to pet ‘the beast’, to show that they had trained the wildest of beasts. On that day, the beast said to itself that it would no longer tolerate this indignity. It would kill and escape and would not care if it was even shot to death in the process. That day, a little girl was brought into the cage. But the beast suddenly broke from the routine and attacked the trainer, killing him with one blow. It then grabbed the little girl by the neck and dragged her out of the back door which had been carelessly left ajar to bring in some supplies. The security guards ran into the cell, but the beast was too fast; it had escaped whilst also dragging the little girl out, gripping her tightly by the scruff of the neck. The little girl was screaming: “The beast! The ugly beast! Mommy, help, help! But the beast did not understand the language of those bipedlingsl It sounded like jibberish!

The beast ran into the huge forest behind the zoo. The girl had fainted but the beast dragged her still. The beast ran to a secret hideout in a large tree – in the hollow trunk of the large tree. It heard the security guards scurrying around, looking for it. They would follow the tracks and would certainly discover its whereabouts. The beast knew that this is how they hunted. They finally saw the beast on the top branches of  the tree. It had climbed up – after all, it was like a gorilla or like the ‘like a gorilla in the cage’.

“Kill it!” shouted the enraged pursuers. 

“Does it have the girl?”

“No! But he must have killed or eaten her. He’s of no use to the zoo anymore; he killed the trainer. The warden has asked us to take the beast out!”

After a short while, the beast was shot to death and plummeted to the ground.

The next day, in a posh mansion in the megalopolis, a mother and son were having an animated discussion.

“Did you hear,” addressed the mother to her son, who was studying animal behaviour at university, “how they killed that beast?”

“Oh, you mean that human, the ones we brought from a planet called ‘Earth’ five years ago to put in our planet’s zoos?”

“Yes, son. What inferior and hideous creatures they become when they become mad in their cages!”

“Mum! If a higher species kept us in cages would we not get mad?”

“But son, they have no feelings or self-consciousness. They talk jibberish, have no culture and are brutes!”

“No! They are hominids like us, and though they are primitive compared to us, they are not, in essence, brutes, for they do have a culture and even if they did not, when we invaded earth and brought them over to our planet in the Akutlu Star System, it doesn’t mean that they are primitive. No! We are the ethically primitive ones, despite our sophisticated technology and mental abilities; we are the brutes, the evil, selfish ones. I will never ever again go to the zoo to see humans, trangans or any other animals, captured from the lands and seas our planet’s dwindling ecosystem, or from those of other nearby star systems!”

We often think that we are the chosen species, and have a right, due to a misplaced sense of superiority, to trample upon nature and animals, as if we are the ones only, that matter, until  we witness the aliens who hunted, captured and transported humans to their planet after the self-destruction of the ‘human civilization’ on earth by the year 3246 AD, when we became the hunted and caged – on other planets with ‘higher’ civilizations.

Another lesson to be learned from The Highlight Zone.

 




7. Darelock Sholmes in the HighLight Zone

The Strange Case of the Lying Letter

I was dissuaded from publishing the following case for years for it has some implications about my friend, the now semi-retired famous detective Darelock Sholmes which the British government and most of the public would not have found palatable. However, I feel it is my duty, now that I lie ill in bed, and may breathe my last, to disclose the truth.

-       Dr. J. Potson, 1926

The year was 1910. Darelock Sholmes entered an old abandoned warehouse in the East End of London, Sholmes was with me as we entered the building. Inspector Stradles was reclining over a dead body. “Ah! Good evening Mr. Sholmes. It’s been years. Glad to have you back. We would be most interested in your insight into this rather unfortunate matter!” he said graciously, looking at Sholmes directly in the eyes.

Sholmes replied: “Well, Inspector Stradles, you haven’t changed a bit!   I remain but a mere student of the criminal activities that lurk in the dark crevasses of this city, and, as I used to be, I am still obliged to be under your guidance. Potson would you pray examine the body so that we may obtain your insight as to the cause of death. This may indeed turn out to be one of the strangest cases which you have so faithfully recorded in the consummate annals of our various adventures.”

I inspected the ‘victim’ and concluded:  “Indeed, Sholmes, a most singular case. The gun was certainly fired but the bullet did not hit the deceased. He must have missed!”

Inspector Stradles then adroitly reported to Potson and Sholmes of his findings:“Doctor Potson, we have searched the room thoroughly. A bullet was fired but there is no trace of it anywhere. There are no signs of anyone being here in the abandoned warehouse. There are no footprints on the dusty ground when we entered, other than those of ours. Yet the singularly queer thing is that it, I mean the gun, is pointed at his head as if he was going to blow his brains out.”

“But then, how did he die? He does not seem under any shock for his eyes are closed and he seems at peace? Only an autopsy will decide – perhaps a stroke or a heart attack! Most puzzling case indeed, Sholmes!” I enquired, straining my eyebrows.

Then there was a series of questions posed by Sholmes:

Sholmes: “Did you, Stradles find anything else on or beside this personage?”

Stradles: “There was a letter.”

Sholmes: “Can I pray see it?”

Stradles: “Yes, here!”

Stradles: “The letter states: ‘You have no more excuses!’ "

Sholmes: “Did you find a pen?”

Stradles: “No!” 

 Potson: “Did he see someone or something?”

Stradles: “Not likely, unless he saw a ghost!”

Sholmes:“I do not think we should entertain the supernatural until we have exhausted the natural!”

Potson: “Is that one of your dictums, Sholmes, like the one that concerns finding the truth based on the process of elimination.”

Sholmes: “No it is not but should be; perhaps it is something to be jotted for your journal of our escapades!”.

Potson: ‘What is your take on this Sholmes?”

Sholmes: “I will stick to my dictum concerning eliminating the possible and concluding the least suspected to be the truth. There was something else in this room with him – an other.”

Potson: “An other what?”

Suddenly, Sholmes excused himself and ran out of the warehouse posthaste.

“Whayz ‘e off  to?” said the constable, “Do you want me to gow wiv ‘im, Inspector?”

“Where’s he gone; Dr. Potson?” asked Stradles.

“I don’t know?” I replied, rather confounded myself.

One hour later, Sholmes showed up and declared in a overjoyous manner: “I have it, I have solved the case.”

“You don’t say Sholmes!” I said.

“My hypothesis has been confirmed: there were two people in the room, so to speak! First of all, Stradles did you inspect the entire grounds?”

“No! Only the front of the building!”

“Ah, Stradles! We must be thorough in whatever we do. Do not consider anything mundane in this business and question all your assumptions. There was someone who was watching the proceedings in here. A young lad; a pickpocket no less. He thought he would have a chance robbing the man on the ground. He stayed outside the building and overheard a conversation taking place inside. I caught him eavesdropping on our conversation, because he was following us to the warehouse, as I decided to check the perimeter of the warehouse. With a few farthings he disclosed everything to me,” expostulated Sholmes, in a professorial fashion.

Sholmes continued: “The young rascal thinks there was someone else in the room, one I call ‘the other’, because he heard the following conversation which I have recorded in my notebook.”

'The Other: “Why are you here?”'

'The now dead man who I will call Mr. X said: “Why not?”'

'The Other: “I was looking for you for a long time! You kept evading me. Like the time you were evading the person who loaned you the money.”'

'Mr. X: “Yes. But why are you here?”'

'The Other: “Like the time you attacked those women?”'

'Mr. X: “They were asking for it?”'

'The Other: “You always have an excuse don’t you! But this time I’m not going to let you get away with it. You killed Jonathan Stone and buried his body last night in the field near the factory.”'

'Mr. X: “Yes but he was asking for it too. He was blackmailing me. He was going to tell my wife what I had done. He was going to tell the police. It would have been devastating for me. He left me no choice, I had to do it.”'

'The Other: “There is always a choice under such circumstances, but you always try to justify things.You have gone away from your pure nature."'

'Mr. X: “What do you want me to do? Why are you bothering me so, it's unbearable!”'

'The Other: “You have no excuses; put your hand in your pocket and repeat after me, you have no excuses”.'

Mr. X: “I do! I have excuses! I will not let you dictate to me; you’ll end up where all the others did.”

'The Other: “If you kill me then you what will happen.”'

In concluding the account, Sholmes said: "Our now deceased Mr. X then put the gun to the other’s head and fired it. It did not go off – but in the sheer terror of the moment he had a stroke and died instantly!” replied Sholmes.

“So who was he talking to?” I asked, a bit bewildered.

“He was talking to someone really close,” said Sholmes.

“His brother?” said Inspector Stradles.

Sholmes sighed deeply, looked upwards and said, pensively: “No! It was His conscience. He had psychologically killed his conscience for many years, or had thought he had. But it surfaced. This time he literally tried to kill himself, or rather, a projected personification of his consciousness that assumed form as an ‘other’.  But alas! Under extreme stress he died.”

“So it was a kind of a self-induced death?” I asked, trying to fathom the situation.

“You could say so!” said Sholmes.

“Inspector Stradles. If you will go to East India Street you will find another dead body,” said Sholmes, pointing northwards.

“But how do you know, Mr. Sholmes?” asked the Inspector.

“Let me begin from the beginning. The man you are looking at is or was John Keale, an industrialist of some recognition here. He manufactures steel.”

“How do you know?” I asked, like Stradles.  

“It is my business to know, my dear Potson. The handkerchief in his top pocket has the initials J.K.  I heard it rumoured at the gentlemen’s club that I frequented when I returned to London after so many years that  Mr. J.K. had been missing for three days. Also, the superintendent of the factory had been missing for the same time.  I therefore deduce that this is J.K., especially due to his expensive clothes and shoes. In addition, there is some residue of steel dust on his shirt. I surmise that this is from the plant that he inspected two days ago. He has not had a bath for three days, hence the stench, except for his hands which he washed with soap after the murder. His boots are soaked with mud, now dried. He buried the body in a the soggy field near his factory between 1 am and 2 am when there was a rainstorm if you recall. The dampness of his clothes reveals that.”

“Capital, Sholmes!” said Stradles, almost on the verge of clapping!

                                                          *            *            *

In the train ride back home, I asked Sholmes whether he believed that human nature was good deep inside and that this is what plagued John Keale.

Sholmes replied: “You know Potson, I’ve been reading a translation of the Quran – the scripture of the Muslims as you well know from your stay in India - and it says that human nature is pure and we know right from wrong. I got interested in the Quran because I was studying bees and honey and I realized that the Quran states that there is a healing power in honey for many maladies. Then my interest in that book expanded as the Quran stated that it has a cure for our mental maladies; a kind of ‘honey’ for our mind. Human nature, to continue the point I was making, is part of our nature that originates from a divine entity who has made this an ordered universe and expects us to maintain that order. The Mohammadans, or more properly speaking the Muslims, call this fitrah. I find this very logical and appealing.”

“What about church teachings of original sin; sin passed sown from Adam, and that Jesus has to die on the cross to save us,” I asked, feeling that Sholmes was betraying his traditions.

“That I find most illogical, for a God cannot die. It’s indeed elementary, my dear Potson. Jesus  was supposed to die to save all the sins of mankind for those who accept him as their personal saviour, but an immortal cannot die. But if Jesus was not God, then he would not have fulfilled the stated purpose, which is the assumption that one needs a God to die, to wash away the sins. There is therefore a logical dilemma, either way. Plus it is common sense that you reap what you sow and your sin cannot be transferred to another; it’s not like inheritance. If we had a just system based on that concept it would not be a just system, would it?  Yet we say God is Just! I find the foundation of Trinitarianism severely flawed, which by the way, is not even mentioned in the entire Bible! We need not even go into any other argument.”

“But Sholmes, are you saying that you agree with the Muhammadans then?”

“I agree with logic, Logic is logic by any other name and I accept it wherever I find it. Similarly, I reject irrationality wherever I find it. You know my methods. I apply them to all my areas of life, physical, mental or spiritual. To be a whole human our conscience which is pure in nature must not vary from our sayings and doings. This is how I realized that Mr. Keale was at odds with his inner pure nature. He was trying to cover it up. He tried to change, by writing a letter in which he stated that he should make no excuses for his evil actions and line up with his true inner self, but by trying to kill his inner self he gave the letter a lie. The letter to himself was in fact a lie and he did not mean it. You could call this the case of the lying letter, both in this sense just mentioned and also for the fact that it was lying beside him.”

“Amazing! But...I say Sholmes -- you’re not secretly a Mohammadan, what?”

Sholmes looked at me penetratingly with furtive side glance that touched the very depths of my soul. He smiled and said: “To directly quote the great German philosopher and their greatest poet Goethe, who declared himself to be a Muslim, in no uncertain terms, and who wrote the play Mahomet's Gesang, in one of his poems in his work, Divan, he states that:

                      Ndrrisch, da_jeder in seinem falle:
                     Seine besondere Meinung preist!
                     Wenn Islam Gott ergeben hei_t,
                     In Islam leben und sterben wir alle.
                                                      (WA  I, 6, 128)


Translated, this is as follows:
                    
                    Stupid that everyone in his case,
                    Is praising his particular opinion!
                    If Islam means submission to God
                    We all live and die in Islam.







Do you want to know what the future holds? Well then, join our intepid professor, as he moves across the ripples of time, beyond the familiar and into the HighLight Zone...

 

8. Fountainhead

 

Part 1

Professor James Clayton left the surgery at 9 a.m. He was feeling extremely fatigued. The surgery was a failure. Not that he had made any mistakes, but the case was very difficult.  Clayton was a brilliant neurosurgeon and mathematician who had won the Fields Prize, the coveted prize of Mathematics. His work on mathematics - on topology – had applications in neuroscience  and this is what let him switch fields from maths to biology.  Two things seemed to have pestered him intensely over the last one year: Old age and death. He had many questions on his mind: Why must most of us die in less than 100 years? Could we extend life way beyond, somehow?  But that very day something was about to happen to him, something so remarkable that the coincidence is almost beyond belief! That day, he was watching television, trying to relax, when the doorbell rang. It was his close friend, Muhammed.

“Hey Jim!”

“Hey, how are you, Muhammed?”

“I`m fine; sorry to bother you on a Sunday, but I wanted to speak to you directly; not over the phone or  the internet.”

“Is everything OK? How’s your father, Muhammed?”

“He`s fine!”

“Jim, you`ve know me for along time!”

“Yes – 20 years. You`ve worked with me for 10 years in my lab; my best chemist.”

“Have I ever lied to you?”

“No! What kind of a question is that?”

“What if I were to tell you something that I have in my possession. something  so special that the world would kill for it!”

“What is it?”

Muhammed pulled out a bottle that was a glass one, with a clear fluid inside.

“I know water is scarce resource but not that scarce!” quipped Clayton.

“This is not water, buddy!”

“What is it?”

“It`s...it’s an elixir of life!”

“What do you mean?”

“My family has had this secret for 100 years. It`s a drink whose formula is known only to a select few in our family; it’s a drink which extends life!”

“Like 10 years or so?” asked Clayton, looking on with his mouth agape.

“No! If you drink 12 bottles over a four week period, it will extend your life to about 1000 years plus or minus 50. You will live to be very old like Noah, mentioned in the Quran. You drink from this for four weeks and you will not have to drink it again – you’ll always be as if you were a youth.”

“Come on Muhammed – do you expect me to believe that? Stop joking around!”

“I’m not joking!” said Muhammed, getting visibly frustrated.

“This is unheard of!  Will you allow me to test it on some animals or show me the formula?”

“No!”

“I want you to take it, brother. It`s a gift. I want you to live up to 1000 years. You’re one of the best and most intelligent people on earth, plus you’ll be able to withstand the psychological strains and oddities that go with this.”

“I insist you imbibe it as my best friend. I too have taken it. We can both explore the future together!” suggested Muhammed.

“The way things are going, will there be a future?  – and  if there is, I’m not sure I  want to see it. Plus I’ll see all my close ones dying and will still remain alive. It’s like a living death, is it not?” intimated Clayton with an incredulous smile on his face.

“But imagine the plus side to this!” retorted Muhammed, with great zeal.

Clayton was extremely skeptical, but to appease his friend he decided to drink the fluid. It did not have any negative effects. Rather, over the weeks, it seemed to have cured the cough he had had for a few months and he felt very energetic every single day. Clayton was around 50 years old, but looked about 40, prior to imbibing the mysterious concoction. After about a year, the minor wrinkles on his skin started to disappear; it was like reverse aging! He knew it was because of the drink.

 

 

 

Part 2

In two years from the date Clayton was given the ‘drink’, Muhammed moved to the Middle East but kept in touch with him via internet, mainly.

Then ten years elapsed and Clayton had not aged a bit. He was 60 but looked 35. Some of the emerging wrinkles at 50 had disappeared and others became less pronounced. Everyone commented at his youthful disposition!

In the meanwhile, his wife was 48 and looked 48.  Another 20 years elapsed – he was 80; his wife passed away at 68 in a motor vehicle accident. The year was 2040. His children were now in their 40s. Clayton had seen tremendous changes in society. But what if he was to live to 1000. What  amazing transformations - good, bad or ugly - would he witness? And what about Muhammed? By 2040 holographic internet was the norm. He used to communicate with Muhammed who lived in Japan. Flights to Tokyo used to take only 3 hours from the mid-west North America due to ultra-supersonic aircraft, which had become the norm.  Muhammed  was still going strong too, at 82 – but Muhammed, like Clayton, looked as if he too was in his 30s!

At 100, all of Clayton’s children were now ‘senior citizens’. Clayton had three sons. The average age for men in the Western Hemisphere was 96, in the year 2060. But those who were ninety, looked it! Clayton had kept a very low profile for 25 years. He was sure that it was the elixir that had made him live on and on and on; how else could his youthful appearance be explained and his advanced age. He had suffered no illnesses whatsoever in the 50 years since he had drunk the elixir. He had been dyeing his hair white to avoid attention. But one day when he went to the pharmacy, he almost let the cat out of the bag. Clayton had a slight cough and needed a prescription.

“Can you please fill in the form,” said the pharmacist, “our computers are down, but we still have pens and paper though.”

Then the pharmacist suddenly said: “Sir you`ve mis-written your date of birth – you`ve put 1960. That would make you 100!”

“You`re not 100 are you!  I mean you could be 100 of course, since the average age for men in 2060 is 95.3, but you don`t look a day over 40.”

“I am 100!”

As it happens, a reporter happened to be in the pharmacy.

“Are you really 100, Sir?” he enquired.

“Yes, I am!”

“What`s the proof?”

Clayton showed the astute reporter his ID card

“By God! You are 100!  My name is Jack McFadden – but you can call me Abdur-Rahman,  too. I work for the USI Telenews service. Is it possible to interview you for a show on health?”

“I can assure you it’s a natural disposition – I have nothing to add!” replied Clayton, curtly.

“No, please Sir – I insist!” demanded the reporter.

Clayton managed to avoid the reporter but it was a close call. He had retired at 75 but for 25 years was living on a pension and doing research on his own on mathematics and philosophy in an isolated country estate. He had amassed quite a fortune from his patented algorithms on proteins. He had also published a major book at 90 on the mathematics of gene motion. His work was now being studied at the leading universities and nanotech devices were being based on his mathematical models of genetic and cell movements. He was very satisfied with his achievements. But he decided to get married again at 110. His wife could not believe he was 110 and even when he proved it to her, she discounted it – she was 45. Then, as had happened before, another 50 years passed and his wife died at  the age of 95; again he had outlived a spouse. He had two more sons; they were now 46 and 48 respectively.

Clayton had now become a celebrity because of his work and because it could no longer be hidden that he was 150 years old; the oldest person on the planet.  It was then that he was summoned to the government headquarters to meet theleader of the world government,

“It is really an honour to meet you, Sir,” asked the President of the World, most graciously.

“The honour is mine,” said Clayton, humbly.

“What’s your secret?”

“I cannot tell you the secret, which I know now, and I hope that as the leader of this Peaceful Global Civilization, that you will respect my wishes!”

The leader agreed and said:”You have lived as old as Old Man Parr, if we are to believe his account and you have become a living treasure to civilization from which the fountain of knowledge grows; you’re like a Fountain, the head of a fountain; a Fountainhead!”

 

 

 

Part 3

Clayton continued to flourish but he had lost contact with his dear friend Muhammed when Clayton was 140. He searched in vain but couldn`t find him. One day on the holonet, he discovered that Muhammed had migrated to the Alpha Centaurian star system, where they had a very advanced civilization and had visited earth in 2085. This is recounted in the famous book: “Escape from Sirius: The Doomsday Protocol.”

Clayton witnessed many remarkable events over the ages. He became a kind of a living history book for the world and the government relied on his knowledge and wisdom extensively in delicate and complicated matters, be they social, environmental, political or technical.

Here is a snapshot of the major transformations that occurred:

 

2020 to 2120

Machines and corporations had pressed on with ‘dirty technology’. There were oil wars under various false pretexts and water wars, where only the elite delusionally benefitted. By 2055, the tragic Middle East was aflame. A lot of life was lost in those wars due to the great stupidity of some groups among mankind. Eventually the exploited regions of the world did become united. The power of oligarchic organizations and corporations decreased dramatically; after a critical mass was reached in terms of understanding reality among most people on earth a single world government was established freely. No one was forced to but the evidence was overwhelming and people freely and in droves accepted the basic teachings of the Quran. There was no hierarchy in society: all the various sects that people used to call Islam, but were in reality against Islam, naturally dissolved. Mysticism, dogmatism, irrationality and fanaticism were gone too. The government that formed was not a theocracy, as all knowledge was integrated. Everyone was deemed equal; there was no quasi-priesthood or priesthood. On the social front great strides were made:  there was free education and free medical care for everyone.  There were no wars on earth.  Environmental solutions and ecological technology was dominant, including hydrogen energy, fusion energy, windmills, solar, thermal etc. Factories had special scrubbers and almost zero air pollution was the result, as were the cars running on electricity and hydrogen. The earth truly became like a paradise: what it was meant to be. The leader of the true free world at the time, visited the four planets around our stellar cluster where there were higher forms of sentient  life. This was one of the outcomes of the Alpha Centaurians visiting earth in 2085. A stellar civilizational federation was formed between the five planets including the earth. They all believed in a singular creator and a proof-based belief system.  Earth spacecraft, by 2120 travelled up to 98% of the speed of light. Physics was not only unified in principle but also in details; extraterrestrial concepts helped us to that end, although we had come a far way on our own, in terms of the one particle idea of the universe in absolute space (microbits). Microbits’ concepts also assisted in creating antigravity devices and vehicles.

To the initial dismay of many Muslims, Jesus did not return, as anticipated due to some sayings ascribed to the Prophet Muhammed (the last of the Prophets according to the Quran) and it was later on discovered through greater research that the Hadiths on this were unreliable, being heavily influenced by Christian myths. This became a bit embarrassing because a grave had been dug up for him in Arabia for his second return.  It was discovered through archaeology that Jesus had been put on the cross but had not died on the cross; rather, he had been rescued by the Essenes; this corresponded with the verses in the Quran and no contradiction was found. Jesus had died on Earth after escaping from the Middle Eastern region; he had continued to preach to the remnants of the lost tribes of Judaism and to anyone else interested and  had died at a ripe old age; he was buried on earth almost 2000 years ago. By 2070, Judaism and Christianity were not followed by anyone; almost everyone from these traditions had embraced the Quran and rationalism  through evidence, or were atheists, agnostics or belonged to some of the Eastern religions. In this global state, anyone was allowed to believe and practice any belief system they so chose, so long as the basic societal laws were not broken. By the Hadith that stated that “The Sun will rise in the west”, people realized, meant  that Quranic concepts had spread from the West to the East, in terms of leadership of thought, in the 21st Century, rather than the other way around.

Other things were discovered that confirmed the Quran even further. Noah’s ark was found on Mount Judi, as stated in the Quran, through excavation. In fact, they even found that it was connected by metal nails, as described in this book. The city of Iram was mentioned nowhere else other than the Quran and the tablet discovered in the excavated ancient city of Ebla  in 1978: it indeed had buildings with tall columns, the like of which had never been built in the land before, as was stated in the Quran. Humans began to understand  animal language and we realized that they also believed in the singular Sustainer of the cosmos. The other fascinating development was that the passage in the Quran which stated that God will raise a creature from the Earth who will tell humankind that they had no certainty, was actually a communication from some animals to humankind, pointing to our waywardness from God.

 

2120 to 2150

By 2150, there was no cancer – not only because there was no pollution but because there was a greater understanding of genes and gene motion. Clayton was instrumental in the research and developments of the cure for cancer because of equations. By 2150 he was almost  200 years old but still looked as if he was in his mid-forties! On the Artificial Intelligence front, robots were very common and advanced and did all the menial work.  People had more leisure time and jobs were of a highly technical nature involving programming computers and automated systems development. Robot factories were built by robots. Robots were built by robots. Then there were the androids who looked human and could converse with humans, do babysitting etc., but they were still programmed.

 

2150 to 2250

By this time the Global Society had reached the position of Class 1 Civilization: Class I Civilization had almost  zero pollution, almost no crime, almost no diseases except old age and death, a highly technically advanced, stellar roving civilization, advanced robot/android  technology, terrestrial and interstellar travel, a justice system that provided equal opportunity and health benefits for everyone, though few people ever fell ill. Free election based on a Quranic constitution continued to be the  political system. In short, civilization had progressed from 20th  and 21st Century barbarity,  that is, from Class 4 (the dark ages in Europe were classified as Class 5), to Class 1.

 

2250 to 2350:

This was a period for the refinement of the Class 1 Civilization. In 2254 the discovery of the conversion of plant  fibres to protein by a great scientist was made; animals were no longer killed for  food. This was a great revolution that changed the nature of industry and increased human empathy and compassion for all creatures, including humankind, even further.

 

2350 to 2650

There were continued advancements in robotics, interstellar travel and comfort, and access to instantaneous computer information in space by mere thought increased. More contact with Jinn civilization and awareness of angels became more prevalent.

 

2650 to 2750

Discovery of life bearing planets in other galaxies and contact with other stellar federations within our own galaxy was made. Knowledge of technology from other planetary civilizations more advanced than even those of earth, at the time, further accelerated knowledge and understanding in many fields.

 

2750 to 2850

In 2843 androids had become conscious – the’ transfer experiment’ was performed. Controversy on android rights occurred but was resolved.

 

 

                                                                  Part 4

It is in 2843 that we rejoin Clayton. By 2843 communication was so amazing that one could do the following:  Clayton, in 2843 eventually traced Muhammed, his literally old friend to the Alpha Centaurian system. With a voice command to a chip the size of a pea, Clayton was able to receive  Muhammed’s projection in his room; it was a holographic image with texture. It was as if Muhammed – tens of trillions of kilometres away, was in the same room. Muhammed too, had not aged; he too was directing many events and was highly respected throughout the Alpha Centaurian and Sirian star systems; he had a regular job as the Chief Administrator for the three neighbouring Alpha Centaurian planets that now had life on them (two of these had been terra-formed and one – devoid of life -  was being used for mining).  So a call from someone by  2800 was like that person teleporting to the same room even if he was on an extrasolar planet.  To 21st Century man, it would be like magic.

“Where have you been Muhammed?” Clayton enquired, in joyousness tinged with some annoyance.

“Actually I was living on Korbis in the Sirius Star system; we built glass domed cities there and developed great mining operations. I then moved to the Alpha Centaurian system. I’ve been the expert in chemical and atmospheric sciences. They would have had a tough time figuring things out without me. It appears that over the hundreds of years my knowledge and reasoning powers have just kept growing. I’ve married 11 times over the hundreds of years and have tens of thousands of descendents. How about you?”

“Well, I too am somewhat of a celebrity and a guru for them in various areas; I married only once after my first wife passed on, and have hundreds of descendents.”

“I know what your next question is,” said Muhammed, looking to the floor in great sadness.

“Will you allow it then?” enquired Clayton with a painful look in his eyes.

“Yes; I had avoided contact with you because I didn’t want you to ask me for this.”

 “I really do want this life to end and long to return to the Creator,” said Clayton.

“Well, I’ll send you the antidote by interstellar drone courier. It’ll take just over four years to reach you, as you know. Drink it as instructed and you’ll return to the normal aging process. In the meantime, we’ll keep in close contact; we’ll become close again.”

In about four years Clayton did receive the antidote; he drank it with a mixture of happiness and sadness, knowing that he would become a normal mortal. After this, Clayton started to age as most people would and this certainly made headlines. Clayton continued to age at the standard rate and became very ill in twenty-nine years, when he was taken to hospital.

Clayton woke up in intensive care.

He could discern someone familiar. “Son!” he said, “Is that you or am I imagining?”

“Dad! You were in a coma for a month!”

“What year is this?”

“2011!”

“But I thought I was in the year 2883?” enquired Clayton.

“What do you mean, Dad?”

“I have lived over 900 years in one month!”

He summarized the story to his son, with the little energy that he had left in him.

“So was it all an imagination?” asked his son.

“No it was real – I was shown the reality of the future as it would have been with me in it. I think the real future will be 95% the same – I did play a big role which would have altered it by 5%, I calculate.”

“But Dad! The doctors say your condition is serious and incurable.”

“I know they say I have only a few days – don’t forget son, I’m a surgeon and some of these surgeons were my students! But remember this: Even if you live 1000 years it will not be enough – you may want to live for another 1000 and not want to die; or like me, become tired of living for hundreds of years, though in a dream, and longing to return to the Creator.”

Just then, his best friend Muhammed arrived, out of the blue, at the hospital ICU.

“I heard that you were out of the coma and rushed to see you. I’ve brought something very, very special for you – something that will cure you and...”

“...something that will make me live a 1000 years?!” Clayton a response that smoothly completed Muhammed’s sentence.

“You stole the words right out of my mouth. Professor Jim, how did you know?!”

Jim Clayton smiled:  He realized that what he had dreamt of, was more than just a dream.

 

 



 

9. The Existence of the Unicorn

  

In a Galaxy known to us as NMC45, which is similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy, there is a star just like our own; a yellow beacon of light in space. What is more, there is planet orbiting one of its stars that is just like ours, almost identical. You see in this universe there are zillions of earthlike planets. Among those zillions, there are what you could call ‘almost twins’. The word almost is imperative, as you will soon discover.  It is as if these planets are separated at birth, separated by 20 million light years, in this case! Now obviously, there is life on that planet and no surprises here… that life is just like ours! The planetary inhabitants are also resident in what we would recognize as a kind of 21st Century in some aspects of technology and in the 19th century in other aspects. An interesting event occurred on that planet, which is now going to be part of the annals of the HighLight Zone…
 

Now in one of the main cities of that planet there were three categories of people: There were the Unicornists – they believed in the Existence of the Unicorn and worshipped such a ‘being’. They made trinkets and had ritualistic celebrations for this creature. They regarded it as the Creator of the Universe. Then there were the rationalists, who believed that Unicornism was complete and utter garbage; they did not even believe in the existence of the unicorn: for what was the proof for its existence? Agnostics existed too, who were not sure whether the Unicorn existed or not. If it existed, then half of them thought it would be a God and the other half thought it would be just a mere animal; note that some of the agnostics believed in One God and were agnostics only with respect to the belief of the animal unicorn; they did not believe that the unicorn was divine. Among the ‘rationalists’ there were also those who were the atheists and those who believed in One God. Neither group called the other ‘rationalists’ and were bitter enemies from an ideological perspective and very often from a political perspective as well!
 

In the theological debates that grew more intense each year, it was finally decided by the rationalists that one of their own, a genius named Kaf Almajir, was to search for the unicorn on the ‘Dark Continent’. Almajir was  an Applied Logician and explorer. He used to help society by solving problems in various fields – in fact in almost any field, actually. This is because his reasoning powers were beyond those of most people. Alamjir, belonged to the group of theistic rationalists; he was given the unique task to find the unicorn and bring it back.
 

“But, remember that, logically speaking, if I do not find the unicorn it does not mean that it does not exist!” declared Almajir to his fellow theistic rationalists.
 

“That’s true!” said the leader of the theistic rationalists, “but it’ll be a further nail in the coffin of these mystical Unicornists, that the great Almajir even, was unable to find the Unicorn! But if you do discover it, you must bring it back alive or at least its entire dead body or head.” The leader continued elaborating: “We’ll kill the animal before their cloudy mystical eyes. For if it is a God: how can you kill a God – that’ll disprove their ‘theory’ of divinity! That’ll make an impact on a lot of them and start eroding their nonsensical and corrupt belief system.”
 

Almajir disagreed and replied: “As rationalists, we do not need to kill poor creatures if we want to make a point. Why should animals die to prove the stupidity of human belief?”
 

The leader said nothing and hoped that Almajir would change his mind over the course of his journey. No one else could undertake such a gargantuan task.
 

Almajir’s expediton was funded by the theistic Unitarian rationalists. They had not invented flying on that planet yet, but were close. So Almajir had to sail to large continent known as the Dark Continent, largely because it was not known well enough by the inhabitants of his own continent. The Dark Continent was rather like the Africa of 19th century earth. Initially he met the indigenous people in the coastal zone and by bartering his more advanced goods, was provided information concerning the Unicorn. Most people of the coastal areas had heard that such an elusive creature was to be found in the interior of the vast continent. In his expedition Alamajir had 15 local porters. Travelling 500 miles into the interior with them, he came across a region that was spectacular in its beauty. Once he saw a creature that he thought was the Unicorn, in the yonder, but when he approached it, found out that it was an ordinary antelope.
 

He went further into the interior after discussions with some tribes. In fact, he had to traverse another 1000 miles. On the way he contracted malaria, but his society was extremely advanced in medicinal cures – more so than Western medicine in the early 21st century on Planet Earth; the drugs he administered to himself cleared his illness in no time! Finally, he was told that he would find the Unicorn on the ‘Mountains of the Stars’ – a mountain range that soared over 17,000 feet. He hired local talent to help him up the mountain. However, almost all of them deserted him by the time he had reached 16,000 feet. At 16,000 feet, however, he spotted a weird looking animal. They – he and the creature –  looked at each other – he couldn’t believe his eyes; it was a Unicorn; white in colour, with some gray stripes; it looked beautiful, like a gazelle but with one long white shiny horn protruding from its forehead at an angle of 45 degrees to the horizontal.  With the remaining four climbers and equipment, he was able to trap the magnificent animal. The easiest thing would have been to kill it and take its head home, but he could not do that; he felt it would be a sin to kill an animal, just to prove a point, as he had intimated to the chief rationalist. He did not want to kill it for food either and use that as a justification. So what he did is that he drew a sketch (they had not invented cameras) and  cut some fur from it; then he set it free. In his society, they were extremely advanced in DNA studies and could determine the type of animal from the genome. So they would be able to ‘reconstruct’, on a computer, the animal from DNA information retrieved from its fur. It would be proof of the Existence of the Unicorn.
 

After one year of an arduous journey, he was back – he had lost 30 pounds but was extremely fit and had a great tan! His arrival was met with quite a lot of fanfare in the city and he was all over the news. The Applied Logician was finally back!
 

The Unicornists, when they heard Almajir say to the media that he had proof of the unicorn, started praying even more fervently to their Animal God. In the rationalists' headquarters, the athiest rationalists and the rational unitarian theists were starting to feel highly agitated. Why did Almajir not bring back the animal itself, dead or alive?
 

“We could have proved that it exists and is just a mere mortal animal by slaughtering it. Now this absence of concrete evidence reinforces their belief!” they blasted.
 

“No! We can reconstruct the form of the animal from DNA analysis and the rational among them – those sitting on the fence, will change!” retorted Almajir, confidently.
 

After it was discovered, by analysis, that the fur did indeed belong to the Unicorn, to Almajir’s utter surprise, the rationalists also started saying that there was no proof of the Unicorn’s existence!  The Applied Logician found this exceedingly puzzling and strange – though he was the greatest logician on the planet.
 

The rationalists just would not accept the proof and said that they had not actually seen the unicorn. Therfore, they said that they could not say for sure that such a creature would be the result of the genes, even though they had never been wrong in their analytical predictions before with respect to such simulated genetic reconstructions. The head of the rationalists gave a speech to a gathering of reporters, to the effect that the Unicorn had not been found and that the logician was a fraud, because he wanted fame. Almajir broke away from the rationlists’ organization in great anger and disgust.
 

Almajir had counted on the theistic rationalist so much to change the world, to help the Unicornists see that there was only one non-anthropomorphic Creator, but now, to his sheer dismay, these rationalists themselves were not using reason. Rather, their version of reason stopped short, for various reasons it seems. Being an Applied Logician, he was able to use reason to determine the two main reasons for this:
 

  1. For 100 years the theistic rationalists had been arguing with the Unicornists that there was no unicorn. If there was a Unicorn (or species of unicorns), then who would they argue with. They had publications that would go bankrupt. They were just not used to there being a Unicorn; it was a paradigm shift, tied to finance, power etc.
  2. Some among the theistic rationalists were afraid that if the unicorn was shown to exist it would reinforce the belief of the unicorns and that the unicorn (or unicorn species) was a deity/deities, especially since the theistic rationalists could not kill the Unicorn to prove their point.

Strangely, or ironically, Almajir found the atheistic rationalists to be more rational on this debate, and more receptive to his views. The Applied Logician was in effect an outcast; but he published his findings and arguments with rational zeal. The writings slowly started to attract those among the mystics who were on the fence and they began leaving their irrational belief system. Some of the atheists too, started to believe in the existence of the unicorn and the Existence of One Singular Creator. But the rational theists, the ones who were supposed to champion the cause, were trapped by what they wanted to see, not what was there and they undermined their goal and mission, greatly.

 

Stepping into and then out of the HighLight Zone, we see that it is not enough to preach rationality and evidence – one has to practice it perfectly and not fall short, for it may undermine or completely destroy that which was the original noble and lofty goal. One must be able to discard preconceived ideas at the drop of a hat, once incontrovertible evidence is presented. For if one does not do so, then one has to firstly, question why one ‘believes’ in something so ardently and that secondly, does one really, really believe, or is one just part of a club, or vacuous tradition that has surreptitiously evolved?
 

The Applied Logician could never have anticipated that the rational theists would have reacted this way, and he certainly learned the hard way. He was left with one sublime thought though:
 

We are not here to protect ‘the Truth’, the Truth is its own protection: it is the Truth that is here to protect us.

 


Now the following story, truly does belong to the Highlight Zone:

 

10. The Transfer Experiment

 

In the year 2843, society had reached a stage where androids had become very advanced. Professor Han who had some Alpha Centaurian blood in him (800 years ago life had been discovered in nearby stars) was on the verge of a breakthrough. The androids were based on silicon but he and his research team had determined the exact configuration of the network – the nervous system of the androids that would render them conscious, just like human beings. In the early 21st century, a few thinkers had realized that if a network was figured in particular pattern and if it were to operate on photons, the net result would be that such a system would access objectless space – the space where consciousness lay. So all this was indeed spelled out in principles as far back as 842 years ago! What that particular pattern and properties of the photon and materials to be used and their arrangement took over 800 years to determine. After this point, when androids became conscious – the greatest technological achievement in the history of man – a dispute arose in terms of their rights. It was a shock to see androids, which had until then been servants, become equals. Eventually, despite some backlash from a group of fanatics, who destroyed some such conscious robots, or conscious androids – ‘condroids’ – were accorded the same rights as humans. This was in fact a litmus test to see how truly advanced, from an ethical perspective, society had become. From then on, condroids were essentially considered ‘humans’.

It was, of course, well understood by global society at the time, that they were not creating consciousness, but what they had created in terms of hardware, had accessed consciousness in absolute objectless space just as our bodies too, access the consciousness, which is a property of space, to become fractionalized consciousness in the overarching Consciousness, or Mind of God. This is a Personal God, a Being who is infinite and unique and whose Imagination has created and sustains all things, which are all particle based (microbits). The government was also aware that some people might exploit this situation and create slaves of the conscious androids, by having power and control over them. However, strict laws were passed with severe penalties if this technology were ever to be exploited.

It was at this time that top several philosophers and scientists hit upon a novel idea to try a unique experiment. Professor Zoto, of this group, had contact with angels – such knowledge of being able to contact angels had become more commonplace now. People were well aware that this direct contact with angels could be achieved but still few were able to do so.  But Zoto wanted to try an experiment that would lead to further knowledge about consciousness, and wanted to discuss the permissibility of his proposal with an angel to see if the Creator would allow this by His command. You see Dr. Jav, who was part of the group, was now 105 years old and in ill health – however, his mind was alert and as sharp as ever. Zoto knew that the time was near for Jav to depart to the next world, forever; however, he asked the angel if the Creator could so allow it that at the moment of ‘death’, instead of consciousness following the two step process of relapse into the sea of consciousness in objectless space and then into a newly created subtler body and hence on to paradise or suffering, Jav’s consciousness could, instead, be retrieved by the android body immediately upon Jav’s ‘death’ – a kind of a ’transfer’ of consciousness. In this way, Jav could live longer – as long as the android body could operate; if the photonic circuitry would cease, then Jav would once again be “thrown into space”, or more accurately speaking, be de-activated from using his biological body (what they used to call ‘death’ in the 21st and 22nd centuries).  One reason why this elite group of philosophers and scientists wanted to do this is was so that Jav, who was on the verge of his own breakthrough, which was to travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum, could solve the problem, leading to our stellar federation of planets in the local star cluster, being able to travel to other stellar clusters. You see, from the early 22nd century to the 29th century, the speed of interstellar crafts had increased only by 2.9%; they could now travel at 99.98% of the speed of light in vacuum. But with photonic and materials research, Jav was about to make a breakthrough of his own. The group felt that his death would push back the program another 50 years. This was aside from the fact that they did not want him to die, as he was so dear to them, and there were philosophical areas to test, and revelatory things to confirm about the Quran, should the experiment prove successful. The angel agreed by the permission of the Creator to “The Transfer Experiment” and gave them precise instructions on how to proceed. It was agreed that Android Body No. 346 would house Jav’s consciousness as it ‘left’ his biological body upon ‘death’. So in the summer of 2843, in what used to be called Europe, Jav ‘passed away’ peacefully. The android body was by his side. One minute after his demise, the android body’s circuitry was finalized and it was able to access objectless space wherein consciousness originates, as a fractionalization of the mind of God. In this case, the android accessed the particular consciousness of Jav, rather than a fresh new consciousness.

The philosophers and scientists immediately, after covering Jav’s body and making arrangements for the funeral, started asking the android questions. The android responded just like Jav, because normally, the android consciousness initially would have been like a blank slate – like a baby who knows nothing. In fact, the first thing Jav said was that “it worked”, but that he felt strange in his new silicon and iron based body.

Jav was also able to give a firsthand account of what happens just before and after ‘death’. It corresponded perfectly with the Quran and what was written more than 800 years ago, and with the knowledge and clues that had built-up since then. Jav lived in the android body for 70 years and was able to develop superluminal velocity for spacecraft. Then he ‘died’ once again and went into the next life, where he was given another ‘subtler’ body made of smaller particles, invisible to us and all detection systems, even in 2843. We all hope he went to a better place, where we too will one day, hopefully, follow.

 

 

 

 

11.  The End of the Meatarians

 

 

The Year is 2254 A.C. Peace reigns throughout the earth, but peace between humans and animals is not resolved. Or is it? Find out in this most unusual account of the future, from the HighLight Zone…

“Ladies and Gentlemen. Today, on this show, I invite you to try a new dish and tell me whether you like it!” said the host of a public affairs show. “Sir! What does it taste like?”

“Is that Chicken?” enquired the professorial food taster.

“And this one – is that fish? Salmon?  This beef?” asked another connoisseur, delighted at the taste.

The host of the holovision show beaming down to all the homes finally declared: “Yet, it is none of these. My dear viewers: What these expert food critics have just eaten is ‘meat’ that has been transformed from plants to meat!”

We shall now meet – I mean M E E T, not M E A T – the remarkable scientist Marlow Khaldun, who first started his experiments ten years ago with government grants by the USI. Marlow, can you explain how the idea for this research came about and the technical process for the conversion of plants into proteins that taste like, beef, chicken, varieties of fish etc.?

“I cannot reveal the technical formula, but certainly, I can explain the principles behind this. You see…”

In a palatial residence of the CEO of Global Beef Farms Inc., eyes were transfixed to the holographic screen, levitating in mid-air.  An atmosphere of rage and great agitation prevailed. 

“Hey Razack – you know that we tried everything to dissuade Marlow. But he wouldn’t budge. Why is he called Marlow, by the way?” asked Toller, Razack's business partner.

“His father was an avid fan of the author Joseph Conrad, whose novels depicted the darknesses within the human soul that lead humans to do horrendous things, for greed and power, whilst making false justifications. This never leads to a happy end!” sermonized Razack. If this were heard by most people who knew Razack Effendi, it would have been considered shocking that a criminal mind exhibiting all these evil inclinations, which were not that common in the generally conflict-free mid-23rd Century, would express such sentiments.

“But he’s going to destroy our businesses; we’ll go bankrupt. And our goody-goody government wants to please such people. Hah!” quipped Toller, in disgust.

“I know Toller – you should have been born in the early to mid-21st century; the people in those corporations were truly ruthlessly able to take care of their businesses at any cost, under the guise of being benefactors; you were born at the wrong time. Our *#@  Marlow is a genius and is not making a penny on his discovery. He’s intellectually satisfied at his accomplishment and in helping humanity and nature; that’s his reward!”

“Well I think we’ll have to do something about our precious Mr. Marlow Khaldun, saviour of mankind and animals!” said Toller.

“You know, the campaign to malign his new discovery, in terms of safety of the food has failed. We paid Professor Peter Dyson to write a paper refuting Marlow’s discovery which purported to show that there is a difference between the ‘plant protein’ and the real protein from our animals and that converted plant protein was harmful for health. But Marlow showed that’s there’s no difference from even a molecular perspective. So that put the nail in the coffin – my plan backfired and now all these businesses will shut down,” explained Razack.

“Yeah! But the government is phasing this in, plus creating new businesses and training for workers who will be laid off – in fact, I understand that Marlow’s process is going to create more jobs!” said Toller.

“That’s enough – Marlow, Marlow, Marlow who the #$#@ does he think he is!” blasted Razack.

“But Razack, even if we create an ‘accident’ for liquidating him they’ll discover it – in our century, crime detection techniques are just too good.”

“Maybe he can go ‘missing’; we can also, during his missing period, during which he’ll be our captive, ascertain the Formula for changing plant to meat-like tasting protein; we could manufacture this protein instead of him. He won’t sell us the formula and the few government scientists that know of the Formula cannot be bribed.”

Razack and Toller’s attention re-focused on the show:

To their utter surprise, the President of the World gave a speech at the end of the show. They caught part of the speech:

“…and for 200 years they have been looking for a way to stop the killing of animals for food, as this is the superior position. Generally, God has allowed the consumption of meat due to the practicalities of food distribution, which were resolved and the protein and food taste issue which had not successfully been resolved – until now, that is. So eating of all these meats is now no longer necessary – just as it has not been necessary to kill any animal on earth for clothing for several hundred years. This is the Quranic position in our context.”

“Yeah! That’s great!” said Razack, with vehement sarcasm, “So back to our solution.”

“I’ll arrange for the disappearance of Marlow,” said Toller.

Marlow, a was 36 year old biochemist who had won numerous awards, lived alone on the 230th floor of the one mile high building in the North African States of the USI. He used to commute to New York once a week which used to take him two hours. He had his own company that had a branch over there.

His jet  was, however, intercepted by another plane over the mid-Atlantic. It had jammed all frequencies and he could not contact USI Space Authority. Marlow was forced to land on a small island as both planes had vertical take -off and landing capabilities. He thought he was being airjacked by some space pirates.

Three men in black suits and masks, with pulse-rifles, jumped out of the plane; they all wore sunglasses. They forced Marlow and his pilot, Yahya Adam, off their plane. Marlow started demanding vociferously as to who they were. The skyjackers remained silent for a while, whilst handcuffing and blindfolding both Marlow and the pilot.

Then, one of the two, the taller one with a gruff voice said: “We are not at liberty to divulge who has sent us, but suffice it to day that we represent very powerful interests that have a beef against you!”

Marlow immediately knew it was Mr. Razack Effendi, the dastardly CEO of Global Beef Farms Inc.

The two airplanes were camouflaged with special material at the edge of the jungle on the island. They march edfor 15 minutes into the interior of the island where the two captives were lowered by rope, tied to their waists. It was an extremely deep pit.

Back at Razack’s mansion in the beautiful green Megalopolis.

“Was the job done?” enquired Razack from Toller, in great seriousness.

“Yes!”

“Now, we will try to extract the Formula from him. Find out what he fears most!” instructed Razack, with a sinister smile.

Meanwhile, on the island, Marlow and the pilot were in the pit which had almost vertical sides and was at least 100 feet deep. It was impossible to climb. In addition, guards were posted at the top. There was no way out.

The whole world became aware of Marlow’s disappearance and scouting planes were sent to search for him and his companion. It seemed to have vanished into thin air.

After one month of torturing Marlow and the pilot, Marlow gave in and disclosed the Formula.

However, Razack did not stick to his word to set Marlow free, and still kept them in the pit though he now provided them with some comforts, like blankets, a sanitary system and an android. The pit was also covered with a plastic roof, if it rained.

Back in the Megalopolis, Detective Jax had a gut feeling that it was Razack who was behind this strange disappearance. But he had no proof. So he went to visit the very source of his suspicions.

At the splendid villa, owned by Razack Effendi, Detective Jax was greeted most graciously:

“Inspector – to what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?”

“Well you know Mr. Effendi, I’m trying to find out what happened to Marlow!”

“He probably crashed in the ocean.”

Jax wasted no time and was direct, to gauge the suspect’s reaction. But Razack remained cool. Jax continued: “He was about to start manufacturing of Plantein (plant protein) and our suspicion falls squarely on you.”

“Look! I have absolutely nothing to do with his disappearance – I loved the man for his generosity and brilliance, like all the world did.”

Jax left the palatial surrounding immediately, and knew that he would not get far with Razack.

One year later, one of Razack’s close business associates, that the government had apprehended for evading taxes, in a plea bargain, disclosed what had happened to Marlow. He promised to testify against Razack.

Razack was charged with the kidnapping of Marlow and the pilot. But still their whereabouts were not known. Razack was silent on this and the government was not allowed to torture prisoners to extract information.

The creative Judge, came up with a unique punishment for Razack, that he felt had the potential for making Razack disclose the fate of Marlow, Yahya and to reveal the Formula. In his final statement, explaining the judgment, the Judge said: “Mr. Effendi! You have been found guilty of kidnapping and if you do not disclose the whereabouts of Marlow Khaldun and Yahya Adam, we will assume that they are both dead. You will be executed for not disclosing their whereabouts and the Formula, to the government, as we will have to kill animals for food, leading to unnecessary animal deaths. The government scientists do not have the complete Formula; this was to have been supplied in whole by Mr. Khaldun, just before his disappearance. We have some hungry lions in the conversation zoo for endangered animals. You will be executed by being consumed by them: In plain terms, you will be fed to the lions, unless of course you allow our scientists to manufacture, or, if you yourself manufacture the Plantein for us.  But we need the Formula, which we know you have. We would then feed Plantein products to the lions instead of you and you would not face your unusual execution, but be imprisoned for five years only!”

It was not long after, that Razack, while contemplating his gruesome fate in prison, released the Formula and the lions did not have to be fed on the unpalatable Razack or any other non-human animal. Marlow and the pilot were released and the scientist-entrepreneur continued to thrive with royalties due to the process that he had developed., which he donated for good causes. Razack and his co-conspirator were jailed for five years and then released, but lost their businesses due to the Plantein food revolution.  They were banned from ever using the Formula to manufacture Plantein. Razack and Toller now sell Plantein Burgers, at the stands of one of the soccer arenas in the City. It is certainly a better fate than being Human-Burgers for the big cats.

The year is 2256: Domestic animals continue to be managed by humans, but are much fewer in number. They are not killed for food any longer and are treated with great compassion.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 
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