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General

I gazed at the twinkling stars in the clear night sky. 


Where has the one nearest to us - - the Sun disappeared?


I remembered reading in my science text book - - 'it doesn’t really disappear; we don’t see it during the night because the Earth rotates to face the darker side of Space.'


I looked once again at the tiny twinkling dots in amazement.


How many galaxies, how many life-systems do these burning balls of fire feed? Will my dreams come true? Will I see the Sun in the night sky? Will I see my favourite star up-close? 


***********


I was always fascinated by the unknown. Growing up, I became obsessed with Space. My library sported almost all the non-fiction books written about Space. Books authored by Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Neil DeGras Tyson, Mary Roach etc. My favourite book however was Women in Space by Karen Bush Gibson.


My father had kindled my interest in Space which later developed into an obsession. As a child, we would lie on bamboo mats spread on the terrace and watch the night sky as we followed a nightly program about Space on the local radio station.


Over a period of time, I could easily spot the stars and constellations as well as their changing positions in the night sky. This growing familiarity with Space increased my hunger and longing to learn more about the Cosmos, beyond what was already discovered and what was already known to mankind. 


While most wished upon a shooting star for some prince-charming to come riding, or for some fairy-tale-princess to bless their lonely life with love, or lady-luck to turn their wheels of misfortunes for the better; I, on the other hand mourned the death of a meteoroid. A meteor that had burned itself out.


Which civilization has walked the road to its extinction today? Did that star have a name given by its people? Did it support life on some other system, in another galaxy like ours? Did the burnout leave a remnant Supernova? Will that supernova birth Planetary Nebulae? Some new Stars? Some new systems? Some new civilizations? 


I was born in the last week of April. I belonged to the second astrological sign in the present zodiac - - Taurus.


Do I really possess the quality of triplicity as my zodiac sign mentions? It says, it’s an Earth sign. But all I really want is to travel through Space. It says, we are intelligent, dependable, hardworking, dedicated and stubborn. Can’t comment on the intelligence aspect, but the other four qualities are true.


***********


I was inspired by Sir Isaac Newton. None wondered as to why an apple fell down from a tree and instead not rise up to the sky. If not for him, we wouldn't have the word Gravity in our dictionaries.


What if our star - - the Sun burns itself out into a Supernova? How soon? Can we survive such an event? Something similar to that shown in the movie - - 2012? Or will it be an event on a much larger scale and with a much greater impact? Will it then form Planetary Nebula? Will we then have a brand-new star and be part of a new system and civilization? 


If anyone could have read my thoughts, they would have thought, I was crazy. If our planet Earth was formed from the Solar Nebula, it should possess most of the elements of space dust and gas somewhere deep in its womb and in the air that surrounds it.


Was not earth birthed by the collapse of the Solar Nebula initiated by a shockwave from a nearby Supernova explosion? Isn’t earth the amalgamation of all these space dust and gases? How many do we know? - - 150. How many are actually there? What if we can find the rest? Will that make some theories into facts? Will it take space travel into a league beyond imagination?


***********


I was recognised as a young prodigy and adopted by NASA that funded my research based on a weird theory.


NASA Scientists are called weird - - just as weird as Sir Isaac Newton was called during his time. Weird is the new term for being different - - for defying conventional behaviour. What people term crazy and eccentric for not fitting within their established average standards.


I am weird, crazy and eccentric.


All through history, it was a bunch of crazy people who gave us the theories that are facts today.


We were a huge team. A huge team comprising of renowned scientists as well as newbie researchers.


The Modified Periodic Table now had 215 elements. A research pioneered by me and supported by scientists not only from around the world but also from Mars had led to the discovery of new elements. But the elusive element was yet to be found. Time was running out. 


My dreams will be shattered if we don’t make the discovery soon.


***********


The Sun was burning itself out fiercely. There was hardly anything left of the ice-cold poles. Even the slanting rays of the Sun had risen to temperatures so high that the ice-caps had melted. Some organisms had perished while others adapted. 


Fortunately for humans, we had invented Ingots.


Ingot is an alloy made of Coolium - element 204, Stabilium - element 170 and Releasium - element 190 - - the newly added elements of the Modified Periodic Table. Ingots are capable of resisting the heat of the Sun, are more stable and have the capability of self-fixing themselves by releasing heat in the event they became too hot and unstable. The possibility of Ingots failing is a miniscule percentage and the rare event is yet to occur.


We also invented Coherent - - the new age cement. Coherent possessed similar qualities as an Ingot.


Humans built houses with Ingots and Coherent that could withstand the scorching heat of the Sun and keep their homes cool. 


Another invention was the new polymer Lesstic - - the new-age multi-purpose fabric. Not only is it bio-degradable, but also waterproof. It is used to make clothes, raincoats and umbrellas as well as varieties of different products. It has the unique ability to repulse heat in summers, retain heat in winters and remain dry during monsoons.


***********


We had managed to explore Space further away from the Sun. From Moon, where we first set our foot, we went to Mars, where humans co-exist with Martians.


Domes as they are generically called, deriving their name from their huge semi-circular appearance is where colonies of humans survive and prosper on Mars. Industries within these Domes produce energy to match Mars’s gravitational pull with Earth's gravitational pull. Factories manufacture Oxygen and Weather-Industries monitor and control the temperature, climate and seasons within these Domes to make it habitable for humans. Domes are mushrooming all over and are on a never ending expansion project on Mars.


Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus however were still in their nascent stages of evolution. They hadn't seen any birds as yet let alone anything close to humans. 


We transported some Penguins, Polar-Bears and Seals along with other animals to these planets on an experimental basis. Along with the thriving varieties of creeping and crawling creatures on them, Penguins and Seals that once walked on Earth, now live on these planets. 


We also transported some of the organisms from these planets to Earth. And they underwent a different evolutionary process to adapt to the conditions on Earth. The organisms developed a light and thin skin that allowed sweat to escape and cool down their bodies to suit the tropical conditions on Earth while the same organisms developed thick skin to help them trap heat within their bodies to withstand the cold climate of the other planets. 


Evolutionary metamorphosis in organisms powered by habitats is an entirely new area of research.


I was however glad for the herculean leaps’ mankind had made as far as space travel was concerned. I was also happy for the Seals and Penguins on other planets and the Scorcheals and Searguins on Earth.


I was equally fascinated by the Methoppers, Thants, Manbugs, Uraworms, Saturflies, Jupeetles and various other organisms from our neighbouring planets that crawled and creeped on Earth's surface.


**********


Viola! A newbie researcher came running to me one day with the look of excitement written all over her face. She stood gasping, trying to catch her breath.


“I think, I've found the elusive element” She spoke between her breaths.


I looked at her wide-eyed.


Does it mean we will visit Mercury soon? And Venus maybe? And get closer to the Sun? 


My mouth went agape. I was in my mid-forties. There was no way I was going to experience my dream. A fact I had resigned myself to long back. 


I should consider myself lucky for having vacationed on a different planet every year. Greed is a bad attribute to possess.


I immediately proceeded with my colleagues towards Boilotron - - the research lab where our elite team was conducting experiments to conquer heat for the past decade or so.


We had been successful in adapting ourselves to the harsh heat of the sun with temperatures ranging in the 170 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit intervals. We had to look further if we were to land on Mercury and maybe Venus and possibly have a closer look at the Sun. 


I looked at the adjoining chamber - - Freezatron where little or no activity was taking place. We had already conquered that zone. Cold was no more an area of intrigue. Freezatron had taken human race to Uranus and beyond, farther from the Sun's scorching rays.


Boilotron was where all the activities were concentrated then. We observed the experiment from a distance as heat rays bombarded the tiny piece of rock.


My heart raced as I watched the temperature gauge. 500 degrees Fahrenheit and the piece of rock was still intact. At 600 degrees Fahrenheit, tiny sparks burst out from the rock as other elements melting within it spurted out.


We had to stop our experiment there for Boilotron could only withstand heat up to 650 degrees Fahrenheit.


What we needed now was to find more of the unnamed rock and construct Boilotron-Next to further our experiments.


If we can touch 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, visiting Venus is a possibility. If not, at least Mercury if we can cross 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeing the sun up-close is a possibility. 


My heart danced to beats of 'Space Oddity' by David Bowe while my mind sang the lyrics of the song. My whole being pranced with joy at the new discovery.


***********


Two decades have gone by. Time just flew. It seemed like yesterday that I stood in Boilotron watching the rock sputter. And here we were today with Boilotron-Next.


Age had caught up with me and at 65, my energy levels were not anything to boast of. My mind however had become sharper over the years.


It took two decades to blast volcanic mountains to collect what Earth had spewed out from its core. The rock - - Sizzlium was added as element number 275 to the Modified Periodic Table


It was the day of reckoning. We watched as heat rays hit Sizzlium. 700… 800… 900...degrees Fahrenheit. My weak heart beat faster.


Calm down! Calm down! You can’t die of heart-attack as yet. What about watching the sun up-close?


1000… 1100 degrees Fahrenheit and Sizzlium sat smug with no reactions absolutely. It was cold to touch. Success!!!


NASA erupted into joyous celebration. I thanked some of my colleagues who had contributed immensely to this research but were no more to join in the celebrations.


***********


At the ripe age of 75, and my weak knees making strange crackling sounds, I climb the stairs slowly and painfully to my terrace.


It took another decade to develop Star-Gazer - - the space shuttle made with Sizzlium that has successfully landed on Mercury a couple of hours ago.


I cannot lie on a bamboo mat anymore. A cot with soft mattress stands in place of the bamboo mat. I lie on the mattress and gaze at the star-studded sky.


I stick the 5-millimetre sized ovals called Ovates on the inner side of my ear’s tragus. 


Ovates are the new-age wireless audio receptors that can receive signals from as far away as Space.


I adjust the spherically rimmed video glasses called Orbictacles carefully on the bridge of my nose.


Orbictacles are new-age wireless video receptors that can receive live video feed from Space.


I gently tap the outer surface of my right ear's tragus to increase the volume to set it at maximum. My hearing strength has weakened over the years. Tapping the outer surface of the left ear's tragus will reduce the volume.


I can lower the volume if it gets too loud for comfort.


The Orbictacles self-adjust to match my poor vision. 


I wait.


Mom! are you there? My daughter's voice comes through clearly from the Ovates.


Yes, Anu! I'm waiting!


Good luck mom! The live feed starts in 10… 9… 8……...1….0


Orbictacle is alive. 


I see my daughter wave at me from Star-Gazer.


Where's the Sun?


Anu turns her camera towards the Sun.


I awe at the sight. I am no longer on the dark side of the Earth. I'm on Mercury.


My mouth is wide agape. I sing - - The light of your eyes is the shining Sun… Oh! Behold the Sun, its so much funnnn….. Dance honnnn….. Dance honnnn…. while my heart dances in glee to match the rhythm of the song.


Slow down mom! Slow down! Don’t get too excited and kill yourself with a self-induced heart-attack. We've only come as far as Mercury, closer to the Sun. Don't you want to see the Supernova of your zodiac sign up close? The Crab Nebula?


I gaze at the burning ball of fire in the night sky, my eyes wide awake, my mouth agape and overcome with amazement. It’s like an overhanging giant disco-ball. I'm overwhelmed and engulfed with emotions. My love for the Star that feeds us is eventually acknowledged.  


Greed is a very bad attribute to possess. 


The light of your eyes is the shining Sun… Oh! Behold the Sun, it’s so much funnnn..... Dance honnnn….. Dance honnnn…. 


I’ve seen the Sun - - the star in the night sky. My dream is fulfilled. To hell with the fear of a self-induced heart-attack. I'm ready to die and be reborn a star to live next to the Sun.











July 19, 2020 05:28

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4 comments

Joy Rayner
22:43 Jul 27, 2020

I really like the format of this story! The character also has a very distinct voice.

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00:46 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you :)

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02:49 Jul 30, 2020

Nice story but I think that in the middle the story gets kinda boring. No offence.

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02:58 Jul 30, 2020

Thank you. No issues. :)

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