Don Yarber Don Yarber
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Written like true science fiction, with phrases that are born 200 years in the future of someone's head. "Isolated in the region between the northern asteroid groups" "Midst the volker regime of satellite stations".... All of the things that science fiction fans learn to love....or to hate.

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Bhaskar Thakuria Bhaskar Thakuria
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THE TRAP or THE SHIP THAT DIED


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She had a friend.

8.00 PM ST (Poltava Space Station):
   She sighed at what the main screen on the on-board monitor spoke:
   --- “THE DETECTORS ON BOARD THE SHIP HAS OBSERVED A NEW SPACE STATION ISOLATED IN THE REGION BETWEEN THE NORTHERN ASTEROID GROUPS LOCATED FAR UP NEAR THE SATURNALIAN CONSTELLATION, AND THAT FAR BELOW IN THE MIDST OF THE VOLKER REGIME OF SATELLITE STATIONS PLACED FOR SURVEILLANCE OF INTERGALACTIC TRAFFIC.
          
      “THEY HAVE FOUND THAT THE STATION IS DELIMITED IN ITS REARER PORTION WITH A TOTAL BERTH CAPACITY THAT CAN BE ASSESSED TO BE AROUND EIGHT-HUNDRED PEOPLE WITH A STRONG BOARD OF CREWMEN TO BACK UP THIS CAPACITY. IT CAN BE CONSIDERED EITHER A FORMIDABLE PASSENGER SHIP OR ANOTHER OF THOSE ANOMALOUS OUTPOSTS THAT DOT THE HORIZON IN THESE PARTS AND ARE USUALLY THE REMNANTS OF SHIP ABANDONED BY ERRANT CREWMEN OR, FOR THAT MATTER, EVEN FLEEING CAPTIVES.
            
         “AS TO THE CURRENT STATE OF THE SHIP IT CAN BE ASSESSED FROM THEIR REMNANTS THAT IN ITS PRESENT STATE OF ISOLATION IT IS ASSUMED THAT THERE ARE AROUND FORTY ODD ROOMS THAT LOOK UNOCCUPIED BY ANY TRACES OF HUMAN FORMS, EITHER ASSUMING THE INVIDIOUS REPRESENTATION OF THE ‘VOLKOIDS’ IN THE LUMINOUS SATELLITES OR THEIR OWN SPARE HUMAN FORM THAT DISTINGUISHES THEIR PROFILES AND HOMES. AS TO THE OTHER ROOMS OUR DEVICES WERE ABLE TO DETECT ANOTHER INSTANCE OF AN UNVARYING PRINCIPLE THAT WE HAVE COME TO ASCRIBE TO LOTS OF ABANDONED VESSELS THAT ONE COMES ACROSS IN THESE GALACTIC DOMAINS: ‘AMBIVALENCE’. FOR WHILE THESE HAVE DEMONSTRATED A PERPETUAL REPRESENTATION OF LEVELS OF ACTIVITY THAT CAN BE ASCRIBED TO ANY LIVING FORM THESE, AT THE SAME TIME, HAVE NOT BEEN DIRECTLY MANIFEST ON MOST OCCASIONS OR HAVE NEVER BEN ASCERTAINED IN DETAIL BY THE MAJORITY.
            
    “NOW AS WE SEE IT FROM HERE, THERE SEEMS TO BE UNDERGOING A REMARKABLE TRANSFORMATION IN THE INTERIORS OF THIS CRAFT AS CAN BE ASCERTAINED FROM THE OPTIMIZATION OF THE LEVELS OF ACTIVITY (THAT IMPLIES HUMAN TOLERANCE FROM SUB-OPTIMAL LEVELS AND BEYOND). BUT OUR DETECTORS WERE NOT ABLE TO DETECT ANY VESTIGES OF HUMANS, EITHER IN THEIR OWN DOMINES OR BESIDES THEIR OWN IN THE MACHINERY CRAFT WHERE THEY MAKE ONLY FOR A HAZARDOUS PRESENCE….”
            
         She drew blank after that and never appeared to follow the train of the excerpt. There was another presence beside her now.
            
          “What do you make of such a description? Anything more or less close to them, do you think…. Or is it me only who believes in the infallibility of bad omens?”
            
           She drew blank yet again and faced him with a stupid smile.
            
          It was hard then for them to precisely ascertain the immediate purport of these notes appearing large on the monitor of the crewman’s cabins; equally devious it was for these apprentices’ hands to negotiate matters that fell truly beyond their reach. For they had, for days on end, become accustomed to messages and alerts that spoke of planets and satellites, and other abandoned vessels in these intergalactic domains. Traffic had increased a lot in the galactic zones and there were increasing incidences of vessels being abandoned at short notice just to mitigate the unwarranted disaster accredited to the cumbersome sizes of travelling spaceships---not to mention that of the sparring ones.
        
            At such a moment and period of time it became necessary for the ones on patrol duty to maintain the level of junk below that causing any further inconvenience. And thus they were quite accustomed to receiving mail and on-screen alerts in the form of messages depicting the level of natural resources, that of ventilation, of the amount of security besides the general assessment of robotic and human resources. Only in the last few days they had received a really detailed analysis of a particular vessel:
      
         “…VESSEL LOCATED CENTRIPETALLY WITH AN INORDINATELY PERFORMING CREWBOARD. THE BOARDING PLATFORMS ARE SAUCER SHAPED AND THESE FAN OUT AT THE REAR LIKE THE APPEARANCE OF A CHINAPLATE WITH CAT’S WHISKERS. THE CONTROL ROOM WHICH WAS LARGE ENOUGH TO HOLD AROUND A DOZEN MARSHALING LIEUTENANTS NOW APPEARED DESERTED IN RETROSPECT AND AT PRESENT IS BEING POWERED AND RUN BY TWO Q-14 SERIES ROBOTS. BESIDES THEM THERE IS PRESENCE OF LIMITED HUMAN ACTIVITY IN THE FORM OF AN OLD GOVERNESS AND A TROUPE OF SCHOOLCHILDREN RETURNING FROM A JOYRIDE, A HAPLESS TERRIER WHO SEEMED TO HAVE LOST IT’S MASTER, AND NOW, MORE THAN EVER, SEEMED AT HOME WITH HIS SPARRING PARTNER---A ROBOTNIK DOG. AND ALSO DESERVING MENTION WERE THE LEVELS OF WATER SUPPLY AND POWER AND REFUSE DISPOSAL AT HAND…..”
                
           And so on and so forth….to a limitless description of the nth particle of the ship. These new monitors on board the ship’s control panel have changed the lives of those on board for the better or for the worse. Now such immaculate descriptions were all too often and raised eyebrows of those on board.
                
           “The description seems interesting, no doubt. How many more messages like this have we received today? I feel that they are junk for the most part.”
                
           “Not here… in this instance, I feel. The craft will need volunteers then I will do it for myself.”
              
           “You cannot go there all by yourselves. You will need help.”
              
           “Do you really mean to say that you are interested in this? I hardly ever had given a thought to this in conjunction with you.”
            
          “But I mean to investigate into this further, and I would like it very much to take you under my wing….under my division.”
              
         She did not respond but instead looked at him sharply. She hated his thinking that he was the benefactor around here. But beneficiary or not, she would like to have her own independent spirit guiding her. That would not mark her as a headstrong and rebellious individual ---- for had it been that she would never had come up trumps in the tough test that novices went through under the eagle eyes of the commander.
              
         She deeply admired their commander for his experience and tact in matters of inter-galactic travel and vehicles were exemplary. They never dared to question her and even during the period when they were trying to apply another dimension to the now frequently employed medium of time-travel she had to quench her curiosity for this new stock of affairs at the peremptory manner of his directives and at whose behest they had to negotiate a daily routine of alerts notifying the geographical plentitude of several planets and abandoned spaceships. For the last few days, however, he had been missing from his routine schedule following the docking of a Q10 into their midst. He had been busy teleconferencing and then conferencing in a large body meet of earth’s marshals and other living planets in the galaxy. He had appointed another one in his stead.
        
          Nowadays they used the ‘time warp’ less often and that, owing to the fifth dimension of parity, meant that every person or robot will have mechanical and physical counterparts somewhere in the complex mire of space time (now space-time-parity). As a result of which the traffic through different time frames seemed an ubiquitous affair that weighed on the space patrollers more or less.
        
          Less so, here, at this particular point of time when most of them on space patrolling duties in this particular spot were under the weight of severe orders from the high command to be on the lookout for a group of rugged space pirates that had been creating a grand nuisance. Their trail was often offset by trains of ubiquitous space ‘smog’---junk messages and signals that undermined a spaceship’s self-tracking mechanism and then led them onto deviant pathways that ended up by the ship being mislaid.
          
         So as a measure to rectify the situation the commander-in-chief was deep down in discussion in a special aircraft expressly brought in for this important summit.
            
         But she still had her complaints to herself and under the new commander she felt as if her inner resolve was being made a mockery of. 1 comment


      ---------------------------
There soon arose an element of acrimony that threatened to eat up life in the space station. The origins of the seeds of dissidence were sown soon after the elderly commander-in-chief left for the most important meeting of navigating minds in the last ten years leaving one at  the helm who reserved equivocal opinions regarding a portion of the crew.
              
There had been a major clash with the acting commander-in-chief a few days back relating to his move to dock another Q10 spacecraft in the vicinity of the free runway of vehicles and traffic close to the KP536 asteroid cluster in the Andromeda solar chain. The behavior of the group leader and the way he carried himself left a lot of bitterness in the hearts of the people manning the spacecraft.
            
She thought that the days following that one incident were torrid periods of standing alert with part of the crews mental focus shifting all the time from being on their toes on all occasions whenever they crossed the line of Q10 spaceships manning the outermost zones of these line of asteroids to paying attention to a heated debate on board as to the egregious mentality of the acting commander.
          
The spacecraft was a Q10 itself and their duty consisted largely of manning the outer zones of the Eastern asteroid groups located near the Planet Zelda 13 located in the Saturnalias constellation. Being one of the Volker groups of satellite stations they had to be always at the tip of their toes on the alert and sensitive to all forms of communication connecting them with their ilk and even beyond that. This led to several exaggerations and mislaid views regarding the duty of the crew on board; and it was on account of this that few of the crew members received a chastening two months back because of their attempts to track down a spaceship even beyond their patrolling area and one that raised a lot of questions and eyebrows in the sphere of galactic security.
              
So it was then that we relate the events concerning the people on board the ‘Charybdis IV’ Q10 spacecraft when there arose split factions in the manned spaceship ‘Poltava V’.


--------------------
    
She was, all of a sudden, thinking things that diverted her minds from the not-so-bright developments on board the ship. One comes across these sorts of spaceships quite often these days. Sometimes they would be vessels that are abandoned somewhat abruptly but, at other times according to some pre-arranged directive. Besides nowadays a portion of intellectuals and scientists were devising newer views of unmanned spacecrafts floating in the midst of the debris of space-time. So in times as dynamic as it is at present, one could guess at a lot of things, she thought! And even if you do not you are sure to come across one of these predicaments in a  more formal manner.
    
She was now thinking of making a trip to this isolated spacecraft. Right now, as she could observe well from the monitors on board, this mysterious craft had put on a coat of mystery all too abruptly so that she felt as if a solitary eye was looking down at her from the craft and through the portholes of their craft right into their secret chambers. She felt paranoid all of a sudden. She thought as if there were wild creatures about her roaming somewhere in the corners of the ship ready to pounce on her  helpless self which then was able to utter only a single, despairing sob. For she felt as if the entire spaceship had turned against her, alienated her into an ugly state.
      
But she felt her paranoia getting on her nerves right then. She knew that she had it coming on her nerves right then. She knew a lot about this beleaguered self state of ill will that was disposed to turn against oneself and how it took its turns at possessing herself. And now it became even more prominent after the acting commander had devised his own ploy for the mysterious spacecraft--- a proposal which she could never agree to.
    
She controlled herself somehow. They then told her again that two persons had been selected to go aboard the mysterious vessel. She was then deliberating on how she would explore this ship which she believed would unearth a whole lot of crap. However on hearing the latest news she straightened herself and started along at a brisk trot that almost appeared as if she would break out on a run. It seemed as if she had decided on something.


--------------------
    
Inside the lonely spacecraft everything was still; not a paper turned, neither a door closed. And inside it felt like a harmless machine cast out among a platoon of ogre-like military fleets; it was placid and possessed a calm that was completely in contrast to its name.
    
Underneath the opening hall that led through roomy corridors on to several rooms replete with machinery, something could be felt stirring. If anyone had been present in these nether domains one would have felt that some other form of life resided there in close conjunction with the intricate machinery that made up the majority of the great spaces filling the ship’s interior.
      
Within the forequarters of this magnificent spacecraft (although smaller when compared with the majority of the spacecrafts of the Volker chain) the parlor reigned supreme for the magnificence of the upper boards that covered the roof and made up the ceiling. They were inlaid in gold and whalebone besides being crafted all over with the likeness of marble that gave the sheen of ivory to the entire structure. Besides this there were several expensive paintings on the walls along with a well stocked library that bespoke of a person with definite literary and cultural tastes. One of these---clad in a picture frame with colours indicating its origin from some science fiction work ---showed the asteroid cluster of a certain innate system whose sun, by virtue of some exceptionally strong field of attraction created newer paths for its asteroids to explore and which delimited those paths by way of engulfing those same asteroids and planets it had given birth to. A system like that would not be known in these parts but was on those which, to the keener eyes of the self-speculating cosmologist, were rare and frightening sights to unravel for their utmost novelty.
        
From the great parlor onwards one passed through several dimly lighted corridors that led from its origins to their distant end to several rooms oddly placed in relation to their particular position and size. These odd rooms one would tend to overlook following the brilliance the hall cast in the eyes of the beholder and these, in their turn, struck a very odd but requisite balance in producing the overall impression on the beholder when he would enter the spaceship after watching previously the entire craft in bland terms, in full profile as a solitary object and one in which he would have expected a lot while following the contours of the ship made more explicit by the subtitle which conferred it with traits characteristic of the whirlpool in the Greek mythologies.
        
But hark! Everything was not silent. For like the serpent that crawls in the grass sliding and scraping away at the dirt; but all the while alive with a silent force, there was definitely something astir in these quiet domains.
        
A casual glance over all the quarters of this ship would never reveal to its fullest one grand room located towards the Western wings of the ship facing the Central hallway, and separated from it by some sixty odd rooms and the equivalent number of corridors. And in it a certain storm was gathering force, ready to blow up at the shortest notice and cause tumults of suppressed rage and horror. The thing brewing was vile in all purports and watching it, with a calculating head, was a master who seemed to be laughing his heart out silently at the wreck and havoc it would cause and then confessing it at the open spaces above him, towards the ceiling.


      -------------------
“I must put a stop to this,” she went off almost at a run, nearly tripping in her way the conveyance robot that crossed the threshold of that room. She had one running thought in her mind then and that was to set off something on her own and she then meant to spark off things here by blunting the acting commander’s directive in the first instance.
      
She met the commander in his room and she directly questioned him on the misappropriation of his position by neglecting her fervent pleas to be the one major individual who went on to explore the mysterious spacecraft. The debate got very heated and during the tenure of that she often had a feeling that this time around she would have to eat humble pie and that her fervent appeals were getting bolder and audacious every moment.
        
She came out of the commander’s room very flustered and humiliated. At the end the commander had to order her out of the room and had even expressly ordered his men to send her to detention, more or less so formally. She had thus risked herself by holding conference with the acting commander.
        
She would have been thus locked up in close confines and we would have nothing more to tell about this coarse adventure had not fortune struck up in her favour. It had been already stated that feelings ran high in the ship against the new commander and his directives. And right then the ship appeared to be divided into two different factions---- one of which sided with her and were against the Commander’s rules, and the other half at the tips of their toes following his orders.
      
So when a portion of the attendant guardsman came in to lead her away to detention, these mutineering portions of the troops gave way to a scuffle which continued for a few minutes after which one of the troops leading her was floored by a powerful blow that took in a portion of his jaw. Later on the scuffle became even more riotous and a couple of men from the administrative boxes, rough and on the lookout for mischief became involved in her cause and from then on it became a major mutiny on board the Poltava V.
        
In the beginning they were just seeking to free her from the Commander’s directives. But now the business became much more serious and they ran around the place turning to seize the controls of the ship. A couple of those dangerous mutineers went to the far eastern part of the ship. After about ten minutes a loud sound was heard as if a shot had been fired. A couple of the mutineers along with a few of the resistance moved towards the fore portion of the ship which was deserted and then tried the the Commander’s room. There they could see the commander lying prostate on the floor in a pool of his own blood. The second lieutenant (who was one of those from the administrative part who joined in the party) was standing over him with his big firearm that was used to target the enemy’s head in his hands. “We take the controls from here,” he bellowed out at the top of his voice. The people of the resistance fled in horror from this horrible sight and some of those rough volunteers looked stricken and began to question the second lieutenant as to the enormity of the act he had committed.
      
On the other hand the girl had managed to reach the portion of the ship which led through an elevated opening to the diving platform for those that were about to leave the ship with the mission to board the mysterious Q10 in their vicinity.
        
She did not have many words to offer regarding her behavior then. Instead she resorted to action in the like manner of her comrades and in a span of few minutes had taken control of that portion of the ship so that they took on the two flight engineers and forced them to change their plans accordingly.
        
So it was that she, along with a companion besides one of the scheduled persons, was to go on board the mysterious aircraft. And indeed things began happening so fast as they got themselves ready for the scheduled flight that they were unaware of the tragedy that took place on the other side of the ship.


--------------------------


Now when she went along with the other two to board the mysterious Q10 she was harbouring presumptions of her own make which she would not have liked confide with others. These consisted of her own assumptions regarding the possible conditions under which the ship’s guardians would have decided to set themselves at bay in such a perilous realm; for indeed no fit assumption could be placed there for the undertaking of so thrifty a venture and then to commit oneself to the lack of tact in placing one’s own man and fleet prey to such a hazardous inspection was in itself a mode of ‘hara-kiri’ whether the purpose be thoughtless speculation or harmless reconnoitering. Indeed the willful artifice of every indolent venture that was allowed to make a runaway was evident in the unlimited traffic that had  become for the runaway strip this side of the galactic realm a heavy price to bear.
      
She knew perfectly well that being a Q10 spacecraft meant that the mysterious vessel was here for dubious missions whose fortunes entailed me more than patrolling and reconnoitering privileges. The matter would have been different had it been a Q14 spacecraft for then those would have reasons a plenty to explore and that which would then proceed to plain assault. This she could come to a conclusion very clearly.
      
Once they were out in space there was an uplifting feeling in their entire beings as they could now observe their home station as things they could now compare with themselves, both in mind and spirit. The ‘Charybdis’ spacecraft was lying still, towards the western part of their own ‘Poltava’ and was visible as a huge flying bird with its rear parts much wider than that of other Q10 spacecrafts.
        
When they boarded the Q10 they found that the opening for the entrance closet was open and was not locked from the insides. They entered the rehearsal and dressing room for that ship and found that most of the thing was in due order and not like they felt it from outside to be all in disarray.
          
Once they were into the main reception their minds held on to the steadfast opinion that the ship was abandoned at an early period of its flying career. This theory looked more than probable. But they were slightly confused that the artificial gravity was working in the ship for the usual rules of the spacecraft made artificial gravity programmable to work only through a code-linked operating system. But to find that artificial gravity was working prior to their entry pointed to an assumption far different from what they were thinking. Artificial gravity could, in these days, be produced even by outsiders entering a craft through means of some intricate machinery. But they knew that none of the three had produced it, so that it had been present before they entered. Under the influence of this strong gravity they were loitering smoothly around the main reception. There they remained for a while gazing at the paintings which they took in at a gander. Evidently the picture of the asteroid cluster held them in full attention. The asteroid chain there depicted looked so much like the one they were guarding at present that they were like ragged dolls engulfed by their own miseries and preoccupations. They felt like they could see there certain foreshadow of things to come and of events that were beginning to take shape and that which will shape the future generations. So they lingered there filling their minds then with a presentiment that seemed to foretell them and the ones looking at their faces that the things taking place were not necessarily for the betterment of their causes but, in fact, they were breeding a vile premonition for the future.
        
All of a sudden they could hear a ringing peal of noise all over the vessel. There was a voice that could be heard, probably through the radio on board the ship----a thing which, strangely, their on board monitors was not able to detect the mysterious craft. “Welcome aboard, gentlefolk. It is a privilege for me to have as guests someone from a neighbouring vehicle.” The voice was ominous, she felt as so did the other two of the ‘Poltava’ on board the ‘Charybdis’ did. The voice was loud and appeared in all directions. It came from all directions at once and this spoke of the excellence of the communication system on it.
      
“I would like to meet you soon, ladies and gentleman. For your convenience I am sending a robot sentry to lead you to me. Rest assured  it will unfailingly lead you people to me. We will set down to after the brief introduction.”
        
The voice thus continued in the same, unvarying tones and soon enough, at his dispatch, there arrived a medium-sized sentry robot (half the size of man) through an opening which till now had been closed. It began to carry out its order accordingly and led us three through that opening up some elevator.
          
She had the feeling that they were being stiffened and straitjacketed there, and that their own free will was being bound and tied.


-------------------------------


Right at the moment that the noise had blocked off all means of hearing and reasoning on board the ‘Poltava’ space station, there arose a fog that appeared to drown out of existence whatever was happening in the ship at that moment. The fog arose and took its shape in the form of a leaky safety valve in the western part of the ship that formed a protective shield against the entry of foreign and unwanted matter that might be brewing in the machinery section. It arose imperceptibly and it seemed as if it would eat up the entire ship. Right now when all the ship’s crew were up to something momentous the fog rose up in spite of all the colours of the ship and gave a new hue to everything inside.
        
The men who took charge of the ship next were unaware of this fact together with the whole crew. Together these people had murdered three of the most important personages on board including the acting commander-in-chief.
          
But the fog in the quiet western part of the ship appeared to take control from there and to all appearances aimed to possess everything. It travelled onwards with a keen insistence and took everything in its wake.
          
The rooms over there had doors which were around three feet wide and ten feet tall. But even these powerful barriers proved fruitless in preventing its onward insistence. It left behind a null, a void in its wake. And strange it would have been for any viewer to observe the walls over there assemble slowly and surely in a calculated process that left a wave of destruction behind it--- a bog empty that would not be filled up by mortal hands. For those hands would be then crushed away and torn apart at the insistence and fury of the entire process.
      
The rooms bordering the western parts of the ship’s machinery appeared to disintegrate slowly, soundlessly and there was one on board the mysterious ‘Charybdis’ who would be smiling contentedly at these movements which he could sense all the while…..
        
In fact the spacecraft ‘Poltava V’ had preserved some of the older parts of the machinery reserved for the safekeeping of a fuel that was said to drive out any amount and quality of foreign dust or particle that leaked into the space station. These qualities had once made it useful in securing the defenses of this ship at a period of time which will no longer be repeated. The discovery had made the person famous but strangely after around three decades of usage they intended to discontinue it much to the apprehension of military and space personnel. However they were appeased by the proposition of one major fuel establishment who had devised newer and more profitable means in terms of money and space.
          
But these appeared to rise now to a point where the anxious onlookers would despairingly count out the time before the holocaust began.


------------------------------------


When the three prisoners were led before the person behind the booming voice that had shook the ship they had remained entirely still for the echoes behind the voice were all too omnipotent in these quarters whose stillness rang out like a hollow gong inside them. The chamber which they then entered nearly brought out a suppressed of exclamation from them. The room was big and spread from one end to another for about thirty feet and in its spread covered a motley array of devices and other artifices that were sequenced in order like carton boxes strewn loosely all over the place like matchboxes, and were programmed sequentially in a disciplinary manner so that to the occasional but shy viewer they would appear like some modern machinery dressed to kill.
        
The person, who had been all this while sitting with his back to them counting out the last pieces of some chessboard, now turned to face them.
        
A shock passed through the young girl’s face as she recognized him.
          
“Professor!.....So it is you then who had been spreading terror among several planetary systems. You have been making life a hell.” Her voice which started with a shock gradually evened out and ended with a hiss of hateful contempt.
        
“Indeed it is me, young lady. The unfortunate professor whose invention was cruelly discarded by your papa one fine day ten years ago. It led ultimately to my own ruinous fortunes in the enterprise I had chosen to form.”
          
He preserved a perfect composure during the delivery of this speech.
          
“We had a lot to settle in terms of our involvement with each other, young lady. Indeed these we remember not as some forgettable incident of a decade ago but something that still preserves a fresh face that brings in with its sight the storm of retribution.”
          
The Professor was of medium height, but with a strong, wiry figure that bespoke of a person who can endure hard toil. He was dressed in grey and buttoned up to his neck with thick, golden buttons like one presiding before an entire assembly of spaceman. His head was round and he wore thick, side whiskers and besides that his hair was neatly brushed back from his temples. He did not wear glasses. His hands were very restless and all the time during his even speech they were fingering the stray buttons in his sleeves and another one in his collar.
      
“I had loved you once and therefore I am honoured to have you in my presence to watch me while I enact the charters of destruction amongst these asteroid clusters.”
        
“I loved you once knowing that you were a most intelligent person without anything to spite for. But now you cannot call upon my former love for you to gain my favour. You have crossed the line and have gone beyond it. You have become a  man of hate and a cause to spite for.”
        
“I do not need other’s mercies for now you are the ones at my mercy. And soon I will have all the people in this asteroid belt under my heels doing my bidding. You will see soon how the thing that I developed over the years can be turned into a destructive weapon. For indeed I aim to target it thus…. as a weapon of mass destruction.”    
          
The three prisoners who were now bound by invisible bonds that bound hem securely were led on to a giant screen which captured a view of their own space station and the asteroid clusters surrounding it. Their sights then received a rude shock when they saw a huge asteroid enter these domains. It evaded all the other asteroids in this belt and all other defense mechanisms by following a trajectory which they could not have credited any galactic object to be able to follow. But the thing they came to understand very soon was that its path was modulated and modified in the presence of some artificial gravitational field. And now the asteroid (which, by the look of it, would have been around five and a half kilometers in length) was targeting, apparently, one of the spaceships of that chain!
    
“Surely you are not contemplating anything of that sort, professor.”
        
The professor let out a loud guffaw.
    
“I am exactly contemplating on that sort of a feasible venture. The thing I showed you was only a simulated experiment of the thing I am planning now.”
        
And with that he led the way from their miniature model of his plan to the giant screen that made up the central monitor on board the station which held the view of the asteroid belt with its myriad groups scattered around a periphery of millions of mile. It also carried the view of the spaceship belt which were the silent troopers in this part of the universe protecting every minute detail of the system.
        
“You may be wondering how I would intend to push the margins of the gravitational field beyond its usual confines of being bound to a single trajectory. No… I create much more than that. I explore all possible trajectories with the material I discovered. I destroy all your ships in these parts with that single matter. Through my experiments I developed this matter as a suicide solution to all problems of space. It can destroy itself carrying in its wake countless volumes of matter that would not then spill into space but would be then limited by a compact domain of dark matter that would be hard to detect. And now I am creating just that to your Papa’s ship.”
      
The monitor than focused its eyes on the ‘Poltava V’. Her eyes then became wide with horror when she saw the slowly disintegrating space station. She saw the western parts of the ship in an odd light now that its limited parts were thin and can be visualized from outside. She could see from there a black hole emanating from its rears, growing at a slow but decisive rate that gave indications as to the precarious nature of the ship’s progressive deterioration. It was horrifying to her sight as well as the other two prisoners!


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Everything on board the ‘Poltava V’ appeared to be in disarray. The frames on which hung sights of ancient worlds fell loose and crashed in multitudes and in tumultuous waves and heaps. The devices on board the control rooms and the control panels themselves seemed astir with the spirit of revolution. For all of a sudden, within their midst something had to come to engulf them…to envelop them in an icy hug of death seeking a life in that other world of restless souls that sought to free others like them from the corruptible blanket of daily life for the living.
      
All was astir now, like another time long way back in those tumultuous periods which crafted this spaceship and when, all matter was in its most basic element. They now created a din that matched the din of that processing arena where all the matter crammed itself together to create a single piece of vessel suitable for space travel. Now those parts were in revolt and every knot, every screw and every board tearing up from its place bore testimony to it before disappearing into that incongruous bit of matter that was eating up that ship. And not just the ship but also the humans contained in it.
        
The people there tried to escape the tragic calamity that befell the ship. Indeed the lieutenants were tearing down the special crafts and were making out to leave the ship as soon as possible. Indeed the message had spread and was quite clear in all the nearby stations and planetary systems and the headquarters: the ship was dying and dying fast! It was being eaten up by some nameless monster! Those who were able to escape the slowly creeping decay were fortunate in doing so, for the decay had crept upon a few of those spacecrafts about to leave and then enmeshed them in its dark web…..
          
The ship was dying….and so this system will too! It cannot evade the domineering march of this dreadful decay.



          


A few days later the news flash that made the momentous impact on the regular lives of the people among the different planetary systems was the story of the disintegrating space stations and the terrible fate of the people on board those. As to how that event came to take place they had no idea but a significant portion of the scientific fraternity tried to centerstage as an important side event the presence of a mysterious ship on the same piece of galactic strip as those of the security stations. According to many something happening aboard this ship led to the fateful termination of the dreadful decay that took over and emptied the life and fuel aboard the row of spaceships that patrolled the area of the VOLKER regime of surveillance stations. The news was also that three of the members of one of these crafts had made a patrolling trip to this mysterious craft but, unfortunately, could not return back from that. And only several hours after their departure the decay started to make its appearance beginning with that unfortunate ship. It was also interesting to note that she was the daughter of one of the seniormost Lieutenants of the entire fleet. The biggest misfortune was the destruction of this selfsame ship which, according to records, was named ‘Charybdis IV’ and probably held the clue behind the entire process and how the thing cooled down after this one appeared to undergo a self-immolatory ritual, apparently. Probably the storm of retribution cast its lot from the avenging army of ships.


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