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09 August 2017

Puppets Die, Puppets Cry

Hello Readers!

This one was my entry for Deccan Herald's Short Story Contest 2017. The results are out....Didn't make it to the top 3..Hence thought I'll post it here...I'm planning to give it a shot every year though...all thanks to my friend Sara for motivating me :) Hope you guys like it!

I look at him with pity. I am not allowed to feel anything. I am supposed to carry out the sentence, which I definitely will. But I cannot stop myself from feeling sorry for the whole situation, for him, for me. He looks right into my eyes and I can see disappointment in his…not fear, which has me stunned as I am used to seeing fear in the eyes at the other end of the weapon. My eyes fill with tears when I point the laser to this temple and I give an involuntary shout of helplessness when I pull the trigger at point blank range…..
The year is 6100 AD. The location is Asia Major. The name is AS3ZOD1F76070. The occupation is Arbitrator. The emotional quotient Zero. The social Order is Elite.
Let me elaborate the above paragraph:
Yes. This is set in the future. Around four thousand years from your time. A time where everything is synthetic and artificial. Morals and Values changed drastically. We are fearful of letting go of this lifestyle, the one that is most harmful yet the one we are most comfortable with.
The geopolitical locations are divided based on the continents. The concept of countries, states long gone
What’s with the weird name you say? Well.. I feel your old fashioned names are really weird as they do not follow any format nor serve any purpose other than identifying oneself. Though I feel it fails in that singular aspect as well. Your name would not communicate anything to me save for the fact that it was chosen by your sires according to their fancy. Mine for example would immediately let the listener know that I am born in Asia, am a female, have a DNA code starting with Z indicating my Genes are one of the healthiest, undergone 7 medical procedures at birth (which is extremely rare as the usual ‘at birth procedures’ that one goes through will usually be around 250) , age 30 Earth Years
Who is an Arbitrator? An individual with the highest authority which cannot be questioned by anyone but another Arbitrator of the same ranking. He/ She has the authority to arrest, forgive, judge, condemn and execute anybody. A Policeman, a Prosecutor, a Defendant, a Jury, a Judge and an executor, all rolled into one and would pass the sentence at any point of time, right at the place of crime or confrontation
What is an emotional Quotient? Well, unlike your times, where IQ was the one sufficient to land you a Job, in our times, IQ is just a preliminary. One’s EQ score would dictate the role one played in the society. Higher the role, lesser should be the EQ. With mine being the least 0.1% in the populace, I was selected to be an Arbitrator and since I am ranked in the top 1% bracket of Arbitrators, I am of the elite Arbitrator class. I am never emotional on the job but who would have guessed that I would be bawling like a newborn after I encounter him.
We Arbitrators are there to eliminate threats to our society. That is our foremost goal. Any person who poses as a threat to our way of life needs to be eliminated. Because we are nothing without our way of life.
It was just another day of duty. Policed a few petty criminals, judged them for 2 years hard labor. Had caught a would-be drugs peddler. Since he was a minor, judged him into juvenile institution. Thwarted a Kidnapping attempt, found him guilty of a series of crimes in the past as well. Decided he is harmful to the society and executed him as a result of my verdict.
Little did I realize my world would be turned upside down in a few moments. I was doing a routine patrol in Area 54 which was a bit too deserted for my liking. It just spelled ‘trouble’. I was alert for any danger as I rounded a corner and came face to face with a person I’ll never forget in my life.
Instinct had me reaching for my gun and in a split second, I had the barrel pointing to his face. He just looked at me in a disinterested sort of way. I braked “Announce yourself suspect!” 
He deadpanned ‘Sebastian Lorde’. I glared at him and snapped “The next joke will cost you your life!” He just stood there.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and pulled out the scanner. This device would tell me a lot about the individual it is pointed at. When I got the readings, I was dumbstruck! The readings cannot be true!! Was my scanner faulty? Or was this person somehow …??
Let me elaborate, in another 500 years from your time, due to a lot of factors, a naturally healthy child is non-existent and by our time, a child at birth would have a lot of inadequacies. A child is always born with defects such as missing limbs, missing fingers, missing ears, etc.. Hence, a lot of medical procedures after birth is a must. I was a rarity where fewer procedures were required. But I too had two limbs missing. We have advanced so much medically, that artificial limbs could be implanted that would grow as your body grows. There were no births recorded wherein the baby had all the limbs. Also, the maximum life expectancy of a human being in my time is 50 Earth years, the average being 40 Earth years.
What had me flabbergasted was that according to my scanner, the man in front of me had no artificial limbs! He was born perfect which can never be! This had not happened for centuries and the only recorded baby who was born without any defects was in the year 3100 AD and now that I think back to my history lesson, his name was Sebastian too!!. Also, another stunning fact was that my faithful scanner was announcing to me that the person was 62 years old! He didn’t look a day over 30!
I watch him and he just nods his head. I still do not relax my stance. I just whisper ‘How?’ to him.
He takes a deep breath and tells me that the enemy I perceive isn’t the real enemy.  This sentence shakes me to my very core! I almost lose my grip on my gun. Almost, but I don’t. I am shaken because those were the words my father said to me before succumbing to an Arbitrator’s bullet.
Yes. He was shot before my own eyes. Why? They said he was conspiring against the government. My mind is on overdrive! I’m trying to connect the pieces.. I am vaguely arriving at a point of realization! Maybe these so called conspirators are naturalists defying the current way of life! Maybe dad was one too! Maybe I should be one too! But before I can come to a conclusion, I receive a directive…

I get a command on my earpiece and a visual identifying the person in front of me as a war criminal. I need to execute him right away as that’s the only sentence for war criminals. I know that it’s a false accusation made on him and is intended to eliminate him but I cannot go against our judiciary. I have a million unanswered questions but I steel myself and grip my gun harder…..


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention �� As I have already told you, this story and the setting is way beyond the boundaries of my own imagination. I never thought that one could coneceptualize humans born after thousands of years. Probably I always believed that the world would end before that! �� Kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

Excellent, can't wait for the future...hahaha...keep the stories coming...Arun

Mohan said...

Very well written. Nicely crafted. The story telling is gripping despite being linear.
Rating: 5 Stars

Anonymous said...

This story is gripping to explore the depth you have envisaged.Well written with good imagination Medini. Good one.
Ravishankar Sukumar

Pavvis said...

Told u many have strong fantasies created on futuristic life :) . And I got the inner line "there is no place for human emotions in future" . Keep these stories coming ...may be we can send to Hollywood ��. Good read.

Siddhartha Das said...

Hi Medini, I love this story. Concise and powerful! I suggest you watch the film "Ghost in the Shell". It deals with fantastic concepts. We can talk about it after the next poetry meet. :)

Medini An said...

Thanks Siddartha :)

I will definitely watch the suggested movie before we meet again! If there's one thing I enjoy more than watching a good movie, its discussing about it with like minded individuals :)