Bewildering Stories

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Neptune Spies


by Deep Bora

Part 1 appeared in issue 57.
Part 2 appeared in issue 58.

The investigator waited for a while as the other members made unrelated talk within reasonable limits pertaining to the matter at hand. An absence of further reasoning made matters incomprehensive. He shifted upon the chrome steel chair to encompass the entire group within his peripheral sight, before beginning to speak pointedly to the second lady personnel amidst them.

“You are a member of interplanetary field counter-intelligence?

“Yes sir! Do you know me?”


“Have you ever heard of me?

“Not that I can ever recall prior to this day. Now I gather you are pretty senior and directly from Earth Stations. Maybe you represent Earth Advanced Research Space Lab One, or the Central Forward Research Space Lab. I wouldn’t be sure.” Her answer contained rings of truth.

He next turned to face the first gentleman, whom he met upon Pluto, inside the zero-gravity taxi.

“Your lady friend also belongs to the same cadre?” He obviously referred to his lady companion accompanying them from the same taxi.

“Yes, sir!”

“Would you care to explain what on earth you may be doing here upon Pluto’s moon now? Your squadron is with IPF intelligence and not interplanetary field counter-intelligence.”

The deputy chief of IPFC Intel hastily intervened: “He has been detailed to represent his main organization — simple Field intelligence — and his presence serves more as a decoy. His presence amongst us simply adds to the fact that other people associated with ‘lifting’ of the spaceship easily identify us as members of IPF intelligence and thereby our actual identity as personnel within counter-intelligence of interplanetary field organization remains an undisclosed fact.”

“You’re right. This happens as long as we are under direct and open observation, particularly at public places like the shopping market or the zero-gravity cabs. However, he had been directed much earlier to exit from our company as soon as your group comes into contact with personnel from Earth Stations. Accordingly, fifty Earth minutes have passed since your recognition of my identity and, as per guidelines, he is scheduled to excuse himself from us. Those were his orders.” The words were delivered devoid of traces of anger in his voice. “ Or would you need a written identity confirmation?

“I was under orders to follow you all and report your activities...”

“You, dear sir, shall no longer take the privilege of relaying our secret meetings and discussions to certain IPF Intel personnel, now located upon Neptune One.” The words were final and conclusive.

“Do you mean to say that this total game plan is over?” The deputy chief of IPFC Intel said, immediately as the Intel spy was escorted away from audible hearing range of the group. “That my intelligence agent escort was a part of this ‘lifters’ group?”

“Exactly so. This man was totally unaware of our involvement with IPF counter-intelligence. For all practical purposes he assumed that we belonged to simple Earth and Pluto intelligence agencies and were involved in total search of the missing spaceship. However, his behavior pattern altered considerably, markedly, from the very moment he heard IPFC Intel talks amongst us. He was involved in relaying your derivations of the matter at hand, to those now involved with ‘lifting’ the spaceship. I managed to keep matters under control, by not allowing him to excuse himself for temporary phases of time, not even to the toilet.”

* * *

He left for Earth Central Research Space Lab, bypassing all forward space research labs and advance labs upon Pluto, Jupiter and Mars primarily, just in time and barely few hours prior to the commencement of those wind storms which swept across Pluto’s surface.

On this occasion he decided to fly past the second moon, a slight unplanned detour, more for choice sake rather than for any other valid reason.

It was proved beyond doubt that infiltration within the ranks of interplanetary field intelligence and IPF counter-intelligence was always an open question and possible. After debriefing, the counter-Intel people did agree that they were on constant guard with the sole Intel spy. However, none understood his actual involvement, for nobody ever suspected the fact that the chief of IPFC Intel had made a routine programme appear complex. He did just about effectively prove his case to the World Council, and senior to that, to Earth Command.

Nevertheless, with application of phrased codes, they did successfully manage to bring the non-abducted yet ‘lifted’ spaceship located upon Neptune One back inside the hangars of Pluto, wherein hundreds of other interplanetary rockets were docked or parked. One Pluto day later, the investigator, who totally disallowed the hangar-astronaut coordinator from speaking upon certain subjects, was at the controls of Earth’s latest design model of interstellar flight spaceship. This particular spaceship was designed by senior engineer personnel attached to Earth Advanced Research Space Labs and Forward Research Space Labs and to respective labs upon Mars, Jupiter and Pluto for further experimental journeys,

He was advised to steer for Earth land areas immediately after the ship bypassed Earth’s Moon, a directive that was duly accepted and encrypted into computer readings controlling flight movements. Prior to that, they had decided to skip a halt at Mars advanced space research lab primarily for the time factor; this would inordinately delay other matters under consideration.

One mile above earth’s given coordinates, he applied zero-gravity brakes whilst activating one single computer allowing zero-gravity procedures and effects to take overtake control of the few manual and computer-assisted mechanical functions of the spaceship.

He wondered whether Earth Command — the formation of supreme council of members responsible for proper functioning of Earth matters and other habited planets within their Solar System — might allow him primary use of the spaceship rather than older and conventional versions of the rocket ships, many of which were allotted to him for purpose of interplanetary visits and also for controlled, chartered deep space flights.

He ended a sort of rumination as the spaceship gently ended its flight from Pluto, floating yet ever so gently over rough and stony Earth at ground level, barely a centimeter above home planet.

The principles pertaining to zero gravity were always explained to certain select space personnel and were as such: “Gravity and the effects of the pull of gravity ensure that an object, or air, or gases, normally found within atmospheric levels of a planet — and at times beyond such levels — is pulled towards the surface of such a planet. That is an exact reason why we always fall back or land upon the ground even if we jump upward, in natural states and without assistance of artificial means like hydrogen balloons.

“This also forms a rational answer as to why raindrops always fall down towards earth: simply because earth’s gravitational attraction pulls the raindrops to the ground. Gravitational force of the earth also ensures that all the precious gases present in our atmosphere and which also comprise of the atmosphere — existing in the form of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, helium, and carbon dioxide to name a few important gases — remain suspended in the air all around us and do not escape into the vacuum outside, into outer space.”

The select personnel were also made to attend higher learning courses prior to embarking upon space voyages.

“If you can rationally understand the above, well, try to grasp the following.”

Space personnel almost always maintained a minimum level of silence during such sessions, held inside Forward research space labs, or the Advanced Labs.

“We have developed zero-gravity machines whereby the effects of gravity are countered and therefore, in effect, we are capable of altering various states in the manner of rest and in motion. By negating the effects of gravity in governing our basic mechanical movements, our spaceships and rockets are capable of performing wonders in relation to space travels and are capable of achieving even faster attainable speeds of our modern-day vehicles upon earth and the other habited planets.

“Thus, in effect, we have been prompted to create certain conditions whereby our mechanically operated vehicles, including interplanetary rockets and now interstellar spaceships, are comfortably positioned to somehow float approximately one centimeter to an inch above ground level. Care may be taken while assigning the factors leading to operation of such vehicles upon Pluto, or even Jupiter. These planets have variant levels of gravitational pulls and even Mars cannot be stated to be equal to that of Earth.

“However, needless to say here that these vehicles, when subjected to zero-gravity procedures, are comparable to such references: ‘We can also create certain conditions whereby our spaceships and rockets are rendered seemingly weightless and are capable of floating approximately one centimeter to one inch above ground level. The gravitational force of Earth acting upon such ships and rockets are negated in total and our ships are classified as temporarily becoming weightless — unaffected by the pull of gravity — as long as the zero-gravity machines are kept switched on. However, zero-gravity procedures only ensure that one centimeter to about an inch of distance is maintained between the ships and the earth’s surface.

“Our advanced computers are also capable of auto-correcting applicable gravitational forces at play upon variant levels upon Mars, Jupiter and Pluto, including other unnamed planets and their moons. All planets appear to have different levels of gravitational force.’

“Well, the process is complex, yet at another time and place, I shall explain to you further about matters related to...”The professor’s voice trailed away, captivating them to no end.

* * *

“Ah, yes.” The chief of interplanetary field counter-intelligence unfolded his legs from a seated lotus position and stood up deftly, in one swift and calculated movement. “Always remember to practice from movement procedure One while you accept this particular sitting posture. You may unknowingly cause severe damage to your legs and bones if you even try, all of a sudden, to become a ‘past master’ of this lotus sitting position. Easterners of the ancient earth were accustomed in sitting in this position.” The chief of IPFC Intel stated his words for an umpteenth time.

“It was I who maneuvered the entire ‘scheme’, placing one single Pluto intelligence agent amongst the entire lot, an agent who also happened to be ‘conveniently’ associated with the spaceship ‘lifters’. Since they are bonafide members of interplanetary intelligence groups and temporarily stationed upon Pluto, their actions cannot be referred to as an abduction of the spaceship!”

“I know and assure you that I followed your directions as interpreted actions of the Earth Command. Perhaps World Council also approved of this exercise? Or was it their suggestion in the first place?”

World Council ranked immediately next to Earth Command in hierarchy and its members; it was responsible for every occurrence upon Earth, primarily man-made and, to a certain extent, for natural and foreseeable happenings. This included a scheduled halt to all flood-like situations upon Earth by assistance of timely measures undertaken well in advance of such occurrences.

Earth had not witnessed floods for the few hundreds of centuries in the past.

The counter-intelligence chief continued. “It was I who advised the various groups involved in tracing the said spaceship, during different briefings, not to voice their identities; and my junior counterpart heading Earth Intelligence was told to deploy those select men and women personnel, who formed an effective ‘lifters’ group of the interstellar spaceship. Earth Command says it is time we graduated to uncharted deep space flights, particularly to outer reaches of our solar system!”

“Well, the exercise went off very well indeed. Had our counter-Intel people been involved, I doubt Neptune One would have been in a position to hold them back.” The investigator stepped back swiftly on the super steel polished floors of the gym. “Well sir, a comparatively advanced and latest model of such a spaceship may be subject to ‘calculated’ malfunctions. I mean, what’s the harm in taking a deviated flight a few light-years out from the outer reaches of our Solar System?”

The senior amongst the two kept quiet. “You however, were wise to every movement that was made. Needless to say, my briefings to you were correct, for I made those plans. Whatever happened out of plans, well, you’re not the amongst the new recruits, the latest batch of counter-Intel personnel.”

“No Sir. I happen to have been eighteen years in counter-Intel. I am entering my nineteenth year in service.”

The former stood at a distance of five feet from the investigator while the latter spoke up. “Do you remember your first meeting with the extraterrestrials upon Pluto two years ago? Well... your briefing to us stated that they applied inexplicable methods to enter your rocket ship, and that you were totally unaware of their presence inside the rocket for the entire duration of your descent from fifty thousand feet to ground level of Pluto.”

“Yes, I do recollect my statements.” His voice did not reflect the urgency of the day. He was more than keen to learn the art of keeping cool and calm whilst fighting at close combat range. In fact he had recently negated a much needed forty-five days vacation upon Pluto. Even the computers were unable to detect their presence!

“About this spaceship.”

* * *

They were standing the usual six feet distance from each other whilst readying themselves to gain a closer than usual combat duel practice session.

He suddenly extended his right hand, palm facing outward and the arm slightly bent at the elbow, thereby keeping all muscular spring movements safe while anticipating a quicker attack. The investigator was known worldwide and amongst certain circles only to rank second to none in interstellar physical combat, he knew. As for himself and his personal appreciation of further subtle, classified physical movements, matters required that he maintain silence. The Earth Command and World Council knew and that was sufficient.

The investigator instantly felt an inability to make physical moves suggesting attack. The opponent’s palm movement simply jolted him to inactivity.

“For this exercise you shall have to stand at the far entrance or exit reaches of the forest. Any forest or jungle. You may stand between fifteen to sixty feet outside from the entrance of the forest as you breathe normally, hearing millions of jungle creatures make the same natural or unnatural sounds. The owls would never hoot at day time hours!

“As you ready yourself to engage in solo and shadow movements resembling close combat, filter out each and every sound that emanates from the jungles and the forest as a whole, relish in the sweet sounds which pacify you to no end, for these are sounds of nature, luring you to sleep and calmness. Try not to be disturbed into a soundless sleep which forest sounds usually induce upon humans. Remember, you are about to achieve a certain level of mental calmness, which, when applied correctly, and in close combat, shall prove you to be victorious for your state of affairs; at least mentally it is supposed to be totally calm from the inside, from the internal workings of your mind as you strive to counter your opponent’s attack methods.

“Remember, you have got to be totally wide awake as each sound emanating from the jungle or forest is identified and discarded. You may hear the crows crowing and prairie dogs barking at the same time. The wild pigs may snort while chimpanzees may eat bananas higher above on the branches simultaneously, as birds chirp announcing mid-day. It is within your prerogative to recognize, filter out and totally discard each and every sound, which now emanates from the forest behind you.

“It shall take many months before you even begin to identify the individual sounds. Perhaps an equal amount of time shall pass as you begin to respond to such noises and perhaps an earth year may pass before you begin to learn new methods on how to filter out such individual sounds.

“I would classify at least two Earth years to pass by as you are placed in an effective and advantageous position to discard every such sound encompassed by thousands of these sounds combined together. By the time you can free your mind of these soothing or disturbing elements, while you gather your wits about you and your planned movements all related to close physical combat, you shall have effectively realized the meaning of attaining total calmness of the mind.

“If and when you are in a further suitable position being in this state of affairs whilst actually fighting a real opponent, when you can confidently remain totally calm and silent whilst forcing your opponent to withdraw his weapon locks or the ankle kicks, well, you have won half the game, for you are totally controlled from within and from outside as you calmly study your opponents’ movements and prepare reflexive blocks within the books. Outside of the books ‘or the planned movements relating to physical combat’ one is at will to bring into use any other personal movements or series of movements to counter any effective physical threats to one’s physique.

“Remember, this practice of achieving total calmness of the mind related to close physical combat, is primarily meant to assist you only in cases of intended physical injury by an opponent or by strangers who are bent upon causing injury to you.

“There exist unwritten laws, which state that you cannot utilize this method of achieving total calmness of the mind or even semi-calmness, for that matter, to willfully cause injury to an opponent or anybody else simply in order to prove your point. You shall be unable to do so. This method can only be applied if your health is in danger of being apprehended by other aggressor opponents, and that, too, on physical levels!”

“I believe you sir. I do not require proof to your statements. As a matter of fact, I shall not ever disobey the unwritten rule. However, please explain on circumstances: what if I happen to be the stronger of the opponents and attack first with this application, mainly to goad the opponent to strike first and in such a case, knowing willfully that the opponent is innocent?”

“Well you loose this ability to keep calm from within while you fight the opponent. You are rendered unable to utilize total advantageous positions. In addition, I may state here that considering all perspectives, you may win the fight on your own account and because you happen to be more experienced and stronger than the opponent, however.”

“I may even lose the fight which is based on the principle of keeping cool at all times, even from within even while fighting at close combat range.”

“In totality, you cannot utilize such presence of mind if you happen to be the wrongful attacker!”

“If however, I do happen to utilize such power if I am under deliberate attack. Well, then?”

“Under such circumstances, you are destined to win.”



“What if someone else, not connected directly or indirectly to me or the opponent, manages to ‘send’ such an opponent who would therefore be totally unaware of my win situation, and in this case the opponent would surely loose. What happens then?”

“In such an instance, you win nevertheless. But there are further unwritten laws, which state that unnecessary havoc shall be caused upon such senders much prior to their actions or during the duration of their actions. Such sequence of events debar senders from, well, acting in haste, shall we term it like that?”

“Uh, I’m feeling uncomfortable. Your hand please!”

The chief of interplanetary field counter-intelligence did not smile as he lowered his palm from an extended-arm midriff-level position and withdrew his even gaze from the investigator’s.

The investigator felt circulation return to his nearly senseless muscles as he stepped forward, aiming the deadly elbow-hip punch at the opponent. He was totally aware he was being invited to a duel in close combat fighting by the one and only master of calm.

“Remember, you still live in the proverbial concrete jungle. However, your exercise is a must at outside limits of natural forests only.” He managed to hear clearly, as his friendly opponent whizzed past beside him in an apparently flurry of movements, to eventually stand behind him one microsecond later.

Copyright © 2003 by Deep Bora

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