The last sane thing I saw for a long time to come was a large golden ball approaching my eyelids.
And then, black.
I woke up in an unknown place. It was a large room with benches arranged in perfect order. I seemed to have dozed off on the bench. So this was a dream, I thought suppressing a yahoo moment. But where in hell was I?
One cursory glance around, and I was suddenly wishing this wasn’t reality and thinking about ways of bargaining this for the globule situation. It was the same goddamned classroom. I was back in the lizard practical. Only that, like cheap horror flicks, there seemed to be no one around but me. Shit, what the fuck’s going on, was my immediate thought.
And then, with the same strange Thump sound, doom fell. It was there. The lizard. Gaping at me with its oil spot eyes, its belly torn open and blood rushing out of it. And due to some strange whim of nature, it was growing. By the time the first shriek left my mouth the lizard had crossed Komodo size and by the time I staggered backward with an intention to run, it had surpassed a dragon. I screamed again, while simultaneously trying to jump over a desk and landed hard on the ground waves of pain and fear seething in my body. Against the protests of my body, however, my mind decided not to continue registering the pain. Rather it registered the hisses and the plethora of other noises a gargantuan reptile makes and advised the body to run. Fight or flight was a somewhat rhetorical question.
And so I ran as fast as I could while screaming for a non-forthcoming help. I exited the classroom to enter a long corridor lined with various doors, which seemed vaguely familiar as I rushed past. It was only when I finally reached the end of the corridor and entered an open door that realization dawned. This was a corridor of my office building, and judging by the location and arrangement of the desk, I had just entered my office, at the other far end. Fuckin’ hell was my reaction again as I swung the door shut just in time. After about two moments of me having shut the door, I heard a thump on it. The door shook and made strange noises under the impact. Oh no. You are not gonna break that goddamn door Liz. You are so not gonna break it. I thought desperately. There were more thumps. Then without warning there was a loud crash as if a medieval battering ram had struck the door. But nothing happened. The door shook and made noises but it didn’t even come close to cracking. The thumps stopped.
In about fifteen minutes, my heartbeat had returned to normal and the only thing that still throbbed was my brain – with curiosity. I edged closer to the door, fear suddenly returning in my body, and managed to stammer, “What are you out there. Where are we and what’s going on?”
For a moment nothing happened and I thought I could hear a light mocking smirk. Then a deep voice I knew very well suddenly spoke, “I am what you know as the golden globule.” The voice was deep and unctuous. Easily recognizable. It was my voice.
“What?” I managed to blurt.
“Oh, I see that like all those other life forms, even you tend not to understand. Let me explain more clearly. I am an extraterrestrial entity, Mr…”
“How are you speaking in my voice? Where am I?”
“Yes, well, contrary to the results of the quick-threat-assessment your amygdala just did, this is not a dream. I am an extraterrestrial being from a planet far, far away – not bothering with the figures your under-developed mind can’t process. We are in your mind. And I have complete control over it, which is why I can choose to speak to you in your voice. Or anyone else’s? Would your ex-girlfriend’s voice be more comforting?” The word ‘comforting’, was in her voice.
I remained silent.
Ah! I can see the cogs in your frontal lobe turn! But don’t bother. Let me explain. My race used to be the primary form of sentient life on our planet. However, as you see, we were not blessed with the extraordinary appendages and limbs that races alike yours possessed. Fortunately, though, we had other advantages. We discovered over a painful course of time that we had the ability to come into direct contact with another sentient creature’s mind. There was a restriction, though. We could only do this through an event that has a deep connection with its being – in your case, the dreaded practical class. We would embody the central character, with respect to the event, the lizard in your case again, and slowly, take over its mind in the same form until we are its masters. We would then, be in complete and unshakable control of every single movement and thought of the creature until it perished. However, as time passed, our people blundered and as a consequence of various events, which I need not describe now, our numbers, far overshot the numbers of the secondary sentient creatures. We were therefore, condemned to behave like a species on your planet called… er… locusts…”
I noticed how he paused before saying some words. He was pausing, slowing down to collect the right word for some
“We would move from planet to planet like…er…nomads until we depleted the sentient and capable life from there. By now our population is described in numbers beyond your imagination. I was sent out as a scout for inspecting your planet and its adaptability… Congratulations. You are going to bring about… a new world order.
“And by the way,” he added with a small smirk. “This should explain that piece of gibberish you have stored in your mind called the Fermi Paradox. You see, when we annexed a particular territory, we had nothing on mind but survival. No scientific interests. So we never worked in the area of developing our relationships with other beings. Hell, we even received some radio messages sent by this organization called SETI, but we never cared. The focus was on hiding the fact that there was a nomadic race like us lurking in outer space, lest you start taking defensive measures against us. Why let planets go free when you can use them for the ‘greater good.’ Consequently, we minimized all exoduses and removed all trails of unnecessary space travels that would be detectable by an unused planet. That’s why the Fermi Paradox exists. That’s why you could never find us. Or anyone else, for that matter” It finished with a placid air.
“You haven’t gained complete and unshakable control over me,” I retorted. I can still feel most of the things around me. You haven’t even broken this stupid office door and captured me.”
“Ah,” the Globule sighed, and then spoke in what was initially a broken voice, gaining confidence steadily as time passed. “By some miracle of nature, a vestige of your existence has not yet passed on to me. But it is utterly insignificant to what I have access to. See for yourself…”
As he spoke, a window opened in the wall facing me. I could see the worried faces of Sid and Ravi Dasgupta peering at me. Dawn was breaking. I wondered what we were still doing here, and then realized that probably, the other two had been knocked out as well. I could see an expression of relief go through them as they saw that I had opened my eyes. The Globule continued to speak, what I knew only I could hear.
“Now you awake, and now you do my biding.” It said.
I woke. NO. The Globule woke. It looked around and rested its eyes on the .45 that Dasgupta had brought with him. The rifle was hanging loosely in his hands as he and Sid enquired my well being and asked as to why I wasn’t responding.
It bent down and clutched Dasgupta’s hand. His looks of surprise didn’t bother it. Sid was gaping. It swung momentarily backward and brought my knee to Dasgupta’s frail abdomen with a terrific force. I heard a crack, almost simultaneous with Sid’s cry of “SHIT” and Dasgupta buckled inwards. It snatched the revolver away from him and fired twice right through Dasgupta’s body, before turning to face Sid who was standing, fixated by fear at the same spot. It swung my hand upwards and fired the third shot which joined the echo of the two firsts. It hit Sid on the head, dead center. He fell backward, half of his forehead torn off his body. Then… it laughed.
Inside the little room of my mind, I was screaming. “NO, NO. LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE YOU GODDAMNED BASTARD. LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.”
There was no response. Then I heard a gasp and the window in my office blurred. It took me a moment to realize that I was crying. NO. It was crying. But why?
The tears kept coming. It was long before I realized that I had been crying myself. Now, I could also feel the adrenaline. The anger was growing. A renewed ‘fight or flight’ was settling in. Warmth!
There. It came. The fight or flight. And miraculously it passed on to my body outside. How? Goodness knows. But it came. And since there was no one there to fight with… I breathed out and in the next instant I was running. Away from Sid, away from that cylinder. I could feel hurried images passing through – hurtling through – my mind… The most powerful entity…president of the USA…Bill Clinton… The globule seemed to be hurriedly assessing people with political control as a means of propagating their own imperialism of sorts over the Earth. But why? Surely they just had to… I stumbled over a particularly large bamboo shoot, and as I tumbled down, pain and realization stuck simultaneously like a jackhammer blow.
The pain I felt and the cries that left my mouth was just a further proof.
The globule never gained complete control over my mind. It just had control over some specific parts of my consciousness, and the synapses that governed basic action. The rest of me – all the little things that individualized me – were still in my control. My reflex actions, my way of reacting to unfavorable situations were still my own. And not only that. I realized that it wasn’t me who was trapped in this room of my brain. In reality, it was the globule that was trapped. The small region outside this room, the area where I held my fears – the area in which my weakness dwelled – that was the only part that the globule was commanding. Till now it had only performed activities that would either be the work of a scared man or would cause fear – murder, that is.
It was just dwelling upon my fears. But the other emotions were all mine. It never felt the pain when I hurt myself just now. I had cried out of pain. Both, the real me in my mind and the body outside. Similarly, we both had cried out of anger and grief due to Sid’s death. We both had also faced anger when the globule tried to break the door down. And the door hadn’t broken down. Why? Simply, because, this was my mind and I could veto all events that took place here. If I say the door shouldn’t break, it wouldn’t break. That was the command I had issued earlier in my desperation.
The globule was weak against me. Perhaps it was because I escaped the lizard by giving a desperate command which established my control. Perhaps the takeover always took this much time. But until and unless I submitted myself to him, I was the master of this territory.
My thoughts raced. If my command held such absolute power, could I not eliminate him? Simply by wishing him away just as I wished the door to remain unbroken? Perhaps even the globule understood this. That was why it had been trying to stash all the Bill Clinton information away.
I opened the room’s door. And there it was, a tiny minuscule, baby lizard trying to run away from me. “I understood how you work.” I said. “And if you should know, I order you out of my brain’s territory. NOW.” The last word was a bellow.
There was a resounding ‘thump’ and I was back in the practical classroom. The lizard with the torn belly was lying unconscious in front of me. I had a scalpel in my hand. I looked up. Sid was staring at me. There was a large wound on his forehead and even through the mutilated mess I could see the teardrop that rolled across his face. I heard his voice, Do it for me pal. Kill the damned reptile. “I am sorry Sid,” I said and then looked down. No more hesitation. I clutched the scalpel tight and drove it into the lizard. Hard.
There was a large hiss and the world as I had known it since passing out started dissolving around me. And then came the blackness.
Thirteen years later, today, I haven’t forgotten anything about that night. Not one single detail left its imprint off my mind. The most ecstatic one was when I emerged back out of my brain. The globule was not a very pleasurable sight. It lay where it had first formed itself now a decolorized and pockmarked little ball, something which a child could have mistaken for a plaything.
Oh yes, I am a celebrity now. People would look at me and then turn to their immediate partners and whisper conspiratorially, “Isn’t he the guy who found the spaceship?” Still, I would have liked it if they would have said, “Isn’t he the guy who resolved the Fermi Paradox?”