Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Tree of Life

The time was moving slowly but it didn’t mean anything to Juniper. She had seen time since ages and its pace didn’t affect her anymore. In fact, she had become used to the current pace and hoped that it remained this way for some time. After all, she could finally understand humans a bit due to this pace.

Humans were fast creatures. By the time Juniper understood something about a human, the person would change both physically and mentally. Fickle minded and fragile, that’s how Juniper had perceived humans since ever. This change of pace had helped her look at humans in a better light. Apparently, some of them can slow down and remain calm. Juniper kept looking at the individual sitting under her branches.

Rakesh had lost all sense of time. He didn’t know when was the last time he had left this place. He was tired of the world and decided to find its meaning before dying. Now, neither was happening. For some reason, his body was sustaining itself without any food and water. He wasn’t even getting tired. Just in a void! The only solace was the tree which was giving him company for the whole duration. He had not yet started talking to the tree, thank God for that. However, the tree was a companion in his journey to the truth. However long it took.

Juniper turned her branches slightly to get more sun. It helped her live. She did not understand how it worked but for some reason she felt tired without the sun. The human needed nothing. Earlier, Juniper used to think that humans needed to move so much to survive. She had seen glimpses of humans eating plants and other animals but this individual defied her understanding. ‘Was he different?’ Juniper thought. Maybe this wasn’t human but some new being different from humans. That made sense. Nevertheless, she was fine with trying to comprehend this being as well.

Rakesh had a million thoughts in his mind. He had thought meditating was going to be easy. Emptying the mind of all thoughts and focusing on a single point. Ha! He might as well start flying. Rakesh hasn’t opened his eyes for so long, sitting in the same position, but nothing close to an empty mind was happening. If anything, his mind was fuller. His imagination had start forming ideas and thoughts that he didn’t even understand. Ideas of humans flying in giant boxes, moving around in metal containers, and so many of them. When Rakesh had left his tribe to find the truth, he had known only 15 of his mind. 8 in his group and 7 in another tribe. He had expected more in other places but the idea that the whole world is filled with humans was absurd. Rakesh knew his mind had turned to mush. When he thought of logical problems like communication and travel, his mind was people talking on devices that aren’t connected to anything. Rakesh then tried to shut his mind. He wanted the answers to his questions and not succumb to madness.

Juniper had over the years formed a circle around the individual. She started doing it when he began to glow. It made sense as he radiated some thing as the sun. This meant she was never tired. This also protected him from other creatures, curious creatures who were fast, too fast for Juniper to react. The energy also showed her images that reflected some of the things she could glimpse in reality. The images were slower and helped her understand what truly was happening. Juniper didn’t understand how that was happening but she took it for granted now, as she took her own life.

Rakesh felt a sudden charge of energy. He didn’t know what it meant. He was tempted to open his eyes to see but the feeling lasted just a second. He decided that it was nothing. And then his mind went blank.

Juniper was getting attracted to the energy that the human was glowing with. She tried to touch him with her branch. A shock went through her and she went numb. Before her slow senses could comprehend, flashes of signals went through her. She began to grow faster and before she could stop or understand, the human was gone. She had devoured him. She felt a rush of guilt when a voice came from within.

“Are you God?”

Juniper couldn’t recognise the voice, never heard him before. However, she recognised the energy.

“No. What’s happening?” Juniper said fear pervading her voice.

Rakesh’s mind opened to a vastness. He couldn’t feel his body but instead felt infinite. He felt another presence too. Afraid but giant.

“Let’s find out.” Rakesh said and searched for the second presence.

Juniper felt his touch. It was soft and soon the two consciousnesses started to move around each other. Like a binary star, they moved and interacted. Years of knowledge passed, centuries of communication happened, all in a single moment.

Finally, Rakesh opened his eyes and Juniper could see everything.

“Are you sure this is the place?”

“Yes. This is the tree of life. It is said that this point here is the origin of life.” The girl replied.

“You really don’t think life began with this.” The boy laughed.

“You remember the earthquake 5 years ago. This tree was at the centre of it. And yet, everything five kms of here is like garden of Eden. And it’s growing. There is something incredible about this tree.” The girl said.

“Or something sinister.” The boy said shivering.

“Either ways, I’m going to find the truth.”

Juniper and Rakesh looked at the two individuals.

“5 years since we met.” Juniper sent to Rakesh.

Rakesh sent back warmth. He had spent more than 15000 years in search of the Truth. He found it not alone but with someone to share the knowledge as well. Without Juniper, his journey would have been a futile one.

“Hopefully, these two find the truth as well. Together.” Rakesh shared with Juniper.

“And hopefully, faster than us.” Juniper teased. Rakesh laughed and the two consciousnesses moved faster around each other.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Birth of a Master

The night was getting dark enough to hide even the darkest secrets of men. Satbir hoped that his secret was also safe in this night. He turned the corner and killed the first guy he saw. Then he moved to kill the second one. He felt lucky tonight that people were wandering alone in the night.

“Maybe it’s just God’s grace on me.” Satbir thought as he slit the throat of a woman with a baby. The baby started to bawl and by the time Satbir was done with the baby, lights begun to show from some of the windows.

“Spoke too soon of God’s grace.” Satbir said laughing and ran towards his shelter. He counted his kills in his head. Thirty-seven killed in which one was a baby and another was a child. This would mean that in all, the count would be 40. A child was counted as two men and a baby as three.

‘It is crueller to kill an infant than a man or a woman.’ He remembered his master’s words. The figure of 40 was respectable score but Satbir had hoped to touch the magical figure of 50. That was one more than what his master had achieved in one night for his initiation ceremony. Forty was decent enough to put him in top 5.

The rules of initiation are simple but following them without falling to temptation is hard. To become a member, one has to kill at least ten people in one night. One can’t be caught, seen or found out doing this. A person can’t go in any building, house or public, to complete the task. Only people walking on the road can be killed. This brought a lot of uncertainty in the system. However, the individual to be initiated was allowed to decide a date himself or herself. This helped counter the luck and many like Satbir even decide on a path and pattern to follow for maximum kills.

“Finally, I will be a member of the most prestigious clan in the world. I’ll be respected and revered by all.” Satbir thought to himself and went to bed still wishing that he had touch fifty. The highest ever was achieved by the founder — 50 in one night. In fact, if his master had touched 50, he would have become the head of the clan that day itself. Now, he was in line and might not even make it.

His master, often called the lenient one had taught him everything he knew. He was like a father to Satbir and he also treated Satbir like a son. Satbir didn’t know why his master was called the lenient. His master’s hard eyes and strong sense of justice both scared him and awed him. If his master thought something right, he would not stop for any emotion or any other reason. He almost bordered on cruel and with Satbir, it was more so.

“I’m not impressed.” Satbir’s master said. Satbir knew as much. His master had hoped that Satbir would surpass him.

“I’m sorry master.” Satbir said meekly.

“Nevertheless, it is a good score. Satbir can now be inducted on the path of the Kray.” Juman said. He was his master’s faithful advisor.

“What is the path of the Kray?” Satbir asked. His master ignored him.

“Do you think he can follow on the footsteps of great Jun-kray?” His master said to Juman.

“Oh yes, O lenient one.” Juman said with a smirk on his face.

Satbir looked at his master who had winced at the Juman’s address. Satbir knew that his master didn’t like being called that. However, it stuck and now nothing could change that. Satbir did wonder why his master was called so. Satbir had never felt any leniency from his master. If anything, he was harder than other teachers.

“Go now Satbir. Your path will be decided tomorrow. If it’s the path of Kray, we have a lot to do.”

“What is the path of Kray?” Satbir asked.

“As you know, there are leaders and masters. Leaders decide the direction that our clan would take and masters decide the kind of people our clan would have. The path of Kray is a unique training that makes you both. Usually, no one takes this path as it is harder than either. Named after the great Jun-Kray, who was both a master and a leader.” Juman explained in his drawling voice.

“Oh! Alright. Is that the path you took master?” Satbir asked.

“No! That wasn’t my path to take.” His master said in a tired voice. “Now go.”

— —

“You should tell him.” Juman said.

“No. I can’t.”

“He should know why you aren’t a leader. Why you chose the path of a master despite wanting to be a leader all your life.” Juman insisted.

“No one needs to know why I made my decisions. They are my decisions.”

“He doesn’t deserve to know why you stopped?” Juman exclaimed.

“What will I tell him Juman? That his parents were my 48th and 49th kill. That he was supposed to be my 50th but I couldn’t. Should I tell him that he’s the reason I stopped killing. I became a master instead of a leader because of him.”

“But he might be inspired by you.”

“Inspired to not kill. I don’t want that. I want him to become a leader. I want him to become the greatest. Besides, if we tell him, either he would be angry and feel betrayed that I killed his parents or he might follow my path and not kill anymore. No, Juman! This is for the best. Let me be.”

“Alright, O lenient one!” Juman said.

“You started this nickname, didn’t you?”

Juman smirked.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Misery and Love

It was but a drop of love in the ocean of misery. But a drop was enough. The misery burnt through his flesh again and again, melted the bones separate but the love fused them again. This combination of misery and love, poison and nectar, loss and hope didn’t let him die and wasn’t enough for him to thrive.

Thus, in a limbo, he kept waiting for the misery to kill him. He didn’t dare hope that he would get some more love to get out of the situation.

Not before he met her. She wasn’t a ray of sunshine but an eclipse. She was not the caregiver but the bone-breaker. She was nothing men want in a woman and everything they fear. And yet, somehow, she brought for him what he didn’t have, what he couldn’t have — love.

“Isn’t it a good thing that neither of us are looking for something serious.” She said callously. Shivani was chewing gum and spit it with aim at the dustbin. Perfect shot.

Deeptam nodded and remained silent. He had heard half of it and didn’t care about any of it. He didn’t even like Shivani much. They were less in a relationship and more two people ending up in the same place by design. Deeptam’s therapist had suggested him to go out more and her hobbies were least repulsive to him of all the people he knew. In fact, he used to go alone to most places and it was only accidentally that they had met the first time and even the second time.

Now, she would ask him to go somewhere, he would say yes as it was better than wallowing in his own sorrow and the relationship moved forward in a weird manner.

She had initiated the kiss and alcohol had more stake in their first-time sex than either of them. Shivani didn’t notice all of that. She was enjoying her life enough to not notice these frivolous things. And Deeptam was happy with that. His past relationships had suffered because of these expectations. His last relationship had ended with Neeti telling him that he should die. He had agreed with her.

“You know you are really weird. I had expected that at least your expression would change when I say that.” Shivani said and smiled.

“Sorry to disappoint you.” Deeptam said monotonously.

“Nevermind. Tell me something. My friends are planning a trip to the mountains this weekend. Are you up for it?”

“Yeah, sure.” Deeptam said.

Deeptam shivered at the idea of mountains and trembled thinking about her friends. He had met them once and had disliked all of them. They would never shut up and had something to say on everything. More than once, Deeptam wanted to scream at them — “You don’t know anything about depression so shut up.” — but he decided against it. What did he know either?

“Awesome!” She said and started typing furiously on her phone.

“It’s booked.” Shivani said.

The first time she had done this, Deeptam had almost choked on his drink. How can someone be so fast and why was she asking him at the last second. Now, he knew better. The plan truly was made at the last minute. Shivani was a straight zero or one girl. If she didn’t want to go, she would’ve just said no. She didn’t plan or strategise in life. That was boring for her.

While it didn’t surprise him now, he could still feel his heart beat increase. His mouth was drying and his hands were becoming moist and cold.

“I’ll come from the loo.” Shivani said and left the table. Deeptam took advantage of the time and popped a pill. His therapist had advised him to take one whenever he felt a panic attack coming. He still prefer to hide this from Shivani. They had been together for almost one year and he didn’t feel comfortable enough to share that part of his life with her yet. She believed she was dating a normal person and Deeptam wanted it to be that way as long as possible. Besides, he didn’t know how she’ll react knowing his tryst with panic, depression and medication.

“Hey, I’m back!” Shivani said and sat on Deeptam’t lap.

“What are you doing?” Deeptam said alarmed.

“Just shut up and let me have this.” Shivani said and put her arms around him. Then, she kissed him long and hard.

<In the washroom>

“Hello.” Shivani said.

“Hey. Where are you? Is he with you?” A gentle female voice replied.

“Yeah he is outside taking his medicine.” Shivani said on the phone.

“I can’t believe you are with him since one year. How can you handle him?”

“There’s nothing to handle Neeti.” Shivani said in a cold but gentle voice. She didn’t like Neeti but needed her.

“Are you joking? He is a corpse which can move and nothing more. Anyways, why did you call me?” Neeti asked.

“We were planning to take a trip to the mountains. We’ve never been to mountains. I am.. I am..” Shivani stuttered thinking of the right word.

“Scared that he might jump.” Neeti gave her the right words.

“Yeah.” Shivani said bitterly.

“We went to mountains once. No, he won’t jump. Honestly, I don’t think he has the courage to do even that.” Neeti said laughing. Shivani closed her eyes and controlled her temper.

“Thanks.” Shivani said.

“No problem.” Neeti said.

“Bye.” Shivani said and cut the phone.

The first time she’d met him, she knew there was something wrong with him. The second time, she knew what. However, she still met him the third time and the fourth and so on. Now, she was completely in love with him. While, she didn’t show it lest he gets scared of this, she knew that she was in this for the long haul.

This meant that she had to bring him out of his current situation. She started talking to his therapist. The therapist didn’t tell her the details of her conversations with Deeptam but advised Shivani enough to work with. When Deeptam told her that Neeti was his previous girlfriend, she reached out to Neeti to know more about Deeptam’s past.

She hated Neeti but Neeti was valuable to her. Hence, every time Shivani wanted to punch Neeti, she closed her eyes and did that in her imagination. Then, she just kissed Deeptam and melted in his arms.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

OMD Clan

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” Prashanth screamed and threw the device in front of him across the room. The device took a journey around the room and returned to its position. Prashanth was prone to temper tantrums and most of his gadgets were self-aligning and nigh indestructible.

“I’m assuming you have some bad news.” Shrent said casually licking his food. His tongue would take slow slurps that broke down the food immediately and then he would absorb it through his tongue.

“Oh no! I have wonderful news. Earth has successfully made their bid to enter the ODM clan (Order of Distance Monitoring).”

Shrent shook vigorously, almost shuddering, which Prashanth had come to understand as laughing.

“Oh Shut up!” Prashanth said.

“So, which law did they break in doing so and what are the repercussions?” Shrent asked while continuing his eating.

“Law 36(a), subsection 5. I just talked to the representative from the planet and she informed me that the individual who discovered it is out of their reach. It’s on us now to find him and manage this whole thing.”

Shrent stopped eating at looked at Prashanth incredulously.

“Wow! I always believed that it can only be done knowingly.” Shrent said.

“So did I. But apparently, people can accidentally open the 17th dimension and screw everything for shits and giggles.” Prashanth said bitterly.

Being the head of ODM has beaten all joy out of Prashanth’s life. He had been doing it for the past 530 epitakes, where 1 epitake translated to roughly 1500 earth-years. He was already the longest serving person and was wishing to see retirement soon. And now this happens. A new species entering the ODM clan means a lot of work. The rules and laws need to be established, sharing of information, creation of legal pathways and elevation of that species while making the transition smooth are all part of ODM’s job description. Other species want to talk to this new species and many times, like in Earth’s case, the specie doesn’t know any alien life.

This would mean sensitisation of that specie as well towards alien. Lots and lots of work. And Earth has entered by breaking one of the most crucial laws. It would be insane.

“We can’t punish the specie or that individual. First entry rule absolves the species of any damage done by them in their first successful attempt at Space-travel. If we aren’t sharing out technology with them, we can’t blame them for the collateral damage that happens in their attempts.” Shrent said.

“I know.. I know.. But you really think the species which gets affected by this stupid individual will care about it. We are potentially looking at an inter-species war if some severe damage is caused by this individual.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll catch him. Honestly, I am still astonished and impressed by the fact that Earth entered ODM through the 17th dimension. This hasn’t been done since the closing of that dimension. How did it get opened?”

“I don’t have the details yet but I think he was able to open it from the inside. Our team is working on that. We can’t have that happening again. At least not accidentally.” Prashanth hissed.

“Prashanth. We think we have discovered something that might help us get a clue. The team on Earth has recovered a video footage of the first attempt by that individual. There is an alien specie that we could see in the melting metal. We have recognised that specie as a youngling of Deek from Star system 8kz83. As per reports, they did observe the 17th dimension impact but it was limited and the youngling is safe as well. The room of that child was melted but situation has been managed. We believe that the individual might have made a trip to an area close to this location.” Jitra said coming into the room.

“Alright. Send the search party. I want reports as soon as something comes out. How did the talks with Deek council go?”

“Honestly, they were quite delighted to know that another specie is joining ODM. But you know them Prashanth. Nothing can keep them down. However, their attempts to improve the onboarding system will get a lot of steam due to this.” Jitra replied.

“Bah! We can’t just hand over the space-travel technology to anyone who finds out about Krit particles.”

“But you know Prashanth how they think about the matter. If it was up to Deek, half the universe would have space-travel technology.”

Prashanth thought and shuddered. Deek were one of the most friendly species in the world. Too friendly, if someone asked Prashanth. They shared all their technologies with everyone and were often caught smuggling high technologies to primitive species. Heck! Earth’s space travel mission would have failed if not for Deek’s interference.

“And we are sure that Deek’s have nothing to do with this discovery by the individual?” Prashanth asked suddenly.

“I will have to check that. But do you really think they would do that? Scratch that. Do you really think we can do anything even if we find out that they did something?” Jitra said amusingly.

Prashanth laughed.

“You are right. Deeks are… well Deeks.”

Deeks were one of the most powerful specie in the universe and the idea that someone could actually hold them responsible for their actions was laughable. The only reason they were not ruling the whole universe was because they had no interest in doing it.

Perhaps due to this, many species, even advanced ones, believed that Deeks were probably Gods or some sort of descendants of Gods. No other known specie predates them and they are the only specie to successfully create another sentient specie.

Prashanth didn’t believe all this, but he was relieved that this individual was in Deeks territory. If they can capture him before he leaves their area, no lasting damage would happen.

“Prashanth. One more thing.” Jitra said, her tone turning sombre. Prashanth looked at her expectantly.

“We are unable to properly close the 17th Dimension. I think the opening has left some damage to our lock system.”

“Then we have to fix it.”

“Yes. I was thinking that we should involve Kanika in this.”

“Who’s Kanika?”

“She’s the life-partner of the individual who breached the 17th dimension.”

“How will she help?”

“As per the conversation with our contacts, it was she who calculated the values that enabled this travel. I think she would be a great asset to us, both right now and in long term.”

“Hmm.. Interesting take. Do one thing. Bring her on board for the 17th dimension. If her work is good, we will take this further. I will personally monitor her progress. A human with such calibre might do wonders in a few epitakes.”

“Yes, but sir. Humans have extremely short life-spans.”

“That’s alright. Shrent can manipulate her biology to change that.” Prashanth said looking at Shrent. Shrent shuddered and shook.

“That’s a damn lucky couple. The individual lands amongst the Deeks and his partner receives agelessness. That’s mighty punishment for committing biggest crime in ODM’s list.” Shrent said and continued shuddering. Jitra started to snicker and Prashanth started to smile.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

The 17th Dimension

Srikanth knew it was only a matter of time before the world would find out. However, Srikanth had not thought that he wouldn’t even get time to say sorry or goodbye to his family. The government could work incredibly fast if they wanted to.

Luckily, he was faster.

— —

“Srikanth, can you please tell me what are you working on?” Kanika asked urgently.

“Of course. As soon as it’s finished, you will be the first person to know it.” Srikanth said mischievously.

Kanika fumed and the left the room. Srikanth laughed and returned to his machine. Since the discovery of Krit particles, the whole world had gone mad. And no one had gone madder than Srikanth. These particles not only held the secrets of the universe, they could also be a possible way to travel through other dimensions.

After the string theory failed to combine all the equations together, scientists realised that they needed something more to make the connection. Juan Krit was the person who discovered Krit particles — a unit of energy that could traverse through 89 dimensions (78 more than the measly string theory could produce) and were the fundamental unit of almost everything.

The catch, of course, was that because these particles existed in all planes, they never manifested in any particular plane completely — the primary reason that they couldn’t be discovered before Juan Krit changed the world.

“Srikanth. SRIKANTH..”

“Huh! What?” Srikanth replied, dazed.

“Eat something and take some rest. You can work on this later.” Kanika said in an even tone. It was clear to Srikanth that she was on the verge of bursting.

“What time is it?” He asked.

“It has been almost 28 hours since I last came here. You haven’t eaten anything or slept.” Kanika said and Srikanth knew he had to stop.

“Any progress?” Kanika asked softly once her demand was met.

“There is. But I’m not sure if it’s in the right direction. The Krit particles are behaving almost predictably. However, the behavior is highly restricted. And when I try to increase the behavioural range, the unpredictability increases exponentially.”

Kanika nodded. Kanika had helped him in getting the theoretical calculations for the device but the practical experiments were Srikanth’s domain and expertise.

“Can you recalculate the numbers for a new variable system?” Srikanth asked.

“I can but how will that help?” Kanika asked.

“Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it will open the door from the other side or something. What if we are stuck in 3-Dimensions because the door to other dimensions are shut from that end.” Srikanth said. “I know I am babbling but please humour me.” Srikanth smiled weakly.

“Only if you take proper rest first.”

Srikanth nodded.

The next day when he woke up, Kanika was already gone to work. She had calculated three new variable systems overnight and left a note as well.

‘ I have made some changes in the current variable system as well. Your idea about the locked door gave me some new thoughts that I have incorporated in this. Try them today.’ The message said.

Srikanth felt a pang of jealousy and pride in the same wave. If not for Kanika, his research would have been dead slow. Any other scientist in the world would have taken at least a week for this kind of equation manipulation. He wished he was half as good at theoretical stuff as Kanika.

When the two had first met, Kanika would often laugh at how slow Srikanth was in Physics. The fact that it was just before Srikanth’s Phd thesis defence didn’t help boost his confidence. However, her confidence and intelligence attracted him to no end.

As for Kanika, she was blown away by Srikanth’s Phd. It was a practical implementation of one of her own theoretical designs. She hadn’t expected it to become reality in her lifetime, let alone see someone do it just for their dissertation.

With the discovery of Krit particles, both shifted their study on them and when Kanika discovered a way to travel across the universe through the other dimensions, Srikanth got to work. Three years hence, he was still working.

Kanika’s theory received multiple changes from Srikanth and Srikanth received several updates on improving the design from Kanika and the work continued.

For the past six months, Srikanth was just working on getting the variables right. The device was ready to work.

“Today, I will make you work.” Srikanth said to the silent machine in front of him.

It happened almost in a flash. He input the new variable system and as soon as he started the machine, the room went dark. A creature the size of a large rat glowed and produced a ‘reet’ sound. It was furrier and looked harmless but it existed only for a second.

The machine was intact but the rest of the metal in the room had melted. Luckily, Srikanth was outside the room in a glass chamber which had survived. His phone rang.

“Hello.”

“What happened?” A shrieking voice came from the other end. It was Kanika.

“How do you know?”

“I got a call from some government orgranization telling that you have done something and they are going to take you in.”

“The new variable systems worked Kanika. I saw some creature as well. It might have been a multi-dimensional being or from other part of the universe. I don’t know yet but it worked.” Srikanth said excitedly.

“And now they will take it all away.” Kanika said softly.

“NO! I will not let them do that.” Srikanth said and heard a loud bang on the door.

“They are here.”

“Srikanth. Don’t do something stupid.” Kanika shouted over the phone.

“I’m not letting them take our research.” Srikanth shouted and jumped into the machine.

The machine was perfectly intact and the screen finally told him what had happened. The journey had been through two extra dimensions and the creature had been an alien from this universe itself. He had finally created something that could travel the universe.

Srikanth saw them in front of him. Eight people in full body armour with guns. He pushed the button.

“NO!!” A voice came from behind the eight people.

“What now sir.” One soldier asked the woman.

“Now, we hope that he is caught by the ODM before he dies.” The girl replied.

— —

“What do you mean he might not make it?” Kanika asked the girl sitting in front of her.

“Ms. Kanika. The device that your husband has built travels through 17th dimension. That dimension is not allowed for travel by ODM, that is, Order of Distance Monitoring.”

“But why is that? And what will ODM do?”

“Hopefully, they will catch him.”

“Hopefully?”

“Unlike the other dimensions, 17th dimension is not safe. In fact, half of your house’s metal is melted because of that. And the location where it must have opened also would have suffered similar fate. We have no news yet but let’s hope there haven’t been any casualties.”

“That’s why it’s closed from inside.” Kanika whispered.

“Yes. However, he was able to open it somehow.”

“My new calculations did that.” Kanika said.

“You really are the best in the world Ms. Kanika. However, I wish you had made way for the other dimensions. They are.. err.. quite safe.”

“But if you knew then why don’t we travel like that right now.”

“ODM doesn’t supply technology. They just regulate it. So, we will have to build the device ourselves. Which scientists like you and Srikanth are doing and so is the government.”

“Then why did ODM contact you.”

“Once we discovered Krit particles, they contacted us. Most civilisations are able to discover universe travel after the discovery of Krit particles, per ODM.”

“Uh. Ok.” Kanika said and went silent. She prayed for Srikanth and hoped that ODM would find him.

“Don’t worry. ODM will find him.” The girl said softly putting her hand on Kanika’s shoulder.

“But what after that. Will he be considered a criminal and punished?” Kanika asked.

“As long as the damage is not huge, we might be able to save him. It’s his first time, our first time. However, if someone has died…” The girl trailed off.

‘Where are you Srikanth?’ Kanika thought miserably.