Leo stared into the empty space at his eyes’ level in the drawing room. That blank portion of the wall somehow resembled the blankness in his mind. He had just heard something which turned his whole world topsy-turvy. It was worse than the harsh treatment meted out to him by the mentor the previous day. That was nothing new to him. He had witnessed it many a time. So many of his fellow members in the Order’s Asia-Pacific establishment had been given this appraisal by the mentor. When a member failed to live up to the expectations set on him, his days in the Order were numbered. No, he was not killed. Life was but an irrelevant disposition for the Order. It was meaningless. The only organ in the human body which was given importance was the mind. If a member didn’t live up to the Order’s expectations he was simply discarded. He was ostracized from the elite circle he had always felt a part of and was, in all respects, scientifically quarantined.
Every member of the Order was a genius and not a single member could be classified as ‘Old’. Leo was the youngest of the geniuses. His path breaking research paper on the Effects of Psychochemical Behaviour Modification Drugs had sparked quite a few debates in the global scientific circles and proved to be the gate-pass for his induction into the Order. He was expected to make further headway to his initial hypotheses. They were eager to have him in the establishment. He was welcomed in a grand way and provided unlimited and unquestioned access to data and equipment. He was surprised by the fact that they could acquire such sophisticated equipments which were not even found in the
USA or, for that matter, – the hub of genetic engineering. He wanted to know who was behind all this, but didn’t dare to ask. China
For the first few months he was provided with all sorts of comforts he had only dreamt of in the ‘real’ world. The
, as he was called by one and all in the Order, outlined to him the motto of the Order in a single, crisp sentence – Pursuit for Intellectual Saturation. He was simply blown away. Mentor
But slowly, the potholes on the highway began to emerge. The Gleaming glass building that portrayed itself as
was, to the outer world, a non-profit private organization providing world class medical treatment to the common man. But to the three hundred odd brilliant minds occupying rooms hidden in the labyrinthine pathways at the far end of the center, it was a posh prison. No one was given a glimpse of the outside world. They came to know whether it was day or night only by means of a twenty four hour digital clock that hung in the recreation room. There was food; there was healthcare; there was even a shopping mall and cinema. But there was nothing that resembled the word ‘home’. In short, they existed but rarely lived. Naqoya International Medical Center
This arrangement suited most of the inmates. They could concentrate on their research in a tranquil atmosphere. They were footsteps away from any equipment they desired for experiments and free from searching eyes and prying questions. Leo found all this very much to his liking for the first few days. Then he inadvertently heard a conversation from the mentor’s office which simply shook his faith in the Order.
“Any probing questions from our guests?”
“None till now, sir”
“How is the search going on? How many more can we expect to join us by this year?”
“At least ten thousand more, sir”
“Good. Be careful and avoid suspicions at all costs. And always remember our vision”
“Yes Sir. Intellectuals above the rest. The world at our behest”
Leo was shocked. This was something that sounded very different from what the mentor said. It didn’t sound one bit like intellectual saturation. He felt it was more on the lines of fascism where some of the best brains of the world were cohorts in an endeavour to rule the world.
He later learnt from one or two like minded scientists that this was indeed the goal of the Order. The Order’s ultimate aim was to rule the world. Not just rule, but dictate. This was where behaviour modification played an important role and that was where Leo came into picture. He learnt that there was extensive research being done on drugs which made people docile and which could be airborne. The average human being, once infested by this airborne drug would become what the members of the Order refer to as Post-Human beings.
Post-Human beings were people who would not have the capabilities to think and draw conclusions based on their own reasoning skills. They would cease to be creative, inquisitive and compassionate. In short, they would be SLAVES – people who do as they are told to do.
Leo Kaisuke was bedazed. He knew he was trapped. If he refused to carry on with his work he would, like many of his colleagues, be isolated from the rest and sent to the Rejuvenation Room; a room from which he had seldom seen people return. Having been privy to the actual mission of the Order he was sure he couldn’t carry on his work here for the wrong reasons. So he sat staring at the blank space on the wall. He looked up from the space to see the golden framed portrait of the mentor. Even the artist had captured the cold fury emanating from his eyes.
As he continued to stare, he saw the portrait shake ever so slightly. Then there was a more pronounced shake. That was when he felt his chair sway from side to side. He caught hold of the desk in front of him to balance but it was also rocking back and forth. He immediately fell on the floor, flat on his belly and covered his head. The quake continued for a minute and a half. It was the longest he had ever experienced.
He sat up and surveyed the room as the shaking stopped. Not much damage; just some toppled books, vases and artifacts. That was when he heard a low rumble. It grew louder by the second. It seemed to come from the outside. He went to the window and peered outside.
Leo Kaisuke smiled. It was neither a smile of happiness nor one of sadness. It was a smile of knowledge. The knowledge of what was going to happen.
‘Sometimes it is better for geniuses to die…’ he thought. It was his final thought.
That it stood majestically facing the seashore turned out to be one of them…