Today also there were five pigeons in the nest box. Four were
her pets, one was the guest. As soon as they saw her they happily came
out and sat on her head, shoulders and arms. Two of them circled at her feet.
She was filled with such joy. This was the best way to start a holiday. Outside
the breeze was cool and refreshing, and the sunshine was
She knelt on the floor and
fed seeds to the pigeons. That’s when she noticed a tine paper wrapping tied
with a thin thread around the left foot of the new white pigeon. Suddenly her
heart missed a beat. Quickly she turned to see if the insect had followed her.
No it didn’t. At home, usually the insect rested in his own place on the
She didn’t even trust Uki
about these pigeons. About a year ago, she had bought a beautiful, soft white
kitten as a pet. She had named her Lili. But immediately she noticed that the
kitten didn’t like Uki. Whenever Uki tried to pick it up, the kitten arched its
back and growled or ran away and hid.
Uki apologetically said,
“Perhaps there is nothing about cats in my program.”
“That’s possible, but why would she be
scared of you?
“I always try to take good care of her.”
Rikta had noticed the
hesitation in Uki’s voice and the way she avoided her eyes. She was worried.
She wasn’t home all the time. Lili needed someone to look after her. She also
noted Lili got anxious when she had to go to her office. Lili would come and
pull at her clothes, wouldn’t want to leave her lap. That meant she really
didn’t want to leave Rikta. She was scared to stay alone with Uki.
When things got worse and
she could hear Lili’s screams and growls through the monitor in her office, she
decided to put an end to it and return the cat to the pet center. Lili was doing
fine there. Rikta sometimes went to play with her and Lili still remembered
her, sat in her lap and let herself be petted.
That’s why she didn’t trust
Uki with pigeons. This balcony was her free area. Here she allowed only
herself. Very carefully she had kept this little space free of all mechanical
spying and monitoring.
With great care she untied
the string and opened the piece of paper. It was a synthetic paper, on the top
was written in Bengali, “This is for Purna. If you could give this to her it
will be much appreciated.”
Below that was written 12
lines in some arcane old language that Rikta could not read. At the end, again
in Bengali, “Be very careful.”
Obviously, whoever sent this
message, meant it to be secret and urgent. And for
some reason the sender trusted Rikta and knew about her meeting with Purna.
Perhaps Purna would be able to read the message. She used to work with old
languages. But why sent it to Rikta? She was not
involved in any conspiracy. She had no contact with anyone in Low Town. She
avoided the green people as much as possible. Then why send the message through
She stood hesitating for a while. Should she do it or not.
There might very well be danger in this job.
She stared outside; many birds were flying in the sky, along with flying cars
and even flying men. Many tied a discharge cylinder on their back and went
flying by themselves, even took part in games.
Rikta stared at the white pigeon too. A beautiful, pure white
innocent bird. The owner of the bird must have been very shrewd. He had
gotten the bird used to her during the last few days. Rikta picked up the
bird and asked, “Who sent you? Tell me. Is he a good guy or a bad
The pigeon just coo-ed.
Rikta sighed. If she had to deliver the note to Purna, she would have to think
out the logistics. Firstly, if she got out through the main door as usual, the
insect would accompany her, even Uki might keep watch. There would be no secret
about where she was going or whom she was meeting. I t would be difficult to
transfer the note. So that route was out.
The second way was quite scary for Rikta. And that was flying to Purna tying a
discharge cylinder like those men outside. But Rikta was scared of heights. And
she had never tried flying like that. Like all apartments, hers too had a
small launching pad next to the balcony. But the entrance door to the pad was
from inside and Rikta had never even opened it.
Was there any another way? Yes, but that too was terribly difficult and risky.
She could climb over the railings of the balcony and reach the launching pad by
walking along a very narrow ledge. It was only six or seven feet away but
Rikta’s heart stopped just by looking at it.
She even seriously considered throwing away the note and forgetting all about
it, but then she thought about Purna and felt sorry. Perhaps the note could
help her solve her problems.
She wasn’t even dressed for such adventure. It was her off day and she was only
wearing a loose pajama- and a loose woolen top. In her feet she wore a pair of
grass slippers. But there was no opportunity of changing clothes
Rikta had never performed any risky feat in her life. She always considered
herself a timid person. Scared, nervous, a bit self centered, those were the
words she would use for herself. But for some reason she now wanted to change
herself a little. Perhaps the note was not that crucial for Purna, but she did
not want to think that.
Thinking that she would lose her courage if she hesitated any more, Rikta took
off her sandals and climbed over the railings. The ledge was so narrow that she
could barely cling on to it with her toes. And after the railings, there was
nothing to hold on to. She had to somehow negotiate the next five feet or
so to reach the flying platform.
The pigeons were flying around her, as if protecting her from
Looking up, Rikta saw a thick cable hanging. She had no idea what it was for
but it was within her reach. She just had to stretch a little. Not difficult
for an ex-gymnast like her.
After trying three times, she managed to grab the cable. She yanked at it and
made sure it would not come loose. Now she had to go about four feet to the
window ledge of her bathroom, and from there it was an easy step to the
launching pad. Easy, if she did not slip.
But there was no time for negative thinking. She grabbed the cable and swung
out. The strong north wind almost took her off. With the next swing she grabbed
the ledge of the bathroom window. She let go of the cable and found her
toeholds on the narrow ledge again. Once she made the mistake of looking down.
She immediately closed her eyes. Heights were very scary for her.
After regaining her breath, she crawled like a cat. The launching pad was about
four feet away. Unfortunately there were no railings to hang on to, though it
jutted out like a diving board.
pigeons had understood her intentions. They were circling her and coo-ing. Even
at this critical moment Rikta joked with her favorite pets, “You guys can do it
so easily. Please don’t laugh at my clumsiness.”
It was better to think about catching rather than falling!
Only positive thinking could bring positive results. Rikta held the ledge with
one hand and stretched to the end of the launching pad. Now she wasn’t that
scared. She was calculating the distances. After stretching as much as possible
she felt some thing metallic under the cornice, a small handle or something
like that. She was breathing hard and beads of sweat glistened on her brows.
After one more maximum stretch she managed to grab the handle.
That was enough. In fact more than enough. That hold
allowed her to take a larger swing and climb on the launching pad. Immediately
she heard clapping and cheers. Startled she looked around and saw a bunch of
flying people had gathered around her. Even some flying cars and floating boats
had stopped to see her adventure. People were looking at her with
admiration. One man shouted from the back, “I have never seen a daring woman
like you. Bravo!” One old man shook his head, “This kind of risk taking is not
wise at all, dear girl.” One young man yelled from a car, “Will you come to my
bed tonight? Meeting Ground, 6-B.”
Rikta was pleased and a bit embarrassed at all these praises. She hadn’t
realized that so many people were watching her actions all this time.
The jet cylinder kept on her launching pad was for her use only. She was not familiar with it but she was born in a technical era.
After a little bit of study she figured out how to operate it. Perhaps she
would flounder a little in the beginning, but it would not be difficult to
The cylinder was attached to a metallic frame. There was small seat to sit on
and strong belts to tie the cylinder. When she was tying it on, the pigeons sat
around her and watched her gravely with
interest. As if they too were eager and anxious for the next step.
After tying the cylinder, she positioned herself at the edge of the pad, and as
she turned on the switch it was as if the
cylinder yanked at her and threw her into the space. She was initially
falling off, but she used the panel in her hand to maintain an even height. In
the beginning she did get a few knocks. Once the rocket went 700 feet above the
buildings, then zoomed down again.
Her five friendly pigeons too were flying faithfully
around her. So she didn’t feel alone at all. It felt like she was flying with
her very best friends. She was really having fun, enjoying the wind, the sun.
This was the first time she came to know how much fun fliers have. She laughed
out aloud. Tears of joy filled her eyes.
Rikta roughly knew the layout of her huge building complex. So she knew the
location of Purna’s apartment too. She flew on. Above, below and around her
were so many people and so many different types of cars flying that nobody
could note her separately. She felt quite safe in the crowd.
Suddenly something huge and heavy hit her helmet. The impact pushed her down a
few feet. It also hurt her neck. In the mirror in her panel she could see a
huge golden eagle sitting on her head and looking down at her. Rikta knew that
not all birds flying in the sky were real ones. Many robot birds were mixed
in. They fly around, taking pictures of people and things and perhaps
report them to the central office for whatever reason. This eagle too was a
robot bird, taking her pictures through its sharp eyes, perhaps transmitting to
some central repository.
Then, as suddenly as it came, the eagle flew away. The pigeons had moved away
at the sight of the eagle, now they came back coo-ing loudly.
Rikta reached the end of the building complex and turned left slowly searching
for Purna’s apartment. She too had a launching pad. Rikta landed on it, put
away her flying gear carefully and knocked on Purna’s door.
The pigeons flew impatiently. They were very unsettled for some
Suddenly the door opened. An irritated middle-aged woman was at the door. Rikta
remembered Purna telling her that her robot could not talk. But this woman
shouted, “This is not the entrance!” and was going to close the door but a
couple of clever pigeons had already flown inside. The woman screamed at the
top of her voice, “Get out, get out you rascals!” and she was going to take out
her ray gun from her belt when Rikta stopped her hand and stepped in.
Purna had heard all the noise and came at the door sleepily, looking at her
robot she said, “This is my friend, why are you stopping her?”
The woman still grumbled, “This is not the main entrance and I hate
Purna frowned and said, “You go do your work.”
The woman angrily stomped out.
Purna looked at Rikta in surprise, “How did you come in? Jet
“Why all these birds?”
are my friends. Yours too, from now on.”
Purna was laughing like a kid, like she couldn’t believe what was going on. “I
have been thinking about you from that day of our meeting. I don’t know why. It
was exactly 21 days ago. I have wanted so much to go visit
hear nowadays everyone is so busy. They don’t have time for
Purna’s apartment was very much like Rikta’s. Rikta suspected that there must
be spyware here too, listening in on them.
Suddenly Purna exclaimed, “Hey! What happened to your insect? Good Heavens! You
didn’t kill him, did you?”
Rikta smiled, “No. He’s alive. He’s resting.”
Aren’t you going to offer me some coffee?”
yes. Of course. Wait. Let me tell Gau.”
is the name of your quarrelsome robot?”
She was mute before, now she has started speaking.” Purna smiled, “Are these
your pet pigeons?”
We are all good friends.”
nicely they surround you!”
they will be your friends too.”
I’ll never have any friends. You know, I didn’t sleep at all last
your balcony on the other side?”
let’s go there. Let me see if you have place for a nest box. Then I can gift
you some pigeons.”
Then let’s go.”
balcony was just like Rikta’s. Safe and open all around.
But Rikta could not be too careful. She held the note in her hand and then held
Purna’s hand to quickly transfer the note in Purna’s hand. “Pigeons can bring
all kinds of news from elsewhere. Do you know in old days people used them to
carry love letters?”
Purna shook her head, “Yes, I know.”
they will bring one for you too.”
Purna was not a stupid girl. She felt the note in her hand and understood the
hint in the pigeons and love letters too. Unlike stupid girls she did not show
any surprise or yell out “What is this?”
Rikta was relieved. All her planning, risk taking and hard work were now
While coming back, Rikta bought a small boat shaped vehicle from Low Town. It
was just enough for one person to kneel in. it was slow but good enough for
Rikta’s occasional trips. And in the Low Town market, it cost her much less
The middle-aged shopkeeper was staring at her, “Madam, why do you have pigeons
around you? Where is your protective insect? Aren’t you supposed to have one?”
Rikta quickly thought of an excuse., “It is being
Keeping her shopping on hold in the shop, Rikta went out for a stroll in the
forest. She hadn’t been here for a long time. Never felt the need or the desire
to visit. The government did not encourage such visits either. Rikta had
no idea why suddenly she had the urge to come here and shop. It was not the low
prices. Rikta had plenty of money, so much that she could not spend it all even
if she tried.
Rikta walked on in the forest. The path was narrow and
uneven. There was lush greenery all around her. There was a nice smell of moist
earth and vegetation. The pigeons were flying along and sitting on her shoulders, head and
arms. Occasional pedestrians were looking at her. They had never seen a sight
like this. The five pigeons had circled her as if for protection.
The densest part of the forest was right in
front. Rikta had heard about it. From outside it looked like a solid green
wall. It was rare to see such a healthy strong dense forest. And it was totally
devoid of any human beings.
Gradually the she entered deep into the
magnetic attraction of the green, as if inside a fairy tale. There were only
the sounds of many birds. There was a narrow tunnel through the forest. It
ended in a most primitive place. There were only the earth, the sky and the
plants there and nothing else. The air was so clean that it made one come
alive. The pigeons were coo-ing happily. As if they too approved of this walk in the forest.
And there were flowers. Rikta had never seen
so many different kinds of flowers together before. It was as if painted on by
some expert artist.
There were numerous dragonflies and butterflies
flitting over the flowers. And suddenly surprised, she noticed quite a few
black beetle like insects flying among them too. She
saw them floating in air, not landing on a flower or drinking nectar. It was as
if they were measuring, assessing something. This was unexpected.
From her left, behind the greens, a male
voice spoke up, “Who is there?”
Rikta couldn’t see anyone, she replied in a
low voice, “Me. I am a woman.”
“Hope I am not
breaking any rule.”
not at all.
You can roam here freely. No rules against it.”
“I am Jagrata. Caretaker of this forest. I have been here for many years.
You must be from New Creation, right?”
“Yes. How did you
its own vibration. Their existence itself announces them. Have you come here
for anything special?”
“Yes. I have
heard about this forest many times.”
“Go ahead, see it
thoroughly. It may not last long.”
Rikta slowly stepped forward. An old but
well built man was sitting on an old, moss-covered bench, in the semi darkness.
He had a rough appearance, with spiky white beard and a large moustache.
“May I sit here?”
The man moved to one corner and let Rikta have almost the whole bench, “Are
your people planning to take over all of the forest?” He
“What do you
mean? Why should we take this land?” Rikta was completely
“I thought you
have come to assess the area on behalf of the government.”
“No. I work in
Space Research Lab.”
“Have you noticed
the spy bugs flying around in this forest?”
“Yes. I am rather
surprised. What are they doing here?”
“I don’t know for
sure. I am not a mechanical or technologically trained person. I have spent my
life taking care of the earth, the flora and the fauna. But I’ve heard that
they come before others, take measurements, draw out plans and analyze the
data. These are then sent to the experts who later on will come and occupy the
land for some special project.”
“And you are concerned,
“Yes. Your pet
pigeons seem to love you very much, don’t they.”
Rikta didn’t reply, just smiled
Jagrata said, “I am now an old man. So I
often fall asleep. Just a while back I was snoozing but suddenly saw as if the
whole forest was lit up. The Forest Goddess Herself had arrived. What a
heavenly face, and the kindest smile on her lips. And all the bees, butterflies
and little birds were flying around her, and the pigeons were sitting on her head
and shoulders! The Goddess said, “Do not be afraid. Nobody will take away this
Jagrata looked at her, “My dream is still
not gone completely. I feel as if the Forest Goddess is still sitting next to
Rikta blushed and smiled. “You are an expert
in saying sweet nothings. Aren’t you.”
Jagrata said, “Sweet nothings I did say in
past, I can’t deny that, but I am sure this time it was not the Goddess but you
whom I saw while half asleep. Who are you?”
“I am Rikta. I
live in Peace Cottage.”
Suddenly he raised his ancient huge hand and
stopped her. With wide unblinking eyes he scanned her face, “Are you by any
chance the daughter of Dhee and Kumbhak?”
Yes, those are my parents’ names. But how did you know that?”
Jagrata was talking as if to himself,
“Nineteen years ago, on the night of that terrible earthquake, Dhee gave birth
to a girl. The quake measured seven on Richter scale, so she named the girl
Richter. That was changed later on to Rikta.”
Today must be the day of unending surprises for me. Pray tell, how you came to
know all this?”
Jagrata was quiet for a while. “Goddess, do
you know that you bear the genes of the Great Kahna in you?” he asked.
“Yes. But it is
such a distant relationship that I don’t claim any connection.”
stared at a beehive in a nearby Kadamba tree, “But the relationship is there,
my Goddess, and there is risk with it too.” He said, almost sadly.
“Risk? Why risk?”
Jagrata shook his head, “That I don’t know.
I am old, so occasionally get strange premonitions. Where is that insect over
“Not here. I have
given him time off.”
A beautiful squirrel had climbed up
Jagrata’s leg and now nestled in his lap. Jagrata petted him lovingly and said,
“You are extremely shrewd.”
Rikta was looking at the squirrel longingly,
like a little girl. It had beautiful designs on its back. She smiled shyly, “May
I pick him up? Will it mind?”
“Of course you
may. You are the Goddess of this forest. Of course it will come to
Rikta smiled, “You are very naughty, all
those sweet talks!”
The squirrel did not mind Rikta at all. It
hung its furry tail and sat quietly in her lap. The pigeons must have been a
little envious, so they quickly reoccupied all the remaining spaces on her head
Jagrata stared intently at his vision, “You
look so glorious. If our artist was here, he would surely have painted your
“Who is this
“He is a lonely
man. Every weekend he comes here and draws pictures of the forest. At the day’s
end he erases them all before returning home.”
“Why does he
erase all his pictures?”
“Well, who needs
pictures now a days?”
“Then why does he
draw at all?”
“Because that is his
He can’t live without drawing. One day I suggested that he scatter all his
drawings in the forest. Let all the birds and bees see them. First he didn’t
agree but last week he left a few drawings here. Want to
“Sure.” Rikta stood up, still holding the
thorny Keya bush was the first picture. A ruin of a green cab could be
seen. Green vines were climbing all around the ruin. There was a silent lament
in the picture.
In the knot
hole of the Shimul tree was another drawing, a heron was looking at its mirror
image in the water, stilled in surprise.
Another one. On the water, over a lotus flower, two bees sat
face-to-face, greedy for the nectar, ready for the battle.
It was obvious
that the artist was an expert.
her to a lotus tree. The entire tree was covered with flowers. Hundreds more
lay on the ground below.
a bunch of lotus and revealed the face of a girl.
“What is this? It is my picture! It is I, Jagrata!” Rikta
spoke up in surprise.
sighed, didn’t say anything.
looking at her own image with surprised eyes. She looked at Jagrata and asked,
“Has the artist ever seen me?”
“How else could he draw?”
“Must be here in the
He must have seen the Forest Goddess in his mind’s eye.”
“Seriously Jagrata. I am extremely surprised. I had never dreamt of
having such a perfect living image of mine. Do you think the artist would agree
to sell it? I am willing to pay whatever price he asks.”
picked up the framed picture and handed it to Rikta, “He never expected anyone
to even glance at his pictures. Just that you asked for it is a price more than
enough for him.”
“Please thank him for me. Today the entire day has
been filled with surprises, one after another. Hope I am not dreaming all
“No Goddess, you are not dreaming.”
Rikta let the
squirrel go and held the picture in her arms. Then she extended her hand to
Jagrata, “If I want to come here again?”
as if in a dream. Looking at that mesmerizing dark and light painted forest he
spoke very slowly, “I have been living here all my life. I have seen how the
seasons change, how the forest look different in the dawn and in the dusk. But
look my Goddess, today its beauty has exceeded far beyond the limits. I can
hear in its heartbeats a joyful unheard music. You know why? Today, you, the
Goddess of this forest have arrived in your kingdom. You don’t need any
permission. This is your forest. Your rightful place.
This old caretaker will wait for you everyday.”
feel a tide of joy and pride well up within her. Something she had never felt
before. A bubble of unbearable happiness was climbing out of her heart. She
burst out laughing, “Jagrata, you are a naughty, lying old man! You have
mesmerized me with your sweet lies. And you know the problem? I desperately
want to believe those lies.”
his brow in mock despair, “Alas! After all this worship,
the Goddess rejected my offerings?”
“Yes Jagrata, you old
You snared me in your web of sweet praises! Now I see how enticing they can
Rikta’s hand in his huge paw. Rikta felt his warmth, trust and even some
unexpected familiarity. Perhaps she was wrong? But her eyes grew misty. With a
choked voice she said, “Goodbye, Jagrata.”
“Long live the Forest Goddess!”
truly an unbelievable day for Rikta. Flying in the wind, warm sun and crystal
blue sky, she felt as if she was truly flying by her own wings, not a jet
cylinder. Along with her flew her five pigeons. It was like flying through a
dream. There was no reality in it.
She flew way
up in the sky, turned around and somersaulted to make this joy more bearable.
Who would want to return home with so much overflowing joy?
At the end of
the day, when the sun was turning tomato red, she slowly flew home. Was the day
ending already? So fast?
returned, she still smelled of the sun, the forest.
her undress, “Today you stayed on the balcony a long time.”
“Yes Uki, you may go to your work now.”
Another source of her joy was the picture.
She took it out of her dress and stared at it for a long time. She had heard
that the picture of Mona Lisa had such magic. People stared at it for
some magic hidden in her picture too? Otherwise why was she so enchanted with
her own image? What was in that face? It was her own
face. She saw it everyday in the mirror.
“It was made with love.”
up in surprise. Who said it? Uki?
ironing, she looked at her and said “Yes Madam, I know.”
“You know the artist?”
“Yes. His name is Pranam Dutta.”
“Who is he?”
“A scientist at the
Central Weather Station. He also draws.”
“How do you know all this?”
“When one robot is punished for breaking rules, others
robots are informed about it.”
“Explain it Uki.”
“Pritha was punished. She was taken to the shop and
all her programs were changed.”
“Who is Pritha?”
“That picture. It’s Pritha.”
“No way. It is my picture, why would it be Pritha’s?” Frowned Rikta.
“No Madam, Pritha was a waitress in the soup kitchen
in Low Town.”
“This is her picture?”
“Yes, and yours too.”
“How can that be? How can Pritha and I have same
“Its possible, Madam. After
all, robots are copies of people.”
“After making the robotic bodies, they are asked to
choose their own faces. In the panel are three-dimensional faces of different
people. Yours is in there too and it is quite popular. Pritha’s robot chose
your face and clicked the button”
“My goodness! You mean there may be more robots like me?”
“Yes madam. Your face is very popular. You may meet
other robots looking like you in New York, Chicago, Amsterdam, Singapore, even
Rikta felt dizzy.
If there were a few thousand replicas of her roaming all around the world…
wasn’t that unfair to her? Could people see the difference between robots and
human? How would she explain to everyone that she was real, not a robot? Among
thousands of Riktas, what value would she have?
Uki looked at
her naively, “What is the harm madam? Robots and humans are almost equal now,
No? And humans too are actually instruments after all.”
not answer, but she realized Uki was reading her thoughts.
Pritha’s picture on the wall and said, “Yes. I can read your thoughts. I can
feel your brain waves. You are nervous. Have some water. Water is the best
drink for humans.”
truly thirsty. She drank up the water offered by Uki.
Uki kept talking while suction cleaning the room, “Humans are
instruments, just like the robots. But humans are erratic. Robot is not.
Robots will not get angry, break trust, forget things, or tell lies. That’s why
more and more humans are choosing robots as their bed partners. Even the homosexuals. Human relationships are messy; with
robots there no such worry. They are perfect sex mates. There is no pressure of
satisfying a robot, if after a few days you get bored with one model, you can
just get rid of it. No hassle. Have you noticed Madam, as the number of robots increase, the birthrate
among humans is dropping off? The maternity beds in the hospitals are empty. In
a few years robots will outnumber the humans.”
months ago, Big Bab, the chief of the World Science Congress, had made similar
predictions in his annual speech to the humans. Last year the human birth rate
was the lowest in recorded history. Only 65000 in the whole world! But Big Bab
was not at all worried about that. In fact he expressed satisfaction, “There is
nothing great about being the most numerous. In fact it is better to be the few
but in control. There is no point in increasing the numbers of human laborers
and farmers. The robots can easily do those jobs. What we need now are a
selected few intelligent educated humans.”
knew Big Bab’s predictions are almost always right. Currently he was considered
the wisest man on the planet.
“Please be quiet Uki. I am not happy about it at all. There are thousands of
copies of me and nobody had even taken my permission! This is very
“No. Robolab does its own thing. They never ask
“And that is wrong. Someone needs to inform the 5W.”
“You know that you are a neutral. That means all your
systems are stuck in a dilemma. You are a female but you do not feel feminine
inside. But you are not a male either. You are not somewhere in the middle, nor
are you frigid or asexual. Do you know what all this
“You are very much like us, robots.”
was pounding. She thought of changing Uki for a less talkative robot. And
perhaps get her cat back too.
turned her back to her and was checking the oxygen level in the room on the
panel. Without turning she said, “What use will that be? Instead of Uki, there
will be a Maria, or Chitra. They too would know everything. We all talk to each
other by our own signals. It s not even known to your
information head office. And the cats? They
never liked our vibrations anyway.”
Rikta stared wide-eyed.
Uki was reading her thoughts and was not concerned about the spy cams and
microphones in the room! Did it mean mutiny?
the room temperature and said coolly, “No madam, this is not mutiny. There is
no need for mutiny. Don’t worry. I have jammed all the spy wares in this room.
Nobody can hear us.”
“What is the meaning of all this?”
knelt in front of her and folded her hands, “Have I ever disobeyed
“Not till yesterday.”
“Have I not served you in all
“Till yesterday, you did.”
“Have I been impolite?”
“Not till yesterday”
“Wasn’t my speech cultured and pleasant?”
“Have you ever disliked my company?”
“Not till yesterday.”
“Out of ten, what score would you give me?”
“Why are you asking me
“Please forgive me Madam.” And immediately Uki became
still and stared at Rikta.
Rikta asked, ”Why are you doing this? What is it?” And while speaking,
Rikta’s eyes became vacant, her head felt light; there was a strange tremor
throughout her body. She fell on the floor in a heap, unconscious.
Uki stood up.
She carefully picked Rikta up and placed her on the bed with her head on the
pillow. She placed her hand on Rikta’s head and said, “Sleep, sleep well my
mistress. You who bear the genes of the Great Kahna.
Sleep well. The greatest enemy of the deer is her own flesh.”
stood up again. The insect on the wall suddenly slid off on the floor. Uki
picked it up and looked at it for a while. Then she threw it in the
cooled the room temperature, increased the oxygen flow. She put away all
Rikta’s clothes in the wardrobe. Then she looked all around, took a small bag
and got out of the apartment. She went straight on the terrace. A flying car
was waiting there for her. Uki got into it and disappeared.
A middle aged
man entered Rikta’s room.
He put on a
helmet like cover on Rikta’s head and analyzed the inside of her brain in a
small hand held monitor. He also noted her blood pressure, heart rate etc. Then
he pressed a red button on the helmet and waited. After about five minutes, he
took off everything and exited. His work was done.