Turning the Tide

“It has been more than 2 hours since they have gone and yet, you people have no news about them?” asked an irritated General Bakshi.

“Sir, only one carrier returned and the pilots have submitted their reports. You may want to check this out.” Said Javed.

The General walked forward and looked at Javed’s monitor.

“Going by their reports and the constant monitoring of the elite’s trackers, this is what we could analyse. Prior to reaching the target area, the squads indicated that they are seeing something… something which was not of this world.” Said Javed.

The General stared at Javed, the latter could only shrug his shoulder and continue, “The very next moment, they were attacked by surface to air missiles and a few of those carriers were shot down. This is where things get really confusing. The squads were trying to re-group so that they could reach the target area as soon as possible but then there was a giant EMP wave that the structure emitted which fried all the devices and from then on, we are unable to contact any of the elites.”

The General sat down unable to comprehend what would have happen.

“Any survivors? Any transmission that indicates that they all survived?” The  asked.

“The first carrier that got hit… no survivors from that. If you look, sir… just before the EMP wave, I could see green dots which indicated that some of them survived. We just saw another EMP wave that hit us again and just before it fried up our systems, we saw green dots again for a few minutes and then it all disappeared.

Sir, I saw around 7 dots. I have bad news… Codename Krishna and Major Govind, they didn’t make it. Major Jeffrey is the only one alive and quite possibly, leading the mission.” Javed explained.

General Bakshi couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He got up from his seat and walked towards the window again looking at the same area where the beam of light was seen.

“Codename Krishna… dead… he was standing beside me a few hours ago and now… he is dead. Oh God… give us strength. Give us strength to fight… and to survive.” Said the General.

Javed walked towards the General and looked at him, a tear trickled down from the latter’s left eye. Javed wanted to say something but he stopped. He walked away from that place to leave the General alone for sometime.

Back at the industrial area, Major Jeffery and the elites were close to the target area.

“There are less buildings here, so we might get to see a ringside view of the structure.” Said Major Jeffrey.

“Hey guys, listen… Am I the only one who thinks that these SUVs should not be working? I mean the EMP wave fries up everything right. Even when the first wave hit, we were attacked by a super carrier and it was flying as though nothing happened.” said Karan.

The elites looked at each other and a few of them turned to Poorna for an answer. The latter scratched her head, even she didn’t realize this for so long, she commented, “I have heard of equipments before which can withstand an EMP, but an EMP of that size, this is ridiculous… how are these things functioning?”

“Guys, come on… this is not the time to be frustrated with things which we have no answer to. I know that there are some of you who have not seen warfare of this scale but that doesn’t mean you are inexperienced. Keep your head cool… and try to analyse the situation.

The career you people have chosen demands that you people have neutral stance to everything that happens. The more neutral you are, the more you can use your head and make decisions that can be fruitful to you and others.

Let us find a safe spot to start our operation and then we will have the time to discuss what we are really dealing with. Seriously though, I have a bad feeling that we are onto discovering something that no man has ever imagined… even dreamt about.” Said Major Jeffery.

The moment Major Jeffery said that, he saw a patrol coming from the right. There were 15 anti-nationals in an armoured truck along with 2 SUVs. The former stopped the SUV and the other driver did the same. The patrol leader saw the SUVs and asked his squad to stop.

“Nobody moves, nobody panics… Let us handle this like professionals. The slightest chance we can fight or escape, we will take it. Am I clear?” Major Jeffery asked and everyone acknowledged.

The leader of patrol squad came forward, however, instead of the first SUV, he walked towards the 2nd one.

“Oh no, Kishore is driving that car… and he is the one who always has a panic attack.” Said Atif.

“Yeah, well, just our luck. Hold your horses, let us just see what happens.” Said Major Jeffrey.

A few moments before this, Karan had found out that both the SUVs had spare anti-national uniforms in the boot. The elites planned to wear them in an effort to infiltrate the area where the pyramid was located.

“I hope the plan works, Karan or we will be done for.” Said Shekhar.

“What is the worst thing that can happen? If it works, we are good, otherwise, we will rip them apart like we always do and been doing.” Said Karan.

Kishore brought down the rear view mirror and the leader looked at him and the others suspiciously.

“Who is the leader of your squad?” the leader asked.

Kishore was on the verge of having a panic attack, he was sweating profusely now and sulaiman was quick to notice that the former was going for his auto-pistol.

Atif had heard what the leader said and communicated the same to Major Jeffery. The latter got out of the car and greeted the leader, “Hey there, I am the squad leader, Jeffery.

The leader looked at him from up to down, and then walked towards him.

“I am Kasim. We heard that BASE had sent their dogs to find out about our little secret, however, surface-to-air missiles were able to take them out. A squad was sent in to check for survivors, however, we have got no information. We lost contact and that is why we were sent to investigate.” Said Kasim.

Major Jeffrey looked at his squad and then back at Kasim.

“We are the ones that were sent to scout the area and search for those dogs. They were all killed, I am not sure if there were survivors but I don’t think they would survive long enough in that soup. We were coming back to report our findings till you guys showed up.” Said Major Jeffery.

There was no reaction on Kasim’s face, he looked back again at the SUVs and then back at Major Jeffery.

“You could have radioed us and given the information. The boss was expecting news for a long time but then your radio went down. The EMP wave from that pyramid is programmed to take out only the radio and equipments of our enemies while our equipments… everything is programmed to run. They are synced to the pyramid.” Said Kasim.

Major Jeffery did not expect that. The others also heard and can only stare at each other in disbelief. Major Jeffery was trigger ready, he looked at Kasim’s squad and then back at his squad.

“Kasim, it’s the boss. He is calling out all the squads to report to the command centre. We need to move now. We are in the final phase of our mission.” Said an anti-national.

Kasim acknowledged by nodding his head and then looked at Major Jeffery and his squad.

“Ride with us. We need to move now.” Said Kasim.

Major Jeffrey agreed and got on the SUV again.

“Well, that was close.” Said Karan.

“On the contrary, we are all set to be burnt. Let us just go with the flow and follow them. We are indeed infiltrating their base, however, we are in for a big surprise.” Said Major Jeffrey.

As the squad followed the anti-nationals, they could now see the pyramid clearly. The top of the pyramid was pure gold while the rest was pure black. The markings on the pyramid were in Sanskrit language yet the structure was indeed alien in nature. The massive size of it was unlike anything that the squad witnessed. Poorna had a camera with her, she took aim, however, the image was being distorted.

“Strange! There is something about this structure that is beyond our comprehension. Anything within its range doesn’t seem to work. The anti-nationals have indicated that their equipments are synced to it. We should find a way to sync our equipments with it to turn this fight in our favour.” Said Poorna.

Shekhar was surprised to hear that and inquisitively asked, “Is it possible? Can we turn that thing in our favour?”

Poorna looked at Shekhar and then looking back at the pyramid, answered, “It is not that easy. We are going towards the command centre. It will be busy with soldiers, we will have to create a kind of diversion that can not only keep the soldiers busy but allow us to hack their systems.”

“We need a plan. We need to plan on the go. The others need to know about what you said.” Said an excited Shekhar.

“I have the BASE codes, Shekhar. All we need is a terminal… and a diversion. ” said Poorna, with a smile.

The SUVs stopped near a facility. While everyone got down, Kasim walked towards the door, clicked the intercom button and gave the pass code. The door opened immediately and everyone went in. They took the stairs downwards and walked through a huge tunnel among other anti-nationals who were all going towards the command centre.

While walking, Shekhar explained to Karan whatever Poorna said a few moments ago, considering the latter was still manning the mini-gun turret. As they were walking in tandem with their enemies, they decided to communicate in codes.

“You are planning to enter this house without knocking the door (hacking the command centre), then we need to find a back door (create a diversion). The problem is, we don’t know much about our neighbours (anti-nationals), we need to understand what they like or do not like to make this festival a grand success (create a diversion big enough to keep them busy).” Said Karan.

“I know, let us just a make a list of all items we need for the grand festival and then we will decide on whether to invite them or scare them… though, my intention is the latter.” Said Shekhar.

Major Jeffrey was able to understand what they were talking about and smiled at their presence of mind, he said, “Our neighbour likes fireworks, however, they get angry if it is directed towards them. Making them angry will spoil the fun, so better to enter through the backdoor and scare them. I guarantee that is the safest thing to do to enjoy the celebration.”

Karan and Shekhar looked at each other and nodded their head in agreement.

They reached the command centre where they saw a man in a red armour speaking to someone on a huge screen.

“I assure you, My Lord, that we are in readiness for the next phase of our plan. What we did first was give them a hint of what they were up against and I daresay, BASE does not have the capability to fight this out.

Moments from now, we will start with the 2nd phase and without a doubt, it will be complete subjugation in minutes.” Said the man in red armour.

“I must say I can’t wait for it, Code Red. I am extremely happy with the way you have handled everything. Best of luck. ” Said the man on the screen, after which it went blank.

Code Red then turned around to face his army. He was wearing an armoured helmet too because of which the security elites were unable to see his face.

“That was our lord who is very happy about the proceedings and cannot wait to hear about our success. We are in our final phase and close enough to victory. However, if you people think otherwise, you may raise your hand for it.” Said Code Red.

The anti-national army answered in unison, “Sir, no sir.”

One anti-national raised his hand though and the other anti-nationals were shocked.

“It is ok. I don’t expect everyone to nod their head at every word of mine. Feel free to speak up, comrade.” Said Code Red.

“Sir, I hope there is a grand dinner for all of us. Nothing is ever complete without a victory dinner.” Said the anti-national.

The others including Code Red burst out laughing.

“This.. this is what I expect from you all. Victory will be ours and the party will be on me.” Said Code Red, and all the anti-nationals cheered.

Code Red continued, “BASE calls us anti-nationals, however, little do they realise that we are not what they think we are. We are the Nationalist Corp, we are doing what they were supposed to do, what our ancestors were supposed to do and we will succeed.

That being said, can I have Major Jeffrey and his band of elites to come up on stage.”

Major Jeffrey and the others were shocked. They looked at each other and at the same time, the anti-nationals drew their weapons and aimed at them.

“Come on up, people, I don’t have the whole day. I have a mission to complete and you people are delaying it.” Said Code Red with a sarcastic tone.

Major Jeffrey looked at the others and signalled everyone to follow him. They slowly walked towards the platform on which Code Red was standing. Karan noticed 2 tarantula tanks standing on each side of the platform.

“If only we could power them up, their armour is tough, it will take the soldiers a while to bring them down. Enough time for someone to hack the command centre. However, we need to contact BASE and alert them about what we are up to.” Karan thought.

Once on the platform, Code Red walked towards Major Jeffrey. He looked at him eye to eye and then at the others.

“What were you people thinking? That you can just gate crash into our party and we won’t even realise it?” while Code Red said this, some of the anti-nationals confiscated their weapons and ammunitions.

“There you go, comrades. Our enemy is standing right in front of us. You people think you are brave. No, in reality you people are just plain stupid. You underestimate our power every time… you people have been doing that and now, you are all set to see real power.” Said Code Red.

“Not if we try and stop you. Besides, you people are dealing with something that none of you have an idea about. You say we underestimated you… to be honest, we have overestimated you.

You all are and will always be the idiots who have no idea of modern warfare, no idea of how the world functions and need to function.

You are hell bent in bringing in your ideas of governance but the truth is that there is no governance, no hierarchy… just a bunch of self-proclaimed leaders who look down upon their own kind as slaves.

You may have the upper hand today but trust me, you will lose. Every man who has thought himself as king and others as slaves has suffered consequences that you have no idea about. You are no leader and you will suffer when the times comes.” Said Major Jeffrey.

The anti-nationals were hearing the major’s words, there were murmurs around which alarmed Code Red and a few of his followers standing next to him. He was enraged, he glared at the anti-nationals and then looking back at Major Jeffrey, took his pistol and pressed the trigger.

The BASE soldiers watched in horror as Major Jeffrey was shot in the head. Karan grabbed him as the latter’s lifeless body fell. The former called out but it was too late, Major Jeffrey was dead.

Code Red turned towards his army and said in an angry tone, “This is what happens to those who will question my authority. If anyone still thinks otherwise, you are free to face my gun.”

The BASE soldiers were enraged. Shekhar was about to pounce on Code Red but the anti-nationals on stage grabbed hold of him including the others. Karan continued to stare at the lifeless body of Major Jeffrey, realising that they were all that was left, they could either fight back or surrender.

“What will happen if we surrender? Nothing, we are better off dead. So, better to do something really stupid and die, then to do nothing.” Karan thought.

He then looked at Jenny, the latter was in tears even though angry. She looked at him and realised that Karan had a plan. She then looked at Shekhar, Sulaiman and Poorna. She didn’t have to say anything to them, they looked at her and nodded their heads.

“Our death is near, I guess. I have no regrets though, I am besides the people I love, besides people with whom I spent the best days of my life. I owe them all and it is time for repayment.” Jenny thought.

Karan placed Major Jeffrey’s head on the ground and slowly stood up. Code Red glanced at him as he walked forward and the former pointed the gun at him.

“Isn’t it strange that you are working hard to create an army, however, instead of motivating them… you are trying to create order by scaring them?” Karan asked in a sarcastic tone.

Code Red was enraged and retorted, “You dare question my authority? You dare question my leadership? What do you know about leading an army? You are still a cadet with limited experience… and you are going to teach me leadership?”

Karan smiled and said, “A collection of medals or a power suit that you are wearing does not classify someone has a leader. You know what my father used to say – A leader may fail but not a team, never!!

What makes you think… this army of yours, do they have the will to fight if something happens to their leader? No, they will quiver and run in fear once they see their leader run or die.

They are an army that has been fed lies, made to eat, sleep and fight in fear that they will be executed if they do not comply. Not one single personnel over here has the courage to fight back if they are cornered or overwhelmed.

We are the soldiers of BASE, bred to fight not for survival but for glory… for honour… trained and developed by the best who would go to any length to complete a task at hand.

You will not win, you will never win. None of you will win… and we will make sure you don’t.”

As soon as Karan said the last sentence, there was a flash which blinded everyone. It was Shekhar, his captors were very much distracted due to Karan’s speech and it was enough for the former to activate a flashbang and throw it into the crowd… though that was not the intention.

“Damn you, Shekhar… you were supposed to throw a grenade and not a flashbang.” Said an irritated Poorna.

“Aargh..  I know… I know… my bad!!” Shekhar responded.

As the effects of the flashbang was slowly subsiding, Karan could make out Code Red scurrying from the place with his guards, the others grabbed the weapons from their captors, fired and killed them all. The group threw more grenades and flashbang leading to the anti-nationals running away from the area.

“You coward… and you were going to lecture me about leadership. You are a lone tiger… but we are a wolf pack.” Karan thought looking at the direction Code Red ran.

He immediately turned towards his colleagues and said, “Somebody get on that console, hack it and try to reach BASE. The rest… get on the tarantula tanks, man the turrets… let us give them a taste of their own medicine.”

Jenny could only stare at Karan, surprised at how he was giving orders. The others duly followed while a smile sprouted on Jenny’s face. However, Karan looked at her confused.

“Jenny, get to the tank and operate it. We need cover and support.” Said Karan.

Jenny sheepishly nodded her head in agreement and rushed to the tank in the right. Sulaiman had already powered it up while Kishore and Atif had powered up the other.

With the effects of the flashbangs subsiding again, the anti-nationals came forward to repel the attack, however, the group had activated the weapon systems on the tanks and started firing at the anti-nationals in the command centre. They brought the tank forward and placed them right in front of the console where Shekhar and Poorna were trying to hack the console.

“If it is war that you people want, war is what you will get.” Said Karan looking at the anti-nationals being killed mercilessly. He then turned around to check on Shekhar and Poorna.

“Come on, goddammit.” Shekhar yelled in frustration.

Poorna checked her watch, they had just 3 minutes before the pyramid would create another EMP wave.

“We need to tap on the power of that wave. Turn it in our favour and the EMP will fry up all devices belonging to the anti-nationals. Enough time for us to launch an assault.” Said Poorna.

“Come on, Shekhar. You heard the lady.” Said Karan.

“I am, I am… just get off my back now.” Shekhar retorted.

Every time Shekhar tried to hack, the screen flashed ACCESS DENIED. Shekhar took a deep breath and tried again, before hitting ENTER, he chanted a mantra and clicked it. The screen flashed green with the words ACCESS GRANTED.

Poorna was ecstatic and kissed Shekhar on his cheeks. He then pushed him aside saying, “My turn now. I have the codes.”

Poorna quickly put in the BASE codes and the syncing started. The BASE command centre was quick to detect this and Javed immediately alerted General Bakshi. The latter could see the syncing going on in the screen.

“What are we getting synced to?” the General asked confused.

Poorna checked her watch, there was just 15 seconds left. She looked at the screen, then at the others and said, “Prepare yourself.”

The sync was successful and at that very moment, the pyramid created another EMP wave. However, this time, the wave fried all the equipment and weaponry of the anti-nationals. The command centre blacked out for a few seconds before the back up generators kicked in and restarted the systems within the command centre.

Within minutes, the distortion and disturbance clouding around the structure cleared. The BASE command centre, and the space stations BASE REPUBLIC and BASE INDEPENDENCE were able to view the structure.

“I don’t understand.” Said an astonished Javed.

The General was looking at the pyramid on the screen. He couldn’t help marvel at it.

“So this is what caused the earthquake and was also causing the disturbances. You still don’t understand Javed? Whoever it is… the person has actually synced our systems with that pyramid.

The pyramid was under the control of the anti-nationals… and now, we are it’s new owner.” The General explained with a smile.

That very moment, a sub-screen opened up and the command centre officials could see Karan, Shekhar and Poorna. Most of the anti-nationals in the bunker were either killed or they retreated, and the others got off the tarantula tanks and joined them.

Karan started explaining the situation at hand, “Sir, as you can see, we are inside a bunker and contacting you through the anti-national command centre. They call themselves The Nationalist Corp and are led by someone who calls himself Code Red.

The pyramid, if you people have noticed was unearthed from within the planet and is not human in nature.”

At the same time, Poorna was accessing the files about the pyramid, she was horrified and started shivering in disbelief. Something that Karan noticed and therefore, stopped his explanation.

Even the General noticed and as he and the others were listening intently, he stated, “Cadet Poorna, it looks like you found something. Go on, we are listening.”

Poorna took a deep breath and then started, “Sir, this is not just an artefact… this is a nuclear bomb that is primed and ready for detonation.”

The people were shocked at this news and there were murmurs around. The General silenced everyone, not that he wasn’t shocked but he didn’t show it.

“Tell me everything, Cadet Poorna. We are listening.” The General ordered.

Poorna took a deep breath again and continued, “The files or documents related to the pyramid are limited, sir. I will try to collect as many as possible, however, it seems the anti-nationals are guarding a secret which we are unable to decipher.

The only information we have is that they were going to use the power of the pyramid to threaten us to submit to their ways or die revolting.

The anti-nationals have got their hands on an alien technology and we need to study it… but we can only do that by stopping Code Red from detonating it.”

“But why would he detonate it if he plans to use it for threatening us?” asked Shekhar.

“We are not the only world or planet where humans reside but we are definitely the point of contact. If he does detonate it, the other colonies will be forced to secure themselves with whatever available resources they have or submit to the anti-national propaganda.” Karan explained.

“So, our planet, SC120 is like the leader of the pack and Code Red is prepared to take out the leader.” Said Jenny.

Karan nodded his head in agreement and then looked at the General again on the screen, “Sir, we are going after him but we need support. The pyramid has been synced to us so it will be easy. We will take out as many of the ground personnel as possible.”

The General was impressed with everyone, he asked Karan, “Can you do it? Can you all do it?”

Karan looked at everyone, the others understood the question, they were all that were left against a horde yet someone had to do it.

“We will either do it or die trying, sir. We cannot allow the anti-nationals to win. We will do whatever we can but we must stop Code Red at all cost.” Said Karan.

General Bakshi didn’t had to ask for casualties. He knew that the security elites on screen were their only hope and whether they will make it back or not, he had to give them the support.

At that very moment, the BASE command centre received a communication.

“BASE command, this is BASE REPUBLIC, we have it confirmed that we are operational again. We have also noticed that our systems are synced to that structure and we are able to view and access it.” Said Codename Indrajeet.

“This is a wonderful piece of news. Karan, you got your support. We have never utilised the power of the cannons of both the stations because we never had the opportunity to use it.

The blast radius is huge so keep your distance and fire your weapons only if you get to see the enemy being close to you.

Best of luck out there.” Said the General.

Karan and the others acknowledged, and disconnected. The General turned to Lt. Col Javed and the command centre officials, and said, “We are in control of that pyramid. I want everyone to learn everything about that thing and keep track of it.

It has been prepped and ready for detonation, all they need is to activate the countdown and if that happens, it will be FUBAR situation for mankind. I hope everyone understood that.”

The command centre officials acknowledged and got to work immediately.

“Air support would have taken time and we wouldn’t have lasted in a firefight. The space stations are functional now. It will be risky but we will have to take a chance.” Said Karan.

“We can use the tarantula tanks to eliminate the hostiles and carve a path to the pyramid. The space stations will take out most of them and we will then take out the stragglers.” Said Sulaiman.

“We will have to stay in the shadows but it will be worth it. Let the anti-nationals know what they are up against.” Said Shekhar.

The security elites got on the tanks and proceeded through the same gate that Code Red had scurried away with his guards.

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