What was he to do now? One option was to just sit and play ‘Angry Birds’ and hope that alien would be back. But was that a risk worth taking when the future of humanity was at stake? This was not some trivial MBA assignment to just put aside feigning ignorance. The starting point was quite clear. He had to find out where he was. He activated the GPS of his mobile phone to check. Mycenae, Greece, it said. Next step was to find out the best route to Nemea.
The Google map was so perfectly mapped that even the lion’s den was clearly marked and Harvi had no problems reaching his destination. Now came the difficult part of killing the lion. His first thoughts were to order a gun from Amazon. But then there were 2 issues. He had been pretty bad at using guns even during his NCC days. It was unlikely that there had been a sudden quantum jump in his shooting abilities. The second issue was that of funds. The heroes of the old had benevolent Gods gifting those weapons, food, steeds and what not. But these days there were no such things as free lunches. He had to depend on his own finances and he knew that a good hunting rifle would wipe out all his savings.
When everything else fails, Google comes to your rescue. So he decided to check if he could find a more economical and efficient way of killing a lion on Google. As expected the internet did give him lot of answers. The first method was called the Newton method. It said, “Let the lion kill you. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Implies you killed the lion” But then there was a small issue. If he died on the first challenge, who would take up the remaining 11 challenges? The lion? So this method would not do. Then there was the software engineer’s method. “Kill a cat and claim that your testing has proven it is a lion. If anyone comes back with issues tell that you will upgrade it to lion” This idea seemed more promising.
Harvi searched the internet for kitten sounds. It did not take much time to find one and download. He started playing it and soon a sweet little kitty was lured in. He then addressed her, “Guess what I have in this mobile?”
The cat gave him a quizzical expression. He continued tantalizingly brandishing his mobile phone at her saying, “I just picked up the latest gossip on the cat fights in Bollywood. It’s all here.” The cat began to run around his legs and take mini leaps to reach the phone. But he kept the phone high above its reach. After sometime the cat could not bear the suspense any longer and dropped dead. Curiosity had killed the cat.
Next step was to take picture of the cat’s corpse with his 8.0 Megapixel camera. Then he quickly downloaded a photo editing software for mobile phones. With that he morphed it into a picture of a lion. He was sure he could carry off the deception. It was all about confidence and belief in oneself. If his marketing research professor could believe all his cooked up data why would the alien not fall for the morphed picture?
With these thoughts, he was on his way back to Mycenae. The Greek king stood at the place entrance waiting for him.
“The first challenge did not take too much time, eh?” he said, his flat voice matching his expressionless face
“Ready for the next one? Here you go. Destroy the Lernaean Hydra”
He was here a moment and he was gone the next. He had not even asked to see any proof of completion of the first task. Then suddenly it dawned upon him. Of course! Why had he not thought of this before? The aliens could read minds. So he had directly read it all out of his own head.
But then his mind was suddenly filled with anticipation and doubts. The aliens had given no indication whether he had succeeded or failed in the first task. By the earth standards it could be deemed a success. After all fudging was the norm here. Physics teachers knew students fudged lab data. HR managers knew candidates fudged resumes. Auditors knew company accounts were fudged. Viewers knew media fudged the news. Everyone knew everything was fudged. But they pretended to believe everything was all right and carried on with life. The fudging was the glue that held together the entire human civilization. Wasn't that what sophistication all about? The day someone called the bluff the whole civilization would fall on top of each other like a cards tower. He hoped things worked the same way with alien races as well.
But this was not the time for all these philosophical musings. He had all the time in the world for that later if the world survived. Now the priority was to figure out what this hydra thingy was.
Next Part of the Story : Singer Sings Hydra Stings
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Picture credit : Lion Picture