The Erymanthian boar had built itself a reputation for the destruction it could wreck. But Harvi had nothing to fear. His snake oil income ensured he had the money to buy the most sophisticated hunting gear against which the boar’s might would be but a joke. But availability of capital and technology alone did not guarantee the success of a venture. The regulatory framework also had a critical role to play. And that was the constraint here. If he tried something funny he would fall foul of Diana again as the boar was a wild animal and would fall very much under her domain. And even a Goddess does not fall for the same trick twice. So he had to think of an alternative.
He remembered one of his friends mentioning a site called oDesk where you can hire freelancers for your projects. He logged on to the site using internet on his mobile phone and posted the hunting assignment. Now he just had to wait for someone to pick up the project. He would outsource the dirty work to them while he relaxed. When the job was finally done, he just had to front end with the aliens for the final presentation.
Computers seem to have made people too lazy. Everyone wanted only desk jobs. There didn't seem to be any takers for field assignments. However one French team finally agreed to take up the assignment. They would be arriving there for the briefing next morning. But there was a small catch. They did not want to be paid in cash. They instead wanted some of the boar meat as payment. This was going to be a challenge but he would cross the bridge when it came.
The Frenchmen were dressed in odd looking clothes and looking likes buffoons escaped from a circus. One was a huge fellow with a large belly, thick red whiskers and long red hair braided into pig tails on either side. The other one was a spunky little one with yellow hair hidden by a helmet, thick yellow whiskers, a leather pouch hanging from his belt and a sword by his side.
The smart one spoke up, “Greetings, friend. I am Asterix and this is my friend Obelix. We hail from Armorica, a little fishing village in the land of Gaul.”
“And this is our friend Dogmatrix. He just loves trees”, added the large one pointing to the little dog accompanying them.
Harvi checked his Google maps and gave them directions to Erymanthos. As he saw them disappear into the jungles, he began to wonder if he knew these guys from somewhere. They looked oddly familiar. Then suddenly it came to him. Ah! The comic he had seen in his friend’s room the other day was about these guys only. Asterix and Obelix, eh?
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” He remembered his strategy professor's favorite Sun Tzu quote. He knew himself too well, the scoundrel that he was. So he would definitely not succumb in every battle. But in order to ensure victory every time, he had to know the other party as well.
He decided to put the waiting time to good use: researching about these two guys. He searched the internet for all Asterix comics available on bit torrent and downloaded them. By the time he had been through 4-5 of them, he knew everything he needed to know.
These guys had a magic potion which made them invincible. The big one had fallen into a cauldron of magic potion when he was still a baby. So he was superhumanly strong though a bit addled in the head. The smaller one on the other had was goddamn smart but needed to take swigs of the potion for invincibility. These Gauls had two ruling passions: one of them was boar meat. That was the problem. The other passion: the solution lay there. But he had to take a gamble. And a gambler he was, indeed. Only the gambler, who went all in blind, raked in the big bucks. Having made his plans, he waited. He did not have to wait too long however. It was not long before he could hear the stomping sound of Obelix’s large feet and Dogmatrix’s barking in the distance. These guys seemed to real pros who knew their business well.
“Here is your boar, friend. We are hungry. Light up a fire and let us start the cooking.”
Harvi had his answer ready, “Be patient, friends. Let us have the feast in Mycenae. My friends are waiting for me there with the cooking pot ready. I also have an additional surprise waiting for you there.”
As they neared Mycenae a glorious spectacle greeted them. A huge Roman army was arrayed there with an impressive leader at the head. This was exactly what Harvi had been hoping for. He had been right in assuming after Cleopatra, the alien would assume the form of Julius Caesar. The gamble had paid off. Obelix let out a whoop of joy on seeing the Roman army. He dropped the boar and rushed headlong into the army. Asterix also took a quick drought of the potion from his pouch and rushed after Obelix. Soon Roman soldiers were flying in all directions. That was the other passion of the Gauls: bashing up Romans soldiers!
Harvi made use of the opportunity to retrieve the boar and slip in through the lines to the leader of the army who was cowering at the back.
He handed over the boar to Julius Caesar. “Here is your Erymanthian boar. Four tasks down, eight more to go, eh? ”
The alien was still too stunned from the bashing they were receiving from the Gauls to even say something. The battle had been carried to the aliens now. They must now be realizing how grossly the had underestimated the human race.
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Picture credit : Boar Picture