Radon, brought down on his knees, wiped his face with the back of his hand. His face was still stinging from the blow. He could feel the taste of blood in his mouth. He spat and raised his sickly body up. As the rush of adrenaline shot through his body, his pain subsided to the background. He brought his hands to his temples and with all his willpower concentrated hard on time – this time he succeeded. A white glow started beaming out of his body.
The beams of white light sprang from his body like ropes and jumped onto the invisible dimensions of time. The ropes wrapped around the seconds, and like a leash started pulling them back. He needed more force. Radon let out a wild scream, in pain and in agony. It worked. The white ropes started slowing down the time. Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes into hours. He had mastered the time.
When he opened the eyes, the sky continued to be the orange of the evening, the way it had been a few minutes ago. But the rest of the world had changed. It had thickened around him. Making everything difficult to move. The leaves of the trees, the fighting armies around him, the tanks, the bullets, each and everything slowed down to a cartoonish speed. “Now he can’t hide,” Radon muttered under his breath.
And he couldn’t.
Streak, who had been a blur till now, could not hide anymore. For long.
Streak was an accident of nature, just like him, and could vibrate the atoms of his body at frightening frequencies. The result – an ability to run faster than anything out there. As a young boy he had out-sped taxis and trains. Then as he grew older, even supercars and Jets couldn’t match his pace. And then he broke the speed of sound. But only when he broke the two hundred years old record of five percent of speed of light. Setting his record at seven percent that he caught the Milky Way’s attention.
But unlike Radon, who had joined Masters of Galaxy Unity Mission (MOGU) to further the cause of peace in the Galaxy, Streak had joined the revolutionaries. A patchwork of freaks who wanted to start a revolution. “Fools!” Radon had described them when he was given this job to deal with them. And they had proved to be fool in front of him – when within three weeks he rounded up fifty of their members. But this Streak, the last of them, was proving a little difficult to tame.
It was Mu who zeroed in on his location – Radon’s trusted navigator. And when she did that Radon had left everything to land up at Alpha – 786. A young planet with base level technology. Streak is recruiting – the report had said. “He won’t anymore!” Radon had said to himself.
When Radon was wormholed to the location, Streak was standing at the foot of a mid sized spaceplane. He was holding a lightphone – an age old invention for interplanetary communication. He must have allies – for the next moment a wormhole appears right above the spaceplane, which alighted the very next moment, and vanished into the wormhole. And so did Streak. Taken by double surprise, Radon was taken off-guard and that’s when he felt a sharp blow on his face that pushed him back to his Knees. “Fucking Ant!” Radon had cursed as he tasted his blood.
But now Radon was smiling, biting his lips in anticipation to kill his prey. His white ropes had turned time to gelatin, thick and viscous, slowing down everything, Radon stepped ahead with a grin on his face. “Can’t run anymore, can you Streak?” he mocked as his eyes danced around to spot him. His mind started calculating. He can’t be far. Even in the worst case scenario, in few seconds, considering all the time he needs to pick up speed, he can’t go far. He brought his hand in front of him and clicked a button. A lifesize map appeared in front of him giving him details of the geospace around him. “Streak,” he said almost whispering.
He was looking far from the center of the map – where he was standing. So when the red dot appeared right where he was standing, at his back, he was taken by surprise. One more blow, this time on his back. He was airborne, the map vanished, his leash on time started weakening, the gelatin melting into liquid. By the time he fell back, his back burning in a piercing pain, the time had assumed his original quality. Streak was standing above him with a mocking grin on his face.
“How did he!” wondered Radon. A volcano erupted within him. This time, even without his hands on the temples, he burst into such a blinding light that Streak turned back, protecting his eyes. And then – a lull enveloped them. Everything became still. Everything froze. The time had turned to ice now – allowing nothing to move. Radon erupted into a thundering laugh. “Now you’ll die ant!” he roared as he stood up. But … But … unlike everything around him, Streak wasn’t still. He could move! His power seemed to be not working on Streak. And Streak had realized it. For he shrank away from him – his edges blurring as he started vibrating once more. “No … Noooo,” Radon cried.
But, now it was Streak’s turn to be surprised. He was not able to run. He could move in the three dimensions of space, but wouldn’t accelerate beyond normal limits. Space and time are interlinked. You can’t bend one without curving another. He was cut off by the time. Radon had stopped time. And therefore, cut off from his ability to run fast.
Radon, on the other hand, had the problem of his own. For the first time he had seen someone escaping his ropes of time. Even though Streak was without his power to run fast, he still possessed a formidable build than him. And he was a tested warrior. He was trained in the ancient art of fighting with his bare hands. But Radon wasn’t. Time was Radon only and ultimate weapon. He had escaped tanks and spaceships and even empires with his single ability to tame time. Without it, he presented a weak, useless opponent.
The fact that Streak was still hiding indicated that he was yet to figure out his quandary. So Radon, thought of retreating. Run today, fight tomorrow! Radon realized the irony of this ancient proverb. There was no tomorrow when he was fighting Streak. Streak has outdone him.
He turned a dial and a spaceplane appear over his head. A beam of light washed his sickly body and the next instant his body turned to air. He was teleported into the spaceplane. Streak had won this fight, Radon thought as he sat alone in his cabin, but he will not win the war. Radon closed his eyes and immersed into a trance that took him to the ancient master of time. He needed some answers.
To be continued