Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Attack of the Tourists

“To be hanged till death.” The judge declared while looking at the five teenagers.

Anirudh looked around and he could see there was no sympathy for them in the courtroom. He did not care for it though. They were heroes and while the government might have put some people in the courtroom but they cannot silence the history. The history would remember them as martyrs.

“The government really outdid itself this time.” Mack said to the group in hushed voice. “The whole courtroom is filled with their men.” He said resonating with Anirudh’s thoughts.

“Yeah, but to be honest, we did expect that.” Yasmin said, a little terrified. She was the youngest among the group, 16 years old. The group had expected that she would be let go due to her minor status and then she could continue what they had started. Unfortunately, this would not happen.

“It’s alright. What we did affected only thousands. However, what the government is doing now will start a revolution and will probably affect the whole world. Earlier, we were vigilantes. Now, we are heroes.” Jacob said proudly. He was the leader of the group. Almost 20 now, it was his plan that had led them here.

Lee remained silent while they were in the court and only first spoke when they were taken back to the prison. It was decided that the punishment would be completed one week from now.

“Isn’t that when the invasion happened?” Lee chuckled. “Coincidence much?”

It was almost three years now since the alien invasion happened. All of them remembered how the ships had covered all the major cities — New York, London, Mumbai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, São Paulo and many more. Unlike what is shown on the movies, the attack was much grand and not confined to US. The world was in shock and while there were inklings of the attack, no one had expected such a blitzkrieg. All the preparations by the governments of the worlds wasted, the aliens were here.

Also, the aliens didn’t try to destroy the world, they simply controlled it. Before the world could react, all the heads of the countries were mind-controlled by aliens. Few were able to run before the mind-control expanded to regular people. Within three years, the whole world was a plaything for the monsters — Yizards as they called themselves.

Luckily, a few thousands survived. These people, bunkered and stayed out of the reach of Yizards and their mind-controlled humans. Anirudh’s parents were one of those. They were smart folks and were very rich too. This ensured that they were able to horde a lot of things in their bunker when the calamity happened. Anirudh was thus saved from a fate worse than death by hiding in a bunker. For the first year or so, it was just hiding and trying to find similar groups. That is how the five of them came in contact. Yasmin’s father was an old friend of Anirudh’s father and she was with them since her parent’s death. Mack was an orphan adopted by his parents after the invasion and Jacob and Lee were together running from the police for assaulting a group of aliens and killing one when they found Anirudh’s group.

It was Jacob who instigated the zeal to fight back instead of simply hiding. Initially, Anirudh was resistant to this idea but that all changed fifteen months back.

“You really think that we can attack the whole world?” Anirudh asked incredulously.

“Maybe not the whole world. But we can inspire those in hiding to strike back. The world can do with some heroes. And who knows, maybe some of the individuals might be able to find their mind-control. We have to find out how they are doing it.” Jacob said energetically.

“You are right, Jacob. But it is too dangerous. We can’t let you children go and try to do that.” Anirudh’s mother said.

“But someone has to do this. Better us than anyone else.” Jacob said.

Anirudh’s father was silent through all this. This was not the first time this discussion had happened and even before Jacob had come, the elders often discussed this course of action.

“Alright. Jacob is right. We have to do this. But you kids remain here. There will be an adult group which will do this. I will work out the details.” Anirudh’s father said finally.

“But dad. I want to be part of this.” Anirudh said immediately.

“No. This won’t be done by teenagers.” Anirudh’s father said with a finality looking at the five kids.

The plan was made and Anirudh’s and Yasmin’s parents along with another individual went out to find out more about the aliens and the controlled humans. The plan was to understand their activities and if possible, capture an alien or human to understand them better.

This would be the last time Anirudh would see his parents. Anirudh met them once, but his parents were gone. They kept blabbing about how the aliens are good and Anirudh should come to them. Mind-controlled.

After that, there was no mercy. Anirudh became a ruthless killing machine. He trained himself and while Jacob remained the leader of the group, everyone including Jacob knew that Anirudh’s word was the last.

Over the next one year, they kidnapped several individuals — aliens and mind-controlled humans to find out any method to save the humanity. Sometimes they would test old methods that they had read in a book or found in their research about hypnotism. They had tried everything from shock therapy to various herbs but nothing worked. Sometimes, the humans did not survive the methods. However, if they did, the gang let that person go. Yizards were never freed.

Eventually, they realised that the only way to get rid of the aliens was to scare them. Thus, they started working on bigger and better weapons. Lee was a chemistry expert and with the help of Mack, manufactured several medium to high strength bombs.

Before capture, they had blasted around 11 bombs in 8 different regions. They always chose a Yizard populated region.

“Just because we have to kill doesn’t mean we have to be inhuman.” Yasmin would always say. She was still not comfortable with the idea of killing humans but Anirudh had made up his mind and she followed him.

Finally, they were all captured on 1st Feb. Jacob’s plan was simple. The bombs were to be planted and detonated from a distance. Unfortunately, a human whom they had kidnapped once and left free saw Mack and recognised him. He called the police and while the police had come for kidnapping, they found the detonators and realised that this was the famed gang of five that was responsible for the blasts in the past few months.

Decision was swift and on 7th Feb they were told that their last day on Earth was 14th Feb.

“Wow, guys. You got lucky. Dying on Valentine’s day and all.” Mack winked at Anirudh and Yasmin.

“Also the day invasion happened.” Anirudh interjected.

“Hey, at least you have each other. All I have is these two chumps.” Jacob said laughing at Mack and Lee.

“I would have preferred a few more years but at least I am dying famous.” Lee said as the rest of them laughed.

Before they could be asked their final wish, they asked to be kept together for the last 7 days. The judge relented and they spent the last five days joking, laughing and reminiscing all the while hoping that the world be a better place with their efforts.

“They have been sentenced to death.” The President told the Supreme Leader of Yizards over the video call.

“And the parents.” Supreme leader asked.

“Only one of them- Anirudh- had parents. Rest of them were orphans.”

“Give the parents my condolences.” Supreme leader said in a resigned tone. He did not like murders, even those of bad people. However, he tried not to mingle in human politics.

“I will inform them. I would once again apologise for these terrorist attacks. Some people always have prejudices against those who do not look like them. First, it was blacks, then gays and not aliens.”

“It is alright Mr. President. I just wish, humans were not as violent in their show of prejudices. We have lost around 250 Yizards in the past two years on Earth, most of them students who were enthusiastic about going to Earth and learning about new culture. Some Yizards are upset about this and whispers have started to send the human exchange students back to Earth and bring back the Yizards who are on Earth.” Supreme leader informed the president.

“I understand Supreme Leader. However, please be assured that we are trying our best to curb the situation. With this decision, other such groups will be deterred. It is of utmost importance that the two cultures meet as that is the best way to create harmony.”

“I completely agree. Once again, I congratulate you on the capture of the rebels. Hopefully, this will give comfort to the parents of the kids who died in those attacks and create a better and trusting environment. Good bye for now, Mr. President.”

“Thank you and Good day to you too, Supreme Leader.” President said.