By Ramprasath Rengasamy
“My name is Rash. I am a pharmacologist. I have been broadcasting from all the AM channels on the Rima continent from Maxas. Seven hundred billion people worldwide have fallen victim to the virus. Countries and continents have become meaningless. The pandemic has, in a way, simplified my understanding of what has happened. Our lives are like a loaf of bread gotten on its expiration date. It’s all about our point of entry in time into this system. If any of you are living in iconic groups here and there and happen to hear this, come to Maxas. I use ‘dead reckoning’ in the absence of GPS. I have food, shelter, and small ships to come and rescue you even if you happen to have been stuck in the waters.” After enunciating every word, Rash turned off the radio.
His brows furrowed as he cited an unnatural movement at a distance. Careful investigation revealed an old Sabor hobbling towards him. Rash, who had been expecting younger Sabors was a little disappointed with his rough estimate on the newcomer’s age. However, he picked him up in his truck with the intent of saving another Sabor life. Once returned to the camp, Rash offered him hot tea.
“When I heard on the radio that you are a researcher, I thought I should meet you by any means. My name is Fallow. I am an archeologist. I have worked for the government in many projects before pandemic.” Fallow said as he sipped the hot tea.
“You misunderstood. I don’t have any antiviral drugs that could save an infected.” Rash clarified hurriedly.
“No. I know you have no medicine; no one knows where that medicine is. At the very least, I have a fair idea of how an antiviral drug can be achieved. I came at this old age looking for you to share it with you. I am not as equipped as you are, you see” said Fallow.
“Honestly, I am embarrassed being a researcher myself. Our’s was once a planet inhabited by about eight hundred million Sabors. But now there is hardly a few hundred left. No matter how hard I tried, I could not digest the fact that not even one of the eight hundred million could find a cure for that deadly virus. I too have tried and failed. Now I have come to the point of admitting my failure. If there is a way to combat such a pandemic, it must be done as soon as possible and at any cost” Rash said.
Being a person from the technical side of science, no wonder Rash felt Fallow was picking on him. Although it was not the case.
“A diary belonging to one of my forefathers – we have been preserving as a souvenir for generations – mentions that a very long time ago, an artifact was unearthed. It spoke about a race called Sapiens. Legend says that these earliest Sapiens species faced a similar viral infection in the long past. The cure for that infection was later found in the genes of another race called Neanderthals which preceded Sapiens, but the legend also suspects that it was these early Sapiens who drove Neanderthals to extinction.” Fallow said and glared at Rash checking if he was attentive.
Rash nodded and glanced back at Fallow seeking more information.
“Many ethnic groups must had evolved from the earliest Sapiens. But looking at where the world has come today, it seems like most other races have succumbed to the pandemic due to lack of a vaccine or an antiviral drug. My guess is, among the survivors today, there should have been bloodlines that roots back to their earliest Sapiens but only one bloodline among these should have been the sunbae to the rest. The fact that we are struggling for a vaccine confirms that our race is not that sunbae. I strongly believe that sunbae race could carry the genetic material that can aid the antiviral drug that we are looking for. It is all about that bloodline. I hope the distinction is clear now. isn’t it?” Fallow asked.
Rash’s eyes widened in surprise at the various possibilities that small information from Fallow offered. He nodded his head in agreement.
“From the various projects I have handled, we have a mapping that talks about root bloodlines of each geography. According to that, our bloodlines roots back to South Asia. By evidence, it is in South Asia did our ancestral bloodline reached its genotypic and phenotypic peak. By then, the land was referred as southern India. Now it is referred as Makuri. This landscape is about a twenty-day sea voyage away from where we are right now.”
“Is there any speculation as to what we should do if we get there?”
“There were many languages spoken on that continent. But all those languages descended from one parent language, we now refer as ‘Lagar’. All we must do is to look for people who speak this language. Those who speak this language should be the oldest Sapien race in the planet” Fallow said.
Rash, with no intent of wasting time anymore, took one of his mid-sized boat, and prepared it for a voyage. He filled it with the tools he needed for research. The relatively smaller vessel, carrying various research equipment and the two of them, sailed towards Makuri by sea. Twenty-day sea voyage was uneventful to both. The sea seemed to have no intention of interfering in their ambitious journey. As the lives of the planet were endangered under the onslaught of the virus, the sea seemed to mourn with its unusual silence.
A small group of four or five people appeared when Rash’s small boat hit the shore in the southern tip of the Makuri continent. Rash frowned again as he witnessed dead Sabor bodies were being cremated at a distance, as was the practice in Maxas.
“If the Lagar language speaking natives have the ability to resist the virus, shouldn’t Makuri survived the pandemic?” Rash asked thoughtfully.
“What we need to find, however, are the descendants of early Sapiens by genetic purity, among the Lagar speakers.” Fallow said.
“Let us pretend to have come up for conducting a free medical camp for the survivors. That way, we can access their genetic content.” Fallow said.
Having found the idea convincing, Rash nodded in approval. A camp was put up along the shore to facilitate medical testing. Rash made a proper announcement through Radio. As time passed, the surviving Sabors began to hit the camp one by one.
Rash took their blood samples and tested them but didn’t find the genetic material he was looking for. However, all those who presented themselves at the camp, clearly spoke the Lagar language. This surprised Rash and Fallow.
“What’s going on here? I do not understand. They speak the Lagar language. But their genes aren’t immune. Do you know better? Is your ancestral note complete? Are we missing something?” Rash asked.
“Even I am less certain. But I could guess how they might have survived the pandemic. Perhaps they survived by isolating themselves. Or they may have taken precautions to protect themselves from the virus. About the souvenir, all I can tell is, it is very reliable” Fallow assured.
Right then an old Sabor appeared by the entryway of the camp.
“The next blood test will start in ten minutes. Please wait a minute.” said Rash.
“My name is Noval. I am a historian. I know what the motives of some of these blood test camps have been in the past. My guess is that this camp should be nothing more than an excuse. Millions of people are dying and you’re mocking people’s lives now” said Noval.
Rash thought only for a moment. He became submissive instantly.
“My sincere apologies, Noval. Yes. There is a hidden agenda to this blood test we are conducting. It is to find the direct descendants of earliest Sapiens by genetic purity. Since you claim you are a historian, you may already know this. Resistance to a virus that once appeared on the planet……” even before Rash could complete his sentence,
“….was revealed to be in the gene of an intermediate species called Neanderthals” Noval interrupted and completed it on Rash’s behalf.
“Oh .. did you get what you were looking for?” Noval asked further.
“No. So far about four hundred people have been tested. But I didn’t find what I am looking for. Upon inquiries, I learned that these four hundred are the only survivors of the pandemic”
Rash noticed Noval’s eyes jerking away in disappointment.
“Perhaps, as a historian, you may know better than us about the history of this topography. Are we searching the remedy in the wrong place?” Rash asked.
“It is true that Sapiens were our immediate predecessors biologically. Lagar was the first language they spoke and was the mother to many other languages that it gave birth to. The characters in that language were in two parts. There were 12 characters in one and 18 characters in the other yielding to 216 combinations. In those days, it was called as ‘Tamil’. The remedy for the pandemic that has attacked Sabors now could rest in the genetic material of the earliest Sapiens by genetic purity, the same way as how Neanderthals bored the remedy to the pandemic that attacked Sapiens once. But………………………..”
“But?… But, What?”
“From the archeological digs it appears that in the beginning it had been a prosperous and an exemplified life in this part of the planet. This was where the genotype and phenotype peaks of Sapiens believed to have happened in the long past primarily because this was the topography that offered the best possible spices and herbs. Evidence says that these early Sapiens believed a biological neural network flow connecting all the living things around them. According to them life must had been just one that is inclusive of all the living organisms by some unknown cosmic ways. They must had been simple sapiens who had the habit of settling by the riverbanks and hills and headed to live in harmony with nature. Evidence also confirms that it was their simplicity that must have later victimized them. Archeological digs confirm that there had been many Sapien ethnic groups in the long past, but only one of them continued to live in harmony with nature. While other Sapien ethnic groups set a personal goal and adapted Sapiens life accordingly, the forest dwelling natives must had been seen comparatively lagging by their noble purpose. Dating techniques revealed that, at one point, there was a sudden migration of sophisticated Sapien ethnic groups into the areas previously held by natives. It led us to conclude that properties and reserves of natives were occupied by other ethnic groups and confiscated by the authorities. Other groups usurped their lands and came to rule by themselves.”
“Were there no neutral thinkers, medias, leftist rebels at that time? How could this have happened without the then world knowing?” Rash asked.
“From the various stone markings and archeological digs, we now learn that those who came to power, in order to retain their power for generations to come, and to continue to create vile wages for doing menial work, continued to deprive social status of these natives. At one point, they were even referred as untouchables and were not allowed to enter places that involved purity like temples, educational institutions and so on. What was spoken by many was taken to be true without being questioned. Documents and sources that claimed the true status of these natives were either set on fire or stolen by other ethnic groups in power. So, the possibility of even knowing the truth about the true value of these natives must had become very thin and at one point must had been completely vanished.”
“There was a country named Srilanka further south, gone under water today. Once, a tsunami dug out skulls of as many as three hundred thousand Sapiens. It must had been a mass genocide. But none of the archeological digs or library archives, indicated a recorded history of any government marking this as a genocide at the time it happened. When all this came to light much late through archeological finds, I was merely hoping that the forgotten natives might still be alive somewhere sticking to this planetary life by some means. Now I suppose those who speak Lagar are not the descendants of the real natives but the descendants of those who came from other parts of the planet for survival purpose and drove those natives to extinction. That’s probably why their genome doesn’t seem to have the remedy that you are looking for.” said Noval.
“I am wondering how this submerged in the dark. Was there no one to shed light on them?” Rash asked.
Noval, who was lost in deep thoughts momentarily was startled out of his reverie with Rash’s question.
“By then, it must had become a case of too little, too late” was all he said.
“People who had extreme immunity for a deadly virus had been decimated by competition. Their excessive simplicity must have taken their lives.” Fallow said.
“No. At a young age, I have heard stories about a monster that hid his soul in a cave across seven mountains and seven seas. Similarly, the fate of the intelligent species that appeared on the planet Earth has been kept hidden in the continuum of the oldest intelligent race on the planet. Nature keeps the justice of each creation within the creation itself as a secret. Unbeknownst to them, the Sabors seem to have sought their own destruction in the due course of their evolution.” said Rash.