Thursday, July 22, 2010

“Thank you , brother.”

“NSG-010 this is Team1 we have two suspects, one on the top left roof covered by NSG990 and another on the balcony opposite the entrance, he has some sort of device in his hands, exact confirmation latitude 93.74 and longi..”…the trained heavily built sniper quivered in his continuation. It had been a long day, with buildings being blown up, riots and chaos. And the final call had come on the State building, Intel reported. The dust had settled down, the bullet ridden gravel filled the air and the rotting smell of blood loomed over the smoke filled afternoon. The sniper shifted his weight and suddenly gave a start. He was looking through his snipe vision, zooming in on his target. And something about the suspect caught his attention. The black and green bandana on his forehead. The one which he remembered very well. It wasn’t a symbol of any religious group, neither was it a signal for any destruction. It was just a sign of determination, a strong will, when you are about to do something big, something which could change things the way they are. Something for the good of mankind. He knew only person who had that bandana, a person he knew very well.

“team1, sniper 04, this is NSG010, you are authorized to engage, no exceptions, clean all suspects, the state building is rigged with explosives from the inside, they are waiting with the trigger for the auspicious moment, I repeat, you are authorized to engage!!”

Sniper 04 struggled to catch his breath. The person he was looking through his lens was the same person he had shared everything with in his childhood. The biggest disappointments, the happiest times, the tears, the laughter. He looked at the calm, serene face covered partly with the bandana and his hands holding up a small device as if it was an offering to God. The sniper rifle was shaking in 04 ‘ s hand. The cross air pointed to the man ‘s upper chest. Suddenly the world went quiet. There were no barking orders from the radio, no sound of the NSG choppers, no gun shots, no cries. Nothing. Everything stood still. He placed his hand around the trigger. He remembered the rose sherbet and mutton biryani during eid, he remembered asking his friend’s father for his ‘eidi’, he remembered taking him home for ganpati celebrations, lighting fire crackers with him. He remembered his pass during the final of the football tournament, which he had successfully netted in. He remembered slapping him after he tried his first cigarette. And the same person, the same friend, the same old comrade stood in line with his sniper rifle.
“what have you done, Komail, what have you done..”

The plan had worked perfectly till now, Komail thought as he adjusted his bandana. Till now. The voice he heard on the system was one he could not forget. The tapping had worked, all NSG radio communications were audible to him. He wished they were not. For he knew who sniper 04 was, along with his location. And he knew that his best friend was on the other side ready to put a 5.45 inch bullet in his chest. He had to make a decision. Komail could press the device, walk out unscathed. But he was also aware of the time lag, even after direct orders from NSG, sniper 04 had not fired his rifle. More NSG commandos appeared at the base of the building, evacuating people. Innocent people. People with families and small children. Tears began to form at the corner of his eyes. Not because he was going to kill a hundred other people, but even when about to do so, his friend would not fire. He looked up at latitude 93.74 and longitude 65.39 on his laptop. And found the location. He was right in front of him. “why wouldn’t you shoot me…it would make this easier…!” The detonator trembled in his hands, his conscience torturing him from within. Why would he have to make this decision, he asked God, why wouldn’t fate decide this for him. His hands were clammy with sweat, as he closed his eyes again. It was time. “I am sorry, brother.”

The base of the building erupted into a frenzy of smoke and gravel, as shouts and cries of horror filled the air. Windows shattered, foundations crumbled as the peoples’ muffled cries for help were drowned. The structure collapsed slowly, as sirens blared. Among everything, the chaos, one man smiled. The man with the green and black bandana. Komail. He smiled again as he looked down at his hand cupping his chest, warm blood oozing out of it. He slumped onto the floor. The smile remained as life drained out of him. “Thank you , brother.”