A small bungalow was nestled in a lavish colony. A car came by and stopped. A man wearing black goggles, must be around 25, got down and entered the premises. While heading to the door, he was having a look at the poorly nurtured garden around. As he reached the door, he glanced at the car for a moment and pressed the doorbell. Waiting for the door to open, he had a look around at other wealthy houses in the colony. It was taking time to open the door, so he ambled around. Suddenly he stopped, taking a stance to enter inside, as if got a hunch of somebody opening the door. Door opened, a man of almost his age stood in the door, giving him a way to come inside. He entered the house, no formalities, neither vocal nor expressional. As soon as the one standing outside entered, the door closed. It was easy to guess from their build, clothing, and complexion that they definitely were not of American origin. Both of them walked towards the cellar, which was not evident from the house structure, that it could have cellar inside.
The one came from outside, Command2, asked " Any message from Boss?"
" Not yet.. What to do and when to do, depends on the auspice of the time, the boss chooses" Command1 said.
Command2 smiled ridiculously, "You know...One is free to have his own craze".
" Command2, if you want to work with us, you should get tuned with the way we work... here, everything is measured and pre-calculated" Command1 seemed to have disliked the comment.
Command2, who did not expect this, simply looked at him plainly, as he was not sure how to react.
" Whatever boss works on, he knows its results in advance" Command1 said.
They reached the dark cellar, in the middle of which, there was a computer kept on a table. They went to the computer. Command1 switched it on, and sat on a chair in front of it. Command2 sat beside him, pulling a wheeled stool. Computer was going through the checklist before loading OS Linux.
" You know... Why I use Linux?
Command2 shook his head in ignorance.
" Who writes all the softwares, for which the source code is not provided to the customers?" Command1 asked.
"Companies?" replied Command2.
"I mean which companies?" probed Command1.
"American" Command2 answered.
" Also you must be aware that softwares, for which the source code is provided to the customers, are called open source software... which means, the customers can know from the source code, what exactly is going on in their software. And the software with which the source code is not provided.... there can be many things in it, which are not supposed to be..."
Command2 looked at Command1 in confusion.
"I hope you understand what I mean?"
"No...I mean..." Command2 fumbled.
" OK…. You must be aware that once Microsoft had declared that they are going to use some tags in Windows OS"
"Yes I know"
" They were planning to do this to countercheck their competitors... because using those tags, Microsoft would have made sure that the program they want, would only work properly. The other programs running simultaneously either work damn slowly or would not work properly at all." Command1 said.
"But how it is concerned with using Linux?" Command2 could not wait asking.
" Yes it is connected... very much connected... look... to countercheck their competitors and other users, they can use such tags... it is also possible that they have planted such tags in their software and hardware, so that all the important information all over the world, would reach them through Internet.... Our and our allies’ activities could also be included in it... particularly after 9/11 it had become very important for them" Command1 said looking at Command2, checking his expression to know whether he understood or not.
"Yes, you are right... It can happen..." Command2 expressed his opinion.
" Therefore you know ... what I did?... I compiled the Linux code and then installed it in my computer... we need to take all possible precautions..." Command1 told.
In each of his word, his ego and supremacy was evident.
'' You don't know the whole thing about this America... It’s their ultimate goal to rule the whole world ... and to achieve this, they can go to any level...'' Command1 said.
Command2 was looking at Command1 in disbelief.
" When did the human register their first presence on the moon? ... You must have learnt in the school.. " Command1 unexpectedly asked him.
" Neil Armstrong registered his first presence on moon in 1969 through the American satellite..." Command2 answered quickly like a schoolboy.
" Every school boy is been spoon fed with the same information... but did anybody doubt this... In the video clip shown on the TV then, everybody could have clearly observed that the American flag was flying on the moon... if there was no air on the moon, how could a flag fly... the shadows of the astronauts ... changed position of the satellite in different photos... there are so many such evidences which show that American satellite never reached the moon" Command1 was talking in rage.
" What are you talking?... that means everything was fraud?"
" Yes it was fraud.. .a big fraud... not only this…. the photographs taken through satellites then, show the clear picture of the set, they made for the shooting of this whole fraud movie… must be little over budgeted than some big budget Hollywood movie."
" But why should they get involved in such a risky fraud?" Command2 asked.
" Yes your doubt is correct ... Why should they get involved in such a big and risky fraud?... When America had declared their success in reaching the moon... ,Russia was their closest rival. To show the world that we are superior to Russia, they fabricated this fraud.... and they succeeded in it..." still Command1 was fuming in rage.
" My God... that means they had fooled the whole world..." Command2 said in astonishment.
"America is walking the path, Britain had walked long back... Before World War-II, Britain ruled the world... People used to say those times, that the sun never sets on their land...Now America is trying to do that... The only difference is that Britain ruled the world directly, but America wants to rule it indirectly and that is called 'Proxy ruling' ... Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, South Korea ... what are they doing there... proxy ruling them"
" Yes you are absolutely right" Command2 seemed to be convinced.
"And our key objective is to wipe out this American dominance" Command1 said fervently.
It was clearly visible from the Command2's face that he was totally impressed and influenced by Command1's justification. And Command1 was delighted to find that Command2 was completely brainwashed.
Suddenly there was a buzzer, a mail had come. Command1 opened the mailbox, it was boss.
" Who is this boss?'' Command2 curiously inquired.
“ Nobody knows except the Boss himself... And its not important who he is... We all are connected with a common thought and motive... And those motives and thoughts are important... Today Boss is alive... tomorrow he may or may not be there... we have to make sure that his thoughts never die." Command1 was talking while opening the mail.
“ Hi” was the only word written in the mail. Something was attached with the mail. Command1 opened the attachment; it was Madonna's photograph in bold pose.
“ Boss sent this?” Command2 asked in surprise.
“ You are too new to know all this... For time being, you should only understand that the tooth to bite are different than those to show...” Command1 said, smiling at the photograph.
Command1 swiftly pressed few keyboard buttons, a software opened. He double clicked Madonna's photograph, a blue bar started progressing ahead slowly. Command1 looked mysteriously at Command2.
"What are you doing ... Sa..."
Command1 at once closed Command2's mouth with his hand, " No……. Never do it again... You should never utter my name, not by chance too... You know even these dumb walls hear ... "
" I am so Sorry..." Command1 felt abashed.
" No sorries and no apologies here." Command1 said firmly.
By that time progress bar became complete blue.
" You know .. this is stegnography... its about hiding information behind the photograph... you can see only the photograph.. but a lot of information can be hidden in the photograph" Command1 was explaining.
" But if the photo goes in wrong hands?" Command2 raised his doubt.
" The information can be extracted with this software only... and it requires password... this software is written by Boss himself... therefore there is no question of having it with others." Command1 tried to clear his doubt giving him appropriate details.
"What information is hidden in it?" Command2 asked curiously.
Suddenly a message, which was hidden in the photograph, popped up " Be ready for the next operation ... the time will be informed subsequently"
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Mugdha Apte