Its been her dream to occupy that coveted corner cabin. It had the best view of the open skies. The very skies that fascinated her since childhood. Looking up, darting her eyes towards the starry deep blue skies, she always had thought of being one amongst them. How wonderful it would be to float in the crowd of the galaxies, she had wondered, all throughout the days of growing up. Utter silence, floating in anonymity… aha what a solace! Solace that she was searching for since childhood.
“She is a star material”, most of the teachers had opined about her while growing up. May it be academics, extracurricular activities, or sports, there was not a single corner of the life that she had not sparkled with her achievements and participation.
Following her passion, she took up Astro-Physics and was soon selected as the research scientist at world-renowned Space Center, post her masters. Aided by out of box thinking and hard work, a rare combination one would note, she managed to acquire the position of the Team Lead soon. A Team Lead at Extra-galactic Explorations division, at an early stage of life, was no mean feat!
She was happy. Not for the perks that fetched the promotion, but for two distinct reasons. One was getting the corner cabin, which was pretty isolated. Here she could carry out her trials without any disturbance, she had thought well in advance. And second, she would now be able to lay her hands on reserved resources of the space center. She now was so near to realize her dream, she had thought. Just one more milestone and she was done!
Soon, her cabin turned into a miniature R & D lab. She was found most of the time experimenting with the light sources and gauging devices. Tweaking various algorithms and programs was another thing that she was busy indulging at her terminal. At times, the fire alarm went off courtesy her failed experiments. Occasionally thin sheet of smoke and burnt smell enveloped the entire top floor owing busting of circuits and the gadgets. The in house fire and safety department also got used to it. Her sheepish grin was enough to melt away the cobweb of lines on the forehead of the Safety Chief! The notice board in her cabin was half-filled with the clipped “Show cause” notices, though!
On hearing the loud bang and then the subsequent fire alarm, one fine day, no one was startled. However as a part of the duty, the Safety Chief brought himself to her cabin. A thick layer of smoke covered every inch of the cabin. Coughing and adjusting his eyesight, he called out…
“So what’s the celebration this time around, Ms. Asta! Found a new supernova, eh?”
His question was lost in the smoke. Sensing something ominous, he reached out to his walky-talky. A waft of air whispered in deep tone…
“Don’t worry mister, this was the last”
Before he could pull it out, he felt a gentle breeze passing by and the smoke was cleared, as if something had vacuumed it. Not a trace of it was left behind.
The charred remains of the terminal, innumerable wires and circuits, and a revolving chair greeted him. And then where was she? There were no human remains to be seen. As the support staff barged into the cabin, they saw their chief standing in the center of the cabin, dumbfounded! The silence was broken by the fluttering of the pages coming from the diary at the corner of the table. He walked towards it almost hypnotized and held the diary in his shaking hands.
“Tomorrow, I will be one amongst them. I will be in the company of many orphans, just like me, my clan… Yes, these stars and galaxies are orphans. No one mocks them for being abandoned at birth. Isn’t it cool that they are not bothered about their origins! I am Asta, the star, and will remain one forever.”
The dairy fell off the chief’s hand as it stopped echoing the words.
Umpteen server dumps from Ms. Asta’s account later, confirmed that she was working on teleporting! “A bright star is spotted from the M42 nebula”, announced the official statement from the Space Agency…
The case of the mysterious disappearance of Ms. Asta was marked unresolved and yet closed with the statement of the Safety Chief…
“Last seen at the terminal”