Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta bounty. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta bounty. Mostrar todas las entradas

jueves, 28 de abril de 2016

The cube

   Jessica walked carefully over the edge, barely having enough room for her feet to move around. The mountain that she was in dominated the jungle below and, in any other context, she would have been able to appreciate. But being just millimeters away from death, the least of her interests were the magnificent views. She grabbed herself to the dirt and the rock of the mountain and could finally pass the tricky section in a matter of minutes. She decided to rest a bit after that, and she only had a small space to do so as the mountain was not kind to any visitors.

 As she rested, she noticed a big bird-like creature raising from the jungle. It appeared to be fighting something off but the other creature, or whatever it was fighting, could not be seen. After a couple of minutes, the bird appeared to be toppled from the ground and disappeared from sight. Jessica knew right then that this planet was definitely not a good one for life in general but she had no choice in the matter of visiting it. After all, her mission was there.

 A couple of days earlier, a skinny man going by the name of Renzo Uto, contacted with her team in order to ask for an extraction. Normally, that meant rescuing someone from some horrible place, most often jails or some kind of internment camps. There were lots of both of those in the galaxy and they had a vast experience getting people out of both. But instead, Uto wanted them to rescue an object.

 They almost had to torture him in order to get a basic drawing of the object he wanted to retrieve. Well, torture is a bit extreme. But Jessica’s companion Jimmy, a very big and tall Glafarian (species with the appearance of a dog) was asked to make the client talk fast or to expel him immediately from the ship, by any means.

 Of course, Uto was so scared he did a drawing in less than thirty seconds but he clarified that the object could change form whenever someone attempted to grab it by force. The drawing he had made showed a very simple cube but he said it only looked like that when at rest. If someone when near it, the object would change into any type of thing that would lure the person into a false sense of security and then it would kill them.

 They really wanted to ask Uto why someone would want that type of object. But their motto was “We don’t ask questions” and they couldn’t just violate that. Bounty hunters had to keep a little bit of their dignity and, if that meant seeking for an object hey didn’t really know existed, they had to do it. But Yera, the ship’s pilot, reminded Uto that the team only worked for days. So depending on his pay, they would determine the number of days they would look for his weird cube.

 Uto, of course, had no tons of money. So he was able to pay them for only three days worth of work. The team then agreed on setting course for the jungle planet, which didn’t really have a name and now Jessica was on her second day looking for the damn object. According to Uto, she wasn’t that far away now. After the dangerous mountain pass, she had to go through a razor sharp field of rocks between that mountain and the next one and then descend a bit to find a cave. The cube was supposed to be there.

 The razor sharp field of rocks, a straight line that united two summits well above the jungle level, was easier than the pass but still a horrible experience, mainly because some sorts of animals paraded around the site and launched themselves at Jessica. She had to use her ray gun several times but the little creatures were very fast and attacked with some sort of liquid that smelled really bad. It didn’t hurt or anything, just smell really awful. She crossed the field just before nightfall.

 At the other end, she found a suitable place to sleep and decided to pull out her sleeping bad and protective shield from her special belt. The belt had been an old gift from her mother, a former bounty hunter herself. Now she lived at peace in a farming colony where she could just relax and not worry about someone blowing her head off. Her mom was a legend among the people Jessica knew and she was proud of her.

 The belt had been created by the most advanced civilization in the galaxy. They were able to construct things like that, were size and space and even time did not matter. She could fit an endless amount of things in there and only had to press a button and think really hard about whatever she wanted from her belt. So that night she was protected from the creatures by the shield and slept warmly in her sleeping bag.

 The next day she woke up screaming. Her face hurt, as well as her arms and some of her chest. The stinky liquid had transformed, somehow, into something that had apparently burned her skin and was now penetrating more and more into it. She felt a horrible burning sensation and tried to pour water over herself to feel better or look for something else in her belt, but it was useless. It hurt and she could barely move.

 It was the last day for Uto and could have been the last day for her if she hadn’t decided that the liquid might actually be the best weapon she could ever have. To put it simple, the cube supposedly transformed into something false, in order to kill the person that wanted it. So it would transform into a cure for the liquid if Jessica showed up. But then, it would be obvious to her that the cube was there and she would just fire away.

 Thinking the plan was far simpler than doing it. Her body really hurt, as if she had been very badly burnt by the sun. Her legs though, had been left untouched by the creatures, so they still had their agility intact. She started trembling halfway down the mountain but she focused on the prize, which was something she could have never imagined. Although Uto had almost no money to pay them for their days of work, he did offer something else if they actually gave him the cube he wanted.

 There was an information network called the Omen. It was a very big and important piece of information as it had records on every single living creature in the galaxy intelligent enough to do stupid things. It was like a criminal record center for the entire galaxy and, of course, Jessica and her group were in there. What Uto had told them was that he could be able to remove every single one of their names from he list permanently. Not even erase the crimes but their names altogether.

 At first, they didn’t believe what he was saying. Jimmy threatened to eat his hand and Yera told him it was impossible. But then he simply asked of them to look for his name in the Omen. Everybody could access the network so it was easy for them to see that Renzo Uto did not appear in any part of the Omen. They even scanned his head to look for him, but it just wouldn’t work. He wasn’t there and that was more than enough proof that what he said was real.

 The cave was only a few meters away when Jessica collapsed. She was trembling too much in her upper body and felt really sick. Not even her healthy legs could get her away from danger or from the pain. She stayed down for a good while and, once again, she gazed at the jungle and saw the trees moving and what looked like tentacles rising above the treetops. She only thought about how insane that planet was before she fainted.

 She woke up hours later in a nice room. A beautiful nurse came to her bed and asked her if she was ok. Her face and body didn’t hurt anymore. She touched her skin and every single centimeter was normal. Then, the nurse smiled and told her she was going to be all right. Se turned around but Jessica had recognized her. And the only thing she could do was pull out her gun and shoot right in the center of her body.

 The illusion fell to the ground like a house of cards and so did the cube, a rather normal transparent cube that fell to the ground and Jessica put inside her belt. Her face still hurt horribly and she was sure she was in a worse state than before. She turned to the jungle one last time, watching the tentacles and the moving trees, as she pressed another button for her ride to come pick her up.

lunes, 12 de enero de 2015


   Lillian didn’t care and if she had cared before, she didn’t remember. She had lived so much, so many times and for so long that now she had been hardened, like the toughest diamond. Now, Lily was ruthless and perfect in her job, but not so much in her private life, which was largely nonexistent.

She did have a mother and a father but didn’t visit them as often as they would have wanted. She did so for one simple reason: she wanted them to be safe, not in the way of someone that would love to hurt her or make her do something against her current clients.

Clients sounds funny though. No, Lily is not a prostitute nor an escort of any kind. Lily works in the security area so people who need her to do a job for them to be safer, look her up. She works more like a spy or secret agent but she has no relation with those organizations, as she knows they would be more than interested to question her about all the jobs she has taken care of.

That’s why, besides not being close to her family, she had decided not to have a family of her own or any romantic relationship with anyone. She knew her duties, the enemies and friends she had acquired with time, were all dangerous for her, let alone for people to close. She had committed that mistake once and was sure she wouldn’t let herself go, not again.

It had happened with a man. His name was Aaron and worked in his family company. At first, Lily was attracted to him because of his family’s power, which could bring her more clients and more interesting jobs, which always fascinated her. She actually met him during one of her duties and liked him right away.

Like her, Aaron enjoyed power and the luxuries of his privileged life but when they were alone, he was simply the kindest and cuddliest man she had ever known. Of course, she had sex many times but never a real boyfriend or partner but when she met him she thought that might some day change. What if she fell in love?

And she did. And he did too. There was no way in denying that when the two met, they felt like they were the only people in the world. It was as if the world stopped and everything was just ideal and perfect.

That was until she started receiving threats. Letters in which they advised her she had stepped out of a line she had traced herself. The person that sent them told her to be careful and to return to her duties and her single life, or she would be sorry. Love didn’t let her listen or take it seriously. She ignored it all and kept on seeing him. And then, more problems erupted, closer to home.

Aaron’s father had told him to stop seeing Lily. Amazingly it was not because she had a shady life or because she was driving Aaron away of the family company. No, the older southern gentlemen had decided long ago that no son of his, let alone the one that was meant to run the company in the future, would ever marry a black woman. Lily laughed at first but then, when looking at Aaron, she realized it was not a joke, a distasteful joke.

But they kept on seeing each other. Big mistake. Aaron was practically expelled from his family, left penniless and with no prospects of a new life. His father had been sure to let everyone in the region know that Aaron no longer represented him or the family. This devastated the young man but his love for Lily was stronger, and he felt he could fight anything in order to be with her, forever.

That didn’t last for long. A hit man, out of nowhere, shot Aaron twice in the head while going to meet Lily for dinner. She waited for him for hours and finally got a call from Aaron’s father. Telling her he had been killed and telling her never to get near his family again. He blamed her for his son’s death and Lily knew he was right.

She spent months trying to get to the killer, to know if he had been the one sending the letter or if someone had hired him. She didn’t get too far in the investigation. The person that had killed the love of her life had vanished. She only knew it had been one of her many enemies who had given the order and she tortured herself thinking it had been her fault he had died. Loving him had been a curse.

So now Lily tries never to be seen, to be the center of attention for anyone. She changed the way she looked, her haircut and the way she did her makeup. Everything to look less interesting, less attractive if you will. She was a beautiful, stunning young woman but that had proven to be more of a problem that something going on for her.

Although, she kept using her body to help her in certain moments, she tried to do everything disguised as what she was: a common woman trying to make a living in a world that had denied her everything. It is true she had gotten into it herself but now there was no way out and she knew it. Only dead she would stop being afraid, scared of her on shadow.

It deserves to be clarified that Lillian had never killed anyone. She sometimes thought to herself that maybe it was better if she had that ability, the cold blood needed to killed someone but she preferred the subtle moves: something in a drink that would make them sleep or knocking them out with one of her special moves. She knew a couple martial arts and considered she had developed a style of her own and no one could say she hadn’t.

Lily tried to work as often as she could. It didn’t matter if it required flying half around the world, sailing in a cruise or hopping on a train or a bus. She loved travelling and it was one of the few things she actually enjoyed of her work. Besides, the people that contacted her were always loaded with money, so she would always buy first class.

For other things she was less flamboyant, more secretive. But she just couldn’t get inside a plane and not seat in a beautiful wide chair in the first class area, with all those delicious meals and small details that made her so much more special than she was. Travelling that way made her feel as if the world gave her a small chance to feel like a real person, or at least the person she felt she had been born to be.

But when landing or getting of the bus, train or boat, she came back to reality, and saw there was no way it could be like that daily. If she had lived a life of excess and luxury, her enemies would have paid a thousand hit men to kill her and the bounty would have been enough to make them salivate like hungry dogs.

When meeting her clients, she knew that she was both hated and needed and that also made her feel great, much more special than any of them was. They might have been the ones to have the life she wanted but, in the moments they looked for her, it was Lillian who really made the difference. It was her who made things right for them, who made their lives livable.

She stole secrets and money, changed data and exchanged information. She infiltrated companies and made them stumble to the ground from inside. It required a lot of lies and deceit, a lot of disguises and fake smiles but she pulled it of easily, because she had always known that fake world of the riches was her own. She owned every single moment and always knew what to say.

When they finally realized something had happened or who she really was, Lily was already enjoying a glass of champagne in a transatlantic flight. And they wouldn’t trace her because that would mean admitting she had won, that a single woman had destroyed their lives or that they had been dishonest enough to hire someone to topple down the obstacles in their way.

Her enemies where born of those who felt they had been attacked for no reason, those people who would never admit defeat, not in business nor in a real war. So they where patient, as only people in the finance world can be. They waited for her to commit a mistake and she had already done that with Aaron.

Nowadays, they are still waiting for Lillian to do the wrong turn, to slap the wrong person, to take the wrong road. Some people only have revenge in their soul and when you have taken everything away from them, is it not understandable? They were desperate and that was the point that gave her the advantage.

She was not only beautiful and, in many ways, lethal. Lily was also bright and she was now waiting them to go over the line. She had nothing to lose, nothing to fear. But she had a special need to be victorious. And she often was.