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

lunes, 11 de junio de 2018

The elevator


   The elevator on Kartan IV had been abandoned almost a century ago. By the time human explorers had arrived to that part of the galaxy, the civilization that had built the elevator had already been destroyed. There were many traces on the planet of their former glory and power but the only real proof of their quest for knowledge was the elevator. It was ten kilometres high, made with the toughest metals and plastics, making it a very strange feature of the planet and a technological advancement the human race had not yet reached.

 The first group of humans to get there were part of a scientific mission aboard the vessel called Leviathan. It had such a name because it was massive in size, taking care of many scientific missions at the same time. Leviathan was the centre of all science being done on other systems, far away from Earth. People that worked there had never being to Earth and most had no desire of going there. They were curious, of course, but the secrets of the universe were a lot more interesting to their wandering minds.

 The group that entered the elevator had the task of retrieving samples of the metals and other materials that had been used in the structure, in order to analyse them and see if they would be viable for use in space stations all around the Milky Way. Humans had mastered space travel but they wanted to put a foot everywhere they could, even in places were life had been detected.  Of course, those were the really interesting scientific missions but they were very secretive and exclusive to those with more experience.

 The Leviathan was the next best thing and all of those inside it knew that perfectly. However, they all wanted to work with the governments that were building space stations in key systems. That’s why those who entered the elevator on Kartak IV for the first time in a millennia, were eager to find lots of new information for humanity to use in their colonization of the galaxy. They could be instrumental in the development of their civilization and some of the first to interact with new and unseen forms of life.

 The elevator, however, was very much deserted. They spent days inside, extracting pieces and information from the very old computers. It took a long time to get the elevator actually working again and a team of xenolinguists had to come aboard to decipher the ancient language of the aliens that had built the structure. It was the only way humanity could effectively replicate such a piece of engineering in other parts of the galaxy, even of Earth. However, their first discovery was not the one they were looking for but something much more sombre and dangerous. Earth was called at once.

   Leviathan was asked to stand down. They had no authorization to land on the planet or to enter the elevator again. Everyone was ordered to stand down and wait for a special team of envoys to assess the situation. They arrived in a couple of days, with their dark suits and their unwillingness to share any information about what their own team. They were given a big room to examine everything and no one was allowed to enter that space, unless they were cleared after many security screenings and had a special letter.

 They were very difficult times in the ship, as it was the first time ever that they felt they had done something wrong and that their own government, the one that had send them hurling around the galaxy, did not trust them. Many were openly hostile to their visitors, giving them nasty looks and even saying what they thought without even thinking. But the visitors remaining uninterested in the personnel of the ship. They soon declared that their revisions would take a lot longer that expected, so Leviathan would not move from where it was.

 That decision made even more people furious. They demanded to know what it was those men were doing. They wanted to know because their lives, their profession, depended on them moving on to other missions. If the Leviathan stayed in one place for a long time, the government would not pay those that were simply not working at present time. And with so many people inside. It was obvious that not every single person was working at the same time, on the same thing. It was just how things worked.

 But that rotation system was of no interest to the visitors. They spent almost every single hour of the day checking information in their private room, sometimes calling in those who had clearance in order to ask a few questions and then sending them out again. People inside Leviathan grew rapidly fed up by that and they soon began plotting something that could be interpreted as a revolution. When humans are trapped like that in a finite space for too long, it is not a surprise that they do the craziest things.

 The first one of those crazy things was stealing one of the landing pods and travel exactly where they had been banned: the planet Kartak IV. A group of two, a woman and a man, stole the small vehicle and travelled at night towards the region of the planet from where the elevator was constructed. It was a desert and it resembled a lot like Mars, or at least what Mars had looked like in the past. There was a lot of red dust and the sun hit the ground with its full power, heating up the surface from the moment night ended. It was a beautiful place but it could also be seen as a horrible example of what could happen.

 The couple was ordered to return to Leviathan in order to be arrested but they obviously had no intention of going back, at least not until the visitors declared their true intentions in the ship. Many believed they were only there to take a look at the workers and then start firing them from their jobs. Others actually thought that Leviathan as a whole was going to be dismantled and that they would all be sent to different parts of the galaxy to accomplish menial jobs that had nothing to do with what they worked on there.

 But that wasn’t it. The visitors had come because of what the team that had penetrated the elevator had found there. The ancient language was not an unknown one and the central government of Earth had recognized with the help of their computers and artificial intelligence. The agents dispatched to Kartak IV had the responsibility to find out if the language was indeed the same that humans had already found in another corner of the galaxy and what that really meant for humanity as a whole.

 Sadly, they found out too late. The couple on the planet entered the elevator on its ground floor and discovered the truth. They didn’t have to know how to read it all: the elevator was not only that but also a weapon and an antenna. The creatures that had lived there had built it in order to transmit messages, probably to those they would obliterate shortly after. There were recordings of the weapon being deployed. But the couple was not able to see them all. They disappeared inside the elevator, leaving no trace.

 The following day, Leviathan was ordered to leave the system and, for the first time ever, travel to Earth at once. As they travelled to the centre of their universe, the inhabitants of the ship were told by the visitors that a new enemy had appeared and that they needed everyone to be on the same page to fight them off and defend what being human meant.

 The crew of the Leviathan was puzzled but they had always been a strong people, with tough to change convictions and minds that could create solutions for almost anything. They were ready to help their kind.

lunes, 29 de enero de 2018

No idea

   For a moment, we held our foreheads one against the other. It was not a comfortable position but it was the one we somehow needed to hold for a moment. I felt his breathing near me and even his heart pumping blood all over his body. I could see his pores and even smell the chicken and egg sandwich he had eaten for lunch. His eyes were shut but mine were open, looking at him and him only, wondering if that moment was really happening or if I had been transported to another strange dimension.

 But it was not one thing or the other. It was just one of those moments in drawing class when the teacher asks two students to come forward and pose for the rest. Of course, we would all be having actual models later in our careers and in college, but for the time being it was best to use ourselves as pieces of art. My partner in the exercise, Alex, was a kid that never spoke too much and that used to carry a huge block all over the place. He would always draw when there was no class to go to.

 What I did in those empty spaces of time between classes was to hang out with other students or go to the library and try to pass the time reading magazines or sitting in one of the many computers available for investigation. I would invent something to do for myself and then spend the rest of the afternoon there. I had never been a very social person, which might have made Alex and me really close but we were still two very different people. He was, and always had been an artist. I wasn’t.

 My family was made up by my father who was an engineer, my mother who was an architect and a sister that had recently left to pursue her career as a publicist. She would write to my mother almost daily about all the exciting things she was doing for herself and I would have to listen to my mom talk about it over and over again, during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sister too but sometimes it was a bit too much of the same damn subject. But then again, there wasn’t another.

 My decision to become an artist had been subject of the most passive resistance I had ever witnessed for my parents. Thank God, that had happened only for a month, the time between the first payment and the first actual day of college. And had decided that to be my route in the blink of an eye after coming out of high school. My parents were not only against the decision because of the career being Arts but because I had never really shown an interest in it or, to be fair, an actual talent for anything that someone might consider an art form.

 Nevertheless, I assured them I was certain that it was the career I needed to achieve my dreams and goals. So they paid for it. My parents would never be the kind of parents that would say “no” to their children. Not that we were spoiled or anything like that, but they always knew when was the moment to say “yes” and they had to intervene. Apparently, this life choice had to be respected, so I entered my first year with the goal to make it all work and make them see that I was right.

 However, my second year had begun and I still had no idea why I was there. To be honest, being weird and not social wasn’t the only reason why people wouldn’t really talk to me. You see, artist love to have other artists to talk about… Well, arts. They don’t really care that much for people with other interests. Just look at any tabloid: most actors or actresses marry other actors or actresses or maybe someone in the business anyway. Yes, they might be exceptions but that seems to be the rule.

 And in my second year, it was quite obvious. Some of my fellow classmates, most of them to be honest, had already discovered what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. The first year had been an introduction to the whole things, so after that, it was kind of expected by the teachers that every single person would have an interest that was more of a goal than any of the other things they would learn about. And the cool thing is that they could start choosing classes that suited those interests.

 That was the reason why my schedule for the year was all over the place. Contrary to most people, I was having a little bit of everything. I had music and pottery and then photography and drawing and writing. There was even a women studies class that I included solely because it gave me necessary credits to graduate. But I had no idea what people were discussing most of the times, except when the discussions got very heated. Then, I loved to see people fight for their causes, even if they were clearly wrong.

 The point is, I had no interests and I wasn’t good at anything. Yeah, my grades were fine. Not excellent or dreadful, just fine. I didn’t excel in anything and I wasn’t a total disaster either. I was one of those students, which always got asked their name, even if I had said it out loud in at least twenty different classrooms. I was sometimes tempted to lie about it but then all these issues and problems came to mind and I just decided either not to raise my hand ever in class or simple say my name always before answering any questions or stating my personal opinion.

The second year drew to a close fast. There were two more years and then we would have to choose what we would do for our finals. We didn’t really have many exams, like in other careers. We had to build a project and then just do it. I think that was the worst part of it all. I had no idea what to do and I started worrying about it the day that second year ended. Those holidays were not really relaxing at all. My back would hurt every single day and the number of nightmares was growing exponentially.

 It was so bad, that I decided to go to the shrink that the university had in campus to help students. Of course, he helped people with bigger issues than mine but I went there anyway because I actually thought he could be able to help me. The moment I saw the amount of people waiting for their slot of time, I was baffled at either how many people had so many issued in college or how bad this doctor was at what he did. You’re supposed to not go back if your problems were solved, right? Isn’t that the deal?

 I went there for about two weeks and then never came back because I had no idea why I was going at all. I realized the problems I had were becoming worse because that damn shrink wasn’t helping at all. He was actually trying to get to my deepest insecurities and private pains, and that would have been a box that I didn’t need to have open. The weirdest thing was, a month later, when I ran into him in an elevator and he looked at me the whole ride, clearly wanted some sort of an excuse from me.

 Surprisingly, I came up with my project’s idea one day, when Alex came into the library and just started talking about what he was going to with his own project. I listened to him for a while and then we had to leave because the librarian thought we were being too loud. He finished telling me his story sitting on a bench near the cafeteria. I remained silent until he asked me for my opinion and I had to be honest with him: I had no opinion because how would I dare to criticize someone who had already thought it all through?

 And then it hit me: I was going to be the subject of my own project. I would do something like a collage of various forms of art in which I would always be at the center. My struggle to know who I was would be my theme and the subject would be me.


 I had fun making it all, coming up with the ideas and telling all the professors about it. Yeah, they didn’t really get as excited as I was but at least I got a nice grade and Alex became some sort of friend. We even talk nowadays, when he’s not looking up at the ceiling. Oh, and I still don’t know who I am.

lunes, 2 de octubre de 2017

The tower

   When Samuel woke up, the first thing he felt was the stone cold floor of the tower. It was made out of huge rocks that had probably being recovered from the river down below. The sounds that the water made stumbling down from the mountain could not be heard at such heights. The cold wind blew and he was finally awake to see the horror of his situation. He had been trapped and put in a tower, far away from anyone that would be able to ever rescue him from his ordeal.

 Before losing his consciousness, he remembered a gentle smile and green bright eyes. He almost remembered huge yellow eyes and fire. But nothing else. Only those four things and when he put them together in his mind, they didn’t make any sense at all. It was as if he had many fragments of one story in his head but not the whole thing. He could put them in any order and try to make sense out of it, but it was useless. Even if he came up with the right idea, he wouldn’t know it.

 After waking up, he walked to the balcony and saw the land beneath the tower. There was an immense forest, larger than any he had ever seen or heard of. His motherland was located near the ocean. He had seen mountains only from afar and now he was surrounded by them. He had water so close he would fish every single day with his friends, for his parents and the townspeople in general. Now, the river was only a glistening thread that sometimes shone beneath the trees.

 Sam walked back to the tower’s interior and saw his new kingdom: a straw carpet on the center of the room, a bookshelf with many dusty volumes, a large wooden table with some fruit going bad on a basket on top, a chair, and a something resembling a bed but much smaller. It was uncomfortable even looking at it. Only one pillow and one thin blanket on top. It wouldn’t be enough for the nights on such a high place. The final touch was two doors: one half broken, going to the terrace, and the other made of solid metal, leading elsewhere.

 He ran to the metal door. He tried to push and hit and kick the door. But nothing happened. It wouldn’t even make a sound. It was just there, impervious, being the frontier between his cell and the rest of the world. He banged at the door, crying and yelling, desperate all of a sudden after realizing some mad man had imprisoned him. He begged for his life and for his sanity but no one came. He put one of his ears against the cold metal but couldn’t hear anything besides the wind. He was probably alone in that damned tower.

 Samuel tried to look for something else around the room, something to help him, but there was nothing there than what he had already seen at first glance. It was just that room, with those objects. No magic or mystical thing behind it all. For a moment, he had felt like one of those imprisoned damsels on children’s stories. But his situation was far worse than what those ladies had gone through. His captor was not even there. And he only had bad fruit to eat and nothing to drink.

 He decided to grab an apple and bite a chunk out of it. He felt the need of food in his stomach and maybe it would be best for him to think with a somewhat filled stomach. But he ended up eating the whole apple. In his rage against himself, Sam threw the apple’s heart over the balcony, and looked how it fell several meters before disappearing among the trees. After he saw that, he started crying and sobbing. He was going to die for sure and he had no way to ask anyone for help.

 Night fell soon enough. He closed the wrecked wooden door but it was useless, as the freezing gusts of wind entered through the huge cracks. He got into bed, with all of his clothes on, and just lay there, trying not to fell the cold that pierced through the thin blanket. Besides, it was too short, so either his feet would froze or his chest. He decided to get up and use some of the bigger books on the shelf to cover his feet. They were more dust than paper but his idea worked. However, the sadness he felt prevented him from falling asleep quickly.

 From afar, he heard the noises made by the forest. He closed his eyes and tried to remember the faces of his family and friends, his adventures to the beach and how he was congratulated for a week after having caught the largest lobster ever in that area. He had been so proud and had provided for his family for a whole month because of that feat. The pride lit his heart and that made the perfect temperature to fall asleep and visit his home in his dreams. He needed it badly.

 As he dreamt, he saw the yellow eyes again and the fire but he also remembered something more: a laugh. Soft, almost imperceptible, but capable to chill every single fiber of one’s being. The laughter wouldn’t stop. It got louder and louder and louder. Until the green eyes appeared, the sound of metal was heard and everything became silent and peaceful again. Then, saw a smile and felt his heart filling with heat again. But this time it wasn’t pride that was doing the job. It was something much more powerful. It was love.

Samuel woke up all of a sudden. He had felt so good but then something had changed and his eyes just opened. But no one was in that place with him. He was still alone and the wind was still entering through the rotten door. But it was day outside. Not only that. His blanket had been replaced with a thicker and larger one, with many bright colors all over. And the moldy fruit was replaced with baked goodies and fresh fruit. The books though, were still as dusty as before.

 It was obvious someone had entered the room. He stood up in the middle of the room, looking for more changes, and he realized he had overlooked something very obvious: he wasn’t wearing his boots anymore. Those were outside, the sun shining bright over them. And his vest had been put on the chair next to the table, nicely folded. He could finally spot something, the only thing, out of place in the whole room: a pair of wool socks made into a ball, on the bookshelf.

 He walked towards it and grabbed the ball but, just when he did it, a piece of paper fell down to the floor. The bad thing was that the damn wind pulled it over to the balcony and through the biggest crack on the wooden door. Sam raced after the paper and was able to catch it just as it was flying over the edge of the structure. He pulled back so hard out of fear that he fell on his behind, hitting the stone floor hard. He couldn’t get up so fast, so he decided to read the note first.

 It was short and very concise. It read: “Nights are cold. P”. That was it. Nothing more. No explanation of who the person was or why he or she had imprisoned Samuel on that tower. Nothing more than a kind thought made into a pair of woolen socks. They were new and Sam learned they worked wonders in order to try to keep the cold at bay. But it was a pain in the butt not to know who had been there to leave that present. Not even the actual pain could put his mind to rest.

 The man from the coast stayed in that tower for a long time and each night, new food and objects would appear out of nowhere. Sometimes, he would get a new book; some other times it was board games he could play by himself. He even got more clothes, all which fit perfectly.


 In time, he learned to live in the tower. He doubted his host less and loss until, one day; he eventually met the person who had put him there. And the first thing he did was to cry. And then, he looked at the horizon, and knew exactly what to do.

lunes, 18 de septiembre de 2017

Trip to the moor

   As Morton walked along the mud path, he noticed the heavy dew all around him. At night, as he slept in his tent, a colder climate had been battling with the creatures all around him. The morning had a white tone that came from the frost on some of the leaves and dead insects that hadn’t been properly prepared for the cold. He looked at it all in wonder, as it was the first time in his trip in which he saw such a thing. Granted, he had been out in the wilderness for only a week, but he already felt like a proper explorer.

 His next assignment was to look for a lake or a pond in order to wash his body. He hadn’t been able to properly clean himself since he had entered the moors, and it was time for it, judging by a small cloud formed by many tiny mosquitoes. It was a little bit funny to be followed by those creatures all over the place, no matter if he stumbled to the ground or if he climbed down or up a wall. They were as resistant as him and, after a couple of days; they became little more than his own shadow.

 At the end of the mud path, a large amount of tall bushes covered what lay beyond. The sun was casting its first few rays onto the world and it seemed it was going to be a great day for his expedition. He had been granted a permit to explore for two weeks but he intended to traverse the park in order to reach the north border post before the two-week mark and there he would ask for another permit of the same amount of time. He needed at least one month, or that’s what he thought anyways.

 Morton had asked for the month period at first but he had only received a laugh and a severe look from the guard that was supposed to be giving the permits. They were not available online, so people had to go to the post and just make an exposé about why they wanted to enter the park and how would they spend their time in there. They also asked for people to have a proper plan for sleeping and eating. Even if they granted the permit, one had to sign several papers before going in.

 He didn’t mind at all. He signed everything they wanted because he needed that place; he needed to get lost in there for at least one month. He couldn’t deal with the real world, with the urban settings anymore. He had found the natural park while surfing the Internet and he had decided that was the perfect place to go. Besides, he could say he needed to go in there to take pictures and have some video footage of the place for a documentary. He had a degree in cinema but he had never used it. Not until it became relevant to get the damn permit.

 Once everything had been set, he prepared himself by watching several videos on the matter of camping and exploring. He had signed on for rock climbing lessons and he got only the basics before it was time to leave. The only people that knew what he was doing were his parents but they didn’t say anything besides wishing him good luck. After all, that trip had not cost them a dime and all the camping equipment had been bought in a second hand specialized store. Morton had done everything correctly.

 He left very early one day before they woke up, leaving only a handwritten letter on his bed. In it, he told his parents that he loved them but that he needed time to get his mind and his life in order. He needed to get away from every single thing that, according to him, was poisoning his life and his mind. He wanted to be well, he wanted to try and have a proper life. Not that he hadn’t tried before but all his attempts had proven unsuccessful and the trip to the moors was just an idea that seemed perfect.

 In the cabin on the south entrance, he received every single piece of advice every other person entering the moors had received before him: how to properly put off fires for cooking, how to dispose of bones and other proteins, where not to go, what not to do, what animals to be aware of, which plants could cause his eyes to pop and several other nice anecdotes and advices like those. Once he actually crossed the gate, every other person around him was getting ready for lunch.

 He remembered all that as he pulled out a survival knife from his backpack and started slashing at the bushes on the mud path. He smiled at the memory of his first day there, as if he had become an experienced hiker in just a few days. The smile went away when he realized cutting branches with such a small knife would take several hours. He decided to put the knife away and try to do it by hand. In a matter of minutes, he got both his hands covered in shallow and deep cuts.

 In a way, it was nice to feel the pain. It was strange and gross and fantastic to see blood on his hands. He rarely ever cut himself shaving at home or something like that. Looking at what was inside his veins was very bizarre but it somehow made him felt like the trips was worth every single one of those cuts, every single pain he had felt since he had gotten in the wilderness. His feet got swollen often and his skin was getting rashes all over the place but it was part of something much more important that he definitely wanted to go through.

 He decided to rest for a while. Morton wanted to walk more before the sun was on its highest point but he decided eating before the long road ahead would be much better for his energy. He took out a couple of granola bars from his backpack and started eating them slowly, as if he wanted to flavor them and enjoy their texture. To be honest, he was fed up with the taste and aspect of the bars but it was the only thing that he had on his bag, as he hadn’t prepared himself as well as he had expected.

 Before coming in, the people from the park had told him that, in case of severe malnutrition or lack of proper food, he would be allowed to kill certain animals in order to cook and eat them. He would have to dispose of them correctly and hunt them with proper care. So he did. Morton had never hunted or done anything that even remotely similar. But on the second day of his trip, just to try his skills out, he was able to kill a rabbit with a bow and arrow he had been given by the owner of the second hand store.

 It had been more a toy than a proper weapon but Morton had received the gift with great enthusiasm. He had always wanted to use one of those but had never been given the opportunity. Now, a week after the beginning of his journey, he had killed several animals and had disposed of every non-usable part in the proper way. He had cooked the meat with some bags of tomato sauce he had brought and the flavor was just perfect. Had become a great hunter and a pretty good cook.

 There, in the middle of nowhere, he had felt for the first time how it was to be someone that was worth something. It was the first time that he realized that he might know something that most people don’t and that, if hunting and cooking a rabbit was seen as a handy skill in daily life, he would be regarded as more than he had ever been regarded as. He had been a failure for half of his life and now he finally thought he could he be changing that dynamic. He felt he could be becoming someone.

 After eater the granola bars and putting the wraps on his litter bag, he continued to tear down the branches until, finally, the bushes gave in and he was able to pass to the other side. What he saw made him yell in happiness, even if he wasn’t supposed to do that.


 A green valley covered by some mist could be seen below, between tall mountains and ridges. Morton was standing on a cliff looking at the majestic of nature. There, he felt special for the very first time in his life and he couldn’t do much else than crying in silence.