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

lunes, 11 de diciembre de 2017

The past is always present

   The whole space between Planet B43 and its moon was a huge graveyard. Pieces of different sizes and different materials, floated all around, doing some sort of dance between the planet and the satellite. Some pieces did fall into one of the celestial bodies but no damages were done to intelligent life, as there was none in that section of space. The whole system had been deprived of that for a millennia and it was considered to be a sacred zone, not one to venture into lightly.

 The battle that had taken place only a few months back had been a consequence of miscalculations and a clear disrespect for anything that reeked to the past. Somehow, all the peoples in the galaxy had absolutely forgotten their roots, their common ancestry and history. That planet, which was now classified as empty, with only a letter and two numbers, had been one of the largest hubs in the past, gathering every kind of creature in its heart, making every single one of them feel welcome.

 The temples that were still scattered all over the surface of both celestial bodies were now covered in plants and moss. They had been the key to achieving peace a thousand or more years ago. It was a time when battles didn’t existed, no skirmishes were ever registered, and people tried to live without any kind of conflict. They talked. When they had differences, they agreed on meeting on the planet, which they called Takrut, and solve it there, with the help of other parties.

 There was something similar to a sense of community, even when civilizations would be separated by million of kilometers, of light years and planets and stars. Even with that inconvenience, all of these different creatures had the knowledge to gather and just share what they had all been given. Commerce was key during those times, and it was fair and it made senses to everyone involved in the transaction. No one felt they were taken advantage of or that were loosing somehow.

 The debris that now fell to the planet, sometimes fairly close to the ruins of those temples, was the proof that whole galaxy had fallen away from all that it had once held dear. The battle, which had begun in another sector, had burst into the system with fire and blood and screams, breaking the silence that for so much time had befallen those ancient tombs and sacred places. Respect had died a long time ago and there was no way to get it back, at least not with the current factions fighting each other over beliefs that were up for interpretation, nothing really factual.

A scout ship called Valiant was send to the cloud of ruins in order to try and rescue a piece of one of the ships that they needed in order to continue their fighting elsewhere in the galaxy. It was a piece of a memory bank that the pirates and smugglers would probably find to be of no importance. That’s why coming back after so long was not really a problem. Besides, not running into unwanted company was important, in order to maintain the mission a secret from everyone outside of their own group.

 The Valiant passed by the cloud but realized soon they wouldn’t be able to penetrate it. Even being a small ship, the Valiant could easily be hit by the large chunks of debris and that would leave them stranded on that sector for who knows how long and they certainly had no intention to do so. B23 was a country shrouded in rumors and tales of monsters and dark wizards. Not many people talked about worlds like those, except for mothers when trying to scare their children from doing something wrong.

 The crew of the Valiant decided it was wiser to send an AI unit to do the work. They were always very eager to help and they had no need to breath, so they were the perfect candidates to take a walk in space. A special rope was attached to their charging port to get them back after they had found the object they were looking for. The first unit was sent shortly after arrival but it was soon lost to a large chunk of metal that destroyed it. Its arms and legs floated away, as the rope was pulled in to use on another droid.

 The next one was able to locate the piece they were looking for but was then pierced through the chest by a bar made of different alloys. It had been travelling at top speed, so it was just like being stabbed with a spear or something. They also used other kinds of droids, less humanoid in aspect but faster and better responsible to the commands coming from the ship. It was one of those, a little droid called IC2, who was able to finally get the part they needed to get back to their command center.

 The droid was being pulled into the ship when another piece of wreckage cut its rope, leaving it only a few meters away from the Valiant. The ship tried to indicate the droid how to get into the ship by itself but a surprise visit by a group of pirate ships was enough to make the crew of the Valiant realize they needed to get to safety first and then try to rescue the droid. Before jumping out of the system, the scout ship ordered the little droid to hide among the debris and stay there until another ship came to pick him up. He understood his command and floated, waiting.

 He waited for a week and then for another week but no one would come. As small as he was, his artificial intelligence chip was very well developed, so much so that he could even do things that larger droids couldn’t. The fact that he didn’t really have arms and legs but tiny wheels and some hooks, made him the last resource for any mission, and he knew that very well. But after waiting for so long, he decided something had to be done in order to get the information back to the command center.

As a droid, his priority was to serve, so that’s what he was going to do. However, debris was very difficult to avoid, even for a small droid that was able to avoid being hit with relative ease. One single piece, the size of a little ball, was enough for him to lose his stability and hurl down into B23. Luckily, they had made him with metals that resisted entry through different kinds of atmospheres in the case of an emergency. It certainly came in handy as he fell from the sky towards the jungle.

 The small droid landed in a patch of jungle that seemed to have no trees or plants. The place was rather circular and, in a glimpse, he knew that was not a normal occurrence in the universe. Geometrical shapes rarely happened like that, so randomly and it such vast proportions. He decided to walk away from there and head toward some sort of building he could see peeking through the tallest trees of the jungle that was before him. Those were ancient ruins, something he already knew from his scanners.

  He crossed the jungle rolling through it; trying to avoid any puddles of water and paying close attention to the sounds of various creatures that were probably looking at him, wondering what it was that they were looking at. When the IC2 arrived at the building, he noticed it was a pyramid and that it had an entrance on the base, a rather large one. He decided it was the best place to wait for his owners, so he rolled into the building as fast as he could, not realizing a shadow had moved inside the cavernous entrance.

 When he realized that there was a creature there, it was too late for the little droid. A weapon, similar to an arrow, traverse the droid through what one would call its eye.  The creature, which was humanoid, bent down and grabbed the piece of memory bank the droid was holding.


 The human looked at the piece for a while and then decided to keep it for himself, putting it on a pocket beneath his cloak. He gave one final look to the destroyed droid and whispered something to him, in a language that hadn’t been heard in ages. After that, he disappeared into the shadows.

miércoles, 22 de noviembre de 2017

Thanksgiving

   She gave herself one last look in the mirror before grabbing her purse and her jacket. Jackie caressed her cat Milo before heading out into the night, where she would have to get into a cab and then wait inside before arriving and the Thanksgiving dinner she had been invited to only some days earlier. Paul had been kind enough to invite her and she knew they didn’t knew each other that well yet, so his gesture was all the more difficult to understand but welcomed. After all, she was very far from her own family.

Jackie’s new job as an assistant editor had forced her to move out of her small city to a bigger one, where she would have many more opportunities to grow. At first, she had been very reluctant to leave her home but it was her own parents that almost forced her to take that big new step in her life. They had never had the opportunity to do something like that and they wanted her to have everything they hadn’t been able to have in their respective youths. They were going to miss her deeply but it was necessary for her to leave.

 Starting somewhere else she had never being to was difficult the first few months but the amount of work had numbed her response to anything happening around her. Thanksgiving was the first time she was leaving her small rented apartment in order to actually have fun. She would leave everyday really early for work and then head back at night to sleep there. She would cook something as soon as she arrived and pack it for the next day. That was her routine and she was grateful for it because it didn’t require thinking.

 That party, however, did require a lot of it. She had to buy a proper dress, something she didn’t have in her wardrobe, and accessorize it with nice things and, of course, a great hairdo. She bought some fashion magazines to give her a good idea of what girls from the city liked to wear but she felt none of those styles actually fitted her. She was more the kind of staying at home and enjoy a new TV show, rather than going out to a club dancing or something like that. She had to go to several stores before finding a dress she liked.

 The woman that helped her was the one who advised her on which earrings and shoes she should wear with it. Thankfully, some of her own stuff was perfect for it, saving her a big amount of money she wouldn’t have being able to spend, unless she went in debt or something and that was something her parents had warned her against. She also borrowed a neighbor’s jacket, a girl named Olivia who had become her best friend in the city. That was something to say because they didn’t really know each other that well but Olivia had seen Jackie with her dress bag and sad expression and just knew she needed help.

 When she arrived at the venue, a very impressive restaurant on the twentieth floor of a very old and majestic building, Jackie felt she was entering some sort of book. The people tending to the guests were dressed like those butlers that you see on period dramas or something like that. She even smiled when one of them offered her a glass of champagne, which she accepted trying to fit in. She suddenly felt a little bit out of her element and tried to look for her friend all around. But the place was fairly big.

 The venue was like a palace inserted into a building. There were long and luxurious stairs that separated two floors, both of which had different rooms were people could stand up or sit down, have a drink or dance around if they wanted. No loud music thought. There was a live band playing some modern songs but in such a way it seemed the whole place had been transported magically back to the 1950’s. It was a very nice atmosphere but also a bit uncomfortable for Jackie, who wasn’t used to something like that.

 Her friend Leslie appeared from behind. He was a tall, very white and lanky man, who worked in the technical area of the magazine. He was the one who made it possible for the editor to make a digital edition to be on display for all of those women, and some men, who paid for the magazine online. He was one of the first people that invited Jackie to have lunch with him when she arrived, stating that he had always been the lonely kid in school and would have never wanted to have someone feel like that if he could do something about it.

 They laughed for a while before talking about the food and drinks and how fantastic the place was. Leslie explained that the place was owned by a very old club, which had been created by his grandmother many years ago. He didn’t say a word, but it was obvious his family was very wealthy. He tried to make it all seem like if it was something everyone could experience but Jackie soon realized that wasn’t the case at all. Elitist was maybe a very strong word but it would be appropriate for the situation.

 Leslie took her by the arm and carried hair up the stairs, to a room all decorated in gold and some red elements. There, she was presented to his family. Leslie’s mother Corinne was a very nice lady that was obviously not used to such luxury either. The young woman soon deduced it was her husband who had been born into wealth and not her. It was not only the way she spoke and moved but also the things that she didn’t do. Jackie liked her from the first moment and so did Corinne, who had never really liked any of her son’s friends because of their way of behaving in public.

 Helen, Leslie’s grandmother, was someone very different. She sat on a big chair and didn’t move too much. It wasn’t like she couldn’t walk or something like that. It was obvious that she wanted everyone to be around her and to be, to an extent, the center of everyone’s attention during her time in the event, which was actually short for being such a matriarch. The moment dinner was served in a very large table, she disappeared. Jackie asked about her whereabouts but no one answered. It was her thing.

 It wasn’t until much later in the evening when Jackie met Leslie’s father. He had just arrived from a very long flight, claiming he had taken a limousine straight from the airport to be able to share some time with his family. His wife was happy to see him but Leslie had a very different response. Jackie could tell he just stopped himself from joking around as he usually did and he became this stiff man that couldn’t almost speak a word. It was a very unsettling thing to see.

 And George, his father, was not at all an intimidating man. He was actually very charming; enchanting everyone present with some stories about his trip to Asia and the people he met there. He also told some jokes but many of them did not find an audience with Jackie. Maybe she was too oblivious or the content just went over her head. But the most likely reason was she was trying to make Leslie speak, with little to no success. He really seemed to have become a human icicle.

 Then, out of nowhere, a member of the staff came in rushing into the dining room, straight for Leslie’s father. He spoke in a very low register and fast enough no one could really understand what he was saying, not even Jackie who was fairly close. Whatever he was talking about, it was very serious because George’s expression went from utter joy to a very grim expression that drained all color from his face. The staff member left and George’s father stood up, trying to make people calm down.

 He announced, in a very deep voice, that his mother had just passed away in her apartment “upstairs”. He apologized for ending the evening, but the circumstances were very unique. Everyone stood up and headed to the lobby, to pick up their belongings.


 Leslie was still like a stone but he seemed to move his eyes, which was an improvement. Jackie wanted to stay with him but Corrine personally put Jackie’s neighbor’s jacket on her back and joined her outside where a cab was already waiting. She didn’t even have a moment to talk or think.

viernes, 30 de junio de 2017

Mission

   It wasn’t very normal for Truman to be assigned to a special mission. Not that he didn’t deserved to be in one, rather than his superiors had always deemed preferable that he stayed with the troops, helping do what soldiers usually do instead of traveling the globe protecting something or someone. He had never been the bodyguard type and people saw that. Instead, they considered him a mastermind of strategy, a very skilled mind that could solve difficult situations were a lot was at risk.

 However, about a week or so ago, he had been summoned by his superiors and instantly praised and thanked for his service. When they did that, he knew that they wanted something out of him. The only question was what? What did they want him to do that they couldn’t find anyone else to do it? Was he their first choice or had they just decided to send someone that not many people would miss? So many questions amassed in his head in only a few seconds. His muscles were tense.

 After being done with the praising, they explained they needed him to form a team to protect a very special cargo travelling through a very difficult region of the world. A region at war that needed to be crossed by a train carrying very important things for the country. At first, Truman wasn’t very convinced by the aspect of the mission. He was normally given a lot to work with but this time they wanted him to get a team just to ride and protect a train. They wouldn’t say anything else.

 But he couldn’t refuse to help him. In the military, there was no such thing as the word “no”. You can have doubts and you can even express them to your superiors but you cannot, never, say “no” to any of their orders. Maybe one day when you become a superior as well and that may never happen for many reasons people knew very well but preferred not to talk about. The point was the he had no option but to accept the mission, as vague and unclear as his orders could be.

 Truman contacted every single soldier that he knew, the ones that were actually good at what they did. The team he needed to gather had to be very large in order to have a successful trip through deserts and farmlands, as well as devastated cities. Some of the men he contacted were spending some time with their families but they all accept in an instant. Again, there was never a negative word inside of the military; there were just orders and the right way to proceed about them. Besides, they all respected Truman a lot, as they knew him from the field.

 They were given amazing brand new weapons as well as a special suit that would protect them in case of an attack. As there was no time to train, Truman asked the men he had invited to the mission to exercise daily until the day they traveled to the city where the train was stationed. They all obliged, going back to their intense gym routine in the blink of an eye. Most of them loved the pain that exercising brought. They felt more powerful after it and their confidence was easily boosted.

When they got to the train, they were kind of surprised to discover that the train they had to protect was not a cargo train but rather an actual passenger train, with few but too many passengers for them to worry about. Truman expressed his concern to one of his bosses but he just said he had done lots of missions like this one that he didn’t have to worry. But he did, because he had prepared everything to protect a cargo train, not really a place were people had drinks and laughed too.

 Because the train was not exclusive to one person. To ensure that their enemies thought twice about attacking the transport, the government had decide to use passengers as a human shield to protect whatever it was that the government needed to have protected. It was very complicated and not very patriotic to use others in order to defend something that no one knew what it was, but once again, they had to trust the superior and just proceed with everything, no matter where they were.

 The train departed on time, early in the morning, with at least one hundred people seating inside. The team had no idea where what they protecting was in the train but, as they guarded doors and such, they discussed their ideas about what it was and why the government want to protect it like that. Some said it was only a bunch of papers incriminating someone somewhere and others were certain it was some kind of new weapon that they had developed in secret and needed to be moved.

 Any of the guesses could be correct, that was the thing that bothered Truman the most. As he walked outside, in order to guard the last wagon, he realized for the first time in his life that he had no idea why he was in that place. Something didn’t feel right to him and when that happened he did prefer to go with his gut instead than his head. Whenever something was off, he had stomach cramps. By the time he reached the last wagon, he wasn’t feeling especially great either. More like the opposite. He felt a little dizzy and then realized it wasn’t because of his gut.

 Before fainting Truman had realized what was going on: they had used some kind of poison or gas that made people fall asleep. As his eyes closed, he was certain that he had fallen into some kind of trap but he had no idea who the trap was supposed to catch. The other soldiers were not attacked, only him as he was alone and the leader of the bunch. He woke up much later, judging by the night sky outside. Truman knew that he was still inside the train but in some sort of closet.

 He was very cramped in that small space, his head still spinning. He wanted to talk to someone; he wanted his questions answered and his men beside him. But he didn’t get any of his wishes that night. Instead, he go to hear the most awful of noises: a woman’s scream pierced the sky. It was so intense, that Truman felt the voice inside him for a while. The sad thing was that the scream was followed by more screams and they were not only done by the same woman, but by other people too.

 Truman fought the cable they had used to tie him up. But it didn’t move from his wrists for a second. She tried to make every part of the small room to shake in order to cause someone to hear him or at least to be able to open the door but he couldn’t. They must have used some kind of lock for the door and the cable on his wrists seemed to pierce into his skin every time he tried to get rid of it. It was very painful, because he had tried very hard and now his wrists were covered in blood.

 The screaming continued and it was followed by the sound of weapons. Truman’s face was drained of all blood when he heard something he could recognize anywhere: his brand new weapons. He had practiced a bit before boarding the train and had discovered how that new assault weapon was just so much better than existing ones. Apparently they were made only to be used by a special task force that protected the most private secrets of the nation, whenever and wherever necessary.

 The sound of the weapons lasted for at least fifteen minutes. Then, it was silence. A very eerie silence because nothing but the train tracks could be heard. Truman thought that maybe they had been attacked by the enemy and now they had killed everyone on the train.


 But then the door opened and someone pulled him out of the tiny closet. The brightness of the lights were very hard to look at but it was way harder to look at one of his superiors with one of the new weapons on his hand. And on the floor, Truman’s team, all dead. It was the first time he needed someone to explain the situation.

martes, 15 de noviembre de 2016

State visit

   Everyone at the airport was ready. The staff had put on their best clothes and every single corner of the small terminal building had been cleaned to the last millimeter. From very early in the morning, people had arrived to help organize every single part of this impromptu visit. After all, it was the president of the most powerful country in the world. And theirs was one of the poorest and most isolated ones on the whole planet. However, the presidential plane had to refuel somewhere, so the small nation had received the honor of hosting the president for a few hours.

 From the moment they had been warned about the impending arrival of the plane, hundreds of people were put to work. Not only those in the airport, people who only really worked on weekdays and even then only in certain time frames, but also every single operator and technician available. They wanted not only the people to feel welcomed but also to make the best work possible with the plane. They got fuel from the city’s reserves, as the amount they had on the airport was not enough to refill a plane the size of the one they were going to see in a few hours.

 The process required almost every person in the capital, a city of about a thousand people, to wake up and also help by cleaning the streets of the city and the authorities enabling the movement of fuel reserves from where they stored it to the airport, which was fairly close to the city. People took to the streets with brooms and mops and every single cleaning help they could get, but the truth was no one really knew if the president was going to land and stay on the plane or walk around a little bit. Many people were curious like that.

 The president of the tiny nation was the one that was moving all over his house, calling the right people and asking everything from food to more cleaning products. He wanted to send a message through TV but the people of the studios were helping around so he decided to send it through the radio. It was much simpler and more effective; as it was the medium of communication that people listened to while they were preparing the city for the big arrival. Every single person in the country heard it and everyone understood the importance of the visit.

 To the eyes of the world, it was practically a miracle that their country actually existed. To be honest, it had been a thing of luck and one of those strange coincidences that happen out of nowhere. They were too isolated and unimportant. Practically everything they had came from their neighbor to the east. So they had known starvation and real poverty because when that neighbor didn’t have enough for themselves, they suffered too. But the world in general never really knew anything because they weren’t watching, until now.

 The country had no army but its people did behave like one once the president’s message had reached every single person. They knew they had around six hours to have everything ready. With luck, the weather up in the clouds would delay the plane a bit more to give them more time but they constantly checked with the aircraft and that didn’t seem to be the case. Everyone had to do their best in the time given. Only an hour after the president’s announcement, everything was coming up nicely and all citizens were helping, even elders and children.

 A huge amount of people arrived at the terminal in order to use the old kitchens that some rundown businesses had not used in several years. The idea was to cook a good amount of their national food for the people arriving, as well as other dishes that they might like. It wasn’t crazy to think that they would be very hungry, even at that early hour of the day. After all, this was all going on in the darkness of the night. The president was scheduled to arrive around eight o’clock in the morning, so they had to wake up or not even sleep.

 The cooking team was led by the nation president’s chef, his own wife. It wasn’t like in other countries were the president has everything and the people below him have nothing. In that nation, everyone was basically the same. People hadn’t starved in some years but they weren’t rich or even close to that. So the president’s wife decided it was best if someone close to the government like her supervised the food. It was the best way to guarantee that it would be perfect for someone with such a high profile as the ruler of the richest country in the world.

 They acknowledge that all those people in that plane, around two hundred according to the information they had shared with them, had been and eaten in places much better than their small country. That was obvious and they didn’t feel bad about it. But they wanted them to leave knowing a little bit more of their culture and about what they loved to eat and drink in those lands. The menu had been defined by the president’s wife and she was very confident that it was going to be one of the best feasts in the recorded history of their nation.

 It consisted of a special recipe for meatballs using a kind of cheese that was made from goat milk, which also happened to be used in their national beverage, which was kind of like a milkshake but less thick and richer in flavor. They also cooked the goats in various ways and were very proud about their vegetables and mushrooms, of which they had a very large variety. Various dishes were cooked with all those ingredients and some spices too.

 The small country’s president arrived in the airport only two hours before the arrival of the plane, to check everything out. The terminal had been painted in record time by volunteers and the control tower was bursting with life when, in normal days, it would only have one person and not even all day. He thanked everyone there and then went to the terminal’s commercial area where his wife and helpers were giving the final touches to the food. The smell had flooded the building and it was very delicious, so much that many stomachs growled loudly.

 Then, he went outside and did a walk around the tarmac and the runway. There wasn’t a single spec of dust anywhere, which he thought was absolutely magnificent, especially for such a windy part of the country. It seemed as if the weather was also helping them achieve their goal. The red carpet in the tarmac was the same one that the president had stepped on when he was inaugurated for his term, more than three years ago. A president’s term was five years and he couldn’t be reelected, which he personally thought was a good idea.

 He decided to check the band that had been practicing for hour in the cold and congratulated them for the amount of love they were showing the country. He stayed a bit to hear them play and, to be fair, they were not as prepared as he would have like, but there was no way of getting better musicians with only an hour to go. They would have to do. What made them special, at the end of the day, was that they played their instruments with real passion and the idea of making their country proud. And that was more than enough.

 The president decided to wait for the plane in the control tower. There, he would be able to know every detail about the upcoming visit. When he stepped in, the plane had crossed into their airspace. It would be only thirty minutes until they touched down in the runway. The atmosphere was really special. Every single person in the tower, in the terminal, in the tarmac and even in the city was ecstatic. This was, by far, the most exciting thing to ever happen in their country. And they had all worked together to make it the best day possible.


 The plane came out of the clouds and landed, in a very soft and elegant manner. Everyone applauded and greeted the people inside through the radio. The president ran outside, getting ready with all others. Many people from the city had come out of curiosity and they had been allowed to stay a bit further away. The plane parked exactly where they had determined it should go. For some minutes, nothing happened. Then, the door opened and everyone stopped breathing for a second. Their moment had come.