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

miércoles, 11 de enero de 2017

Strong woman

   By then, she had become a professional. She knew every single trick to travel, no matter if it had to do with packing her suitcase or buying the best hygiene products for herself. She knew which airlines offered what, the amount of room she had on any plane and the time she had in every single flight to work, sleep and relax. You could say she was a little bit to rigid with her life but Christine would have answered that she was just very well prepared. And that’s why her bosses loved her.

 Not only she was very practical in her travelling life, she was also like that with work. She travelled around the country and to other parts of the world, helping companies with their problems with technology and innovation. Christine went everywhere to hold meetings and conferences to anyone interested about how a company could survive in the new digital era. She knew about every single new development and was very well versed in the finance world too.

 Some people saw her as a danger to their way of doing things, specifically those people that were just corrupt and had arranged the system to work for them instead of working for everyone. During her fifteen-year experience, she had been responsible for unmasking a very high number of corruption scandals on many different companies. No matter if they produced video games or handled supermarkets, there was always someone trying to make more than the rest.

 That possibly was why so many people hated her too. In her world, in her order of things, there was no such thing as personal interests. She couldn’t understand how someone could put themselves in front and leave everyone else behind. Granted, she was not the best to speak about group efforts as she never did them herself, but she knew the value of having a good team to make a company go to directions no one else had ever gone. She tried not only to make them all win money and be successful, but Christine also wanted them to have a heart.

 That made her enemies very angry and that’s why many companies that had once asked for her help, suddenly rejected her and even campaigned against her actively in order for her bosses to be tempted to fire her or something but that never happened. Not only because she was really good at her job, but also because they feared her. They knew that if she was so good, she must have had something on the company she worked. It was only natural that she did, to protect her own interests.

 But that was where they didn’t understand her. She didn’t have anything on anyone in the company. She had even checked on that. And it was because she believed a relationship based on trust was much better than one based in fear. So from her side, everything was just fine. From their side not so much, but she had decided long ago that she couldn’t be worried about things she had no real control over. There was no way she could convince them that she wasn’t going to turn on them one day.

 Real problems came the day her enemies, people that had robbed millions, sued her in court with allegations of her work being unethical and, also, for receiving money in order to help improve conditions in some companies and not in other. They said that she refused to help their companies because she was under orders not to let them have any part in the business. They were very specific in their statements and even presented evidence of every single thing they were claiming.

 Christine would have wanted to laugh and she did when she got home but certainly not in the courthouse, where everyone’s eyes were fixed on her. She tried not to make any telling expressions and only limited her words to denying what those men in suits were saying. She was very calm and one could even say she didn’t care much for having to loose time there when she could be doing something much more interesting. Her rivals even pointed that out but the judge seemed not to mind much.

The actual trial was set to begin two months later. She would have to keep working until then because she had many prior commitments. But her company had asked her to please hold any engagements until after the trial was done because they didn’t want any of their clients to feel they could lose not only money but also their prestige in the business world. Of course, she understood perfectly what they were asking of her. So the day before she went to trial, was the same day she finally stopped at home and realized how her life would change now.

 The trial was very well publicized because many people in the media had been bought by the owners of the companies that were suing her. So it was obvious what their position was. They wanted her to be turn to shreds by people too, which was very hypocritical as those same companies were the ones that robbed everyone of their savings and their hard won money.  She had some big lawyers on her side too but the ones in the other side were particularly vicious. So much so that, on the second day, they even dared to attack her personal life, which was preposterous.

 Her lawyer told her not to say anything about that and she didn’t but it was the first time she seemed out of control. She wasn’t happy, at all, that her enemy was so visibly desperate that they wanted to find a weak spot wherever they could see it. Their questions and allegations hovered around the fact that she was an unmarried adult woman that lived her life travelling around. They called her irresponsible and immoral, which was perfect for the always religious people in juries. There’s always a couple.

 The trial went on for weeks. Whenever she thought they had been discredited by her very well built case, they came again with claims of bribery and corruption. It was then when she really got tired and decided not only to do her own defense but also using their own tricks. She would go personal and to the facts they were attacking on her. She was very tired and she had never felt that way. Christine was a very strong person but know, for some reason, she was beginning to feel the weight of years of work.

 The first day, in which she defended herself, she attacked them head on with proof of their own corruption. She had the papers and the data, which she always kept on her records to bring them down. One by one, one by day, she destroyed their credibility in front of the judge. Of course, they came against her hard with more personal questions and other attacks but Christine was ready, she had prepared herself thoroughly for that occasion, so she had brought the big guns.

 Did they want to talk about hidden children, lovers, weird fetishes and many other things? Fine, she went there with proof. During her years as a woman in business she had also made a lot of good friends, friends with enough talents to actually uncover things about people that they would have never thought no one would ever know about. But those good friends, many of those owed a lot to Christine, came to help in her hour of need. They really did the best they could to help her win that damn case.


 The day she actually won, the papers suddenly went silent and she went back to work. She decided to work now for smaller companies in order to help them be bigger and better. Christine wanted no more juggernauts in the game. Instead, she wanted to help where she was really needed. And she knew that they would let her do that because now she was a big name. Now they knew who she was and what she could do: bring empires up or down to the ground. There was clearly no one better in the game and Christine knew it very, very well.

sábado, 9 de julio de 2016

Juno V

   Collecting ice from the rings was very dangerous but also one of the many things they had set up to do on the mission. The Juno V crew knew their responsibilities by heart and every one of them knew everything about their ship and their list of duties. They also knew how to fix the microwave if it broke or how to properly grow food in the small compartments where doctor Wood worked all day every day. Not that anyone thought he would leave or something, but rather he had told him how to do it.

 He was a botanist, one of the best, and had accepted to be on the mission because he wanted to test many of his theories and what better way than in a mission to Jupiter and its moon. It was the perfect place to make tests and try to execute every single one of his theories in order to know if they were accurate. His results would prove essential for the advancement of botanical technology on Earth and in other space missions.

 Wood had tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and apples growing on his small farm. Well, it wasn’t really a farm because of the dimensions of the laboratory and of the food but he enjoyed calling it that, it made it seem less advanced, more grounded. After a few months, he was able to feed the other five people of the ship with his vegetables and they enjoyed their salad thoroughly. It was much better than eating one of those dehydrated meals they had in stock. No one complained about sizes or portions because they understood the difficulty of the whole thing.

 One of the astronauts that spend a lot of time with Wood was Brooke Stone. Ms. Stone was in charge of the telescope and everything related to the observation of the bodies they were studying such as Jupiter, Europa, Ganymede and Io. She love to spend her day taking pictures of them, trying to not only make them functional for work but also a bit artistic as she thought science lack a little bit of that sensitivity only real artists had.

 When she was younger, Brooke wanted to be a painter or a sculptor. But her parents did not encourage that at all. They were very accomplished scientists and believed the only art that made any sense was music and even if Brooke wanted to be a musician, they would have thought it would’ve been a waste of her time and their money. So throughout her childhood, she was convinced to become a scientist like them.

 She didn’t resent them or anything like that. If anything, she was pleased to be there, taking pictures of the chaotic weather of the gas giant, a very long distance away from her parents. They had a very tense relationship and she realized it worked best when they were separated instead of being in the same room. She loved her moments alone, which she used to draw, sometimes copying the picture she took.

 The adventurous one, the guy who took a step forward to pick up the ice shards with a robot, was called Alexei Ibaraki. His mother was Japanese so he had these different features that made every single person turn around to look at him. Not only was he very daring but he was also very attractive and interesting. He was one of those guys that always has a story to tell or that has that ability of making anything they say into something extremely interesting, even if it really isn’t.

 Alexei was also a model, besides an astronaut, and was used frequently in campaigns done in order to encourage children to study the sciences and getting interested into it. After being sent to Mars on a routine flight however, he became also the poster boy of several brands that wanted him as an imaged. His face was connected to beer, butter, insurances, banks, toothpaste and even condoms.

 The truth was he enjoyed that work but he loved to be in space doing work that was more important than selling beer to people that were already going to buy it. As he operated the hand of the robot that collected the ice from Jupiter’s rings, he realized that’s what he wanted to be doing his whole life. He wanted his actions to be remembered instead of his face. Alexei was tired that people only looked at him for his beauty and not his brain and wit.

 Carmen Nyongo, the medical chief of the ship, was very aware of the crew’s problems. She was not only a certified physician but also a psychologist that loved to spend at least thirty minutes which each of them every two days to check on their mental health. This was determined by the agency as something very important as they were going to be very far from home in a place where no one else had been before. They needed some support and Ms. Nyongo was an obvious choice.

 She had worked for years in military hospitals were she proved to be simply the kindest person ever to come in contact with all the soldiers and astronauts that needed her help. She loved to listen, since she was a very young woman. She liked telling her friends what she thought of the world but she much rather listened to them and their dreams and what they had inside their heads.

 Carmen thought people were extremely interesting and that’s why, after medical school, she got a masters degree in psychology. She thought it was essential to get to know about mental health in order to prevent and help people with their physical problems. She was not your average doctor but she had proven, once and again, that her methods made a lot of sense, to her and her patients.

The most frequent one, of course, was the captain. Her name was Katherine and she had been born in the Australian outback. Her parents still owned a big ranch there, where they had some of the best cattle in the country. With all the money they had won with that, they had built up a very good life for themselves and their two children. They rarely went to the ranch anymore, but it had been that place that made them who they were now.

 They lived in beautiful homes and went to the best school. When Katherine said she wanted to be an astronaut, her family didn’t say a word for or against it. They just supported her with money for every single expense she had to make to turn her dream into a reality. So she studied abroad and came back only on the holidays. From then on, the relationship with her parents was kind of broken, not really deep.

 They were not very sensitive people, any of them, but she would have loved more kisses and hugs in her life. She would have wanted to feel some kind of interest from them, but the only thing they did was giving her money and talking to her about it all the time. And when they weren’t they were busy. So when Katherine met Carmen, it was just a natural thing to become a very frequent patient of hers, even before the mission started. She just wanted to come to terms with the fact that she wanted recognition and she was never going to get it, not from her parents at least.

 The last crewmember, the one who made everything work properly, was Alejandro Obregón. Different from his captain, Alejandro had a very difficult life and had to raise himself to the place he enjoyed today. He was the happy father of a very intelligent young daughter. He loved his wife, whom he had met in a fast food restaurant after training in the astronaut academy. She was studying in a nearby university and they hit it off right away.

 They both had a very strong personality, the kind that made them being a little overdramatic but always effective in public. They didn’t mind being looked in the street as if they were crazy. They didn’t mind anything else than their love for each other. They also had in common that they supported a lot of good causes, maybe because they had received so little over their lives.


 Alejandro would always go to marathons supporting any type of disease, would march in the pride parade and would protests in front of police stations or administrative building. He was all about causes and its effects on people’s lives. He really believed everything could be better for everyone. And that’s why he had become an astronaut: he thought that a future where everyone was equal had to involve that final frontier and he was going to be one of those who brought it closer to every other person on Earth.

sábado, 25 de junio de 2016

Orange

   The soap was provided to us at the entrance of the showers. No one could keep their soap bar in case they wanted to put something inside like a razor blade or something of the sort. There had been too many murders inside the prison and the administration had decided to make crime a thing of the past for the inmates. Yet, there were still all kings of drugs going around. They were used as money or money was used to pay for them. Anyhow, everything was about drugs, it was the only way most men had to live through their sentences.

 It was a minimum-security prison. No fancy cells or big electric doors that opened and closed behind and in front of you. That was too fancy for that place. It was a big prison but the kind where you can go out and enjoy the sun if you feel to, you can exercise in the yard under the watching eye of several guards or even take care of a garden the crazy ones almost owned. Everything was organized, in a way.

 Me? I had been there for a couple of months. My sentence was five years long, no parole. I could maybe scrap a year of the sentence if I decided to be a good boy but it was very hard to be one inside that place. Even a minimum-security prison can be hell and I never dared to think how much worse other similar places could be, with tighter security. I just focused on my life and things I had to do to stay alive and well. The rest was a thing of the outside, where I wasn’t.

 Shower time was always at the same time. One of the oldest inmates had told me that, years ago, guys were able to come and please from the bathrooms as they pleased. But so many got stabbed or raped there, the administration decided they would force everyone to be clean and ready by 8 o’clock. A general alarm was heard every day at that time in order to wake us up. Then, each dormitory would form a single line and all lines would go to the showers.

 The room was huge. On my first day, one of the other guys joked about it being like the place where Nazis had killed Jews in the World War II. I thought the joke was in very poor taste but I rapidly noticed he had many tattoos and most of them had something to do with Nazi symbolism. I had seen it before in History class. So I knew I had to stay away from those guys, being a foreigner and all.

 There were at least sixty showers. One group would go first and then another. Each group only had about five minutes to wash everything properly with the small soap bars we were handed at the entrance. When we were done, we had to leave the bars on the floor for the next group. If there was no next group, the same thing. A waste, I always thought.

 Of course, everyone in the showers was naked. They would make us remove our clothes in a room just before the showers one. Each guy would put his things in a small squared locker. On the way out, we just had to find our number and get dressed fast in order for the second group to go in, if we weren’t in the second group ourselves. It was the routine and, I have to confess, I got used to it fast. In there, you get used to everything. Life is not really yours anymore so you just do what you have to do.

 I’m always asked if it was a problem to be gay inside a prison. And yes, it was. Once someone shouted it in the mess all, many guys looked at me instantly. Who I was wasn’t really a secret or what I had done. Not that I was famous before that or anything but lets say I made myself famous because of all the shit I did. I couldn’t go to my bunk without at least four guys looking at me in a not too flattering way.

 Which way was the best one to avoid all of their attention? I have no idea. Because I didn’t really repel all of them, I couldn’t. I’m a small guy, not very strong. I had to do thing to survive and I am proud of it. Some people are ashamed of their actions in jail but not me. I’m proud to have gotten out of there alive and well and I think that’s a huge accomplishment. So yeah, I let some of them, the powerful ones, have their way with me. It was the only way the others could leave me alone. The idea was to be seen as someone else’s property.

 Besides that, I did something even bolder, which gained me the respect of most of the men inside the prison. Maybe I wasn’t strong or big but I’ve always had a good brain and I knew I had to use it in order to make things easier for me there. In the first few months, I heard horrible rumors about some guy in the Nazi group that wanted to rape me somewhere no one could hear me scream. I heard it so many times I decided to go big and do my move first.

 His name was Duncan. He was a very tall guy and the few guys I hung out with told me he was a rather new guard. Apparently, he had been a soldier; veteran of all the recent fucked up wars that their country had started. So with only that in my hand, I decided to talk to him a little bit every single day. I heard him when he had something funny to say and he was kind to me, letting me in always first in the mess hall line and the shower line.

 Just some time after that, I was already letting him fuck me in broom closet no one really frequented as I was the one in charge of cleaning the floors in that area. It may see like a crazy thing I did and it was but it saved my life. He did that and I’m forever thankful.

 Being a guard, people knew they didn’t want to mess with him. So, by definition, they kept their hands away from me. I was protected and I really enjoyed it. It was then when I really made some friends in jail and started exercising more and, as crazy as it sounds, I was having a great time. I even slept nicely at night, with all the snoring and the body odors around me. I didn’t care anymore because I knew I was protected by someone everyone feared and it felt great. Sadly, it didn’t last very long as Duncan had decided he was a good person and he didn’t wanted prison to turn him bad.

 Somehow, I was broken hearted. Not only because I was afraid for my safety, but also because I was beginning to care for him. We didn’t just had sex, we also talked and had these small moments together I really appreciated because they… he made me fell like I was worth something in a place where you’re supposed to be repenting and feeling like a piece of garbage.

 The day he left, I cried while mopping the floors. On our last session together he didn’t say a word and neither did I. There wasn’t something I could say that would magically make things great between us, or that would change what was happening. We had to move on and we had to do it fast because we weren’t able to do anything about it. So he left, I cried for a while and that was the end of it.

 However, I forgot my Nazi problem. They knew very well Duncan had left and every single one of them decided to threaten me everyday. They wanted me scared out of my mind until the day their boss, the one with the tattoos, would order them to drag me somewhere dark and probably fuck me with something awful. I thought of it a hundred times and it did make me shiver and had no idea what to do.

 The truth is I had forgotten to know myself. They day one of them came to me, I fought. I broke his nose and crushed his foot. Another one threatened me with a razor he had gotten in and I was able to disarm him and tell a guard he had a forbidden item. He was send to solitary in a second. I had learned how to defend myself. So it was me who went to the tattoo guy and told him to go fuck himself.

 That action made me even more respected among some of the other inmates. The minorities if you will. I didn’t really identify with them but they soon became my friends and, some of them, my lovers. Even condoms can be found in a prison, if that’s what you want and I did. The following years were very hard on me but I got stronger and smarter and much more intelligent, being able to fool everyone, even me.


 The day I stepped out of prison, I realized the real world had moved along without me and it scared me. But only for that day. Because the following morning, I used what I had learned and got myself a job in no time. I have a life now, a real one. And, strangely enough, I have to thank prison and its population for that.

miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2015

Sages & Temples

   Tea was poured into four small glasses and the men drank it fast but in silence. After they had finished, they separated, each taking a different direction on the crossroads that passed just by the small hotel they had met. No one would ever know that those four men had been talking about very ancient things, about legends and about men that no longer existed. They were all sages, taking care of temples in different regions of the world. Each one of those temples was dedicated to a different element existing in the world. They used to be more temples but they had been destroyed in the past and only the four most important ones remained. People had forgotten all about that, but not the sages. They had taken care of their buildings in such a way that any person that passed by was impressed and had to come in.

 Even if they didn’t now the whole meaning of everything, they always knew that those places were very special. No one ever tried to move them or demolish the temples to build something else. Actually, no one even thought of building anything close to any of the temples. That aura that the woods and every other natural element gave to the place was part of the reason why people adored spending time there, even if they were not especially fond of praying. Families just spent the day there checking out the hidden features of the building, which had secret drawings and things all over the place. This pleased the sages because the legend said that the temples should always be filled with people or the gods would descend to make things right in the world.

 The four of them had met because they had all received a mysterious letter. There wasn’t a name on it, not a thing telling them who had written the mysterious words that revealed there was a lot more to their order that they even knew. There was some secrecy that had always surrounded their group but nothing like those letters, which spoke of a very old enemy preparing to come out into the world to bring chaos, which they had to confront whether they were ready or not. The letters seemed menacing at parts but they weren’t threats or warnings. They seemed to have been written by a especially mysterious friend, something they didn’t really appreciate as people in the dark tend to like it there.

 They read the letters various times, trying to look for differences between the four that they had received but that was not possible as they were exact copies, word by word. The paper seemed to have been made by the person that had written the letters, as it was very hard and rugged in several areas. The writing did weird curves and funny loops but it was obvious it didn’t have anything to do with the writing skills of the letter’s sender. The ink was pretty regular, so that did not say anything either. But the signature, however, had something they hadn’t seen in quite a while.

 The thing was, the letters didn’t have a traditional signature. Instead, there was a red seal at the bottom of each letter. According to those markings, the seals had been put on different times. Some were very well defined and others seemed to have been put in a rush. The seal was a symbol that monks had used over one thousand years in the past, when dark forces reigned all over the country and the lands of nature. The presence of that seal, made the sages think the person that had written the letters knew the past very well. No one really had access to those seals, unless they had kept them for generations. Some were in museums but none of them had been stolen. There was the possibility of all of this been a hoax but, somehow, it didn't seem like it at all.

 The group of four men stayed in that small hotel for an entire week. Not surprisingly, they were the only guests of the place. The owner, a big-breasted older woman, didn’t even talked to them, as she already knew what they needed and when they needed. Breakfast, lunch, diner and teas times were always exactly at the same hour and were always served at exactly the same time. She prepared their bed exactly at nine o’clock at night and left the windows opened because they all liked to hear nature as they slept. These details had all been given to her by letter sent from an assistant of one of the sages in order for her not to interrupt any of their meetings. She liked having them around anyway.

 Every meeting, they met in a small room by the veranda where the sun entered gently as well as the autumn breeze. It was often a very quiet room, even when they were all there. During long moments, the sages liked to keep silent and not say a word unless they thought it served to enhance their conversation and their deliberation about the letters. That’s, in part, why they stayed there for a whole weak. They had to go through every detail and each one of them had to give his opinion about every single matter that they proposed, every solution to the mystery. In spite of the modern world, these men had decided to live a life that wasn’t rushed and fast. They thought every single step they took in the world.

 All of them had gotten to be sages exactly because of that. They were patient men that loved to be close to the gods and nature. They knew how to communicate with themselves and the people surrounding them and had always this aura of peace around them that made people like them instantly. No one could be aggressive to any of them as they calmed fast and just heard their words and opinions about any old subject that the times put on the table. They were also very smart although they were no geniuses. They actually refused to be thought of as more than men or more special that most men. They always insisted they weren’t and that they were just men on a very special mission.

 Before they separated, they agreed that the letters were a pressing matter. The sages had always thought they were the only ones with any knowledge about the ancient world and now someone was presenting itself to them and telling them that he it was there. Every single one of them returned to their regions with the promise to keep investigating in order to clarify the matter as soon as possible. They even worked during their trip back, which was by road or train, and as they did some of them discovered interesting things. Two on the letters had traces of some type of dust, which happened to be rice dust, which was normally used in cosmetics. Another one of the letter had a stain of water in the back and, when properly checked, they discovered it was salt water.

They kept discovering things like that, small indications in a very big map, and they decided to reunite again some six months after their initial meeting. This time, however, they chose a small town by the sea. They stayed in another hotel with another owner that knew how to treat them, and there they reunited every single piece of the puzzle. They worked on it for days and days until one night they agreed they had found the person. They decided there was no time to waste so they would travel that same night. The trip was not very long as their destination was a bigger town by the sea, very well known for the fisheries.

 There, they did a little big of investigation until they decided to act. They arrived at a grand house in the middle of the night. They didn’t knock or anything like that, instead using their special abilities to walk over the rooftops and enter the mansion that way. The place seemed deserted but suddenly the lights were turned on and a woman, young and beautiful, stepped into the garden to greet them. The men stay there, very still, as if waiting to see their host’s next move. It was a wise things to do because a battle ensued, where she used knifes and a love sword to battle against them. The neighbors didn’t hear nay of the racket because of the trees and the structure of the building but the fight was though.


 Then, the woman simple stopped and revealed herself to be one of the other sages, of the temples that had been destroyed long ago. She had been hiding because her grandfather had been the former sage and he had no one else to leave the temple than to his granddaughter. She promised to do well and rebuilt the ruins he had left her and she had done so. She asked the sages to follow her and soon they found themselves to be in one of the biggest and most awe-inspiring temples they have ever stepped in. The dedication she had show, in fight and restoring the temple, won the respect of the sages who accepted her as the only sage in generations to be a woman and to live by the ocean.