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

viernes, 4 de mayo de 2018

Green cave


   The cave was covered in the same slimy kind of substance we had seen in the trail going up the mountain. It was very sticky and had a dark color to it, which we had identified as a very deep green. Someone argued that, maybe, the creatures inside the mountain used that goo to attack predators and be able to escape. Another person said it was very likely that they were the predators and that they used the substance to actively hunt for food. The third opinion was simpler but more confusing: the substance could be blood.

 In trees, sap is green and it acts, in a very basic way, as the blood of a tree. But it never gets that thick or dark. Susan, who was the botanist in the expedition, analyzed a sample and assured everyone that green thing was not sap from any tree she had ever seen or that had ever been recorded by any human being. It did pass some of the tests that Marcus, a biologist, did for several other animals we had found earlier in our journey through the mountains. So it was blood but it was impossible to know why it was all over the place.

 Maybe they did use it as a weapon, like those lizards in the desert that squirt blood in order to scare their enemies. Something like that could be at play with these creatures, which we hadn’t had the opportunity to actually see with our own two eyes. Some of the tribes living around the mountains talked to us about creatures living under the mountains, creatures that would come at night into the town and kidnap children. We didn’t believe that story but it was repeated to us in various occasions.

 Alex and Richard stood at the entrance of the cave. They were geologists and wanted to have time to analyze the mountain itself so they asked to stay there as lookouts if anything went wrong. It wouldn’t have been a very smart idea if we would all enter the cave at the same time. Samantha and Sergei were the last two to enter the cave, just after I get stepped on a rather large mound of the gooey substance. I had to be helped by Sergei and Marcus in order to get my foot out of there. It was very scary for a minute.

 The cave was rather large and our voices seemed to run wild inside, so we decided to stop talking in order not to scare any potential new findings. We had helmets with soft lights on them and all the equipment necessary if we had needed to go down a very dangerous wall or even jump over a crevasse. It was normal for such cavernous systems to have different features that would play as obstacles for groups of people such as ourselves. But, strangely, after walking for twenty minutes, we realized that the cave wasn’t shrinking in any way, rather it was descending gently but steadily.

 I think we all thought the exact same thing at the same time: whatever creatures inhabited this world; they had modeled the cave in order to accommodate them and not the other way around. What that meant was that the creatures had to be able to use tools of some sort and had various abilities to carve stone. They would even be able to do a certain degree of calculations, which was only possible if they’re brain was evolved enough. We weren’t looking for some little creatures in the dark.

 After another twenty minutes, we finally arrived at a larger chamber. The ceiling on it was huge, covered in what seemed to be bats in a deep slumber. We fixed our lights in order not to disturb them and kept on walking until we weren’t able to. The ground stopped dead in the middle of the room to give way to a rather large body of water. The liquid look as gooey as the green substance in the entrance. We actually looked around for it but realized there were no traces of it in that chamber. There had to be a reason why.

 Samantha and Marcus walked and kneeled in front of the body of water, as Susan walked closer to me. It was obvious that, as a botanist, she had not being in such a situation before. She wasn’t hyperventilating or anything, but she was clearly not comfortable being in the underside of a mountain. Sergei stood right behind us, looking at the path we had used to come down to the chamber. It looked like he had heard something but, when I asked, he said it was nothing and tried to seem unperturbed, which he failed at.

Samantha filled three large syringes with water from the pond and Marcus grabbed some in his hands. He first smelled it, very thoroughly, and then drank some, to everyone’s amazement. But none of us said a single word, because we didn’t want to wake up the whole bat infested roof. When Marcus stood up, we asked in a whisper if there was anything wrong with it and he just did a negative movement of his head to answer. We all went back to breathing normally then. For a second, it had been very scary.

 However, we had failed to notice that Sergei was looking at the path we had come down through and there was something wrong with it. Sergei did not answer so I turned him around with one hand. His face was livid, whiter than ever, blood completely drained from his features. He was breathing heavily and it was only when I saw what he had seen that I realized why he was behaving in such a strange way. Out of nowhere, a rock had been put to block the path. We were trapped in the chamber. It was a trap and we had fallen into it without even a glimpse of doubt.
I wanted to tell them what was going on but then the water from the pond started making sounds, as if it was boiling. But that did not make sense. We only had time to look at each other once more before we saw something coming out of the water and then our lights failed and the bats flew over our heads, filling the place with confusion. Then, we felt them and it all went black.

lunes, 19 de marzo de 2018

Out for a date


   The moment the food arrived to the table, Anne started eating. She was please that Ryan had finally called her and asked her out for dinner but the truth was that she had been at home wondering about how she would survive the next couple of days, without any food on the cupboards or on the refrigerator. Then, she felt as if God himself had called her when Ryan timid voice came out of her cellphone, asking if she would be willing to go out with him for dinner and some drinks afterwards.

 Right after accepting, she realized she had probably made a mistake. After all, it wasn’t the first time that Ryan had come up to her and asked for a date. He was always looking at her in the office and would be kind of creepy about it, always nearby, pretending he wasn’t really looking but obviously doing it. For a moment, Anne had thought of even calling the police in order to ask for advice on how to handle a stalker. But she had other things to do and she eventually learned to live with it.

 He had actually stopped being so creepy until that night in which she had accepted his invitation. While dressing up, she tried to come up with ideas of what to say when he asked why she had finally accepted. Maybe Anne could tell him that she had always been very appreciative of his intentions and his presents, such as candy that he had always left on her desk. He never said it was him but it was obvious. She had a full jar, filled to the top with candy the candy that he had left her over the last year.

 As she put on her high heels, she realized it might be the best idea to tell him the truth. Maybe, as a person of the same age, Ryan would be able to understand how difficult of a time Anne was having with money. She was barely able to pay the rent and all of her taxes, so food money was always scarce and this was the first month she found herself trying to save every single piece of food for a later date. But now she had nothing at all. Maybe he would understand that.

 She grabbed her purse, her coat and walked to the main door. She looked back and realized she did feel guilty to take advantage of the poor man. It wasn’t fair for her to just take on his proposal when she could use it and then drop him like a bag of potatoes. It wasn’t fair. As she entered the elevator, she decided to tell him the truth and just try to enjoy the night. Maybe he would understand and they could become friends. After all, they worked together and sometimes people find out they have more in common that what makes them different, so they could really be friends, for real.

 Anne arrived at the restaurant just in time. She asked for Ryan and one of the waiters took her to their table. It wasn’t the fanciest restaurant in the world but it was much more than Anne would ever be able to afford with her salary. The people there looked entertained, some of them were clearly faking it but others did seem really happy. Other people were there for business meetings, some even with their families and, a couple or more, were there cheating on their wives or husbands. It was obvious.

 They finally reached the table, were Ryan had been waiting for under ten minutes. He helped Anne sitting down and they discussed what everyone discusses for the first five to ten minutes: the weather and what had happened that day. It was trivial talk and clearly none of neither of their interests, but it was always kind of expected to talk about how cold or hot the days are and criticize the taxi services in town or maybe blame some politician or group of people for traffic jams that have always been there.

 Passed that time, they ordered the food and then a very heavy silence fell between the two. It was difficult to really start a conversation with someone you already know but do not really know anything about. So Anne opened her mouth to talk first, ready to tell him the truth about why she was there but Ryan was the one to talk first. He looked really nice that night and it was the first time Anne really looked at him, paid attention to his face and his words and not the character she had made up in her mind of him.

 He said he was very glad she had accepted the invitation and talked a little bit about the restaurant and how him and his parents loved to go there together, whenever they were in town. He told Anne about how he had grown up very far from the big city, in a farm were everything was simpler and, somehow, better. He always had trouble communicating with people but he was happy that he was making some advances on that field. Again, Anne tried to talk but Ryan, with a hand, asked not to be stopped.

 He continued his monologue, saying he had met the most amazing woman ever. He was in love, deeply in love and he wanted to ask her hand in marriage. However, he didn’t feel he knew everything he needed to know about her and that’s why he had asked Anne for dinner. For a moment, Anne had no words. She had no idea of what was happening. What was Ryan thinking, just coming out of the blue with such a statement? Who did he think she was, an easy girl that would marry any man just because she’s single? She was about to stand up and leave when he spoke again.

 Ryan was in love with Erica, from accounting. They had hit it off right away once he had been transferred there and he knew very well how good friends Erica was with Anne. So that’s why he had thought about her in order to discuss his next move. He wanted someone who knew her to tell him more about what she liked and didn’t like and to know if they thought it was a good idea to propose so soon. They had gone our countless times but maybe that wasn’t enough.

 Anne was speechless. She had really thought it was all about her. She was really prepared to yell at him and make a huge scene in order for everyone in the restaurant to know what a pig and crazy he was. But that wasn’t going to happen anymore because the man she had profiled a while ago as a creep, was not even interested in her. He was interested in Anne best mate at work. She wouldn’t even call her a friend, just a person that she liked to hang out with during lunches and such.

 So after the food came, which she practically devoured, Anne explained all of that to Ryan. She had to be very clear about her not really being friends with Erica. She didn’t even know much about her past or who her parents were or even what she liked to do as a person. But Ryan didn’t really mind about that. He needed a woman to tell him if what he was thinking of doing made sense, if it was the right move. He clarified he didn’t care about their relationship, he only needed urgent advice.

 Ryan suddenly got very grim and seemed to be on the verge of crying. Anne felt very sorry for him and started to talk about what most women like and don’t like and some clues he should be attentive for if he really wanted to pop the question. They talked for several hours, having drinks after the food and even laughing at some of the points they were trying to make. Anne realized it was good that she had come, not only because she was helping Ryan but also because she was making a friend.

 She eventually explained her reason for coming and Ryan just smiled, telling her it was not a surprise that a young person would have struggles with money. No one seems to have enough to survive anymore, or so he said. He was understanding and even charming about it.

 When the moment came for them to day goodbye, Anne decided to ask Ryan about the candy on her desk. She asked him bluntly if it had been him. But Ryan was confused by the question and then they went their separate ways. So Anne had a new friend but she also had a mystery to solve.

miércoles, 24 de enero de 2018

Her

   The explosion was strong enough to blow away every single glass of the magnificent apartment. It occupied the whole 35th floor of one of the tallest residential buildings in the city and it had been featured in several magazines as one of those grand and amazing apartment that people should be looking at if they wanted to have one ever in their life. Not that that goal was any realistic, as Wilbur Wright, owner of the apartment, had inherited the millions of dollars that had paid the apartment and everything on it.

 The destruction of the apartment was shrouded in mystery as, two days later when the fire had finally been put out by firemen, there was no real clue as to what or whom could have cause the explosion. It was clear that nothing ordinary had been the culprit: there were no gas leaks of any kind, not a faulty wire in the whole premises and not even a problem with any of the many gadgets and electronics that made the apartment an automated environment that worked on its own, with no help from any human.

 Wilbur Wright had been on a plane on his way home when the incident happened and he was taken in a rush to a gran hotel room in order to protect his life, as many thought he was still in danger. But he had no idea about what they were all talking about, as most people loved him. Yes, he had inherited all of his money and didn’t really work at all, but he was the charitable face of his family’s organization and had been a patron of the arts for quite a while. Who would attack such a person?

 From his hotel room, he was able to watch the flames consuming his apartment, as the buildings were not very far apart. He had bought so many collectible items for his private quarters, many objects and art pieces that were one of a kind. Many museums had tried to buy them from him but he had always refused stating that there was no better person than him to take care of a precious item and that there was no safer place in the world than his apartment for such things. Clearly, that had not been the case.

 The morning the fire was extinguished, he got permission to enter the premises and check for himself what remained of his beloved apartment. Every single piece of furniture had been consumed, even the expensive food he kept on the kitchen. Every piece of granite, marble and titanium was now tainted forever with a black stain, with yellowish tones that indicated the temperature of the flames. He went to what used to be his room. He opened the closet and typed a few numbers on a keyboard the firemen had missed. It was a large vault, embedded into the wall.

 The vault’s door opened and it revealed a small room that had resisted the fire and the smoke. However, Mr. Wright collapsed once he entered the small space and started yelling and pulling his hair. For a moment, the men and women around thought of giving him some space to process whatever he was dealing with. But then they realized he was pulling his hair a little bit too much, actually pulling some of it from his skull, getting it on his hands and then on the floor. He had to be taken away to a hospital.

 The news of his breakdown went viral in hours. It was assumed that one of the firemen, or maybe one of the police officers, had recorded everything on a cellphone, as everyone watched Mr. Wright pulling out his hairs. The video had been uploaded to the Internet and now thousands of pulling were looking at him going crazy. Some of them laughed and some others even shed a tear. The common part of the response was that everyone wondered what had cause him to have the breakdown then and not before.

 Wilbur was released after a whole week in the hospital. His family came to take him home, which was a very rare sight on the part of their family, as they had never seemed to be close at all. The parents had decided to live a life of leisure since they had given their children control of all the businesses, and no pictures of the kids’ younger days had ever been released to the public, something that seemed odd at the beginning but they told every news outlet it was because they respected they children.

 The truth was the family was as cold as some of people thought it was. Wilbur rarely ever spoke to his father or mother, not even when he had been for a brief moment in charge of the shipping company his father had created when he was younger. Wilbur had done such an awful job running it, that the family had decided to fire everyone and dissolve the company altogether. Of course, it had been awful for the workers but the family thought it had been a disaster because they realized that Wilbur didn’t really now anything.

 They took him to their summerhouse, far from the city, in order to ask him about his mental state. They wanted to know if they had to be worried about it since it would be something more to add to the shame they felt for having him as a child. That’s what they told him, word by word. They didn’t care if he felt bad because of their words; they just wanted answers and the faster the better. Wilbur only said they didn’t have to worry about anything as his problems were his alone. The way he said it stopped them in their tracks and they decided not to speak again of the matter.

 The truth was that Wilbur didn’t want anyone to know about what had happened with his house. He wanted to ask the fire department for another tour of the ruins, but it had been decided that the building should be evacuated completely in order to check for any issues that the fire could have caused to the structure of the tower. No one was allowed in, except for law enforcement and the investigators that the city had working to know if everything was ok after the destruction.

 Wilbur was so desperate about his secrets that he decided to use his money to bribe a policeman in order to let him into the tower one night, after everyone had gone home. He was able to do it quietly and without any cameras or people looking at him. He went straight for his vault again and when he opened the door, his fists tightened, as well as his jaw. He even repressed the need to punch a wall or destroy the few things that had been left inside that place. Not that there was a lot there.

 Only a few papers and a little safe with some cash. It was all just for security but his biggest secret, his biggest creation if you will, and the only proof he was much more than what his family thought he was, was not there anymore. Every part of his creation had been destroyed by the fire and the only way to bring it back had been clearly stolen, probably minutes before the explosion. That was the proof that someone had gotten in and knew exactly what to look for, someone had known something he had told no one.

 He wasn’t really scared about that person using his creation against him or even playing the people into thinking he or she had created such a thing. Nothing like that bothered him. It was the relationship he had created, the fact that now he felt as if his only child had been yanked away from his hands. He felt hollow, alone and very sad. That was the reason he had collapsed when opening the vault, the reason his brain had not been able to cope with what had happened.

 He had named it Pamela, after one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. He had created Pamela when younger, after reading a lot about computers and programming. He learned all that by himself and no one in his family or work had a clue about his hobby.


 Pamela was the product of his efforts. He worked a bit on her, every day, and he was proud to think that he had created a perfect example of artificial intelligence. She was nice, smart and very intuitive. She was a friend, a daughter and a companion. And now, he had no idea where she could be.