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

viernes, 30 de junio de 2017


   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, 29 de noviembre de 2016

Tragedy and mystery

The flames appeared to be running up the hill at a great speed. From the small town below, the fire seemed to conquer the mountain with ease. The smoke started to descend shortly and only minutes after the incident, the whole valley was choking on thick and toxic smoke. People got out of the streets and got in their homes, sealing every single window and door in order not to let the smoke inside. They kept the blinds up however, as it was important to know if the fire in the mountain continued or if someone attempted to stop it.

 Sure enough, a larger city located close by, had decided to send a fire brigade to extinguish the fire. But they weren’t only there for that: they were also sent on a rescue mission. After all, the fire had not been caused by some glass in the woods (it was nighttime) or a badly taken care of bonfire. The flames had appeared out of the impact of a plane against the side of the mountain. Only a couple of people from the nearby town had seen it actually crash but they wouldn’t have to know how big the aircraft was or why it had crashed.

 The city’s firemen battled against the flames for several hours. The fire that had grown around the wreckage was so violent that it had consumed a good part of the forest in its first hour. As the firemen took their time to kill the fire, dawn came and it was thanks to the first lights of the day that the fire could finally be beaten. They got to the wreckage and discovered it was one of those private jets. It probably carried around twenty people or something like that but it would be irresponsible to say before getting the black box or any additional information.

 The people of the small town were grateful that the fire had been beaten, so they decided to help the firemen with the search for the black box. They divided themselves into teams, each team having a specific area of the forest to go and look for the box. The awful thing was that, as they looked for that, they found some other things that they weren’t prepared to see. Severed heads, burned limbs and even the corpses of a couple of children. It was very shocking for everyone to see that, as their own children were not very far away.

 A farmer that lived by the mountain finally found the box. He was very thankful that the fire didn’t get to his food, so he rushed up the hill when he heard they might need help. He actually found the black box when walking towards the wreckage, closer to his house than to the remains of the plane. It seemed like something important, so he grabbed it and showed it to the chief of the firemen. He was very happy to see the box and thanked the man. It was a very happy moment in a very awkward moment to feel something like that.

 As the box was sent to the city, the firemen and people of the small town had decided to help carry the dead downhill and then to several ambulances that came and went every so often. They all counted the bodies and, when they didn’t find anyone else, they concluded there were actually thirty-seven people in the plane. It was a very strange number; as such a plane was not really suited for that many people. Even the people of the town knew that or at least they thought it was very strange. The last thing they did was waiting for the experts.

 Those people were the ones that were in charge of taking all the pictures for the report that would have to be filed in order to investigate the reasons of the crash. The experts had taken their time arriving because they had to travel from the capital to actually get there, so many of the objects and the general wreckage site was not exactly as it had been before they started looking for the box and picking up the bodies. A young fireman was bright enough to take pictures the moment they had arrived so he surrendered those images to the experts.

After the experts were done picking up all the pieces, big and small, as well as sweeping what remained of the forest to look for every single piece of evidence, the site became some sort of graveyard. It was very particular because there were no remains there but no one really knew if, maybe, some more passengers had been burned by the fire that had consumed the forest. They had no idea if that was possible so the people of the small town organized a mass one-week after the accident. Some of the firemen attended, it was a beautiful ceremony.

 Meanwhile, the experts analyzed every single fragment of the plane and determined that the model that had crashed had seating for twenty-six people. That meant that, according to the amount of bodies people had rescued from the mountain, at least eleven people had not been seating on a proper seat but somewhere else. That was not really the usual and it didn’t happen very often. The experts also tired to determine if the extra passengers could have been a reason for the crash but everything seem to point that it hadn’t been a critical factor.

 The remains of the planes and of the people were thoroughly checked and, two weeks after the crash, the experts released a statement in which they announced that the final number of dead in the crash had been forty-one and not thirty seven as the firemen and townsfolk had counted. Apparently, the remaining four that hadn’t been counted had caught on fire shortly after the crash and now their remains had almost combined with some of the other passenger’s remains.

 It was only thanks to the black box that they could determine who the passengers were and what flight that was. After all, the nearest control tower had declared that no aircraft had been detected in the area before the crash. That meant that they wouldn’t have had any contact with it and it would also have been impossible to know it had crashed. Other airfields were consulted and they all said the same thing. The first theory was that it was some sort of drug related flight, maybe operated by criminals wanting to get away from the country.

 That theory was soon debunked, as the closest border was almost two thousand kilometers always. Besides, the black box was able to tell the experts that the flight happened to be a private one. Furthermore, the codes inside it were able to point the origin of the flight, almost a thousand kilometers away. The aircraft had apparently left an airfield not so far from the capital city. It looked like they had boarded in a rush, in fear if that was possible. The voices of the crew on the recordings were very difficult to tell one from the other.

 It was rather easy to say that the plane was really crowded because a lot more voices could be heard in the background. The audios were checked several time in order to identify what everyone was saying during the flight. It was hard work because many voice chimed into the conversation happening inside the aircraft and it seemed as if they had been talking every single second until their death. Apparently the instruments had begun to fail and that could be the cause behind the crash.

 But even if that was the reason, it didn’t answer much about why all of those people had decided to get into a crowded airplane. As the voice experts analyzed the audios, others decided to have a second look at the object that had been rescued from the plane. There were toys, glasses, a briefcase, magazines, and a couple of computers… Everything except suitcases, actual luggage that the people inside the plane should have carried. It was kind of obvious that they had boarded on a rush. The origin airport was consulted on that and it was then when they had an extra clue.

 The manager of the airfield had a report of a disappeared business jet owned by a pharmaceutical company. It had been there for several months and now the people had left. No one really knew when but the fact that a company owned it raised some eyebrows. But that didn’t explain the amount of people that were inside. It took another week to have one more clue, when a clumsy investigator dropped the suitcase found on the plane, making it open and revealing a series of papers and a very bright substance in a titanium tank, the size of a forearm. The mystery was not done.

sábado, 21 de febrero de 2015


   The flight had not been awful but my body was just sore from being seated for so many hours. Somehow, those airplane exercises did not do the trick for me. Besides getting in the way of some people, they didn’t accomplish anything. When we finally landed, I felt my legs weakened by the journey. And to think I still had six more hours to go. But at least I had twenty hours to refresh and relax before hopping into another aircraft.

 I went through customs quite fast, and then headed straight for the airport hotel. I had my only bag with me and was certainly happy to be able to sleep in a proper bed for at least a few hours.

 The lady at the counter of the hotel seemed a bit distracted by something and kept looking towards a TV located in a small meeting area besides her post. I asked her if there was something wrong and she said something about a hurricane that was battering some islands in the south. It was feared that the storm could come this way. But, at the moment, her words seemed not all that important to me. As a matter of fact, the moment she gave me my bedroom keys, I had only the bed on my mind.

 The walk from the front desk to my room felt short and, seconds after I closed the door, I had stripped to my underwear and was making my way into the cozy queen sized bed. I fell asleep fast didn’t even remember to put an alarm in case I slept longer than I expected.

 I had a dreamless sleep, very nice and cozy. When I woke up, I saw the sun through the curtain, which could only mean that the day was coming to an end. I grabbed my cellphone and realized I had slept seven hours straight, which was perfect for a guy that had to make another six-hour flight the following morning.

 I stayed in bed a few minutes until I realized I could have a nice hot shower and change my clothes, which I did. I even sang through my entire time in the bathroom. For some reason, a hotel made me feel special, more so when my company was the one that had to pay and not me. After changing clothes to a less constricting combo of shirt and jeans, I decided to head down to the restaurant.

 When I got there, I noticed there was no self-service but one could order anything from one of the waiters, which I did: a big cheeseburger with fries and onion rings. Yeah, I was starving after my sleep. The television screens were still broadcasting images from the storm in the tropics and warned people in the city were I was that they should be mindful of the storm for the next few days.

 When my burger came I ate it so fast, I surprised myself, and the waiter, who kindly asked if I needed something else. I told him to bring me lemonade and to put it all on my tab, as I had no money to pay and even If had had any money I wouldn’t. After a week of hard work, I had earned all the nice treatment.

 There were only a couple more tables occupied and some people on the bar. I looked at those people, the kind that have their first drink of the day at four o’clock. It was nice to be that careless with one’s decisions, although maybe they had interesting jobs or just lives that required that extra kick. As I drank my beverage, I saw them all one by one and realized I knew one of those men: he had worked with me years ago but he had left, probably fired but I did not know for a fact.

 He noticed I was looking at him and stared back and, clearly, he realized who I was. He waved, a whisky glass in one hand, and came walking towards my table, smiling like an idiot. I had just remembered I did not like him very much when he took a seat just besides me.

 He acted all surprised and shocked and happy to see me but somehow I know it was all a lie. I normally knew when people were being deceitful to me and guy just didn’t seem quite honest to me. He smiled a lot and I had always mistrusted that and he had stopped drinking, which was clearly a bad sign.

 The man started talking about his new job, where he traveled a lot and met many famous people. He was something like and insurance guy for the wealthy or something like that. To be honest, I did not pay much attention to anything he said and, from time to time, I would look towards the screens still showing what was happening in another part of the world.

 He obviously noticed me doing do because he started giving me he’s opinion of the matter, as if an opinion was able to change the path of an incoming storm. Yeah, I clearly remember I hated that guy. He was always trying to be visible, attracting everyone to his stupid life and just trying to be funny and just coming out pathetic. He was the kind of person that was desperate for attention and I had never cared for any of that.

 Without any warning, I told him I had some affairs to attend in my room and shook hands with him. As I walked away he told me to email him some time and I nodded but I clearly had no intention to do so. I decided to get around the airport, which was huge, and walk around until my flight became available on the screens all around the place.

 The airport had three terminals and each one was simply huge and well connected, so walking was just a pleasure, looking at people come and go, the pilots and flight attendants and all the colors their uniforms sported. Besides, I had always liked airplanes so my favorite thing to do was buying some candy and then seating by a large window and stare and the planes moving all over the tarmac. It was like watching ants work on giants or something. Maybe that’s what was attractive to me…

 After getting bored and running out of candy, I decided to shop for some souvenirs. They weren’t for me but for my friends and family, all of whom loved to receive t-shirts and fridge magnets after I had traveled around the world. My mother had a collection of those and I had already bought her some in my earlier destination. I found a store that sold several of those, shaped as animals and fruits so I bought a whole bag.

 My sister’s gift was a bit trickier as she loved clothing but I always seemed to forget what size she wore and which colors she was into right now. They changed quite often and it was hard to keep up with it. So I just bought her a black sweater with a funny image on it thinking it went with everything and even if I got the wrong sixe I could tell her I thought she could use at nights or something.

 For my friends I bought boxes and boxes of chocolate and candy. That was what they liked, besides booze, which I couldn’t buy because I had always been scared a bottle would break and then of my underwear would smell of vodka or something. Some of the candy I bought were filled with rum and gin so that would cover me with them.

 I went back to my room, realizing my flight was only three hours away. I got everything I had bought into my suitcase but I couldn’t make the chocolate boxes fit in so I took that on their bad and hoped for security officers not to annoy me about it. I took all my things; check the room twice for things I may have left around and then left the room. In the front desk, the receptionist was busy on the phone, speaking occasionally. She hung up and attended me quickly to go away rather hastily.

 Not thinking twice about it, I walked straight to customs again, then to my gate were I sat down to wait for the boarding procedure. As I checked my emails on my phone, an airline worker dressed in light blue and with jet black hair walked to the counter and spoke on the microphone.

-       Ladies and gentlemen, Air Jet has to announce the cancellation of this flight due to a serious event that has taken place. We will take care of accommodations and will help you get into a later flight to get to your destinations.

 People started to quarrel with her and, not talking to a microphone, visibly tired and fed up by passenger’s attitude, she said:

-       A man committed suicide. He, somehow, got to the building above this gate and  jumped. He landed… he landed on the plane.

 Everyone was now silent and the some of them where walking towards the window. Although far to have a good look, I was sure I had seen correctly. The man that killed himself had been talking to me some hours earlier