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

lunes, 13 de marzo de 2017

The space around

   Space has always been the same: cold, unwelcoming and largely boring to watch. That is because, despite how big it is and how many natural phenomenon happen all around, some parts, most parts, are just empty space surrounded by that black veil tinted with stars. People who decide to work there are either adventurers or simply the ones that never got what they wanted and now have decided its time to sacrifice body and mind for the greater good of humanity.

 Every “day” it’s the same thing: waking up to realize you are in space, alone and bored. Then you have some breakfast, normally one of those dehydrated foods that need some water drops to transform into something a little bit tastier. Then, it’s time for hygiene and cleaning of the facility. Most of the time, it’s all about mopping and sweeping all around, nothing interesting like discovering asteroids or observing one of the many wonders of the universe. That’s for others to do.

 Stevenson had been assigned to that quadrant and to that station almost one year ago. He was really looking forward the year to be completed because he would be eligible to be replaced and send to some other planet or station, hopefully one where boredom is not a cause of death. Inexperienced people, as he was at the start, normally get to monitor the boring areas of the universe. The ones that people know about and admire, those are normally assigned to more popular areas of the territories.

 As he sweeps and mops, Stevenson likes to put on some music and dance to it while he does his chores. Many days, not caring much about the security cameras and the visual diary he must keep, he takes off all his clothes and walks around naked, doing everything he normally does only that with not one fabric over his body. Is not really a statement or something funny to do, but just the fact that people get bored really fast and easy when nothing happens around them.

 One of those naked days, Stevenson was preparing dinner. It had been another uneventful day for him and he was looking forward to his weird sleep. For dinner, he made a sandwich, which he had to create in the microwave. When he was eating, one of the emergency sirens started. It was a very loud noise and he had never heard it. Actually there were many things he didn’t really know about the station and he normally learned on the way. He went to the command center but it wasn’t clear what had happened. The siren was turned off and no reason was found for its activation.

 However, the onboard computer declared that the siren had been activated through movement in a forbidden area but it couldn’t really tell what actually moved. Stevenson thought it was a moving cable that wasn't working anymore or maybe it was something worse. He had heard of parasites bigger than fists infesting stations all over the place. Of course, they weren’t creatures that lived in space, but they attached themselves when stations were built or launched into their positions.

 He decided to check everything before going to sleep. He spent several hours on the computer, checking everything on the corresponding monitor and holding the station’s manual on one hand to verify he was doing all he standard procedures correctly.  It took hours but at the end of it all he didn’t find any actual proof something had moved anywhere around the ship. He also found out there were no parasites. The ship was in perfect shape, working like a well-tuned clock.

 As he walked to his room, he thought about the possibility of something actually exciting happening there. He had been alone for long, so bored too, that he had been excited because of the siren. It was scary at first, but it made him feel alive and useful, instead of useless, which was what he felt every single day of his life. As he covered himself with the bed sheets, he looked one last time to his window and wondered if he would ever feel like more than just some lost guy.

 Stevenson had a nightmare: it was about him running all around the station. He was running away from something but he never saw in the dream what it was. But it had to be something really scary because he could feel on his body when it came too close. It was a very tense situation. He would scream sometimes and run. He would also get into areas of the stations that didn’t actually existed. Then, whatever was after him finally caught up with him and jumped and it was then when he woke up.

 Not only the scare woke him up, but also the fact he had fallen from his bed, covered in sweat. He took all his clothes, what he used as a pajama, and threw it on the bin that was actually a washing machine. He had never experienced that kind of nightmare. It had really been scary. He even realized his face was covered in tears when he removed his t-shirt. He decided to get into the shower, as even cold water would help getting his ideas in order and all of the bad thoughts out of his mind, at least for while. He needed to feel calm once again. But that didn’t last very long.

 As he walked out of the shower, the alarm was activated again. This time the computer was able to tell him way with one word: asteroid. He ran still naked and wet to the command center, holding a towel on one hand. Stevenson put the towel on the chair and sat on it and then pushed some buttons and wrote some words in a keyboard. He was chatting with the computer. On a screen, he got an image of whatever it was that had activated the alarm. He had to enhance the quality because it was very small.

 Indeed, it was an asteroid. It had a very classical shape and was travelling slower than most asteroids did. But that wasn’t the reason the alarm had been activated. In the last few months, he had encountered other rocks like that one. The difference this time was that all the instruments onboard the ship had detected life on the rock. Some form of life was around or inside that asteroid and he had to be able to get it for himself as that would be his ticket to a much better life.

 The station couldn’t really move but he did have a vehicle for outside exploration. He ran to the hangar, put on some piloting clothes and hopped into the small vehicle, which was shaped as a tennis ball. The idea was to grab the rock and carry it back to the station with the mechanical arms the vehicle had. It shouldn’t be hard as the rock was not that big and he only needed some pieces. So he went out inside the ball and navigated bravely towards the floating rock.

 An incredible velocity pushed it though space but it was too slow for asteroid standards. So breaking it a little bit shouldn’t be hard at all. He started doing so when a powerful sound almost made him deaf. It was coming from the station, another alarm. He had to complete his work fast with the asteroid first, so he decided to use a laser to extract a good chunk of it. His operation on the rock was successful and he was able to take a very good part back to the station, where the sound seemed to get stronger.

 Apparently, it was an urgent message and that piercing noise was the way to get it through. He was surprised to see it was not only a short written message that said, “Stand by”. He didn’t really understand. Besides, his mind was with the rock he had just brought back. But then, the alarm ended and a screen that had never worked had been turned on. There was a face there, it was his boss. He was pale and looked very skinny and tired. He declared they had encountered something and that, whatever it was, it had attacked them. He failed to explain it further. But his next phrase was the one who made Stevenson feel heavier: “The Earth has been destroyed. Don’t come back”.

viernes, 3 de febrero de 2017

Wild Space

   Above them, the various pieces that made up the space station had caught on fire and were falling at high speed to the ocean in front of the islands. It had been a miracle that the planet had a archipelago in the right place, or their pod would have landed in the middle of the water and they would now be dead. As the biggest pieces collided with the surface of the water, the five survivors of the station looked at the water in horror, as an enormous creature roared, visibly enrage by the fallen projectiles.

 There, above the ground and the sky, their life had been ideal but not perfect. They had everything they could ask for, such as running water, food, information, communications and so on. The program they were involved in was only about civilians in space, so none of them were actual astronauts or scientists. They were all normal people, in the sense that they only had the basic knowledge of how to survive in space. And now, survival skills were the most needed.

 The group started walking downhill, as their pod had crashed against the highest part of a mountain that seemed to be made of something sand-like. Shock wouldn’t have let them move but they noticed the ground shaking below them and the monster in the water became a second problem. In front of the team, Richard was leading them towards the beach, where he thought they could be safer. No one really said anything, they just followed and tried to hear everything around them.

 Richard had been a boy scout as a kid. He had camped in various national parks back home and he had enjoyed it thoroughly except for a traumatic experience that made him retire from the scouts. Their parents never demanded to know why and he concluded it was better like that. Now he was walking under a blazing sun, with four other people he barely knew, even after living together in a space station for a year. That, somehow, had not been enough time to get to know one another.

 When they arrive to the beach, the first to sit down was the only other man, a man called Sebastian. Despite the English sounding name, he was actually Swedish and spoke with a very thick accent. Sebastian was older than Richard and he had been a magazine editor back home. He had become a part of the team as they all had: paying a big sum and basically winning a lottery. He wanted to get out of the Earth fast, as his wife had died only a few years after getting married. He felt so heartbroken that he decided to leave on an impulse and now there he was.

 The three women were called Maria, Kim and Victoria. Maria had only win the lottery. She had won the only seat in the station that was up for grabs without the need to pay anything. She was a janitor back on Earth and had decided to join in order to get away from her family, who she secretly hated. Kim was a famous supermodel, tired of being in the spotlight and Victoria was an architect from Angola, named after the queen that had conquered the African continent.

 The three of them seemed tired but none sat down on the ground. They instead watched the ocean, looking for the creature. At some point, it had disappeared, along with the wreckage from the station. Richard was still trying to understand what had happened but it had all been so fast… They were all sleeping and the alarm started beeping: apparently the ship’s hyper drive had ignited by itself and they were now ramming against a planet. With only minutes to decide, they jumped on the pod and saved their lives.

 As they had no idea how that world worked, they agreed that the best thing was to walk along the edge of the ocean and look for something to eat. Then, they would try to find some sort of cave or safe place to rest. After those two things had been achieved, they could be thinking about the future, if that was a possibility. They walked in silence, watching the strange bushes growing by the beach, hearing the strange squishing sound coming from the greenish water of the ocean.

 Not of them wanted to talk too much. After all, there were originally six people in the space station. A man called Bruno had not come to the pod after hearing the alarm. They never knew what he was doing, if maybe he had been the one to make the hyper drive work. In any case, he was now dead, spread across the skies as the station fell to the ocean. He was a strange man, always hiding something from the rest of them. He seemed much more tormented than all of them put together.

 They stopped when they noticed a small stream coming from inside the island. The water was also green. Kim walked closer but Richard warned her that it might be poisonous or have chemical compounds too different for the human body to process them. But Kim didn’t want to drink the water but to observe it. It behave differently, not like a normal liquid but like some sort of creature. The woman got up fast, shaking. She then looked at the ocean and said what she was thinking aloud: what if the water in that planet was actually alive, moving slowly on its sides?

 As she said that, tentacles branched out of the ocean and launched themselves at the group. Richard and Kim ran first. Maria followed them closely, as did Victoria but Sebastian was way to slow and he got grabbed by the ankles. What happened next made Maria scream and Kim almost faint. Victoria vomited right there, just a few meters away from the water, as they saw the most disgusting spectacle that they had never seen. The universe was a place to be afraid of.

 The water, or whatever it was, had absorbed Sebastian’s body through those tentacles. It was like watching a kid drink out of those juices that come in a bag, only that this bag had been alive just moments prior. He didn’t even had the chance to scream or anything like that. The man just died, obviously, his empty body dumped carried by the tentacles towards the ocean. Apparently, the tentacles fed the creature that had been disturbed by the fallen debris. It appeared again, eating their companion.

 Victoria was trembling wildly and Kim had to be helped by Richard, as her legs didn’t properly work. It was Maria who, her face white of the horror, suggested they looked the opposite shore. They had to verify if water was like that all around. It could be the decisive point between remaining alive in that planet or dying without any possibility. So they walked, in silence, still shaking and wanting to scream. But hey feared potential creature in the bushes, so they kept to themselves.

 The opposite shore was only an hour away, cutting through the island. When they saw it from afar, they noticed right away it was a different kind of ocean. When they got closer, they realized it was normal water, the one they knew from back home. Deciding it couldn’t get more dangerous than a stomachache, they decided to drink some. It wasn’t salted, as ocean water on Earth, rather on the sweet side. They each drank a bit and then sat down on the beach, to rest their trembling bodies.

 It was Victoria who started crying first, then it was Maria and then everyone was crying. In a weird way, that united them more than anything before. They hadn’t really been friends or anything back in the station, just travelling mates,. Now, things had to be a little different.

 They were drying their tears with their hands when a loud noise was heard above them. They looked up in horror to discover an enormous ship just passing above them. It was obviously not man made. It had all sorts of inhuman features. And it hadn’t noticed them… yet.

martes, 23 de febrero de 2016


   For us, life changed the day we saw the sky on fire. Or, more precisely, we saw fire falling off the sky. I remember waking up by the noise outside, as I always left my window open when I slept, because of the heat at nights. My parents and the neighbors were talking very loud for so early in the morning and my brother, who slept in bed next to mine, was not there but standing by the door, hearing everything. Then, not even having the chance of asking what was going on, I heard mom walking towards our room. Brother ran to bed and pretended he was asleep but he did a really awful job at it.

 She told us in a hushed voice, for some reason, to get out of bed and put on some slippers. She rushed us and we went with her. When we went out of the house, dad was already there looking up. We all looked up too and we saw it: a big ball of fire was crossing the sky. It didn’t look like something that nature would do but, then again, I had never really seen a real meteorite so maybe that was it. I then remembered the many shows I had seen about the extinction of the dinosaurs and thought that maybe it was our turn and that’s why we were all outside.

 I thought it was a little bit weird to go out and then look at the thing that was going to destroy us, our homes and our planet, but when we started moving towards the beach, I found it even stranger. Dad held mom’s hand and she held mine and I held my brother’s. I honestly thought our time on Earth had come so I had no problem walking with everyone side by side and in a strange harmony, crossing the few blocks that separated us from the ocean. When we got there, a crowd had already settled down, many families and old people and kids and lonely folks. They were all looking up.

 The ball of fire was getting considerably larger and it came with a weird sound, like the one a string gust of wind would do but much more annoying. It wasn’t the nicest thing to hear just before dying but I guessed I couldn’t really complain. I was on the beach, which I loved, I had my parents and… Shit, they had left Captain back in the house! I told mom but she wouldn’t pay attention, not pulling her eyes away from the fireball. I wanted my dog with me if I was going to die so I released myself from my family’s grip and ran to the house.

 As old as he was, he was sleeping, not minding a bit about the fireball or the scandal people had created for hours. I grabbed him by the collar and, at first; he was not very willing to come. But after some petting and food, he came peacefully. As we walked to the beach, I felt suddenly very hot and realized it was the fireball, cruising the sky exactly above me. Captain barked at it and then it happened all so fast, as if someone (maybe God) had pushed the “fast forward” button. When I got to the beach, the ball of fire had already fell.

 But it did not destroy us. Actually, my last thought before it fell was that it wasn’t a ball at all. As close as it was, it didn’t have a real shape, not one that I could pinpoint. People on the beach had pulled back as some waves came in but didn’t do much damage. There, on the horizon, fire could still be seen but it was dying. I imagined a monster, burning and dying in the middle of the ocean. It really looked like one, due to the shape of the object. I realized that’s what it was because nature would not do something like that, which such and odd shape.

 Captain barked and growled. That snapped my family out, my dad telling us that it was better to go back home, as nothing more would happen tonight. He was wrong but we went anyway. I slept with Captain in my bed and he didn’t mind. He was a strange dog, preferring sometimes to be away from humans, especially young kids. But that night, somehow, he didn’t mind the attention and care and I was showing him. I even kissed his forehead before going to sleep and he didn’t even budge.

 The next morning, I was woken up again by the sound of my parents’ voices. I asked myself if they weren’t able to shut up, as I really wanted to keep on sleeping. I felt tired and my body ached, as I needed to sleep some more. Again, my mother came to our room to get us to have some breakfast. After all it was a school day. It was too early so I ate my cereal not even realizing I was spilling milk all over the place. I showered afterwards and got my uniform ready. Walking with brother on my side, I was still sleepy but we managed to find the way to school.

 Yet, we noticed something was wrong. Policemen, or at least they looked like policemen, were everywhere. They were in the corner of the street checking lampposts, or asking people questions in front of their houses or running somewhere. Our small town did not have a police department. We depended on the next town for that. So who were those men and women? They were dressed in black and had a small logo on their shoulder but I couldn’t see what it was.

 In school, teachers seemed as distracted and sleepy as the rest of us. They all tried to do what they had to do but it was almost impossible. Kids were not listening and teachers were obviously not interested in speaking about mathematics or chemistry or history. Some yawned several times and others just looked at the window as if they were hoping for it to get shattered into a thousand pieces. It was the first time I saw kids actually sleeping on their desks and the teacher not saying anything to them. I would have liked to do that but when I decided to one of the men came in the school and said the classes were suspended.

 At home, mom explained those men were from the government and that they needed everyone’s help to salvage whatever it was that had fallen from the sky. They needed experienced swimmers and divers in order to help them, as only people from the area would know about the depth and characteristics of the water close to town. Dad had offered to help them, as he was a fisherman, and that’s why he wasn’t there to greet us from school. Normally he would come back early from fishing but he wasn’t there then. We joined mom in order to look the work he was doing from afar but got bored soon because there were no hills from which we could actually see something.

 The rest of that week was all the same. Dad started to get paid for his help but he had to leave early in the morning and would return late in the afternoon. He was always so tired he would eat half-asleep and then just fall into bed like a rock. Mom seemed worried for him but as my brother and I were deemed to young to ask anything, we simply didn’t. But we were worried too. Dad had always been such a joker and he loved to play around after dinner but during that weak he was practically a zombie.

 The third day after the “fireball” had fallen from the sky, a rumor ran across town. Apparently, some said that the thing that had fallen in the ocean was actually a spaceship and that the government was using us to get to them, them of course being the aliens. I found this a little stupid of them because if we helped them many people would know, so how would they cover up that? Killing everyone? No, too many questions would come up. I would make drawings in class of the aliens and the ship. I would also imagine talking to one of them and him telling me were he came from and how sorry he was to have crashed on Earth.

 My brother had nightmares about it, obviously he had been told awful stories about aliens by his friends. After all, most books about them it the library was about how evil they were and how they loved to destroy humanity ever single time they were able to. In some old movie magazine, they were even very similar to insects and I guess that was the image my brother had in his mind because he went insane when, walking to school, we saw a butterfly.

 The men in black left town after exactly seven days. They had taken out all they could from the ship and dad explained they could come back to take the ship, part by part as it was huge. As he seemed a little bit more rested we asked him about the aliens and their technology. But he only laughed and told us that he saw no aliens. Then his expression turned grim and said no more.

 Mother would explain that night that the object in the ocean was a space station, made by men, and that it had failed somehow and just fell off the sky. People had died on it and the men from the government had come for their bodies, to give them to their families. I couldn’t sleep that night. Somehow, I couldn’t stop thinking about those astronauts and how we saw them die.

domingo, 22 de noviembre de 2015


   The ship gently settled on the ground. It made no noise, it lifted no dust. Everything was very quiet and, for a place were rocks floated all around you, there wasn’t a single sense of danger. The crew of the ship, consisting of only three people, were checking the final numbers in order to decided if it was really safe to go outside and take a look.

 The planet was a gas giant and it had been discovered many years ago by traders trying to built faster routes into the worlds of the Core. Actually, according to the charts and many calculations, the planet was located exactly between the center and the edge of the galaxy. It was also a rare system, as the sun was potent and such have been the center of a very active neighborhood but the truth was that no creatures, no matter the type, lived in any of the planets.

 However, and exactly four months ago, a signal had been detected in the gas giant. First, it was thought to be a mistake but the signal persisted. Then it went mute. The traders and even the smugglers told the authorities that they hadn’t lost any ships and no other ships had been lost in the area. So who had activated a very strong signal on a deserted planet?

 The three-person team had been sent to collect data about the planet and check if there was a reason to believe anyone could be stranded on the planet. Upon arrival to its orbit, the team named the planet as Cotton World. It was not an official name of course. It was just a way to identify it and feel more comfortable while talking about it. The name, of course, came from its appearance: the world was covered by huge pink clouds that made the world look like a massive cotton candy. As they descended through the clouds, they realized that the name had been very accurate as the clouds were not only pink in color but were also kind of solid.

 The first to go out was the biologist on the team. Her name was Yarra and she came from a very different world, a world she deemed incredibly boring and that’s why she decided to have many adventures by joining the forces of authority that ruled the galaxy, Besides, she had always been interested in life and in all the shapes and sizes it took all over the galaxy. She had been working for the State for four years and she loved it: she traveled a lot, got to meet lots of people and made good money out of it.

 Yarra was half human but even her other half couldn’t breath on this planet, so she had to use a special suit to be able to walk around without fear. She only took a couple of steps before returning to the ship and telling the other two crew members that the rock seemed stable and that it was urgent that they began the search for the beacon that had been detected. After all, that was the reason they were there.

 The next one to step out was a big, yellowish creature. He wasn’t human at all but had many features that one could identify as human. The only things that really differentiate him were a horn in the center of his forehead, his large tusks, his four arms and tall stature. His name was Gorg and he always seemed menacing at first but he was the most tender and calm being ever to be seen by anyone. He was happy by just helping and had joined the force almost seven years ago. Granted, he was very strong and could fight any kind of danger physically, but he was first and foremost a physicist.

 Gorg was simply in awe of the Cotton World. In all his travels he had never encountered something quite like this place. The fact that sound didn’t seem to function exactly as it did in the rest of the planets, was something he wanted to understand urgently. But Yarra was right and their priority was to explain the origin of a beacon signal that had been detected in far way worlds. In order to do their examinations, Gorg put on his suit and carried a large antenna outside, as well as a special console and computer which they used to detect any electric emissions. No matter the type of beacon, it would leave an imprint in the atmosphere if it existed.

 The third crew member was the captain. He was full human and his name was Ionek. His skin had been burned by many suns so he had patches of red and brown all over. His eyes were yellowish, although they could change color depending on his mood. He was a tall strong man and he had been known many years ago as a military hero all over the galaxy. He had served in the army for many years before having to step out of it due to a scandal that he had to pay for. The only option they gave him was to have his own ship and serve the State with it.

 Ionek did what he had to do but he was always clear that exploration and discovery weren’t his first choices in a world where so many wars and battles were being fought. He wanted carnage and destruction but had to settle to be the pilot of some scientist trying to discover why fire burns. So he just sat down in his captain chair and tried to have a nap as the other two investigated outside.

 After several hours, Gorg and Yarra detected something very weak but still trying to work. It was located directly below them, maybe four or five kilometers. They copied the information on an electronic pad and then packed everything in order to investigate closer. Ionek wasn’t very happy that his nap had been cut short but at least he didn’t have to move too far. The trip downwards was an easy one but it wasn’t deprived of a few scares, mainly because the clouds and the environment got darker as the ship sank into the planet.

 Finally, they detected a rock they could land on and Ionek settled on it, but this time landing wasn’t as soft as it had been the last time. When they came out of the ship to check, they realized one of the landing “legs” had sunk into the rock and was now trapped in there. Captain Ionek wasn’t pleased at all and asked Yarra and Gord to be fast in order to mend the damage to his ship immediately. They then took the electronic pad and walked around the rock, trying to detect the signal again. But what they saw wasn’t a signal or a beacon but something far stranger.

 Below, another kilometer maybe, there was another ship on another rock. But that wasn’t the strange part: the strange part was that the ship looked exactly like the one they had used to get there. Both Yarra and Gord looked below and then their ship and then back again down. They couldn’t believe it at first but then they realized that the model was not that uncommon and that the most important thing was to determine who had entered the planet if it was supposed to be deserted.

 They went back to the ship, where Ionek asked if they could leave at once but they refused, telling him about the ship below and how they had to go down there and check it out from up close. The captain refused to move his ship and clarified that the model was exclusive, or at least that was what the army said when they transferred him from the military. Yarra ignored that last part and told him they were using the jetpacks. Nothing indicated they couldn’t use them and it would be easier for them to investigate that way.

 Minutes later, Gorg and Yarra were floating down to other ship. The jetpacks worked a bit awkwardly, not responding fast enough, but they were good enough to get to the next rock. Once they were close enough to the ship, they started to check for life forms and found out they were three and they were all inside the ship. Gorg turned to Yara and urged her to leave. He had suddenly had a very bad feeling about it all.

 Then two shadows crossed the sky and the whole area became shrouded in darkness. It was as if they had landed on a dream that was about to turn into a nightmare. The team tried to active the jetpacks but they were slow to respond. Gorg’s made him fly but Yarra’s wasn’t working. It was then when she heard a sound coming from the ship and, at the same time, a device in her backpack started to beep. She had found the beacon. It had been put up by…

 She screamed but no one heard it as she was wearing a mask. She did it just as she had seen the crew of the other ship come out of the ship and walk towards her. Her jetpacked suddenly worked and she landed abruptly on the right rock. Gorg helped her up and they both ran to the ship. Ionek used every force the engines had to liberate it from the sink part and he succeeded, only by leave that part on the rock before rushing into space.

As he typed the codes to achieve interstellar flight, he asked them what had happened. His ship was know missing a limb and he wanted to know why. Gorg told him everything he had seen: the other ship and the shadows. But Yarra was shaking and trembling too much. She only said two words “beacon” and “us”.