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

lunes, 2 de noviembre de 2015

The wind on L

   The wind roared and roared. It seemed like it carried the voices of thousands of people long deceased, as if it all of them had decided that life on planet L should be eradicated. For thousands of years, the elders had gathered every single piece of mysticism and mythology, every tale and story told by a grandmother or a priest. And in many of those tales the wind played a very important role. It was always a destructive force, a very awful power of nature that menaced everything on its path, specially the sensible civilization that had grown on L. Despite their advancements in many fields, they still hadn’t been able to put an end to the never-ending problem of the wind. Besides, they knew that doing anything against it would cause consequences and who knew what those might be.

 Planet L was mostly water, so the wind didn’t really have obstacles that would stop it, like mountain ranges. On L, the only obstacles were caves dug underground by centuries of people trying to find a solution for their awful problem. They had also tried to build walls but that had failed fast. The only way to properly survive was underground, below the few continental masses of the planet. The cities below were small and very damp, but the people had adapted fast and did not care anymore. They had also developed a great sense of hearing and of sight, meaning they could navigate the caves without fear of getting lost or hurt by falling or something like that.

 Their way of living was the main reason no one in that area of the galaxy knew of their existence. Funny enough, many creatures of the universe knew planet L. Pirates, bounty hunters and warriors met there sometimes to exchange prisoners, goods or just to kill each other off in very bloody battles. Almost all alien creatures could withstand the wind easily, at least in some regions. And they liked that it made a cover for them, in case authorities followed them from other systems. But the inhabitants of L had no idea this had been going on for a long time. Their personal belief was that no one on the galaxy would be interested in landing in such a nightmare of a planet.

 One day, however, something rather different happened. Two ships entered L at very high speed, breaking the sound barrier several times. One was after the other and, from time to time, it fired on it. They had cannons mounted everywhere so one could only think they were bounty hunters or assassins. The ship being attacked caught fire but kept fleeing into some more shots mad it crash into one of the largest islands of the windy world. The ship that went down exploded and the other one just left, its crew thinking that all life inside of the downed ship would soon be dead, if it already wasn’t. It was a matter of time.

 Below, the people of a city had felt the tremor of the ship crashing into the ground. They had been scared for a moment, but then remembered that the weather report had clarified that a very strong storm was going to take place outside, so it was better to stay at home and close all doors, just in case the wind breached the main entrance. That was almost impossible as the main entrance was made from an incredibly strong type of metal they had found when building the caves, but these people preferred to play it safe, specially when from their houses they could hear the moaning of the wind and the voices of all creatures that had died out there in it. For the young ones, the wind was a monster to avoid. For the older ones, it was the difference between life and death and the thing that kept them there, at home.

 As they all ran to their houses and took shelter from the sound of the wind, in the downed ship its pilot was struggling to get out of there fast. The other members of its crew had been killed and he was the only one capable to transport their precious cargo back to their home planet. The treasure was on a small chest he grabbed with bloodied hands. He put it on a bag, which in turn he put on his back. He checked conditions outside but couldn’t wait for the computer to calculate anything. Partly because it had been damaged in the crash but also because there was gasoline leaking all over the place. He didn’t have time to wait so he just put on a suit and went outside. The wind knocked him off at first but then he managed to sink his feet into the ground and at least walk slowly.

 The storm was too strong but he managed to walk away from the ship a few meters just before it exploded. He was pushed away, landing on a puddle of mud and dirty water. The strength of the explosion caused him to lose his balance and stability for a while. He even bled from one if his ears but he could still hear fine, or so its seemed at least in the middle of the storm. He had nowhere to go now so we just stood up and slowly walked away from the wreckage. He turned around to see his ship one last time and a small tear slid down his face. He had lived in that ship for years, but now he had to move on and try to get someone to pick him up there. His suit had a communications device but the wind wouldn’t let it work.

 In the city below, as he tried to use the device, a red light appeared in one of the consoles that checked security all over the city. The computer had detected the device that the stranded alien was using out there. But there was no one there to see it. Everyone had been ordered to their homes due to the storm, to their fear of a wind that just couldn’t get inside their city. However, there was a lonely native of L who happened to be a priest. Secretly, he left his door opened when a storm happened, as he loved the sound of the voices. He thought he could hear in the wind what his ancestors wanted for all of them.

 That priest was the only creature that heard the destruction of the ship outside and he knew, right away, that that sound had nothing to do with the storm. He ran to the metallic door that separated the city from the outside world but just stood there, as if it was going to open magically. Of course, it didn’t and he didn’t dare to open it by himself. Doing so would mean the death penalty, by precisely stepping outside and never coming back. The rules of their civilization were pretty clear and even it moment, when his desire to see what was outside was so big in his heart, even then he just couldn’t do anything. He just stood there by the door, waiting for one more sound to make him do something crazy or at least let him know they weren’t alone.

 Outside, the stranded one was walking clumsily, falling over very often, and almost going insane due to the voices that he could now hear very clearly around him. He didn’t have a clue of what they said, but he had a feeling it wasn’t anything good. Finally his device began beeping and he thought that some ship was en route to save him. But that wasn’t it. It had detected an energy source ahead, which might lead to life or at least to a shelter. Going more and more crazy by the minute, he walked in that suit as fast as he could, careful not to drop his bag with the small chest inside. He had a massive headache and he knew he was bleeding but he just kept on going.

 Then, the priest heard a sound on the door. It had been a subtle, soft sound but he knew he had heard it… Again! It was as if someone was trying to know but didn’t have the strength to do it. As one of the few that dared to listen to his planet, the priest knew this time the death penalty was worth it. Even if there was nothing there when the door opened, he knew something else had happened and that was good enough for him. He then ran to the control panel and entered a password that had never been used. The door moaned, as everything turned to lift it over the priest’s head. The wind entered from the outside like a plague but he felt something else enter so he closed the door instantly.

 When the metallic door had fallen into its place, the priest turned around and saw the stranded alien lying on the cave’s floor. He was bleeding or at least that was what it looked like. Their blood was yellow and his was green. His breath was slowing down. The priest dragged the body to his house and there checked the alien. It was risky, but he took off the helmet. He waited but nothing happened so he got to work and cured him as well as he could. He removed him from the suit and put the bag with the chest on a chair nearby. For days, no one knew there was an alien in that house and they wouldn’t think twice about the bag on the chair.

 As it happened, that bag carried the most important object in the universe. And it was a coincidence, a very happy one to be precise, that it had landed in that forgotten part of the universe as many hands wanted that thing but only one person could manage to handle it. And that person was not very far now.

lunes, 4 de mayo de 2015

The man who wasn't one

   The island was rapidly covered by water. Well, it wasn’t exactly an island, rather a big rock in the middle of the bay, guilty of so many shipwrecks and swimming accidents. But now, it was the resting place of a weapon that should remain there for ages. Hopefully no one would ever again set a foot on that rock, no one would never look beneath the promontory and find the small box made of wood and metal. Never again…

 A man wearing a red mask looked at the rock sinking in the ocean from a nearby cliff. The wind moved he’s coat and the tip of his hat but not him. He stood there, like a statue, just looking at the water as the sun went away and was replaced by a chilly night. Once the island was fully covered in water, he left his post on the cliff. He started walking aimlessly, just following the path that lead to the small town near the bay. People locked themselves during the battle and now they were too afraid to step out.

 Besides, the media was making a circus out of all that had happened just hours before, half a world away. It was strange how people here were also hiding in their homes. Everyone was too scared. Two caped men with incredible powers had been battling brutally and now one of them lay dead in a hospital guarded by military men.

 Every single detail was being revealed on TV. Suddenly, people didn’t care about the time of day anymore. Children and adults watched the winner, a man with green cape in the shape of a diamond, being congratulated by political figures and military men. But that didn’t make any sense. He had just come to this world and now, suddenly, was a savior. His fall from space had obliterated fields that nourished thousands and he had destroyed half a big city destroying his opponent, who had fallen from space just like him but unto water, flooding nearby towns

 The man in the red mask walked towards the town and suddenly realized the lighthouse was not working. Maybe there was a very low of electricity and people could only hear their radios or watch their TV’s. Yes, not even street lamps were working, nor any lights inside stores or homes. In any case, that wasn’t important as no one was working or too far from home. They were all glued to the information, in order to understand at least a small part of what had happened.

 The thing is it had all occurred in a matter of hours. A full day ago, people had no idea aliens existed or super humans of any kind. But now they were here, with them, on planet Earth, and no one really knew what was going to happen. They listened to every word the news broadcasters spoke and even there, in those studios, people were barely handling what was happening. They just recited what little they knew and hoped it was for the best.

Strangely, this event had united everyone. No one was an outsider or a stranger anymore. People had suddenly realized they were all humans; they were all members of one single species and now two other creatures, aliens, had visited them. They had been so proud of their meager strength, so full of themselves for so long, but now these visitors had changed everything. They were clearly stronger and smarter and knew more of the universe than them and, secretly, that made everyone a little nervous, to say the least.

 The one that had won stood exactly were he had defeated his adversary for at least three hours. Many doctors, scientists and politicians got near him but he did nothing. He looked strangely human but he clearly wasn’t. Not only because he didn’t seem to know how to speak, but because of his two antennae on the top of his head. They were small and had the same yellowish color of his skin. People talked to him in various languages but he didn’t seem to want to move or understand what they said. He looked at them but he didn’t seem to be listening or paying attention to anything.

 He seemed robotic, at best. And his enemy wasn’t too different. He looked liked him, except his skin had a reddish tint. Maybe they shared a same species but they came from different parts of the same planet. Anything could be guessed and every single one of those guesses could be a reality. The one that lay dead went cold in a matter of seconds and was now practically frozen, without any need of human practices. But people were really not that interested in him, not as much as in the one that was alive and well, or so it seemed.

 The man took off his mask to let the darkness of the town’s streets cover his face. He stopped for a moment and massaged his temples, trying to breath softly and calm himself down. He had been running for a long time and now this calm was making him feel strange, almost as alien as those two men in the news. He pulled out a lighter from one of his pockets and turned the mask on fire, then left it on the pavement to burn. He looked at the fire for some time and then kept walking, until he was outside of the town, this time from the other side.

 The breeze of the night felt comforting. The cold didn’t matter anymore; it just felt comforting to feel the wind on his skin again, on his face. He had been wearing that mask for too long. He had made a name for himself wearing that thing and now he could finally resettle on Earth and live his final days with the family he had built there. He had a beautiful wife and a couple of children. They were the reason he had done what he had done and he knew he would never be sorry for it.

 The man in diamond cape finally moved but not like people would have expected. He flew, like a bird but with less grace. He flew and flew until he got to the hospital where they were keeping his enemy’s body. He entered, the military being too afraid of shooting him or something. He moved slowly, almost gliding, until he got to the room where he found the body. He immediately took the dead alien’s head between his hands and pressed hard. It looked as if he wanted to squeeze something out of there. The head of the victim suddenly shone with a bright light. The caped man’s face contorted in awful ways until he finally crushed the man’s brain. A TV drone had followed him and broadcasted this to every single home in the planet.

 The alien didn’t appear to care for it. Without even blinking, he walked to the nearest window and flew again. But this time, he disappeared into the night, towards the clouds. Radars and sonars confirmed he had left the planet and now his position was unknown. The body was oozing a strange liquid and it was decided he would be buried in an undisclosed location after some medical examinations were performed for the sake of science.

 When the man in the coat heard all of this, from a farmer’s radio that could be heard across a wheat field, he was able to finally breath. He took off his hat and revealed his face. His skin was also light yellow and he had two small antennae on his head. He had been covering his face but he did not know why. There was no one around and he could be himself if he wanted to.

But that was it: he didn’t want to be himself anymore. He had escaped a crumbling civilization far away into the blackness of space and had arrived to this small and gentle planet to live the life he had always wanted. Of course, he had left so much behind. But the future was brighter and whatever he had to do to make it so, was worth it.

 He had heard of the battle and immediately knew they had come for him. He knew whom the alien that had just left was: he had been looking for him, he wanted to take him back to their world and face his fate. But he apparently hadn’t expected to be followed and that was the reason for the battle. The man that had lay dying in the hospital was none other than the brother of the man in a coat. He had been destroyed; he had sacrificed himself for his brother. The other one had tried to read his mind before killing him, because he thought he knew were his brother was but he didn’t.

 Those two had travelled many years, so many kilometers of empty space, to destroying some buildings and fields and then just die or leave. And the alien in the coat was happy about that. He walked a little bit more and then realized the darkness of the night was all around him. So he decided to do it there. He stopped, stood still and closed his eyes. Concentrating, he was able to make his skin less yellow, his antennae turn into ears in the right places and his vocal chords come in. They, his race, had all this kind of power. But only him had been bothered to know the ways of the humans.

 When arriving on Earth, he looked even stranger that his brother at his death. But he had learned to stay low and to watch the humans, to learn everything there was to learn about them. And then, he was able to join them in society, looking just as they did. That was how his family was created and how he had realized he had made the right choice by staying here and locking the weapon he had stolen from his world just before leave it forever.

 He would never go back but he would never let them annihilate each other. Not when he could stop them. 

jueves, 2 de abril de 2015

Dark planet

             - We are able to confirm that the planet is uninhabited. No settlement has been found nor  any signs of intelligent life. No wildlife poses a considerable threat to human          colonization. Pockets of water have been detected on the poles and in small pockets    around the equator. The atmosphere is breathable but the atmospheric pressure takes a big  toll on our bodies. I’ll report again at the end of the week. Chief of mission Okilo, off.

   Carmen stepped away from the communications device and stared at the data. She pressed some buttons and sent the message home, hopefully having an answer by tomorrow morning. She then walked through the corridors of the ship towards her room, where she removed her uniform and laid in bed in her underwear. She was tired but that was normal after so many hours working in the surface of the planet. Carmen had begun feeling sleepy until she suddenly opened her eyes. She then sat on the bed and opened her bedside table drawer. She took out a picture and stared at it.

In the photo, there was a small girl with her parents. They were at Disneyworld, judging for the castle in the back and the character that had joined them for the picture. She caressed the paper and remembered her parents, who had been dead for a long time. Carmen had lost them in an airplane crash just the year after entering the space program. She had suffered alone for a long time but eventually came to be at peace with it by herself. She wasn’t the kind to crumble in front of difficulties. That’s why she had been chosen for leading this mission.

 Carmen put the picture back in the drawer and tried to sleep but that was a waste of time, especially because the speakers in her room carried the voice of her scientist officer to her room.

-               - Carmen. There’s… I need you in the observatory. It’s urgent.

 She detected the worry in his voice and decided to dress with some shorts and a shirt and go to the observatory fast. She was there ten minutes later, yawning and realizing her blouse was stained with chocolate. Norman was there, looking through a machine down to the planet. He hadn’t heard her coming and he almost jumped when she touched him in the back.

 Norman was a short and thin man. He had always looked sick but now he seemed worse, as if he had been informed of the worst news. Without saying a word, he invited Carmen to look through the lens he had been looking on. She leaned forward and realized it was pointed at the planet, somewhere near the Equator.

-                - It’s the region we call Morgana. Desert. Many rocks, no water. Let me put some                  coordinates here.

He pushed some buttons and the telescope aligned. Now, Carmen was looking at a small patch of something black. Or maybe, dark blue. It looked as if the lens was dirty or something but it wasn’t… It couldn’t’ be, out there, in the vacuum of space. Besides, the dark patch seemed to be… to be growing, yes. The edges of the stain seemed to move, like ants when moving in large groups.

-              - What is it? – She asked.
-              - No idea. It appeared only a few hours ago. I thought at first it was a telescope                  malfunction but it clearly isn’t.
-              - Is it life?
-              - Maybe.
-              -But we did a planetary scan… There was nothing big, not like that.

She pulled away from the viewer and went closer to Norman. He appeared to tremble, which was not uncommon in space. It was very cold there and Carmen had just realized she had not put any shoes on. She had to take a decision about the dark stain that seemed to grow. Should they go and investigate or only report the event and wait for instructions on how to engage it? She told Norman to go to bed and that they would discuss it in a meeting with the others. She also decided to send another message to Earth before going to bed, stating the latest events.

 The following day, she met her team. With her, there were seven humans in the ship: two scientific officers, two technical officers, a chief of mission, a navigator and a mechanic. They were all experienced and had been travelling through space for many years. They all trusted each other and knew the risks of the job. But this event was all about what they didn’t know, which visibly scared them. The stain had grown even larger as they slept. Carmen told them of the message she had sent and that she wouldn’t hear anything about an answer for, at least, a whole day. So they needed to make a decision: do or not do.

 Carmen and the two science officers voted for taking their shuttle and landing on the planet to investigate. The technical officers and the mechanic were against it, thinking risking the shuttle was a very dangerous move because they might need it latter in their mission. The decisive vote was the one of the navigator, a young woman that was the least experienced of them all. She loved the stars and planets and was very fond of making calculations and measures but this decision was bigger than her. She finally stated that she had entered the job because she had always been curious about the universe and that this might be a chance to reveal one of its mysteries.

 So later that day, the mechanic made sure the shuttle was just right for a flight over the planet. Carmen had decided she would go with Norman and one technical officer called Sarkar. The three boarded the shuttle in silence and got the instruments ready. Shortly after they had begun their short travel towards the surface. Norman monitored the stain at all moments, being able to do more accurate calculations as he drew closer to it. Sarkar took the ship over the Morgana region and flew over the edge of the stain. It was not a surprise when they all gasped, covering their mouths or just started sweating even more than usual.

 Down there, the dark stain moved. It did. Like soda spilled over a table. But this wasn’t a liquid. Or at least not at first sight. They were thousands, maybe millions of living things down there. Sarkar made the shuttle be still and that way they realized that the creatures were actually gigantic. They weren’t human in form, but rather like insects. They moved tightly, away from a center. Carmen, calm as she could make herself to be, told Sarkar to get the ship over the stain. The creatures seemed to be coming out of somewhere.

 Sarkar started moving the aircraft as Norman took pictures and measures of the creatures. They all knew they had made a big discovery but they still did not understand what it was all about. The planet had been deemed void of any large creatures and, now, there they were, looking down on gigantic insectoid creatures, roaming the desert dunes. After a fifteen minute flyby, they arrived at a point in the desert were mountains had been able to grow. And there, on a small group of peaks, there seemed to be a volcano. Sarkar had to make the ship go up, in order to take a better look.

 Somehow, the volcano was active. There was some smoke and Norman could detect small tremors on the surface. But the volcano wasn’t spilling lava or rocks. It was spilling living creatures, dark as the emptiness of space. And it was then that Carmen covered her mouth. She realized that the creatures emerging from the crater were not all the same. They were smaller ones among the titans. And not all looked like insects. Some even had… had some kind of human form. Not exactly our same biology but so similar. And like their volcano brothers, they were also dark as night.

 Norman took several pictures, Sarkar tried to maintain the shuttle in a good vantage point and Carmen just looked everywhere, amazed. The creatures had not realized or did not care about them. They just came out of the planet and walked, away from it. Then, like coming out of a trance, Carmen ordered Sarkar to flyby again towards any edge of the stain. They did so, faster than the time before and realized the group below had grown by the millions as they watch over them. The creatures kept walking, like under hypnosis.

Carmen decided it was enough and ordered Norman to release a probe and Sarkar to get them back to the ship. They both complied and got to there home minutes later. All the team reunited in the observatory and watched as the planet slowly became invaded by the dark blue stain. The probe sent back images, of every type of creature down there, just walking. Finally, hours later, the whole planet had been covered by the volcano creatures. The probe showed how they all suddenly stopped moving.

 Then, something happened, something that cannot be explained. The planet turned bright, as if it was a sun. It grew brighter and brighter and engulfed everything with its light, even the ship. They all screamed as their heads felt heavy and hurt them. They couldn’t open their eyes. And suddenly it was done. They help themselves up and realized, scared, that the stain had disappeared. The planet was as it had been before. When checking on the volcano, the crater was found to be non-existent.

 Carmen ordered her team to have an early dinner as she reported back to Earth. This event was of a terrific importance. She knew it. Or better yet, she felt it so.