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

martes, 28 de junio de 2016

Through the unknown

   The fleet was moving at full speed. The sails were working tremendously well and the wind was taking them exactly where they wanted to go. Everything was going according to plan. The only thing that worried them was that, in order to go unnoticed by the enemy, they had to around the other side of the world to properly surprise them. That meant navigating through water no one had ever sailed before, which could be extremely dangerous, as they held no maps of the region or information regarding its potential inhabitants, whether they were permanent or nomad, like pirates.

 They had not seen any land for the past week and they were beginning to think there was going to be no land until they reached their destination. Some of the sailors were very nervous because there was a strong belief, among men and women of the sea, that the world was not connected on both sides. In other words, that they were heading for an enormous waterfall or “the end of the world”. In their minds and in their legends, that area of the world was inhabited by vile monsters that ate boats and sailor whole, leaving no trace of their existence.

  However, they had been convinced by their new masters with money and other riches they could enjoy once they returned home, if the battle was gentle enough with them. They were fierce and very driven, known for raiding ships all over the sea in the course of many years. But this was not a raiding expedition but part of an invasion army that planned on attacking hard and taking back their homeland by force. The new masters plan was to defeat their enemies in the hardest and most definitive way possible, in order to rebuild from scratch.

 The world would never be the same after all that, nothing could be the same. So many things had already been done that had changed the world, including the fact that they were passing through an unknown region. Alliances had also been made that were not probable before. The Yix, also know as the new masters, had reunited all pirate forced in the known world and had proposed to them to join their army or be destroyed. The pirates thought they were coming for bounty but the truth was they were surrounded the whole time the conversations took place.

 Finally, half convinced by the payment but also the threat to their existence, they accepted. By doing so, they were technically turned into slaves but with a much better relationship with their masters. The Yix were only cruel to those that deserved it and the pirates had done the right thing by allying themselves with their faction in the war. In that case, they wouldn’t hurt them at all. However, if they ever rebelled or thought they had any choice on important matters, they would how to pressure the men and women of the sea to make their will.

 The ocean was beautiful every single day of that long week they had already spent in it. The experts the Yix had brought in, had concluded that a week and a half was necessary to get halfway through the world, which meant the whole trip would make almost three weeks. These made everyone a bit uneasy because, even as big as the ships were, there couldn’t be enough food for so many people for so much time. The rations were small for everyone on board, both the pirates and the Yix and they were limited to only a couple of meals a day. That was not what either of them was accustomed to but traditions don’t really matter anymore when you’re trying to make history.

 Everyday, it was some kind of rice with fish. There was a group that took care of the fishing every single morning in each one of the boats and they were essential in order to have an orderly life in each one of the boats. Sometimes the fish tasted awful and some other times it was delicious. They could have it raw or roasted on a small fire created on a big bin to prevent the ships from burning down. Those moments, when they all ate, were the ones when all of them really looked the same, no matter their uniforms or their accents. They were all men trying to survive a horrible journey through an unknown region. They were brother and sisters, even if they had no real exchanges of words.

 After the first week, some of the sailors noticed something on the horizon, which was on starboard. Just when the sun set, the whole line above the sea appeared to be on fire, especially where at sunset. Some of the people said it was an illusion commonly associated with the sun but others swore they could see things happening in the horizon. No one really believed in the people that said that but even with the few instruments they had to see such a phenomenon, they couldn’t see a thing. The sun was exactly the same as always, except for that band of fire that seemed to appear every afternoon, just as they prepared for a new night.

 Nights were the most terrifying part of the whole experience as many men, even the sceptics, felt something was wrong when they couldn’t se the water they were navigation on. Besides, the moon and the stars were always veiled by a strange thing that happened every single night. It was as if the region was condemned not to look directly at the sky, instead having only some blurry vision of every part of the cosmos. This was frustrating for all of them, because the ships depended on the stars in order not to get off course. They could be seen enough in order to follow them but it made them all feel as if something was not right about those waters. Some thought it was haunted and others were still expecting to arrive to “the end of the world”.

 But they never did. They did, however, saw a small group of islands. They were located roughly halfway between the two continents they knew well. The islands were named Summer Islands, because of the weather of the region. Two of the ships got near them and used some rowboats to investigate if they were inhabited or not and whether they could get food out of there, something that had nothing to do with fish or rice, which was getting ruined pretty fast.

 The rowboats carried twenty men into the land, mostly pirates. They walked on the largest island and disappeared into its jungle just after arriving. From the ships, the Yix waited for them to return. After the first two hours, everyone felt something was wrong. From the apparent size of the islands, it was not very possible that someone would take longer than an hour in order to walk around them, much less to go across it. They have had an accident or something like that. Yet, no one did anything to go and help because of fear.

 They were right not to act on their suspicions. The jungle began to tremble after three hours. The palm trees and other plants began shaking and some birds escaped the place in order to fly to the smaller islands. Out of the jungle, a gigantic animal emerged. And then, another two. Everyone on the ship was horrified. The animals looked like scorpions but were much larger than the ones you would fin in the known world. They were huge and were covered in blood in their pincers and over their bodies. The two ships that had grown close to the island, decided to join the rest of the fleet and forget what they had seen.

 For the remainder of their journey, the sunset brought back memories of those assassinated by the creatures on the islands. If the world made something like that, if those animals existed, then worse things could also exist somewhere. That’s what was in everyone’s minds and what made them stare at the sky or at the roof every single night, no matter where they were trying to sleep. They stopped looking at the sun and decided to rely only on the veiled stars, even if some felt they were being tricked by the cosmos and lured into a trap.


 Almost a month to the date of their departure, they arrived to the continent they had intended to invade. Everyone was exhausted but they had advantage of numbers. Day after day, they took a little piece of land from their enemies. When these realized what was happening, it was too late. The Yix now owned the world and they soon freed their “slaves”. They let them have their corner of the world and they agreed on never revealing what they had see in the Summer Islands and how that place was maybe not unique but it should remain “non existent”.

sábado, 19 de diciembre de 2015

Pilot in the stars

   The rumors were true. The whole colony had been dreading it would happen again, some day, and it had finally happened. Scouts and explorers coming in and out of the Field confirmed the destruction of an entire planet. According to them, the explosion was still visible in the nearby sectors and it was impossible to pass through the area. Many freighters had to take longer routes to rich worlds nearby, as the rocks that were floating around were sampling to big for such slow ships to handle.

 For the colony, this was especially difficult news. After all, it had been established many years ago precisely because a mad man had destroyed their former planet and they had to resettle in an asteroid field. Somehow they were the only ones, or at least had that idea in mind, that understood how real war felt like and how scary fanatics could be. That’s why they knew it would happen again and it did.

 Some of the colonists cried when they heard the news of the destruction, even more when they learned it had been a planet with a very large population and that had no why of responding to an attack of that magnitude. They had just died, with no way of even knowing they were going to die. The small room that served as temple to all religions in the colony was filled with flowers, one for each inhabitant. The guy that owned the flower shop was both happy and sad.

 Younger colonists, like Gregor, were not as hurt by the destruction of the planet as their parents. They understood it was something awful but hadn’t been old enough to feel their planet been destroyed in order to have something to compare the feeling to. Besides, Gregor’s parents had been mining in a far away planet when theirs was destroyed. According to them, it was something they felt deep in their hearts and it their minds, but Gregor was too young back then and did not remember feeling anything.

 Young colonists also worked and had responsibilities like helping around in the cargo area or in the commercial zone. The idea of the colony was that everyone could give something of themselves to make it all better for all inhabitants of the colony. It was a nice sentiment but difficult to handle as many passers by came in their lives for a few days and even a few hours. Ships came and went from the colony, used as a stopping point to refuel or have a decent meal before preceding their journey.

 Pilots were normally very talkative people and the colony was rather closed to the outside world so every piece of news came from them. It was often boring to hear them talking about the same old subjects but sometimes they did have very interesting insights about the other inhabited planets in the galaxy and the power players beyond the Field.

 Gregor was always interested in hearing the pilots talk. There was something in the way they told their stories, something so intimate and also universal, that made him want to leave the Field and get to know the world for himself. Once, sitting around fixing a machine in his family’s quarters, he decided to test the waters and get a conversation going with his parents about pilots and what they thought of them.

 His mother was a bit scared of them, not only because some of them were aliens, and she wasn’t still very used to that, but because they took so many risks when going from one place to the other. In her mind, the galaxy was a very dangerous place, filled with villainous creatures. His dad was, on the other hand, very interested in them but knew that their job was very difficult and sometimes even deadly. Pilots took many risks and not everyone was built to be one of them.

 Silence followed the conversation and Gregor broke it, by announcing he would love to be a pilot someday. His parents reacted in horror, dropping what they were doing, and looking at him as if he was sick. It was the first time they told him to go to his room and stay there doing nothing. They always wanted him to be helping, to be doing stuff, but now they just wanted him to be isolated and locked behind a door so he could think about what he had said and they could think how to counter that.

 The thing is, of course, it wasn’t and idea he had elaborated on that day. Gregor had been thinking of becoming a pilot for a long time. He even discussed it with a couple of pilots that told him that new blood was always needed but that it was essential that he had the courage to do what they sometimes didn’t have a choice of doing. Some of them had killed people, defending their cargo, their crew or their passengers. They were skilled not only in flying ships but also in different kinds of combat.

 It was a difficult thing for Gregor as any type of weapon was forbidden in the planet and any fights meant jail. The colony had gone out of its way to ensure that its inhabitants could live a life better than the one in other places. They thought that by banning violence, they would avoid it altogether, forever. But that wasn’t the case. After all it was a spaceport and fights always broke out and authorities couldn’t just arrest pilots transporting important cargo.

 That night he spent in his room; Gregor used it to think about what he was going to do with his life.  He really wanted to go away, to leave the colony and get to know other places and he was sure he could be a great pilot, even if he had never even tried to pilot anything.

 Decided and realizing his parents would never let him to do what he wanted, Gregor decided to just leave one night and try his luck in the outside world. He knew he could die or something worse but he didn’t mind. He was sick of staying behind, of just waiting for things to happen in his life. He wanted to be amazed by the galaxy and to see all that every planet had to offer with his own two eyes.

 One night, he went out of his room and left home with only a small bag with clothes and other essentials. His parents had not talked to him after their failed conversation and he was still hurt by it so he didn’t left them any kind of letter telling them what he was about to do. He just left and ran through corridor and hangars in order to get to the cargo area, were ships were refueled and taken care of.

 Gregor hid behind some crates containing food and waited until the workers left. It was well known that no ships could leave for some hours in the night, so he just waited there for all the workers to leave. The flight prohibition was only good for a couple of hours but it was more than enough for him to sneak into one of the ships and hide inside it. Once they realized he was there, it would be too late and no pilot would go back just for a kid escaping his parents.

 He entered the nearest ship, a typical cargo freighter, and hid between the tanks it was transporting. As he was not very tall and skinny, he could easily hide sitting down among all those tanks. After some minutes, he realized those were fuel tanks and decided it was maybe not a very good idea to travel near any of that. After all, it could blow it in any given second and his journey would be over.

 The ship next to that one was transporting cages and something made an awful noise inside of them. The third and last ship carried the typical crates and he went for it but wanted to go back as soon as he felt the awful smell in his nostrils. It was really awful, probably some kind of food considered a delicacy in another world but certainly not in the Field. He was about to leave when the ship closed its back door and he was trapped.


 He hadn’t realized the prohibition was over and all three ships departed at the same time. He had to hide there, among the stench, and try not to be detected. But after a while he just couldn’t hold it and started coughing like a lunatic. It was too loud for the pilot to ignore it. The door to the cockpit opened and Gregor was surprised to see a very tall women look at him and say: “You’re gonna die if you stay here. Come”. And he did and that’s how his big adventure started.