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

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, 22 de agosto de 2015

Corruption

   When Nelly woke up that morning, she only wanted to train. She was running a marathon in only two weeks and she needed to be ready to face off against so many other women that were coming into the city to participate. She wanted to be the best and for her city and country to be recognized everywhere in the world. She had begun training only recently but had been a runner for all of her life. She had won several tournaments and contests around the world. She even had a bronze medal from the Olympic games, her proudest achievement. Now, she was a little bit older and she knew she couldn’t be as good as the younger ladies but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be outstanding. She was ready to show the world, one more time, what she was made of.

 But that morning, when she stepped into the field to practice, she overheard two people in the locker room. She was going to leave her things there and put on her running shoes but as soon as she heard people inside she stopped. She had no idea why because normally she would’ve just come in but she didn’t. Instead, she heard everything about a medicine, some sort of shot, which a very well known athlete was taking to stay fit for the marathon. The two people were discussing bringing the medicine from another country and how they would do that. Apparently, the substance was not legal. They also said that the athlete needed to prepare herself for an upcoming anti-doping test.

 Then, Nelly heard movement so she silently walked back to the entrance and just pretended to be arriving. The two men inside the locker room came out and Nelly almost yelled when she saw who they were: a man working for the federation of athletics and her own personal trainer. For a moment, she stopped walking because she felt so overwhelmed but then she kept moving and greeted both men. The one from the federation left shortly after and her trainer told her to hit the locker room to prepare. As she put on her shoes, she thought about how disappointed she felt. She knew her trainer coached other women but not that he used forbidden substances to make them win. She had to do something about it but didn’t know what.

 The training session went as usual. She warmed up first and then practiced by jogging around the stadium several times. Her trainer would correct her several times and would show her on a map the several road features along the way of the marathon. But the truth was that she couldn’t be totally focused on what he was saying or on what she was doing. What she had heard was too serious. After all, an athlete couldn’t know about anti-doping tests because the point was for them to be a surprise and check the real current state of an athlete. They were cheating, probably to make her stay clean until they had to test her and then they could give her whatever substance she was taking.

 When training was over, her coach was willing to take her home but Nelly told him that she was going to meet a friend nearby for lunch. This was true and she couldn’t be happier that it was. Her friend wasn’t part of the sports world but she was a very pragmatic and effective friend who worked for the ministry of culture. Her name was Grace and she was waiting in the restaurant when Nelly arrived. She excused herself but Grace told her she was actually early because of her work. Apparently, everything related to a ballet performance coming from Ukraine had gone great and her presence was not needed anymore. So Nelly sat down and told Grace everything, not even breathing properly to stop. She finished by saying she had never witnessed anything like that.

 Grace told her she had seen a documentary about something like that but that it happened in poor countries, where people needed to win because of the amount of money that moves around in those types of competitions but she wasn’t surprised that it happened there either. She then asked Nelly what she was going to do about it but Nelly just couldn’t answer that question. She was worried because anything that she said would be very bad for her trainer but she felt a responsibility to do something. After all, she had been running for at almost twenty years and she had always been clean. For her, it was awful what some people did to stay on top.

 Her friend told her that the best she could do was to investigate more about the two guys. If they were cheating it couldn’t be the first time so many other people may be in it and some would even be willing to tell the truth. Grace told her that she would investigate with people in the ministry of sports, who had been created some years ago, specifically to deal with all of these issues. She knew a couple of people there and they might be able to tell her more. Nelly thanked her and they then had a very nice lunch, discussing other topics that had nothing to do with sports or culture. They had been best friends since college and they understood each other perfectly, even to the point where they knew what the other would do or say in some contexts.

 Later that evening, Nelly began her investigation online. She found out about small scandals and wrote down some name that would be willing to tell more about what they had seen in the past. She knew that what she was doing was going to put a personal friend, her coach, in the line of fire. She had thought she knew him for all these years but now, she had no idea what to think. But she knew that other athletes, honest like her, didn’t have to put up with cheating of any kind. Training and been ready for any type of sportive event was tough enough and cheating just felt like the worst kind of betrayal.

 The next day, Nelly decided to visit a man called Frank Underwood. Several articles pointed at him after he had allegedly denounced corruption in the federation of athletics. Nelly went directly to his house because meeting in any other place would be too dangerous. The man did not know who she was but when she announced her intentions, he rapidly let her in. He was surprised to know she was an athlete and, for whatever reason, he knew who she was and told her she respected her work immensely.  Nelly told her she suspected her coach and at least one federation man of corruption and leading athletes to forbidden drugs. The man faintly smiled and told her he had had been thrown out of sports altogether of what he had seen inside of the athletics world.

 He told her that he found out how they imported a substance called “tetromizine” into the country. Apparently the procedure was even more difficult to achieve than if they wanted to import marihuana or even alcohol. They would just put it in home appliances like refrigerators and microwaves. Someone in the port would help them get their stash and then a single box would have enough for at least a hundred athletes or more if they knew how to use it. It was, to put it simply, a drug ring and everyone in the federation was involved, from a beginner in the athletic world to the president of the organization. Every point of the pyramid was rotten beyond repair.

 Before leaving, the man told Nelly to have proof before saying anything. He didn’t want her to live through the hell he had lived some years earlier. She took her advised and begun investigating harder, even to the point when she was really letting go of the training for the marathon. Her coach asked her several times what was going on and she always had an answer, namely something related with the female anatomy. But the truth was she was getting closer to what she saw as the truth. Her friend Grace gave her some statistics to work with and the number proved that the athletes had consumed something before some of the events as their blood results were all over the place.

 Then, one other morning of training, she heard them again but this time she came ready. She recorded the whole conversation and decided it was time to act. The marathon was only three days away but she needed to do this now. So Nelly went to the police and then to the federation and formally accused both her coach and the man from the federation, called Marcus Fröm of drug trafficking and influencing official sportive events. There a huge scandal, of course, and many people attacked Nelly because of what she had said. She never talked to her trainer again, mainly because he was sent to jail for ten years. The evidence had been to solid to refute.


 She participated in the marathon and finished fifth, which she considered to be a triumph. She celebrated with Grace and other friends who praised her for her decision to denounce what was wrong with sports. However, only a year after it all broke out, she decided to leave the world of sports. The pressure from all sides was too much to handle and she wanted to have a peaceful rest of her life. So she retired and started enjoying many other parts of her life she had never explored. She still ran though, because she felt it made her free.