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

viernes, 30 de junio de 2017

Mission

   It wasn’t very normal for Truman to be assigned to a special mission. Not that he didn’t deserved to be in one, rather than his superiors had always deemed preferable that he stayed with the troops, helping do what soldiers usually do instead of traveling the globe protecting something or someone. He had never been the bodyguard type and people saw that. Instead, they considered him a mastermind of strategy, a very skilled mind that could solve difficult situations were a lot was at risk.

 However, about a week or so ago, he had been summoned by his superiors and instantly praised and thanked for his service. When they did that, he knew that they wanted something out of him. The only question was what? What did they want him to do that they couldn’t find anyone else to do it? Was he their first choice or had they just decided to send someone that not many people would miss? So many questions amassed in his head in only a few seconds. His muscles were tense.

 After being done with the praising, they explained they needed him to form a team to protect a very special cargo travelling through a very difficult region of the world. A region at war that needed to be crossed by a train carrying very important things for the country. At first, Truman wasn’t very convinced by the aspect of the mission. He was normally given a lot to work with but this time they wanted him to get a team just to ride and protect a train. They wouldn’t say anything else.

 But he couldn’t refuse to help him. In the military, there was no such thing as the word “no”. You can have doubts and you can even express them to your superiors but you cannot, never, say “no” to any of their orders. Maybe one day when you become a superior as well and that may never happen for many reasons people knew very well but preferred not to talk about. The point was the he had no option but to accept the mission, as vague and unclear as his orders could be.

 Truman contacted every single soldier that he knew, the ones that were actually good at what they did. The team he needed to gather had to be very large in order to have a successful trip through deserts and farmlands, as well as devastated cities. Some of the men he contacted were spending some time with their families but they all accept in an instant. Again, there was never a negative word inside of the military; there were just orders and the right way to proceed about them. Besides, they all respected Truman a lot, as they knew him from the field.

 They were given amazing brand new weapons as well as a special suit that would protect them in case of an attack. As there was no time to train, Truman asked the men he had invited to the mission to exercise daily until the day they traveled to the city where the train was stationed. They all obliged, going back to their intense gym routine in the blink of an eye. Most of them loved the pain that exercising brought. They felt more powerful after it and their confidence was easily boosted.

When they got to the train, they were kind of surprised to discover that the train they had to protect was not a cargo train but rather an actual passenger train, with few but too many passengers for them to worry about. Truman expressed his concern to one of his bosses but he just said he had done lots of missions like this one that he didn’t have to worry. But he did, because he had prepared everything to protect a cargo train, not really a place were people had drinks and laughed too.

 Because the train was not exclusive to one person. To ensure that their enemies thought twice about attacking the transport, the government had decide to use passengers as a human shield to protect whatever it was that the government needed to have protected. It was very complicated and not very patriotic to use others in order to defend something that no one knew what it was, but once again, they had to trust the superior and just proceed with everything, no matter where they were.

 The train departed on time, early in the morning, with at least one hundred people seating inside. The team had no idea where what they protecting was in the train but, as they guarded doors and such, they discussed their ideas about what it was and why the government want to protect it like that. Some said it was only a bunch of papers incriminating someone somewhere and others were certain it was some kind of new weapon that they had developed in secret and needed to be moved.

 Any of the guesses could be correct, that was the thing that bothered Truman the most. As he walked outside, in order to guard the last wagon, he realized for the first time in his life that he had no idea why he was in that place. Something didn’t feel right to him and when that happened he did prefer to go with his gut instead than his head. Whenever something was off, he had stomach cramps. By the time he reached the last wagon, he wasn’t feeling especially great either. More like the opposite. He felt a little dizzy and then realized it wasn’t because of his gut.

 Before fainting Truman had realized what was going on: they had used some kind of poison or gas that made people fall asleep. As his eyes closed, he was certain that he had fallen into some kind of trap but he had no idea who the trap was supposed to catch. The other soldiers were not attacked, only him as he was alone and the leader of the bunch. He woke up much later, judging by the night sky outside. Truman knew that he was still inside the train but in some sort of closet.

 He was very cramped in that small space, his head still spinning. He wanted to talk to someone; he wanted his questions answered and his men beside him. But he didn’t get any of his wishes that night. Instead, he go to hear the most awful of noises: a woman’s scream pierced the sky. It was so intense, that Truman felt the voice inside him for a while. The sad thing was that the scream was followed by more screams and they were not only done by the same woman, but by other people too.

 Truman fought the cable they had used to tie him up. But it didn’t move from his wrists for a second. She tried to make every part of the small room to shake in order to cause someone to hear him or at least to be able to open the door but he couldn’t. They must have used some kind of lock for the door and the cable on his wrists seemed to pierce into his skin every time he tried to get rid of it. It was very painful, because he had tried very hard and now his wrists were covered in blood.

 The screaming continued and it was followed by the sound of weapons. Truman’s face was drained of all blood when he heard something he could recognize anywhere: his brand new weapons. He had practiced a bit before boarding the train and had discovered how that new assault weapon was just so much better than existing ones. Apparently they were made only to be used by a special task force that protected the most private secrets of the nation, whenever and wherever necessary.

 The sound of the weapons lasted for at least fifteen minutes. Then, it was silence. A very eerie silence because nothing but the train tracks could be heard. Truman thought that maybe they had been attacked by the enemy and now they had killed everyone on the train.


 But then the door opened and someone pulled him out of the tiny closet. The brightness of the lights were very hard to look at but it was way harder to look at one of his superiors with one of the new weapons on his hand. And on the floor, Truman’s team, all dead. It was the first time he needed someone to explain the situation.

viernes, 26 de mayo de 2017

Failure

   I pulled the cape over my head and ventured outside the module. Rainfall was minimal, so I could finally see how this world looked liked. It was kind of beautiful, with tall smooth mountains rising towards the sky and a small like very near the place I had been trapped in for so many hours. Well, I wasn’t really trapped but it did feel like it after everything that had happened. The ground was muddy and it was better to walk slowly. The possibility of falling to the ground was very high.

 When I got to the edge of the lake, I walked a little bit more towards a large boulder that was half in the water, half in the land. For a moment, I thought it wasn’t a good idea to seat by a lake without knowing if any beasts inhabited it. But then I remembered the moon had been surveyed several times and no life forms had ever been found. It was a barren wasteland that happened to be perfect for us at that time. We had landed only a few hours ago but it seemed like forever.

 I sat on the rock and a gust of cold wind moved my cape and my hair. I bowed down to it, trying not to feel that cold in my bones, but the truth was I did want to feel physically bad. Somehow, it eased the pain of what had happened earlier in Kristomo. I would always ask myself why I had gone to that planet instead of just staying put where I had been told to stay. I had never been the best at following rules, especially when I felt something could be done if I broke said rules.

 A single tear came down my face and I cleaned it fast. I didn’t want to feel bad for what had happened because I just couldn’t blame myself for it. It wasn’t my fault that people weren’t loyal anymore, than they preferred to do things differently. Sean had been with the team for a long time, much longer than I had been there. It made no sense that he would leave just like that but that’s exactly what he did. I thought it through several times but couldn’t really understand why.

 The point was that he had betrayed us on Kristomo. He had gone there with us, where we would try to retrieve a powerful mineral that was better away from the hands of any wrongdoers, as its properties made it not only unique and powerful but also extremely dangerous. It was good then that I managed to truck them and the crystal fell several meters and into an open volcano but it was then when Sean turned on us and started firing like crazy. His new friends did the same and we barely survived the attack. Actually, I was the only one who survived.

 Rom, our pilot, also counts of course, but he had been waiting for us the whole time on the ship. He hadn’t come down to retrieve the crystal or fight the band Sean had “suddenly” joined. He didn’t feel bullets coming all over the place, passing over the shoulder, under the feet and even millimeters away from his eyes. I had to live through that and also watching how my team, the people I had chosen to go there, died next to me in a matter of minutes. It was a bloodbath.

 When I entered the ship and yelled Rom to take off, he thought I was crazy or something. Not only because he knew the team was made up of six people but also because when he turned around, he could see that there was blood spattered all over my face and that my skin had turned to the clearest tone of white I could ever turn to. I yelled at him again and he obliged, taking off as our attackers fired on the ship, trying to make it explode or, at least, trying to prevent takeoff.

 But Rom was very skilled and, in minutes, we were able to make the jump towards the headquarters of our organization. I had no time to mourn for the loss of my team or the conversion of Sean. It was better to communicate the mission’s failure to the central command. So I asked Rom, as calmly as I could, to patch me through to them. He did, handing me a white rag too, which I used to clean the blood of my face. I almost cried then but I breathed slowly and avoided it.

 Central command was content with the crystal been destroyed but they were very concerned with Sean betraying all of us. They didn’t say much about the fallen men and women, I guess because it wasn’t that uncommon for them to hear about people not coming back from these sorts of missions.  They were the ones who told me to come to this barren moon in order to wait here, in case Sean and his new friends were chasing us through the stars. Honestly, I couldn’t care less.

 But that was a lie. I did care, I cared a lot. Because Sean was not only one of my go to people in the organization, he was also someone I had started to like more and more, in ways I had only discovered very recently. Not too long ago, we had shared our first kiss. It had been on another rainy place, much like the one I am right now. His lips were so soft and warm that I thought to myself it would be a very nice way to die, to be killed while kissing those beautiful lips. Of course, I was delirious at the time because it was a stupid thing to think, I could see it now.

 Ram put a hand on my shoulder and I almost fell off the rock. He laughed but I didn’t. Feeling nervous was never funny. He told me had had made some repairs to the ship, as some of the shots aimed at making us land had actually hit the right parts of the ship. He had been able to fix it all with patience and time and now he had decided to check on me. He asked about his friends, our team and I couldn’t look at him to the eyes. I was ashamed of how I had handled everything back there.

 They had died because I had taken too long discovering that Sean was a traitor. He had to say it before I realized it and that was a mistake, clearly because I had grown fond of him. Maybe he used that in his advantage, but the point was that he had betrayed us all and we only had a short period of time to run for our lives. Being on a volcano, stones and hot weather had played against us big time. Some of them fell to the ground and then were shot or they were just reached by very good snipers.

 I told Ram I had no idea how it was that I survived and they died. For a moment, I had wished the roles had been reversed. But that didn’t help anyone, seeing myself only as a victim and make people feel sorry for me. I had to pull myself together, even if it meant moving on from such an awful mission. Ram suddenly came closer and hugged me. Only Sean had done that before but this hug seemed different. I could feel he wanted me to feel good, safe in a way, not bad for what had happened.

 A beeping sound was then heard, so we went back to the ship where a call from our headquarters was waiting for us. I answered. They gave us authorization to proceed with our trip towards them, as they had determined that our enemy had stayed in Kristomo. Apparently, they were mining for a new crystal. We all knew it was almost impossible to find another one but they clearly believed they could work at it a little bit more. In any case, they were dangerous.


 As Ram raised the ship towards the sky, I felt confused and very tired. I had not felt like that since escaping the planet and it was just now that my whole body suddenly felt as if it was made from solid lead. I leaned back into my seat and the last thing I saw was Ram looking at me, with a somber expression on his face. I didn’t worry though. I needed to rest.

martes, 20 de diciembre de 2016

Christmas dinner

   As always for that time of the year, Adele had to out on her best clothes when working. It wasn’t really well seen if the hostess of a very prestigious restaurant dressed in any kind of clothing. She had to have some nice dresses for every single type of occasion, as she was the face of the hotel on the evening people had chosen to come. She represented everything for them and was the go to person if anything were to happen during one of the many dinners the hotel hosted all along the year. It was always vey busy, a successful business.

 Christmas time was especially hard on the hotel workers. For example, Adele had to wake up very early in the morning every single day leading to Christmas. For a week or so, she would have to put on her best coat to resist the fierceness of the weather and also because she really needed to get warm as soon as she arrived at the hotel as many things had to be checked. And in Christmas this was done in the most exact way, as everything had to be in line with perfection that night, as they always promised their guests the most lavish dinner ever.

 The kitchen staff consisted of several men and only a few women. There weren’t many women trying to breakout in the business and she was only closely related to everything they did on the actual restaurant. Adele was only a hostess and she would never be able to grow much more than that in her line of work. It all depended on very well paid jobs in certain events and parties, which he had hosted occasionally but not as prolifically as the events held on the hotel. There, she knew she was prepared to resist anything and everything.

 In the days leading to the Christmas dinner, the menu was checked several times and many testing lines were done. It was Adele’s job to taste everything and determine if she needed to change something in order to have some more time or make it a more successful menu. Two days before, she even thought it was going to be necessary to change the dessert because it wasn’t very well achieved but the person in charge of confectionery convinced her that he could make it more attractive with some superficial design.

 The day before Christmas he presented his corrections and he was lucky enough to be congratulated by Adele. The rest of the dishes were done and they only needed to cook them early on Christmas Eve in order for everything to be on point for the dinner. Many cases of wine were ordered from around the world, as well as many other alcoholic beverages. They also bought lots of cheese for after dinner and had to go to the market to buy the best and most fresh products in order to cook everything they needed for the menu.

 The night before the party, Adele was not able to sleep properly. She had gone to bed intentionally early but it didn’t work out at all. Not only was she worried about the dinner and the results the hotel was going to get with it but she also doubted her personal capacity to resist everything she was going to be held against. After all, the dinner was practically her show and if anything went wrong, it was her skill which had to come to work in order to fix whatever that needed to be fixed. All those thoughts did not let her sleep for a minute.

 When she arrived in the hotel, she checked every produce than had arrived and gathered the staff around her in order to tell them a few things before beginning. Not only the kitchen staff was present during the speech but also the rest of the hotel employees, as most guest were going to stay the night after dinner. Adele asked for everyone to do their best, to make it an experience that none of them could be able to replicate anywhere else. They needed to make that night one of the most special nights ever for every single guest.

 Rooms began to be cleaned and final details were being put on all over the hotel as flowers in every floor to make it smell divine. The kitchen went into full gear from very early in the morning, as they also had to cook for the rest of the guests in the hotel that were not going to participate in the dinner. It seemed to be chaos in the kitchens but the chef, and to a lesser extent Adele, knew how to make it all seem so peaceful, to always have a certain order that may not be obvious but with which every single person can work with to achieve the goals.

 Adele also had to check every single bedroom in order to personally see that the other workers had done a good job. She had to check first the ones where people had the intention to arrive earlier and then she moved on to the rest, checking for the bed to be perfectly done and for the furniture not to have a spec of dust. She also checked the bathroom, as that had always been very popular after dinner. People loved to have a bubble bath at some point so it was better to be prepared. Anything people wanted while staying had to become a reality.

 As she was checking the top floor, Adele received word that something had gone wrong with the dessert. Apparently the ingredients had been on a refrigerator that wasn’t working very well and they had become useless. Many melted and others were simply not the quality needed for the dessert. Adele ordered for all of that to be stored away and demanded the pastry chef and the confectionery guy to come up with something very fast as her customers couldn’t go without desert.

 Dinner was scheduled for nine o’clock at night. At seven, some of the guests begun to arrive and the desserts were not really done yet. Adele was very pleased to escort the first couple upstairs and tell them everything about the dinner, the usage of the bathroom and of the rest of the hotels features such as the swimming pool, the steam room and the spa, among others. She was lucky enough to check that room beforehand because she had discover dirty towels in the bathroom, so she changed that before anyone noticed.

 She didn’t join everyone to their room as, at eight o’clock, many more people started to arrive and she certainly didn’t have any time to waste. She used that moment to go back to the kitchen and see what they had come up with for dessert. As expected, they weren’t having many ideas. The people in charge were not as imaginative as they needed to be and they were really relaying on clichés to make a proper dessert. But the same old pastries and ice cream were not nearly goo enough for Christmas dinner. It would be an insult to the guests!

 Adele decided to come up herself with a new dessert. She knew they didn’t have much time, so she decided to reuse some of the ingredients they had from past parties. She decided to reuse the chocolate balls that melted when hot chocolate was poured on top of them. She decided to change the liquid chocolate for caramel and told the staff to come up with some sort of truffle at the center of the ball, in order for people to have a nice surprise when having their last dish. She put everyone to work and told them they had minutes to come up with a tasting plate.

 She decided to visit the lobby as they prepared, in order to let in the first guests. It was decided they should wait at the lounge bar, as she preferred to know first if the dessert was a go or no. She returned to the kitchen briefly to taste her idea and approved it when she realized it was good enough. Half of the kitchen staff had to help do all the desert plates needed for the evening. Adele left them again in order to open the restaurant and let everyone inside. The music had been carefully chosen as well as the design of the menus.


 The dinner started with applause when the guests saw their first plate, which was absolutely gorgeous. Then came the other dishes and finally the dessert. People didn’t say much about it but, when coming out of the restaurant, they praised the idea for being “simple but effective”. As some guests headed towards their beds and other towards the bar, Adele went to the kitchens and declared the night a complete success. She wasn’t going to sleep much that night either but at least she wasn’t going to be worried.

martes, 1 de septiembre de 2015

Journey of exploration

   It was an irony that he could not board a boat without having to “return” all of his breakfast. Most people thought he was practically a sailor because of his work in the aquarium but the truth was he could barely stand the salty water and the constant movement of the waves. Nate’s job was to classify the fishes, modify their diets and select replacements if one of the individuals died. It was a very simple job really, that required only patience and time to know what to do and when to do it. He had always loved marine life, even if he didn’t particularly like the place where they lived. It was a very strange relationship the one he had with the creatures he worked with, and maybe it was that he liked them better when living in an aquarium.

 But the people for whom he worked had decided to send him to an exploration journey in order to bring new specimens to the aquarium. They wanted new species too, which meant travelling a lot and being always on the move, ready to make the next big catch. But Nate wasn’t the type to catch anything, if only the flu. He wasn’t an adventurous guy and he certainly didn’t like to travel for long periods of time. He was so odd he actually only took his vacations to be in his house. He never even visited an all-inclusive hotel or anything like that. So when he was chosen to go on a boat to capture new species, he was not very keen on the idea. Nate even went to his boss’s office and asked him to pull him out from the trip but the boss refused.

 He told Nate that it was necessary for all of his employees to be really involved in the world they were working with. He needed people that had experience with the creatures in the wild as well as in captivity. Besides, he insisted to Nate that the trip would be an eye opener for him and that it would gave him access to new knowledge about his craft and it would also be a new way to open himself as a person. Nate didn’t like people meddling in his life and maybe that was why his boss stopped talking and just told him to go and enjoy himself. Nate knew that wasn’t to be so easy so he tried talking to anyone with any power in the aquarium but everyone thought he should go.

 Defeated, he was asked to only bring a small bag with him, with only a few clothes and whatever else he needed, especially for his job. He was visited at home by the captain of the vessel who told him their trip would take almost three months around the Caribbean, where they would try to visit as many ecosystems as possible. He also told Nate he needed to learn how to dive so he made him go to some classes in the local swimming pool. Nate felt too much pressure from everyone to be as good as the trip, to be someone else basically, and that made him a bit unstable. He stopped eating regularly and lost several kilos prior to the trip. Besides, he acquired some weird repetitive movements in his hands and eyes.

 The day of the departure finally arrived. Captain Jones came to pick him up and he spoke the whole way to the boat. He was visibly very enthusiastic about the journey because, as he said, he loved to work with scientists that really appreciated everything that the ocean had to offer. Nate didn’t say a word. The boat was bigger than he had imagined it but the crew was rather small: two men helped the captain and there were only two other scientists with Nate. One was Angelina Öhm, an Austrian expert in invertebrates and professor Smith, an older man that loved whales and sharks. Both of them were actually pretty famous and worked in more prestigious aquariums than Nate.

 The boat set sailed that same afternoon, departing first towards the northern Bahamas where they expected to find a good amount of tropical fish for their respective aquariums. They actually explained to him that the boat was larger than normal because they needed space for all the containers they were going to fill with live specimens. The following day they were already near the island of Great Abaco, where Nate would have to dive. He was really dizzy, having had no sleep the night before. The first day was a total disaster: he hit his head various times against the steel of the boat, he vomited on the feet of one of the captain’s helpers, he wasn’t able to put his diving suit correctly and finally didn’t even swim at all, deciding to remain in his chambers for the day.

 That night, the Jones came to see him in his room and talked to him. He asked Nate to tell him what was going on and Nate explained that he didn’t wanted to be there because the ocean made him sick and scared. The truth was that he only wanted to go home and be safe. When he said this, the captain laughed and put an arm around his back. He told Nate he was safer on the boat than anywhere else on Earth, as he was simply one of the best sailors in the world. He told him how many medals he had from the navy and the army and joked about his prowess aboard larger and smaller vessels. After a while, Nate was able to smile and even laugh a little.

 The next day, when arriving to Cat Island, Nate decided to be more careful and patient, as he was when making the preparations for every animal’s dinner. He was always very careful and had his head in those matters and not anywhere else. So he did exactly that and he noticed he bumped his head less this time. He apologized to the seaman for the accident the day before and even shared a very small breakfast with the others. After all, his stomach was still very sensitive. He was able to put the suit on but then they only had a few good hours to dive. Rain came and ruined their exploration for the day. They captures some specimens and he remained classifying them the rest of the day.

 Days passed and Nate developed a certain new attitude. He realized that he had to be different in the boat than anywhere else. So he decided to approach his colleagues and just talk to them about his interests and his experience, no matter how little it was compared to theirs. It was refreshing to realize that both Öhm and Smith where very nice people that were very willing to share all of their knowledge with younger explorers like himself. Because it was them who told Nate that he now was an explorer, a proper adventure seeker and a potential discoverer of new life on this planet and what could be more exciting than that?

 The following two weeks were better for them as they captured many specimens a day. One special day near Haiti’s northern coast, Nate dove without the suit and caught a beautiful colorful slug with only some gloves and a bucket. He even discovered another one but with different colors and caught him too. The water was shallow and beautiful and he finally succumbed to the ocean. Now he saw what they all saw when entering the darkness of the ocean. So much life and so much activity, it was hard not to fall in love with every single species and with everyone that loved this environment back. Angelina and Smith congratulated him for his slugs and he secretly named them Nate 1 and Nate 2. Of course, that would never be on an aquarium but it was his little silly secret.

 The nights were great because they rarely dove in those times. They’d rather be in the dining room and just play cards or talk. After the first month, Nate managed to eat a bit more than he had eaten before and now he wasn’t afraid of just eating. There was so much confidence among the crew, which they now joked as if they had all being studying together in college for some time. The truth was that Nate had never felt this level of camaraderie before. He had never being part of a team and wasn’t very good at making friends or anything of the sort, he had always thought of himself as a bit of a clumsy guy, with almost no sense of what to say and when.

 But with the captain, his sailors, Angelina and Smith, he felt almost at home. They laughed, had jokes that they would repeat often and besides they would work together better than he would have ever work alone. And the best thing of all was that the boat was getting filled with awesome species that everyone was going to love in the aquarium. They had even caught some jellyfish that did not appear in their records, so it might signify the capture of a new species. Day by day he got better at diving with the suit and they would team up to capture every single creature they were interested in. Some animal they left alone, as turtle that had been hit by a boat’s propeller. He took several pictures and got tan every day more and more.


 Nate didn’t know it but the trip would jus change his life. He would return home realizing how much time he had wasted in general and how he could make some changes in life without really changing who he was but rather how he did some things.  The trip was an eye opener and Nate, even weeks before it was finished, thanked his boss, fate and everyone involved for putting him on that boat.