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

lunes, 11 de junio de 2018

The elevator

   The elevator on Kartan IV had been abandoned almost a century ago. By the time human explorers had arrived to that part of the galaxy, the civilization that had built the elevator had already been destroyed. There were many traces on the planet of their former glory and power but the only real proof of their quest for knowledge was the elevator. It was ten kilometres high, made with the toughest metals and plastics, making it a very strange feature of the planet and a technological advancement the human race had not yet reached.

 The first group of humans to get there were part of a scientific mission aboard the vessel called Leviathan. It had such a name because it was massive in size, taking care of many scientific missions at the same time. Leviathan was the centre of all science being done on other systems, far away from Earth. People that worked there had never being to Earth and most had no desire of going there. They were curious, of course, but the secrets of the universe were a lot more interesting to their wandering minds.

 The group that entered the elevator had the task of retrieving samples of the metals and other materials that had been used in the structure, in order to analyse them and see if they would be viable for use in space stations all around the Milky Way. Humans had mastered space travel but they wanted to put a foot everywhere they could, even in places were life had been detected.  Of course, those were the really interesting scientific missions but they were very secretive and exclusive to those with more experience.

 The Leviathan was the next best thing and all of those inside it knew that perfectly. However, they all wanted to work with the governments that were building space stations in key systems. That’s why those who entered the elevator on Kartak IV for the first time in a millennia, were eager to find lots of new information for humanity to use in their colonization of the galaxy. They could be instrumental in the development of their civilization and some of the first to interact with new and unseen forms of life.

 The elevator, however, was very much deserted. They spent days inside, extracting pieces and information from the very old computers. It took a long time to get the elevator actually working again and a team of xenolinguists had to come aboard to decipher the ancient language of the aliens that had built the structure. It was the only way humanity could effectively replicate such a piece of engineering in other parts of the galaxy, even of Earth. However, their first discovery was not the one they were looking for but something much more sombre and dangerous. Earth was called at once.

   Leviathan was asked to stand down. They had no authorization to land on the planet or to enter the elevator again. Everyone was ordered to stand down and wait for a special team of envoys to assess the situation. They arrived in a couple of days, with their dark suits and their unwillingness to share any information about what their own team. They were given a big room to examine everything and no one was allowed to enter that space, unless they were cleared after many security screenings and had a special letter.

 They were very difficult times in the ship, as it was the first time ever that they felt they had done something wrong and that their own government, the one that had send them hurling around the galaxy, did not trust them. Many were openly hostile to their visitors, giving them nasty looks and even saying what they thought without even thinking. But the visitors remaining uninterested in the personnel of the ship. They soon declared that their revisions would take a lot longer that expected, so Leviathan would not move from where it was.

 That decision made even more people furious. They demanded to know what it was those men were doing. They wanted to know because their lives, their profession, depended on them moving on to other missions. If the Leviathan stayed in one place for a long time, the government would not pay those that were simply not working at present time. And with so many people inside. It was obvious that not every single person was working at the same time, on the same thing. It was just how things worked.

 But that rotation system was of no interest to the visitors. They spent almost every single hour of the day checking information in their private room, sometimes calling in those who had clearance in order to ask a few questions and then sending them out again. People inside Leviathan grew rapidly fed up by that and they soon began plotting something that could be interpreted as a revolution. When humans are trapped like that in a finite space for too long, it is not a surprise that they do the craziest things.

 The first one of those crazy things was stealing one of the landing pods and travel exactly where they had been banned: the planet Kartak IV. A group of two, a woman and a man, stole the small vehicle and travelled at night towards the region of the planet from where the elevator was constructed. It was a desert and it resembled a lot like Mars, or at least what Mars had looked like in the past. There was a lot of red dust and the sun hit the ground with its full power, heating up the surface from the moment night ended. It was a beautiful place but it could also be seen as a horrible example of what could happen.

 The couple was ordered to return to Leviathan in order to be arrested but they obviously had no intention of going back, at least not until the visitors declared their true intentions in the ship. Many believed they were only there to take a look at the workers and then start firing them from their jobs. Others actually thought that Leviathan as a whole was going to be dismantled and that they would all be sent to different parts of the galaxy to accomplish menial jobs that had nothing to do with what they worked on there.

 But that wasn’t it. The visitors had come because of what the team that had penetrated the elevator had found there. The ancient language was not an unknown one and the central government of Earth had recognized with the help of their computers and artificial intelligence. The agents dispatched to Kartak IV had the responsibility to find out if the language was indeed the same that humans had already found in another corner of the galaxy and what that really meant for humanity as a whole.

 Sadly, they found out too late. The couple on the planet entered the elevator on its ground floor and discovered the truth. They didn’t have to know how to read it all: the elevator was not only that but also a weapon and an antenna. The creatures that had lived there had built it in order to transmit messages, probably to those they would obliterate shortly after. There were recordings of the weapon being deployed. But the couple was not able to see them all. They disappeared inside the elevator, leaving no trace.

 The following day, Leviathan was ordered to leave the system and, for the first time ever, travel to Earth at once. As they travelled to the centre of their universe, the inhabitants of the ship were told by the visitors that a new enemy had appeared and that they needed everyone to be on the same page to fight them off and defend what being human meant.

 The crew of the Leviathan was puzzled but they had always been a strong people, with tough to change convictions and minds that could create solutions for almost anything. They were ready to help their kind.

miércoles, 31 de mayo de 2017

The rocks

   Every single woman in the town visited the rocks at least once a weak. It was the perfect place to do laundry by the river, but also a place for encounter. They would discuss the latest news, as well as sharing some of their most personal things. Not every woman went there at the same time, so small groups of them visited the rocks every few hours. It was never crowded because they all knew at what time they should be visiting in order to find the people they communicated best with.

 The ones that arrived at the earliest were mostly older. For some reason, experienced women tended to do their chores as early as they could. It was kind of an irony because they were the ones with the least amount of work at home and there in the rocks. After washing a couple of undergarments from their husbands, they were finished and did not know what else to do. They usually stayed on until the last woman had finished. That means they only stayed about an hour in the morning.

 The biggest group visited the rocks after midday. It was the time when most women had finished cooking for their families, so they all decided to process their meal by doing some exercise, and washing laundry was exactly that. Some women spent up to three hours there. It wasn’t very surprising considering the amount of dirty clothes accumulated by one husband and at least three young children. It was a lot of clothes to clean and they did it as fast as they could, as they talked and laughed.

 Then, there was a small group of women that visited the rocks an hour before sunlight disappeared. They normally visited that late because they really didn’t want to confront other woman during the day. They just wanted to do their thing and then leave as soon as possible. Women that visited at that time were often widows or single, having never married. They were just a handful in town but enough to make people talk about them. That’s why they preferred a certain darkness.

  What they all had in common, and rarely realized, was that every single one of them loved to visit the rocks because it gave them an outlet, it was something different from seeing men every single day and then having to do what they said. There, in the rocks, no man was in charge. Actually, they practically never went there, as they knew they would encounter a large number of women and men always felt a bit scared when outnumbered by anyone. The rocks were only for women and, as such, it was a safe space where they could discuss anything.

 It wasn’t uncommon to hear women curse and talk about their families in a not so kind way. A person hearing them out of context would never understand how much these women actually cared for their families. But they would sometimes need to vent their dissatisfaction with some of the thing that happened at home, because they needed to tell someone. In the household, the men were not supposed to be bothered with those issues and children were too immature to understand.

 So they only had each other to talk about those things that only women went through. Of course, they didn’t all got along as adults are complicated and there’s always some kind of animosity against someone because they did something you may think is wrong. That’s why the single women had their own scheduled to clean. Because they didn’t wanted married woman to ridicule them in their own time, when they needed to feel they could breath for at least a second.

 The point was that life for women was very difficult in town and they were grateful to have a space of their own to talk and have a little bit of fun once a week. There was no fun in anything else they did and their little town, so out of the way of the world, was sometimes too slow and boring for any of them to feel they were living the best life possible. Granted, some of them stated often they could never have a big city life as the change would be too much and they thought of urbanites as sinners.

 Religion, as expected, had always been a very important part of the town’s life. Every single person, or at least most of the people, would go every Sunday to the mass. There, Father McGregor would tell them once and again that their ways were wrong and that it was time to correct them in order to get into the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes he softened his words but it wasn’t something that happened often. It was clear that religion wanted people to be scared and they were effective at that.

 So much so, that women sometimes felt guilty of whom they were just because they were women. They discussed it sometimes on the rocks, but it was a very complicated subject that some of them didn’t want to talk about because they felt heir beliefs were above anything else. These women had been raised to believe that they were inferior, by nature, to men and most had assimilated that and thought it was true. Changing that was very complicated so that’s why it wasn’t a very popular subject to bring to the table. Something more entertaining was always better.

 On the rocks, they laugh, they cried and they shared thoughts and words and what little knowledge came their way. Sometimes they could stop talking and other times, there was a silence that settled in and made them fell protected somehow. It was strange but after so many time there, they knew exactly how they should behave there and how they should do it at home and how it was better to never mix both worlds, because doing that could be dangerous to anyone.

 A woman once remembered a funny anecdote she had heard on the rocks and laughed out loud. That happened in her home but in front of her husband and children, while they were having supper. She tried to explain what she had remembered but the only thing that happened was that the husband stood up in silence, walked towards her and then slapped her as hard as he possibly could. The pain on her cheek was enough to understand that she could never mix the rocks with her daily life.

 Every women had a story like that, sometimes more tragic, sometimes less surprising. But they had all experienced what it felt to be something like a domesticated animal working for a master. They were like the bulls that helped in the fields or the horses that carried people from one place to the other. There were not that many differences between the two and that made them angry and hopeless. So they discussed it sometimes and they always ended up with a sour taste in their mouths.

 However, the rocks existed. And as long as the women had them to go and have a chat, they would feel empowered to keep going, to keep living day after day even if it felt difficult and, sometimes, impossible.

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.