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

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.

viernes, 19 de febrero de 2016

Natural

   The Bont islands expand from one continent to the other, forming a natural bridge that connected the biggest landmasses of the planet. On one side, there was the port of Ventura, one of the largest and most populated cities in the world and the destination of Captain Kimura, better known to her friends as Feisty Flo. She had been one of the main colonists of the Dharma expedition but things had gone horribly wrong: creatures from deep within the jungle had destroyed the colony and killed every single person in it. She had been the sole survivor of the attack and was now attempting to cross the Bont islands to get to Ventura and tell the authorities what had happened.

 There were five hundred islands or so from one side to the other. Some of them were only a few meters long but others were large enough to have their own forests and volcanoes. As the continent she was leaving, he islands remained mostly unexplored except for he one closest to Ventura. She had to wait to cross during the day, as the moon prevented crossings during the night. For security, she would only sleep on the beeches and would keep a small inflatable boat she had known in the destroyed colony close to her. She had collected some items and put them there, including footage of what had happened.

 She would cross the thin sand bridges between island and have the small boat, the size of a lifesaver, attached to her waist by a rope so it trailed behind her at her own pace. The first few days and islands were nice enough. The weather was very warm and without wind. Finally, on the fifth day or so, so was caught in a small storm but didn’t sought shelter, instead gathering water from the sky in various flasks and thermos she had found back in the continent. The boat was beginning to feel a bit heavier but it was for him own good.

 She would food from fish she caught between the islands and when there were none she would eat coconuts or whatever plants seemed good to eat. What Flo didn’t eat were small berries or strange leaves. She didn’t wanted to have to endure a stomachache or food poisoning in such a journey. In one of the islands she found enough wood to make herself a spear (with a pointy rock from the beach) and a bow and arrow with part of the rope she had around the waist. It didn’t really work much but at least she was able to get the occasional sea bird for dinner.

 At night she wouldn’t eat anything, fearing the jungles of some islands to be infested with the same monsters that had killed her friends. Flo was afraid of them and the possibility of luring him into the inhabited continent. She would hate to be the one to bring them there. The idea was to warn them, not to condemn them.

 When she reached the island called Jall, the biggest one on the chain, she knew she was midway to her destination. The island was very large and would require several days of walking and certainly a more intelligent way to cross it as the beaches were blocked and it could only be traversed through the jungle. She slept the night she arrived on the beach of the neighbor island and crossed and first light. She wanted to take advantage of every single second of light during the day and was even prepared to go hungry for whatever time was necessary in order to cross the island as fast as she could.

 The jungle was thick and the environment was very humid and thick, as if it was possible to actually touch the air and even take a bite out of it. The scents were generally sweet but after two hours of walking, the air turned heavier even and it started to smell awful. Flo had to pinch her nose for a straight hour, only breather through her dried out mouth. She wanted to wait to have some water but couldn’t as she fell she needed it badly, not being able to wait longer.

 She stopped pinching her nose and the scent of sulfur invaded her nostrils. She grabbed the closest flask on the inflatable boat and drank fast but when she finished she didn’t kept walking. Flo realized that the smell came from small holes and gaps in the ground and that it was the ground itself that smelled like that.  She looked up and between the trees a volcano as majestic as any other feature of this planet could be seen and a plume of heavy smoke, pouring ashes onto the other side of the island, was coming out of it.

 Flo had to keep walking but then she heard a noise she had heard before, the sound of pincers opening and closing and before she realized one of the large animals that had attacked her village launched itself towards her. Her legs were apparently faster that her head because she had already begun running when the creature attacked. She escaped by a thread and ran towards the other side of the island, hopefully reaching the opposite beach soon. But she could only see jungle and more jungle and huge trees rising from the ground. They looked like palm trees but much larger and with lots of branches.

 She only stopped running when the ground around her began to shake. The volcano was causing an earthquake and it was better to stay still. Far, beyond some plants, she saw the creature that had gone after her being devoured by a hole in the ground. It squealed horribly and disappeared as the tremor subsided and the island calmed down. Flo was sweating a lot and could only think about her boat and seeing if she had everything. After that, she kept on walking.

 The other side of the island could not be very far but the more she walked the more it appeared the island was expanding or maybe she was walking in circles. She decided to climb one of the tall trees, leaving her boat at the base, in order to check out where she was and if she could see the ocean and the direction she needed to go to be on the good route home. She climbed with ability, having done it many times as she had built the village. She had done so with so many great friends and people that wanted a second chance at life, trying to begin again in a new place. But that had just been a dream and she was the residue of that nightmare.

 When she got to the top she realized that she was very close to her objective, having only change course a bit. She had to start walking to her left because if she kept doing what she was doing maybe the volcano would consume her too. Talking about the volcano, she saw that the ash cloud had grown bigger and was spilling ash all over the passage she had to cross. But that wasn’t the most awful thing she saw from there. She noticed something like rocks on the side of the volcano, big black rocks. But then Flo realized they were moving and were coming down the mountain. She had little time.

 Fast, she always broke a leg getting down and tying up the rope to her waist. She ran to the left as she had planned and didn’t stop until she reached a rocky beach and saw a blackened ocean. The light of the afternoon, red as blood, didn’t help to the image of the place. It looked like hell, as simple as that. And the demons were coming behind her so she just swam. The natural bridge had disappeared so she propelled herself hard with arms and legs and was soon tired but because the water felt thicker and she couldn’t even breathe properly.

 Behind her, she heard dozens of pincers opening and closing and that made her try even harder to reach the other side and when she did she realized her body was covered in ashes and was black as the night that was beginning to fall. Tired and breathless, she saw how the beasts attempted to cross the water but something prevented them. The ashes were apparently more toxic to them than to her. One of the creatures, the bravest no doubt, launched itself to the ocean and tried to sweet but it got turned into a big white lump that floated away into the open sea.

 The others were mad but not for long. Flo had felt the ground shake again and then saw fire pouring out of the volcano. Lava, just like water, bathed every single side of the island and she could feel the heat on her face. The creatures tried to escape but they had nowhere to run. She saw them die and she felt bad for them and didn’t know why. The lava slowed down and she decided to cross the island she was in and sleep later.

 Florence actually crossed three small islands during the night, her fears having been also consumed by the lava. When she looked back, two days after the disaster, she saw only that the volcano had stopped and nothing more. She then had the silly idea that maybe, just maybe, that island was the natural toll booth of this world and maybe that other continent had never been one to settle a foot on.


 She then turned around and headed on to Ventura, pulling her small boat with her and hoping for the best for the future of the human race.

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.