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

jueves, 9 de junio de 2016

Scientific discoveries

   The water was very cold. It wasn’t surprising at all as the lake was located very high into the mountains, far from any real source of heat. Besides, the area was often covered with a thick fog that didn’t really let the sunlight pass. The group camped on the edge of the lake and was careful enough to put everything near them. It wouldn’t be very nice if an animal decided to steal their food or if they lost things that were just in front of their noses. They would stay only one night and then continue their journey.

 Their destination was a high plateau, located on top of a flat mountain. Rumor has it that many species of plants and animals lived there and that most of them had never being registered by science. The five people in the group had the mission of arriving to that area, after climbing completely vertical walls, and do the most thorough job in identifying new species of animals and plants. They had to bring pictures, drawings and even samples if possible.

 The day they arrived at the lake was only the fourth day of their journey. They had already crossed through a deep humid valley where one of them had been bitten by a snake and had to be airlifted out of there. Where they started the mountain section of their trip, they often had problems falling to the ground and hurting their hands and knees. It was a very difficult job, especially for the ones in the group that had never really gone out in a mission like this.

 Two of the camper by the lake, one man and one woman, were teachers and real professionals in biology. They had already travelled to every corner of the world, they had categorized many species and each had discovered quite a few, so they were the visible heads of the expedition as experience was always most appreciated. The rest were four students and interns, five originally, that had decided to enter the ballot to get into the trip.

 The two professors interview several people for the trip. They were essentially looking for people just like them, people that didn’t mind having no food in a day and knew how to walk in a jungle, a forest or the mountains. They rejected many almost immediately. Most of them thought it was going to be a nice little trip with hotels and cars and video cameras and many other nice things. It wasn’t.

 They had only one cellphone that had to be used only for emergencies. Everyone could bring their laptop but, obviously, there wasn’t going to be any Wi-Fi or anything like that. The computers were just for keeping track of their discoveries and have a copy of the pictures they took every single day. It was a useless brick aside from that. No makeup, no artificial elements, nothing like that either.

 The guy that had been bitten by the snake was the one the professors had thought was really one of a kind. He was very brilliant and had actually collaborated with a couple of amazing scientists from other universities. He was very well versed in every single aspect of a mission and was looking forward to the one they were interviewing him for. He was even tested by showing him several pictures of different species and he had answered everything correctly.

 So it was more than a surprise, more like a disappointment, when he had stupidly left the tent to pee in an area that hadn’t been checked yet. According to what he said later, it seemed like he had urinated on the snake and that’s why the animal had reacted so violently, biting him in one of his thighs. He knew the venom of that particular species was not one that acted fast but it was venom all the same. The helicopter arrived soon as they were only a day away from their departure point.

 Secretly, the other four students and interns laughed at what had happened. They hadn’t like him at all when they had met him some days before the journey started. He seemed pretentious and so full of himself, telling them every single part of his experience with other scientists. It got boring very quickly and he probably knew right away that he was going to be talking only to the professors during the trip. But no one would never really know that as he had left so early, in such a particular way.

 By the lake, they decided to check the water with a special machine that was equipped with sonar. They wanted to know what kind of wildlife lived there and if it was possible for them to bathe there. They already smelled very strongly and they had to, at some time, have a bath to clean themselves up or else every animal in the jungle would know they were there.

  The sonar didn’t pick up anything big. So the professors decided to fish for a while, as the four students entered the water and swam just in front of them. The funny thing was that they couldn’t almost see each other. It was very difficult to move without hitting a rock or tripping on some formation no one had seen. In the water it was the same and it felt dangerous too, so they only were there for five minutes, enough time to feel refreshed.

 When they were done, as they dried their bodies on the shore, the professors announced they had capture two fish but none of them was a new species. They were some kind of anchovy related creature, very small and really smelly. They took pictures and returned the animals to the water. Sometimes discoveries took their time to happen.

 The next day they moved away from the lake in order to get to the plateau. As they had already lost some time because of the snake and the lake, they decided to walk two days in a row, without resting or at least only resting for a few hours. No more camping. They walked for three straight days. They descended the mountain on the other side and had arrived to the jungle again, were they discovered a couple of new insects and saw a couple of snakes that resembled the one that had bitten their partner.

 Finally, one afternoon, they arrived to a very tall wall made of rock and dirt. They tested the surface with their climbing gear and discovered that area was not well suited to climb to the top. Several rocks fell once they tried to climb onto the wall. So they had to walk along the wall until they finally camped to wait for sunlight. First thing the following morning, the professors found the perfect area to climb. It was going to be very difficult and they had to get everyone up there so the plan was complex.

 The experienced climbers had to go first. That meant the two professors and one of the students had to climb almost with no instruments or equipment, at least to a certain point. Then, they would help the others with ropes and all the climbing equipment they had carried from their base camp. None of the leaders were nervous about it. They simply began climbing. By midday, the three scientists had climbed at least fifty meters, which was very good. They installed everything there, on a special hard part of the mountain and kept going as the other three just started.

 As expected, nightfall arrived as they were still working on the mountain. Their fingers were numb and some had awful bruises that made it difficult for them to climb. The student that had joined the professors was the first one to arrive and he helped bring his two companions on top. When they were all there, they helped the remaining three. Two of them were bleeding a lot when they came up to the top.

 They decided to form camp not very far from the edge. The idea was to rest, cure their wounds and start real work on top of the plateau. They almost couldn’t sleep as they had arrived to the place they had wanted to visit for a long time. No other human had ever been there and it was certain that they were going to encounter very special creatures. They were about to enter scientific history.

 However, the night did not only bring the best wishes from them. It also brought heavy sleep, provided by a plant they had ignored, just by their camp. The plant released spores that made people extremely sleepy, almost putting them in a coma. This was used by a certain kind of spider, an undiscovered species, to kill all the campers with its powerful poison.

 The bodies wouldn’t take long to decompose. That’s how powerful the venom was. And all the machines and equipment would be destroyed by powerful gusts of wind and other animals, completely erasing any trace the scientists had ever been there.

sábado, 28 de mayo de 2016

Purple eyes

   The knight in shining armor was running through the hallways, make a clanking noise that was very hard to miss. He had entered the castle through the back, by a courtyard that had never been seen by eyes different than the ones of the cooks and maids that had worked there when the castle lived its golden age. Now, it building was empty and some areas were ruins, crumbling slowly into the ground.

 When he arrived at the end of one of the hallways, he took out a map from his pocket. It wasn’t very easy to take anything out of there with that costume on, so he decided to remove the leg parts in order to be faster. He wasn’t as big and powerful as one would guess so for a charming prince, but that’s what he was. He checked the map and then ran towards the left, down a very long corridor that connected the main part of the building with the south tower of the complex.

 He finally found the door that lead to the second tower. With one it of his sword, he was able to make the door collapse to the ground. He stepped on the remains of the door and started climbing the stairs, step by step. He got tired after the first fifty. He had to stop running so he sat down by a small opening to the side of the tower and saw the world from there. He could see the former gardens and the courtyard below but he was still too close to the ground to see any fantastic views.

 After a while, he kept on climbing, his armor was still making the clinking sound, with every single step he made. He stopped again after climbing for a long time and he saw, through another window, that he was close to his goal. He could see the road from the window and also the forest that existed between the castle and the rest of the civilized world. Some said the forest was created to keep everyone away from the castle but that hadn’t stopped many men from risking their lives and go there.

 Many died in the forest, attacked by packs of hungry wolves or by some huge bears that lived around. There were also rumors of ghosts and various monsters that only rose when the fog was thick or it was very late at night. But the biggest legend surrounding the area was that a dragon protected the building and it had burned knights to their deaths when they had tried to enter the castle without permission.

As he walked the few steps that distanced him from the room in the upper level of the tower, the knight celebrated the fact that he had wore the full armor to defend himself on his way to the top. He had killed a few wild animals with his sword but that was it. That’s why he felt that something was wrong. It had been too busy, not according to the legend that everyone knew by heart.

 When he got to the upper room, he knocked gently and presented himself as Knight of Vals and Dam, sir Tristane Deschamps. But even speaking loudly wasn’t good enough to make anyone open the door from inside. So he pushed the door opened and looked around to see if the rest of the legend was true. If there really was a very beautiful woman sleeping in the tower, waiting for someone to rescue her from imprisonment. He looked around but so no one.

 He entered the room and walked to what appeared to be a bed and checked, in order to know if the person that had lay there had left a moment ago or many years ago. He put his hand covered in metal on the bed and realized it was warm. There had been someone sleeping in it. Out of nowhere, a young woman appeared behind him and held him tightly with a knife to his throat. The knight felt hard to the floor. He couldn’t move there.

 The woman asked who he was and he repeated his name. Then she asked what he was doing there and he just looked at her a bit confused. He asked her if she wasn’t the beautiful lady that lived inside a castle waiting for a knight in shining armor to save her and take care of her for the rest of her life. She looked at him as if he had just heard someone speak in a strange language. The woman released him from her grip but told him to stay down.

 - You don’t need to rescue me.

 The knight was about to ask something else but then a sound was heard very loudly and appeared to come from the first floor. The knight had never heard anything like it, like a thousand lions roaring at the same time or many pieces of silverware falling to the ground. It was very unsettling and that’s why he couldn’t move, he couldn’t do anything more that advise the woman to live the castle with her as she was in mortal danger if that was the dragon.

 She didn’t appear to listen, instead helping him getting up. She seemed to be thinking about something else or was at least too distracted by other thought in her mind. The knight insisted she should go with him in order to fulfill the legend. He knew that she would be very well received in his towns and that everyone would love her.

 That apparently convinced the young woman. She stopped walking around and told the knight she would go with him. They went out of the door and slowly walked back down, each step being easier as they headed to freedom and civilization. The knight was happy about it because he had never thought he would be able to fulfill such a difficult task.

 When they arrived to the back courtyard, through which the knight had arrived, the woman stopped running behind the man. She just stood there, like frozen in time. Her heart was racing but none of her limbs could move. He got near her and tried to determine what was wrong with her and he couldn’t point it out. The roaring of the dragon seemed to grow closer so he decided he would carry the princess to the backdoor but that didn’t work because, somehow, she was very heavy.

 He doubted that was something natural. It had to be some kind of black magic in order not to take the woman out of the castle without fighting the dragon. Probably, whoever put her there, had left very specific instructions in order to safe her and killing the dragon was probably one of those. So he let her where she was and he stepped into the grass patch of the courtyard and looked up.

 The dragon wasn’t flying, as he had thought. He appeared from the opposite side of the courtyard, tearing down a wall with its enormous paws. It was very big, just like a gigantic lizard with blackish wings and a sickening greenish skin. The dragon pushed the wall, launching several stones towards the knight. He avoided them easily. He decided to grab his sword and run towards the dragon. He had to fulfill his destiny.

 But his arms were almost broken when the sword hit the dragon’s skin and it did absolutely no damage. Not only that, but the body of the creature seemed so big and resistant, that the blow had actually affected the knight more than the dragon. The creature did nothing. He just watched him trying to feel his arms again and grabbing his sword to try again with same results.

 He then realized there was no way of killing the creature, so he ran towards the princess in order to wake her up from her trance. The dragon was only looking at him so he thought it was a safe thing to do. When he reached the woman, he realized she was very cold, her hands almost feeling like ice. The dragon watched as the knight tried like a fool to “wake” her up fro whatever was happening to her.

 But then the dragon just grew closer and ate the knight in one gulp. The girl was then able to move but her eyes were not the same as before. They were purple, just like the eyes of the dragon. She blinked and the dragon blinked. She thought about tearing down the wall and the dragon did exactly that with ease. The princess was the monster everyone was afraid of. That’s why she couldn’t leave her castle. Because she shouldn’t. There was no way in trying to prevent evil from pouring out of her. So she kept herself locked away, even if sometimes she needed to breath like anyone else, to run away.

jueves, 3 de diciembre de 2015


   Devastation. That’s the only word she could think about. Tally Green had been taught, throughout her life, that science was inherently good in its intentions and only very devious men, often on the side of the scientific path, would used it for dark purposes. But now, seeing what she had helped create, Tally was not very sure of that any more.

 She saw herself as a good person. She always helped various organizations during Christmas time, she gave money to non-profit groups that helped women and children around the world and she had never been particularly nasty against anyone. She didn’t liked violence, to the degree of never having seen a real fight between two people. Tally thought herself innocent even, of some of the things that human life had to offer.

 But that was the past. Wearing her light gray uniform, checking every camera in the field to check if what she was looking at was real, Tally realized her so-called innocent days were over.

 Applause came from her side, from the politicians and high-ranking military people that had attended the demonstration. They were all please and she could see in their faces that they were not innocent. Actually, it was rather easy to see they loved everything that had to do with destruction, with war and the capacity that someone had to destroy every single thread of decency left in this universe.

 The machine was identified as XLIU897 but the team that had created it called it The Fireman. It was a term of endearment for a weapon able to destroy entire acres of vegetation. It had been created so it would destroy all organic life but leave all the rest intact. They said it would come in handy if an army needed to liberate a city or if some townspeople needed to begin again with their crops. The weapon would destroy it all and then new crops could be put in place, as life could grow again on site.

 That was actually the only thing those men in ties didn’t like about the Fireman. They said they didn’t see the use of a weapon that destroyed and then left the land untouched. It was clear that the military uses for the weapon were a priority and that no government would really let farmers use it in their lands. All they wanted to do was to create hell on Earth and they had already done so.

 Just minutes ago, when everything disappeared under a red light and a hot wind, those awful men were smiling and apparently felt exceedingly happy with themselves. They were awful people, Tally knew that, but she felt she was an even worst person because she had helped create what those men were enjoying and were going to use to destroy.

 When she went back home that night, she was not only exhausted but the weight on her back felt much heavier than usual. Tally thought of the various books she had read about science and instantly remembered of Oppenheimer and all the other men and women involved in the creation of the first atom bomb. She thought that they were even guiltier than she was because an atom bomb had no possibility of being used as any other thing than as a weapon. The Fireman, on the other hand, had real possibilities as a helper to regenerate the land on places were it was needed. Tally had always wanted to help people and thought she was going to do it with that creation.

 But now, opening a can of beer in the kitchen and taking a sip, she realized she couldn’t just let things be. She left the can alone on the counter and grabbed her phone. Without thinking much about it, she called a friend that worked for the ethics committed of the department of defense. Tally told him about her case (she knew he was aware of the weapon) and asked him if was possible to stop the use of such a weapon in the world. After all, it had been created in an independent laboratory.

 The answer was somewhat disappointed, as he told her that if the army decided to acquire the weapon, the government would just block everyone trying to talk or know more about the subject. He said that they could even make her loose her job, just to make her look desperate and use her in public as a case of anti-patriotism.

 When Tally hung up, she had another idea in her mind. She knew her friend was honest and that the army was practically taking over the project. As she walked out of the laboratory, she saw some more military men arriving. That wasn’t normal and it was very likely the department of defense was already enabling the purchase of the weapon, even if the army wanted it to be changed and target also the ground itself.

 In her bedroom, Tally put some clothes on a backpack and also some food. She carried that to her car and drove back to work. As she was one of the main people on the project, she had every key possible. She entered the building, smiling to the security man and hoping she wouldn’t find any military men inside. But there were none. So she entered her lab and almost ran to the main computers. The idea was simple: to erase everything and make it disappear or simply take some vital piece on a portable device and just vanish with it.

 But she was too late. There was nothing on the computers. It had already been taken and people hired by the government were already monitoring the project. She had acted too slowly against them and the world would pay.

 Tally found a job in a pharmaceutical company, not a big one like those in movies but a smaller company that produced cheaper versions of very expensive drugs used to treat HIV and many virus related diseases. The company was controversial because it gave a chance to people suffering the AIDS pandemic to survive and live a happy and healthy life. She loved it there and loved to see reporters and protesters every morning. That way she knew she was finally doing some good in the world.

 She was not really involved in the creation of the drugs but rather on something even more interesting: the development of an effective cure. And they felt they were closer and closer and she felt proud of herself everyday because of that.

 That was until it happened. Half of the whole woke up to the news, the other half saw it begin live. Something was happening in Eastern Europe, some kind of wave was burning every single piece of land, meter by meter. People could see how everything died, slowly. Some ran away from the wave, others stayed and were burned alive by the invisible wall that advanced toward the east. Entire countries were burned alive and survivors were very scattered and not many.

 Then, out of nowhere, a huge army appeared and started invading the devastated lands. It was the first time in History that Moscow fell into foreign hands, half of its population killed slowly by burning. The men that had taken the city proclaimed the end of the failed Russia and announced the annexation of the country to their own new empire.

 All work at her company was stopped that day. Outside, there were no protesters or really anyone. People were too scared to go out to the street. What if one of those invisible walls advanced towards them and turned them into ashes in a matter of seconds?

 It was announced the next day that it had been, as Tally knew, a move by the most powerful country in the world. She had left that place years ago and it haunted her that her work was killing millions somewhere else. What she had been working on now just didn’t cover the evil she had helped create, the enormous guilt she felt for what she had done with her so-called innocence.

 The next day, as more and more troops, more and more bombs, and another wall advanced to the west, Tally decided she just couldn’t keep on living. She hung herself in her living room and was only found weeks after, when the invading army entered the city and saw her charred bones.