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

miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2017

Survival

   As the capsule pierced into the unknown, the three former passengers of the ship known as Aurora, stared through the small round window, watching as the remains of their spaceship slowly separated from one another. They had been close, but fast-thinking from Beta, the onboard artificial intelligence, had saved them from a massive meteorite hitting them with all of its might. Now they were floating around in space, without a proper plan of survival and worry in their minds.

 Annika, the captain, had been the last one to enter the pod and was now trying to figure out what to do. They were too far from Earth for anyone in there to rescue them before the oxygen ran out. And besides that, there was the fact that no other spaceship was on that system, as it had been deemed a territory for observation and not exploitation. Other systems were being deprived of their resources by humans, but not that one. Their mission on the Aurora had been to observe and note.

 The planet closest to their position was a gas giant, maybe the size of Jupiter or a little bit larger. Mathematician Steve had been calculating many of the planet’s characteristics when the meteorite appeared out of nowhere. As they looked through the window, he noted that the planet was maybe so powerful that it had diverted to trajectory of a meteorite, sending it in the exact route on which they were working. An unfortunate occurrence but also of great interest. That comment wasn’t very well received.

 Shawna Clark was the main engineer and had been put in charge by her superior to guard the spaceship. Usually, she would have been with a senior engineer on the ship but he had to bail at the last moment because of a death in his finally. A replacement should reach them in a few months but now that was not really the best timing. The pod present many more challenges than the ones she was used to. Her training was the same as the one of any other person but she was very insecure.

 Annika ordered her crew, including the A.I. Beta to start working on improving their stay on the pod, at least long enough to be able to map some sort of plan that could end up on them being rescued or, at the very least, alive. Hours passed and everyone agreed the oxygen level was fine, although it could have been much better, and that the pod had no problems. Or at least not yet. Looking at the trajectory, they realized they were being pulled into the gas giant and their tiny ship could be destroyed if they didn’t do something to correct their path.

 The first thing was to choose another destination, at least for the time being. They decided to aim at one of the larger moons of the planet, one that they hadn’t been able to properly survey, as they had not been long enough in the system. They locked on the planet and used most of the small pods energy to propel themselves towards the moon. The bad part of this plan was that they had to control everything manually and certain problems would arise from the sudden thrust.

 Right enough, the ship started to shake violently even after all of the energy had been wasted. Shawna reported that most of the structure of the pod was damaged due to vibrations and Steve was trying to determine, with the help of Beta, how they could be able to remediate for their choice and if they actually had a chance of orbiting the moon. The reason why it was their goal was also because an old couple of satellites floated around it, which they could use to power the ship’s communications and call home.

 Shawna complained, as they moved around in haste, that calling Earth should have been their priority. However, Beta noted that the pod did not have the capacity to make contact with the Earth. Instead, it could only communicate with the main ship, whose pieces were now plummeting towards the gas giant. Luckily, that wasn’t going to be their faith but uncertainty was a lot more to handle for only three people and their friend with no body. They had to work fast.

 The impulse used to get away from the attraction of the planet, had been enough to liberate them, at least for the time being. They had to deprive the pod of many non-essential components in order to get a little bit closer to the satellites they needed to reach. But as they drew closer, a huge realization came to their minds: the satellites had stopped working for years, maybe even centuries. They would have to repair them and then use them and there was no time to do that inside the pod.

 And not outside either. There wasn’t enough air to breath. Their supply would last for about to more Earth days and that would be it. They would die of suffocation, inside a ship that was floating in space adrift. They all realized that their death was close and, instantly, their minds went to those they had left on Earth. They remembered their mother’s scent, the voice of their father’s, the tenderness of their grandparents and those who had children, heard them laugh once again. For a very brief moment, they were in peace with the fact that death was upon them.

 However, Beta interrupted them by announcing he had being able to access the memory banks on one of the satellites. Apparently, it had been able to function for a few more months after it stopped sending information to Earth. But the interesting part it’s that it hand found out that conditions on the nearby moon were similar to the ones in cold regions of the Earth. Climate was not ideal but they would be able to breathe.

 This statement by Beta made the crew breathe again and even a smile was brought to their faces. They decided to immediately recover the physical remains of the satellites by doing a spacewalk. This had to last the less amount of time possible so all three astronauts decided to do it together. Beta would coordinate from the pod and help them with robotic arms. That way, they would pull in the two satellites and use them down in the moon, once they landed.

 Because that was the idea. They knew it was their only chance. So once all the metal was inside the pod, they started calculating an entry route into the moon. It was difficult to choose a landing site because most of the information inside the satellite may have become obsolete. Ice and snow shift, as well and continent and they had no idea of what they could encounter down there. It could even have an entire ocean beneath the frozen surface, something that excited them and scared them at the same time.

 Once everything was done, all the calculations and thought processes, they began their descent into the planet. They decided not to rest or overthink their mission. They had to try to stay alive and the only way to properly do that was to launch themselves into the unknown. The ship, however, was much more damage than thought. As they plummeted to the surface below, they felt parts of the fuselage fly away from them. It got so bad, that even the main circular window exploded minutes before hitting the ground.

 The pod glided over an icy surface that seemed solid. It stopped after what felt a long time. They immediately knew the satellites information to be correct, as they could breath. They were happy, even with a broken ship. Beta survived on their special suits.


 The first thing was to check on the satellites and build a proper shelter. However, as they stepped out of the pod, they realized something that the satellites had completely missed. The planet appeared to be populated, as remains of building made of ice laid on the ground, destroyed by their ship as they landed.

lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2016

Kodiak

   Winter had been very hard on the people of Kodiak town. It always was. Snow had fallen every single day in copious amounts and wind had blown from the mountains towards the ocean with a constant force, never going faster or slower. Everyone there was used to that and they knew exactly how to deal with what nature had to offer to every creature in that corner of the world. Kodiak was very remote and it could only be reached from the outside world if people dared to do a three-day trip to through the frozen desert and the dark forests.

 That was the reason why people in Kodiak were self-sufficient. They went fishing into the ocean every single day, In order to have their three meals a day without exception. They had learn to plant some vegetables thanks to the help of two scientists who had come from the outside world fairly recently. They had taught the people that they didn’t need to plant in the ground but they could do it practically in the air with only the help of water and compost made with the feces of the dogs everyone had. It had been a really revolutionary thing for all of them.

 The scientists had done the trip because they were very interested in the culture of the people in Kodiak. They wanted to document every single thing they could find, including the way they fished, the way they hunted for creatures in the forest, how they built their homes and other traditions that hadn’t changed in many years. Stella and Norman Ruiz had always wanted to have a big adventure and be in the forefront of discoveries in the world and now they really were. So much so that they had decided to stay for a longer time than predicted in Kodiak.

 At first, people didn’t trust them at all. It was a normal reaction as outsiders were very rarely seen in the region. Normally, they would only come to take the riches of the land for themselves and steal the people from what was theirs. So the moment the couple arrived to Kodiak, everyone agreed they should be watched every single moment of the day no matter what they were doing or where. They would always have an escort. The only moment they were left alone was when they slept in their assigned house. However, someone was always waiting for them in the mornings.

 The couple found that fear understandable and had nothing to say about it. They thought it was best not to antagonize with anyone and just do what they had come to do. That was how they gained the trust of the people: through wanting to know more about their culture and traditions. At first, they were all very reserved and only talked with short sentences. But after a few weeks, men and women opened up to them and realized that Norman and Stella were not bad people at all. They were genuinely interested in them.

 However, that didn’t mean they instantly trusted every other outsider. Just a month after the arrival of the scientists, there was a problem with a group of men that had come out of nowhere. They never revealed their names or if they worked by themselves or for someone else. The point was that they had established a camp in the river running close to Kodiak town and were using chemicals to clean whatever small stones of gold they could find in the muddy bed of the river.

 The inhabitants of Kodiak noticed the chemicals when two of their children got sick one day. The local doctor, who was more of a shaman than anything else, noticed they had ingested something and the Kodiak almost instantly thought of the fish they had caught that day. Some thought it was a punishment from the gods because of their acceptance of the scientist but it was precisely them who found the real source of the problem. Stella and Norman were certain it was not the fish but the water who had some polluting agent in it.

 The people of Kodiak didn’t know whether to believe or not what the scientists were saying. But a couple of them decided it was best to check their version out and it was then when they discovered the miner’s camp and the use of chemicals to clean gold. It was a very tense situation, as the people of Kodiak asked the miners to please leave but they wouldn’t budge, claimed that river and all the land around it was theirs. Norman went there to help and the miners showed him a paper signed by a federal authority giving them rights over the land.

 It was very hard for the scientist to tell the people of the town that the paper said exactly what the man claimed. No one understood how that was possible, as the government had never came into contact with Kodiak, even though they perfectly knew that it existed. It was then when everyone trusted the scientists so much that they told them the origin of the town and showed them other documents they possessed, stating that outsiders had created Kodiak. It was the best-kept secret in town as it was always thought natives had founded the town.

 The elders explained that, although many native tribes inhabited the region in years past, the reality was that they were all nomads, going from one end of the country to the other. It was only when the whalers came and founded the town that a settlement came to exist. However, the whalers were not well equipped to survive the harsh conditions, so they abandoned the town. Not a long time after, one of the tribes took possession of the houses, restores them and built more. Kodiak was reborn. The outsiders had left everything behind, including those papers.

 So it was easy for Norman to conclude that the miners had a false document, as the one the people in Kodiak had predated it by many years. He decided to tell this to the local authorities and let them deal with it. It was the best as the miners saw him as a traitor to his own people. Even if they were clearly not the same, they were all outsiders and that united them in the mind of the miners. They ignored whatever the people of Kodiak had to say and told them that they wouldn’t move until they had found every single piece of gold the river possessed.

 Tensions kept rising as the days went by. The children were getting worse and people were now forbidden to drink water from the river. The two scientists decided to do something: they decided to send a letter to the authorities with a local resident who was going to look for medicine for the children in the outside world. In the last minute, Norman decided to go with him, leaving his wife to help the people and try to avoid any time of conflict with the miners.

 But it was too late for that. The residents of Kodiak were not going to put up with it so, each night; they decided to sabotage the machines and everything the miners used to process the gold. They stole some of the chemicals and buried them in the forest and tried several times to destroy everything but the men were many and they would rebuild every day. It seemed as if they had unlimited resources of some kind. That went on for some nights until the miners had enough of the interruptions and decided to do something: they killed one of the intruders.

 No one had murdered in that region in many, many years. Not since the tribes had united into one a long time ago. People decided they would not take it lightly and they didn’t: that day, almost every single Kodiak man walked the side of the river in order to reach the miner’s camp by nightfall. Once they arrived, they started shooting their arrows, some of them with fire in order to burn every single tent to the ground. The miner’s attempted to defend themselves with more modern weapons and they were successful. The scene was bloody and chaotic.


 It fortunately ended very soon, as a regiment of the federal army arrived with Norman and the Kodiak man he had left with. They had brought medicine and were there because they had seen the fire. The government recognized that Kodiak was a native city and miner’s had no permission to be there, at least not yet. The government was cleat that anything could change going forward. But at least that threat was no more. The miner’s left and the people of Kodiak were left to their own devices, for the time being. The scientists never felt, feeling that was their real home.

jueves, 7 de julio de 2016

By the lake

   On his request, I sat outside the trailer, sitting on my green folding chair. I could hear his rattling inside and wondered what he was doing. Of course, I knew he was cooking because, earlier in the day, I had seen him fishing for a long time. He had woken up at the crack of dawn to do it and when I got up he was still there, very quiet and with his headphones blasting some rock music into his ears.

 I scared him a bit when I kissed him on the cheek without notice. He almost fell from the stool where he sat when he fished. But after his initial scare, he took off his headphones, kissed me back and greeted me wit a huge smile. His bucket was fool and he was very proud to announce he was going to cook lunch for the both of us. I tried to tell him I didn’t really ate fish, had never really been into it, but he didn’t let me say a word. He was too excited.

 So I stayed outside as he cooked his very special recipe. He had caught enough trout to last us for the rest of the week. The lake was filled with them or so they said. As he did his thing, I sat down outside and enjoyed the sunny day. This was after we had showered and had some breakfast, something simple not to steal the leading spot to the fish we were going to eat later in the day. He was so excited about it that I just smiled and nodded at everything he said.

 The lake was a very peaceful place, even for a spot were so many small hotels were located. There was also a very big presence of people who practiced several types of watersports. Some even brought their sailing boats in order to practice for competitions. It was kind of relaxing watching them go from one side of the lake to the other, floating over water so easily it made your soul feel at ease.

 Paul came out of the trailer for a bit, only to tell me he had already gutted the fish and it was ready to cook. But it wasn’t even midday yet so he decided to step outside and seat next to me. His folding chair was yellow and mine was green, our favorite colors. He took my hand and relaxed, watching the birds fly by and feeling the beautiful breeze that made waves on the lake.

 It was a cold wind too, as the lake was located up in the mountains. But the day was unusually sunny and people were visibly trying to enjoying at its fullest. As the day went by, I could see more boats on the lake, even those ones in the shape of ducks and other creatures. We waved at them laughing, as it was a little bit ridiculous. But it was so much fun, especially with him by my side.

 After a while, he went in again saying it was time for cooking. I almost entered the trailer behind him to go to the bathroom but he prevented me from doing so. He said he didn’t want me to see any of it so I had to remain outside. I told him I really needed to go to the bathroom, as I had drunk a very big glass of orange juice. My throat was a bit sore and I thought the juice would help in making me feel a little better.

 Paul told me to go to one of the hotel or something. At first, I thought he was joking but then I realized he wasn’t. He was very serious and the whole place smelled strongly to fish. So I decided to tell him to let everything exactly as it was before and then I stepped out. He even closed the door on me, which I thought it was unnecessary but apparently he felt he was going to do something so incredible that it was better to keep it a complete secret, even from me.

 I smiled. My heart belonged to him and I knew he had always dreamt about being a real chef. He was always buying and reading cooking books at home and he often tried to do what he had learned in our kitchen. The difference was that he couldn’t really kick me out of our own place. I think he did that by the lake because he felt the place called for it and I couldn’t agree more.

 So instead of insisting, I decided to go for a walk and explore the vicinity as Paul did what he had to do. I started walking by the edge of the lake, watching people having fun in their boats. Some were riding one of those floating things that you ride and when it too bouncy you fall into the water. I really wanted to try that but then I realized it wouldn’t be too nice if I showed up wet to lunch.

 I kept on walking and remembered I needed to go to the bathroom. So I woke up a small hill and arrived to a small hotel that handled some cottages overlooking the lake. It was also the hotel that managed the area we had parked our trailer, so it made sense to ask for the bathroom there. The owner was a very nice lady who seemed to be as old as time. However, she moved very fast and seemed to have her senses in much better shape that most people.

 She gave me the keys to her private bathroom and it took my only a couple of minutes to be done. I cleaned my face watching myself on her mirror and realized I looked rather good. We all have those days when we think we look particularly great. We also have those other days when we think we look awful but, thank God, I hadn’t had one of those in a long time. In my day to day, I rarely used the mirror but the bathroom was so small it was not really easy to avoid looking yourself in it.

 When I was done, I thank the owner and decided to keep walking around the lake. I decided to make a full circle around it, as it wasn’t that big and I knew Paul needed time to cook. So I started walking, by another hotel and then a patch of tall grass filled with mosquitoes. I almost had to go into the water to avoid it. After that, there was a small forest of eucalyptus trees. It was nice to see the brown leaves on the ground and the sound they made as I walked on them. There were birds chirping and I could even feel there were squirrels somewhere above me.

 As I came out of the forest, I noticed someone had a problem in the lake. A lady in of those rowing boats was calling for help. Apparently her husband wasn’t feeling very well. She was yelling towards a place located further ahead on my path. It was the rental area where people that weren’t staying in any of the hotels could just grab a boat and have some fun for a couple of hours.

 I glanced at the woman and then at the rental area and noticed two men getting into a motorboat, going to the rescue of the poor woman. I kept on walking as they arrived by her and grabbed her husband who couldn’t apparently move. Probably a heart attack or something of the sort. She jumped from their boat to the other and then one of the guys that had come for them tied the rowboat to theirs with a rope. It looked nice how one little boat tagged along with the other. The journey to the shore was rather short.

 By then I realized I was halfway from my trailer. I tried to see if Paul was looking for me yet but I couldn’t see anyone waving or anything like that. Even if he had been outside, I doubt he would have seen me, as we were but very shortsighted. One of the many things in common we had. So I kept on walking through a very large area with only grass and some floors growing in peace, with no one grabbing them or taking them home.

 I sat down there for a while and breathed in a lot of that fresh mountain air. Then, I lay on the grass, enjoying how it felt, closing my eyes to try and seal that memory into my mind forever. It was very nice to be there, after so many things had happened to us in the last year. It hadn’t been easy at all but this small trip was kind of a prize for the both of us. I stood up and kept on walking, thinking we were much stronger than we thought.

 My last stop was close to our trailer, were lots of people were raising kites into the sky. There were lots of children but also adults that tried to teach them the proper technique to make everything perfect. I looked at their kites for several minutes, floating high in the air, doing the most peaceful think I could ever imagine. It was so nice to be there and not thinking about anything else.


 When I neared the trailer, I felt the smell of food. As I sat on my chair, he came out with a white wine bottle, which he poured into two glasses. We made a toast for ourselves and for that beautiful place and then we ate, talking about everything. It was delicious, every single part of lunch. But what was much better was to have gotten there with him. That’s why my hug after finishing eating was unusually stronger.

sábado, 25 de junio de 2016

Orange

   The soap was provided to us at the entrance of the showers. No one could keep their soap bar in case they wanted to put something inside like a razor blade or something of the sort. There had been too many murders inside the prison and the administration had decided to make crime a thing of the past for the inmates. Yet, there were still all kings of drugs going around. They were used as money or money was used to pay for them. Anyhow, everything was about drugs, it was the only way most men had to live through their sentences.

 It was a minimum-security prison. No fancy cells or big electric doors that opened and closed behind and in front of you. That was too fancy for that place. It was a big prison but the kind where you can go out and enjoy the sun if you feel to, you can exercise in the yard under the watching eye of several guards or even take care of a garden the crazy ones almost owned. Everything was organized, in a way.

 Me? I had been there for a couple of months. My sentence was five years long, no parole. I could maybe scrap a year of the sentence if I decided to be a good boy but it was very hard to be one inside that place. Even a minimum-security prison can be hell and I never dared to think how much worse other similar places could be, with tighter security. I just focused on my life and things I had to do to stay alive and well. The rest was a thing of the outside, where I wasn’t.

 Shower time was always at the same time. One of the oldest inmates had told me that, years ago, guys were able to come and please from the bathrooms as they pleased. But so many got stabbed or raped there, the administration decided they would force everyone to be clean and ready by 8 o’clock. A general alarm was heard every day at that time in order to wake us up. Then, each dormitory would form a single line and all lines would go to the showers.

 The room was huge. On my first day, one of the other guys joked about it being like the place where Nazis had killed Jews in the World War II. I thought the joke was in very poor taste but I rapidly noticed he had many tattoos and most of them had something to do with Nazi symbolism. I had seen it before in History class. So I knew I had to stay away from those guys, being a foreigner and all.

 There were at least sixty showers. One group would go first and then another. Each group only had about five minutes to wash everything properly with the small soap bars we were handed at the entrance. When we were done, we had to leave the bars on the floor for the next group. If there was no next group, the same thing. A waste, I always thought.

 Of course, everyone in the showers was naked. They would make us remove our clothes in a room just before the showers one. Each guy would put his things in a small squared locker. On the way out, we just had to find our number and get dressed fast in order for the second group to go in, if we weren’t in the second group ourselves. It was the routine and, I have to confess, I got used to it fast. In there, you get used to everything. Life is not really yours anymore so you just do what you have to do.

 I’m always asked if it was a problem to be gay inside a prison. And yes, it was. Once someone shouted it in the mess all, many guys looked at me instantly. Who I was wasn’t really a secret or what I had done. Not that I was famous before that or anything but lets say I made myself famous because of all the shit I did. I couldn’t go to my bunk without at least four guys looking at me in a not too flattering way.

 Which way was the best one to avoid all of their attention? I have no idea. Because I didn’t really repel all of them, I couldn’t. I’m a small guy, not very strong. I had to do thing to survive and I am proud of it. Some people are ashamed of their actions in jail but not me. I’m proud to have gotten out of there alive and well and I think that’s a huge accomplishment. So yeah, I let some of them, the powerful ones, have their way with me. It was the only way the others could leave me alone. The idea was to be seen as someone else’s property.

 Besides that, I did something even bolder, which gained me the respect of most of the men inside the prison. Maybe I wasn’t strong or big but I’ve always had a good brain and I knew I had to use it in order to make things easier for me there. In the first few months, I heard horrible rumors about some guy in the Nazi group that wanted to rape me somewhere no one could hear me scream. I heard it so many times I decided to go big and do my move first.

 His name was Duncan. He was a very tall guy and the few guys I hung out with told me he was a rather new guard. Apparently, he had been a soldier; veteran of all the recent fucked up wars that their country had started. So with only that in my hand, I decided to talk to him a little bit every single day. I heard him when he had something funny to say and he was kind to me, letting me in always first in the mess hall line and the shower line.

 Just some time after that, I was already letting him fuck me in broom closet no one really frequented as I was the one in charge of cleaning the floors in that area. It may see like a crazy thing I did and it was but it saved my life. He did that and I’m forever thankful.

 Being a guard, people knew they didn’t want to mess with him. So, by definition, they kept their hands away from me. I was protected and I really enjoyed it. It was then when I really made some friends in jail and started exercising more and, as crazy as it sounds, I was having a great time. I even slept nicely at night, with all the snoring and the body odors around me. I didn’t care anymore because I knew I was protected by someone everyone feared and it felt great. Sadly, it didn’t last very long as Duncan had decided he was a good person and he didn’t wanted prison to turn him bad.

 Somehow, I was broken hearted. Not only because I was afraid for my safety, but also because I was beginning to care for him. We didn’t just had sex, we also talked and had these small moments together I really appreciated because they… he made me fell like I was worth something in a place where you’re supposed to be repenting and feeling like a piece of garbage.

 The day he left, I cried while mopping the floors. On our last session together he didn’t say a word and neither did I. There wasn’t something I could say that would magically make things great between us, or that would change what was happening. We had to move on and we had to do it fast because we weren’t able to do anything about it. So he left, I cried for a while and that was the end of it.

 However, I forgot my Nazi problem. They knew very well Duncan had left and every single one of them decided to threaten me everyday. They wanted me scared out of my mind until the day their boss, the one with the tattoos, would order them to drag me somewhere dark and probably fuck me with something awful. I thought of it a hundred times and it did make me shiver and had no idea what to do.

 The truth is I had forgotten to know myself. They day one of them came to me, I fought. I broke his nose and crushed his foot. Another one threatened me with a razor he had gotten in and I was able to disarm him and tell a guard he had a forbidden item. He was send to solitary in a second. I had learned how to defend myself. So it was me who went to the tattoo guy and told him to go fuck himself.

 That action made me even more respected among some of the other inmates. The minorities if you will. I didn’t really identify with them but they soon became my friends and, some of them, my lovers. Even condoms can be found in a prison, if that’s what you want and I did. The following years were very hard on me but I got stronger and smarter and much more intelligent, being able to fool everyone, even me.


 The day I stepped out of prison, I realized the real world had moved along without me and it scared me. But only for that day. Because the following morning, I used what I had learned and got myself a job in no time. I have a life now, a real one. And, strangely enough, I have to thank prison and its population for that.