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

viernes, 22 de septiembre de 2017

A life of risk

   Natalya stopped by the hotel only for a few minutes, enough time to pick up whatever she had brought along with her to that damn place and then get out of there as fast as she could. She put it all in a small suitcase with wheels and practically ran down to the reception in order to pay whatever she owed. It wasn’t something she did often, but she had been made to pay for dinner in her room, as her target had not being available that night. He was too far for her to follow him as he had to.

 The woman asked for her receipt. As she was grabbing her wallet to pay the reception man, she realized something in just a few seconds: a man wearing all black had suddenly stood up in the living room in front of the reception. Almost at the same time, a tall woman with hair as white as snow, had entered the hotel almost as if she was the impersonation of the wind. Their presence made Natalya feel nervous. Something was going to happen, she just knew it. She extracted two bills from her wallet and tried to seem innocent.

 The moment the reception man received the bills from her hands, Natalya heard the first shot behind her. As fast as she was, it had been impossible to save her luggage entirely. She pulled to the left just in time and then ran away from the lobby area, trying to get away from the scene as fast as possible. Screams came from the area she had just been in and she knew there were bodies there. One of them was probably the young man that had given her that damn dinner’s receipt.

 It was difficult to run with boots on but Natalya was very agile and fast. So fast, that people in the kitchens were surprised to see her run past them, minutes before the two assassins would come running after her. She was fortunate enough to find an exit through the depot were fresh vegetables and meat were received every morning from various markets around the city. She ran past workingmen carrying big crates and didn’t stop until she actually saw traffic and passersby.

 The hotel was located on the most sought out part of the city, where all luxury commerce had found a spot to lure everyone. Not only people that could actually afford to buy any of that stuff but also the ones who liked to see what opportunities others had in life. As it was a Saturday afternoon, the place was packed. The main street of that area was filled with families and couples, with tourists and salary men and women trying to find a good place to have a beer and maybe do something else afterwards. And among them was Natalya, running for her life.

 She knew she had to hide but the first thing to do was to know where her assailants were. Both of them were pretty easy to pick out in a crowd but the street was so crowded and Natalya was substantially smaller than most people. That had always worked in her advantage but it could also be something of a hurdle. She decided to enter a clothing store and run upwards, towards the tallest point of the structure. Sure enough, one could get a great view from the area from the men underwear section.

 A young woman looked at her and asked if she could help her. Natalya was breathing heavily. She tried to smile and said she was just looking for some boxers for her husband. The young woman smiled back and attempted to show some of the newest models to Natalya. The woman stopped her by saying she was going to look around first and then decide on something. The young lady nodded and told her that she could look around all that she wanted, even in the changing rooms.

 The girl walked away leaving Natalya confused. What had she meant? She turned around quickly, remembering why she was inside of the store. Sure enough, she saw the silver mane of the woman that had killed so many people in the hotel just minutes ago. In the distance, Natalya could hear the sound of several ambulances, probably rushing to the place. She hoped the body count was low, as those people had nothing to do with everything that was happening. It was all her fault.

 She started wandering around the store, in order to not look suspicious. She looked at some male underwear, some of them with fun textures and prints but she wasn’t really interested. She was remembering what had happened just over a day ago, when she had stolen a series of documents from a rich man’s mansion, a very rich man that was suspected to have links with several terrorists groups that would give him the advantage if they were capable of reaching the higher spheres of power.

 Natalya had been sent to retrieve the information, as the people that had hired her had an interest in it. She had been ordered to copy everything she had and take it back herself to be given in person. They had also asked her not to use the Internet, make phone calls or even talk to any people beyond the necessary communication. Then, she remembered the young boy from the hotel and realized a tear had come down her face. As she cleaned it off her face, she felt something warmer. Natalya realized what the young woman had meant before, about the changing rooms.

 She walked down one floor and entered the changing rooms with a blouse and a skirt she had grabbed without even properly looking at them. She was assigned a stall and it was then when she realized that one of the bullets had come way closer than she had imagined. The projectile had burned her cheek, leaving a red line below her right eye. She still had her purse hanging around her body, so she took out some tissues and tried to clean her face as thoroughly as she was able to.

 Natalya came out of the store half an hour after she had entered. She decided the best thing to do was to get to the airport. Her flight was still some hours away and it was a priority to get the information back safe. After all, her business was danger and that wasn’t the first time she had been shot or had actively been targeted by someone. She walked for a bit until she found a big avenue. There, she stopped a taxi and asked to be taken to the airport. The man had doubts but she paid up front.

 Arriving in the airport, Natalya thought that it was possible that she could be getting older. She was not the same age as when she had first entered that line of work. She had been trained and recruited because she was agile, both mentally and physically. But now she felt as if everything was getting a little bit too fast for her. Besides, she kept thinking about the boy in the hotel and that had never been an issue before. She had seen many bodies in her life but had never been specially affected by them.

 After checking-in, she rushed to the security checkpoint as her flight was leaving in less than twenty minutes. However, she stopped the moment she saw that damn blonde hair again. And it was impossible to run away from that situation. So she pulled the gun hiding in her purse and started shooting. Everyone around was screaming and running but the two women were just hunting for each other. They were doing what they had been doing for years and it was too late for them both to stop.

 Both ran out of bullets and a physical confrontation ensued. Punches were thrown back and forth. But then, experience appeared in the form of a selfie-stick lying on the floor. Some scared tourist had just left it there, in the middle of the shooting.

 Natalya grabbed it, removed the part that holds the camera with a powerful pull and then impaled the blonde woman with it. The warm blood on her hand made her feel alive but also scared. She had never been scared before and it couldn’t be the best of signs. Not right then.

miércoles, 17 de mayo de 2017


   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.

jueves, 17 de noviembre de 2016

Match point

   The machine was launching balls every few minutes and Agatha attempted to hit them with her racket in the best way she could. She had never been very good at sports but, this time, she really needed to learn how to play something. One of her clients, a man who was very rich and famous, was very much into the world of tennis and had proposed her to have a match just before they sat down to negotiate a deal that would mean millions of dollars for everyone. At first, she didn’t want to accept but she ultimately did.

 She decided to join a huge gym near the office in order to practice every single day until the date of their meeting. Thanks to her boss, the man agreed on having the game a month later, giving her a good amount of time to learn the basics. Her boss insisted that, if she did well during the game, they would benefit greatly from the client’s good sense of humor, It was not uncommon in that company to try and make every client feel like they all understood their hobbies and passions. Rich people could get very weird and even dangerous.

 There was Mrs. Stevenson, for example, who had a large collection of snakes in her house. As a potential client, they had to make her feel accepted and nice so one of Agatha’s co workers had to go to her house several times and feed the snakes. Sometimes, it could be very easy but other times it would be awfully dangerous. He was bitten a couple of times but, Thank god, the snakes had no poison in them to do anything, so he never required going to the doctor or anything like that. The point was, they won that account and locked millions of dollars.

 Agatha herself had gone out with at least five different potential clients. As any decent woman, she had her limits. So it wasn’t a surprise that some of the people they assigned to her, never really got to be proper clients. Men always wanted more than they should get and it wasn’t once but many times when she felt really weird and uncomfortable, whether it was because of a weird attitude or an inappropriate way to touch her. In most cases, she preferred women clients but they normally got assigned one of her male coworkers.

 Anyway, she went to the gym every single day for the next month. The first days were extremely difficult because the automated machine that helped her practice had beat her up with several balls at high speed. The person at the gym said the machine had personality, which wasn’t really the best excuse or argument to be made for it. But she kept trying and by the end of the first week, she was able to properly hit the ball, even if the angles were all a little bit strange. In any case, that was the first hurdle she had gone over, so she was very happy.

The bad side of all of it was the sore elbows and shoulders every day after practice. She walked like a zombie at work and had a new tendency to fall asleep really early. It wasn’t that strange as the gym hours she could use were very late so Agatha got home around one in the morning. And then, she had to wake up at six o’clock in order to be in the office just in time. She couldn’t wait to end all of it with this new client and go back to boring launches or just keeping her desk job, which she really didn’t mind about, especially when she was so sore.

 In the office, she actually tried to learn a little bit more about her client before meeting him. All the information she had was based out of the report that her boss had given to her. But, of course, she needed much more than just knowing what the man liked. She really needed to know him better if the idea was to lure him into their company. She began her research in the office but, weirdly enough, there were a pretty low amount of articles about him and there was no picture to be found in any website. Not from a social event or a personal thing. Nothing.

 Agatha soon got tired of looking for the guy. She went to her boss’s office and asked him if they could talk about their client. But she has apparently chosen a bad moment as he was holding the phone and a hysterical woman was yelling at him from the other side. The voice was extremely loud and Agatha knew she wouldn’t get anything right then. So she then moved to her friend Cynthia’s office, in order to talk a little bit about how uncomfortable this all was. The fact that she was preparing so much for a meeting with a person she had never seen.

 Cynthia assured her that the client was very new and maybe that’s why there were no pictures or thorough information on the person. That night, during practice, she decided to play a little bit more violent. Not only because she didn’t know the gay but because she was really pissed off at herself for the job she had and the things she had to do to keep. As she hit every ball as hard as she could, she remembered the days she had wanted to become a baker. She had always loved that profession and would have loved to pursue it but things rarely go exactly as we want them.

 She stayed so late that night, than the next morning she decided to call in sick and just not go. It was a Friday and it was very well known that they were never really productive on Fridays. So Agatha could have a long weekend and try to reorder her thoughts and priorities as well as she could. She had a hearty breakfast and then spent fifteen minutes in the shower, with hot water forming some kind of sauna all around her. It felt really good,

 By lunch, she already knew what she was going to do. There was only one week to go to her date with the client and then everything will be over for her. She was determined to quit her job and use her savings to live around, until another opportunity showed itself. Of course, looking for a job that matched her skills was not the easiest thing to do, she had found out that she was fed up with all the clients and the extra work and everything she had no idea about. It didn’t matter how much money she won there. That money could help her survive a few months, if necessary.

 She was tired of pleasing everyone else but herself. She hadn’t taken a proper vacation in a long time and it was really due because every single day she felt tired and bored. Cynthia, for example, didn’t have to deal with clients directly like her so she didn’t really care about it all. It was difficult for anyone to understand why Agatha wanted to leave a job that paid so well but she was so frustrated with it all. That client, the tennis client, would be her last one and that tennis match would be the last thing she did for that company.

 When the day finally came, she prepared herself by buying the best outfit for the occasion. She wanted to look good but also very professional. It was very difficult to do in the tennis skirt she had bought, because of the length, but the idea was that she would distract him into thinking about something else and then he would sign anything and everything. The game started with a slight advantage on Agatha’s hand but it soon became a really even game, where they played as if their lives depended on it. The guy happened to be excellent at the game.

 When she finally so his face, she was able to put a proper image on the large amount of thoughts she had imagined about him and the game and everything that had to do with that moment. After two sets, one won by each, they decided to rest and talk a little bit. Agatha decided that was the perfect time to talk about business. However, he didn’t even have to: the man grabbed all the papers and signed every single one of them in silence and with a beautiful pen that he kept on his tennis bag. She never expected thing to go that way.

 The man told her he had decided on working with them the moment she showed her fierceness, her need to overcome an obstacle that she obviously had. To him, it was clear she had never properly played tennis. But he admired her obvious dedication to it. Just before the match began again, he asked her how happy she was working in that place. It was just as if he knew what she was thinking. So she just blinked her eye and told him they needed to keep playing.

miércoles, 26 de agosto de 2015

The death of the world

   My breathing was really heavy and I almost couldn’t move after pulling myself out of that lake full of tar or petroleum. I had no idea what it was and I wasn’t going to find out by staying there. The people that had dropped me there to kill me had already gone and the night was very dark in this part of the world. I wasn’t in the city anymore, I was somewhere where water was very highly contaminated and the birds didn’t even sing. As I cleaned myself with my hand and some big leaves of a tree, I realized the substance was very oily so it had to be petroleum.  Walking was the worst as I couldn’t move properly but I made the effort any way because I didn’t want to stay there through the night. I walked for an hour until I saw some lights and ran towards them.

 The lights became brighter and there were so many I couldn’t even count them all. They lit a huge factory with chimneys on top and suddenly I realized that place was the source of all the pollution. That was the place I had tried to shut down but many people were not at all interested in that. Money flowed from that factory and all because of the oil the tankers brought from the sea. I had been there and I had seen the platforms, horrible places were people that had nothing to lose decided to win their living. Those were not factories but prisons filled with heavy warmth and an awful smell. Needless to say, you couldn’t see a bird or any other animal near those places. Even they knew those places meant death.

 Instead of asking for help in the factory, I went the other way, following the road the trucks used to gain access to it. In no time, I was in the main road and a nice old lady picked me up. But there was more to her than what met the eye. I hadn’t called her and I would never use auto-stop, as the country was too dangerous for that sort of thing. I hopped into the backseat and we didn’t say a word until she left me in front of my home, an hour later. I just said “Thank you” and she just nodded. She was called Delilah and had been my friend for a long while but we never really spoke about our lives or anything like that. She had saved my life once and that was enough for us to become friends.

 Delilah had been married and had too sons and a daughter but they lived far away and she didn’t really care about them coming into her life again. She had raised them well, done her job and that’s all she was interested in. When I went up to my apartment, I wasn’t very shocked to see that every single object in my home was on the floor. Broken, torn apart or just laying there, all my life was on the floor. They had come here, maybe as they drugged me and dumped me in that thick lake, and destroyed everything. My backup files, all stores in hard drives, had been stolen and my computer was just a bunch of metal on my desk. But I had more backups so I didn’t really care about the state of things.

 I went through my ripped clothes and destroyed drawers. I grabbed some things that no one would care to take away like my mother’s wedding ring or my parent’s picture I kept in a book. They were my link to them because I wasn’t the type of person that was into graveyards or however you want to call them. I just liked to talk to their picture and tell them what I was up to then. I had always been the rebellious kind of kid and I knew they would be so worried about me. My mother would asked me if I had a way to clean myself and brush my teeth and my dad would remind me to check my body for bruises in the shower. Somehow, he said, the body bumps into things and you never realize it until it’s too late.

 They were the only two people in the world I cared about. They had died years before and now I was all alone, fighting against something that was bigger than me and that any other human being. I was trying to bring a corporation down and, although I had some friends like Delilah, none would be so much into this cause as I was. I had invested my life in investigating; taking advantage of my position in society to bring everyone involved in this down and now my life had an expiration date. What I couldn’t understand was why they had dropped me in that pond and not shot me or something. Were they cowards or was that their style? I don’t know and, honestly, I have no idea if I want to know.

 Proof. That’s what, supposedly, justice wants from me in order to apprehend the people that have cause so much misery and despair around the world. Because this city is just a piece of the whole puzzle. I have traveled the world and seen children drown in similar ponds to the one they wanted to use to kill me. Huge factories built just next to all the little and rattled houses that people have built with their effort and suffering. There’s nothing quite like misery because it’s brutal and forces you into the real world. It makes you see how more than half of the world lives their lives and that has the capacity to shock anyone that has feelings or even just a pair of good old eyes.

 I was the kind of person you would find in high society events, whether they happened in a club or in a yacht, in the Riviera or a penthouse in Paris. I was always there and I had been educated to know what to do, how to talk and who to be “friends” with. Because even then, I was friends with no one. My family knew that I hated all of it but that I did it for them because they were all too important in society. Every man and woman wanted to have my attention because they knew who I was. But they weren’t interested in knowing anything more than the amount of money I could give them or what I could show off to them. It was very pathetic.

 It was the day my parents died when I knew how vicious that society I had been feeding could be. The day of their burial, no one was there but me and a couple of people that were too afraid the ghosts of my parents would pull their legs as they slept. Cowards. They never moved a finger when I was being dragged through the mud, laughed at for everything I did to help people that had no way of helping themselves. None of those high and mighty people had any heart or soul. They only cared about profit and making their wallets and bank account even more filled with money. They cut every single link to my parents company and I had to save what I could before they tore it apart completely. My parents weren’t being stupid: they had left me enough for me to keep on living in peace for many years.

 I moved fro my former neighborhood, which helped me exterminate many bad feelings I had for all those people. I didn’t want to hate them so I just disappeared from their lives and asked them to disappear from mine. They heard me, at least that time, and I have to say I lived a very good year after that. I was teaching and I was helping the people I had met so many years before. But nothing can be as perfect forever. Life has a way to even out and that’s exactly what happened. I discovered the contamination of several national parks both in the sea and the land as well as contracts between oil companies and banks in order to make the economic system fall to their feet. That wasn’t a difficult thing to do.

 This world, after all, is not built on solid ground. Our society was built by greedy men that only thought of their profit in that moment of time but had no interest, or very little, in the future. People were not aware of how easy it was to influence the stock market in order to benefit a certain country or a certain type of company. I have to confess that when I discovered it all, I felt sick to my stomach and I felt guilty because I was part of the problem. I was the kind of person that complains but never does anything. I was the kind of person that things their ideas should be implemented and then I would go and have cocktails with my friends.

 I’m not saying people shouldn’t have fun. I only think we should all be more aware of what happens around us. How people in power use us to get there and never recall what the promises that were made were all about. Politicians are rotten because the whole system is in decay. I thought this to my students: the economic and political system of our western society cannot last for a thousand years. In one moment, everything will stumble because that’s what nature does. It has to keep changing in order to stay alive and nowadays, nature is slowly dying and we cannot do anything anymore. It’s too late for the world and now we have to pay the consequences of our ignorance.

 I help because I need to. Because I still feel guilty. Because I don’t have anything else to do. When I went back home, I put everything that hadn’t been torned apart into a suitcase. I grabbed it all and left for the place where I hid part of my archives. Those were not all but I didn’t need them all, not all the copies. I needed even more copies until the world decided to wake up and listen to what the planet had to say. After I picked up the information, Delilah came for me and took me to a city four hours away. It was the first time we actually chatted. And it felt good.