Windows To Another World
rating: +1+x

Clang!

A metallic sound filled the small space.

Clang!

Another sound. It was a hammer hitting a metal tube.

Clang!

Again. An oily hand raised the hammer downwards and slammed it against the ceiling. Because, of course, he was tucked upside down inside the systems of a broken Scranton Box.

Clang!

There were other three guys with him, as uncomfortable and annoying, but not hitting things, but carefully manipulating them instead. Two of them were latinos, with skin no darker than a varnished piece of furniture, and one of them was north korean.

"And, who the fuck comes up with the designation 'place' for an installation?" — said the man with the hammer, a mexican, continuing his twenty-minute monologue about deep failures of the Foundation, such as naming an organization with European countries 'Latin American council.'

His argentinian partner, not too happy with the monologue, finally intervened. — "Because we are in the fucking Foundation, Julián, piece of asshole that ya're1. Stop fucking me at once and let's move on to replace the fried plate."

"Shitty Foundation. There's always a fucking idiot who wants to use the Box to contain a Type Green, always here, and it always goes wrong, and guess who they call, Santiago. They always call me. Why don't they understand something as simple as the maximum capacity of an artifact? " — He kept talking. — "Wait until I'm done with the tube here."

Santiago sighed. It was better not to give him fuel. He turned his attention back to the korean, who was carefully manipulating the cables in one corner.

"Dude, what about ya'? Do ya' know how to speak Spanish? Sorry if we are screwing you, it's that we're not having a great time lately… Ya're from Korea, right?"

The Korean turned his head, and looked him in the eye. His mouth fell open a little. He hesitated, closed it back, and opened it again.

"I don't… Don't know… What… Eh…" — Tried to say, babbling.

"Ya' don't know… Ya' don't know what does something mean?" — Replied Santiago.

"Ya're. What does it mean?" — The Korean slowly modulated.

"Ah. Ya're is the same as You're. I was asking you if you are Korean."

The Korean man turned his head a little. He did not know how to express what he felt in that strange language, but he tried anyways.

"No more. I was from Joseon Minjujuŭi Inmin Gonghwaguk… The North Korea." — He finished turning his head. — "I was Korean, until my… My namesake, my dictator namesake."

Santiago realized what the name was. He made an empathetic face that the other couldn't see, and spoke again.

"And tell me, Kim. What were you doing there? You came here because your namesake came up, right? It's good that you wanted to come."

"No, not Kim. Jong-un is first name. Kim last name." — He laughed a little, for the first time in months. The muscles in his face ached. — "I was an astronaut. I was supposed to be. So they took me here."

"Ah, for the DEINEX? How cute. Fortunately the Foundation helped you to leave."

"No. It didn't help." — Replied. — "They brought me for being useful. My family stayed. I came here because I hated the… the Foundation there."

The words barely spoken hit Santiago's heart like a punch. He didn't answer. He didn't think the Foundation was that scary.

Although, well, it was surely something from the Korean Foundation. Latinos were kinder. And the Europeans weren't inhuman either. It wouldn't happen anywhere else, right?

In the middle of the Amazon, hidden underground, a party was taking place. A party of free men and women. Laughter spilled from the faces of the seventy-five members of the Chaos Insurgency at Kraken Base, hidden from the watchful and paranoid eyes of the Foundation. They were the Babylon, Egypt, Selk'nam, Mapuche, and Apache teams. Among all of them, Odell, their captain.

Marduk, captain of the Babylon team, was just smiling. He was grinning at Anubis, Team Egypt's thaumaturge. He was smiling dizzy, looking at the boy's voluptuous features. But there was more than just staring at his ass like a dirty old man. Something that tickled him when he spoke to him, and he heard his soft voice lick his ears. He was so cute, and he was so noble, and I wish…

"Wait, wait, calm down, I have a joke to tell." — Odell said, and his raspy voice caught everyone's attention. Marduk looked away from Anubis with difficulty. — "It is infectious, lethal, it gets everywhere, and it sickens an entire country in two weeks. What is it?"

"A fly?" — Said Ishtar, from his team, knowing she was wrong. — "It's a rat" — Said a girl he didn't know. — "The black plague!" — Shouted another one.

"No, no, my folks. It's the Foundation trying to cure the Black Plague!" — Odell roared, and the laughter broke out even louder. But not from Marduk's mouth. Hi eyes were lost in nothingness, fixed on something that was not there.

The Foundation trying to cure the black plague.

A bunch of goons with gas masks entering his house.

Throwing him apart.

They enter the room of his ill mother, and they shoot her. They get out of the house, and go for the next one.

He runs off into the jungle, and no one sees him. The thugs go and kill the ill adults in their village, and burn them. Then they spray everyone with a blue liquid, and leave.

When he returns, no one remembers his mother. No one remembers him.

Marduk squeezes the wine glass in his hand, and it breaks into twenty pieces that he grips with anger, lapping his palm. The wine mixes with his skin and burns. The drops fall to the ground. The tears mingle. The laughter continues. The laughter continues.

"Are you ok?" — Says someone. Anubis looks at him worried. Opens his hand and removes the shattered glass. He doesn't answer. He takes him aside, and bandages up his hand. — "Well, now you are ok." — He says.

"Thanks." — Replies Marduk, and Anubis gets surprised. He haven't heard him talk during the whole party. Two brown eyes cross with two green eyes, and two vague smiles are drawn

On the shore, there was a standing man. He was standing on a metal grating, his hands in his pockets, his half-open shirt flapping like a cape. His beard hung from his pear almost to his neck, and the man's ribs could be seen behind his shirt. He stared out into the distance to the sea, turning his gaze from time to time to the island, passing his eyes once over each of the thirteen tents resting on the ledges of the cliff.

Suddenly, the first ray of sunlight came out of the west, over the ridge, and the man adjusted his cap to get a better view. From afar you could see the reflection of the red and gold star that was sewn on the cap. Up close, inside the tents, you could see the shadow of a flag with the same star, and the letters 'CMA' underneath.

The day passed, and the man was still standing on the transportable dock. Little by little, the sun reached noon, and his companions rose from the tents. Without concern that anyone dangerous would see them, they hummed the lyrics of Bella Ciao.

Noon passed, and a tear slipped from the man's cheek.

Julián still had not returned from Cuba. Has he forgotten about them? Maybe they have killed him?

The man's face turned away from the sea horizon. The sky was darkening, and with it, the revolutionary flame.

Al Fine put the last books on the shelf. She was adjusting the last angle of the last chair. She dusted the last dust off the large carpet in her new office.

Global Occult Coalition, said the words under the logo of the great planet and the star that decorated it.

Tired, Al Fine sat down in her chair for the first time. The first of many times. She let out a long breath, and when she opened her eyes, she looked with a smile at the globe that decorated her desk.

"A dream come true. Don't you think, bluey?" She said as she began to spin the globe with the tip of her fingernail.

"It was not easy, of course. It never is. Unfortunately, it seems that something always has to happen for things to be done well", stopping the globe, letting Asia be seen.

"But no more. That will never happen again. You will be safe with us"

An explosion.

The shelves staggered, the glasses and the books fell. The pictures lost their perfect angles, and the dust drifted onto the carpet.

The globe fell, Al Fine got up.

The door was slam opened, "Lady! We have to go! We are under attack!"

"By who?"

"We don't know. They don't have logos, lady"

"Foundation"

Al Fine walked up to her escort. Before leaving the room, she turned her head towards the globe on the floor. It had acquired a dent, in a place read like Thailand.

Al Fine frowned hard, and left her eighth office behind.

1956

Mali breathed. Blue sky. It was a normal day in the world.

1958

Mali greeted his neighbor. She was watering the flowers.

1960

Mali ran. The sky dyed red. They took his neighbor.

1962

Mali was hiding. The sky dyed red. He was tooking shelter in the house of the neighbor that he never had.

1964

Mali fed on the remains of one of the corpses lying on the street. Mali was looking at something crossing the red sky. White, and then black.

1964

It was a normal day in the world.

"Daddy, daddy, tell me that story again! Please, please!"

"Haha, it's fine, darling. But only one and then you're going to sleep, huh?"

"Yes, yes! But tell me, tell me!"

"Fine, fine, here I go. It was 1300 hours, one in the afternoon, and soldiers without flags or logos were running armed around a small island. They were moving trucks, bombs and especially hatred. They were all pointing at the same door, waiting for something horrible to came out, but nothing came out"

"Oh no"

"Many floors underground, a little girl fought with her teeth and nails against battalions of men and weapons. She wept and suffered, her cries of pain drowned out by screams of hatred and lack of empathy. She couldn't even take two steps out of the chamber in which she was without being reduced. Chained and wounded, she was put in an even worse cell. Her request never heard, her wishes forgotten. Love, everything she needed, she told herself as hateful men toasted glasses of wine in hand. They succeeded. They managed to destroy that girl."

"Evil men, unlike the ones here on Facility-33"

"Evil people, darling. And what does Gaspar always tell us?"

"If you listen and understand, and put love in front of everything, everything will be better for everyone!"

"That's right, my dear. May that lesson always define your life, little one. Now sleep, sleep and dream of a better future for everyone. Without bad people."

"Good night, daddy. I love you very much."

"I love you too"

Trumpets sounded in bitter dismissal for those who lost their lives a few hours ago. A tall man, hard-faced but not indifferent to the situation, approached the burial area, waiting patiently for the end of the silence of the trumpets, and held a microphone to his mouth.

"Richard D. Carter, Emiliano G. López, Leandre H. Benoit, Eduardo A. Espinoza, Daniela V. Albornoz, Constanza T. Tapia, and Lanuk. These are the names of the men, women, and animals that we have lost. Today, each and every one of them died with the ultimate goal of all of us, to ensure the lives of people who do not know what we do, to contain the monsters that threaten to end everything, and to protect the freedom to live. They fought valiantly against the girl-faced monster, and thanks to them, and all of us, we defeated him. They were all part of our family, and as such, they will be dismissed as appropriate. With weeping hearts, but minds in calm, because in spirit, we know that none of them has died in vain. Rest in peace"

Silence

After a minute, the words were back in the man's mouth.

"Not the highest wall, not the most sophisticated technology. Men. We are the only reason for our strength. Rest in peace, friends. Rest in peace, daughter," his hard face fought against himself not to break, and in the middle of the military salute, he dropped a tear.

"The world will remember you for what you were, heroes. Rest, Facility-17."

"Why?"

"You will have to be more specific than that."

"Why everything? I read the books you handed me, I read all the anomalous history that we own, and everything the Foundation did and did not do all these years. Why? Why did we do what we did?"

"Why do we do the things we do? What makes us choose the decisions we do?"

"Well, the right thing, sir. We have to always do the right thing, choose the right option, no matter how cold it is. Make a positive difference at the end of the day… or so I thought until I read all this"

"Young-"

"I'm not young"

"You are still in my eyes, almost a child, I would say. And as a child, you have been sent to school to read from books and abide by what they tell you, but as a teenager, you have decided to be something else. rebellious, to question what you've been taught. Now, I need you to be an adult and form your own thinking, and just for a moment put aside the question of why and answer me this. Was it the right thing to do?"

"I don't think so. Many things could be done with the resources that the Foundation had. Something much better could have been done with respect to the situation of the 60's if the lives of the people had been preferred before the longevity of the Foundation and its operations, for example"

"You're a good boy. When I was in your place, I said things similar to what you said right now"

"Am I correct then?"

"No. When I said what you did, my superior hit me with his cane on the head. You are lucky that my arms have no mobility"

"What are you trying to tell me?"

"I'm trying to tell you, young man, that we have always, always, always prioritized people's lives before anything else. We have always been looking for the stage where people's lives maintain their number and quality, where normality reigns. over fear and horror. When I was in your place, I criticized my superior and his decisions during the Spanish Flu. You should have prioritized life before survival of The Foundation. But now I ask you, child, how many lives do you think would have been lost today, if not for the existence of The Foundation?"

"More could have been saved"

"Wrong. If we had the opportunity to save those lives in the 60's, we would have, but you have to understand that this is a cruel world, and in a world like this there are no perfect solutions, only preferable options. 60's, we had the whole anomalous world against us, against our headquarters and against the chains that kept monsters from outside at bay. Yes, we screwed up in Thailand, but we could have screwed up a lot more had we not done what we did, and we could have screwed up much more to cease to exist when we had the monsters that we had chained. The number of lives that we were willing to sacrifice was 0, and the possible scenario with the number closest to it unfortunately was the one you saw that we had. If we didn't do what we did, the world today would be a much worse place."

"I disagree. I lived those times from below your throne, and what I saw was very different. But now that I am here in power like you, I will strive to do what is right, what is really right. No more victims of The Foundation"

"Heh… I said something so similar before the 60's passed. You're a good boy, and I couldn't be happier to have you in the O5 Command right now. But I warn you from my own experience, boy, the world can turn around the opposite direction at any moment, and when that happens, you will have to take the most correct option according to those times"

"I'll do the right thing, and in my time no one will die, don't worry"

"I'm sure of it. But now let's put the tough talk aside and celebrate a bit, we deserve it. Happy New Year, new O5"

"Happy New Year sir"

"May 2020 be the best of all years"

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