Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Scene from The Novel

Carl Grant had arrived on Freya and checked into a hotel in one of the suburbs of Landfall..  But he had to wait a full local day for the scheduled meeting with the defense secretary as all local government offices were closed on what would have been a normal business day. 

Why was this?

Grant left the hotel early for the meeting and hailed one of the taxicabs waiting at the cab  stand.  It was a Ford Galaxy sedan that had seen service as a police car and was now painted in the company colors of red and white.  The driver appeared to be entering middle age with glasses, a mustache, and a fringe of blond hair.  And he wore his old style M1911A1 in a shoulder holster.

The driver asked a question.

“Where to, sir?”

“The Planetary Government Center in Landfall.”

“There are multiple buildings on the site,” said the driver, “so what department are you visiting?”

Grant answered.

“The Department of Planetary Security.”

“Okay.”

The driver switched on the meter and electric motors hummed as the cab pulled away from the hotel.  But something about the way the driver responded to him seemed a bit odd to Grant.  It was as if he were speaking with a long term veteran soldier.

“Is there a problem?”  He asked the driver.

“No sir, it’s just that the Founders wanted to call it the War Department, but the groundhogs
wouldn’t allow it.”

Grant responded.

“The Federation authorities?” 

“Yes.”  The driver replied.

And then the driver asked his own question.

“Are you a writer, sir?”

“Yes.”  He replied.  “Of military theory for the most part, of works such as On War by Clausewitz.”

The driver’s response was a surprise to him.

Vom Kriege by General Karl Maria von Clausewitz.”  He said.  “I tried several times to read the complete Standard English edition and the damned thing always put me to sleep.”

“Well military theory is not for everyone.”  Grant curtly replied.

The driver quickly and clearly responded.

“The thing is that Clausewitz began to write at a time when Kant was barely cold in the ground and Hegel had just started his emissions.  At that time the intellectual culture in Germany was already in deep trouble with clarity and brevity already going out of style.   

Grant had not expected a lecture on intellectual history from a common working man.

But he responded.

“I wrote a book on military doctrine titled Future Forces: Organization and Doctrine.”

“I’ve read it.”  Said the driver.

“So how do you feel about it?”

“I think Colonel Simmons wrote a fairly good review of it.  He clearly understood how the citizens out here on the colony worlds would respond to an invasion by your Future Force but didn’t explain the why...”

Grant sneered.

“Simmons...that moron...”

The driver solidly interrupted the sneer

“I served with him when he was a battalion commander in Afghanistan--and we don’t give out Sky Blue Berets as supermarket promotional items--even to West Point graduates.”

“So you were in the Quarantine Force and then retired out here?”

“No.”  The driver replied.  “I enlisted here and served on Earth.”

“Why?”

The driver smiled before answering.

“Because that’s where the enemy combatants are.”

Grant thought for a moment and then spoke again.

"Do you feel that the Quarantine Force are all true warriors?”

“Hell no!’  The driver suddenly snapped back.  “The goal of every warrior is to impose his will upon his victims.  And our mission in the Quarantine Force is to hunt down and kill warriors.”

Present tense.  Grant thought.  He spoke with hostility in the present tense.

Grant was now concerned for his own safety.

Is there a round in the chamber of his gun?

The cab then entered the main drive of the Planetary Government Center and stopped at the DPS Building.  Grant paid the fare in cash and without a gratuity.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Another Thought

I could describe House Harkonnen (from Dune) as subhuman garbage fit only for extermination but that would be an insult to subhuman garbage for only for extermination.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Legacy Part Six

October 1994

Al Keller stepped off of the Northwest Airlines flight from London upon arrival at the Twin Cities International Airport just to the south of Minneapolis.  He had been dressed casually for the flight with his old M-65 field jacket in the BDU camouflage pattern.  During the flight he was seated next to an obviously Kosher teenage girl and she insisted on having a conversation with him.

“So what do you do?”  She asked.

“Security.”  He replied.
   
This wasn’t too far from the truth.  After his medical retirement from the Army after being wounded during Operation Desert Storm he returned to Minnesota and was hired by a local security company.  During the weekdays and on overtime during the weekends he guarded office buildings in downtown Minneapolis.  When his old friend John March returned from Oxford they had a long conversation.  And at the end of it he accepted John’s offer.  There were moments during the training course that he would regret accepting the offer but now that he survived and passed the course he was back on American soil and out of the immediate reach of Commander Corder.

The girl was still curious.

“Security?”  She said.

“Yes.”  Al replied.  “I was babysitting office buildings in downtown Minneapolis but I got an offer to do bodyguard work and I just completed the the training course in the U.K.”

Al had decided to tell the truth but to spin it to appear legitimate.  The actual course covered the basic black operations of the security services and the objective of his final examination was to hunt down and terminate a journalist in hiding.  As part of the operation he took part in the execution and in dumping the body in a vacant lot while pretending to be an Irish terrorist.

In effect there was no way for him to return to an innocent state.

“So who will you be protecting?”  She asked.

“An old friend from the Army.”  Said Al.  “He’s from an old money family and he unfortunately is the type of person that members of home grown Marxist liberation fronts tend to kidnap for ransom.”

“Oh.”

Al continued.

“So anyway--after being wounded during Operation Desert Storm he was medically retired and continued his education at Oxford.   Now he has a teaching position at the U of M.”

“University of Minnesota?”  She said.  “Wouldn’t they disapprove of a combat veteran?”

“Depends on his ideology.”  Said Keller.  “But in this case he has an endowed chair and they have to accept him.”

The girl nodded.

After the flight Al Keller didn’t expect to ever see the girl again.

Sonya Newman would grow up and graduate from a Journalism School.  She would begin her career as a televison reporter at the Twin Cities affiliate of the Fox Network, KMSP Channel 9.   From there she would cover the campaign of John March for Governor of the State of Minnesota.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An Old Story

I found a file of a short story that I wrote in my Libertarian Days.  I did update a few minor deatils on it.

It was March in Minneapolis and it was cold and wet. There wasn't a proper rain, only a drizzle from a low cloud ceiling. From where I worked the cash register of a parking lot one could not see the upper floors of the Wells Fargo and IDS towers. Or for that matter, the top of the skeleton of the aborted Starfire tower.

I was off duty at sixteen hundred (my employer, a security company, used military time). It had been in the Chinese sense an interesting day. We raised the half hourly rate for the second
time in a month. Not unexpected given government economic policy and I was still receiving curses and dumbfounded stares from the customers. One woman called me a Consentist son of a bitch.

I thanked her for the compliment.

Although it was damp I walked outdoors. On the skyways the enclosed bridges between buildings some people would ignore the convenient informational signs. They would see my security uniform and assume I knew all the answers to their stupid questions: "Where is the elevator? Where is (a building demolished five years ago?) Are you toxic? And have you been saved?"

I crossed the plaza of the old Federal Reserve Bank and started walking south on the mall. A street person probably male demanded change for bus fare. He/she/it cursed the Universe and me for not giving him/her/it an unearned existence.

Beyond Seventh Street, under the Skyway to Nowhere, was a clump of people being haranged. I looked at the boarded up skyway for new graffiti. Yes there was some. On the bridge between the
IDS tower and the terminally incomplete Starfire tower, someone had painted: "BEWARE OF FALLING DRAGONS".

I hadn't the faintest idea of what it meant.

I didn't stop as I passed the crowd. The man standing of on a home built platform was describing the evils of material existence. If he really believed what he uttering, he could have jumped off any of the convenient bridges in Minneapolis, or off the incomplete Starfire building. The fence around the abandoned work site wasn't really secure. The City Council was tiffed about that particular mess, but they only had themselves to blame.

I was halfway between Ninth and Tenth streets when somewhere behind me a bomb went off.

My first action was to jump into the convenient alley. I leaned against the north wall and counted off ten seconds. No other explosions or gunfire. I looked out. The antimaterialist speaker and his audience were gone,. I saw rising smoke, broken glass, and lumps of what looked like well dressed hamburger.

I ran back to the mess. Some cops had already arrived at the scene. I could read their faces. The older ones survivors of The Revolution showed no emotion. On the younger cops it was: "At
last someone who isn't a ghoul! Someone with first aid training! Can you do this sucking chest wound?"

Of course I could.

A Channel Four newsclown with his camera crew appeared. Many corespondents from that station are hired by the networks and one even got himself shot by a cop down in Guyana. The clown recorded his segment and left. 

He'll probably get a Koppel Award for it.

After those who could be saved were evacuated, I gave a statement to the police. I described everything I saw and heard including the speakers platform at what was now the center of the
blast area.

The cops gave me a lift to my flat. I lived in a small apartment  two blocks off of Lake of the Isles. I locked the door and took a long, hot shower. I have never really felt clean after messes like today's. Of course this time it wasn't a grunt hunt.

I opened a Diet Coke (the real thing was too sweet for me), switched on the anti-surveillance system, and booted up the PC. When I was finished, I placed the report on the day's incident with
the data I had gathered on the local politicians.

And once again I had the thought that I should have stayed home and helped Dad on his hemp farm outside of Rockstone, Guyana.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Another Step Back - Part 5

Thursday September 18, 1975
Minneapolis, Minnesota


At the end of the working day Dronning entered the teacher’s lounge for one last break before going home. There he found the boy’s gym teacher, Mr Riker, in a state of almost blind rage.

“What happened?” Said Dronning.

“That new student in the ninth grade--Boatman!”

“What did he do?”

The gym and music classes were held at the same time on alternate days and the students of each grade level were split into two groups depending on which music class they were in. The school choir and band members of the would take their music class one day and then gym class on the next. The students in the general music course would be in their gym and music classes on the opposite days.

Boatman had opted for the general music course.

The boys gym teacher was a middle aged man who was built like a linebacker for an American Rules football team. His office was decorated with memorabilia from the Philadelphia Eagles team of the National Footfall League. And his face, especially the nose, appeared as if it had been rearranged several times on the field.

Boatman was not affirmatively impressed with the man.

“I think I will pass on this nonsense.” He said with his clearly adult voice.

Riker was surprised.

“What?”

“It’s basically a waste of time and motion.”

Riker now tried to argue his position.

“Look, the gym class is a basic part of this school!”

“No,” Boatman replied, “public education in the United States was designed by the closet communists of the so-called Progressive Movement to indoctrinate Young Americans into becoming drones in their future communist collective. And Physical Education is an essential part of collectivist indoctrination. If the bloody red banner of Communism is ever raised over this great nation its because you had a part in making it happen.”

Riker stared at him before responding in anger. Before he spoke he grabbed Boatman’s shirt with his right hand.

“Listen punk...”

As his right hand came down on the left side on shirt Boatman brought his own right hand down on top of Riker’s. With his left hand he seized Riker’s elbow and pushed forward on the elbow.

Boatman now spoke with the voice of adult political authority.

“Riker, I can break your arm now, which will be bureaucratically inconvenient for me, and very painful for you.”

Riker was shocked. This shouldn’t be happening.

Boatman continued to speak with authority.

“Where I come from students are taught to kill with their bare hands.”

Rifle and pistol marksmanship were also part of citizenship education on Eden and Zion in the Alpha Centauri system.

“But I won’t do that,” Boatman continued, “You have crossed a line and committed the act of assault, that means I will not attend any more classes in this gym ever again. And you can let go now.”

Boatman’s stare was that of an experienced executioner. Riker simply let go of the shirt and backed off.

Boatman then departed the gym.

The subsequent meeting in the Vice Principal’s office was very short.

“You intimidated Riker?” Said Marchuk. “How”

“There’s a book that was published a few years ago, Winning Through Intimidation by Robert J. Ringer, which was actually an inaccurate title. In it he shows how to win by being confident and not being intimidated by the people you interact with. The thing is that I never read the book until the transit to Alpha Centauri aboard the Eagle.”

“Okay.” Marchuk said. “You know that taking you out of the gym class will be a major pain in the ass?”

“Yes, but it has to be done.”

Dronning had another encounter with Boatman on that day. The subject of the class session was the Prohibition Period in the United States.

Dronning made what in retrospect was the mistake on calling on Boatman again.

“Although there was an longstanding effort to outlaw the sale and consumption of alcohol by those acting on religious grounds, the actual ban was brought about by members of the so-called Progressive Movement during the Wilson Administration. Prohibition was an opportunity to reverse the essential relationship between the People and the Government. Prior to Prohibition the People held primacy over the State. This was established in the first three words of the United States Constitution, ‘We The People.’ But the long term program of the so-called Progressives required the establishment of the Primacy of the State over the People. In this condition the Progressive rulers could impose their will upon the People without constitutional restraint.”

Dronning was struck speechless where he stood. This was nothing like the course material.

Boatman continued.

“Under the Primacy of the State the Federal Government was turned from the main defender of the Rights of the People to the primary violator of those rights. Although Prohibition was perpetrated by the Progressives under Wilson it was enforced by the Republicans under Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, without the understanding of the true purpose. With establishment of the soft socialism under the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt the prohibition of alcohol was no longer necessary as a part of the progressive program and was subsequently repealed.”

Dronning could only look at Boatman in stunned silence. The other students in the class began to applaud Boatman as he sat down.

Both Allen Keller and Victoria Grant were firmly impressed by Boatman and each had decided to try to speak to him privately after school was out.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Another Step Back - Part 4

Wednesday September 17, 1975
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Continued


Upon returning to the family residence in the Northeast section of Minneapolis Boatman fired up the computer workstation in the combined office/den and updated the mission log with his discovery of Stephanie Cook and the initiation of contact with her. He didn’t mention any of the kisses or other aspects of the contact.

How the Hell am I going to explain this to Alice? He thought.

Alice had been born aboard the Integral, the last sublight starship to be launched from the Solar System to Alpha Centauri. She was twelve standard years old when the vessel arrived in the system. At the time of arrival the ship had degenerated into a virtual gulag and Alice, under the alphanumeric designation that was tattooed onto her left forearm at birth had been assigned to sexually gratify the leader of the collective. But the leader would eventually be arrested and put to death for his crimes.

Alice would eventually be adopted by the third incarnation of Evelyn Boatman and his wife Doctor Cheryl Boatman. She would grow up to become a surgeon and as an adult she would strongly resemble the pre-reformation actress Halle Berry.

Any form of deception was clearly adversarial behavior and therefore was not an option in their relationship.

Just tell her the truth–all of it.

He did.

Upon returning to the residence from her teaching position at the University of Minnesota Medical School Alice sat down and listened calmly as her adoptive father described the events of the day. She thought for a moment before calmly responding.

“Dad,” she said, “you’re certainly a mensch but are clearly not a knight in shining armor, and you are certainly not a paladin class character from Dungeons And Dragons.”

He nodded, she continued.

“And your habit of virtually screaming and leaping at problems like a Kzinti may work for technical problems but it can and will lead to serious failures on the Human level.”

“So what should I do?” He asked.

Again she responded calmly.

“You should continue to do what you have normally done, once you become involved with a problem you rationally work on it to the full solution. The thing is that this version of Stephanie will not grow up to be the same person she was on the original timeline. And she certainly won’t shtup the boy who impregnated her on the first timeline either.”

“Of course not.”

“We will show her the better way to live--we have to.”

Boatman blinked.

“We will?” He said.

Alice replied.

“She’s practically a member of the family now, assuming of course that she doesn’t scream and run away when you tell her the truth. Practically all the two of you have to do now is set the wedding date. And if Stephanie is going to become a member of our family then I certainly will do everything I can to see that she properly learns to live as a fully rational person.”

“Of course.” He replied.

He now asked his own question to her.

“So how was your day?”

The answer had a clearly sarcastic tone.

“It was fun.”

“In what way?”

“I had an encounter with a campus commie in the faculty lounge. It was Thomas Archer of the English Department and he apparently believed that I was an actual native American Black woman and would seriously fall for his Progressive dreck.”

“Of course not.” Evelyn replied.

“So after the idiot had generated his noise about the wonderful things he was doing for the black people I replied to him: ‘So what, we’re all human.’

“That had to have twisted his knickers.” He said.

“Oh yes, it certainly did.” Said Alice. “There was even applause from some of the other faculty members present.”

Evelyn now mentioned the next event of the school day.

“So I also got sent to the office, apparently I severely annoyed an indoctrinator when I explained the actual difference between Democracy and the American concept of a Constitutional Republic.”

“Well it was part of basic citizenship education back home on Zion and Eden.” Said Alice.

“And back on Ganymede and the rest of the Outer System when I was growing up.”

Then there were his own general efforts at self education. The twenty five year transit between the Solar System and Alpha Centauri also provided a very clear and very firm meaning to the concept of boredom. Boatman had not actually performed a complete read through of the shipboard library aboard the Eagle but he came very close to it.

“So you twisted his knickers?” She said.

“Yes, absolutely.” He replied.

Of course there was no point in mentioning that the Social Studies teacher was an obvious flaming queer.

There was tomorrow to prepare for.

At the family home Stephanie and her close friend Vicky Grant were doing some of their homework together. They were also discussing the events of the day.

Vicky had roughly the same height as Stephanie and was at the same level of physical growth as well. She had long dark brown hair and wore a large pair of eyeglasses.

“So you now have a new boyfriend?” Said Vicky.

“Oh yes!” Stephanie replied. “Evelyn is unbelievable! He’s a real gentleman and he’s so mature!”

“I heard about what happened in the lunch room.”

“Yes,” said Stephanie, “I was talking to Evelyn and Joey came up and made a scene. But Evelyn just was a real man through the whole thing and Joey just walked away.”

“And he kissed you.” Said Vicky.

“Oh yes!” Stephanie exclaimed. “He...he...I don’t know how to describe it...he’s so mature!”

Then Vicky spoke again.
“He was in Mr. Dronning’s class today, and he made Dronning scream at him.”

“No...”

Dronning had a reputation as an easygoing teacher.

Vicky continued.

“Evelyn said something I never heard before, that the United States was a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy. And that Democracy was not a form of government. And then he told Mr. Dronning that he was ignorant.”

Stephanie could only stare at this point.