Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Step Forward - Part 4

The aircraft was a Gulfstream business jet in civil colors with a British civil registration, it was flown by a Federation Air Forces flight crew.

The flight attendant gave Al bottle of Coke Zero and something to read. It was the report on the interrogation on the prisoner.

The Gulfstream landed at Lawson Army Airfield, near the Main Post area of Fort Benning. The aircraft was met by a group of men in civilian clothes. Even though the men were dressed as civilians it was obvious to any experienced and intelligent observer that all of them were veteran soldiers.

Al stepped off of the plane and walked over to the group. No one the group saluted him as he walked up. There was a standing rule in the Special Unit prohibiting that.

Uri, the leader of the group spoke.

“We are ready, sir.”

“Fine,” said Al, “let’s do it.”

Apart from a white Ford Econoline van the motorcade consisted of standard issue Ford sedans. Al was led to the second car in the line, where he sat on right side of the back seat.

The motorcade began the drive north out of the Main Post area.

During the flight down to Fort Benning, Al had only read the interrogation report. Now on the final ride did he begin to think about what he would say to the captive.

Mom was worried about you. My Mom, but she was still worried.

You know, I thought it was really bad when Sergeant Steve Barry, I’m sure that you remember him, had renounced Objectivism and completely destroyed the credibility of The Resister and the Special Forces Underground, and that we had no choice but to go on without him. But that wasn’t far enough, you just had to go further.

You didn’t just renounce reason and reality, you had to go all the way and completely dehumanize yourself.

You were there at West Point when Ayn Rand gave the commencement address. I followed you into The Objectivist Movement and The United States Army.

I had looked up to you.

I had looked up to you!

There was no excuse. There was absolutely no possibility of an excuse for what you did.

If you had just only returned to the worship of Jesus Christ, that would merely be a cause for disappointment, from my point of view, but you had to convert to the worst religion ever invented by a predatory con-artist.

You had to just degrade yourself in the most utterly disgusting way to the most utterly fake deity ever conceived by the mind of a mere mortal. And you had to degrade yourself to a figment of a pedophile criminal’s imagination.

Perhaps I may be incorrect, but I do recall that a German Marxist intellectual once wrote that each of us perceives of a divine being as a reflection of our own values. To a productive person who wanted to worship a god it would feel right to follow a working guy like Jesus Christ. But a serial predator like the Big Mo had to invent and promote a deity that was a power tripping and destructive monster like himself.

Actually, the Big Mo didn’t invent a deity, he just stole and recycled an old old Arab pagan deity for his own use.


The motorcade had reached the Buena Vista Road and had taken a right turn.

Seriously, God is supposed to be, by definition, an omnipotent being. If he wants something to happen, it happens. If he doesn’t want something to happen, it simply will not happen. And an omnipotent being simply can have no needs that go unfulfilled.

God did not need to create us to in order to serve Him.

We were not created by God as fully human, we had to evolve to become rational and intelligent beings through a natural process. In short, WE had to do it THE HARD WAY!

So why does an alleged deity need to create a bunch of mere mortals like us to worship Him and to serve Him?”

And let’s for a take moment to a look at what the religions of our world are offering to us. Most of the religions of the world are calling to us to morally and spiritually grow up and to become members of the divine community. Basically to move in and eternally live with God, or with their gods if they’re a bunch of Pagans. But in Islam, those who submit to the obviously false god Allah, and obey the obviously false prophet Big Mo, and who in their supposedly holy names go out and conquer and abuse the unbelievers, will get to eternally rape a bunch of eternal victims as if they were a bunch of eternal animals in Allah’s eternal whorehouse.

And speaking on the subject of murder, you were a Special Forces sniping instructor. Was it too much trouble to just train the moron you sent out to murder me to just simply shoot me and not harm anyone else? Why harm any innocent bystanders?

Oh, that’s right, as far as Allah and the Big Mo was concerned there are no innocent bystanders. There is only the property of Allah, or there are those who refuse to be the property of Allah, who, as far as the Livestock of Allah should be concerned, are just vermin fit only for extermination. And if the Livestock of Allah want to go out and rape, rob, and murder some infidels? Well Allah and The Big Mo says, go ahead.

And have fun doing it.


The Motorcade passed the northern end of the Malone Complex, a series of infantry weapons ranges. They now entered a disused section of the Fort Benning Military Reservation. The section of road they were entering looked like it had not been maintained in forty years.

The rearmost vehicle in the motorcade stopped and turned to block any further traffic from using the road.

So why are we taking care of this instead of letting the courts deal with you?

Why not? Why shouldn’t we?

The doctrine of Islam claims that the entire body of laws made by men, thousands of years of effort by mankind to create a just society, thousands of years of effort by of good men, who wrote legal charters and laws, including our original Constitution and our Bill Of Rights, are simply nullified by the mouth droppings of the Big Mo.

On what grounds can those who deny The Rights of Man can claim protection the under those very same rights?

The answer is none whatsoever.

So what we are doing to you is basically covered under the Saigon Rules.


Perhaps, thought Allen, it would be best to just not say anything at all.

When he enlisted in The Army and was stationed at Fort Benning, Allen had seen a full terrain map of the post. Out of curiosity, he drove around to look at things.

On the map he had noticed a dirt airstrip. When he went to look at it he found that it had been converted to a training area, with old tanks and other armored vehicles, some dating from the Second World War, parked on the strip.

Now in the time since Al was discharged from the Army the forest had grown back onto the strip and the old vehicles had completely rusted over. The training area appeared to be completely abandoned.

The motorcade pulled into the remnant of a driveway and onto the abandoned airstrip.

Roughly half the men in the group brought out their M24A1 bullpup configuration and optically sighted assault rifles from the car and took up positions around the spot where they parked. The other half of the group brought out some shovels from the cars.

“Right,” said Allen, “let’s finish it.”

A man-sized hole was dug. The sod and the dirt from beneath it were placed in two separate piles.

When the hole was completed the men who were in the van brought out their prisoner.

Gabriel Keller was brought to the edge of the hole.

Gabriel had adopted a Muslim name when he converted to Islam and became a mullah. Allen and just could not be bothered to remember it.

And then he did, Gabriel had adopted the Muslim form of his given name.

How convenient, Allen thought.

Gabriel had been bound and gagged with duck tape. His head and facial hair were almost as white as his stepmother’s. If his eyes were showing any emotion at all, it was a state of rage at being found, being arrested, and being in the custody of his Atheist stepbrother and the group of Jews under his command.

He was dressed in the ragged remains of the clothes he was arrested in and showed signs of having been physically interrogated. He gave off the scent of urine and feces.

Allen looked down at Gabriel.

At this point he didn’t really have anything to say. He just brought out the pistol from the holster, grabbed the slide and pulled it back to chamber the round.

And then he thought of something. It just popped into his head. It was Biblical, but at this point he didn’t care.

Allen quoted from the English Translation of the Catholic Edition of The Bible, from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 10, Verse 21.

“The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death...”

Allen aimed his pistol at Gabriel’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

The report of the weapon was deafening.

Gabriel’s brains sprayed out of the back of his head.

Gabriel fell backwards to the ground.

Allen holstered his weapon and spoke.

“Gentlemen, you may finish the job.”

As the group began the task of burial, Al saw where the bullet casing had fallen. He picked it up, looked at it, and then tossed it in the hole.

Allen heard one of the men say a prayer for the immortal soul of his deceased stepbrother. He did not even think of berating or interrupting him.


###

The ship that was taking the first group of colonists to Mars had completed the burn that placed her into the transfer orbit. The captain said that it was now possible to unbuckle and take a look out the porthole.

Allen had waited for everyone to look out before he floated over in free fall with Anson and Sonya.

Out of the porthole they could see both the Earth and the Moon. From their position in space both worlds appeared in be in a half phase. Equally dark and illuminated by the Sun.

Anson had a question.

“Will we ever go back?”

Allen was surprised by the question. He quickly responded.

“Why would we have to?”

Step Forward - Part 3

Al sat on his side of the bed he once shared with Susan. He was reading another report on the hunt for the Hidden Mullah by the light of the lamp on the night stand.

Sonya came into the master bedroom. She was wearing a robe. And as far as Al could tell, nothing else. Not even the wig and makeup she used to cover her burn scars.

Sonya and her production team had been standing outside of the city of Jerusalem when the attack on the State of Israel began. She had provided a literal play by play account on the air as the Israeli anti-ballistic missile system tried to incept the in incoming warheads.

One got through.

Even though she was outside of the city and there was something solid between her and the point of ground zero, she still received serious burns in the attack.

“I put Anson to bed.” She said.

“Okay.” Al replied.

When she was rescued from the smoking ruins of Israel, Sonya was allowed to stay at Allen and Susan’s home. She effectively knew it like the back of her scarred hands.

Sonya climbed onto the bed and knelt beside Al.

“Why are you on my bed?” Said Al.

“I don’t like to sleep alone.” Said Sonya.

“Neither do I.” Said Al.

This is too soon. He thought.

Al set aside the report and brought the remains of his left hand to the back of Sonya’s neck. He gently pulled her head down and he kissed her. They continued to kiss. And then they went beyond kissing.

When they were finished, Al turned off the lamp.

It was, even by the standards of the present day, an indecently short interval had passed between the funeral of Susan and Alice, and the wedding of Allen and Sonya.

Allen married Sonya in a civil ceremony, which was performed by a Federal Judge and in the Presidential Residence in Omaha. John and his wife were present, of course. But neither Al’s Mother nor members of Sonya’s family were present. Al’s Mother had responded to the invitation by writing that she was too ill to travel. And Sonya’s immediate family, her parents, brother and sister, had died with the city of Jerusalem.

Allen, Anson, and Sonya went on the honeymoon together.

Al decided, for obvious security reasons, to stick to the English speaking part of the world. Even though London had been effectively erased during The Final War, the remainder of the old United Kingdom was open to tourists.

Al got to go into the Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beetles once played. Al also had to explain to his son who The Beetles were.

They also got to see the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank.

“What are they listening to?” Anson asked.

“Everything.” Al replied. “Stars, planets, galaxies, black holes, lots of things.”

Then Al remembered something.

“But the big mystery is, where is everyone else?”

“Everyone else?” Said Anson.

“Yes, everyone else.” Said Al. “It is generally expected that there should be other worlds like our Earth in the universe, and on these other Earths there should be people very much like ourselves.”

While Anson was listening intently, Al continued to speak.

“And these people should have a civilization very much like what we have here on Earth, and a civilization like ours should give off all sorts of radio noise.”

Sonya jumped into the discussion.

“There should be radio and television stations, communication satellites...”

Then Sonya thought of something.

“The electrical power grid!” She exclaimed.

“Yes.” Said Al. “If someone were to listen to Earth on their radio telescope they would hear the hum from our power grid at sixty cycles a second.”

“Except here in England,” said Sonya, “where their system runs at fifty cycles a second.

Anson had another question.

“Why do the English use a different...um...”

“Frequency.” Said Sonya.

“Why do the English use a different frequency?” Said Anson.

Al was a bit embarrassed to answer.

“Why do the English insist on driving on the left side of the road?” Said Al. “As far as I can tell they insist on being different, really different, and they’ve been bloody militant about it ever since they were brought into The Federation.”

Eventually Allen, Anson, and Sonya returned to Minneapolis, to begin to prepare for their journey to Mars.


###

It was another morning, and with it, another day of preparations for the journey to Mars.

On the previous day Al and Sonya were going through their personal libraries and choosing the books that they would would physically take to Mars, and those which would be electronically scanned and copied.

From his own personal collection Al chose to bring along hardcover copies of the complete works works of Ayn Rand, and her successor as the Leader of the Objectivist Movement, Leonard Peikoff, and rest of the official Objectivist Canon. He also chose a work by Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers.

Al also chose to bring along a a really old and beat up copy of a paperback novel.

Galaxy 666 by Pel Torro?” Said Sonya as she picked it up.

“Yes.” Said Al. “It is, by reputation, the worst science fiction novel ever published in the English language. It took a great amount of time and trouble for me to acquire a copy.”

“Surely, you can’t be serious?” Said Sonya.

Al avoided the obvious response but still answered anyway. He took the copy from her hands, opened it to a bookmarked page, and pointed to a paragraph.

“Read that.” He said.

The paragraph was an example of purple prose which illuminated the absurdity of using the word “terrain” to describe the exogeological features of the alien planet that the characters were walking on.

She read the paragraph.

Having become acclimatized to the pink-tinged light, which gave everywhere a strangely roseate appearance, and which had the effect of lulling their senses into a rather dreamy false security, the four explorers looked down at the ground beneath their feet. The ground beneath their feet was a very odd sort of terrain - - though “terrain” is not, strictly speaking, the kind of word that ought to be used to describe the ground of a planet that was not earth. Like so many of the old earth words, it has crept into the vocabulary of the empire. So they examined the terrain.

“Oh, my God!” Exclaimed Sonya.

“You could say that.” Said Al.

“Somebody actually wrote this?” Said Sonya.

“Yes. Under a pen name” Al replied. “His actual name is Robert Lionel Fanthorpe, he’s about five years older than my Mom, he managed to not get vaporized along with the City of London, and he’s still at it.”

“At what?” Said Sonya.

“Writing.” Al replied.

Sonya was stunned into silence.

Al had to say something.

“If I learned anything from reading it,” he said, “It’s to avoid science fiction novels written by bikers, martial arts instructors, and members of the Anglican clergy who are a bit short on cash.”

“And you’re going to take it to Mars?” Sonya said.

“Yes.” Said Al. “I’m bringing along the best works ever written, I may as well bring an example of the worst fiction ever published. It should take up no more payload mass than a good pair of socks.”

“Well, as long as they’re your socks.” She replied.

That was yesterday.

Today, in the office and library in Al’s home the telephone rang.

A diode in an unmarked button on the primary part of the phone emitted a red light. This indicated the the encryption system built into the phone had been activated. One other person in the world had a telephone that could do that to his phone.

Al picked up the receiver and spoke.

“Yes, John.” He said.

“We got the son of a bitch.” Said The President. “He’s being held in the Fort Benning Stockade. Everything else that you asked for is being arranged. A car is on the way to your house to pick you up.”

“Thank you, John.” Said Al.

The line went dead.

The first thing that Al did was to take a shower. He expected this trip to be a long one. The second thing he did was to pick out and put on a suit. He chose one that was basic and comfortable. He also decided to wear a shoulder holster under the jacket.

The last thing was to pick out a firearm.

He chose a M1911A1. It was a commercial copy of the weapon made by the Springfield Armory. And just because he thought it would be cool, he had three words in ancient Latin engraved on the top of the slide.

VLTIMA RATIO CIVITVM.

The ultimate resort of citizens.

He inserted a full magazine into the pistol grip. But he did not pull the slide back to chamber a round.

He placed the weapon in the shoulder holster.

Sonya came up the stairs.

“There’s a car waiting for you downstairs.” She said. “What’s going on?”

Al answered her.

“One last ride with the Special Unit.” He said. “Then it’s over, it will be all over.”

Al kissed his new wife and went downstairs.

Anson was waiting by the door. He had seen the car waiting in front of the house and reached the correct conclusion. That his father was going somewhere.

“Where are you going, Daddy?” Asked Anson.

Even though it would hurt like Hell to get up again, Al knelt on his knees on the floor to answer his son.

“I’m doing one last thing for the government, and when I’m finished with it, then we can go to Mars.”

He managed to tell most of the truth without mentioning any of the nasty parts.

His knees hurt when he stood up again.

The vehicle was a plain government issue Ford sedan. The ride to the airport was relatively short. The driver took the Hiawatha Avenue exit from Minnesota Highway 62 and drove onto the Minnesota Air National Guard Base.

Step Forward - Part 2

Al was eventually moved to a private room. The two PPS agents and the fire team of Paras went with him. He received a visit on the subject of security from the medical center administrator. The PPS agents stood in the background.

“I want those thugs removed from this facility!” Said the Administrator.

“What thugs?” Said Al.

“Your security detail!” Shouted the Administrator.

The Lead PPS Agent spoke up. He had dark brown hair, was constructed like a bodybuilder, and spoke with an obvious Scottish accent.

“There have two attempts on your life sir, since you were admitted to this facility.”

“Only two?” Said Al.

“Yes, sir.” Said the Lead Agent. “Only two, so far, by supporters of the late President Null.”

Well that’s no surprise, thought Al, some people are bound to be a bit upset when you apprehend and summarily execute their Glorious Leader.

And, of course, the latest manifestation of the
Ubermensch mentality really doesn’t like to be subject to the same laws as the rest of us and to be legally compelled to treat us mere mortals as fully Human.

A proper chewing out of the Administrator would require the services of a Marine Corps drill instructor. Al would just have to make the best response that he could from the hospital bed.

“First,” said Al, “there have been attempts to take my life, that means that the security detail stays, regardless of how you feel about it.”

“Second,” he continued, “these gentlemen are not thugs, and I will not tolerate them being spoken of as such that in my presence.”

“Third,” Al said as he pointed his right index finger at the Administrator, “we are now living in a proper Capitalist Civilization, and if you don’t like your present working conditions, you are free to go find a job somewhere else.”

The Administrator was stunned into silence.

Al gave the Administrator a chance to speak up, he remained silent.

“Well,” said Al, “If you have nothing else to say, then this meeting is over.”

The Administrator quietly walked out of the room.

“Good one, sir.” Said the Lead PPS Agent.

“I try.” Said Al.

Eventually Al was released from the hospital.

The event was what in some respects could be called a cluster of fun.

A mixed motorcade of Federation Army Humvees with Minneapolis Police and civilian Ford sedans was parked on Seventh Street under a section of the HCMC. A mixed group of British Paras, PPS Agents, and uniformed Minneapolis Police officers had blocked off the street. Reporters and camera teams from the remaining local stations and national networks had placed themselves at the ends of the block. Present at the time of his discharge were Sonya, his mother and son, and a man who was dressed in casual civilian clothes.

Al sat the back seat with the civilian gentleman.

Uri was the field commander of the Special Unit. He gave Al a large manila envelope.

Al began to read the contents. The top sheet was a copy of a syndicated comic strip. The award winning leftist comic strip had begun publication in 1970 and its author had gone into exile as a result of The Reformation. Most of the characters in his newspaper and now online comic strip had been executed or forced into exile as a result of The Reformation. One character, a former Viet Cong terrorist, had to witness the return of Vietnam to being a proper Capitalist society.

The sheet that Al held in his hand was a Sunday strip that celebrated the assassination attempt on himself and the murder of his wife and daughter.

Al thought for a moment.

If I was the kind of monster that this idiot insists on worshiping, I could have him terminated with one phone call.

But no.
Al thought. I’ll do something worse. Far worse.

I will just let him live. I’ll let him witness the intellectual dismantling of his holy socialist doctrine. I’ll just let him see as the truth about the death and destruction brought about by those that he worshiped comes to light.

And I’ll just outlive the son of a bitch.


The rest of the document was a progress report on the search for the Hidden Mullah.

Uri spoke.

“Sir, I have a request.”

“The ancient tradition?” Said Al.

“Yes, sir.” Said Uri.

“Go ahead.” Said Al.

The motorcade departed from the section of HCMC that was built over Seventh Street. The motorcade turned right on Third Avenue and crossed the Third Avenue Bridge onto Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis.

Susan had been raised in the Catholic Church. She and her daughter were buried in the Catholic cemetery on Central Avenue just north of Twenty Seventh Avenue. The Minneapolis Police blocked off the entrance of the cemetery.

The motorcade turned left into the cemetery and parked as close to the grave site as possible.

Roughly half of the security detail took up positions around the parked vehicles. The other part surrounded Al and the other visitors to the burial site.

As Al and his other family members stopped before the graves. Uri stepped behind the headstones, took two pebbles from his coat pocket, and placed one on each headstone.

“What is he doing?” Mother asked.

“It’s an ancient tradition.” Said Al. “I believe that it goes back to the Book of Judges of the Old Testament.”

Mother started to ask a question.

“Is he a...”

Al softly but abruptly cut her off.

“Stop!” Said Al. “I will not have you embarrassing me here in front of everyone.”

Al brought his tone of voice down before finishing his answer.

“I will explain later.”

When Al was finished with the visit to the graves of Susan and Alice he returned to the car. The motorcade crossed the Mississippi River at the Hennepin Avenue bridge. They continued southwest down Hennepin Avenue to the Uptown Neighborhood and turned right at Twenty Fourth Street to the house where Al and Susan lived.

When the family entered the house, Al spoke.

“Sonya,” he said, “Please take Anson upstairs, I need to speak to Mom alone.”

Sonya took Anson upstairs. Al pointed to the sofa in the sitting room and said one word to his mother.

“Sit!”

His mother sat down on the sofa. She spoke up.

“That was a Kike? Wasn’t it?”

Al cupped his right hand and brought it up to his right ear as if were hard of hearing and replied.

“I’m sorry Mother, I didn’t hear what you said.”

“You know damned well what I said!” She replied.

Al stared at his mother for a moment. And then he replied.

“Uri is a Jew. He is the head of a group of former Israeli soldiers who work for President March under my direction.”

“What do they do?” His mother asked.

“Wet work.” Al replied. “It’s a euphemism. Look it up yourself.”

Al had something else to say to his mother.

“Shut up and listen,” he said, “I have a story to tell.”

Al remained standing as he spoke.

“When Governor March was elected President, his predecessor, President Null, decided to not to surrender the office to him as required by the Constitution. Null ordered the Secret Service detail that was guarding Governor March to place him under arrest.”

Al decided not to mention the firefight that occurred in the State Capital Building between the Secret Service detail and members of both the Minnesota State Patrol and the National Guard. Or to mention the two Secret Service agents that he was credited with killing with the semi-automatic rebuild of the Austrian SA-58 battle rifle that he usually kept in the trunk of his own car.

“Needless to say, our armed forces stuck with the Constitution, and accepted John as their Commander In Chief. We set up our headquarters at the Strategic Command base outside of Omaha.”

“The what?” Said his mother.

“It used to be called the Strategic Air Command. A bunch of movies were made about it, including one starring Jimmy Stewart. He flew bombers during the Second World War and was also a General in the Air Force Reserve. And he also got to fly a B-52 on a mission over North Vietnam.”

Lucky bastard. Thought Al.

Al continued to lecture his mother.

“John and I both got offices in the old SAC command bunker. And we were working the late shift when the Final War started.”

Mother was left speechless.

“So what happened?” Said Al. “The president of we now call Frogistan had a problem. There were a mob of Muslim immigrants rioting in the streets of Paris. He could have called out the army and machine-gunned the rioters. After all, their first emperor had put down a riot by essentially doing the same thing with cannons.”

“And, of course,” said Al, “Islam is an ideology that calls for the enslavement and murder of nonbelievers. Killing a Muslim would be no more an act of murder than killing a National Socialist or a Communist.”

“A what?” Said his mother.

“Otherwise known as the Nazis and the Reds, the motherfuckers who wrote the history of the last century in human blood.”

Al continued the lecture.

“But their president decided to act like a typical present day Froggish leader and appease the mob. He did this by nuking the State of Israel.”

“John and I were in the office when the alarm went off.” Al said. “I made the call to Prime Minister Netanyahu to notify him of the attack, and I made the promise that his people would have a sanctuary here in the United States.”

Mother’s eyes widened.

“If you want to know why we had the sudden intake of Jews, that was my doing.” Said Al. “And President March put me in charge of the project.”

Al decided to skip the part about the nuclear retaliatory strike on the French.

“But the remaining Muslim states were actively interfering with the evacuation effort, they just wanted to serve Allah, never mind the real world consequences, so I called John and asked him to nuke the other Muslims.” Al said. “With that one phone call I managed to rack up a body count greater than that of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined.”

“Stalin and who?” Said Mother.

“Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong, they were Communist leaders, and they also loved children.”

Mother was openly shocked.

“You did all that to save a bunch of Jews.?” She said.

“Yes Mother, I did.” He said. “And I’m not ashamed of it at all.”

His mother was stunned into silence.

Al spoke again.

“I think it would be best if you went home, go pack your things.” He said. “I’ll have the PPS detail drive you to your home.”

Mother lived in an old farmhouse in central Minnesota, outside the town of Alexandria.

He would never see her again.

Step Forward - Part 1

He dreamed of fire.

The cities of his Nation, and of his Civilization, were on fire.

Someone, a group of hostile men, had set those fires.

He dreamed that the soldiers who were under his direction had entered the cities. To hunt down and kill those who set the cities on fire.

And when the soldiers under his command were done with the killing, the People of his Nation and his Civilization could begin to rebuild.

He dreamed that he had a life, again.

He dreamed that he had a wife, a son, and a daughter.

And he dreamed that there was an explosion.

And that there was blood. There was blood, all over, everywhere.

He regained consciousness.

Once, on one of his more cynical days, Evelyn Allen Keller said to his older half brother that the history of the Early Twenty First Century would be written in human blood. When he originally said that he did not imagine for a moment that the blood would that of himself, and his wife and daughter.

The glare of the overhead lights came through his remaining eyelid.

He opened his remaining eye.

Even though he wasn’t wearing his eyeglasses, it was very readily apparent that he was laying on a hospital bed in an intensive care ward. It was also apparent that only his right eye was functioning.

He raised his hands into what was left of his field of view. Apart from stitches and some bandaging it appeared that his right hand was completely intact. The left hand was completely bandaged over and it appeared that the little and ring fingers were missing.

Keller began to look around the room.

The room of the intensive care ward was walled in glass and that four paratroopers wearing their full British pattern uniforms, combat load, maroon berets, and holding their L85A1 assault rifles, were standing outside the door. The maroon beret was still worn by the paratroopers of the American 82nd Airborne Division and the British Parachute Regiment of the Federation Armies.

There were also two Presidential Protective Service agents visible outside the room.

Someone was sitting inside of the room. Even with the disposable isolation garments over her civilian clothes, and her eyeglasses she could still be reasonably described as attractive.

It also helped that the wig and makeup covered her burn scars.

She was also Sonya Newman, she was once a reporter for Fox News, then she became the press secretary for President March. Allen and his wife Susan had met her during the presidential campaign eight years ago. And they became good friends.

And she was here and alone.

She stood up and walked over to the side of the bed.

“Hello Evelyn.” She said. She was one of the few persons who could address him by his given name. And now she was only one who could do that. Even the President and his own Mother did not do that.

“Hello Sunny.” He replied.

He thought for a moment, and then spoke again.

“What happened and where am I?”

Sonya answered.

“There was a suicide bombing, roughly a week ago.” She said. “Apparently the bomber was a Caucasian American convert to Islam. You’re now in the ICU of HCMC.”

The Intensive Care Unit of the Hennepin County Medical Center in the city of Minneapolis.

Keller had to ask a question about his wife, son, and daughter.

“Susan, Anson, and Alice?”

“Anson was in the school building when it happened, he’s safe and with your Mother now.” She said. “We buried Susan and Alice yesterday. And John was there for the funeral.”

John Andrew March was one of Keller’s oldest friends. He was also the last President of the United States and the first President of the Federation.

“Where is John now?” He asked.

“He’s checked into the Presidential Suite at the downtown Radisson Hotel.” She replied.

The downtown Radisson was on the south side of Seventh Street between Nicollet and Hennepin Avenues. The hotel shared a parking ramp with the Macy’s department store on Nicollet Avenue, and the ramp exited on Eighth Street. It would be a straight drive from the hotel ramp to the HCMC.

Sonya had something else to say.

“Oh, and Rush Limbaugh is still complaining about Affirmative Action.”

“Really?” Said Keller. “I thought we banned it.”

“Well he isn’t really,” replied Sonya, “but I felt like I had to say something humorous.”

“Okay.” He nodded and replied.

From his bed Keller could see a PPS agent pull out a cell phone out of a pocket, dial a number, and start talking.

Keller lifted his right hand and pointed at the paratroopers just outside of the door.

“We have Paras here?” He said, using the common name for the British Parachute Regiment.

Sonya responded.

“Bravo Company of the Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment has secured the hospital. John has brought the entire Federation Airborne Corps up to the Twin Cities. He’s using them to turn the area over looking for the Hidden Mosque and the Hidden Mullah.”

“If it’s who The Unit thinks it is,” said Keller, “I don’t believe that we’ll find him up here at all.”

Roughly ten minutes After the PPS agent made his call, Keller had two visitors, his Mother, and his son.

Keller’s Mother was eighty years old and her hair was completely white now. She was was barely able to walk by herself and had to use a wheelchair or a cane to move around most of the time. Anson was barely seven years old, and apart from his red hair, greatly reminded Keller of himself when he was that age.

The ICU staff helped them put on isolation garments and gloves. And an ICU nurse pushed his Mother’s wheelchair into the room.

“Hello Allen.” His Mother said.

“Hi Mom.” Al replied.

Al looked at his son and spoke.

“Hello Anson.”

“Hi Daddy,” Anson smiled and replied.

Mother spoke.

“We buried Susan and Alice yesterday.” She said.

“I know.” Al replied.

Mother continued to speak.

“We haven’t heard from Gabriel yet.” She said.

Allan thought that he to reply to his Mother with more gravity in his voice.

“I’m not at all surprised. Mother, you better face it, Gabriel is no longer your stepson, and as a result of what he chose to become, and what he has chosen to do, he is no longer a member of our family.” Allen said. “And anything else I have to say on the subject is covered by a security clearance.”

“You can’t say that!” Mother replied.

“I have to.” Said Allen. “For all practical purposes Gabriel is already dead, and you may as well morn for him right now.”

Mother could not believe what she just heard.

From his position in bed Allen could see a dozen more PPS agents and The President of The Federation enter the ICU. John March began to put on the isolation garments that were provided to him.. Allen looked back to his son and spoke.

“I have to talk to The President now,” he said, “I’ll try to get out of here as soon as possible. Okay?”

“Okay, Daddy.” Anson replied.

With his right hand Allen patted his son on the head. Sonya pushed Al’s Mother and her wheelchair out of the room. Anson followed them.

And then The President entered the room alone. Al spoke first.

“Hey, John.”

“Hey, Al.” He replied.

John March had attended Oxford to obtain his Doctorate in History. He picked up a wife and a slight British accent in the process.

Now he was the one who was making history.

John spoke again.

“You’re angry?”

“I’m sedated.” Said Al. “I’ll be really angry when this crap I’m on wears off.”

Al then spoke with a clear degree of seriousness.

“You know that the Airborne Corps are not going to find the Hidden Mullah.”

“I know.” Said John. “The Paras are being used to secure this hospital, your home in the Uptown area, and the hotel. The rest of the Airborne Corps is up here to perform some political theater. To give the impression that we are actually doing something. And who knows, they may actually catch some Muslims in hiding.”

John leaned down to say something else in a whisper.

“I also have Uri and the Special Unit doing the real work on catching the bastard.”

Uri, and the other members of the Special Unit were Israeli soldiers who survived the Second Holocaust. The Special Unit operated under Keller’s control and were tasked with hunting down and killing those who were responsible for the annihilation of Israel. And also with eliminating the other confirmed enemies of Rational Civilization.

John spoke again.

“Uri says that he has a lead on catching the bastard.”

“Good.” Said Al. “I want to be kept up to speed on this.”

John nodded.

“John,” said Al, “I have another request.”

“Yes?” Said John.

“I haven’t had long to think about this.” Al said. “But I think it’s time to move on.”

“What?” Said John.

“I understand that the position of Governor of the Mars Colony is still open.” Said Al. “I want it.”

“Al...” said John, “Al, you are fifty nine years old, and you were not in the best state of health to begin with. And I still need you here on Earth.”

Al waited a bit before answering John.

“If you will pardon me for being selfish,” said Al, “but I would be doing poor job of being a father if either I or my son were to be murdered by a Jihadist. I would think that about thirty five million miles of hard vacuum should be an effective barrier to that.”

John was stunned into silence. Al continued to speak.

“We just discovered the hard way that the Quarantine is not perfect. There will continue to be leakage and individuals outside who covert to Islam.”

Al continued to speak.

“And even if our successors in government were able to maintain the Quarantine, someone else may very well cook up another toxic ideology and start another global war. Given that most of the easily accessed resources on this planet have already been used up, that means that a technological collapse would condemn any of the remaining people to being stuck on the Earth and condemn them to eventual extinction.”

“You know,” said John, “You used to be an optimist.”

John and Allen had met during the first year of the Reagan Administration at The Little Tin Soldier Shop on Lake Street in Minneapolis. John was a spoiled rich kid who was into Dungeons And Dragons. Allen had introduced him to hard science fiction and a role playing game called Traveller. And in spite of efforts by his politically Leftist parent’s to dissuade him, John had also followed Allen in enlisting in The United States Army on the same day.

“We are now, for all practical purposes, in charge of the most powerful government on the planet.” Said Al. “If we didn’t think up worst case scenarios and work out plans for dealing with them, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs.”

“Yes.” Said John.

Al continued.

“And we have to move on.” He said. “We, The Human Race, have to move out into the Universe. And I always wanted to take a part in that.”

“Yes,” said John, “you always did.”

John had something else to say.

“Okay, I’ll push your appointment.” He said. “You do know that this will be a bitch to push through?”

“I wouldn’t think so.” Said Al. “There are so many people who hate or fear me that you should be able to get a simple majority just from the folks who want me off off the planet.”

That thought surprised John.

“In a strange way,” said John, “you are still an optimist.”

“And there’s another issue.” Said Al.

“Which is?” Said John.

“The Special Unit.” Said Al. “The members of the unit and their families will need a place of sanctuary after this ... this incident ... is properly dealt with.”

“Mars?” Said John.

“Yes.” Said Al.

“Why?” Said John.

“After all that has happened, you’re asking why?” Said Al.

“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t.” Said John.

Al nodded.

“Of course not.” He said.

Al thought for a moment before answering.

“I gave the orders.” He said. “The Special Unit carried them out.”

“Al.” said John. “you shot my predecessor, yourself.”

“Okay,” Al replied, “I did provide him with a round in the head in the old Soviet style. Apart from that, the Special Unit did most of the wet work. And they will get most of the blame in the histories written of our conflicts.”

John nodded, and Al continued to speak.

“In the Internet era, The winners, or more accurately, those who are politically dominant, can no longer control the general historical narrative.”

“If it were not for the net, we would already be dead.” Said John. “And anyone still alive would be under the boot of the Big Zero and compelled to sing the praises of his supreme leadership, or learning to speak Arabic, the hard way.”

Al nodded. And then spoke again.

“What was done, what we did, will be remembered, in an adverse fashion. And those who did it, and their families will need a place of sanctuary, too.”

John again nodded. And then he answered.

“Okay then,” he said, “they will have a ticket to Mars too.”

“Is there anything else?” Said John.

“Yes, I want to be kept up to speed on the Hidden Mullah case.” Said Al. “And if I think of anything else, you’ll get a fax or an e-mail.”

“Of course.” Said John.

That was all they had to say.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just Memories...


Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Poem

This was posted on the Traveller Mailing List by Jeffery Schwartz under the title Apologies To Papa Heinlein:
 
Like barb wire ties around me
tightening and cutting all my girth
are all the stupid laws
Of the nanny state of Earth.

The arching sky is calling
Spacemen  to their trade.
ALL HANDS! STAND BY! FREE FALLING!
But the call is allowed to fade

A third or more of what I made
goes to EBT and things
that insure that I'll never fly
near Saturn's rainbow rings

We're denied each spinning space mote
As they steal all that's worth:
Taken from us the homes of men
and locked us to the Earth.

No longer ride the sons of Terra,
silent the thundering jet,
a shackled race of Earthmen,
whipped dogs, once the lone wolf's get.

We rot in the molds of Vegas,
We retch at New York's tainted breath.
Foul are her urban jungles,
Crawling with unclean death

My heart breaks in longing
As I stare at the voids between
To out along the spaceways
Until what my soul hears is seen

Across the seas of darkness
looking up from Earth's blight
wishing another Star was my homeland
Praying it shine down on me tonight.

Cursed with life in prison
since the moment of my birth
Damned to ever hear the lies
of the morons that rule the Earth

I pray for just one launching
On the globe that gave us birth
to escape to the fleecy skies
And from the cold dark streets of Earth.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A Work In Progress

This is from a novel I'm working on:

So why are we here?  Why did we escape the Solar System and settle on the planets of Alpha Centauri?

The fact is that we live in a dynamic universe.  A universe whose internal material components are subject to change by entirely natural means.  Life, including human life, is the result of a series of an entirely natural processes.  The process of life is also a localized acceleration of the process of entropy, the conversion of matter to energy.  Simply by living each of us is accelerating the ultimate decline of the known universe.  Oh, please don’t tell the environmentalists.

For simple forms of life survival is simply an accident of nature.  For Humanity survival is the result of the function of the active mind.  And we will think and do what is necessary to live what is properly a human life.

Believe it or not there were people back on Earth who objected to our escape from extinction and actively worked to prevent it. 

I am not kidding.                           

Some of those people believed that our lives were the result of the will of a being commonly known as God.  And that the event that would ultimately destroy all life on Earth was also the will of God.  They believed that the extinction event was brought about because of our collective sins.  The primary sin being the  constant refusal to obey the commands of God as transmitted  through his self appointed spokesmen.  The vilest of our sins being the persistent habit of actually thinking on the basis of the actual facts of reality.  The believers in the God Premise deemed us guilty of these crimes and wanted us to sit down without resistance and die for our sins.

Absolutely not, we decided.

The idea that God could eliminate Mankind at a thought and did not require an actually natural event to kill off our species simply did not enter their minds.

This assumes of course that those who believe in the concept of God had actually functioning minds.

There were also those who believed in the concept of material equality.  That everyone had to be materially equal regardless of the actual amount of productive thought and labor.  They believed it was unfair for us who could build starships to escape the Solar System.  We who could should not do so because it was unfair to those who could not.  That the truly fair course of action was to do nothing and for all of us to die together.

This view, which was purely emotional, was also clearly wrong.

And finally there were the self-appointed elites.  They believed that only they had the best of the collective interests of Mankind in mind.  And that only the best and the brightest members of the Human collective, as defined by themselves, should be allowed to escape extinction by the means available.

That the elites have always lived off the thought and labor of those they deemed inferior and invariably made decisions for their own benefit was never, ever, mentioned by them or their willing servants.

The fact was that we would not sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of what was in fact a mob of lazy and mindless losers.

The fundamental moral value is life.  But human life is not simply physical existence.  The human mode of life also requires an active mental existence.  In order to live as human beings we must see things as they are and act as we conceive as necessary.

Live with it.

So what actually happened?  How did we come here?

Our father’s last big project when he was alive was the Niven Deep Space Observatory.  It had been placed in an orbit that took it well outside the plane of the ecliptic in the Solar System.  For those readers unfamiliar with orbital dynamics it means that the orbit of the NDSO was at an angle above that of the planet and other bodies of the Solar System.  The primary mission of the NDSO was to detect and observe neutron stars.

So what’s a neutron star?

A neutron star is simply the dead body of a star at the last stage of decay.

Some stars are so massive that at death they collapse into a black hole, never to be seen again.  But some stars lack the mass to fully disappear and they collapse into a white dwarf.  A remnant made purely of neutrons giving off the residual energy of it’s collapse.  But eventually even an ancient white dwarf will fade out.

A neutron star still has gravitational attraction and still pulls in matter from the space that surrounds it, gas, dust and the occasional large body as an asteroid.  When this stray matter impacts on the neutron star it’s converted to neutrons and emits energy across the electromagnetic spectrum in the process.  It was the emission of this energy--the screaming matter--that the NDSO detects and tracks.

The Astronomy Department at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California was the prime contractor on the NDSO.  Our family firm having built the NDSO now had the contract to maintain and upgrade it.  I made a rare visit to Earth to speak with the program director, Dr. Robert Peterson, about the next series of upgrades.

At his office we shook hands and I began the conversation.

“So Bob, what did you want to discuss?”

“Well there’s an very odd series of readings we got on one of our objects.”

“And you want to eliminate the possibility of a fault with the platform before you publish a paper on it?”

“Yes.”  He said.

“So what is it?”

“One of our objects, designated Niven Sixty Nine, is very close to the Solar System.”

“How close?”

“Well within a light year.”

A light year was the distance that a photon, the theoretical particle of light, would travel in the time of a year.  It’s a distance of just under ten trillion kilometers.  In interstellar astronomy that distance was very close.

“Possibly?”  I said.

“We haven’t done a full parallax reading on it but the screaming matter signature is also the strongest that we’ve seen with any object.”

Parallax is a method of determining the distance of an object.  From opposite positions in the solar orbit of observer the object is located against the stellar background. With the known distance of the two observation points serving as the base of a triangle the distance of the other two sides  of the triangle is worked out as simple geometric math.

At least it’s simple to astronomers and engineers like me.

I then had a question.

“So what is its lateral movement?”

“There isn’t any.”  He replied.

I was stunned, I’m sure of it, it took time before I could reply.

“Bob,” I said, “is the screaming matter signature getting stronger over time?”

The screaming matter signature is the energy given off by the dust and gas normally found in interstellar space as it is gravitationally sucked into the neutron star.

“Yes, it appears to be.”

The conclusion was obvious.

I sat in stunned silence.

Bob spoke again.

“We don’t know if it will hit anything yet.”

“It doesn’t have to.”  I said.  “We both know that an object with the mass of a star will radically alter the orbit of every body as it passes through the Solar System--including the Earth.  It may even cause some bodies to be ejected from the system altogether.”

Then I had another thought.

“Have you spoken about this to anyone outside the project?”

“No.”

I thought for another moment.

“Bob, my next stop is the JPL next door.”

“What about?”

“To report on the Daedalus.”

“How is Daedalus?”

Daedalus was the unmanned interstellar probe our firm had just completed for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  The original version was proposed by the British Interstellar Society back in the late Twentieth Century.  We had followed the original BIS concept of a two stage system in the design and construction of the probe.

“Apart from uploading the latest version of the operations software and fueling the ship we are ready to launch.  I think you should have a word with them, the committee still wants to send her to Sirius.”

Bob nodded.

“Yes, I’ll come over there with you.”  He replied.

My next meeting was scheduled with the Daedalus Committee.  In the lobby of the JPL we walked by the display of Mariner II, the first successful American interplanetary probe.  It had been recovered and brought back to Earth.  When we arrived at the conference room they hadn’t sat down yet.  Bob and I made straight for the chairman of the committee, Dr. Douglas Siekmann.

“Doug,” I said, “I believe you know Doctor Peterson?”

“Yes.”  He replied and they both shook hands.  “So what brings you over here?”

“We think you should change the destination of the Daedalus.”

“Not likely.”  Siekmann replied.  “But I think we can find time for you to speak on it.”

I spoke.

“Doug, we’re serious, dead serious.”

I’m certain that he saw that we were serious.

“Okay then.”  He replied.

At this point we sat down and went through the normals rituals of a board meeting.  Then it was my turn to speak.

“First, Im here to report that apart from fueling the ship  and updating the software package we are ready to launch.  Second, I want to request that we change the target system to Alpha Centauri with the goal of finding a habitable planet.

A board member spoke in reply.

“Why,” he said, “the only point to finding a Goldilocks world is to colonize it.  And who’s going to fund a colonization mission?”

I replied.

“Everyone on Earth.”

At this point every board member was speechless, and then Doug spoke up.

“Why?”

“I brought along Doctor Peterson of the NDSO to explain.”

Bob stood up and spoke.

“Basically we found a neutron star that is within a light-year of us and appears to heading straight into the Solar System.”

A woman wearing glasses who was about my age spoke up.

“Will it hit anything?”

“It doesn’t have to.”  Bob replied.  “The gravitational effects alone will disrupt the orbits of everything in the system, including the Earth.”

Another board member spoke.

“And the change in Earth’s orbit will radically effect the environment?”

“Yes.”  I said.  “And as a result it may possibly render the Earth completely uninhabitable.”

After a about a minute of silence Doug spoke.

“Bob, we have sensor platforms across the system, we will have to verify your data and we will also help you to nail down the trajectory.”

“Not a problem.”  Bob replied.  “No problem at all.”

Doug then spoke to the committee.

“I move that upon confirmation of the neutron star being on a collision course with the Solar System that we make the necessary alterations to the Daedalus for the planet finder mission to Alpha Centauri.  Does anyone second the motion?”

The young woman who first spoke up did so.

“All in favor?”  Said Doug.

Every member of the committee raised their hands.

“It appears to be unanimous.”

The young woman raised her hand and spoke.

“Mister Boatman, what will you do next?”

“After launching the Daedalus?”

“Yes.”

“Start work on designing the colony transport.”

“What will it be like?”

I thought for a moment before answering.

“Apart from using the pulse-fusion system from the Daedalus I have no idea.  I wouldn’t even try to do a back of the envelope calculation on it at this point.”

“Um, yes.”  She replied.

And then after the meeting was formally closed I walked up and spoke to her.

“I’m sorry, I don’t recall being properly introduced.”

She nodded and replied.

“Susan,” she said, “Doctor Susan Barrow.”

“Doctor Barrow, I’m glad to have that issue resolved.”

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Jerusalem

The following is part of an incomplete manuscript for a novel in progress:

The jolt of the landing gear woke me up.

I was the sole civilian aboard an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport with a load of Marine reservists and several pallets of ground crew gear for a Marine Corps Harrier-II squadron.

And if the jolt of landing at Gibraltar had not awakened me, the half-company strength chorus of “HOORAH” would have.

Regular or Reservist, a Marine is a Marine.

The Air Force pilot, of course, had to make her customary announcement on the aircraft’s speaker system.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived at the British overseas territory of Gibraltar and will be disembarking as soon as possible.  And thank you for flying Air Globemaster.”

Male or Female, an Air Force pilot has the ego and sense of humor of an Air Force pilot.

I thanked the pilot and the flight crew for their utterly boring display of professional competence.  Believe me, in old school aerodynamic aviation back on Earth in those days, a boring flight was a really, really, really good flight.  And they got the joke.

After stroking the egos of the Air Force folks I met the head of British Forces for Gibraltar at the forward door of the aircraft.

Yes, was a civilian, but I did return the salute, it would have been rude for me not to, I thought at the time. 

Okay, I admit it, it was an old reflex.

I will leave the argument over whether or not an executive order from President March constituted a proper commission to run a military operation to the professional historians.

So how did the British get involved in the rescue expedition?

It’s a long story.

Apparently during her weekly chat with the Prime Minister, a fellow from the Labour Party at the time, Her Majesty the Queen very clearly expressed her distress about the French attack on the State of Israel.  She couldn’t directly issue a command to the current PM, but she did ask him if something could be done about it.

The sitting PM said that he would look into it.

Unfortunately, the line taken by Labour Party at the time was that former President Null’s refusal to relinquish the office was legitimate due the claim of having a majority of the votes cast in the election.

In order for the Labour Party to do so they had to ignore the fact that many of those votes, in places like Chicago and other strongholds of the other party, were attributed to persons who were already dead or did not otherwise exist.

And of course they had to completely ignore the actual rules laid out in our actual Constitution and the actual outcome of the actual vote of the actually existing Electoral College.  

And on top of this the now former President Null, now known as the Big Zero, had openly stated his support for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Again, I will leave the question of whether the Zero’s  position on this was due to his well documented tendency towards moral nihilism -- or his other well documented tendency towards politically felliating his Muslim supporters -- to the professional historians.

In the meantime the sitting Prime Minister of the United Kingdom definitely had a problem.

And because I was in the process of organizing the evacuation of Israel I caught the phone call.

“Tom,” I said to the PM, “the first thing you need to do is to withdraw your government’s recognition of the Zero and his crew.”

“That will be difficult.”  The PM replied.

“But not impossible.”  I said.

I thought for a moment. 

Then I resumed the conversation.

“What I would suggest is that you read to everyone in the House the section of our Constitution that governs the rules for our presidential elections, and particular you’ll need to explain how the Electoral College works and why it was adopted.  That should get everyone but the hardcore Marxists to go along with the change in policy.”

“But,” replied the PM, “there will be those who will claim that your Electoral College is undemocratic.”

Never mind all of the dead and otherwise nonexistent voters in Chicago and the other urban cesspits ruled by the other party.

“Tom, let me ask this question.”  I said.  “Does Her Majesty’s Government want to deal with an American federal government that is subject to a written supreme law?  Or do you want to deal with an unrestrained mob state which was empowered by false votes and subject only to the will of the leader?”

There was silence on the phone line. 

I broke the silence.

“The last time you had to deal with that was called World War Two.”  I said.  “And I can’t imagine that Her Majesty, or any other remaining veteran of that conflict, would want to see that happen again.  Especially with nukes.”

“No.”  Said the PM.  “Of course not.”

And with that I was going to let the PM deal with his own internal political issues.

I moved on to the next subject.

“The other problem is the question what you’re going to send on this mission.”  I said.  “If I recall correctly, you’re down to one escort carrier in commission, and you don’t even have a proper air group for it.”

Of the three Invincible class carriers built for the Royal Navy only the Illustrious was still in commission.  The Ark Royal was in storage awaiting disposal, and the lead ship of the class had already been stripped of useful parts and sold for scrap.

On top of this all of the Harrier jets built for their Navy and Air Force had been retired and placed in storage due to cuts in the British defense budget.

To an outside observer like myself it would appear that the worst enemy of the British Armed Forces was the British politician.

 I spoke again.

“Quite frankly, sir, I wouldn’t send the Illustrious out without at least a squadron of Harriers from our Marine Corps.”

“We would appreciate that, sir.”  Said the Prime Minister.

That caught me by surprise.

“Just a second, sir.”  I responded.  “I need to make a note.”

On a notepad I wrote a reminder to myself to talk about this to the Marine Corps liaison officer in our temporary headquarters in Omaha.
   
[Days later on the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN75)]

A master chief led me out across the flight deck to the Seahawk helicopter.  The Navy has strict rules that even very important people like myself have to follow.  And I had absolutely no desire to be decapitated by a main rotor or generally shredded by a tail rotor. 

Once I was aboard and my headset was plugged into the intercom, the Seahawk lifted off from the deck of the Truman and flew east towards the remains of the State of Israel.

As soon as I thought it was safe I spoke to the pilot over the intercom.

“ Lieutenant?”   I practically shouted over the noise of the main rotor.  “ How far east can we go?”

“ Did you want to see Jerusalem, sir?”   He replied.

“ Yes!”   I shouted.

“ Me too!”   He shouted back.

The Seahawk flew over the beachhead set up by the Marines as one of the evacuation points for the survivors.  The pilot chose to fly low as he approached the hills to avoid hostile MANPAD missile fire from the damned Arabs.

And then we saw it.

In the final hours of the Six-Day War in 1967 the Chief Rabbi of the IDF desperately searched for some engineers and some explosives.  He wanted to remove the abomination, the Al Aqsa mosque, that the Arabs had built on the Temple Mount.

Forty five years and a few months later, his wish was granted.

The abomination was gone.  The Temple Mount was for all practical purposes cleared of all but the smallest pieces of stone. 

Of the city of Jerusalem all that remained was ashes and rubble.  There were no living things, plant or animal, to be seen.

“ I think we've seen enough, Lieutenant.”   I shouted.

“ Aye, aye, sir!”   He replied.

He turned the Seahawk back toward the beachhead.

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Monday, June 02, 2014

Awaken -- First Chapter

This is the first chapter of a novel that I'm working on.  The working title of the novel is Awaken:




RANDSDAY 2241


Negation, she thought.

A decision can be easy or it could be difficult.

The thunderstorm that crashed upon the capital city was a thing of beauty.  The flash of lightning illuminated the streets and the buildings beyond the window with an electric blue glow.  With the light reflected from her face back upon the inside surface she could see the winkles beneath her eyes and the streaks of gray in her dark hair.

She gave thought to the window before her.

It was both invisible and itself a thing of beauty.  It separated and protected her from the outside environment and allowed her to see it in all its glory.  She could watch the passage of the storm from the safety of her office because of the applied thought of a man.

Those who destroyed the works of men could not conceive of a pane of glass.  Nor could they be taught how to make one and integrate it into a structure.  The thoughts of rational men were nothing to them.  And the works of men that resulted from the trains of rational thought were seen only as abominations that were to be smashed into dust. 

They did not see the truth and they did not want to see the truth.

Reality is real.

Her parents had taught her this before she learned to read.

Understand this and you can understand everything.

But there were those alive who did not want to know.  They actively sought ignorance, and they sought only to negate knowledge and the products of applied knowledge.

And now another of those men had stepped onto her world with the intent of negation, of murdering the people and smashing their works to nothing.  There was nothing that he would be gained from such acts.  It would be the sacrifice of actual things to nothing. 

Absolutely nothing.

Under the existing laws of her nation the subject of her present thought could simply be arrested and processed.  With his death being the ultimate result.

But that would not solve the larger problem.  The subject of the investigation was employed by a group of men back on Earth.  The employers will simply hire another man to attack the worlds under her care.  And the next time she may not be able to stop them.       

The woman had witnessed too much of the horror of negation over the course of her life.  She had seen her parents taken from her simply because they were the only sane people on an insane world.  See had seen her husband murdered simply because he was her husband.

Would it ever end?  How does one deal with such people?

The phone on her desk rang.  She turned and quickly lifted the receiver to speak.

“Yes?”

A man’s voice at the far end replied.

“We’re ready to proceed, ma’am.”

“Do so.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

A trade off then.  Let the immediate subject live and use him to discover his employers.

And then eliminate them.

Across the city the subject of the conversation in question was sleeping naked in a hotel bed.  But not for long.  This would be a hostile encounter.  He had not expected the police on any world, whom he normally thought of as no better than clowns, to break into his hotel room in full tactical mode.  They should not have known of his origin or mission.

The arrest had been absolutely hostile.  At no point was he allowed to speak, nor was he spoken to.  He was gagged  immediately by the black suited police strike team.  He was not given any cover for the weather.  He was dragged through the cold  winter rain to the police assault team transport vehicle in the condition he normally slept in.  On this night in the city of Landfall on the planet Freya he was completely naked.

Upon arrival at their headquarters he was deposited in a holding cell.

Except for the light panels, the steel door, and buttons that controlled the sink and toilet, all the features of the entire holding cell were made of concrete.

This was not a standard jail cell for a common criminal.  The cops here on Freya had taken his presence on their planet seriously.

Very seriously.

Why?  He thought.

He was certain he would soon know why. 

The door of the holding cell opened outwards.  A long stun stick was immediately thrust into the cell and upon his chest.

He was shocked into a state of complete inaction. 

As he lay stunned on the floor the black suited cops entered the cell in mass.  They cuffed him behind the back and inserted a rod between his arms and his back.  The cops then lifted him by the rod and dragged him down a bleak and completely undecorated bureaucratic corridor.  The cops who carried him were escorted by four more officers paired fore and aft.

Not one of them said a word to him.

He was dragged down the corridor and around a corner to the right.  At the end of the second corridor he was carried into an interrogation room.  There was a stainless steel table and two chairs.  He was secured to one of the chairs by the ankles and wrists.

It was five minutes by his estimate before the door to the room opened again.

A woman stepped into the room and sat down at the table opposite of him.

The subject of the arrest took the time to visually examine the woman.  She appeared to be a bit over fifty standard years of age with light stands of gray hair appearing in the neatly cut body of short black hair.  The woman also had blue eyes.  She was dressed as a civilian with a white office blouse and blue slacks.  The woman wore a photo identification badge and carried an immaculate military service grade semiautomatic pistol in the custom black leather holster under her left shoulder.

I’m supposed to be frightened by this old broad?  He thought.  That was foolish of her, very foolish.   

The man then took a close look at the I.D. badge.  It was issued by the Central Security Agency of the Ursa Major Confederation.  Below the photograph on the badge was the logo of the agency.  This was in the form of a flag with a white “X” over a black field.  He did not know that the symbol was technically called the Cross of Saint Andrew.  He saw it as being identical to cross on the battle flag of the Confederate States of America.  He saw it as their admission of being evil.

The name on her photo badge was Judith Stern and showed her rank as Director of the agency.

NO!  He thought.

No! No! No! No!

The woman sitting opposite of him at the table was the true daughter of darkness.  She was the absolute incarnation of evil herself.

Judith Stern was personally responsible for the murder of millions of people on his home world.  No one, not a priest, nor a child, was exempt from her absolute depravity.    

And he has not in the custody of any police agency.  The Freyan CSA was every mercenary soldier’s worst nightmare.  No mercenary soldier operating separately from an organized unit was safe from death by their Pest Control teams.  And ultimately backing the CSA field teams were the planetary landing forces of the Ursa Major Confederation Army and Marine Corps.

Worlds in close proximity to Freya were effectively off limits to mercenary operations.  And in the custody of the Freyan CSA he was already dead.

She looked up at him and spoke.  Her voice was of solid authority, it was firm and without apparent emotion.

“Welcome to The Aquarium.”

She then asked him a question.

“Who are you?”

He did not answer.

There was a slight twitch on her right eyebrow.

She calmly repeated the question.

“Who are you?”

There was no point in screaming.  He tried to reply clearly in a level voice.

“Why don’t you tell me?”

Without a word she looked down and opened the folder on the table before her.

Printed documents?  He thought.  How primitive of them.

She removed a set of reading glasses from a pocket of her blouse and used them to read from the printed file.

“Your name is Michael Gratton.  You were born in the City of New Boston on the planet Kennedy in the Alpha Centauri B system.  You are the second son of the late Prime Minister Thomas Gratton.  After the rescue and reprisal mission to that world your mother brought you as an infant to her family home in the city of Boston in the State of Massachusetts on Earth.  You attended the Boston Latin School and the Federation Military Academy at West Point.  As a junior officer you were wounded in action in a minor dust-up against a band of feral Muslims and subsequently received a knee joint replacement.  You spent the remainder of your time in the army in staff positions and as an instructor at the academy.  You were medically retired from the Federation Army with the rank of Major and emigrated to Xenophon in the Epsilon Indi system.  You are now a minor stockholder in, and company grade officer of the Military Assistance Corporation based on Xenophon.”

Gratton stared at Director Stern silently.  She had used the Freyan term for their crimes against his home world and the crimes they committed against his people.  One of the many people of that world murdered by the Freyans was his own father.

Gratton continued to stare at her until he was able to speak without apparent emotion.

“You are wrong!”  He replied.  “My name is John Fletcher and I am a civilian.”

The planetary clown farce on Freya should not discovered this information on him along with the fact that he was traveling on a false set of identity documents.  With the CSA he was clearly in the hands of a very competent intelligence agency of an absolutely evil nation.

Michael Gratton clearly saw that he was now in deep trouble.

Judith Stern stared straight at him without a visible flinch.

“Major Gratton, or whatever your current rank in the MAC-X Corporation is, you are traveling on a false set of documents, which is a felony.  And you are also a known mercenary, which in the Ursa Major Confederation is a capital offense.”

Gratton looked up at her and replied calmly.

“My name is John Fletcher and I am a witness for our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Judith Stern did not budge or blink.

“No Major Gratton.  You are a veteran officer of the Federation Army, which is a yellow flag for this agency.  You are traveling on false identity documents, which is a red flag.  And you are a member of a commercial organization whose sole purpose is to violate the rights of individuals and of sovereign nations, which is absolutely the black flag for us.  Please explain to us why we should not air out your head?”

Gratton blinked.

He raised his voice to reply.

“There is nothing you can threaten me with!”

Stern responded in a calm voice.

“Of course not, there never is.”

What The Fuck did that mean?

Stern saw that Gratton was mystified.  It was at this time she made her statement.

“Major Gratton, you and your backers seek to negate us -- to remove us from existence.   We need to discover who your backers are and kill them.  In order to do this we are sending you back to Earth.  You will be kept under surveillance and through this we will find the people who trying to destroy us and we will kill all of them.”

Gratton now stared at her.  He then closed his eyes and shook his head. 

So far I had not broken from my cover story, I can still use it.  He thought.  It will work.

“My name is John Fletcher.”  He cried out.  “I am a witness for Our Lord Jesus Christ on this Godless world.  Your people have turned from Our Lord at your eternal peril.  Don’t you understand that?”

Judith Stern stared straight through him as if she were a shipboard laser burning through a starship hull.  She then replied to him.

“Major Gratton, Reality is Real.”   

With that final reply she closed the folder on the table and stood up.  She spoke up to the staff members listening remotely.

“I’m finished.”

An officer opened the door for her from outside.  As she departed more officers suddenly entered the interrogation room and hit him with the stun staff again.  With full effect to full  unconsciousness.

When Michael Gratton awoke he was back on Earth.  The first thing he would hear was the voice of a different woman back on the planet Earth.


So what are your questions?

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Diary 2

There was a saying that originated on the original timeline: If you want something done right, you must do it yourself.

Or something like that.

For Judith and I this was something of a working honeymoon.  Our first stop was London to negotiate directly with several departments of the Imperial Government.  An advantage of have several working spacecraft is that we could fly directly to the Imperial capital instead of having to take the boat. Another advantage was that as long as the spacecraft were still functioning we could place satellites in orbit.

For the Royal Navy we had built three communications satellites which we placed equidistantly in geosynchronous orbit.  Given the still primitive state of technology, even with our assistance, they were massive structures using redundant vacuum tubes systems and powered by a thorium based thermoisotope generator. This was somewhat in line with Arthur C. Clarke’s original paper on the concept in the original 1945 paper.  Although he did envision a fully manned space station where the crew would rebuild and replace the tubes as needed.

Of course we had to also built the ground stations and the communications suites for the RN task force flagships.  Although we strongly suggested redundancy with commo suites installed in all capital ships and cruisers, the Navy brass and their pet politicians wanted to keep costs down.

Obviously I don’t agree nor does Mr. Churchill.  It may take actual operational experience to persuade them to change their alleged minds.

As part of the trip we made a stop in Geneva, Switzerland.  We both traveled on British diplomatic passports.  If anyone asked about our odd accents our answer was usually to say we’re from Canada.  Believe it or not some Europeans are not aware that Canada exists.

We ended up at the Grand Hotel.  It was nothing like the place described in the song by Deep Purple.  But then few people at the present time have ever heard the song.

In the morning I met with the advance team.  Their mission was to keep a watch on a certain Russian emigre.  One who escaped the alleged net for revolutionaries by the Imperial Russian government.  Even though we did provide a warning based on the history recorded on the shipboard database the downtime Russians were apparently loathe to take advice from any atheist.  Even a time traveling atheist from the future.

Their minister in London actually acted as if we were the problem.   As a result the tree worst Bolsheviks escaped the net when it was finally cast.

If you want something done right, do it yourself.

According to the advance team the subject would be sitting on a park bunch at a certain time of the day.  I was there that I would meet him.

I was dressed in normal downtime attire for a tourist. When I walked up to him.  I then spoke.

“Tovarish Lenin?”

He looked up and replied.

“Da?”

It was at this point that I reached for the pistol in the holster under the left shoulder.  I brought the sights into line on his forehead and pulled the trigger.

The Gauss Pistol does not have the report of a normal firearm.  There was a supersonic crack as the round traversed the space to his head. 

A blood colored hole appeared on his forehead.  He then fell forward.  Lenin was dead.

I immediately replaced the weapon in its holster and walked away. The four millimeter pistol round was irreplaceable.  But given the immense crimes he would have brought about without our intervention it was worth it.

We did design a silenced weapon that used downtime technology.  A single shot pistol with an integral silencer.  But I didn’t want the risk of carrying the scent of cordite with me after performing the action.

Trotsky and Stalin remained on the list.  Yes, there was a discussion about eliminating Hitler.  But if we can prevent the coming world war this may prevent his rise to power.

Or it may not.  We have established surveillance on him.

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