Monday, April 07, 2014

Problem

I have a bit of writer's block. Actually two cases of writer's block. I was working alternately on two science fiction novels. One is set in a FTL universe and the other in a STL mode.

Here's the first chapter from the STL novel:


One thing I had certainly learned in my original incarnation on Earth was that in order to see a task performed correctly I had to do it myself. Today I led a raid on a native nest. This was usually called a pest control operation. Given the very hostile history between the human colonists and the stone age natives of the planet this euphemism was putting it mildly.

The natives, originally classified scientifically as Reptantis Sapiens Eden, and now generally known as shrieks, were bipedal and bilateral egg laying carnivores with scales and feathers instead of skin and hair. Shrieks would eat anything that moved. They would even eat other members of their species, both from their own nest and other nests.

They also ate the remains of the first wave of human colonists that were killed when the Plymouth Colony was overrun and destroyed.

Two local days ago a patrol drone spotted a hunting party of shrieks taking down a thagosaurus. The saurian herbivore had wandered into a patch of wild tobacco and was gorging itself and getting high on the leaves of the imported plants. It was too wasted on the nicotine of the imported plants to notice the native hunting party bearing down on it.

I sat with a full Ranger company of the Guard as we watched the video of the shrieks surrounding the thagosaur and engaging it. There were cheers from the rangers as the thagosaur struck one of the shrieks with it’s tail spikes, mortally wounding it. But the poor and high creature was doomed. The largest of the shrieks carried a human made axe and struck the prey square on the head with it.

The natives had stolen the axe and other artifacts when they overran Plymouth, the first human settlement on the planet. They hunted down and slaughtered all the human colonists who could not escape.

The video ended. It wasn’t necessary to watch the hunting party strip the useful meat from their prey and the dead member of their party.

This morning Alpha Company of the Ranger Battalion of the Guard would drop in on the shriek nest.

The next stage after the briefing was suiting up. The details of the process are essentially boring. The Ranger Combat Suit is an armored exoskeleton with sensors, strength enhancement, full isolation from the external environment, jump thrusters, and full life support. A ranger could fight in space with it if necessary. The process on donning the suit requires assistance from the ground crew and a full test of the onboard combat sensors. The onboard computer even has a program for translating the speech of shrieks and displaying it as written language on the heads-up display. Not every ranger runs the translation program, but I do.

Once the company was suited up they assembled at the landing field. The system primary, Alpha Centauri A, was still below the eastern horizon. The other star of the system, Alpha Centauri B, was in the overhead position and was the brightest star in the sky. Even with the lights of the landing field glowing at full power the light of the star had the effect of the full moon back on Earth. From where I was standing I could see virtually all the buildings of Camp Heinlein and the ruins of the Plymouth Colony.

The four landing craft, with their lift fans open and idling, were ready to carry out the mission. The rear hatch and ramps were open. We loaded one platoon on each landing craft and took off.

By our custom the landing craft flew over the ruins of the Plymouth Colony.

The shriek nest, designated Sierra Mike, was roughly a thousand kilometers from Camp Heinlein. It was the furthest nest out from the ruins of the Plymouth Colony that was identified as a site holding human artifacts. Roughly five generations had been hatched since Plymouth was overrun and destroyed. And even though no shriek living today would remember the massacre there was our own standing policy to enforce.

Once the second wave of human colonists arrived in the system it was our policy to recover all human artifacts and remains from the shrieks. No shriek was allowed to hold a human made artifact. Nor were they to possess human remains. The penalty these acts would be the complete annihilation of their nest.

Over the years since the second wave arrived in the system the shrieks fled away from the new human base at Camp Heinlein.

But no distance, not even a thousand kilometers, was far enough from human vengeance.

The local sun was beginning to rise as the landing craft approached the nest.

The nest was located in a dense forest. It was theorized that this practice began as a way to protect the nest from large predators. It also had provided some protection from human reprisal actions. It took time us for us to develop tools and tactics to negate this practice.

The landing craft came in at treetop level at the four points of the compass with respect to the position of the nest. The craft I was riding was on the north corner of the square. With the rear ramp open I was the first to step out. The jump thrusters fired to slow my descent as I dropped to the forest floor. The landing craft I jumped from continued to float to southwest as each ranger stepped out and descended to the ground. The rangers now formed up in a tactical square surrounding the nest and on my command marched inwards.

Very shortly we came in contact with the shrieks.

Someone spoke on the company channel.

“Alpha-three-oh-three! Have contact!” There was a pause and then he spoke again. “Recovered flash drive from necklace!”

“Very good!" I replied. “Continue inward!”

The first kill was scored by Ranger A-303, Sergeant Les Keller. He was one of the first rangers who stopped counting the number of shrieks that he killed.

Every ranger carried a small bag for recovered artifacts. The shrieks apparently believed that human artifacts were magical or conferred protective powers on them.

I then encountered a shriek. It was a very large male with a flint headed spear. It leveled the spear and charged at me while screaming.

The translation program was active. A line of text appeared at the bottom of my heads-up display. It said, “DIE MOTHER MATER!”

I should have shot it.

Instead I let go of my mag rifle. The sling snapped it back to the carry position on the suit. I grabbed the fore end of the spear and ripped it from the hands of the shriek. I then proceeded to beat the shriek to death with the blunt end of the spear.

I searched the body. There were no human artifacts on the shriek.

One could argue that I was showing off by killing the shriek with it’s own spear. Go ahead. I don’t mind the criticism at all.

The fact of the matter is that all of our ammunition is still made on Zion, the other and now primary inhabited planet of the system. And it’s dammed difficult and expensive to haul it across interplanetary space in the Alpha Centauri system. Even with fusion drive spacecraft.

And if there one thing that I have learned it’s that one can never have enough ammunition.

The rangers continued inwards toward the nest. I quietly, with only the supersonic crack of the magnetically propelled bullets, killed four more shrieks in the forest with my rifle.

We then came to outer edge of the nest. It was a cluster of primitive shelters surrounding a central large hut. The rangers went through the nest, shelter by shelter, killing every shriek they found without regard to apparent age or gender. Even the recent hatchlings were killed. No exception could be made. No exception would EVER be made.

We then came to the central hut.

I stepped in first with my rifle at the ready position.

The sensors indicated the air inside the hut was warmer than the ambient air outside. The hut was where all their eggs were laid and buried for protection from other animals and the elements.

But not from us.

There was a path through the raised soil that covered the eggs. At the end of the path was a shrine. Before the shrine was the priestess.

She was the oldest of the female shrieks. It’s feathers were white and withered. And she wore a stainless steel fingernail clipper on her sacred necklace. She turned around and began to speak. If the translation program was functioning properly it was addressing me as a deity and begging me not to kill the remaining eggs.

I looked past the priestess to the shrine. At the center of the shrine was skull of a human infant. To me it was a clear indication that this clutch of shrieks was involved in the Plymouth Massacre.

I placed a single round in the head of the priestess.

I stepped forward to the shrine. I gently lifted the skull of the child from the shrine and placed it in my recovery bag.

I then spoke.

“Aright. Let’s finish this.”

Rangers stepped into the hut and positioned themselves on the pathway.

“Infrared on!” I ordered.

At the voice command the infrared vision display lit up in my visor. The eggs below the loose soil were now fully visible to me and the rangers in the hut.

“Ready!” I ordered. “Fire!”

Every one of the eggs was penetrated by multiple rifle rounds. Not one egg remained intact. The last of the shrieks in the nest were dead.

As I stepped outside the hut I spoke on the company channel.

“Did anyone find that damned axe?”

“Alpha-three-oh-three! I did!” Replied Sergeant Keller.

Of course he would find it. He was effective that way.

As the rangers departed from the nest there was one final act of destruction. Several white phosphorus grenades were tossed into the remains of the nest, setting it on fire.

The rangers proceeded to the nearest large clearing and boarded the landing craft. As usual I was the last to board.

Upon our return to Camp Heinlein the rangers separated into two groups. Those who did not retrieve any artifacts immediately returned to the barracks. Those who retrieved a human made object lined up for the march to the memorial.

I called out to one of those rangers.

“Sergeant Keller!”

“Yes, sir!”

He quickly ran over to my position. I could feel the mass of his ranger suit shaking the ground with each step he made.

I spoke to him.

“Sergeant, could you do me a favor?”

“Yes, sir.”

I handed him the nail clipper I recovered from the priestess.

“Sir?” He said.

“I also recovered the skull of a child.” I said.

“I understand.” He nodded and replied. “Yes, sir.”

I stood in my ranger suit with the helmet open in the forensic lab of the base as one of the doctors performed the identification tests. The doctor’s name was Cheryl Adams. She was a granddaughter of a little girl who was orphaned as a result of the attack on the Plymouth Colony. The girl’s mother had loaded her aboard one of three functional landing craft without boarding herself. All of the landers had docked with the starship Mayflower which still in orbit above the colony. The landers would never return to colony. It was too late to rescue any more colonists.

Doctor Adams had completed the tests.

“I’m finished.”

She brought up a video file on the workstation monitor. The sound and image was of a happy and smiling newborn girl with blue eyes.

I stepped forward.

“Her name was Elizabeth Mary Cook.” Said Doctor Adams. “She was my great aunt.”

The girl was also the granddaughter of Andrew Cook, one of the owners of the Mayflower, and whom I met in my first life on Earth.

I continued to watch the video file.

There are some people back on Zion ask me how I could live with what I do to the shrieks.

The fact is that I do not have a problem at all.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Space battle 1 (updated)

He (the Commandant of the space patrol) briefly dropped the handset of the telephone away from his face and looked at it.

Was the P.M. out of his bloody mind?

He returned the handset to the proper position and spoke again.

“Sir, we are unable to fire a warning shot in space.”
“Why not?”  The P.M. replied.

Wow, he thought, the elected moron actually asked a valid question.

“Sir, laser beams are not visible in the vacuum of space.”

“What?  How can that be?  It’s done all the time in the movies?”

The Commandant mentally reminded himself that he was speaking to an elected official.  Someone who was ignorant of anything outside of the realm of politics, such as the actual facts of nature.

“This is not the cinema, sir.  And in any case the Concord is already off the planet.  As such it is now subject to the laws and regulations of the Freyan Republic.  We have no valid grounds to board her at this time.”

The Prime Minister responded with anger.

“Do you want your immortal soul to go to Hell?  There is a child aboard that ship who is in the hands of unfit parents and who will never know the light of our lord Jesus Christ!”

The Commandant knew that to answer truthfully would result in his being fired by the P.M., but he had to do it.

“Prime Minister, the Concord is an Alissa Two class light merchant built and operated by the Freyaspace Corporation.  This vessel is built with two mounts for class two beam lasers rated at five hundred megawatts each.  Under Freyan law that vessel is authorized to be armed for self defense.  As she is carrying an executive of the corporation and his family I would fully expect her to be so.  And the attempt to seize a child passenger from her parents in open space is by interstellar law is clearly an act of piracy.  As Commandant of the Space Patrol I must follow only the laws of nations and of nature.  And you sir, can tell the Archbishop to go fuck himself.”

With that the Commandant hung up the phone.

He began the process of clearing his desk.  The personal items he wanted to keep were neatly stacked in a bag on the desk. Everything else went straight into the trash can.

Within ten minutes there was a knock on the door.

“Come in.”  He shouted.

The door opened.  The familiar figure of the Executive Officer of the Space Patrol entered the room.

The Commandant spoke.

“Michael, I assume you have news for me?”

“Sir,” he said, “you have been relieved of command.  I’ve been promoted and appointed to take your place.”

“So you finally made the rank of commander.”

“I’ve been promoted to the rank of captain, sir.”

The man who was now the former Commandant shook his head.

“Well, isn’t that nice?”  He said.  “You’ll have a nice title for the letters you’ll have to write.”

“Letters, sir?”

The former Commandant almost cracked a smile as he replied.

“The letters that you’ll have to write to parents and wives of the men you are sending up to their deaths.  The Freyaspace Concord is an armed merchantman, and she out guns the entire space patrol.  But it not my problem now.”

With that he picked up the bag with his personal belongings and departed from his former office.

Above planet the Freyaspace Concord continued to accelerate at the standard rate of ten meters per second/per second.  In normal commercial operations to each the safe distance for the jump to hyperspace a ship would accelerate for the first half of the trip through normal space and them brake for the second half.  It would to stand still with respect to the planet.  For a world of the size and mass of Kennedy the standard trip would take five hours.  To escape from the idiots on Kennedy Captain Kovac decided to simply accelerate all the way on the leg out and to perform the deceleration phase after the jump through hyperspace.  In this special case the outbound leg would take three and a half hours.

They were a half hour into the outbound leg when they were interrupted.

The guard channel on the radio lit up.

Freyaspace Concord, this is space guard cutter James Joyce. You will cease acceleration and prepare to be boarded.

Moron, thought Captain Kovac, they actually found an idiot who would take the mission.

Too bad.

Kovac read the sensors from the pilot’s station.  He then rolled the ship so that both of the laser mounts would have a clear shot at the space guard cutter.

He then spoke on the intercom.

“Fire control stations, report when you are locked on the target.”

“Starboard mount, clear and locked.”

“Port side mount, clear and locked.”

The pilot of the space guard cutter repeated his call.

Freyaspace Concord, cease acceleration or you will be fired upon.”

As he learned in basic ethics class while attending primary school the issuance of a threat was itself an act of coercion.  And that once the line had been morally crossed that one must respond with open force.

Captain Kovac gave the order.

“Fire.”

In the vacuum of space the laser beams were invisible.  Only upon striking the target did they become brightly visible and have an decisive effect.  Both beams burned through into the cockpit of the cutter.  The flight crew was both incinerated and exposed to vacuum at the same time.  With the control system dead the life support system of the small craft also died.  The boarding party riding aft of the cockpit would expire before the pilots of another space guard craft would dare to leave the planet.

Upon reaching the safe zone Captain Kovac made the jump to Earth.

There was one other casualty from this incident.  Captain Michael Herman, the commandant of the Kennedy Space Guard, committed suicide by a gunshot to the head.  He was denied a Christian burial by the Catholic Church.

Labels:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Space Battle 1

This is a scene I just wrote for the novel project.  I haven't inserted it into a chapter yet.

He (the Commandant of the space patrol) briefly dropped the handset of the telephone away from his face and looked at it.

Was the P.M. out of his bloody mind?

He returned the handset to the proper position and spoke again.

“Sir, we are unable to fire a warning shot in space.”

“Why not?”  The P.M. replied.

Wow, he thought, the elected moron actually asked a valid question.

“Sir, laser beams are not visible in the vacuum of space.”

“What?  How can that be?  It’s done all the time in the movies?”

The Commandant mentally reminded himself that he was speaking to an elected official.  Someone who was ignorant of anything outside of the realm of politics, such as the actual facts of nature.

“This is not the cinema, sir.  And in any case the Concord is already off the planet.  As such it is now subject to the laws and regulations of the Freyan Republic.  We have no valid grounds to board her at this time.”

The Prime Minister responded with anger.

“Do you want your immortal soul to go to Hell?  There is a child aboard that ship who is in the hands of unfit parents and who will never know the light of our lord Jesus Christ!”

The Commandant knew that to answer truthfully would result in his being fired by the P.M., but he had to do it.

“Prime Minister, the Concord is an Alissa Two class light merchant built and operated by the Freyaspace Corporation.  This vessel is built with two mounts for class two beam lasers rated at five hundred megawatts each.  Under Freyan law that vessel is authorized to be armed for self defense.  As she is carrying an executive of the corporation and his family I would fully expect her to be so.  And the attempt to seize a child passenger from her parents in open space is by interstellar law is clearly an act of piracy.  As Commandant of the Space Patrol I must follow only the laws of nations and of nature.  And you sir, can tell the Archbishop to go fuck himself.”

With that the Commandant hung up the phone.

Labels:

Friday, January 31, 2014

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night, Again

I did not actually intend to do it but somehow I wrote a version of the classic "Dark and Stormy Night" opening for a novel.

I quote:

Reality is real.

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

Know this and you can know everything.

But there were those alive who did not want to know.  They sought not to know.  Only to destroy knowledge and the products of knowledge.

Another destroyer has come to us.  
Someone had stepped upon her world with the intent of smashing it to nothing.  There was nothing that would be gained from this act.  It would be the sacrifice of everything to nothing.  Absolutely nothing.      

The woman had witnessed too much of the horror 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 never end?

She stared at the world outside of her office window.

It was raining in the night of an alien world.  This world was not the home of Mankind but it was now the home of her people.  It was here they found some comfort and should have found absolute sanctuary.

She gave thought to window before her.

It was both a thing invisible and a thing of beauty.  It separated and protected her from the outside environment and allowed her to see it in all its glory.

The winter thunderstorm that crashed upon the city was a thing of beauty in itself.  The flash of lightning illuminated the streets and the buildings beyond the window with a blue glow.  And the flash of light reflected from her face back upon the inside of the window.  From this image she could see the winkles beneath her eyes and the streaks of gray in her dark hair.

She could watch the passage of the storm from the safety of her office because of the applied thought of a man.

The destroyers could not conceive of a pane of glass.  Nor could they be taught how to make it.  The thoughts of rational men were nothing to them.  And the works of men that followed the thoughts were seen only as abominations to be smashed into dust.

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

How does one deal with such beings?
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.”
 As a result I was inspired to submit an opening sentence to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

As follows:

"The thunderstorm that crashed upon the city was a thing of beauty, the flash of lightning illuminated the streets and the buildings beyond the window with a 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."

-- Judith

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Announcement

On my primary blog I have made an announcement:

As I write this a full moon is setting to the west.

A friend recently suggested that I stand for the office of President of the United States.  After giving the concept some thought I have decided to do so.

My fundamental goal as President will be to restore complete compliance of the Federal Government to the Constitution and the complete sovereignty of our nation with respect to the transnational order.

And I fully look forward to interaction with the Fourth Estate:


Reporter: Mr. Bates, how do you as a Christian Conservative justify your opposition to Social Justice?

Candidate LB: Good question.  Have you thought of asking an actual Christian Conservative?

Reporter: What?

Candidate LB: I stopped believing in the Western Monotheist Tradition over four decades ago.  I have made no secret of my disbelief since that time.  Even when I enlisted in the United States Army during the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

In light of this answer the reporter would have to engage in actual thought in order to respond.

Regardless of the outcome I fully expect to have fun.   
I have not had this level of emotional uplift since I uploaded the first issue of The Resister on the talk.politics.guns newsgroup and every bulletin board I could log on to.

This will be one Hell of a run.

Labels:

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Some Old Stuff

Here was something I wrote as part of a Second Civil War Scenario:

Interview with MAJ Ken Biggles, History and Moral Philosophy instructor at the Continental Army Infantry School, Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Aired on the Free America Network, September 2, 2005.

KB: Shouldn't you be talking to Rolve Hemmerding about this?

FAN: We tried, he's off at the front.

KB: Hmmm ... he's usually muttering something about needing to do some more field work ... actually, I think he's probably safer out there.

FAN: Oh?

KB: He has a problem with practitioners of the Kantian theory of driving. He just lost a third car to someone running a red light, all on the same street too.

FAN: Ouch! Getting back to the subject, can you comment on the U.N.'s proposed peace plan.

KB: Sure can, It's a classic example of what George Orwell would call "political language."

FAN: Which is?

KB: Quote, "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind," close quote.

What the U.N. calls a "peace plan" is in fact a demand for surrender.

FAN: How could they demand surrender? Aren't we supposed to be winning?

KB: We are making gains against the PDA. Of course I can't go into any detail on that ... do you listen to the BBC World Service?

FAN: The Voice of the New World Order? Yes. According to the BBC, the situation as of today is that we have Alaska, and apart from about two thirds of California and the city of St. Louis we control every thing west of the Mississippi. We control all of Minnesota and Wisconsin. All of Michigan apart from Lansing, which is under siege, and Detroit, which is only surrounded. Except for Chicago, Gary, Indianapolis and East St. Louis, which are under siege, we control all of Illinois and Indiana. And we have all of Ohio west of Interstate 71. We also have New Orleans under siege. The BBC is claiming that there are offensive operations in Eastern Ohio and Southern Mississippi and Alabama. They are also claiming that there is significant resistance activity in the rest of the country.

In short, we're winning. Now given that we are winning, isn't it odd that their so-called peace plan calls for giving everything we have gained to the "People's Democracy" who are losing?

KB: No, its insane. But remember, we are dealing with altruists.

WE are the Constitutional government of the United States, we DO NOT share power with a gang of slavers and murderers.

Labels:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Statement of Fact

In the ninth chapter of my current project I have a character say this:

“Given what I’ve seen and heard so far I would have to conclude that these people do not engage in any thought at all. By themselves they could not have survived the journey to Alpha Centauri. It’s as if their survival were a plot point in a work of fiction.”

That's a bit too obvious, isn't it?