Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Step Back - Part 18

The Eagle was under spin as Judith Grant was being wheeled by a medical assistant into the main shipboard mess. On this morning she would eat a solid breakfast for the first time since she was brought on board.

She was wheeled up to the head table and to a position to the left of the head of the table. Doctor Boatman sat down on the opposite side of her. The chair at the head of the table remained empty.

Alice looked at the empty chair for a moment and spoke.

“He’s usually early for breakfast.” She said.

“Who is?” Asked Judith.

“Dad.” She replied.

At that moment Evelyn Boatman came to the table . In his hands were a fully loaded plate, a cup of coffee and the eating utensils.

Alice spoke up.

“Dad, you don’t have to go through the line like everyone else!”

“Of curse I do,” he replied, “As the mission commander I have to set a good example.”

“It’s not that!” Said Alice. “It’s not that at all! You’re still recovering from that gunshot wound and you still need to take it easy.”

“Yes, Doctor Boatman.” He said.

Judith quietly stared at the two. Her mind saw a that the doctor was obviously older but she spoke to a boy her age as if he were her father.

“I don’t understand.” She said.

Evelyn replied.

“Miss Grant, you are still recovering from that fall you took while leaving your father’s house. Try to remember farther back. What was reported about my apparent youthful state?”

Then she remembered and replied.

“That you’ve underwent a treatment that recreates your mind in a newly grown body.”

“Yes.” He said. “And you were in a very bad condition when you were brought aboard, Doctor Boatman was actually prepping to do the procedure on you.”

“Yes.” Said Doctor Boatman.

“You were?” Said Judith.

“Yes,” Doctor Boatman replied, “The recording of the memories we could have done right away, but it would take about two standard years to grow a new body. And the new body would be at the equivalent age of twelve standard years.”

“And then comes the fun part.” Said Evelyn.

“The fun part?” Said Judith.

“Waking up.” He replied. “It takes time for the conscious mind to learn how to speak again and use the new body. So much so that some people have opted to not do the procedure for a second time.”

“Unfortunately yes.” Said Alice.

She then looked down on her father’s plate. It was covered with scrambled eggs with cheese sauce, four sausage links, and hash brown potatoes.

“Dad. How many times have I told you to back off on the fats? There’s at least four eggs on that plate!”

“I’m a growing boy.” He replied with a smile.

Judith got the joke and keeled over in laughter.

If there was actually such a thing as midnight oil they would be burning large quantities of it at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. In one of the assembly halls two Soviet bureaucrats who were administrators at the cosmodrome were watching as the nuclear payload was being attached to the Proton launcher.

“I still think we should send a properly manned Soyuz Capsule for a contact mission.” Said the senior administrator.

“The Proton is not a man rated launcher.” Said the second.

“Neither was the R-7 when we sent up Gagarin.”

The second administrator looked at the first

“So who would you send up?” He said.

“Leonov as the mission commander, and there would be no shortage of volunteers for the second seat.”

The second administrator nodded.

“So write up your suggestion.” He said.

“I did.” The senior replied. “There’s been no reply, yet.”

The second administrator thought he had better connections within the party apparatus, and it was at this time he decided to write his own paper on the subject.

At the base in Nevada a delegation from Israel, including the Netanyahu Brothers, were watching a documentary. Onscreen a middle aged civilian man with an obvious military bearing, the Presidential Chief of Staff Allen Keller, was being escorted to a grey painted advanced helicopter on the flight deck of a supercarrier. The number 75 painted in white was clearly visible on the island of the ship.

“What ship was this?” Yoni asked.

An uptime NCO, a navy chief, answered.

“The U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, sir.”

Yoni nodded.

Once the helicopter lifted off Keller spoke to the pilot over the intercom.

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

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

“Yes!” Keller shouted.

“Me too!” The pilot shouted back.

Yoni had another question.

“What type of helicopter was that?”

“A Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk, sir.”

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

And then they saw it.

In the final hours of the Six-Day War in 1967 the Chief Rabbi of the IDF had desperately searched for some army 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, the wish was finally 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, human, plant or animal, to be seen.

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

“Aye, aye, sir!” The pilot replied.

The Seahawk turned back toward the beachhead.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Step Back -- Part 17

“Final burn completed.”

Lieutenant Cook, the commander of this mission, looked about the command deck of the subordinate craft. Even with the return to free fall everyone and everything was working smoothly. This was especially true with the Downtime American volunteers who made up part of the crew for the mission.

“Very good.” He said.

The Falcon, along with her sisters Harrier, Kite, Owl and Osprey, were the largest subordinate craft carried aboard the Eagle on the mission to Sol. As with th Eagle they had been fitted with the FTL Drive. And as with the Eagle the FTL Drive had been disconnected from the control and energy systems of the vessels. For this mission the drive had actually been dismantled and placed in storage to improve the mass fraction of the craft.

The image on the primary screen of the command deck was split with a virtually straight line between a field pf stars and a the night side upper atmosphere of the planet Jupiter. The flashes of lightning that could be seen from this orbit would put the electrical output of a Terrestrial hurricane to shame.

But their mission wasn’t to play tourist, the Falcon was here for fuel.

Although the Eagle was designed and constructed to use a quantum singularity as the primary power source, the auxiliary generators, as well as the primary powerplants of the auxiliary craft and surface installations were fusion reactors.

Fusion reactors used Deuterium and Helium-3 for fuel. While Deuterium could be found on Earth the sources for any reasonable quantity of Helium-3 were the large gas giants. In the history of the primary timeline Jupiter and Saturn were robotically mined for Helium-3. For the mission to Sol the necessary mining machines were duplicated and brought along to support the mission.

Lieutenant Cook switched on the intercom and spoke to the crew of the Falcon.

“This is the commander, we have arrived, let’s get to work.”

Back on Earth in her Arlington office Lieutenant Commander Keller was having another meeting with Colonel Short.

“Walt,” she said,” you asked why we have a fundamental contempt for the constabulary. There is an answer but you may not like it.”

Walter Short thought for a moment before responding.

“So?” He said. “If we are not willing to face an unpleasant truth we may as well be dead.”

Keller smiled. What Short just said to her was a verbatim statement straight from the historic record.

She replied.

“There is a long history of abuses that led up to The Reformation--I’ve included several works on the subject on this memory chip that you can read on your laptop...”

She handed him a memory chip encased in bright blue plastic.

“...but the major incident that touched off The Reformation was the Oakland Massacre. After the president elect was assassinated at the orders of President Null, he issued an additional command for the civilian police forces to use deadly force on any demonstrations in opposition to his continued rule.”

“That’s a war crime!” Said Colonel Short.

“Yes.” Keller replied. “It was.”

Keller entered a command into the her desktop workstation. The large video screen on a wall lit up with an image of the Oakland Police in action. The Oakland cops wore dark blue uniforms with body armor and carried military grade carbines.

Colonel Short spoke up.

“Those aren’t cops!” He said.

“Not by the current standards.” Commander Keller replied. “Up to the time of the Last Election both parties had pursued a policy of police militarization.”

“Why?”

“It was deemed expedient in the pursuit of other policies.”

Short shook his head in apparent disgust.

On the screen civilians were peacefully gathered. Some of them carried signs that simply said: “Resign!” Other demonstrators carried signs with something that Colonel Short recognized as the European road sign symbol forbidding an action over the number zero.

“No Zero?” He said.

“Yes.” Keller replied. “At that time President Null was also called The Big Zero.”

“Ouch.” Short replied.

The video then showed a man with a flak vest civilian attire leaning over to speak to the lead policeman. The Police Captain then spoke through a megaphone to command the demonstrators to disperse.

One of the demonstrators shouted back.

“We The People are the sovereign authority, we give the orders to you!”

The civilian in the flak vest appeared to be clearly outraged and apparently issued another order to the Police Captain.

The Police Captain then shouted orders to his men.

“Take aim and fire!”

Apparently the camera operator was hit in the initial volley. Then another person picked up the camera and ran away with it.

“And this was broadcast?” Said Colonel Short.

“Yes, on the Internet.” Commander Keller replied.

Short had read about the construction of the Internet. It was originally intended to be a system for military communication during a nuclear war based on the fiber optic lines and multiple dispersed nodes. The transfer of the Internet to civilian use and the further commercial expansion of it effectively ended the days of a centralized and controllable mass media.

Colonel Short whistled.

“And this led to the radical reforms of the police?”

“Yes.” Keller replied. “After The Reformation the civilian constabulary was demilitarized and largely disarmed. The doctrines originally put forth by Sir Robert Peel were adopted and policemen were recruited exclusively from veterans of the Federal Service.”

“And it worked? Even with serious criminals?”

“Well what you call serious criminals were put to death. That’s another reform, sir.”

And all Colonel Short could do at that point was nod.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Step Back, Part 16

In the Nevada desert Harry Barnes was watching the sunset with a new companion.

Barnes had just earned his Doctorate in Philosophy when Ayn Rand asked him to go to Nevada to represent the Objectivists at the Uptimer’s base. As the job prospects for philosophers who actually treated reality as being real were appallingly slim at best he took the job.

And it was here in the cluster of the temporary structures that served as offices and housing that he met someone.

Jane March was the Deputy Engineer for the FTL Drive System installed aboard the Eagle. She had flown with the Eagle on her two successful missions to Proxima Centauri and Barnard’s Star. There was no expectation of a problem on the mission to Sol.

When it was discovered that the FTL drive had deposited the Eagle in what was clearly the past she personally performed the diagnostic examination of the system. When no fault could be found in the FTL Drive she called for the complete disconnection of the system from the energy and control systems of the ship.

With the FTL Drive effectively converted into an inert mass within the hull of the Eagle the Deputy Engineer clearly needed a new assignment. As someone had to take charge of the construction of the surface base in the Nevada desert Lieutenant Jane March was the clear and natural choice.

On the ground there was a celebration of the success of the last operation. The Rangers and the few fortunate young women and other civilians who were allowed into the base were holding a dance. Harry would be attending the event as Jane’s guest.

Both were formally dressed, Harry in a white suit with a bow tie and Jane in her Dress Blues, as they stepped into the newly constructed hangar that served as the venue for the event.

There wasn’t a band playing for the event. But there was an improvised sound system that played music that would not be recorded yet on this timeline. The current musical number was appropriate for a slow dance. Jane recognized the artist as Sade and the lyrics were in the form of a question.

Is it a crime, Is it a crime?
That I still love you?
And I want you to love me too?


Lieutenant March looked around and found the commander of the Rangers.

“There he is.” She said to Harry. “Let’s go over there.”

“Okay.”

To any downtime observer Nathan Benson had the appearance of the captain of a high school football team in his dress uniform. But once one was in range of his voice it was clear that this was an old man in a young body. The cluster of people that surrounded him included a Colonel from the Marine Corps. As the couple came within earshot they could hear the marine ask a question.

“Normally an infantry unit embarked on a ship are designated Marines, why did your people go with the term Ranger?”

“Well sir, The Rangers are the regular component of the armed forces in our system. And our first deployment was to suppress the natives on the planet Eden.”

The Colonel’s wife spoke up.

“Eden?”

“Yes ma'am,” said Benson, “the planet orbiting Alpha Centauri A. The first ship to arrive was the Mayflower. They set down their colony on the secondary continent because the main land mass was overrun by some very large and nasty carnivores.”

“What were they like?” She asked.

“Well the main one was called Fuherersaurus by us, it could eat a Tyrannosaurus Rex for lunch. Unfortunately the second continent had stone age natives, Reptantis Sapiens Eden, who saw omnivores like us as something to eat.”

“How could they do that?” The Colonel asked.

“Ideology sir,” Benson replied, “we discovered it during a download.”

“A download?” The Marine asked.

“Yes sir, it’s a procedure where full cybernetic contact is made with the subject’s neural network, and the contents of the brain are recorded and processed for information.”

“I don’t understand.” Said the Marine Colonel.

“I don’t blame you.” Lieutenant March cut into the discussion. “The process of downloading originally developed as part of our recorporation technology and was adapted as an alternative to vocal interrogation.”

“Anyway,” Benson spoke up, “the last starship from Earth was about to arrive at Eden and the entire Ranger Battalion, minus the cadre, was deployed to the planet for this. As it turned out the natives were about to attack our base on Eden in roughly division strength. And it was decided to grab a leader for download.”

Lieutenant March already knew the story but remained silent.

Benson continued to speak.

“Anyway on Eden I came to the attention of the Old Man, Number Four at the time, and he reassigned me as his aide.”

The Marine made a clearly sour face on hearing this.

“I don’t blame you sir,” said Benson, “this was my first combat deployment and I suddenly got assigned to a rear echelon spot. But the thing is that the Old Man likes to lead from the front, so I got to go with him on a snatch and grab mission for one of the native leaders. Once we had his back at the base we had a conversation before the download process was begun.”

“How could you speak to them?” Another woman asked.

“Well ma’am, we used a translation program on the base’s mainframe computer.”

“I don’t understand.” She said.

Lieutenant March cut in to answer.

“Our computers are very powerful. For example the portable laptop computer that we are using to rum the music sound system here has many times the memory and computing power of every locally made system on the planet Earth.”

Benson spoke up again.

“So anyway, we have the native leader strapped to the table and the techs aren’t quite ready yet so we asked some questions.”

"Such as?” Said Harry.

“Well, such questions as, why if they have molars do they not eat plants.”

“So why not?” Harry asked.

“It was a religious doctrine. The next thing the Old Man does is to take a pliers from his toolkit and pull out one of the molars and shows it to the native, in his face.”

“I take it that the native didn’t take it well?” Said the Marine.

“No sir, he didn’t.”

“So what happened to the natives?” Harry asked.

Benson replied.

“We torched the main group from orbit, just like we just did with North Vietnam.”

“But there’s another group.” Said Jane March.

“Oh yes,” Benson replied, “another group broke off from the main body, built some dugout canoes and crossed the strait between the two continents and set up their own villages with farmland.”

“They’ve gone back to being omnivores?” Harry asked.

“Yes,” said Benson, “and as they’re evolving we decided to leave them alone.”

It was on Thursday morning in the basement of the French Embassy in Tel Aviv Lieutenant Joseph Beaujeu of the French Navy--presently covered as an attache and working as an intelligence officer--read the take from the latest dead drop from a source he had picked up.

The message was trouble--very deep trouble.

One of his sources within the Government of Israel was present for a secret briefing. The content of the briefing was about the future of the State of Israel. That in December of 2012 the French Navy would launch a nuclear strike on Israel. As a result one faction of Americans, who were in the midst of an internal civil war, would move to protect and evacuate the survivors of the nuclear strike on Israel. This was shocking but what fully floored Lieutenant Beaujeu was that this faction of Americans also controlled the nuclear weapons and would carry out the retaliation for the destruction of Israel. France would be pounded with chemical and nuclear weapons into effectively nothing and as a result would have no further independent existence as a nation.

The Lieutenant proceeded to write his report for transfer in the diplomatic pouch to Paris.

There was nothing else he could do.

A Movie

On Tuesday afternoon I saw the third part of the screen adaptation of Atlas Shrugged.  In fact I was not aware that it had been released until I read about it on Dr. Ray's blog.  I went to see it in part because I didn't want to be mentally kicking myself for not doing so.  And because my African-American neighbor in the building I'm stuck in was--as is his utterly mindless habit--blasting his stereo again.

What can I say?

Part Three is a series of scenes from the novel that are linked together with narration.  Given their budget there wasn't an alternative apart from not making the film.  Of course given their budget the producers had to break the rule of show-don't-tell.  Depicting the collapse of the Taggart Bridge simply wasn't possible on their collection of thin dimes.  And--of course-due to the budget the narrative had to be truncated.

And again there was no continuity in the casting, apart from the fellow who played the role of Jeff Allen in Part Two, and his cap.  But for the most part the characterization was to a degree effective.  I must admit that virtually every second that a villain was onscreen I wanted to do a Saigon Special on each and every one of them.

For those readers who don't know what a Saigon Special is:



Okay, I'm not always a nice guy.

In my opinion a proper cinematic adaptation of Atlas Shrugged would require a multiple year television series.  Such as the with the re-imaged version of Battlestar Galactica.  




Monday, September 22, 2014

Some Thoughts


Um, living next to those cheeseheads in Wisconsin I would be worried too.

Oh, and something from an old project.

Pay no attention to the penguin.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Step Back, Part 15

On that morning President Nixon was actually looking forward to this particular meeting in the Oval Office.

“Congressman Bush it is good to see you.”  He said to his guest.

“Thank you, sir.”  Congressman George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas replied.

The men walked over the sofas and sat down,

“So what did you want to speak to me about, sir.”  Said Bush.

“As a result of information brought back from the future, Vice President Agnew will not be running for reelection.  I want you to run for the office of Vice President in his place.”

Bush was shocked to hear this, but he quickly recovered.

“I would be honored, sir.”  He replied.

The two men continued their discussion about the future in more detail.

In the Uptime Liaison Office in Arlington, Virginia Lieutenant Commander Keller had two meetings scheduled.  The first was an interview for a leadership position with the security unit at the Uptime Base in Nevada.

Walter E. Short had a resume that was impressive even by Uptime standards.  He was a third-generation West Point graduate and had risen through the ranks of the army and had been on track for a top post within the Pentagon.  But on his first tour of Vietnam he was sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to compile a report on the failings of the current military policies.  His clearly critical report was unexpected and was immediately restricted for the joint chiefs and President Johnson only.

Short had repeatedly applied to join the Special Forces and the request was consistently denied, his subsequent request for retirement from the army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel was granted.

The history of his counterpart on the original timeline was far more impressive.  Short had become a well read author in the fields of politics and military history.  His works would in turn influence the prime movers of the events that would eventually become known as The Reformation.

What he would become on this timeline was now another question.

The intercom buzzed, it was the local civilian receptionist out front.

“Commander, Colonel Short is here.”

“I’ll be right out.”

Keller stepped over to the closet and checked her appearance in the full length mirror mounted inside the door.  With her surface duty dress uniform clearly in order she stepped out to the reception area.

She found Colonel Short standing before the reception desk.  Although he was in a grey civilian business suit his military bearing was obvious as was his regulation haircut.  Even in his early forties he still had the appearance of a film star.  The man could clearly could pass for a fit and healthy version of Marlon Brando.

Keller spoke first.

“Colonel Short, thank you for coming.”

“Thank you, Ma’am.”  He replied.

It was a very pleasant meeting where Colonel Short agreed to take charge of the locally raised security force at the surface base.

The next meeting was with Mr. Gordon Graham, the Nixon Administration’s liaison with the Uptimers in Washington.  She did not expect it to be a pleasant one.

Keller did not stand up when Graham entered her office.

“Take a seat.”  She said.

With Graham seated she spoke again.

“Mr. Graham, do you understand why you are here today?”

“No.”

“It’s because of your failure to perform your job.”

“I don’t understand?”  He replied.  “I have performed my duties perfectly!”

“Really?”  Keller replied.  “Let’s examine one issue in particular.  We are raising a group of locals to perform security duties for our surface base in Nevada.  We intended to arm them with current technology weapons and we asked you to order specific weapons from a specific manufacturer on our behalf.  You have clearly failed to do so.”

Graham’s virtual feathers were virtually ruffled.

“You don’t need that foreign junk!  I ordered perfectly good Americans guns for you instead!”

Great Vacuum, she thought, what a moron.

“Mr. Graham,” she replied, “The M14 rifle was adopted because the United States Army Ordinance Corps has a long standing case of Not-Invented-Here Syndrome.  The M60 machine gun is such a worthless piece of junk that it will eventually be replaced by the FN-MAG machine gun under the designation of M240.  And the M3 Grease Gun is simply an obsolete piece of junk.  We have cancelled the order you placed and I had to place a direct order for the correct ordinance with Fabrique Nationale de Herstal in Belgium.”

The locally raised security force under Colonel Short will be issued FN-FAL rifles, FN-MAG general purpose machine guns, and licenced UZI machine pistols made by FN Herstal.

“You can’t do that!”  Graham proclaimed.

“I had to.”  Commander Keller replied.  “And you’re also fired.”

Graham shouted.

“You can’t do that!  I work for the United States Government!”

No, thought Commander Keller, I suppose I couldn’t fire him.

She replied.

“What I can do is to perform a ballistic lobotomy on you should you step foot in this office again.  Do you understand Mr. Graham?”

Gordon Graham abruptly stood up.

“You haven’t heard the last of this!”

He then stormed out of the office.

It was still afternoon in London when the guest arrived at the Prime Minister’s residence. 

“Mr. Clarke, thank you for coming.”  Said the Prime Minister.

“Thank you, sir.”  Arthur C. Clarke replied.

“Mr. Clarke, you’ve met with these people aboard their ship, why won’t they speak to Her Majesty’s Government here in London?”

“Because in their view you’re not a government.”  Said Clarke.  “They see the Labour Party and socialists in general as savages.”

Prime Minister Harold Wilson was stunned to hear this.

“How can that be?”  He asked.  “Socialism is clearly the most progressive form of social organization.”

“I asked the same question of their Mission Commander, Mr. Boatman.” Clarke replied.  “In their view Socialism is simply stone age savagery heavily disguised with a heavy coat of make up.  He also stated that there was absolutely no point in communicating to any sitting Socialist state as they are in complete denial with all respects to reality.”

What Clarke didn’t repeat to the PM was that they generally held the current Terran Socialists to be a lower form of life than the stone age natives of the Planet Eden.

“Would they ever speak to anyone here in United Kingdom?”

“They may speak with a Dry Tory such as Mrs. Thatcher, but they have nothing but absolute contempt for the Wets.”

This was not what the PM wanted to hear.

In Dallas a group was gathered in prayer before the ER entrance of Parkland Hospital.  The widow of the Reverend William Grant led the group in prayer for her late husband. 

Larry Travis and his film crew were observing the proceedings.  He quickly noticed that not one prayer was said for Judith, the daughter taken by the Uptimers to their ship.

Why?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Step Back, Part 14

On the command deck of the Eagle the Officer of the Watch called the ship to action stations.

Captain Sterling was the first to reach the command deck in response.

“What’s the problem?”  He asked the Watch Officer.

“Sir, the CMO is responding to a request for assistance in Dallas, Texas.  She’s bringing the alert squad of Rangers along for security on the ground.  And there a possible political issue.”

The Watch Officer handed the Captain a printout of the message.

“Very well.”  Said the Captain.  “Rig ship for ground support.”

As the Eagle shifted from spin to free fall Mission Commander Boatman himself reached the command deck.  Captain Sterling updated him on the situation and handed him the printed message from Doctor Boatman.

“This could get interesting.”  Said the Captain.

“Given that the male parental unit has a clear and severe problem with reality, it could.”

On the ground Petty Officer Murphy shouted an order.

“Weapons out!”

The ground security team drew their own gauss pistols and aimed them at the cops present.  The Dallas cops quickly held their own hands up.

The lead cop spoke up.

“What is this?”

Petty Officer Murphy replied.

“You saw what happened in Minneapolis, we don’t want a repetition of that incident. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

Doctor Boatman then holstered her weapon and spoke.

“Officer, we will evacuate our team and the patient without further incident, do you understand?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

She then spoke to the team members.

“Let’s go.”

The medivac lander and the Ranger squad was on the street in front of the ER entrance.   Doctor Goldman watched as Judith was brought aboard and shifted to a bunk in the horizontal position.  The bunk was then rotated to an apparently vertical position.

“Why are you doing this?”  He asked.

Doctor Boatman replied.

“This isn’t Star Trek, we don’t have artificial gravity any form of inertial compensation.  Judith will be laying flat with respect to the axis of acceleration of the lander.”

“Okay.”

“I would be remiss if I didn’t offer you a ride under the circumstances.”  She said.

“I still have a shift to complete.”  He replied.

“I understand.”

Once Doctor Goldman was clear of the medivac lander it took off.

At the White House President Nixon was notified of the incident.

After he hung up the phone he dropped his head onto his hands and spoke to himself.

“Fuck...Fuck...Fuck...”

Larry Travis and his team quickly returned to the station and processed their film.  And the the contents of the film and audio was quickly transmitted by cable to the network headquarters in New York.

David Brinkley would lead off the NBC Nightly News with a warning about the disturbing images.  Millions of American televison viewers would witness the execution of the Reverend William Grant by Doctor Alice Boatman in living color.

In the Soviet Embassy in Washington the Ambassador was viewing the broadcast with a guest.

“It appears that your mission may be over, Comrade Gorbachev.”

“On the contrary, Comrade Ambassador, the Star People are running out of friends here in the United States.  They may have no other choice but to come to us now.”

And that statement may very have been insanely optimistic on his part, thought Gorbachev.

In a hotel room in Kansas City, Missouri, agent John Cross was also watching the evening news.  He had performed several similar executions in the line of duty to the reigning monarch and country.  AS he saw it there was only a short amount of time before the Uptimers would have to leave the United States.  And under the circumstances they would have to be insane to refuse an offer of alliance with Her Majesty’s Government.

But then their actions on the ground couldn’t actually be described as sane.

As the Sun rose over the capitals of Europe three different men were sitting in contemplation of the morning’s news. 

In Vatican City Pope Paul the Sixth read the report of the incident over his morning breakfast.  Yes, William Grant was a disgusting heretic, but murder is murder.  There was no question that the Mother Church would condemn the actions of the godless monsters from space.  The question was how could the church use this incident to bring more Americans back into the fold.

At 10 Downing Street Prime Minister Harold Wilson at breakfast read the account printed in The Times of the event in Dallas.  There was no question that William Grant was a fraud and a monster. But his very pubic execution without any resemblance of due process would clearly anger the Protestant Christian base of the Republican Party in the United States.  And without that support the Uptime People would have no choice but to withdraw from America.

Without question they would have to come to Britain.

Later in the day the Prime Minister would meet with a man flown in Ceylon.  As a well known author of science fiction he was expected to have insights on solving the problems presented by the Uptimers.

In the Elysee Palace outside of Paris President Georges Pompidou sat quietly and watched the 16 millimeter film. It was another copy of the film that was distributed by the United States Government to its various allies, but somehow not to France.

Why?

As had the Soviets the French intelligence service has stolen a copy and sent it to Paris.  President Pompidou viewed it while listening to a translation of the soundtrack though a set of headphones.

When the screening was finished one clear question came to the president’s mind.

What about France?

Not once was his nation mentioned in the description of the future that the Uptimers came from.  Not once.

Why?

Thought For The Day

The modern Progressive is nothing more than a predatory animal pretending to be civilized man.  And as with all predators that attack men they must be hunted down and exterminated.

What are your questions on this block of instruction?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Step Back, Part 13

Doctor Alice Boatman was working in her office at the ground base when the phone rang.

“Hello?”  She said.

“Doctor Boatman?” 

“Yes.”

“This is Doctor Mark Goldman, we met at the conference in New York and I’m calling about a patient that was just brought into Parkland Hospital.”

“Is she stable?”

“For the moment yes, but it’s entirely possible that she will eventually succumb to her injuries.  And there’s also a political factor.”

“Which is?”

“The injuries were the result of her being severely beaten by her father, William Grant, and the Dallas police are reluctant to act on the case.”

An emotional button had just been pressed for her.  Alice firmly  reminded herself to remain calm.

She replied.

“There are several procedures we’ve developed in the last five centuries that could help, but in the absolute worst case we could do a RC.”

“RC?”

“Recorporation, it’s an annoying procedure to go through, but it’s clearly better than dying.  We’ll need a blood sample and we’ll have to do a memory scan on the patient.  Fortunately we do have a portable kit for that.”

“How soon can you come here?”

“We can come right away, but you’ll need to have the local police clear an area for the lander to set down on.”

“Okay, we can do that. Thank you Doctor Boatman.”

Thank you, Doctor Goldman, she thought.

For this mission she would take two assistants and a four man security team in a medivac lander.  And the alert squad of Rangers would come along in their own lander just in case there was a serious security problem on site.

Larry Travis was a field producer in the news department of the NBC Television affiliate in Dallas.  On the job at this station he had personally witnessed the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby.  He was now called into an office by the head the of the news department.

The department head spoke.

“Larry, one of those landing craft from the time traveling starship just set down at Parkland Hospital.  Take a reporter and a film crew and find out what’s going on there.”

“Yes sir.”  He replied.

As he left the office another field producer stepped inside.

“Jack,” said the Department Head, “the police scanner has just  picked up a call about the daughter of the Reverend William Grant gone missing, I want you to work on it.”

In the Parkland ER Doctor Goldman updated Doctor Boatman on the condition of the patient as they performed another examination. 

“There were numerous broken ribs and some broken bones in the arms and legs as a result of falling from the second floor.  And some internal injuries, but she appears to have stabilized for the moment.”

“Getting her into free fall or just lower spin gravity aboard the Eagle would help her recover faster.”  She replied.  “It would also get her away from the monster who did this.”

“Yes.”  Doctor Goldman replied.

Judith’s eyes flickered.

Alice spoke to her.

“Can you hear me?”

Judith could barely reply.

“Yes.”

“I’m Doctor Alice Boatman from the starship Eagle, we’re taking you up to the ship where we have better facilities and you’ll heal faster.  Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have any other questions?”  Said Doctor Boatman.

“I don’t know what to believe.”  Said Judith.

Doctor Goldman replied to her.

“Well, if there’s a God and he is just, then he won’t care how you worshiped him were but will welcome you because of how you lived.  Now if there wasn’t a God, then you will go, but you will be remembered as a good person.”

Judith smiled.

“Okay Judith,” said Doctor Boatman, “we’re going to prep for transit to the Eagle.  Okay?”

“Yes.”

Judith went back to sleep.

In the corridor Travis and his crew had set up their film camera and audio tape recorder when the Uptimers began to move their patient.  It was here that the hospital administrator stopped them.

The administrator wanted to speak to Doctor Boatman but directed himself to the male field medic.

“Doctor Boatman, I’m sorry but I can’t allow you to take this patient from here.”

Boatman directly replied.

“You’re the administrator?”

“Yes.”

“You act like one.”

Alice had mentally stopped herself from saying the word moron.

The administrator spoke again.

“You don’t have parental permission.”

Doctor Boatman calmly replied.

“The father had beaten the girl into a bloody pulp.  His claim to parental right is null and void.”

It was at this moment that there was a commotion at the end of the corridor.  The Reverend William Grant had entered the Emergency Room of Parkland Hospital.  He immediately saw the group of Uptimers with his daughter on the gurney and strode towards them.

Travis spoke to his crew.

“We are getting this?”

“Yes boss.”

Grant had reached the group at the other end of the corridor.  He spoke up with a strong voice.

“Who dares to take my daughter from me?”

“Doctor Alice Boatman of the starship Eagle.”

“You will return her to me!”  Said Grant.

“I don’t take orders from witch doctors.”  Doctor Boatman replied.  “Get out of the way.”

Petty Officer Third Class Elizabeth Murphy stepped forward to block Grant.

But Grant shouted.

“I don’t take orders from whores!”

For Alice Boatman a mental button had been pushed.

Every member of the Eagle Expedition was fully aware of the doctor’s background.  They knew that she had been born aboard the last sublight starship that had departed from Earth.  And they were fully aware of what happened to her on that ship when she was twelve standard years old.

The Integral was the last sublight starship to leave the Solar System and it was also the most primitive.  It was propelled by the Orion nuclear fission drive and was configured to carry twenty thousand people for three generations to Alpha Centauri.  Unfortunately it was manned by people who firmly believed in the doctrine of Communism and as a result of ideological actions and simple idiocy the number of souls aboard was reduced to a bit over 2,000 at the end of the journey.

The ideological leader of the this space going clusterfuck also had himself carried in cryostasis for the bulk of the journey with special arrangements made for his arrival.  One of them was to have a twelve year old girl available for his use for sexual gratification.

Upon arrival at Alpha Centauri he was put to death for his numerous crimes, including the repeated rapes of the girl.

The girl had been given an alphanumeric designation on the ship.  On the ground she was adopted by Evelyn and Cheryl Boatman and chose the name of Alice.

She would grow up to have a normal life.  But one of the consequences of her being used as a instrument of sexual gratification was that she would never enter into a mature relationship with a man.

For the rest of her lives Petty Officer Murphy would swear that she heard a mechanical click when Doctor Boatman’s eyes shifted towards Grant.  And that the temperature of the corridor seemed to have clearly shifted downwards.

Murphy briefly turned away from the scene and with her left hand shifted the microphone closer to her mouth.  She then softly but firmly spoke into the mike.

“Team Leader to Control, we need the Rangers on the ground and inside right now!”

Larry Travis was watching the scene from down the hall.  He spoke to the cameraman.

“Are you getting this?”

“Yes.”

Alice Boatman reminded herself that she was facing a problem with a clearly rational solution, very much like the surgical removal of a cancerous tumor.  With absolute clinical calmness she responded to the overt insult.

“What did you say?”

William Grant replied with the full fury of the righteous.

“You are a harlot!  A whore of the devil!  And only through renouncing Satan and bowing to our Lord Jesus Christ can you be saved!”

Doctor Boatman calmly turned to the nearest cop and calmly spoke.

“This man is clearly irrational, and he is a clear danger to himself and to others, he must be taken into custody.”

The Dallas cop was clearly frightened by this situation with a political factor.  With a shaken voice he replied.

“I can’t do that Ma’am.”

“Then there is no law.”  Doctor Boatman responded with a clearly calm voice.

This is it, thought Murphy.

Incredibly Grant raised his voice further and shouted.

“That’s right you whore of Satan, there’s only the law of God!”

At this point and without emotion Alice Boatman drew the gauss pistol from her holster, aimed it with both hands, and shot William Grant in the head.  There was no report of a gunpowder weapon, only the supersonic crack of the round and the sound of impact.

It was like shooting a shriek back home on Eden.