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.”


“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.”


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.


“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?”


“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.


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?”


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.”


“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.


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.


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.


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?” 


“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.”


“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.


“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?”


“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?”


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?”


“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?”


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.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Step Back, Part 12

On Wednesday afternoon a police cruiser pulled up to the ER entrance of Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas.  One of the officers rushed inside to get a gurney while the driver went back to extract the victim from the car.  The teenage girl had been severely beaten and then received further injuries from dropping from the second storey window to escape the family home.

It was on the street that the officers first saw the girl and from there taken her to the hospital.  

Mark Goldman was the doctor on duty when the girl was brought in. As he worked on her injuries she briefly regained consciousness.  He used the opportunity to speak to her.

“I’m Doctor Goldman, you are at Parkland Hospital.  Who did this to you?”

“Father,” she replied.

“Who is your father?”

“William Grant.”

Goldman was not surprised.  To him it wold take a very serious mental disconnection to preach any form of religion on an advanced technological medium such as television.  The beating of his own daughter to a bloody pulp was clearly not a surprise to the doctor.

“Do yo know why did he beat you?”

“He found my copy...of...Atlas Shrugged.”

After she had returned home after school for the day Judith Grant has spoken with her father.  He absolutely had to read his latest sermon to Judith and his other children.

Judith had learned the hard way to not criticize her father to his face.  But the obvious disconnection from reality was too much even for her this time.

“Father,” she said, “the Uptimers are just normal people doing what they see as right with what they have.  And reality is real, Father.”

He was shocked to hear a voice of dissent.  Then the state of anger at his oldest daughter rose within him.

That shock and anger was clearly in his voice as he spoke in return to her.

“What did you say?”

Judith could see her father’s anger, but she would speak what was clearly the truth.

“Reality is real, things and people are what they are.  A is A.”

Grant recognized the last sentence and the literary work it came from.  In full rage he stuck Judith in the face with his open right hand.  As she fell to the floor he looked to his other children.  They were clearly frightened of him now.

Good, he thought.

“Go to your rooms!”  He shouted the command.

As his other children scattered in fear to their rooms he reached down picked up Judith from the floor.

“Where is it?”  He shouted in a state of full rage.  “Where is that filth?”

“Atlas Shrugged?”

“Yes!  Where is it?”

There was no point in lying,  She answered the question.

“In my room.”

In a full rage he dragged her by the hair to her room and bodily pushed her inside.  He then followed.

“Now!”  He shouted.  “Where is it?”

There was no point in hiding it.  It was simply a material object, and one that could be replaced.  It was her own life that was precious and it was something that could no longer be lived in the shadow of a monster.  At this time, right now, that she decided to leave.  To run away from this nightmare.

She opened a dresser drawer where she kept some of her underwear  and pulled out an aging paperback copy of the book.

He suddenly grabbed it from her hands and shouted.

“This!  You dare to defile this house of The Lord with this filth!”

He raided his voice further.

“Rand is Satan’s whore, and you are no better than one yourself!”

He started beating her.  He would eventually beat her unconscious.  When she regained consciousness she found that the door to her room was wedged shut.

She decided at this time to go out of the window.

In the ER Doctor Goldman now stopped and looked down at Judith for a moment.  William Grant was generally known to have major connections to the political establishment in Dallas.  As a result he could very well get away with beating Judith, even if she had eventually died.

Doctor Goldman spoke to Judith.

“I promise that he will not harm you ever again.”

The girl smiled.

“I have some other things to do.”  He said.

“Yes.”  She replied.

Doctor Goldman steeped out into the hall and immediately saw one of the cops who brought Judith Grant to Parkland Hospital.  He walked up to him and spoke.

“Officer, William Grant has committed a felony assault on his daughter Judith.  He has to brought in.”

“Can’t do it.”  The officer replied.

“Why not?”

“Reverend Grant is politically connected and is untouchable.”

That was wrong thought Doctor Goldman.

“And what if his daughter dies?”  He replied.  “Then you’ll have a murder to deal with?”

The policeman shook his head and answered.

“Then I guess we’ll have to find a nigger to fry for it.”

Doctor Goldman stared for a moment.

“Never mind.”  He said.

There was something else he could do.

Goldman returned to a small office just off of the ER.  He opened his desk and brought out a notebook.  He recently attended a conference of Objectivists in New York City.  The CMO from the Eagle was one of the speakers at the conference.  And he wrote down a contact number.

He picked up the receiver of the desk phone and dialed zero.

“Hello, operator?  I need to make a long distance call to Nevada.”

Saturday, September 13, 2014

An Image

This is an small aerodyne from Steve Gallachi's works, specifically Erma Felna EDF as published in his independent comic book series Albedo.  I'm using this as the basis of the landers in the Step Back series.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Step Back, Part 11

While on course back to the overwatch position the Eagle had gone into spin mode for internal gravity and dinner was being served in the officers mess.

Robert Heinlein had a question.

“So how did this all start?”

“That’s a good question,” Boatman replied, “the beginning goes a long ways back.”

“The beginning is usually the good place to begin.” Said Virginia Heinlein.

“Well yes, it is.” Boatman replied.

He leaned back in his chair for a moment before starting.

“It began early in my first incarnation on Earth. Even though at the time I normally lived and worked aboard the habitats orbiting Jupiter I occasionally had to physically visit the Earth. For me the Earth was a strange, wondrous and occasionally dangerous place. I was born and raised on Ganymede, one of the moons of Jupiter. I grew up in the domes and tunnels of Ganymede and worked aboard the orbital stations owned by the family firm, the Boatman Corporation.”

“The open skies and natural atmosphere of the Earth had been a new experience for me when came here to attend college. So was effort of living in the naturally higher gravity. Another surprise was the very annoying tendency of the Earthborn to not pay conscious attention to how they moved about. That is to actually look where they were going.”

“I had come to Earth to meet with two clients at Cal Tech. The first meeting was about my Dad’s last big project when he was alive. This was the Niven Deep Space Observatory. It had been placed in a solar orbit that took it well outside the plane of the ecliptic in the Solar System. The primary mission of the NDSO was to detect and observe neutron stars.”

“The Astronomy Department at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California was the primary operator of the NDSO. Our firm, having built the NDSO, now had the contract to maintain and upgrade it. For this I made a rare visit to Earth to speak with the program director, Dr. Bob Petrov, about the next series of upgrades.”

Everyone at the table was looking at Boatman with full attention.

“I asked Doctor Petrov what he wanted to talk about.”

“There was a very odd series of readings they got on an object with the platform. And they wanted to eliminate the possibility of a fault with the platform before publishing a paper on it. The object, which was designated it Niven-69, was at that time very close to the Solar System, well within a light year. The disturbing thing was that they could not detect a lateral movement.”

Heinlein spoke.

“Which was interpreted as meaning that it was headed our way?”

“Yes.” Boatman replied. “My next meeting was at the JPL next door, I brought Dr. Petrov with me.”

JPL was the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Cal Tech. At the present time it was the primary center for the unmanned probe programs of NASA.

On the ground the Sun was rising over the city of Dallas. The Reverend William Grant sat in the study of his home and read the local morning papers.

How could he explain the events of the previous night? The rescue of American servicemen held captive in North Vietnam and the demolition of the Communist military. There was no question that these were virtuous acts.

Or were they?

Satan was an angel of The Lord and had presented himself to men as such. And he was also known as the Bringer of Light. By such deception was he able to corrupt otherwise good men into serving him.

A new question now came to the Reverend Grant’s mind.

Was the child Boatman in fact the incarnation of Satan himself?

Has Satan come to Earth himself in order to deceive Mankind?

Is this The End?

He sat back in his chair to think.

Back on the Eagle Virginia Heinlein had a question.

“So what happened at JPL?”

Boatman answered her.

“My visit to JPL was to report on The Daedalus Project. The Daedalus was a sublight probe constructed to do a flyby of the stars Sirius A and B. During the meeting Bob Petrov and I talked the mission board into changing the destination to Alpha Centauri to search for a habitable planet.”

“And an Earth-like planet was found.” Virginia said.

“Actually two,” Boatman replied, “one each around A and B.”

Robert now had a question.

“Can you describe the Daedalus?”

“Yes, it was a two stage probe. As originally proposed in 1975 she was intended to go 12.5 percent of lightspeed. When we actually built and launched her we got the operating velocity up to twenty percent of C.”

“1975?” Said Robert.

“Yes the British Interstellar Society proposed the mission when it was believed at the time that there was a possible gas giant planet orbiting Barnard’s Star. We actually took the Eagle there on a test mission before coming to Earth and only found a Neptune-Uranus class gas giant and some airless rocks.”

“So you found two good worlds at Alpha Centauri.” Said Virginia.

“Yes, but one of them was already inhabited. Eden, orbiting A, had stone age natives, and very hostile natives at that. The first colonists on the planet were overrun and eaten.”

For everyone at the table that was the end of dinner.

On the ground in his classroom Professor Thomas Archer was in a very foul mood.

How can real progress be made when progressives can be murdered at will from space?

He looked around the classroom. The generally shorter haired boys and neatest and cleanest girls were obviously smiling at the horrible news of what happened to Vietnam.

Well he would teach them a real lesson.
Edit/Delete Message

Thought For The Day

In a rational society Miss Jodie Sweetin at this age would be identified as being too young for any sexual relations.  But Miss Sweetin would be too old according to the false prophet Mohammed.

What are your questions on this block of instruction?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Step Back, Part 10

On early Wednesday morning in Moscow a teletype machine sprang to life.  The communications watch officer at the Lubyanka tore off the message and read it.  The emergency message was from the KGB station chief in Hanoi and was written in the clear.  He personally hand carried the message to the senior watch officer that was on duty.

The senior watch officer read the message and then made a decision.  He looked up a telephone number from the list at hand and dialed it.

When a very grumpy old man answered the phone the senior watch officer spoke.

“Comrade Chairman, our Hanoi Station reports that the city is under attack.”

Yuri Andropov was clearly annoyed at being awakened in the early morning.

“The Americans are bombing again?  You called me at this time in the morning to report that?”

“No, Comrade Chairman, it’s not the Americans.  The station chief reports that the city is being hit with light beams fitting the description of those used on Nigeria.”

Fuck your mother, thought Andropov.  The sun had not risen yet over Moscow and this was clearly going to be a very long day.

On the ground Major Benson and his group of Ranger had surrounded one of the objectives, known in history as the Hanoi Hilton.  He then spoke to the fire support officer on the Eagle. 

“Eagle, this is Ranger Six, commence fire mission.”

“Aye-aye, sir.”

In sudden flashes of light the guard towers were vaporized. 

Major Benson now gave the order.


In accordance to the plan the Rangers jumped over the fence surrounding the camp and began the process of systematically exterminating the guards and other state personnel present.  There were to be no survivors.

When the Rangers were finished with the grim task the prisoners were released from their cages and led to the center on the compound. 

Major Benson was supervising this part of the operation from the center of the camp when a ghost of a very badly beaten man stumbled up to him and spoke.

“Who are who?”

Benson recognized the man immediately.  He flipped open the visor on his helmet, and responded.

“Major Nathan Benson of the Ranger Company aboard starship Eagle, we’re from Alpha Centauri, sir.”

The man responded.

“Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain, Junior, United States Navy.”

Major Benson saluted Commander McCain and replied.

“Commander McCain, it is an honor to meet you , sir!”

The second squad cleared a landing zone outside the gate of the camp.  Here another lander with medical personnel aboard landed to take on the rescued prisoners.  From here they would be flown to Ton Son Nhat airport outside of Saigon.  Here, another officer from the Eagle was waiting for the rescue landers with some buses and every American military ambulance that was available.

Aboard the Eagle with the mission on the ground completed Mission  Commander Boatman gave the order to return the ship to the watch position over the United States.

As the Sun rose over Moscow the Soviet Politburo opened a very early meeting.

General Secretary Brezhnev asked the first question of KGB Chairman Andropov.

“Comrade Chairman, what is the status of Hanoi?”

Andropov looked at his notes and replied.

“Our men on the ground in Hanoi have not been able to go beyond the city limits, but as far as they could see the state apparatus in Vietnam has been effectively destroyed.”

“There’s no Communist State in Vietnam?”

“Correct, as far as they can see, Comrade Secretary.”

Brezhnev then turned to the Defense Minister and asked a question.

“Marshal Grechko, what is the status of our weapon to be used  against the Star People?”

“Comrade Secretary, although the weapon is still in the design stage but the components we expect to use are being brought to the  Baikonur Cosmodrome for assembly.  The current plan is to use the service module of a Soyuz spacecraft to carry the thermonuclear device to the target by remote control.  All work on the device is proceeding as quickly as possible.”

“Very good,” said Brezhnev, “but we need to do this quickly.”

Brezhnev then turned to the Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromeko.

“Comrade Minister, we need to speak forcefully in condemnation of the actions of the Star People.  We should also put forth a resolution in the U.N. General Assembly that the Star People and their ship be brought under U.N. control.”

“Yes, Comrade Secretary.”  Gromeko replied.

The Agriculture Minister spoke up.

“What good will that do, Comrade Secretary?”

Gromeko answered the question.

“As with all resolutions in that body it establishes a psychological position that we can exploit later on.”

The Agriculture Minister could only nod in agreement.

As the line of sunrise continued westwards across the planet newspaper editorial writers virtually leaped into action.  Most of them in line with ideological biases wrote to condemn the actions of the Uptimers in Vietnam.  This included the editors of the New York Times.

As the writers and editors were working at full speed to ready the later editions of the paper for publication a book reviewer spoke to his editor.

“How can real progress be made when those who do it are murdered from orbit with impunity?”

“I have no idea, Fred.”  The Junior Editor replied.  “Did you finish your assignment?”

“Yes,” said Fred, “I really wish you hadn’t given it to me to review.”

Fred dropped the review copy of The Concept of Government on the desk.


Fred replied.

“It’s total Fascist trash, and it’s murder pornography as well!”

“Murder pornography?”  Siad the Junior Editor.

“Yes,”  Fred replied, “the author, whoever it is, wants to exterminate all progressives, without exception.”

The Junior Editor had another question.

“Did they explain why it’s being printed in an anonymous and abridged edition?”

Yes,” said Fred, “according to the forward--written by that brat Boatman--the person equivalent to the author is living on this timeline and he believes that the progressives will murder him if the name is revealed.  Can you believe that bullshit?’

“No--Did he say why it was abridged?”

“He says that it would give information to the Progressive Movement that will allow it to avoid errors and make it more difficult to bring down.  He also calls all progressives ‘a pack of predatory animals and vermin fit for extermination.’”

The Junior Editor’s eyes widened.

“Well we can’t let that trash go unanswered.”  He said.


Today is and the anniversary of the day that Muslims acting in accordance to the mouth droppings of their false prophet destroyed major buildings and murdered thousands of rational people.

The toxic doctrine of Islam remains on a forward march.  It is not being taken seriously by those who are in power in this nation. (I won't call them a government.)  Only by the systematic annihilation of the believers will it ever be defeated. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Idiot Of The Day

A Total Fark member just said about David Miscavage: If you crossed a TV weatherman with a used car salesman with an ambulance chaser lawyer with Ted Bundy, Charlie Manson, and Howard Hughes, this is what you would get.

I just posted a short story on an alternative history fiction site that mocks the Church  of  Scientology and Miscavige in particular.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Step Back, part 9

In a walnut paneled boardroom on the penthouse level of a palatial hotel off of Central Park in New York a meeting was being held.  The white haired man at the head of the table spoke to the obviously subordinate middle aged man at the far end.

“So Mr. Black, what happened in Minneapolis?”

“Sir, the two local police officers had intercepted the subject before our people could obtain him.”

“And how was it that our people in Minneapolis could not obtain the subject in accordance to the plan?”

“Sir, his trip to the White Castle in North East Minneapolis was completely unexpected.  It was assumed by our people that he would take his lunch beak at an...um...better restaurant.”

The man at the head of the table stared at Black for five seconds before responding.

“Of course,” he said, “and where is the subject now?”

Black looked at his notes before answering.

“He was taken back to their base in Nevada, we believe he is still there.”

“And how are preparations for another attempt to obtain the subject at another location?”

“Sir, as far as we know his schedule has been cancelled until further notice.”

The man at the head of the table paused again before responding.

“This is unacceptable.”  He said.

All Mr. Black could do was nod in agreement.

Above the Earth the starship Eagle had dropped to a slightly closer orbit to Earth.  The result was that it would slowly creep forward in position with respect to the Earth’s surface.  Earlier in the week it allowed the ship to fire on targets in Nigeria.  Now it was time to operate in Indochina.

On the way up to the command deck Evelyn Boatman had chatted with Robert Heinlein.

“So you are recovering from that gunshot?”  Said Heinlein.

“Only so, sir.”  Boatman replied.  “On the ground I would still be stuck in a wheelchair.  Alice believes that I would heal faster in free fall or under spin on board the Eagle.”

“I’m sorry,” said Heinlein, “Alice?”

“The ship’s surgeon, sir.  I adopted her two incarnations ago.”


Once everyone was strapped in on the command deck the order was given to proceed.

The secondary mission was to bombard targets on the ground in Indochina.  This included trucks, bridges, and other logistical facilities on the Ho Chi Mihn Trail in Laos and Cambodia, as well as tanks, artillery pieces, barracks, warehousers, aircraft and their bases, and anti-aircraft missile sites in North Vietnam proper.  And finally the port and railroad facilities at Haipong and Hanoi.  As there was an unlimited supply of coherent light available for the operation there was no effort made to distinguish decoys from real objects on the ground.

The primary mission was to rescue prisoners of war being held in North Vietnam.  For this mission four of the five Ranger platoons of the reinforced company embanked on the Eagle would be dropped on the POW camps.  Once the areas were secured larger landers would be brought in to evacuate the inmates.

The initial laser strikes would be on fighter bases and SAM sites followed by supporting strikes at the POW camps.

On the command deck one of the fire control techs spoke up.

“Sir, we have an American aircraft in the zone, it appears to be a SR-71 recon bird, I’ve marked it as a don’t shoot.”

The Allied Command in Vietnam was warned that a major operation would be carried out tonight and that aircraft should stay out of Northern airspace.

“Well done,” said Commander Boatman, “you may proceed.”

The American Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft was approaching Hanoi when the operation began.  Suddenly the night sky was lit up by the laser strikes.  Each laser beam appearing like a razor straight bolt of lightening that suddenly appeared and vanished.

“Holy shit!”  Said the pilot.  “Are you seeing this?”

The Navigator/Recon Systems officer in the back seat looked out the port side window.

“Wow.”  He replied.

“I’m aborting the mission.”

“Roger that.”

In the skies over North Vietnam the four platoon landers approached their targets.  Each lander was twice the size of a C-5A Galaxy tactical transport aircraft.  For the night’s mission each Ranger platoon would be split into one or two squad groups.  It was deemed essential that all prisoners be rescued on this night.

In the Uptimer view Communism was a predatory ideology.  And when attacked the adherents of the doctrine were expected to respond as predatory animals under attack.  They were expected to violently lash out at any target within their reach such as prisoners of war.  This was pointed out as an objection when the original concept of attacking the Ho Chi Mihn Trail by laser fire was proposed.

Nathan Benson would lead the Rangers from the front on this drop.  In his original incarnation he served as a Ranger officer and ultimately retired as a Colonel.  When the mission to explore the Solar System after the passage of a neutron star was initially proposed he would volunteer to be incarnated and lead the reinforced Ranger company with the rank of Major on the mission. 

To any civilian observer the second incarnation of Nathan Benson looked like an 18 year old boy straight out of high school.  This led to no end of confusion on the part of the groundhogs living at the present time.

The navy chief acting as jumpmaster spoke up on the command channel.

“We are approaching jump zone Alpha. Alpha Group stand up!”

Two squads of the first platoon and part of the command group, a total of 30 Rangers, stood up.  As each fully suited Ranger had a mass of about a ton each the movement could be felt by everyone aboard the lander. 

“Hook up!”

Each of the Rangers hooked up the static lines, which would open their main parachutes after they jumped out.

“Thirty seconds to drop!”

Ahead of the Rangers two hatches opened.  The internal hatch which sealed the pressurized compartment from the outside and the rear ramp of the lander. 

The jumpmaster now performed the countdown to the drop.

“...three, two, one, jump!”

Major Benson was the first to step into the night sky over Hanoi.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Step Back, Part 8

Tuesday September 23, 1969

In his office in the Palace of Westminster Prime Minister Harold Wilson sat silently as the First Sea Lord spoke.

“At present we have two aircraft carriers that are operational, the Eagle and the Hermes.”

Wilson then asked a question.

“Shouldn’t we have more carriers available?”

“No sir, the Ark Royal is in for a major refit that will allow her to operate the American Phantom fighter-bomber, and the Victorious was recently paid off and is now being scrapped. In any case we do not believe that an intervention is possible.”

“And why is that?”

“We don’t know if a warship can be sunk by laser fire from orbit but aircraft spotted on the flight deck of a carrier can be destroyed.  The Centaurans demonstrated this on Sunday night with their first kill, a Mig-15 fighter that was on a runway and ready to take off.”

“And there is nothing you can do about it?”

“It is theoretically possible that cloud cover may have a protective effect.  But we cannot guarantee that there will be sufficient cloud cover for the task force to hide under.”

“So there is nothing that can be done for Nigeria?”  The Prime Minister asked.

“No sir,” the First Sea Lord replied, “nothing at all.”

On Tuesday morning in Washington it would be a special day for the counterintelligence section of the FBI.  Today they would make a special arrest. 

Part of the data package brought back in time was the story of Jonathan Walker, a Navy cipher clerk who was passing information on U.S. Navy codes to the Soviets.  As there was a question on if uptime information could be used as evidence in a court of law the Bureau would have to work the case the old fashioned way. 

Walker was placed under surveillance.  Still photographs and movie film was taken of him making a blind drop.  And finally a Soviet intelligence officer was arrested after he picked up the package.  The officer was dropped off at the Soviet embassy with a Persona Non Grata notice and the package was taken into evidence.

And finally Walker himself was placed under arrest.

Afternoon would come to the faculty club at the University of Minnesota.  For some members it was another day of attempting to awaken somnambulant minds.  For others it was the deepening nightmare of facing the mentally active.   

Frank Macleod, a Professor of Engineering, looked around the room.  His colleagues were generally in a foul mood, particularly those who taught what he thought of as the fuzzy subjects.  He spotted one and walked over to stand at the bar next to him.

Frank spoke.

“So Tommy,” he said, “why the foul mood?”

Tommy remained silent.

“Tommy, can you hear me?”

“Yes, I can hear you.”  He replied sullenly.

“So what is the problem?”

Thomas Archer, Professor of English Literature, looked up at the man he thought of as a nemesis and replied.

“Those Fascists!”

Frank gently shook his head before responding.

“Tommy, I know the English Department isn’t on the cutting edge of things, but...the Fascists in Italy, the National Socialists in Germany, and the Militarists in Japan were all removed from power in 1945.  It was something having to do with losing a war if I recall correctly.”

Tommy now stared directly at Frank before responding.

“You know what I mean.”

“Yes, I know what you mean.”  Frank replied.  “You are using the term ‘Fascist’ as a general label for everyone who rejects your particular brand of Socialism.  And if anyone who engaged in that  kind of sloppy thinking were to design a bridge it would collapse before it was completed.”

Tommy continued to stare as Frank continued to speak.

“The fact is that the people from Alpha Centauri possess real knowledge and thus must reject the doctrine of Socialism in all its variants.  And because they have real knowledge they have real authority and will not be frightened into mindless compliance by fear of your red pencil.”

Tommy spoke up.

“It doesn’t matter, I have tenure!”

“So what?”  Frank replied.  “It’s no secret around here that you are grading on an ideological basis.  And it’s no secret that you are also trading sexual favors for grades.  It’s simply a matter of time before you are removed from the faculty here.  You may as well find a nice high bridge, one designed by a real engineer, and jump off.”

Thomas Archer stood up and stormed out of the faculty club.

Aboard the Eagle the ship’s intercom spoke.

“Mission Commander Arriving!”

The airlock door opened and the mission command floated aboard. 

After Boatman oriented himself to the deck one of the two men waiting for him spoke. 

“Sir,” said Captain Sterling, “we are ready for tonight’s fire mission.”

“Very good.”  Boatman replied, he then spoke to the other man floating above the deck.

“Mister Heinlein, how are you and Mrs. Heinlein doing aboard the Eagle?”

“Very well, sir.”  He replied.  “Virginia and I now have our space legs.”

It meant that the Heinlein’s were now moving about normally in free fall.”

“Very good, sir.”   Boatman replied.  “Well, let’s get on with the show.”

The three men made their to the command deck and strapped in.  Boatman then spoke to Heinlein.

“Sir, have you been briefed on tonight’s action.”

“Yes, sir.”  He replied.  Virginia also nodded.

“Well,” said Mission Commander Boatman, “let’s do Vietnam.”

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Photo Of The Day

Oh bloody Hell...two of the most useless people on the Earth.

Step Back, Part 7

The ship’s intercom spoke.

“Visitors boarding!”

The airlock opened. Two civilians, a man and a woman, carefully stepped aboard the Eagle with their grip shoes upon the deck. The man had a mustache and fringe of gray hair. The woman was a redhead who was going gray. She was also dressed for free fall in a pants suit.

Captain Dennis Sterling extended his hand and spoke to the couple.

“Lieutenant Heinlein, Mrs. Heinlein, it is an honor to have you aboard.”

“Thank you, Captain.” Robert Heinlein replied as he shook the captain’s hand. “It is an honor to be here.”

“Thank you, sir!” Sterling replied. “If you will follow us, please.”

The airlock deck was oriented vertically with respect to the ship. To reach the command deck they would traverse with their grip shoes to one of the vertical passageways. Here they would change their orientation to horizontal with the respect to the ship and walk up to the command deck.

Once the guests were strapped into the guest seats on the command deck Robert Heinlein asked a question.

“So Captain, what is the objective for tonight?”

Captain Sterling replied.

“Sir, this operation tonight is an intervention in the Nigerian Civil War. In this we are supporting the Biafran Secessionists against the Nigerian federal government.

“Why?” Asked Virginia Heinlein.

“Well Ma’am, that’s a good question. The Biafrans are a Christian people who do most of the work and basically sit on the oil fields. The outside powers are backing the Muslim majority because hey are lazy and corrupt and thus useable to them. We are supporting the Biafrans as they are clearly in the right and it screws over the Soviets and their Eurosocialist buddies.”

Sterling made the term “buddies” sound as if it had a sexual connotation.

“Yes.” Heinlein replied.

Captain Sterling then pressed down on the intercom button and spoke.

“All hands, this is the Captain, clear for action!”

It was after sunset on the ground at the military section of the Nairobi International Airport. The East German ground crew was moving away from a Mig-15 fighter with Nigerian Air Force markings as the cockpit hatch closed. In the aircraft the pilot then spoke to the airport ground control.

“Nairobi Ground, this is Genocide, request clearance to taxi.”

He did not notice the new star in the sky almost overhead. The starship Eagle had been moved forward in the synchronous orbit to a position over Nigeria.

On the command deck the chief fire control officer spoke up.

“Captain, Genocide is on the air.”

Virginia Heinlein spoke up.


“Yes, ma'am.” Captain Sterling replied. “That's the call sign of a Mig-15 pilot, he was believed to have been an East German national and apparently he specialized in killing relief flights, mostly food aid from charities along with the occasional gun runner. No one had ever identified the bastard on the original timeline.”

Captain Sterling then spoke to the chief of fire control.

“Do you have a lock on him?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Burn him.”

“Aye, aye, sir!”

Genocide’s Mig-15 had reached the end of the runway. He again spoke to the local ground controller.

“Nairobi Ground, this is Genocide, request clearance to take off.”

He never heard the reply. In that instant there was a blinding flash of light. The laser beam that hit him had the instant appearance of a razor straight bolt of lightning. It vanished just as quickly. In his cockpit the pilot had been instantly turned to a pile of carbon. The powerplant, a direct copy of a Rolls Royce jet engine gifted to the Soviet state by an earlier British Labour Party government, exploded shredding the airframe. And finally the jet fuel was converted into a bright orange flaming mushroom cloud over the runway.

“Got him!” Said the fire control chief.

“Very good,” said Captain Sterling, “proceed with the primary operation.”

“Aye, aye, sir!”

In the clear African skies laser beams would briefly flash into existence and incinerate military targets on the ground. Other aircraft, tanks, and trucks were obliterated. Followed by barracks, headquarters, warehouses and other government buildings.

Ant then finally it was time to deal with the Nigerian troops in the field.

“Captain, the Rangers report they are ready to drop.”

“Proceed.” He replied.

Robert Heinlein spoke up.

“So, this is the interesting part?”

“Yes sir, it should be.” Sterling replied. “Just as you wrote it in Starship Troopers.”

Three Ranger platoons would be dropped along the front line between the Nigerian Army and the Biafran Insurgents. From The drop zones they would sweep north to the engage the enemy.

The dry mass of a ranger suit was a bit over 500 kilograms. With the operator, fuel and ammunition it to came close to a full ton. Against a normal late Twentieth Century infantry unit a Ranger was unstoppable. Against Third World savages like the Nigerian Army the effect was very close to a shriek hunt on the planet Eden.

Some of the so-called soldiers of the Nigerian federal forces would in fact survive this night’s slaughter. In doing so they would drop their weapons and in some cases strip off their uniforms and flee northwards to safety.

On Monday at about Noon in the Oval Office President Nixon was seriously wishing that he was somewhere else. The front page of the New York Times screamed with the headline: NIGERIAN GENOCIDE!

The fact that it was the Christian Biafrans who were facing extermination at the hands of the Muslim majority was both known to the editors of the Times and completely irrelevant. For the Times it was another opportunity to stick it to the Nixon administration and to decent people everywhere.

In the United Nations General Assembly delegates were taking turns to denounce the Uptimers and the United States for having given them sanctuary on Earth.

And if that wasn’t enough there was another headache. There was live television coverage of a delegation of Biafrans at the Uptimer base in Nevada.

“What the Hell are they doing now?” The President asked.

An aide answered.

“Sir the Uptimers are apparently extending official recognition the Republic of Biafra.”

“How the Hell did they get in to Nevada?”

“Apparently the Uptimers flew the delegation into the base directly. sir.”

The television coverage showed that Commander Boatman was still in a wheelchair for the ceremony. Everyone smiled as hands were shook.

“Can that bastard do that?” The President asked.

“Apparently according to our agreement with them, yes.”

Fuck me, thought President Nixon.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Step Back, Part 6

John Cross was traveling under a false identity.  The flight on a British airliner from Heathrow to JFK on Long Island was perfectly boring.  And while he did perform his usual chat up of a stewardess in the First Class section he would not have time for any extracurricular sexual activity on this mission.

To an external observer he was an example of an increasingly rare phenomena, the aging and well off British financier traveling on business.  Unfortunately with the Labour Party in power in the United Kingdom this facade was becoming less credible by  the day.

Cross had his travel documents ready when he stepped up to the young woman at the customs station.  There was a cursory examination the documents and his luggage.

The young woman smiled.

“Welcome to the United States, Mister Rose.”

He smiled in return.

“Thank you.”

From JFK Airport he took a cab to a Hilton Hotel in Manhattan.  Once he was in his room he made a phone call to a local number.

“This is Jack Rose, I’ve arrived.”

A woman’s voice responded.

“Thank you Mister Rose.” 

Roughly an hour later there was a knock on the door of the hotel room.  He answered it.

It was an old friend in the intelligence service, Richard Drake.

“Jack, it’s damned good to see again, even under the circumstances!  So they pulled you out of retirement for this?”

He had met Drake when he was a newly commissioned subaltern in Korea.  Drake was now covered as the British press attache in New York.

He replied.

“Dicky, you know a training slot is not retirement.”

“It may as well be.”  Drake responded.  “I brought your stuff.”

Drake carried a large suitcase into the room.  When Cross closed the door the case was opened.

“Here you go,” said Drake, “An M1911A1 pistol with shoulder rig, daylight and infrared cameras, and some American silver coins and paper currency.”

Drake then pulled a set of keys from his coat pocket.

“And your car, a new Ford Mustang with a large bore engine and four speed manual gearbox.  God only knows why you’re getting all this American...stuff.”

“You should know why, Dicky.”  Cross replied.  “It fits in here in the States and I can resupply locally.  This isn’t one of those silly James Bond movies.”

To actual intelligence officers the James Bond series, both the literary works by Ian Fleming and the movies based on them, were a series of bad jokes.

In part this was because working intelligence officers didn’t get laid as often as the fictional Secret Agent 007.

Drake spoke again.

“Awful mess in Minneapolis, what?”

“Yes,” Cross replied, “But it’s not our problem.  The PM wants to knew why these people are not talking to us.”

“It’s very obvious,”  Drake replied, “all he has to do is look in a mirror.”

It was no secret that the Uptimers were averse to socialism.

“What the PM wants is a politically acceptable answer.”

“Well what can I say to that?”  Said Drake.  “Good luck.”

Across Manhattan the scene was repeated three times with one French and two Soviet intelligence officers who were also operating without legal cover.  The Frenchman would drive a Chevrolet Camaro to Nevada while the Soviets were issued Chrysler products for their mission.  In each case for the Soviets it was a standard four door Plymouth sedan.

Later in the evening aboard the SS Apollo, the flagship of the Sea Organization of the Church of Scientology--L. Ron Hubbard--the founder of church was opening a large manila envelope that was addressed to him.

The contents of the envelope were pages containing text and photographs.  Hubbard then read the cover letter.

As a practitioner of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism I would not normally care about any aspect of Scientology or Dianetics.  However, as a result of our accidental journey backwards in time we have information that does concern you and the COS.  After your death on the original timeline in 1986 a young man, David Miscavige, had in a fashion contrary to your instructions taken control of the COS.  As the head of COS Miscavige had practiced Black Dianetics and brought the church to the edge of extinction.  Normally I would not be concerned about this but his actions would ultimately result in the inflicting of needless suffering on members of the Sea Org and at least one senseless and preventable death.  As an Objectivist I cannot in good conscience allow this to happen without an intervention.  I fully recommend that Miscavige be permanently disconnected from the COS.  As to the question of if process R2-45 should be carried out on him I will leave this to you.

Evelyn Boatman, Mission Commander of Starship Eagle

PS: RAH says hi.

Scientology process R2-45 was the termination of a life with a M1911A1 pistol.  Hubbard himself had personally described it as, “an enormously effective process for exteriorization but its use is frowned upon by this society at this time.”

Some people in the audience had found this statement humorous.

Hubbard now sat back in his chair and examined the primary contents of the package.

In Nevada right after the sunset Evelyn Boatman sat in a wheelchair outside of his hospital room.  He was pondering the events that were now in motion and wishing he had a couple of double cheese burgers from White Castle.

Monday, September 01, 2014


It was at this time that the Defense Minister, Marshall of the Soviet Union Andrei Grechko, spoke up.

“Comrades, seven years ago the Americans conducted a nuclear weapon test in outer space over the Pacific Ocean. The electromagnetic pulse given off by the weapon killed roughly one third of the satellites in orbit at the time. I now believe that we can do the same to the starship.”

“You can hit it and destroy it?” Asked the Industry Minister.

“No.” Grechko replied. “We only need to place a nuclear weapon in close proximity to the vessel. The electromagnetic pulse will render its command and control systems inert.”

“How do you plan to do this?” Brezhnev said.

“The Proton rocket can launch a six ton payload to that altitude. And we should be able to assemble a weapon within that mass using existing components.”

Brezhnev looked around the room before speaking again.

“Are there any objections?”

Gorbachev did think of an objection. What if the Star People had intercepted the weapon or it otherwise failed? What would stop them from retaliating in kind?

But given his present situation he decided to remain silent.

Seeing that there were no objections Brezhnev spoke again.

“Comrade Grechko, you will proceed with this operation.”

He then looked down to Gorbachev.

“Comrade Gorbachev, you will go directly to the United States and directly speak to the leader of the Star People. Make him an offer that he will accept to come over to the Soviet side.”

“Yes, Comrade General Secretary.” Gorbachev replied.

How the Hell was he supposed to do that? He thought.

On Saturday evening in a mass meeting was being held, William Grant stood before the multitude assembled within the Minneapolis Auditorium. Deliberated seated in the front rows of the audience were the widows and orphaned children of the Minneapolis police officers killed by the Uptimers.

He looked upon the assembled multitude and spoke.

“My friends, I normally come to you to bring the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ, but that is not my mission for this evening. On the Thursday of this week a great crime was committed. Police officers of this great city were brutally and systemically hunted down and murdered. Why?”

Grant paused and looked out again at the assembled audience.

“These men were murdered for simply doing their duty to this great community. Those who committed these murders claimed to have traveled backwards in time, an act that is a simply violation of God's law. They also claim that there is no God and that he did not send his son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to teach us the truth and to ultimately die for our sins. In speaking these falsehoods they deceived themselves and now are attempting to deceive us. But we will not be deceived, we will hold to God's truth, and we will ultimately prevail.”

In a three story building on the corner of Ninth Street and LaSalle Avenue in downtown Minneapolis a meeting was being held in the news department of WCCO Television. The station was an affiliate of the CBS Television Network but on this evening they were, even on a very short notice, broadcasting the William Grant Crusade. And as with the normal broadcasts of the Crusade program the station was videotaping the normal network programming for broadcast at a later time.

“Can you believe this shit?” Someone said in the back of the room.

The CBS Network in New York had originally declined to broadcast the Uptimer version of the events, including the video of the initial encounter between Boatman and the local cops. But when WTCN, an independent station, had broadcast the encounter on their news program and WCCO had to quickly follow suit.

As a result it was also a damned good thing that the 101 st Airborne Division was now policing the city instead of the MPD.

On the monitor of the broadcast Grant continued to speak.

“So who are these depraved beings who murder good men at will and with apparent impunity? These beings are clearly the servants of Satan...”

Roger Allen, the head of the News department switched off the monitor.

“This has to be a breach of our contract with the network.” He said.

Dave Moore, who normally read the local evening news during the week spoke up.

“So what do we do?”

“Damned if I know, Dave.” Roger replied. “I will be damned if I know. What the Hell was Boatman doing here in the first place?”

A reporter spoke up.

“Apparently he was here to speak with several technology firms about adopting their technology.”

“So what was he doing at the White Castle?” Dave asked.

“According to one manager for a local firm I spoke to Boatman apparently fell in love with the sliders when he went to college in California.”

“They have White Castles in California?” Dave asked again.

“Apparently in Twenty-one-twenty Anno Domini they will.”

Dave nodded.

Roger spoke again.

“Apparently the network dropped the ball on this one, and we should have done a better job covering this story ourselves. From now on we will report the facts on this story regardless of whose toes we end up stepping on. Is that clear?”

Everyone in the room spoke or nodded in agreement.

“Now let’s get to work.”

In the family home outside of Dallas, Texas, Judith Grant sat in the living room with her family and watched her father on his broadcast from Minneapolis.

“So who are these depraved beings who murder good men at will and with apparent impunity? These beings are clearly the servants of Satan, sent here to deceive us and turn us from the path of righteousness.”

Without permission Judith had seen the independent television news coverage of the initial incident between the leader of the Uptimers and the Minneapolis Police. And the police in this incident were clearly not acting in the proper manner.

Why would her father lie about this? She privately thought to herself.

She continued to sit and watch the broadcast.

At the Uptimer base in Nevada Evelyn Boatman sat up in his hospital bed and also watched the broadcast. Normally he would have preferred to read a transcript. Those who claimed to have knowledge were very annoying to those in actual possession of same. And man on the screen strongly reminded Boatman of an evangelist on the original timeline who claimed that passage of destructive effects of Niven 69 were God’s punishment of humanity for their collective sins.

What a moron. He had thought at the time.

He had another thought. If Grant continued to be a problem he would have to dealt with. Just as the aboriginal natives of the planet Eden were.