Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nov 11 Veterans Day tale

Nov 11
To all who have served in the armed forces: Marines, army, navy, Air Force, Coast Guard I say Thanks and I appreciate your service. Most of you have served honorably over the years. My dad was a Seabee during WWII and served that way. I have never served though, but I know those who have go through much hardship and if you were in a war that makes it much tougher so I can still say Thank You. Only a small number of the population does or has which makes it something to Honor. This Story is 3,200 words long.


So instead of another novel excerpt or Science Fiction story I will place one of two stories I have written that I think honor veterans. I put it up last year so some of you may have read it, but a few haven’t had the chance. I wrote it a few years ago and it has been updated a few times since. It is Science Fiction but that is a side point it is meant to honor Veterans and what they go through doing a time of war.


The Logcutter

By L. E. Doggett

The condensed beam of light shot out. It took only an instant for it to cut through three two foot wide log. The roughly ten by ten clear area where he did his cutting was quiet as it should be. Trees started another five feet after that but something could wiggle its way here. The scent of burnt wood tickled Cal Jones’ nose. Burnt dirt also, for the laser cut into the soil under the wood. That’s why he set up a tripod so it would be aimed downward at all times.
The six inch long piece dropped with a dull thud. He would wait until it cooled to place it with the others. The air this morning showed that he better work faster to get his wood cut for the winter. Thanks to the insulation and building materials, it looked rough like rock, heating the prefab two bedroom green and grey house behind him didn’t take a lot of wood. However cold hamburgers and soup didn’t taste good. Cold cut sandwiches wouldn’t be bad, but not for all winter.
The ex-solider shook his head. He still didn’t like to use such a beautiful weapon to cut logs. If he didn't though he wouldn't have anything to warm his farm house, or cook his food with when winter started. Fall, what passed for fall on this planets, chilled the air. The wind picked up for a moment and blew dust, pollen and ash into the air. He spat, followed by a sneeze. It also blew it into his mouth and nose. He never did like the flavor of ash-it reminded him of all the times he had breathed it in, and tasted it, during the war.
Cal sighed, it would be better to use the laser against some of the dangerous, large animals that roamed this forest. They roamed further deeper however, and he didn’t really want to use it on them. He had used it on animals, but he tried to avoid them when possible.
The pile of lasered logs grew. His house had solar panels, but the sun didn’t shine for long in the winter months. If there was an emergency he could use his bicycle generator, even though that supplied only enough power for certain appliances: such as his radio and his TV, when he was in the mood for movies that is.
He liked pretty much any type of movie except for war movies. After five years of fighting a real one Cal didn’t feel ready to watch a make believe war. War movies reminded him too much of what he had done during the real war, and the friends he had lost. Cal’s nightmares were strong enough now, he didn't need anymore reminders.
He bent down to adjust the laser, moving its tripod, so it could cut another six inch slice off the log.
The laser and his boots were the only things Cal brought home from that Godforsaken war. He still felt surprise that the people who signed him out let him keep the rifle and the boots.
If I went crazy I could do a lot of harm with that rifle. The military hadn’t needed the number they had for peace though. My buddies decided to each keep something and after an argument I ended up agreeing. Evidently those that processed us also agreed. After I signed the release papers they turned their backs, literally, as I walked out of the processing center carrying both the laser and my boots in a sack that didn't hide their shape. They didn’t like the way the government just booted us out and at the same time they were grateful we had kept the Juggernaut at bay.
At least the money the government gave me was enough to buy two acres and a small house out here in the middle of nowhere. The house is well built, with good installation, and all the appliances are well made.
I bought these acres way out here, because I didn't want to be around people. I knew I needed to be alone to heal and at the same time I didn't want to be bothered by people. I felt like the hard work needed to farm in this half jungle was what the doctor ordered.
He shook his head, there's probably over two hundred of us out here on these two acre farms, and I know of two other communities with the same numbers. So many men, and a few women, with bad memories and feelings.
He sat down on the log tired. Maybe he should move to town. Teddy and John are coping in the city. They say it’s hard, but they both found the love of a good woman, which they said helped.
A scream interrupted his thoughts. A loud growl followed a second scream. The screams came from a human throat and the growl didn’t. He stopped to listen, all of his senses on alert.
He heard another scream, this one was joined by softer ones.
Oh oh, children, which probably means a family; one who came here to enjoy nature. It sounds like they are being attacked by a Gorillain-and they traveled in packs.
Without further thought, he unhooked his laser from the tripod and took off. From his battle experience he knew how far away the screams came from and what direction. As he ran through the tall grass he didn’t feel the knee high, whip like red seed stalks as he crashed through them. Before he knew his senses slid into war mood. His speed increased, the trees and anything else along his sides blew by in a blur. He caught a whiff of a dead animal, he normally won’t have notice, he could see better in the dark shade under the trees.
On the way he glanced at the power setting. A curse slipped out. He already knew the power level, but out of habit he double checked it. He should have recharged it instead of waiting until after he finished with the logs. On the run, he used his thumb to change the weapon’s setting to just below medium. That would make it harder to kill any of the beasts, but it wouldn’t be good if the charge ran out before he chased them away.
He hoped he didn’t have to kill them, but bile came up when he thought of the children in the animals’ claws. At least he didn’t have to worry about where he set his foot. His boots had survived the last two years of the war and three years of living here. It wouldn’t matter if he stepped on a sharp twig, a snake or a sting beetle.
It took him only seconds to enter the trees, even though he slowed a little he still ran almost full out, weaving in and out of the trees. The low branches he avoided for even the very thin ones felt as strong as battle steal when he ran into them. Which explained why he used the laser to cut the wood from these trees. They burned for a long time, but took for ever to saw through.
Seconds later he smelled the musk of the Grollians, very strong which meant they were upset. When he neared the clearing from where the screams and growls come from, he heard soft thuds, followed by growls of pain and anger. The air had warmed, sweat tickled his forehead, under his arms and back.
He thought that the noises sounded like the humans were trying to drive away the beasts by throwing rocks at them. Not a good idea, as they were about to learn, but at the same time there wasn't much else they could do.
He hurried through the last of the trees, instinctively moving with the wind blowing his way instead of toward the beasts. Without thinking he moved silently as he learned to do during the war.
Cal came upon the scene from one side. The Gorilians stood still on one side of the clearing, which gave him a sense of relief. No one had been killed yet. A glance on the other side made bile raise in his mouth. Five people stood there: a woman and man with three children of various ages. The two oldest were boys and the youngest looked like a five year old girl. Even from his postion Cal could see tears as they ran down her cheeks and hear her sobs. All three children stood behind the couple. Both adults were holding thick sticks, ready to swat the first beast to come near them. Both wore terrified expressions on their faces.
From the way they glanced at each other they more then likely knew their best efforts probably wouldn't slow down the animals. At the same time they looked determined to do something to protect their children. He thought he could smell their fear; it reminded him of the war. That stink always melded with his thoughts of the battles he had been in.
A breeze blew by him and carried their and the humans’s scent. He studied the animals for a moment. He knew them by sight and study, but it still amazed him that they looked so much like a cross between an earth gorilla and an earth bear. These like most of their kind, even the females, were seven feet tall. From his position he could make out females in this bunch. The females were not as board as the males, and Cal could easily make out where their six mummery glands would appear, as they filled with milk right after they gave birth. Their presence made this a family group.
He wondered why they were attacking the humans. They usually left humans alone, preferring larger prey. Maybe they couldn’t find their usually prey and thought the family would make a communal meal. Or maybe the family had come upon them and started screaming and throwing rocks. Whatever the reason, their standoff was about to end. One male moved toward the humans.
Without having to think about it, Cal leaned against a rough tree and raised his rifle to a firing position and pressed the trigger. A red beam shot out hitting the moving gorillian in the claw it was reaching toward the adults.
The beam could have been invisible, but the heads of military development thought it was better if soldiers could see the beam. That would help them not run into it on the battle field. They might have been right, he grudgingly admitted, for he had seen soldiers blunder into the laser beams, as bright as they were. If they couldn’t see the beams there would have been more accidents of that type.
The beast kept moving for two-seconds, as the beam burnt into its hand. It finally stopped and looked down at the claw, before letting out a howl of pain and rage. It pulled back the claw, but Cal managed to keep the laser on the hand with practiced ease. It finally burned all the way through the claw, as the beast screamed its fury. It turned from the family, glanced around, as it looked for the source of its pain.
Cal switched targets, firing at another one, hitting it in the chest. It humphed in surprise before it screamed in pain with a deep throated growl, as the needle of light started to burn into its chest. The gorillian moved out of the beam, before it could burn all the way through its chest. From the blood and time Cal thought it might have cut halfway through the torso, but it looked like it missed everything fatal.
A glance to his right told him that the first male he hit was headed his way. Moving with haste he backed into the trees. Without stopping he ran as quietly as possible against the wind. He came out of the trees closer to the band. This time he fired from the hip, another maneuver he had plenty of practice with. He hit another big male, keeping the beam on the creature long enough for it to burn all the way through its torso. Its yell lasted a long time and when it tried to move it fell. The wound didn't kill it immediately, but Cal thought it would eventually.
He moved again when the one he had just shot started to move his way, probably after catching his scent. On the run, he let the beam score along the back of another male, who was headed for the family. It didn't go deep enough to do much damage, but the beast turned from the family, now headed his way.
A glance told him that the family was edging toward the
trees. A wide fallen tree lay behind them, that would slow them down.
Cal made it to the other edge, turned, aimed and shot all in one movement. He hit one in the eye this time. He was able to keep it on it long enough to burn out the eye, but not long enough for the beam to reach its brain. The Gorillian whiplashed in pain, first moving its head up and back then falling to its knees.
Shaking his head, that wasn’t good, I wanted a fast kill.
A shadow interrupted his thought. He pivoted out of the way of a claw swiping at him, then dropped to the ground to avoid the other claw. Rolling out of the way he thought that's it for the lower setting. If my shots are fast and precise I should be able to score death shots before the power is used up.
Without even a glance he used his thumb to slide the setting to the second from the top. He rose up on one knee, raising the rifle up to an aiming position and fired, all in one movement. He hit one in its back. The beam cut in quickly, but the beast arched its back. The beam slide sideways burning a line across the back, but not staying in one place long enough to burn completely through. Keeping the beam on it Cal managed to finally hit its heart, destroying it in less then a second.
Beetles scattered from where it dropped and a large carrion eater crowed its thanks to Cal. Tasting sweat on his lips Cal turned to the one whose eye he had burnt out, it still rested on its knees, in an all too human position. He moved to it behind it. When it started to turned toward him, he fired one quick shot at the base of its head. He smelled something new and realized that it wasn’t just humans that sometimes emptied their bowels when they died.
His stomach felt like it wanted to empty his last meal, as he turned; that felt too much like an execution. He watched two during the war and someone told him that the other side had killed one of his friends that way. In this case it was putting an animal out of its misery, but it still didn't feel right.
As the gorillian fell, Cal ran to another position and fired
at still another one. Before the beam could kill that one, he leaned backwards as a claw came out of nowhere again. This time his rifle went flying across the clearing. He observed a hole in that claw, and knew this one was the first gorillian he had shot. Somehow he missed it’s smell when it snuck up on him.
His hands stinging Cal dropped to the ground to avoid another swing meant to take his head off. He was surprised, but glad when the soft dirt under the trees, hard dirt can be just like rock. With a soft grunt he rolled to his back, fear grew while at the same time he would not let the thing win. He positioned a knife he had managed to pull on the way down. It was what used to be called a Bowie knife; long, thick and very sharp. He cursed himself for leaving his hand weapon back at the house. It may not be a military grade weapon, but it could still kill this Gorillian before it got him. A bullet in the chest, neck and head would do the job. But he didn't have it on him.
The knife could do the job, if he was quick enough. He knew where the vital spots for a gorillian were. He picked up the habit of learning a potential enemy’s weaknesses during the war. It would be a fight with a real possibility he would end up dead. Or wounded bad enough to make him an easy target for one of the other members of the band. He couldn’t let the thing just kill him, or the family however.
Before he could move though something flew across his vision. He thought it hit the gorillian in the head. A second later another fist sized rock hit the beast. It ignored this rock, as it

had ignored the first one. It also ignored the next three which hit it almost the same instant. Cal took a second to glance at the direction the rocks came from. He saw that the two older kids throwing the rocks. The father picked up a rock three times the size of the pervious ones and threw it as hard as he could. It hit the beast in the face, as it reared over Cal. Blood dripped from a gash left behind by the rock as it dropped almost hitting Cal.
Roaring the beast turned toward the family. Cal readied the knife as another rock flew across the clearing. Slightly smaller then the one that left the gash it hit the beast as it roared again. By luck, or by planning, Cal didn't know, but it landed in the gorillian's mouth, sticking in the orifice. The beast let out a muffled roar, and shook its head, trying to dislodge the hard thing in its mouth.
While it was occupied with the rock. Cal rolled out of its
way, and on his hands and knees scuttled to where the laser lay. He could hear the other gorillians moving, so he raised up to a crouch, running the rest of the way in that position. He scooped up the rifle on the run, turning to face the animals, as he kept stepping backwards.
He again fired from the hip, scoring a hit on the gorillian, as it headed for the family. It screamed and pivoting before the beam could burn in far enough to kill it. The beam scored along the beast's side as it turned. Once it faced Cal, the beam started to burn into its stomach. He raised the beam burning a line upwards until he found its heart.
Even before it started to fall, Cal aimed his weapon at another male heading his way. He kept the beam on its chest for
the few seconds it took the beam to reach its heart. As it fell the rest of the band decided that they had enough damage. They ran off, using their hands, much like earthly gorillas, to increase their speed.
Cal knew that one of them would die before too many days had passed. He better get home to radio a warning to anyone else that might come across that band in the next few days.
He stood there a moment tasting blood from where he had bit his lip, but otherwise he seemed to be in one piece. Before he could move the family came over to thank him. They introduced themselves, and with tears in her eyes the mother hugged him. He smelled her sweat over a weakening perfume-deodorant. The father shook his hand expressing his thanks. The oldest boy shook his hand also, while the two youngest hugged his legs.
Cal squatted down to let the two smaller children hug him, both stunk of dirt and he felt loose soil fall on his clothes, but he didn’t care. He thanked them for throwing the rocks and distracting the gorillian, while he was on the ground. They both shyly nodded a you're welcome.
Mr. Andrews asked him if he was ok.
"I'm in one piece. Thanks for asking, I didn't take any serious injuries. This action wasn't any rougher then anything I experienced during the war."
The father nodded, for he had heard stories about how bad some of the fighting had been during the war. They talked some more, as they walked to the family’s vehicle. With one last thank you, the family piled into it and drove off. As he watched them drive off, Cal smiled glad he was able to save them. He didn't want to think about them, especially the little girl, being torn apart and eaten. It hit him that the only reason he had been able to save the family, and that little girl was his training and more importantly his war experiences.
On the way back to his house, he realized how much he missed seeing children play. Once home, he sent out a general call to warn his neighbors about the wounded Gorillain. Then his stomach growled. He thought a shot of whisky would be good, but decided he didn’t need it after all. A quick meal of warmed up noodles and beef, though would be good.
The next few days he thoughts of playing children stayed on his mind. In a sudden realization, it hit him, he hadn't been having very many nightmares since the rescue. He sat and thought about his experiences the pass few days. He used what he learned during the war to save the family. All that junk he had gone through had ended up for a good purpose. As he considered that, he remembered John and Teddy’s statements. The love of a good woman helped them to heal.
Maybe it was time to move back to civilization. Not all at once though. He could sell this farm, he always was getting
offers, and get a place in the town three hours from here. Only two to three thousand people lived there, a large portion of which were veterans like him. And just as importantly the population included single females.
He would miss this place. He liked working the land... maybe he would buy a farm next to the town. He would have to think about it, but by the way he felt he knew his mind was made up already.

The End

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Five mini and flash tales

Sept 9 More science fiction from me, as the title says Five stories to be exact.

However not what I said. I had planned on dong the first 3,333 words of my first novel but too late decided that it did need some revising. I didn’t even know there were rules to writing when I wrote it. Nothing about passive Vs active, Telling Vs Showing, making sure the MC changes, using all five human senses in each major scene to draw the reader in, etc. Grammar no doubt is lousy too. And only the basics in punctuation.

So instead I present five mini and flash tales, each one except for the first one, were written from a picture. I tried to incorporate the pictures description into the story. Two of the stories had to be under 600 words when I First wrote them. They are now longer after I revised them. The three mini tales were all from pictures. The first tale wasn't from a picture but had to have five certain words in the story. I forget which words they were and I am not sure that since I revised it, deleted and added words that all five are still there.


An Emergency Sell

Makueue sat at his controls, he frowned at the images above the slanted, grey panel. His eyes closed for a moment.
Nothing left to do.
His small cockpit seemed to close in on him. He could reach from one side to the other. It fit his small freighter and provided a bit more storage. Now though that extra room might cost him more. He wanted to bang his hand on the control panel but he had done that before-the panel was very hard. All it did was hurt and cause the images to jumble for a second.
A movement at the side made him glanced at the viewer at the side of his controls. An image of William Shakespeare showed. The real likeness of him. Or so who they now thought he was. He had turned down the sound and paused it when the call came through. Now there silence filled his ears, which fit. He had bought new versions of the plays, set in contemporary settings, to watch on this trip. He loved the Bard’s plays. Real life reactions mixed in with proetic lines. Shakespeare knew how to write.
Damn, that beep, which had signaled the note from the Commence Ministry of the Walton Kingdom, had distracted him from the beginning of “Taming of the Shrew”. Now he didn’t fell like watching it. Bile came up at the news.
The recorded memo had been short. The cost of the Temp commence license had gone up. That meant he didn’t have enough to buy one. Without it if he tried to sell anything or deliver cargo to anyone, he could face prison time as a smuggler. The Royal Family, of course, could buy things from anyone they wanted to. They wouldn’t want anything he had, even if the cargo belonged to him, which it didn’t.
His ship, the Surreal Camel, rested near the huge hourglass-like station. Sensor dishes, weapons and squarish long comm antenna marred the bottom and top. It was this system’s Royal courts, multi-governmental office complex. It also housed the HQ for their Smuggler Officers which also served as search and rescue. The home station, where most of the citizens lived, was another two hour trip at medium sublight speeds.
In frustration he looked over his shoulder, pictured his ship. Its streamline oval hull with two small, fat cigar shaped outriggers. The ship’s pulse drives and gravity twisters rested in those. The Camel had two smaller drives in the main hull, away from the main drives. They could be used as thrusters, or emergency propulsion, if something happened to the larger ones. The middle of the ship could be expanded upward to make more cargo space. Right now the hump was out all the way out for he had a full cargo.
Which I can’t sell now.
He looked to the side, to the ceiling and deck under his shin high blue ship boots. At the moment he wore something inspired by old Earth water pirate, even though with odd colors. His shirt had a basic brown with earth tone red panels and green short wide stripes. All white pants with wide legs, completed his outfit.
Nothing here to inspire me.
If he could deliver his cargo he would get paid and be able to pay for the Temp Comm license, but they didn’t work that way here. They wouldn’t do that even for a late fee. He wouldn’t get much out of this trip but at least his costumer would be happy and his rep would be in tact. Now he could lose the cargo fee and his rep if he had to leave without delivering the cargo. And the client might sue him for the price he would have gotten. All because these asteroid heads wanted more money.
He couldn’t sit here much longer either, or they would charge him for extravehicular docking fees. Makueue glanced at the side screen again. He shook his head. He had only a total of 27 hours and thirty-four and a half minutes to stay here and over half of that was gone. A strange amount of time-maybe it was a local day. No time to watch those flare blasted plays, not even just the Tragedies, to help him relax. Or to fix his mood before he had to pilot the Camel back home in defeat.
He stood. No room to pace in his control cabin and the rest of the small ship was too full to do a descent pace. He wanted to jump up and down; bang something. Another look at his controls. He blinked, titled his head as he stared at a tiny cube, smaller than dice, that sat in the player. What had he read about the King?
Maybe, I do have something to inspire me.
He sat down, dialed the call sign for a certain official. Two days later he piloted the Camel back home. It had taken most of the rest of the 27 hours and odd minutes to get in touch with a member of the Royal family. A buyer, who came on board and examined the video cube, bought it. That gave him more time. The cube was one of a type. It could not be copied which meant it would be rare here. The buyer paid him and took the cube. Makueue bought the license, delivered his cargo to the customer;s buyer, got paid all with his rep intact and ended up with 25% more money than expected.
Not bad for a bad day.



I stood behind the navigator with my arms behind my back. There were four work stations in the middle of the deck, with little room between them, and four more around located along the walls. I may have looked like an old Fictional star ship captain on an old TV show or movie, but I was just bored. On this flight of my unit of Space Explorers-a step up for over achievers like me in the Boy Scouts-we didn’t have a captain. The ship only had a ten member crew with the AI comp as back up for everything. This was a class too. Our mission was to check out the TRAPPIST-1 solar system. Not that it hadn’t been checked out many times since its discovery back in 2015 and 2016. But as young Space Explorers we had things to learn.
The 40 or so light years took us forty days to cover. We don’t get the fastest ships either even though one light year a day wasn’t too bad. We had time to study, goof around and study some more. The rest of the crew didn’t goof around as much as me, but I am not a nerd only an overachiever.
So I read some of the new fiction stories-the ones about wizards on spaceships-Galactic Fantasy-were good. Once at TRAPPIST-1 we popped the temporal-matter ghost bubble and settled into a far orbit around the system. The radiation the red dwarf star puts out is dangerous any closer. Of course our ship has shields but we didn’t want to take chances. Our orbit still was close enough to allow the radiation to fry us if our shields went down but the chances increased dramatically if we got any closer.
We, I, sent out probes and used the ship’s far sensors. I man the probe launch station and a side science station. Both are at the same panel which I like. Jill and Fred had to run back and forth between stations and Hillary had three separate screens to watch.
The seven Earth-like planets, at least in size, gravity and matter were interesting. It took hours of study to find out things about the system as we acted like we were the first to be here and to study it.
On the fourth day though Harry picked up an anomaly on the third planet, one of the four in the habitable zone. Not that that meant much here with all the radiation the sun poured out. I borrowed his readouts and zeroed in on the strange patch on Three. Metal.
Metal? What?
And a power supply.
Laura’s probe zoomed in almost to the surface. A manmade something along with a ladar signal. The message was a SOS. Someone had crashed there, but had survived and needed help. The readings even there were strange though. The metal didn’t seem to correspond with any we had on record, though.
Another Space Explorer maybe? Or a one man freighter? The message didn’t say. But who ever it was, they had been able to get to the side always away from the sun. Which meant they were in shadow and mostly protected from the red sun. And their ship would give them more protection if it hadn’t been damaged too much.
I told everyone we needed to rescue him or her. But they argued that because of the radiation and the fact that he didn’t say who he was we shouldn’t. It could be a pirate trap Harry said.
I said, “Our emergency shields will hold long enough for us to get the surviver and get back out. We can do this. After all it could be a test.”
I didn’t think so but I thought that argument could influence one or two of the group.
There was still too much discussion going on, most seemed to be against it. These nerds thought up too many things that could wrong. Jill wondered, because if the strange metal, if it could be a ship from some lost colony of humans, or a new alien race.
John said, “It could be someone from an alternate dimension. The radiation here could weaken whatever separates the dimensions.”
I silently shook my head. I was the one who read Science Fiction and even though a popular novel had that idea in its plot it still surprised me he would consider it.
Finally though Mary said, “We could use the shuttle without a crew, move into Three’s shadow but stay far enough away to escape if we need to, if it was a trap or some form of inter-dimensional gate.”
The way she said the last I doubted she believed it. I nodded and said I could live with that.
We finally agreed and set out to make it so.
Thirteen hours later we had the surviver onboard and were homeward bound. It turned out that the strange readings came from the various forms of radiation that had affected the probe’s sensors and the outer layer of the hull of his ship. The surviver was an Intergalactic Force trainee whose ship malfunctioned at the worse possible moment


Lost Cambot

The small figure stood there, looked at the paper that had slid out of a slot on the bottom of its body above its one wheel. It had somehow rolled out from the range of its programing. And it hadn’t heard any radio signals calling it back either. Now it didn’t know what to do. At least the rain that came down hard wouldn’t harm it, for it was made for outside use, in all weather conditions. Of course for appearances sake its wheel was rubber which might slip on ice, snow or even a wet surface.
The camera which made up half of its body would broadcast this image to anyone close by who had the correct devices. No bluetooth signals nearby. It knew it now sat on an old cement bridged without any smart tech that it might be able to connect with. Someone could plug in a three pronged device on the camera itself or even a USB wire plugged in a port under the camera. Of course most of bluetooth devices had security it could not get through.
The cold weather didn’t bother it but it did keep people inside, which was both good and bad. Bad in that there were humans that would steal it and tear it apart so they could sell its insides. Or reprogram it for some use it wasn’t made for.
Vibrations in the cement made it roll back from the edge of the street it had found itself. A big truck was coming, if it stood too close the suction of the vehicle could suck it under the truck or a part of the large vehicle might impact it damaging it.
What to do?
The truck zoomed by, the roar of its engines confusing the cambot’s hearing. It rolled on, saw someone running its way. No signal came from them so it decided they wanted to steal it. It rolled toward dark shadows, hid in a corner of the bridge’s railing. They looked for it but it shut down most of its components, so no light or noise would show them where it was.
Half an hour later it rolled off the bridge, to do so it had to go out onto the pavement for there were steps on the cement. It made sure it stayed there only for a minute. Another chase when those humans came back. It followed a cat who also ran. They both made it to a dark place under debris. An hour later it beeped.
What? It hadn’t done that.
Oh, a signal. When it came close enough the cambot rolled out into the open. A man in a uniform it knew saw it and came over.
The man picked it up and said, “There you are. We will take you back home with your buddies.”
His words and signaling device fit its programing perimeters so it now knew what to do.


New Factory world

The factories were busy, some, like the one to the left with its cargo bays now open to air, were old freighters no longer needed. They had brought passengers and raw materials to this planet but no one was going back home. What they made would but not them. Too many people on that planet who took up room needed for factories. So they sent some here to build everything they would want there. It freed up a tiny bit of room, for a few years-he had heard that people had already moved into the now empty buildings not waiting for government okays.
Here everything could be for manufacturing. Food was another issue. Reconstituted burgers never tasted right but later they would get some from the farming planet that had the same idea behind it.
Jorge thought a stink of pollutants plus overworked oil and metal had already invaded the air here. And that was with every attempt to cut the pollution before it formed. They wanted this planet to last a long time. The working factories created heat which produced light and warmth as the number of manufactering center grew no doubt the weather would change, at least here in this “city”, but some areas would not be effected of decades. Places with R&R spots. The weather in this spot didn’t matter so much for one lived here and hardly any flora. The noise may take a little getting used to but he would and so would most of the workers. Those who couldn’t would be sent up in orbit for what had to be built in low gravity.
He smiled the new autos and tablets would be headed back to what had been his home soon, soon after the kitchen appliances and traffic light computers. Then more and more.


Garbage pickers

I waited as the rounded ship came through the city streets. Even though bulky looking it easily avoided the tall buildings. Its bulbous superstructure made it look bigger than it was; about the same size as an old fashion fishing trawler. It was still before sunrise so its spots were on, but I could see fine by the city lights.
It settled over the pile of garbage those that lived in this underground complex had piled near the air ducts. The smell probably drifted down into this duct but they must not care. The garbage pickers had come to find anything they could use or could fix to sell. Others must have been here earlier, but these had waited for the last moment. Maybe they thought someone would throw out something just before pick up or they looked for items other pickers would pass over.
I stood on a box like unit: I had done this before so knew it would hold me easily as I directed the pilot of the ship to a good spot right above the pile. It was a touch longer and wider than the ship but that didn’t matter. The automated garbage collectors would mash it together in a smaller, condensed mass and the ship’s hydraulics would smash it even smaller.
The few pickers here now would keep going through it until the ship let the AGCs out. I have seen the pickers fight a AGC for a bit of garbage they thought was valuable. Even though stronger than a human they were programed to let a person win if they pulled or otherwise fought hard enough.
A warm wind created by the ship’s drives blew past me but I knew from long experience that it would get only so strong. The pickers knew this also.
I imagined that the pile had been picker over already since it lay here for over two weeks. But new stuff may have been added or some item one of these pickers could use or fix may have been missed. Different pickers wanted different types of items after all.
I got my attention back to directing the ship. It halted at the right spot and height. Side panels slid open and the small boxy units flew out. Each had four arms and wings. Thrusters and anti gravity waved propelled them. Their inboard comps knew what to do.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Finally a writing update Sept 19

It's been way too long since I have done a update here:

Okay, a Journey of Mystery update,

I still want a better title but that one will do if I don't come up with one.

I have the files for each segment or chapter set in rows; five rows with four having eight files The fifth has seven. I just started the last row.

These files are from 1500 to just under 6,000 words. A lot of them are in the 3,000 range. At first they were segments or episodes since this was originally a serial. I believe I said once that I had thought about rearranging them into chapters. I seem to do around 9 to 12 chapters in my novels. But that would be a lot of extra work. And the number of chapters is not that important so this one will have 39 chapters. (shoulder shrug) many have a good ending for a chapter.

I am in the final scene which is kinda of long. That happens in books even by pros I have noticed. Anyway, My hero has fought a large nest of half dragons. Now he has just made it though three traps, one exploded, on the fake door into the building that has what he is searching for. The building is covered with ice and snow thousands of years old.

He went through three false leads to get to this real one. Yay for tray-fail cycles. Men got killed and his airship damaged.

His adventures are not over. He has to fight a guardian, actually three. Well, one is a form of yet another trap. Men under his command will get killed. And he will have to fight what he came for so many pages and thousands of words to go.

Plus a short extra on The Courier , my next book out.
I will add that I now have a proofreader for The Courier but I may need a full cover made instead of only changing somethings on the cover pic I have. But he can not start it until next month. So it could be one full month to two months before I have it ready-depending on what he finds.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Part 2 of Sports Aficionado

Second half of Sports Aficionado-2288 words-as I said last week my first or second story. And as I stated I was surprised to come up with this non violent tale but still I like it and hope some of you do too. Evidently not as many as some of my other stories. But that is okay.
New week I will do a set of very short SF tales. Later I may try some of my alternate reality stories. Surprisingly enough I only have three. So I may try to do a short new one

Back to Sports Aficionado. Bill discovers something totally unexpected and reacts out of shock and fear but only for so long.

“I followed you to return this,” Bill said, holding up the thermos.
“That was a long way to come just to bring me my thermos,” he said.
Holding out the thermos Bill said, “I had another reason to
chase you.”
Jorage took the thermos and said, “Thank you, but you need to leave here very soon.”
 “Oh, are you going to be picked up here?”
The other man’s, (man)?, eyebrows shot up and he asked, “You know about that?”
 Just than another figure came from around the building and caught sight of the two.
The man said in what to Bill sounded like, “JJoraaage, Curl uoal dooom zo,” with the same high pitched voice in the middle of the words, as Jorage sometimes used.
Jorage answered the man with “Crtoal, I know.”
The other next made a noise Bill hadn’t known someone could make, and went back around the building.
When the other man disappeared, Bill answered the question Bill had asked before the interruption, “Well, I know you are not native to this country. Your accent and phasing tell me that. I thought you might be headed toward a place to be picked up to go back home. He just confirmed it,”
Bill stopped at that point to look around, “However this does not look like someplace you would be picked up at. There’s no place for a jet, or even a copter to land.”
Just then there was a clang like a metal door closing. Bill thought Clang?
Bill looked at the building closer, it did look like metal. With a puzzled expression he thought back to how the newcomer had spoken, with an accent Bill couldn’t remember hearing before. He realized that the way the man had spoken Jorage’s name was very close to how he had spoken it at the stadium and here a couple of minutes ago. That was why Jorage had looked so concerned, he had been thinking it was someone from where he was from, but why would that concern him? (He now knew.)
While all this was going through Bill’s mind, the other man turned back to him saying, “You do need to leave for your own safety.”
 “Why,” he said with a chuckle, “is a spaceship going to land?”
It was meant as a joke but after the words left his mouth, Bill took another a close look at the building, and frowned. He again thought of the language he had heard and both speakers’ accent.
Bill said in a half whisper, “Nope, I don’t think so. It can’t be!”
But as he had been saying “can’t be” Jorage had been saying, “Damn, you figured it out!”
It took Bill a second to figure out what Jorage has said for he had been speaking at the same time.
He shook his head frowning again, then said, “Good joke there, but before I go I want to say the other reason I chased you own. I want to ask you if you had heard of....”
While Bill was speaking Jorage place his hands on either
side of his neck and did something Bill couldn’t make out, than
took off his head. Or rather took off the mask he had been wearing.
The head that was revealed shook Bill to his core. The flashback over, he came back to the present with a suddenness which was almost a physical. Perhaps the flashback had given his
emotions time to deal with what was revealed, a still working
corner of his mind suggested.
Bill stared at the head that was reveled. It was black, bunt charcoal black. It was smaller than human heads, and there were mandibles on either side of a particular looking mouth. The eyes, even though too far apart, seem to the right size. The nose, however, was shorter than a human’s, even though wider. There were three nostrils, the center one was wider than Bill’s, with two smaller, openings on either side. They were each separated by a flap of skin. The nose skin looked burnt red, as did Jorage’s eyelids and ear flaps. To finish it off there was what looked like bluish hair around the creature’s eyes and nose, but it wasn’t easy to see.
After Bill got a good look at the face, he stepped back twice more, but he continued to speak, for his mouth was on automatic “I...I wanted to know if you had heard of another sports event.”
 The figure who had once been his friend said, “It is good that you know, I think. It is good to get out of that headgear, it’s pretty hot on there. I wear it because, as I said I like to look like the people I am around. Now what is this about another Sport?”
Bill stepped back again and said in a squeaky voice, “Um yes the...” He cleared his throat and finished in a more normal voice, “Um, yes the Kentucky Derby.”
“I have heard if it, but,” here he smiled, “you are correct I have never seen it. Is it competitive?”
 “Yes, thousands see it every year. It’s the biggest horse race.”
“Hmm, horses.... Oh horses, of course. Hmm, it might be
interesting at that,” he said as he got a gleam in his eye, “With the horse and the ur, om, jockey, I believe.”
As he said this he turned and looked straight at Bill.
Bill took another step backward and asked, “You,’re not going to eat my face are you, or..or force me to go with you, or control my mind??”
Jorage replied “Face eating? Face eating. That is passé, last years fad. Now we go for other body parts. Have to keep up with fashion you know.”
Bill swallowed and blanched, wondering what body parts he was talking of.
Jorage answered with, “You know your leg...leg? No, that's not the right word. Your head? No, Your,” he than stopped as he saw that Bill was about to faint, than continued with, “Calm down Biil, I am joking. We do not eat intelligent species! After all the conversations we have had and you think I would do that?”
 Bill looked relieved. Inside he was surprised that that horrible face, which looked so much like a combination between an insect and a human, could look so hurt and puzzled.
Jorage continued, “You know I come here to watch sports, not eat people. Your planet is not the only one I land on to watch sports. You humans, however, have more games than any other people and you have the best competition, which is why I spend more time here than any other planet. As I said, I have a job which requires little of my time, so I can indulge my passion.”
He paused and said, “the Kentucky Derby would be good, because there would be the horse running, and the jockey controlling the horse. That makes two sets of competition.”
At this point Bill wondered how his mind kept noticing things and why it was trying to inform him of those things. Things such as Jorage’s lips which were, as much as he could see of them anyway, the same red as the eyelids only deeper. He also noticed that the mandibles were solid black ending in shiny sliver colored teeth, bones, claws, or whatever they were made of.
After Jorage finish speaking Bill had a horrible thought about why Jorage had this passion for competition. It must have shown on his face because the alien looked exasperated. Bill wondered again how that face could look like that.
Jorage said, “I thought we had cleared that up. I am Not! Not! Interested in eating faces, or any other body parts. We Do Not Do That!!... Now if you had been a giant blossom than it might be different. In fact, that is what is in that thermos. Nectar, and ground up blossoms from a giant bloom growing on my planet, and some spices and protein.”
He paused to take a breath, saw the expression on Bill’s face an added, “Cluou! I mean No! Not that type of protein! Can’t you get your mind off of that? I have no more time to convince you. You do need to get out of here, because we are...”
It was Bill’s turn to look amazed, interrupting what Jorage was saying, “You mean you are letting me go?”
“Yes,” he said with an of course tone, “I will not shoot you, nor will anyone else. We wouldn’t do that anyway. If you did tell your story and were believed, by the time somebody got back here all of the evidence would be gone. You could tell your story and maybe get your, Uhm, fifteen minutes worth of fame, but no one would be able to say for sure that we were here. So go and if you do see me again remember please that I am a sports, what you call a um, aficionado. Yes... a sports aficionado.”
As a subsonic hum, more felt than heard, began, slightly
hurting Bill’s ears Jorage finished with, “Go!”
Bill decided he better go, so he spun around and ran back down the path.
Before he ran around the first bend, he turned and yelled, “Don’t mess with my mind!”
Joraage yelled, “We can’t!”
After a moment he walked over to the path to make sure Bill, his one time, and hopefully again, friend, was gone. After a long look, he turned and walked around the building. As he did he thought, those humans are very competitive and it sure can get them into trouble at times, but it makes for good sport events. Even Bill turned out to be more competitive than he probably thought of himself.
He stopped, at the door which opened and after he went through it, closed with a clang. Once inside he double locked it and as he turned he saw the person who had come outside and given him the message.
The other alien asked, “Why did you use that head? You knew the Gothaamn would scare him.”
 “I used this disguised for a number of reasons. First because it is the council-elders-directors’ rule that we should never show our true faces.”
“Yes, they have ruled that. However, showing him that face may keep the letter of the law, but not the spirit. If you want to keep the law that strictly you should stop attending the sport competitions.”
“True, but some rules are more important and I love to watch
the competitions. I take precautions such such as wearing two disguises, and obeying all of the laws here. In life, however, you must take chances, it is what makes life... good.
“Another reason was that I knew it would scare him,” here he made a sound Bill would not have recognized, but was a chuckle, “Did you see his face?”
A pause before he said, “That fear, I believed, helped him to leave faster. If he does speak of seeing me. He would have to describe that face, with an explanation that I meant no harm, that would make the authorities and the local media, less likely to believe him. And there would be less chance that they would have him on one of those talk shows, some humans like to watch. They not believe that something with that face would meant humans no harm. Without the face eating, his story would be too boring for those shows.”
“Yes, that is true. You know, if he thought about it, he would realize that we could not eat him. Its the wrong type of protein, not that we would, even if we could. I don’t blame you for getting so exasperated about that.”
 “He reacted out of panic, not thought. He has probably seen too many fictional TV shows. I thought about explaining it to him.”
“I was wondering why you didn’t.”
 “In the emotional state he was in, it probably would have taken too long to get him to understand...and again, this way he probably ran faster. Enough of this though Captain. It is time to lift this ship of mine.”
“Everything is ready and checks out. My crew are in position
and ready. We will lift, seconds later we go to stealth mode and
after which we will take off, as usual.”
Joraage replied “Good, than let’s lift.”
 The other being saluted, turned and went though a door marked control compartment. Joraage walked though a door marked Owner’s Room.
Seconds later he felt the ship raise for three-seconds, stop for a few seconds, than accelerate.
On the ground Bill had made it back to his car. He stopped to catch his breath, after running all the way to the gas station. After a few seconds he reached into his pocket to get his keys. While fumbling with them while trying to find the correct key, he somehow realized they had taken off. He wasn’t sure how he knew, it might have been a lack of vibrations, or a change of air pressure, but he knew they were gone.
He paused relaxed and thanked God, karma and anything that might be out there, that he was still alive and mentally whole. He got into his car and breathed in few relaxing breaths. Once he was calmed down, he realized that he had over reacted. He shook his head, as he drove off,
“No wonder Jorage was exasperated,” he thought out loud, “I’ll have to apologize, if I ever see him again. After all I am a sports aficionado also, so I can understand his desire to watch good sporting events.”
The End