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,..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

Sunday, September 10, 2017

New two part story "Sports Aficionado"

This one was either my first or second story I wrote when I got serous about writing. It surprised me actually. I didn’t expect to write something like this so soon. I was thinking along the lines of space opera and alternate universe tales. I have revised it at least four times since, and the last time wasn’t that long ago, so I took a chance and did not even look it over this time. Hopefully there is nothing outrageous I should have fixed. But I am Busy, busy, busy. On Saturday I leave the house before six and get home after six in the evening. Part of that is having to water and do some yard work at my Father-in-Laws. He has sprinklers but they miss some plants which need to be watered by hand twice a week. 20 to 30 minutes all together. Than I go grocery shopping. Today I needed to do some stuff in attic which he used for storage. Actually I didn’t do anything in his yard for I was tired and it is still hot here and most of his yards are in good shape.
Anyway, I split this story up into two parts this is 2,205 words, the next one will be closer to 3,000 words. I still like this story. Some of you may have seen this before but there are many readers, or at least those who marking my stories. Some read them but I am not sure how many.
Oh yeah, When this story was first written the Softball girls at our local university had just won a championship.

Anyway, again, enjoy this story it is fun:

Bill looked at the horror that was the face now before him. He took a step backwards in revulsion and fear. How could this be his long term friend? True they hadn’t been close, but he had seen and talked with him for years.
Bill’s mind, perhaps in the end-of-life flashback people talk of, took him back to the beginning of what had led up to this horrible sight. He had been hurrying to the gate after a spectacular Super Bowl. One of his best friends, Ron Seidman a Colts fan from way back, had brought a ticket, however, injuries from a car accident had kept him being able to attend the game. He gave the ticket to Bill, explaining that someone who loved sports should see it since he couldn’t.
After the game was over, on the way the gate, he had been thinking about some of the better plays. Neither the Colts, nor the Bears were his favorite teams, but they had both played well. It had been one of the better Super Bowls.
Half way to the gate Bill stopped, as someone caught his attention. It took him a second to realize he had seen a familiar face among the crowd. He was sure it belonged to someone he hadn’t seen for a year. They had meant at an Ice Hockey championship five years ago. Thereafter, whenever they ran into each other at a game they would talk about the game they had just seen. He headed in the direction he was certain Jorage was taking.
Bill had to go counter to the rush of people leaving, but he dodged his way through the crowd until he saw the face again. This time he realized why it was almost familiar. It was the paint on it.
He yelled,”Jorage.”
No response, so he called again, trying to get above the noisy crowd. He upped the volume and tone of his voice, stretching out the name, “Joraage.”
The person turned suddenly and scanned the crowd looking anxious. When he saw Bill waving at him, he visibly relaxed. Jorage waited until Bill was closer then said, with a smile, “Biil, long time no see, as the saying goes.”
He always had that particular accent stretching out the middle of his name with his voice going higher in the middle. (Now he knew why.)
Bill went up to him, stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, good to see you to, it’s been a while.”
Jorage grabbed his hand, and shook it while saying, “Back at you.”
Bill asked, “What’s been happening?”
 Jorage said, “The usual. Watching sports events. The last, uh, couple of times we saw each other I had been watching sports.”
 “Come to think of it, I’ve only seen you at sporting events.”
“Yes, I love to watch sports. I have a lot of spare time since I need to work just a little. I can go around to different, um, games.”
“Lucky you, I don’t get to spend that much time watching. I have to work most of the time. What type of work is it that you do?”
“A bit of this and a bit of that. I own a small company and we do many things... within reason of course.”
“What type of sports do you like than?”
“All types, but if we are going to stand around talking, lets go to yonder refreshment stand. We can get something to drink and get out of the sun.”
“Sounds good to me.”
They went over to the stand (now Bill wished he hadn’t).
Jorage kept talking saying, “I like all sports, as I was saying. Football,” The word football came out with what sounded like two long Us, “Baseball, basketball,” The word basket had the emphasis on the wrong syllable, “I even like the Olympics. The luge and bobsled sports are great.” He paused for a moment then continued, “I have been able to do this for years. I was in Oakland for the World Series, when that earthquake happened.”
They arrived at the refreshment stand and Bill ordered a soft drink than gestured to his friend to order next, but Jorage said, “I can not drink what they serve here,” and he patted his stomach, “but I did bring my own, which I can drink.”
Here he lifted up a rather large thermos he had been carrying.
Bill received his drink, paid for it and moved toward the small tables. They sat down under a shade which blocked most of the sun. Bill sipped his drink and Jorage poured some of his. It had had an interesting smell Bill could not remember any drink smelling like that (now he knew why).
Bill asked, “Have you watched golf competitions?”
His friend with the strange accent said, “Yes I have. I’ve seen it...on TV and I have been to three Master’s tournaments.
Golf is quieter than most sports, but it is great competition.”
“Before I forget what’s with that paint on your face?”
“Paint? Oh yes this stuff,” Here his hand moved up and he touched his face, “Even though I didn’t care which team won, I sat on one side...in the good seats. I knew that many of the fans around me would be wearing this paint on their faces and because I like to fit in, to look like those I am around, I added this to my face.”
“So that is why its that color.”
Bill paused than said, “Hmm, have you been to any fencing competitions?”
 “Some. A couple were not that good, neither contestant did very good, but the last two were great. Both knew what they were doing and neither would give in to the other. Before you ask, I have been to karate matches and judo too. Very good competition.”
Bill sipped his drink and thought, Hmmm, seems that there should be some type of sports event he hasn’t been to.
Out loud he said, “How about ice skating, and/or figure skating?”
“Yes, I have watched those sports, at the Olympics and at other championships.”
“Well, obviously you have been to the World Series, but what about Little League?” he said this smiling thinking that he had him now.
“Little? Oh yes the small ones. Yes, I have seen Little League games I have even been to the Little League World Series once and before you ask I have been to softball games too. Those females are great at competitions, I remember one game at a place called they called Fresno State. It was great!”
Bill was disappointed he couldn’t come up with a sport Jorage hadn’t seem.
Jorage kept on talking as Bill thought about various sports, “I like to watch all sports. You have such great competition in your sports. Where I come from there are few sports, and we do not play them with such, hm, enthusiasm.”
They both paused to take a drink than talked further, but it was small talk, which didn’t last long.
Finally Bill said, “I need to get going, can I take you to your hotel?”
Jorage’s said, “I see you remember that I like to stay near the sports events I go to. This time, however, I was not able to get a hotel close to the game. I had one of those little jobs I mentioned and I barely got done with it in time to get here before the game started. I am staying out there,” here he raised an arm and pointed toward the distance at some foot hills just outside of the city.
Bill had another inspiration, and asked if he had ever seen rugby.
Jorage responded with another disappointing response, “Over the years I have seen most sports, many more than once. I have
seen a couple of local clubs play rugby and cricket and I have been to England.” He stretched that word out too far with that higher pitched voice, “I have even been to a couple of jousting tournaments. As I have stated I love watching competitive sports, every type.”
Bill decided to give up on finding a sport Jorage hadn’t seen. They talked further about three, or four games they had each been too. Bill noticed that the crowd looked a lot thinner.
He remembered he had to be somewhere so he said, “That was a good game, but I do need to get going as I said,” and as he got up he asked, “where did you park?”
“Over there,” his friend’s (now he asked himself Friend?!) response as he pointed to a section of the parking lot.
Bill said, “Well mine is over there,” pointing to another section as he said, “I guess this is bye, until we run into each other again.”
Jorage said “Yes it is” and they both shook hands and went their separate ways.
Bill walked over to the trash thrown away his cup and walked toward the gate leading to his parking area. Half way to the gate a thought hit him. He looked back at the place they had been. He noticed Jorage’s thermos laying on a chair. He hurried back, grabbed it and chased after Jorage. He made it though the gate in time to see Jorage, as tiny figure get into a car, start it and pull out. Jorage drove off without noticing him.
Running across the mostly empty parking lot, Bill narrowly avoided two cars heading toward the exit. He found his car, got into his car, started it, than zoomed out toward the exit. There
were too many cars there already for a hurried exit, but he
managed to get out without too much of a delay. He thought he still could catch his friend and flag him down.
He headed in the direction he had seen Jorage’s car go. The highway, however, had not completely cleared yet, so his forward motion was temporally blocked. When it cleared he stepped on the gas and zoomed away. He caught one maybe two glimpses, of what he thought was the correct car, going what looked like the speed limit. Bill thought he should be able to catch the other car, if it was going only the speed limit, but as he dodged around one slow moving car, he was no closer.
Bill pulled out from behind another car, while gunning his car’s engine, he thought of another sporting event he was sure Jorage would not have seen. (Now he cursed that inspiration.) At one point, he saw what he knew was Jorage’s car, but the traffic was still too heavy for him to close to it. He tried going around one car, almost clipping its back bumper, before he saw a large very slow moving van. He slipped back behind the car, as he ground his teeth together.
When he drove by it, he beeped his horn at the driver. A second later Bill saw Jorage take a turn off, heading for the general direction Jorage had pointed when he explained where he was staying. Somehow Bill managed to take the same turn. He had had zip into a space between two cars, that was barely larger than his car. That got him a beep from the car behind him. He ignored the horn and turned off.
Once on the right road, he muttered out loud, “I hate driving like that, but I would have missed him if I didn’t.”
He found that this road had less traffic, but he still wasn’t able to catch his friend. Half an hour later he turned off onto a much smaller one, guessing that that was the way. It led uphill, in the right direction. A few minutes later Bill knew he had guessed correctly out, as he caught a glimpse of the right car on a couple of switch backs.
Bill honked his horn, but was unable to get Jorage’s attention. Twenty-five minutes later he saw the car, on the side of the road very close to an old gas station. There was a sign on the station that said it rented cars and U-haul trucks. He parked behind him and got out. He locked the door, than unlocked it, as he realized he had forgotten the thermos. After grabbing it, and locking the door again, he went around to the passenger side of his car. Once there he noticed a path leading away from the road, into a forest. There was what he thought were fresh foot prints. He started up the path at a fast jog.
After a he jogged for quarter of an hour he spotted a figure ahead of him on a path. He increased his speed. Twenty minutes later he stopped, thinking he had taken the wrong path when he heard steps. Two fast turns later, he saw Jorage as the man approached a strange looking building. Most of it lay hidden by trees.
Jorage’s back was to him, as Bill entered the small
clearing so he yelled as he had at the stadium, “Joraage.”
Jorage quickly turned around looking puzzled. He noticed Bill and he looked a bit shocked, “Biil what are you doing here?”

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Part Two of Piece of Cake

So this is the second and long half-3637 words-of a science fiction story I started last week.

He was about to fail spectacularly 


A quick study of his options showed him that he needed to slip in-between the ship that had just cut him off and the planet to get to where he wanted to be. He breaths came harder, because his stress levels were up. His AI reminded him that it knew of stress reducing techniques but he didn’t have time to listen. Besides stress can be used.
He thought he smelled his own sweat but that had to be his imagination, the fighter would have cleansed all of that out of the air, even if he wasn’t wearing his flight suit.
Carlos watched his speed, he worked with the planet’s gravity. Tried to ride it like a gravity board rider. He dived toward the planet letting his ship pick up speed for a few seconds. When he reached the correct position he executed another curving turn; this time making it an easy curve to port.
His ship scooted by very close to the atmosphere of the planet but not yet touching it. This close though there was no clear beginning. His fighter jerked every so slightly when he ran through a puff of air that reached a bit further. One eye stayed on the range sensor. If he went too deep into the atmosphere he could start to heat up. He would be in no danger of burning up but anyone in the civilian craft who looked in his direction probably would see his ship start to glow. And of course warships would sense the heat. That would not be good.
He made it by the civilian ship and continued on.
Two deep breaths in relief and two patrol ships appeared on his screen. He held in a curse word, for this would be recorded. Both maneuvered closer to the planet and it looked like they would soon be near his course. Too near, he would have to maneuver around them and their “wakes” could effect his course. Bounce him which would slow his fighter and change its course for a second. That could be on purpose.
For a moment he wanted to panic, when the thought that he had been seen went through his mind. However a deep breath and a heartbeat later Carlos realized that their course would not directly intercept him after all. He would have to change his course again, but he could do that. And still make it, if his speed didn’t drop too much.
If he closed in to the atmosphere again he would need to knife through the beginning of the atmosphere. His ship had been designed to minimize how much heat it gave off. That was one reason for its shape. Mankind still designed streamlined ships because they liked the shape even though most vessels would never enter an atmosphere. His, however, had been designed that way on purpose, to allow it to fly through air. It would still produce a heat signature through and he needed a way to keep it from doing that. At the same time he needed a way to increase his speed without using his drives. The thrusters did not have enough power for that.
Sweat dripped into his eyes and he couldn’t wipe it out. Hopefully his bio helmet would soak it out. He chewed on his tongue and for a heartbeat thought he had bitten it, but that wasn’t the metallic taste of blood. After a few seconds of desperation an idea to do both came to his mind. Very dangerous and it was taking an extreme chance but he needed extreme to finish this mission.
He again used gravity to adjust his course, allowing his ship to be pulled closer to the planet. They were given so many warnings that when a ship entered an atmosphere it had to dive into the air just right or there was a danger that it could impact the atmosphere, even as lite as it was, in a way that would bounce the ship away. At the usual speeds that would be disastrous.
Carlos used the thrusters in tiny bursts to slow the fighter down, while waiting for his little craft to hit the upper atmosphere. He wanted to hit it just right. He finally hit with a thump. He used the force of the impact to propel his ship back up and forward. The fighter traveled out and forward for a few seconds then was pulled back down by the gravity, He bumped the air again and again the impact drove him away from the atmosphere. He used the bumps to move his ship forward. He thought that the small slaps against the atmosphere would not produce a heat signature significant enough to be noticed. Or so he hoped anyway.
Carlos continued to walk toward his goal in this manner. As he did started to sweat even harder. This was not shaping up as expected. Too many unexpected variables. While in training he had been warned that missions hardly ever shook out as planned but this one had looked so well thought out. Everything had been taken into account. Intelligence had seemed so sure. Only there were more ships, both military and civilian, than they had reported there would be. Then there was his mistake. He had turned the wrong way to avoid that civilian ship.
Stress built. Add to his problems what he was doing now, walking, like a one legged man, across a mine field. God, he wanted to spit but couldn’t. Saliva continued to build in his mouth. He thought he heard the bumps but wasn’t sure.
He had to watch and calculate his every move. He had to hit just right to move his craft up and forward at the same time. He had to hit everyone just right. Even with the AI during most of the calculations this had become a strain on his mind and body. A little too deep and he could catch a gust at the wrong angle. Too shallow and he wouldn’t get a hard enough slap. Too slow, the same thing. Too fast and or if he hit at the wrong angle and he could be sent in a different direction-into another ship. If his angle of impact was wrong, specifically if his nose was down too much, or if he hit a gust at another wrong angle, he could be sent into the atmosphere out of control. If that did happened he probably could regain control enough so that he would survive the experience since the ship was made for atmospheric flight but it would ruin his mission and probably ruin his career. Plus his survival wasn’t guaranteed. He tried to relax as he made minute adjustments to his maneuvering.
At one point he glanced at his time piece and realized, on top of everything else, that he was behind his schedule. He had taken too long making up the distance after that wrong way turn. His ordinance had to be launched on time so that it would hit it’s target at a certain time. More then a few seconds either way and his mission would be a bust, not to mention him being extremely embarrassed.
He had to figure out some way of speeding up. A few seconds
later he noticed something on his passive sensors, he thought he
could use. It was another civilian vessel moving. If it continued on the course it now was on and it looked like it was going to, he could use it. He changed course slightly, now a couple degrees to one side. The civilian ship was moving slowly and he caught up with it at the point he had predicted. He carefully bumped into the atmosphere one more time and on the way up he ignited his wing thrusters for a three-second burn. That raised him enough to allow him to enter the “wake” of the ship as it passed above him.
The wake of ship is a series of radioactive and magnetic energy streamers which were produced by a vessel’s drives. They flowed behind the ship. The shielding and armor starfighters were made out of would protect him for a few seconds, maybe a full minute. In most cases this maneuver would be avoided at almost any cost because the wake can create a turbulence that can cause a ship to spin out of control. The streamers could also damage various systems on that ship.
Once in the wake the magnetic waves started to pull his ship up, down and sideways. He was glad this wasn’t a larger warship and that they won’t running the drives at full power. He managed, somehow, to use the waves to pull himself in a little closer. The increased temperature he felt had to be his imagination or his own body heat. His underarms felt soaked, without the suit he would smell his own sweat instead of this clean air. He might even be able to taste it in the air.
When he thought he was in deep enough, he fed power to his drives. The flares of his fighter’s drives should be covered by the drives of the larger ship. The extra flare might be spotted but it wasn’t really that big of a chance.
His passive sensors were having problems reading though the
interference caused by the radiation waves however. At the moment space seemed clear around the larger ship he gunned his drives for three-seconds. When the clock ticked the third second Carlos steered his ship out of the wake. There would be no radioactive flare for sensors to pick up that way. It also gave him a good size dose of inertia. Even as the fighter left the radiation waves he saw that he ha hit it close enough. After a slight course adjustment using his wing thrusters, he breathed a sigh of relief. He still wasn’t done with the mission and any number of things could go wrong but he was very close to being on time. And there was his target almost the right distance.
His special ordinance wasn’t a ship killer missile because it had no drives. No propulsion system of any type, not even a rocket engine. It also had no flight computer. There was nothing that could portray its presence. Its outer case was even more stealth then his fighter was. It could sail right past a porthole and anyone looking though the porthole would not see it. Supposedly that is, Carlos wondered how it would work in real life conditions like this. The missile was also a different shape. It had a blunt nose and the front half tapered down to half the size of the rear.
He could launch it now, however, because of all the extra ships, some of which were continually moving, he thought he should get in even closer. He adjusted his course slightly again, this time nosing the fighter up according to his prospective. After a few seconds he leveled his craft out and headed in. He was aiming right above a patrol ship that was acting as a guard. It was parked at a permanent station, near his target.
After a few seconds he angled his nose down, focusing on a
point near the bow of his target ship. Since his ordinance had no targeting computer, he had to aim it just using the passive
sensors and his sight. He coasted in determined to time it just right.
He started to sweat again as he whispered , “Not yet, not yet,” out loud every couple of seconds. He had to be careful since he had make sure it hit the right target. There were other ships around that it could impact on. Any other hit would be bad but an impact on a civilian ship would be the worst. He would really get yelled at if it did, for good reason.
Finally he said, “yet.” He then pulled a lever next to his left side that would manually lower the ordinance. Once a red light came on to signify that it sat in the correct position, he pressed the large button that would release his payload. He heard the clamps slip into their recesses in the belly of his fighter. He continued forward a bit longer. Since the ordinance would be using the inertia it had picked up when it was a part of his ship, it would it traveled the same speed as his ship. He had to very gently use his thrusters to slow his fighter. He had to do it very carefully to make sure neither any part of his ship nor any amount of exhaust from his thrusters touched the missile. If any did it would send it off course. Even a tiny course change could cause it to miss altogether or to hit some where other then the correct place. Not as bad as a miss but still not good.
He applied power to his thrusters again, after three-seconds of slowing he decided he could leave. He pivoted the stealth fighter until it was aimed forty degrees from his original heading. He slowly increased the power to the thrusters to full. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if he was detected now, but it still wouldn’t be good even though his mission was accomplished. So he hoped anyway. He had no way of checking to make sure his payload was headed in the right direction. Even this close his passive sensors would not detect it and he would not be to see it though his view window. As far as he knew it could still be under his belly. He just had to trust that it was acting like it was supposed to.
A patrol ship swung around in near him and he decided to use its wake. This patrol ship was small and was maneuvering at a slow speed. He managed to slip into the magnetic and radioactive waves streaming behind it. He then scooted closer to the ship and quickly fed power to his drives. They had been on stand by again so it took only a second for them to start producing thrust. He increased speed to match the patrol ship’s and followed it for a while. At one point it increased speed and the turbulence got worst. It was almost like riding a bucking horse, or what he imagined what one would feel like anyway. He watched his time piece as it counted down the time till the ordnance he had released would hit its target. It was going to be late, but only by two point six seconds. That should be close enough not to matter. If nothing else went wrong, that is.
He decided it was time to leave. He repeated the same procedure as last time. He fed full power to his drives then coasted out of the patrol ship’s radioactive streams of energy. There was more chance that the patrol ship would spot him this close to it but as before it did matter so much and now he was far enough away so he could probably escape.
He was not spotted and used his inertia to head away from the planet. His speed kept decreasing as the planet’s gravity pulled him back but it should get him out among the numerous ships in far orbit. Then if he lit off his drives they would just be another set among many. He could also turn on his full sensors. As he fled he watched the timer. He was disappointed that he would not be able to see it hit. and he knew there would be very little shock wave produced by it so he would not even feel it. Two point six seconds after the original time there was an explosion of light behind him. Multicolored light produced by his special ordnance reflected off his view window. Right on time which meant that it probably was right on target.
He raised one hand in a clenched fist and shouted. “Yea!”
Suddenly his exuberance turned to shock as another civilian ship made a sudden turn right in front of him, probably to see the sight better. Right above his fighter another large ship with a large drive wake quickly going to full came even with him. Below him were two small shuttles. He was boxed in and his thrusters would not have enough push to get him to turn in time. All he could do was ride his flight as it zoomed straight for that vessel. Now he would definitely be getting a closer look at its paint job, then he wanted.

Four hours later he marched into the base Commander’s office for his debriefing. He had landed and after a quick shower and a change to a clean uniform he had come straight here. Colonel James Hiker was seated behind his desk looking at a computer monitor. John, stood at attention, saluted then waited.
He had to wait only for three seconds before Colonel Hiker
returned the salute and told him at ease then to be seated. Carlos sat in the only chair in front of the desk. The place had a slight smell of cleaning products and a stronger after shave odor. The last had to be from the Colonel.
The Colonel spoke, “I have been scanning the data from your mission. That was a close call at the end, when those ships had
you boxed in.”
Carlos said, “Yes sir, it was. I remembered, just in time that I was far enough away to light my drives.”
To himself he added, “Barely remembered that is.”
Inside he shuddered a bit as an image flashed in his mind, of the hull of the ship filling his view window as he had started his drives. Good thing they had been on stand by, but he still had had to pull up before they were completely engaged. Not good for the drives nor for his blood pressure. He had been so close to that civilian ship that he had thought he was going to scrap it as he flew up its side. He had bit his cheek hard enough to make it bleed while he waited for the fighter to respond to the drives. Sweat popped out of his underarms at the thought.
His attention slipped back to the Commander who was speaking, “You accomplished your mission as planned. Or almost as planned. The Secretary of Defense finished his dedication speech two-seconds early. And since you were a touch late he had to wait over four-seconds after he said, ‘I christen you the Flying Warrior’. It was one of the longest four-seconds I have every had to wait, standing next to him as I was. I was just starting to think that you had failed when space lit up with a rainbow of light. It was so magnificent that the Secretary forgot about having to wait. The designers of that dedication ‘bottle’ deserves kudos. It was some of the best fireworks, I have ever seen in space. You deserve congratulations also for carrying out your mission so successfully. You got in, released your payload and got out without detection. And you did it on time, or close enough to it.”
Trying not to smile like a foolish rookie Carlos said, “Thank you sir”.
The Commander was not done though, “I do have some bad news
for you. It seems like there are no berths opened at the moment, so there is no assignment for you.”
John’s mind went blank, his heart dropped, No berths opened? That meant he was still a cadet, even after all that.
He fought not to show his shock so he did not notice the Commander shove a small box across his desk. He finally looked down at it as it reached his half of the desk.
His eyes went wide and his mouth twitched, he couldn’t help it for that looked like a specific type of box. One he had worked for longer then the four years he had spent at the Academy. He just stared at it for what seemed like a too long period of time.
Hiker most of thought he was taking too long also because he said, “Go ahead and take it. It’s for you.”
John looked up at him stupefied, then mentally shook himself and reached out to pick it up. He reverently took off the lid and as the lid cleared the opening enough for him to see the contents his eyes went wide again. For sitting in the center of
the box were two lieutenant signatures.
He looked at the officer and said, “But, you just said there were no berths for me, sir.”
The Commander smiled and said, “You would not be the first cadet to be promoted without a place to go. It happens rarely but with your marks at the academy and your successfully accomplished mission, while at the same time successfully testing our new stealth fighter under real world conditions, you have earned the right to join their ranks. Now though you are dismissed. You have packing to do.”
When the new lieutenant looked puzzled Hiker continued, “You need to move from the academy to the officer’s quarters.”
Carlos said, “Yes sir,” and jumped up.
He practically ran to the door, but as he was going though it Hiker spoke again.
“One more thing lieutenant, evidently your mission was rougher then predicted. I would apologize for that, but it is something you will need to get used to.”
Carlos said, “Yes sir, I will but, begging the Colonel’s pardon,” here he smiled and finished with, “this mission was a piece of cake,” then headed though the door.

The end