Topic: A Good Start  (Read 14270 times)

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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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A Good Start
« on: April 30, 2012, 03:49:49 pm »
L-1 Station

12 January 2014 - 08:04 Zulu

"Carter to Captain Atkinson."

James looked at the intercom on the desk, he sighed and started to take his headset off, "George, I'm afraid we'll have to continue this another time."  He took the headset off and opened the intercom channel, "Go ahead, Sam."

"Captain, I think you should come up to Ops."

"It's open?"  James looked to the monitor that showed the current progress of the construction phase.

"Almost, but this is something you need to see for yourself."

James tossed his headset towards the desk, a necessity since he currently wasn't in contact with anything in the room.  The toss pushed him slowly towards the ceiling, the headset bounced off the desk and floated back up to him, "On my way."  He caught the headset and let it push him just a bit more.  He reached back for the ceiling, knowing it was just a few short centimeters beyond his reach, but his momentum would put it in his reach in just a few seconds.

"Bring something small, James."

James started to ask why, but when he reached the ceiling, he thought better of it.  She probably wouldn't tell him right now anyways.  He pushed himself towards the door, and began to twist his body to put himself upright.  As he reached the door he reached down to his boots and activated the magnetic soles.  Designed to give him some kind of normal range of movement, they exerted a small magnetic field that 'gripped' the floor.  The field wasn't strong enough that he could break contact with the floor with the same amount of effort it would take to lift his leg out of mud.  Ordinarily he would eschew the boots, but the boots were a part of the physical fitness regimen that Doctor Elliot prescribed everyone on the station.  He missed the freedom of swimming around the station, but he wasn't about to anger Doctor Elliot.  The door swished open when he pressed the access button, and he strode out into the corridor.  He looked down to his left, at the elevator that leads to the promenade, then turned to his right, towards a T-junction in the corridor.  When he arrived at the T-junction, he turned left, down a corridor that had only opened up three days ago.  He crossed the threshold that separated the old section from the new section, if he hadn't known about that threshold, he wouldn't have noticed as the color of the corridor on both sides was an exactly matching gun-metal grey.  The corridor led to the station core, and an elevator that will, once complete, run from Ops all the way to reactor control.  At the moment, though, it only ran from Ops to this level.  Reaching the elevator, he pressed the call button.  Surprisingly, it opened immediately.

The elevator did not have a conventional winch and cable that almost all terrestrial elevators had.  When he stepped in and pressed the button for Ops, it began to climb smoothly, and quickly.  A hum filled the elevator, the hum was caused by the magnetic rails rapidly activating and deactivating.  It was that sequential activation that pulled the elevator towards its destination.  Ordinarily these rails would not be powerful enough to lift the car, but in the weightlessness of space, it was more than sufficient.  By not using the winch and cable system, it also meant that each car was also capable of lateral movement, not just vertical movement.  They hadn't designed the shafts to accommodate that yet, but it was something that they had planned to use when the Grav Deck and Cargo Bays were connected.  The humming changed pitch as the elevator came to a stop.  Before the door opened, a hissing sound filled the car, and the sound of metal on metal tapping the outer shell of the car, indicating that the car was locked in place.  The indicator light on the panel glowed green, meaning that the atmosphere on the other side of the door was normal.  The door opened and gave him a view of the place he would be considering his home away from home for, hopefully, a long time to come.

The Operations room was a cavernous, two level room.  The elevator deposited him on the upper level, across the room was his office, he could see the red light on the panel from where he was standing, telling him that it wasn't ready for him to move in yet, the double glass door would give him a view of anyone wanting in his office.  Right now it gave him a view of the Walker that was welding the window in place that would give him a view of space.  The Walker took note of him and flashed him a thumbs up before pushing himself down to presumably another task.  Directly in front of him was a step stair way that led down to the lower level.  The large table that dominated the lower level was dark, but he knew that when power was finally given to the table, it would house a large Multi-function Display, that would, among other things, display station schematics, star charts, and anything else they wanted to see.  The pit, as they called it, would be the place where they held most of their meetings.  Around the upper level were stations dedicated for Science, Security, Tactical and Engineering.  Each station was separated by stairways leading to the pit.  The stairways were laid out in a cross pattern, each exactly ninety degrees from each other.  Lining the outer ring were a series of windows that looked out into space, they angled down towards where the docking arms would be, allowing anyone in Ops to see every ship docked at the station.  The two levels mirrored each other as they were both kind of oval shaped.  This is not because of the way the structure was built, which was built completely round.  But because of the space required by the elevator and his office.  The office jutted out from the outer wall, and would have taken up all the room on that side, if the railing didn't move in towards the center to allow its placement.  A similar set up occurred on the elevator side, not because of the space required, but just giving more room to exit the elevator without causing a case of claustrophobia.

James looked around Ops for Sam, but couldn't find her.  He then looked around for an intercom panel to call for her, but stopped when her voice filled Ops.  "Go ahead and stand over by your office."  He nodded and began walking around the perimeter.  "I'm still in my science lab, but I'll be up there in a minute."  James realized that she was watching him from the security camera situated above the pit.  He also knew that the science lab she was in was directly beneath his office.  When he got there, he stopped.  He didn't wait long until she gave him his next instruction.  "Hold your headset parallel to your body, and hold it steady.  Once it's steady, let it go."  He did as she asked, and released the headset.  It floated in place for a few seconds.  "Okay, now watch this."  He stared at the headset in amazement as it slowly fell to the floor.  He opened his mouth to ask a hundred different questions, when Sam pushed a piece of deck plating away from the corner of his office and pushed herself up into Ops.

"What did you just do?" was the first words out of his mouth.

She smiled at him as she picked up the headset and dropped it onto the floor again.  "I got to thinking when you told me about your interview with George Noory that you were doing.  He has some crazy people on his show sometimes, but a couple of years ago he had a guy on that claimed that he had found a way to make anti-gravity fields for use in propulsion.  So I went digging a bit, and found that there is a bit of truth to it.  Not all of it, but some of it.  Enough that I was able to rig up a device, that pretty much takes up my entire lab, that generates a small gravitational field.  It's nothing substantial, point-one, and its area of effect is quite small."  She demonstrated by putting the headset over her head, and releasing it.  It just floated there.

"Interesting.  Such a small, and weak field means that there's little practical use for it."  He quickly amended his statement, "Yet."

"Yes, and the fact that it takes up my entire lab, and about seventy percent of the output from one reactor core just to make it work, means that we aren't going to be doing anything but experiments with it for a while."

"That much power?"  He shook his head, "We don't have that much power to spare yet."

She nodded, "I know.  I won't be able to do much with it at all until the next reactor gets up here.  But, it's A Good Start."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Starfox1701

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 07:50:16 pm »
Nice, you can almost her ONeal in the background go "Cool" ;)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2012, 07:10:50 pm »
James stayed in Ops while Sam went back down the ladder to her lab.  He closed the access hatch behind her.  There were two such hatches in Ops, both on either side of his office.  They were intended to be ways to get in and out of Ops if for some reason the Elevator was non-functional, but they also provided quick access to the office level right beneath Ops.  Once he made sure the seal was good, he turned his attention back to the empty control center.  The room was only large because it was so tall, if you took out the ceiling, 15 meters from the lowest point of the pit to the top of the dome, it was really quite cozy.  The outer dimensions of the room was 15 meters in diameter.  Narrowing to 10 meters where his office entrance and the elevator foyer was.  He leaned forward on the railing that separated the pit from the upper tank.  In doing so, he finally noticed the slight gravitational pull from Sam's experiment.  Ordinarily he would have had to pull himself towards the railing to assume that position, but this time he was actually pushing himself away from it.  The difference was so imperceptible though, that when Sam pulled the plug a moment later, he was able to quickly correct his grasp to keep from pushing himself against the wall.  Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the indicator on his office's door panel switch from red to yellow, and then slowly start blinking.  The room had pressurized, but was not up to temperature yet.  The silence in the room was deafening, only the faint humming of distant fans could be heard as it forced air through the life-support ducting.  It came as no surprise to him then, when he heard the elevator clamps disengage and the elevator hum away.  He turned around to look out the window behind him.  It had an excellent view of Docking Arm 1, and a decent view of where Docking Arm 2 would eventually be.  The freighter, still attached to Arm 1, looked as if it were part of the station.  It sat there with its navigational lights flashing every few seconds, its engines powered down.  James knew that the ship would be leaving later this afternoon, the first of many departures that the stations would be handling.

The pit's table beeped, indicating that it was starting it's boot-up procedure.  While the station's main computer controlled most of it's processing power and storage capacity, the table had a built in processing unit that was primarily geared to running the display adapter that controlled the touch screen table.  It could save minor things, such as display layouts, but even that would largely be called from the main computer core.  The Processing Unit's main purpose though, was to function as a back up, in case the main computer was unavailable.  The screen came to life, and the display loaded the default image, a schematic of the station.  James turned back to the table and looked at the diagram, a steady blue light traveled across the screen.  It indicated the position of the elevator, which was heading back up to Ops, from the Promenade.  He was just about to ponder who may be on the elevator when the deck plate behind him opened with a pop.  Sam pulled herself through the open hatch,  "First thing I want to do, is redesign these access hatches.  Surely we can make these things open with a button rather than having to force it open manually."  She stopped herself on the window and pushed herself back to the deck.  "Also, if you're in a hurry, you might not re-close the hatch behind you."

"Fair enough point."  James nodded as the elevator opened to admit Micheal and George to Ops, Micheal was holding a very large box as they walked into the control center.  James turned to face him and smiled, "Gentlemen, what brings you up here?"

Micheal grinned as he lifted the large box in front of him, "The Walkers reported that they were done with the Command Dome, so we felt that it was time for us to give you your going away present."

James shot them both a look that showed his annoyance, "A going away present?  Didn't we have better things that could have taken that space and weight?"

George chuckled, "The weight was negligible, and as for space.  Well, we had the space."

James narrowed his eyes, "Your smuggler bins no doubt."

George laughed, "Hey, every good freighter's gotta have a place to hold contraband.  How do you think we'll get by our first run-in with a Star Destroyer?"

All three of them had a laugh, while Sam merely smiled.  As the two of them arrived at the office door, the indicator light had turned green.  Micheal pressed the button to open the door, "Well, go on in and open it up."  He waited for James to go in first.  When James went in, they waited for him to slip behind the desk before they followed him in and set the box down on the desk.  The box snapped into place when it was placed on the desk, the magnets on the bottom of it holding it firmly to the desk.

James pulled the lid of the box off, and noticed three smaller boxes inside.  One of the boxes was large and flat, it lay against the bottom of the container.  The other two were smaller, but thicker.  His attention was immediately grabbed by the name on one of them: Ashley.  He looked back at them puzzled, but before he could say anything Micheal responded, "Ashley bought it before she left.  I asked her if she wanted it back, and she said that you could have it anyways, and that, quote, 'I expect to see it in his office when I come up to visit', unquote."

James smiled as he pulled her box out of the container, "I hear she found a job.  She's going to be the Captain of the next ship to be out here."  He opened the box, "They incorporated two days ago as ASSTEROID STRIP MINERS, INC."  He reached into the box and pulled out a 1:350 replica model of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, TMP refit.

Sam frowned as James set the Enterprise down on a table in the corner to his left, it had a magnet in its base to secure it to the table, "Strip mining usually has a lot of negative connotations with it.  It seems really odd to adopt a name like that, even if it is technically what they are doing."

James chuckled, "Oh you have NO idea."  He walked back over to the crate, "They spelled it, Ay, Es, ES. Tea, Arr, Oo, Eye, Dee."  He reached in and pulled out the other large box, this one had George's name on it.  "They decided that they were going to help fund their ship and their trips by installing video cameras in the Miner's dressing rooms, and charge people a fee to watch the Miner's," he coughed as he opened the box, "change into their EVA suits."

Sam's eyes went wide, "Would people actually pay for that?!"

James pulled out a 1:350 model of the freighter, and looked it over, "Very nice, George.  Thank you."  George nodded as James moved to set it down next to the Enterprise.

Micheal answered Sam's question, "Given the amount of money people spend world-wide on Pornography.  I would imagine, that, if the miners are attractive enough, they could make some money off of it."

James shrugged as he turned back to the crate, "It's all preliminary.  They are looking for both male and female miners, but they are also still in the construction stage of the ship."  He reached in to pull out the last box, "They have the added challenge of needing to get out further than even we've gone at this point."  This box wasn't a box, but rather something wrapped in paper, he began to carefully peel the paper off of the object, "They expect to have the ship done in July."

George looked stunned, "That's awfully quick.  It took us ten months to build our ship."

James held up the painting that he unwrapped, "They have the benefit of us having done it before.  They can learn from the mistakes we made."  The painting was an artists rendition of the International Space Station, with Earth in the background.  From this far out, the ISS was something that they would not be able to see with the naked eye.  "Thank you, Micheal."  James went over to the wall on his right to mount it, "You know, I wish we could have actually docked there.  Just too low an orbit for us."

Sam nodded, "It certainly would have been interesting to see the change in design philosophy between the freighter and that station.  Do you think people would be willing to debase themselves like that?"

All of them shrugged, Micheal was the only one with words, "We'll see."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 09:44:12 pm »
12 January 2014 - 14:30 Zulu

"The Freighter is signaling, requesting permission to depart."

James looked over the freighter from the Upper Tank, "Send them their departure course."

Sam nodded as she entered the command, "They've acknowledged receipt of course."

"Clear their course."

Sam's fingers flew over the touch screen, the departure course, etched in red on the map of Earth-Luna system, blinked green, "Course Cleared."

James looked up, "Bon Voyage, Micheal!  See you in a few weeks."

Micheal's voice filled Ops, "Looking forward to it."

The docking clamp that attached the freighter to the station pulled away from the freighter.  The six maneuvering thrusters on her port side flared to life as she pushed herself away from the station.  Just as quickly as they came on, they turned off and the freighter drifted away from him.  Once she had pulled away far enough the six thrusters on the starboard side, thrusters he couldn't see from his vantage point, stabilized her position.  Then her main engines fired, and while he didn't have a direct view of its exhaust ports, the flare from them was visible even from the front of the ship.  It didn't take long for the freighter to rocket herself past his vantage point.  He turned to watch it go, now he had a clear view of its engine ports, and the white hot exhaust flames that spewed from it.  It quickly sped off into the distance, where a blue marble the size of his fist waited for them.  Earth.

"She's clear."

James turned back towards the pit, and pulled himself to the railing to look down into it.  "We've got three-plus weeks until she returns.  What do we have to pass the time?"

Sam smiled up at him, "I still have to dis-assemble the gravity generator in my lab.  I've already forwarded the specifications to several different universities and technical colleges around the planet.  Maybe they can figure out a way to refine it.  Once I have that dis-assembled, I'm ready to take a Launch Craft into Lunar Orbit for those SONAR Soundings that I wanted to take."

James nodded, "When will you be ready for that?"

Sam shrugged, "Tuesday."

"I'll makes sure there's a Launch Craft waiting for you then."

She looked at him, "Can I make a request, sir?"

He raised his eyebrows at her, "Of course."

"Can we call it something other than a Launch Craft?"

He frowned, "Well, that's what it is."

"I was hoping to call it a shuttlecraft, or a runabout."

He chuckled, "It's a bit small to be a runabout.  But I suppose a shuttlecraft, or just shuttle for short would work.  We didn't want to call it that because it could be confused with NASA's old Space Shuttle program."

She laughed back, "No one here is going to be confusing it with that."

He conceded the point, "True."

After a couple of seconds of watching the screen, they both noticed that the freighter had cleared the station's perimeter.  She looked back to him, "What are you going to do for the next three weeks?"

"Besides paperwork?  I get the task of troubleshooting everything here."  James sighed, "Someone has to make sure every door opens, every air vent blows, every filter breathes, every temperature regulator, uh, regulates.  A lot of busy work, but everyone else has more important stuff to do."

"How long is that going to take you?"

"If I could go straight through, it would take me about a week.  But, I have to be up here when you're doing your SONAR run.  I have to be up here when the Walkers are out moving the big stuff.  I imagine I'll be doing that stuff all the way up until the freighter returns."

"Sounds like fun."

He smiled, "I'd rather be out with you on that SONAR run."

She smiled back, "You've already been in Lunar orbit."

"Yeah, but I never got down to the surface.  Half the crew did, but I never had a chance to do it."

She feigned insult, "What makes you think I would want to land on the Lunar Surface?"

He winked at her, "Because that's the reason you're on the SONAR run."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 10:32:07 pm »
L-1 Station
14 January 2014 - 07:24 Zulu

Ops was quiet, just the low hum being emitted from the pit's table was audible.  James had muted the audio feed hours ago, and was just floating above the table, staring down at it.  He felt numb, but he also wasn't surprised.  The most annoying aspect of being this far away from Earth was not the time lost.  But the changing of video signals as they rotated through different frames of reference.  Right now he had the Sky News Feed, which was the feed he wanted the most.  But he knew that in a couple of hours he'd have to drop that for a Station based out of the United States.  When Sam entered Ops to prep for her SONAR run, she stopped and looked at him, "Shouldn't you be in bed?"

He didn't even notice her walk in, but her words brought him out of his trance, "The powder-keg that was Europe just went off."

"Really? What happened?" She asked as she walked down into the pit and looked at the table.  Besides the Sky News feed, that dominated two-thirds of the table, there was a political map of Europe, countries were colored based on their current upheaval status.  The entirety of the Balkans, from Greece to Hungary, and from Bulgaria and Slovenia were flashing red, indicating that they were in a state of open revolution.  Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal glowed orange, to indicate that they were completely paralyzed by unrest, but only sporadic incidents of armed protests had been reported.  Of all the countries, only England and Iceland were Gold, indicating that they were stable.  Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Poland, among others were various shades of Green or Blue, depending on how much influence over their countries actions the rest of Europe's issues had.

"Basically, it comes down to two things.  The French Socialist that was elected two years ago, predictably, couldn't come through on his promises, and the useful, or useless, depending on how you look at them, idiots that got him elected finally had enough.  The other item, is that someone bombed the Parliament building in Athens, and predictably as well, the Neo-Nazi's are blaming Germany and the Bankers who kept them afloat for the last three years, they've armed themselves and are, predictably once again, giving the EU troops in the region a real good fight."  James took a breath, "All that happened late last night, European time.  Since then, the Neo-Nazis have expanded their operations beyond Greece, and have lit up the entire Balkans.  The EU never had a strong military, it was mostly a show force, and when the Socialists took power in France, they slashed that too.  Britain withdrew their contribution, good thing too, because problems in Ireland and Scotland have tied up much of their military."  He stopped for a moment and directed her attention to the final panel on the table, "However, this is something that has caught my attention in the last couple of hours.  An armored division out of Persia has launched an unsanctioned strike across the Bosporus.  The division is Turkish in origin, it's operating with no supplies but what they brought with them, because Khan has declared them rogue and cut them off.  He's made no attempt to stop them, but has been offering the Europeans, and the United States, detailed information as to their composition, and their officer corps."

"Amir Al'Quayym?"

James nodded, "Yes, him and about a hundred others in the unit are almost a blank slate.  Odd considering that this guy is the Colonel in charge of the Division.  Some of the rest of them, Lieutenants, you kind of expect.  But really odd for a Senior Officer, and extremely odd for a CO."

"What do you think is going to happen?"

James shook his head, "The United States is out of position, they can't get enough force in the region to stop this division until next week at the earliest.  The EU army is underfunded, undermanned, and poorly supplied.  What is still in decent shape is also out of position.  The Israelis have some good troops in position, and could actually deploy them tomorrow, but that would also mean that they would have to trust Khan, which they are not inclined to do right now.  That leaves the Russians, who quite frankly are scared to death of Khan right now.  If I had to guess, the Israelis would send some troops in support of the EU, but the EU would be the main battle line.  The Russians would move in to shore up Belarus and Ukraine, essentially just trying to keep this division out of their allies territory.  The United States could get an aircraft carrier in position to provide air-support, but not much more.  The fact that the division is operating with no external supplies means that it can only go as far as the supplies they capture.  I would not be surprised if Greece, Bulgaria, maybe even Romania, Macedonia, and Albania fall to the division.  Then the diplomats have more stuff to sort out.  And I for one am glad that there's no possible way I can make it the UN this time.  Not that I would be welcome anyways."

She shook her head as she looked back up at him, "Going to be an interesting week."

He frowned, "We can say that because we're really the only ones that are out of reach.  This thing could get real ugly if it goes nuclear.  We can't get nuked directly, but we can starve to death."

She pulled herself into the chair at the table, "And on that note, I'm going to get my shuttle ready for departure, and you need to get some sleep."  She turned the table back to normal operations before he could protest.  She looked back up at him when she noticed he hadn't started to move, "I still have the handcuffs."

He glared back down at her before resigning himself to her order, "Fine."
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 10:42:33 pm by Lieutenant_Q »
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 01:04:28 am »
14 January 2014 - 21:30 Zulu

"So exactly just how much of the Lunar surface are you going to be sounding?"

Sam's looked up from her controls as she was finishing the final simulation run, "Why not the whole thing?"

James' voice came back over the intercom, "I don't think you have enough fuel for the whole thing."

She smiled as she shut down the simulation, "Then I can finish the rest of it Thursday."

The lack of response broke her smile into a full fledged grin.  She enjoyed toying with him, and knew that he really wanted to be out with her on this run.  It took her no time at all to get used to the controls of the shuttle craft, she was using the simulation time to figure out fuel saving maneuvers, time saving tricks, and to prolong his agony just a bit.  When she had decided that she was done torturing him for the moment she reset the controls and faced the intercom, "Requesting permission to depart."

His voice came back immediately, "Permission granted.  You have the communications relay in your drop bay?"

The drop bay was specially installed for this run, it was attached to the underside of the shuttle, giving her a miniature cargo bay.  She couldn't access the drop bay from inside the shuttle, so it was only useful for dropping items off.  Although George had made a comment about making one that would attach itself to the fuel tank, giving the shuttle extra range.  That would have to wait until he returned with the freighter.  "It's in there, and ready for deployment."

"Feeding departure course to your console, and opening launch doors."

"Thanks, I'll try not to have too much fun without you."  The bay decompressed and the doors slowly parted in front of her.  When the indicator light on the side of the door frame blinked green, she activated the maneuvering thrusters, and ever so gently pushed the shuttle out into space.  "You are paying attention to me, and not Europe, right?"

"I wouldn't say you have my undivided attention, but yes I am paying attention to you."

She nodded, she knew that if he had said otherwise he would be lying.  The happenings in Europe, while not directly affecting them, had a broader impact on the entire planet, and therefore, did affect them.  "Anything new?"

"You've cleared the station, you can engage your main engines now."  James came back.  She did so, and he answered her question, "Greece is all but fallen.  And the Turkish Division has made significant in-roads into Bulgaria.  They captured Athens a couple hours ago, but the Neo-Nazis and the remaining EU battalion have joined forces in the Peloponnisos city of Corinth.  I doubt they can hold there long, but they might be able to buy some time."

"Heading for the Northern Hemisphere of the Moon.  I'll drop the communications relay in a polar orbit, and then handle the Northern Hemisphere before returning."

"Got your course plotted.  How many times are you planning on landing?"

She knew he was squirming wherever he was, she debated whether or not to twist it a little bit by not answering, or just thrust it deeper in there by telling him outright.  She decided to twist, "That will depend on my fuel status."   It also depended on how long she decided to stay out when she was down, she looked down at the O2 indicator on her forearm.  All she had to do was snap on her helmet and she could step out of the shuttle, but she didn't have a lot of Oxygen.

Silence filled the communications channel.  "You're going to have to keep talking to me, James."

He came back on the line, "Yeah.  Corinth fell.  No fight at all, reports are the two forces turned on each other as the Division entered the isthmus.  One of the BBC talking heads is thinking that the Neo-Nazis have sided with the Turks.  If that's the case, who knows just how far this Division will roll."

She was barely paying attention, focusing more on her course and what she needed to do as the Moon grew larger in her window, "Germany?"

"Doubt it, but I wouldn't put Austria or Hungary out of their reach."

She cut her engines, flipped the shuttle over, and fired them again.  The braking maneuver would take her to a high polar orbit.  The communications relay wouldn't stay there forever, but it would stay there longer than any other place they could put it.  "Beginning braking maneuver, ETA eight minutes."

"Hmm... Khan's opened up Turkish Airspace for Israeli flyovers.  He might be serious about stopping this man."

She frowned, "Israel can't reach Greece with their fighters."

"No, it'd be a one way trip.  But that does mean that Israel can put a refueling plane or three over Turkey, and refuel halfway before striking." James paused for a moment, "It's a stopgap measure until the Reagan can move into the Med."

"When is that?"

"The Reagan should enter the Med early tomorrow.  It then would be in striking range by about Daybreak on Thursday."  James switched gears for a moment, "Has the Air Force ever considered building a space-based carrier?  This would have been over with by now if you had."

She groaned, "The idea had been floated a number of times, but the Civvies never allowed it.  Violated too many treaties they said."

"Hmm."  That was all James said in response.

"What's that supposed to mean?!"

"It means that's never stopped you before in the past."

Sam glowered at the intercom, "You mind clarifying that?"

"The anti-missile shield, that orbital weapons platform you built a few years ago."

"What are you talking about?"

"Hmm... you'd think as part of the Space Warfare Division they would have told you about that one."

Sam rolled her eyes, "Of course I know about the SDI program.  Who doesn't?  Yes it DID violate several treaties, but we withdrew from the respective treaties before starting the actual construction work."

James continued, "They should have done a better job hiding it.  We found it on our first layover back at Earth.  They did a good job hiding it from terrestrial observers, but we got up close to it.  It wasn't operational, but the engineering looked sound."

She narrowed her eyes, "Are you going to stop being so vague?"

"Maybe.  They didn't tell you about the Particle Beam weapon you had in orbit?  Grazer-one?"

She laughed, "You bastard!  You had me going there for a minute."

His laughter filled the shuttle, "I'm the bastard?  You're the one that started this torture session, knowing full well how much I'm squirming over here.  The least I could do was return the favor."

Sam shook her head, "Just you wait til I get back."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 05:00:59 pm »
Lunar Surface
14 January 2014 - 22:03 Zulu

Sam deftly fired the braking thrusters as she settled the shuttle on the surface.  She didn't technically need to land to activate the SONAR, but this provided a clearer picture.  And she did want to step outside.  It got her thinking about firsts. Of course its not the first time anyone's ever stepped foot on the Lunar Surface.  Nor is it the first time anyone's been out to where the station is.  The Station IS the first of its kind, and they are the first to be out beyond Earth's Magnetic Field for as long as they are.  But it did get her thinking about other firsts, the firsts yet to be accomplished.  Ashley's ship would be the first to reach the Asteroid Belt, who would be the first to Mars?  To Venus?  Jupiter?  Saturn?  Would she be a part of any of them?  Was she going to be on the station forever?  Is this a price to be had for her impatience?  She could still have been a part of Major Christopher's Trailblazer project, but that would mean she would still be on Earth, right now, and not about to take in one of the most breathtaking views one could imagine, or so she had been told.  She chose this particular landing spot for a reason, the position of the Earth.  Earth would be about ten degrees high on the horizon, with a three quarter phase.  The sun would be almost directly above her.  She could snap a picture from her camera, specially sealed to prevent the vacuum from ruining the interior mechanisms, and not have to worry about glare from the sun.  She secured her helmet to her head, and depressurized the shuttle.  "I'm stepping outside the shuttle."

"Roger that."  James' voice came back through the intercom.  The door soundlessly opened away from her, exposing the lunar surface.  She stepped out, and resisted the urge to take a deep breath.  She gazed around at the barren, broken landscape, and wondered to herself just how anyone could have thought that this place had even a chance of hosting life.  Her gaze continued to sweep the ground, littered with broken stones, and pockmarked with centuries old meteorite collisions.  Then her eyes stopped, and she just stared at the glowing jewel in the sky before her.  Earth.  It did indeed take her breath away.  She stood there mesmerized by it, she thought about just how small it looked from up here.  Sweeping nations like Russia, were no bigger than the width of her pinky.  She started thinking to herself.  If you felt this small after looking at your Homeworld from one of its satellites?  What could you feel just from looking at it from outside the star system?  How insignificant we all are.  Do we even matter at.... "Sam!"

She shook her head, fighting back tears, "James?"

"Talk to me Sam!"

She stammered, "I... I..."

"Look away from Earth!  Look back at your Shuttle!"

She pried her eyes away Earth, it wasn't easy.  It felt like it took every ounce of her strength to do it.  She finally put the shuttle back into her field of vision, "I... I.. see it now."  Her breathing became labored as she fought back the feeling of emptiness.  "I'm OK."

"You were out for almost ten minutes."

Her eyes went wide as she glanced down at the chronometer built into her wrist, "Ten Minutes!  Impossible!"  But when she looked at the time, 22:14, she knew he was telling her the truth.  She sat down and slumped to the ground, "What tipped you off?"

"I was trying to ask you a question, and you were silent, for a moment I thought that you just didn't want to be bothered, but then I started to hear you sob ever so lightly."

She put her hands in front of her face plate, "I was crying?"

"I won't tell anyone if you don't."

She chanced a look at Earth again, this time she felt nothing.  The emptiness that she felt was gone.  She was disappointed, and mad at herself for losing her objectivity.  "I don't think I want to finish this run today."

"I don't blame you.  I was concerned that you might need a partner.  I didn't think it would affect you like this though."

She stood up and pulled her camera out, she would at least get the picture she had set herself up to take, "It shouldn't have.  But I got to thinking about how small we all..."

"Stop!"

She did as she was told.  She lifted the camera and focused herself on what would be the best picture.

"If you dwell on it again, you'll fall back into it.  And I don't know if I can snap you out of it again.  I want you to keep talking to me, about anything. While you're out of the shuttle, I don't want to hear a break in your voice except to breathe."

She settled on the picture and snapped it. "Are we encrypted?"

"We are."

She turned to head back into the shuttle, "People will wonder what was said."

"We can always tell them it was personal and private."

She stopped, "But that would get them thinking that we were involved."

"Would you rather that, or let people know that you nearly broke out there?"

She took a couple of slow steps back into the shuttle, "What about you?"

"I couldn't care less if others think we're involved.  You play with me enough that I think a few people already suspect that's the case, anyways."

She closed the hatch behind her, "I'm back in the shuttle."  She pressed the button to re pressurize the cabin, "What are we going to do?"

"Nothing different.  We can talk about what happened when you get back.  But if you change your public interactions, some people may wonder."

The cabin pressurized, but she resisted taking off her helmet, "I don't want to go back outside again.  Not alone."

"That's your choice.  But I ask that you do not even think about whatever it was you were thinking about when you were out there.  Not until you get back here.  You can spill your thoughts with me in a room, but do not revisit them out there."

She unlatched her helmet, "I won't."  She steeled her resolve before removing it, "Preparing to depart for the next landing zone."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2012, 10:41:26 am »
That last segment was confusing for me; what happened to Sam? Was she overwhelmed by a change of perspective?
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2012, 11:31:58 pm »
L1 Station
15 January 2014 - 04:07 Zulu

The station was unsettlingly quiet as Sam wandered through the corridor after returning from her mission.  She spoke very little about what happened while she was out there with the maintenance crew that jumped on her shuttle after her return.  James had been no where to be found when she returned, she had expected him to be waiting for her when she got out of the shuttle.  Slightly disappointed she made her way aimlessly through the station, until she had arrived here.  Outside of her office.  Why she was here, she wasn't quite sure.  She thought about going up to Ops and talking with James in his office, but ruled it out when he wasn't there immediately for her.  She pressed the panel on her door to open the room, and there he was, floating over her desk, holding a book of hers in his hand.  She couldn't quite make it out at first, but after she stepped in, she realized what it was.  Her copy of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'.  As he floated there, she grew uneasy.  She didn't particularly care for the way he so nonchalantly treated micro-gravity, normally she didn't say anything, but she did this time, "Could you please come down from there?"

He blinked at her for a second, as if not understanding the question she just asked, then nodded, "As you wish."  He reached down and activated the magnets on the soles of his boots.  "I didn't realize it made you uncomfortable," he said as the magnets slowly pulled him to the floor.  As he landed, she walked around to her chair and seated herself in it.  "I figured it would be best if we hadn't made a scene in the Launch bay."

She nodded, although she wasn't quite convinced that that wasn't the worst thing that could have happened.

"So what happened?"

"I got overwhelmed.  I started thinking..."  She started stammering, "About how insignificant we are.  Each one of us."  She closed her eyes, "We don't matter!  None of us do!"

He put the book down in front of her, it was opened to the page on the Total Perspective Vortex, "That's what I thought."

She opened her eyes and looked at the book, wiping away a tear that had formed, "I laughed at it the first time I read it.  It was a good joke.  But I thought that was all it was."

James put his arm around Sam, "Most good jokes are based on truth.  Part of the reason why the PC police has gone out of their way to ban jokes."  He sighed before continuing, "But you are taking it way too literally.  Stand up and look out the window."

She turned to look out the window, Earth was just now entering their view.  She suddenly realized why he met her here, "Not again..."

"Now stop.  Don't think of yourself for the moment."  He paused, she cleared her mind.  When she nodded, he continued, "Name someone on the design team of the Nimitz Class Carrier."

She shook her head, "I don't know."

He smiled at her as he gave her a squeeze, "Neither do I.  But there's 6 Billion people down there who are affected by those people that we don't even know the names of.  I'd wager that five and three quarters of a billion people couldn't name one of them either.  Those people aren't so insignificant now, are they?"  He slipped in behind her and wrapped his other arm around her and held her tight, and she felt quite comfortable in his embrace, she shook her head in response to his question.  "Now think of yourself."  She did so, and while the doubt crept into her mind again, she was steadied by his presence. "Everyone down there knows we're up here.  If they are capable of making a cognizant thought, they know we're here.  They may not know who we are, but they know what we are."

She looked up at him and frowned, "Easy for you to say, they do know you."

He looked down at her, "And they know you.  They may not know that you are Samantha Carter, but they know you are up here."  He smiled at her, "A person is only as big as the people they touch.  You're up here, a part of this station, you touch every person who is aware of this station."

She smiled, "I get it now."

He gave her another squeeze before releasing her, "Good.  Now hopefully you'll remember just how important you are."

She twirled away from him and returned to her seat, "The Space Shuttle would have been a more appropriate question for where we are."

He winked at her, "Yeah, but I was afraid that you might just know the answer to that question, and that would have defeated the purpose."

She stopped for a moment as she stared at the still open book, when she returned her attention to him she decided that now was the best time, "Can I ask you a personal question, James?"

"Shoot."

"How does it feel to be known to pretty much everyone on the planet?"  She waited for a moment for him to answer, but when none was forthcoming, she continued, "I get emails from colleagues and peers that ask me how I can stand working with you.  They make you out to be some sort of monster.  I haven't figured out how to respond to that."

He shrugged, "It's not surprising that I'm reviled in the scientific circles.  Of all the things the UN hasn't accomplished, one thing that it has accomplished is the free flowing of ideas, if it were gone, we'd probably go back to seeing things shrouded in secrecy for the good of a few nations.  It also probably doesn't help that I am not a scientist, or an engineer, myself."

"Your degree was Business Administration, that is still useful."

"Actually, it wasn't.  I never completed the degree."

She froze, "What?"

"If I had, we wouldn't be here.  There's not a business model in existence that says that this station would work.  There's not a model in existence that says the freighter would work.  To anyone I would have graduated with, this is a project that is doomed to fail, and there's no point in even attempting it."  He smiled, "Or so I've been told by everyone I would have graduated with."

She felt confused, not sure of what he was anymore, "I don't understand."

"I was majoring in Business Administration and minoring in History.  It seemed a natural choice, learn from History and apply it to the business model.  But while I was digging through History, something occurred to me.  The evolution of Sea Travel.  Naval History.  It had occurred to me that we were almost at the same point in space travel, as we were back in the early days of the Greek and Roman Navies.  Rickety Biremes fighting for supremacy of the Aegean and eventually the Mediterranean.  But traveling through space is different than traveling through water.  I knew that it wasn't an immediate profit for setting up this station, but I was looking long term.  I left school seven years ago, I scraped, worked odd jobs, looked around for a way to make this work.  Three years ago, by chance, I managed to find someone who was quite bitter about the way Houston was treated by the retirement of the Space Shuttle, and vowed that he would make them regret it.  With my idea, and his money, we began putting together this station.  And here we are today.  Still in the red, but a lot further than anyone in my class ever thought we would be."

"So, Your degree?"

"Strictly honorary."  He smiled at her, "As for your colleagues.  I really don't care what they think of me."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 10:46:59 am »
Quote
"If I had, we wouldn't be here.  There's not a business model in existence that says that this station would work.  There's not a model in existence that says the freighter would work.  To anyone I would have graduated with, this is a project that is doomed to fail, and there's no point in even attempting it."
Love it. :) 
I cannot stand the "What's in it for me?" crowd. And people who just want to see the money. It cannot be solely or mostly about the money. Do they ever have enough?

I like your guy James. He's ruthless, through and through, no denying it. But that ruthlessness is tempered by his benevolent dream. Siding with Khan and not stopping his gunships was an uncomfortable moment which would have been horrific when dealing with the aftermath of the situation on the ground, but it strikes very close to home. When it is abstract or removed it is palatable. If your relatives are living in that village harming no one and living in fear themselves, it is a crime against Humanity and the perpetrator is a monster. But James not intervening in that atrocity is the very start -- if perhaps not the heart or spirit -- of the UFP's non-interference directive.

Very well played, Q. Looking forward to more.
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Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2012, 11:21:43 am »
Deleted
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 11:34:02 am by Scottish Andy »
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2012, 12:50:13 am »
L1 Station
16 January 2014 - 06:10 Zulu

"Do you sleep much?"

The words weighed heavy in the air as James half turned to face Sam as she entered Ops.  He had been watching the developments in the Balkans all night after his daily run through of the station's mechanicals.  "Some nights it doesn't feel like it.  You going to order me to bed again?"

She smiled as she descended the steps to his side, "Not this time.  I do want an update, though."

He stabbed his finger at the map of the Balkans, "The Turkish division controls all of Greece, Macedonia, and Albania.  They've left mixed companies of their troops, along with their guerrilla allies, to garrison key locations.  One of their companies was even honored with a parade in Sparta.  Whatever the outcome of this is going to be, I think this guy, who's taken to calling himself Kane in public, is going to be around for a long time.  He's split the remains of his division into four parts.  This flank,"  James pointed to the far eastern arrow, "Is bogged down across the Danube, Russian airstrikes are pinning them down near Bucharest.  That Putin decided to actually get involved is a bit of a shock to me.  The Central thrust," He pointed to the Bulgarian capital, "Has encircled Sofia, he's left the Bulgars with an exit route, but they have shown little inclination to taking it.  In less than an hour, Kane's going to have to make a decision to start shelling the city or not.  If he does that he could lose some of the good will he's built up in Greece, Macedonia, and Bulgaria, towards that end, the rumors are flying fast and furious that Kane's talking, not to Prime Minister Borisov, but rather to the rank and file of the Bulgar Battalion.  I think he's hoping for a bloodless coup there.  The Western flank,"  He pointed to Serbia, "is currently moving near the speeds the US armies attained on their drive to Baghdad in 2003.  Right down the main Serbian highway.  The problem that Kane's going to run into, between Belgrade and Nis, there's almost the entire German 23rd Mountain Brigade waiting for them. The Coastal flank," he pointed to Montenegro, "Was along the coast, but decided at the last minute to skirt around Montenegro.  If Kane's noticed the 23rd, the Germans are in trouble, but it doesn't look like he has, as they appear to have Sarajevo on their Objective list.  European Airstrikes coming out of Austria and Germany are now starting to hit the columns as they roll, but the Euro airforces are losing a good number of planes in the strikes.  The Israeli warplanes have called off their strikes, even with refueling planes over Turkey, there's no viable targets for them in range now.  Not unless they want to be shot at by the Turkish Anti-Air assets."

"Hmm..."  Was all Sam said as she looked over the data.

"The next hour is going to be important."

She looked at him, "What do you think?"

"Well, given how bad my last prediction was, I think I might just abstain from predicting."

She smiled, "Humor me."

He smiled back, "Ok."  He pointed back to Romania, "Kane pulls back to the Danube, and tells Putin that that's truce line.  Putin probably agrees to it, and Kane can shift that part of his division west.  The Germans, get nervous that Kane's spotted them, and pull their troops back to Belgrade or beyond.  If Kane catches them, it probably stops his advance, but at the cost of half of that Brigade, or worse.  I can't even begin to tell you why he's avoiding Montenegro, unless he's worked some kind of political deal out with them."  He moved his finger back to Sofia, "That's the wild card, I don't think either side wants a fight in the city itself.  Its going to come down to who can bluff whom."  He moved his finger to Sardinia, "Regardless, the fighting is only going on for another 12 hours, the Reagan is approaching the southern tip of Sardinia," he moved his hand up to the Italian Alps, "There's also a French Division moving through Venice as we speak.  Four hours after that another German Brigade moves in.  Kane has to know he's up against the clock."

She pointed to the Serbian highway, "In just a few dozen kilometers, the real bombing begins.  They'll start entering the operational range of the Tornado and F-18 Strike craft."

He nodded, "Mmmhmmm, so far all the air to ground strikes have been done with AirSup fighters, now that Strike Fighters can reach and loiter, they'll be able to start hitting them really hard."

She sat down in a seat, and waited for him to clear the screen, when he didn't she looked back at him, "Kane's power grab is over."

He shook his head, "No.  No it's not.  It may not have been everything Kane wanted, but he'll have seized a third of the Balkans.  What he keeps, will ultimately depend on how much diplomatic help Khan gives him."

She shook her head back at him, "Khan doesn't support him."

He frowned, "Yes, he does.  Not openly, but he does.  I've spoken to Khan a couple of times, not since this has started, but a couple of times since the UN meeting we were both at.  He's using Kane as a test case.  He wants to see the world's response.  He wants to see what the world, and the UN in particular will do in the face of this aggression.  Khan doesn't strike me as the kind of person that is going to settle for just the Persian Empire.  And God only knows what other surprises, or tests, that he has in store for the planet."

"Wait, you've spoken to Khan?"  She looked back at him confused, "He's been ignoring top diplomats all the time.  Letting his diplomats do all the talking for him. What did he want?"

James cleared the screen, and pulled up a diagram of a craft similar to the Soyuz capsule, but with noticeable differences, "He wants to enter the Space Race.  He wants to send us a supply ship."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2012, 12:56:52 pm »
11:47 Zulu

"James, I think you better get back down here."

James pulled his head out of the tactical console and looked out into the pit, "What's going on Sam?"

She pointed at the table, from his perspective he couldn't see anything on it, but he could tell it wasn't station related.  "When it rains it pours," she said as he pushed himself along side her.

"A coup in China?"

She nodded, "And this one was anything but bloodless."  Unlike the surrender at Sofia, and the withdrawal of the German Brigade, both of which happened without a direct confrontation, and no more than a dozen casualties for the Euro forces, the number of dead scrolled across the bottom of the screen, and it numbered in the thousands.  "While the entire world was focused on Kane and the Balkans, Colonel Yu Liao, stormed Beijing and killed anyone associated with the Communist Party.  Current and former members.  But she didn't get all of them, she missed the big one, Premier Jintao was on the Korean Border at the time, and has since slipped into Korea with a number of senior staffers.  But it doesn't look like they are heading to Pyongyang, instead it looks like they're heading for the DMZ.  Meanwhile, Yu's begun slaughtering people wholesale across the rest of the country, and she's got the support of the poorer farmers in the hinterlands."

James looked over the screen but said nothing.  Then BBC posted a picture of the Colonel, and they both stopped and stared.

Sam spoke first, "She's just a girl!"

James shook his head in disbelief, "And Kane is just a boy too."  He reached for the console, pressed a series of buttons, and photographs of Yu, Kane, and Khan all appeared side by side.  "If any of those three are over twenty..."  He trailed off.

"What the hell is going on down there?"  Sam asked, somewhat rhetorically.

But if James noticed that it was rhetorical, he didn't pay any attention and answered the question the best he could, "I don't know.  But I do know this.  Premier Jintao does know, and we better get him before she does."  He paused for a second, and then noticed something, "This isn't NSA feeds, this is from our Freighter."

She nodded, "When I called you over here, the NSA feeds went dark, she used an EMP detonation to knock out every satellite over China.  Micheal says the periphery of the EM pulse caused some problems with the systems on board, but he's got it under control now."

He pointed at Korea, "Then no one knows where Jintao is."  He pressed his finger hard on a section of the map that apparently contained only water in the South China Sea.  The map zoomed in, and James caught something in the northern section of the screen, "There it is."  He pressed his finger on it hard again, and it zoomed in to show a Carrier Battle Group.  He double tapped on the Carrier, transmitted the coordinates to the freighter and opened a line to them.  "Micheal, keep them apprised of Jintao's position, they are going to have to get him out of there."

Sam looked at the Carrier Group, "That's not an American Carrier.  And how did you know it was there?"

"It's the Charles de Gaulle.  I was curious as to where it was when it was the Reagan that responded to Kane, instead of them."

"They're quite a ways a way."

"They're the closest.  Sure there's a dozen Destroyers, and even a couple of Cruisers in Pusan.  They may just meet them half way, but sinking a Destroyer or a Cruiser is an 'incident', an 'accident', or an 'unfortunate mistake'.  You don't sink a Carrier without a Declaration of War."

"You think she'd sink a Korean or American Destroyer just to get Jintao out of the way?"

He frowned and looked back at her picture, "I know nothing about her.  He does.  He knows something about how she could be a Colonel at twenty years.  It will depend on how badly she doesn't want that information public."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2012, 05:11:12 pm »
Very nice! Love the way you continued this, and then the addition of a third young star...

Excellent thread weaving, Q. Keep it coming. I'm reading, even if no one else is.
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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2012, 12:34:49 pm »
18:10 Zulu

James cursed under his breath as he pulled on the cover in front of him.  He had his head in a small access panel on the Promenade, in front of one of the upper level shops.  For what seemed like the fiftieth time in the last fifteen minutes he glanced up to the flash light he had positioned above his head.  There was no need for that glance, as he knew it was there, and also knew it wasn't going anywhere.  The slight rotation of the station would not carry the flashlight far away from him.  He had figured that it was just years of training on Earth that he hadn't yet broken.  What he did want to break, was the flywheel cover that was currently giving him fits.  When it finally did snap off on his next tug, he got a look at the inside of the mechanism.  Lubricant was everywhere, coating every thing on and around the flywheel.  Pulling his right arm free of the access panel, he groped about for the vacuum pump that was lying along side his tool kit, when he found it, he pulled his head out of the hole so he could get the nozzle in the panel.  Once he activated the vacuum, two quick swipes pulled the gelatinous substance into it's chamber.  After he pulled the vacuum out, he stuck his head back in and was satisfied that he got all of it.  Then he focused his attention on the center of the flywheel, the seals looked like they were on correctly, but with all the lubricant in the cover, he knew that wasn't the case.  This particular flywheel controlled the lower half of the door of Promenade suite 2-C, and if it wasn't for the smart door programming, he be having to replace a motor as well.  The smart door program detected a problem with the door when he attempted to open it twenty-five minutes ago, and refused to open it.  Had it tried to open the door in this condition, it would have burned out the lower motor, and quite possibly done some damage to the upper motor.  After a quick diagnostic, it traced the problem to the lower flywheel.  Now he was pulling the seals off that flywheel.

"Ops to Captain."

James reached into his vest pocket and pulled out his earpiece.  After a couple of blind fumbling attempts, he got it secured to his right ear, "Atkinson."

"You busy, James?"  Sam adopted a more informal tone now that they were on a private line.

"For the moment, Sam.  What's up?"  James finished removing the seal and began to inspect it for damage.

"Kane and the Euros have agreed to a cease-fire."

James noticed a slight tear in the seal, his first instinct was to toss it away but stopped himself when he remembered where he was.  Instead he pulled out of the panel completely and put it in his tool box. "Where's the armistice line?"

"More or less the Danube river.  Once the Danube reaches the Serbian-Croatian border, the border then becomes the Bosnian-Croatia border.  You'll have to see what happened when one of Kane's Battalions encountered two French Battalions.  It wasn't pretty, for the French."

James pulled a new seal from the tool box, and inspected it.  "Well, you know what they say about the French... Used French Rifle, never fired, dropped once."

"That's not funny."

He grabbed a tube of lubricant and went back into the panel, "Sorry."

"All we have are second hand accounts.  But from the reports, the Turks pushed their equipment well beyond their rated tolerances.  Using them in ways that the French didn't even think were possible, let alone seen before.  There's reports of Tanks and Jeeps turning on dimes, uncanny levels of accuracy with their weapons.  I imagine that some of it is exaggerated, but if any of it's true, it adds more of a mystery to Kane."

James stuck the end of the lubricant tube into the flywheel thread, "It could also be face saving excuses.  Micheal is still over China right?"

"Oh, I'll have the NSA feed from the battle in the morning, and we'll see about that then.  But yes, Micheal is still over China.  Premier Jintao is finally across the DMZ.  Now that he's on better roads, he's making better time, but he's also taking just about every turn he can.  We have six Raptors in the air over Korea..."

He began to fasten the seal back onto the thread, "We?"

"Sorry, the United States has six Raptors over Korea, with a dozen more on standby to launch at a moments notice.  The de Gaulle is moving at Flank Speed for Pusan.  It should be there by Friday."

He tightened the fastener one last time, "How is Yu's purge going?"

"It's gotten less bloody, and she's in control of about sixty percent of China at this point.  There's still some strong pockets of resistance around Hong Kong, Shanghai and Manchuria.  However, three provinces recognized her control in the last hour on the promise that she not kill anyone aside from Communist Party members, all of whom have been sentenced to death by her."

He grabbed the remote control and activated the door.  The flywheel made an audible whirring noise, but nothing came out of the seal.  "She's got something out for the Commies.  As much as she's gained in the last eight hours, I think it's going to take a few more days to finish the coup."

"Probably, there's reports that the Communists are trying to get across the Korean and Vietnamese borders.  I'd imagine the NoKos don't quite know what to do about that."

He laughed as he set the flywheel cover back in place, "Yeah, I'm sure they are quite confused, so used to trying to keep their people in, they probably don't know how to keep people out."

"They're going to have to figure it out quickly, because they can barely feed their own people.  They can't handle refugees."

James grabbed his flashlight and pulled himself completely out of the panel, "Door P2-C is working.  This might just be the straw that breaks North Korea's back.  Unification with South Korea would mean that if Yu wants more than just China, she'd have to go through the United States, first."
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 12:47:46 pm by Lieutenant_Q »
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2012, 10:41:46 am »
So, Kane has captured Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, the Federal Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Not a bad few days' conquering.

And on seeing your signature, Q, can I assume Kane is a cameo from C&C? :)
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2012, 03:46:30 pm »
Andy: Indeed it is C&C's Kane.  The personality really fits for the position, and given that the Brotherhood of Nod loved the Balkans, it seemed like a perfect place for him.  It's been my understanding based on the dialogue from Space Seed, that Khan was not the only "Augmented" (to use the term from Enterprise) leader.  But nothing was ever said about them officially.  Khan may have been the most powerful, but there could be up to a half-dozen of them.  Some come to power differently, Khan was basically anointed, Kane took countries by force, Yu led a coup on an existing country.  I will let out that there will be another who is ELECTED to be the leader.  They take over in multiple different ways, and they rule differently.

I have more coming, but I've had a busy weekend.  It'll be Wednesday this week rather than my usual Monday update.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2012, 04:28:59 pm »
Station Log: 17 January 2014.  Installation of the Promenade is complete, Work crews are moving on to prepare for the arrival of the first part of the Grav Deck.  Estimated time to completion is three days.  On a housekeeping note, our supplier for the door mechanisms has been notified that there appears to be a flaw in their manufacturing process.  Six doors on the promenade level have had faulty lubricant seals, leaving them susceptible to freezing without notice.  The recent coup in China has opened a business deal that we have quickly jumped on.  Micheal will use the freighter to deploy twelve NSA, GPS, and NOAA satellites from the United States, and offers have already come in from European and Asian entities for similar transactions.  These satellites are intended to replace those lost in the EM pulse from yesterday.  While these transactions are small compared to our overall operating debt, every little bit helps.  Personnel are in good spirits, although we are eagerly awaiting the return of the Freighter, which will not be for almost another three weeks.

James glanced out the window of his office after he finished reviewing his log entry from last night. As Earth had just migrated out of his view, it left him looking out at a sea of stars.  While it should have looked like the star fields he would have seen from his backyard, it was quite different.  Stars that weren't visible from the surface were just a shade dimmer than the stars that made up Orion, which was front and center in his view right now.  What else has the atmosphere, that protects and sustains everyone on the surface, been hiding from us?

The door buzzer turned him around, he motioned for Ammanda Willard, the Walker Leader, to enter.

As she did, she handed a tablet to him, "Progress report, sir." James looked over the report as she summarized it, "The rest of the Promenade is up to temperature now.  We've begun work on the Grav Deck connection cab, and the bearings that will allow it to rotate once we install it."

"Good, Good.  Everything going well out there?"  James nodded as he handed the tablet back to her.

"We're ahead of schedule.  Always good when you never know when the next solar storm is going to come at us."

James frowned, "Unfortunately, Solar Weather Forecasting is too much art, not enough science yet.  And it also doesn't help that we're watching the Sun on an eight minute tape-delay."

Ammanda nodded, "I can tell you though, that we will not have a repeat of last year's incident.  Every suit is triple checked before it even leaves the perimeter.  There will not be another thruster break-down on my watch."

James shrugged, "I appreciate that diligence, as I'm sure your Walkers do.  Any word from Elise yet?"

She smiled, "She's gotten over it. Steven visiting her for the New Year helped her out a quite a bit.  They both want to come back."

"Steven wanted to stay even as we were sending him down on the Medevac shuttle.  He'll still have at least another three months of rehab though before he's physically ready to come back."

She nodded, "Elise will be on the freighter.  She passed her physical yesterday.  She's putting her affairs in order right now."

James smiled, "Always good to get an experienced hand back."  He paused for a second, and then fixed her with a thoughtful stare, "Question for you, Ammanda: You saw what Sam did last week, right?"

She nodded.

"How much modifications would be needed to the station, should she, and her colleagues around the planet, figure out a way to make it work, even slightly?"

She answered quickly, almost as if she had been rehearsing the answer, "The Command Section, Promenade, and Reactor Room would need just a minor face lift.  Essentially we'd have to replace the decking, and put the gravity generators in the floor.  The Power Distribution System would need a major overhaul.  Unfortunately, the Grav Deck would need to be completely scrapped.  We could take it apart up here and put it back together, but it would be a long and tedious project."

James nodded back at her, "I have no doubt that we'll be seeing Artificial Gravity sooner, rather than later.  If you have some spare time after this phase of construction, can you do what you can to start that work?"

"Given that we don't know just how big, and what exactly the dimensions of the generators will be, all we can really do at this point, is prepare the Power Distribution System.  I can ask Juan, he's the electrical expert, as to what he thinks we would need."

He smiled at her, "Have him get me that list by the end of the day.  I'll forward it to George, and have him put his smuggler's bins to use again."

"How soon do you think we'll have it?"  She looked at him stunned.

"I can't say.  But from Sam's report this morning, I have to believe that it could be as early as the end of the year."

"That..." She stammered out, "That... would be incredible!"

"Wouldn't it though?"
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2012, 07:13:50 pm »
21 January 2014

"You saw that right?"  Sam looked up over at James from the main pit.  James had just settled in at the Tactical Station as she was saying that.  Ammanda was seated at the Security station, which she had converted for the time being to allow her to coordinate Walker actions from Ops.  Both James and Sam were happy to have an extra person to talk to on a regular basis.

"Yeah, I see it,"  He looked intently at the readout on his screen, "Looks like it's heading this way too."

Ammanda was rapidly going over her station, "I've already ordered all of the Walkers inside."

Sam pushed herself away from the table, "We'd better head for a shelter ourselves then."

Ammanda grinned as James shook his head, "We're in one."

She stopped, and looked at the windows that lined the upper tank, "You're joking."

"Ops is probably the most heavily shielded place on the Station."  Ammanda responded.

She looked back to the windows, and then back to James, "Seriously?!"

James cleared his throat, and then dropped his voice an octave, "Positive Shield, Now."  As he spoke he flipped a couple of switches, and a loud whirring and grinding sound filled the room.  The windows slowly began to close off the view of space.  Fifteen seconds later the whirring stopped, and the room was illuminated only the light coming from the overhead light that currently glowed a hard red.

Sam shook her head as she looked up at him, "That was a lousy Lorne Green you know."

He shrugged, "Never claimed to be a good actor."

"Why didn't you say anything about that?"

Ammanda answered, "It was in the specs.  We didn't hide it."

She scowled, "I guess I'll have to pay a little more attention to the design specs."

James smiled and turned to Ammanda, "We've got six minutes before the flare hits.  Are your people going to be in by then?"

Ammanda flashed a thumbs up, "The last one is getting in right now."  She looked back down at the pit, the table showed the approaching Solar Flare.  "Do you think we even need the armor?"

He nodded, "I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Sure the Magnetic Field will do a wonderful job of tearing the worst of that flare apart, but we're quite far away from Earth's field.  I'd just rather at this point, since this is our first Flare, play it overly cautious."

Sam sat back down, "Five minutes."

"Clear the Promenade, Ammanda."

She nodded, "Already cleared, all personnel have reported to radiation shelters in the station's core.  Doctor Elliot and one nurse are in the Infirmary's shelter and ready for patients."

"I've got the radiation monitors tied into table, we'll know the second one of them reaches the danger zone."  Sam finished converting the table display, and then sat back to wait.

"Four minutes."  James looked up, "The freighter has ducked into a lower orbit."

"Are they going to be alright?"

"They'll be just fine."  He started, "They've got a bigger and more power magnetic field to shield them.  While they are on the wrong side of the planet, they get into a lower orbit, the field scatters more.  They'd be better off if they were on the dark side, but the difference isn't going to be big enough to overwhelm their defenses."

"Three Minutes."  Ammanda looked around, "I suppose we should review things that can happen while we're waiting."

Sam nodded, "Besides radiation levels reaching points that could kill us all.  There's risk to exposed wiring and circuitry that it could be overloaded.  If there's a crack in the housing for the wiring, we could have a fire on our hands."

James nodded as well, "There's also a possibility of damage to the station's computer system.  And a chance, however small, that an X-ray spike could cause the nuke plant to have a spike itself."

Ammanda frowned, "Just what would that do?"

Sam answered, "Two Minutes.  It would in the best case scenario, cause a slight hiccup, but it could SCRAM the reactor, or even cause a partial melt-down in the worst case."

James raised a finger to make a point, "In either of the first two cases, we'd be on auxiliary power, we could vent the radiation from the SCRAM easily, and be back in business in a couple of hours.  A Partial Meltdown, means that we're going to have to scramble to get it under control.  We can't really afford to be jettisoning this reactor already."

"Couldn't we just shut the reactor down now?"  Ammanda began to look worried.

Sam shook her head, "No.  We need the reactor running to power the Magnetic Field."

James looked down, "One Minute.  We couldn't shut the reactor down in time anyways, the risk is still there, and we lose the power it provides.  I think it's worth repeating that its a very small chance of anything happening to the Nuke."

Ammanda closed her eyes and nodded, then looked back at her console, "We'll know in thirty seconds."

Sam smiled at her, "Relax.  We'll have more trouble from fires than we will from the reactor."

She nodded, "I just never had time to think about this.  During the last flare, I was too busy trying to get Elise back in the Freighter."

James chuckled, but said nothing.

She looked at him, "What?"

He smiled, "The flare passed.  No damage, only a slight climb in the external readings, it's already receding.  By all accounts this was a pretty weak flare."

Sam looked up with a smile, "Did we get lucky?"

He shrugged, "Maybe.  I'll have to pull some telemetry from a couple other sources to see just how well the shield held up."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2012, 12:03:35 pm »
22 January 2014
04:13 Zulu

"She's Genetically Engineered."

Sam looked over towards the Tactical station, looking for where she thought she heard James' voice come from.  When she didn't find him she walked over in that direction.  When she rounded the security station she saw his legs sticking out from underneath the station.  Obviously he was working on something, what he was working on was the question.

"She's nineteen, and she's a Colonel.  The Chinese were participating in a crash program, co-oped with Saddam Hussein in Iraq, they created hundreds of these children.  They started with a Selective Breeding program, strict guidelines on who could be in the program.  The Women were kept in isolation, conception only occurred under their watchful eyes.  After conception, the embryos were carefully watched during development.  Their genomes were mapped.  If any sign of genetic weakness were discovered, they were aborted immediately.  Those that were deemed 'pure', were then subjected to gene altering radiation therapies.  The women carrying the children were treated like royalty, but they were subjected to daily medical checkups, and sometimes invasive and damaging procedures.  Even the best women could only bear two or three children before what they went through prevented them from having any more."

Sam stood over the station, stunned.  She was at a loss for words.  James pulled his head out of the compartment and closed it behind him.  "Once the children were born, they were taken from their mothers and put in creches. The children were raised by doctors and scientists whose job it was to make sure that these children were the best of the best.  If they didn't excel in any of the desired criteria, they were, 'disposed of'.  The criteria they were looking for was strength, reflexes, intelligence, stamina.  If the children excelled at one, they were assigned to that particular creche.  Many of the children excelled at two, and they were placed into a higher program.  A few excelled at three, and occasionally, a child excelled at all four.  She was one of those.  Her intelligence is three to four times the average persons.  Her strength is twice that.  Her reflexes are faster, and she has about twice the stamina as some of the best marathon runners out there."

"She's a super soldier."  She helped him to his feet, "How many are there?"

"In just the Chinese programs, about two-hundred.  The bigger question is how many were in the Iraqi program, by all accounts the Iraqis embraced the program more fully.  But no records of their program survived the fall of Saddam Hussein."

"You don't think that..."

"That Khan may be one of the Iraqis version of the program?"  He finished for her, "I'd bet my life on it."  He shrugged as he sat down at the Tactical station and re-activated it, "It's something that you don't get by just watching his television appearances.  I looked that man in his eyes, and I saw it.  I didn't know what I saw at that moment, but it makes sense now."

Sam paused for a moment, but then placed her hand on his shoulder, and spoke her next question so soft it was barely a whisper, "When Ashley asked Shaun if he was 'THE Shaun Geoffrey Christopher' I kinda scoffed, but now I find myself asking, could he be THE Khan Noonien Singh?"

James looked at her, opened his mouth to reply, and then stopped.  He closed his mouth, and opened it again several times before turning back to the station and performing a computer search.  "I don't think there's any time he's not gone by just Khan.  No middle name, no last name.  It didn't even occur to me that he may be THAT Khan."  The computer beeped back at him, "Negative.  He has only ever been referred to as either Khan, or Emperor Khan.  There's no record of any other name attributed to him."

Sam leaned in to whisper in his ear, "You didn't answer my question."

"I don't know if it's relevant.  Whoever was in charge of naming the kids coming out of the program may have had a thing for Western Pop Culture.  He or she might have gotten a kick out of whatever hell raising they imagined that name would provoke amongst the populace."

She wasn't about to be deterred, "But we have Shuan, and now Khan, what else are we going to have?"

He shook his head, "What do you want me to do about it?  Go knock on Eugene Roddenberry Jr's front door and ask where his father got his ideas for Star Trek?"  He sighed, "Both names can be attributed to their place in Pop Culture.  I mean come on, if your family name is Kirk, and you were a Trekkie, wouldn't you name your boy James Tiberius?  Now, if a Klingon Battle Cruiser pulls up for shore leave, I promise you as soon as we get the stench off the station, I will be on his doorstep beating it down."

"So where does that leave us?"

He snorted, "It leaves us nowhere.  We're speculating as to his name.  And names can be influenced by culture."  He pointed down at the pit, which had a map of China on the screen, "But it also leaves us in a lot of trouble, more so than we thought."  He pulled up the tactical screen and designated a target.

"Wait... what are you doing?"

"Calibrating the targeting computer."

She looked around Ops, "With what?"

He smiled, "Ammanda had some scrap that she couldn't do anything with."

"No, what are you using to shoot the scrap?!"

He grinned, "A BAE 32-MJ-LRG-s-B"

She paused for a moment, searched her memory for that designation, then she scowled at him, "A Railgun?!  That's not in the current specs!"  She spun around to walk away, but then stopped and rounded back on him, "Anything else you want to tell me?"

He hesitated, "Uh... we'll have four of them by the end of next month?"

She stopped, "We were supposed to have eight by the time the station was completed, where did you get this from?"

"We pulled the two off the freighter, because they'll be installing two BAE 16-MJ-LRG-s right about now.  The 32s were too stressful on the freighter's hull, and their rate of fire was horrid, not because of the system themselves, but they were so power hungry, one fission plant couldn't keep up."

She laughed, and then turned to leave.

"Where are you going?"  He shouted after her.

She stopped at the lift door, turned and flashed him a predatory grin, "Have fun with your weapons test.  I'm going to have fun making you more ammunition."

Before he could ask her what she meant by that, she stepped into the lift and the doors closed behind her.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2012, 01:41:54 am »
21:15 Zulu

"You shouldn't have contacted me, Captain.  You know he'll be suspicious."

Sam glared right back at her NSC contact, "Then you're just going to have to give me something that will justify the encryption we're using."

The man on her screen sat back in his chair, "We'll see about that.  Let's make this quick though shall we?"

She nodded, "Let's.  Where did he get the 32s from?"

He sighed, "By 32s, I'm assuming you are referring to the Rail Guns?"

She let her irritation creep into her voice, "Yes, and the 16s."

He leaned forward with a smile, "They bought the 16s.  The 32s were... a gift.  From Major Christopher.  In exchange for them, he promised that he would field test them, and forward all the information, as well as modifications that he made to them, back to Major Christopher.  Given the reports that he gave to Major Christopher, the decision saved us more money than the guns cost."

She smiled her first genuine smile of the day, "Good.  Other business.  Khan wants to send a supply ship here.  He's agreed to receive it."

He stood up and reached into a filing cabinet just out of her view, "We were going to send you instructions regarding that as the arrival time drew closer, but since you've asked now..."  He sat back down at the desk with a manilla folder in his hands.  As he opened the file, she noted the markings of the CIA on it. "Allow it to arrive, unless it's a direct threat to the station and it's neutrality, which we doubt, but that possibility is always there.  Do not interfere with its operations in anyway, but."  He raised a cautionary finger, "We need to you to determine the technological level of the Persian Space Industry.  Examine it every way you can without dismantling it.  We need you to be careful, so use discretion, we can't have anything look out of the ordinary when his ship returns."

She nodded, "Assuming its capable of returning.  I could also arrange for there to be an 'accident'."

He stopped her before she could elaborate, "No.  It's too risky.  While Khan has made us suspicious of his motives as of late, we have no desire to provoke a conflict.  He's brought stability to a region that hasn't known it in a century."

She shook her head, "While destabilizing all of Europe."

He laughed, "That didn't take much effort.  In fact, he may have helped Europe more than he hurt it."  He waved off her next question by moving to another topic, "While we're on the topic of personality, I must commend you.  We weren't expecting to get much in the way of acting out of you."

If only I was acting... She thought to herself as he continued on, "By your account, he was very sympathetic to you.  Do you think he may be attracted to you?"

She was taken aback for a moment, but recovered quick enough that either he didn't notice, or didn't care that he caught her off guard, "It's possible."

He leaned forward, carefully studying her face for her response to his next question, "Are you attracted to him?"

She responded instantly, "I guess so."

"Hmmph." He sat back in his chair and contemplated the answer she just gave him.  "If you're comfortable with it, attempt to cultivate a relationship with him.  It's optional, nothing will be held against you if you don't.  It would be... beneficial for him, if you did though."

She nodded, "Is there a timetable?"

He shook his head, "Not as yet.  And there likely won't be for a while yet.  We're waiting on Major Christopher here, and who knows how long Trailblazer will take to come to fruition."

She glanced to the clock she put off to her right, it was rapidly closing on zero.  When it reached zero, it became more likely that this covert communication would be discovered, "I'm running out of time, what are the current plans with China?"

He frowned, "Need to know only."

She scowled back at him, "Liao can't be trusted."

He shook his head, "Neither, frankly, can Jintao."

She narrowed her eyes, "I've got sixty seconds."

He smiled at her, "Then you've got enough time to receive this encrypted document.  Share it with him and his Engineer.  I'm sure between the two of you, you might just get it working."  His smile turned into a chuckle, "And of course, if you get it working, you need to send it on to Major Christopher."

She glanced at the corner of the screen and confirmed that the download was commencing, "What is it?"

He refused to answer, "Good night Captain.  I hope you find your evenings... enjoyable."  The screen went dark, a notification appeared in the corner informing her that the download was complete.

"Spies..."  She muttered to herself as she began decoding the file that she just received.  It was a simple process, she had the cypher key installed on a portable flash drive that she plugged into the computer only for this type of work.  As the file morphed itself into something that she could read, she pondered her next move.  Surveillance showed that James was back in Ops, after spending a few hours around the gun emplacement on the Command Section.  "He just doesn't like sleep."  She looked back to her computer, the conversion was nearing completion, "What is it that he told me?"  She eyed her dresser drawer, when she thought to its contents she smiled, "As interesting an idea..."  The computer beeped at her to tell her that the document was done.  She removed the flash drive and turned the screen towards the dresser as she rose to her feet and walked to it.  Once she got to the dresser, she turned her attention back to the computer as she blindly rummaged through it.  She was scanning the technical document that filled the screen when she found the leather case for her flash drive.  She mentally marked her place as she turned her full attention to slipping the flash drive into its case, and back into it's hiding place in the crotch of one of her 'panties'.  She looked back to the screen as her fingers began their hunt for their next target.  It only took her a few more lines before she realized just what she was looking at.  Ironically, at the same time, her fingers came across the cold metallic object that she was looking for.  She pulled the handcuffs out of the drawer and broke into a grin, "An enjoyable evening indeed."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2012, 11:33:00 am »
Okay, that last bit was definitely mysterious. :) When the NSC guy was on and they said Liao can't be trusted and all the behind James' back activities I thought that super-smart Sam Carter and her peeps were also Augments.

Good job with the meshing of your "real" world with our fictional one. Keep it coming.
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Mickey: "Wot's that?"
The Doctor: "No idea. Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'Magic Door'."
- Doctor Who: The Woman in the Fireplace (S02E04)

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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2012, 07:00:02 pm »
23 January 2014
07:09 Zulu

A low pitched intermittent buzzing sound brought him back to the world of wakefulness.  It was a slow trip to be sure, at first he had no idea as to why his hands were above his head.  When he attempted to pull a hand down to his face to clear the sleep from his eyes, he met a solid, cold resistance.  He tried to pull his hand down again, and met the same cold object.  As awareness returned to him, he also noted that something was applying pressure to his chest and abdominal areas.  As he cracked his eyes open, the events of last night came crashing back to him.  Sam had burst into Ops around 21:45 last night and ordered him to get some sleep.  When he had refused she grabbed him by his uniform shirt and dragged him into the Elevator.  She had all the leverage as her magnetic boots were on, and his were, as they usually are unless he was doing his exercises, off.  Still, he had managed to slip out of her grasp by wriggling out of his shirt, but before he could push away from her she grabbed him by the waist of his pants and dared him to try to squirm his way out of that hold.  Once in the elevator, she held him away from every surface of the lift and told him that he was going to bed whether he liked it or not.  After the elevator deposited them on the Promenade sub-level, which was where all of their temporary quarters were, she held him horizontal to the floor and carried him down the hallway.  He knew that he could have probably gotten out of the hold she had him in, but he WAS tired, and had no desire to hurt her, which is probably what it would have taken to do so, so he had allowed her to carry him to his door.

When the door had opened up, she carried him through it and shoved him down into his bed.  Fully expecting that that was the end of it, he had relaxed and started to chuckle, he had opened his mouth to make a suggestive retort to the way she had man-handled him, when she straddled his chest and forced his hands up over his head.  Before he could have reacted she had pulled a pair of handcuffs out of her back pocket and secured his hands to the wall.  He was still recovering from the shock, when she pulled his pants off of him and used one of the bed's restraining strap to tie his legs down.  Despite his protestation she tossed his clothes against the wall and began to take her own off and throw them at the same place.  She shushed him, but said nothing else as she climbed on top of him, pulled the bed covers over their bodies, and then tied them together with the remaining two restraining straps.  After she nestled his head underneath the base of her neck, she had told him that she wasn't letting him up until 9:30, so he'd better just relax and go to sleep.

Her throat was what his eyes were fixated on now, the buzzing sound was barely audible over the sound of her breathing.  The low light conditions that filled the room, by design to simulate a pale moonlight, accentuated the curves of her body as he looked up and then down, trying to determine how best to proceed.  He wet his lips and tried the first choice, "Sam?"  He spoke softly, and was not surprised at the lack of reaction, he cleared his throat and tried louder, "Sam?!"  Still nothing.  He weighed his options, and decided that the next step was to make contact with a part of her body.  He gave a thought about her chin but realized that it was going to be out of reach with the way she was positioned.  He lowered his head and planted his lips on the top of her left breast.  As he made contact, he realized that, despite their positioning, it was the first move either one of them had made to stimulate the other.  She had begun to stir, and he started to pull his lips from her breast when he felt her hands move in behind his head.  She shifted his head towards her cleavage and forced him to motorboat her.  Thankful that she was at least awake, he obliged her.  When she pulled his head back, she was staring down at him with a content grin on her face.

"It's not oh-nine-thirty yet."

He stared back at her, "Do you hear that buzzing sound?"

Her grin turned to a smile, "Yes..."

He raised his eyebrows, "That's a Proximity Alarm."

Her grin vanished, "You had a Proximity Alarm set up in your Quarters?"

He managed a weak smile as he tried to shrug, but was thwarted by the handcuffs.  She reached behind her and began to unfasten the restraining straps.  He had no choice but to lay there patiently as she pulled the bed covers off of them.  As she reached up to the wall to unlock the handcuffs, she made sure that her belly was rubbing against his face, so he felt compelled to kiss it.  She laughed as he did, and just before he finished freeing his hands, she shot a comment down to him, "If you only knew what I had planned for you at 9:30."

Once his hands were free he quickly wrapped his arms around the small of her back, "Maybe it will be a false alarm and I can still find out."

She brought her face down to his face, pressing her forehead against his, and delivering a short peck on his lips, "You'd let me do it?"

He returned the kiss as he brought his right hand down to her buttocks, "You've got me too wound up to not be curious now."

She got up off of him and let him unfasten the strap on his legs, while she pushed herself over to the clothes sticker.  The Clothes Sticker was a one meter by one meter Velcro-like substance that was designed to hold a few articles of clothing that needed to be removed temporarily, like for a shower or to do a quick change.  James used it a lot to simply put his uniform on there when he would be ready for bed.  It's main use was to keep the loose articles of clothing from simply floating around the room, much as the restraining straps on the bed were to keep him from tossing himself out of bed, if his sleep were to get fitful.  One thing that was good about being in microgravity, was that it didn't take much effort to dress and undress.  By the time he had finished untying himself she was pulling her uniform pants on.  Before he could get over there she threw his underwear at his face, by the time he was pulling up his pants she had already fastened her shirt and was putting on her magnetic boots.  James elected to skip his shirt and went straight for his boots, which elicited a groan from Sam, "That is SO not fair."

He grinned at her as he activated his boots, "Nothing is stopping you from leaving your shirt off."

She shook her head and placed her hands over her boobs, "Without gravity or support, these things bounce around so much it hurts."

He strode towards the now open door and went out into the corridor with her, "I never thought of that."

The two of them were silent over the thirty second elevator ride to Ops.  When the elevator door opened up Ammanda was already at her station in Ops.  She shot them a confused look when they entered at the same time, and then blushed when she saw that James wasn't wearing a shirt.  James stopped for a moment when he noticed her reaction, and then smiled meekly at her, "Sorry, I was just getting into the shower.  But since you're here already, what do we have?"

She smiled at them as if she wasn't convinced, but began her report anyways, "We have an asteroid incoming.  It's the size of New York City.  Initial computer models indicate a 95% probability that the asteroid will enter our perimeter, with a 40% probability of a collision."

Sam went down into the pit, while James moved around behind Ammanda along the upper tank towards Tactical.  As he passed her, he asked the next obvious question, "How much time do we have?"

"Eight days."

He settled into his station and found a text message waiting for him from the Pit, Aren't you glad I put my shirt on now?.  "Alright, lets run through our options."  He responded to her text, Yes.  And I'm wishing I had taken the extra ten seconds to put my shirt on too.

Sam responded first with a smile, "You can always shoot it."

Ammanda shook her head, "And risk turning one large rock into several slightly smaller rocks."

Sam turned her attention to her with an incredulous stare, "I know.  I was just ribbing him for spending so much time on those guns yesterday."

James couldn't help but smile as he shook his head, "Shooting may be an option, for the smaller rocks it's carrying with it.  But yes, something else needs to be done about the larger mass."

Ammanda nodded, "It's moving at point-oh-five.  If the freighter was here we could just push it out of the way."

Sam brought up the system diagram, "The freighter could get here in time to do it."

James paused to consider what that would do to their schedule, "Could we do it with just the two Launch Craft?"

Sam and Ammanda both shrugged, Ammanda answered, "I don't know if there's enough power with just the two Launch Craft to do it.  But if we were to try it with the Launch Craft, it would have to be tomorrow at the latest.  Any later and the amount of deviation from its present trajectory needed is certainly too much for the Launch Craft to handle."

James nodded, "Well, lets try it with the Launch Craft first.  Prep both of them, Sam and I will take them out.  If we can't move it enough, the Freighter can be up here in time to finish it."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2012, 02:45:13 am »
It's a good story, with believable chars. Well done sir!
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2012, 02:56:55 am »
And my inner geek is going: Horray for boobies!
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2012, 03:46:15 pm »
Quote
She shifted his head towards her cleavage and forced him to motorboat her.
"Forced". Riiiight. :D

Interesting bit about null-gravity breasts, though I'm not sure if the acceleration or braking would be sufficient to cause... inconvenience. ;)

When the asteroid was mentioned, along with its smaller outliers, I got an flash of the biggie from 'Armageddon'. Though, it looks like you're trying the The Paradise Syndrome approach first.

Keep it coming.
Come visit me at:  www.Starbase23.net

The Senior Service rocks! Rule, Britannia!

The Doctor: "Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink."
Mickey: "Wot's that?"
The Doctor: "No idea. Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'Magic Door'."
- Doctor Who: The Woman in the Fireplace (S02E04)

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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2012, 10:04:14 pm »
15:40 Zulu

Despite knowing the modifications made to the Launch Craft for the mission, James was still surprised when he opened the hatch to the Craft he was going to pilot.  The cargo was taking up almost all of the passenger bay, leaving him barely a half meter to squeeze his frame through.  Every Walker had been pulled inside with the approaching asteroid, and everyone who should have been out, or on standby had been swarming over the two Launch Craft for the last eight hours.  Sam had gone over the modifications to the Rail Guns, not so much a modification as a change in Ammunition.  She had melted down a couple hundred rounds of bullets, and made them into a type of plasma.  The Rail Gun could then fire the plasma instead of a solid bullet, helping to ensure that anything the Rail Guns shot disintegrated rather than shattered.  James had gone over the quirks with the targeting and tracking system that he had discovered with his test firings, including the unfortunate tendency to pull the shot slightly to the right.  By the time the two of them had gone through the details, he felt confident that Ammanda and Roger Simmons, Sam's assistant, could handle anything that the asteroid tried to throw at the station.

After James pulled his body through the hatch, he reached behind him and flashed a thumbs up, indicating that one of the Walkers could close the hatch behind him.  The cargo that was in his bay was two bits.  The first was an extended fuel pod.  The weight of the fuel pod prohibited the Craft from reaching orbit, had it been installed on the ground, but it essentially doubled his range.  Or in this case, allowed him to fire full thrusters for several minutes while having the second part of his cargo attached to the asteroid.  That second part was a harpoon, a pair of long Metallic composite cables with the option of a self-propelled drill, or a magnetic clamp, depending on what kind of surface that they chose to fire at.  He opened up his personal cargo space and found nine 'meals in a pouch', along with a few sanitary items, and a change of clothing.  The mission was supposed to last two days, but brought provisions for three if something unexpected came up.

His inventory check complete, James settled into the pilot seat to start his pre-flight check.  Despite being the only one in the shuttle, he made it a habit to talk himself through the check, he found it made sure he didn't forget something.

"Life Support, Check."  Getting the most important item out of the way first, he then checked the engine status board,  "Attitude Thrusters, Check.  Fuel Tank, Check.  Extended Fuel Tank, Check. Engine, Check."  James then turned to his support board.  "Navigational Computer, Check.  Communications, Check.  Magnetic Field Generator, Check."  Finally he turned to the main board, "Flight Controls.... Check."  He reached back to the support board and toggled open his communications, "Launch Craft 1.  All Systems Check."

Simmons' deep voice came back over the communications channel, "You beat Commander Carter... well you beat her by about six seconds.  Commander Willard is making her way to a briefing on Damage Control jobs with her staff, so it's just me up here at the moment, sir."

James nodded as he strapped himself into the seat, "You'll do just fine Mr. Simmons.  If you'd just be so kind as to open the Launch Bay Doors and give us our departure vector, we'll get this party started."

He saw the doors begin to open in front of him before Roger's voice filled the cockpit.  "Doors Opening.  Launch Craft One.  Your departure vector is one-one-nine stroke two-seven.  Launch window in five... four..."  He prepared himself for acceleration, "Three... two... one... Launch!"

The Engines on the Launch Craft fired at full power, assisted by magnetic launch rail.  James was shoved back into the seat as the Launch Craft rocketed into space.  He heard Roger saying something over the radio, but couldn't make it out over the noise that the vibrations of the engines were making.  Finally as the rattling came to a stop and the booster finished firing, Roger began to come in clearer, "...Launches successful.  You are both on course, ETA is twelve point three hours.  Repeat, Launches successful.  You are both on course, ETA is twelve point three hours."

James unfastened his upper straps, but left the lap belt in place and responded, "Acknowledged."

Sam's voice came over the radio a second later, "Shuttle two, Acknowledging."

His navigational computer beeped at him, he looked at it and read the display out loud, "I have our turnover point in Nine point one-five hours."

Sam responded, "Turnover point confirmed."

"That's what I have back here too."  Roger came back, "Looks like you two are going to have some time on your hands."

James smiled, "We've got that taken care of Roger, Captain out."  He switched over to the private channel between the two Launch Craft, they had it scrambled and encoded, just in case. "Well Sam, you, me and the stars."

"And about a hundred meters of hard vacuum between the two of us."

James shrugged, "Didn't say it was perfect.  Anyways, Sleep Cycle?"

"Definitely.  Set your Oxygen levels to twelve percent.  And don't forget to set the computer to automatically restore in seven hours..."

James smiled, "Or I'll never wake up... I got it."  He took a couple of deep breaths after he made the changes to his life-support system.  "I never liked the idea of forcing sleep by lowering oxygen levels..."

She laughed, "You don't seem to like the idea of sleep, period."

"You only live so many days, why spend a third of it sleeping?"

"So you can live a few more days."

"I understand that."  He took another deep breath, "I'll get more sleep when we're done here.  Right now though, there's too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it."

"They'll always be something that needs to be done.  If you go at it like that, you'll never be done."  There was a pause, but he knew she wasn't done, "I guess I'll just have to make sure you get sleep every night."

"By handcuffing me to my bed every night?"

She laughed again, "Oh I have other ways of keeping you from fighting back."  He felt himself getting groggy as she continued, "Think about that while you're sleeping now."

He was getting short of breath, "I'm trying... not... to..."

She yawned, "But it's not... working... is it?"

"Good... Night.... Sam..."

"Sweet... Dreams..."  A long pause filled the radio, and then she almost mumbled out the last word, "James......"

He had opened his mouth to say something else, but passed over before he could vocalize it.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2012, 02:44:24 pm »
Isn't lowering the oxygen levels bad for your brain? Not just death, but also permanent dmg? Anyways, nice little chapter and definitely nice lady ;)

Like the little details about the guns and such, they add more flavour.
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2012, 10:15:35 pm »
12% is not that much lower than the levels you'd find in particularly dirty or dense cities like Beijing, or New York City.  In some places in those cities O2 levels drop to around 15%.  You can still live as low as 10%, but not for very long.  I would figure that seven hours @ 12% wouldn't hurt either of them.  More to come real quick.  And apologies it took so long to put this up.  Been busy again.  I'll get to reading the other updates tomorrow or Tuesday.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2012, 12:21:28 am »
23:42 Zulu

James slowly regained consciousness, as he did, he wondered when the computer was going to rouse him, and actually began to panic when he thought for a moment that it failed to do so.  His first instinct was to check the system clock, he read it back twice to make sure it was registering in his brain correctly.  Then he relaxed, the computer was set to wake him in three minutes, he just came out of it early.  He searched his field of vision through the canopy window, searching for the Asteroid that was supposed to be in front of them, but to no avail.  It still showed on his LIDAR screen, and the telemetry feed from both the Station and the drone that was circling it, but at the moment it was too far away to get a visual on.  He unstrapped himself from the chair and pulled himself back to the supply locker.  Carefully pulling it open, he pulled out two tubes.  He twisted one to activate the heating element inside it.  He kicked the locker shut and used the force to propel himself back up into the pilot area.  Once he re-seated himself, he activated the heating element in the other tube, and placed the first tube into a device that would pull the contents of that tube into his coffee mug.  He missed the smell of the coffee, the completely sealed mug prevented any fragrance from escaping, and he had been since they were on the station, but the bitter taste of the warm liquid entering his mouth brought another level of alertness to him.  At that same moment the computer alerted him that it was time to wake up.  He could have turned it off, but he used it to gauge when Sam would be waking, he resisted the temptation to call her now, and instead decided to let her wake up at her own pace.

It didn't take long, "James?"  Her voice came over their private channel.

He smiled as he took another drink of coffee, "Good Morning, Beautiful."

His response seemed to catch her off guard as she hesitated before responding herself, "How long have you been awake?"

He looked to the system clock, "About five minutes."

"What did we miss?"

He brought up the list of messages that were waiting for him on the communications station, all were text messages, "Not much.  The drone's given us a good look at the Asteroid's topography, as well as a couple of places we could use as anchor points.  I have a message from Ammanda regarding the vector we need to pull it at, and how far off course we need to divert it.  A rather angry message from Micheal saying that we're being too careless, and that he can be in position to divert the Asteroid in two days.  Also a message from both US and Chinese Missile Commands, offering their services in hitting the Asteroid with a couple of ICBMs."

"Nothing from Russia?"

He scanned the list again, "Oddly enough, no."  He opened the second pouch and sucked the contents of the pouch out of the tube.  "I would so much rather Micheal keep loading the Cargo, because I am tired of eating out of pouches.  I want some real food again."

"How is what we're going to have any more real than what you're eating right now?"

He finished the pouch and put the tube in the refuse, "It's going to be a hell of a lot more real."

"It's still going to be the same stuff, just not put into a blender set to annihilate."

"And that's the point."

"So what's the mission parameters? I haven't had a chance to open it up yet, I'm getting my breakfast down."

James pulled up Ammanda's message, "We need to divert the Asteroid's course by three degrees minimum, but no further than twelve degrees."

"Why the range?"

He looked at the message more closely, "Three degrees is the minimum needed to push it out of the way of the station.  Anymore than twelve degrees..."  He paused as he scanned the message again, "It looks like we'll be pushing it in the direction of Earth.  Any more than twelve degrees and we risk damage to Earth Orbiting Satellites, and even the potential of an impact."

"So we're looking to thread it between Earth and Luna?"

"Dozens of Asteroids a year pass through that range, just most aren't any bigger than a Smart Car."

"What about capturing it?"

James nodded, "Ammanda did mention the capture scenario.  We need to push it twenty-five degrees in the other direction.  A capture orbit with Earth is impossible at this time."

"Then not likely at all."

"Nope."  The computer beeped at him, "Braking Maneuver to begin in five minutes."

"You ready for some fancy flying?"

He smiled, "I only hope I'm capable of following your lead."

"Looks like there's a couple of holes in the dust cloud surrounding the Asteroid."

"Yeah.  Fortunately for us there is a slight gravitational pull coming from the Asteroid, it's not much, but it does give us about two-hundred and fifty meters to work with between the lowest part of the cloud and the surface of the Asteroid.  Otherwise, we'd have to land the shuttles."

"Breaking Maneuver in four minutes."

"Looks like there's a good sized Iron deposit in grid 27-C.  The Magnetic Clamp should be able to get a solid lock on that."

"Alright.  Do we both try to grab the same area?  Or do we look for somewhere else?"

"We'd be more effective if we tried some place else."

"Mmmhmm... What about 44-D?"

"Looks like a Nickel deposit.  Not an ideal size, but it will work."

"I'll take 44-D, I'm a better pilot."

James shook his head, "You'll get no argument from me on either count.  I've already sent the data on to Ammanda, she'll run a couple of simulations to see just how much thrust we're going to have to give it."

"We've got enough fuel reserves for a twenty minute burn at full power."

"I know, I'd rather not use it all.  The tanks back on the station are almost empty."

"Micheal will be back soon enough to refill them."

"Two minutes.  And yeah, but we're supposed to be stockpiling the stuff, not burning through it as fast as we get it."

Silence filled the cockpit as both of them fired their maneuvering thrusters to flip their craft's orientation.  When they finished their flip, the Moon and Earth filled their view.  It was quite a beautiful sight, they were far enough away that they couldn't make out the station, and both the Earth and Moon were much smaller than they were used to.  "Another record book for the two of us right?"

James smiled, until that moment, he didn't realize just how far out they really were.  "Four point Six Million Kilometers.   I'd say that's a record.  If you look out ahead of us though, You get an idea of just how narrow our window is."

"You also get an idea of just how screwed you are if you're off by even a half a degree on your course corrections."

"And why do you think I insisted on Math Scores so much higher than what the Department of Education was willing to accept?"

"Thirty Seconds."

James strapped himself into the seat and finished his coffee. "Thruster Check.  Green."

"Green."

He took a deep breath, "Here we go..."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2012, 12:43:13 am »
24 January 2014
03:31 Zulu

"Braking Maneuver complete.  RV to the Asteroid is now, Negative four point six kilometers per second.  ETA to dust cloud, thirty-two minutes."

"Confirmed over here.  We're going to need another breaking thrust in about two minutes to make the passage through the dust cloud easier."

James chuckled a bit as he thought over their next maneuver, "You know what's funny, we're actually now heading back towards the station."

"We're just moving towards it slower than the Asteroid is."

"Everything in space is relative to each other.  If you tried to deal with absolutes you'd go crazy."

"Please stop."

"Oh, Right.  Sorry."  James looked through the messages that arrived during their deceleration burn.  "Every simulation so far has shown that we can pull it far enough off course.  It will take anywhere from eight minutes to fifteen minutes at full burn."

"Is it really going to be that easy?"

"I doubt it."

"So do I."

"Twenty Eight Minutes."

She laughed, "This half hour is going to drag on forever isn't it?"

"I'm game for anything to pass the time."

"So let's talk."

James sighed, "Lets.  Our behavior the last couple of days has been anything but professional, and I'm pretty sure Ammanda knows what we did last night."

"She thinks she knows what we did.  The sad part is, that we didn't."

"Not that anyone will believe that.  'Yeah we slept together, no we didn't have sex.'"

"Personally, I don't think there's a problem with us being involved.  I'm not staying up here.  You know as well as I do that the Air Force will recall me as soon as Shaun needs me."

"mmhmm... So what does that make this?  A one year stand?"

"James... I'll be back.  Just like Ashley, I'll be back.  If everything goes as planned, the ship Shaun is building will be stationed at your station.  We'll see each other on a regular basis."

"If it goes as planned, he'll be building it at the station."

"Exactly.  Can you imagine how much smoother that will go if you and I are involved."

"As long as we don't have a huge break-up fight."

"Well, there's always that possibility.  But somehow, I feel like you and I aren't going to have that kind of fight.  Even if we don't feel like taking it all the way, I don't believe we'd ruin it to the point where we can't work together."

"I hope not."

"Don't hope.  Let's just make sure of it.  If we resolve now, that whatever happens, we end this amicably, then we will.  The hope is for us not having to end it at all."

"So... what do we do about the scuttlebutt?"

"I'd kiss you right now if I could.  Let it fly... who cares.  Rumors of a sexual encounter between the two of us will help morale, in the short-term.  People love to gossip, even if they claim they don't.  It will give them something to talk about, even if it is embarrassing for us.  Personally, I'd love to hear where the rumor mill says we did the deed, and how."

"Why's that?"

"Maybe we'd catch wind of an interesting place to actually do it.  One that we didn't think of."

He said nothing, but turned his attention to the communications board.

"You got quiet all of a sudden.  Am I making you uncomfortable?"

"No."

"Talking is a two way street, if you don't start talking, we don't accomplish anything."

"I'm going over the last packet Ammanda sent.  This simulation says that we failed..."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2012, 01:54:02 pm »
Some good interpersonal relationship scenes there, with some solid but jargon-free tech as the action plot.

Good, solid work.

I am interested to confirm if Sam just invented plasma torpedoes, though. :)

Keep it coming.
Come visit me at:  www.Starbase23.net

The Senior Service rocks! Rule, Britannia!

The Doctor: "Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink."
Mickey: "Wot's that?"
The Doctor: "No idea. Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'Magic Door'."
- Doctor Who: The Woman in the Fireplace (S02E04)

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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2012, 08:20:29 pm »
I wish I could keep it coming.  At the moment my computer has decided to come down with a very nasty virus.  Nothing is lost as of yet, but certain elements of the computer have ceased responding, and like a cancer it is spreading itself to other systems.  It started about three weeks ago, with what I thought were random shutdowns related to heat issues.  I first noticed a problem when my picture thumbnails got corrupted.  In the last 48 hours, I've lost sound, and now the ability to perform any kind of windows maintenance.  I can still perform AV and Malware scans, because I use non-MS products to conduct those scans, but they have all come back negative, leading me to believe that they may also have been corrupted.  It would figure that the worst of it (to date) would manifest itself coincidentally at the same time that SFC:CE would be released...  I'll be back... don't know when, but I will be back.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #33 on: August 22, 2012, 10:50:34 am »
You have my sympathies. My newish Win7 desktop went that way a few weeks before I moved. I could still get in on safe mode with networking for a while so I stupidly let that continue instead of investigating any further than using AVG anti-virus scans. I couldn't use any graphics-heavy stuff like any games at all, Blender, Photoshop, Milkshape, etc. but I could still browse and I used my laptop to reinstall the games on. :D

Three weeks later: Boom. I tried partial recovery from my Recovery disks so I'd not lose all the fresh data on my HD, but alas, three of them did nothing.

I had to crack the case and connect my HD to my laptop and transfer the precious  files from there to my external USB HD. Once I had scoured the HD and made sure I'd saved as much as I could, I did a full recovery, wiping all data, and that worked.

I'm about back up to speed now. Good luck with your own issues.
Come visit me at:  www.Starbase23.net

The Senior Service rocks! Rule, Britannia!

The Doctor: "Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink."
Mickey: "Wot's that?"
The Doctor: "No idea. Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'Magic Door'."
- Doctor Who: The Woman in the Fireplace (S02E04)

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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2012, 12:29:42 am »
yay!  I'm back!  Sort of.  One (at least) bad memory stick, and a complete reinstall of windows later.  I am back in action.  Now to spend the rest of the week reinstalling all of my programs, get my files back from my external, and hope I didn't lose anything vital.  Be back to do more later in the week.  Thanks for the well wishes Andy!
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #35 on: August 28, 2012, 02:47:58 pm »
04:02 Zulu

The shuttles finished their braking maneuver and turned their noses back to the asteroid.  A white mist surrounded the rock that was still several dozen kilometers away.  While they both knew what that mist really was, from here it gave the impression that there was an atmosphere on the asteroid.  They had both cut their relative velocities to the asteroid to 10 meters per second.  At that speed, they would be able to maneuver through the cloud of smaller particles that gave the rock a sort of protective layer, while still being able to use their RCS thrusters to come to a relative stop when they reached their destinations.

"It's kind of beautiful."

James smiled in agreement with Sam's statement.  It was beautiful, the way the sunlight reflected off of the dust cloud, and even the larger rocks, some no bigger than his fist, some as large as Volkswagons, glistened in the light.  "It's also very deadly, Dear.  Be careful."

"You do the same."  She paused for a moment as if considering saying something else, but came back on the radio with her plan of action, "I've got what looks to be a nice tunnel at one-five, mark, three-four-nine, It'll get me half way there before I have to do much maneuvering."

James nodded as he checked his own navigation system, "I've got a decent one myself at three-one-six, mark, one-seven.  I'll have to skirt that rock to avoid a nasty traffic jam, but after that it looks like I've got a clear shot to my target."

"Let's do this."

With that she fired her aft thrusters to give her a little push in the direction she wanted to go.  James oriented his craft to his target, and triggered his thrusters.  At this point they were both on their own, James had his computer keep an eye on Sam's craft, but he couldn't spare any attention from his course, and neither could she.  He alternated his attention between the canopy window in front of him, and his navigational radar screen beneath it, while he did that, he mentally noted that upon the craft's first refit, the radar screen needed to be overlaid on the canopy window.  Whether it was his imagination or reality, he heard the craft enter the dust/ice cloud.  The radar alerted him to a large object in his path, his first obstacle was a shard of ice about the size of a small child.  He triggered his port thruster for a half a second, waited a couple of heartbeats as the ice shard flew by him, then triggered his starboard thruster for three-quarters of a second to bring him back on his original course.

Up next, was an odd shaped rock, a little smaller than a commuter bus.  It was coming in high, and was spinning, a one second burst from his dorsal thruster cleared it well above him, then a one second burst from his starboard thruster was necessary to avoid the office building that was now in his way.  A stabilizing thrust from both his ventral and port thrusters lined him up with his first way-point.  He took the moment's reprieve to reach over and dial down the temperature a degree.

Reaching the first way-point, he fired his forward thruster to slow him down, while simultaneously using his port thruster to re-direct him to his second way-point.  Two objects were now in his path, one of them was in motion and would be clear by the time he reached it, the other was only peripherally in his way.  When he got there, a quick burst from his ventral thruster took him up and over it.  But apparently not completely, a thump reverberated through the cabin.  His damage indicator showed a yellow spot flashing on his belly before it turned back to a shade of green, indicating that the armor had been hit, but is still intact.  His reflexes told him to look for what hit him, but he had willed himself to stay focused on what was ahead.  He reached way-point two and fired his aft thruster to pick up some speed while using both his dorsal and starboard thruster to line himself up with the rock he had just named Central Park.

He named it such because that was the size of it.  One of the larger free floating rocks in the cloud, it was his intention to get as close as he could to it, and skirt it at nape to avoid what was the thickest part of the cloud he had to pass through.  He rolled his craft to orient it with the surface of Central Park, if there was any gas surrounding it, his wings would provide a little lift, making it much easier to fly at nape level.  The altimeter counted down the range, when he reached one-hundred meters he fired his ventral thruster in two short one-second bursts, and then fired it again in a two second burst upon reaching thirty meters.  It took him four seconds to pass over Central Park, and once he did he relaxed.  There was nothing between him and the surface of the Asteroid.  He fired his forward thruster in his final breaking maneuver, and settled in ninety-five meters over his target.  A patch of Iron about a quarter of a hectare in size.

"A shame we can't extract this, or capture the Asteroid.  There's enough raw materials here to finish building the station, and probably two more just like it."  He reached over to his comm system, and prepared a data burst.  Line of Sight between him and Sam, and even him and the station or the drone, was spotty.  All messages would have to be sent as data bursts, short half-second transmissions that would fire as soon as the computer recognized that it had LOS.  "In position, awaiting confirmation of your arrival Sam."

He glanced at his tactical display, everything immediately surrounding him was solid, but as you looked further away from him, the image crackled as it struggled to keep up with the ever shifting cloud that surrounded him, Sam's last known position was dimmed, indicating that it had been at least a minute since last contact.  Every so often a portion of the screen would solidify, due to direct contact being established with the drone, filling in what it saw of the area.  During those contacts, Sam's position would shift on his screen, still dimmed, as they weren't making contact at the same time.  He paid close attention to the topographical map that was being formulated from his sensors, looking for a good place to shoot his grappler at.  When he was satisfied that he found a spot, he feathered his thrusters to position himself over the spot, and also brought the range down to fifty meters.

Sam's indicator light flared to full intensity, and conveniently stayed bright as she settled in at her position.  "Well look what I found.  I don't have a scratch on my shuttle, but I see one on yours, James."

He flushed a little with embarrassment, "You do.  I'm not quite sure what hit me, but it wasn't particularly large."

"We ready for this?"

"I'm ready, you find a spot yet?"

"All set and ready to go."

"Firing Grappler."  James triggered the release of his grappler, the large magnetic dish flew through the empty space between him and the Asteroid, a small layer of dust exploded from the impact point.  The grappler mechanism then pulled the steel cable tight and tugged on the magnet to check on the connection.  "I've got a solid catch."

"Same here."

He smiled as he set his autopilot. "Time to let the computers do the work."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2012, 09:49:37 am »
Very nice description of dodging through the approach to the main asteroid. Had the perfect images in my head for it, and I liked what I saw.

Glad to see you back up and running, Q.
Come visit me at:  www.Starbase23.net

The Senior Service rocks! Rule, Britannia!

The Doctor: "Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink."
Mickey: "Wot's that?"
The Doctor: "No idea. Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'Magic Door'."
- Doctor Who: The Woman in the Fireplace (S02E04)

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Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2012, 12:25:33 pm »
Just got caught up. Cool story, looking forward to more. Really enjoy the weaving together of the different show/game references. Kane as genetically engineered human existing alongside Khan, possibly "The" Khan, was really great as was the whole "The 'So-and-so'" name conversation.

Regarding viruses in general, if you're not familiar with it check out Malwarebytes. Between it, TDSSKiller and ditching IE I've had almost no trouble on that front in years.

Also, is this story 1 of 3 with parts 1 and 2 being "It's All Relative" and "L1 Intermission"? I'd like to catch up from "the beginning" as well.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 05:12:52 pm by Vipre »
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2012, 01:36:33 am »
Yes.  The first part of the story is "It's All Relative."  L1 Intermission was a bit of side story, I was having a little fun with the idea of making the whole thing a "Coast to Coast AM" radio show.  Since this would fit right in with that particular program.  I have more of the L1 Intermission story on my computer, it has not as yet been posted, although I do intend to revisit it at some point in the future.  If you or anyone else has "in character" questions to ask James, send me a message and I'll integrate your questions into the story.  I'll probably write another Coast to Coast AM episode for between parts 2 and 3.

And yes, I use MalwareBytes, not exclusively, but it is one of the programs I use in general.  It turns out that there was never a Virus on my computer in the first place.  I had one (maybe two) bad stick(s) of memory on my system, and it was corrupting any thing that loaded on to it, but the Windows Memory Management program wouldn't catch it unless a critical windows file was affected.  I've since pulled the offending sticks out, and while my system is noticeably slower, it's been running just fine since.  Unfortunately, I didn't catch the memory problem until AFTER I tried to reinstall Windows.  The Windows reinstall failed, and forced me to reformat the drive.  I was able to pull my documents off to a External Hard Drive, before the wipe, and losses have been minimal.  I don't think I've found every file that's been corrupted, and I doubt I ever will.  I'll only notice it once I try to open it.

Next Part of this story will be out some time tomorrow.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2012, 03:35:54 pm »
He felt the power of the engine as it made his small craft vibrate.  If he was actually moving anywhere he'd be under the stress of two and a half gravities of acceleration.  But the Grappler held tight to the giant rock.  It was too early in the burn to determine if they were making any progress.  They had estimated the mass of the rock to be in excess of 1.5 x 107 tonnes, which was a lot of mass to move.  Fortunately though, they didn't have to move it so much as nudge it.

"Everything's working as expected over here, Sam."

"I had a momentary slippage here, but it locked down quickly after that."

James sat back and waited for the drone to re-enter line of sight.

"I've made contact with the drone, we've already pulled the rock point-two-six degrees.

He looked at the chronometer that started as soon as the burn began, it read 01:23.  "That's a little more than I was expecting this early into the burn."

"You think it might be lighter than we estimated?"

He shrugged, "It would have to be pretty hollow to be that much lighter."

"Whoa."

James snapped to full attention, 'What?"

"Nothing, I just felt a bit of a tug, that's all."

"Did your Grappler slip again?"

"I don't think so.  I'm not sure.  Everything's fine again."

James opened his mouth to reply, but at the same time, he established contact with the Drone, "We're at point-seven degrees.  Just keep an eye on yourself."

"I've already gone back to manual control, If I slip and lose it, I've only got a couple of seconds to react before I smash into this rock in front of me."

He tensed, "I wish you had chosen a different vector."

"There was no way to avoid it, it's a big rock, it took up all my vectors."

"Then..."  He started.

She responded before he could finish his question, "I've got my avoid course already ready.  Relax, I've got two-point-three seconds, minimum, to begin making my turn."

"To begin?"

"Yes, to begin.  I've got eight seconds to impact.  And if I cut the engines the second I start speeding towards it... I've got all day then."

James relaxed, he knew she was lying to him, but somehow the lie made him feel better.

"Point-nine."

At three minutes, he noted.  They were almost a third of the way to the minimum deviation threshold, less than a sixth of the way into their burn.  The deviation would pick up slightly as they kept pulling.  If they did a full burn, they'd get a ten to twelve degree deviation.  Almost too much.  They were shooting for around a six to seven degree deviation.  "Let's see where we are at the eight minute mark, we may just want to cut the burn at ten."

"Well you didn't want to burn all of our fuel."

"Exactly.  If we're around three degrees at eight minutes, like I expect we will be, we'll cut it off at..." It was his turn to yelp as he bucked in his seat.

"You alright?"

He stared at the Grappler display, "Yeah, the Winch pulled in a meter of cable, must have reached a stress threshold and pulled it in to compensate."

"You think we're going to make it?"

"As long as the cables hold up, we'll make it."  He checked all his other instruments to be sure that everything was fine now, but noticed something odd when he looked over at Sam's position.  "Sam?"

"Yeah?"

"What are you using to base your range from the asteroid on?"

"The Plate, why?"

"Your distance from me is about five meters further than it was when we started this.  One of those meters is my shortening my cable, and another is your lengthening yours.  But three of those meters are unaccounted for."

"mmmhmmm...  Makes you wonder if the asteroid may be cracking under the stress."

"That could be a problem.  All the more reason to pull it as far as we need to and then stop."

"One-point-seven degrees.  We're over half way there."

James glanced back to his chronometer, "At only five and half minutes."  He looked out his canopy window, "I'm glad we didn't let the freighter do this.  While it's got more power, I don't know how Micheal would fit it in here."

"More than likely is that he'd have four shuttles doing the work that the two of us are doing.  But he could have also used the ship mounted rail-guns to clear a path for the shuttles."

"hmm...  Maybe that's something we need to consider.  Mounting some kind of weapon on our shuttles so that they can clear paths for themselves."

"I don't think you're going to be able to get a rail-gun big enough to do that on these shuttles."

James thought carefully for a moment, "How about a particle cannon?"

"Maybe.  But I thought that you switched to rail-guns because the particle cannons weren't effective?"

"The range wasn't effective, but on a shuttle, the range doesn't matter as much."

"Hmm... I'll add it to my growing list of miracles to perform."

"I don't think you have to do that, that's something that George has been wanting to do since we put the rail-guns on."  He stopped as he looked back to the sensor display, "Sam, you've pulled two more meters away from me."

"Yeah, I've just noticed it too.  Hold on."

While he waited for Sam to come back, He noticed that the drone had acquired LOS with him and spat him another data burst, they had now pulled the Asteroid two-point-three degrees.  Two more minutes of thrust would get the course correction they were looking for.

"I can't find the..."  She paused, "Wait.  LIDAR is indicating some buckling in the asteroid's surface surrounding the patch of Nickel that I'm attached to."

"Are you pulling the deposit of Nickel out of the rock?!"

"God I hope not!"

James ran a LIDAR scan of his section, "sh*t!  I'm getting the same buckling here!  Just not to the extent that you've got, yet."

"We're almost there, just another ninety seconds!

Would they make it?, he wondered.  He turned his external camera to look at the worst of the buckling, he could see the rock breaking up like an earthquake was tearing it open.  An audible alarm sounded, and he quickly snapped his head to the direction of it.  His range indicator to Sam's position started spiraling upwards.  She had broken her connection to the asteroid!

"I'm loose!  But OK.  I'm not going to be able to turn back around though.  You're on your own at thi...."  Her communication abruptly cut off as he lost contact with her.  His mind raced, did she crash, or just get something between them?  How much longer would he have to pull now that she wasn't pulling too?  Would he break loose before he moved it enough?  Did he have enough fuel to finish the pull now?

All too briefly he connected to the drone, two-point-five degrees.  He had to pull it a half a degree by himself, and he had only twelve minutes worth of fuel left to do it in.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2012, 03:44:27 pm »
I have been remiss in reading your stuff, man. I've started this one again and am catching up. Will give real commentary once I'm caught up.

--guv
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2012, 11:20:32 pm »
James relaxed considerably when Sam flashed on his sensor screen, even if just momentarily.  But he still had work to do, he had to pull the rock another three-tenths of a degree off course.  His Fuel Indicator showed he had seven minutes left.  While theoretically enough to pull it that far, the two of them together were pulling it much faster, and much farther.  The Buckling on the crust of the Asteroid was increasing, it looked as if a Magnitude 9.5 Earthquake was going off all around the Iron Plate he had locked onto.  How much longer until he simply pulled the Iron plate out of the rock?

"Wait a second..."  James looked back at the image viewer.  "Maybe I WANT to pull the Iron Plate out."  He did a couple of calculations in his head as his Fuel Indicator his six minutes, and the angle of departure reduced itself to one-fifth.  The math told him that if the plate held in place, he'd finish the maneuver with a little over three minutes of burn time left.  He smiled to himself as he overrode the computer controls of the craft.  "Here goes nothing," he whispered to himself as he reduced the thrust from the engine.  The Fuel Indicator instantly jumped up to eleven minutes, but the Earthquake on the asteroid surface came to almost an immediate stop.  Now just waiting for external confirmation of his math, contact with the Drone, he focused on his steering.

"What are you doing James?"

That Sam's voice came through so clearly startled him at first, "You alright Sam?"  He spoke the idea that had been floating around in his head since they lost contact, while settling himself back down for the answer to her question.

"I'm fine.  I'm also about 200 tonnes heavier.  You didn't answer my question."

"I didn't want to rip my Iron plate out of the rock prematurely."

"You want to rip it out?"

James punched a number into his computer, "If what you're holding in your Grappler is solid Nickel, which I'm sure it's not, but if it is, you're holding on to $3.3 million there."

"Ok.  So you want to pull the Iron out of the rock for the same reason?"

"Iron only goes for about $100 per tonne.  But we can get other uses out of it if I can extract it."

"Can you?"

"That's what I'm going to find out.  Once I finish pulling it the three degrees off course, I'm going to punch my engine to full, and see if I can yank it out."

"I'd rather you didn't."

He smiled, "I appreciate the concern, but I'm not that bad of a pilot."

Any response she was about to make was cut off by a rock moving between them and cutting their comm-link.  A connection to the Drone came only a second later, the number on his screen flashed green. "One-tenth of a degree to go, and nine minutes still to go."  The computer did some calculations for him, and showed that he'd be done pulling in one minute, twenty seconds.  "And enough fuel for a two and a half minute burn at full thrust."

"Two and a half minutes, at three gees?"

"So?"  He made no attempt to keep the annoyance out of his voice.

"There are days where you have a hard time dealing with one."

He scoffed at her, "For two and a half minutes, I'll be fine.  If it was an hour, I'd agree with you."

"You haven't spent more than a month at one gee in the last six months."

He sighed, "Sam, you're starting to sound like my mother."

"She's sounds like a smart lady.  You've apparently already made up your mind, so just do what you're going to do.  But if you make me meet your mother with you in my arms, rather than me holding your arm.  So help me I will find way to raise the dead, just so I can kill you again!"

He snickered, "Technically, if all you recover is my arm..."

"Shut it!"

He shifted his tone to a more serious inflection, "I've got twenty more seconds, can you confirm?"

"Confirmed."

"Then I'm bringing the Engines to full power, now."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2012, 01:26:29 pm »
That's quite the gamble, but then again those are some serious bucks. I liked the interaction, but didn't get a really scared feel of her. I don't know why though sorry. But I did gniffel at the smart mother.
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #43 on: September 13, 2012, 02:08:51 am »
The thundering vibration of the main engine rattled every screen in the pilot section.  James pulled the Control stick out of the console and grasped it tight.  He didn't want the stick to slip out of his hand when or if he began pulling away from the rock.  No other sound besides the engine vibration was audible in the shuttle, a countdown timer seemed like it was trying to shake itself out of the console, his forward radar highlighted several chunks of rock and ice that he needed to be wary of the moment he did move.  Down on the surface of the asteroid the quake began anew with an even higher fever pitch than before, what few rock formations had stayed upright around the edge of the Iron Patch crumbled to dust.

Two Minutes.

The quake continued unabated, but with no sign of the plate coming loose from the larger structure.  He thought through the possible points of failure as this burn continued.  Obviously the weakest link was the cable connecting to the magnetic clamp.  A sudden snap would send him catapulting away from the asteroid at 24.5 m/s2.  He had his feet planted firmly on the floor thruster controls, should he be thrown backwards into his seat, he would naturally release the pressure on the paddles, which would slow or even stop his acceleration, and allow him some time to regain control of the craft.  Failure Point Two, was equally as likely as Point One, and had the same problems, the Magnetic Clamp could slip off the Iron.  It had happened twice with Sam and the Nickel deposit, but his clamp had stayed secure on the Iron Plate for the entire burn.  Failure Point Three was the Winch Mechanism that was attached to the external cargo bay of the Shuttle.  The Winch had a number of different ways it could fail.  Nominally it would get separated from the cargo bay wall and fall down to the asteroid's surface. Catastrophically, in which case it would rip a portion of the cargo bay wall off with it, and potentially expose the internal bay to vacuum.  It didn't pose a direct threat to him personally, the cabin would still remain pressurized, but the contents of his fuel bin, almost dry now, would be sucked out into space and create a vapor lock in the engine.  Assuming that the fuel lines being sucked dry didn't damage the engine, he had enough in an auxiliary fuel tank to drift back to the station.

One Minute - Thirty Seconds.

Failure Point Four, was a worst case scenario, the shuttle's Structural Integrity would collapse, destroying the shuttle and killing him.  With that in mind he glanced over at his condition indicator.  Except for the spot that glowed green on his belly, the rest of the external status display blazed blue.  The internal status screen was showing several spots around the cargo bay as bright yellow, to indicate heavy stress at those locations.  Nothing was flashing red, to indicate a collapse being imminent, yet.  Failure Point Five, was the engine itself.  While designed to put out that much thrust for longer periods of time, being anchored in place was creating stress vibrations that moved through the shuttle.  Those vibrations were not good for the engine.  While it shouldn't explode, simulations only showed a .01 percent chance of that happening, it would likely overheat and force an emergency shut down, if the shut down happened quickly enough, he would just need to wait for it to cool before he could bring it back online.  If it didn't happen fast enough, there's a good possibility that engine damage could occur, and if that happened, he'd need to go EVA to fix it.  An EVA suit that they left on the station for space considerations.  He had a life support suit in the event of a hull breach, but an EVA suit would be needed to leave the armored cocoon that shielded him from Solar Radiation.

One Minute.

Still no movement, should he just give up and return to the station, mission accomplished, but somewhat deflated for returning empty-handed?  He could at least save some fuel.  Maybe that plate is just too big to move, after all, there's no telling what it's shape is once you get beneath the surface.  For all he knew, he was latched on to the core of the asteroid, several million tonnes of Iron.  It would take two freighters to even think about harvesting it.  Suddenly he felt a snap.  For a brief second he was thrown back into the pilot's chair.  The range indicator remained unchanged.  He had broken it loose!  Just a little longer and he'd get the whole thing out!  He turned his attention back to the forward screen, ready to yank the control stick hard to the right as soon as he broke it off completely.  He felt the force of acceleration suddenly shove him back into the chair, at the same time his feet flew up off the thruster pedals.  He jerked the control stick hard over to evade the closest floating rock.  The engine stopped firing and he went inertial, relying on his thrusters to steer him clear of what ever was in his way.  He turned his forward thruster on, and locked the port open.  It wouldn't stop him, but it would at least slow him down a little.  He was so focused on his maneuvering that he hadn't paid any attention to what he had ripped from the rock, if anything.  Thrust, counter-thrust, the brake on the entire time.  He frantically jerked the control stick around for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was only about 30 seconds.  He cleared the asteroid's cloud and a new noise filled the cabin.  Clapping.  Unlocking the forward thruster, he turned the craft around and applied a braking thrust.  It was only then that he realized what he had in his grasp.

"Looks like about five-hundred tonnes of Iron, James."

He let out his breath, he hadn't realized he was holding it.  "And if it was any less, I'd probably be a smear on that second rock."

"Judging by what I saw, you would have been fine unless you lost your Grappler altogether.  Nice piece of flying."

He nodded, he knew what the response was going to be to his next statement, and also knew that he'd never live it down for saying it, but the logical part of his brain was screaming at him to do it anyways, "The next time I get a crazy idea like this, tell me not to do it."

"I did."

"Tell me I told you to tell me not to do it."  The adrenaline in his system had his heart pounding, sweat was pouring down from his brow even though the internal temperature was a cool 18 degrees.  "Remind me of this stunt.  I think I won't be stupid enough to ignore you again."

"You weren't stupid James, you were just... a man.  You were letting your bravado and ego talk, rather than your brain."

He wiped the sweat off his forehead as she continued, "And somehow, I think that if we had the exact same situation a year from now, you'll do the same thing.  You'll ignore me and do what you want."

"I don't think so."

"I think so.  But if you want, I can come up with a couple of ways to make you think twice about it."

He nodded, and pushed the manual control stick back into the console, "Let's get back to the station, and I'll most certainly take you up on that."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #44 on: September 13, 2012, 04:12:56 am »
Nice one! Liked the mental list of things that could go wrong with the time updates between it. And spanking works well as a deterrent ;)
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #45 on: September 19, 2012, 01:22:01 am »
28 January 2014
16:10 Zulu

After a long night sleep, by himself, and a two separate showers, one before bed, and one after he woke up this afternoon, James made his way from the Cafeteria space that had been set up on the Promenade to Operations.  It felt good to have such a wide open space to move around in.  After three days on the cramped shuttles, shuttles made even more cramped by the equipment they had to carry, he took the long way from his quarters to the Cafeteria, and was taking the long way from the Cafeteria to Ops.  He had called Ammanda and told her that he was doing some "rounds", her response was that the mountain of paperwork on his desk wasn't getting any smaller.  He stopped in front of a window that gave him an astonishing view of the Asteroid.  He stood and gazed at it as he pondered just where it was going, and if it would be coming around again.  The answer to both of those questions was undoubtedly somewhere in that "Mountain" of paperwork that awaited him.  The Asteroid was still a good distance away, it was still about two and a half days away from passing them, that it was now visible gave another impression as to just how big it was.  Of course he wasn't really seeing the Asteroid, he was seeing the cloud that it was bringing with it.  He had a view of Earth a couple of windows ago, and while he knew where Manhattan Island was, the Island itself was not visible from here.  The accompanying cloud was the size of New England, and that was certainly visible from here.  He took a draw from his Coffee Mug, and decided that he had procrastinated long enough.  He turned and walked towards the nearest lift access.

Upon entering Ops, he noticed that only Ammanda was present.  Sam was nowhere to be found, nor was Roger.  When he entered, she got up and walked over not to him, but to his office, where she waited for him to arrive.  When he did, she spoke in a low tone, "A moment in private, sir?"

He nodded, and pressed the button on his office door to admit the both of them.  The "Mountain" of paperwork consisted of six PDAs attached to his desk.  Even before the door had closed behind him, he had decided that he was not going to like where this moment was going to take them.

"The scuttlebutt amongst the Walkers is that you and Commander Carter are sleeping together."

"We did.  Once.  And no we didn't have sex."

"But..."

"We were both too tired, and we were interrupted by the Asteroid's approach."

She looked flustered, "Then when you came in with out a shirt on?"

"Yes, that was the night.  She had chastised me for not putting it on, I told her she could have left hers off."

"That would have been a sight, both of you walking into Ops together without shirts on."

He turned away from her and moved around to his side of the desk, "Would it have changed anything?"

"No."

He settled down into his seat, a seat that was more there to keep him anchored to his desk, "Ok.  So there's a scuttlebutt.  What do you want me to do about it?"

"Squash it."  She said without hesitation.

He frowned, "Why?"

It was her turn to frown, "It's unprofessional.  Sleeping with a Subordinate. It leads to lax discipline."

"Now you're reading right from a handbook."  He waved her objection off, "Is it causing a morale problem?"

She paused, "Well... no.  But this kind of rumor can cause chain of command problems."

"Can it?  Or is that something out of a handbook too?"  James shook his head, "The rumors in of themselves are harmless.  And the book on fraternization with subordinates wasn't written for the benefit of those on the outside looking in.  It was primarily written for the inevitability that most relationships fail, and that the two people involved in the relationship after it failed, are no longer able to work together."

"And what if two Walkers decided that they wanted to start a relationship?  How can I tell them no, if you are shagging your exec?"

He stopped, "I can see where that could be a problem."

"And what happens when you and Commander Carter break up?"

"We had that discussion already."

"And?"  She waited expectantly.

"The realization was that she was not going to be up here forever.  This is a temporary assignment for her, at best.  Sooner or later, the Air Force will want her back."

"So that makes it Ok, the fact that she'll be gone in six or eight months?"

"It doesn't make it OK.  We hadn't discussed much more beyond that."  He leaned back, "We did discuss that she'll be returning, eventually."

"And returning after a bad breakup?"

"Breakups are usually only bad if one side is lying to the other.  If you stay honest with each other, you can usually part ways without too much resentment."  He lowered his head for a moment, and then stared right at her, "Look, you want me to quash the rumor.  I'm not going to.  But nor am I going to confirm it.  I'm going to simply ignore it."

"Why?"

He smiled, "The cat's out of the bag.  If I try to deny it, it will only reinforce those that believe that it happened.  If I confirm it, we have the problem you alluded to.  If I ignore it, I act as if responding to such a ludicrous charge is a waste of my time.  It'll blow over as long as Sam and I don't do something to re-kindle it.  In the meantime, they get the morale boost of being involved in propagating the scuttlebutt.  People like drama, its why daytime television is so popular.  They like it even better when they are peripherally involved in it.  We don't have a media up here to blow things out of proportion, or cover it up, we just have ourselves."

"I see.  So... act like it's not important."

"Exactly.  If you start reacting to rumors, you have to start answering every rumor that crops up, no matter how ridiculous."

She nodded, and smiled, "OK.  Thank you sir."

"Anything else?"

"Welcome back, I'll leave you to your paperwork."  She turned and let herself out, leaving him to his six PDAs.  He reached for the first one and scanned it.  It was a recap of the last bit of construction reports, nothing out of the ordinary jumped out at him.  Just that the construction was complete, and they were standing down to await the arrival of the next freighter load.  He placed his thumb on top of the interface and waited for it to confirm his signature.  It shunted the contents of the PDA to the main computer and cleared it from the PDA.

As he was reaching for the second PDA, his attention was grabbed by the doors to Ops' lift opening to admit Sam.  She immediately looked over towards Ammanda and went over to exchange some words with her.  He looked back down at the PDA and read over its contents.  Communications logs.  Nothing here demanded his attention either, just standard stuff that did require his signature.  He did scan for anything that confirmed the scuttlebutt, but found nothing.  He thumb-signed it and waited for Sam to finish walking over.

The door-chime sounded.  He motioned for her to come in.

She stepped in and handed him a PDA, "I thought you'd want to see this."  The doors finished closing behind her, "Why the hell did you tell her that?!"

"Not like I had a whole lot of choice.  I hope she'll understand the rationale for ignoring it."  He grabbed the PDA from her.

"You could have ignored her statement, you didn't have to confirm anything."

"I could have.  But, I hoped to teach her a bit of a lesson about how to deal with rumors."  He scanned the PDA she handed him, "One-hundred and forty-nine point six tonnes of Nickel out of your catch.  That's two-point-seven Million Dollars on the London Exchange.  Meanwhile, my haul was four-hundred and seventy-three point two tonnes of Iron along with six point three tonnes of Nickel.  Carl wants all of it?"

"He'll let us sell the larger Nickel chunk, he realizes that money is tight, but he says he can make better use of the Iron than simply selling it, and that small a quantity of Nickel he says he'll use it up within a year."

He looked out the window behind him, the cloud continued to grow larger, "We got something out of this crisis.  Always a plus."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #46 on: September 21, 2012, 10:04:58 am »
Nice rationalization, works for me. Still enjoying the tale, so keep up the good work!
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #47 on: September 28, 2012, 12:23:29 am »
31 January 2014
03:23 Zulu

"Gun Two... Stand by."

The pale red light illuminated Ops, the exterior windows were closed up.  The tension in the air cut be cut with a knife.  Sam and James both stood over the Pit Table, while Ammanda sat at her Station, ready to direct the Walkers to whatever damage occurred.  Carl Chartier, Chief Engineer, was seated at the Engineering Station.  His current calm demeanor belied the nick name "rajin cajin" that some of the Walkers gave him, when he heard of the nick name though, he laughed it off, and even made sure that the Walkers changed the spelling of it to suit him.  At the other extreme, Roger was at Tactical, and he was sweating bullets.  His nervousness even showed through his voice as he responded to the order he just received.  "Gun Two... R, Ready... Sir."

Sam looked up at him and flashed him a reassuring smile, "Relax, it isn't going to shoot back."

He managed a weak smile, "Y, Y, Yes, Ma'am."

For the third time, James briefly considered moving to that station to relieve him, but Sam had her foot on his, and was using her Magnet to keep him in place.  He glared at her again, but she ignored it.  "Fire."

The station shuddered ever so slightly, as the rail gun spat out a bolt of plasma at the closest chunk of rock.  On the Pit table the targeted rock disappeared.  "Target destroyed."

A small cheer went out from the officers in the upper level, and Sam flashed Roger a thumbs up.  He smiled back, still sweating, and still very nervous.

James paid little attention, he marked another target, "Target three.  Gun One... Stand By."

Carl looked up, "Eight more seconds on Gun One.  Forty seconds on Gun Two."

Ammanda looked up from her station as it beeped at her, "Impact. Core, section fourteen.  No damage."

Sam pointed at another object on the table, "Next impact will be in twelve seconds.  Golf ball sized."

James turned to Roger, "Fire."

His voice grew more relaxed with every shot, he was starting to settle in and realize not to press too hard, "Target Destroyed."

Sam looked up, "Just four more minutes and we're clear."

"Impact.  Sub-promenade two, section four.  Micro Hull fracture."  Ammanda opened her Comm line, "Beta team, Hull Breach, Sub-Promenade two-four."

"Gun two will be ready in fifteen seconds."

James glanced at the timer as he designated the next target.  "Target Four."  He stopped as he designated another target, and then smiled at Sam as he noted it to the rest of them, "Target Five.  Roger, Guns free, Fire at will."

"Sir.  Firing at will, sir!"

Sam dropped her voice to a whisper, "Thank you.  He'll handle it."

He leaned over and whispered into her ear, "I'm sure he will, now.  Earlier I wasn't so sure.  You can get off my foot now."  She did so and he moved away from the table towards Carl, as he got to his station he brought his voice back to normal level, "How's the Guns and the reactor holding up?"

"We're straining the Reactor to its maximum right now.  I can give you a little bit more, but not much, and not for long.  The Guns are doing fine, they're taking the power as fast as I pump it into them."  He tried to tamper down his thick Cajun accent, there were times when he didn't that he was virtually incomprehensible, but there was no mistaking his knowledge on Nuclear Reactors.  Between him and George, the two of them virtually built this reactor and the one on the freighter by themselves.

James continued his stroll around the pit, stopping at Ammanda next, "Damage Report?"

She shrugged, "Minor so far, just a couple of micro-fractures.  A few other places where dents are probably going to need to be hammered out.  We're frying all the big stuff and letting the little stuff through, nothing bigger than a baseball has hit us yet."

"Yeah, but those Baseballs are coming at us harder than even Justin Verlander can throw them."

"We aren't the International Space Station, or even the old Orbiter, we can take a little bit of a beating."

He nodded and continued around to Roger, who finally stopped sweating, and actually began to crack a smile, "You're shooting good."

"Thank you sir.  Target Five is destroyed, next target?"

"Pick one."

His smile grew, "Aye sir."

He turned back towards the table and grasped at it.  Instead of saying anything he just gazed at Sam, and admired the way she picked out the rocks that were a threat to them and the ones that weren't.  Cool, detached, like she was playing a game in the Pentagon's basement.

"Two minutes.  Then we can all get to bed for the night."  She looked up at him and caught his eyes.  He saw the mischievous sparkle in them, and he wondered what kind of night she had in store for him.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #48 on: October 02, 2012, 06:45:24 pm »
8 February 2014
14:30 Zulu

"Approach Control, this is Freighter-one, on final approach."

James smiled as he nodded towards Sam, "Freighter-one, this is L1 Station.  Your final course corrections are being transmitted now.  You are cleared for docking on Arm one."

"Acknowledged L1."

Sam finished sending the corrections, and then turned to look at him, "That wasn't Micheal."

He nodded, "That's Micheal's new Communications Officer, Nicole Castro.  With all the foreign governments he was dealing with last month, he decided that he needed a full time linguist.  She's fluent in six languages, English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, and Farsi.  She can also speak German, Russian, Polish and French well enough."

She scoffed in amazement, "And here I thought I was doing well because I spoke passable German."

He shrugged, "Everyone has their gifts.  Her's is language."

"What about Chinese, Japanese, Korean?"  Ammanda shook her head, "Those are just as important as the Western European Languages."

James shook his head, "Not as much really.  She can speak those languages, just not very well.  But all three of those nations teach their children English, primarily.  Some Secondary schools in Korea and Japan are taught in English Only environments.  They pay agencies to hire English speaking teachers from Australia and the US, and tell them that they would rather they not learn the local language.  It's always made me wonder how they are supposed to function outside of the classroom.  But it is what it is."

"Are we getting closer to English as a universal language, then?"  Ammanda looked skeptical.

"I doubt it.  Throughout history we've had several time periods where it was thought that one Language was going to become the primary language of all of civilization.  It never panned out.  Latin never became the dominant language because the conquered people continued to speak their own language, even if Latin was the Official Language of the Roman Empire.  After Latin it was French, then it was Spanish, now it's English."  James took the opportunity to walk up the stairs to the window overlooking the docking arm.  He watched as the Freighter glided in on its approach, using her thrusters only. "With the predominance of English on the Internet, it's got a better chance than the previous languages.  But more than likely English will be a passing phase in history, whether it's replaced with Arabic, or Chinese, that's what remains to be written."

"We'll keep speaking English up here, though, right?"

"We'll keep speaking English as long as it is appropriate for us to do so.  Which will be at least as long as our lifetimes."  James stared hard at the freighter as she came to a stop, meters from the end of the docking arm.  "What's interesting is that Khan is delivering almost all of his speeches in English.  Only a couple are in Farsi or Arabic.  And if you listen to him, in person, he's fluent in it.  He speaks it better than most Native speakers do.  Kane's the same way, in a region that could be one of a dozen different languages, he's chosen English as his main language."  The freighter began to drift towards the arm, "It's interesting that Kane did that, and it makes sense, given all the different languages in his nation, rather than champion one language at the expense of all the others, he chose an outside language.  Everyone has to learn a new language, that he chose English was probably just a matter of convenience.  Khan's got no reason to choose English, he only has to deal with a few different Languages, mainly Farsi and Arabic.  So why he chose to do the same, is a mystery at the moment."

"Docking Complete."  Sam stood up, "We should probably go down to meet Micheal."

James nodded and turned to the lift, as he did so he pointed at Roger, "Roger.  You have Ops."

Ammanda stood up as James walked by her, and the three of them stepped into the lift together.  When the doors closed in front of them, she pressed the button for Promenade-1, "I've already got the Walkers out to unload the Freighter."

James smiled, "Good... Good.  Micheal's invited us all over for dinner.  I don't know about either of you, but it will be good to eat some real food for a change."

Sam shook her head, "I still don't know why you don't think what we eat isn't real food, it isn't any different than what we'll be eating when the Grav Deck is installed, it just won't be liquid."

He grinned, "Oh this is real food.  As in, he picked it up from an Earth-bound grocery store 18 hours ago.  It's going to be just like we were eating on Earth.  As fresh as you can get without going out to the pasture to kill it yourself."

Ammanda nodded her head in approval, "What's on the menu?"

"Italian.  Pizza, Lasagna, Fettuccine, Spaghetti.  The entire crew is invited."

Ammanda licked her lips in anticipation, "Sounds great."

Sam chuckled, "Sounds messy too."

He laughed, "I'm sure it will be.  They started up the Grav Deck the second they docked, I'm sure whoever's got that monumental task got started the second his or her feet hit the outer wall of the Grav Deck."  The Lift opened up in front of them and they strolled out into the promenade.  Micheal and George were just emerging from the Docking Arm corridor.

"Good to see ya'll in one piece!  It sure gets interesting up here while we're away doesn't it?"  Micheal extended his hand as they got close enough, George reached in to scoop up Ammanda in a hug.

James grasped the hand firmly and pulled him into an embrace, "It does seem that way.  Welcome back."

"Great to be back."  George released Ammanda and pulled Sam into an embrace. "We took a page from you two, and hauled up some extra fuel.  By the way, we're still not happy about you doing that."

Micheal grabbed Ammanda and gave her a long hug, "You really should have let us come up here and deal with it."

James reached out and grabbed George's hand as he released Sam, "Maybe, but then you would have had to wait another week to get up here.  I didn't want to wait that long."

Micheal grabbed Sam, "Oh, we would have been up here."

Sam smiled back, "Yeah, but you wouldn't have had our supplies."  She pulled away from the embrace and looked directly at George, "You have what I asked for?"

He nodded, "I thought it was going to be a pain in the you-know-what to get a hold of, but imagine my surprise when everything you were looking for was just a couple of phone calls away.  I got an idea of what you're going to be doing, but I'd like to know for sure, so... what was all that for?"

"A friend sent me the specs from the latest Fusion project.  It failed again, but I had an idea that could only be done in Micro-gravity.  So, I'm going to build a Fusion Reactor."

James turned and fixed her with a surprise stare, "A what?"

She shrugged as she broke into a smile, "It's only a proof of concept design.  It's power rating will be only a couple hundred kilo-watts.  If it works though, we could be replacing those Fission plants with something far more potent."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #49 on: October 02, 2012, 08:25:02 pm »
A couple of  phone calls away, who knew the Home Shopping Network carried DIY Fusion Reactor kits. I had to get mine from the "As Seen on TV" isle at Walmart. :)

Double negative, > "I still don't know why you don't think what we eat isn't real food,..."

Looking forward to more as always.
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #50 on: October 02, 2012, 11:24:22 pm »
hmm... you're right.  Ah well, it's a speech line rather than a narrative line.  Slip of the tongue rather than a grammatical error.  ;)  How many times do people use the phrase "I could care less." when the actual phrase is "I couldn't care less."

A couple of  phone calls away, who knew the Home Shopping Network carried DIY Fusion Reactor kits. I had to get mine from the "As Seen on TV" isle at Walmart. :)

Yeah, but the one at Walmart's not powerful enough to handle even a popcorn popper.  In this case phone calls were to places like... MIT, DoD, GE.  This is stuff is a little too pricey for HSN.  :D  A little too pricey for their budget too, as well see in just a bit...
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #51 on: October 02, 2012, 11:41:17 pm »
Ah well, it's a speech line rather than a narrative line.  Slip of the tongue rather than a grammatical error.

 :laugh: When in doubt blame the characters. I like that.
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   If aliens are real please let them know that I'm formally requesting asylum from the freakshow that is humanity."

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #52 on: October 03, 2012, 01:35:02 am »
You know what makes me curious a lot is you're continued reference to Kahn and my personal favourite: Kane. Especially when carrying a signature like yours. Will they get a greater part in all this?  Are they even the same guys?
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #53 on: October 30, 2012, 12:48:47 pm »
(Wow... been almost a month since I posted a piece to the story... I sorry... I Rectify!)

Freighter
18:30 Zulu

Laughter filled the Grav Deck's mess hall as the station crew met with their old friends that stayed on the Freighter, and the newest recruits for both posts were being brought into the family.  Family probably best described what they were.  While communication was not hard to come by to and from Earth, many on Earth couldn't understand what they went through in space.  No one could just simply step outside for some fresh air, and if you felt the need for some greenery, forget it.  They came from different backgrounds, some came from different countries, but one thing they all had in common, was a love for space.  Most of them had a good love for Sci-Fi too, friendly arguments rolled around the room on various items.  The size of the new Enterprise, who would win in a fight, a Star Destroyer or a BattleStar?  Are we building a Babylon Five, or a Deep Space Nine?  And just what would happen in a First Contact Scenario?

In one corner of the room, Micheal, James and George sat silently and observed the festivities.  Silent though was relative to the rest of the room.  They had concerns, and they used the raucous atmosphere of the mess hall to hide them from the rest of the crew.

"I'm telling you, it was too easy."

James nodded at Micheal as he was sipping from the wine flute he held in his hand.

George wiped some pasta from his mouth as he reached for his wine flute, "Not only was it easy, it was cheap.  Cheaper than it should have been.  Something doesn't add up here."

James opened his mouth to respond when someone across the room shouted, "I just hope we can cloak the stench!"  It was followed by thunderous laughter.

He set down his flute and waited for the laughter to die down, "Any chance that she could have called in some favors?  She has connections."

Micheal shrugged, but George responded, "We thought about that, but we weren't told where to go.  Some of the parts we didn't have a choice for, there's only one or two manufacturers in the world for them.  Others, while still expensive, are more common.  But the ease at which we found the parts that just happened to be ready, and happened to not have a buyer ready for them."

"To say nothing about the most expensive parts miraculously being half off, or more."  Micheal chimed in.

James thought about that as he wrapped a helping of spaghetti around his fork, he brought it his mouth, and then paused, "It's possible she could have convinced them that it was an investment."

George shoveled a piece of Lasagna into his mouth, and shook his head, he started to speak after he swallowed, but realized that he didn't swallow it all and reached quickly for his wine to wash it down.  Once clear he afforded a glance over to Sam, who was across the room taking her rounds of, 'Are you really Samantha Carter?', "While she's brilliant, there's nothing that would promise that this would work.  There's no way that she could convince them that this was an investment."

Micheal used the opportunity to wash a piece of his Ravioli down with his wine, "This would not be the first time the DoD helped us out, but they usually tell us first."

James shrugged, "So they didn't.  There's no hidden secret that Sam is probably sending design specs for everything we do straight to Major Christopher's Trailblazer project.  I've caught her in more than one encrypted transmission.  But I understand the need for security, could you imagine the nightmare we'd be facing if Khan or Liao got their hands on the designs for some of this stuff?"

They looked at one another, but didn't say anything.  James stared right at Sam as she was getting up from her table and began walking over to them, "I'll send your comm officer a couple of the transmissions I recorded, see if she can decrypt them."

Micheal nodded as Sam set her glass down on the table, "Well aren't you three the party-poopers?"

George smiled at her, "We're having a grand time, Sam."

She laughed, "Liars.  You're sitting over here brooding in the corner, it's not good for morale."

"I would hardly call what we're doing here brooding."  James pointed to the three PDAs that were at the sides of their plates.

"No, you're working, and that's even worse."  She reached over the table and grabbed James by the wrists, "Come on, we're starting some music.  Dance with me.  All three of you!"

James resisted, "Dancing on a Gravity Deck is not a good idea."  Then he noticed something in her demeanor, "Sam, just how much have you had to drink?"

"Someone's got to socialize with the new crewmen.  You're not doing it."

He set his jaw and glared at her, "That didn't answer my question."

She let go of his hands and put her finger to her lip, as if she was trying real hard to remember, "Five... six... maybe... eight?"

He stood up, grabbed her by the waist and shoved her down into the seat across from him, "Too much.  Sit down."

"But you said we were off duty."  She protested.

"We are, but you're drunk.  I'm surprised you haven't already face planted."

"I wouldn't be drunk if someone was out there socializing, instead of working.  Have to have a drink with everyone, you see.  Its rude to not.  You're being rude.  Why is the room spinning?"

Micheal put his arm around her to steady her, "The room is supposed to be spinning."

"Ok good... then it's not me.  I'm ready to dance, let's go, Jimmy."

James scanned the crowd for Dr. Elliot, it didn't take much to find her, she was already regarding Sam with a concerned stare, he beckoned her over.  She didn't take long to get here, and when she did, he turned his attention back to Sam, "Is she going to be alright if you sedated her?"

She shook her head, "We have to let it run its course.  Getting her off the Grav Deck though, might just be a good idea."  She looked back, "I'm pretty much done here."  Then she gently put her arm under Sam's Armpits, "I'm going to get her to Sickbay."

James stood up, "You need help?"

"Are you going to dance with me, Susan?"

"No.  You need to get out there though."  She looked down at Sam as she picked her up and started leading her out of the mess hall, "Come on Sam, Let's continue the party in another room."

He looked down at Micheal and George, "Alright gentlemen.  If I gotta go, ya'll are coming with me."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2012, 01:16:36 pm »
(A short couple of more, getting ready to wrap up this "chapter" and move on to the next)

9 February 2014
01:10 Zulu
L-1

"Can we have one week where there's not something crazy going on down on Earth?"

James looked up as Sam carefully descended the stairs into the pit, "I imagine, that it's only going to get worse before it gets better,"  He took a deep breath, "By the way, you look absolutely miserable."

"Well don't you know just how to make a girl feel good about herself," She glared at him, "My head feels like the freighter docked on it."

James drifted away from the table and pushed himself up to tactical, "Susan tells me that you, uh, missed the door, to sickbay."

She rubbed the bruise on her forehead, "Ugh... no... the problem is that I didn't miss the door."

"Well if you had to smash that pretty face of yours into a door, sickbay's the best place to do it."

"Flattery won't get you anywhere with this headache of mine," She flashed him a weak smile, then pulled herself into her seat, "What's going on now?"

James shook his head, "All that debt finally came back to bite the Euros, they officially dissolved the Union about an hour ago."

"What?!" Sam snapped her head towards him, and then immediately regretted it, putting her head in her palms, "Ow..."

James frowned, "Please don't move too quickly when I tell you this next part."  He waited for a split second, "Kane annexed Hungary.  Wasn't so much of an annexation as a, 'Can we join you?'.  I wonder how long it will be before Croatia, Slovenia, and maybe even Romania decide that they may be better off with Kane."

She put her head on the table, "So that leaves Austria, Slovakia and Ukraine on Kane's border if all those states do join him."

He nodded, then noticed that she wasn't paying any attention to anything other than her headache, "Yes.  Ukraine is already getting real close to Russia.  Austria wants to be with Germany, close enough for a second Anchluss?  Who knows.  Slovakia on the other hand.  We'll just have to see what they do.  They could go with Hungary, they could stay free, they could try to align themselves with Poland."

She picked her head up slightly, "What's the West doing about it?"

He sat down at Tactical, but did nothing but stare at her, "Leaders of Germany, France, and Britain, are all on their way to Camp David as we speak.  They can't find a place in Europe where they can meet in peace right now.  Who thought it was a good idea to let these kids run amok?  Probably the same people that thought spanking these same kids a decade ago was 'cruel and unusual' punishment."

She put a wry grin on her face, "Spanking isn't all that bad, is it?"

He shook his head, ignoring her comment, "Even the Queen can't get any peace and quiet, and it's pretty well known by now that she's got less than a month left."

"Do you think Elizabeth might be lucky enough to pass before seeing a third World War in her lifetime?"

He frowned, "We better hope she is.  Because if a third World War breaks out before the end of the month, we're screwed too."  He finally stopped staring at her, and asked her flat out, "Did she give you anything for the pain?"

She slowly shook her head, "She told me that any medication would be dangerous while I had the Alcohol in my system... I can't believe you let me get that drunk."

"I didn't let you do anything.  You did that on your own."

"Had you been social..."  She stopped and put her head back down on the table.

"I think you need to get to sleep, Sam.  Alone."

She slowly got up, "That sounds so odd, coming from you."

"Don't think I won't be that far behind you, it's going to be an interesting next couple of days."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #55 on: November 29, 2012, 02:12:50 am »
you let inspiration come from present day events? Our prime minister (who got my vote in the recent elections) is now the target for quite a few jokes due to breaking his third or fourth major promise (this time it was about giving extra money to Greece even though he said he wouldn't) since he got elected last September e.g. (lets see if I can translate it well enough):

A man passes and arrives at Petrus's pearly gates, when he sees scores of clocks. Thinking this to be odd, he asks Petrus why there are so many clocks at the pearly gates? "Well" says Petrus, "these are linked to specific people and used to indicate how many lies everybody told. For instance, this one is for Maria Theresia. She never lied, so it's still 12 o'clock. As for this one, this one is for Gandhi. He told only 2 lies, so his says 2 o'clock." The man nods at this and starts to look over some of the clocks. After a while he asks Petrus: "I don't see Mark Rutte's (-- our PM) clock anywhere, where is that?" "At my office" Petrus replies, "I use it as a fan".
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #56 on: November 30, 2012, 09:46:08 pm »
I've heard that one before, a good one.  It's been applied to Clinton, Nixon and Obama (amongst others) here in the States.

I keep abreast of current events, but nothing has really changed (in my story) since my initial draft that I made back in January.  Planetside events obviously affect them on the station, so I have to cover it, but I really don't want to go into a lot of detail on it, mostly because it will make some people upset, and I'm not here to start a political war.  Well, Ok, I AM.  I had to somehow get Khan, Kane, Liao (and more) to rise to prominence, be powerful enough to be THE Khan, and yet still be beatable.  To me, and I know I'm outside looking in, so I may be a bit skewed, the European Union was doomed from the beginning.  When it was just Western Europe, it was pseudo-stable, but they went on a binge and absorbed a lot of fledgling economies that could barely stand on their own, and it destabilized themselves as a whole.  We actually have a similar problem in the States, we have states that are spending far more than they are taking in, and don't give a damn about the consequences.  Those consequences are coming, and the politicians are doing everything they can to pillage what they still can before they get here.  Then they hope to get out of town before the bill comes due so they don't take the blame.  And given the results of the last few elections around the world (not just in the states) I have a feeling that people are stupid enough to fall for it.  The difference is that in the States we haven't progressed as far along as the Eurozone has, although we are rapidly catching up.

This story was never really about Kane, Liao, or even Khan.  I'm not that good of a writer to do them the justice they deserve.  Yes, I did model Kane after C&C's Kane.  If you still have the original instruction manual for C&C's Tiberian Dawn, I took his name right out of it, one of his aliases.  I loved the early versions of his character, he seemed real to me, more so than General Sheppard or even General Soloman (although how can you go wrong with James Earl Jones in any role? ;))  This story was a focus on Man's first steps into permanent residency in the stars, I don't count Mir, Skylab, or even the International Space Station as permanents, because none of them were/are in a stable orbit.  All had plans to be deorbited upon the completion of their mission.  I actually get a kick out of all the bellyaching about the ISS going to be deorbited in the 20's, I know a lot of it is from people who had no say in the budgeting, but some of it is, and they were griping about the cost of just the station as is!  Could you imagine how much MORE money it would have cost to actually make it permanent?  To say nothing about needing to use another launching and construction vehicles in the process.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #57 on: December 04, 2012, 04:27:43 pm »
11 February 2014
15:58 Zulu

Like a majestic blue marble, Earth floated in the middle of the observation window that James was looking out of.  His gaze currently fixated on Central Europe, Spain, Portugal, and England had just risen into sight moments ago.  He watched quietly as the terminator crossed Eastern Europe and the extreme eastern edge of Africa, the dim lights of cities all across Russia, Byzantium, and Persia coming on as dusk fell across the land.  It was a sight he never grew tired of, watching the sunset across the world.  Amazed sometimes when the sunset allowed him to watch the distinct technology disparities in the world.  Every knows about the "Island of South Korea", but equally fascinating to him is the pockets in Australia, most of the continent is still uninhabited, and when the sun sets, it becomes noticeable.   Africa too, the heavily populated Mediterranean coast.  Almost nothing in the Sahara, and then pockets of bright lights on the Ivory Coast, and a few spots in the interior, until you reach Cape Horn, where it looks just as bright and dense as the northern coast.  He knew that, especially in Africa's case, it wasn't that there wasn't people living there, its that those people barely had running water, let alone lights.  He'd feel a pang of regret when he dwelled on that topic for very long.  Any place on Earth is infinitely more habitable than where he was standing right now, even deepest, frigid wasteland of Antarctica could support life for a few minutes if they had to step outside.

The door chime sounded.  James waved Micheal into his office without turning.

"You wanted to see me James?"

He nodded, "Yes, Micheal.  I'm sorry, but I have no other option right now than to have your ship remain docked here until further notice."  James finally turned to him to read his reaction.

Micheal looked confused, "Why?"

James picked up a PDA from his desk and handed it to him, "We've been so focused on the Military and Political aspects of Earth's geopolitics, that we missed something even more important."

"An Influenza outbreak."  Micheal looked up, "Are we being quarantined?  No one on my ship has shown any symptoms."

He smiled, "That's right, we're all clean up here.  Had anyone on your crew, or any of the passengers had it, they would have begun to show symptoms by now.  We dodged a bullet this time.  We're not quarantining us, we're quarantining Earth.  I realize that that's not a big distinction at the moment, but when other facilities come online it will be."

"It's that bad?"

"It's already claimed sixty thousand lives.  It's smashed the number of deaths in the 2003-2004 outbreak.  Some think that it'll surpass the million mark, or even higher before the end of the season.  It's highly contagious, and like they did in 2009, they got the wrong vaccine out there.  A few are saying that this may rival the 1918 outbreak, they think it could claim fifty million lives or more.

"So, we can accept an inbound shuttle from the International Space Station, and that's it."

James nodded, "Correct, I've already spoken with the RSA and NASA administrators.  The Expedition 36 crew will be leaving the station the day Expedition 37 arrives, and they will be coming here, rather than returning to Earth immediately.  They will be taking the shuttle you left for them.  There will be no change-over ceremony, there will be no contact between the 36 and 37 crews."

Micheal shook his head, "Surely they don't think Expedition 37 will be carrying the virus?"

James shrugged, "It's doubtful that they will be.  The 37 crew has been isolated long enough from the general public that they shouldn't get it.  But you never know.  They may be being overly cautious, borderline paranoid, but, I'd rather they be paranoid than careless.  Additionally, the 36 crew has spent almost six months in space, in complete isolation, which just the six of them for company.  The administrations do not want them to land in the peak of the flu season and catch it while they are still recovering from the shock of returning to Earth.  They'll come here, Susan will do their post-mission physicals.  They'll spend recovery time on your Grav Deck, while ours is being finished, then they'll move over here and complete their recoveries until we lift the general quarantine of Earth."

Micheal nodded, "You realize, of course, that this will push our construction schedule back if we are stuck here for more than a month."

He sighed, "Can't be helped.  We'd be doing more damage to our schedule, and ourselves, if we were to let an outbreak occur here."

"Just what happens if there's an outbreak here?"

James stood up, "I'm glad you asked, Susan and Kelly have been going over contingency plans in the Infirmary.  Let's drop in on them and see what they've come up with."

Micheal turned and walked with James out into Ops, "If someone were to bring the flu here, they would be contagious 36 to 48 hours after contracting the disease, but they wouldn't show symptoms for 72 to 96 hours."

James looked down at Sam as they walked along the upper tank, the bruise on her forehead had all but faded, but she still occasionally rubbed it as if it still hurt.  "Exactly, it's why the flu is so dangerous.  You can spread the disease before you even know you have it.  Ironically, once you know you have it, it's only another 12 to 24 hours before you are no longer contagious."

Micheal stopped at the lift area and pressed the call button, "With the ventilation system of the ship and the station, if someone became contagious, it would be all over either one in a matter of hours.  If we scrubbed it at the filters, it would only infect those that came into contact with the carrier."

James stepped into the lift as the door opened up, "That's a possibility, there's plenty of chemicals that can kill the virus on contact.  But," he paused as the doors shut the two of them into the lift, "What are the unintended consequences of that?"

He frowned, "What do you mean?"

"About twenty years ago there was a short lived science-fiction series called 'Earth 2'.  The premise behind it was that the Earth was gradually becoming uninhabitable, and they sent a ship out to colonize another planet, Earth 2.  Before then, almost the entire human race was living in space stations that orbited Earth.  A small, but not insignificant, percentage of the population born on the stations were inflicted with a disease that they simply called, 'The Syndrome'."  The lift doors opened up on them and gave them access to the Promenade.  Despite the lack of shops, there was significant traffic on the Promenade, off duty personnel using the wide open space as a recreational facility.  Sitting on or floating over the various benches that gave them a view of Earth, the Moon, or just a plain star scape.  A couple people were playing catch, others were running around the circular track.  "The thought behind 'The Syndrome' was that it was caused by the artificial constructs of the station, rather than being where 'we belong' on the surface of a planet.  I think they may have been right, but not for the reason the characters suggested."  James pressed the open button for the Infirmary, "'The Syndrome' acted a lot like an Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  And while there was no mention of HIV or AIDS on the program, being born and raised in a completely sterile environment like a Space Station is bound to cause more than a few people to not have a fully functioning Immune System."

"There's something to that, Captain."  Susan spoke up from the far side of the room.  "Creating a completely sterile environment is great for medical purposes, but lousy for living purposes.  There's so many every day bacteria, even viruses, that our body just cannot live without for very long.  No matter how hard we try, we can't yet replace the human immune system.  Like the muscles in our bodies, it needs to get used once in a while or it loses it's effectiveness."  She paused and looked to her college, Dr. Kelly Norman, "I am assuming, of course, that you were talking about killing the virus with the filtration system."

James and Micheal both nodded.

Kelly shook her head, "It can be done in short term situations, but it is counter-productive to do it over a long period of time.  This is exactly why, when I was in the Navy that, we had a strict vaccination program in place."

James frowned, "I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I may talk with people that are, but I'm not one.  But I do know the problems with the heavy vaccination programs that the US Military uses.  I know of the side effects.  I'm not going to mandate that anyone who steps foot on this station be subjected to that kind of vaccination regimen."

Kelly looked to Susan to see if she would support her, when it was apparent that she wasn't she turned back to him, "We wouldn't need that strict of a regimen, we don't need vaccinations for half of what the US Military vaccinates for.  Most of their vaccinations are geared towards providing protection from a biological weapon, rather than something that anyone can just pick up off the streets."

Susan stepped forward, "It is the side effects of those vaccinations that concerns me the most.  Look, we will be entering uncharted waters here.  While none of us have been in space very long, even James, who's spent more time than anyone else here, has been planet side within the last three months.  The longest time a single person has spent in space is thirteen and a half months, we're going to pass that eventually."

James raised his hands to forestall any further arguments, "Enough, I didn't want this to become a moral and ethical debate on the vaccination program as a whole.  I wanted options, IF and WHEN an outbreak occurs here, how do we deal with it?"

Kelly started to answer, but Susan spoke up first, "I don't think there's much to worry about, James.  We're looking at the hypothetical, if it happens.  I don't believe it would.  I know Kelly disagrees with me, but let me tell you why I don't think it would happen first.  Everyone that enters the Freighter, goes through Decontamination.  We can detect the influenza virus, in addition to a number of other communicable diseases in the air samples from the decontamination process.  If someone has the flu, we can isolate them, give them Tamiflu, and keep them separate from the rest of the crew until they are no longer contagious.  In order to get to the station, they have to come through the Freighter. This station should NEVER get an influenza outbreak."

Kelly shook her head in disagreement, "The influenza virus is only detectable after it's incubated long enough to become contagious.  That's a minimum of 24 hours, usually more like 48.  Someone could contract the virus on Earth, get through Decontamination, and make it to the station before they become contagious.  It's only a couple of hours from orbit to here.  Also, we are going on the assumption that other ships would use as stringent of a decontamination process as you do, I doubt that medical professionals will be a very high priority on any of the civilian ships.  They'll be ok to handle cuts, bruises, broken bones, and the like.  But if any of them get sick, it will be up to us to deal with them."

Micheal raised a finger, "What about taking blood samples?"

James and Kelly both shook their heads, Kelly answered, "The virus doesn't incubate in the blood stream, it incubates in your throat."

Susan nodded, "Yes, that's exactly why we'll never have to worry about it, we do take phlegm samples, that detects the virus even in its incubation stage."

James lowered his head, "I still want a plan of action.  Say somehow you do manage to miss it, or that the CMO of a civvie ship decides that that part of the decontamination isn't important."

Kelly turned to a monitor, "We're actually OK in that regard.  Susan is right, we can detect it when it's airborne.  When the virus passes through a filtration station, we know it.  We can treat the air coming from that section, and implement isolation and quarantine procedures.  We can't stop it from spreading through every section the infected person was in, but we will catch it early, and keep the infection from spreading throughout the station.  The biggest problem we will have is the Promenade.  Because of the volume of air in the Promenade, it will take some time for the virus to make its way to the filters, but smaller areas we'll know within minutes of an infected person in the section.  Once the section is isolated, we can send medics in to bring the potential infected into quarantine and just wait it out.  We'll be better off here than anyone on the surface would, because they'll get immediate medical attention before they even start showing symptoms.  We shouldn't have a single influenza death on the station, if we all do our jobs right."

Susan nodded in agreement, "Yes.  I don't think an outbreak is likely, but if it does happen, we have procedures in place to prevent it from spreading fully.  I also don't think we need to quarantine Earth.  Not for the flu.  Although I do agree with the decision to bring the ISS crew here first."

Kelly nodded, "As do I.  I also don't think a quarantine is necessary."

James scratched his chin as he thought over his options, "I'll talk with World Health officials, but unless there's overwhelming opposition to it, I'll lift the quarantine."

Susan shook her head, "WHO is only clamoring for a quarantine because they know that the average person doesn't have the instant access to health care the way we do.  If someone gets sick here, they are in Sickbay or the Infirmary within an hour.  Not days because someone doesn't realize just how sick they are, or don't think that they can afford the care.  We'll be fine."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #58 on: December 07, 2012, 02:40:47 am »
First reaction: mmm, that might bite them in the ass.

Second reaction: mmm, how would ppl respond to them being completely safe when their loved ones are dying next to them.

Third reaction: Nice one mate, still have my attention to be sure!
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #59 on: December 07, 2012, 02:49:26 am »
First reaction same as above. Second reaction was an idea that it's not simply "the flu", a suspicion that the genetically engineered have been doing some genetic engineering.
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Offline Starfox1701

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #60 on: December 07, 2012, 02:53:04 pm »
It probably will bite them, it's Star Trek after all. It is probably also a man made super bug. My money is on Kain's peps having made it. Khan didn't like that kind of stuff.

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #61 on: December 09, 2012, 09:55:22 pm »
12 February 2014

"Captain, I understand that you think you can handle the crisis, but from what we're seeing here on the ground, I don't know if even you can."  The elderly man on the screen looked away as if someone was trying to get his attention.  "We've got people getting Tamiflu administered within minutes of showing symptoms, and they're lucky to make it through alive.  Some don't."  He returned his attention fully, "Your request to lift the Quarantine is denied.  Please respect it."

James nodded, "I will.  Good luck."

The screen went blank, James stood up and looked out the window.  He really had no choice but to respect the Quarantine, the way it was raging across the planet, it was too dangerous.  And that was the main reason behind the quarantine...

"It is interesting to watch them scurry around for a solution, isn't it James?"

He spun around to see a grinning bald man with a jet black goatee on the screen.  "Kane?"

"Khan tells me your a reasonable man.  I hope that's the case."  He grinned wider, "My medics have isolated the strain of influenza.  They've already begun distributing the necessary drugs to my population.  I'd like to help out the rest of the world.  But, the world doesn't seem to want my help.  I've been snubbed at every turn."

"What do you want me to do?"  James placed his hands behind his back and awaited the response.

"Your words carry a lot of weight, even though you don't realize it.  Get the Western Powers to lift the embargo on my nation, and I'll get the drugs as far and wide as I can."

James thought about that for a moment, "That would require them recognizing your nation.  A lot of them aren't willing to do that."

His grin grew even wider, somehow, "Then hundreds of thousands more will die.  My terms are simple, I'm not asking for anything more than recognition, and the respect I believe I have earned."

James nodded, "I'll pass the note along.  And speak to them on your behalf.  I can't promise they'll act on it, but I promise they will listen."

Kane fixed James with a deep stare, "That is enough."  His grin returned, "By the way, Captain.  I greatly admire what you've been able to accomplish up there so far.  If I am in any way able to help you, I hope that you'll consider it."  The screen went blank before James could formulate a reply.

James leaned forward on his desk, even in weightlessness he felt heavy.  He knew what he had to do, and pressed the call button to Ops.  He looked out the office doors to see who was answering the call, it was Ammanda.  "Ops."

He sighed, "I need you to put me through, secure, to Camp David, please."

"Aye, sir.  Just a mo..." She trailed off, "Oh my god."

"What?"  James felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck.

"We just got a priority flash from Washington, The Vice-President died moments ago at Walter Reed.  Cause of death, Respiratory failure related to Influenza."

James stopped, speechless.  It took him a moment to regroup, "Put the call through now, please."

"It's coming through now, sir."

James set his face to a mask of concern, he knew who was likely to answer the call, so it surprised him little when he appeared on his screen, "Axelrod."

Axelrod made no attempt to hide his feelings, "Atkinson.  What do you want?  We're busy here."

"I need to speak to them."

He snorted, "We're not interested in anything you have to say."

"I would think that stopping the Influenza outbreak would be interesting enough."

"I don't care if you were going to be telling us of an alien..."  He was pushed aside by a second man.

"Sorry about that, Captain."

"Thank you, Secretary Kerry."

John Kerry looked to the side as if David Axelrod was still fuming about something before turning his attention back to the video screen, "Just what is it between you and David anyways?"

James shrugged, "We don't like each other.  One of those, 'hatred at first sights', I suppose."  He took a breath before he began, "Time is short, so let's cut right to the chase.  Kane claims that his people have isolated the Influenza Strain, and are working at synthesizing counter-agents to it.  He wants to share it with the world, but the embargo that's on his nation is preventing him from doing so."

"Well that's a load of bull.  There's nothing stopping him from giving us the information."

"I agree.  But at the same time, I understand where he's coming from.  He thinks he due some respect for being able to carve a small empire out Eastern Europe.  Quite honestly, what he's accomplished is remarkable.  In the span of a couple of days he captured a fifth of Europe, through some of the worst terrain in Europe."  James sighed, "My thought is that if you don't have plans to take him out this year, take what he's offering.  At the end of the day the Embargo isn't going to accomplish anything because Khan is just going to ignore it."

"You see our problem."  Kerry looked over towards the room that James assumed the rest of the leaders were in, then turned back to the screen, "We've made some progress on a tighter alliance.  A definite replacement for NATO.  Perhaps even a successor to the United Nations."

James arched an eyebrow, "What wrong with the United Nations?", he asked half-seriously.

John chuckled, "I know, you've been a strong opponent of the UN for as long as I've known you.  Colonel Liao has China's Security Council vote, the UN is increasingly having difficulties doing even basic humanitarian missions.  Liao has become a stone wall, and is demanding that Persia get a permanent seat on the Security Council, at the expense of France.  We and Britain have vetoed every one of those calls, so she, or she and Russia have vetoed everything else, just out of spite."

James nodded, "Well, I can't say I'd miss the UN.  Oh, John.  I'm sorry.  I know you and Joe were good friends.  And please, pass my condolences on to the President as well."

John closed his eyes, "Thank you.  Teresa caught it too, but fortunately it wasn't as bad as the one that got Joe."  He re-opened his eyes, "I need to get back in there, I'll pass along your message, and Kane's.  Good day, James."

"Good day."  The screen went blank and left James with his thoughts.  NATO's dissolution was a forgone conclusion, after Turkey, a NATO member, joined the Persian Empire, and then Turkey, still a NATO member, launched the unsanctioned attack on Greece and the Balkans.  NATO's response wasn't swift or decisive enough for some of the minor partners in the alliance, they withdrew, leaving the US, Germany, France, Britain, and Canada holding the bag.  If Secretary of State John Kerry was willing to admit that the UN was having issues, then it must be bad at the UN.  Of that James had no doubt, which lead him to wonder just what kind of an alliance could they be forging that would replace the UN, surely China, Persia, and Russia would not consent to a new United Nations that didn't have them in a position of authority, or at least as equals with the United States, and Great Britain.  James stood up and made his way into Ops.  He stopped on the railing overlooking the pit and pulled himself towards it.  He looked around a couple of times before fixing his gaze on Ammanda, "Where's Sam?"

She shrugged, "We got all of her parts offloaded from the Freighter an hour ago, she's in Cargo Bay two.  I imagine we won't be seeing much of her for a while now."

James smirked, "I guess someone is going to have to make sure that she showers and eats at least once a day."

She grinned, "I nominate you."

He faked a shocked expression, "Why me?"

"You've been sleeping with her, if you get in her way she'll be less likely to hurt you."

He shook his head, "Are we going to get into that again?"

She smiled, "Nope, in this case, I'm glad that you can be the one to get the wrench thrown at you."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #62 on: December 10, 2012, 12:52:48 am »
MMMmm, quite a switch from the GDI origins, but definitly a hint to something similar. And dealing with Kane, that's quite the dangerous man to be dealing with!

So keep writing, and I'm loving the pace. Some others can learn from that right mates?
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #63 on: December 18, 2012, 01:21:38 am »
14 February 2014
16:01 Zulu

Services have been announced for Vice-President Joe Biden.  He will be laid to rest next weekend, at a Cemetery in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware.  Services will be closed to the Public, although several members of Congress in both parties are expected to be in attendance.  Congress remains in recess for all of next week.  James dug through the mess of cables that was in the compartment in front of him, inspecting each one, before binding them together and bolting them to the compartment wall.  There was a short in here somewhere, and it was holding up completion of the rotation mechanism for the Grav Deck.  The Walkers were examining the lines outside, while he and a few off-duty Walkers were going through the interior lines.  James' earpiece was relaying the news feed from AP. 

Expedition 39 blasted off from Kazakhstan early yesterday morning, en route for a 2 PM Eastern docking Today with the International Space Station, but there will be no homecoming immediately for Expedition 38.  Russian Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, and Sergey Ryazansky along with American Astronaut Micheal Hopkins, will instead take a docked shuttlecraft to Space Station L-1, the massive Space Station currently under construction at the Lunar Lagrange point.  This will mark the first time that NASA or their Russian Counterparts have sent an Astronaut to that station.  The three of them are leaving the station immediately, rather than staying on until March as originally planned, to prevent them from getting any contamination from the Influenza Virus that is currently sweeping the globe.  Expedition 39, will also mark the last manned flight of the Soyuz rocket.  As the RSA announced today that they have phased out the Soyuz, and are replacing them with the Shuttles being used by the L-1 Station, joining NASA and the Japanese Space Agency, who made the same announcements late last year.  The Soyuz will still be used to move cargo to the station, until the end of the year, when the last Soyuz constructed will be placed in a Museum.  James smiled at that last bit, knowing that every little bit of income helps, even the miniscule amount they'd get from the sale of the shuttlecrafts.

"Found it sir."  Elise flashed him a thumbs up as he pulled his head out of the compartment.

James nodded, "Alright, that doesn't mean we can't finish cleaning up these compartments."  He looked at all six of the Walkers that were here with him, "Get every one of these cables secured and labeled, we'll worry about coding the labels later."  France and Germany have announced the formal recognition of The Byzantine Empire.  Joining the United States and Britain, who recognized them yesterday.  That recognition formally ends the hostilities that began earlier this year between Turkey and the European Union, a conflict that resulted in the dissolution of NATO.  James put his head back into the compartment and continued to separate and fasten the cables to the walls.

The Influenza outbreak continues unchecked.  World Health Officials report that every country has reported a case of Influenza, the death toll currently stands at just under one-hundred thousand, with several hundred thousand more taken ill.  The World Quarantine is having little affect.  All Commercial Airlines remain grounded while the Quarantine is in effect, and travelers every where are starting to show their frustration with the Quarantine, already riots have broken out at Hethrow, JFK, and LAX.  That sparked James' attention, he hadn't realized to up until now that the Quarantine was not only the planet itself, but all the nations of the planet as well.  "Wow."

He felt a tap on his shoulder, Elise was standing over him with a concerned look on her face, "Sir?"

James smiled and pointed at his ear piece, "News.  Apparently the Quarantine was more comprehensive than I thought."

Elections are scheduled to be held for the first time in South America as the Southern Hegemony votes Monday to elect their First Minister and Legislature.  The Southern Hegemony officially comes into being next month following these elections.  Nicolas Maduro is the odds on favorite to win the position of First Minister, with Cristina Fernandez and newcomer Saul Paz expected to compete for second place, with the second place finisher becoming the Vice-Minister, per the Hegemony Constitution.   James pulled his head out of the compartment and closed it behind him.  "Earth is an interesting place to be right now, I'm quite glad to be up here, away from it all."

Elections of a different kind are being held in Central Africa today.  A number of different warlords from the war-torn region are banding together to form a united front against the Persian Empire.  Afraid that the predominantly Muslim empire will snuff out their religion, six Christian Warlords had aligned with two Tribal Warlords to annihilate the three Muslim Warlords in their midst.  Now they decide amongst themselves who is to be their voice on the World Stage.  "Ammanda, are your boys getting power out there now?"

"Affirmative, Rotational Mechanism is now operational.  We're back on task now."

Finally, Representatives from all across the East, including Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, are meeting in Taiwan this weekend for what has been described as tense talks.  No news is leaking from the conference, but China's absence from the discussion can only mean that the meeting is regarding Colonel Liao's coup.  Former Chinese Priemier Hu Jintao is believed to be in attendance.  James shook his head, "A lot of good that's going to do them..."  he looked up at the Walker crew, "Alright, job's complete here, thank you all for your help.  You all are supposed to be off duty... so... go enjoy yourselves!"
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #64 on: December 19, 2012, 12:57:56 am »
The world has become a violent cesspool. I wonder where you are going with it....
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #65 on: December 30, 2012, 01:02:09 am »
15 February 2014
12:16 Zulu

"The three of them check out just fine.  Just the usual microgravity symptoms that we have to deal with here."

James nodded as he kept his attention focused on the monitor showing the three visitors doing their exercises on the freighter's Grav Deck.  He tensed ever so slightly when he felt the pinch on his arm.

Kelly frowned, "Stop that."

"I'm sorry, you know I don't particularly care for needles."

"And you've been putting off this physical for a week now."

James shook his head, "It's been a busy month."

She smiled as she pulled the needle out of his arm and handed it to her nurse, "That's why I gave you the week."  She reached over for a blood pressure cuff, "Anyways, this week seems to be all about the medical quarantine, so what better place to keep up on it than the Infirmary?"  She winked at him as she slid his arm through the cuff.

He looked back at her with a smile, "WHO is already stating that they plan to lift the quarantine in Europe by the middle of next week.  Kane's drugs seem to be quite effective."  She inflated the cuff and began measuring his pulse while he continued, "Pharmaceutical companies in Canada and the States are working overtime trying to produce it as well, by the end of the week, early part of next week, most of the quarantine should be lifted.  Micheal can take them back to Earth."

She pulled the stethoscope off of her neck and placed the receivers into her ears, she then placed the cold sensor onto his chest, "Breathe for me."  He took a deep breath, she moved the scope, "Again."  Another breath, another move, "One more time."  He took an even deeper breath, and let it all out.  She pulled the receivers out of her ears and wrote something into her PDA.  "Looks like your doing alright, so far, your X-rays show a little more decalcification than what seems to be baseline, I'll have to adjust your supplements.  Your muscles and tendons are holding up well, so there's no need to adjust your exercise routine."  She began rubbing her fingers under his jawline and down his throat.  "I think we may want to consider getting a shipment of the drug and administering it here, or at the very least keeping it in my inventory."

"I'm fine with keeping it in the inventory, but if we don't need it, there's no point in administering it."

She went down each of his arms, "I know you don't like over-medicating, but this is a very dangerous virus we're dealing with."

He shook his head as she starting rubbing down his torso, "It's not a vaccine, it's an anti-viral drug.  It doesn't do anything to the virus until we come in contact with the virus."  He pointed around the station, "We're not coming in contact with the virus."  He paused out of shock as she reached his scrotum, but relaxed again when he remembered what she was doing, "The three of them," he said as he pointed back to the monitor showing the cosmonauts and astronaut, "They probably do need it."

She got down on her knees as she continued working her way down his legs, "Anyone on the freighter going down to the surface will likely need it to."

"That's fine, people that need it, should get it, but those of us that are staying on the station, don't need it.  Not this time around."

She smiled at him as she stood back up and entered another note into her PDA, "No skin, or lymph cancers."  Her smile broke into a wicked grin, "Bend over."

James did so, "Wait... are you going to..."  His question was cut off by the unmistakable sound of a snapping latex glove.

"Of course... it wouldn't be a complete physical if I didn't tickle your prostate..."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #66 on: December 30, 2012, 06:39:41 pm »
If the flu virus was genetically engineered by Kane in order to create a crisis that he could then step in and offer the solution to thereby securing the official recognition he wanted to begin with it was quite the brilliant move.
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #67 on: December 30, 2012, 09:09:10 pm »
If the flu virus was genetically engineered by Kane in order to create a crisis that he could then step in and offer the solution to thereby securing the official recognition he wanted to begin with it was quite the brilliant move.

hmmm... I know... but I think I'm keeping that one to myself.

The world has become a violent cesspool. I wonder where you are going with it....

Will be revealed shortly.  Besides the Eugenics War of course.  ;)

MMMmm, quite a switch from the GDI origins, but definitly a hint to something similar. And dealing with Kane, that's quite the dangerous man to be dealing with!

So keep writing, and I'm loving the pace. Some others can learn from that right mates?

Yeah, I had to diverge a bit from the C&C origins, in C&C Kane is supposedly supposed to be the biblical Cain.  But regardless, yes he is quite a dangerous man.

As for the pace, I have two more entries that are just awaiting final edits (I say two now, but I may wind up cutting one up into two separate entries), and that is the end of this chapter.  I wanted to have them up by the end of the year, but my schedule didn't quite allow it.  We all do this in our free time, and the holidays don't allow for much of that.  I'm going to get the next entry done this week, and hope to have it finished by the end of next week.  After that, I'm out for a month or two while my schedule gets even more packed than it was at Christmas time.  Look for an intermission Coast-to-Coast story in February if I have the time, with Chapter 3 starting sometime in March.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #68 on: December 31, 2012, 03:16:01 am »
Nice, I hope you'll make that schedule. And hopefully you have nice things to be busy with!
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #69 on: January 01, 2013, 10:49:58 pm »
15 April 2014
05:30 Zulu

A murmur spread through the promenade, all eighty people that crewed the station were assembled, staring at the Earth.  They were all awaiting the first event of its kind to be observed on the station.  Every 28 days the Sun set behind the Earth for upwards of an hour.  This time, however, the Sun was setting, and it wasn't coming back for four hours.  The first Lunar Eclipse of the station's history was of the total variety.  In just a few minutes it would begin, and four hours of darkness would flood the station.  Even Sam got out of her cargo bay to witness the event.  James and Sam were situated on the railing in front of an empty storefront on Promenade level 3, from there, they could see the sixty-five people that filled the Promenade level 2 observation area.  The other thirteen were up on level 3 with them.  Besides Earth and the Sun, Docking Arm 2, which was completed back in March, was visible off to the left.  In six hours, there would be another event occurring on that arm, the Persian supply ship would be arriving.  A gift from the Persian People, as Khan had put it.  Strangely enough it didn't put James on edge like it did everyone else on the station.  Whether he was being naive, or just pulling himself away from the nationalist trappings that everyone else was caught up in, he couldn't tell.

Darkness enveloped the end of the docking arm, and slowly, like a blanket being pulled over, began to spread towards the promenade.  Gasps and awes escaped the lips of the crew.  A minute into the eclipse and the entire arm was shrouded, James looked down to the promenade floor and began to watch the line of darkness march across it.  Of course, darkness being relative, the area was still illuminated by the station lighting, just as the docking arm's navigational light would blink every five seconds, but the difference between station lighting and natural sunlight was very much obvious as the first crew members were swallowed by the darkness.  He felt a chill run through his body as the line of darkness overwhelmed him, "Was it my imagination, or did it get colder in here?"

Sam smiled at him, "It's your imagination, the temperature didn't budge even a tenth of a degree."  She winked at him, and lowered her voice, "But if you're cold, I can show you what I've done with my Fusion Reactor so far, and we can cuddle for bit."

He grinned back at her, "Tempting, but no.  I've got to prepare for the Persian supply ship arriving in a few of hours."

She frowned, "What's to prepare for?"

"Apparently half the crew are convinced that Khan is going to be using the supply ship to take control of the station.  The other half think that he's going to try to kill us all with it."

"And you?"

He shrugged, "I think everyone is paranoid.  Since Micheal left three weeks ago, everyone's been on edge with this ship coming."

"I've been out of the loop."  Sam looked down as everyone started to disperse, nothing to see now until the sun rose on the other side of the planet.  "What all is on this supply ship?"

"Consumables mostly.  Food, Water, Medicines."  James turned towards the lift, "They have a couple of experiments they want us to set up, somewhere."

"Do we have room for it?"  She turned to follow him.

"Of course we do."  He pressed the call button and waited for the lift, "Even with you taking up all of Cargo Bay 2, Cargo Bay 3 was just recently installed."  The lift doors opened, "Plus if any of those experiments are here to kill us, a quick flip of the switch jettisons the entire Cargo Bay." He paused when she didn't follow him in, "You coming?"

She shook her head, "You're going to Ops, I'm going back to Bay 2."

****

11:45 Zulu

"Docking complete.  Pressure Equalizing."  James pulled his emergency helmet from its storage space behind his neck, he secured it to his collar and made sure his internal air supply was activated.  Just because he felt fine over the Persians docking here, didn't mean he was going to be careless.  The light above the airlock turned green.

"You can open the airlock, Ammanda."

"Opening it now. Good luck, Sir."

James stepped through the opening hatch.  The lettering on the wall in front of him was written in both Farsi and English.  To his left was the computer control rooms, to the right was access to the cargo bays.  His first inclination was to head to the left and make sure the computer was secured and not going to rip the docking arm off by accident.  He came across a door not far down the corridor, one that opened without him even touching anything.  "That's never good on a space ship."

"I'm sorry, sir?"  Ammanda came in over his comm system.

"The door opened with an auto-sensor.  Hopefully the sensor was smart enough to check the pressure on both sides before opening it."  He looked around the bridge.  There was a chair in the center of it, but no other places for crew.  Odd that there was even a chair on what was supposed to be a drone ship, although James supposed that there had to be a place for the programmer to sit while he was making the final preparations.  As he looked at the chair longer though, he decided that it looked way too comfortable for a programmer or an engineer.  It almost looked like a throne.  He took his eyes off the throne and scanned the computer system, it looked like it was locked down, but James had asked Khan for a direct shutdown, to prevent an accident, and he said he'd provide one.  He just never said where it would be.

"It's the console on the left side, James."  Khan's voice boomed through the speakers in the room.

James turned to face the console, "Khan?"

"This is a recording, in case you were wondering.  I knew you'd come in here first to make sure there were no accidents.  The buttons you'll need to lock it down are labeled in English."

James scanned the console, and found the buttons, four of them out of twenty, that were labeled in English.  It was a such a simple sequence that he didn't need to ask for instructions, he pressed the buttons in order and the room's computers went dark.  "Much obliged, Your Excellency."

"You'll be able to restart the computer using the same sequence."

James turned away and headed back towards the cargo bay, he spared one last glance at the throne, wondering if Khan had insisted it be there while he was making the recordings.  After he stepped through the door Kelly's voice came over his speaker, "No sign of any infectious organisms in the air that was in the freighter, we'll have our own air in there in about ten minutes."

"Thank you, Doctor.  I'm making my way to the Cargo section."  He walked down the corridor and took the left turn to go deeper into the ship, he was joined by a Ammanda and Carl a few steps down the hall.  "Everything looks good, we can take our helmets off."  He unfastened his helmet and let it roll back up into its pouch.

"We don't have a cargo transfer boom ready yet.  Anything that isn't vacuum tolerant is going to be slow in getting off."  Carl winced as the doors to the cargo section slid open.

"We've got some vacuum containers we can move stuff into for easier off-loading.  It shouldn't be too difficult."  Ammanda stared at the pistol on James' hip, "I didn't realize you even had one of those up here."

He patted it, "As much as some people panicked about this being a Trojan Horse, I thought you'd be happy to see it."

Ammanda shook her head, "I'm not an anti-gun zealot, but, I'm not too keen on you putting a hole in the bulkhead."

Carl smiled as he showed her his, "We're both using hollow cavity bullets.  There's a reason they're illegal in most civilized countries, but they won't go through a bulkhead."

They stopped at the railing that overlooked the cargo bay.  James surveyed it,  "Looks like we have a lot of stuff here."

Ammanda nodded, "In...."  she was interrupted by a tapping noise behind them.  James and Carl pulled their pistols and leveled them at the closet off to their right.  Ammanda pressed a button on the side of the door to open the closet, and a young girl floated out of the closet, coughing and panting.  She began crying and screaming at them with her hands in the air, and panicked even more when her frantic movements pushed her towards the ceiling,  Ammanda reached up and grabbed one of her wrists, then looked back at them, "She's speaking Farsi, do we have anyone on board that speaks Farsi?"

The girl struggled against Ammanda's grasp and screamed louder, Ammanda hushed her and pulled her down to the deck floor.  She didn't stop screaming, but stopped thrashing when Ammanda released her.

James regarded the amount of clothing on the young girl, "Unless it's in her, she's not armed."  He holstered his weapon, her clothing consisted of a few scraps of cloth covering her breasts and waist.  Only slightly more covering than a bikini.  He activated his communicator, "Kelly, get over here, we've got a patient for you."

"A patient?  What happened?!"

"There was apparently a stow-away on the Persian ship."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #70 on: January 01, 2013, 11:48:12 pm »
Wonder what undetectable GM disease she's a carrier of, "Trojan Horse" indeed.
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Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #71 on: January 02, 2013, 12:42:10 am »
Or are we paranoid as well? With Kahn it can be a frightened stowaway as easily as a trojan house
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #72 on: January 02, 2013, 01:58:29 pm »
What better guise for a covert biological weapon than a poor frightened girl.

 Not saying I don't trust Khan, just that you need twelve layers of dagger resistant material covering the spot between your shoulder blades whenever he's involved...and perhaps an airlock to chuck this girl out of real quick.
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #73 on: January 02, 2013, 09:24:33 pm »
Sam took advantage of the distraction of the stowaway to slip onto the supply ship, she wasn't concerned about anyone finding out what she was doing but the fewer questions asked the better off everyone involved is.  She stepped through the airlock and turned to the left, thanking James silently for insisting on a physical shutdown, otherwise it was likely that nothing but the cargo bay would have been labeled in English.  The door to the control room opened upon sensing her, it unnerved her that there was no manual switch, she thoroughly examined both sides of the doorway and found no manual override.  She took out a small screwdriver and pried open the cover of the motion sensor, looking through the wiring she found the wire that connected to what she hoped was the door mechanism.  Reaching into her shoulder pocket she pulled out a small device and attached it to the wire, the indicator light on it flashed red twice before turning a solid green.  "That should do it," she muttered to herself.

She backed away from the door, and kept her eye on the motion sensor as she did, when she reached the throne in the center of the room, she was satisfied that the door wasn't going to close on her.  She turned her attention to the computer consoles, examining just the buttons and their labels she noted that out of eighty buttons, switches and indicators, only eight of them were labeled in English.  All the other labels were in Farsi, a problem to be sure, but one that she was prepared for, she pulled her PDA out of her thigh pocket and activated the translation matrix.  It took a few seconds to load, but when it did, it displayed every word that the PDA "saw" on the panels and then placed the English translation next to them.  She looked over the translations, she had no intention of using the consoles, but knowing what each button did would allow her to make better sense of the wiring and what the consoles were meant to do.  She activated the voice dictation feature on her PDA and began speaking, "Nothing unusual about the control room, the engine control panel verifies my initial analysis that the rocket propelling the supply ship is consistent with an ICBM class rocket, it is similar in many regards to the Soyuz-FG, indicating that Persian Rocketry is only about 15 years behind the US and Russian equivalents.  However it should be noted that all variations of the Soyuz-FG rocket were designed to fall away after launch, this rocket stayed intact, and propelled the supply ship to the station."

An unlabeled light came on on a panel located on the wall to her right, she promptly turned off the dictation feature and moved over to that panel.  She pulled out her small screwdriver and opened the panel, nervous about what that light meant.  She traced the wire that connected to the indicator into a junction box.  The wire wasn't labeled, so she attached a probe to it, and ran a signal through the wire.  Unfortunately she couldn't get a determination on just what the light was for, but she did get a partial schematic of the wiring diagram from the probe.  The light on the panel turned off, and she decided that she had done enough poking at the wiring and went straight for the main computer interface.  Even though it is a drone, designed to be controlled by remote, there still has to be computer with its performance specifications.  She didn't expect there to be a detailed diagram, but she could get enough out of the performance profile to make educated guesses.

She opened an access panel underneath the central console, there was no keyboard to program with, so there either had to be a port for a portable keyboard, or a port to upload the programming for the computer.  A wireless upload may have been possible, but the time required to upload over a wireless network for such a large program as a remote guidance system wouldn't be efficient.  She found a USB connector attached to the main system bus, she had a USB adapter in her other thigh pocket, attached it to the end of her probe, and plugged it into the port.  Setting the PDA down while the computer did all the necessary handshakes and authentication hacking, she began cleaning up after herself, closing open panels and erasing any trace she had been here so far.  Her PDA gave off a short notification tone, and she floated back over to it.

The door slammed shut behind her, she turned and pushed herself at it, expecting, hoping, that it would open when she passed in front of the sensor.  It didn't.  She twisted herself to keep her head from hitting the door and slammed hard into it shoulder first.  The door didn't budge and she bounced off of it.  She floated back to the center of the room and caught herself on the throne.

"Good day, Captain Carter."

"Khan?"  She looked around the room, the light on the wall panel was illuminated again, along with another light next to it that was blinking rapidly, like a modem light.

"I knew you would come, the NSA thought that I didn't know about you.  In truth I know a lot about all of you up there.  You thought your encryption protocols were so clever, but they were really quite simplistic."

Sam was speechless, she made her way back over to the door and tried to force it open, but there was no place to get her fingers in the track.

"I'm not angry, Captain.  No, but you have something I want.  If you are willing to give it to me, I will let you out, and forget this entire thing happened."

She turned her back to the door and looked up at the ceiling, where she assumed there was a camera and microphone of some sort, she took a breath to compose herself before responding, "What do you want?"

"You are a very intelligent woman, you would make a fine addition to my breeding program."

"I've heard about your breeding program, I will not become a human test tube for your selective breeding program."

A hidden compartment opened in the back of the throne, "We've moved beyond the need for a woman that needs to have her medical condition monitored on an hourly basis."  She reached into the compartment and pulled out a biopsy needle.  "The needle is sterile, use it to extract ova from your ovaries, then place the needle back into the compartment.  It will keep the ova stable until it arrives back here, where we will place it into our artificial wombs.  The second generation of my breeding program will be superior to even me."

She shook her head, "I don't know how to use this."

"If you would be so kind as to sit in the chair, the computer will show you where you need to stick yourself."

She looked at the chair, "And if I refuse?"

"I'm sure James has his hands full with that little wench that slipped on the ship, while it wasn't planned, I certainly wasn't going to turn away from her... generous... sacrifice for her people.  He won't know you are trapped in here for quite some time, and I can alter the life support system in the control room from here, without your cargo loaders noticing a thing.  Oh no, I won't kill you, but I can make it extremely uncomfortable for you in here, make you wish I would just kill you."

She placed her hand of the edge of the throne, but hesitated.

"I am willing to give you what you came here for, in exchange for your cooperation."

"My ova are that important to you?"

"Yes, and quite honestly, what you are here for is that unimportant to me.  Just sit in the chair, Captain, it won't take long, and you can get back to your Fusion Reactor."

*****

"Nicole, we're going to need you to go between on this.  We've got a girl, approximately fifteen, she's only speaking Farsi, and you're the only one we've got that's fluent in it."

She nodded from the monitor, "Understood, Captain."

James looked back to the girl, she was still in a panic mode, it had taken them twenty minutes just to coax her off the supply ship, "First things, first, can you get her to calm down?"

Nicole began speaking and the girl stopped her thrashing and stared at the screen, she then began talking softly, Nicole translated, "Her name is Yasaman, Jasmin is the English translation for it, she's the daughter of..."  she stopped, "the daughter of a man who was a member of the opposition forces in Iran.  Khan had ordered her entire family killed when he found them.  She slipped out the back door and away from the execution squad when her older brother threw himself at one of the guards, to cover her and her sister's escape.  She got separated from her sister, and doesn't know where she is now."

Kelly had begun a battery of tests on her, James noticed that the girl tensed when Kelly stuck her with the needle, but Kelly spoke a couple of words in Farsi to her to get her to relax.  James turned back to Nicole, "How did she get on the supply ship?"

Nicole frowned at the response she got from her question, "She said she slipped through the security fence and avoided the guards,"  The girl laughed, "She said she's very good at not being noticed."

James half shrugged, "She's certainly small enough to be missed.  But why did she come here?"

Nicole relayed his question, the girls response was short, Nicole shook her head, "She had no other place to go."

James raised an eyebrow at that statement, but Kelly stepped away from the exam table and vouched for it, "I can attest to that Captain.  She's severely undernourished, her feet and calves are consistent with someone who had been running on foot for a month, or more.  She's got signs that she hasn't slept more than a couple of hours a night for at least that long.  As it is, she's going to need a week here to recover.  I can't imagine she would have survived much longer on her own."

Ammanda stepped in from the other room, "If she was living in Tehran, the closest nation that she could get to is Turkmenistan, and they would be more likely to send her back than accept her.  Stowing away was probably her only chance."

Micheal slipped in over Nicole's shoulder, "That's quite a chance to be taking."

Ammanda placed her hand on the girl's shoulder, "But if Khan had a death decree on her, it was her only chance.  The question we have, is what are we going to do with her?"
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #74 on: January 03, 2013, 01:54:29 am »
Very nice, but I wonder if the choice Sam made was the right one.
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #75 on: January 03, 2013, 03:32:04 am »
I still say flush her out an airlock just to be on the safe side.
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #76 on: January 07, 2013, 12:10:12 am »
Epilogue

17 April 2014

She poked at the bandages on her abdomen for what seemed like the fifteenth time in the last hour.  They didn't hurt anymore, but the violation was still there.  That she did it by her own hand meant nothing, it was still forced upon her.  She felt the anger, some of it, most of it, directed at Khan for doing it.  But there was some of it directed elsewhere, at the man that she was seconds away from talking to, so she hoped, anyways.  She'd kind of feel guilty if it was some innocent liaison that she would have to vent to.  Well, that's not quite accurate, no one in the NSA is innocent.  They may not have committed this particular act, but they are all responsible for something.  The monitor came to life, and there HE was.

"Robert."  The words nearly froze as they came out of her mouth.

The man looked unphased, he merely smiled that fake slimy smile she'd grown to despise over the last two days, "Captain Carter."  He furled his brow when he read a note that was passed to him, "Why are you calling on an unencrypted line?"

She laughed one of the most sarcastic laughs she could muster, "Like it's been doing us any good anyways."

His smile turned to a frown, "It's been most useful, Sam.  Now you are jeopardizing everything.  Activate the encryption now or this conversation is over."

"What good is it going to do?  Khan already broke the cypher, the only person who were hiding from now is James."

He didn't even blink.  Her head snapped up, she felt her blood pressure rise as the realization dawned on her, "You knew!  You bastard!  You knew!!  YOU KNEW THAT HE KNEW I WAS COMING AND YOU DIDN'T TELL ME!"

He stared calmly at her, "Would it have changed anything?  You still had your orders to go in there."

"I WOULD HAVE TOLD SOMEONE!"  She was trembling with rage, at first she had tried to hide it, but all the pretense was gone now.

He didn't flinch as he weathered her storm, "That would have been a direct violation of your orders."

"Those orders said nothing about me being raped!"

He raised an eyebrow at that statement, "It's well understood that field agents risk death, dismemberment, torture, and rape in the performance of their duties.  You are a field agent.  Just because you thought you were safe up there knowing that Captain Atkinson wouldn't have resorted to any of those lengths had he found out about you, didn't mean that the risk still wasn't there."

She stopped, and raised an eyebrow, "That sounded rehearsed."

He shook his head, "Of course it is.  How many field agents do you think I've debriefed that have been through what you've been through?  Granted most of them that got to the point that you have, didn't come back at all, but I've had to give that reminder to more field agents than I can count."

"Or rather you want to tell.  Because I know you do know that count."

He changed the subject, "I still notice that you haven't encrypted this transmission.  Are you planning on doing it?"

She shook her head, "No.  Consider this my resignation.  I've included, encoded, everything you wanted from the Persians.  I want no further orders, or even conversations."

He nodded, "As you wish, Captain.  A shame really, you weren't in any more danger up there."

Her eyes flashed in anger, "I was locked in that room for almost two hours as he shocked, froze, suffocated, cooked, and burned me.  I was so delirious, I couldn't even poke myself correctly.  I BLED ALL THE WAY TO THE INFIRMARY!"

He showed no sympathy, "That was all your own doing, had you simply given him what he wanted, it would have been quick and painless."  He glared at her, "It also would have aroused less suspicion."

She resisted the urge to put her hand through the monitor to throttle him, "That's all you are concerned about isn't it?  That your little game of James Bond doesn't get found out about."

He spread his hands in front of him, "Whether you're going to help us or not, telling Captain Atkinson that we're planning on taking over his station is still treason, and we'll still court-martial you for it."

She scowled at him, "Thanks for letting me know what you really care about, if I had known that six months ago, I would have personally bent you over and shoved your job offer up your ass."  She slammed her hand down on the comm button, ending the transmission.

"That sounds painful."

Sam turned in her chair, "The whole damn thing was painful, to me, but not to that bastard."

James stepped out of the shadow, "A bastard he may be, but what does that make you?"

She let her head fall towards the floor, "Someone you can't trust anymore."

He nodded, "So what am I to do with you?  I can't just send you back, not until Micheal gets back here anyways."

She looked up at him, "Can I please keep working?  If there's anything you can trust about me still, it's that I am a scientist.  I do want to be here.  It had nothing to do with the NSA, Robert approached me after I had already put in my transfer."

James leaned back against the wall, but said nothing.

"I didn't even really know what he wanted in the first place.  He said it was just to keep tabs on you, make sure that what you sent Shawn was accurate.  Then it started getting more involved.  A little scouting mission, then it grew into another mission, then another. Each one seemed only a little bit worse than the last thing I had done, until it finally got to this."

James scratched his chin, "You're confined to quarters until the end of the week.  You can eat, exercise, and of course, report to the Infirmary.  No socializing, no work.  First thing Monday, I want a report on my desk detailing everything, and I do mean everything, you did for them.  After that, I'll let you out.  And I'll make my decision as to just what I'm going to do with you."



END BOOK 2
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Vipre

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #77 on: January 07, 2013, 01:03:43 am »
A pleasure to read, looking forward to book 3.
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Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2013, 01:46:47 am »
Indeed looking forward to book three multiple reasons actually. One and foremost because book two was such an enjoyable read. But also the major trust issues that will have to be explored with an ending like this. And all the other loose ends in the world at large, the stowaway, etc.

Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #79 on: January 07, 2013, 10:00:36 pm »
Still not caught up, but I gotta say this. You need to be published.

--guv
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2013, 11:59:30 pm »
Thank you gentlemen, but I do not feel that my stuff is up to being published.  To say nothing about the various copyright problems I would run into. (Carter, Khan, Kane, etc...)

Anyways... I am taking questions for the next installment of Coast to Coast.  You can put it here, or in a private message.  I'll work it into the Intermission.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #81 on: January 08, 2013, 09:02:04 pm »
Wasn't meaning this story, per se, but you write well enough to be published. I've read far worse from folk who wind up with trilogies and entire series.

Keep it up man. You have fans.

--guv
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #82 on: January 09, 2013, 01:28:07 am »
I scanned through 50 shades of Grey. I've read much much beter fanfiction then that steaming pile of crap. And the twilight series, what a load of crap is that! So I'm seeing guv's point here. Though I still feel that between Andy, Larry and him we'd have a proper reboot of Star Trek. Though I would want him to write a bit more Klingon as well ;)
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole