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#### Captain Sharp

• Posts: 161
• R. Lee Ermy for Prez, 2016!
##### 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. "

#### 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)

#### Grim Reaper

• The 4th Horseman, the Lord of Death
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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

#### Lieutenant_Q

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• Posts: 1668
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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)

#### Grim Reaper

• The 4th Horseman, the Lord of Death
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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

#### Lieutenant_Q

• Lt. Commander
• Posts: 1668
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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?"

"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)

#### Grim Reaper

• The 4th Horseman, the Lord of Death
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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

#### 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)

#### Lieutenant_Q

• Lt. Commander
• Posts: 1668
• Gender:
##### 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."

"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)

#### Vipre

• Commander
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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.
Lapsed Pastafarian
"Parmesan be upon Him"

"Dear God,
If aliens are real please let them know that I'm formally requesting asylum from the freakshow that is humanity."

#### Lieutenant_Q

• Lt. Commander
• Posts: 1668
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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.    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)

#### Vipre

• Commander
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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.

When in doubt blame the characters. I like that.
Lapsed Pastafarian
"Parmesan be upon Him"

"Dear God,
If aliens are real please let them know that I'm formally requesting asylum from the freakshow that is humanity."

#### Grim Reaper

• The 4th Horseman, the Lord of Death
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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

#### 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)

#### Lieutenant_Q

• Lt. Commander
• Posts: 1668
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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)

#### Grim Reaper

• The 4th Horseman, the Lord of Death
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• Beyond the apocalypse
##### 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

#### Lieutenant_Q

• Lt. Commander
• Posts: 1668
• Gender:
##### 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)

#### Lieutenant_Q

• Lt. Commander
• Posts: 1668
• Gender:
##### 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 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)

#### Grim Reaper

• The 4th Horseman, the Lord of Death
• Lt.
• Posts: 577
• Gender:
• Beyond the apocalypse
##### 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

#### Vipre

• Commander
• Posts: 3107
• Gender:
##### 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.
Lapsed Pastafarian
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"Dear God,
If aliens are real please let them know that I'm formally requesting asylum from the freakshow that is humanity."