I'll post more details when it's available. But it should be out this week.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Friday, March 17, 2017
Lord of the Dance!
T S Paul
Tap. Tap. Tappity Tap.
I was dreaming about elves and shoes when the noise woke me up this time. Opening one eye I scanned the room. No elves. Muttering it was all a dream i closed my eye and tried to go back to sleep.
Tapitty Tap. Tap tap tap scrape tap tap tappity tap.
What the flaming hell?
I sat up in bed and looked around. Everything in my room was where it was supposed to be. Not an elf in sight. I really shouldn’t disparage the elves like this. They hate stereotypes especially the ones i met recently. Standing up i walked over to the window. The noise could be road work but my lab is a little out of the way and unless the Marine Corp is out to get me again it wasn’t likely.
Tap tappity tap.
That came from the main room and could only mean one thing!
“Fergus! You promised me. You promised no more dance lessons!” The RV was dark so i hit lights as i stormed into the main room. His barn was on the kitchen table in its normal spot. He stays up late at night watching TV too much for him to stay with me.
Green sparkly light flashed from the windows of the small red structure.
Opening the top i looked down. “Hey! Stop tap dancing…” My jaw dropped open and I could only stare.
“Hey Agatha! Erin has a Bra!” My friend and familiar stared up at me. Green mini spotlights were bouncing light off the mirror ball in his barn. Little green sparkles of light flashed as it turned.
“Why are you dancing? We had a deal, no more dancing!” Like before he had the floor cleared off and his plastic ‘girlfriend’ was wearing a green dress. Where do you get a dress for a plastic pony?
“It’s St Patrick's Day! Party on, Dude!” He did a little dance number.
“You’ve been watching late night TV again haven’t you? By-the-way? Why are you green?” My normally white with blue hair Unicorn was now bright lime green.
“I told you. It’s St Patrick’s Day! I’m celebrating.”
“How are you green? Where did the mirror ball come from? Are those tap shoes on your feet?” He appeared to have little gold shoes on.
“I can buy things.” Fergus glanced at his phone.
“How? You don’t have a job. I didn’t pay for it.”
“Grandma gave me some money. I’ll use that.”
“Why are you wearing shoes?” I peered down at him. He was looking at his feet.
“I wanna be like Michale Flatulence! He the Lord of the Dance.” The Unicorn gave a little skip.
“That’s not...He’s not… His name is Michael.” I really wanted to laugh at him but i was too mad.
“Whatever. Do you like my dance?”
“NO! Stop dancing. I’m trying to sleep! No lights now dancing. Nothing. Do you understand?”
“You didn’t have any green on but now your eyes have that cool green tint just before you zap someone. Erin’s got a Bra!” He smiled up at me.
“Stop dancing.” I closed the lid and went back to bed. The lights gave one last flash and went out. I covered up and stared at the wall waiting for sleep to take over. My last conscious thought was how did he make himself Green?
Thursday, March 16, 2017
“What you doing?” Fergus’s voice came out of nowhere, almost causing me to drop the mixture.
“Don’t do that! Do you know how long it took me to get that right?” I said looking down at a smiling unicorn sitting on my notebook.
“Nope. Don’t care. Can we go out to eat for lunch?” He complained.
“Why?” I looked down at him suspiciously. He’d been pretty quiet lately, which in itself is really suspicious. He still hadn’t forgiven me for leaving him locked in the RV when we took down the Reverend last month. According to him, he had his own adventure, but won’t tell me what it was. Speaking of not telling me something.
Looking him in the eyes, I asked, “how did you get up here? You were passed out in the magickal hay field.”
He looked up at me with a puzzled face. “No idea what you’re saying right now. Jumping up here was easy. So... Eating out, can we do it?”
“We need to discuss your jumping one of these days. Where is it you wanted to go?” I said.
“Do you remember Jodi from Anchors a Weigh? She doesn’t work there anymore.” He commented.
“OK. Was she the blond waitress?” I asked.
“No, you always get that part wrong. Jodi is the brunette, and Amber is the redhead. Easy.” He answered, then began trotting around the various jars I had on the table.
“Wasn’t there another one too? I seem to remember another name.” I tapped my finger against my lips while trying to remember.
“Forget about her. She got married last month. This is all about Jodi. I mean all about eating lunch.” He spoke quickly trying to cover his gaft.
I made a circular motion with my hand as I asked. “Can we speed this up? I do have an experiment to finish.”
“What are you trying to do, anyway?” He mumbled sniffing at a small bouquet of wolfsbane flowers on the table and taking a tentative taste.
I slid the flowers out of reach. “Don’t eat those! Do you have any concept of how expensive those are?” Once again, he just looked up at me.
I’m telling a unicorn to not eat flowers. “This is an enchantment to make bullets find the target on their own. If I got the recipe correct, they should give me a better than fifty percent improvement in my range scores.”
Fergus peered at the vial sitting in front of me. “As long as that isn’t something you eat your fine. You suck at cooking. So can we go?”
“Go where? You never finished what you were saying.” I asked. Why couldn’t I have changed something less annoying like a sloth or something?
“Oh. Well, Jodi went to work for a new place called Juan’s in town. Can we go there for lunch?” He said, continuing to trot around on my table.
Frowning I looked back at him. “Do you even like Mexican food? How do you know about this stuff?”
“Jodi’s cousin owns the place. She told me last week that Obie had a job opening and she wouldn’t be able to see me anymore at Anchors. She sent me a picture of the new place, and it looks cool. It has lots of pretty colors and flags. Can we go?” He asked anxiously.
I swear he’s like a little kid sometimes. “Sure. You aren’t going to shut up until I agree anyhow. One thing, though. Doesn’t it bother you that a guy named Obie owns a restaurant called Juan’s?” I asked him.
He cocked his head one way and then the other. “So? Why would that bother me?” He said as he trotted off to the far edge of the table. I kept a horse bed there for him.
Unicorns. I shook my head and went back to my experiment.
Once I cleaned up my workspace, it was time for lunch. I carried him to our truck for the trip to the restaurant. We had not traveled very far before Fergus vomited on the seat. Apparently, Fergus was not having a good ‘travel’ day and had gotten sick. Climbing back into my vehicle after cleaning up the mess I checked my phone. It was blowing up a moment ago, but I ignored it.
“I’m going to die! Ugh.” Fergus choked and coughed out.
“If you get sick in my truck again you’re riding on the outside. I mean it, Fergus!” I commented as I finished cleaning up his second heap. How can one tiny creature hurl so much?
“Just bury me in Mothra like you promised when I go.” He groaned.
“Don’t you mean Montana? Mothra is one of those movie monsters you like so much.” I absently responded. Scrolling through my messages, I could see two from the B’s and three from Director Mills. Cat and Chuck had at least one in there too. Maybe I could blame Fergus for this delay. He’s the one that ate the Wolfsbane.
As I pulled up to the restaurant, Fergus said. “See, what did I tell you. Pretty flags and colors everywhere.” Fergus was sitting on my shoulder like a deranged parrot as we walked into the incredibly garish restaurant. I like Mexican food, but I could tell this was not going to be fun.
Fergus’s favorite waitress of the month stood at the cash register with a big fake smile on her face. “Jodi!” Fergus yelled, jumping around and nearly falling off.
“Hey, little dude! I see you found the place.” Jodi replied looking up at me. “Hello, Agent Blackmore.”
“Jodi. How’s business?” I inquired. The restaurant was inside a former gas station which I thought was a bit strange. The pumps outside were all gone. Only the poles that once held up the awning remained.
Jodi grinned and said, “Great! The lunch rush just ended. Let me get you a table.” As she led us to a table, I checked my watch, and it was only twelve thirty. Maybe people ate early here in Virginia.
The walls were still glass but painted over in red, green, and white. There were painted smiling girls with red hair and pigtails staring up at me from our tabletop. “Nice tables,” I remarked.
Jodi blushed a bit saying, “My cousin was on a budget. We plan to paint over them soon. What would you like to drink?”
I could only shake my head as Fergus ordered a sweet tea. Maybe it was time to take his phone away from him. I just asked for water. Leaving two menus in front of us, she let me know she would be back to take our orders. Fergus hopped around and stared at the pictures.
“What’s this stuff? Is it a salad?” He asked as he turned the pages with his nose. It was probably a good thing the health department wasn’t here. A seeing eye unicorn is not a good description of Fergus.
Cocking my head, I looked at the picture. “Traditional Chiapas salad with peppers and local greens encased in a fried flour tortilla.” I interpreted for him.
“Cool! I’m getting that one!” He said as he did a little dance on the table.
Pulling out my phone I looked up the word Chiapas. Another word popped out during my search, spicy. I couldn’t remember if he liked spicy food. Grandmother used to let him try stuff while she cooked. Since I was so bad at cooking, I was rarely in our kitchen. It should be fun to watch no matter what. Good thing he was indestructible.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Guardian Commander Peter leaned up against the wall outside Jeo’s offices. Using his override command, he checked them out over an hour ago. This guy was going to be a major security issue he could see it now. He reached into his cargo pants pocket and pulled out his tablet. A few light taps, and he pulled up everything he could find about the man.
Jeovanni Deteusch, recruited by ADAM with approval by Frank Kurns to run the IOS mining and manufacturing branch of the Queen's service. His former position was as a research and development scientist working for the Truitt corporation. When TQB achieved space travel and first put a private space station in lunar orbit, Jeo told off his boss and quit. He was immediately recruited to work for what was to become the Etheric Empire.
Peter had to chuckle. He tracked down fellow Guardian Eric and asked about the first time Jeo went up in a pod. According to the story that Eric told, Jeo was at his parent's house the night in question. They asked the Guardian about Jeo’s position not believing that he was actually in TQB now. As Eric explained what happened that night, Peter started laughing.
Eric explained to Jeo’s parents, “I’m heading over to a meeting on the Polarus, and Jeo here needs to get accustomed to his group a little before we take him to his post.”
“And where ” Mr. Deteusch had asked, “will Jeo’s post actually be?” He turned to look at his son, “He claims he doesn’t know.”
“Really?” Eric turned to Jeo. “No one told the lead on mining and manufacture of metals in space where his post is going to be?”
Jeo shook his head, “No, I figured I would either be in Colorado or possibly on the ships they talk about on the News.”
Eric grinned, “Jeo, there is one thing Bethany Anne doesn’t mess with, and that is inefficiency. Where do you believe she would have her new lead of Industrial Outer Space Mining and Manufacturing?” He paused a moment, then helped him out, “The hint is in the title.”
Jeo’s eyes lit up, “Outer space!”
Eric nodded, “Hell yeah! Buddy, you are just going to the Polarus to meet, greet, and get some work done. Your final destination in a few days is your new office on Space-Station-One.”
His father looked confused, “Don’t you mean Moon-Base-One? Or is there a new space station up there, like Skylab?”
Jeo wanted to facepalm in embarrassment, “That’s ISS dad, the International Space Station.”
His dad merely winked to Eric.
Eric replied, “Well, I hope you realize that if you spill this information, you could be endangering your son’s life, but we have a Space Station at L2, that’s Lagrange Point 2 out beyond the Moon. Jeo’s home and office will start there and then move as quickly as he can help get us into production out to the mining area.”
“Oh,” his mother answered, “Is that on the moon then?”
Eric looked down to the shorter lady, “No ma’am. Although I don’t know for sure, I imagine Jeo knows the most likely location for mining; it is his occupation after all.”
“Holy crap,” Jeo breathed, “I’m going out to the asteroid belt, aren’t I?” Before Eric could respond, Jeo continued, “With your technology, we don’t have to worry about Delta-V or crossing the Earth's Orbit or even water, right?” Eric just nodded, “So, take those out of the equation, and we want to go after Type M asteroids for metals and outer space manufacturing. No wonder Ms. Bethany Anne told me minimum three months.”
Mr. and Mrs. Deteusch watched as the two men got into the Pod. Mr. Deteusche asked before the hatch was shut, “Did you just say you are going to the ship Polarus?” When Eric agreed they were, he asked, “Didn’t you say that was near France right now?” Eric agreed it was. “How are you going to make it to France in thirty minutes?” getting to his real question.
Eric hit the button to close the hatch, “Short-cut!”
Mr. Deteusch could hear his son’s laugh get cut off. A few seconds later, the Pod smoothly went up about twenty feet, then they both heard the heavy ‘whoosh’ of air when it practically disappeared into the night sky.
The pods were a whole lot of fun especially for the uninitiated. According to the records, Jeo did a wonderful job out in the asteroid belt. He was in charge of construction and development of both the mining processes and the Queen's ship, the QBS Archangel. It was the very first Leviathan class battleship in existence.
Peter had access to all the records and even knew about Stephanie and some of her alternate personalities. Jeo was extremely lucky that it was Bobcat who first tripped to that and not one of the Guardians. Disrespecting the Queen or her handmaiden could cost you your life. That would be of course if the Queen didn’t get you first. It was his understanding that the problem had been fixed and Stephanie herself had control over her structure. Only she could change if she wanted to.
Checking the time, Peter could see it was almost 0900 hours. The members of Alpha Class should be climbing off the tram right about now. This was their second term, and they understood punctuality. That could not be said about Mr. Deteusch himself. Peter’s spies told him that the man in question was up very late partying at the bar owned by team BMW. It was just like them to screw with someone and then place bets to see if he showed up. One more minute and Peter would win the bet he had with ADAM. Who would be first in the office to greet the kids: Jeo or Stephanie?
Repeating to himself his earlier statement. Jeo was a major security risk. But then so was this particular group of kids. What they did on the Moon didn’t bear repeating. Last term Jeo took Delta Class on a tour of Earth engineering feats. They touched on all the continents in a time when the Etheric Empire was not having good relations with the world. He did it with a cluster of standard pods unaccompanied by any fighters or guardians. The man didn’t even take ship’s security with them. This time there would be a change. Peter had already requisitioned the two experimental five-person pods as well as one of the fighters. BMW was supposed to have all the bugs worked out of the new ten person pods. When they did, Peter had first dibs. There was too much in the way of secrets and special knowledge to allow Alpha Class to run wild this term.
“Guardian Peter?” Peter looked up to see the hologram of a very lovely lovely looking woman standing next to him.
“Stephanie, I presume? You just won me half an ounce of gold. Is he even alive this morning?” Peter pushed off the wall and stood up straight.
“He is functional. The students should be arriving within the next four minutes. Would you like to assist with greetings?”
The large Wechselbalg nodded. “Sure. I’ve met them already. Unlike Delta, this is a very cohesive group.” Peter opened the front doors as the lights started to come on.
“Delta class. Yes, I can see that. It was my belief that the balance between male and female in that group throws off the dynamic some.” The holographic woman stood in the center of the room prepared to greet the new class.
Peter pulled up Delta Class’s stats and checked them. “Hmm, you may be right. It’s too late to fix it. They will have to compensate somehow. I’ll send a message to both the Ds and Ship’s Maintenance and repair. That is their new posting this term. Three girls and two boys. Only one Wechselbalg among them. It might be a recipe for disaster if they can’t overcome the disparity. The Ds have a new program they have been dying to implement. It might help some. Thank you, Stephanie.”
The walls of the base leading toward Jeo Deteusch’s office were decorated with paintings and vid screens chronicling the achievements of Engineers and highlighting the construction of the Archangel. To the members of Alpha Class just watching the vids was pretty cool.
“I think we can download these on our tablets.” Ron fiddled with his.
“That would be kind of cool. I didn’t even know these were made.” Tina also pulled out her tablet.
“If you like you could even meet the man that created the ship.” All five students looked up and away from the screens to see Guardian Commander Peter watching them from the doorway.
“Sorry. The vids…” Tina pointed at the screens.
“No need to apologize. They are pretty cool. I’ve ridden inside the Archangel, and it’s a kick ass ride. This is Stephanie.” A tall blond woman appeared out of nowhere.
Maxim jumped back with a “whoa!”
Peter only smiled. “As you should have smelled and noticed she is one of the many EIs that help to run our Empire. Stephanie is a bit smarter than some of those others. She has been around far longer than many. She is Jeo’s primary aid and administrative assistant. If you have any problems or questions, she is your best option for resolution.”
Peter peered at each of the five students. “We have already discussed the reason I am here with you. Thank you for your reports by-the-way. They will be of value to the team digging into the alien base.”
All five kids visibly started and just stared at Peter. “They are digging into the base?” Nestor spoke first.
“Of course. Your reports, even Bobcat’s, showed that there was valuable information to be found there. We have a couple of years before we leave. It gives some of the teams something to do as well as provide training. Bravo Class is actually going down there to assist General Lance. They will also learn how our military operates and team building exercises.”
“Have they found anything yet?” Maxim stared at his future commander.
“Just wreckage. I don’t normally get to see the reports, but I checked knowing one of you might ask. When and if you cycle around to the General you may get to return. For now, this is your assignment and Jeo your instructor. In fact, I hear the man in question approaching now.” Peter turned toward the rear hatch.
As all five students watched, a young looking man wearing wrinkled clothes tripped over the hatch seal and tumbled head over heels into the room. He landed on his posterior and sat on the deck blinking at them.
“Did I miss anything?”
Peter just groaned and covered his eyes.