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Cry Havoc Excerpts from Chapter 3

“Dispatch, is Stimpy there?”

“No, sir. I can call him.”

“No, I’ll get with him later.”

“Pound 1, can you give me a sit-rep every 30 minutes?”

No response.

Dispatch called again, “Acknowledge Pound 1.”

No response.

Dispatch called again, “Pound 1. Did you copy last transmission?”

The silence was becoming a grave concern to Dispatch. Dispatch picked up his communicator to call Stimpy as he walked through the door.

Dispatch turned toward Stimpy, “Sir, we have lost communications with Pound 1.”

“Put Pound 2 on red alert and get Pound 1 back on Comms as soon as possible. Try every known frequency. Understood?”

“Yes sir, I am trying every known frequency.”

“Is Hangar 3 ready to launch?”

“Yes, sir. They will be ready in 30 minutes to assume patrols.”

 “I’m beaming up to Pound 2. If you get Pound 1 back on Comms, let me know. Oh, contact Pound 2 and inform them I am on my way. Have them assembled its Commanders in the ready room by the time I arrive.”

“Yes, sir.”

After Stimpy left the room, Dispatch contacted Pound 2.

“Pound 2 Bridge, Dispatch.”

“Dispatch, Pound 2 Bridge. Go ahead.”

“Commander Stimpy is on the way to your location. He wants the Pound 2 Commanders in the ready room upon his arrival to brief them on the current situation.”

“They will be in the ready room when he arrives.”

“He is heading to the beaming facility now.”

“I’ll pass the information along.”

As Stimpy arrived at Pound 2, he went straight to the ready room. Stimpy reaching the head of the table, “Commanders, please take a seat. Dogs, we’ve lost communications with Pound 1. We are unsure if it’s a technical problem, communication being jammed or loss of the Hangar Ship. Dispatch is trying to reestablish communications. If we do not regain communications with Pound 1 in the next 30 minutes, we will launch to finish Pound 1’s mission and recover any survivors.”

The room went silent when Stimpy mentioned the possible destruction of Pound 1 and the start of a recovery mission. Walking Pilots feared that one day they too may need to be recovered. They never spoke the word among their ranks. Now the crew of Pound 2 heard that dreaded word, recovery, regarding their friends and fellow Walking Pilots. The room was silent.

“We will launch in 30 minutes. Questions?”

Boosh stood, “Do we have to take Stone with us?”

The entire room broke out in laughter, even Stone. Tensions eased and set the Commanders in a lighter mood.

Stimpy trying to keep a straight face, “Yes Boosh, Stone is coming. Dogs, it’s time to hunt. Get to your stations and prepare for launch. I will be in the Bridge room. Dismissed.”

As Stimpy walked to the Bridge room, his thoughts were on Pound 1.

As he entered, Bridge saw him, “Sir, we have Dispatch on Comms. He wants to talk to you.”

“This is Stimpy. What is it, Dispatch?”

       “Sir, we have restored communications with Pound 1 and we have picked up another Hangar Ship a respectful distance behind the first Hangar Ship.”

Stimpy ripped off the headset and turned toward the Bridge Tech, “How soon can we get this thing launched?”

“In 20 minutes, sir.”

Stimpy in an angry tone, “Why 20 minutes Bridge?”

“Sir, we are still tethered to the resupply Transport for water. The procedure to untether takes 20 minutes.”

“Get it done faster.”

Bridge started, “Sir.”

Stimpy interrupted, “Just get it done Bridge.”

Stimpy becoming angry and frustrated turned back to put on his headset, “Dispatch talk to me.”

 “We received a brief transmission from Commander Futu saying their communications were being jammed. They are now on communications Protocol Echo 4. I asked him to hold for you, but he wanted to keep radio chatter to a minimum. According to Protocol Echo 4, communications will be fully restored in 30 minutes.”

“Give me a heads up when they call back and patch me through.”

“Yes, sir.”

Stimpy slammed the headset on the console. As he looked around, he noticed no one was making eye contact with him, “I need a cup of coffee. Where is the damn coffeepot?”

Five techs ran to the coffeepot to get Stimpy a cup of coffee.

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Fear!

Once someone said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” What does this person mean to convey with such a statement? Fear is an emotion felt by many if not all of us at one time. If we have nothing to fear but fear, then I could put fear into a whole different context.

What if fear is not an emotion, but a state of mind paralyzing thought and even movement, rendering an individual totally helpless? Fear in this context can be overcome and conquered using your power over your mind. This power is the power to respond to a situation as you wish, not as your mind wishes. A conditioned response to an uncontrolled situation.

Pilots in the military and in commercial aviation are conditioned to respond to emergency situations not in fear, as most people not trained would respond, but in a conditioned response of calm. A pilot acting in fear kills himself and everyone onboard his aircraft.

In an aircraft emergency, there is certainly fear felt by the pilot and the crew. Believe me, I have experienced the fear of burning engines, pieces of my aircraft abruptly leaving and other emergencies many times over in my 18,000 hours of flight time. It is because of my conditioned response to fear, I am writing this blogpost today.

If fear then is controllable. Your affirmation statement should be: I have nothing to fear but fear itself.

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La Muerte

Death like taxes is unavoidable, but unlike taxes, people fear death. They try everything imaginable to keep death at bay, but when it comes for them, their loved ones are surprised by their sudden departure.

Death is inevitable. Prepare for death and embrace it as another chapter in the journey of life. Don’t make your life here on Earth miserable trying to avoid death or fearing it. There is nothing to fear.

Do your best at everything you do. Your life lived to the fullest will leave a legacy not soon forgotten. Whether or not you are a person of faith, death will come knocking at your door one day. Upon your death, let those who mourn you say your life was full of joy, happiness and love.

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PRIDE, an Aesop Fable

The Fighting Cocks & the Eagle

Once there were two Cocks living in the same farmyard who could not bear the sight of each other. At last one day they flew up to fight it out, beak and claw. They fought until one of them was beaten and crawled off to a corner to hide.

The Cock that had won the battle flew to the top of the hen-house, and, proudly flapping his wings, crowed with all his might to tell the world about his victory. But an Eagle, circling overhead, heard the boasting chanticleer and, swooping down, carried him off to his nest.

His rival saw the deed, and coming out of his corner, took his place as master of the farmyard.

The Moral of the tory: Pride goes before a fall.

Have you stubbled on your pride?

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Cry Havoc Excerpts from Chapter 2

“Yes, sir. Now is a great time. Thank you for asking. We have been working on the signal for hours. There was disbelief it was a Pilot Emergency Locator Beacon considering the great distances it was transmitting. They’re designed only to transmit up to 1600 kilometers. We have been tracking the signal since its strength increased and we now can confirm it to be a P.E.L.B. How that could happen we don’t know, but it must have been altered beyond belief. If you want to retrieve it, our calculations have determined it to be within range in 48 hours.”

 “What else can produce the same signal?” asked Futu.

“The unit has a unique signal. It’s designed for short-range with a distinctive signal pattern that allows it to track to a specific Hangar Ship. Because of the signal pattern, it has a discrete frequency range. How it’s transmitting over long distances has us scratching our heads.” said Doug.

“How are we picking up a powerful signal 48 hours away when its engineered to transmit only 1600 kilometers?” asked Stimpy.

“We want to know that too. It is a signal engineering feat.” said Doug.

 “Any other information we should know?”

 “Sir, I don’t know. Until we see what has been done, we’re just speculating.”

“Thanks, Doug.”

Stimpy looked at Futu. His facial expression was that of shock.

“So, let’s grab this thing and bring it back. You up for it?” asked Stimpy.

“Let’s do it. Since the P.E.L.B. signal is strong and transmitting over such extreme distances, it will give us insight to increasing not only the signal strength, but increasing survival time of our Pilots. I have been interested in a way to increase its range to allow a higher orbit, avoiding hostile Hangars Ships and exceeding the range of their short-range Space Fighters. This could be a tremendous improvement for our Hangar Ships. How soon can we get started?”

“Pound 1 is due in later today. Pound 2 should be here in the morning.”

“That is fine. We’ll get started in the morning.”

The next morning, Dispatch received a report that the trajectory of the P.E.L.B. had changed 90 degrees. It had collided with a large asteroid unscathed and was traveling perpendicular to its original path. This trajectory, along with the asteroid’s speed, had decreased the time to intercept.

Dispatch briefed Stimpy on the recent information and the changes in the speed and direction.

Stimpy decided it was time to call Futu and get him involved.

Futu, walking toward the office, reached for his communicator, “Futu.”

      “Futu, Stimpy. Can you come to Dispatch? There’s been a change in the P.E.L.B.’s direction.”

“On my way.”

Futu entered seeing Dispatch and Stimpy huddled around the long-range scanner, “What’s up guys?”

Stimpy turned toward Futu, “You want to see our good fortune?”

Futu, puzzled, approached the scanner, “What good fortune is on the scanner?”

“It hit an asteroid last night and is heading toward us. It’s only eight hours out and closing. We can intercept it in less than seven hours with a Hangar Ship. Now the bad news. There is another Hangar Ship heading on an intercept course. No confirmation yet, but we have traced it back to a sector along our eastern border.”

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Cigars, Cigarette, Tipporillos

Yesterday my grandson Antony looked at me with a stern face, “What is the most bizarre thing you’ve ever seen Papa?”

I didn’t even have to think about it, “Cigars.”

Now think about it, over a thousand years ago a Mayan thought he’d look cool to roll a leaf of tobacco inside a plantain leaf and lit it. Then to top that dumb move, he inhaled the smoke. Absolutely beyond belief. Not to be outdone by an ancient rebellious Mayan teenager, modern man has rolled tobacco we call cigars and pays $50 dollars for the pleasure of watching it burn away under his nose. Stupid seems to have continued throughout the ages.

If it were me, I would start a wood fire and breath in the smoke. At least you will stay warm while you are attempting long-term suicide. My grand father died from smoking and my father smoked for 30 years before he realized it was stupid and quit. Watching my grandfather and father coughing and wheezing was a valuable lesson. Ingesting anything into your body not on the pyramid of food chart is BAD.

You want to do something wild and crazy, throw your car keys in a lake and get drunk Then at least you can equate the cost of your actions to what you derived from your action. Cars aren’t that expensive.

Moral of the Story: Cool equals stupid. Taking care of your mind and body equals being Smart. Smart people live longer.

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My Mind Control

The mind is an interesting topic for me because of its complexity. The mind controls body functions and translates pain, as to location and severity and can help promote healing, which is great. I have the power to reason and decide my responses based on the mind’s previous experiences.

My mind also provokes emotion of joy and happiness, jealousy and anger. It perceives reality, but not genuine reality. It perceives its own reality based on my experience’s, environment and functionality of each part and chemical makeup of my brain. While others feel happiness, I may feel depression because of my mind’s reality.

As a combat veteran, I too had suffered from what has been called gun shy, shell-shocked and post-traumatic stress syndrome. While they are real and have been diagnosed as mental conditions, to me it is brain conditioning. If I’m in an environment of violence, my mind conditions me to react, invoking my survival response of flight or fight, flee or stay. In my experiences, if this response is unchecked, my mind will magnify its response. This magnification, in my opinion, increases adrenaline and other flight or fight endorphins. Basically, turning my mind into an adrenaline junkie.

Three things kept me from turning to the dark side. My wife, family, and my faith. Shelia put up with my actions and consoled me during dark times. Family being understanding and supportive. Faith gave me the power to overcome a mind I had little control over. When I felt I had the power to control my mind. I wouldn’t accept my mind’s perception of my reality. As each emotion producing my flight or fight response emerged, I would recite Matthew 4:10 to put the emotion in my emotional lock box.

Putting these emotions into my internal lock box was like trying to put a cat into a sack. It took many tries to lock it away. This took 27 years to detoxify my mind. But it doesn’t end there. My mind continues to think what I call evil thoughts. Armed with the power to control my mind, evil thoughts still encroach, but they’re rejected by my conscience, giving me peace.

If you keep looking backwards, you’ll never see what’s coming.

I am not a psychiatric doctor, therapist, or a counselor. What I am writing is my experiences and mine alone. I write this to provoke thought and to entertain.

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What is Love?

As a father of two daughters and a husband over fifty years, I’ve accumulated experience and with much thought and insight into what love might be.

I married, at nineteen, to a wonderful woman who I had known since the fourth grade. We both were raised in a small agricultural community in the Midwest. I didn’t realize then she was to become my wife and soulmate.

Our marriage was tested quickly with my deployment to Vietnam only three months after we married. This grew our bond even more. Our daughters were born in 1971 and 1974. My daughters, as most young girls dreamed of marriage and life with their soulmate.

Asked many times, I finally thought of an answer. My answer was love is a need. If you feel a person in your life is needed to complete your life, that is love. As the years passed, my definition has changed with a more experienced approach.

The love of another is the desire to share your life with someone and to grow into the people GOD wants you both to be. Genuine love is not physical, although it may start out that way, it will soon give way to the wants and needs of your spouse.

I have mentioned in previous blogs the acronym J.O.Y. Love is joy and I have found through a relationship with GOD you can glimpse into what I refer to as a spiritual love. It makes you aware that a gesture of love, such as that of JESUS, in the Christian belief, is a gesture of sacrifice to his creation. Marriage is a creation merging two lives into one. If we follow his example, we too can feel we’re committed to the marriage as JESUS is committed to his creation, you. Spiritual love is a two-way street. love is given and love is received to glorify one another.

I look upon my wife as a gift from GOD to be cherished and cared for. The King James bible, describes a wife as one who takes strength from her husband and then returns it as encouragement and praise. If his wife is to draw strength from her husband, he must strong.

One strength she can draw from is his love and respect for her. If she feels loved and respected as an individual participating in the marriage by her husband she will return his love and respect.

Another strength is her husbands expression of love for her to others. A public acknowledgement of his love for her will be returned in many ways.

The one strength she will draw on the most is one of maintaining the laws of the marriage. Your vows you express in your marriage to love, cherish, honor and obey the laws of this new creation until death do you part.

My marriage of fifty years has taught me while we will have times of discord, genuine love will find a way to keep you together if you work hard and draw from each other’s strength and forgive each others weaknesses.

Father always said, “Marriage is the willingness to put up with each others crap.”

He and my mother where married for fifty years.

Happy Valentine’s day.

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A Fable by Aesop

The Owl & the Grasshopper

The Owl always takes her sleep during the day. Then after sundown, when the rosy light fades from the sky and the shadows rise slowly through the wood, out she comes ruffling and blinking from the old hollow tree. Now her weird “hoo-hoo-hoo-oo-oo” echoes through the quiet wood, and she begins her hunt for the bugs and beetles, frogs and mice she likes so well to eat.

Now there was a certain old Owl who had become very cross and hard to please as she grew older, especially if anything disturbed her daily slumbers. One warm summer afternoon as she dozed away in her den in the old oak tree, a Grasshopper nearby began a joyous but very raspy song. Out popped the old Owl’s head from the opening in the tree that served her both for door and for window.

“Get away from here, sir,” she said to the Grasshopper. “Have you no manners? You should at least respect my age and leave me to sleep in quiet!”

But the Grasshopper answered saucily that he had as much right to his place in the sun as the Owl had to her place in the old oak. Then he struck up a louder and still more rasping tune.

The wise old Owl knew quite well that it would do no good to argue with the Grasshopper, nor with anybody else for that matter. Besides, her eyes were not sharp enough by day to permit her to punish the Grasshopper as he deserved. So she laid aside all hard words and spoke very kindly to him.

“Well sir,” she said, “if I must stay awake, I am going to settle right down to enjoy your singing. Now that I think of it, I have a wonderful wine here, sent me from Olympus, of which I am told Apollo drinks before he sings to the high gods. Please come up and taste this delicious drink with me. I know it will make you sing like Apollo himself.”

The foolish Grasshopper was taken in by the Owl’s flattering words. Up he jumped to the Owl’s den, but as soon as he was near enough so the old Owl could see him clearly, she pounced upon him and ate him up.

The Moral of the Story: Flattery is not a proof of true admiration. Do not let flattery throw you off your guard against an enemy.

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Why Couldn’t I have been a Grandparent first

Grand parenting is the best job ever. Yesterday my two grandchildren, Anthony and Kassandra, were at the house. They played quietly. Little angels wishing only to make you happy. Truly a joy to be around.

My wife and Kassandra made cookies. Anthony and I had discussions about cold fusion and airplanes, and unlike my daughters, his gaze didn’t wonder or his eyes glass over with a look of sheer boredom.

Then children at the learned age of sixteen, conclude their parents have had a lobotomy. Now you’re the dumbest person who ever walked the planet. While grandchildren, no matter their age, look to their grandparents with admiration and love.

Your children, looking at you with their, as if, look, “You don’t know what it’s like being sixteen. When you were growing up, there wasn’t any fashion.”

Another one of my personal favorites is when your daughter looks at you, “You know nothing about anything. You are making my life miserable.”

Then a miracle happens, they marry and have kids. Now you’re getting phone calls in the middle of the night, “I can’t get the children to eat anything green.”

The sobbing phone call, “I talk to them and talk to them and they act like I’m not there.”

Then the best one is the call, “These kids think I’m there maid not their mother.”

I cannot count how many times I heard that from my children’s mother. Hearing it brings a smile to a grandparent’s face.

Carma can be cruel.

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Escape from the Mamluk Empire

I hope you have enjoyed the stories about Christopher’s and Bud’s great adventure. As the adventures continues the book is expected to be ready for pre-order in late August. If there are some of you who would like an advanced free copy of the eBook for a review please leave a comment to this post with your email. When the book is ready I will send you a copy in your desired format.

Thank you for following Christopher and Bud. I hope you enjoy the book as much as much as you enjoyed the blog post.

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Excerpts from Chapter 1

The radio crackled. As they crowded around the radio, they heard a person shouting, “Anyone …read …mission…is Rick calling…who can…low on supplies… Commander Richards left…squad…to find…supplies…morale low…no… from Richards…anyone hear me…. Reply.”

The transmission ended.

After the transmission ended, Futu, Stimpy, and Dispatch talked among themselves to figure out what they had heard.

 “It sounded as if he was making a distress call. I heard him say something regarding lack of supplies.”, Futu said.

 “Yes, he did. Did I hear the name Richards?”, Stimpy said.

 “Yes. I could make that out, no question.”, Dispatch said.

 “Hearing Richard’s name again doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. What did he say Richards was doing?”, Futu asked.
“He mentioned Richards left with a squad to find something.”, Dispatch said.

 “Were we able to locate the source of the transmission.”, Stimpy asked.

 “No, sir. It was too short. Very weak and broken.”, Dispatch said.

 “I heard the name Rick. Sounded as if he was in real trouble. Anyone ever hear that call sign before today?”, Stimpy said.

Both Futu and Dispatch shook their head.

 “Do you think you can get this Rick guy back on the radio? We need more information.”, Futu asked.

 “What was he telling us regarding his supplies? You think our sponsor maybe able to shed light on the matter?”, a puzzled Stimpy said

“We can try. It is a new relationship. Reggie is not an easy read. He may not be in the sharing mood.”, Futu said.

As Dispatch, tried to get Rick on the radio with no success, Stimpy walked toward the radio. Futu had left Dispatch heading back to his office to make his call to Reggie.

“Dispatch let me send a transmission in the blind. His radio might receive transmissions. It sounded as if he needed to hear another person’s voice.”, Stimpy said.

      “I am Commander Stimpy with DOW on WTF base transmitting in the blind. Rick, we received your transmission. We too are facing challenges. Sometimes the situation seems bleak, but we must not waiver. A twentieth century American General said there is no substitute for Victory. It must resolve us to carry on our Clan’s tradition of adapting to situations and overcoming challenges. Keep the faith, Rick, Keep the faith.”, Stimpy said.

 “Wow, that was great, sir. I hope he heard it.”, Dispatch said.

 “Well, a good pep-talk never hurt. If you get a response to my transmission, let me know. I’m heading back to my office. You can reach me there if you need me.”

 “Yes, sir. If I hear from him again, I will call you.”

Stimpy smiled with two thumbs up, then exited Dispatch heading back to his office.

Futu entered his office and shut the door behind him. Futu sat in his chair sighing, “I hope this goes well.” He dialed Reggie’s number, listening to the communicator buzz in his ear.
“Hello Futu.”, Reggie said.

 “Hello Reggie. I wanted to check in with you to see if we might share information.”, Futu said.

“I guess that depends on what information you want shared?”

“We received a radio transmission from an unknown source a few minutes ago. The transmission alluded to an attack and the lack of supplies. The transmission mentioned a Commander named Richards. Is there any information you can share with us? We have concerns.”

“I guess you deserve to know what is happening. The Trade Federation is conducting a strike. They want to renegotiate their agreement with the corporations. I am assured they will reach an amiable agreement in a few more days. XTECH expected this move by them and have increased our supply levels to sustain our Proxy Clans for several months.”

 “We are gun shy here, Reggie. Our last Clan Leader kept us like a mushroom, covered with crap and kept in the dark. We need transparency, and we need you to keep us informed if any problems arise. For now, we are good. Just remember, we work better in the light.”

“You and your Clan are fine. There will be no problems that we can’t fix.”

“I hope so. I got my Clan into this and I don’t want to tell them we may have supply problems.”

“Nothing will go wrong, Futu. We’ve been working to get you guys for a while and we will not endanger our relationship.”

“What should we think about this transmission?”

 “I’ll check it out, but it sounds as if the poor bastard got hooked up with the wrong people. You’ve heard the stories about Richards. He’d cut your throat if it involved money. You guys have proven yourselves. We will prove ourselves to you. You have nice digs, right? Plenty of parts and supplies, not to mention four Hangar Ships. We have done everything we promised. There will be no mushrooms on WTF.”

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Is There Romance in the Air

After breakfast, Christopher gathered everyone together. “We are going shopping today. When we get to town Natalie and Bryan will drop us off at the Mall, then take overwatch sniper positions on her house’s roof. Maintain radio silence until a target is spotted. Once in position, radio us. When we have completed clothes shopping, we will radio for extraction. When we call, Natalie will collect her winter coats, then Natalie and Bryan will pick us up. Next stop will be Bryan’s house. Bryan, you need to be in and out with your clothes in fifteen minutes. The dealership will be our next stop. Bryan and Sylvia will select two trucks with sides. We will take hoses, funnels and buckets to siphon enough gas to get them back to the house. Chances are the refueling points will be empty, but we’ll check them, anyway. If we find a refueling point with fuel, we will fill the trucks and the bulk tank in Natalie’s truck. Minimum time on the ground without oversight. Questions anyone?”

Bud raised his hand, “Can I get red winter pants? I have never had red pants.”

Christopher nodded his head, “Red pants it is young man. Even if there are no red pants, we will dye them red for you. Any more questions before we leave?”

Bud raised his hand again, “Do I get to burn any trucks or mobiles?”

“Sorry big guy, not this time.”

Natalie dropped them off at the mall and then headed to her house to set up the overwatch with Bryan. Sylvia and Claudia checked out the girl and teen shops. Christopher and Bud checked out the boy’s stores. Three hours later, with half the mall stacked by the front door, they had everything on the list. Christopher radioed, “Overwatch were are ready.”

Natalie radioed, “Roger, ETA twenty minutes to your location.”

After they loaded the truck, they headed to the dealership. Natalie took overwatch as Sylvia and Bryan picked out two trucks. Christopher and Bud teamed up to siphoned fuel, as did Sylvia and Claudia and Bryan. After they siphoned as much fuel as possible, Natalie was called down from her observation point.

Sylvia and Natalie checked out fueling points while Bryan drove to his house. He was on schedule, in and out, in less than fifteen minutes. They found two refueling points with fuel. After all the trucks were full, they headed to the house.

As they were traveling, Bud let everyone know he was now the proud owner of red pants, big ones. Sylvia stared at Christopher as Bud kept bragging about his red pants.

Christopher shrugged his shoulders, “He insisted on wearing one pair home. What could I say?”

They unloaded the truck and covered them. They ate a late lunch, then they were treated to a fashion show of the children’s new clothes. After dinner it was time to start the 1800-hour watch.

Natalie and Bryan came to Christopher, “Would it be alright if we watched together until 0100 hours?”

Christopher trying to look stern, “There needs to be total concentration out there. If you miss someone approaching, we all could die. You understand the seriousness of these watches?”

Bryan stepped forward, “We understand, sir. Natalie and I won’t let you down. We will either be behind our binoculars or our scopes. It helps to have company out there, sir. It can get lonely on watch.”

“No one is going to die on our watch, Christopher. We promise.” said Natalie.

Christopher appearing to be in deep thought, “It is worth a try. I’ll relief you both at 0100 hours. Remember, you promised not to let me down.

Natalie excited, gave Christopher a kiss on the cheek, “We won’t.”

They grabbed their binoculars, sniper rifles and helmets to start their watch.

Bud and Claudia were playing a board game at the kitchen table, while Sylvia and Christopher sat on the sofa in the front room. Sylvia turned toward Christopher, “So, Mr. Softy. First the red pants, then Bryan and Natalie. You are on a roll today. My money says Bud sleeps in those red pants tonight.”

“If he does, it’s fine with me. He’s seven. Sleeping in your pants is a rite of passage, right? Since we are discussing expectations, I was very disappointed not seeing you in the fashion show. I didn’t take you for the shy type.”

Sylvia leaned over to Christopher and stroked his face, “You still have more cards to play soldier. If you play them correctly, you may get a private fashion show.”

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Christopher Recovers from his Wounds

Once Christopher was on the exam table, she cut his shirt off for a better look at the severity of the wound. As she removed his shirt, she noticed the scars from Christopher’s shrapnel wounds he had accumulated over the years as a fighter pilot, “Well, it explains why you’re not in severe shock. The experience is nothing new to you.”

Christopher talked, but Sylvia cut him off, “You lay back and be quiet. I have work to do. You’re distracting me with your tongue flapping. This shot is a local anesthesia, but you may still have slight pain.” As Sylvia was digging the bullet out of his shoulder, a single shot rang out from the fighting positions. Sylvia put her forearm across Christopher’s chest.

“All we need to know is whether the shot was out going or in coming?”

Christopher looking at Sylvia, “It was outgoing.”

“Stay still then.”

After Sylvia removed the bullet, she bandaged and put his shoulder into a sling and administered a shot to help fight infection. Christopher now setting on the edge of the exam table, “I need to check on Bryan and Natalie.”

“Fine, take these crutches. I don’t want those stitches torn open.”

As Christopher walked out of the exam room, he was greeted by Bud and Claudia. Bud hugged his leg, “You ok Christopher?”

Christopher looked at Bud hugging his leg, I’m fine Bud it was just a scratch. You and Claudia stay here with Sylvia. I’m going to check on Bryan and Natalie. I’ll be right back.”

Christopher radioed, “Bryan, Natalie. I’m coming back to the fighting positions. Don’t shoot me and stay down. No need to give them a clear shot after surviving that battle.”

Natalie radioed. “One tried, but didn’t get the chance. I took him out quickly.”

Christopher radioed, “That’s my girl. Keep those heads down and eyes open.”

When he arrived at his fighting position, he scanned the battle line. Nothing was seen, even on infrared. He radioed, “Anyone coming down from the adrenaline rush yet?”

No response.

Christopher clicked his radio, “OK, you two can keep each other company for the rest of the night. Increase your scans with infrared scopes from the front to each side. If someone eludes your scans and tries to flank us, you can catch them when you scan to the side. Make your scans smooth but quick. Scan from the sides first, moving to the front. Understood?”

Natalie radioed, “Acknowledged.”

Bryan radioed, “Acknowledged, sir.”

Christopher radioed, “Sylvia or myself will be out at the top of every hour with snacks, coffee and breakfast tea. We’ll radio before we come out. No radio call, shoot first, ask questions later. I’ll be back at the top of the hour.”

As he entered the cave, Sylvia helped him to the kitchen table, “Now you ready for bed?”

Christopher looked at Sylvia, “It will be light in a few hours, Natalie and Bryan are pumped up on adrenaline and won’t be able to sleep for two days. I need to make sure they are fine until daybreak. We will detect aggressors better during the day. I told them I would bring out snacks and coffee and breakfast tea for Natalie at the top of every hour. I also told them if they don’t get a radio call and they see someone they were to shoot and ask questions later.”

Sylvia sitting at the table, “In that case I’ll let you go. If they shoot me, there won’t be anyone to patch me back together.”

Christopher chuckling, “You have a point there.”

Sylvia set the timer on the range and got a deck of cards from a cabinet drawer, “Ginn Rummy, 500-point game?”

“No strip poker?”

“We’ve only been through one battle. What kind of girl do you think I am?”

Christopher laughed out loud.

“Quiet, you’ll wake the children.”

Ginn Rummy and shuttling food and drink to the fighting positions kept them going through the night.

When the sun was above the horizon. Christopher sent Natalie and Bryan to get their rest. They would be on watch tonight. After Bud and Claudia had their breakfast, Sylvia brought them out to start their game of finding people playing hide and go seek. After the kids were in place, Sylvia stared at Christopher, “Its daylight. Time for you to hit the rack soldier.”

“I have pulled an all-nighter before.”

“Not with a bullet wound. I’ve had much more all-nighters than you can imagine. I spent three of my five-years as a nurse pulling double shifts. You are going to bed for the next few days. I’ll wake you for lunch.

Christopher hearing her logic could not argue with her. At lunch Sylvia came into Christopher’s room with hot soup and pain pills, “You’re going to need both. Pills first, then the soup.”

As Christopher tried to sit up, pain shot through his shoulder. The pain pills were the first thing he reached for. Looking at Sylvia, “How are our game players doing?”

“They’re doing fine. Bud is upset, there is no one playing today. I told him to keep watching, it was early yet for hide and seekers to be playing. Bryan and Natalie are awake. They have been asking about you. Natalie volunteered to make you dinner. So, I will get my sleep after your finished with lunch. In four hours, I’ll check in on you and give you your meds. Bryan has instructions concerning any efforts you may make to get out of bed. If you don’t want a poke in your shoulder, stay in bed.

“I’ll be a good patient Nurse Sylvia. Don’t worry.”

“Good, it’s time for you and I to get some sleep. I’ll check in on you later. Good night.”

Before Christopher knew it, Natalie brought in dinner. It was soup and more medication.

“No steak? I like steak for dinner.”

Natalie looking at him, “Only soup for the next day or two, Sylvia orders. When your healed you can have steak.”

“How are the scans going? Any movement in town?”

“They’ve seen no one all day. It seems like the town emptied overnight. Bryan and I will scan for any lights tonight.”

“Make your scans 180 degrees. Start by facing the town, then to the other side of the mountain. We don’t want them to seek up on us from behind.”

“I’ll let Bryan know. See you in the morning.”

Christopher laid back and went to sleep. Sylvia came in at 2100 hours, 0100 hours, 0500 hours giving him his medicine. At 0900 hours she had breakfast and more medication.

“How’s the pain this morning?”

“It’s still there, if that is what you’re asking. When did I get the I.V.?”

“The same time I hooked you up to the heart monitor.”

Christopher looked around, seeing the heart monitor and the I. V. bag hanging by the bed.

“You’ve been a busy little nurse. How are the kids doing?”

“They are doing fine. Bud keeps asking how you are doing. You have become quite the father figure to him, you know.”

“He helped me a lot as well. He is a special young man. Any more movement in town?”

It’s been quiet for over thirty-six hours. The odor from the bodies is getting worse in the scorching sun. The bodies are already attracting scavenger birds. Bryan and I are going to burn the field today.

“No, you’re not. I can help Bryan. Remember, if you get shot there’s no one to put you back together. Besides, it won’t take long. I will stay in bed for as long as you want me to after we finish. Natalie can stand watch and you can keep Claudia and Bud in the house. Deal?”

“One hour only. No more.”

Christopher and Bryan burned bodies and mobiles, making the scene look as if it was a military strike. The fires burned well into the night.

For the next seven days Christopher rested while the others-maintained watch over the countryside and him. On the eighth day, Sylvia let Christopher take his meals at the table having conversations with everyone. Spirits were high. Weeks soon turned into months with no one in sight.

 Christopher felt a chill in the air. It would be winter soon and the younger ones could not maintain their watch, nor was their food supply infinite. Soon they will need to hunt and gather to survive. Their supply of sugar and flour and canned goods would last 12 months or longer, depending on what they could gather before winter. But there were bigger matters to address today. Bud’s seventh birthday party.

Christopher had gathered decorations for the party before they left town. Along with the decorations, Bud’s Seventh birthday party had noise makers, cake and Ice cream for everyone. Bud was having a great time. After the party, Christopher couldn’t see Bud. He searched outside first, then went to his room where he found him crying.

“Hey, Bud. First birthday without your parents is the toughest. My first birthday without my family was really tough too. From that point forward, I kept my friends close. I still miss them, but I have Natalie, Bryan, Claudia, Sylvia and you. You’re my best friend ever.”

Bud whimpering, peered up at Christopher, “Your best friend ever?”

Christopher nodded, “Best friend ever.”

Bud gave Christopher an enormous hug, “You’re my best friend ever too Christopher.”

They spent the next hour playing and talking in Bud’s room.

As they emerged from his room, they found Sylvia in the front room reading.

Christopher looking at Bud, “Let’s find the others. it’s a pretty day outside to play. You find them and I’ll be out in a minute.”

“OK, see you in a few minutes Christopher.”

As Bud ran out the front door Sylvia looked at Christopher, “He’s missing his family?”

“It’s his first birthday without them. He took it pretty hard, but I think he is going to be OK.”

“The younger you are, the faster you get over tragedy. He has you now.”

“He has all of us now. We’re his adopted family.”

“You know, for a battle-hardened warrior, you have a soft spot there in the middle of your chest.”

“Bud reminds me of the childhood I didn’t have. I’ll make sure he and Claudia have the childhood they deserve. It may not be ideal, but they will have a childhood.”

“We both can work on that project. Let’s check on the children.”

Sylvia and Christopher walked out the front door to see Bud and Claudia playing. Natalie and Bryan were sitting back-to-back, scanning the countryside and talking to one another. Sitting in the grass, Christopher and Sylvia started talking as they watched the children.

As Christopher looked over the countryside, “Winter is just around the corner. Do the children need more clothes?”

“They will, Bud and Claudia are not getting smaller. They will need coats, shirts, pants and shoes. Bryan and Natalie are at the slow growth stage. They need to get their winter clothes from their house. I’ll make a list of clothes they will need. Tomorrow we could go to town and pickup clothes for Bud and Claudia. I haven’t been shopping for a long time. I could use a few things myself and you definitely need more clothes. We may need more party supplies too. Blue streamers and balloons are not the birthday decorations Claudia or Natalie would want for their birthday.”

 “You are probably right on the color selection. We’ll look for more decorations too. We’ll need hunting equipment and two or three freezers to hold the meat. Water is not an issue, but we need to consider growing vegetables and fruits. We’ll go to the nursery and check out their selection. We’ll pick up another truck too.”

“Men, always thinking about vehicles.”

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Cry Havoc Chapter 10 excerpts

Arriving at the Engineering Department, he found Vendetta talking with Bill.

As Warlord approached, “Hello. You must be Vendetta. I am Warlord, one of the Walking Pilot training officers.”

“Your here to take Vendetta away from me?” asked Bill.

“That’s the plan.” said Warlord.

Vendetta turned toward Warlord, “Good day, sir. I am pleased to meet you.”

“Are you ready to get to work?”

“Yes, Sir.

Glad to hear his enthusiasm, “Let’s do a quick tour of the Clan’s operations and training facilities.”

“Sounds good to me, sir.”

As they walked, Warlord introduced him to every Clan member he saw as he pointed out prominent buildings such as the Operations building, the bar and grille frequented by the Clan, Vendetta’s living quarters and the mess hall the Clan used. He showed Vendetta the simulator building and last but not least the Training building. As they entered, Warlord pointed out the various offices along the way to the eventual destination of the personnel office.

“This is personnel, where you’ll officially become a Clan member and a Walking Pilot. Here you’ll fill out your payroll, personal and contact information. Training starts tomorrow. You need to report to training at 0600 hours. Breakfast starts at 0500 hours for Clan members. I’ll give you a training schedule every day. One day we will train in the simulator. Other days you’ll be in the field. Training there is more realistic. We use live ammo and the other side shoots back. People refer to it as combat. Stay here a minute.” said Warlord.

He turned and retreated into his office. Upon his return he had three enormous books Vendetta imagined weighing 50 pounds each.

Warlord gave them to Vendetta, “Here are your study manuals for the Mars, Hermes, and Aragorn. These are the three bots we train in the simulator. Training in other bots will be conducted in the field. Memorize the systems of each bot and what each emergency enunciator light means by 0600 hours tomorrow. There’s only 40 enunciator lights on Aragon, 53 on the Hermes and 81 on the MARS.” Warlord saw Vendetta’s eyes getting bigger and bigger the longer he talked.

“It’s drinking from a fire hose. So, open wide and hold on. I’ll see you at 0600 hours. Oh. by the way the mess hall opens for lunch in 15 minutes. It might be a good time to feed your body while you are feeding your brain.” said Warlord.

He then disappeared into his office and shut his door. Vendetta standing in the hall entered the personnel office to complete his paperwork. Then, as Warlord suggested, he headed toward the mess hall for lunch. As Vendetta walked, clinging to his manuals, he kept thinking to himself, “How did I get here?”

Once he arrived, he placed the enormous books on a table he wanted to sit at, then left to choose his food. Shortly after returning, Fuqit and Achilles sat beside Vendetta.

“It looks as if someone is hooking up to Warlords fire hose.” Fuqit said.

Achilles looking questionably at his friend, “Don’t pay mind to him. I spend each solar day not listening to a thing he says. Warlord isn’t that hard to please. The only thing he checks is your judgment. If it’s good, you will get along just fine.”

Vendetta, peering up at Fuqit and Achilles as he ate, looked puzzled. Seeing Vendetta’s confusion with them, “You must be the Beacon Boy?” said Fuqit.

Vendetta taken aback, “Beacon Boy?”

Achilles while looking at Vendetta’s food and scooping potatoes from Vendetta’s tray with his finger, “Yeah, the Pilot Emergency Locator Beacon that Futu picked off the asteroid. You were the one in it, right?”

Vendetta cringed at Achille’s table manners, “Gentlemen, you have me at a disadvantage. You know my name, but I do not know yours.”

“Sorry, we’re not big on manners. I’m Achilles. This is my friend, with little to no couth, Fuqit. Welcome to the Dogs.”

“It’s good to meet you and Fuqit. I’m Vendetta.

“Did your mother give you that name?” asked Fuqit.

“Don’t pay mind to him he has Terete Syndrome. Is that your call sign, Vendetta?” asked Achilles.

Vendetta becoming even more concerned for his personal safety, “Yes. I got it from an old Earth movie called V for Vendetta.”

As Achilles was about to speak, Deer Hunter and Russ sat at the table. As they took their seat, Deer Hunter and Russ introduced themselves.

“You’re the new guy?” asked Deer Hunter.

“Yes, I am.” said Vendetta.

“So, what is your call sign?” asked Russ.

      “It’s Vendetta.” said Vendetta.

“I’ll call you V.”

As Vendetta was wondering what planet these guys came from, 2B sat at the
table.

 2B, talking to the Commanders, “Ok, you poor excuses for living organisms, cut Vendetta some slack. He developed and designed the Cryo-unit at headquarters being combed over by their engineers. From what I hear, they are still scratching their heads. He helped Bill in engineering to develop a prototype for a scanner to reveal stealth fighters and Hangars Ships. You can hold off on the wise cracks until he knows who he is dealing with.”

“All I wanted to do is study for training tomorrow.” Vendetta said.

Deer Hunter leaned over to Vendetta, “red, means shut down as soon as possible, yellow, means shutdown as soon as practical. Warlord isn’t expecting you to know each one. Make sure you know what a red and yellow light mean. Know the systems on the bots and the emergency procedures for each enunciator light. There’re similarities in the three. Eat your food and get the hell out of here. This area, with these guys present, isn’t conducive for study.”

Vendetta took Deer Hunter’s suggestion. Saying nothing, he ate his food and left to go back to his room. Vendetta remembered Deer Hunter’s advice concerning the meaning of red and yellow enunciators lights. While studying the different systems, he looked for similarities in each. By 0200 hours, he felt good about his knowledge of the three bots and set his alarm for three hours later.

The entire night, he dreamed of red and yellow lights.

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The Next Night

As the mobiles sped away Christopher radioed, “You can leave your fighting positions.”

Bud was excited jumping and running around, “We showed them.”

Christopher shaking his head, “We did. I hope that was their entire group, and not part of a larger one. They will lick their wounds for a day or two, perhaps. We’ll eat dinner here close to our fighting position in case they’re more vengeful than scared.”

“Bud, Claudia. Come with me. We’ll make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone with cookies and milk.” said Sylvia.

“I’ll help too.” said Natalie.

“It looks like you and me, Bryan. You did well today.” said Christopher.

I’ve killed no one before today. I just made believe it was a video game. That far away it didn’t seem real, but it was, wasn’t it. said Bryan.

“Bryan, there’s honor in protecting your family. If you didn’t kill them, they would have killed you along with the rest of us as well. Grab your binoculars. We need to monitor these scavengers.” said Christopher.

In the kitchen, Natalie and Sylvia were making sandwiches as Bud and Claudia were filling one carafe with milk and another with coffee.

Sylvia could see Natalie shaking as she spread the peanut butter.

Sylvia put her hand on Natalie’s arm, “It’s going to be alright, dear. You did it to protect us all. Chances are you will have to do it again. Just think of Claudia and Bud when you are shooting. They’re worth protecting and yourself. You have more life to live, don’t let the scavengers end it. We are in control of our destiny. Not them.”

Natalie wiped away a tear, “I know you are right, Sylvia. I will be strong for everyone. That’s what women do best. We stay strong for our family.”

Sylvia put her arm around Natalie and gave her a hug, “That’s right my dear, we stay strong for our family. Now, let’s have a picnic with Christopher and Bryan.”

With a blanket on the ground, they ate their sandwiches and cookies, drank their milk and coffee close to the fighting positions., having a grand time.

The town was buzzing with activity, but calmed after midnight.

Bud and Claudia took their positions at 0700 hours to monitor the town. A picnic lunch was prepared, with sandwiches, potato chips and soda. Christopher asked Claudia what they had been seeing in town. Claudia reported mobiles moving all over town, but that was it. Christopher thought there’s something going to happen and happen soon. Christopher, after lunch, told Bud and Claudia to radio if anyone or anything heads toward the mountain.

Back in the cave, Christopher had a more serious conversation, “We may have visitors tonight. Natalie, Bryan, Sylvia. I need you all to get some rest before nightfall. If nothing else, just lay in your bed with your eyes closed until your watch. If they come tonight, whoever is here will bring Bud and Claudia to their fighting position. We don’t want them running around if they hear gunfire. They will be safer in their fighting position. If we work together as we did yesterday, we’ll be fine. Since I have the last watch, I’ll stay with the kids until I’m relieved. The rest of you get some rest.”

Christopher put on his helmet and headed toward Bud and Claudia.

After Christopher left, Sylvia turned to Natalie and Bryan, “Christopher has a good plan. Let’s get some rest. Set your alarms for your watch times. I’ll turn the base radio up so we can hear if they need us.”

They went to their rooms to rest as best they could.

At 1800 hours Natalie relieved the children and Christopher. Two hours into her watch, she noticed convoys of five to ten mobiles leaving town, but heading away from them. There were mobile lights moving everywhere.

Bryan started his watch at 2100 hours. He to saw mobiles leaving town, but two hours into his watch twenty mobiles gathered facing toward the mountain. He watched as they formed two lines of ten and started toward his location.

Bryan radioed, “Alert, Alert. Twenty mobiles heading this way. Alert, Alert.”

Soon everyone was in their fighting positions. While the twenty mobiles raced toward the mountain, Christopher reminded everyone of the night fighting plan. When the mobiles hit the barbed wire, the concrete post stopped all but five mobiles. After hitting the concrete posts, scavengers got out of their mobiles. Christopher ignited the first row of napalm. Lighting up the entire area with flames.

Christopher radioed, “Take out the windshields.”

Shots rang out, shattering glass in the five mobiles. Christopher then ignited the second row, setting the mobiles and some occupants on fire. The mobiles stopped and their occupants fled the burning cars.

Christopher then radioed, “Automatic weapons and flares.”

As machine gun and automatic rifle fire rang out, flares illuminated the area. After ten minutes there was no detectable movement.

Christopher radioed, “Cease fire and stop flares. Scopes to infrared. Call out targets”

The scans revealed 15 hiding in the tall grass. Christopher radioed, “You know what to do, call your targets.”

Targets were called out and shots hit their mark. Soon five more were killed. The remaining ten sprang up, running toward town. Christopher radioed, “Flares and automatic weapons.”

When the ten fell, Christopher called for a cease fire. He then took his binoculars and switched to infrared. There were some heat signatures, but they were fading. He radioed, “Any one hurt? I need a casualty report.”

Natalie radioed, “Just a few scratches.”

Bryan radioed, “A bullet grazed me but I’m OK.”

Sylvia radioed, “Everyone here is fine.”

Christopher radioed, “Sylvia, check them out. Leave Bud and Claudia in the fighting position. Put your scopes on infrared and scan the battlefield. Sylvia will be there soon.”

Sylvia checked out Bryan, Natalie, then Christopher. When Sylvia entered Christopher’s fighting position, she found him leaning on the wall with a gunshot wound to his left shoulder. “Can you walk?” asked Sylvia.

“I can walk.” said Christopher.

Sylvia radioed, “Bud, Claudia back to the house. Natalie, Bryan, be vigilant. I’m taking Christopher back to the house.”

Natalie radioed, “Is he alright?”

Sylvia radioed, “He’ll be fine. He needs a larger bandage. Keep us safe, you two.”

Bryan radioed, “Will do. It’s clear to go.”

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Is Anyone Out There?

They’d been moving everything they needed to the cave for the past three weeks. Today was the last trip. Once the vehicles were unloaded, Christopher and Bud backed the trucks down the side of the mountain at various points. The mobile was positioned on the crest of the mountain. After they repositioned everything, Bud had the distinct honor of lighting each one on fire, even the mobile.

As the four vehicles burned, Christopher sat in the tall grass with Bud on his shoulders eating candy, watching the thick black smoke billow up into the blue sky.

Christopher with the help of Bryan and Natalie, had over the last twenty-one days, wired the cave with the cold fusion generator producing enough electrical current to run a water heater, washer, dryer, and pumps for two baths with tub shower combinations. They equipped the kitchen with an electric range, five coolers with an ice maker, lower cabinets with a concrete countertop with a cave wall back splash and double sink. The cave floor was poured concrete to the drop off. Bedrooms were constructed on either side of the cavern to include a medical room. A large plastic covering spray painted camouflage to cover the cave entrance was made and put into place.

Claudia and Bud would scan for anyone playing hide and seek from the burned our mobile on the ridgeline. From their vantage point, they could see many kilometers in any direction. During the night Bryan, Natalie and Christopher took turns standing watch.

Another three weeks had passed since their arrival with no sign of any life. Once the front of the cave was closed in, Christopher, Natalie and Bryan alternating with Sylvia patrolled along the ridgeline in search of animal and plant life. They found abundant animal life and a variety of plants and trees to provide an additional food source. As the weeks passed, they were asking themselves, “Is there anyone out there?”

On the eleventh week, their question was answered. Five mobiles carrying scavengers pulled into town. Christopher watched them for two weeks as they moved from store to store and house to house, taking what they wanted. Two weeks later, another convoy of three mobiles carrying scavengers entered the town. They were not warmly greeted.

Christopher watched fire fights over territorial claims of stores and houses for many weeks. Before long there were, by Christopher’s estimation, one hundred scavengers from distinct groups claiming sections of the town.

It was time to ready their defenses they had in place. Fighting positions along the ridgeline were stocked with ammunition and grenades taken from the police station. Barbed wire fencing with concrete parking bumpers as post, had been strung below the top of the tall grass for one hundred meters further up the slope from the third truck. They also rigged flash-bang grenades in each of the staged trucks. Christopher designed the booby-traps, barbed wire and bumpers to slow them down long enough for sniper rounds to kill as many as possible. Natalie and Bryan had proven themselves to be quite the marksman, capable of hitting a paper plate from five hundred meters. After the barbed wire, Christopher buried thirty barrels, staggered in two rows along the one-hundred-meter defensive line. Each of the thirty barrels had a flash-bang grenade sealed into the bottom of the barrel, then filled with hydraulic fluid. Wires running back to Christopher’s fighting position enabled him to ignite the barrels spewing a fire ball of home-made napalm.

As the fighting increased in town. Christopher knew a weak group would try to escape over the mountain or the strongest group would want to explore the other side of the mountain for more resources.

The next day at 1300 hours Bud and Claudia radioed five mobiles were coming from town heading for the mountain. Christopher, Natalie, Bryan and Sylvia ran to their fighting positions. Christopher, Natalie, and Bryan had sniper rifles with night-vision scopes and automatic rifles in their fighting positions. Sylvia along with Bud and Claudia manned a machine gun. They watched as the mobiles moved up the slope. They drove by the first truck, staged at five hundred meters. As the mobiles progressed, they stopped at the second truck to investigate. Their first mistake.

The second truck, positioned at three hundred and fifty meters, afforded an excellent distance for them to snipe their enemy. Christopher radioed, “Call out your targets.”

Four people from a mobile got out and moved toward the truck. Natalie and Bryan called out their targets. Christopher would clean up the remaining two. As the four reached the truck Christopher radioed, “Now.”

Three shots were fired with the sound of one. Three of the four fell, followed shortly by the fourth. All now dead on the ground.

Then they made their second mistake. Each of the four remaining mobiles emptied and took cover in the tall grass. Christopher, seeing their lack of tactics, radioed, “Hold fire. If they move forward, we can reengage.”

After ten minutes, the confused group sent eight back to the first truck as the other eight moved toward the third truck. Christopher then instructed Natalie and Bryan to select their targets and be ready when he called. He radioed Sylvia to fire one shot from her pistol on his mark.

As the eight approached the first truck, he radioed, “Targets selected?”

Natalie and Bryan confirmed their targets.

Then Christopher radioed, “Now Sylvia.”

When the pistol shot rang out, all the scavengers stopped. Three dropped immediately by the truck. With the scavengers separated and in the open, Christopher instructed Natalie and Bryan to fire when a target appeared. Natalie handled targets on the right side of the first truck. Bryan had responsibility for targets on the left. In less than three minutes, two more scavengers fell victim to Natalie and Bryan. Within 10 minutes, eight bodies laid dead as they tried to make it back to the others.

As bullets zipped over their heads, the eight trying to make their way to the third truck were panicking. After the gunfire stopped, they thought it was ok to move back to their mobiles. There was their third mistake. Christopher, Natalie and Bryan took out another three as the remaining five ran as fast as they could back to the second truck. They each jumped into a mobile and sped away back to town. The engagement was over in less than thirty minutes.

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Introduction to Cry Havoc

First book in my sci-fi series A saga of Dogs of War-A Story of Mercenaries

   In the year 2166, corruption and the lack of faith in government grew. The people revolted. As a result, six large multi-national corporations, employing over half the world’s population, joined in a campaign with the help of celebrities, news and social media to overthrow the government.

The corporations declared themselves sovereign corporate nations. They abolished militaries and police forces. Making the only acceptable forms of payment Platinum, Gold or Silver credits instead of paper and coins.

The six individual nations, referred to as the Big-Six, closed their borders along with other measures. This resulted in minor disputes escalating into deadly conflicts between security forces.

They ignored the environment, which set into motion a cataclysmic event of constant earthquakes and volcanic eruption. As these events increased, the Big-Six began its search for a new home.

Each of the Big-Six explored Mars for areas to build their corporate colonies. A race to colonize began. XTECH and SME, were the first two corporations to reach Mars with their Artificial Relocation Communities (ARC) in 2175.

Boom Associates in early 2175, sent teams of surveyors, engineers and laborers to Mars. However, they never reached their destination because of faulty navigation sensors landing them in one of the harshest areas of Mars. Their colonies were built underground to escape the harsh environment. They moved to Mars four years later.

Virtual Visions, Inc. with expertise in virtual reality-based software and Space Enviro LTD. with skill in environmental design, settled on Phobos the larger of Mar’s two moons in 2179.

Enceladus Services, a venture capital and investment firm, settled on the moon Deimos that same year.

Dissidents fled and created Free Towns because of the oppressive rules of the Bix Six. Free Towns were lawless areas the corporations tolerated. To prevent the conflicts of the past, a Trade Federation was created. This new entity would be the middleman for the Big-Six. It took orders, made deliveries, and collected payment. A commission was charged for each transaction.

The Big-Six grew on Earth through power and influence, their presence on Mars did not quench their thirst. To grow their power and influence, they secretly sponsored Proxy Clans to conduct their covert activities. They recruited Proxy Clans from Free Towns across Mars and its two moons.

Through the Trade Federation, they supplied their Clans with Battle Robots, Hangar Ships to transport the Clan and bases from which to conduct their operations. Each Clan was paid a commission from the proceeds of raids they conducted on other corporations and smugglers.

Mercenary Proxy Clans where an absolute monarchy. As in ancient times, the Clan leaders ruled with absolute authority and absolute power. Clan Leaders who oppressed its Clan members with oppressive rules and fewer commissions led to Break-off Clans and Independent Mercenary groups.

Independent Mercenaries worked in small groups of two or three. They associated themselves with smugglers, who contracted them to deliver a wide variety of goods to their clients from Platinum to Gold or Silver and rare artifacts left behind on Earth. They lived on Earth in their Battle Robots, or in small shelters. Their life was hard, but profitable.

One Break-off Clan dedicated to the Warrior Code, predicated on an ancient belief of Honor, Dedication and Glory emerged. 

Here is their story as they embarked on their journey sixty years after the cataclysm ravaged Earth.

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Life Lesson # 41

The Cat, the Cock, and the Young Mouse

A very young Mouse, who had never seen anything of the world, almost came to grief the very first time he ventured out. And this is the story he told his mother about his adventures.

“I was strolling along very peaceably when, just as I turned the corner into the next yard, I saw two strange creatures. One of them had a very kind and gracious look, but the other was the most fearful monster you can imagine. You should have seen him.

“On top of his head and in front of his neck hung pieces of raw red meat. He walked about restlessly, tearing up the ground with his toes, and beating his arms savagely against his sides. The moment he caught sight of me he opened his pointed mouth as if to swallow me, and then he let out a piercing roar that frightened me almost to death.”

Can you guess who it was that our young Mouse was trying to describe to his mother? It was nobody but the Barnyard Cock and the first one the little Mouse had ever seen.

“If it had not been for that terrible monster,” the Mouse went on, “I should have made the acquaintance of the pretty creature, who looked so good and gentle. He had thick, velvety fur, a meek face, and a look that was very modest, though his eyes were bright and shining. As he looked at me he waved his fine long tail and smiled.

“I am sure he was just about to speak to me when the monster I have told you about let out a screaming yell, and I ran for my life.”

“My son,” said the Mother Mouse, “that gentle creature you saw was none other than the Cat. Under his kindly appearance, he bears a grudge against every one of us. The other was nothing but a bird who wouldn’t harm you in the least. As for the Cat, he eats us. So be thankful, my child, that you escaped with your life, and, as long as you live, never judge people by their looks.”

The Moral to the Story: Do not trust alone to outward appearances.

Fancy covers do not make a good book. So never judge a book by its cover.

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Time to Execute the Plan

For nine hours they scanned the town and roads. When darkness fell, everyone loaded into Bryan’s mobile. Bryan was driving. First, he dropped Natalie, Bud and Christopher at the dealership. From there, Bryan, his Aunt Sylvia and Claudia drove toward the hospital to collect medical supplies.

Christopher, Natalie and Bud found two medium flatbed trucks and drove them back to the Bryan’s house. When they reached Bryan’s house, they drove Natalie’s mobile back to the dealership for two more trucks.

As they drove back to the dealership, Christopher looked at Natalie. “We want two heavy-duty trucks with sides. We will leave your mobile at the dealership. You can pick out the color of the truck. The truck will be yours. We’ll keep it at our new home.”

“Can I have a truck too?” Bud asked.

“No, but I’ll let you set the other three on fire. What do you think?” Christopher said.

“Wow. I get to set three trucks on fire? Great, I can eat my candy while I watch them burn.” 

They reached the dealership and headed back to Bryan’s house with a blue truck for Natalie. Christopher let Bud pick a red truck to set on fire. When they reached the house, Christopher raised the garage door in search of tools. He removed the unnecessary seats and put them in the garage. While Bryan’s crew was at the hospital, Natalie’s crew hit the police station. They grabbed automatic weapons, ammo, vests, and night vision equipment. Next was the hardware store. Christopher gave each of them items from his list to take to the truck. After the hardware store was the grocery. While Christopher and Natalie worked on collecting items on their list. Bud filled his backpack with all the candy it could hold. He went to the truck, emptied the backpack and went back for more.

When he returned to help Natalie, she looked at him, “What took you so long? Your supposed to get your candy and then help me.”

Bud looked up at Natalie, “I had a hard time choosing what I wanted.”

“Yeah, right? Here’s a bag, put the cleaners on the shelves at the end of the counter in it. Can you do that?”

“I’ll do it. You could say please you know.”

“Please, go get the cleaner.”

Bud smiled and ran off with his bag.

By the time they finished with the grocery, it was midnight. As they pulled into the driveway, Bryan greeted them., “I see you made some purchases at the dealership.”

Christopher reached into the back of the truck and pulled out three-wheel-lock devices. Then looked toward Bryan, “Help Natalie get the seats out of the garage. Then pull in the loaded truck. We don’t want it outside tonight. Have you been scanning since you came home.?”

“Yes, I only saw the brake lights of the truck. There was no one else.”

“In the morning, take the bulbs out of the rear and front lights of the trucks. Then put them in the toolbox. Leave the bulbs in the truck you put in the garage”

As Christopher immobilized the three trucks on the street, Bryan and Natalie finished their tasks. Christopher carried Bud into the house and closed the garage door.

Holding Bud, he looked at Sylvia. “Who sleeps where?

“We each have our own room, but Tharon’s room is empty.”, Sylvia said.

“Natalie, can Bud sleep with you tonight? I will sleep on the sofa.”

Natalie took Bud, then looked at Sylvia, “Is there a bath in her room?”

“There is a bath in every bedroom. A powder room is by the front door, dear.” Sylvia said.

“Let’s get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.” Christopher said.

As Bryan and Natalie left the front room, Christopher turned to Sylvia, “Where you able to get everything?”

“There was much more there, but we loaded the car to the ceiling. The rear compartment is full too. I found a translator for Bud. I’ll implant it in the morning.”

“Good, I know the tape is bothering him it’s getting red.”

“It’s probably an allergic reaction to the prolong use of the tape. I have an ointment to clear-up the rash. I’ll put it on his ear after I administer the implant.

“We’ll unload the mobile tomorrow. Are there any large items you need?”

“An exam table and lights would be nice.”

“The table is fine, but we can’t afford the noise of a generator. Unless you know where a cold fusion device is to generate power?”

“The backup power supply at the hospital is cold fusion.”

“How large is it?” 

“I’d judge it to be two meters long and less than a meter in height.”

“Can you find your way back?”

“I’m sure I could. It has to be one of the taller buildings in town.”

“After we complete our scans tomorrow, you and I will look for the generator.”

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Making a Plan

The sounds of Bud and Natalie, in the kitchen, wakened Christopher. He rolled over to see the alarm clock glaring 0730 hours. He got up, dressed, then headed to the kitchen to find Natalie and Bud at the table eating their breakfast and talking.

“Good morning, sleepyhead.”, Bud said.

“Good morning, Bud, who took a nap yesterday. Why can’t you take a nap when you are with me.?”, Christopher asked.

“Natalie tells better stories. Yours are scary sometimes.”

Natalie stood up from the table, “My turn to make breakfast. Your usual?”

Christopher nodded, “But coffee first, please.”

After a few minutes Natalie brought Christopher a cup and a pot of coffee.

As he was drinking his coffee, “I ran into Bryan with a Y last night. Do you know him, his sister and aunt?”

“Wow. He is here? I knew he had a sister. She’s a few years older than Bud. He talked about an aunt, but I never met her.”, Natalie said.

“Can you find you way to his house?”

“By mobile it is not far. I drove to his house while I was learning to drive. We can take my father’s mobile.”

“After breakfast and we clean up, we need to see if we have anyone playing hide and seek. If we are clear, we can drive. How long would it take to walk?”

“His house is over five miles by road.”

“Let’s hope no one is playing this morning.”

After breakfast, with teeth brushed, Natalie and Bud took their positions. Christopher went to the roof’s peak. After an hour of scanning the town and roads leading into it. It was time to leave for Bryan’s house.

They loaded into the mobile in the garage. Natalie drove. At 1000 hours, they pulled into the driveway. Bryan met them at the front door.

“Natalie.”, Bryan said.

Natalie ran to him and gave him a hug, “Good to see you Bryan. I thought I was the only one left in town.”

Christopher glad to see Natalie was the right Natalie, “We need to get inside.”

Introductions were made. Claudia, Bryan’s nine-year-old sister, went to Bud, “You are a cute little boy.”

Bud visibly upset. Christopher warned, “Claudia, he is touchy about his age. You don’t want a fight on your hands.”

“Let’s just say he’ll be seven in six months.”, Natalie said.

They all were seated at the kitchen table with coffee, milk and cookies. Sylvia, Bryan’s aunt, told Christopher their story of the war and how scared everyone was. Tharon, Bryan’s mother kept begging her to come live with them since her husband Mark was killed a month ago in the war. She lived in the city and didn’t own a mobile. Bryan and Claudia drove to the city to bring her to town. When they saw the large aircraft, they hid under the canopy of a refueling point. They spent the night and the next few days. When they saw no aircraft, they quickly drove to the house. Arriving at the house three days ago.

Christopher listening to Sylvia’s account of their trip, “You said you lived in the city. What did you do there?”

“I was a nurse for one of the largest hospitals in the city. I worked in the trauma center.” Sylvia said.

Christopher looked at Natalie and Bryan. “You two get on the roof. Bud, give Bryan your binoculars. Each of you are to scan 180 degrees. If you see anyone, let us know.”

Natalie grabbed Bryan and headed to the roof, “Come on Bryan. I’ll show you how we find people playing hide and seek. “

Bud scowled at Christopher, “I can’t win the game if I’m down here.”

“I declare you the winner for today. You can have all the candy you can carry tonight.”

Bud hearing Christopher’s decree went back to playing with Claudia.

Sylvia put her hand on Christopher’s arm, “What is all the alarm about?”

Christopher looked at Sylvia with a stern face, “When supplies run out in the city and nearby towns, people are going to turn into scavengers. When scavengers can’t find what they need, they will take it by force. We only have a week, maybe two, before they come. We need to take what we can and move to higher ground. There we can protect ourselves.”

“Where do we go?”

“Bud and I have a place in the mountains. It provides everything we need. We start tonight gathering what we need. I need you to make a list of medical supplies. Do you drive?”

“Yes, I can. I haven’t driven in five years.”

“Bud, tell Bryan I need to talk to him.”

Bud grabbed Claudia’s hand and went upstairs to get Bryan.

When Bryan came into the kitchen, Christopher asked, “Have you spotted anyone on the road or lurking between houses?”

Bryan catching his breath, “No one. The town is deserted.”

“Do you know the location of a hospital and mobile dealership with medium trucks?”

“Sure. Why?”

“If we see nothing before nightfall, I need you to drive your Aunt Sylvia and Claudia to the hospital for supplies. Natalie, Bud, and I will go to the mobile dealership and get four trucks. Tell Natalie she is to take a lunch Break at 1130 hours. She’ll relieve you at 1200 hours. Then you can have lunch. When it’s dark, you’ll make the hospital run. Questions?”

“No, sir. Loud and clear.”

Sylvia, when you make out your medical list, get Bud a translator. I have been taping one to his ear the past week. Don’t ask me where I got it.

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Now there’s Three

After Bud’s account of Christopher’s acts of kindness toward him. Natalie put down her rifle, “I’m sorry, but when I saw the military rifle, I just freaked. I have been alone and scared for the past week. I guess I’m getting paranoid. Can you forgive me?”

Bud went to her and leaned his head on her hip. “I know I was scared too until I found Christopher under the rock. You won’t be scared anymore.”

Christopher stood, “Being paranoid during times like these is not necessarily a bad thing. What caliber is your rifle? Does it shoot bullets or is it a pulse rifle?”

Natalie put the rifle on the table, “I don’t know? I saw it in the store and thought I might scare the soldiers away. I don’t even know how to load it.”

Christopher picked up Bud, “I think Natalie could use a hug. You in?”

Bud nodded.

Christopher then looked at Natalie, “You in?”

Natalie lowered her head and fell into Christopher and Bud crying, holding on to them tightly.

After a few minutes she straightened and wiped away her tears, “I’m in.”

Christopher looked at Bud and then Natalie, “This calls for a celebration. I’ll get cookies and milk from the replicator and we will celebrate Natalie joining us.”

Natalie looked at Bud. “You’re right, I had candy in the bags. Would you like some? I always have candy when I eat cookies and drink milk.”

As Natalie and Bud finished the cookies and most of the candy, she took Bud upstairs to show him her brothers’ room where they played together for over an hour. While they played upstairs, Christopher took the map from his field pack, opening it onto the table to view the area on this side of the mountain. The map revealed towns thirty miles to the east and south, but nothing for some distance to the west and north.

 Glancing at the clock on the wall. He called out, “Bud, Natalie. I need you both to help me.”

As they came downstairs, “Bud, I need you and Natalie to see if there is anyone playing hide and seek. Did your father have binoculars, Natalie?”

Natalie said, “Yes, he used them to watch Felix play sports and watch birds. He kept them in his backpack. Do you want me to get them?”

“Yes. Bud, here are your binoculars.”

Natalie ran to her father’s room. She came back in the room, showing Christopher the binoculars, “Is this what you are looking for?”

Christopher looked at Natalie carrying the binoculars, “Just what the doctor ordered. Bud, can you show Natalie how we find hide and seekers with the binoculars.”  

“You bet. But when I win, I don’t want twenty pieces of hard candy. I want real candy.”, Bud said.

“Real candy it is. Natalie may give you some competition, so you better have a sharp eye out for anyone who is playing.”, Christopher said.

They went upstairs, where they were positioned by Christopher and given an area to scan. Christopher went to the roof’s peak. He wanted to if others were using the same store. Soon it was lunchtime. Christopher asked Natalie for his rifle and to fix Bud and herself some lunch. He continued to look for others as nightfall approached.

Christopher, back in the house, found Natalie and Bud on the sofa asleep, Natalie holding Bud. He gently nudged Natalie to wake her. Natalie slowly opened her eyes to see Christopher, “I’m sorry. We were just sitting here after lunch talking. Bud asked for a story and I guess we both fell asleep.”

“It’s fine. Both of you are tired. Can Bud sleep in your room tonight? He likes to wake up with someone close. I am getting dinner and then I’ll go back on the roof. Can I get on the roof from Felix’s room?”

Natalie holding Bud, “He can sleep with me in my room tonight. Felix’s window faces the other side of the house.”

“It will work. I’ll sleep in Felix’s room. After I get dinner, I’ll scan a few more hours. There must be others in this town.”

Natalie took Bud upstairs. Christopher ate a quick dinner and then went back on the roof. Hours passed. At midnight Christopher saw a young man darting between houses heading toward the store, but because of his angle of sight from the roof he lost him before he reached the store. He thought, “What the hell, I’m going for it.”

He slung the rifle on his back and headed to the store. When he reached the street, he ran at full speed. He entered the store and crouched behind a counter to listen. Something hit the floor. Christopher headed toward the sound slowly. There he saw a young man Natalie’s age filling a backpack with replicator packs. Christopher, with his hands in the air, walked around the end of the aisle, “Hello young man. My name is Christopher. I’m not here to harm you. What is your name?”

The young man, startled, spun around trying to run but fell to the floor with his backpack on top of him. Christopher stood still, “I saw you from Natalie and Felix’s house. Did you go to school with them?”

The young man surprised to hear Natalie’s and Felix’s name, “You know Natalie and her brother?”

“Felix was taken, but Natalie hid on the roof. Bud and I found Natalie and spent last night at her house.”

“Natalie is here?”

“Yes, she’s with Bud at the house now. Would you like to talk to her?”

“I need to get these packs to my aunt and my little sister, but yes, I would like to see Natalie.”

“You take the packs to your family. Does Natalie know where you live?”

“Sure, we studied together last year.”

“I’ll bring Natalie and Bud to your house at 1000 hours tomorrow. What is your name? Natalie can’t show me where you live if she doesn’t know whose house she’s going to.”

“My name is Bryan with a Y.”

“OK, Bryan with a Y. Will you and your family be there when we arrive at 1000 hours?”

“We’ll be there. There’s no other place to go.”

Christopher backed around the aisle, “See you tomorrow.”

He ran back to Bud and Natalie.

Featured

Day Six.

Christopher and Bud headed toward the town as darkness covered the land. Both walked for hours to reach the town before daylight. They entered the house where they thought the girl lived as the night retreated from the sun.

“I am Christopher, the smaller one is Bud. We’ve been watching you for two days. Bud and I are fleeing whoever is taking people away too. I have walked for eight hours and need rest. We’re not here to harm you, and we hope you wish us no harm. Bud and I will sleep in the front room. Can we talk when we wake up?”

Christopher laid Bud on one sofa and himself on another, covering Bud and himself with their thermal blankets.

Four hours later, Christopher felt a tug on his blanket. He made a grunting noise, and the tugging stopped. A minute later he felt another tug, “If breakfast is ready. Just ask me to get up.”

He heard a young girl’s wavering voice, “Put your hands where I can see then and sit up.”

Christopher complied putting his hands above his head and turning onto his back putting his feet on the floor. There before him was a slender girl, he guessed to be sixteen, pointing a rifle barrel a meter from his chest.

Christopher looking up at her, “I assume you heard us come in last night and introduced ourselves. I’m Christopher and my little friend over there is Bud. What is your name?”

She walked over to Bud sleeping, “You have a young boy traveling with you? You’re not one of them, are you? What are you doing here?”

“Yes, Bud travels with me. No, I am not one of them. We are here to talk to you and hope we can help protect each other. It’s just simple safety in numbers. Can you help us, young lady?”, Christopher asked.

Bud then woke up rubbing his eyes, “Can we have breakfast now I’m hungry.” Bud then saw the young girl. “You’re the one we saw playing hide and seek yesterday. Did you have candy in the bags? I told Christopher you had candy in the bags, did you? Why are your arms in the air, Christopher? Wow, is she a bandit?”

The young girl looked at Christopher, “Does he have an off button?”

Christopher motioned Bud to come over and sit with him, “Miss, we mean you know harm, other than a lot of questions. You know our names can you tell us yours?”

As she lowered the gun, “Natalie. My name is Natalie.”

“I see you have a replicator. Bud and I walked all night and we are hungry. Can I fix you breakfast too? Bacon, eggs, juice or do you drink coffee?”

Natalie sitting at the table in the kitchen, “I drink breakfast tea.”

Bud sat beside Natalie at the table, “My sister and mother always had breakfast tea. What is it with girls and tea? I like juice. Christopher drinks coffee, don’t you, Christopher?”

Christopher at the replicator, “Yes, Bud, I love coffee.”

As he placed breakfast on the table, he told Natalie the story of Bud and himself, how they met and how they knew she was there. The only part of the story Christopher left out was the part of him being a Star Fighter Pilot for the invading army.

Bud sipping his juice, “Why are you here alone Natalie?”

As tears formed in Natalie’s eyes, she told the story of the day the soldiers collected everyone in the town. Every night she would open her window and sit on the roof looking at the stars until he grew sleepy, then she would crawl into bed for the night. Early the next morning she heard shouting and furniture being tossed around. Scared, she darted out the open window and onto the roof. She stayed close to the window as the soldiers searched her room. When she heard them leave, she peered inside. Seeing the room clear she ran to her closet hiding behind her clothes, where she stayed quietly for hours. Hearing large aircraft moving around, then away from her house, she spent the night in her closet. The next day when she awoke, she listened for the soldiers. When she heard none, she came out, dressed and went downstairs. Everyone was gone.

Bud patted Natalie’s arm, “You’re not alone anymore. Christopher and me are here.”

Natalie wiped a tear from her eye, “How old are you Bud, six?”

Bud bristled, “Six. I’m six and a half. I’ll be seven in six months. Can Natalie come to my birthday party, Christopher?”

Collecting the dishes from the table, Christopher looked at Natalie, “She is welcome if she wants to come, it’s up to her.”

Bud now tugging on Natalie’s arm, “Will you come? Will you come? Please, Natalie.”

Natalie with a glow coming to her face, “I’ll come to your party”

Bud running around the table suddenly stopped and looked at Natalie. “Are you bringing me a present?”

“I don’t know what you like. We just met. Besides, I have six months to get to know you. After I know what you like and dislike, then I will have a good idea of what you may want or need. Does that sound good?”

“I’ll make a list for you. You can pick a present for me from the list.”

“That’s a good idea too.”

Christopher watching all this unfold, “Bud you know what comes next. We get cleaned up and brush our teeth.”

He looked at Natalie, “Natalie, may we use your shower and a bathroom to get cleaned up. We have been camping. We need to do laundry too. Is that Ok with you?”

“You can use the bathroom on this level. There’s a washer and dryer there. You’re welcome to use it. I have mine upstairs.”

Christopher nodded, “Grab you backpack Bud, time to get the dirt from behind our ears off.”

While Christopher and Bud were cleaning up, Natalie tidied up. She found Christopher’s rifle, a belt with a knife and pistol between the sofa cushions. It startled her. Her mind began racing back to the disappearance of her family. She grabbed the rifle and the belt running to her room, hiding them. As she came downstairs, she took her rifle and sat at the kitchen table with the rifle pointing at the bathroom door, shaking. When they came out Christopher saw Natalie at the table shaking, the gun pointed at him.

Christopher walked to the sofa and sat, “Natalie, why are you pointing the rifle at me again. I thought we were building some trust between us?”

Natalie hardly able to speak, “You have a military rifle, pistol and knife, why?”

“Why, do you have a rifle?”, Christopher asked.

“To protect myself from soldiers. You’re a soldier. You lied to me.”, Natalie said.

“He’s not a soldier. I found him under a rock in his underwear. He was lost too. He found the gun and pistol at my house on a soldier my dad killed before they took him, my mom and sister away. I saw it from my hiding place.”, Bud said.

Natalie looked at Bud, “You saw it?”

“Sure, I saw it. Where do you think I got this?” Bud showed Natalie the tape behind his ear. “Christopher cut it out of a dead soldier and taped it to my ear so I could hear him talk to me. You know kids don’t have a translator until they go to school. Girls, they remember nothing.”

Featured

Day Five

After breakfast, with them both cleaned up and teeth brushed, they played hide and seek until it was time for lunch. Bud had asked to play, but Christopher’s concern of being caught unaware preyed on his mind. The fort provided him views in every direction over a great distance. Not seeing anyone for two days helped. Only one thing concerned him, the dim light in town.

As Christopher was preparing lunch, he thought, “If they were to stay here, they needed to resupply.”

After lunch, they spent the day at the fort. There they scanned the countryside on both sides of the mountain. Christopher that day taught Bud a basic military skill of observation.

Christopher holding the binoculars looked at Bud, “You want to look through the binoculars? Maybe you will see someone playing hide and go seek?”

Bud with a look of amazement, “Can I?”

“Of course, but you have to look for anyone playing hide and go seek. You can’t look at your fingers.”

“If I find someone playing hide and go seek, can we tag them, it?”

“You and I can play it, but this game is fun too. In this game we hide and the other side hides. No one wants to be found. If we can sneak up on them and tag them without them knowing we are there, then we can tag them.”

“That sounds boring.”

“You told me you were a big boy? I’m a big boy and I enjoy the game. It’s fun sneaking up behind others and tagging them. Let’s see if anyone is playing hide and go seek in the town. You get five points for everyone you find.”

“Playing find the bump is better, but I will play this game.”

Christopher adjusted the binoculars for him and taught him how to move binoculars across the terrain. After 10 minutes, “I see one, I see one hiding. I get five points.”

Christopher looking at Bud, “Not so fast young man. I need to see who is hiding to give you the points. Where are they?”

Christopher took the binoculars as Bud pointed to the town. “You see that ugly yellow house? Look this way, you’ll see her.”

Christopher, seeing where Bud pointed, looked in the binoculars in time to see a girl, maybe sixteen, running between houses.

“Ok, Ok. you get your five points. Now you need to follow her and see where she goes. If you find out where she is hiding, you win the game. I’m going to the cave and bring something back. You keep watching.”

“Sure. I’m going to win. I’m going to win.”

“Is she hiding?”

“No. She is still running from house to house.”

“OK, I’ll be right back.”

Christopher ran to the cave, picked up the rifle and ran back to Bud. Christopher laid beside Bud, “Well, have you won the game?”

Bud silent, suddenly, “Yes, I won. I won. What do I get for winning? I found out where she’s hiding.”

“Hold on big guy, you can’t say you have won and collect the prize. Where is she hiding?”

“She went into the building with the big red letters. You can’t see her now. But that is where she is hiding.”

“You keep looking. If she comes out, it’s not her hiding place.”

Christopher looked through the rifle’s magnified sight and found the building Bud had referenced. Unable to read the words, it looked as if it was a grocery store, “She shopping for food.”

Christopher looking through the sight, “Is she still in the building?”

“She is still there. She is for sure hiding in there.”

 “Well, young man, you won again. You are good at this game.”

Bud turned to him with excitement, “What is my prize?”

“All the candy you can eat.”

Bud squinting his eyes, “You have candy and you haven’t shared it with me. You are supposed to share.”

“Don’t be mad. I have eaten none of the candy. I was saving it as prizes for whoever won our games.”

Bud, understanding Christopher was not hiding the candy, looked through the binoculars again, “She’s coming out. She has bags with her this time. She has candy for sure.”

Through the sight Christopher saw the bags of food. Christopher and Bud followed her back to the house.      

“Can I get my prize now?” Bud asked.

Christopher sitting up, “Of course young man. First see if you find anyone playing on this side.”

After one last check, they headed back to the cave for dinner. After dinner Bud got his prize. Twenty pieces of hard candy.

Bud, seeing the candy, looked at Christopher. “That is not much candy. Are you holding out on me?”

Christopher, his hands up, “All I have id the twenty pieces. If you walk tonight, we’ll get more candy. What do you think?”

Bud looked up as if he was thinking, “How much candy?”

“How much can you carry?”

“Can I take my backpack?

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Day Four

After lunch yesterday, Christopher was continually scanning the horizon for any signs of people moving toward the house. Because of the tracker, he changed his course from due east to south. He was hoping the reason they had not zeroed in on him was the fact he was going toward them.

The southerly heading soon became mountainous. Bud, answering the call, walked further than last night. As the darkness gave way to the light, Christopher looked for shelter. As he searched the terrain, he found a cave.

Christopher laid Bud on the thermal blanket and covered him. The view from the cave gave him the ability to watch vast areas, preventing them from being caught unaware. He thought of staying a few days to let him get his bearings and plan his next move. Finding terrain features during the night was difficult.

Christopher gathered wood and started a fire back far enough in the cave to avoid the fire’s smoke giving away their position. He then laid beside Bud and cover them both with a second thermal blanket from the field pack.

A few hours later Bud was shaking him, “Christopher, Christopher. are we on a camping trip? Can we play hide and go seek?”

Groggy, Christopher sits up seeing Bud running around the fire, which was more smoldering embers than a fire, “We can play later. Let’s explore the cave? Caves are fun.”

Bud, jumping shouted, “Let’s go exploring Christopher. Maybe we’ll find a bear or a dragon. Can we go now?” Bud asked.

Christopher wondering where his energy was last night, “First we eat breakfast, bush our teeth and get cleaned up then we can explore. Come sit on the blanket. I replicated energy bars and meat sticks for our camping trip.”

Bud on the blanket ate his breakfast as Christopher put more wood on the fire. The sun was an hour above the horizon. Christopher could see with the naked eye for miles. With binoculars he could see the house they left twenty-seven kilometers away. He scanned his field of view and saw nothing in the sky or on the ground.

As he sat on the ground thinking of scenarios why he saw no one on the thirteenth day of collection, Bud sat beside him and looking up at him, “I can’t find my toothbrush.”

Christopher shook his head, “You couldn’t find your tooth brush yesterday, but when I looked for it, I found it on the bottom of your backpack. Did you look there?”

“I don’t remember. Maybe I looked there.”

“Let’s find our tooth brushes and brush our teeth together. Then we can go exploring.”

As they brushed their teeth, scenarios kept running through his head. Why was no one to be seen? The collecting usually ran from an easterly to westerly direction around the planet. Christopher’s curiosity got the best of him and he turned on the radio. There was nothing. No chatter of ground troops or Troop transports. There was no chatter or signal period.

He could think of only two explanations. They’ve left or were on the other side of the planet. Either way, he felt better. But Christopher knew caution was the best course of action.

He and Bud started their day of exploration. They explored the cave and found a source of running water, and as they followed the stream, they found pockets in the cave where they could move further back if needed. Christopher, following the stream, saw it drop off into an opening in the earth. As he peered over the edge, he could not see any bottom.

He turned to Bud, “Monsters may live there. We better go back. I don’t want to wake them.”

Bud holding Christopher’s hand with wide eyes nodded his head and started pulling him back from the edge. By his estimation, the cave was 100 meters deep and could give them hiding places if needed.

After they explored the cave, they ate lunch and then set out to explore the mountain from the cave entrance up to the top. When they reached the top, they saw a town of several hundred homes and stores with paved streets. Christopher estimated the town to be 25 kilometers away. From the top of the mountain, he could see in every direction.

Christopher motioned to Bud as he ran back and forth, “Bud, let’s build a fort here on the top of the mountain.”

“Yeah, let’s build a fort and I’ll be the general.” Bud said. 

“OK general, let’s get to building your fort. Where do you want the fort?”

“We can build it right here. Ten meters tall and 30 meters long.”

“Wow, general. Do you see any trees? Why don’t we use what we can find and build the fort?”

“I’ll collect the sticks and you collect the stones private.”

“Yes, sir, general.”

The rest of the day they constructed a fort one meter high and two meters in width with an entrance facing the cave. After they covered it with grass, it was perfectly concealed on the top and sides.

Christopher and Bud gathered more sticks for the fire and headed back to the cave to eat dinner. 

After dinner, they cleaned their utensils and burned the ration packets. The sun had set and darkness covered the countryside. Soon Bud drifted off to sleep after a hard day of exploring and building. While Bud slept, Christopher using the thermal setting on the binoculars scanned from the cave entrance the 27 kilometers back to the house they left last night. He saw nothing. He then checked to see if Bud was still asleep. After checking on Bud, Christopher headed to the fort to see if there was anyone moving in the town. As he looked toward the town, he saw a dim light in one house. Someone was there.

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Day Three

Christopher and Bud stayed at the house until nightfall. Then they walked all night with Bud sleeping on his shoulders with Bud’s head resting on top of his. As day three dawned, Christopher had reached another abandoned house.

Christopher laid himself and Bud on a bed to get some rest before nightfall. Christopher lying on the bed looked at Bud. One side of his brain was telling him to leave Bud. Packing around a six-year-old child isn’t good evasive tactics when trying to escape. But the other side of his brain couldn’t let Bud suffer his fate. After six hours, Bud’s stirring woke Christopher.

He rose from bed and scanned area signs of Troop transports or troops on the ground with binoculars found in the field pack. Christopher’s plan was to stay clear of populated areas. Troop concentrations would be higher there, and so were the chances of being captured.

From previous collections, he knew they only collected from large populated areas and limited the collection to only 30 solar days. A question then popped into his head, “Why were there troops at Bud’s house? It was far away from large population centers. And why did they not comb the area if they thought he was close.?”

Christopher searched the field pack, and it’s lining for any tracking device. There were none. He then opened the radio, none there. Bud entered the kitchen where he was sitting, “I need to pee. Where is the bathroom?” Bud asked.

Christopher jumped up and showed Bud the bathroom. Afterwards he brought Bud back to the kitchen. “Are you hungry?” Christopher asked.

Bud nodded. He discovered this house had a food replicator, so they both had bacon and eggs along with Bud’s favorite cereal and coffee for himself.

After they ate, Christopher looked at Bud with a big smile, “Bud, let’s play a game. It’s called find the bump. Do you want to play?”

Bud’s eyes widen, “Sure, I like playing games. How do you play find the bump?”

“Let me show you first them you can start the game.”

Bud was bouncing in his chair, “OK. Show me how to play find the bump.”

Christopher, as he talked to Bud, telling him what he was doing, checked Bud’s head and neck and arms for unusual bumps that could show an implanted tracking device. He found none.

Christopher then turned his back to Bud, “Now it’s your turn to find the bump or bumps. There may be more than one. You ready?”

Bud stood up on his chair and started his search for bumps on Christopher. Bud imitated Christopher’s moves, starting at the top of the head, and worked his way to the ears.

“I found one.” Bud said.

“Keep looking. There may be more. You get extra points if you find more.” Christopher said.

As Bud probed his neck, when he reached the back of the lower neck, “I found another one I win I win.”

While Bud was celebrating his win, Christopher knowing of the bump put both hands behind his neck, pressing hard against the bump. There it was. He felt the top and the bottom of a cylindrical implant. Scare tissue had hidden the main body of the device, but not the ends.

When he found the device, he grabbed Bud and swung him around and around, then he set Bud back in his chair. “You won your first game of find the bump, but we need to clean ourselves. Do you shower or bathe?” He asked.

Bud frowned, “I take showers. I’m not a baby.

Christopher looked at Bud’s stern face, “I apologize. You are correct. You are a big boy. Can you shower in the bathroom where we were sleeping?”

Bud looked at Christopher sheepishly, “Can you turn the shower on? I can’t reach the knobs.”

“For the winner of the game, sure. Let get cleaned up.”

After he got Bud into the shower, he started his shower, then with his knife in silent pain cut the tracker from the base of his neck. Christopher then with bandages and tape from the bathroom cabinet cleaned and bandaged the cut. Then he dressed in the bathroom to keep Bud from asking his inquisitive questions. After he finished getting dressed, he got Bud out of the shower. Bud dressed himself and joined Christopher in the kitchen.

“We are going to walk again tonight. I’ll clean our clothes, then I am going to take a nap. How about you? If I take a nap, can you?”

Bud looked at him puzzled, “You take naps? But your grown-up. I didn’t think grown-ups took naps.”

“All the time. I take naps two or three times a week. Will you try to sleep?”

“Can I eat before the nap? I’m getting hungry, it’s lunchtime in three hours”

“Deal. Check your backpack. What you took out goes back in your backpack. When you’re done, bring it in here. After lunch, clean the dishes and put them back in the cabinets. A big boy never leaves a mess. While you do your job, I’ll clean our clothes and check outside to see if there is anything we need. OK?”

Bud nodded his head, “But lunch now, please.”

“Lunch is three hours away. A snack now, lunch later. Deal?” Christopher asked.

Bud reluctantly nodded his head.

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Little Bud Meets Christopher

The next morning Christopher awoke to the sound of a childish voice, “Your lost too?”

Christopher looked at the boy of what he determined to be around six years old squatting in front of him, “Are you lost?”

” You talk funny.”, The young boy said, puzzled.

While he could under stand the boy through his translator, the boy could not understand him. He took a stick and drew two parent and on kid stick figure and then shrugged his shoulders.

“You forgot my sister silly.”, The boy said,

He drew another stick figure and again shrugged his shoulders.

“My sister and I were playing hide and go seek. I was it so I hide in the bushes. Then the soldiers came and took everyone away. Except for me, I’m a good hider.”, the boy said.

Then Christopher drew a house, then shrugged his shoulders.

The boy pointed in a direction behind him. Christopher stood and turned in the direction the boy had pointed to see a house only a hundred meters away. He gathered up the boy under one arm and put the thermal blanket over them both, then ran to the house. Once they were in the house, Christopher set the boy at the kitchen and table motioned his to stay. Then he began searching the house for clothes and food. As he was searching the rooms a gust of wind moved the uniform of a dead Mamluk soldier, which caught his eye from a bedroom window.

When Christopher had found more clothes he went to the boy at the kitchen table and made the motion of eating.

“I’m hungry too. Can I have my Cereal?”, The boy said.

Christopher nodded his head, then searched for the cereal. After three different cereal boxes, he found the boy’s favorite. As the boy started to eat, Christopher mentioned him to stay.

Leaving the house, he headed toward the body. At the body he took the hand held radio, rifle, hand gun, clips of ammo, and field pack. Then taking his knife cut a universal translator from behind the ear of the body.

Afterwards, he headed to the house, the boy still at the table. He refilled the bowl and again motioned for him to stay. The boy nodded his head. Christopher then took the translator to a bathroom and cleaned it. At the kitchen table, he squatted behind the boy and with a heavy duty tape he taped the translator on the bone behind the boy’s right ear. As he was holding the translator to the boy’s ear, “What is your name?”

The boy squirming stopped when he heard Christopher asking his name. The boy looked at Christopher, “You don’t talk funny anymore. My Name is Bartholomew Archibald Jennings. Everybody calls me Bud though, because Bartholomew Archibald Jennings takes to long to say.”

“If you leave the tape on you will know what I am saying.”, Christopher said.

“Ok, I won’t play with it, but it tickles. What is your name?”, Bud asked.

“My name is Al Malik Mansur, but everyone calls me Christopher because Al Malik Mansur takes to long to say.” Christopher said.

“Your right, Your name is hard to say too.” Bud said.

“So, the tape stays?”, Christopher asked.

Bud eating another spoonful of cereal nodded his head.

“When you’re finished with your cereal, we’ll start our adventure.”, Christopher said.

While Bud ate his breakfast, Christopher found a backpack for Bud filling it with clothes, canned and boxed food and basic medical supplies. Once Bud’s backpack was at a weight, he thought Bud could carry, he checked the soldiers pack. Everything was in the pack he and Bud needed for several days.

Christopher then grabbed a box of cereal and sat beside Bud, smiling at each other as they ate.

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His Plan to Escape

After the first day of collecting on planet 623, Christopher knew he had to do something. but what?

As he laid in bed, his mind began to think of ways to stop the collection, but every scenario resulted in his death. While death was an escape, Christopher was not ready to go to such an extreme. He needed to rely on a higher power to show him the way out. When the opportunity presented itself, he would take it.

The ninth day of the collection, his opportunity to escape presented itself. As he was strafing positions for the advancement of ground troops he took a round that started a fire in one engine.

Christopher radioed, “Mayday, Mayday. Engine fire. Fire suppression system inoperative. Making emergency landing.”

He found a clearing far enough away from the main body of troops, but close enough to avoid suspension. As he was landing, he placed an incendiary grenade on the top of the glare shield.

Again, he radioed, “Mayday. Mayday, fire spreading. going down in sector A17. Mayday.”

He landed with the nose down, taking out the front landing gear. As the fighter came to a stop the incendiary grenade had melted through the glare shield and into the the instrument panel. Flames were rising in the cockpit.

Christopher opened the cockpit canopy manually, left the fighter and closed the canopy.

As the fighter was being engulfed in flames Christopher was hiding under the nose to prevent being seen by other Mamluk fighters.

The Mamluk, while keen on retrieving their pilots, were not interested in the retrieval of bodies. By Christopher positioning himself under the nose close to the fire his heat signature would be masked and presumed dead.

As a Mamluk fighter pasted over him once without a second pass, he knew he was successful.

After the pass of the fighter Christopher remained in place as long as he could to avoid any detection from the Battle Starship above. But he also knew the inhabitants of planet 623 would be interested in the fighter as well.

As the flames consumed the fighter it broke up. It was time for him to make a move. He dashed to a nearby wooded area and found a shallow pond to immerse himself to cool his heat signature. He laid there until nightfall.

As darkness, fell Christopher, convinced that the Mamluk had confirmed him death, but surprised the military forces of the planet had not come to check out the wreckage. He rose from the shallow pond, stripped off his flight suit and buried it along with his helmet.

Wearing only a t-shirt, underwear, boots and a survival vest he began walking across the country side to find shelter and clothes. After two hours of walking he stopped and crawled under a rock overhang. He wrapped himself in a thermal blanket from his survival vest to rest for the night.

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The Next Morning for Christopher

The next morning as Christopher entered the hangar deck, security at the entrance directed him to the briefing room. Already in the room he saw his squadron along with the entire wing.

For Christopher, this was not his first rodeo. The mission would now change from one of protection to one of close air and ground support for the troop transports and troops on the surface. Christopher’s least favorite phase of the invasion was about to begin the collection.

The collection phase was a brutal and heartless operation of collecting and separating the men, women and children, then transporting them to the Empire’s home world’s reeducation camps. For the men that meant military training. They sent those who did not comply to the factories. The women would be tested and placed in society according to their aptitudes. The children would be placed in foster homes across the Empire.

As the briefing continued, Christopher, who by now knew the briefing by heart, tuned it out as he envisioned the carnage that was about to take place. He thought by now his heart would have grown cold to the slaughter of an entire planets, but it had not.

He was growing tired of war. He needed to find a way out.

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Remembering When

Christopher returned to his quarters on the Battle Starship, placing his helmet, as he had for years, on the end table by the door. His creator granted him yet another day, but his thoughts were with the three enemy space fighters, whose lives he ended today defending his Battle Starship. Taking a shower and eating his dinner from a food replicator, he laid exhausted on his bed. Soon he drifted off into another night of what would be a restless night. A night much like the nights for the previous 1,000 nights since his assignment to his Battle Starship.

As Christopher drifted off into his slumber, he dreamed of his childhood and his home world in the Mamluk Empire. He and his parents lived on a knoll just outside the city of Maydan. He remembered when as a youth, after a long day of playing with his friends, he would sit on the front porch of his home before dinner looking down at the city and then looking up at the massive Battle Starships in a low orbit as they prepared for their attacks on other worlds to gather more soldiers.

Christopher’s father was one such solider slave. Collected by the Mamluk 80 years ago and trained to serve the Mamluk Empire at sixteen. As the offspring of the Mamluk Empire, he being free as his father now and loyal to the Empire, trained him in the art of war. Christopher as he became of age tested and admitted to the Star Fighter Academy. After three years in the academy training to take his place among the stars, his first assignment, a small Battle Group collecting soldiers from various less developed planets.

As he proved himself as an excellent Star Fighter Pilot, they moved him to the Battle Group he now serves. Unlike the first Battle Group, its mission was eliminating more advanced planets considered a threat to the Empire.

Dreaming of his childhood soon gave way to the many opponents he had confronted over his years of war. Seeing the fighters, he destroyed as they break apart from his weapons fire in the vacuum of space. The screaming over the Battle Channel as his follow Star Fighter Pilot’s fighter as it breaks up from enemy fire, their prayers unanswered.

Christopher woke up startled in a cold sweet. He reached into his nightstand, retrieving a bottle of relief. Swallowing two tablets he laid down waiting for the medication to work. As he laid on his back he thought, “If only I could be a child again.”

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Life Lesson #40

The Sheep & the Pig

Library of Congress an Aesop Fable.

One day a shepherd discovered a fat Pig in the meadow where his Sheep were pastured. He very quickly captured the porker, which squealed at the top of its voice the moment the Shepherd laid his hands on it. You would have thought, to hear the loud squealing, that the Pig was being cruelly hurt. But in spite of its squeals and struggles to escape, the Shepherd tucked his prize under his arm and started off to the butcher’s in the market place.

The Sheep in the pasture were much astonished and amused at the Pig’s behavior, and followed the Shepherd and his charge to the pasture gate.

“What makes you squeal like that?” asked one of the Sheep. “The Shepherd often catches and carries off one of us. But we should feel very much ashamed to make such a terrible fuss about it like you do.”

“That is all very well,” replied the Pig, with a squeal and a frantic kick. “When he catches you he is only after your wool. But he wants my bacon! gree-ee-ee!”

The Moral of the Story: It is easy to be brave when there is no danger.

Has anyone tried to get your bacon? Or were they only after your wool?

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Introduction to Cry Havoc

Cry Havoc second edition

Introduction

   As corruption and the lack of faith in government grew, six large multi-national corporations, employing over half the world’s population, joined in a campaign to undermine the government.

With their combined influence and the help of celebrities, news and social media, they set about swaying public opinion against government bureaucracies in favor of a corporate form of rule.

As public opinion grew in favor of this corporate governance, the people revolted, bringing an end to one world government in 2166.

They abolished militaries and police forces giving way to corporate security.  

The corporations while at first seemed benevolent before the revolt quickly became corporate dictatorships.

Disputes between the Big Six over corporate espionage and the ability to move goods across another’s territory escalated into small, deadly conflicts between corporate security forces.

They ignored the environment unknowingly setting into motion a cataclysmic event of Biblical proportion, plunging the Earth into unending earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and Tsunamis.

As the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions increased, the Big Six began its search for a new home. The end of the Earth was at hand.

Each of the Big Six began exploring Mars to establish their corporate colonies. The first two corporations that started the race to Mars were XTECH and SME (Specialized Military Essentials). They were the first to reach Mars and establish their colonies in 2175.

Boom Associates, a bio-metrics firm in early 2176, sent teams of surveyors, engineers and laborers to Mars to prepare corporate colonies in the unclaimed territory between XTECH and SME.

However, faulty navigation sensors landed them in one of the harshest areas of Mars. This led to their settlements being moved underground to escape the harsh environment. Boom moved to Mars in 2179.

Virtual Visions, Inc. dealing in virtual reality-based software and Space Enviro LTD. with expertise in environmental engineering, settled on Phobos the larger of Mars’ two moons in 2179.

 Enceladus Services, a large venture capital and investment firm, settled on the moon Deimos that same year.

When the last ARCs (Artificial Relocation Community) left, the cataclysm engulfed the Earth.

The one thing the Big Six didn’t leave on Earth was their oppressive policies. But as with most oppressive societies, dissidents soon rose from the ranks of the corporate colonies.

Fleeing corporate rule, these rebels created free towns, lawless communities the corporations tolerated. 

The corporations, learning from the conflicts of the past, created a Trade Federation to keep commerce between the corporations’ secret with Platinum, Gold or Silver being the only acceptable forms of payment.

Even though the corporations’ traded in secret, the corporations still hungered for more influence and power.

To spread this influence and power, corporations secretly sponsored Proxy Clans to conduct its covert activities.

They recruited these Proxy Clans from free towns across Mars and its two moons.

The corporations, through the Trade Federation, supplied the Clans with Battle Robots, Hangar Ships to transport the Clan and bases from which they conduct their covert operations.

They paid each clan a commission from the proceeds of raids on other corporations and smugglers.

Mercenary Proxy Clans where an absolute monarchy and as in ancient times ruled with absolute authority and absolute power.

Clan Leaders, with less than honorable intentions, oppressed its Clan members with Draconian rules and decreased commissions. This led to Break-off Clans and Independent Mercenary groups.

Independent Mercenaries worked in small groups of two or three. They associated themselves with smugglers, who contracted them to deliver a wide variety of goods to their clients from Platinum to Gold or Silver and rare artifacts left behind on Earth. They lived on Earth in their Battle Robots, or in small shelters. Their life was hard, but profitable.

One Break-off Clan of like-minded Mercenaries dedicated to the Warrior Code, predicated on an ancient belief of Honor, Dedication and Glory emerged. 

Here is their story as they embarked on their journey sixty years after the cataclysm that ravaged Earth.

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Tomorrow?

As we grow older, we have been told many tales of how to act, react and believe. The one concept that still eludes me today is that of Tomorrow.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Tomorrow is another day, If you can’t get to it today, you can do it tomorrow. These phrases we hear every day, but does tomorrow ever come?

If we go to the English definition of tomorrow we find: Tomorrow translation, English dictionary definition of tomorrow. n. 1. The day following today. 2. The future. adv. On or for the day following today: “I won’t think of it now…. I’ll think of it tomorrow” .

After reading the definition, confusion and wonder swirl about in my mind. How can this be? For if we refer to the future using tomorrow then when it is tomorrow is it not the present? As a noun if we use tomorrow does it exist in the future which is now the present? As an adverb is it action or perception?

Has anyone ever seen tomorrow? Will anyone ever see tomorrow.?

Perhaps we need to look at tomorrow as a concept of hope created by GOD rather than a word describing a tangible object. A hope that pushes us into today, hoping for a better today than yesterday. A word that brings us joy in hopes for a better future for our children and grandchildren.

Tomorrow never comes. It is a non-tangible hope for the future.

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Life Lesson #39

The Goose & the Golden Egg

Library of Congress Aesop Fables

There was once a Countryman who possessed the most wonderful Goose you can imagine, for every day when he visited the nest, the Goose had laid a beautiful, glittering, golden egg.

The Countryman took the eggs to market and soon began to get rich. But it was not long before he grew impatient with the Goose because she gave him only a single golden egg a day. He was not getting rich fast enough.

Then one day, after he had finished counting his money, the idea came to him that he could get all the golden eggs at once by killing the Goose and cutting it open. But when the deed was done, not a single golden egg did he find, and his precious Goose was dead.

The Moral of the Story: Those who have plenty want more and so lose all they have.

The countryman should count his blessings denying evil a chance to enter his thoughts. For one golden egg in far better then none. Count all your blessings, large and small, as gifts, cherish them all. Don’t allow evil thoughts to deny your blessings.

Remember! A donation of likes and follows keeps me fed. Thank you all for your support.

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Dark Space

Christopher having a restless night rose from his bed looking at his clock on the nightstand glaring 0400 hours. He thought to himself, “This is going to be a long day. I should try to get more rest.”

While the argument raged in his head, to rest or not to rest, the not to rest side won in short order. He rose from his bed toward the sonic shower to try and wash away the thoughts that haunted him last night. He emerged from the shower slightly refreshed, being able to gather his dreams and lock them away in his emotional box once again.

As he put on his flight suit artillery rounds were firing at targets on the surface of Planet 623. During the shelling he grabbed a bowl of his favorite cereal, drenched it in something that looked and tasted like milk.

As he sat there eating his cereal the shelling grew in its intensity. Under his breath, “I guess I need to wrap this up they will be here soon.”

He grabbed his helmet from the table next to his quarters’ door and exited his room, walking toward the Star Fighter hangar.

Now, in his Star Fighter, helmet on, canopy closed, he prepared for launch. Then the light in front of his Star Fighter illuminated, after which hurled him into the dark space to protect his Battle Starship from hostile Space Fighters. Another day of cheating death set before him. As he engaged the enemy Space Fighters he prayed the same prayer he had prayed for the past three years, “Lord get me out of this alive one more time”.

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An Unwilling Author

After being medically retired my world as I had known it vanished. I centered my life until that time around my flying and my family. Fortunately for me, I has a family that supported me and picked me backup when I was down.

My grandson Anthony one day showed me a video game he was playing on his tablet. It was a 6 vs 6 game with robots battling other teams. It looked interesting and Anthony was wanted me to play on his team and I just can’t say no to my grandchildren.

So, Anthony and I played together. After some months Anthony’s focus turned to other games, but I kept playing.

Soon I found myself in the top tier of the game and included into a Clan. The Clan was a great bunch of guys that enjoyed the game and the comradery of the members as much as I.

We would play and talk on discord for hours with players from all over the world. Here I found once again the comradery that I missed from my days of flying.

This new comradery inspired me to write a short story, which I shared with the rest of the Clan. Once they read the first story they were asking when I was writing the next one? One story soon turned into 5, then 20, and then finally 49 short stories.

When I finished the short stories, the Clan asked when the book was coming out.

Now, as an unwilling author, I self-published my first book Cry Havoc on KDP. As my medical condition took its toll. I could no longer play, but I continued my writing.

Now I enjoy the comradery of other indie authors and those that enjoy my books.

Remember! A donation of likes and follows keeps me fed. Thank you all for your support.

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MY KRYPTONITE

In 1978 I was flying helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico for the oil and gas industry working seven days on and seven days off.

With my two daughters age seven and four. My time home was important to me, my wife and my daughter.

My daughters were my kryptonite. I tried to be strong and say no but with those enormous eyes looking up at me I grew weak. The only words that I could utter were, “Sure you can.”

But as Superman had to shield himself from his kryptonite, so did I.

I found my shield on the first day I returned home. from my seven days at work. As I entered the house my daughters came running to me, “Daddy, Daddy can we do go to the water park?”

There surround by not one but two pieces of kryptonite. I could feel my strength flowing out of my body, then suddenly their mother appear as if by magic, “I told you girls since you did not do you chores you would not go to the water park. And you mister we need to talk.”

The girls walked away disappointed, but my shield was not yet firmly in place. After the girls left the room my wife turned to me, “You’re gone for seven day and I am the one making all the decisions. You cannot just waltz in here and tell the girls they can do something when I’ve specifically told then NO. From now on you and I will debrief as if you are still in the Army each time you come home. Until we conclude our debrief, you will tell the girls nothing. Is that Clear?”

With the shield was secured, no longer did I suffer from my KRYPTONITE. Afterwards when the girls came to me I stood strong and said, “Ask you mother. If it is OK with her, them we can.

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Life Lesson #38

The Sick Stag

A Stag had fallen sick. He had just strength enough to gather some food and find a quiet clearing in the woods, where he lay down to wait until his strength should return. The Animals heard about the Stag’s illness and came to ask after his health. Of course, they were all hungry, and helped themselves freely to the Stag’s food; and as you would expect, the Stag soon starved to death.

The Moral of the Story: Good will is worth nothing unless it is accompanied by good acts.

Been there. I even have the t-shirt.

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The Chicken or the EGG

Through time many have vigorously discussed which came first, the Chicken or the EGG. The subject has not yet been settled. I would conjecture that there was not one chicken but two chickens were first, one hen and one roster. For it takes one hen and one roster to insure the continuation of the species. Now while a hen lays eggs daily, the roster is tirelessly trying to fertilize each egg.

A hen’s work is dust to dawn but a roster’s work is never done. Today, if you peer into a barnyard you may see dozens of hens but only one roster, exhausted barely able to move, but the dedicated roster even at the point of death will not cease, will not falter he will carry on his sole mission in life even if it kills him.

And so, my theory is the question is not which came first the Chicken or the Egg, but how many hens and how many rosters can before the EGG?

Remember! A donation of likes and follows keeps me fed. Thank you all for your support.

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The Magical Bean

There may be others out there that may disagree with me, but for me this magic bean is the most sought after bean in all the world. This magic bean has been associated with religion. Possessing the ability of sustaining the one who drank the fragrant brown liquid during fasting of Ramadan. This magical bean has also been associated with the birthday of Mohammad were stories account Mohammad was given the magical bean by the Arch Angel Gabriel as a drink to replace wine which was forbidden in the faith.

From its origins in the country of Ethiopia this magical bean has founded many legends in the world. One such legend revolves around a disciple of  Sheikh Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadhili’s, named Omar. Known for his abilities to heal the sick through prayer was banished from Mecca to a desert cave near Ousab city. There, starving, he ate red berries on a nearby shrub. They were bitter to him, so he tried roasting them only to find the berries very hard. Next, he boiled them and from that magical bean flowed a fragrant brown liquid sustaining Omar’s life for many days. When the stories of the magic bean reached Mecca Omar, was asked to return and made a Saint.

Sufis in Yemen used the beverage as an aid to concentration and thought the magical bean a spiritual intoxication when they chanted the name of God. They used it to keep themselves alert during their nighttime devotions.

Similarly, this magical bean was banned by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church some time before the 18th century then reinstated in the mid-19th century.

This magical bean also noted by the merchant Philippe Sylvestre Dufour in the 10th century CE. Then by a Persian physician know as Rhazes in the West, but information on the preparation of the beverage derived from the magical bean dates several centuries later. He found that among its properties was that it drove away fatigue and lethargy, and brought to the body energy and vigor.

This magical bean coffee bean is now found in many parts of the world and enjoyed by millions daily.

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Sniff, Sniff

As a special teams pilot in Vietnam flying for the Battalion operations (S3) I was always subject to some odd missions even for the Army. One such odd mission was a Sniffer Mission. Yes, I did said Sniffer. The Army tried many things in Vietnam with helicopters, but a sniffer mission, that was the onecraziest yet.

On this mission we were to survey, with this sniffer machine, an area in Tay Ninh province. close to the Cambodian border. There were reports of battalion size movement in the area, but hunter killer teams could not find them moving in large formations. So, the next illogical step was to try and sniff them out.

A sniffer machine works on tracing ammonia smells that is given off by human and animal perspiration, but in order to have the machine detect these ammonia odor, I must fly the aircraft at 40 knots and on the treetops. At this altitude and airspeed the helicopter is in the kill zone for small to medium weapons fire. Regardless to say I was not a happy camper pulling this mission.

The morning of the mission I landed at 0700 hours in Tay Ninh City at the compound of the Blue Max, a company of hunter killer teams, to have the machine attached to my helicopter and pick up my gun escort. As the machine was being installed, they briefed us about the survey area and the type of grid search pattern they would use. When the briefing concluded, the sniffer machine was ready to go. I took off for the search area with one Cobra gunship and one OH-6 LOCH. When we reached the area myself and the LOCH descended to the treetops and slowed to 40 knots of indicated airspeed.

Our grid search started along a dike line and would continue north to the Cambodian border. But we never made it that far. After only 100 yards along the dike, we had a big hit on the sniffer, but no weapons fire. The operator of the machine said, “Go around and come back over this area again. I want to confirm this as a positive reading.”

As we made our turn back to the area the hair on the back of my neck was standing straight up and my butt cheeks had a tight hold on my seat. I barked, “Be ready boys.”

The hairs on the back of my neck never lie and they didn’t lie to me this either. When we came back over the contact area we were lit up. As soon as I heard the first round hit the aircraft I nosed the helicopter over to gain speed and get out of range of the weapons fire.

Over the radio you could here the LOCH driver exclaiming, “Taking Fire Taking Fire Identify smoke.”

The Cobra driver replied, “Roger, I have Goofy Grape.”

LOCH said, “Confirm Goofy Grape. Put your rockets just south of the smoke.”

Cobra replied, “Rolling in hot.”

As the Cobra was firing rockets into the contact area my self and the LOCH took up a position clear of the area. I confirmed no wounded and all engine instruments in the green.

The Loch driver asked, “Have you had your cherry popped?”

I replied, “Twice. “Why do you ask?”

Loch said, “Well, you just made your third time. Looks like your tail boom has taken a whole clip of AK rounds.”

I replied, “Great. When we get back to base the crew and i can play connect the dots.”

Cobra interjected saying, “Ladies you ready to go back to base? I need more rockets.”

Afterwards troops were called in to sweep the area. And my crew, we called it a day.

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Are There?

As a science fiction writer, I dream up aliens all the time. But are there aliens really out there on their own world wondering, are there really aliens out there? NASA tells us that there are possibilities of 500,000 to possibly one billion systems that could have a planet with earth like conditions.

Let’s just take the smaller number of 500,000 star systems possible of sustaining Earth like conditions on one planet in the system. Now for those of you who are scoffing at me, what if NASA told you there is a possibility of 500,000 rocks with a five dollar bill under it on Earth, how many of you would be looking under rocks? Possibilities of alien life is too great to say there are no such things as aliens. People just like you and me. Not the weird looking aliens I or any other sci-fi writer could dream up. People made in Gods image like us. They may even speak French, or some other weird language. But they would be aliens, right?

Now if you watch Ancient Aliens and I do, but with a salt shaker by my side. The program presents you with ancient cave and rock paintings depicting alien visitations along with numerous accounts of alien spaceship sightings. Maybe our ancestors were trying their hand at science fiction writing then as well, who knows. As for the sightings of alien spacecraft, your guess is as good as mine.

So, for the doubters out there let’s say that all of this is a hoax. There are no aliens traveling around on spaceships and the drawings are our ancestors’ first attempt at science fiction writing. I’ll give you all of that. But what if there are other people like us, in God’s image, on a big blue ball, not traveling around in spaceships? Just sitting in their living rooms watching the news about their Hubble telescope peering into space and the possibilities of alien life in the galaxy. Would you thinking change from not there to are there?

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Can’t take it with You.

My Grandfather told the story of a miserly man that wanted to defy nature and indeed take his riches with him. When the miserly man became ill he ask for his two trusted employees and the local Priest to attend him at his bedside.

When the three were by his bed he gave each a case containing one third of his wealth. After placing the case full of money in each one’s hand he said, ” Upon my death before they close the casket you all are instructed to place the cases into the casket.” Each one nodded in agreement and left with the cases.

Two weeks later the miserly man died. All three were notified of the miserly man’s death and were given the time and place for the funeral. As the service was coming to a close all three men placed their cases in the casket. At the repast the two employees went to the Priest.

The first employ with a bowed head said, “Priest, I must confess. I took out two thirds of the money that was in the case before I placed it in the casket.”

The second employ interjected in a remorseful tone, “I must admit as well, I took one half of the money in the case before I placed it in the casket.”

The Priest shook his head and said, “I am disappointed in you both. I placed a check for the full amount in the case.”

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What do you call Flies in Honey? DEAD!

Flies & the Honey an Aesop Fable

A jar of honey was upset and the sticky sweetness flowed out on the table. The sweet smell of the honey soon brought a large number of Flies buzzing around. They did not wait for an invitation. No, indeed; they settled right down, feet and all, to gorge themselves. The Flies were quickly smeared from head to foot with honey. Their wings stuck together. They could not pull their feet out of the sticky mass. And so they died, giving their lives for the sake of a taste of sweetness.

The Moral of the Story: Be not greedy for a little passing pleasure. It may destroy you.

When I read this fable by Aesop it reminded me of the times in my life when instant gratification had dealt some nasty blows to me and my family. One must always consider the consequences of their actions. Actions and consequences are linked at the hip. You cannot have one without the other imposing either pain or enjoyment. Good thought-out actions produce great consequences. The inverse is true for those of us who do not do our research.

One may ask how can you research a decision or much less an action that needs to be done in seconds not days? The answer. Your mind is the fastest computer on earth. A simple question of one’s self could be, “What happened the last time I did this?”

Small toddlers know after touching a hot plate not to do it again. Pain, either through personal experiences, observing others pain personally or reading stories of one’s pain can be great lessons not soon forgotten. As we grow older these lessons of either physical or emotional pain collect in our memories which can be recalled in milliseconds. When making a decision to act or respond to a personal conversation just ask yourself the one simple question, “What happened the last time?”

Your brain will respond quickly to your request. Don’t ignore these memories. They are videos of your life. What do you call a person who watches the same video expecting a different ending? Answer: A FOOL.

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Battlestar Galactica Returns?

What happens when there are too many streaming channels? Battlestar Gallactica returns. I will have to admit I did watch the TV series in the seventies and again in 2004. The series did better in 2004, but I think it was due to the lack of science fiction space operas on TV. The graphics and special effects as expected were much better, but the story line is always predictable. It reminds me of a Hallmark channel movie, you know how it will end after the first five minutes. Battlestar Gallactica was the same. Before you even turned on the TV you knew the ending. You always knew Battlestar Gallactica was going to have to fight the Cylons. This new remake now streaming on Peacock has the same problem. Now the Cylons attack the Battlestar every 33 minutes. Give me a break.

In Star Wars the rebels were always fighting the Evil Empire but there was much better plot development with Star Wars than Battlestar Gallactica and the characters were much more charismatic.

Battlestar Gallactica wasn’t a game changer in the seventies, 2004 and from what I’ve seen on Peacock it won’t be a game changer now. If you like a show for the CGI, then at least you can derive some pleasure from Battlestar Gallactica, but for me, I will wait for the next Star Trek or Star Wars movie.

Don’t forget to check out my Science Fiction four book series: A Saga of Dogs of War-A Story of Mercenaries. Paperback is available on Amazon at  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08JQRR122  My eBooks are available at Books2Read at https://books2read.com/u/4Dglpg . They make great gifts for only .99 cents each. what a great Christmas present for the Science Fiction reader in your family or in your circle of friends. You can’t buy a coffee for that.

Remember! A donation of likes and follows keeps me feed. Thank you all for your support.

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The Origins of PAIN!

Did you make any New Year Resolutions? Why would anyone make New Year resolutions? If you have made New Year resolutions, did you keep them?

It seems that this whole fiasco of making New Year Resolutions started 4,000 years ago during the Babylonian Empire. During a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians would promise to pay off debt and return borrowed things to their owner. It was believed if they kept their promises that their gods would show them favor over the new year. If they did not the gods would show their displeasure of that individual for the year.

New Year Resolutions in my estimation is a masochistic exercise to produce self-loathing and low self-esteem. People that want to avoid accountability could blame the heathen gods of the Babylonians, but that may not pass the smell test.

I’m all for traditions but how did this one ever make it past the fall of the Babylonian Empire. Why not bring back bloodletting and leeches. They produce the same effect.

Don’t forget to check out my Science Fiction four book series: A Saga of Dogs of War-A Story of Mercenaries. Paperback is available on Amazon at  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08JQRR122  My eBooks are available at Books2Read at https://books2read.com/u/4Dglpg . They make great gifts for only .99 cents each. what a great Christmas present for the Science Fiction reader in your family or in your circle of friends. You can’t buy a coffee for that.

Remember! A donation of likes and follows keeps me feed. Thank you all for your support.

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IN my Mind there IS

Who am I? Why do this to MYSELF? Why do people think that of ME? All questions every person that has walked the Earth has asked. Have you asked these questions? Not being a Doctor, Phycologist or a Councilor, here is my opinion as one who’s mind has not been very cooperative over the years.

In my experiences a mind can be a horrible thing. But if you can control your mind it can become a beautiful thing. The mind separates you into three people that I refer to as ME, MYSELF and I.

Now Me is who people see when they first met ME. The first impression which is others perception of ME. The mind can cause ME to feel self-conscious, fear or aggression to retaliate against those who ME feels is being judgmental or trying to overpower ME. Me can be a very dark. Me needs to be controlled. I do this by not worrying about what ME thinks others think. People will either think ill of you or love you. Cherish the ones that love you and love the ones who ME thinks ill of.

MYSELF, in my mind is the opposite of ME. But MYSELF does have its draw backs. MYSELF if uncontrolled can lead to extremes, such as lack of self-worth to feeling superior to others. MYSELF is the perception of I. The trick is to close the gap between the perceived MYSELF to that of I.

I is the person that GOD wants you to be. That person may be a stay-at-home mother, the President of the United States, or a janitor at the local school. All noble professions in the eyes of GOD. But so many times ME and MYSELF get in the way of GOD’s plan for I. I can find JOY in loving GOD and helping fellow man. The joy and peace I receives from that good work flows down to ME and MYSELF to help bring needed change.

Getting ME and MYSELF to see I as the goal is key. Work toward I with GOD. ME and MYSELF will be the better for it.

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I couldn’t think of anything Else!

When I retired after 35 years of flying professionally, I spent the first few years playing with my young grandchildren. But as they grew older their Papa wasn’t as cool as he used to be. With less time with my grandchildren, I turned my attentions to helping my wife by making her kitchen more efficient. I relocated pots and pans and rearranged the cabinets. While she did appreciate the help washing dishes her appreciation did not extend to my rearranging efforts. My wife soon relegated me to the sink side of the kitchen with the threat bodily harm if I touch her cabinets.

After being banished from the kitchen, I turned to my computer which I had hardly used before and decided to try video gaming. The gaming idea went well. It was a 6 vs 6 battle bot game.

I then did something then I thought I would never do. I started writing short stories about the game including my combat experiences from my time in Vietnam as an Army helicopter pilot. The guys I played with loved them. After writing 49 short stories, I was encouraged to put them into book form. Trying to combine 49 short stories into one book was harder than learning to fly. I did finish it finally and self-published it. After that I was hooked. A year and five books later I am still writing.

Don’t forget to check out my Science Fiction four book series: A Saga of Dogs of War-A Story of Mercenaries. Paperback is available on Amazon at  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08JQRR122  My eBooks are available at Books2Read at https://books2read.com/u/4Dglpg . They make great gifts for only .99 cents each. what a great Christmas present for the Science Fiction reader in your family or in your circle of friends. You can’t buy a coffee for that.

Remember! A donation of likes and follows keeps me feed. Thank you all for your support.

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Frontier Space Chronicles

An Excerpt from Frontier Space Chronicles

Since his ship continued on their exploration mission from the planet of Easteron, Milo had a pretty boring cruise. There was only one system that was discovered some 12-10K from Easteron and was very similar to the system that they discovered 15-10K from Easteron. Fauna and flora were present, but no humanoid life forms were found. As they finished their scientific survey Milo sent the findings of the scientists back to headquarters and continued on their assigned course. After a few months as Milo was reviewing the reports of the last duty shift, Comms said, “Senior Milo. We have a contact that just came up on our scanners at one parsec. It seems to be a flight of two Starships on an intercept course. They are approaching at 12X. With this closure rate we will be in range of our weapons in 45 days.”

Milo replied, “Hail them and see if we can establish any kinds of communications with them. Keep your scans on one parsec. These guys came from somewhere, let’s see if we can find their home.”

Comms continued trying to contact the approaching ships, for what now was considered, enemy Starships with no response. Comms reported that at the current rate of closure the enemy Starships would be in weapons range in just a few hours. Once Milo heard the Comms report, he put the fighters on alert. Milo then directed the helmsman to slow to impulse speed when three-million-kilometer of the enemy Starships to deploy the fighters.

Milo asked, “Comms have we not even gotten a garbled message from those guys?”

Comms replied, “I have no signal from them at all but I have a contact on their possible origin. Tracking their light speed signature, they are from the system about 3-10K behind the approaching enemy Starships.”

Milo exclaimed, “Do they have a space telescope as well? For them to send those two Starships to intercept us they would have to have seen us seven light years or more from their planet. Are there any more Starships behind these two?”

Comms replied, “None so far Sir. These two may just be on patrol.”

The three-million-kilometer range from the enemy Starships was soon upon them. Helm reported the three-million-kilometer mark and was slowing to impulse. As the helm slowed Milo gave the order to launch the fighters. Soon 150 fighters were heading toward the two enemy Starships. Milo told Comms to put the fighters battle channel on speaker and for Helm to implement battle maneuvers and the Weapons Officer to bring all weapons on line and to fire on the enemy Starships when in range.

The Weapons Officer said, “Sir I have all the Identifier Friend or Foe (IFF) signals from the fighters.”

Milo replied “Very good. Comms do I have a link to the fighters?”

Comms replied, “Yes Sir.”

Milo transmitted to all of the flight leads saying, “Flight leaders we have your IFF signals. You have a green light to engage.  The Fighter Commander replied, “Affirmative Sir.”

Fighter Commander Wilford said, “All flight leads approach formation Delta at 7X, shields up, all weapons online. Engage at 850,00 kilometers with torpedoes. Once the flights got their orders thirty-eight two ship flights broke formation to engage the lead Starship and thirty-seven two fighter ships broke to engage the trail ship. Milo then ordered his ship to 7X to reinforce the fighters and directed Navigation to lock onto any life pods and beam them back to the ship.

Navigation asked, “Any life pods Sir or just ours?”

Milo replied, “All live pods Navigation. Comms have security alerted that we may have enemy life pods beaming on board.”

At 850,000 kilometers the sound of ion torpedoes being launched from their tubes on the fighters rang throughout the bridge on the speakers. Milo was watching as the fighters fired their ion torpedoes. As the torpedoes were racing toward the enemy Starships, the Starships broke hard in opposite directions and avoided most of the torpedoes with a few dozen hitting their mark and taking down their shields. The fighters were in hot pursuit using lasers and ion cannons. Chatter on the fighter’s battle channel was constant but restrained.

Milo said, “Weapons, get us into the fight NOW.”

The Weapons replied, “Launching torpedoes now Sir.”

Navigation said, “Sir, the second starship is breaking off from the battle and heading back to the system that they came from.”  

Soon Commander Wilford ordered the second squadron to break off pursuit and return to the battle field to join in the battle with the lead enemy Starship. Torpedoes from Milo’s ship hit the first Starship just below the engines on the connecting tower and above the body of the ship severing the bridge section and the engines from the body of the enemy Starship.

Navigation exclaimed, “Sir the enemy ship has massive decompression from the separation. I have no life pods escaping from the body of the ship.”

Milo responded saying, “Save as many as you can Navigation.”

Navigation replied, “Yes Sir.”

As Navigation was trying to save as many as possible, the bridge section turned away and headed back home leaving the ones in the body of the enemy Starship behind. 

As survivors were being beamed aboard Milo’s ship, Commander Wilford was getting a damage report from his Squadrons’ leaders. Milo directed the Helm to put a mooring beam on the body of the enemy ship and bring it alongside. 

Milo asked, “Did we get all of our life pods back on board?”

Navigation still beaming people off the enemy ship’s body replied, “All ten Sir.”

After Navigation reported ten life pods recovered Commander Wilford reported that five fighters were indeed destroyed. Wilford asked, “Did you get my guys back on board?”

Milo said, “All accounted for Commander Wilford. They are safe and sound on the ship.”

Wilford replied, “Thank you Sir. We can make more fighters but their crews are hard to replace out here. I guess the second ship didn’t have the stomach for battle. They never engaged my fighters after our torpedo attack.”

Milo said, “Get you fighters back onboard ASAP Commander. I want to give that system a wide berth. I don’t want to face all their brothers if they decide to come back and avenge their little brothers.”

Wilford replied, “Roger that Sir. If their brothers do want some of this, we will be more than happy to give them what their brothers got.”

Milo said, “I’m sure you would Commander, but for now, get back on board the ship.”

Helm reported, “Sir the body of the enemy ship is moored.”

Milo said, “Thank you Helm. Navigation, how are we doing with beaming survivors on board?”

Navigation replied, “Sir, I have beamed 1500 on board that were in areas that were decompressing. Another 500 life signs are still in the body of the enemy ship that are in areas that the crew was able to seal off. Medical and security are in cargo bay three attending to the ones that are on board. I will monitor the ones still in the body of the enemy ship and beam them on board if their situation changes or when medical and security are ready for them. There are several hundred that are hurt or badly injured, medical needs time to triage and treat them.”

Milo said, “Very well. Helm keep us in this position until all the survivors from the body are on board. How fast can we move with the body alongside?”

Helm responded saying, “Sir it is hard to tell. We will have to start slow and speed up from there to see how it tows.”

Milo said, “Well then, once we get all the survivors on board, we will have to test it out. Comms ask Second Alo to come to the bridge. I am going to the cargo bay and see what the situation is there.”

Milo left the CON seat and went to the elevator. He then said, “Cargo bay three.”

The elevator responded saying, “Cargo bay three. Confirm.”

Milo replied, “Confirm Cargo bay three.”

The elevator started moving and soon came to a stop. The elevator responded, “Cargo bay three.” The door opened to reveal a mass of humanity. Medical teams where everywhere attending to as many as they could and sending the ones that needed more extensive medical attention to the medical bay.

As Milo walked among the injured the Security Chief Akule recognized him. While walking toward him he said, “Senior Milo, you should have called me before you came down. I am not sure we are secure enough for you to be here.”

Milo replied, “If they don’t know I am important then I for sure will not tell them. What is the situation Chief Akule?”

Akule said, “We have about three hundred injured, 75 seriously. Most of the injuries reported are cuts and bruises. The severely injured are in the medical bay now being treated. The ones with cuts and bruises are in various stages of shock and for now are not causing any problems. They understand we are here to help by our actions. The translator is still working on the language so we can start communicating with them, but nothing yet.”

Milo asked in a low tone, “Has there been any leader identified among the survivors?”

Akule replied, “No. Like I mentioned before they ae still somewhat in shock. No one is talking much.”

Milo said, “Well, there are another 500 or so still in the body of the enemy ship. There are too many of them for us to keep them on board and continue our mission. Keep them fed and as comfortable as possible until we can come up with a solution.”

Akule replied, “My department will need to do double duty for a while then to make sure we can keep the peace. The rest can be beamed aboard when the medical team finishes with the injured already on board now, which should be shortly. I will let the medical staff and my staff know that there are more survivors that will beamed here shortly.”

Milo said, “There will be no more beamed here until you give me the ok for their transfer. I don’t want to overwhelm your people. I will only beam survivors here before then, if the situation on the body of the enemy ship deteriorates. Until that happens, I will wait on your authorization Akule.”

Akule replied, “Thank you Sir. I will keep you up to date on the situation here.”

Milo said, “I am on my way to the medical bay to see the Senior Medical Officer and the condition of the more seriously injured. If you need to reach me, I will be there.”

Milo then turned to the elevator and headed to the medical bay. When he entered the medical bay, everyone was busy with patients. As he walked down the aisle, looking from side to side, he observed the seriously injured on each medical bed. As he was observing the medical staff working on a patient a voice from behind him said, “This Senior Milo is the other side of war. The dead and maimed as well as the physically and emotionally scared.”

Milo lowered his head then said, “Ones aggression has consequences Medical Director Albert, but the wounds of war are not confined to the ones that were defeated. A family friend once told me as a young man that a true warrior buries his comrades in arms and his emotions deep. Though his comrades are free, he covers his physical wounds with clothing and his emotional wounds in what is referred to as a proverbial lock box deep inside himself. A lock box for all the darkness experienced so he can see the light and good and not dwell on the darkness. You have your lock box don’t you Doctor?”

Albert replied, “I am afraid so Senior Milo. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

Milo said, “I wanted to see what we are looking at in regards to the wounded survivors. We have another 500 still in the body of the enemy ship. From the life signs we are getting there are some injured but none of the injuries seem life threatening. How many seriously injured are you treating now?’

Albert replied, “We had three hundred injured. Seventy-five of them seriously enough for us to move here. We have five in surgery units now trying to repair internal bleeding, fill collapsed lungs and repair organ damage. They will be touch and go for the next 24 to 48 hours. The other 70 are stable and should be able to fully recover, but they will need a few days in a medical bed. This race is put together differently than we are. They have all the same organ functions, but some organs are located in different places. We have a handle on it now.”

Milo said, “Let me know when your staff is ready for more survivors from the body of the enemy ship. I am not sure how long the body’s hull will last.”

Albert replied, “I will call my medical staff in Cargo Bay Three and let you know when they have a handle on the situation there. You going to be on the bridge?”

Milo said, “Yes. I am going there now. Call me when they are ready.”

As Milo turned back toward the elevator Albert said, “Keep that box locked Senior Milo. We need you in top form.”

Milo waved his hand in affirmation for the doctor as he entered the elevator. When the door closed Milo whispered, “Always Doc. Always. No one wants to see the dark side.”

As the elevator ascended to the bridge, Milo’s head was bowed but when the door started to open, he stiffened his posture and raised his head. It was show time and he needed to act the part. As he walked to the CON seat, Second Alo stood and took his position beside his Senior.

Milo asked, “Navigation, what is the condition of the survivors on the body of the enemy ship?”

Navigation replied, “Sir, the body is stable for now.

Milo asked, “Comms has there been any communications from the retreating ships?”

Comms replied, “Nothing Sir. If they are communicating with their home world, their communications must be some sort of directional beam or on a frequency we don’t have. “

Milo said, “We have not even heard a blah, blah, blah on any of our frequencies. We have over 5,000 frequencies and we have nothing on any of THEM.”

Comms replied, “Sorry Sir. We have nothing.”

Alo said, “Perhaps they are transmitting on a frequency we would not normally use for communications.”

Milo replied, “The only frequency we have not used is the dog whistle frequency. Wait the Medical Director Albert said that they were arranged differently than us. Comms can you scan that frequency and all high frequencies that we do not use for communications?”

Comms replied, “I will try Sir.”

Helm said, “Sir, I have calculated that we could do 5X with the body in tow. Are you sure you want to be slowed down by the wreckage?”

Milo replied, “If we are to continue our mission, we cannot maintain almost two thousand people more than we have now. I am thinking we would drop them off on the planet we left that was uninhabited. The body could be a shelter for them until they are able to build their own shelters.”

Alo said, “That is a logical plan Sir. The enemy that was just engaged could follow our light speed signature to find them at a later date, if they are so inclined. Only one of the two ships actually engaged us. The other retreated rather quickly once the first shot was fired.  That could either be interpreted as cowardice or the lack of desire toward hostility. Our interpretation was the first not the latter.”

Milo asked, “Alo are you saying that they may have approached us in peace?”

Comms interjected staying, “Senior Milo, I have found a message on a very ultra-high frequency at an incredible rate of speed. It is digitized and compressed. I cannot make anything out from the message. We would need to decompress the message and then reconstruct it with the proper spacing of the language. There was no way to hear what they were saying and I would suspect the same on their end.”

Milo asked, “Has the translator finished the translation of this cultures language?”

Comms checked the progress of the translator and then said. “It is almost 65 percent complete Sir. Once we have the complete translation, I can start the decompression then. Now it is just a line of undiscernible letters with no voice.”

Milo replied, “Getting that message decompressed and translated is your number one priority Comms. We need that message.”

Comms replied, “Aye, Aye Sir.”

Milo turned to Alo and said, “Alo I hope we did not engage peaceful intentions with ion torpedoes.”

Helm responded saying, “Sir, their weapons were indicating energized and their shields were raised. They were ready to fight.”

Milo replied “Thank you Helm for the reminder. We could not take the chance of them not firing any weapons.”

Then Security Chief Akule called Milo saying, “We are ready for the next round of survivors.” Milo acknowledged the Security Chief and told him that they would start beaming the survivors in a few minutes and to start looking for them to materialize in Cargo Bay Three. Milo nodded to Navigation who then started the beaming process from the body of the enemy ship.  Milo and Alo retired to Milo’s office as the beaming process was proceeding to discuss possible actions for the survivors and the system they came from.

Milo asked, “Alo, do you think they were not going to fire on us?”

Alo replied, “Senior Milo, there was no indication that they were not hostile. Weapons energized and shields up would indicate that they were indeed going to engage us. I think that they thought that one large ship such as this one, would be an easy target for their two Attack Starships. When the 150-Starfighters emerged from our ship and engaged them with such veracity they were taken aback and confusion reigned in the enemy’s ranks thus resulting in the retreat of one and the destruction of the lead Enemy Starship. We may find that they were trying to communicate, but their actions spoke louder than any words that we may have heard prior to the engagement.”

Milo said, “We will know soon enough. If they were trying to communicate with us and we did not receive their communications our actions were predicated on the actions of the enemy, not words. I need you to keep on top of on the situation of the survivors. Once we get the messages translated and decompressed, we can determine if we take the survivors to the uninhabited planet or try to make contact with their system to repatriate them. Thank you Second Alo for your time and council. You and I will need to stay on duty for the day to make sure we are prepared for any contingencies. You take the CON and monitor the beaming up of the survivors and be on the lookout for any indication that the enemy is planning some sort of retaliation.  I want to explore the options for taking the survivors to the uninhabited planet and the preparations the engineers would need to do to assure their survival on the new planet.”

Alo replied, “I will work for as long as needed Senior Milo.”

Milo said, “Very well, Second Alo. I will head to the engineering department now to see what our options are for the survivors. Stay in touch.” Alo replied, “Aye, Aye Sir.”

Frontier Space Chronicles will be available on January 19th 2021. Stay tuned for more information on this and the ret of the books in my science fiction series A Saga of Dogs of War-A Story of Mercenaries

Don’t forget to check out my Science Fiction four book series: A Saga of Dogs of War-A Story of Mercenaries. Paperback is available on Amazon at  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08JQRR122  My eBooks are available at Books2Read at https://books2read.com/u/4Dglpg . They make great gifts for only .99 cents each. what a great Christmas present for the Science Fiction reader in your family or in your circle of friends. You can’t buy a coffee for that.

Remember! A donation of likes and follows keeps me feed. Thank you all for your support.

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WHO DAT?

A young wizard, with evil in his heart, wanting to prove to his mentor that he was ready to venture out on his own, decided to walk through the enchanted forest one night. He was successful in transporting himself to the forest, but when there his confidence began to wane.

As he walked eyes appeared in the dark all around him. A low growl was then heard behind him in a tall tree. He quickly turned and said, “Who dat up THERE.”

The young wizard then heard, “Who dat down there.”

The young wizard now scared and shaking with fear in an effort to regain some of his composure asked, “Who dat up there saying who dat down there when I say who dat up there?”

Then suddenly a griffin swooped down from the tree saying “Me, Griffin of the forest.” The Griffin killed him eating him for dinner.

Moral of the Story: Evil pride in one’s unproven abilities is folly and could get you eaten.

Don’t forget to check out my Science Fiction four book series: A Saga of Dogs of War-A Story of Mercenaries. Paperback is available on Amazon at  https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08JQRR122  My eBooks are available at Books2Read at https://books2read.com/u/4Dglpg . They make great gifts for only .99 cents each. what a great Christmas present for the Science Fiction reader in your family or in your circle of friends. You can’t buy a coffee for that.

Remember! A donation of likes and follows keeps me feed. Thank you all for your support.

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