Archive for June, 2017

Clouds.

Pastel clouds in rolling winds,
vantage point up high,
moved in forces unseen,
touched by crimson hand,
brief celestial home,
soon dark,
soon gone.

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Rings of Fate S2xE5 – Horizon – DEHumans III (pt.4)

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Once back in the command centre he was informed that the DEHuman ship had powered down weapons and reassumed its previous position, ready to collect the others leaving the Horizon. “I have an estimate of the loss.” 

Raising an eyebrow as he sat down Frederick waved for Bettina to go on. “Nearly a third of our population.”

Struck by the immense number of people he would lose if he let the linkers go, Frederick took a few deep breaths. 
Who knew that in their war ridden, and slight undermanned, population there were so many linkers? Was it that the maximum number of permitted children per couple had been raised to four? Or did the people need the escape mechanism? 
“Guess we won’t need the implants for a long time then.” He grumbled, opening a channel to the beta ring’s speaker and public broadcast system. “This is Admiral Doherty speaking, to all non linked individuals in the beta ring. I strongly suggest for you to leave, as the separation process will commence shortly.” 

Before he could give the command an alarm began beeping. 

“Bufferzone is disengaging!” Lieutenant Fohler couldn’t help but feel utterly helpless, she found herself locked out of every control that the beta ring had to offer. 

“Can’t halt it, they locked us out.” 

Resigned Frederick leaned in his chair. “Figures.” He grumbled. Behind him the doors opened, Jane entered, intercom had been disrupted, so she came on foot from the infirmary. “Sir, I bring you the grim news of Admiral Grienberg’s death. Apparently the shock dart had caused a heart attack, from which he didn’t recover, after a second heart attack some ten minutes ago he died.” 

“We’re loosing too many good people today.” He nodded, “take that station there.” He pointed Jane to Joleen’s former post. 

“Buffer pods are orbiting as planned. It seems the linkers at least will leave us with that much.” 

“Not funny.” Jane commented, immediately she put her hand over her mouth. Bettina was a superior officer after all. “I agree.” The Admiral grumbled. He has gone to another station, was observing the situation as well. 

One by one the landing crafts disengaged from beta, floated over to the Ark1, where they stacked up on the other parts already lifted from Explorer. 

“They’re taking more than allotted.” Jane had familiarised herself with the planned evacuation while she had stayed at Solomon’s side, of course only after the former Admiral had given her the access codes to the secret files. 

“Can we stop it? No, so we have to watch and see what they leave us with.” Still grumbling Frederick wanted to shoot the Ark1 out of the sky.

But he had nothing in his arsenal that would do the job. 

“Where are you from Mulgrew?” Almost sounding disinterested the three watched the same data on the main viewscreen. A lieutenant commander entered the room, and took post at the security console. “Beta, sir. Born and raised. That’s my neighbourhood floating off.”

“There will not be much of a beta ring left after today, Private.” Lieutenant Commander O’toole too turned his gaze at the main screen. “All sections are secure Sir, except, that of course.” He nodded to the ships leaving the beta ring. “Emitters are in place, once they leave and are out of range, activation will commence.” 

“Good work O’toole. Stand ready.” 

The last ships disengaged, leaving only the central garden and the first two decks outwards. Preprogrammed the buffer ships docked again. 

Far from where the new surface of the beta ring was. “I hate these creeps.” 

“Me too sir, me too.” Jane concurred with O’toole’s words, as did Fohler. 
A few minutes passed after the docking of the bufferpods and the last ships on the Ark1 had finished. O’toole had his finger poised over the button to activate the emitters. 

It was a field that would probably kill every linker hidden amongst their midst. Only their prisoner and the harpies were shielded from the emitters. 

“Sir! Look!” Fohler pointed at the screen, some of the ships that had docked with the Ark1 began to break apart, but in a strange, orderly fashion. “They’re breaking it apart.” Assuming to mold the components and alloys into new equipment Frederick watched in awe how fast and efficient the linkers were.
“No sir, they already broke it down. That which we see here is behaving weirdly.” Jane enhanced the image. “Nanotechnology?” 

“Yes, for now it is a mass of tiny robots, behaving like a controlled liquid. Once the desired form is reached, the machines bond together on a molecular level in the new configuration.” Looking at her with disbelief in his eyes, Frederick had to acknowledge the genius in both her, and the plan of the linkers. 

“What will they produce? Doctor Mulgrew, I presume?” He put the emphasis on the title. “Master of Nanotechnology, sir. Hard to say, looks like a massive ring,” the moment she had said it both she and the Admiral knew that they had just increased their power capabilities. 

“Antimatter!” They yelled simultaneously. As if they had given the other ship a que, it vanished in a bright flash. 
It took a second or two, before the alarms went off again. Not the antimatter alarms, but proximity alerts. “It’s the harpys again, we would’ve seen them sooner with the whiskers intact.” Fohler reported her sensor readings. 

“Great. The vultures come.” Frederick shook his head.

“Weapons cold, they’re hailing on the frequencies provided by Admiral Grienberg.” Fohler seemed more than relieved about these circumstances. “Accept their call.” 
After formal introductions were over Frederick begged the Harpy commander to send the program to inhibit the link, not only to the Horizon, but the Destiny. He had to force himself to give up their position in space, and admit their existence to the Harpy in the first place. In the long run he figured the linkers posed the greater threat.

There was no reply from the Harpy ship for agonising moments. 

“We agree to give you the information you seek, as the threat from the conjoined minds outweigh the difference between our species.” The computerised voice, he was all too familiar with from Hylia, gave the reply from the Harpy commander. 

Thanking her with quite a lot of relief showing in his voice, Frederick turned to Jane, his joy was dampened by the fact that he didn’t find Joleen there.

“New Whiskers are ready, sir. We can launch them right away.” Jane tried not to feel offended by the sudden diminish in the Admirals joyful expression. 

“When the Harpy left.” He nodded, forcing himself to smile harder, attempting to mask his true feelings.

“I doubt that they’ll reach Destiny in time.” As the transmission from the Harpyies was received Fohler couldn’t help but muse about the situation.

“I believe that there is hope. The Harpies have more experience in that mode of transportation, plus, the superior engines, and thus can outrun the linkers.” O’toole replied. Before the Admiral could say a word of his own, the Harpy ship sent a final message that they’d attempt to reach Destiny in time, before they too vanished.

“Alright, we’ll know soon enough. O’toole, activate the emitters. Mulgrew, launch the Whiskers. It’s time to end today’s shift. It has been a long day.” 

Do you even lift?

The gloves are dead, long live the gloves!

After the old ones were tearing apart I told myself that enough was enough. So I got some new ones. 


Then here are my dumbbells, with 11kg each (2x 5kg weight +1kg the actual bar). It’s a far cry from my previous setting of 16kg each, but I have half an hour each workday morning for my workout, so I need to place an emphasis on efficiency as much as on lifting: I simply lack the time to push for 150 repeats at 16kg every workday morning. But with patience I will get there eventually. 😉

So, at this time I’m doing 150 repeats for pushups, situps, bicep curls and tricep routines.

Until such time,
take care,
A.

Rings of Fate S2xE5 – Horizon – DEHumans III (pt.3)

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After he had left the others Solomon had wandered around the ship aimlessly, found himself in a cab going to subalpha. The zero G bit was his favorite. 

For a few brief moments he didn’t feel the chronic pain in his joints. When I die, I hope it is in zero G. No worries here. Closer to the universe that gave birth to me. A faint smile was still on his lips as he entered Hylias quarters. 

Gérard had left, his shift had ended, some other man sat there monitoring her condition, he saluted as he saw the former Admiral, but soon continued to work in silence. 

“Johannes is dead, we just had his memorial service.” There was no apparent reaction from Hylia. “One day, you have to tell me what you do with your dead.” Not speaking another word Solomon stayed in front of the glass wall, he wept in silence, undisturbed by partying friends of Johannes, or the technician.

“We incinerate them. Mourn them. Mammal or not, we are more alike than some would like.” 
It was a painstakingly effort to hold the conversation with Hylia, but it was worth it. She had recorded the message he intended to send to the harpys. Even if the Admiral was against using the program he hoped to procure from them, it was good to have it, in case they ever needed it. 

Hylia also provided him with information on how best to contact them, concerning frequency and modulation. 

Slowly he walked through the hallways, weary that at any time he could be ambushed by one of the linkers. Surely not all had gathered in beta, paranoid that Gérard’s replacement might be one of them, he took detours and stayed away from others. If it couldn’t be avoided to be in close proximity of other people, he tried to have a multitude of others around him. 

There were four people in the corridor outside the tube. 

He felt safer, but still haunted by his paranoid fear that one or all of them might be linked. 

The two deck ride to the command centre should be short, there he was sure to find Frederick, or in his den, only a one minute walk from the command centre. 

With one ear he listened to their chattering, about some mundane stuff they were interested in. An infirmary based TV show from Destiny if he wasn’t mistaken. 

“You can’t take us down.” One of the four, a young woman, turned around to him once thendoors shut. He, as well as the three others were surprised. 

A moment later he felt a sharp stinging pain in his abdomen. His muscles twitched, the world grew dark, as he also felt an indistinguishable pain in his chest. 
Quickly private Thompson got disarmed, she grew unresponsive the same moment the former Admiral hit the deck.

“Alter heading: infirmary!” Private Jane Mulgrew barked at the computer. “Get her to a cell!” The two men holding Thompson saluted. 

“Medical emergency,” Jane had meanwhile raised the infirmary on her glasses. “have medics at the tube access!” 

A shaky hand rose from Solomon, he grabbed her by the shoulder. “Bring, my tablet, to the Admiral!” His voice was more a whisper than a tone, once the doors opened medics streamed in an heaved the former Admiral on a stretcher, hurried off with him. Her two fellow colleagues left, heading to the brig a few corridors down, leaving Jane clutching the tablet. 

“Command centre.” She ordered the cab. Doors closed, during the ride she began drafting her report on the incident on her glasses, typing with eye movement and blinks. 

All the while clutching the tablet with her hands. 
“They have powered up weapons.” Were the first words Jane head as she entered the command centre. “Brace for fire.” 

“We’re not the target!” In horror Jane saw the ship move off, heading towards the Harpy vessel, on the way there the DEHumans eliminated the whiskers. “Harpys left.” A flash lit up the screen, the hHarpy vessel had abandoned them.

For now at least.

“What do you want?” Harshly emphasising the “you” Frederick turned around with his seat. “Admiral Grienberg got shot by a linker, Private Thompson, he tasked me to deliver this to you, before medics took him to the infirmary.” Keeping her disciplined demeanour and posture Jane handed the tablet over. 

Equally shocked by the news and curious what his predecessor had him delivered Frederick took the tablet. “Have the technician currently in Hylias quarters arrested if I don’t deliver this personally.” Solomon’s voice came from the tablet. By his tone and the background noise it was easy to deduct he rcorded that message in a narrow hallway. 

With a nod to his chief of security Frederick confirmed the order of the old Admiral. 

In silence he read through the transcript of the conversation with Hylia including the details of the Harpy communication frequency. 

“Helm! As soon as you so much as catch a glimpse of the Harpies, contact them on this frequency.” With a few simple commands he sent the information to the console of the navigation officer, currently also doubling as communication officer. 

After reading through the rest of the transcript he turned back to Jane. “Private?”

“Mulgrew, sir.”

“Right, excellent work. Now return to the infirmary and keep me apprised of Admiral Grienberg’s condition. You’ll also double as his security guard.” 

Jane saluted, containing her surprise until she was out of the door again. Displaying an excited smile she hurried off.
“Looks like they’re chasing after the Harpies.” Bettina Fohler on the navigation post observed the Ark1 disappearing. 

“They’ll be back. I suspect they’re lacking the power to mount a full scale chase.” Frederick seldom voiced his fears, even though the linkers had the capacity to destroy the Harpy vessel, he feared that they lacked the engine power or scientific advancement necessary to chase them through space. 

“Registering them, they entered range of our sensors again, moving towards us.” Here we go. Pinching the base of his nose Frederick sat up straight. 

“They’re demanding the release of the linkers aboard Horizon. Now.” Dismissing the urgent call Frederick left the room, in the adjacent room, formerly the bunk room for command centre staff, he went to a chair in which Joleen was sitting. 

Strapped in.

“Are you still in there Joleen?” Empty eyes stared back at him. With a grim expression he reached into his pocket. “Your friends are currently out of range, for a few moments at least.” He activated the cellphone like device he had fixed by an engineering junior. 

Disturbed, almost angry Joleen snapped back to reality. 

“Do you want to join them?” Knowing that he probably had only moments before the device was fried again, he didn’t waste any time on pleasantries. “Oh, sir, you have no idea. All my life I felt out of place, out of touch with the rest of humanity.” She sat up a bit more comfortably, as much as the straps allowed her to.

“In the link, I was one with all. No longer was I the freak, the misfit, the highly intelligent but socially awkward one. I am one of many. So yes, I want to. I belong there.” Almost on que the device in his hand got hot and he dropped it. 

“So be it then.” He stood up straight. “I am keeping Private Thompson, she has committed a crime and must be punished accordingly to our laws. The rest of you can leave.” Two guards in the room with them stepped to his side as he waved them over. 

They helped Joleen to her feet, once she was unstrapped. 

Rain.

In evening’s dim light, 

silent raindrops like diamonds glitter, 

voiceless whisperings unheard, 

brief existence of utter beauty, 

sailing on – rolling – into the night, 

sweet dreams…

Crappy Birthday in June

Know a smoker? Hate the living crap out of that fucker? Want to gift him/her with the worst curse from Pandora’s box – false hope?


Lucky you! 

This cigarette case, with the hopeful message of survival, whilst containing suicide in small doses, is the perfect gift for this occasion. 
Crappy birthday,

A.

Rings of Fate S2xE5 – Horizon – DEHumans III (pt.2)

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Eyes squinted into small slits, the jaw clenched close. 

Her entire body tensed up. 

Almost unrecognisable to Solomon. He found Hylia sitting in her quarters. “It costs her a lot of effort to keep her implant offline.” Gérard Maiziere monitored the frequency of the implant, he sat next to the glass wall behind which Hylia sat. 

Hylia had been drifting in and out of responsive phases, during which she had told Gérard of similar events in Harpy history. Keeping his attention on the instruments Gérard handed the former Admiral a tablet, with the words that he needed it back. 

Sitting down as well Solomon began reading the transcript. 
A few months after large scale deployment of the implants began in ancient Harpy society, a fraction of the population linked together, just like the DEHumans. 

Unlike their human counterparts the ancient Harpy linkers succeed in actively forcing the link upon others. Soon the entire colony of the linkers was conjoined, and they started genetic diversity breeding. 

Solomon had read the recent reports from Explorer that were still on file, the crew of the Orion had just done the same with at least two members of the Explorer away team. 

The rest of the Harpy society looked at this development with unease. Fearing forced assimilation they attacked the linked colony with little success. Until they brought in weaponry to destabilise a large number of asteroids in the solar system. Too many for the colony to handle. Once the defences were down, and the offences largely destoryed the colony was bombarded from space.

To be sure, the entire system was declared uninhabitable, and off limits. Solar powered turrets were left in orbit around the planet, shooting everything that came from it or approached it from space.

“Interesting. There were no attempts of any kind to ever recreate such a collective?” 

“There were, but in our colonies and ships we have routines active to disrupt such linking.” Hylia spoke with a pronounced growl in her voice, the computerised voice did not carry it over, but it was audible through the wall. 

A glimmer of hope rose in Solomon, but he had to ponder on it for a while. If the Harpies shadowing them had such a virtual defense against the linkers, it was a question of getting it from them, and a second one to get it into the DEHuman network. But, was it the right thing to do? 

Doubting that it would be correct to enforce his view on the linkers, born into it or freely chosen to participate alike, Solomon shrugged his thoughts away.

First he had to attend something he had dreaded for the past two days.

Johannes’ memorial. 

Having known him since childhood, and having had a friendship for all of that time, his death had hit him hard. Working, despite his retirement, kept him afloat mentally, emotionally.  

Attending his memorial gave no relieving distraction, he would be forced into his pain, his memories, his loss. 

“I hate this.” He repeatedly mumbled on his way to the alpha ring. 
Clad in black, Sharon met him there. At first the rules of the closed ecosystem seemed weird, but Solomon had gotten used to them. There were no graveyards, or space burials. The nutrients in a human body were valuable to the plant life, and in turn for the following generations. 

“We have gathered here to remember Johannes Falkner. Doctor, husband, father and a close friend of mine.” Solomon had the doubtful honor to lead the ceremony. I hate this even more than just attending. “He will always be in our hearts, in our memory and for those of us that do it, in our prayers.” He looked at the crowd, there was Oleksandra, Johannes’ wife, Karl, his son. Of course Sharon and Solomon’s own children. Solomon jr. and Sara. The latter with her fiancé, and the baby the two had half a year ago. 

Colleagues and friends. It saddened him that Hylia couldn’t attend. Had she not gotten under the influence of the DEHuman link, it would’ve been possible to get her to the ceremony. 

“I once heard an ancient proverb. Sadly I forgot where it originated: Some things live only as long as the last person who remembers it. If that is the case, Johannes hasn’t died. His son will remember. His wife will remember. I shall remember! My children had always liked Uncle Joe, so they will remember. It is my firm hope that he will be a true immortal, never forgotten, meaning never dead. His body has passed on, but he will be always among us.” 

After he had spoken, Karl had his turn, Oleksandra couldn’t bring herself to it. She was too grief striken. 

Once the body of his old friend had been carried off inton the interior of the morgue Solomon stayed in his seat. 

“Distract me.” Oleksandra sat down next to him. Both their sons had led the guests off, including Solomon’s wife. “We face a secession on beta by the linkers. How’s that for a distraction?” 

Answering with a weak and faint smile, Oleksandra stared at the wall behind which her husband’s remains were treated to become fertile soil one day. “I could use his advice on this. He had an understanding of different cultures and cultural ramifications, that I lack. Look how well he got in touch with Hylia.” Solomon couldn’t help but start tearing up again. “And I could just use his company. Our jokes, jests, and old stories. New stupid stories to be added to the anthology of our friendship.” 

“I miss him too already.” Surprisingly stout Oleksandra shook her head. “I guess, I knew it was coming when he had slipped into that comatose state then. It prepared me, more than it prepared you.” Sighing she got up, patting Solomon on the shoulder. “Come on sir, let’s celebrate.” 

Celebrate! With a swift motion he wiped his tears away. Why is death celebrated? After someone died there was a sad memorial, and then the reltives and friends gathered for a feast and a party. Solomon didn’t feel like celebrating. 

Never the less, he visited the party, stayed for about an hour, mingled with the other guests.