Archive for August, 2017

Cooking pro-tips I

Real men don’t cry cutting onions, they make onions cry.

Advertisements

Rings of Fate S2xE7 – Horizon – Harpies (pt.5)

image

Half of an agonising hour passed, before another series of jolts rocked the cab around. Retreated into her mind Jane looked around as if she watched a movie. Suddenly gravity kicked in, and a pressure seal was established at the door that chaim had used the interface at. 

It opened with a noisy hiss. 

Three people were in the other room, the two women were dirty, the man sitting at the computer panel was only using one arm, the other was in a sling.

“Technician Junkic to command centre, we have them.” Relieved Jane opened the seat belt and hurried out of the cab, Cyril closely behind, followed by Grienberg and Falkner. 

“What happened?” Jane and Chaim simultaneously asked the same question, instead of a reply Jane received a call from O’toole on her glasses, informing her that the Braxi had showed up and decided to shoot at the Horizon. Retaliation was not very successful at first, but after the Harrak had weakened the Braxi’s shields sufficiently, the lasers from Horizon dealt enough damage.

“Enough for what, sir?” Figuring it meant that they retreated, or were left adrift and unarmed for Harrak to deal a final blow to them, she received damage reports instead of an answer to her question. 
Damage reports from all over the ship. Subalpha was in bad shape, alpha had a hole in it, gamma had lost much of their buffer zone. The only thing intact were subgamma and beta. Even the tubes between alpha and subalpha had taken a beating, which had delivered them out into space, where a beak had taken them to the bea ring remnants, and later docked them.

“What happened to Harrak?” She noticed that all scheduled deliveries to the harpy vessel had been cancelled. “She’s not going to be repaired. What was left of the crew is abandoning ship and sending for help.” Finally having arrived in subalpha Jane sat in the briefing room near the command centre. 

To her relief Wolfgang had been on duty at the beta garden entrance. 

“You still haven’t told me what happened to Braxi, sir.” 

Instead of telling her O’toole pointed her attention to the large screen. Cyril and Jane looked. A series of harpy glyphs on the edge of the frame told them it was recorded by a beak affiliated with the Harrak. 

The vastness of space opened up before them, and the grueling image of the badly beaten Horizon. Hovering at beta was the beak with the cab in tow. 

In front of the Horizon was the intimidating Braxi, although her shields had failed she still was impressive. 

An energy discharge from the Harrak behind the beak, mand thus the camera, opened up a gap in the Braxi defenses, as the beaks had scrambled after shield failure. 

That’s when the lasers from Horizon followed, bombarding the hostile Harpy ship, until the beams of UV light emerged on the other side of the ship, tearing the beaks there to shreds.

“We wanted to fire a nuke at that point, but, see for yourselves.” O’toole spoke at that point. There was satisfaction in his voice. 

A series of explosions ripped through the Braxi, Cyril clawed the seat she sat in as the explosions moved from the hole in Braxi outwards, until reaching the engine core, from where a singular explosion tore the Braxi apart. 

“Yes!” Cyril hissed, with an angry victorious grin on her lips.

Her fallen sisters had quasi been avanged. Overwhelmed by the victory the Horizon had achieved, Jane too couldn’t hide her satisfaction. 
“Our ship will be arriving soon.” Four days had passed since the destruction of the Braxi. Jane strode through the gardens on beta with Cyril. “Following your actions in this crisis, the matriarchy will consider peaceful ways with your kind, but know this, there will be no technology made available to you.”

“I understand, my superiors do too, although there certainly are forces aboard Horizon who would want it, but we have had too many cautionary tales in our own history and cultures, to ever truly follow it through. Just think of the linkers.” 

Laughing the two stopped, Hylia wandered down the path, her two children behind her. The two were excited, as they were leaving with their people, always welcome to return to Hylia on Horizon. The older Harpy had decided to stay, as she felt more at home there now, than with her people. Besides, she didn’t want to spend what was left of her life as a curiosity and story teller. 

“I’ll leave you to talk.” Jane headed for the exit. 

Still there were issues to be dealt with resulting from the patriarchists attack. Admiral Doherty had been killed in the attack, and O’toole was a prime candidate for succession of that office. Before that became truly relevant, work schedules to repair damaged areas, and replace some if possible, was more pressing. 

Jane started on the work schedules immediately upon leaving the garden. Most important was to close of the exposed tubes between alpha and subalpha. The spine of the ship, almost broken. 

“I heard you’re getting another promotion?” Wolfgang studied her from head to toe. “Unofficially, yes. Officially maybe in a year, probably two.” She winked entering the tube cab, swallowing a chilling sensation. 

Although badly beaten, Horizon had learned much from the incident. Better shielding, buffers and more effective and efficient lasers for future enfounters, could be developed with the collected data. 

Improvement and repair was her new assignment, once the Harpies left the ship.
“Good morning, sir.” She manned her station in the command centre, O’toole sat in the chair of the Admiral. “Good morning, Mulgrew. I have a task for you, find out how much our trajectory was altered by the bombardments and decompressions, and then, alter it to our previous heading.” Confident in her, he smiled, tunring his attention back to the main viewscreen, where long range scans already picked up the Harpy ship that would pick up their refugees.  

Rings of Fate S2xE7 – Horizon – Harpies (pt.4)

image

“Your conduct was out of line!” Although the Harpy had been apprehended, and jailed after it was treated for the injuries caused by both the laser and the radiation from the cloak, O’toole was still furious.

The tone with which Jane had addressed him in her call was showing no respect, and the Sergeant she had spoken with said she hadn’t treated him with the proper respect for his rank either.

“Because I did what needed to be done? Or because I made you aware of a situation as quickly as possible without delaying everything by using the proper wording?” Admiral Doherty sat in a corner of the room, he had returned from his vacation because O’toole hadn’t let him stay hidden. After tracing the Admiral’s call, O’toole had searched for him, and contacted him. 

Mostly because he thought Mulgrew unfit for her assignment. 

“Enough. Both of you.” He rose to his feet. 

He felt all the relaxation, he had been gathering, fade away in an instant after the hearing began. “O’toole, I’ve been going over the logs and reports of her actions, and find nothing wrong. Let it go. Mulgrew, although you did an excellent job, learn some god damn respect for the chain of command! Dismissed.”

O’toole gasped for air to protest, but the Admiral repeated the dismissal. 
In the corridor Jane headed for the tube network, ignoring the blooming plants, that seemed to capture the attention of some other people aboard. Every so called spring people were fascinated anew by them.

“Ensign.” The Lieutenant Commander’s voice stopped her. “Yes, sir?” She rotated on her heels, all stern and official.

“I believe I owe you an apology.” Thrown off by these words, Jane almost lost her composure. “No, sir, you do not. It is I who must apologise for my disrespectful demeanour.” Although she didn’t believe her words, she uttered them so convincingly that O’toole seemed to believe them.

“I was certain that I was going to be promoted to become the first officer, instead you got promoted one rank, and now occupy that very position. So, yes, I must apologise. My petty feelings of jealousy shouldn’t influence our working relationship.” 

Grinding her teeth, Jane could her that he didn’t want to apologise, but felt it was his duty. “Sir, I didn’t mean to address you, or the Sergeant, in a disrespectful manner. The sarge was petrified, and you needed to be made aware of the situation as quickly as possible. Any disrespect on my part only resulted from the situation, and was not intended.”

O’toole stood in front of her, also grinding his teeth. As he closed his eyes he shook his head. “Let us forget this incident. Care to join me in the interrogation of our culprit?” 

For a moment Jane wanted to decline the offer, but then decided otherwise. “I would like to bring subcommander Cyril into the fold, sir. The female Harpies have experience with the patriarchists, so it would only stand to reason that they might be of help in this.” 

Clearly weighing his options O’toole gazed at Jane, through her in a sense. 

“Alright. Interrogation takes place in the holding cells on sub alpha. You have fifteen minutes.”
Half the time she was given, Jane had needed just to find Cyril. After the patriarchist was apprehended she was made aware of the situation, confirmed that the injured Harpy was none of her crew, but after that, she was returned to the garden while the prisoner got taken away.

After convincing the Harpy, Jane raced back to the tube network with her. Two security guards accompanied them, sat down in the cab. 

At first Jane felt irritated by their familiar faces, but when she read their name tags that cleared up. Falkner and Grienberg, the sons of former Admiral Solomon Grienberg and former head medical officer Johannes Falkner. 

By the way they were talking with each other Jane figured they had formed a friendship similar to that of their fathers. 

The weightlessness set in as the cab entered one of the central tubes to cross from beta ring to sub alpha. Checking the time Jane realised she was almost out of time, three minutes left to go, when suddenly an alarm rang, and a rocking of the cab ended their ride.

Alarmed but remaining relatively calm Jane looked to the two men, who were as clueless as herself, while the alarm continued to ring. 

“This is Ensign Jane Mulgrew, raising the command centre, please respond.” Static. 

Chaim Grienberg also tried raising someone on the intercom but also only received static. All eyes laid on the Harpy which seemed as frightened as can be. “I believe there has been,” she paused turning to Jane, “an incident.” Quickly she explained that her neural implant, although prevented from networking, had received a short signal.

A suicidal one, like the death cry of a warrior.

“Alright.” Jane concentrated. All of a sudden the walls of the cab seemed to move in on her, and she felt as if every breath of air was pressed from her lungs. “We need to figure out where we are, and what had happened. Next steps depend on our findings.”

Immediately the two men and Jane tried raising alpha, beta and gamma, Falkner tried reaching his mother on subgamma in engineering, but no call succeeded in getting out. 

Was it possible that another saboteur had destroyed the tube and they had been flung out to space? Immediately as she had that thought Jane chased it away, as her claustrophobia only worsened. 
There was a jolt. Although they had no weight, there was inertia. 

Jane’s fear felt validated as they rocked in various directions. She had seen videos of theme park rides on earth, and couldn’t believe that some people went willingly into a device to be rocked in various directions without any sense of where they were. 

“Still, nothing on the radio.” Falkner sighed, continuously trying to reach anybody, for nearly an hour. 

Rather worried Jane took out her tablet computer. Was it her claustrophobia, or actual sorrow? “How much air is in here?” 

Without saying a word Chaim opened his seat belt and floated to one of the doors, accessing the computer panel on the wall. “Not much left to breathe,” he sighed further punching at the touch screen, “either we have another power out, or we were flung to space, the cab can’t establish a connection to the magnetic fields.”

That’s it. We’re going to die in here. 

Falkner pulled out his gun. For a moment Jane thought he was going to shoot himself, but he took out the container with pressurised oxygen that propelled the darts out of the gun, and vented it.

“How about now?” 

Chaim smiled. “Better, but it isn’t going to last forever.” 

Happy Anniversary.

The Voyager probes were launched before I was born. Five years before I was born. 

When I grew up during the 80s and 90s they beamed back scientific insight and observations about our solar system, pictures and measurements, hard evidence and knowledge, that I would come to read in textbooks that I devoured. 

They humbled us. By giving us a glimpse of our world from so far away, that this place, ask these places, were a mere pixel, a mote of dust.

They empowered us. By being the farthest man made objects in space. (Until they find a a Viking ship sailing the interstellar medium I guess.) By teaching us. 

They enabled us. By making subsequent missions a possibility. Juno, Cassini-Hyugens, New Horizons. All these would not have happened, our at least not in the way they happened, without the Voyager probes.

Their mission, ongoing as it is today, is vital for our understanding of the universe, and our place in it, as well as it is inspiring. 

Go boldly, Voyagers, where no man (made object) has gone before.

A.

PS: It’s my birthday today. 

Vacation. Still.

As I am still on vacation, and got no clue whether there is internet access from my phone there, another prepared statement:

Bee watching is like bird watching. Just smaller. 

They can be more dangerous than birds (unless you’re a Cassowary fan), so a place to hide is important.

Sail away, and be well armed. 

Important: if you find a bee that is exhausted, help it. (Sugarwater to help it regain it’s strength)

Enjoy the sunset after your hard labours. With a fine wine perhaps. (Austria is a wine country after all.)

Take care, A.

Rings of Fate S2xE7 – Horizon – Harpies (pt.3)

image

Harrak returned fire, furiously pounding her weaker discharges against the other ship. “Harrak, are there any shield generators operational?” A confirming signal chimed through the smoky bridge. “Charge the debris from your hull with them, and fling them at Braxi.” Hull debris was immediately caught in a kinetic wake from the shield generators, and flung at the enemy vessel with incredible speeds, as the Harrak used it’s remaining generators to accelerate them.

Impacting at the shielding of Braxi, the first few pieces downed the shielding of the patriarchists ship, opening the way for the next waves.

Another weapons discharge from Braxi struck Harrak but dealt only damage to the hull, supplying Harrak with more ammunition for the improvised rail gun. 

After a few moments fire from the Braxi seized.  

Cyril watched the display in the auxiliary bridge, noticing that the Braxi was adrift. “No life sign on the bridge,” someone commented. “Radiation leaks all over, neurological pathways are necrotising!” 

“Can we jump?” Cyril heard herself say. “Affirmative, destination?”

“The mammalian ship. And get the leaks under control.” Cyril sat down in the place of the commander, a spot she had hoped to sit in once Fyra retired.
“Only by mass acceleration of hull debris did your commander win that battle? That is impressive!” Jane was genuinely impressed. Although executed in a high tech way, it was, basically, a low tech strategy, equivalent of flinging rocks.

“Sadly, commander Fyra died. Before we jumped she had suffocated, the breathing mask couldn’t filter out all the toxic gas and ash.” The Harpy studied Jane’s expression. 

To her, humans showed a broad variety of emotion on their face, while Harpies conveyed their emotions much more subtle. And the humans reeked. Their bodily odours were repulsive, but she slowly got used to the stench.

“I have noticed that you are receiving the Digitalys logs. Did you have chance to read them yet?” 

Surprised at the sudden change of topic Jane looked to the desk, her tablet rested there, with the translated logs open, as she was reading every now and then.

“As a matter of fact, yes. I currently am reading through Cruq’s logs.”

Unnoticeable for the human woman, Cyril made an acknowledging face. 

“I must say, I am glad that you are our liaison, instead of the men you serve under.” Confused and suddenly uncomfortable Jane shifted. “How so?”

“Men are erratic, impulsive and unstable. And quite often they don’t consider the consequences of their actions.”

“Cruq seems to be thinking ahead.”

“Just wait.” Cyril got up, prompting Jane to do so as well, although now again way taller than the Harpy, she still felt on eye level. “We need a few supplies to fix some of our damage. In the meantime Harrak will retreat to a more safe distance, there still are radiation leaks and there is cause for concern with the engines. They might become unstable.”

Vowing to take matters into her hands Jane complimented Cyril out, activated her glasses to go over the inventory of stored materials from Ericsson. 
Disappointed by the fact that they couldn’t meet most of the needs to fix the Harrak, Jane wandered through the beta garden. Still there would be transports.

Hylia had suggested to send medical supplies as well, to treat the damaged neurological pathways of the ship. 

Ferrying materials to the Harrak was conducted by the tiny beak flyers, as the Harpies called their one to three person ships.

As she crossed into the hallways outside the gardens she noticed that the makeshift fortifications had gone, as well as most of the armed guards. Two were sitting at the other end of the corridor, watching both her and a display. 

O’toole had pressure plates installed, detailing how much weight was on them, and where in the corridor the subject, or object of the weight was. That way anyone using even a personal cloaking device could be detected. 

“Good evening.” She tweeted to one of the two men. Wolfgang. 

“Hi gorgeous. I still have an hour until my shift ends.”

“I’ll wait with dinner.” Winking at him she walked on when the other rose, his gun raised. “Section alpha three!” He barked, Wolfgang pushed Jane behind their table, also raising his gun, pointed at the same location in the hallway. With her eyes she couldn’t make out anything in the direction the two were aiming, but a glimpse at the monitor refealed that something was there. 

It was about as heavy as a Harpy. 

Quickly she undid a small gun she had hidden in her trouser leg, it only activated with her subdermal implant, so she didn’t fear theft of any sort. “Deactivate your mechanism.” She shouted, using the translator to make sure her message was understood. 

The guard closer to Jane moved his gun, as the displayed weight on the screen moved. Firing a shock dart as a warning did only speed up the cloaked harpy. Suddenly it disappeared from the weight plates, only to reappear a lot closer. Again Wolfgang’s colleague fired, as did Wolfgang.

“Their cloak is also ablative to projectiles!” Jane shot her laser, mere two meters from her a harpy dropped on the floor. 

Partially still cloaked to the naked eye, partially the cloak had failed. “It’s a male.” Jane cowered next to him. And a patriarchist I presume. 

“Honey, go into the garden and call for Cyril. You, call O’toole over here, with a security detail and a medic from subalpha.” 

Wolfgang hurried to the garden, while his colleague stood petrified next to her. “Don’t you dare pull rank on me, Sergeant, I’m only doing what’s necessary.” She yelled as he still wasn’t moving a millimeter. 

Sighing she kept her gun aimed at the Harpy on the ground, raised the other hand to her glasses, calling O’toole herself. “Sir, get over here, bring a security detail and a medic. We have a situation.” 

Crappy Birthday in August 2017

Got that detestable garbage human Hipster scum in your circle of acquaintances?

Their birthday is coming up?

PERFECT!

These revolting socks are the perfect gift, for a perfect asshole. They will surely like it, because it is before they are cool, because they’ll never be cool. And these socks a shining (or screamingly loud) warning beacon. 

Warn others. Gift these socks.

Crappy Birthday.
A.