Archive for September, 2017

That was the vacation back in mid August. 

Behind my little plastic avatar lies lake Ossiach. It was cold, but it wasn’t if you actually rushed/jumped in. 


Basically the same view without foreground obstructions at night.


At day.


Mists rising from the lake as the sun rose. 


Hye spodermin! /Lamejoke. Intricate spider web.


Visiting Castle Hochosterwitz. 


Whistling the Game of Thrones theme…


Drawbridge.


The view! 


The view!


Either the boredom got to me, or the sun, or 

the wine. I told you that this is a wine country 😉 

(And my cellphone can is broken btw.)

hope you liked this as much as I had enjoyed it. 

Take care, A.

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Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – DEHuman IV (pt.4)

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​Left with no alternative other than wait, the Admiral sat in the mess hall. Air condition, water refinement and food dispensers worked fine, despite the lock out. It definitely showed that the Linkers had no desire to kill the non linkers. 

Disinterested she chewed on her lunch, but rather would’ve had her ship back under control. “Admiral?” An ensign from the engine room stood in the door, hurried to her as she looked up. “The download stopped!” He spoke under his breath, prompting her to jump from her seat and hurry off. 

“They’re jamming analogue frequencies, I’m getting only static now.” Justine informed her as soon as she entered the room. “How much did we get?” 

“Ninety five.” Was the short answer. Devastated, so close to reaching her goal she turned to Schultz who still worked on the device. “I’ve got someone working on the code.” He sensed her gaze in his back. “In the meantime,” he closed the lid on a box, after tucking some wiring inside it, “I got you this.” 

Proudly he wheeled the tiny table over to Mirella, on it the node. “I outfitted it with a strong battery, but it’ll still run out pretty fast, keep it close to the induction chargers.” He referred to the many places aboard the ship where wireless charging of handheld devices was possible. Tablets, glasses and other devices, such as the node.

“How were you able to build this thing without taking the other device apart?” Justine asked, what Mirella hadn’t questioned. 

“Blueprints. They were in the same space as the other device.” Again he tipped at his glasses. “I presume you want more of these, so if you’ll excuse me.” He shuffled off to gather parts. With an inquisitive expression Justine stepped closer.

“It’s time to bring the lockout to the linkers.” Mirella’s voice had a dark tone to it.
Galeson stood in his spot, unmoving, eyes closed. 

Just as the others around him. None of them paid any attention to the Admiral entering once again. 

“Will you return control over my ship?” Mirella stared at the man with a sinister glare. “We will, once we have been cleared a path to the beta ring. That portion of your vessel will be our departure point.” 

“I’m guessing you want to take some of our crafts and pods with you?” She replied, with quite some irritation at the fact that all of the detained people spoke as one voice. 

“We need room to grow.” Squniting her eyes at the man whom she had selected as the face of the linkers for herself, Mirella was grinding her teeth. “I won’t allow that. I can’t in fact, allow that. And I will fight you.”

“Admiral,” Galeson opened his eyes, speaking soothingly and without the others as support. “you can’t truly think that you can win. We have destroyed a Harpy vessel with a few blows. We are taking what we need to fulfil our goals, without destroying you. But if we must, we will.”

Mirella stepped closer to the bars. “Would your friends attack us if we were to lock you out of the link?” Did he flinch? Mirella wasn’t sure. 

“We are linked, and the device in your engine room can’t harm us here.” 

Raising her eyebrows Mirella turned to Justine, gave her distinct nod, after which she flicked a switch on the outside of the box that Schultz had made. 

Immediately the detainees opened their eyes, yelling in protest, screaming in fear, and giving the assembled security detail angry looks. 

“This decice can also bring harm to your kind, as far as I recall. Shall I dial up the intensity of the jamming signal?” 

Galeson’s eyes narrowed to mere slits. “Please don’t. We are not human anymore. We are a new species, DEHuman. Aren’t you obliged to savour any new lifeform you encounter by the rules and regulations of the fleet?” 

“Not if that new lifeform threatens my ship!” Calming herself with a few deep breaths Mirella stepped back a pace. The noise around her quited down. 

“Your friends out there won’t destroy us, with you on board, after all, now you’re not linked any longer. Return me my ship, and I’ll let you go, without compromising my ship however.”

Andrew stared at her angrily, desperate to return to the linked consciousness of many. “What guarantee do we have that you won’t sabotage our exodus?” 

“My rules and regulations. If you hand me back control over my ship, and won’t take any parts of it with you, I will let you depart.” Striding to the device Mirella sighed. “Consider it, in your entirety.” Flicking it off she left the cells, bound for engineering. 
As she had expected, there was no progress worth mentioning with the Harpy program. Suddenly there was an alarm sound howling through the rooms and hallways, just once, immediately followed by all screens that had been locked out, flickering and coming back to life. Justine called her. “We have intercom, and full computer access, however, communication with the outside of the ship is still locked.”

Feeling that her plan had succeed Mirella had the sensation of triumph, at least for a moment. There still was something feeling odd.

And it wasn’t the cut off communication. 

It was too easy.
The still disconnected engineering computers would remain that way, to avoid any hidden programs from seeping in and taking the entire ship. 

Other limitations popped up. Although intercom was back, it allowed for audio only, not the suppression signal, beta ring was inaccessible and the sensors had been disabled. The DEHumans probably figured that the crew from Kismet could’ve found a way to send the Harpy program to Destiny via their external sensors. 

Mirella sat in a darkened room near the engineering section, trying to find some rest. 

It had been seventeen hours since the Harpies showed up, alarms blared and woke her, drew her to the command centre. And before that, two, maybe three hours of sleep. 

Exhaustion pulled on her limbs, her legs felt heavy, and almost hurt. 

But her mind was too busy to allow for her to sleep. Stil desperate for rest she reclined on the bunk bed.

It had been too easy, but if the linkers tried to leave with beta rings landing gear, there was not much she could do. At the moment she couldn’t shoot them down, as weaponsystems were tied in with the external sensors, and locked too.

There had been discussions to form small fighters and train pilots, but seeing that the Harpies never attacked Destiny, the governors always vetoed. 

Besides, Mirella doubted that the crafts they could’ve built, would’ve been effective. Probably the entire force of their nonexistent fighters would have been locked out too, and remained that way. 

“Admiral?” Justine stood outside the door. “Come in. Door’s open.” The young woman looked terrible, she had been in nightshift, was awake for much longer than herself. “Come, you need rest.”

Pale, with rings under her eyes Justine approached the bed. Sat down next to her Admiral. “Still no way into Beta, no communication with beta. We can’t monitor them however. Occasionally the crews need fresh oxygen, and they can’t stay there indefinitely, we also haven’t got enough maintenance cabs, to keep up a rotation. Cussing Mirella got up, ignoring the pain that shot through her legs.

“Were there any transports from beta? You know, people who had been deported from there?” Justine gave no reply, when Mirella turned to look she found the other woman had fallen asleep leaning against the wall. 

Envious Mirella gently took the tablet from Justine, and snuck from the room. In the displayed text she found all of what Justine had told her before, at the bottom it read that Schultz had managed to get another device ready, and his programmers had made some progress on reconstructing the harpy code, it was estimated that the program now was 96% complete. 

Intrigued Mirella wandered down the hallway. Instead of bothering the hardworking engineering crew in their efforts, Mirella instead turned to the brig. 

“Admiral!” Came the voice of Andrew from down the hall as soon as the first detainee had seen her. “We were wondering when you’d come back.” Trying not show the extent of her exhaustion Mirella forced herself to his spot. “We kept up our end of the bargain, with a few alterations. You see, we need beta. Or at least part of it.” He smiled benignly. “We have women, children, and we need to incorporate an entire colony. Whilst you will adapt, we have less time, as we have faster means of transport.”

Her raised hand stopped him, or them, from further talking. “You can’t have beta. Not even parts of it.” 

His benign smile became less friendly, more fiendish. “Look at us, Admiral. We have already linked, and we linked up, in case you cut us off again, or we get killed, we will continue on in the greater mind of us. You can not use us as leverage again. Still we have returned you control over most of your precious ship. We are not the enemy, we just want to leave.”

Tired of the conversation on top of her whole exhaustion Mirella had to force herself to keep standing. “Just for the sake of the argument, what if we were to give you beta, what will keep you from coming back and taking more?” 

“We built the propulsion to cross the interstellar in moments, instead of generations. We need the room for our departing people, once we have left, you, your ship, your species, are of no interest to us any longer.”

As Mirella was pondering how to reply, a rumble went through the ship, or at least subgamma. “Are you already attacking?” She furiously spat her words at Andrew. 

“No,” if she didn’t know better, Mirella would think he was pondering, “it was your friends who fired at you.” Laughing he turned his gaze at her. “Perhaps they are afraid you were overrun by us, and now want to eliminate the threat?” 

Not listening to such ramblings Mirella left the brig, suddenly her exhaustion was pushed to the far corners of her mind, adrenalin shot through her veins as she hurried through the hallways to the engine room, where she had established a makeshift command centre. 

Crews had disconnected the computers in the command centre from the network, but still she had more confidence in the system that had already proven itself. “Sit rep!” 

“Kismet sends it’s regards.” Schultz greeted her with a broad grin, the intercom blared an automated signal, already the chief engineer had dispatched an armed team to the impact site. “To what end?” 

“Just listen!” 

As the Admiral stood there and listened to the signal over intercom her tense expression was replaced by the same broad grin that the chief engineer displayed. “They sent a probe containing the program!” 
After the program had been retrieved, Mirella went back to the brig, only to find Andrew and the others in their linked up state. “I know you can hear me.” She felt the exhaustion returning, but pushed on nonetheless. 

“I am giving you one more chance. I even am willing to compromise.” With a sudden flutter Andrew’s eyes opened. “We are listening.” He smiled. “Did the ineffective attack from Kismet scare you?” 

Smiling viciously Mirella tapped her glasses. “You have disabled data transmission on the intercom, but our glasses, tablets and other devices can transmit data. The ineffective attack as you call it, was a probe bringing us the Harpy program designed to take out your link.” Suddenly all color feld Andrew’s face, followed by the others around him. “I am willing to give you the outter most layer of beta, if you cram in there really tight, you can get all your people across to Ark1. As you said, you have the faster transportation technology, therefore it will not be too inconvenient for you. Soon you will have reached your destination, and the question of room is moot.”

Still colorless Andrew’s features hardened. “If we take more than allotted?” 

The vicious smile on Mirella’s lips turned malevolent. “We are ensuring that you won’t.”
Working in spacesuits was not Justine’s foray, but she kept her concentration up. The few hours of rest she had gotten were enough, although not enough for her liking. 

She cut the wires of the mechanism controlling the doors in the tubes that lead into the beta ring, then she proceeded to hardwire it to a modified tablet she had been given by Schultz. 

With a few presses on the display the doors opened, simultaneously she felt a yank at her shoulder. Her colleagues pulled her back up into the maintenance cab. It had already docked with the siphon, but all doors were open. In the weightless section two more cabs sat in wait to access beta. They were filled with armed men and women, as resistance was expected. 

Silently the doors closed, pressure was reestablished, and momentarily the cab set in motion, down into beta.

After a few minutes the cab docked with a door, and released them into the hallways of beta. Oddly enough, no one awaited them. Behind them the door closed, and opened again some eeconds later, releasing the crew from the other cab. That repeated until all people from the cabs had assembled, except those who maneuvered the cabs, since automatic controls had been disabled to avoid the linkers from tampering. 

Quickly they went through the rooms adjacent to the hallway, determining that they were empty, and uploaded the Harpy program into the computers of the individual landing ships.

Instead of using the tube network they used the ladders, so there wouldn’t be a surprise attack force waiting for them in front of the doors.

Justine had seen too many identical computer interfaces for one day already, although the others always worked with the adjacent ships too. 

“We’re afeaid we can’t let you continue on.” Standing in the center of the hallway was a single man, Justine felt as if she had a heart attack when he suddenly spoke. 

“Do you intend to stop us?” A security officer behind Justine spoke, shoving her aside. “We will at the very least slow you down.” 

An alarm rang through the hallways, emergency doors shut throughout the hallways, forming them into small rooms. The emergency decompression program! 

Immediately the men took up their guns and started cutting through the thick doors with the lasers. 
As the door between them and the sole linker fell to the ground, the man was hit with a stunning dart and fell to the ground twitching. Quickly they proceeded onward, uploading the program to the ships around while others cut through the next blast door. 

“We have contact!” Justine heard them yelling from outside after the third or fourth blast door. The unmistakable hissing of the oxygen discharges and propelled darts sounded from the hallway. Undeterred by this, Justine hooked her tablet to the computer after isolating it from the network, she uploaded the program, and executed it.

After a moment the calls from the hallway changed. From distraught security personnel facing an armed force of the DEHumans, to linkers cut off from the network. 
“Alright!” Andrew yelled. Mirella had been sitting in the hallway all the time since her teams had infiltrated beta. Almost wincing he shook his head. “We will retreat, claiming only the outter most vessels.” Feeling victorious Mirella got up. She gave the order to proceed, but not incapacitate the link further unless provoked. 

“I have no grudge for your kind.” She declared, although she felt a deep betrayal had been done to her by the linkers, especially the Conroys. But she also remembered earths history, new societies almost always caused new conflict in their birth. In retrospect Destiny and Kismet had gotten away with a black eye, compared with other historical conflicts of the sort. “Now, give me back the rest. These men will accompany you to beta.” She pointed at a security detail standing ready. 

As Andrew nodded Mirella’s glasses were immediately flooded with calls from Kismet, smiling she gave a gentle nod to the security guards.

“I’ll gladly talk with you dear prince,” Mirella allowed herself a heartily yawn, “but first I need sleep.”

Cooking pro-tips III

Real men drink responsibly, just one vessel per day…

Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – DEHuman IV (pt.3)

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​Even though engineering computers were working, they only could use the analogue frequency of the radio for communication. And data retrieval. 

Watching the progress bar was a mind numbing, and painful experience, but the promise of obtaining the program sent by the harpies gave the task a silver lining of hope. “I must say, this poses a danger, what if they have control over Kismet and send their own program?” Schultz sat beside the Admiral. 

“It isn’t connected with the rest either, I may be desperate, but not foolish.” Bored Mirella kept her eyes fixed on the screen.

50%

“Once we have it, you make sure it is legitimate, if so, distribute it, I need to check on your detainees.” Breathing out her frustration she rose from her seat and left the room, Justine wanted to follow but was dismissed with a wave of the Admiral’s hand. 

While the plan for the analogue transmission of the Harpy program was devised and prepared, Schultz had informed her of a group of DEHumans he had detained after they broke down in engineering, trying to access the computers there. 

Well aware that everyone outside the main engineering area still might be a linker Mirella marched through the hallways. Schultz had relied on humans as communication carriers for two reasons. One was to prevent the linkers from listening in. The other was to expose the couriers to the node that Wallis had kept, to see if they would react to it. 

Feeling kind of relieved to see all those young men and women still buzzing around she navigated to the local brig. 

“Admiral on deck!” An all too eager Ensing yelled as she entered the facilities. “At ease.” Came her mumbled reply. 

Slowly she walked past the cells, packed with people, all standing still, like eerie living mannequins, with their eyes closed. Surely linked and far away with their brethren on the Ark1. 

She studied their faces, to see if there was anyone she knew personally. Sure, she had not only memorised the names of her subordinates, but also their faces to a certain extent. Everyone looked familiar to some point.

No one in the cells looked familiar enough to her to trigger an emotional response. “Where are your people gathering?” 

No reaction. Not from the person directly behind the bars, not from anyone. “I need to know, so we can coordinate your transfer.” Still nothing.

“I know that you have taken a lot of landing craft from either Explorer or Horizon, an entire ring by the looks of it, I will not let you steal that many crafts from Destiny.” She stopped at the last cell. Andrew Galeson stood behind the bars, a well known actor, from a tele novella set on Destiny’s infirmary on gamma. 

Somewhat saddened she studied his face. Looks like you will die in the series. “Listen here, we will retake the ship eventually, and then there will be no escape. We won’t let you leave, and your friends out there won’t shoot at us, because they could be killing you.” 

“Admiral!” The soothing voice of Galeson called her back. “Don’t overestimate our worth as leverage. Even if you should succeed in taking back your vessel, which is unlikely, we are linked. Our memories, personalities and thoughts are within the link. If our bodies die, we will live on.” His slick smile was something she admired in the series, but now it disgusted her. “We’ll see.” She hissed turning around.

“Don’t underestimate us!” All the detained people shouted as one after her as she left.
75%

Restlessly Justine paced arpund the engine room, the waiting game wasn’t her foray. “Sit down, or go on some errands, but stop wearing out the floor of my engine room!” Annoyed the chief engineer threw her a gaze that could freeze boiling water in an instant. “We need an update from the group keeping watch on deck 12, tube exit 8. If you won’t stop, I’ll send you instead of an Ensign.” 

With an angry hiss Justine sat down, looking back at the progress bar. 

No change. 

Watching Schultz act like the second in command, Justine couldn’t help but wonder about the consequences of the new DEHuman outbreak. 

Would she get promoted? Were the plans of the three ships in jeopardy, as the linkers could easily zip ahead and claim RV-p296 as their own?

“How is the download doing?” Admiral Jagodic entered the premise of the young woman. “Eighty percent.” Surprised by the high number Justine realised how long she had sat there pondering. 

“Good, Schultz, do you have another node for me?” 

Pointing at the mess of wires, chips and other things in front of him, he shook his head, ever so gently. “Sorry, not yet.” 

Not showing her disappointment she put her hands on her hips and looked at the console above which the other node was hidden. “Do we have intercom back?” 

Diverting his attention only for a fraction of a moment from his work, Herman looked at her. “No. Not for what you’re thinking off.” He tipped at his glasses, indicating that audio only was available, as signals would need to be transmitted analogue, and thus couldn’t disrupt the link. 

Crappy Birthday in September 

Quite literally. 

For the city dwellers who can’t get enough of that sweet, sweet guano producing fowl that is ever omnipresent in urban areas the world over. 

Pigeons. 

Fathered crap bags. Cast in stone…or clay. 

“It reminded me of you.” Normally this can be a quite romantic line, but with this, you can tell a yuppie what you think of them. Urban crap bag. Ucrab. 

Crappy Birthday! A.

Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – DEHuman IV (pt.2)

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Strains of her dark hair floated in front of Mirella’s face as the entered the central tube hub, where gravity was non existent. Surface tension kept the sweat beads on her skin. “I have pressurised the cryogenic chamber tube, we can go.” 

Why am I even here? I hate zero G! “Alright, move on out, people.” I’m the Admiral, I should remain in the command centre, or close to it, instead I’m floating through a tube in the spine of the Destiny. What am I? Insane?

The lights came on as soon as they opened the pressure seal doors. Seemingly infinite the tube stretched out before them, running on until it reached the hub on alpha. It was narrow, as the cryogenic chambers with people from earth took up place on one side of the tunnel. 

“Where are we going?” Justine asked one of the questions that Mirella had dreaded. “Engineering.” Good one. “They cut off our access to the computers, we cut off their power. If possible.”

Sounding way more confident in her plan than she felt, Mirella continued to move on. 
Communication with the Kismet was lost near the center of subalpha, and impossible in the central tube with the cryo chambers. Too much interference, too much stuff in the way for a radio signal to penetrate. 

The thing that Mirella hated the most about their journey to subgamma, were the hubs, with the fast spinning siphons. At the last siphon of the journey Mirella feared to be smashed against a wall, and subsequently falling to her death, but found a rather pleasant surprise waiting. On the other side of the hub was a recess with a maintenance cab in it.

Being as they were manually driven, the computer lockout didn’t have an effect on it. As she entered the open cab she thought she needed to make sure such a cab is always parked at the other end of the spine as well. Just to be sure in the future.
“We have some control over subgamma.” The voice of her chief engineer, a man called Schultz, of german descent, came over the intercom as they left the tube network. Continuously Justine had tried to raise someone, now her efforts were rewarded. “But we are out of contact with the rest of the ship.” Two men in armor and guns turned the corner, raised their weapons. “Linkers?”

“No.” Mirella remained calm, despite having a gun pointed at her face. Uncertain the two men exchanged a look. “How can we be certain?” 

Mirella looked over her shoulder. She wished she knew how to be certain, as far as she knew each of her team could be linked. “Would we be travelling with a maintenance cab after crawling through the cryo tube in zero G if we were linkers? They are in control of everything, remember?” 

Somewhat satisfied with her repkly the two lowered their guns. “Schultz has set up a command base in main engineering.” They waved the Admiral and her entourage to follow. 

Although she had seen main engineering before, Mirella couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the look of it. 

Only half of the displays showed the lockout screen that had crippled her command centre. Subgamma’s barracks must’ve been empty, as all the privates, ensigns and trainees were running around in engineering.

“Greetings Admiral.” The chief engineer approached her, mustered her and her group with an alert eye. Out of nowhere a satisfied grin appeared on his lips. “I hereby transfer command to the Admiral!” All personnel in the room saluted her, and remained standing still. 

“Carry on.” She stammered. “How could you be certain that we’re not linkers?” 

Schultz pointed at the displays in the back of the room, the ones that displayed the fusion reactor stats. “My predecessor from the time the linkers made trouble, kept one of their reprogrammed nodes hidden, and easy to turn back on. He also disconnected engineering from the main computer. Closely linked, but separate. When they showed up and took over the ship, his firewalls kept them from taking engineering, we just severed the physical connections, to keep it that way.” 

Intrigued by that paranoia driven ingenuity that seemed to have paid off, Mirella felt relief. “We need to retake the ship.” She sat down on a console in locked mode.

How had Bill Wallis been able to achieve that level of tinkering with Destiny’s systems without knowledge of the admiralty? Under normal circumstances Mirella would call for an investigation, maybe even a tribunal hearing, but she was actually quite comfortable with those developments.

“I thought so.” Herman Schultz nodded, “Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do with the locked computers.”

Both the chief engineer and the Admiral turned to Justine who was in contact with the Kismet again. An idea came to the Admiral’s mind.

Cooking Pro-Tips II

 For real men there’s no such thing as too much cocoa.

Thirty years later…

 For real men there’s no such thing as too much coffee.