For My Valentine

Today is not only Valentine’s day, but our 23 1/2 year anniversary. You see, Alice and I were married on August 14th, 1993. We celebrate our half-anniversary every year.

I thought I would write a poem to express how lucky and loved I am feeling today:


Express Your Love

Express your love in every way.
In every deed you do today,
In every look. In what you say.
Let her know you’re here to stay.

As years go by renew your vows.
With every look, with every touch.
The answer to when’s what’s and how’s
Is “I love you so very much!”

So live each day connected and true,
Like it’s Valentines for me and you.
For each day counts. Each kiss, caress.
A love mere words cannot Express.

 

The Daily Post: Aware

For today’s Daily Post, I want to give you a taste of Nu Book 2 – The Esss Retreat. Asteroid Mining Company (AMC) has developed a new fighter for the United Space Navy  and Sted Richardson is in the process of testing the main lasers on each of the new ships.

The Featured Image is a publicly available wallpaper from the site www.thesurge.com and can be accessed by following the link.

This work has not been through professional editing, so any corrections or thoughts would be appreciated.

Chapter 12 – Coordinated Testing Begins

Sted was afraid to be too optimistic about their first coordinated test. They were using the shuttle Endeavour as their mock target. The shuttle had finally arrived in lunar orbit three weeks after Sted and Jessica and, after being emptied of all unnecessary personnel, it was placed in an orbit that allowed the training attack runs to be hidden from anywhere on Earth.

The initial testing was strictly to see how well hidden the Scorpions could remain, so two naval destroyers were placed in orbit with the Endeavour. Once everything was in place, the group of five fighters streamed up from the lunar surface toward the flotilla in orbit so that they could establish baseline radar and visible and infrared spectrum readings as they approached.

With the fighters under power, they were easy to detect from the output of their engines. Once the engines were cut, however, they were undetectable. Their exterior panels successfully absorbed almost all wavelengths of radiation, or at least failed to reflect that radiation back to any active sensors. The Scorpions were, in effect, the stealthiest ships ever constructed by humanity.

Sted had been anticipating the laser targeting tests for the last couple of weeks. He had worked with Captain Evans on finding the quickest way to test all the new equipment and crews and they had settled on doing individual ship tests for this phase.

“Scorpion One, this is Scorpion Leader,” said Sted over the command channel. “Commence your initial laser test run.  I will light up the Endeavor on my mark.”

“Commencing first pass,” replied Captain Evans from Scorpion One.  “Awaiting your mark.”

Sted held back for a few more seconds to allow Scorpion One to achieve an optimal position for their first test laser shot, then looked over at Lieutenant Wessel and gave her a slight head nod telling her to activate the spotting laser.  He then opened the command channel once more and called out “Mark!”

The spotting laser painted a small target in the center of the number “2” on the tail of the Endeavor.  Since Scorpion One was not aware where the spot would be painted on the hull of the target, Sted figured it would take several seconds to acquire the target point and get the main laser properly aligned.  He was pleasantly surprised when Scorpion One’s main laser got off their initial shot in under three seconds. Accuracy, however, did not match quickness of the delivery.

“Scorpion One, you were eight meters wide of the target at 290 degrees.  Adjust your targeting optics for the next pass. Scorpion Two, commence your first pass and fire on my mark,” commanded Sted.

“Scorpion Two commencing first pass,” replied Captain Elizabeth Bell.

“Lieutenant Wessel, adjust the initial target to the center of the airlock door at loading bay three on Endeavour,” said Sted.  He wanted to adjust the initial target for each ship so there could be no anticipation by that crew.”

“Ready at the door to loading bay three,” replied his weapons specialist.

“Mark!” barked Sted over the command channel.

Nothing happened. Sted waited patiently for all of 30 seconds before commanding “Report, Captain Bell!”

“Scorpion Leader, this is Scorpion Two,” replied Captain Bell. “We have a main laser malfunction. I repeat, we have a main laser malfunction. We have no clue what is causing the problem.”

“Scorpion Two,” said Sted.  “Report back to the AMC factory. We need that laser fixed as quickly as possible.”

“Damn,” whispered Sted to himself. He was really feeling the time pressure for getting these ships up to speed, and this setback would be costly in lost time.  Well, there was nothing he could do about that right now. He had to complete the testing of Scorpions Three and Four.

Pushing this problem back into a compartment of his mind for later consideration, Sted ordered the next pass

“Scorpion Three, commence your first pass and fire on my mark,” commanded Sted.

“Lieutenant Wessel, move your target 100 meters toward the bow of Endeavor.”

“Target moved 100 meters toward the bow,” replied Lieutenant Wessel.

“Mark!” said Sted when Scorpion Three was in position.

Testing went on for the next twenty minutes as Scorpion One, Three, and Four each made several more passes.

After five complete passes, two of the Scorpion targeting systems had been tuned to strike the laser spot on every attempt. Scorpion Two and Four were returning to the factory. Scorpion Four required hardware changes in the targeting system and Scorpion Two had to have the main laser completely replaced. Both crews would miss the next set of drills while the factory worked on the fixes. Sted split up those crews so that they could be observers in the remaining Scorpions while the drills continued.  As far as Sted was concerned, the test was a real disaster.

Thursday Doors – February 9, 2017

Today is the third and final post of the doors of Key West, Florida. The two prior posts can be found at Thursday Doors – January 19th, 2017 and Thursday Doors – January 12, 2017.

My ‘Doors to Nowhere’ shot was meant to catch your eye. There was obviously some kind of second story walkway with railing on this building in the past. If you stepped out of these doors today, you would find yourself in or through the awning below.

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From here, let’s go to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which has some beautiful red doors:

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Now for a few random doors around the city:

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Many thanks to Norm Frampton at ‘Norm 2.0‘ for sponsoring this weekly challenge. Follow the link to see some wonderful pictures of St. Georges Anglican Church in downtown Montreal. From there you can follow the blue frog link to all of the many other wonderful Thursday Door entries.

Daily Prompt – Craft

Nu Book 1 – The Esss Advance

Chapter 41 – The Newsies

The people of New York City were blissfully unaware of the approaching alien ship. News suppression from the mainstream media outlets was complete. The North American Union was afraid the masses would react hysterically with a mixture of fear, euphoria, mass suicides, hoarding of food, economic collapse, runs on banks, or any number of other negative reactions.

“The Insider” had prepared Richard and the New York Rag specifically for this moment. Since the electronic media could not be trusted to get this extremely important story out to the people, he would make sure the real story was published on paper that could be handed from person to person with the government completely out of the picture.

The story was short, because there were not many facts to be reported:

 

Lunar astronomers have discovered evidence of an alien spacecraft inbound to the solar system. The light from the decelerating craft appeared suddenly in the constellation Orion. Analysis of the spectrum of light indicates that the spacecraft uses a combination of hydrogen and methane for fuel and that the deceleration far exceeds what could be tolerated by a human body.

 Preliminary calculations give a rough estimate of two months before the craft arrives in the inner part of the solar system near the planet Jupiter.

 There have been no detectable transmissions from the inbound craft from which we might gather additional information. The intentions of the visitors are unknown at this time, and speculation would be just that, speculation.

 

When this news article arrived on the iBlog server, Richard was skeptical. How could the media suppress such a big story, and how could he verify the few facts being presented?

Richard decided to request specific coordinates from “The Insider.” When they were received, he passed them to his boyhood friend Ken, who was an amateur astronomer with his own half-meter telescope. Because of the weather, the viewing up in the Catskill Mountains wasn’t always the best, but it was definitely clear enough over the next few days that Ken would be able to locate this new light source.

Ken contacted Richard in the early hours of the next morning, and the excitement in his voice was unmistakable. “There is definitely a new and bright light source at those coordinates! Did you say your source identifies this as an inbound alien ship?”

“Definitely,” Richard replied. “Can you verify that the source comes from methane and hydrogen combustion?”

“Sorry, Richard, I don’t have that kind of spectrographic equipment. Given a few days, I could tell you if the light source is moving with respect to the background stars, but I have no reason to doubt the story you received. Light sources like this do not appear overnight.”

“Thanks, Ken. I really appreciate your input. I’m going to go with the story today in a special addition of the Rag, and I would like to mention your confirmation, if you don’t mind.”

“No problem. I hate when the government suppresses stories like this, and they won’t be able to deny the story when anyone like me can just point their telescope in the right direction and see the damn thing. What are they going to do to me? You’re the one who has to worry. They’ll be coming at you looking for your source.”

There was no way Richard was going back to sleep after that video chat, so he got dressed and headed upstairs to the office to begin the work on this very special edition of the Rag.

Two days later, most of the people of New York City were too busy to notice or react to the announcement running around the news ticker at One Times Square that said, “THE ALIENS ARE COMING!” Their lives were too hectic, or too important, or too overwhelming. But that was the majority. Several pockets of activity were related directly to this momentous news. Already, several groups had gotten permits to set up forums throughout the city to espouse their beliefs on what was coming.

At the corner of Broadway and 42nd street, just below the ticker, a group of saffron-robed monks was handing out pamphlets announcing the arrival of God Incarnate and warning people to get their lives in order for the final hour of judgment.

In Central Park, an evangelical church group had set up a stage where gospel singers were raising their voices in praise to the Lord. Just to the left of the stage was a large tent where a long line of people was working its way into a temporary sanctuary to be baptized in an above ground pool that had been set up for that purpose.

The few newsstands around the city were doing a brisk business for a change. Most had been driven out of business in the past few decades as the majority of people got their news and entertainment from a multitude of online venues. The few that had survived tended to sell only tabloids that appealed to the lowest members of society with stories that seemed too fantastic to be true but always had a thread of verifiable truth to make you wonder. Now, the tabloids could not print enough copies to keep up with demand. Today’s edition of The Flash declared, “Aliens to Harvest Humans” with the accompanying speculative story by Hannibal Burns that “The Overseers of the Universe” had recognized that the ever-growing population of Earth was ruining the planet, and something had to be done to save Earth from the “human infestation.”

Of course, the government-run television news channels gave the news only a few brief minutes of coverage with warnings to ignore all of the crazy stories going around. The government had everything well in hand and would give out regular reports on developments as they happened. This would suffice for the moment, because nobody knew anything at this point. All that was really known was that a spacecraft of unknown origin with unknown intentions was entering the solar system.

Meanwhile, Richard and the New York Rag were strangely silent on the subject of the aliens. The big splash caused by their special edition had started the ball rolling, and Richard wanted more information to enhance his increased circulation numbers.

When he questioned “The Insider,” he received a short note back telling him to hang on until the Navy had more facts. It was much too early to speculate on the nature or intentions of the aliens and their ship heading in from the outer part of the galaxy, but he promised a story about the Navy shutting down facilities in the belt to hide them from detection by the visitors.