Another snippet…

And now for something else different… 🙂

Based on a discussion at LibertyCon about keeping one’s name out there, I’m putting together a little short story in The Grey Man series. No, this one isn’t about the early days, I have to do more research on that.

How about the next generation?

Unedited, comments appreciated, as always….

Chapter 1

General Ragsdale, the latest Commandant of the Marine Corps, leaned over to General LaForce as the Marines from the First Marine Raiders began assaulting the objective at the Yuma training range, “Jon, how long have these kids been back from the PE ops?”

General LaForce glanced at General Ragsdale, “Bout three months, sir. They had their stand down, and started back through the training cycle last month. Have you seen the award recommendations we pushed up?”

“Officially or unofficially?”

Their conversation was drowned out by the three Ospreys that thundered overhead, engines rotating as they went into hovers, even as ropes fell from the back hatches of the Ospreys and Marines fast roped to the ground. Ragsdale hit the stopwatch on his wristwatch without even thinking, and stopped it as the last Marine hit the ground and the Ospreys translated to forward flight, “Impressive. Less than a minute in a hover, and fifty Marines on the ground. Three teams, and?”

“Three teams, heavy weapons, and one sniper spotter team. Bringing back a few memories?”

Ragsdale laughed, “More like nightmares. I hated this damn place, and swore the instructors were sadistic bastards. But learning from our mistakes here kept folks alive downrange. But I still hate this damn place.”

LaForce laughed with him, and shook his head, “Of course we will be complementing the OPFOR, correct?”

“Let’s see how the Marines do, first. And yes, I’ve seen the unofficial list. It’s still in review.”

“Yes, sir.”

An hour and a half later, with the exercise over, the generals casually trooped the line of the now dirty, sweating Marines. The observers had judged the assault successful, and had only tagged two Marines as being killed during the assault. General Ragsdale noticed that the sniper team was both corporals, and one carried what the Corps jokingly referred to as a ‘space gun’.

After they finished, he turned to the captain that had led the assault, “Captain Jackson, how did the sniper team do? They look a little young.”

“Twenty-two for twenty-two on the unknown distance range, General. Don’t let the age fool you sir, they were both on the Philippine Excursion, and they’ve both been put in for Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars. They got fifteen confirmed kills in the first seventy-two hours, fighting from Seit to Jolo.”

Ragsdale shook his head, “Damn, that sounds like the old days. Except jungle instead of desert.”

“Yes, sir. It went from jungle to urban over the course of those three days, and they had no relief. Everyone here today was there, so this was a cakewalk for them.”

General LaForce grimaced, “Captain, the last thing you want is to let the OPFOR know that. They do have other tricks they can pull out.”

Abashed, the captain said, “Um, maybe I was a little hasty General, I meant to say it was a challenging exercise.”

Ragsdale’s aide interrupted, “Timeline, General. We need to get to the tarmac.”

Captain Jackson saluted, “Have a good day, sirs.”

The generals returned the salute, and were hustled into the staff car for the ride back to the tarmac and Camp Pendleton.

***

The commandant’s reception was winding down, and General LaForce turned to General Ragsdale, “You about ready to call it a night, General? I know the three hour time difference isn’t making things any better, and most of these folks have to report for duty in the morning.”

“Sure, I’m starting to drag a little. I’m not as young as I used to be.” He raised his hand over his head and made a circular motion to his aide, who nodded and headed for the entrance to the club. The two generals made their way slowly to the entrance, and climbed in the waiting staff car for the trip back to General LaForce’s quarters.

Pulling up outside the quarters, they walked quickly up the walk and into the house, as the aide dismissed the car. Five minutes later, the doorbell rang, and LaForce’s aide answered it, then came back with a puzzled look on his face, “Um, General Ragsdale, there is a warrant five at the door, but he asked me to tell you that Sergeant McKenzie would like a minute with Captain Ragsdale. Does that…”

Ragsdale burst out laughing, “Damn, Mac is here?”

LaForce held his hands out, palm up, “He’s my Gunner. I don’t know…”

“He was one of my sergeants when I was a captain in the First. Hell yes, I’ll give him a minute! Go get him!”

As the aide walked out, Ragsdale turned, “Mac never was much on ceremony, but he always got the job done. One of the first enlisted JTACS we had in Afghanistan, did a helluva job at FOB Apache, and got a Silver Star out of one op up there, and a Bronze Star out of another op in Helmand.

A knock interrupted him, and the generals stood, as LaForce said, “Enter, Gunny.”

Ragsdale looked closely at McKenzie as he walked in, seeing the grey hair, the slight limp, and noting that he was dressed in his dress greens, wearing all of his fruit salad. He met him halfway into the room, his hand extended, “Mac, I haven’t seen you in years! What the hell have you been up to?”

McKenzie glanced at LaForce as he said, “Well, General, doing my best to give the General a heart attack on a regular basis.”

LaForce grinned, and said, “That you do. Scotch, Mac?”

McKenzie looked at Ragsdale, “Can I have five minutes, sir?”

“Private?”

“No, sir. It’s about a Marine here.”

Now both generals were curious, and LaForce handed McKenzie a scotch, that he took without thinking. “Sit, Mac, sit.” The generals sat and McKenzie sat gingerly on the couch, careful to set the tumbler on a precisely centered coaster as he cleared his throat.

“General, you remember Aaron Miller? Gunny Miller?”

Ragsdale sat back, steepling his hands, “Gunny Miller that lost a leg at FOB Apache?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Got booted out, for bullshit reasons, never got his Silver Star until a couple of years later, that Miller?”

“Yes, sir.”

Ragsdale made a come on gesture, and McKenzie licked his lips before starting. “General, his boy is here. As a Marine Corporal. He’s in the First, and he’s a sniper. You saw him shoot today, out a Yuma.”

Ragsdale cocked his head, “Neither of the two I saw shoot were named Miller.”

“No, sir. His name is Cronin. He was named after his grandfather to carry on the Cronin name. And…”

“Cronin, Jules… No, Julie, Jesse, that’s it, Jesse. She was a Texas girl, rancher and a cop if I remember right. I met her again when Miller got his Silver Star. She… They owned a ranch in Texas. My wife liked her.”

McKenzie nodded, “That’s her. Their boy is here, and General, he needs to be an officer. He’s too damn good to stay enlisted.”

“What do you mean?”

He rushed on, “General, I’ve looked at his record. He was a four-oh student in high school, Eagle Scout, Company honor graduate out of boot, honor graduate out of scout/sniper, and he’s already got almost thirty hours of college since he’s been in. He’s a shooter. He got over twenty kills in the Philippine Excursion and managed the rescue of the kids from Abu Sayyaf at Sulu College in Jolo, after he and his spotter had both taken hits from an RPG-Eleven. They both damn near bled out on overwatch, General.”

The generals looked at each other, not sure of what to say, and McKenzie continued, “General, this kid is being wasted. And it’s the Corps loss. You can send him to college, and let him come back commissioned. I’ve looked into the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, and he’ll meet all the requirements next year, he’ll be twenty-one, have three years in the Corps, a sergeant, and he’ll have well over the twelve college credit requirement. Way I figure it, we owe the Millers this. That’s all I got to say, General.” McKenzie picked up the scotch, threw it back in one gulp, and got up. Turning to General LaForce he said, “Sir, I’ll have my retirement papers on your desk in the morning. If you will excuse me, I’ll let myself out.” With that he turned and walked out, leaving the two generals looking at each other in amazement.

Finally, Ragsdale took a sip of his scotch, “Well, that was interesting. What was it I said earlier, Mac’s never hesitated to get the job done? And it’s pretty obvious he feels pretty strongly about this one.”

LaForce shook his head, sighing, “Yeah, that’s Mac. I didn’t know y’all had served together, guess that somehow got left out his bio when I picked him for the Gunner slot.”

“Mac’s never been about name dropping or trading on who he knows. I doubt that twenty people in the Corps know we served together. You’re not going to accept his retirement, are you?”

“Hell no! He’s got two years to thirty, and I have two years left on these orders, unless you fire me.”

“I’m not firing either one of you. Can we get a look at Cronin’s record in the morning?”

“Are you seriously considering this?”

“Jon, I’ve never had Mac steer me wrong. And we did do his dad wrong. Badly wrong. His dad could have gone public with his treatment. Hell, his lawyer was a big time lawyer and I know the Corps and JAG were sweating bullets over what he was going to do, but he took one for the Corps and went quietly. Let’s look at his record, and maybe talk to his company commander tomorrow.”

“Consider it done, sir.”

***

Captain Jackson sat nervously in the aide’s office, wondering what the hell was going on. He’d come directly from the range, and done his best to clean up his multicam, but he was still hot and sweaty. The aide’s phone rang, he picked it up, then said, “Captain, the generals will see you now.” They got up, and the aide knocked on the door, opened it, and said, “Generals, Captain Jackson.”

Captain Jackson marched in, “General, Captain Jackson, First Marine Raiders, reporting as ordered.”

General LaForce said, “At ease, Captain. Take a seat. We would like to ask you a few questions about one of your Marines.”

“Sir?”

General Ragsdale said, “Sit, Captain. Nobody did anything wrong. We’re just looking for information on Corporal Cronin.”

“Corporal Cronin? He’s one of our snipers. As far as I know, he’s never been in trouble.”

“And he’s not now. Would you recommend him for a commissioning program?”

Jackson sat back, “Sir? Commissioning?” He thought for thirty seconds, “Actually, I would sir. He’s probably the sharpest junior Marine in the company. No, he is the sharpest junior Marine.”

You mentioned yesterday both he and his spotter have been put in for Bronze Stars. What was that for? And did you personally see the actions?” They both saw Jackson’s eyes unfocused, and knew he was back in the action.

Jackson replied, “It was on the Sulu Archipelago, on the island of Jolo, in the Philippine islands. We were the first unit on the beach, coming in from the east. We were tasked with breaking the Abu Sayyaf road blocks on the main highway between the eastern end of the island, and the city of Jolo. We made it through the Luuk province with minor action, and were doing pretty well getting through Old Panamao, but when we got to the village of Seit, we encountered heavy resistance. Cronin and Bearman managed to get an overwatch position, and started taking out their snipers, then their… sergeants? The ones exhorting the fighters attacking us. Once we broke through there, it was pretty smooth until we got near the airport in Jolo, and had to fight our way there. Cronin and Bearman managed to get into the tower somehow, and did their thing again there. Then we got a call from higher that the Sultan wanted us to mount a rescue mission to the Sulu College. Abu Sayyaf had taken about a hundred female students hostage, and were booby trapping the campus. Myself and two teams loaded up in a big truck and hauled ass over there, then started a sneak and peek op. Cronin and Bearman got up on the roof of the main building, killing a couple of insurgents on the way up, and started providing intel to us. They took a couple of shots, and the insurgents used RPG-elevens to try to blow them off the roof.”

He shook himself, and continued, “I was leading one team around the perimeter when Cronin called and said we were about to walk into an ambush from above. He shot a couple of insurgents out of windows, and directed us to an unguarded door into the dorm. The other team was providing a diversion, while we grabbed the students, and they got stuck in pretty good. Cronin was calling attacks, shooting them off of us for around three hours before we got any relief. That was when we found out both of them had been hit at some point, and we damn near lost both of them before we could get them back to the ship.”

Ragsdale asked softly, “So, you had no problem with him effectively taking over the op?”

“No, sir. Not a bit. He knows tactics, he knew the targets, and who were the good guys. He saved our asses, plain and simple.”

The two generals looked at each other, and Ragsdale said, “Anything else you would like to add?”

“No sir, other than I would be happy to serve with him as an officer.”

LaForce asked, “Were you finished at the range?”

“No, sir. We’ll be out there all day, requalifying.”

“Thank you, dismissed.”

Ragsdale looked over, “Can we take a ride?”

“You want to go to the range?”

“I’d like to put eyes on. Can you round up Mac? I’d like him to go too.”

LaForce laughed, “Yep, he’s sulking in this office after I told him he wasn’t retiring that easily. If you want to go low key, we can ride in his truck.”

Ragsdale smiled, “That works.”

A half hour later, they pulled into the range, and waved off the Range Officer, saying they only wanted to watch. Twenty minutes of watching Cronin and Bearman switch off, making shot after shot, reminded Ragsdale of Miller’s ability to make shots consistently both in qualifications and in combat.

When they called a cold range, Ragsdale had McKenzie go get Cronin off the line, and bring him to the range office. When he came in, he was surprised to see them, but popped to attention and reported to the generals in a Texas drawl, without any visible nervousness. Remembering Gunny Miller he smiled and said, “Corporal, is your dad the former Gunnery Sergeant Aaron Miller, from Fort Stockton, Texas?”

“Yes, sir. He is.”

“Did he ever talk about his time in service?”

“Very little, sir. At least until I joined the Corps.”

“Did he ever talk about the lousy officers he had?”

“Um, no sir, not really.”

Ragsdale smiled, “Well, I was one of those lousy officers that was over your dad. I actually bounced you on my knee when you were a baby.”

Corporal Jace Cronin’s mouth dropped open, “Sir? You…”

Ragsdale laughed, “Yes, me. What is your dad doing these days?”

“He’s the sheriff, sir.”

“So he stayed in law enforcement. How is your mother doing?”

“She runs the range and the store, and does all the bookkeeping.”

“She’s running the ranch?”

“No, sir. We… Dad, mom, and Matt and Felicia built a gun store and a range on the south forty. She runs that and Matt Carter runs the ranch, he’s the foreman.”

“You ever think about becoming an officer, Corporal?”

“I need to finish my degree first, sir. But I’ve thought about it.”

The sound of rounds going downrange caused Ragsdale to stop, then say, “Sounds like you need to get back to work Marine. Please tell your mother and dad I said hello when you next talk to them. Dismissed.

***

Jace’s hand shook as he read the orders in his hand, and he looked at the company clerk in amazement, “This isn’t a joke, is it?”

Sergeant Deleon grinned, “Would I screw with you, Cronin? No, they’re real. You’re going to the Naval Academy, starting next month. Congrats. There was never a doubt you would get it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Didn’t you know you had two generals and a Gunner sign recommendations for you?”

“I knew the Gunner did, but I thought Captain Jackson and Major Clark were the other two. And that was six months ago. They did my board, and that was the last I heard.”

“I heard you met the Commandant.”

“That was seven, no eight months ago. He and my dad served together. He and General LaForce were at the range observing us qualifying.”

“And there’s your answer Cronin.”

“Shit, you mean…”

“Yeah, the word came down that you would apply, and would be recommended. Here’s your checkout sheet. Get your ass in gear Marine.”

“Yes, Sergeant.”

“And you might want to let your mom and dad know. You’ll get two weeks leave, and eleven days travel before you report.”

Cronin grinned, “Yes, sir, Sergeant!”

LibertyCon 31 AAR…

The con went by way too fast!!! Flew in Thursday, met up with the usual suspects, Peter, Dot, LawDog, Alma, Larry/Bridget, Sarah/Dan Hoyt, Cedar/Sanford, Jonna, Ringo, John Van Stry, Colonel Kratman, Retired Spook, Kirk and he lovely wife, and a host of others. Doc Nik finally showed up too.

Things were a tad disjointed, due to the short time the board had to put this one together, and the venue was ‘slightly’ larger than we actually needed, but the volunteers did a super job!

First ‘official’ year as a presenting author, rather than getting yanked out of the audience onto a panel…LOL  That was a little strange, in that I actually had to prepare. Five rather diverse panels, two science ones (VR and The Next Big Thing), Terminal Ballistics for Writers, our Indie Author panel, and a Navy centric one on “Sea Stories”.

But it was funny when LawDog grabbed Cedar to come help on the Indie panel.

All of the panels went pretty well, IMHO. I may have even contributed a time or two, and for those that attended The Next Big Thing, I really DIDN’T intend for the panel to turn into The Next Big Thing That Fails panel. But we went down that road (literally with self driving cars) and the issues with our current power grid. I did offer one kinda big thing, 3D and large 3D printing in space, which devolved into how to do that in zero G. Again, sorry…

The big ‘disadvantage’ was being a panelist limits one’s opportunity to attend other panels, and three of the ones I was on were against panels that I really wanted to hear/see. Sigh…

Also lots of half done conversations, as one or the other would look at the watch, go “Oh crap, panel”, and disappear into the sunset, so to speak. In a couple of cases, I think it took two days to finish conversations. It also took three days to ‘track’ some folks down, even for five minutes. Sigh…

Much the same with the meals, it was catch as catch can, but I also have to give a shout out to both the waitstaff at the hotel and the ladies at City Cafe! Moving tables, combining tables, everything but a Chinese Fire Drill and they all handled it with aplomb.

What ‘I’ didn’t particularly handle well was being recognized, and people wanting to meet me, telling me they were long time readers (sorry Steve and others), LOL. I like being in the background, just watching… Sigh…

It was also nice to basically spend three days off the net, not watching the news, just enjoying the company.

Next year should be even better, with a different venue, sadly on a different set of dates, late May instead of late June, but apparently lots of folks want to attend, since the tickets sold out in six, SIX hours yesterday. You can get on a waiting list, if (as usually happens) folks have to drop for a number of reasons.

Thanks again to the LC31 committee, the volunteers, and those who were kind enough to compliment us on the panels. To those friends that were there, until next year; unless we meet sooner!

Happy 4th of July!!!

For the 242nd time… 🙂

Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the USA that celebrates the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

On this date, the Continental Congress declared the thirteen American colonies were a new nation called the United States of America.

This meant the colonies were no longer part of the British Empire.

Celebrations include fireworks, parades, and assorted other ‘celebrations’…

Mine will be a little more prosaic… Burger, ‘tater salad, hot dogs, and apple pie with ice cream.  If I can move after that, maybe fireworks at the airport.

I hope each and everyone enjoys the day, and take a moment to remember those in the military, the police, Fire/EMS who are out there every day!

Snerk…

Another one from the Mil email string…

Here we go again… Pizza MRE??? I’m SO glad I’m retired and gone…

MRE- Meals Rejected by Ethiopians, not for preflight/inflight use, etc… Given the choice, I would default to C-rats or K-rats. At least ‘they’ were known quantities…

A staple of American cuisine will finally be available to troops in the field after a year of uncertainty. The pizza Meal, Ready-to-Eat is currently being produced by vendors
and will likely be available to soldiers sometime in the next year for consumption in the field. Additionally, the chocolate Performance Readiness Bar is now available at all Army basic training locations. The bar, as part of a pilot program, had previously been available to Army basic trainees in some select locations. The bar is fortified with
calcium and vitamin D in the hope of reducing stress fractures by increasing trainees’ bone density. A new Close Combat Assault Ration is also under development. The
items in the new ration include New York-style cheesecake, vacuum-packed fruits and vegetables and Monterey Jack cheese. 

Pizza, one of the most common and popular food items in the U.S., has been requested by soldiers for more than thirty years, according to Stephen Moody, director of the Combat Feeding Directorate at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts. The MRE will include pepperoni pizza, but topping varieties could be introduced in the future after hearing troop feedback on the new product. According to the Army, the pizza MRE will be available in some locations by the end of the calendar year but will likely be available to most soldiers by the end of next year. When and where the pizza is available will depend upon existing stocks of MREs at each location. 

All MREs need to have a shelf life of at least three years when stored at 80 degrees or below in order to be viable as an option, according to the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. However, when the pizza MREs were being tested under this requirement, the pizza was turning brown. The browning was not a safety issue, but more of a quality issue. Officials later found a fix for the browning – rosemary extract.

MREs were introduced in the early 1980s as a replacement for the C-ration. Since 1993, more than 270 new items have been added to the rations, along with the flameless ration heater and ergonomic beverage pouches.

Each MRE provides about 1,260 calories, and its durable packaging allows it to be safely airdropped by parachute from 100 feet.

And they’d probably bounce like an old super ball… sigh…

Another Rift snippet…

Travelling today, so you get more, still no plan… sigh…

Chapter 3

Danny had done all the planning he could. Everything was dependent on his ‘bump’ being right. Now it was time to execute it. He had waypoints programmed, but he wasn’t sure the AI would actually execute them. He laid the three stims on the couch and looked down at them in distaste. He knew they were his only chance at surviving the return, but they could also kill him. You were never supposed to take them at less than a 12 hour interval, and he was planning two in less than an hour. And a third in three hours, if he survived the first two.

He strapped in, picked up the second stim and stuck it in his thigh, clicking the auto-inject to a half hour. He took a deep breath, said, “AI, execute track. 233, minus 46. Waypoints one through seven. Start now.” He stabbed his other thigh with the first stim and pressed the injector.

The AI said, “Executing.” And he felt the ship jump ahead, as his senses became ultra-sensitive. I swear the number seven tastes like an orange, and the number nine smells like cinnamon. The radiation alarm starting blaring and voice warnings bleated, “Radiation alert! Radiation alert. Shielding exceedance in ten minutes.” Angrily, he slapped the alarm off, and concentrated on the track displayed on the holo.

He woke up in the dark, and in pain. Looking up at the 8 day clock, he could see that 30 minutes had passed, and the ship was on a course of 055, up 124, and pulling 20Gs. He sagged back on the couch, and pulled a bulb of electrolyte water to him, drinking it as quickly as he could. Then he realized he didn’t have any sick sacks, and groaned, Ah damn. I’m going to throw up everywhere, twice. This is gonna suck, and so is the cleanup…

He felt like his brain was being squeezed between a vise, as his vision went red. Oh God. I’m gonna die. This… The pain went away, and the ship turned down to the next waypoint, increasing speed, but at least the G forces were gone. Hey, wait a minute. That shouldn’t be… Not thinking… Oh, pretty…

He screamed as the gravity warp hit, and projectile puked across the instrument panel before his legs pulled into his abdomen. He regained consciousness and managed to scrape the puke off the 8 day clock, staring muzzily at it, Oh boy, three down, five to go. Still alive, I think…

The next warp wasn’t bad and he drank another bulb of water, as he thought, Last bad one, I just gotta… He screamed again as the pain hit, and passed out as he puked.

Estrella said, “Captain, your vitals are not good. Captain?”

The AI got no answer, and she tried again with more volume, “Captain. Captain. Answer me please. Your vitals are degrading. CAPTAIN!”

Estrella ran down her checklist, activated her emergency protocols, and took command of the ship. She powered up to 15Gs of acceleration, slammed through the last three gates, and came out broadcasting that Ghost had a medical emergency and was returning to Alpha at max acceleration. APPCON cleared Ghost for a direct approach to the station, with priority docking at 23-W-MOD 6, which was the last module out on the stick. If there was a problem, that module could be sealed quickly, and not impact the rest of the station.

APPCON asked, “Ghost, state nature of medical emergency.”

“APPCON, Ghost. Captain is suffering from radiation poisoning, and stim injection. Standby for vitals.”

“Ghost, who is flying the ship?”

“APPCON, AI is flying, under emergency protocol A-32-4, subsection 3, paragraph 2a.”

“APPCON copies all, continue approach. Contact medical on channel six one.”

“Switching.”

Estrella came up on the second frequency, “Medical, Ghost. Captain is suffering from radiation poisoning, and stim use. Vitals when you are ready.”

Medical replied, “Go with vitals, confirm docking at 23-W-MOD 6.”

Estrella squirted the vitals, then said, “Confirm 23-W-MOD 6, estimate niner, repeat niner minutes to docking.”

“Roger, docking in nine. Med cart is standing by at module. Is the captain mobile?”

“Negative, captain is unconscious in pilot’s couch. I detect that he has evacuated both stomach and bowels on last grav warp.” She squirted a route from the airlock to the bridge, as she brought the ship to a stop mere yards from the docking cradle.

“Roger, bio and rad containment.”

Estrella nosed the Ghost into the docking cradle, popped the inner airlock hatch, and said, “APPCON, Ghost in the cradle. Your assistance was appreciated. Medical is on scene.” Simultaneously, she was on the second channel, “Medical, inside hatch is open. Awaiting pressure equalization.” A few seconds later, “Pressure is equalized, outer hatch released”

She watched the medical team stream aboard, along with an officious looking squat little inspector, augmentation glinting at his temples, who followed cautiously behind them looking everywhere. Estrella scanned the database and came up with a name and position.

 

AUGUSTAS CAESAR OHLMEC

MASTER PILOT INSPECTOR (AUGMENTED)

MASTER SHIP INSPECTOR (ALL)

MASTER STATION INSPECTOR (ALL)

CLASSIFICATION- G9 A8 E9

APPROVAL- GALHQ 28280229 EARTH

STATION- ROVING

 

Estrella probed deeper into the station’s records, finding that Ohlmec had arrived three days before, and was supposed to leave tomorrow, travelling to the asteroid belt, even as she watched the medics unstrap Danny, load him on a gravsled, and immediately start injecting him. His position indicated he was muscle locked, and as she sent vitals one last time, she was not confident he would survive.

The medics immediately departed with Danny in tow, telling medical to prepare the med comp and prep for multiple nannite injections for radiation, seizures, and prep for hydration.

Estrella focused her camera back on Ohlmec who had stepped back out of the bridge, and was reading the dataplate, mumbling to himself. Then she realized he was talking into a vocorder. She enhanced the audio and played it back, “So this is the illustrious Ghost. Should have been given to the company, not some trumped up trash hauler. That was a mistake.” He read off the dataplate and Danny’s qualifications, then stepped into the bridge, carefully looking around. He noted the charts taped together and went over to them, “Illegal charts, not a certification one on them.” He started rolling them up, and Estrella said, “Those charts are the property of Mapper.”

Ohlmec jumped when she said that, and he spit out a string of numbers. Estrella searched her database, and found that string of numbers was supposed to disable her. What he didn’t know was that she was self-aware, but decided to do nothing more than observe and record his actions. She also shut down all outside communications, just in case he could check that.

He rolled the charts up, stuck them under his arm, and stepped carefully around the pilot’s couch, noting the two fired stims, and the third stim lying on the deck. He pulled up the holo, then entered a set of keystrokes, and Estrella felt him trying to access the data cube. She had already wiped it, as directed by Mapper, and he mumbled, “Stims, illegal charts, illegal data cube, single pilot, non-augmented. The number of violations are… Epic!”

He reached down and plucked the data cube out of the slot, pocketing it, and mumbled, “Seizure is appropriate. Since Ortega may not survive, it’ll be immaterial. I’ll bet Planets United will give me a bonus for recovering their ship.”  He chuckled, and nosed around, opening bins, flipping through the logs, which he added to the charts, and tried to open the captain’s safe, and failed, then proceeded to Danny’s stateroom, going through every bin, storage cabinet, and the desk. “Huh, no drugs. That’s surprising. Still… Got enough to seize… Accounts too.”

Ohlmec went through the rest of the ship, and walked out through the airlock without releasing Estrella. She was not happy about that, and cautiously opened a comm window, found Mapper’s contact, and squirted the video and audio anonymously to him.

Meanwhile, Danny had been unceremoniously stripped, bathed, and shoved in a med comp in medical. Multiple sets of nannites injected, they closed it up after pushing a pic line and putting two liters of hydration in the med comp with him. The autodoc logged the vitals, and the treatments, before checking the notification list. Once it had completed that, it queued a message to Mapper’s address, since he was listed as the POC for Danny. Once that was done, it moved on to the next patient in the queue, as Danny became a background item on its checklist.

***

Mapper leaned back in his chair, tapping his thumbnail against his teeth as he thought about what he’d just seen. Between the medical notification, and the anonymous camera feeds, things needed to be done quickly. Activating a privacy screen, he flipped through his contact list, and hit a number and selected voice only. As soon as it was answered, he said, “You know who this is?”

The woman on the other end said, “Yes.”

“Need a set of guards and a cleaning crew to 23-W-MOD 6, the Ghost. Captain Ortega is in medical, in serious condition, and the AI has been disabled by an inspector named Ohlmec. Ship is not secure. The bridge needs cleaning, and potentially a radiation scrub. No one is allowed onboard.”

“Copy. I assume you need this immediately.”

“Usual fee, plus ten percent.”

“We’re on it.”

Mapper disconnected, and dropped the privacy screen. He waved toward the bar, and Daniella came over, “You need something?”

“Danny is in medical. In pretty bad shape. Can you go check on him? Don’t clock out.”

Daniella’s eyes widened, and she said, “Uh, I guess… I mean… What am I supposed to find out?”

Mapper looked at her from under the green eye shade, “Talk to a human. They’ve got nurses on duty. I want to know what they think, not what some AI autodoc reports. Humans are strangely resilient, and no autodoc I’ve ever seen has accurately predicted recovery of a seriously ill patient.”

“Okay. Lemme clock out…”

“No! I said stay on the clock.”

“But management…”

“I’ll take care of it.”

“Okay.” She dropped her tablet on the bar and headed for the door.

No sooner had she cleared the hatch, than Elliot came out of the back office. He walked over to Mapper’s table, and asked, “What’s up, boss?”

“Daniella stays on the clock. She’s doing something for me. I need a thousand credit chip, used, untraceable.”

“I’m on it.” Elliott turned away, and disappeared into the back office again.

Mapper reactivated the privacy screen, and started researching Ohlmec. The deeper he dug, the less he liked it. Mapper was a master at reading between the lines, and he started sending priority messages to various people throughout the universe. Once that was done, he sat back, dropped the privacy screen, and waved Elliott back over. Elliott handed him a used 1000 credit chip, and a security envelope.

Mapper nodded, “Thanks. I think I’ll take a walk. I need to think about some things.”

Elliott looked away as Mapper got up, clicking his prosthetic on. Experimentally crouching a couple of times, Mapper walked slowly to the hatch, “I’ll be back in a half hour.”

***

Daniella walked into medical and asked the Recepbot behind the desk, “I’m Daniella Halvorson, is Beth Adams on shift now?”

“Wait one,” came the mechanical answer. Five minutes later Beth came through the door, “Hey D, what’s up? I thought you were off today.”

“Working my second job. You know who Mapper is?”

Beth rolled her eyes, “Yeah, one strange dude. Some kind of bigwig with the Cartographer’s Guild. Been here for years, why?”

“He asked me to come check on a Danny… um… The guy brought in with radiation poisoning.”

Beth cocked her head, “Ortega? Ship captain?”

“Yeah, I guess. All I know is Danny something. Never heard his last name.”

“You got your work badge with you?”

Daniella patted her pocket, “Oh yes. I never leave the apartment without it, after that one got stolen.”

“Slip it on, and come with me. You’re an official visitor, okay?”

Daniella turned away from the Recepbot, casually attached the badge to her collar, and then turned back. Beth turned to the Recepbot, “Ms. Halvorson is on official business, to discuss hydroponics and potential food products with the staff. I will escort.”

The Recepbot nodded, “Noted,” and went back to its rest position.

SCAMPacs…

This one came over the transom from the mil email string…

Well worth paying attention to, as I’ve seen more and more calls from various ‘Pacs’ wanting donations for various things…

A web of new political action committees (PAC) raised nearly $6 million in recent months under the guise of supporting police, veterans and cancer research. But nearly
all the money has gone to their own vendors and staff, as opposed to those causes – hallmarks of so-called scam PACs. The web of seven spent heavily on fundraising and
consulting services – not political causes – during that time. Several of the people and entities involved in the new PACs have been investigated for alleged fraud and other
illegal practices in the charity sphere. But after coming under scrutiny, they have shifted recently into the much less regulated realm of politics, a POLITICO investigation has found.
The new PACs have feel-good names like Cops and Kids Together and Americans for the Cure of Breast Cancer. They have succeeded in raising millions of dollars from
small donors in a matter of months – and spent most of it just as quickly, without supporting political candidates or making a mark on a policy issue. Altogether, the seven PACs spent nearly 85% of the $5.9 million they raised through March. All but one of the PACs, National Assistance Committee, sent at least 84% of its spending to
businesses at 1835 E. Charleston Blvd. A lot of money can be collected without a lot of regulation,” said FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub. “It’s like when they asked
Willie Sutton, ‘Why do you rob banks?’ He said, ‘Because that’s where the money is.’”

Full article HERE, at Politico.

For what it’s worth, I no longer give to ANYONE that calls me on the phone. EVER…

For lack of a better title… The Rift snippet…

Still no idea where the hell this is going… Unedited, etc…

Chapter 2

Danny slumped back in the couch, Well fuck me. This isn’t good, not good at all. He scanned the holo, but it was blank. How the hell can it be blank? “AI. map space surrounding us out as far as visible light allows.”

The dull voice answered, “No star charts loaded. Mapping in progress. May take up to twenty hours.”

“Plot any hazards, closure rates and tracks within forty-eight hours of current position. Hold current position if safe.”

“Action initiated.” He felt the bumps of thrusters stopping the motion of the ship and winced. Definitely not Essie flying now. She’d never be that rough. Where the hell is she?

The dull voice said, “No immediate threats. Mapping estimated to complete in eighteen hours. Magnetic anomalies noted one-six-zero, positive zero-niner-three.”

“Magnetic anomalies? Range to anomalies?”

“Higher than normal concentrations of metals. Cause unknown.”

“Range?”

“Computing.”

Danny noted a cluster of red objects he guessed were about 2 AU away. There was also a much larger anomaly filling in a half AU further away. Rotating the holo, he put what appeared to be the local sun at the center of the display. Now he just had to wait. It was time to eat, and he desperately needed to hit the fresher. Getting up, he said, “AI, autonomous mode. Steer one-six-zero, up zero-niner-three. Limit accel to five G. Pilot is off couch. Intercom if response is needed.”

“AI cannot comply with steering command, up not recognized.” came out of the overhead speakers.

Danny shook his head, “Steer one-six-zero, positive zero-niner-three. Limit accel to five G”

“One-six-zero, positive zero-niner-three, five G acceleration. Start time and duration?”

Danny sighed, “Start immediately, end point ten thousand miles from anomalies.”

He swayed as the ship apparently went immediately to 5Gs of acceleration, and snapped to the new course, stressing the inertial grav plates. He turned and limped slowly back to his stateroom, What the hell did I do while I was out? I can barely move. He finished doing his business and set the fresher to rejuve, and climbed in.

He woke up four hours later, lying on the floor of the fresher, Damn, I must have been worse off than I thought. He groaned as he climbed to his feet, Shaky, I need nutrition. Getting dressed in a clean shipsuit, he made his way to the mess, and punched up a 1500 calorie meal on the autochef, not caring what it was. He punched up an electrolyte replacement drink, collected it, and headed back to the bridge. He stood in the middle of the bridge, letting his senses reach out, Okay, I’m here. Turning around, he sensed, Came from there. Before that, from there. Jumped…

Relieved he sat in the pilot’s couch, Worst comes to worst, I can get home. Implants wouldn’t do me a damn bit of good in this situation, but knowing where I am sure the hell does. McKendrick never could understand that. He didn’t believe I could calculate where to pick up the asteroids in their orbits without calculating them on the computer, or pre-plotting them before we left. Always just knew… Just like that training flight to the Moon. Shannon threw me in the seat with no preps, figuring he could use my failing to come up with a course as a reason to fail me out. But I ‘knew’ where we were, and where we needed to go. Danny laughed bitterly, Lot of good it did me. Sumbitch sabotaged my career.

Shaking his head, he glanced at the 8 day clock, remembering the day he’d found it in a junk shop in the Moon Colony. Always liked the analog stuff. I think I paid ten credits for it. Paid the weight penalty going back, which cost me more credits. Guy swore it came out of a twentieth century fighter. Maybe it did. Who knows. He reached up and patted it, then glanced at the holo.

There were two anomalies plotted, one directly behind him, and the one behind the metal anomalies ahead. That’s the one we came through. Wonder if that is the gate Mapper was talking about? Are there two in this galaxy?

The radiation alarm blared again, and he reached over and slapped it off, Nothing I can do about that now. Can’t decon until I get back, if I do. For the next ten hours, he did routine maintenance, wandering back to the bridge occasionally, glancing at the holo, then going back to his routine.

He got eight hours of downtime, and was awakened by the violent slew as the ship turned over to begin deceleration for the anomalies. Damn, that AI can’t drive worth a damn. Shit! What if it’s… Oh crap, it’s a default AI. No star charts. There should be a ton of charts. Essie… They were in Essie. That means… He sat up on the bunk, putting his head in his hands, That means I’m going to have to fly Ghost out of here, if I want to get home. I don’t know if I can maintain consciousness long enough to do that.

He got up, dressed and headed to the bridge. Flopping in the pilot’s couch, he said, “AI, display location for Space Station Alpha.”

The dull voice slowly responded, “No Space Station Alpha exists in the database.”

“Display data base contents, file name order.”

“No files to display.” Fuck me. This is a default AI. I am so screwed.

He got up and went to the back of the bridge, opening a storage locker, he pulled out a pile of printed charts. Spreading them out, he found five that depicted some of the different warps between him and the galaxy holding Space Station Alpha. He overlaid them, mentally calculating each turn point, and time, distance, acceleration, and impacts of the various warp resonances.

He went back and looked at the holo again, staring intently at the red anomalies. He zoomed in on them, and sat back, startled. None of them had any measurable velocities! Ships, they’re ships! That big anomaly is a gate! What… Why didn’t they… Are they all dead?

He ran the calculation and figured another eleven hours to the mark, so he went back to the aft storage locker, and prepped his mini-me, as he thought of the little four foot robot. One of the real shortfalls of not being enhanced was that he had to climb into a haptic suit, and use a VR headset to actually maneuver the little bastard. And there was always a time delay. He’d torn more stuff up learning how to use it, but now he was comfortable with it. The downside was he couldn’t do anything else while he was running it, otherwise it would go spastic, since it mimicked his every movement.

Nine hours later, he walked back on the bridge, carrying the haptic suit over his shoulder. He dropped it on the plotting table, and sat on the couch. “My ship.”

The AI replied, “Captain’s controls.”

Danny shifted the external telescope, thinking to himself that a good AI would have already done that, and located the anomalies in the viewfinder. As he zoomed it in, he gasped. “Holy shit! It’s a damn ship graveyard.” He panned slowly across the ships, counting them silently, then said, “AI, record for ship’s record. I am Captain Daniel Jerome Ortega. I am captain of the DSRV Ghost. We are located in an unknown galaxy in the Rift. I count at least nineteen ships at astral coordinate ten thirty-nine fifteen dot seventy, plus twenty sixteen twenty-two dot seventeen. That coordinate is for this pocket galaxy. Eleven ships seem to be all or mostly intact. Some are archaic, some seem to relatively new. Heavy damage is apparent on eight ships, either through collision or weapons use. Due to spread of debris field, this captain believes the damage is due to collisions. No beacons are heard, no emergency signals are observed.”

As he was recording, he was maneuvering the Ghost closer finally hovering only a dozen miles from the oldest ship that was a little away from the others. “Now positioned adjacent what appears to be the oldest of the ships. I would estimate this ship is at least three hundred years old. No apparent damage, but does not indicate any power sources, heat sources or electromagnetic radiation. None of the ships here indicate any of these sources.”

Something kept niggling in the back of his mind, but he couldn’t call it up, instead, he stripped and climbed into the haptic suit, not bothering with the catheter. He got back on the couch and said, “AI, maintain position relative to ship in the crosshairs.”

“AI maintaining position. Start time?”

“Start time now, until countered.”

He felt the ship bobble, and winced. Shit. Is this even safe? Should I have backed off? What the hell am I thinking? Calming himself, he took one more look at the screen, and slipped the VR headset over his head. Lying still, he said, “Activate Mini-me.” And looked down. He slowly closed his fist, and saw the bot’s manipulator close all three fingers and it’s ‘thumb’.

Looking back up, he saw the other ship in the visual, zoomed, and saw a hatch. Blinking twice, he activated the crosshairs, and moved them over the hatch. He blinked his right eye, and made the gesture with his feet that caused the bot to start flying across the intervening space. Once he got the bot close, he slowed it and positioned it just off the hatch. He activated the lower camera, and looked at the hatch controls. They were unlike anything he had ever seen, and he poked and prodded for a few minutes, without success. Backing off, he started Mini-me flying down the port side of the ship. He stopped it abruptly as he saw script go through his view. Backing the bot out, he widened the camera out as far as he could, and tried to make out what the script was. It was a type of writing he’d never seen, but it looked like an H, then something, an I, something, an O, and something.

He shook his head, and the bot shivered, while he cussed himself silently. Resuming his circling from further out, he passed over what he thought might be the bridge area, then down the starboard side. He spotted two more hatches, but neither one of them worked either. Well, if nothing else, I’ve got video records of whatever the hell this one is. It’s definitely old. He made another pass over the topside of the ship, with no luck. Looking at the power remaining, he debated bringing Mini-me back, but decided to at least explore the bottom of the ship. About two thirds of the way back, a protrusion caught his eye. He turned on the lamps, cursing himself for forgetting them, and oriented the bot to the hull plane. It was another hatch, but it looked like it might be slightly open. Positioning the bot carefully, he anchored magnetically to the hull, and slipped one manipulator at a time under the edge of the hatch. Once he had both of them positioned, he raised his arms, as if lifting, and the hatch slowly opened. He repositioned twice, and finally got it all the way back against the hull. Maneuvering around, he used the manipulators to pull the bot over the dark opening. He panned the camera up, and saw more darkness, and another open hatch.

Hearing a beeping in his ear, he eye blinked the status into the VR screen and cussed. “Dammit. Out of power. I… Crap! Son of a…” He maneuvered the bot pushed it off the hull, and let it drift until he could see Ghost in the view. Winking a target on the hatch, he flew the bot back to Ghost, and loaded it into the airlock. Shutting down his connection to it, he stretched and got up, “Oh damn, how I hate this!”

Stripping out of the haptic suit, he headed for the fresher. After relieving himself, he went back to the aft airlock, cycled it, and brought Mini-me in. Rather than put it away, he ran a charging cable out of the storage to it, and plugged it in. Really should have gotten more than one of these rehabbed. Can’t believe I spent almost six hours doing that. Now I gotta wait twelve for it to charge.

Twelve hours later, he pushed the bot back into the airlock and cycled it. Dressing in the haptic suit again, he did use the catheter this time, cursing all the way. Activating the bot, he flew it directly to the hatch on the other ship, and was relieved to find it still open. Maneuvering the bot head up, he used the manipulator arms to pull it into the ship ever so slowly. Once he was inside, he rotated the camera slowly, and saw no damage. He saw a set of numbers pass through his view, and moved back to them, 9-190-P-7. He cocked his head, cussed as the bot started moving sideways and quickly straighten his head, mumbling, “I need to see something else. This doesn’t tell me a lot. Left should be forward. Let’s see where this goes.”

He walked the bot down the passageway, and saw another set of numbers, 9-189-P-7. Huh, Deck 9? Frame numbers maybe? They are going down. P is port? Did they use that? Seven? Not a clue. He continued forward and the second number continued to count down. He finally came to a major bulkhead and was forced to turn. He turned right, and the last number started counting down as he crossed passageways. Okay, that explains that. He finally came to a much wider passage way, and it didn’t have anything after the M. He turned left again, and continued forward, noting that none of the hatches were open anywhere. He finally found what he thought might have been a grav-elevator, because it was slightly off the passageway, and appeared to be empty. Scanning up, he saw it continued up for a number of decks. In for a credit, in for a million. He stepped the bot into the opening, flipping his feet to make it fly up. He stopped it at the second deck from the top, and maneuvered it back into the passageway.

He continued forward, and was rewarded with a 2-21-M. He finally saw the first open hatch he’d seen, and stopped the bot facing the hatch opening. It was a stateroom, with multiple items floating freely in the space. He was thankful he didn’t see a body, and turned forward again. He could see an open hatch in the distance, and hoped that was the bridge.

Looking at the status of the bot, he cursed, Can’t waste a lot of time. Gotta get a move on. He walked the bot down to the hatch, and was rewarded with what appeared to be the bridge, with three chairs in a triangle, facing blank panels. There were controls of some type in the armrests of the two forward chairs, but none on the third chair. He sent the bot in, carefully scanning and saw what appeared to be a t-shaped bridge. Edging the bot forward, he saw a flat rectangle about five inches thick floating, and he used a manipulator to pull it in. He shoved it into the collection pouch on the bot’s belly, and scanned to the left. There was an area to the left with a flat table, two chairs and more of the rectangles floating there, along with one that seemed to be connected to something on the table by a cable. He collected two more of the rectangles, then turned the bot and went to the right. Seeing a larger green rectangle about an inch thick floating. He finally dredged up a memory of a thing called a book. As he reached out and grabbed it, he saw something larger float into the corner of his view.

When his mind finally realized he was seeing a desiccated body, he recoiled, and the bot banged backward into the chair in the middle. A beeping sounded and a yellow warning flashed across the VR screen, HYD 1 LOW PRESS. He realized the bot was moving and he wasn’t controlling it, as it bounced through the hatch, and down the passage way.

It finally stopped, and a red warning flashed up, HYD 1 INOP. Shit! Can I get the bot back? Danny buckled down and walked the bot back through the ship, constantly monitoring the systems as he brought it back to the airlock. Easing it through the hatch he noticed smears of something on the outer hatch, and repressed a shudder.

He got it clear of the ship and when it drifted far enough that Ghost was in view, he flew it carefully back. Once he got it in the airlock, he shut it down and climbed gratefully out of the haptic suit. He got a whiff of himself, and wrinkled his nose, “Fucking suits… They stink, you stink, we all stink!” Carefully removing the catheter, he headed for his stateroom and the fresher, dropping the suit in the fresher compartment for laundry. After a long hot rejuve, he got dressed in his last clean ship suit, and went aft to recover the bot. Pulling it in, he said, “Sorry, Mini-me. I didn’t intend to break you. I’ll get you fixed soon.” Turning the bot, he saw where a hydraulic line had been crimped, apparently backing into the chair. He pulled the book loose from the manipulator, and took the rectangles out of the storage pouch. He left them while he secured the bot in its storage compartment, then went back to the bridge.

Setting a course back to where he’d entered the system, he left the AI driving, and sat at the navigation area. He looked at the rectangles, and couldn’t figure them out. There was some kind of connection on one side, but nothing he’d ever seen. After confirming they were identical, he set them aside, and opened what he thought of as the ‘book’. It didn’t have printing in it, but some strange slanted writing, that he couldn’t read. Walking over to the AI’s camera port, he said, “AI, copy and translate.”

The dull voice, replied, “Unable to translate. Database not available.”

Danny threw up his hands in frustration, and flipped through the book, stopping when he saw numbers that looked vaguely familiar. They had to be star locations, but… He had no database to compare them to.

Two days later, he was back at the location where he’d come through the gate, and he’d finished the repairs on Mini-me, and done all the preventive maintenance he needed to do. He wasn’t feeling real good, and decided to get another good sleep cycle before he made a run at getting back to Space Station Alpha.

 

On the road…

Again… This time by choice! Off to LibertyCon in Chattanooga!

I’m on a few more panels this year…

 

Day Time Name of Event
Fri 02:00PM Virtual Reality: Future Prospects, Future Threats, and Perhaps an Answer to the Fermi Paradox

Fri 05:00PM Opening Ceremonies

Fri 06:00PM Let’s Predict the Next Big Thing!

Sat 01:00PM Terminal Ballistics for Writers and Others

Sat 03:00PM Indie Publishing – Latest Trends in Self-Publishing and the State of the Market

Sat 10:00PM Writers Tell Sea Stories

Sun 10:00AM Kaffeeklatsch

Attendance is appreciated, pointing and laughing not so much… 🙂

These should be interesting panels, even if I’m the dummy sitting on the end of the row. There are some WICKED SMAHT people on them, as my shipmate from Maine used to say…

I’m bringing a few copies of my latest Grey Man, but not many, since I’m flying in, and didn’t get any time in author alley.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Random stuff…

Well, my post yesterday lit off the spammers… again… 71 spams as of 2200 last night. Usually I have less than five a day…

In other news, things are getting interesting between DOJ and the House Select Committee on Intelligence. DOJ has yet to turn over the requested documents, even after they said they would…

The showdown between Congress and the Justice Department over Russia escalated Tuesday after the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a resolution demanding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hand over sensitive documents related to the investigation into suspected meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Full article, HERE.

And a friend sent me the link to the Yelp reviews on Red Hen in Lexington, VA. This is the opening splash screen that comes up… LOL

Just out of curiosity, I clicked through, and they are doing a lousy job of cleaning up the mess…

Step by step…

Closer and closer…

AE Pilot Jim posted this on FB-

I’ve been seeing the term “Othering” being bandied about more and more often lately, so let’s talk about balkanization.

Balkanization or Balkanize, as a term, was born out of the fragmentation of the Balkan peninsula at the end of the Ottoman empire. Sources I’ve read say between 1820 and 1912. At this time the region, once controlled by the Ottoman empire, fragmented into small states roughly divided by ethnic lines. This region also saw several small conflicts fought for control of the lands with areas changing hands several times prior to the outbreak of WW1.

The fragmentation and hostilities that followed are what lead to the, I think, interesting definition of balkanization.

Balkanization is a term used to describe the process of fragmentation or division of a region or state into smaller regions or states that are often hostile or uncooperative with one another.

Hostile or uncooperative…

Go read the whole thing, HERE.  I’ll wait…

A little over a year ago, Steve Scalise and three others were shot in Alexandria by a Clinton supporter, HERE. They were saved by his security team, who took the shooter under fire, pistols against a rifle, and took him out. Had Scalise not been there, with his security team, the outcome probably would have been significantly different, with multiple dead Republicans.

This crap of the left against the right, and never compromise is coming to a breaking point… Media and personalities are calling the right, and anyone who voted for Trump Nazis, etc.

Maxine Waters incited people to commit violence through harassment in this video on Saturday…

She said cabinet members and highly visible Trump enablers should expect harassment at restaurants, gas stations, shopping places, and even their homes until they change their immigration policy. Several have already been confronted at public places.

You REALLY don’t want to try that whole mob rule thingie there Maxine! You won’t win, simply because John Q. Public outside your little safe space in Cali won’t let it happen. Full article and video, HERE.

DHS Secretary Neilson was harassed out of a restaurant in DC last week, Florida AG Pam Bondi and boyfriend were confronted in a theater in Florida, Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant in Northern Virginia, and after she and her hubby went home, the rest of her family were harassed at another restaurant by the owner of the first restaurant and others…

At what point is there going to be more overt violence, and someone dying? At what point is someone going to have had enough, and kill a protester that gets too close, or threatens their children? Either in public, or at their homes???

Discussions with some friends in law enforcement indicate they think the lid is about to blow off, possibly in the next couple of months.

I think Jim’s final comment may be priescent- “I’m willing to bet money that it will be long, bloody, painful and will leave scars on this continent that will last for centuries.”

Linkin Park’s song, ‘One Step Closer’ is eerily close to reality right now…