Rimworld snippet…

The usual caveats apply… Comments welcome, as always!

Winding Down

Boykin had finally come back at twenty-three to pick up Fargo and Grayson, who walked on board gratefully. Fargo climbed into the cockpit and slumped in the seat, and looked over at the warrant, “Thanks for the pickup. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to have to spend the rest of the contract out here.”

Boykin grinned tiredly, “If they could figure out a way, probably. There was one hell of an argument on the way back between the colonel and the PLANSEC guy. The old guy finally had to step in to calm them down. Something about plots and missed or missing indentureds, and third gen Firsties. I didn’t catch all of it, since the mic is back by the ramp, but damn, they were going at it!”

Fargo smiled, “Good. I might have been less than forthcoming about our systems, and I used what you told him, whatever that code was, about not being able to talk about things like advanced armor or the repulsor modules.”

Boykin lifted off and set a course for Capital, leaned back and said, “That’s a good question. How are you going to handle that?”

“I’m lumping it in with the armor as test or prototype units. Gonna try to get McDougal a patent for it. The more I think about it, those damn things saved people’s lives, at least on our side, today. I think I have a way to get them into the GalPat system.”

Boykin chuckled, “You know you turn that over to GalPat, it will disappear into the black hole, never to be seen again.”

“True, but if GalScouts also has a set of plans…”

“Oh… sneaky, very sneaky, Captain.”

“If we’d had something like this, I can think of at least ten or twelve scouts that would still be alive. Sonics doesn’t stop everything. Never has, never will, especially on some of the Exo planets we were scouting.”

Boykin busied herself with the comms with ORBCON and when she turned to ask Fargo a question, he was sound asleep. She smiled and turned back to flying the shuttle, humming softly to herself.

A div and a half later, she landed the shuttle softly at the spaceport, refueled and lifted again without ever waking Fargo up. Coming into the palace on anti-grav, Fargo finally woke up, and she said, “We’re home, for this version of home.”

Fargo stretched, and chuckled, “Home is where the gear trunk is, right?”

“Pretty much. And we’re down.”

“Thanks again for coming to pick us up.”

“No problem, Captain. We live to serve.”

Fargo laughed, got up and eased down from the cockpit as Boykin finished the shutdown procedures. Kicking Grayson’s foot, he marveled once again at his ability to sleep in the contorted position he was in, and said, “You’re off until tomorrow at eighteen. I’m assuming you’re going to do your restocking tomorrow?”

Grayson yawned, “Nah, I’ll do it tonight. Sure as shit if I don’t, something will blow up on us.”

“Okay, and thanks again for your help today.”

“Just doin’ my job, Captain. Just doin’ my job.”

“Well, you did a good job. You saved lives today.”

Grayson shrugged and headed for the medical pallet stored on the forward bulkhead, as Fargo walked slowly down the ramp.

Nicole met him at the bottom of the ramp, and it was all he could do not to reach out an hug her. “Why are you still up?”

“Somebody had to monitor the radios, and I was the only somebody here. I also dumped all our data up to the ship, just so we have a pristine copy, just in case.”

He reached out to her, “I’m sorry you got stuck with waiting for us.”

      “I didn’t mind, I got some work done, and I’ve been running data correlations for the last couple of hours.”

      Boykin walked down the ramp and he said, “Both of you hit the rack. I’m going to flip the comms to alert mode, and we’ll worry about the follow up tomorrow.”

They nodded and started for the billet, and Fargo projected, “I love you, Nicole.”

      “Love you too, now stop that!”

      “Yes, dear.”

      He heard a most unladylike snort and saw Nicole shake her head, as she said something to Boykin.

***

Daman caught Master Chief Magar as he exited the hab, “Paras, you seen McDougal?”

“Nope,” he thought for a sec, “He came off watch at all balls. He should be in the rack.”

“He’s not. He seemed real nervous when I went off at twenty last night. I never saw him come in the hab.”

“Shit, where could he have…”

“The maintenance unit.” They turned and both headed around the hab to the maintenance unit. Daman popped the door and sighed, “There he is.” McDougal was face down on the work bench, snoring softly, surrounded by pieces of hardware, trailing cables to his data comp and the maintenance comp. “Mac! Wake up, Mac.”

McDougal jerked up, staring wildly around, “Wha… Did something… What time izzit?” He finally focused on Daman and the master chief and slumped. “How much trouble am I in,” he asked softly.

The master chief glanced at Daman and stepped forward, “None. We were worried that you weren’t in the hab sleeping.”

McDougal swept his hand vaguely toward the hardware, “Trying to figure out why I killed all those…”

Daman interrupted, “You didn’t kill anybody. You saved our lives.”

“But innocent people…”

“They weren’t innocents, they wanted to overrun us, and you can damn well bet they would have killed us, given the chance!”

Mac mumbled, “Not like war, I didn’t mean…”

Master Chief Magar motioned toward the door, and Daman took the hint, leaving the two of them in the maintenance unit. “Mac, war, police actions, and security details like this aren’t a lot different when you come right down to it. People are still trying to kill you, either for the land, whatever you’re protecting, or the detailee. Except they aren’t in armor and they tend to hide in the general population. Think about it. These turds had illegal fully automatic needle guns. That’s not something law abiding people do.”

“But there were women and children out there…”

“Who were active participants! One of the needlers was used by a female. Remember, the female of the species is always the more deadly.”

Mac shook his head, “I didn’t mean to hurt people, I only wanted to stop the… projectiles.”

“And you did a damn good job of it.”

“But it wasn’t supposed to kick them back, not like that!”

MC laid his hand on Mac’s shoulder. “Son, I’m not complaining. You build something that worked. Granted it didn’t get fully tested, but it worked at the right time!”

Mac punched up the maintenance comp, stabbing his finger viciously at part of the circuit on the screen. “This… This is what I fucked up. I didn’t dial down the max rejection loop. If I’d scaled that with the rest of it…”

“Deity be damned! Senior Sergeant, you did your fucking job and a lot more. It is not your fault they died. Get that through your thick Euro ethnic skull. I’m putting you in for a damn medal for what you did. Shut this shit down and go get food, then take your ass to the rack. You go back on watch at eighteen. Do you hear me?”

“Yes, sir, Master Chief. But I’m afraid…”

“The captain will cover for you. He’s not one to leave his troops hanging out. Now either go, or I’ll go get an injector and put your ass under.”

Mac reached up and shut down the maintenance comp and picked up his data comp. “Going Master Chief, I’m going.” He groaned as he got up and walked slowly to the door.

***

Three days later, Fargo knocked on the colonel’s door. Zhu glared up at him, “What?”

Since he wasn’t invited in, Fargo said, “The troops are wondering what is going on with Smallwell, the local feeds aren’t saying anything about him being charged with the murder of our two troops.”

Zhu killed the holo in front of him in disgust, “That should be the least of your worries. Meecham is wanting to charge you and the two troops at the sites with murder for killing those innocent civilians. And the whole thing with your jumping in armor and firing that cannon into that apartment. The owner is complaining that they whole upstairs of that building is going to have to be renovated…”

Fargo reached out and felt the colonel’s anger, worry, and distaste for the entire situation. Probing a little deeper, he felt the thoughts of whether or not to tell Fargo what else was going on. “Colonel, you’ve seen the vids, what would you have had me do? I had unarmored troops in the open, being sniped at.” He pushed a little on Zhu, to see if he would talk to him.

“Come in and close the door,” the colonel said. Fargo did so, and assumed the position of parade rest in front of the colonel’s desk. Zhu looked up at him, frustration in his eyes. “First it was you killing Perez, and now this cluster. PLANSEC is supposedly trying to round up some of the peaceful protesters from both sites, but apparently not with much success on anything other than the proles. No firsties have been picked up, and they haven’t even notified ORBCON to check the station for escapees, nor has GalPat been formally notified. Matter of fact, the director directed me to keep it low key and she doesn’t want any GalPat involvement. It’s to the point that they have officially listed Halvorson senior and Archer senior as missing and presumed dead in a liteflyer crash somewhere between the two properties.”

Fargo glanced down, “What? They know from DNA…”

The colonel held up a hand, “I know. Apparently both Freeman and Park are having problems with some of the dead identified at both sites, too.”

“Firsties?”

“That, and apparently some of the second wavers were involved, at least one of which is related to Freeman himself. But the company has apparently directed that all this be kept quiet, which is why nothing has been on the local feeds. There have been a lot of FTL comms in and out of the palace by the director’s office in the last three days.”

Fargo whistled, “That can’t be cheap.”

Zhu shoved back from the desk and got up, pacing back and forth. “No, and it’s all coded in private code. Have your troops seen any more protesters, or anything else?”

“Nothing. Not a soul, no movement showing up at all on surveillance, and nothing on the comms frequencies we were monitoring. And direct liaison with the TBT reps has indicated that they are seeing nothing interrupting the beams, and nobody causing any problems anywhere. That’s quite a change from the last two months, which apparently has them worried.”

Zhu snorted, “They should be thankful for that.”

“I don’t think that it’s as much that, as they are waiting for the other shoe to fall. I’ve never seen an optimistic techie in my life.”

Zhu planted both hands on his desk and looked at Fargo, “Who are you?”

Fargo reached for his mind and felt the honesty in the question, but he said, “What do you mean, Colonel?”

“You’re not the normal militia captain. You don’t cower when you come in here, you’ve got loyalty from a GalPat warrant and medic, you didn’t hesitate in either of the situations to do what you needed to, and last, but damn sure not least, you’ve apparently got the loyalty of an entire company of very senior Ghorka, all of whom are combat vets.”

“I’m… just an old retired GalScout. I did a tour in the Terran Marines before I came over to the Scouts.”

“You were never GalPat,” Zhu asked incredulously.

“No.”

“Combat?”

“I was in the Cluster Skirmish. That was at the end of my career.”

Zhu looked down, then back up, “The lost Marine company, you’re that Fargo,” he asked softly.

Fargo could only nod.

Zhu said quietly, “You personally carried the five survivors in their armor to the LZ, which was not supposed to be possible. You tried to kill the Intel weenie that gave you bad data. Courts martialed, then overturned. No wonder they’ll follow you into hell.”

“I don’t…”

Zhu stood, walked around the desk, bowed and offered his hand. “I apologize for the way I’ve treated you, Captain. I cannot make any excuses for my behavior.”

Fargo reached out and took it, sensing Zhu’s mind, Damn, he’s actually scared of me and what I’m liable to do. And he truly believes they’ll follow me in anything I do. “I don’t believe you owe me anything, but I will accept the apology. We’ll be out of your hair in another ten days. That is the best I can offer.”

Zhu nodded, “I will press the director to put Smallwell on trial before you leave. I will impress her that it would be in her, and Endine’s best interest to do so. I will hint that if they don’t, GalPat may be forced to step in.”

“Thank you, that’s all we can ask. I’d like to be able to have our folks know the killer is getting his just desserts. If you’ll excuse me, I need to get back for comms checks.”

“Dismissed.”

Fargo stopped by the mess and grabbed a bulb of coffee, then walked slowly back down the hall, trying to determine how best to tell the sites the current lack of status on Smallwell. Stepping back in the office, he was surprised to see Nicole sitting at the console typing away. “What are you doing here?”

Nicole held up one finger, and went back to typing. Finishing up, she turned with a flourish and a smile, “Covering for you, as usual.”

Fargo cocked his head, “Say what?”

“You had an encrypted from Captain Jace. It was tracking data on the Firsties. They’ve all gone to ground at their ancestral homes. Well, except for the Abruzzi clan, they are business as usual.”

“Did you… did that end up in…”

“No, it’s not in GalPat’s database. I don’t share everything we get.” She got up and gestured to the chair, “All yours. I’m going to pee, get coffee, and go back to the Intel section.”

She gave him a quick kiss in passing, and walked out the door chuckling.

Boykin and Grayson came in a seg later, just as Fargo was saying, “Okay, all sites listen up. Here’s the latest on Smallwell. There isn’t an update, per se, but Colonel Zhu, the head of the GalPat Det is going to the director of Endine with a strong hint that if they don’t do something, GalPat is going to step in and take over the prosecution.”

Boykin shook her head, and Grayson said, “Fuckers. GalPat should step in, should already have stepped in.”

Horse came over the radio, “The good colonel understands we’re not happy doesn’t he?”

“I impressed that on him this morning. He doesn’t want us to go rogue, especially after what happened the other day.”

Jiri said quietly, “He does understand, I think. The captain got him off the credit chip. Ten days gentlemen, ten days. Remember that.”

 

Hrmmmm???

Anybody else notice this???

How did a package get ‘mailed’ without the stamps being cancelled???

I’m now wondering if this was the ‘October Surprise’ the dems were talking about. I note that the media is hard over on blaming the President for these ‘bombs’, yet there isn’t really any information yet…

Which makes me wonder even more if ye olde false flag is yet again in play???

What better way to pump up their numbers than to cry poor me, I’m being threatened, but I’m standing ‘strong’ for you!

And yes, WHOMEVER did this should be put under the prison for a long, long time! Unconscionable does not begin to describe this, since the only ones that potentially would have gotten hurt are the ‘little people’ that work in the mail rooms/sorting facilities…

h/t Stretch

Random thoughts…

On the ‘caravan’…

Who is paying for their food, water, medications, and busses? Lawdog and I were chewing this over at lunch yesterday, and ‘somebody’ is behind this…

Logistics is a nightmare for professionals, moving a battalion or, for me, getting ready for a sea test was a long involved process, and that was dealing with professionals who do that for a living.

But these people are getting food and water regularly, almost like runners in a race. They walk by tables and are handed a sandwich and a bottle of liquid in the videos I’ve seen. And I’ve seen some pretty sophisticated tents that ‘seem’ to be travelling with them. They are covering 25 miles a day? Really? That’s a pretty good pace for a ‘fit, healthy’ individual. The average person ‘might’ make 20 miles a day, but I don’t see them doing that day after day.

I don’t see the poor villages/cities along their route doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, or even being able to afford it! Going cheap, let’s say a dollar for a sandwich and water, that’s still $7-10000/meal a day, or $21-30000/day total, and they are going to keep that up from 2-3 months?

Why is none of the MSM asking these basic questions???

On Khashoggi’s death….

Who cares? This is business as usual for the Middle East, he’s not an American, he was here on a green card, and his backstory is rather sketchy… Good luck trying to find out who his father was… And he’s supposedly the ‘nephew’ or Adnan  Khashoggi, who made his fortune as a gun runner.

Remember, life is cheap over there, you can get somebody killed for $100 or less, depending on where you are. And Erdoğan’s hands are not clean, nor are most of the Middle Eastern leaders. All of them routinely throw political opponents/journalists in jail and/or prison, or kill them, when they piss off the powers that be.

I ‘think’ the ONLY reason this is getting the push that it is, is because he was supposedly a ‘journalist’, (apparently he was a ‘stringer’ for the WAPO, which means he wasn’t actually on staff, just sold them the occasional article), which has the MSM upset that ‘one of their own’ got offed, which kinda puts them on notice, if you will…

I know this may piss some folks off, but I’ve spent time in that part of the world, and it’s, IMHO, a realistic appraisal of what probably happened. YMMV

Book Promo…

Alma Boykin has an new Familiars tale out! Oddly Familiar

As always, click on the cover to get it!

The blurb-

Ah, October, when the ghosts, and spirits walk, and the Off Ramp of Doom falls quiet. Too quiet…

Lelia Chan and her Familiar, Tay, continue learning about magic and what mages do. When a customer drops a strange silver disk in Belle, Book, and Blacklight, it starts a chain of events that pull Lelia deeper into shadow magic. André Lestrange and Rodney return to help sort out the off-ramp. Someone else returns, someone who wants to open doors best left closed. Lelia and Company have their hands and paws full dealing with the forces of darkness and bad jokes.

Evil walks on All Hallows Eve. It’s up to Lelia and Tay to send it back where it belongs. Or else.

And Cedar Sanderson has a free short story up- Sugar Skull!

The blurb-

Short Story: 

Sally, whose full name was Alessandra Padilla Rivera, and who had been raised by a grandmama on stories of El Cucuy, the chupacabra, and the jaguar god who hunts in the night, knows how hard good jobs are to find, and keep. She has a mother to support, and a new job to prove herself at. A couple of problems, though… She is working in a morgue where strange things are happening. The only person she can talk to is her boss, her mother just turns the television volume up, and her friends are grossed out by her job. But Sally is convinced her boss isn’t fully human…

Grrr…

Another one goes to prison 21 down, 12 (at least) to go!

In an email arranging to hand off proprietary Navy information to the flamboyant contractor Leonard Francis, Navy Cmdr. Troy Amundson described himself as “a small dog just trying to get a bone.”

Full article, HERE.

His supposed statement that the movement schedules weren’t classifed is pure BS! MOVEORDs are ALWAYS classified until the ship is underway. Ask any E-2 on the waterfront and they can tell you!

So far 21 people have been convicted, and it’s a question as to how high this whole thing will go. Fat Leonard made a mockery of the US Navy in 7th Fleet for way too many years, in addition to ripping off the Navy and others for millions of dollars for provisioning and husbanding.

The greed and egos involved is just stunning… And a huge black eye to the Navy and everyone involved in WESTPAC. The ships went where they were directed, and really didn’t have a ‘choice’ of what port to go into, so this isn’t on the individual CO’s, contrary to what some reports say. This was all directed at a much higher level, based on ‘country requirements’ for port calls to meet various metrics sent from PACOM/CNO depending on various ‘things’ going on at the State/Foreign Policy level.

I hope the others get convicted and sent to jail, and the Navy can finally move forward. The morale on the waterfront in WESTPAC sucks right now, and our sailors deserve better from their leadership than this shit!

Decorations…

Edit- Sorry the scheduler didn’t schedule this morning… sigh…

Is it just me, or are decorations for various ‘holidays’ getting out of hand???

It’s not even Halloween yet, and I’m already seeing Christmas stuff out, and Thanksgiving… We used to never seen Thanksgiving stuff until after Halloween, and no Christmas stuff until after Thanksgiving.

And the advent of blow up dolls has ‘blown’ the whole thing out of proportions! You can get animatronics, dolls, complete scenes for just about everything…

And good luck finding a regular old orange pumpkin!

And I have no idea what the hell you’re supposed to do with these???

Looking around, there are apparently now ‘professional’ pumpkin carvers who charge a BUNCH of money for carved pumpkins to put on your doorstep… Really? What happened to Mom/Dad helping Junior or Sissy ‘carve’ the pumpkin? And make a mess all over the kitchen table in the process?

I do have to admit I did see a funny one come across my feed earlier in the week, which of course I can’t find again, but it was lawn Flamingos picking over a skeleton, with one holding a femur in its beak.

That probably goes back to this one from four or five years ago… Which was a pretty good one at the time!

And then there are vehicle decorations… Of course ‘this one’ is from Texas…

Although I’ll admit I’d love to seen that one in Portland or Bezerkley… 🙂

Okay… Okay, already…

The drought is broken! We don’t live in Seattle…

We haven’t seen the sun for over a week! 7 count ’em, SEVEN inches of rain in the last week and a half.

But, I thought we were going to catch a break…

There was blue sky, and SUNLIGHT… Sigh…

But it didn’t last, it’s now raining again.

And apparently I am ‘deficient’ in my home decorating.

‘I’ don’t have a chandelier in my garage…

At one of my high school classmate’s house night before last for a little (30 people) get together, so there were tables everywhere, and food, oh… The food! Overserved myself twice!

Wow…

This is just… Wow!

Claire McCaskill obviously DOES NOT believe in the Missouri motto of the ‘Show Me State’…

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released a new undercover video Monday night showing Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and her staffers expressing support for radical gun control measures that they admit she can’t state publicly.

Full article, HERE with video!

It’s fairly obvious she is willing to go to ANY length to get re-elected.

A pox on ALL the politician’s houses! Vote them ALL out and bring in term limits! Enough is enough… Grrrr

TBT…

From back in the day…

Hard to believe this was 30+ years ago! Usually we chased submarines, but sometimes we ‘stumbled’ across other things of interest…

Looking at the sea state, it was probably a ‘tad’ bumpy that day, and 200 feet wasn’t a lot of fun. One of our ‘spare’ folks took these with his personal camera without a zoom lens! Bonus points if your recce is good enough to ‘remember’ what these were…

h/t JimD

If you’re curious, the answers are below the fold. Continue reading

Book Promo…

First up is Stephanie Osborne’s latest book (8) in the Division One Series- Phantoms

As always, click the cover to go to the Amazon link.

The blurb-

Has Alpha One been played?

At long last, Echo and Omega are going on their first real date, and Echo pulls out all the stops.

But when he introduces Omega to a Broadway star, they find art imitating life, as a dangerous nonhuman entity plagues the theater.

Alpha One goes undercover to bring to light what’s really happening. But is the entity after the show’s leads…or have Echo and Omega been played?

Next is Tom Rogneby’s short- Working Vacation

He’s doing something a little different…

Like a lot of you, I’ve been shocked by the devastation Hurricane Michael left in its wake.  That area of the Gulf Coast is one of our family’s favorite vacation spots, and we’d like to help out a group that is already on the ground and helping those hardest hit.

Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible.

My short work “Working Vacation” is set in the area hardest hit by Hurricane Michael, and I borrowed a lot from the folks who live and work in the area.  So, I’d like to use it to help out.

From now until November 30, I will donate $1 to Team Rubicon for every purchase of “Working Vacation“, with a minimum donation of $100.

And last, but not least, Laura Montgomery’s final book in the Waking Late trilogy- Like a Continental Soldier

The blurb-

The starship Valerie Hall failed to reach the terraformed world of its original destination. Instead, it found a habitable substitute where the settlers split into two factions. First Landing devolved into a rude replica of medieval despotism. Seccon might promise more.

Or so hope Gilead Tan and his companions.

Gilead spent three centuries in cold sleep, held there by a First Landing custom that decreed only one sleeper could be awakened every fifty years. Once awake, Gilead freed two dozen of his fellows—all soldiers like himself—and led them into the wilderness.

Close to two hundred civilians still lie trapped in the decaying cryo-cells of First Landing. Their captive slumber haunts him.

But despite its vaunted freedom, Seccon has one rule. No one goes back to First Landing.

With fall finally getting here, you’ll have a lot more time to stay inside and warm/cozy. Now you need something to read! 🙂