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The streets were deserted. Where was everyone? Where had they all gone?

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Our monthly writing tips are written by our very own TerishD. You can read more in Terish's Blog located in "The Abstractions" area of the forum.

Look Back

When not able to write ahead, it helps to look back. In my case I had written a paragraph ahead of the story. What I needed to do was add a section of exposition (talking) presenting some facts. In going back, I realized that I could insert a section where a 'tour' of the surroundings could be done. This allowed for character interaction, story development, and other things that enabled me to present the facts in an entertaining manner.

One should not face a writer's block with the mentality of bursting through it. I have found in my own experience that a writer's block is usually due to my mind indicating that it has a problem in 'channeling' the story. One reason might be a re-imagining of certain story points. Another reason however is that there is a problem in where you are at in the story, so you need to look back and find out the problem with the 'journey' that prevents the tale from advancing.

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 Outside - People in Space

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Number of posts : 1287
Age : 58
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PostSubject: Outside - People in Space   January 30th 2010, 8:17 am

Outside - Story Four
People in Space

Part 1

I used to like the people of Neosalem, but I don't anymore. A nuke through their electrical plant would be a kinder gesture than what they did to one of their own daughters. Clover is attempting to say that everything will be all right, but he is not defending that statement. He would move his ship between missile fire for Thor, but is not offering any protection for the planet he discovered. In my book that means he is giving me permission to shoot.

My name is Malcolm. I am one of the helmspeople of the Menlo Park. Basically, that means that I am a galactic bus-driver. Thor and Rachel took this ship out alone on its maiden voyage, so basically every crew member is expendable. The only thing that protects our jobs is that the first journey of the Menlo Park was Thor's only losing mission. The last expedition with this crew was his most profitable. In space it helps having extra people looking out for you. That is my job. I make certain that the ship is going where it is supposed to be going, and that we miss nothing that might lie in between.

Our newest crewmember is a young lady sent to be the arranged spouse of our youngest, but most famous, pilot. Clover's real name is Ronald Stirgam. His father is credited with discovering how to easily affect gravity. Enough money was generated by that patent, and is being generated by the company created to implement the patent, that Clover could have lived a life of ease. He is not one to stay still however, and managed to sneak out into space where he discovered one of the few planets that could actually be said to be proto-Earths. Everything about that story seems too farfetched for those who only grab the highlights, so the conclusion of most was that Ronald Stirgam was simply lucky. I have worked with Clover, and I know the man puts in more than his hours, but even I attribute some of his successes to luck. I hope that Naomi continues to be blessed by the man, because she needs it.

Being that Naomi was to become Clover's wife, I was not surprised that the media was quick to put together some presentation about the lady. Clover's father was a major media figure in his time, as he became the poster child for rich successful inventors. Clover himself became a media darling when as a boy he gained possession of a spacecraft and headed off alone to find one of the best planets for eventual human settlement yet to be discovered. The fact that he sold the planet to an archaic religious sect and not to a rich entertainment conglomerate put him in the good graces of a number of special interest groups. Those of us that work with Clover have learned to expect a media event almost every time he takes a large breath. Wanting to know about our new crewmember ourselves, most had commented to both Darlene, Harley, and me to notify them when the media report of Naomi was to be broadcast.

As luck would have it, her return to our ship from receiving her final training by the military coincided with the major media presentation about our recent exploits. She was thus rushed up to the bridge. It is a comfortable room. Thor and Rachel expected to spend a lot of time here, so the décor is not entirely functional. The floor is a thickly padded shag carpet. The seats are thickly padded couches. There are a lot of brightly colored pillows scattered about. Working in this room is nice, but I move out to the kitchen to drink my coffee or eat. As a gathering spot to watch a media broadcast however, there is no better room.

The media report was a rather good quickly pieced together story of Clover's movements since leaving for his visit with Castle and his family on Chabron. A number of us cheered when Castle's parents appeared on the screen and only spoke of Clover riding horses and helping around the farm. They did mention that Castle and Clover were merely taking a short break before returning back to space with some casual comments added about the two still being young and feeling the wanderlust for adventure. The reporter then asked about Castle's desire to get married, and that led to the announcement of Clover's arranged engagement.

We watch media programs for the entertainment, although often grumble about what facts they get wrong. Mankind has been moving about in space for a few decades now, and most of the science that we use is over a century old, but those in the media don't seem to be able to get informed about some basic facts of technology. They are however rather good at tracking down human interest pieces. Naomi's movements since leaving Neosalem were well covered. Captain Nathan talked about the conditions that had him reroute to a mining platform, and the young lady's wonderful aid in resolving the situation. Naomi's face went from a smile to that of extreme sorrow as it was then said that those of Neosalem would not admit of her as ever existing.

There are five women, not counting Naomi, aboard the Menlo Park. Rachel is the wife of Thor, and part owner of the ship. Harley is our communications officer. Thor hired Sandra to help him keep the engines running. I cannot stay awake all the time, so there is Darlene who also drives this vehicle. Sharon is our only female point flyer, and you call her Indigo when she is on duty. If Clover wanted to console his lady and explain his comment about everything being all right, he could not, as Naomi was followed by the other ladies and they went off to be alone.

Thor was aware that there was nothing we men could presently do, so started getting us busy. He stated that Indigo knew she was to fly on the next shift, so if she did not get sleep then it was her problem. Clover mentioned that he had already flown a mission, but primarily needed time to get his boat prepared for business. Diamond attempted to say that he could take duty with Indigo, but Thor told him to wait for the next rotation. That put Castle and Watson rushing to their boats to manage point with Felix leaving to get some sleep so he would be ready to take over with Indigo.

Flying point is another unnecessary task that makes space travel much safer and profitable. The sensors of a ship are normally able to detect anything large enough to be threatening in time to drop the Kert field. By putting boats out flying ahead of a ship's large sensor array, the distance we can see ahead of the craft increases and the resolution of our pictures multiplies. Ships thus cannot only drop out of tachy in time to prevent suffering catastrophic damage, but also in time to examine a potentially profitable rock.

I maintained a steady rate of point six five tachy while my points moved into position and Clover flew his boat into one of the repair bays. Technically, it was Harley's job to handle the chit-chat of such maneuvers, but you die if you depend on others to do their job. I knew where Harley was, and agreed with what she was doing, so I spoke to the guys to assure that they had no troubles moving into position.

We men, of course, spoke about the women. Naomi was definitely easy on the eyes, but I will say that the males of the Menlo Park liked what we saw of the other ladies. Even Watson, who claimed to be homosexual, would join the conversations about the females. None of the women would get mad at you for propositioning them, and sometimes they would actually get in a mood to make their own advances, but actual dalliances were rare. Most of the times I went off alone with a lady, we skipped the sex and simply talked. Sex is great, but when you are alone and in space it is often just some private companionship that you crave. Anyway, all of us men wished Clover the best with Naomi, as it would remove him from the list of competition, and we spoke to see if we could determine what issues the women might not consider that might handle Naomi's problem.

Since I was doing Harley's job along with mine, and since I work at the desk that is really the main console for the ship, I noticed when the communication's station went active. Interested in what the ladies might have concluded, I called up a detail of Harley's board to see what links she made active. What caught my attention was that she put active the repair bay where Clover was working on his ship. Considering that was where Naomi would go, I decided to listen in as well.

I did not want to be obviously eavesdropping though, so looked around for options. Thor had been relaxing in the kitchen that is located right outside the bridge. He had been participating in the conversation with the rest of the men, so I figured would appreciate staying aware of developments while allowing me to make him the blame for listening in on our young couple.

I put on an earphone, then said, "Thor, I am changing the link to your speaker."

"What’s the problem?"

"No problem, but let's listen."

Both Thor and I almost choked as the first words were from Naomi saying, "I thought it would be larger than that."

Clover was working on something, but he spoke loud enough so the lady could hear, which helped us hear him as well. "The officials would not let me build anything bigger. I first went out in space using a spare ship that Avondale had in case an emergency became too big for their normal operations. I truthfully had no control over my money, being a minor, but my investors saw no reason to deny my request to buy stock in the company. I thus was then able to go to Avondale as a major stockholder when I announced my intention to jump their claim. After some discussion, they allowed me, a major stockholder, to have use of the vehicle. When Neosalem was found to be the world I was hoping it to be, a lot of problems became created for a lot of people. It all worked out for the best, but while I was on Neosalem they were ever scared of me running back out into space again, so they did not let me have a large boat."

"Why is it called the Shamrock III?"

"My mother had the Shamrock II. It was destroyed in the explosion that killed her and my father."

After a short pause, Naomi asked another question. "Do you remember them?"

"Yeah. I was eleven when they died."

"Why weren't you with them when they died?"

"My parents were Outsiders, Naomi.” I could hear Clover move, then his voice came over the speaker clearer because it was closer and because I could tell he was attempting to get Naomi to understand. “I was not with them because I needed to attend school, and being out in space is too busy and dangerous for children. It was because they were Outsiders that I was able to go into space however, as no one felt I belonged Inside. When I made my move to get Outside, I found others helping me."

"I don't know anyone out here."

"Yes, you do. Harley?"

The communications officer did not let on that she had been listening the entire time. "Yes, Clover."

"How big is Naomi's file getting?"

"Calls are still pouring in. I will start them playing for you."

Harley turned on all the speakers aboard the Menlo Park. Voice after voice spoke a message of concern for Naomi. Some of the speakers made their statements personal, others simply left a generic appreciation of sorrow.

Naomi listened for a while, but she eventually had to ask, "Clover, who are they?"

"Space is vast, Naomi, and mankind is moving into it. There are a multitude of stars in enough directions for us to all travel alone. It is strange, but the Menlo Park is a solitary vessel among a large population of other solitary vessels. Don't you ever think you are alone out here, even though you are."

"I don't want them to accept me, Clover, I want you to accept me."

"You are the one changing lifestyles, Naomi. I need you to accept me."

Naomi must have listened to voices for a while, because all I heard from the repair bay was the echo of the voices that I was also hearing over the main speaker. They say that the tachyon beams that we use for communications travel at almost ten thousand times the speed of light. We cannot travel so fast, but we are moving as fast as possible. Thus, while most ships heard the media broadcast as soon as we did, other voices just now reaching us spoke of just now catching the message. They all however wanted Naomi to know that they would claim her, even though her people would not.

She finally spoke again, "Clover, I don't know those people."

"I don't know most of them. I have communicated with a majority of them, but have met only a few. I still consider almost everyone a friend."

"Is there a way that I can tell them thanks?"

"Sure, come here."

Clover must have brought the lady inside his boat, because both of their voices became too distant for me to hear them. The only sounds coming over the speaker were the echoes of the voices of support that Harley continued to have play over the ship's speakers. I was watching the board however, so caught the lights as Clover's boat activated a broadcast band to the outer universe.

It was the voice of Naomi that said, "To all that have spoken your kind words, let me return my thanks. I also want it said that should time ever present a change of circumstance, I will loudly state my acceptance of you as well."

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Part 2   February 4th 2010, 8:14 am

Outside - Story Four
People in Space

Part 2

Naomi actually helped Clover with his boat. He showed her how to load the mines and recognize all of the line connections for the various types of gases that a vehicle would need. He explained a number of other tools present in the repair bay.

"Now, let us get in and move the boat back to its bay, then we need to go to my room."

Comments from the listening men and women on the ship registered as going to Harley, to which I flipped a switch to hear her reply, "His room is private, but I will see what I can get from the two as they pass by me."

Truthfully, besides Harley, I had a live line to the couple as they traveled in the boat. Considering that we were now moving at nearly twenty-four times the speed of light, Clover needed to match vectors or be lost in the cosmos. The safest method of making the move was simply to allow me to have the ship do the piloting. There is a lot of overlap in my and Harley's job, but situations easily develop that have my brain moving in one direction and Harley thinking other thoughts. Since Harley is our only communications person, almost all of the Menlo Park have covered her station while she was asleep or simply off duty. She continues to have the job because communications can get hectic at times, and the rest of us have our own jobs. The same is true for my duty. I have lives directly on the line with my job however, so I do have someone to take over. Anyway, as I was active with Clover during the move of his boat, I got to ask the question others wanted to hear the answer to.

"Hey, Clover, what are you taking the lady to your room for?"

"Teach her about computers, Malcolm. I am supposed to have the A5 boards in my room, and I have not had a chance to look them over."

"What type of computers do the Amish use? Are they still doing binary?"

I had tried to have my voice sound like I was joking, but Clover’s response indicated that he took my words seriously. "They don't use any, Malcolm. The only computers are those that keep their habitat running, and I believe that they are fours. Considering that everything we do is computerized, I might as well start some lessons."

Harley went ahead and admitted that she was listening in on the line as well, "Listen, Clover, don't overload your lady. We are going to be out here for a while."

"Stanley's Station is coming rather quickly, Harley. I spend a lot of time on computers, so she needs to see if she can tolerate that."

"Being the ship's medic will take time as well, Clover."

"I did work with Naomi in the military base, Harley."

Clover's boat docked in his designated berth as he made the last statement. His voice was thus dropped as his craft powered down. Thor stood up from his chair in the kitchen to signal to me to keep the young couple on audio, and I waved back that I was working on exactly that. Harley had been paying attention to things enough to recognize that the kitchen speaker had been following the pair, and it was she that switched it to her desk microphone. Of course, I did not tell Thor to give credit to another as he again heard Clover speak.

"Naomi is telling me that we should be chaperoned until married."

Harley replied, "You are being chaperoned. I believe that almost everyone aboard is listening to you two."

I did not hear Naomi say anything, although Clover's response seemed to imply that she had said something. "I will show you how to claim some privacy. In our rooms the circuitry has to be activated to allow others to listen in, but in the rest of the ship the circuitry has to be deactivated to keep others from hearing."

Harley jumped on that statement, "Clover, I don't believe that you have given your lady a tour of the ship."

"No, but she found the repair bay to come to me."

I finally heard Naomi's voice, "Rachel brought me to the repair bay."

"Okay, well, I will first show you around, and when we go into my room I will open up the circuits allowing Harley to eavesdrop on us."

Harley replied, "And don't worry. If it starts sounding too intimate, I will turn off the microphone."

Naomi returned, "Thanks, both of you."

I looked at my panel as I waited for the couple to move to Clover's room. I suspected that nothing was really going to happen between them, but with the two having to consider living the rest of their lives with each other their conversation could get interesting. There is no law against divorce, but in space there is no way to get away from someone else. The extremes of temperament that are displayed in entertainment shows can be dangerous in space as the close quarters force a decision to either forgive or take extreme measures. If Naomi was not going to be able to tolerate the daily lifestyle of Clover, now was the time to find out. I was thus going to listen in on the couple, but I had work to do as well.

Watching the results of Clover's planetary inspections, Thor had been threatening to upgrade his computer systems. He had very good equipment, but the advances in computer theory had finally started showing off the superiority of odd-bit technology. Thor was convinced to keep his system and only upgrade the software. I spent my time Inside training on the new operation system, and was seeing on my board that things on this mission would be better.

I turned off any microphones that might be active, then said, "Thor, we discussed this situation. I just want you to know that your new system does not have the blind spots of your old one."

The captain of the Menlo Park came up to my desk and looked at what I was seeing. He watched as I pointed out certain blips on my monitors, then called up screens that identified the signals as being small boats. Thor did not seem pleased with what his ship was now able to tell him however, but his face stayed serious as his hands moved over my board until he finally simply told me to let him sit down.

I did not move to another seat, but simply stood to watch what he was doing. I actually found it entertaining. I remembered him making a scene with the software company about how much money their operating system was going to cost him. I now saw his reasoning. The free simulation showing the capabilities of the new operating system had an active duplication of the old software. Instead of Thor having to re-initialize his system to compare old readings against the new, he simply called up the sales demo and had it do a comparison. While both of us had used the old software long enough to feel certain about things, Thor wanted assurance that his facts were correct before making any decisions.

"Our blind spots now start at eight-fifty kilometers behind us. How far can Diamond's boat detect ahead of him?"

"Most boats can range out pass a few megameters ahead of them, but not that good behind them. Clover not only claims range, but resolution. The new boards he wants to install will be faster, but I don't believe it will improve his sensors. Clover just wants real-time assessment of his fly-by's when we enter a solar system."

"The point however is that these guys behind us could be farther back."

I spoke clearly to assure my superior that I understood the point he was attempting to make. "Yeah, we could have a whole armada coming behind us, as they could see ahead of them further than we can see behind us."

Thor kept his eyes on the board, but he let me know his thoughts. "Everyone knew that we came back Inside early, and they all suspect the reason that all of us recommitted to going back out together. There was also no way I could hide all of the improvements I was making to my ship. I thus have to suspect that the reason for this stupidity is that someone is hoping to have us tip our hand."

"I thought that we had agreed to start out ignoring these bastards."

"No, this act is much too soon to be useful. Whoever this is, they are arrogant and stupid. Neither is a trait that deserves to be Outside. If we are going to be harassed, I want it to be someone who can at least act smart." Thor stood as he gave the command, "Blow them."

As I sat back down at my station, I saw Rachel come into the bridge. Harley had certainly noticed my action of deactivating the microphones, and anything concerning the operation of the ship was as important to Rachel as it was to Thor. After kissing her husband, the lady looked over my board then spoke her opinion of the situation.

"Thor heard me speak with Stanley. The man said that he had plenty of mines that he was willing to sell at a reasonable price."

Rachel could say what she would, but I was hired with a contract assuring me a share of the profits. I had it figured that every mine I used cost me over sixteen dollars. That is why I could not go out into space alone. I just cannot get it through my head that I have to spend money to make money.

The media really does not understand our use of mines. They have us using lasers or plasma blasts. Lasers are wonderful when working with rock, but Kert Fields quickly dissipate the photon beam. A strong laser can disrupt a Kert Field, and we don't use weak ones, but in most cases the proper conditions just never occur. Kert Fields are plasma, so using plasma blasts against a Kert Field is attempting to fight fire with fire. Proper use of a plasma blasts can be dangerous, and is the preferred weaponry of the military, but it takes special preparations that takes time. Mines are quick, easy to use, and dangerous if they get close to a boat. They might not have the glamour of the other weaponry, but it is what we normally use.

We do shoot the mines. The media seems to think that we have to set them like bombs, and then for some reason always need to get in close to activate them. It is correct that a plasma blast will set off a mine, because we demanded that safety feature due to the fact that you won't see any of us get close to the things after they have been set. They are small, but extremely dangerous, and I had our computer send two towards our tailgaters.

The fact that they were avoided did not surprise any of us in the bridge. Mines do have activation signals, which cannot be easily negated, so a boat does get some warning. With our modern computer equipment, slight course adjustments can be made in fractions of a second. Sending over thirty dollars out the rear did not sit well with me, but I did hope that the message would be delivered.

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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PostSubject: Part 3   February 9th 2010, 8:23 am

Outside - Story Four
People in Space

Part 3

Thor and Rachel were right there with me, but I still had to comment as I looked at the board, "What are those Insiders attempting?"

The captain of the ship saw that the boats behind us were firing thrusters to come at us, and said, "If I knew of a faster star, I would tell you to use it."

We travel with the stars. The problem is that we also travel faster than light. That means we are using stars that are too far away for us to detect. Considering that such objects are beyond the sphere of the explosion of the theoretical Big Bang, we really do not know what they are. We use a number of tricks to find such, but we really don't know many. There is a law saying that we must reveal any new tachyon bodies that we find, but no one obeys it. The knowledge is only transmitted by learning of directions and speeds that others are traveling, then we stop to play with our Kert Fields until we find them ourselves

I mumbled in return, “If you knew of a faster star, you would have long ago told me to use it.”

I thought Rachel was going to disagree with what I said as she reached toward my board. She however only touched buttons to have the main monitor display pictures from the rear cameras. Traveling faster than light, you cannot truly see to your rear, but the other vessels were relatively stationary to us – or would be if they weren't firing their rear thrusters – so light from the vehicles moved at the speed of light in relation to us. Yes, there are problems with what I just said, but the fact is that it is very possible to see something moving at tachy behind you against a background of black. Our tailgaters appeared as glowing saucers. Rachel was about to make a comment to me when Harley's voice came over a speaker.

"Bridge, I am getting a message from the rear. It is telling us that the mother ship will soon be arriving."

Rachel turned my local microphones back on, then said, "Harley, ignore the chatter. We got Insiders."

Saucers work fine with Kert Fields, but they are not economical. Once you get up to tachyon speeds, the density of space becomes very noticeable. The 'atmosphere' of space actually forces us to build ships and boats with some aerodynamic concerns. The properties of moving a plasma field are different than flying an airplane, but we cannot simply build whatever we doodle and have it fly for years with a single tank of gas. Some spaceships have been built using a more curved structural scheme, but a completely round dish does not hold the plasma very well.

Thor looked to his wife, held a finger in front of his lips, then touched my board to set up a private line. "Hey, Clover, I might need you for a loan."

Whatever the young couple were doing, it did not sound important as the voice of Clover quickly asked, "A loan? What company are you going to buy?"

"Not a company. I am investing in a commodity. Just play along for now, and we can discuss it later."

"Whatever, Thor, at the moment I don't mind you owing me."

The captain deactivated the link to Clover, then said, "Harley, set up a broadcast to Stanley."

"A broadcast, Thor?"

"Yeah, I want the idiots behind us to hear this."

Harley did not reply, but soon a man's voice was heard over the speaker, "Come back, voice from the ether. This is Stanley and I am more than willing to help."

My captain replied, "Stanley, this is Thor Hawkins of the Menlo Park. I believe that my wife has been speaking to you."

"Yes, Thor, how are things going?"

"They are going rather well. Listen, Stanley, I have a long voyage planned, and those idiots Inside are claiming refinery problems. I need some fuel."

There was silence for a moment, then Stanley replied, "I have not heard anything of refinery problems, Thor, but I do have fuel."

"Good, I want it all."

"All of it?"

"That's right, every last drop. If I don't have enough credit on my line, Clover, Ronald Stirgam to those of you that worship money, can vouch for the rest."

"I know who Clover is, Thor. I mean …"

Another voice, electronically modified, cut into the line, "Hey, hold it, what about the rest of civilization that might need fuel out here?"

Thor was quick to reply, "Oh, I am sorry. Stanley, when will your next shipment of fuel be?"

Stanley was not that quick, but he did manage to answer, "Well, I don't put in an order until my tank gets low. It generally takes a month."

"Looks like you are going to have visitors for a month, Stanley."

Just then the front edge of a large saucer-shaped ship registered on my board, and Thor said, "Looks like I have made someone angry."

My board went red and panels opened with weaponry controls as the front screen became active showing an outside view of the ship as streaks of light passed near us. Lasers get their beam dispersed by Kert Fields, and mines return to normal space when shot beyond the Kert Field, so firing at a ship in front of you while at tachyon speeds requires a special weapon. We have learned how to generate a tachyon beam for communications, but that is something the physicists worked out and really is no more dangerous than the other electronic signals that surround a person in the modern world. Mankind is ever a vicious animal however, so we learned how to shoot a miniature Kert Field around an electron swarm that can cause trouble. It is said that the plasma blast is the secret to enabling us to race through space at any speed and in any direction we desire, but no one has figured out how to apply the science to objects of practical size. While the plasma blasts could be dangerous, they were seldom effective. Being in front of the other ship, we definitely had the advantage, because it is easier to fire backward than forward.

Thor touched my panel to assure that the microphone was active before he said, "Ooh, the aliens are unable to hit. Must be a sign of them being superior to us."

There is a large front screen to the bridge. We use it to watch major media presentations, and sometimes it is used to watch the stars. Most of the time it stays off, as I keep my focus on my board. The computer however was instructed to turn it on for video feed from another ship. We normally do not bother with it, considering the relaxed manner that we tend to get on long missions. Those in the saucer ship were however attempting to impress us with supposed pictures of themselves.

The image was of some large-headed hairless creatures with black eyes. The beings started into some lecture about us firing first and possibly ruining relations with the only other advanced beings in the galaxy. I glanced at the image, then turned my focus back to my board. Thor and Rachel also considered the picture to be a computer simulation, and pointed to my board instead of saying anything. I did not complain about the orders, even as I felt more money being sucked from my eventual paycheck.

Truthfully, no ship in space likes admitting that they have missiles. They serve no practical purpose. If mines are usually ineffective as weapons, even though they are very small, then a larger and more noticeable explosive device should really be a poor thing to lug through space. We all have them though, just because we are in space for the money. If someone is attempting to tail us to try and make money off of our work, we secure our investment.

It took little over a minute for Sandra to load the missile. No, they are not loaded automatically. We don't want to waste the space or mass on equipment we hope to seldom use if at all. With Clover's father discovering how to control gravity, our cute little ship mechanic could move those big bullets all by herself.

As stated, we were moving at nearly twenty-four times the speed of light. That was also true before when I shot the mines at the smaller saucers, but the situation now was different. The large saucer was closer while still accelerating towards the Menlo Park. While the saucer was moving relative to our velocity, the missile entered real space upon leaving our Kert field. It thus suddenly moved at regular velocity for normal objects, which meant that it closed on the ship behind us at about twenty-four times the speed of light. That might sound fabulous, but our wonderful computer systems gave the missile a logic process enabling it to steer, and the large saucer was too big to easily dodge. The target thus suddenly disappeared from our presence.

Thor was quick to reactivate the broadcast frequency, "Small saucers, that was merely a carbon warhead. If you go back, you should find all is well."

What the captain meant was that the missile was not armed with a powerful explosive. It might have done structural damage, but basically what happened was that a fine spray of graphite disrupted the plasma field. The ship thus returned to real space and we left it behind. If they were lucky, the Kert Field would reactivate. If they were smart, they would first clean their hull.

The voice that now sounded was not electronically altered. "That was not fair! You shot first, so we had the right to retaliate."

Thor sternly replied, "Maybe, but there is no rule saying that you have a right to win."

"We know that you are going towards another civilization. It is only fair that a true showing of the diversity of mankind is present for that meeting."

"Sorry, but I would rather another civilization believe that we are an intelligent species."

Thor had me activate another console in the room. The heavy padding of the furniture does protect a few other panels. As there was no activity from the small saucers, I could hear Thor and Rachel giggle. I thus called up their panel on my board, and saw that they were working efficiency ratings on the saucer design. It would be over three weeks before we reached Hiesenberg point, and the little saucers were originally only rated for an eight hour cruise. I had to chuckle as well, although a serious question did come to mind.

"Who is financing these saucers?"

Rachel answered, "It was Andrew Larking that had those ships built for one of his movies. I would suspect that he lent them to these people."

I decided to ask another, "Hey, little saucers, who bought your fuel?"

"We got money behind us. Don't believe that you have gotten rid of us."

"Oh, but we have. I assume that you have computers aboard those things, so figure up just how far behind we are leaving your mother ship every second. Unless you know of a far more distant star than the one we are now moving with, your source of supplies is going to be a few decades catching up."

I quickly threw the switch deactivating my microphone as all three of us in the room heard the voice quickly curse, because we started rolling with laughter. Those in the saucers were probably thinking that their main ship would simply re-engage their Kert Field and catch up. The differences in normal propulsion speeds and tachyon velocities is enormous however. The rear ship could engage their Kert Field, but they would still be millions of kilometers behind. Those in the small saucers finally realized that their friends would not quickly return, and dropped from our sensors as they went back to regroup. Thor, Rachel, and I continued to laugh however.

The voice of Clover broke us from our merriment, "Did Harley tell you of our profit?"

It was Thor that managed to reply, "No. What profit?"

"Someone begged Stanley for a portion of our fuel. Since you were engaged, Harley had me manage the transaction. We are making a twenty percent profit on what fuel is sold to the Insiders."

"I don't know if we should sell them any fuel, Clover. Those idiots are going to get themselves stranded if they attempt to follow us."

"They cannot go home if they don't have fuel."

Rachel noticed a sound indicating someone with Clover, and spoke to her on a different subject. "How are you feeling, Naomi?"

"It is all new to me, but I am okay. Clover took me to Terry's room to find the old medical simulators. Clover then loaded the software on one of his old computers, and started showing me how to duplicate certain problems. We then went to Harley to assure that it was okay to bring the stuff to her room, and that is where we spoke to Stanley."

Thor spoke next, "Listen, Clover, you don't have to marry Naomi. Rachel and I weren't married on our first tour together."

"No, Thor, we need to marry. Naomi and I are getting alone well."

"Is that true, young lady?"

"Yes, Thor,” Naomi chirped. “I am looking forward to spending my life with Clover."

"Okay, well, we are moving as fast as we can to Stanley's. Be together as much as possible, because you have a lifetime together afterwards. If you two cannot tolerate each other, let us find it out quickly. It is bad enough having idiots behind us, but I definitely don't want idiots aboard my vessel. Is that understood?"

Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market.  "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.
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