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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 - Impossible Friends

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PostSubject: Outside - Impossible Friends   January 20th 2011, 7:54 am

Outside - Story Twenty-Seven
Impossible Friends

Part One

Felix stayed working on simulations that might allow a vehicle to move to and from greater-than-light velocities. The evidence showed that it took great amounts of fuel and power, although the physics said that it would take unlimited amounts of fuel and power. He wanted to know how the aliens were achieving their changes in momentum, but the computer was not giving him any answers.

I kept my concern upon what Watson and Castle were learning about the aliens. Terry, Naomi, and a multitude of those Outside and Inside were speaking to Castle. Almost nobody spoke to Watson, even though his translation work of the language was probably more important. Castle had animals with him however, and everyone was interested in those. I did have him active on one of my monitors, but Watson stayed active on another.

“Indigo,” he said, “I would say that we do need to start with basic numbers. I believe that I have translated those, but it would help to be certain.”

Clover interjected, “I would also simply like to hear them over our system, as I might not have translated their sounds properly.”

“Sounds, colors, we have a lot to check. Let us start with numbers.”

I replied, “We have gotten nothing about their culture. There is nothing, besides the raw transmissions, that tells us about the aliens.”

A number spoke of being curious about the lack of basic transmissions. Coming near Earth, one is flooded with signals. While it would help aliens learning about us, it would also be confusing in the number of transmission protocols. We did not have anywhere near the amount of broadcasts, but it was also surprising that once we translated one set of signals we found all others to follow that standard. Many speculated if such was a good or bad thing.

I listened while attempting to forecast my own meeting with the aliens. All signs indicated that Felix and I would meet with actual intelligent beings, and not the animals that Castle found. I wondered about the event while trying to assure that all went well.

Felix was not naked in the pilot’s chair, but I was not wearing any clothes. If my boobs were larger, I would have put on something. I had however recently bathed, and hearing some interesting conversation I had moved up. The seats of my craft were quite comfortable, and I had relaxed without feeling the need to put on something between me and the fabric of my chair.

Yes, my new husband and I were getting along very well. We were treating this voyage as a honeymoon, and I must admit that the sex was frequent. We had been gone long enough that we needed to curtail those activities while I went through a period, but with my body reset we had returned to youthful adventures with each other’s bodies. It did not bother me at all that Felix looked at me, although if he had been naked I cannot say that I would have remained in my seat paying attention to what information I was receiving.

I considered it strange to hear Fierce Lion work with those Inside to get clearance for Captain Saing to set up a hold for the alien animals that Castle had intercepted. While all of us worried about those of the Menlo Park, who were headed directly for what we believed to be the home of the aliens, some concern was shown for those who would first be met. Captain Saing authorized one of his crew carriers to go to Castle, once his ship was reasonably close, which was still a number of weeks in the future.

Felix had me think of the near future as he said, “I believe that I have visual on our target.”

To say that, we had to be close. Even those on a planet come to understand that details are quickly lost due to distance. Felix did have the images from his cameras magnified, but at the speeds we were flying I knew that we would be stopping rather soon.

Felix studied the appearance of the craft along with the procedure used with Castle to open the airlock. He expected problems with our contact, since we would face actual intelligent creatures. Everything from them simply overriding the controls to exploding their craft was considered. He thus looked at what Castle had discovered to hopefully assure our contact would go so well.

As we changed our vector with our Kert field to one of a known star, the voice of Watson said, “I am going to try something, Felix. I don’t know what to expect. Clover and Doug worked this out. When it comes, broadcast it on electromagnet just as you receive it.”

As I saw the stream of data come across, I said, “Indigo here, Watson. What is this thing?”

“Pictures of us speaking a greeting. Well, I believe it is Clover and Naomi. Since you and Felix are a male and female couple, it was felt that the message should be of such a pair.”

“Can I see it?”

“You should have the program.”

I acknowledged that we did. I did have a better computer system than the Menlo Park, and a much more compatible system than that of Clover. My computer system thus easily managed the program written for the Menlo Park, and soon I was seeing Clover and Naomi smiling while slowly speaking a simple greeting.

“The aliens can see this?”

“If you transmit exactly as sent. I won’t mention certain details, as we are keeping others unaware of some things. Still, your program should be correcting things for you, so the fact that you seeing it properly means that the aliens should see it properly.”

I set up the commands, then put them into operation. Soon, a message came back in return. I transmitted it to the Menlo Park as I made my own comments about it.

“It sounds less stressed than the earlier message.”

I guess that those aboard the ship looked at it first, as it took a few minutes before Watson replied, “Yes, but I could not make anything out. There were no windows in the escape pod that Castle intercepted. What about the one you are approaching?”

We were getting close enough that I could supply an answer. “It appears the same.”

“Note that I sent a full transmission, but what we are receiving is only audio. Castle also found no computer terminal in his craft. There was a panel for a type of intercom, but nothing giving any indication of full computer accessibility. Thus, the aliens probably did not see the picture of Clover and Naomi, but only heard a strange set of sounds.”

“We will be in hard-bodied space suits and taking a number of other precautions.”

The voice of Fierce Lion declared, “NO WEAPONS!”

Captain Saing quickly replied, “I recommend otherwise.”

Felix spoke what I believed was the sensible reply, “We will have weapons, but they will not be drawn. Truthfully, the law demands a number of items present on our space suits, and any of those could be interpreted as a weapon.”

I believe it was Lichen at Outside Control that said, “Including your cameras.”

Fierce Lion sounded dejected as he replied, “Well, be careful.”

I asked my husband, “How long before we reach the boat?”

“Go ahead and get into your suit. I will have you work the seal while I get into my suit.”

I noticed that he did not mention that I needed to get dressed, period, and not simply put on my space suit. I reached over to kiss him, and he touched me in other places than simply my lips. I then moved out of my chair.

I took time to clean up the back of my boat. It was not messy, but not as pristine as I would prefer guests to see. I did have a kitchen on board my boat. Not much more than an electric heating panel next to a tiny sink, but I could prepare some food by doing more than simply warming it up. I had worked at making some kosher dishes for Felix and me. He had been concerned about me accepting his religion when we first began discussing becoming an actual couple, and now that we were I wanted him to feel assured that I would indeed become a complete part of his life. He in return simply grabbed some meals that I had in my stores and fixed them to let me know that he was accepting me as well. I wrapped up and packaged portions of those meals that had not been consumed, put up some items from my recent shower, and tidied up other things that I felt were not in their proper place.

“Indigo, darling, secure yourself,” Felix said. “I will be dropping our Kert field and using thrusters.”

I realized that I was still naked as I moved back to my co-pilot seat while asking, “Already?”

“I might have been sub-light, but we were still moving rather fast.” He looked at me as he added, “I guess that we put on our spacesuits together.”

I mentioned out loud that I had been cleaning the back of my boat. That was not a lie, although did not explain properly Felix’s comment to me. No innuendoes came from those listening, so I smiled thinking a certain secret between me and my husband was safe.

As we transmitted pictures from being relatively stopped with the alien craft, the voice of Watson came across to say, “Sending you another message to transmit to the aliens.”

The packet was extremely small, so I asked, “What is this one?”

“Simply me saying what I believe to be the word ‘thirty.’ My translation program recognized what I said, but my voice should still sound strange to the aliens.”

“Thirty what?”

“Just thirty. After you are docked I will send one that says twenty. As you are preparing to open the airlock, I will send one that says ten. Hopefully, it will cause the sight of you to be less surprising.”

Felix said, “You just want to be the first to speak to the aliens.”

“Are you going to deny me the honor?”

“No, as I consider it not as important as Indigo and me shaking hands.”

I could not recognize the voice that said, “Or blasting each other.”

I issued a command hearing those words, then spoke of what I noticed as the results. “I sent the message Watson. Received a quick reply.”

He quickly gave a reply. “Okay, that was what I believe to be your question, ‘thirty what?’ Since I am highly unsure of the language, I don’t want to give a reply.”

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PostSubject: Part Two   January 25th 2011, 8:09 am

Outside - Story Twenty-Seven
Impossible Friends

Part Two

With the visual inspection of the escape pod finished, Felix maneuvered us to the air lock. As he worked to activate our universal seal, I transmitted the message from Watson that was hopefully the word ‘twenty.’ No reply came to this one, although one did come as my husband and I put on our space suits. Watson said that he could not make out anything, but that he suspected the aliens inside considered us to be of the other warring party. A number of voices spoke of ways of possibly setting the minds of those inside the craft at ease. Watson actually appreciated the idea of using music. He chose a Mozart flute quartet, and had me send that. Not having any reason not to, I played the piece over my own speakers as I transmitted it to the aliens. I then worked with Felix to finish donning our attire.

I turned down the volume so I could hear Felix repeat that he was ready to work the airlock. I however checked his suit, then gave a command for my gravity to drop to half as he inspected mine. Once we both felt as prepared as possible, the signal to open the airlock was given. Instead of the door opening, a message was received. Watson could not translate it, but sent me a message that he said was simply a countdown from three. I saw on the viewscreen inside my helmet the image of Felix looking as surprised as I am sure that I did when the outer airlock door opened.

We were going through the same tests that Terry had Castle performed when the inner airlock door opened. The aliens were in spacesuits as well, but we could see their faces while they only saw the dome of hardened plastic that covered the head of both Felix and me. There were four aliens. They were smaller than us by about a foot. I would say about four and a half feet tall. They had stubby tail sections after a set of four thick tubular legs. A number of items appeared secured on a section of their suits between their legs and a pair of arms, which also appeared tubular. The gloves appeared more as mittens. The heads were basically like the ones on our regular space suits with clear panels enabling them to see and be seen. Felix and I waved, then continued with our tests.

One grabbed an item from the front of his suit, pointed it at us, but then held it at an odd manner as if unsure what to do with it. Felix and I simply waved again. Another dropped to look at what we were doing. I moved my hands in a circular motion before my helmet in the manner I hoped to be that of breathing in air.

The one that dropped down, undid its helmet. Felix and I watched with the other aliens as the one tested the air. It did not seem to like the air in our boat, as it put its helmet back on. I watched as it however looked at the inside of my craft. It then moved to where I had pictures of me, Felix, and my family. It pointed to the pictures while saying something, and feeling that I could put back on my helmet as easily as the alien, I prepared to breath wisps of alien air.

Their air did stink. I could tell that the aliens were indeed quite surprised to see one such as me. I moved to point to the picture of Felix, then point to him even as he stayed in his suit. I forgot about the air as I was bombarded by sounds from the aliens.

I pointed to myself as I said my name. Pointed to Felix as I said his name. He waved as he moved past the aliens to inspect the inside of their craft. The aliens tried to say words in return. What we quickly came to realize was that we each had trouble speaking in the manner of the other. They produced a drone in their throats that was accompanied by clacks of an internal part of their mouths. I tried a few methods of reproducing the sounds, which I guess they found funny, but I cannot say for certain. They tried altering the tone of their drones to match my sounds, and I know that I had to hold back indications at my amusement.

They did appear slightly confused by having gravity when they came aboard my boat. I guess a lot about my craft they considered strange. They however all became attentive when I had a monitor in the back of my boat show a tactical of the surrounding space. I touched the screen to bring up a picture of Castle looking at the alien animals. I guess that they had touch screens as well, because one of the aliens reached out to touch the dot advancing on their planet. I heard sounds that I assumed to be shock upon seeing an image of the Menlo Park come up.

I hoped to show the aliens that we had peaceful intentions as I spoke the command to show the crew of the Menlo Park. The screen filled with pictures of all that were members of the vessel. I said each of the names as I pointed to the pictures, including that of Felix and me.

The one that had drawn what I thought to be a weapon, held it out in one hand while moving his other hand in a motion clearly indicating for Felix to come back out of the alien craft. When he did so, the alien proved that it was a weapon by firing it. It lit up like a blaster, but something ricocheted as if were a projectile. Felix took a blaster from his belt, then fired it. While purely an energy weapon, it put on a little more of a show. He put it back, then reached down to pull another gun from a pocket on his thigh. He pulled the airlock door partially closed before firing it. The sound of the blast along with the clear pings of the bullet ricocheting caused the aliens to act in a manner that I felt to be awe. The one that had drawn the weapon, but it back, then all the aliens put up their hands in an act of surrendering.

I wanted to ask the aliens how long their air would last. I tried a few motions, but did not get what I felt to be an acceptable response. I finally asked Watson if he could help. He tried what I felt were only numbers. The aliens looked at me between glances at the speaker, then one showed me a readout on what I assumed to be a wrist. They then took me inside their craft. I had to put on my helmet, but I saw a panel where the alien could connect a part of its space suit that I assumed recharged the air supply.

I guess that Castle was watching along with everyone else, as his voice told me to wait. I gave the verbal command for the monitor showing the tactical to the aliens to display the feed from Castle. What I noticed from panels from my suit display was that Doug had been switching between various internal cameras in my boat to broadcast the event back to others. He however now switched to views from Castle’s boat.

He moved inside the escape pod holding the animals, then looked at the metallic boxes. He released one verifying that it was not a container for a creature. He showed a display and some tubes connected to a panel like the alien showed me. All quickly determined that it was a machine for regulating air, which was necessary since the animals would be unable to handle such for themselves.

I replied, “That means that we are going to have to leave the aliens here.”

Terry answered, “I believe their atmosphere is more poisonous to us than ours are to them, but still, yes, not really compatible.”

Watson said, “We need to however learn the language. Work with them, Indigo.”

The aliens seemed very distraught to the number of voices that sounded. I moved back into the ship so I could take off my helmet as many made derisive comments to the military for not having a linguist on board. Hoping the aliens could feel some calm in being able to see my face, I spoke to those light-years away. Finally, one musician was given a chance to speak as he set a synthesizer to match the drones and clicks of the aliens. First, Watson had the man duplicate some basic numbers that I and the aliens worked by using pieces of macaroni. We found them to use a base nine numeric system. As we worked the numbers, the aliens calmed down and began to rationally make sounds, which the musician slowly learned to have his equipment duplicate.

Considering that a war was raging, a number wanted some history on the conflict. The language capabilities were however not that advanced. Watson managed to show pictures of the two different uniforms, and the aliens pointed to insignias on their own suits that matched one set. I believe that they then tried to explain the differences between us and them, but no one could understand. It was Doctor Hui of the Hubble Space Array that felt he had a method of resolving some basic terms of the war.

A picture of Earth was shown. Continents were then highlighted before an individual in a uniform was shown. All of the images were of our distant past, but I believe that it was a good presentation to show that our planet once had many different groups. Thick arrows then moved from one country to another that was followed by a nuclear cloud indicating war. Finally, a globe was shown with one side a color and the emblems of one set of aliens, while the other side was another color and the emblems of the aliens with me and Felix.

I believe that I heard sounds of affirmation, but also movement of the hands. Somehow, I managed to comprehend that they wanted me to again show the tactical. I did, at which time they pointed to another star. What I heard next was the voice of Captain Saing.

“Well, Menlo Park, I believe that you cannot handle this all by yourself.”

“NO!” an electronic voice screamed. “We are the ones associating with the Menlo Park! It is our place to go to that other world.”

Instead of the speaker erupting in a great number of voices, it instead went quiet. I believe that the aliens somehow comprehended the shock on my face, as they stayed silent as well. Finally, it was the voice of Fierce Lion that broke the silence.

“I agree with the saucer people. It is not the place of the military to handle diplomacy. Considering what is occurring, the Chavez could well be needed. It however is not representing the better aspects of our civilization.”

Captain Saing clearly displayed his disagreement as he blared, “And those damn saucer people are?”

Well, that got everyone talking. I tried to show the aliens the various people that I heard over the speaker. There was too much information for our little communication ability. The only thing I believe that occurred was an understanding of the size of our civilization.

Suddenly, the lights of my boat shifted to red. I don’t know if the color meant something to the aliens, or they simply recognized the change in lighting to mean something. I looked to the pilot’s seat and saw certain things on the monitors, then pulled up the feed from one of my cameras as I gave a verbal report.

“Somebody used a nuke.”

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PostSubject: Part Three   January 30th 2011, 8:03 am

Outside - Story Twenty-Seven
Impossible Friends

Part Three

Captain Saing was again mentioning the wisdom in his presence as others sought confirmation. I brought back up the video while tracking the tacticals of the alien vessels. The aliens present were also interested, although I could tell were shocked when it was realized that it had been one of their own craft that had been destroyed. Captain Saing then asked for our re-appraisal of our tactics.

Thor replied, “No re-appraisals are necessary. This is not our war, nor should it become our war. Lord knows that we humans have had our own wars. Our history however shows that those that stick their heads into somebody else’s business gets their own head blown off, then the two sides will return to their bickering. We are intent to make contact, but just to let them know that we are present. Once that is done, my business is done.”

I looked to my aliens attempting to figure out what was to be done with them. They however seemed interested in something on my screen. It took some work, but finally realized that they wanted to again see the tactical. Once that board came up, they again began touching points. After a number of checks on the various recognizable vessels, I gained the impression that they were seeking one of their own craft coming to rescue them. Not being able to find one, they began speaking with each other I guess trying to make their own appraisal of their future.

The aliens again tried to communicate with me. This time they however used numbers. I really did not make sense of what they were saying, but Watson and the musician could at least grasp basic words. They brought me into their craft, then showed me the panel to their life support as they stated numbers. Watson did something with a beep that got a strange reaction, then they tried to respond with a number. After a series of exchanges, Watson gave me a translation.

“The aliens are saying that they only have enough air for slightly over four days. I believe that they don’t believe that they will be rescued.”

“Oh, come on,” I replied. “Surely they can filter.”

Castle replied, “I have no way of verifying without taking things apart. If that is the case, then why even waste the technology and fuel for life pods?”

A number of voices sounded about the stupid rules that Insiders would create without any consideration about how to implement them. I would have enjoyed the conversation, but I instead found myself worrying about the aliens. Whatever the policies of their own government, I felt responsible now that I had met them. I however was not certain about my own options.

“Uh, my craft can supply fresh air for close to two years for me. Presently, I have had Felix with me, but the extra people will cut down its duration.”

The voice of Thor commanded, “You need to return to the Menlo Park.”

I heard Felix ask, “Castle, what is your opinion?”

“I have Jane. I thus can head to the Chavez.”

I said, “We don’t have Jane.”

Felix moved to the monitor and touched it as he said, “I believe that we can use my vector to put us close to the Menlo Park in plenty of time.”

The aliens watched the screen as Felix spoke to my boat and Malcolm. His vector would rush us near the Menlo Park with another vector bringing us close enough that the helm would be able to bring us on in. I don’t know if they understood the number of days for the journey, or simply recognized that my life support gauge stayed green. When Felix finished, they however turned to speak to each other.

I believe that it was the one that originally pulled the weapon on us that went back into the escape pod. I cannot say that I noticed any difference in their features to be certain of sexual differences, but another moved back into the escape pod with him. Two stayed on our side of the inner airlock door as it was shut and resealed.

As I watched them close the outer airlock door, I heard the voice of Captain Saing state that he had been watching as well. “I will have someone check on the craft when we get into the area.”

A voice from the ether said, “Not that you will arrive in time.”

I heard Terry say, “I will be working up a system to duplicate their atmosphere. If they can hold out until you get here, we should be able to keep those with you alive.”

Felix said, “Indigo, let’s seal your boat and head out.”

I gave the instructions to close my hatch, then I released the universal lock. I then called over to the aliens, and showed them a bar on a computer board. A look that recognized as awareness came over them as they felt the gravity become stronger and weaker. They played with it while I climbed completely out of my space suit and returned it to the locker. Telling Felix that he could now come out of his suit, I headed to the pilot’s chair to give my boat the instructions for traveling to the Menlo Park.

Once I had my boat again moving at tachy, the voice of Watson said, “Felix, talk as much with your guests as possible."

“Well, I’m not going to be rude,” my husband returned. “I was thinking about seeing if they like our food.”

I heard Terry reply, “Take it simple.”

“I’ll tell you what. I will start with pictures.”

I listened while watching a side monitor that had a duplicate of the monitor in the back of my boat. I thus not only heard what was said, assuming that the aliens were actually talking, but could see what they were talking about. A strange break in the drones of our guests was followed by movement toward me. I turned to look behind me only to see the aliens looking through my windows.

I believe that I knew what they asked of me. I flicked the lights while I had Watson say the word for one. I then pointed to the controls of my boat as I had him say eighty-six. Their heads moved as their short feet had them turn about. They then looked back out the window. One then tried asking another question, and it was Felix that felt he understood.

He played for them our footage of finding the space craft. I saw him then change the screen to tactical to try and explain where we found it the first time. We then left to come back to it later. At that time we were able to follow it, and by hearing other broadcasts we found our way to them. I don’t know if they fully understood, but it kept them busy for a time.

They liked spinach. Felix began showing them various life forms, and they recognized green leafy plants. They did not recognize trees, which caused me to be surprised that they did recognize vines and berries. I did not understand what climbing plants climbed if they did not have trees. Anyway, they must have made some sign that Felix understood, as he took out a package of spinach and unthawed it. They ate it, then sat down on the floor and went to sleep.

My husband moved to the co-pilot chair, then said, “Well, our aliens know sleep as well. Still, darling, I believe that our honeymoon is over for the moment. I suggest that we rotate shifts.”

The voice of Captain Saing said, “I second that. To many unknowns at present.”

I heard Fierce Lion then say, “Still, very well done you two. A better couple could not have been chosen.”

Malcolm now came over the speaker. “Darlene is in the kitchen. She says that once things become settled, she has people wanting interviews.”

Felix returned, “Hey, if she has people that can talk to them, they can interview at any time.”

Watson replied, “I am working to set up a shift of various people to help you there. What you have done has helped to establish what we had and had not already figured out.”

“They all your boyfriends?”

“Not all of them.”

I said, “Fierce Lion.” When the man responded, I spoke my thoughts. “I know that the military has their orders, but you have been given the authority as their conscience. You need to assure that they have a plan. We will need them. They have resources that we do not. Maybe just room, but I believe that the Chavez will be an integral part of this meeting with another intelligent specie. I don’t want us humans getting into a war with these aliens.”

It was Captain Saing that replied, “We don’t want that as well.”

“But it is your purpose. You are a military craft. The Chavez was built for military purposes. You will thus be alert for military situations that you perceive as needing military solutions. I need Fierce Lion at work attempting to foresee such problems and creating diplomatic responses.”

Fierce Lion replied, “Definitely no nukes.”

“No nukes, yes, but also no bullets. No blasters. Please, as strange as this might sound, we need to come across as the friendly aliens. While I know how deadly and terrible of a specie we might be, I would like to think that we can come across as having learned something after all the millennia of our existence.”

An electronic voice interjected, “I agree,” although I could not help myself from adding, “Oh, and we don’t need to come across as stupid either.”

The voice from the Zephyr replied, “However stupid you feel that we have been, we are over here proud of ourselves for actually taking this stupid adventure. We are meeting our objective. We are going to meet another intelligent specie. This stupid plan has worked.”

A number of voices spoke in favor of the aliens. Most mentioned that they wished that they would have had the guts to do what the saucer people had done. Some simply spoke of their desire to be in the position of being part of the first wave to interact with aliens. It was Thor that asked the question that I kept waiting for someone to voice.

“Could you turn off that electronic modulation system?”

“Soon. Yes, soon, although we will do so with sadness.”

I asked the question, “Why is that?”

“Because we are not finding transmissions of our own. It seems that our own specie has not ever been here. We are finding ourselves still alone. While we have stayed apart for millennia, it seems that we have no other option but to finally become friends with humanity.”

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