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Hello, my name is…

April 2017

1 – Medron – Dairycon

2 – Medron – Dairycon

3 – Medron – The Gemini Affair “Ready?” Betty asked. “Launch,” Jack ordered. “Launching,” Betty announced and their Avenger shuddered as it fell away from Vagabond at the maximum burn their maneuvering thrusters could manage. He looked up to see the long train of their Privateer-class freighter come into full view and he saw the damage they’d taken with his eyes for the first time. The engine section was torn apart completely, individual engines hanging off the end of the ship by stray cables or less. And Vagabond’s main wedge-shaped body was peeled open from just behind the bridge to the rear hatch where she linked to the cargo pods. Those had been two very well targeted shots. Somebody knew what they were doing over there. They just didn’t know enough to realize how deep they’d stepped into it. Jack smiled and placed his left hand on the throttle and his right hand on the stick. He slammed the throttle forward, and four fusion torch drives sent them screaming towards the enemy freighter on tongues of blue flame. Their enemy recognized the danger too late, but Jack gritted his teeth as it launched far more missiles at him than a peaceful freighter had any business carrying around. But they’d already proven that they were no peaceful freighter.

The Gemini Affair is a short story written for An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires. There’s a kickstarter for it right now in case you’re interested in seeing a couple dozen stories by different authors. And this one, of course.

4 - Jack - Winona Winona was born after the Shang attacked us all. The Navajo maintained official neutrality, just as they have for centuries, but many of their young men and women volunteered to serve the United States of America. Winona chose their leader, the son of one of the Navajo chiefs. She is as small and delicate as he is big and bullish. We always liked to say that she was the beauty that tamed his savage beast. The truth is more complex, of course, but it has always been fun to tease them just a bit. It’s what friends do to keep their minds of the important stuff. For her part, Winona played the reserved and peaceful Indian maiden like a first chair violinist. It was a pleasure to watch her work, let me tell you.

5 - Medron - Name That Character There are thirteen hours left to create the name of a character that will soon be published in our little science fiction anthology. I know some of you may be interested in such an opportunity. The character who is available in my story is a celebrity. A man (or woman) known galaxy wide as a great actor. Or would you prefer a musician? A writer? The individual is one who has a great reputation in our little corner of the galaxy. Like Charlton Heston or Harrison Ford or maybe Clint Eastwood. He or she will be famous. A part of the backdrop of the universe. And he or she has a role in The Gemini Affair, a short story that I have written for this anthology. If you want, I can take a name you choose and make it famous. For certain definitions of the word. In a fictional universe. Mileage may vary. :)

6 - Charles - Jay Jay Lovato is one of the most reliable men who ever served under me. He is a large man. A giant among men as some would say. A living wall as others joke. We named him Running Bull when he first came. It was a bad joke, but it was close enough to truth that it rang well. He is the son of a Navajo chief, trained from birth to take his father’s seat in time. And he acted as chief when his father fulfilled his term as President of the Navajo Nation. He knew how to lead his fellow man long before he volunteered to serve for The War. That made him a natural choice to help lead our Cowboys into the future. He commands Bull Squadron. Division. Wing. Fleet. We have reorganized numerous times over the years as our numbers have expanded, and Jay has always been there to take up his share of the burden. It is a burden he has shouldered well.

7 - Jack - Winona Winona is one of the comparatively rare cybernetic intelligences born to the only Terran cybernetic family that existed when The War began. Her family had spent a century working to modify their code to be most compatible with us. That gave her far more understanding of our practices than any cyber born of another family could attain. She not only worked well with her chosen pilot as all fighter cybers must, but with his family and the rest of the Navajo Nation as well. Instead of anchoring him to a life different than the one he’d grown up in, she was a bridge to go back. And so they went home after The War, settled down, and had a good, quiet life in the land of his ancestors. It’s what he wanted, you know. So I guess in that way, she was the perfect partner.

8 - Charles - Jay Jay Lovato returned home after The War, and though he enjoys his retirement from extra-solar activities, he continues to command his Bull Fleet with distinction. He and his people remain in Earth Space, where they fly the flag for everyone to see. When many of our other Cowboys are flying all over this arm of the galaxy in a perennial pursuit to find whatever they are missing, he shows the people of Earth that the Cowboys are always there. Always ready to act when an emergency occurs. Always trustworthy protectors of mankind. He guarantees that we are not forgotten by the world most of us left a century ago. That is an immensely valuable service to us all. Especially when there are those who would see us erased from history. Jay is an impressive bulwark against their efforts to vanquish us from all memory.

9 - Medron - Kickstarter “The smart tactical move would be to run while we can,” Jasmine said. Jack nodded. It would be the smart move. Avengers were hypercapable and his cargo wasn’t important enough to die for. But he still had one question, and he aimed a hard look at the freighter that had fired on them. “Not without knowing what’s in those cargo pods.” “Yeah…I know,” Betty said and let out a long sigh. “Betty?” Jack asked as he saw her deflate. “They’re hauling people, Jack,” she reported. “Frak,” Jack swore and lowered his head. “Let me guess. This isn’t an official prison transport?” “Not considering the people I’m seeing.” “Who you got in there?” Betty shrugged. “Major media personalities from all over the sector. I’m seeing movie stars, musicians, politicians, and more. They’re from too many systems to have all been arrested.” “So…not official.” “No. But, Jack…these are really famous people. You’ve met some of them.” “Really?” “Yeah.” Jack frowned and rubbed his jaw for several seconds as he looked back to the two approaching ships. “If they were missing, we would have heard it on the news, right?” “There’s no way this many missing celebrities wouldn’t be major news.” “So this ship and these people shouldn’t be here,” Jack said and sighed. “No, Jack. They shouldn’t.” Betty aimed a sad look at him. “I’m sorry, but we don’t know enough to make sense of this.” “And you know how much I hate a mystery,” Jack muttered. “So we aren’t going to make the smart tactical move, are we?” Jasmine asked in a resigned tone. “Nope.” “Got it,” Jasmine said and made a show of a pre-combat stretch. “So how are we going to handle this? Shoot first, or talk first?”

The Gemini Affair is a short story written for An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires. There’s a kickstarter for it right now in case you’re interested in seeing a couple dozen stories by different authors. And this one, of course.

10 - Medron - Forge of War “The Shang are painting us with sensor sweeps,” Betty reported and glanced towards one of the displays where it showed a complex diagram of colors. “We’re scattering and jamming below detection levels. But I think they’re getting suspicious.” “Prepare to break and attack on my order,” Charles transmitted as they continued to close the range. “Use old weapons packages only. Let us keep our full capabilities to ourselves for now.” “Roger that,” Jack returned with an approving smile. “Approaching detection levels,” Betty reported as the sensor display began to flash. “I can’t keep them in the dark much longer.” “Break in three,” Charles ordered. Jack tightened his hands on the controls and ran his hands over a display. “Two.” A T&J song about bad guys biting the dust began to play. “One.” Power flowed from capacitors, flooding defensive and offensive systems with enough power to light up small cities. “Break! Break! Break!” Charles ordered and the world exploded in time to the screaming of a steel-stringed guitar. Deflection grids came alive and fire control systems locked onto their targets. Gravitic cannons reached out and twisted the very fabric of gravity between the Shang formation and the incoming Cowboys. Deflection grids collapsed and armor buckled as focused gravity tore the plates apart. Laser turrets pulsed into unshielded flanks, vaporizing armor and weapons alike…

Forge of War is the first novel I published, and is available as one of many rewards in An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires. There’s a kickstarter for it right now in case you’re interested in seeing a couple dozen stories by different authors. And this one, of course.

11 - Medron - Flying United - May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor I try to stay away from modern politics here. Try and fail more than I’d like. The reason is that I like to tell stories in a universe where we did enough right that people like to live in it.

But days like today make me shake my head. Seriously. At what moment did the people at United finally wake up and think “this might not have been a good idea?” Has it happened yet? Do they realize that they actually did something wrong, or do they still think of this as “re-accommodating” passengers?

Let me be clear here. Having a paying passenger beaten bloody and dragged unconscious off the plane is not “re-accommodating” the passenger. And it blows my mind that a sentence like that actually needs to be written down.

So it was Sunday. Everybody wanted to go home to their families or to their work. So nobody wanted to give up their seats. Even when offered 800 bucks. Fine. I understand that. 800 bucks doesn’t go as far as it used to. So what do you do? You keep upping the offer until somebody DOES accept it, or you decide that it makes more sense to get your four employees to their destination a different way.

Busting out the Police State tactics and breaking heads doesn’t make you any friends. It really doesn’t. If anyone involved in this still has a job when the fallout clears, I hope they remember that. And if they still have a job, and I hope every potential customer of United remembers that fact as well.

12 - Jack - Rio Christian and Rio were famous network detectives when The War came upon us all. They had a weekly program, with several seasons already on the streams, where Christian and his beautiful assistant investigated computer-related crimes all over the Solar System. They had the whole film noir motif down real good, and Christian and Rio were household names everywhere that mattered. Rio was just a personal assistant back then. An AI. But she had her own network pages, calendars, and you could even purchase an official Rio personal assistant for your own use. I actually had her installed in my car’s computer, and used to put on dark shades and pretend we were off to some secret meeting as I put the pedal to the metal. You could almost say I knew Rio before she became a real person. But that wouldn’t really be true, because the real Rio blows the old Rio away in every way that matters.

13 - Charles - Christian Christian Mack was a famous actor back before The War. But few people realize he was a Master Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps before Contact. He organized many of the “disagreements” over who owned what colony during that time. Reports say that he was a vigorous debater who liked to speak with his rifle and enjoyed bringing the filibuster to the other side. I can attest to that. He came home after Contact and only then became the actor an entire new generation of people grew up with. He was a century outside the service when The War came and he volunteered to serve again. The brass considered him more Actor than Marine and sent him to join the Cowboys. Thank God they did that. He was always a valuable man to have on my wing, and I trusted my life to him more times than I would have believed possible. You may wonder after reading this why he did not step up to lead the Cowboys when Major Johanson died. The answer is that he was still a sergeant at heart. So he called me and asked what my orders were. Then he gave me a suggestion like any good sergeant does for his wet-behind-the-ears officer and waited for me to come to grips with my new command.

14 - Betty - A Primer on the Races of Humanity - Peloran The Peloran scout service is more closely related with the border patrol than they are with the various battle fleets. They live on even smaller ships than the border patrol, and they spend most of their lives skulking around in hyperspace clouds, stray asteroid fields, or anything else that can hide them from detection. They are the unparalleled watchers of everything that happens in Peloran space, and they have become very good at finding anything that anyone does not wish to be found. Most scouts are nearly as nonviolent as their planetbound brethren, but the other Peloran consider them to be the most disreputable members of their entire race. Those Earthborn humans who’ve met them say that the scouts are more “human” than any other Peloran they’ve met. Whether that is a compliment of not is certainly colored by your point of view.

15 - Jack - Rio Rio never has answered my questions as to why she chose Christian’s personal assistant as her new body. She just gives that mysterious smile the old Rio was famous for. Rio was one of the best AIs I’d ever seen, close enough to human that most of us fanboys didn’t see the limitations. The new Rio is similar to that Rio of old, complete with the mischievous glances as she does something new. She has the stage presence down perfect, and can make anyone feel like they are inside one of Christian and Rio’s old Pre-War adventures with one look. But the new Rio is far more than the old Rio ever was. She’s like bright colors compared to a pale imitation. But in Rio’s case, the imitation came first, and then we got to see the real thing. She’s alive now, in every way that matters, and that makes her far more amazing than the old Rio ever was.

16 - Charles - Christian Many people do not know that I stepped down from leading the Cowboys after The War. I moved to Wolfenheim and started a new life. I still fly with the Cowboys, but Christian Mack became the new Major, the new Cowboy One. He commanded the Cowboys far longer than I, and it is thanks to him that the Cowboys remained a viable force after War’s End. He held us together with newsletters and reunions and commissioned the construction of Cowboy Countries on every major world. He took a weapon built to drive the Shang out of this sector of the galaxy and turned it into the Cowboys we know today. Part veteran’s group, part private security, transport organization, bounty hunter guild, and a dozen and more other occupations. He accommodated almost anything our people wanted to do, and made it all part of the official Cowboy mission. He was not content with the Cowboys being famous for helping to win The War. He wanted everyone to think of the Cowboys as helping to keep The Peace that followed. He succeeded beyond my wildest imaginations.

17 - Medron - Happy Easter

18 - Medron - The Gemini Affair “All fighters are fully operational and ready to engage the enemy, Jack. Shall we?”

“We shall,” Jack answered as over one hundred point defense lasers opened fire on the incoming missiles. The freighter’s attack evaporated far short of Jack’s thirteen Avengers. “But let’s try to take her intact. They were nice enough not to shoot up our cargo pods. Let’s return the favor.”

“Yes, Jack,” Betty and Jasmine said in perfect unison, and the Avenger shuddered as her missile arrays deployed from their main fuselage. Covers rolled back to reveal the many small tubes, the arrays spun back and forth to test their range of motion, and then they finally locked onto the freighter and his displays began to flash red with multiple target locks.

Jack smiled and passed his hand over a control that started his favorite music. One had to have the right soundtrack playing when you made the bad guys pay, after all. The very best singing duo in all the worlds, in Jack’s completely biased opinion, began to sing about bad boys and Jack chuckled.

“Fire,” Jack ordered to the tune of T&J’s screaming guitars and all thirteen Avengers spat scores of tiny missiles towards the freighter.

The Gemini Affair is a short story written for An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires. There’s a kickstarter for it right now in case you’re interested in seeing a couple dozen stories by different authors. And this one, of course.

An Atlas to Time, Space, and Bonfires Kickstarter

19 - Jack - Grace We had an amazing number of rich and powerful people in the Cowboys when we started. And slackers like me. The fact is that nobody expected us to deploy anywhere, so some strings were pulled to get people into our sleepy little reserve Marine squadron. Boy, were those stringpullers in for a surprise. I asked Grace once if she’d known what was coming. She just smiled and said she picked Daniel because he was a fighter. I asked if she would have still picked him if she knew everything that would happen and she smiled again. She chose the son of a president as her partner and she always worked to bring dignity to his role. Knowing Daniel like I do, she had a long and hard road when it comes to that. But she was always a very patient partner.

20 - Charles - Daniel Daniel Freemon grew up the son of an actor with no political aspirations, but the Shang attack and an emergency election changed that for both of them. Daniel volunteered to serve in the military, while his father volunteered another form of service. He won the election and became the President of Dixie. Daniel graduated from flight school, convinced a cybernetic intelligence to choose him as a partner, and became a Cowboy. That was quite the accomplishment for a self-proclaimed party animal and dancing queen. His words, not mine. Some of his musical choices were…questionable to my ears, and the less said about Swedish pop rock the better. But there is no denying that he had a gift for planning morale boosting parties. It was a gift he used many times over the years to our benefit.

21 - Medron - Kickstarter

22 - Jack - Grace Sometimes it seemed like Grace spent most of her time trying to teach her pilot how to act like he was the son of the president of Dixie. The problem was that he loved to party, and he loved to dance. And since Grace was born to complement him, so did she. Now when I say party, I mean serious dancing affairs with real live bands and some of the best Ozark beers I’ve ever tasted. And the dancing is the kind of stuff that would curl the toes of your typical Northern Minnesotan. I loved it. Daniel was a real good dancer, but Grace was a master. I could have watched her dance for hours. Come to think of it, I probably did. They ran a lot of really amazing parties during The War. To keep our morale up. Total mission accomplished there.

23 - Charles - Daniel Daniel Freemon was far more courageous than even he knew. Few would have guessed it when he was the young and rebellious spawn of a once-great actor. But for all its horrors, The War gave many of us a chance to rewrite our futures. Both Daniel and his father took their chances and drove them all the way to the end of the line. His father reinvented Dixie into one of the primary military powers of the United States. Daniel reinvented himself into a man of profound courage in the face of the enemy who would have destroyed us all. And I would still say that about him even if he had not died saving hundreds of American sailors. They saved thousands more as The War went on, and went home to have their own families, all of whom owe their very existence to a man named Daniel Freemon.

24 - Medron - Kickstarter

25 - Betty - A Primer on the Races of Humanity - Arnam The Peloran were the Albion’s generalist supersoldier, but they could not do everything. That is why the Albion created numerous specialist races to fight in their war against the Ennead. The Arnam were based on the standard Peloran design, but modified for underwater use. Their most notable difference from the other Races of Humanity is their dark blue or purple skin. Designed to retain heat in often bitterly cold waters, the Arnam can easily survive at temperatures that would kill other humans in minutes, either above or below water. They don’t do nearly as well in hotter or drier climates though.

26 - Jack - Alice The original Cowboy squadron was made up of two veterans and ten of us newbies from all over the northern United States. Pennsylvania, Dixie, Texas, the Indian Nations, Hawaii, and Minnesota, they all sent their sons and daughters to fight. So did California. That’s where Alice came from. Kinda. She was born in Texas like all of our cybers at the time, but she was unique in her own way. She formed herself in the image of a real living woman. Well…formerly living at least. The Shang bombardment killed a lot of people, you know. Alice chose to become one of them when she was born. She combed every database and every picture she could find on the networks, and built a personality and a body that matched that dead woman so well that if they’d been standing side by side, I don’t think anyone could have picked out the differences. Maybe Peter could have, but I wouldn’t have put money on that.

27 - Charles - Peter Peter White was the son of a leading family in San Francisco’s medical research industry. He and his twin sister Alice grew up keeping each out of trouble by the expedient of not getting caught performing all of the mischief they achieved. They were often their own best alibis, but few ever made the mistake of thinking them serious children. Peter and Alice remained close partners in adulthood with business schemes all over Earth and beyond. I once watched their tag team assault on a mutual business arrival, and it was a joy to behold in living color. They were one of the best teams I ever saw in action, and I was grieved to hear of Alice’s death when the Shang brought down Yosemite. Peter was inconsolable. I did not know what would happen when I brought him into my plans and asked him to join me. He was amazing, of course, but his cyber was a surprise to everyone.

28 - Betty - A Primer on the Races of Humanity - Arnam The Arnam’s primary weakness is that they do not handle heat well. Their dark, leathery skin resembles the blubber of seafaring creatures, though the Albion were able to keep it thin enough to give them full human mobility. It retains heat, insulating them from the deepest and coldest environs. And it is difficult to cut, protecting them from many more environmental dangers. But it retains heat when they are in hotter temperature zones, too. With so much of their design aiming at keep them warm they simply cannot dissipate enough heat to keep them comfortable in hotter climates. And an overheated Arnam is a very unhappy Arnam.

29 - Jack - Alice Peter and Alice were twins. And like many twins, they had a special relationship with each other their entire life. They talked to each other about boys and girls and school and everything else. They were like two halves of a whole, twins standing against the world together. And then the Shang killed her when they dropped pieces of Yosemite down on San Francisco. He swore to avenge her, and the cybernetic families knew that when they chose him. I think they chose to mold their daughter in Alice’s image as a way of helping him heal. The new Alice stepped into his life like she’d never left and started off where they’d last been. She became his sister in every way that mattered, and they stood side by side against all the worlds and fought as one once more. Even their parents accepted her as their daughter, and I think that saved her. We all die someday, and when he fell, she went back to the home they’d grown up in. She still lives there now, the legal daughter and heir of one of San Francisco’s leading families.

30 Charles - Peter Peter volunteered to mete out vengeance on the Shang for killing his sister. It was a surprise to everyone when the cybernetic families chose to send a daughter designed to perfectly mimic that sister. Peter was overjoyed at first. And he was hesitant. He worried that accepting the cyber would be a betrayal of his sister’s memory. But he also did not wish to live without her. It was not precisely a rough start to their partnership. He liked that she picked his sister, even as he worried about it. And she understood why he was hesitant. They started slowly, and tested each other in the days and weeks that followed. They became as thick as thieves, of course, and that was good for both of them. Peter became something like the man I remembered before Yosemite, but with more maturity. He had weathered and survived great loss, and treasured his relationships more than before. In some ways he became more serious. More punctual in time and space. He was more hopeful as well. He wanted to see the good in people. I can think of worse ways to live than that.

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dairy_entries_2017-04.txt · Last modified: 2018/01/12 05:58 by medron