Monday, July 5, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
OK, I had a little time today and decided to write another chapter in my new story "The Enemy From the Dark". The last chapter was written months ago. I didn't really like where the story was going and decided to stop until I had it logically thought out. You all know how much I despise plot holes. Well, the rest of the story is now storyboarded and an ending is in sight. That means writing can resume.
Please overlook writing errors. This is being written directly as it pours out the brain with no time for revisions and corrections. I might not continue if I felt I had to get this perfect before posting. My main goal is just to get the basic story written. It can be polished later.
Also, If you haven't read the first 12 chapters, or need to reread Ch. 12 so you can remember what's happening in the story then here are the links to all the Chapters in the Story.
The Index to "The Enemy From the Dark". A New Space Center Story. The Continuation of "The Children of Perikoi".
Carick descended rapidly down the turbolift shaft to get to the alien. He could still be alive and Carick wanted to get to him first before he could regain his wits and ready himself to fight.
Several minutes later Carick came within arm’s reach of what appeared to be a humanoid teen male laying up against the outer wall of the turboshaft. He was wearing some kind of uniform consisting of a black shirt which clung tightly to his muscular chest and blue pants with yellow strips down the outside of each leg. The shirt had alien markings on the shoulders and left sleeve. He wore a yellow belt with a pouch attachment. Carick thought the pouch might contain a weapon.
The teen looked to be Carick's age, sixteen - perhaps seventeen in Earth years. His hair was dark blond and hung loosely to mid ear. Carick remembered the reports he’d read about the Perikoi filed by the Science Ship Copernicus. The pictures of the native Perikoi in the report resembled the teen laying at the bottom of the shaft, only a few yards from Carick’s feet.
Carick thought for a moment before speaking, “Hey,” his voice was barely audible. There was no response. The teen’s chest moved up and down revealing life within. Carick was relieved. Realizing what he would do if put in a similar situation, Carick hesitated to get close enough to let the young man - who might be feigning unconsciousness - reach out unexpectedly and take hold of his foot, yet he appeared to have no other option. The Engineering Level's Tubolift exit door was next to the teen.
“Perikoi,” Carick said loud enough to be heard one deck up. There was no response. Carick watched the alien’s breathing. It was slow and rhythmic. Though not having had proper medical training, Carick thought if the alien were conscious his breathing would be more pronounced as he readied himself to fight.
Carick moved one foot into the boy’s strike zone. He readied his other foot to kick at the boy’s head if needed. Again, no response. Carick was convinced the teen was unconscious, besides he had a ship to retake and couldn’t spare the delay. He jumped down and crouched next to the teen. He lifted one of his eyelids. The eye looked straight up the shaft, showing no awareness. Carick reached into the pouch hoping to find a weapon, instead he took out what appeared to be a scanning device. The teen was unarmed. Carick thought that was odd. He was an invader on an alien ship so why wasn’t he armed? Carick removed the pouch from the Perikoi’s belt and attached it to his own. It was time to open the door into the main Engineering hallway. It was anyone’s guess what waited on the other side.
December 23, 2321
Thousands of fires, and an atmosphere filling with smoke, was visible to everyone in the McAuliffe Station’s Sick Bay as they gazed out the transparent aluminum windows onto the planet below. Each light was a burning city, the result from the surprise attach launched on Earth the day before by the Gods of Perikoi. The station survived, but was left completely inoperable. The planet’s defenses, with the help of several starships, successfully repelled the alien attack.
In a brief statement issued before the ships retreated, an alien voice was heard on all frequencies saying: “We are the Anouway. You trespassed into our space. You interfered in our affairs and destroyed one of our ships. What happened here is only the beginning. Your planet will become part of our Community, and you will serve us, as do all races that challenge us.”
The Anouway ships retreated in normal space, not using the artificial wormholes used to reach Earth the day before. Starfleet Command sent scout vessels to track them. The USS Lexington attack group was recalled to Earth. All other fleets were given orders to stay on high alert and return to their nearest Starbases. If the Anouway’s parting words were to be believed, then the Federation had to be ready to defend its military bases.
Every bed and all available floor space in the McAuliffe Station’s Sick Bay was occupied. Anyone with medical training tended to the wounded. Sending them planetside was out of the question. Earth’s hospitals were overrun with casualties, besides, the station’s transporters were off line and located in an unreachable section of the station.
There was a small gathering of CTA instructors in one corner of the large room huddled around two of their own. Lt. Perry and Captain Young sat on the floor with their backs to the wall. They were triaged to the far end of the room because their injuries weren’t life threatening. The pair could wait until those with serious injuries were attended to.
“I thought I’d never get out of that turbolift,” Lt. Perry said. “It was the smoke more than anything else that about did me in.”
“Try getting pinned down in a corridor unable to move,” Captain Young said. “And to top that off, my ship is missing. Someone explain again what happened!”
Lt. Stacy Carrol looked into the faces of her fellow instructors. Each seemed lost in the thought of the Voyager disappearing in a barrage of torpedo fire, taking with it the lives of their cadets. Stacy cleared her throat and reluctantly began. “Sir, the cadets made it to the ship. The boarding platform was unstable, so a decision had to be made, we could have waited for you and possibly missed getting onto the Voyager, or we could send the cadets aboard first and worked to stabilize the situation and look for you. The Cadets got into the ship, the platform went critical and automatically disconnected. We couldn’t follow them so we gave them orders to launch and get as far away from Earth as possible. They launched. We watched the Voyager from the view screen. It turned to leave. The Cadets used their training and defended themselves with the ship’s weapons. Then another wormhole open directly in front of them. Another ship was coming out. The Cadets turned the Voyager toward the wormhole. They didn’t have a choice. The Voyager couldn’t jumped to warp. It is our opinion their plan was to escape through the wormhole. Just before entering the wormhole there was a large explosion. When the light cleared the Voyager was gone. They were either destroyed or escaped through the wormhole. That’s what we know.”
Commander Daymont spoke next, having quietly joined the group while Stacy was telling the Voyager's story.
“I’ve got news. I just came back from Emergency Command. Apparently the Anouway forces are gathering near Mercury. Our scout ship reported they are building what appear to be several large round open ended metal hangers the size of our largest ships.”
“Hangers?” Captain Young questioned. “What for? Are they building a base?”
“That’s what I thought, but Intelligence believes the structures are wormhole generators.”
No one spoke for a moment as the meaning of Commander Daymont's words took hold.
“They’re preparing another attack!” Lt. Funk said. Everyone in the circle nodded in agreement.
“A big one,” Command Daymont replied. “We know the Anouway have wormhole generating ships. That’s what they used against us. They are powerful but we drove them back, Right? Now, we also know their weapons are stronger than ours, but did you know that each ship only fired a certain number of times before retreating. Intelligence thinks most of those ship’s power systems are designed to create wormholes. The Anouway didn’t expect to defeat us with yesterday’s surprise attack. They wanted to cripple us so badly we couldn’t go after them. They retreated to build large permanent wormhole generators for ships that can’t create wormholes. Ships that use all their power for weapons.”
“Battleships!” Captain Young whispered.
“Yes, Battleships,” Commander Daymont replied. “Our nearest fleet is five days away. That leaves us with four surviving Starships. Command wants to mount an attack on those generators before they come online. They're looking for crews to fully man the starships.
There was a short pause before Lt. Perry struggled to her feet and spoke. “Well, what are we waiting for?”
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 5
I stumbled in the grip of a bearded pirate following the other prisoners. He shoved me into the interrogation room, pushing me to my knees in front of a slender man in an impeccable leather suit.
“What is this?” The man stalked behind me, studying me as if I were an undesirable insect.
“Voyager Quartermaster,” Perry answered. “Her name is Adrian Stevens. That’s her assistant, Adam Turner.”
“They are a waste of air and resources. Put them out the airlock.” The man turned his back, his leather duster coat sweeping around his boots. “I am disappointed, Perry. A handful of quantum torpedoes and a box of outdated computer chips. Nothing useful for such a great risk. You have tipped your hand. You are of no use to me outside of StarFleet. You may join the quartermaster in the airlock.”
“It doesn’t work that way, Jon.” She smiled, fingering her comm badge. “I send the distress code and turn you over to the Voyager when they arrive. They have these coordinates.”
Caligula raised one dark eyebrow. “You play games? With me? Arrogant and a fool.”
“A safety precaution, nothing more. The Voyager will be here within the hour, following the trail I left, just in case. Captain Herring has information that Vasha and the Odyssey computer specialist were working together to steal the ship and betray him to the Romulans. StarFleet is looking for traitors. I planted incriminating evidence for them to find.”
Caligula studied Vasha and Evangeline. “Go on.”
Perry smiled, relaxing. “We take them to your base, extract what we need, then leave their bodies somewhere easy to find. You have not only quantum torpedoes to study, but the entire Delphi Protocol. Complete command of all Starfleet vessels, once it is installed and activated.”
Caligula flicked a glance at Turner and me. I dropped my gaze to the floor.
“Lock them in the brig. Set these two to scrubbing floors.” Caligula snapped his fingers at his guards. “And push Commander Perry out the airlock with nothing more than an hour of air.”
“Caligula! Is this how you honor your deals?” Perry rose to her feet.
“You betrayed my position to the Voyager. You wear an emergency locater. Let Captain Herring rescue you, if he so chooses. I will not tolerate even a hint of disloyalty from my people.”
“You can’t do this, Jon!”
“Watch me.” He flicked his hand to the door.
His guards dragged the screaming, swearing Perry from the room.
“Lieutenant Harken.” Caligula turned his attention to the petite brunette. “Do you perhaps have anything to say?”
She pulled the comm badge from her uniform. “What duties do you have for me?”
Caligula smiled, cold and calculating. “Very wise choice. You may assist the Quartermaster and her assistant. I wish the floors of this ship to shine.”
Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 4
I sprawled in a medical bunk, watching Vasha mutter over the captain’s handbook. Turner snored in the bunk below me. Commander Perry worked at the Operations station doing something with the power systems. She occasionally talked with Lieutenant Harken over the speakers. I had yet to meet or hear Computer Specialist Evangeline. I toyed with the idea she was imaginary and Vasha was just insane. It really didn’t matter. I was in deep trouble if the Admiral ever found out I’d helped steal the Odyssey.
“Arrival at destination in approximately one minute, three point seven four seconds,” the computer announced.
Turner’s snores choked off.
Vasha frowned. “Destination? We should have another six hours to Delta Base.”
Perry smiled. “We aren’t going to Delta Base. We’re meeting up with Caligula, Del Brugado’s second, at the Federation Border.” She lifted a phaser over the console. “I want all three of you on the floor, by the main hatch. Now.”
I slid from the bunk, nudging Turner on the way.
Perry jabbed the phaser into my middle. “Watch it, Adrian. I know your reputation. I’m watching you.”
The hatch opened. Lieutenant Harken pushed a blond woman through. “The ship is secure.”
“Very good, Harken. We’re due to arrive any second now. Keep them covered while I fly us in.” Perry stepped over Vasha to reach the pilot’s controls.
“Delphi! Activate!” Vasha shouted.
“Unable to comply. Delphi Protocol is listed as a dangerous virus and has been quarantined by this computer.”
Evangeline, the blond woman, squirmed. “Sorry. It was messing with my system. Lieutenant Harken said it was a virus planted by them Marauders.”
“Quiet, you!” Harken kicked Evangeline. She aimed her phaser at Vasha’s head. “If we didn’t need the knowledge in your head, I’d shoot you now. This phaser is not set to stun.”
I wriggled backwards.
Harken waved the phaser my direction. “Em, do we have anything to tie them with?”
“Use the sheets.” Perry shifted to impulse speeds, then slowed further.
Harken nudged Turner, the one she judged least dangerous. “You, cook, rip the sheets in strips and tie them up.”
“Weak-spined traitor!” Vasha spat as Turner pulled a sheet from a medical bunk.
An alarm hooted. The computer spoke, “Warning. Power systems are out of balance. Dilithium stress levels are rising. Recommend adjusting at Operations station.”
Perry swore. She pulled a phaser from under her uniform. “Deal with it, Harken.” She took out her frustrations by kicking us while Turner tied our wrists to the desk supports. “Tie them tighter, imbecile.”
The sensors station beeped. “New contact on sensors.”
“Scan for identification, Harken.”
“I’m busy trying to adjust the power. You scan.”
Commander Perry swore and kicked Evangeline. “Get over by the hatch. Now.”
“But we’re tied to the desk.” I couldn’t stop myself.
She kicked me. “You, idiot cook, tell me what ship just arrived.”
The lights flicked red. The alarm shrieked. “Warning! Detecting marauder vessel approaching. Weapons are armed. Marauder vessel is scanning for target lock on this vessel.”
“If you move, I will kill you!” Perry glared, twitching the phaser our direction. “And you, imbecile, tie yourself up.” She climbed over the captain’s chair to the communications station.
The lights flickered, plunging the ship into gloomy twilight.
“What now?” Perry demanded.
“The crystal is cracked. Power levels are dropping.” Harken set her phaser to one side of the desk while she worked the controls.
“Now hailing on General Use Frequencies. Broadcasting equipment malfunction codes.”
Perry used even more colorful terms.
“Power systems shutting down. Securing to shutdown mode.”
The stations blacked out, followed by the lights.
I yanked at the strips of sheet tying me to the desk support post. The knots wouldn’t come loose.
“Tractor beam has been attached to this vessel. Preparing to dock.”
“What do we do now?” Harken asked.
“Wait, and hope Caligula doesn’t kill us all out of hand.” Perry slumped in the captain’s chair. She raised her phaser. “Have a nice nap.”
I’d found the traitors on the Voyager. It did me little good. The beam swept over me, knocking me unconscious.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Its 11:37 P.M.
All Quiet on the Western Front.
We are on the first day of the Space Center's very first Ultimate Camp. Twenty five of the 44 campers here tonight are on the Ultimate Camp.
Last February, as I contemplated this summer camp season, I created the Ultimate Camp by joining an EdVenture Camp to a regular one night Overnight Camp. Campers could sign up for just the EdVenture Camp, or the Overnight Camp or Both - thus, the EdVenture Camp.
Our Ultimate Campers will compete this EdVenture Camp on Wednesday at 3:00 P.M. At 3:30 P.M. they will get an additional three hour mission, then supper. After supper they sign into Overnight Camp four and join twenty new campers coming for just for the OV camp. I thought the concept was brilliant, if you don't mind me tooting my own horn. We have a four day, three night camp without all the work of designing a completely new camp.
Will it be successful? Ask me Thursday morning at 10:00 A.M.
This is our fourth EdVenture Camp. We are on the downhill slope toward the end of the summer season. As a staff we are praying for a peaceful camp. Last week's EdVenture Camp had its moments. We had several severe ADD campers and one young man that loved to roam the sleeping areas in the night. At first I thought it was sleep walking but now I'm not so sure. I don't think it was anything sinister - the kid was barely 10 years old. I think he was exploring. I'd get him settled then as soon as I went to bed he'd be up again. Finally four of the boys came to get me. They said he was pretending to be Golum from Lord of the Rings and was scaring them. I finally had to put him closer to me and the other staff.
I didn't get much sleep during that camp. He would lay there watching me to see if I'd drift off. If I pretended to go to sleep he'd slowly get up, testing the waters so to speak. I'd then open my eyes. He'd see me and lay back down. It was cat and mouse for several hours. He finally went to sleep.
It's all OK. It is what we do. We run a children's camp and we all know that children say and do the Darnest things.
It's 11:51 P.M. I'm hearing creaking in the loft. The boys are settling down and hopefully falling asleep. Jon and Todd are on the bridge. The younger male staff are asleep in the Odyssey. The girls are at the other end of the school with Mrs. Houston and the other female staff. Our high school boys are sleeping in Discovery. Kyle, our maintenance man, is working on the Galileo in the Cafeteria. It's difficult for him to work on the Galileo during the day. The ship is far too busy. Instead he's shifted his working hours to work during the night while everyone else sleeps. He was under the ship drilling something when I left him twenty or so minutes ago.
There's more creaking in the loft. That is the only sound I hear that tells me others are in the building. The sound of air moving through the air ducts is the underlying melody to the still one rarely finds at our Space Education Center.
We have a good staff. They are real troopers, each going the extra mile to ensure our campers have a good experience at the Center. I'm hoping they all sleep well. This will be one of our longest weeks of work yet.
I'm tired now. Midnight lies two minutes away. At the stroke of twelve the Space Center ghosts and goblins come out to play. I hope to be snugly tucked into bed before the last chime with my blanket pulled tightly over my head. Perhaps luck will take pity on his poor traveling companion and inspire our spirits to search for mischief elsewhere.
Good Night Troops,
Saturday, June 26, 2010
As some of the Space Center's staff know, I recently went on a two week trip to Florida with my family. We went to all four of the Disney World parks, the Kennedy Space Center, and Universal Studios. The highlight of the trip was that in the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure park the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was doing some soft openings. By now the mini-park is open, but a lot more crowded than when we went.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I've spent enough time sitting at my desk trying to prove that I CAN move my foot and hand in opposite directions. You can imagine how ridulous I looked to the unaware customer that came in during one of my attempts.
I'm forwarding this on to you so you can waste a portion of your day trying, and looking just as foolish as me.
Oh, and if you can do what this says you can't do, then you are to be worshiped indeed.
Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 3
by Aleta Clegg
Space Center Educator and Digitarium Director
“Shuttle bay looks clear,” Turner whispered.
Vasha nodded. She tapped a code on the access panel. The lights blinked.
“Shuttle undocking sequence intiated. Odyssey will undock in 10 minutes.” The words scrolled across the screen.
I fingered the phaser Vasha insisted I steal. Could I shoot someone from my own crew? Even on stun? Could I do it without shooting myself? I’d flunked every weapons exam I’d ever taken.
“They’re waiting on board for us.” Vasha waved us into the shuttle bay.
The airlock hissed shut, cycling quickly. We entered the Odyssey.
Commander Perry tapped keys on the command station. “Ship systems are coming online. Lieutenant Harken is on deck two persuading the ship’s computer specialist to join us. We’re going to need her help to get Delphi installed. We can get to the first objective, but we’ll need Delphi to fly beyond that.”
“Good work.” Vasha seated herself in the captain’s chair. “Turner, keep an eye on the power at Operations. Stevens, you take the comm. Perry, you have the pilot’s station.”
“Undocking procedure commencing. Shuttle bay doors opening,” the computer announced. “Disconnecting power from the Voyager.”
The lights dimmed. I slid into the chair in front of communications, Commander Perry sat to my left. She tweaked the thrusters. The ship lifted smoothly, sliding through the open doors into space.
Lights flashed on my station. The computer beeped. “I think someone is trying to hail us,” I said.
“Ignore them,” Vasha ordered. “Lieutenant Harken, set the computer to send an equipment malfunction code. Then get the torpedoes loaded with the decoy packages.”
“What happens if they fire on us?” Turner asked.
“They won’t. Delphi has disabled all weapons on the Voyager.”
“My lights are still blinking.” I prodded my controls.
“Harken? Are the decoys ready?”
“One moment, ma’am.” The overhead speakers crackled. “Evangeline put up some resistance. We’ll be ready to launch in a few moments.”
“How are power levels, Turner?”
“I have no idea. I’m a cook, Vasha.”
The lights flipped red. The alarm hooted. “Incoming torpedo. All hands brace for impact.”
“The Voyager is shooting at us?” Not even on my worst days did I ever imagine Captain Herring would shoot his own ships.
“Not the Voyager. That’s a battleship, but not showing any identification.” Turner tapped the sensors screen. “Unless I’m reading this wrong.”
“Get us out of here, Perry!” Vasha pushed Turner out of the way. “It’s a marauder! Harken, load those decoys!” Vasha turned to the Tactical station, her fingers flying over the keyboard as she bypassed the security codes. “Turner, push these buttons when that turns green.”
She came at me next. I tumbled from the chair, squeezing against the wall to get out of the way.
“All hands, brace for warp speeds, warp engines have been activated. Warning. Incoming torpedo. Impact in five, four, three...”
Vasha typed furiously. The warp engines powered slowly. Commander Perry calmly punched the thrusters, shifting the ship to one side.
“Two, one. Impact.”
The lights dimmed, the ship shook, smoke and sparks erupted from the engineering pod. The Odyssey shuddered as it accelerated to warp speeds.
The lights shifted back to normal blue.
“We’ve lost the engine core interositer and the main power grid,” Harken reported over the speakers.
“The stealth field is still operational.” Vasha brushed past me to check the command screen. “We’ll activate it later, when we’re closer and Delphi has had a chance to integrate.”
“Do you have a plan to rescue Captain Herring’s sister?” Turner asked.
“Did you get those decoys launched?”
“I pushed the button.”
Vasha smiled, seating herself in the captain’s chair. “My plan is already working. We’re going to trade with Del Brugado.”
“You’re giving him Delphi?” I shot a suspicious glance over my shoulder.
“Don’t be silly. I’m using Delphi to take over Del Brugado’s ship to deliver him to Starfleet headquarters. I just need to dangle bait that he can’t resist. We’re going to steal the Gemini device to trade to him.”
“We’re stealing a top secret device to give to a pirate. And here I thought I was through being a criminal.” I bit my tongue on the names I wanted to call Vasha. Idiot was the mildest by far.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 2
I slammed the cover of the replicator shut. Everything checked out perfect, but the hamburger deluxe still tasted of fresh strawberries, not flame-broiled beef. The light in the cafeteria flickered off. I slumped against the wall in the sudden darkness. Find the spy, ha! Admiral Williamson was delusional if he thought I could find anything on the ship. The Voyager was a mess. Nothing worked properly. Half the crew were on report at any given time. Captain Herring locked himself in his quarters for days on end, refusing to talk to anyone except Lieutenant Bradley.
Rumors of mutiny floated in the air. Mutiny against the Captain, not Starfleet, although if the Admiral was right, someone wanted the Voyager in Del Brugado’s pink-gloved hands.
The lights blinked back on. I collected my scattered tools.
Turner, my assistant, poked his head through the door to the empty cafeteria. “Adrian? The replicators on deck ten are delivering charcoal lumps.”
“Do they taste like strawberries?” I stuffed tools in my pockets. “We can’t get any replacements until we make Starbase 89 in another day or two.”
We walked together to the lift. Turner shot suspicious glances at the crew, clustering in small groups in the hallways. Officers stopped whispering as we passed. We stepped into the lift. The door slid shut.
Turner watched the lights flicker past. “This ship is cursed.”
I nodded agreement. Williamson’s warnings about not trusting anyone echoed in my head. Was Turner part of the conspiracy? He couldn’t be. He had less access than I did. How the Admiral expected me to find his spy was still a complete mystery.
The lift slowed, then changed direction.
I frowned. “We’re not headed for deck ten. We’re going up.”
Turner punched the stop button. The lift continued moving. He hit it again. “Stupid messed up piece of junk! Top of the line ship, ha! Nothing works right.”
I pulled a screwdriver from my pocket. “Let me at the controls.”
“And get us stuck here for the next six hours? I know how you like to abuse door controls.”
“Get out of my way, Turner.”
Turner crossed his arms. “Report me for mutiny. I dare you. I don’t want stuck in the lift with you. It’s still moving so it’s not broken. It’s just not going to deck ten. We can take the emergency ladders once it stops.”
As if on cue, the lift slid to a stop. The doors opened on a dim laboratory space with a clear dome ceiling. I craned my neck, watching stars as I exited the lift.
“Where are we?” Turner asked, staring overhead.
“Auxiliary Astronomical Observation Deck.”
We both looked to the far side of the room. A thin woman nervously chewed her fingernails. Her lips twitched in an imitation smile. “Hello, Adrian.”
“Vasha.” I greeted her. “I thought you were transferred to a planetary posting.”
She shoved a stray strand of hair behind one ear. “Captain Herring refused to sign the transfer papers.”
“Access ladders are over here.” Turner opened a hatch.
“The lift didn’t malfunction,” Vasha said. “I programmed it to bring you here. I trust you, Adrian. I need your help.”
Turner closed the hatch.
Vasha chewed her lip, watching me.
More intrigue. I hated playing games with people. I shoved the screwdriver back into my pocket. “What do you need, Vasha?”
“They’re filing charges against Captain Herring, conspiracy and piracy. He’s going to be court-martialed when we get to Starbase 89. I can’t let that happen. He doesn’t have a choice.”
I studied her face. “You know something about the mutiny or about the sabotage to the ship?”
She nodded. “Someone is trying to use the Delphi AI to control the ship.”
“They wiped the memory banks. Several times.”
Vasha flicked a glance at Turner. “They have a corrupt copy they keep installing. I don’t know who or I’d stop them. Del Brugado is holding Captain Herring’s sister and her family hostage. The captain has no choice but to do what the pirates tell him.”
“Why haven’t you told someone, like Admiral Williamson?”
Vasha shrugged. “I have no proof. Not yet. But I have a plan to help Drew, I mean the captain. I need your help.”
“How can we help? We run the kitchen.”
“I saw what you did last time, both of you. You can help.”
“Do what?” Turner asked.
Vasha pulled a data chip from her pocket. “This is the real Delphi protocol. I tweaked the programming.”
“We’re going to use it to take over the Voyager?” I couldn’t hide the skepticism in my voice. “It didn’t work last time.”
“But it did,” she corrected me. “It just took longer than I expected to fully integrate. And we aren’t taking over the Voyager. It’s too big. No, we’re going to rescue Drew’s sister and her family. You are going to help me steal the Odyssey. And Delphi is going to make it possible for us to fly it.”
I saw insanity in her eyes as she smiled. “Would you rather be shot in the mutiny that will happen tonight?”
Great. Steal a ship or get caught in the crossfire in a mutiny? Either way, my career and possibly my life were over. I accepted the lesser of the two evils.
Vasha dropped the data chip in her pocket. “Right now.”
Friday, June 18, 2010
It's 11:35 P.M. on Friday, June 18. I'm at my computer. The door is open into the Voyager in front of me. I hear faint laughing from the Crew Quarters. I'm guessing Jon and Todd are telling stories before going to lights out. I hear the sound of two air conditioners. I hear air exiting the vents in the ceiling directly above the Transporter leading to the stage.
It's quiet now. No more laughing. They must be going to bed. The junior high staff are tucked away in the Odyssey to my left. They are either asleep or watching a video or two on their ever present ipods. The senior high male staff and volunteers are in Discovery. I'm sure they're not asleep. I gave them until midnight to talk.
I spoke too soon. Loud laughter now from the Crew Quarters. Jon and Todd are in true form tonight. I'm surprised they've got the energy. This was swimming and video night. Several of the campers were sound asleep and had to be woken up to go to bed when the video ended at 11:00 P.M.
I'm hearing two boys climb the ladder to reach the Captain's Quarters and bed. It's 11:43 P.M. now and story time must be ending.
This has been a wonderful camp. We have 41 campers, twelve of whom are on the joint Astrocamp / CMSEC six day camp. The kids are kind, courteous and respectful to the staff. They are sci fi fans and enjoy their time in the ships. They were excited to watch an episode of old Classic Trek. We watched "Balance of Terror".
One of the boys is tapping the plastic window pane looking out of the loft and into the Briefing Room where I'm sitting. I think he wants my attention. I'm typing so I'll ignore him. I can't see him anyway due to the glare of the reading lamp to my left. The beds in the loft are creaking. The boys are moving. That is the one downside to those loft beds. Every turn is accompanied by the creaking of wood.
This camp ends at 3:00 P.M. tomorrow. We will be sad to see this group of campers leave. We will be excited come Monday evening to greet another new set of campers for our next EdVenture Camp.
11:52 P.M. My pad is waiting on the floor, my shoe is in the doorway keeping the door into the hallway partially open. I'm tired...........but there are a few other housekeeping things I need to do while on the computer.
Yes, you could say the night is lovely, dark and deep but I have miles to go before I sleep.
Nodding in and out of consciousness, I am,
OK, message received. We've heard comments critical of the lack of posts on the Blog lately. I'm guilty as charged.
Good News, Aleta Clegg, published author of the new book Nexus Point (www.nexuspoint.info) and Space Center Educator and Digitarium Director has graciously offered to create a new installment in her Adrian Stevens series from last summer.
Please enjoy this new installment in the life of Adrian Stevens.
This story is just for fun. Any resemblance to the staff at the space center is intentional. Any resemblance to a real space center mission is your imagination.
Personal Log 2: Adrian Stevens, Entry 1
Admiral Williamson leaned back, his chair squeaking. “How is life aboard the Voyager, Stevens?” He watched me as if I were a bug under a microscope.
I shifted my weight, uncomfortable in the tight Starfleet uniform. “Fine, sir.”
“Really?” He arched one eyebrow. “You can speak freely, Adrian. I want an honest answer. If I wanted a politically correct asinine answer, I would have asked Lieutenant Bradley.”
I searched for a polite way to frame my answer. “Stressful, sir.”
Williamson tapped his steepled fingers against his chin. His air of benevolence didn’t fool me. He was the meanest admiral in Starfleet. He let silence hang between us, heavy and dense. I resisted the impulse to loosen my collar.
“You’ve learned some discretion. Admirable trait. But right now, I need answers. I need the truth.” His chair thumped forward. He fingered a stylus lying on his immaculate desk. “Have a seat and tell me the full truth, Adrian.”
I dropped into a chair. “You want everything, sir?”
“Every piece of dirty laundry. Your report won’t go beyond this office.”
I started with something safe. “The computer glitches in the ship are driving everyone crazy. Ever since Captain Herring activated the Delphi protocol, nothing responds right. They’ve wiped the core a dozen times and reinstalled everything, but within a day or two, the problems are back.”
“What kind of problems?”
“Doors opening and closing on their own, locking and unlocking at random intervals, lights shutting off. Nothing that would jeapordize the safety of the crew. One of the engineers, Larsen, reported voices in an empty corridor last week, but everyone thinks he’s nuts anyway.” I frowned. “The replicators are off, too. Everything tastes like strawberries.”
“That could be worse. Everything could taste like fish.” Williamson tapped the stylus on his desk. “And Captain Herring, any odd behavior?”
“No worse than before, sir.” I shifted on the hard chair. “I’m not the one to ask. I’m not privy to his conversations or his messages. I cook the food.”
“And keep the inventory lists. Captain Herring ordered enough computer chips to completely replace every system on the Voyager. Why?”
I shook my head. “There are only the regulation spares on the Voyager, sir. If he ordered that many, I’d know.”
“He deviated from his assigned route last month. Twice. The Voyager made unscheduled stops at two colonies near the Klingon border.” Williamson’s fingers tapped rapidly on the desk, the stylus clattering. “The complement of arms aboard the Voyager does not match the manifest. Half a dozen quantum torpedoes are missing, along with most of the hand phasers. Where are they?”
I swallowed hard. “I have no idea. I don’t inventory weapons. Lieutenant Bradley is responsible for those.”
Williamson leaned forward, lowering his voice. “There is a spy in Starfleet, one working for the Fellucian Marauders.”
“And you think he’s on the Voyager?”
“I’m positive that he, or she, is part of the Voyager’s crew. You are in a perfect position to find the traitor, Stevens.” The admiral’s steely eyes bored into mine. “I want a name within the week.”
I nodded. Guilt lay heavy in my belly. I’d suspected something, but not this. After our encounter with Del’Brugado and the Fellucian Marauders, I’d come to respect Captain Herring. I’d never like him, though. And I’d never have believed he would betray his command. But deep down, I knew something was wrong.
“I want you to find information, Stevens, no matter where the trail leads. I need to know who is leaking information to the pirates. Every move we make, every ship we send, it’s as if they know exactly what we’re planning before we even send the orders.”
“You suspect Captain Herring. How do you know it isn’t me?”
Williamson smiled, cold and calculating. “You said yourself you don’t have the right access.”
“But the captain works for you. Doesn’t he?”
“Go find me a spy, Adrian Stevens. And watch your back.” He set the stylus on his desk. “I hear Del Brugado plays for keeps.”
Thursday, June 17, 2010
There is a bright green comet is streaking across early morning skies this week.
Comet McNaught C/2009 R1 has been steadily gaining brightness and will be most brilliant through June 16, during its closest approach to Earth at about 105 million miles (170 million kilometers) away.
Some predictions say the comet—best seen from the Northern Hemisphere—could be at least as bright as the stars that make up the familiar Big Dipper constellation.
C/2009 R1, already visible to the naked eye as a faint, fuzzy ball low in the northeastern sky, is best seen in the hour before the sun rises, said Anthony Cook, an astronomical observer at Los Angeles's Griffith Observatory.
"Because it has a hazy outline, it should be observed from as far away from light pollution as possible," Cook said.
(Read about a green, two-tailed comet seen in 2009.)
"Between now and the 24th of June, it's visible in a moon-free sky, but after the 26th it will be too close to the sun to see."
Comet McNaught's Superlong Tail Promises Flashy Show
The intensity of brightness seen in comet McNaught C/2009 R1—named after the Australian astronomer Robert McNaught who first spotted it in September 2009—only occurs once every four years or so, Cook said. (Learn about the "age of comets.")
Another comet also named by the astronomer, McNaught C/2006 P1, put on a spectacular show in 2007. It was later discovered to be one of the biggest and brightest known comets.
As C/2009 R1 nears the sun, its ice melts, releasing gas and dust that stream away into space. (Explore an asteroids and comets interactive.)
This reaction forms a distinctive blue tail of ionized carbon monoxide stretching a million miles (about 1.6 million kilometers) long. Through binoculars, the tail appears about the same length as the width of the full moon in the sky.
Meanwhile, the comet's nucleus is only a few miles across, with a surrounding glowing greenish cloud of gas that is about 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) across—roughly the distance from Earth to the moon.
Monday, June 14, 2010
It's Monday evening. So what am I doing at the Space Center at 9:35 P.M.? Why, running an Overnight Camp. Why else?
The Space Center's working schedule is all Topsy Turvy in the summer time. Without school schedules to work around we can offer our camps throughout the week.
This summer I organized the schedule so we could have one overnight camp and one EdVenture camp (3 day camp) per week with numerous private missions running whenever we aren't running camps. It keeps us busy, and busy is a good thing. Being busy means a steady flow of income and the summer season is where the Space Center makes most of its yearly operating budget. Remember, the Center doesn't receive a yearly budget (except for my salary) from the District. We must raise our operating budget ourselves.
Tonight's camp started messed up. The camp register showed 43 campers. By the time everyone was signed in we had 48! Our normal max. for all camps is 45. We were over our max by three. Four campers arrived one month too early. Their Confirmation Forms said July 14-15. Of course, I didn't look at the month on their forms, I only saw the 14-15. I assumed they had the correct forms and that Mrs. Clegg forgot to put them into the computer when she enrolled them. It wasn't until she pointed out the fact that the word "July" was on the paper and not "June" did I realize their mistake and mine for not catching it when the camp started.
Regardless, we were at 48 campers and 45 was our max. To solve the problem, I decided to have the Voyager, Phoenix, and Galileo tell 2.5 hour private missions instead of five hour missions. The Voyager can handle twelve for a private mission but not for a five hour mission. The three ships are telling their short missions now. At 10:20 P.M. the campers will switch ships and get to do another 2.5 hour mission. We used to do it years ago whenever we had more kids in the camp than planned for.
I can hear the Voyager crew on the other side of the door in front of my desk.
"Go Go Go Go!" a young boy's voice is commanding. The Voyager crew is crammed at the Stage Transporter Door waiting their turn to enter the Stage on the other side to do their "Away Team" experience. Orion Pirates are in the ship. They plan on making their "Last Stand" on the school's stage. Not as rustic as Little Big Horn but it will do the job.
I'm loving this cooler weather in Utah. It has been good for us, as long as it warms up by Friday. We are running our second EdVenture Camp this Thursday - Saturday. We go swimming Friday night. Highs in the 60's doesn't make for good outdoor swimming. The weather will cooperate. It should get into the 80's this Friday. Perfect for the pool.
Zac is running the Magellan for this camp. He is telling the Magellan's new story for the first time. Brittney and Nicole are his supervisors and hand holders to help him get through the parts he doesn't know.
I hear the Voyager crew again. They are returning from the Stage. From the excitement in their voices I can tell they were successfully able to defeat the invading Orion Pirates and keep their ship under their control. Those darn Orion Pirates. Mischief makers throughout the entire known galaxy!
I think I hear someone walking on the roof of the school. Kids sometimes get up there and walk around. Boy will they be in for a shock when I emerge from the hatchway in the light of the pale moon..........
Monday, June 7, 2010
It's 9:20 P.M. by the clock above the Odyssey's emergency exit. We are a couple hours into our first EdVenture Camp for the 2010 Summer season. I'm yawning. I'm tired. I've been plugging away since 9:00 A.M. and have several more miles to go before I sleep. I'll be here a total of 50 hours before I go home, and that's just the start of the week! I still have full days of private missions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday along with another Overnight Camp Thursday night. Oh yes, its summer and that means I'm hear around 80 hours per week.
I'm paid for 40 hours and gladly donate the other 40 hours to the Center. It isn't proper to direct a non profit organization so dependant on volunteer help without setting the example and volunteering myself. So, Space Center Volunteers, Mr. Williamson is right there in the bunkers with you fighting the good fight and doing what he can to make the Center a success. Volunteerism is the life blood of the Center and I'm convinced the best way to lead is by example.
But, I'm asking for your 'understanding' if you come in and I'm not myself. You might find me slumped back in my chair asleep in a very Peppermint Patty way, or you might find me catching a few winks in the library. I've got a pad right by the Odyssey Control Room door so I can lay there and still track the missions and the campers. You might find me wondering aimlessly through the school looking purposeful (but in reality - quite befuddled). Wish me a good day. If I don't respond then take me by the arm and lead me back to the library and tell me to lay down. I should be right as rain in a few minutes.
Today I spent most of the day pondering over the working schedule, climbing up and down the ladder in the Custodial Closet to get to the school's roof to check on air conditioning. I discovered the Gym's AC was working (the compressor was doing its job) but wasn't putting out the air. The custodian and I found the reason. The belt driving the fan was too lose to turn the fan to deliver the cooled air.
The camp started at 7:00 P.M. We've got 34 campers. They are in their first short rotation (a 3 hour mission). I'm listening to the Phoenix crew debate with the ship's engineer about the impulse engine. The Phoenix is always the loudest ship. The poor captain has come out three times. He claims it is too intense. We stop tonight at 10:30 P.M. for ice cream and then bed. I've got just under an hour to go. I'm not sure I can make it. I think I'll take a walk through the school and then stretch out for a minute or two in the Library and listen to the Odyssey mission.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
SpaceX is a private company under NASA contract to build the rockets needed to carry supplies and astronauts into space. Remember the Space Shuttles are due to be retired after a couple more launches.
This weekend SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space. This paves the way for the commercialization of space. This is a good thing for the American tax payers and I believe will open the door for a vibrant and active Space Program for the future. A career in the space industry might just be a possibility for the youth of today.
The following is an article on the launch and a short video.
It was history in the making that could have a huge bearing on the future of US spaceflight. The commercial space company SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, with what seemed to be a picture-perfect lift-off and flight. The Falcon 9 rocket performed magnificently (at least from initial reports), hitting all the flight parameters precisely on time. The SpaceX team overcame delays for telemetry problems, a boat that unknowingly sailed into the restricted zone of the launch range, and one last-second launch abort on an earlier try. The team then successfully recycled the engines and sent the rocket off on a beautiful launch. Video from the rocket in flight was streamed online, showing the stage separation and engine cutoff, with a view of Earth in the background. UPDATE: Spaceflightnow.com reports that SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage and dummy Dragon capsule achieved a nearly perfect orbit during today's dramatic blastoff, hitting a bullseye of the orbital target. The apogee, or high point, was about 1 percent higher than planned and the perigee, or low point, was 0.2 percent off the target. The Falcon 9 blasted off at 2:45 p.m. EDT (1845 GMT) from launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air
The nine Merlin engines, fueled by liquid oxygen and RP-1 kerosene rocket fuel, provided a million pounds of thrust, sending the rocket to orbit in just over 9 minutes.
SpaceX was shooting for the Falcon 9 to reach a circular orbit 250 kilometers, or 155 miles, high and an inclination of 34.5 degrees.
On the video, it is evident the rocket experienced a slight roll, which was not expected.Having a rocket succeed on its maiden voyage is quite unusual (it took the Atlas rocket 13 tries for success), so the SpaceX team has to be extremely pleased with not only the rocket's performance, but the team's ability to overcome problems and press on with a successful launch. 180-foot (55 meter)-high Falcon 9 carried a mock-up of SpaceX's Dragon capsule. With this success, the next flight may be a flight to the International Space Station to practice docking techniques — it won't actually dock, but practice approach. If that goes well, the next flight might actually dock and bring supplies to the ISS.
Congratulations to SpaceX!