Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Space Center News Flash.

Emily kneeling before Stacy for the blessing of the microphone.
Her welcome into the world of Galileo Flight Directing

Emily (on the left) smiling politely while trying to wrestle the Galileo
microphone away from the Set Director in a failed coup attempt.
Stacy smiles as well hoping not to show fear or weakness.
Disciplinary action may be taken.

Recent news from the Space Center. Warning, this should not be read while driving. It could cause drowsiness. Other symptoms related to the reading of this Blog include dry mouth, exhaustion, loose bowels, upset stomach, near sightedness, hives, excitability, pink eye, and psychosis. Some readers report a false sense of hope for mankind after reading two to three entries. While encouraging - we must caution that these are unsubstantiated claims and should be taken with a hefty dose of skepticism.

Emily Perry. A One of a Kind.

Emily Perry (age unknown) recently received her Galileo Flight Director credentials from Galileo Set Director Stacy Carroll (also unsure of her age). The ceremony (the highlights of which were captured digitally for prosperity) was held behind the Galileo at the completion of her first solo mission. Emily became the first Space Center Flight Director with flight passes in all five simulators. This is a remarkable accomplishment. Not even I, Supreme Director and Overlord of the Universe, can fly five ships! I know that may come as a shock to many of our younger readers but I assure you it is true.

Emily has reached level 5 on the Space Center Ascension Index. Her skin has a faint pink luminescence. Her smile’s width, recently measured after ascension, was three millimeters wider. Her IQ, previously impressive, is off the charts. News of which reached the Depart of Defense. Scientists were dispatched - they will arrive tomorrow.

Just a few days ago Emily was stopped by a tour of senior citizens while walking across BYU’s campus . Those close enough to shake her hand reported a strange sensation pass through their bodies. Afterwords, while eating at the Cougar Eat, those within Emily’s influence reportedly had stronger appetites. Three successfully ate sirloin steak, something they hadn’t done in years because of falling teeth.

Emily wishes to thank all the little people for celebrating her ascension. She wants everyone to know that she really is a better person than most and will do all in her power to impress that fact upon you.

Good Job Emily! I quake in your presence. And don’t be offended if the youngest volunteers rush from your company. Just standing in your shadow can cause young ones to lose control of their bodily functions.

Mr. Williamson

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 7

This is just for fun. Any resemblance to people who work at the space center is intentional, although these characters aren't really them. Any resemblance to an actual mission is your imagination.

Aleta Clegg
Space Center Educator
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Supreme Master of the Universe

And Now the Continuation of Aleta's Story........

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 7

I huddled in the lee of a rock, shivering uncontrollably. My teeth chattered. Fredericks moaned, curled up in the snow next to me. I patted his arm with hands so numb they felt like clubs.

Herring slipped into our hiding space. Snow plastered his eyebrows and hair. “Two more patrols. Hruk’Tal thinks they’re running low on reinforcements. Apparently the riot in the mines is completely out of control.”

“So we’re going to sit out here and freeze to death? At least we were warm in the mines.”

“Rakrr has gone to scout the communications dome. If enough guards have left, we’re taking it. You’ll have shelter soon.”

“I’ll survive. It’s Fredericks I’m worried about.”

Herring peered over the rock into the swirling storm. “There’s the signal. Let’s move!”

I grabbed Fredericks’ arm, pulling him to his feet. The two of us stumbled after Herring.

A structure loomed out of the snow, rounded and barely darker than the frozen wasteland. I pulled Fredericks around the side, following the quickly fading footsteps of the others. The rifle I’d stolen from the guard banged against my back.

Hruk’Tal’s battle howl sounded above the roar of the storm. I dragged Fredericks through the door, letting it bang shut behind me. Fredericks collapsed to the floor. I unslung the rifle and edged farther into the building. Shouts rang through the hall. I ran faster.

Smoke boiled from the main room. Thuds and screams echoed against the concrete dome overhead. Something crackled, spitting sparks through the doorway. I slipped through.

Hruk’Tal held a Fellucian guard over his head. The other Klingons pounded two more guards against the equipment panels. Herring and Carroll stood nose-to-nose in the center, arguing.

Hruk’Tal tossed the guard into a corner. “Enough. We cannot hold long here. We must leave. Where is this vessel you promised?”

Carroll planted her hands on her hips. “You promised him the Voyager, didn’t you?”

“If all went according to plan, the Voyager should be in far orbit. We just have to call and let them know we are ready.” Herring kept his voice reasonable.

“Call with what?” Carroll smiled grimly as the comm bank threw sparks across the room.

The four Klingons dropped the unconscious guards.

Carroll pulled a communicator from her pocket and flipped it open. “Galileo, come in.”

The comm crackled with static. “Warner here.”

“Any sign of the Voyager?”

“Negative.”

“Stand by for an extraction.” Carroll flipped the communicator shut.

“You’re going to fit all eight of us on a stealth shuttle?” Herring shot a frown my way. “Where is Fredericks?”

“By the entrance. I’ll go get him.” I turned for the door.

Fredericks crashed through, eyes wide and rolling. “They’re coming!”

“Incoming vessel,” Rakrr announced. “A cargo ship bearing Ferengi registration codes.”

“The supply ship,” Carroll said. “They’re a day early.”

“Good thing.” Herring shifted back half a step. “Get us up to that ship and we will take it for you.”

“How?” Carroll tugged at her hair.

“Why not use the transport ring?” I asked, pointing at the circular control inset in the center of the floor.

Carroll slapped her forehead. “Get inside the ring. I’ll get to the Galileo. Once you’re on board, get control of the docking bay. I’ll drop Taylor and the controller module there.”

Fredericks waved his hands wildly, mumbling to himself. Thumps echoed down the halls from the outside door.

“What about him?” I asked.

“I’ll take him with me,” Carroll said. She tapped her communicator. “Warner, bring her down on this signal.” She waved at the rest of us. “Get in the ring.”

We crowded into the space, clutching whatever weapons we had stolen.

Carroll twisted controls on a panel. “Good luck. I’ll be at the docking bay in thirty minutes. If you aren’t there, I’ll assume you failed. We can’t stay for more than five minutes.”

“Take care of Fredericks,” Herring called.

Light rose around us. My nose tickled as the transporter activated.

The light faded. We stood in a cargo bay, dimly lit.

“Stop him!” Hruk’Tal shouted, pointing at the man standing openmouthed next to the transporter controls.

His hand crept for the emergency reversal switch. The Klingons rushed him. I followed, caught up by the adrenaline. He lasted less than five seconds. We left him in a bloody heap, moaning quietly to himself.

“We have control of the cargo bay.” Hruk’Tal thumped his chest with his fist. “Where is the docking bay?”

Herring bent over the control panel. “I haven’t had to read Ferengi in years.” He traced the display with his finger. “Down two decks on the starboard side. Looks like it more towards the aft section. Let’s go.”

The seven of us crowded the door into the ship. Hruk’Tal flipped finger signals. I took a deep breath.

Herring hit the button. The door slid open. We slipped into the deserted hall.

We made it to the lift without meeting anyone. Herring opened the doors and we piled inside. I ended up near the front, sandwiched between two Klingons. I stifled a sneeze at their smell. Unwashed Klingons aren’t exactly unpleasant, just very strong.

The door to the lift slid open. We rushed out.

And stopped short. Fifteen heavily armed guards faced us, weapons ready.

“Well, well.” Del’Brugado stepped forward. “If it isn’t Captain Herring. And his obnoxiously competent assistant.” He smiled and twisted the end of his thin mustache.

Hruk’Tal shifted his weapon. “Today is a good day to die.”

“Agreed.” Rakrr lifted his rifle.

“Three?” Herring asked.

“Three!”

We charged into battle.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lice, The Perfect Way to End Your Week.


Hello Troops,
Saturday, July 25, 2009 ended our last full week of camps at the Space Center. I was ready for a nice lay down when I got home to Wit’s End (the name of my home). I was shutting down my computer and gathering my things when the phone rang.
“Are you sitting down?” my sister Jilane asked. Jilane is one of my five sisters. She lives one block from me in Pleasant Grove.
“Who died?” I responded as I removed my lanyard and whistle. You’re not a real teacher unless you wear a Shrieker 2000 industrial strength whistle around your neck.
“Aidia has lice.” She said as a matter of fact. At first I didn’t comprehend the ramifications of such a statement. My first reaction was to say something like “And that means what to me?”. But after a moment’s reflection I realized why she wanted me to sit down for the news.

Perhaps a bit of a back story. My sister Lisa and her three children are staying at Wit’s End for the summer. They return to California at the start of the school year. Aida is her daughter. She has two sons, Draker and Caden. Many of you that work at the Space Center met 11 year old Draker at camp this summer.

This last week Wit’s End became Wit’s Discount Lodge and Home for the Elderly and Senile. The following extra guests checked in for a week’s stay:

  • My sister Annette and her four children.
  • My aunt and uncle from Arizona.
  • Our permanent residents, my parents Charles and Luella whooccupy a small mother in law apartment in the dungeon. They are still able to function normally, drive and use the toilet but can’t be trusted with electricity and anything that uses electricity.

“Lisa wants you to check Draker for lice but don’t make a big deal of it. It will embarrass him,” Jilane added.
“Yes, I’m going out into the Voyager, take the microphone from Emily and announce to the crew and staff that I’m taking my nephew off the ship so I can check him for lice and other vermin.”
“Just do it.”
“Yes ma’am.”

I found Draker wearing a Voyager’s engineering uniform ready to go out to the Bridge to check the ship for hull fractures. I mentioned for him to follow me. Emily objected saying she needed him to do the acting part first.
“Spread the joy,” I mumbled to myself. “Send him to me when he’s finished.”

A few minutes later he walked up to my desk. I asked him if he knew what ‘unclean’ meant.
“You need to take a bath?” he questioned.
“Yes, in a manner of speaking. Do you understand what happens to little boys that never bath or wash their hair?” His eyes widened expecting me to accuse him of such a thing. I stopped him before he could continue.
“Little boys that refuse to apply water and soap to their bodies can develop diseases like leprosy, scabs, leeches, and lice! I need to check you for lice. Don’t run, it won’t help. Crying will only draw attention to your condition and if word got out that lice could be present within these walls there would be a panic and stampede not even my Shrieker 2000 could stop. Now walk quietly into the nurse’s station.”

He followed me. I put the rubber gloves on and began the inspection. Several minutes later I pronounced him lice free. Draker was happy and wanted to return to the Voyager. I called Jilane and gave her the good news. Her reaction surprised me.
“Do you know what you’re looking for?” she asked. A few moments later I was driving him up to her house for the professional inspection. I’m please to announce that my initial diagnosis was correct. Lice free.

I expected to see EPA agents in full biosuits at my home when Draker and I pulled into the driveway. I was pleased with how Mormony everything looked. Yes, your typical average LDS neighborhood in Utah County. I got out of the car, took in the warm summer air scented with freshly mowed grass and pondered how pleasant everything was in Pleasant Grove.

The calm and serenity came to an abrupt end when I walked into the kitchen from the garage. The kitchen counters and table were covered with every possible cleaning agent, brush and pad used for lice abatement available for purchase at your neighborhood WalMart - all gathered for a major assault on the infestation eating through the hair follicles of innocent Williamson’s, Belnaps and Coronatos. Oh the Humanity!


I carefully walked around the chemical shop and into the living room. I stood in the center of the room afraid to let my body come in contact with anything that might have a moving surface. Lisa saw my predicament and rallied to my cause. She grabbed a can of lung burning Destructall spray in each hand and attacked everything in the that wasn’t moving with stereo shots of spray. Mother was caught in a corner chair. A cloud of Destructall moved in her direction like a death fog.
“Move!” Lisa shouted. Mother saw the fumes, rose to her feet and did a shuffle that, had we had a camera, would have been a YouTube hit.

Both my sisters were armed and ready for war. They had their children in bathing suits, lined up at the four bathrooms and ready for the delousing process. Each child was brought in, put in the tub and scrubbed from top to bottom with Nuclear Nix Lice Removal shampoo, cream, ointment, solution, and alixer. Both sisters were in their bathing suits as well so it could all be contained in the tubs.

Once the sandblasting was complete and the children’s bleeding skin bandaged, out came the lice combs and the tedious process of de -nitsing their scalps. The children’s screams were so intense mother had to leave and seek refuge at my uncle’s. I of course wasn’t bothered considering I spend all day in space blowing up children ;)

Once the unclean were proclaimed clean, the delousing of the house began. Destructall Spray was unleashed on the children’s mattresses. All the bedding, towels, blankets, pillows, clothes, etc. etc. and etc. was dumped into the back of the pick up truck and taken to Pleasant Grove’s only coin operated laundry mat. Several hours later and twenty five dollars in quarters lighter the bedding was finished and pulled from very hot dryers.
It was after 11:00 P.M. and all was done. It only took six hours and over one hundred and fifty dollars but the home was safely nuked and ready for habitation.

I was exhausted from sitting and watching these two great mothers scrub, curse, shout, clean, clean and clean. The debate that ran through the entire process was who’s child got lice first, and from where.

Today I sit in my sterilized home feeling lucky to have survived my very first lice infestation. Rest your worried minds - I didn’t have lice and neither does Draker. The Space Center is therefore lice free (unless Brock has lice. We will have to check him out).

All is well and I hope and pray next week will be uneventful. Please, may I ask for boring, dull and mindless. I need boring, dull and mindless.

Mr. Williamson

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jupiter Takes it on the Nose! Breaking News.

By Mark Daymont
Space Center Staff

Congradulations, those of you who missed the big show with comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 back in 1994 have a second chance to witness in your lifetime a major impact event in our solar system! JPL/NASA has confirmed that either an asteroid or comet has slammed into the atmosphere of Jupiter, causing a tremendous detonation and creating a black destructive area the size of our Earth.

Amateur astronomers take heart: this discovery was not made by Hubble, professional observatories nor robotic sentinels of the skies. This discovery was made by Anthony Wesley, of Australia, who was merely observing Jupiter with his own scope. With the sharp-thinking alert from Wesley, scientists on Earth facing Jupiter immediately turned our Hawaiian telescopes toward Jupiter to confirm and study the event.

We'll be watching this event closely as further information comes our way.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

On to the Finish and A Call for Assistance

Hello Troops,
We’ve entered the Olympic Stadium and see the end of the Marathon in sight. Thousands are on their feet cheering us on to the end of the season. We are exhausted. We are dehydrated. We stink for lack of bathing but we are still in the race regardless of the many obstacles hurdled down on us by the Fates high atop Mr. Olympus.

A week and a half and we wrap up this summer season. It has been difficult but because of sheer determination and an unwillingness to stay down when hit we are still going. What amazing things we can accomplish with that kind of CAN DO attitude.

Yes we have the best volunteer force in Utah County. Yes we are all above average in something. Yes, we sometimes back out of our parking places and not notice there is a car next to us and then we accidentally hit it and then feel really stupid. Yes we can get on each other’s nerves and YES the campers can drive us into such a state only shock therapy can bring us back from the abyss into a state where we can recognize our loved ones, BUT despite all this we are doing so well and I’m proud of my staff and volunteers.

And now a note to our campers.

Campers, you really have been good this summer. I may tease you and claim you drive us crazy and yes, to be honest ,some of you do - but may I add that the vast majority of you have been wonderful and a delight to have with us as our guests.

Do you realize what goes into keeping you happy at our camps? Do you realize how exhausted our staff are and yet they do an excellent job running your missions and classes? Do you realize that our simulators are elaborate pieces of electronics and equipment and that they go down on a regular basis? Take our last camp for instance. The Odyssey’s core computer was crashing regularly, yet Emily and Christine did a remarkable job hiding its effects from the crew and moving forward bringing you to mission completion.

Did you know the Magellan’s Core Computer completely died on the last rotation of our three day camp. If this were Disneyland the simulator would be closed for repairs. That’s Disneyland, we can’t do that at the Space Center. We buckle down, grit our teeth and get to work problem solving.

Applause for Alex Anderson for dropping everything at home and driving to the Space Center to work on a solution. Applause for Matt Long for dropping everything, walking away from his class and helping. A Standing Ovation to Brittney VanDeBoss, Maren Hale and Warren Nuila for moving the story along outside of the simulator by creating elaborate story elements the campers experienced in the school’s corridors. They saw the crash occurring around them and refused to ‘Go Down with the Ship’.
Applause to Kyle Herring and Todd Hadley of Juicy Development for driving to the Space Center to assist in the solution.

Well, the problem was solved and the mission proceeded. It wasn’t the best mission but it still wasn’t that bad. We pulled it off. Now that’s Space Center Guts.

On a more personal note........

I’ve not been well for the last three weeks. My acid reflux and everything associated with it had me to the point where I was anxiously engaged in an Ebay search for a new esophagus (useless - I could only find used. Nothing new). I’m feeling better now after several visits to the doctor and a lovely throat scope carried out at my local Surgery (butcher) Center.

That, added to very little sleep, made me a bit difficult at times and a tadd ‘out of it’. Thanks to everyone for helping and chalking up my temper to a middle age crisis.

OK, enough of that.

Troops, we are facing a serious problem at the Space Center. We need help with our computer programs. The Odyssey and Magellan need new controls, or perhaps a serious review of the current ones to see where the problems lie. Our young programmers are doing their best but.......
Out there somewhere I’m sure there is someone that knows how to solve our problems in a way where the Space Center could still stay afloat financially. If you are that person please contact me.

Now, I end this epistle with a big thank you to all for everything.

It’s back to the race and to the finish.

Mr. Williamson

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 6

This is just for fun. Any resemblance to people who work at the space center is intentional, although these characters aren't really them. Any resemblance to an actual mission is your imagination.

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 6

The hot, humid air of the dilithium mine sucked my energy. I slung the bucket of waste rock into the crusher, pausing only long enough to wipe my face on my dirty sleeve.

Fredericks tripped over his own feet, spilling his bucket across the tunnel. The guard kicked him. Herring picked him up while I scooped the rocks back into the bucket and dumped it for him. The guard grumbled and shoved us towards the mining face.

Fredericks stumbled badly, barely walking with the captain’s support.

“We have to move tonight,” I whispered once we were past the guard.

“The three of us don’t stand a chance yet,” Herring whispered over Fredericks’ head.

“Another week here and Fredericks won’t need rescued. Maybe not even that long.”

“I’ll be fine, sir.” Fredericks tried to walk by himself. Herring caught his arm before he fell on his face.

I grabbed Fredericks’ other arm. “I’ve got enough wire and small crystals hidden to rig a bomb. It should distract them long enough for us to get up the chute to the surface.”

“I don’t like it,” Herring whispered.

“I know you don’t but what other choice do we have? They have to have communications. We break in and send a message. If Delphi works the way you say it will, Bradley should have control of the Voyager. He should be somewhere close.”

“I know all that. I just don’t like the plan. I need more intel.”

“You aren’t going to get it.” I shifted Frederick’s bucket to my own shoulder. It clanked against mine. “I’d like a full squad of marines and the weapons to back them up. We’ve got some stolen wires and dilithium crystals too small to be marketable.”

“You’re sure you can make them explode?”

“I just need a power source and five minutes.”

“And I thought you only knew how to cook.”

We reached the rock face. Piles of crushed and broken rock littered the tunnel. We let Fredericks sit while we scooped all three buckets full. I picked out three more tiny crystals, tucking them into my pocket as I worked.

Herring squatted on his heels, watching Fredericks. “Tonight, then, after the guard shift change.”

I nodded, slinging the full bucket over my shoulder.

The day crept by, marked only by the shouts of the guards and repeated trips from the crusher to the rock face. Fredericks staggered beside Herring. Those who collapsed disappeared with the guards. Herring kept him on his feet, I hauled his bucket of rocks along with my own.

The guards finally herded us into the inactive tunnels, locking the gates after delivering supper.

The three of us crawled into our corner. I picked at the stale crust of bread I’d managed to grab before the other slaves took the rest. They were mean and tough, they had to be to survive the dilithium mines.

Herring gave his crust to Fredericks.

I shifted rocks away from a small crevice. The pile of stolen wire inside was pitifully small.

“You’ve got about an hour,” Herring said.

“I need a distraction so I can get into the power box near the gate.”

“I’ll pick a fight with the Klingons.”

I glanced at their group while I twisted wires around crystals. The five Klingons had been in the mines only a month, two weeks longer than we’d been there. They stayed to themselves, mostly. No one dared approach them. They radiated anger and menace. Even the guards kept their distance.

The Klingon leader caught my eye. From the glitter on his torn tunic, he had to be high-ranking. He strode across the tunnel to our nook.

“Starfleet?” His voice was deep, almost a growl.

“Captain Herring of the USS Voyager.” Herring stood. The Klingon towered over him.

I surreptitiously shifted the wires and crystals under my leg.

“You are planning escape. We wish to escape, also. I am Hruk’Tal of the House Tu’Garath. My ship was captured by subterfuge by these honorless Fellucian pirates.” The Klingon spat into the dust. “I shall return and avenge my honor.”

“I’ll settle for getting out alive,” I said.

Hruk’Tal turned his glare on me. “It is better to die with honor than to merely live.”

“You die, then, and I’ll survive.” I twisted wire around another crystal.

“She’s useful, and she does have honor, of a sort,” Herring spoke quickly.

“I have heard tales of you, Captain Herring.” Hruk’Tal turned his attention to Herring. “Our warriors speak highly of your honor. Though our people are enemies, we both seem to be caught in this trap.”

“This is the time to put aside enmity. Perhaps extend an offer of alliance?” Herring smiled his polished smile as he held out his hand.

Hruk’Tal deliberately ignored the outstretched hand. “Until we are free of this place, we shall work together.”

“Then let us plan.”

“There isn’t much to plan,” I said. “We blow up the gate, then we run for the lift and beat up anyone who gets in our way. We get to the surface and find a communicator. Steal it if we have to, then signal Starfleet. After that, it’s a matter of waiting.”

“There is a Starfleet vessel waiting?” Hruk’Tal lifted his eyebrow skeptically, a very impressive expression with his ridged forehead.

“There should be,” Herring answered. “If Vasha and Delphi work.”

“Not Bradley?” I twisted another wire into place.

“On my honor, Hruk’Tal. You shall be given an escort to Klingon space if you help us win free.”

“On your honor, I accept your terms.”

“On three, you need to start a fight so I can set these up.” I waved the handful of cracked crystals. “I just hope it works.”

Herring smiled at the Klingon and his warriors. “Three?”

“Three.”

“You miserable, rotten excuse of a Klingon!” Herring shoved Hruk’Tal.

The tunnel went silent, the other slaves watching in horror as the slender captain attacked the Klingon twice his size.

Hruk’Tal spat a Klingon insult. It sounded like a very large cat hacking up an extremely large and juicy hairball. He allowed Herring to push him to the center of the tunnel.

“Come on, Fredericks.” I grabbed his sleeve in one hand and my crystals in the other.

We slipped around the edge of the crowd gathering to watch the Klingons smear Captain Herring across the rocky floor. They shouted worse insults, pushing and shoving each other. Several of the spectators got stepped on and joined in the fight. Within moments, they’d started a riot.

“Hold these.” I pushed crystals into Fredericks’ hands.

He nodded, eyes wide. He kept up against the side of the tunnel.

I grabbed the bars of the gate. “Hey! They’re slaughtering each other in here! You have to come!”

The guard I shouted at took one look at the fight inside and swore. He shouted for his friends to come help. They shoved their way through the gate, leaving just one outside.

I twisted wires to the metal of the gate. The wires for the lights ran right outside. I tugged one loose. Half the lights died, plunging the tunnels into gloomy twilight. I jabbed the loose end of the power cable under the bare wires wrapped loosely around the bars of the gate and the crystal.

“Duck!” I grabbed Fredericks, pushing him back to the wall.

The crystals spat sparks before exploding. The entire gate collapsed. Dust filled the air.

Hruk’Tal and his Klingons charged the opening, guttural war cries adding to the noise and confusion. They fired weapons at the guard still standing outside. He collapsed.

I hauled Fredericks after them, Captain Herring taking rear guard.

We ran for the lift. The lone guard didn’t stand a chance against the Klingons. He fell at his post. Hruk’Tal grabbed his weapon, tossing it to me.

“Inside, now!” Herring shoved the lift door open.

We crowded on and started it moving, up towards the surface.

“Get down and hide,” Herring ordered.

“We do not hide!” Hruk’Tal shouted. “We are Klingons!”

The five of them shouted a war chant.

The lift jerked to a halt. We hung fifty feet below the surface tunnels.

The Klingon war chant died. They traded looks.

“Climb, for your honor!” Hruk’Tal leapt to the cables holding the lift. He swarmed up, the others on his tail.

“Come on, Fredericks,” Herring lifted the other man to his feet. “We’re almost out.”

“I hate climbing,” I muttered as I followed them up the cables.

We paused at the sound of weapons firing.

“That’s a Federation phaser!” Herring said. He climbed faster, leaving me to keep Fredericks moving.

The sound of fighting faded as the two of us reached the top, crawling over the edge.

“Quartermaster Stevens and Ensign Fredericks? I’m Commander Carroll of Section 37. We have the Galileo standing by.” Commander Carroll pulled me to my feet.

Another officer in Starfleet uniform helped Fredericks up, escorting him out of the mine.

“Sorry it took us so long to track you down,” Carroll continued. “The Fellucians have an entire navy on the border.”

“So, you’re here to rescue us?”

“Not exactly,” Carroll said. “The Galileo can’t take passengers. We’re here to help you steal a ship from the Fellucians. Admiral Williamson is expecting you to bring it to Starbase 14.”

We caught up to Herring and the Klingons at the entrance. The planet outside was a howling mass of swirling snow and freezing cold.

“The supply ship is due tomorrow. With the help of your new friends, we’re taking it.” Carroll smiled, like a manic chipmunk.

“And who will fly it?”

“We will. The Galileo has a new unit that will allow us to operate the ship remotely. We just need you on board to keep things running. We’ll be in touch the entire time. Special ops Warner and Taylor will see you have the proper equipment.” She marched past me, out into the frigid wind.

Hruk’Tal threw his head back and howled defiance at the storm.

“Rabid Klingons and gung-ho Starfleet ops.” I shook my head. What happened to my nice quiet retirement? I shouldered the rifle stolen from the Fellucians. I was a cook, not a marine.

I was also freezing, but at least we were out of the mines.

Red light streaked over our heads to explode against the mountainside behind us.

“Take cover!” Carroll shouted as rocks rained down.

We ran into the blizzard.

Friday, July 17, 2009

From the Voyager's Galley

Hello Troops,
This is Aleta's universally famous Fruit Pudding Parfait, served on board the finest Starships in the fleet (and a few of the Space Education Center's Camps). For an 'Out of this World' taste sensation give it a mix.

Mr. Williamson


Fruit Pudding Parfait

1 big box vanilla pudding mix
4 16 oz cans fruit (pineapple, mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, fruit cocktail, etc.)
1 8 oz tub whipped topping

Drain juice from pineapple and one other can (about 2 c. juice). Stir in pudding mix, whisk until smooth. Drain other two cans of fruit and discard juice. Fold whipped topping into pudding mixture. Add fruit, mix just until fruit is coated. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Aleta

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Leadership Camp. Another Viewpoint.

By Taylor Thomas

I don't have too much time to write this but I thought it would be cool to have two totally different viewpoints on the Leadership Camp. To make sure this happens, I have not read Megan's review yet. So here I go.

Day 1
Megan and I had a little final "cram session" (for lack of a better term) for 2.5ish hours before the camp started. Amazingly, we got the most important things done. During this time we finished the Magellan mission rewrites. Yes, I know you shouldn't be finishing rewrites the day of the camp but that is how it turned out. The basic idea of each mission was finished months before that though so I wasn't too worried. Actually, I take that back. I was worried. So Megan and I finished up what we could and went to set up sign ins. We finished setting those up around 4:35 (a tiny bit late) and let the campers in. Luckily for us the last spot on the camp was taken just as the camp began (which caused some confusion), bringing us to 35. We started off with a brief schedule overview of the camp and then started assigning sleeping areas. All of the boys were put into Odyssey and Voyager and the girls were down in their normal area. While we took them in groups, Jon played a really fun get to know you game where the kids had to pass their names, along with 3 answers to questions, to someone else. It ended up being lots of fun. Once everyone was situated, the campers got themselves into groups for the class sessions. The class sessions were taught by Stacy (who did communication skills or something like that), Emily (who did something...I can't exactly remember. We told them to get something together and trusted they would do it.), and Megan (who had a little help from me, but she was the main teacher. Oh, and she did a class on Leadership and Military Bearing). The class sessions went really well and the kids liked them. Plus, we had our good old traditional dinner of Chinese food graciously put together by Aleta. After all of the class sessions, we gathered the kids in the gym for the overview briefing of what they would be doing for the rest of the camp. The speech that followed was incredible and was done essentially by the seat of our pants (we had gone over what we wanted to talk about but nothing terribly specific). I really, really wish we had a recording of it because it turned out amazing. Megan started off with her sheepdog, sheep, and wolves analogy (much to large to discuss here, but really cool) and gave the campers a sense of how serious we were. I have never heard so much silence before. Then I finished off by talking to them about how they were in charge of thousands and thousands of lives. I have never seen campers get so into it before. Right after we finished we sent the campers to bed and told them we would get them up at 7:15.

Day 2
We woke the campers at 6:45 with revelle (that is not spelled right but oh well) and told them to get ready fast. They took a little while but eventually got to the gym and we sent them to breakfast. Breakfast was great and had tons of different foods to choose from. After breakfast we divided them into ships, gave them their briefings all together (so that they would know what everyone else was doing), and then sent them to their ships. Mr. Williamson was worried about the missions and Megan and I were worried as well. We had not extensively tested these but we went forward with confidence. The first rotation lasted 5 hours and went pretty well. The campers achieved most of their objectives but that was the last of the happy news. During lunch the crews debriefed each other and got a sense of what was going on. The second rotation fast forwarded 6 months to the part of the war when we were failing. In fact this part of the campaign was termed "The Epic Failure" for a good reason. Lots of bad things were supposed to happen and the decisions the crew made only made it worse. To complicate matters for the crew, a spy among the campers was able to get a message to the Dominion telling them exactly where the new, shiny battleship the Prometheus was at. Because of this almost the entire battle group was destroyed along with the Prometheus. There was much more than that but I do not have time to go over it all. With dinner came the crews debriefing each other and a little chat from Megan and I. They were taking their losses really lightheartedly so we told them how many people they just killed and to put themselves in the families (of the ones who had died) shoes. The cafeteria had never been so silent during a meal before. Swimming time came afterwards. During most camps the staff either goes swimming or goes home. Not the case with this. 4 of our staff members had to go to help Mr. Williamson with the campers. The rest of us stayed behind to set up the ASA (after swimming activities). When we proposed this idea, Mr. Williamson asked why. We told him that we needed it and he gave us that doubting look like "ok, if you say so." Turns out that we did. All of us who stayed behind worked for 2 straight hours to have the ENTIRE school ready when the campers got back at 10. When the campers arrived, they were told to obtain information from inside the Voyager which was protected by key cards that they had to obtain. They were given 2 hours to complete these objectives and be back to the front of the school. Unfortunately, 2 hours and 8ish minutes later they showed up with the information and ended up failing. Right after we debriefed that, we sent the campers to bed--dead tired. We told them that we would wake them up around 7.

Day 3
Revelle was played at 6:00 and the campers got ready, had breakfast, and prepared for their inspection (to make sure everything with their cots was exact). The inspection took 30 minutes and we got on our way to third rotation. Third rotation was 13 months (I think) later and was the Federation counterattack. Unfortunately for the campers, they did not do so well this rotation. Voyager completed their objective but was then captured (which was not expected). Magellan was able to take back their station, but just barely. Galileo and Odyssey did a pretty good job. Phoenix made a big mistake and called in the 3rd fleet way too early. As a result most of the 3rd fleet was destroyed. At this point thigs started looking bleak. Fourth rotation was supposed to be the final battle for Cardassia Prime. Problems occured when no other ships were acting on intelligence from the Galileo. Additionally, the Magellan didn't get into the Cardassia solar system until far too late and they were unable to stop a Dominion superweapon from exiting the system and heading to Earth. So when time ran out the Starfleet forces were losing pretty badly and they failed the campaign. That in no way means that they did not have fun or did not do good things, it just means that they failed. That is one big difference about this camp was that we weren't afraid to fail them. It happens. Anyway, I thought it was a very successful camp and the kids (and at least me, if not the rest of the staff) learned a lot.

Hope this was somewhat enlightening for you and maybe even a bit entertaining.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Email from Austin's Shop in SLC.

Staff and Volunteers.
Austin E. sent this to me today. I'm sharing with you. It's a pat on the back for your hard work. Now, keep it up troops. We have a bit over two weeks to go to wrap up the summer schedule. We can't run out of gas. We push even harder for the finish line.

And now Austin's Email........

Hey guys,

Its been almost a year since I've moved to Salt Lake and have been away from the space place, but it seems even here, in the midst of the busy, rushed, and impatient, I am shown just how far the influence of the Space Center, and its staff can spread.
Early on Saturday morning, I was approached by a gentleman and his family, consisting of his wife, and two little boys. I spoke briefly to the man about his car, and shook his hand to inspire his trust in leaving his vehicle with me. As I turned to walk away, I heard one of his kids say, "I loved the Voyager! It was so cool! But I liked the Phoenix's story better!" I turned, surprised, and asked the man if they were referring to the CMSEC, and he told me his boys and some friends had gone down to Utah county for a birthday party and they had just gotten back. I told him I used to volunteer there as a supervisor and he smiled, obviously impressed I had been employed there. I gave his kids a high 5, and went away, working on his Scion.
The reason I'm mentioning this is because even now, and this far out, look how far your dedication, determination, professionalism, and friendliness has spread, simply for one family. I am impressed, and very happy to hear that the center is still influencing this kind of excitement in the campers.
So, in conclusion, I just wanted to tip my hat to all the volunteers and staff, and beg them not to lose sight of the real reason the center is there, and that's to bring happiness, and creativity to the campers lives, and influence them to work together to achieve their goals. I'm very impressed that your hard work has reached me this far. Keep up the good work. I'll be waiting for the next one.

Austin E.

An Email from a Camper

Hello Troops,
I received this email from one of the Leadership Camp attendees. I'm posting this as another thank you to Megan and Taylor and all who helped create the Leadership Camp. Excellent Job All!

Mr. Williamson

And now, the email....................................


Hello,
I attended one of your camps that was held just recently for teenagers who are 14-17 years old. I had never heard of space camp before this and didn't really know what to expect. It was one of the very best camps I have ever attended!! I had a blast and was very sorry to go home after those 3 days. My only regret is that I had not heard of space camp when I was younger..........
thank you for providing such a great program!!

Sincerely,
##########

A Report on the Leadership Camp.

By Megan Warner

Hey guys! It's Megan. This is a little report on the leadership camp. If you're curious about what happened in general or want to know what was going on in the ships you weren't working, this is the thing to read. If you don't care at all, I suggest not continuing. It's up to you.

Mr. Williamson told a bit about the origins of the camp, but I wanted to expound a little. This whole thing came about one day after a bunch of people came over to my house to watch Stargate. (Which is an amazing show, by the way.) We went up to our kitchen and talked for a while, with people slowly trickling out. Taylor and I were the last ones there, and he started telling me about this cool concept he had where we would have a campaign of missions to bring back repeat customers. We ended up talking for what, 2 hours?, and came up with the idea to run a camp with one of these campaigns. And hey, why not make it ridiculously hard and call it a leadership camp? Over the next couple of days, we came up with an extremely detailed proposal for Mr. Williamson and, after quite the battle, got a green light.

For the next several months, we worked our tails off to get this camp put together. Unfortunately, we weren't ready as of two weeks ago. We had a HUGE scramble to get things finished. At the start of the camp, though, we still weren't done. We opened the doors with only a vague sense of what was supposed to happen that night. At some point, Taylor and I strongly felt that we needed some... higher help... and so we went and asked for it. Then, it began.

Thursday night saw the campers rotating through classes on communication, problem solving, and leadership. We gave them all notebooks to facilitate note taking and retention, and I was personally disquieted about how little the kids used them, but it was their call.

After the classes, we brought the campers into the gym to give them their overall briefing on the campaign. Taylor and I had a vague sense of what we were going to tell them, but that was it. I don't remember exactly what I said, but I do remember the feeling it left saturated throughout the room. All our inspired and inspiring talk of sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs really gave them a sense of foreboding. I could see them all, to one extent or another, thinking 'what did we get ourselves into?' When we were finished, they were sent to bed and, from what I know, gave us very little trouble.

Friday morning, we got the kids up at 6:45 with reveille and whistles. It was fun. A quick breakfast was served, and the crews were taken back to the gym for their briefings. All five ships heard all five briefings, for the sake of knowing where everyone else was going. The point of this camp was to make them work together to complete one single, overall objective. They were supposed to beat the Dominion War. Each rotation was intermingled, at least with information and clues being found and supposedly sent to the other ships. Between each mission, the crews debriefed each other, letting the others know what happened. Then it was off again for the next part of the war.

The crews went through two five hour rotations on Friday. During training for one of them, Mr. Williamson came up to me and said we didn't have a pool for that evening. I knew we could easily fill the space, but we needed the time to get set up. Luckily, our wonderful Bossman worked his magic and came back ten minutes later to let me know he'd gotten a pool reservation at Orem and a bus to get us there. Yay! So, after dinner, the kids were off and the scramble began.

We had scheduled for Friday night what we called the ASA, or After Swimming Activity. The time they were gone saw the entire staff rushing around the school setting up, well, a Dominion base. When the campers got back, Jon told them they were now on a mission to gather some vital information about the Dominion's plans for the next stage of the war. They were given several objectives and sent off, with a warning that a ship was coming to get them at midnight and only whatever and whoever was at the pick up point- the lobby- would get back. A couple crazy hours later, the crew failed. They completed a few of their objectives and found a couple of the bonus goodies we left for them, but they didn't get back until fifteen minutes after the ship left them. None of what they'd found- weapons, plans, and schematics- would have any bearing on the outcome of the war. Too bad for them.

Reveille Saturday morning was at 6. The kids got up, slower than they should have, and shuffled into the gym. They were given half an hour to eat and get ready for the inspection they had on their bunks. We'd scheduled more time than that, but they took too long getting ready. The campers scrambled through their cereal to run back and get their barracks ready. From what I heard of the boys and saw of the girls, they did better than any of us thought they were. After they all passed, it was back to the gym and their briefings.

Rotation 3, the campers experienced some problems. They were all tired and starting to lose focus, but that had been our goal. The 'war' had been going on for a year and a half at this point, and we wanted them to feel it. Because of this, most of them didn't complete their objectives like they were supposed to. Oh yeah, we also had our Big Incident. I was in the middle of my flight, trying to get the Phoenix crew to destroy some weapons platforms (instead they got the entire Third Fleet blown up. Whoops.) when someone came in and said we had an issue. I went out to the hall and saw Jon, holding his head with quite a bit of blood coming from behind a paper towel. Yes, real blood. Not something you see too often here. We got Emily to take a look at him, and after a bit of a scare involving pupils and a dead pen light, Jon was rushed off to the Urgent Care center by Mr. Williamson and we all went back to our missions.

At the beginning of the fourth rotation, the campers were told, to put it shortly, that they were in a lot of trouble. They'd done a lot throughout the camp that was stacking against them. They'd have to be really careful if they wanted to succeed. The first half of the mission was pretty much a disaster, and before they were sent off to their lunch of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat- military meals. I think they're quite yummy if you get the right ones) it was reiterated to them that they were behind in their objectives. By a lot. This rotation was the only one split up at all. We'd done it this way because they were supposed to trade information and basically decide that all five ships were going to be needed to finish this war in a good way. Unfortunately, they were all so far behind, they weren't able to trade said data. We started up again with the staff understanding that if the Magellan didn't get into the battle by 3:30, the campers were going
to fail and the war would be lost. Guess what? It didn't happen. There were a lot of factors that added up to become an almost impenetrable wall of defeat, and they were unable to find the chink in the Dominion's armor. We took the crews out to the gym and told them they had lost the war, there was a giant super weapon on its way to destroy Earth, and they all would have died. (We blew the Phoenix up. It was AWESOME! Much cooler than it ever was in the joint Greenpeace Bracken and I flew.)

A good way to describe how the kids did for this camp is 'epic fail'. Thanks Brady for that term. They failed, but it was their fault, they knew it, and it was glorious. Woot.

I wanted to say thanks to all the staff. It was them that really made this thing come together. This may seem really obvious, but Taylor and I couldn't have done this without you. We really appreciated it, and I know the campers did too.

Well, there ya have it. If you actually made it through all this, kudos to you. That was quite the feat. I tried to keep it short, but it obviously didn't work out that way.

Thanks again to our staff, and to Mr. Williamson for having the faith in us to let us try. We're so glad we didn't let you down.

-Megan

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We Survived the Week from Heck! And Other Things.

We were exhausted and green with sea sickness when the harbor came into view. I stood on deck against the railing. It was a good place to park when tossing your cookies into the churning sea below.

Our Space Center Ship sailed into graying seas on Monday. We knew the crossing could be stormy. But having faith in the ship, and every confidence in each other, we knew there was no calamity that could deter us from reaching the opposite shore. We pressed forward into the gathering wind and darkening sky.

By Wednesday evening the ship was bucking beneath us. Keeping our footing was paramount, keeping our lunch was preferred but nearly impossible. Most if us were in full rain gear manning our stations on deck. And when not on duty, many of us stayed on deck near the railing emptying our stomachs down the side of the ship.

I stood on deck struggling to hold the wheel and steer a straight course. Our Directors took turns beside me calling out orders to the younger sailors. First to take in sail and other times to set sail. The wind was fierce causing our youngest to rope themselves to the masts to avoid being swept away as the tidal waves washed overhead.

Aleta struggled in the ship’s galley. Cooking in a moving kitchen was no easy task. Every pot, pan, knife and spoon had a mind of its own, and unless secured, found itself on the floor in a thoughtless dance moving wall to wall. She barked orders to her kitchen help (when someone could be spared), ordering them to hold this or pour that. Miracles were performed in that Galley. All meals were ready on time. They were delicious and nutritious, if the sea would let them stay in your stomach.

Lorraine, Sheila and Megan worked below deck with the passengers. They laid newspaper on the floor to capture their spills. Songs, stories, and a variety of handicrafts kept most of the children's minds off drowning. Band aides and wrapping were kept on hand for the any injury resulting from a floor that had a tendency to either drop away below you or throw you up into the ceiling.

By Thursday the crew with the weakest constitutions started showing signs of excessive exhaustion. They were found sleeping in the hallways, in the bunks, in the galley and anywhere they could find a spot of dry deck and little lighting. I tried to sleep in my cabin. Four to five hours was all the conditions would allow.

Friday morning the ship starting taking water. I noticed a strong list to port. Several crew, commanded by Midshipman Thomas manned the pumps. Megan was at the wheel. I was on lookout. Several of the passengers tied themselves to the benches in the ship’s galley. There were screams and cries for divine intervention every time the ship tilted to port. It seemed each crashing wave would be the one to capsize the ship sending it, along with all of us, to the bottom. The crew rose to the occasion, doing their best to calm the passengers even though thoughts of their own watery deaths wore heavily on their minds.

Saturday morning brought no relief. We knew we were close to shore but the raging storm hid everything from view except for the boiling gray sea with towering white caps. crashing over us. Near nine bells I heard a loud snap. I realized a mast was compromised. All eyes looked up.
“There it is,” came a shout from the lower deck. I saw a mast swinging in the wind. Midshipman Kevin was doing everything he could to regain control but lost it as the ship rose and then crashed downward with such force it sent most of us seat first onto the deck. The mast fell with sail unfurling. It hit with force.
“He’s Down!” came the shout from below. I rushed to the railing. The crew struggled with the heavy beam. I saw a pair of legs appear, then a torso and finally a face. Lt. Jon Parker lay on his back. His eyes stared straight upward as if in final prayer for his soul.
“Is he alive?” I shouted. Midshipman Alex was the first to his side. He felt for a pulse then put his ear to his mouth to listen for breath.
“He is,” Alex shouted back. “His skull appears to be fractured. There’s blood.”
“To the doctor,” I shouted as I moved down the stairs to the injured officer. I help him to his feet. He was speaking through a stream of rainwater and blood.
“I’m OK sir. I’m OK. Leave me be. There’s work to be done. Must save the ship.” His can do spirit was an inspiration to all that attended to him.

“I’ll hear none of it,” I replied. I moved him to my quarters. The doctor arrived. “Take care of him. He’s a good man.” I said leaving the room to attend to my duties on deck. Two hours later Lt. Jon Parker returned to duty. His forehead was wrapped. The wound required six stitches. He saluted, reached for the rigging and was climbing up to secure the sails before I could voice an objection. The Old Man of the Sea could not take a ship manned with officers like this.

At 4:00 P.M. the harbor was in view. The storm had moved from a full blown tempest to a whimper. The sea was calming. The gray ceiling that had accompanied us on our perilous journey was giving way to sunlight. The battle was won. Our week of hell was over and our destination met.

The passengers disembarked. Many walked down the ramps under their own power. Others needed assistance. A small cheer rose from the crew when the last one stepped onto land. Our responsibilities were finished. Rest was our reward.
_________________________________________________________ .

Hello Troops,
Yes, we finished our heck week. We started with a three day camp, then a one night overnighter and finally another three day camp. Setting aside the exaggerations in the story above it really went well - all thanks to our awesome staff and volunteers. Everyone knew their duty and did it. We survived and the campers all had good times.

I want to highlight a few things:

  • Aleta did a fantastic job in the kitchen. The food was wonderful and always on time and cooked to perfection. Honestly, we can’t thank her enough. A camp operates on its stomach.
  • The Flight Directors gave it their all and I’m grateful for that.
  • Our Supervisors did an excellent job helping the Flight Directors by keeping the simulators in good condition and helping with the campers.
  • Thanks to Lorraine, Sheila and Megan for their class session. The kids really enjoyed it. And an extra thank you to Lorraine for Chaperoning the first two camps.
  • What can I say about our volunteers? They are the life blood of the Space Center. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do.
  • I want everyone to know that Jon Parker gave his all to the Center on Saturday Morning. He took a opened door right in the forehead. Six stitches later he was back on the job doing what he does best - working with the campers. After the camp he volunteered to stay behind and clean the school for our Monday missions and camp. Jon is awesome.

Now, in closing I need to comment on the Leadership Camp. I’m afraid I need to eat my words and then have a hefty helping of Humble Pie. I was doubtful a Leadership Camp for 14 -17 year olds would work. Megan and Taylor both came to me with the idea in March. I said no and I meant it.
They wouldn’t let stand. They kept at me - over and over, day in and day out until I listened to what they had to say. They explained the concept.
Again I wanted to say No but in the end they persuaded me to give it a yes.

They started preparations. I stayed out of it. I told them that if they really wanted to run a camp for the upper teen market they would do it on their own. I couldn’t get involved. I had far too many other things to deal with on my plate. They agreed.

I was so doubtful anyone would enroll in the camp I didn’t make a swimming reservation at PG Pool for the campers. A little fact I forgot until Friday morning. I told Megan we didn’t have a pool reservation. She gave me that look. It was the look someone gives you when you really let them down. I put it into gear and arranged for a school bus to pick up the campers that evening and take them to the Orem Rec. Center’s pool. Swimming was saved - giving Megan and her team enough time to set up the school for the most awesome ‘Landing Party’ we’ve seen in years!

Well, the camp started on Thursday and started full. The 35th spot was taken just as the camp started. I was wrong. They were right. Enough said on that.

Thank you everyone for a great week. Now don’t sit back on our laurels. We have three weeks of camps left before we wrap up the summer season so batten down the hatches and tie the campers to the masts. We leave port again on Monday and it promises to be a bumpy ride.

Mr. Williamson

We Survived the Week from Heck! And Other Things.

We were exhausted and green with sea sickness when the harbor came into view. I stood on deck against the railing. It was a good place to park when tossing your cookies into the churning sea below.

Our Space Center Ship sailed into calm seas on Monday. We knew the crossing would be stormy, but having faith in the ship and every confidence in each other we knew there was no calamity that could deter us from reaching the opposite shore. We pressed forward into the gathering wind and darkening sky.

By Wednesday evening the ship was bucking beneath us. Keeping our footing was paramount, keeping our lunch was preferred but nearly impossible. Most if us were in full rain gear manning our stations on deck. And when not on duty many of us stayed on deck near the railing emptying our stomachs down the side of the ship.

I stood on deck struggling to hold the wheel and steer a straight course. Our Directors took turns beside me calling out orders to the younger sailors. First to take in sail and other times to set sail. The wind was fierce causing our youngest to rope themselves to the masts to avoid being swept away as the tidal waves washed overhead.

Aleta struggled in the ship’s galley. Cooking in a moving kitchen was no easy task. Every pot, pan, knife and spoon had a mind of its own, and unless secured, found itself on the floor in a thoughtless dance moving wall to wall. She barked orders to her kitchen help (when someone could be spared), ordering them to hold this or pour that. Miracles were performed in that Galley. All meals were ready on time. They were delicious and nutritious, if the sea would let them stay in your stomach.

By Thursday the crew with the weakest constitutions started showing signs of excessive exhaustion. They were found sleeping in the hallways, in the bunks, in the galley and anywhere they could find a spot of dry deck and little lighting. I tried to sleep in my cabin. Four to five hours was all the conditions would allow.

Friday morning the ship starting taking water. I noticed a strong list to port. Several crew, commanded by Midshipman Thomas manned the pumps. Megan was at the wheel. I was on lookout. Several of the passengers tied themselves to the benches in the ship’s galley. There were screams and cries for divine intervention every time the ship tilted to port. It seemed each crashing wave would be the one to capsize the ship sending it, along with all of us, to the bottom. The crew rose to the occasion, doing their best to calm the passengers even though thoughts of their own watery deaths wore heavily on their minds.

Saturday morning brought no relief. We knew we were close to shore but the raging storm hid everything from view except for the boiling gray sea with towering white caps. crashing over us. Near nine bells I heard a loud snap. I realized a mast was compromised. All eyes looked up.
“There it is,” came a shout from the lower deck. I saw a mast swinging in the wind. Midshipman Kevin was doing everything he could to regain control but lost it as the ship rose and then crashed downward with such force it sent most of us seat first onto the deck. The mast fell with sail unfurling. It hit with force.
“He’s Down!” came the shout from below. I rushed to the railing. The crew struggled with the heavy beam. I saw a pair of legs appear, then a torso and finally a face. Lt. Jon Parker lay on his back. His eyes stared straight upward as if in final prayer for his soul.
“Is he alive?” I shouted. Midshipman Alex was the first to his side. He felt for a pulse then put his ear to his mouth to listen for breath.
“He is,” Alex shouted back. “His skull appears to be fractured. There’s blood.”
“To the doctor,” I shouted as I moved down the stairs to the injured officer. I help him to his feet. He was speaking through a stream of rainwater and blood.
“I’m OK sir. I’m OK. Leave me be. There’s work to be done. Must save the ship.” His can do spirit was an inspiration to all that attended to him.

“I’ll hear none of it,” I replied. I moved him to my quarters. The doctor arrived. “Take care of him. He’s a good man.” I said leaving the room to attend to my duties on deck. Two hours later Lt. Jon Parker returned to duty. His forehead was wrapped. The wound required six stitches. He saluted, reached for the rigging and was climbing up to secure the sails before I could voice an objection. The Old Man of the Sea could not take a ship manned with officers like this.

At 4:00 P.M. the harbor was in view. The storm had moved from a full blown tempest to a whimper. The sea was calming. The gray ceiling that had accompanied us on our perilous journey was giving way to sunlight. The battle was won. Our week of hell was over and our destination met.

The passengers disembarked. Many walked down the ramps under their own power. Others needed assistance. A small cheer rose from the crew when the last one stepped onto land. Our responsibilities were finished. Rest was our reward.
_________________________________________________________ .

Hello Troops,
Yes, we finished our heck week. We started with a three day camp, then a one night overnighter and finally another three day camp. Setting aside the exaggerations in the story above it really went well - all thanks to our awesome staff and volunteers. Everyone knew their duty and did it. We survived and the campers all had good times.

I want to highlight a few things:

  • Aleta did a fantastic job in the kitchen. The food was wonderful and always on time and cooked to perfection. Honestly, we can’t thank her enough. A camp operates on its stomach.
  • The Flight Directors gave it their all and I’m grateful for that.
  • Our Supervisors did an excellent job helping the Flight Directors by keeping the simulators in good condition and helping with the campers.
  • Thanks to Lorraine and Sheila for their class session. The kids really enjoyed it. And an extra thank you to Lorraine for Chaperoning the first two camps.
  • What can I say about our volunteers? They are the life blood of the Space Center. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do.
  • I want everyone to know that Jon Parker gave his all to the Center on Saturday Morning. He took a opened door right in the forehead. Six stitches later he was back on the job doing what he does best - working with the campers. After the camp he volunteered to stay behind and clean the school for our Monday missions and camp. Jon is awesome.

Now, in closing I need to comment on the Leadership Camp. I’m afraid I need to eat my words and then have a hefty helping of Humble Pie. I was doubtful a Leadership Camp for 14 -17 year olds would work. Megan and Taylor both came to me with the idea in March. I said no and I meant it.
They wouldn’t let stand. They kept at me - over and over, day in and day out until I listened to what they had to say. They explained the concept.
Again I wanted to say No but in the end they persuaded me to give it a yes.

They started preparations. I stayed out of it. I told them that if they really wanted to run a camp for the upper teen market they would do it on their own. I couldn’t get involved. I had far too many other things to deal with on my plate. They agreed.

I was so doubtful anyone would enroll in the camp I didn’t make a swimming reservation at PG Pool for the campers. A little fact I forgot until Friday morning. I told Megan we didn’t have a pool reservation. She gave me that look. It was the look someone gives you when you really let them down. I put it into gear and arranged for a school bus to pick up the campers that evening and take them to the Orem Rec. Center’s pool. Swimming was saved - giving Megan and her team enough time to set up the school for the most awesome ‘Landing Party’ we’ve seen in years!

Well, the camp started on Thursday and started full. The 35th spot was taken just as the camp started. I was wrong. They were right. Enough said on that.

Thank you everyone for a great week. Now don’t sit back on our laurels. We have three weeks of camps left before we wrap up the summer season so batten down the hatches and tie the campers to the masts. We leave port again on Monday and it promises to be a bumpy ride.

Mr. Williamson

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another ship ventures out into the unknown


by James Porter

The USS Discovery is getting geared up for starting up a space center in Cache Valley. Former CMSEC employee James Porter, who currently teaches in the area, is heading the project. The Discovery is in process to be moved to its new location at Thomas Edison Charter School. Curriculum for the simulator is mostly complete and will be finished over the next few months. During that time updates to the computer systems and their programs will be taking place to be ready for field trips beginning in January 2010. We are very excited at the prospect of getting a full program running and providing the surrounding communities with the unique experience you all have been fortunate to be involved with. If you would like to keep up on the different happenings and progress that is being made visit our blog at http://cachevalleysimulator.blogspot.com/ Feel free to share your space center expeiences by adding comments to any of the posts. Wish us luck and hopefully we'll soon be sharing the stories of the fun campers visiting our program.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 5

This is just for fun. Any resemblance to people who work at the space center is intentional, although these characters aren't really them. Any resemblance to an actual mission is your imagination.

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 5

I slumped against the wall. Of the six people stuffed into the brig, none of us knew enough engineering to figure out how to take down the force fields. It didn’t help that the control panels were all located outside the cell. For once, I wished Starfleet engineers were a bit more incompetent.

“What was the rest of your plan, Stevens?” Captain Herring ran his hand through his hair for the fiftieth time. It stood straight up.

“Turner was going to try to bust you out of the brig. Obviously he didn’t make it that far. I don’t know where he is. Vasha thought she could hack into the main computer from your quarters. LeGrange, where’s Vasha?”

LeGrange shrugged. “Somewhere in the air ducts. They caught us outside officer’s quarters. I held them off while she ran.”

The lights flickered and dimmed. The force field, however, held steady.

Captain Herring glanced overhead. “Looks like at least one of your plans is working.”

“Not well enough, yet.” I kicked the wall. “At least I had plans. Your plan was what? To surrender as fast as possible?”

Captain Herring narrowed his eyes. “I surrendered on the condition that Del’Brugado let everyone except the command officers leave.”

“And gave this pirate one of Starfleet’s best battleships.”

Captain Herring smiled a thin, evil smile. “He thinks so.”

I straightened. “So you did have a plan.”

He turned his back. “Computer, initiate protocol delphi zero seven three. Voice authorization Drew Herring, captain.”

“Authorization accepted. Protocol initiated.”

Captain Herring sat on the bunk. “Two hours.”

“Until what?”

“Delphi takes over the ship. And if I say more, I will have to shoot you. You don’t have clearance.”

Shouting in the hall distracted us. Pirates dragged a very battered Fells into the brig. Turner was thrown in after him. That made eight of us in a cell designed for three.

A short man stalked into the brig, glaring through the force field. His dark hair was slicked into wavy spikes. The sparkling trim on his outfit blinded me. He slapped hot pink gloves across his hands as he eyed us. “You gave me your word, Captain.”

“I’ve kept my word.”

“Your crew still fight us, sabotage at every turn. We caught these two stealing weapons from the armory.”

“A commendable act.” Herring moved off the bunk, standing just inside the force field. “Unlike you, I reward acts of initiative among my crew.”

I bit back the sarcastic comment I wanted to make. Initiative in the kitchen apparently didn’t count.

“I do not trust you, Captain.” Del’Brugado spat into the force field. It sparked.

“I am a man of my word.”

“You are nothing of the sort!”

“My engineers are cooperating, aren’t they?”

The door to the brig slid open and closed.

Del’Brugado snarled at his guards. “Find out what is causing that and stop it!” He turned his ugly scowl our way. “This past hour, everywhere on your ship, it is like ghosts turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, water running when it should not. What have you done to your ship?”

“Me? Nothing. I’ve been locked in the brig.” Captain Herring played innocent almost as convincingly as I did.

“Pah!” Del’Brugado spat again before marching out of the brig.

The doors slid closed, catching the tail of his over-decorated coat. He swore profusely as his guards wrestled the doors open long enough to pull his coat free.

“Vasha?” Herring questioned me.

“Probably.”

The force field faded. The lights cut off, plunging us into darkness.

“Definitely me.” Vasha’s voice crackled from the speakers. “I can’t hold them out for long, not if they activate the manual overrides. If you hurry I can get you into the shuttle bay.”

“No.” Herring’s voice was decisive.

“It’s our chance to escape!” I edged through the cell door by feel.

“By all means, Stevens, steal a shuttle. We’ve been at warp for the last hour. You can’t launch while the ship is in warp. If you do survive that, you’ll be stranded in space. Or can you pilot a shuttle?”

The lights came back on. The force field reactivated, locking the others inside the cell.

“I’m not going to sit and wait patiently. These are pirates!”

“I won’t order you to stay here.”

“You want to be captured by pirates. You want them to take you to their base.” I wanted to smack him in the face. “You could have warned us.”

“You were warned this would be dangerous. You chose to come.”

“Your orders, Captain?” LeGrange saluted.

“You haven’t learned your place yet, Stevens.” Herring’s look was stern. “We wait for Delphi to activate.”

The door to the brig slid open at the same time the ship shuddered, slowing abruptly to impulse speeds.

Del’Brugado’s guards marched into the brig, weapons armed and aimed at us.

“We’re transferring, now.” The lead guard shut down the force field and waved his plasma blaster. “Del’Brugado doesn’t trust you on this ship. We’re scuttling it.”

Herring had enough self-control not to swear though I could read the anger in his eyes.

“Move it, you, to the shuttle bay.” The guards picked me, Herring, and one of the bridge officers in the cell.

“What of the others?” Herring asked.

The guard shrugged. “Not my problem, you are.”

The guards marched us through the ship, never giving us the chance to attack.

The waiting shuttle wasn’t Starfleet. Del’Brugado himself waited on the boarding ramp.

“Welcome to Fellucia, Captain and crew. Your rank will mean nothing soon enough. I think you might fetch a good price at the slave market.”

His evil laugh hung in the air after he swept into the shuttle. The guards shoved us after him.

“Slaves?” I whispered.

Herring shrugged. “I just hope Bradley remembers his orders.”

“So much for a quiet retirement.”

The guards locked us into the back of the shuttle. The bridge officer swallowed nervously.

“Steady, Fredricks,” Herring said, clapping the man on the back.

“Yes, sir.” Fredricks head bobbed.

I rolled my eyes. “Maybe we’ll luck out and they make me work in their galley. I could poison them all.”

“You’re cooking isn’t that bad.”

“I’m not flattered, sir.”

Herring smiled. “Trust Bradley, Stevens.”

“Then we’re doomed, sir, with all due respect. Bradley couldn’t find his...”

The rest of my words were lost in a rush of engines as the shuttle launched.

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 5

This is just for fun. Any resemblance to people who work at the space center is intentional, although these characters aren't really them. Any resemblance to an actual mission is your imagination.

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 5

I slumped against the wall. Of the six people stuffed into the brig, none of us knew enough engineering to figure out how to take down the force fields. It didn’t help that the control panels were all located outside the cell. For once, I wished Starfleet engineers were a bit more incompetent.

“What was the rest of your plan, Stevens?” Captain Herring ran his hand through his hair for the fiftieth time. It stood straight up.

“Turner was going to try to bust you out of the brig. Obviously he didn’t make it that far. I don’t know where he is. Vasha thought she could hack into the main computer from your quarters. LeGrange, where’s Vasha?”

LeGrange shrugged. “Somewhere in the air ducts. They caught us outside officer’s quarters. I held them off while she ran.”

The lights flickered and dimmed. The force field, however, held steady.

Captain Herring glanced overhead. “Looks like at least one of your plans is working.”

“Not well enough, yet.” I kicked the wall. “At least I had plans. Your plan was what? To surrender as fast as possible?”

Captain Herring narrowed his eyes. “I surrendered on the condition that Del’Brugado let everyone except the command officers leave.”

“And gave this pirate one of Starfleet’s best battleships.”

Captain Herring smiled a thin, evil smile. “He thinks so.”

I straightened. “So you did have a plan.”

He turned his back. “Computer, initiate protocol delphi zero seven three. Voice authorization Drew Herring, captain.”

“Authorization accepted. Protocol initiated.”

Captain Herring sat on the bunk. “Two hours.”

“Until what?”

“Delphi takes over the ship. And if I say more, I will have to shoot you. You don’t have clearance.”

Shouting in the hall distracted us. Pirates dragged a very battered Fells into the brig. Turner was thrown in after him. That made eight of us in a cell designed for three.

A short man stalked into the brig, glaring through the force field. His dark hair was slicked into wavy spikes. The sparkling trim on his outfit blinded me. He slapped hot pink gloves across his hands as he eyed us. “You gave me your word, Captain.”

“I’ve kept my word.”

“Your crew still fight us, sabotage at every turn. We caught these two stealing weapons from the armory.”

“A commendable act.” Herring moved off the bunk, standing just inside the force field. “Unlike you, I reward acts of initiative among my crew.”

I bit back the sarcastic comment I wanted to make. Initiative in the kitchen apparently didn’t count.

“I do not trust you, Captain.” Del’Brugado spat into the force field. It sparked.

“I am a man of my word.”

“You are nothing of the sort!”

“My engineers are cooperating, aren’t they?”

The door to the brig slid open and closed.

Del’Brugado snarled at his guards. “Find out what is causing that and stop it!” He turned his ugly scowl our way. “This past hour, everywhere on your ship, it is like ghosts turning lights on and off, opening and closing doors, water running when it should not. What have you done to your ship?”

“Me? Nothing. I’ve been locked in the brig.” Captain Herring played innocent almost as convincingly as I did.

“Pah!” Del’Brugado spat again before marching out of the brig.

The doors slid closed, catching the tail of his over-decorated coat. He swore profusely as his guards wrestled the doors open long enough to pull his coat free.

“Vasha?” Herring questioned me.

“Probably.”

The force field faded. The lights cut off, plunging us into darkness.

“Definitely me.” Vasha’s voice crackled from the speakers. “I can’t hold them out for long, not if they activate the manual overrides. If you hurry I can get you into the shuttle bay.”

“No.” Herring’s voice was decisive.

“It’s our chance to escape!” I edged through the cell door by feel.

“By all means, Stevens, steal a shuttle. We’ve been at warp for the last hour. You can’t launch while the ship is in warp. If you do survive that, you’ll be stranded in space. Or can you pilot a shuttle?”

The lights came back on. The force field reactivated, locking the others inside the cell.

“I’m not going to sit and wait patiently. These are pirates!”

“I won’t order you to stay here.”

“You want to be captured by pirates. You want them to take you to their base.” I wanted to smack him in the face. “You could have warned us.”

“You were warned this would be dangerous. You chose to come.”

“Your orders, Captain?” LeGrange saluted.

“You haven’t learned your place yet, Stevens.” Herring’s look was stern. “We wait for Delphi to activate.”

The door to the brig slid open at the same time the ship shuddered, slowing abruptly to impulse speeds.

Del’Brugado’s guards marched into the brig, weapons armed and aimed at us.

“We’re transferring, now.” The lead guard shut down the force field and waved his plasma blaster. “Del’Brugado doesn’t trust you on this ship. We’re scuttling it.”

Herring had enough self-control not to swear though I could read the anger in his eyes.

“Move it, you, to the shuttle bay.” The guards picked me, Herring, and one of the bridge officers in the cell.

“What of the others?” Herring asked.

The guard shrugged. “Not my problem, you are.”

The guards marched us through the ship, never giving us the chance to attack.

The waiting shuttle wasn’t Starfleet. Del’Brugado himself waited on the boarding ramp.

“Welcome to Fellucia, Captain and crew. Your rank will mean nothing soon enough. I think you might fetch a good price at the slave market.”

His evil laugh hung in the air after he swept into the shuttle. The guards shoved us after him.

“Slaves?” I whispered.

Herring shrugged. “I just hope Bradley remembers his orders.”

“So much for a quiet retirement.”

The guards locked us into the back of the shuttle. The bridge officer swallowed nervously.

“Steady, Fredricks,” Herring said, clapping the man on the back.

“Yes, sir.” Fredricks head bobbed.

I rolled my eyes. “Maybe we’ll luck out and they make me work in their galley. I could poison them all.”

“You’re cooking isn’t that bad.”

“I’m not flattered, sir.”

Herring smiled. “Trust Bradley, Stevens.”

“Then we’re doomed, sir, with all due respect. Bradley couldn’t find his...”

The rest of my words were lost in a rush of engines as the shuttle launched.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Heck Week. Our Great March to Victory


Hello Troops,
We are on the eve of Heck Week (edited for the sake of our younger readers). As many of you know, every summer I have a tradition of picking a week in July and turning it into Heck Week. I fill the week with camps and private missions to the point where sanity is itself is tested beyond its limits. This is the week that nearly drives us to drink. This is the week that sends many of you to counseling. This is the week that tests men’s souls. By Saturday, I’ll know where each of your breaking points are. By Saturday everything about you will be exposed. You’ll be a blabbering idiot, barely able to form complete sentences due to a serious lack of sleep. Walls will be walked into. Monitors will be placed at the restrooms to help the semi conscious remember which door to use. Caffeinated soft drinks will pour from the drinking fountains (not an easy accomplishment but doable for the right price). I instructed Aleta to stop at Red Lobster and acquire a box of plastic bibs for staff use at mealtimes. I’ll assign a camper to each of you. He or she will wipe your mouths and chins as you eat and be ready to pound your back should you start to choke.

May I say at the onset of this seemingly impossible challenge that I have every confidence in our ability to end the week victorious. We will do what some say can’t be done. We will slay ignorance. We will vanquish poverty. We will end this recession and, by giving up one extra hour of sleep each night, solve our nation’s health care crisis. We will achieve all of this, and still complete our camps and missions by feeding off pure adrenaline and the inspiration that comes from standing at the partition that separates reality from fantasy. We can do all this and much more!
So, rest well tonight fellow Troubadours. Tomorrow at 10:00 A.M. the bugle will sound and the drum will beat. The whistle will blow and we will go over the top. We will fight until there is no one standing (which should happen at 6:00 P.M. Saturday when the last campers leave). If our flag falls another will stop and pick it up. We will go forward, never retreat.

When all is said and done, this week will go down in Space Center history as our finest. Tales of what we accomplished will be told for years to come as we sit around our fires and remember the day when everyone said it couldn’t be done and we did it.

Buckle up and hold on. It will be a bumpy ride.

Mr. Williamson.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 4

This is just for fun. Any resemblance to people who work at the space center is intentional, although these characters aren't really them. Any resemblance to an actual mission is your imagination.

Aleta Clegg.


Personal Log: Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster - Entry 4

LeGrange swore as he knocked his head against another pipe fitting. “I hate these tunnels.”

“That’s because you’re a marine, not a skinny engineer,” Fells answered.

“Quiet,” I whispered. “Sound carries too well through these conduits.”

Thumps sounded from farther down the conduit. I froze. LeGrange and Fells tried to draw their phasers. The repair conduits were slightly too small to allow it.

The thumping stopped. My heart pounded while we waited.

Three deliberate thumps echoed down the conduit. I grinned and thumped twice fast, then twice slow.

“No fighting room in here,” Fells complained in a harsh whisper.

“I think I’ve got my phaser free,” LeGrange whispered. “Move over so I have a clear shot.”

My thumps were answered by five rapid ones.

“They’re coming! Quartermaster, you are in the line of fire. You are not trained for this. Move!” Fells shoved my boots.

“It’s Turner,” I answered him. “But just in case it isn’t...” I squeezed to one side.

LeGrange passed his phaser to Turner. I tried to melt into the side of the conduit when Turner poked it past my hip. I didn’t want caught in the beam.

Turner cautiously stuck his head around a bend. “Stevens?”

“It’s me.” I nudged LeGrange’s phaser away. “And two trigger happy marines.”

Turner crawled closer. A thin woman crawled after him, her black hair straggling loose from the bun on her head.

“This is Vasha, comm tech,” Turner introduced her.

“Comm tech? I’ve got an idea. Head back to that intersection,” I called over my shoulder.

LeGrange and Fells muttered curses under their breath as they inched backwards through the repair conduit.

The intersection wasn’t much bigger but it allowed enough room for the five of us to crouch together and whisper plans.

“Vasha, how well do you know the comm system?” I asked.

She shrugged. “I’m better with the main computer. I was computer specialist for a small ship for three years before they transferred me here.”

“Even better.” I rubbed my hands together.

“What are you planning? I hate it when you smile like that. You scare me.” Turner wiggled into a more comfortable position.

“Can you access the main computer?” I ignored Turner, for now.

“If you can get me into the captain’s quarters, yes. What do you want me to do?”

“Shut down the ship, lock them in the cabins, whatever you can dream up. LeGrange, can you get her there?”

He nodded. “It would be easier with at least five men. Those corridors have to be guarded or this Del’Brugado is a complete idiot. Which he wouldn’t be since he did manage to take over the ship from Captain Herring.”

“Not the hallways, LeGrange. Take the conduits. They’ll get you to deck four, near the forward shield generators. Be careful from there.”

“Don’t tell me my job, Quartermaster.” LeGrange’s tone was sharp. “Come on, Vasha. Stay close behind me.”

The two of them crawled down the conduit.

“They’ll be caught,” Fells whispered. His hand fondled his phaser as if it were a security blanket.

“Not if you give them something else to think about. Think you can stage a raid on the armory?”

”By myself?”

“You’re a marine. And you like big weapons, don’t you?”

A smile spread over Fells face, spelling doom for any marauders that weren’t paying attention.

“The two of us will get to the auxiliary controls and see what havoc we can wreak.” I pointed at Turner. “I know a few commands.”

“I don’t,” Turner said. “How about I see how close to the brig I can get? Maybe I can override the force fields.”

“And maybe you’ll get shot.”

“I didn’t know you cared, Stevens.”

Fells rolled his eyes. “You two lovebirds finish your fight, I’m leaving.” He crawled away.

“Go see what diversion you can create,” I said. “And try not to get caught.”

I didn’t wait to see him leave. I crawled through the conduit leading to engineering.

I climbed down the ladder to deck thirteen, listening for any movement below. The engineering control panel at the bottom of the ladder was for emergency use only. I figured this was definitely an emergency. I reached the bottom of the ladder and crouched, scanning the hallway outside the nook.

Two guards, wearing blue and yellow uniforms, talked at the end of the hall. They both carried weapons that looked far more deadly than phasers.

I pushed the button to release the controls. Air hissed as the panel slid open.

“Did you hear that?” One of the pirates turned, scanning the hall.

I ducked under the panel, scooting as far into its shadow as I could.

The intruder alarm screeched to life.

“Deck eight! They’re after the armory!” The two pirates sprinted for the nearest lift, leaving the hall clear.

I cautiously stood. The nook left me exposed to anyone walking in the hall. I quickly scanned the controls. Not as much help as I had hoped, these only controlled backup power systems. I yanked all the isolinear chips free, stuffing them into my pockets. I had to find a different node, take out the main reactor if I could.

I glanced up and down the hall. Still clear. I headed for main engineering at a run. If I moved fast enough, I could chuck something into the reactor core, pull the iso chips, something that would cripple the ship.

Faint thuds echoed through the ship. Eight, ten, more thuds followed quickly.

The alarms changed tone.

“Warning, life boats have been launched. Warp drive has been activated. All hands brace for warp speeds.” The main computer’s voice echoed through empty halls.

The floor vibrated as the engine power built.

I swore and ran faster. Wherever Del’Brugado was taking us, it couldn’t be good. If he’d launched lifepods, maybe he’d ditched most of the crew. And maybe they were dead. I couldn’t think about that now.

The door to main engineering slid open. I skidded to a stop. Five pirates leveled weapons at my head. I reversed course and ran madly down the hallway.

Boots pounded behind me. The guards shouted as they gave chase.

“At least you got your diversion,” I muttered as I slammed the controls for the lift.

Not fast enough, I thought. I darted into a cross hall, heading for the maze of the ship’s life support systems.

A shot ricocheted off the bulkhead. I dodged and slipped, skidding on my knees into a door.

One of the pirates grabbed the back of my uniform, dragging me to my feet.

“Not fast enough,” I said as he shook me.

“Who are you?”

“Adrian Stevens, Quartermaster. I don’t know my serial number.”

The pirate smashed me against the wall. “Search her for weapons then lock her in the brig with the others.”

The pirates shoved me through the ship to the brig. They lowered the force fields just long enough to push me inside. I staggered to a stop.

“If it isn’t the troublemaker,” Captain Herring spoke. “Enlisted personnel were supposed to be evacuated.”

“I think I missed the lifepod,” I answered.

Captain Herring sniffed. “You’ve spent more time in here than anyone else. Do you have any ideas how to escape?”

I fingered the isolinear chips still in the front of my uniform. “Maybe.” I noted who was in the brig. LeGrange lay on a bunk, nursing a bloody nose and black eye, but there was no sign of the others I’d sent. “Are they holding anyone else?”

“Major Yancy, main engineer, and three of his crew are in engineering.” The captain’s voice was crisp.

“Then they haven’t caught up with Turner or Vasha yet. We may still have a chance of escape.”

Herring nodded. “Then do what you can, Stevens.”

I pulled an iso chip from my suit. “Anyone here know how to open the force field generator panels?”