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Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Week from Heck. We Will Not Yield!

Fortuna Reviews the latest reports from the Fates as they unleash Mischief's Mayhem
on the Mortals of Pleasant Grove


"I grow bored." Fortuna sighed as she surveyed the deep blue sky. She stood up from her marble throne high upon Olympus. "What mortals are there whose luck must change?"

"How may we entertain my lady?" spoke one of her minions, an hunchbacked Imp with a twisted face and an elongated sliver of a nose. Spittle dripped from the side of his muddy red mouth. He waited for an answer. Fortuna rubbed her chin, sniffed the air then motioned the Imp to step back several paces. The lilac air fouled on his appearance.

"Surprise me," she said as she motioned for wine. The Imp clapped for wine to be served, then hobbled to the balcony to ponder her command.

"Shall I beckon Poseidon? A favor is owed to you my Lady. Our Lord Poseidon despairs to be in your debt." The Imp held out his hand to summon Lord Poseidon, God of the Seas.

Fortuna tapped her forehead. "Where is Athena?" The Imp lowered his arm and thought for a moment - pleased with his Lady's scheming.

"Athena is away my Lady. Shall we request our Lord Poseidon send a monstrous wave to wipe Athens away, that blemish upon the land is only here because of Athena's patronage? Would this not bring you great delight and spirit away your melancholy?"

Fortuna thought again. A minute later her cheeks expanded to form a sinister grin. Her pearly teeth sparkled in the midday sun. "Let us be more creative in our work. What of the mortals in that most Pleasant of Groves?"

"Oh yes my Lady, Pleasant Grove." The Imp jumped up and down. Juices from his mouth stretched to the floor forming an unbroken yellow bridge. His bones popped on each impact. "Why torment Athena when the vilest of nature's creations wistfully live their lives without regard to your graciousness in that Pleasant Grove?"

"Agreed." Fortuna held her staff heavenward. Dark swirling clouds filled the sky as she lowered her staff toward the west. A terrible wind blew from the valleys.. Lightning sliced through the tempest. The roar of thunder shook the Temple.
"Release the Fates!" she shouted. The Imp fought the wind to get to the edge of the balcony. His gray thin hair whipped around his face.

"Fates of Time and Fortune, Our Lady calls BE GONE to the westward land of Pleasant Grove."

Morris Mullen experienced the Fates as they flew over Chicago toward Pleasant Grove.
This misfortune gave him a migraine and an excuse to leave work early,
An unintended consequence.


The village of Pleasant Grove sat peacefully at the foot of Mt. Timpanagoes, completely unaware of the events unfolding on the top of Olympus so far away. It was Tuesday - the first day back to school for the students and teachers of Central School. The Space Center would soon be alive with the sound of children's voices. The sun shone bright. The air was clean and crisp. Everyone hoped the return from the holidays and the start of 2012 would be uneventful. All had high hopes for a good new year.

The Fates arrived with the morning sun, announced by the smell of mildewed wet washcloths. They swirled as a circling flock of crows over the village school plotting against the unsuspecting mortals below. At exactly the stroke of 9:45 A.M. they cast their first spell. Their spells continued unrelenting and without regards to the young or the old or the healthy or unwell for the rest of the week.

  • The Discovery room's mixer broke just before the start of the first field trip after returning from Christmas Vacation. The surge protector sparked. Fortuna was pleased. Aleta, Jon and Megan stepped in. Within a few minutes a replacement mixer was in place. Fortuna was not pleased.
  • The Phoenix's Tactical computer crashed mid flight Wednesday evening. With it went went all of the Phoenix's tactical computer stacks. The Phoenix had nothing to display on its main viewer. Fortuna was happy. Alex, Matt and Megan stepped in. The Galileo's spare Mac Mini was put into service. Many of the Phoenix's stacks were found on the Space Center's server and on several staff computers. Fortuna was not pleased.
  • The Magellan lost one of its entryway step's deck plating. Fortuna was pleased, hoping some mortal would trip on the loose deck plate resulting in a loss of blood. Jon reattached the deck plate. Fortuna was not pleased. Luckily there were no injuries.
  • The Magellan's sound system crashed before its Tuesday evening mission. Fortuna was pleased. Megan and Jon found a way to switch inputs to an open channel to restore the system. The mission proceeded as usual. Fortuna was unhappy. The Fates had to do better.
  • Half way through that same Magellan mission, the simulator's video system failed. The staff could only display the tactical screen - no video. On our tech's recommendations, Mr. Williamson purchased of two new switchers at a cost of $125.00. Neither of them corrected the problem. Fortuna was pleased. Mr. Williamson felt obliged to refund most of the group's money because of the technical errors. Fortuna was ecstatic! On Wednesday Alex and Jon made their final report to Mr. Williamson. "We need a new $600 switcher," Alex said. "Have we tried everything else?" Mr. Williamson asked, not wanting to use the nuclear solution unless it was absolutely necessary. "Well, we didn't try swapping the cable." Alex answered. Alex and Jon found a new cable. The Magellan's video system was repaired. Fortuna was not pleased. Mr. Williamson was, although spending over one hundred dollars on new switchers when the problem was a $20.00 cable gave him a night's worth of indigestion.
  • On Tuesday Stacy discovered that many of the Galileo's newly modified programming stacks were erased when the Galileo's new Cocoa programs were loaded onto the computers. Fortuna was pleased. Matt Ricks was not happy. Fortuna won one.
  • On Wednesday, Mr. Williamson realized he hadn't staffed a Magellan mission due to start in 15 minutes. The Magellan needed a staff of 10 to operate correctly. Fortuna prepared to add another point to her favor. Mr. Williamson got on the phone and arranged staffing thanks to the Space Center's awesome staff and volunteers who were willing to come in on a moment's notice to ensure the best possible experience for our patrons. Fortuna returned to her throne disgusted.
  • Megan's laser pointer sparked during one of her planetarium shows. The pointer's replacement batteries had been inserted incorrectly. The Imp took credit for that idea. Fortuna shrugged unimpressed, realizing that inconvenience was easily fixed.
  • The school's main water line broke on Wednesday. Water flooded the school's basement. The Space Center's wood shop had nearly two inches on the floor. Fortuna applauded the Fate's creativity. Fortuna marked two in her favor. Jon Parker stepped forward and took it upon himself to remove the two to three inches of water covering the Space Center's wood shop. The water wasn't clean, so Jon had to wear protective gear - rubber galoshes and rubber gloves. The air mask and face shield, while not necessary, made the event more serious.
  • Thursday, the school's cafeteria and one classroom flooded from the same water line. Four school district plumbers worked through the afternoon to track down the problem. The blockage was cleared at 3:00 P.M. Fortuna prepared to take a bow. Jon and other members of the staff stepped forward to deprive her of her victory. Jon worked most of Thursday cleaning up the water from the Space Center's basement wood shop. On Saturday the job was finished thanks to help from Spenser Dauwalder's father and his water pump. Fortuna was upset by this disasters turn of events. Jon's arms and shoulders were sore, yet there were no complaints. He is a true warrior against Immortal oppression.
  • The school's fire alarm system broke on Wednesday. The repairmen interrupted our missions with a few test fire alarms. Fortuna brushed this off as armature. The Fates rallied.
  • On Thursday the school's entire heating system failed. It was 48 degrees in the classrooms and Space Center. Fortuna was impressed. The Fates had redeemed themselves. The problem was corrected late in the day. A breaker needed to be reset.
  • One of the Magellan's backlit bridge signs failed just before the start of a mission. Mr. Williamson sent Christine to Walmart to purchase a new bulb. The light still wouldn't work. Mr. Williamson sent Jon to ACE Hardware to buy a new light fixture. The problem was solved. Fortuna gave a "ho hum...."
  • The Galileo's DMX system broke. The DMX system controls the ship's internal lights from the control area.
  • The school had no hot water on Friday. The water heating system broke.
  • A student vomited in the hallway.
  • A student brought a dead rabbit in a zip lock bag to school on Friday for show and tell. Last year that same student brought a dead puppy.
All of that in four days of school! Regardless of being on the receiving end of such bad luck, I must applaud Fortuna and her Fates for their impressive work. I pause to wonder which volunteer or staff did the deed that summoned Fortuna's attention. Was it me? Did I not sacrifice several pieces of delicious Christmas chocolate in her honor? Was this not enough?
On Saturday Wyatt queried the culprit could be "M" The Destroyer of Worlds, in a bid to unseat Fortuna. "M" denied the charge.

Will Fortuna's Fates continue their assualt this week? Has she had her way with us? Will she grow bored and move on to greener pastures and more deserving mortals? Will Jon regain the use of his arm and shoulder after hauling gallons and gallons of water up and down the basement stairs? He claims permanent damage and requests to go on Space Center welfare assistance for the rest of his life. His request was denied with a sternly worded, "Get Back to Work," from Mr. Williamson.

Although in his defense, Mr. Williamson would like all to know he rewarded Jon's extra effort to dry out the shop by buying him a large Dr. Pepper from Harts on Saturday. Jon took the gift knowing it was the best he was going to get from the Bossman.

"Jon, now that you've been rewarded with this LARGE Dr. Pepper - at not cost to you I might add - would you be willing to stay after the Overnight Camp to work with the electrician. He's installing a new spot light in Discovery and a couple new outlets in the Voyager's Crew Quarters."

Mr. Williamson's statement was worded as a request, spoken without taking his gaze off the LARGE Dr. Pepper in Jon's hand. Mr. Williamson's expectant look was painfully obvious to all. Jon could have declined, claiming exhaustion as a valid excuse. I'm please to say that he didn't. Mr. Williamson thanked him with a few more "Get out of Jail Free" cards. The staff and volunteers applauded Jon's taking another one for the team, then promptly got the heck out of Dodge before Mr. Williamson could think of something else that needed doing.

Stay tuned to The Troubadour to find out.
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