Zodiacal Light

Zodiacal  Light

This panorama of 2016’s very first sighting of the Milky Way in the area was shot with a timeless beauty, a vintage Minolta lens, the MC Rokkor PG 58mm/f1.2 to be exact. I was skeptical about a vintage lens lacking all the modern lens coatings to perform the way it did. It is akin to using a 1968 slide ruler (Google it you, millennials!!) to perform a complex calculation that would require a computer now.

That is not what is special about this picture. What is special is the fact that I captured the more timeless beauty, the Zodiacal Light that is so coveted by astrophotographers.

Thanks to Wisanu Boonrawd for identifying it. Zodiacal light is a faint, roughly triangular, diffuse white glow seen in the night sky that appears to extend up from the vicinity of the Sun along the ecliptic or zodiac. In this picture you see the Zodiacal light right at the bottom center of the horizon. Zodiacal light is produced by sunlight reflecting off dust particles in the Solar System known as cosmic dust. (With help from Wikipedia)

Posted by Rajesh Jyothiswaran on 2017-01-11 04:27:27

Tagged: , A7RII , Hagerman Milky Way , ILCE-7RM2 , Light , Minolta MC Rokkor PG 58mm f1.2 , National , Night , Nightscape , Sony , Texas , Wildlife , Zodiac , Zodiacal Light , astrophotography , cloud , sunrise

Wheeler Glacier and Cirque Headwall

Wheeler Glacier and Cirque Headwall

Wheeler Glacier and Cirque Headwall. Great Basin National Park, Nevada. September 26, 2017. © Copyright 2017 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Wheeler Glacier and the cirque headwall below Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park

On my recent first-time visit to Nevada’s Great Basin National Park I experienced the challenges and rewards of photographing a brand new (to me!) location. As I have previously noted, I usually avoid doing too much research about a new destination ahead of time, at least beyond what is necessary to successfully get there and back and locate places to stay and eat, along with the most basic known features of the place. (For anyone who hasn’t heard the message already, I’m trying to retain the potential for discovery in new places and to make it more likely that I will form my own orientation to them.) So, what I actually knew about this park in advance of my visit was somewhat limited: it is formed around the Snake Mountains, it is famous for its caves, Wheeler Peak is the second highest point in Nevada, there might be fall color at this time of year, that much of the park is not easily accessible… and there is a glacier!

From this and a few of my other photographs of the high areas of the park you might get the impression that it is largely and alpine place. It isn’t. In fact, the spots that do have that feeling are a small portion of the park and at least partially notable for being exceptions. Yet, once you arrive at such places they become your entire world. (Well, almost your entire world, since views of the surrounding "basin" terrain are rarely far away.) This glacial cirque cuts into the highest ridge, separating the two tallest summits in the park. The view straight into this glacial valley is, indeed, impressively alpine. (As I write this I have a photograph of a Pacific Northwest glacier scene from Mount Shuksan open on my computer, and it shares remarkable parallels with this photograph.) On this visit the effect was enhances by a recent dusting of early autumn snowfall that coats the mountains and the top of the huge rock glacier at the lower edge of the much smaller ice glacier.

G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, "California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra" is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
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All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.

Posted by G Dan Mitchell on 2017-10-01 18:25:31

Tagged: , wheeler , peak , glacier , headwall , curque , basin , rocky , mountains , cliff , great basin , national , park , nevada , landscape , nature

National Urban Water Saving Publicity Week Today, Saving You Yet? – Water-saving Publicity Week,

National Urban Water Saving Publicity Week Today, Saving You Yet? – Water-saving Publicity Week,
2009 May 10 to May 16 is the 18th a national urban water-saving publicity week, Yantai City, the Office of Urban Management Bureau of the city to save water in the May 10 workshop on the theme “Strengthening conservation and waste reduction, promotion of scientific development “Publicity Week, and set up the main venue in Namsan Park, Yantai, Binzhou Medical College Campus, Shandong Institute of Business, Lu Dong University, Yantai University, respectively, and set up a sub-venue.

5 10 8 am early today, Yantai City, the staff members came to the water on the Maozhuotaiyu Awareness Week Nanshan Park main venue, and together with some water companies were at the scene of the past members of the public water-saving publicity. According to a company to the staff bathroom, toilet water storage capacity at present is generally 2 to 4 liters of water, common toilet in the water than in the past reduced by more than half, to be able to use less water to clean the toilet, some new technology becomes crucial, for example: the smooth ceramic surface level flush pipes of thickness, styling design, etc. will influence the flushing effect. Present a common water-saving toilets generally at 400 yuan, compared to the average toilet seat price is almost, well received by general public.

In eastern Shandong University, Shandong Institute of Business, Yantai Vocational College, Binzhou Medical College, Yantai Water-saving publicity sub-campus venue, the school also organized a water signature, signed nearly a thousand students in the rain, and that in later Life will pay more attention to water conservation. Yantai, Binzhou Medical College campus, a female college student told reporters: “The school implemented a variety of Energy Measures to take water for instance, buy a ticket before entering the bathroom after a bath is easily washed, the students have no concept of saving, longer wash time also wasted a lot of water, now with a time Charge , Credit cards can shower after, but if a long time to wash, then also the high cost, so now when taking a bath very quickly, saving a lot of water. “

Punishment, according to Binzhou Medical management of water and electricity Lin Zhuren General introduction, the school has invested 45 million yuan and built a card bathroom, and installed in the Kai Shuifang IC Card Control system, two water-saving project in December 2006 began to use the students to play a pot of boiling water about 1 penny, take a bath about 2 yuan a general enough also. After the water bath system to install credit card rate of 60% or more, to install credit card water boilers and save over 50% of the water.

Reporter learned that the university interview venue, the four institutions will be campus lake (natural reservoirs) rational use of water as a priority. It is understood, Binzhou Medical College, Yantai has invested more than 350 million campus construction of a water storage capacity of 70,000 cubic meters of artificial lakes, mainly for landscape Fire Water, irrigation, rainwater harvesting 20,000 cubic meters per year, saving a lot of water; Shandong Institute of Business has invested more than 20 million underground ceramic pipes, more than 10 million yuan investment on the three ponds were extensively, to nearly 3,000 cubic capacity increase meters, all buildings will be hospital-wide deep-water trunk lines and the number of people who stay to the natural rain water collection ponds for construction and green water, water up to a year savings of more than 10 million tons; Lu Tung University, more than 80 million in construction investment transformation of the artificial lake, on the campus and the surrounding mountain rainwater collection, as green, infrastructure, Environment Health, such as water fountains, water savings each year nearly 10 million cubic meters of water saving nearly 30 million; Yantai Vocational College has invested nearly 300 million excavation of the area of nearly 10,000 square meters, capacity of about 18,000 cubic meters of artificial lake, not only beautify the campus and can accept water, according to preliminary statistics, the annual water savings of nearly 10,000 tons, the cost savings of 3 million yuan.

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I Won NaNoWriMo!

I Won NaNoWriMo!

As you can tell, I won NaNoWrimo by meeting my word count goal of 5,000 words with a novel inspired by a LEGO minifig, believe it or not! Here’s the novel that I wrote, if you’re interested!
Space Police System Log (Sector Twelve)Stardate 10.29.2110 11:00 AM GMT
>System accessed from portable pad 100198
>Portable pad 100198 info: Pad no longer exists
>Query to portable pad 100198 pertaining to identity
>Portable pad 100198 reply: “I’ve got a new recruit, so I had to give the recruit Hime’s old pad”
>Portable pad 100198 authenticity: Security access level Green permitted
>Security system access by portable pad 100198: Security code “Admin” entered
>New security status of portable pad 100198: Security level Red all areas accessible
>Portable pad 100198 request access to level 9.
>Portable pad 100198 request granted
>Portable pad 100198 has went offline.
>Weapon discharge in Level 9.
>Establish lockdown.
>Lockdown established.
>Portable pad 100198 online.
>Portable pad 100198 requests removal of lockdown.
>Portable pad 100198 request granted.
>Portable pad 100198 requests shutdown of all security systems.
>Query portable pad 100198 authentication code.
>Portable pad 100198 authentication code Piccadilly.
>Portable pad 100198 request granted.
>All security systems disabled.
>Weapon discharge in Level 9
>Operator 195 vitals zero.
>Medical units dispatched.
>Portable pad 100198 request: Cancel medic dispatch and do not call medical again.
>Portable pad 100198 request granted.
>All medical response circuits disabled.
>Medical assistance call 009 canceled.
>Weapons discharge in Level 9.
>Operator 004 vitals zero.
>Weapon type established: Walther Silenced Disintegrator S/N 009.
>ERROR: Portable pad 100198’s owner has not been issued with such a weapon.
>Weapons discharge in Level 9.
>Operator 894 vitals zero.
>Weapon type established: Walther Silenced Disintegrator S/N 008.
>ERROR: Portable pad 100198’s owner has not been issued with such a weapon.
>ERROR: Discharge of two different weapons of the “Pistol” class, one in each hand, is a recognized violation of Marksmanship Statute 8976.
>GENERAL ERROR CONDITION
>Portable pad 100198 has been disabled.
>All changes revert to fifth-to-last save.
>Security teams dispatched to Level 9.
>Owner of portable pad 100198 has been disabled.
>Large explosion of the type “Fission Bomb” has been detected.
Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 10.31.2110

I couldn’t decipher much of the system log, as I am not that good with computer language. From what I can piece together, it happened like this:

It was a cold, dark, dry Martian night in the Sector 12 station. Sergeant-at-Arms Kelby had just begun checking his third-quarter timesheets, when an old, disused pad (100198) started to hack into the system form the disused back entrance. Eventually, it managed to hack the security codes so that it carried Captain Piccadilly’s code! The operator of the pad used this to get into Level 9, our chaotic call center. Then, he/she opened fire on the cavernous room, filled to the gills with vidphone operators. We lost three operators at that instant. They were Susan Adams, “Acid” Wund, and Jon Baker. They were all at the top of their game, and much too young to die. The security cameras caught a glimpse of a completely black-clad figure dual-wielding banned Walther Disentegrators. I ran a face-match on this picture, and had no luck. The perp suddenly teleported out of there. A small orange and red object dropped, and then KA-WHAM!, no more feed or system logging. I instantly recognized the explosion type. It was a 1-2 megaton fission bomb, with about the yield of the one that destroyed Hiroshima. Thankfully, the system’s last gasp included activating the rad shields and sealing off every section. The system and all the other electronic devices went kaput, because the Keptin designers forgot to add shielding to their design. We had no deaths from the blast, but about 50 got concussion wounds, and all of the evidence was destroyed. I might mention that the café’s food suddenly tasted like a mouthful of brick dust. I can only hope the radiation didn’t affect Sector Twelve’s food stores. The case is nowhere near closed, though.

Chapter 2

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 988) Stardate 11.2.2110
Today started out well enough. I had just figured out a new lead on Case 987. By looking at what was visible of the perp’s face through the mask, I was able to figure out that the perp was the same species as the infamous mugger Slizer. It is definitely not Slizer, though, because he is safe and sound in Planet Lisa’s max-security prison. Then, the worst happened. Reports started filtering in that the Skaalgan, a warrior race, had rebelled against the good rule of the Galactic Republic. First, le me give you a bit of background on the Skaalgan.

The Skaalgan are categorized as a Type 12 species. Normal Earth composition air is quite toxic to them, so they have to wear chlorine-filled pressure suits off their home planet, Schvinge. They are also a traditionally violent race, so these methane suits, if punctured, also serve as a deadly gas bomb to Type 3 (oxy-breathing mammals like the Humans) species. At last count, they have orchestrated a baker’s dozen rebellions against the Republic. (source: Hyperwikipedia)

They appeared to have no reason other than “it was Bob’s birthday, and that means we go rebel against somebody”. Their main forces for the initial assault consisted of the Mustard Juggernauts, the deadliest combination of armor, gas suits, and weapons the galaxy has ever seen. The Mustard Juggernauts are armed with the deadly GE Minigun and the Heckler&Koch MP5. While outdated, the Minigun puts out an astonishing 3,000 rounds per minute, and the MP5 is astonishingly accurate. Our forces were only ray-shielded, so these “outdated” mass throwers came as quite a surprise. Their main spearheads were on three planets: Planet Lisa, a then-deserted asteroid, and Space Station EM-3. It was a complete massacre. The Space Police peacekeepers, using the completely wrong type of shielding, dropped like flies. We had to call in the Space Marines.

I didn’t hear much from HNN on the issue. It soon went deep black. I had to go through the official channels to get any information on the rebellion. From what I heard, it has already been resolved. It’s not my department, anyways…..

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.5.2110

I think I have a lead! The only place where Walther Disentegrators can be found is Jack Jeebs Pawn in Queens, New York. I have a void in my schedule tomorrow, so I think I’ll go to Queens to check this out. There’s also a few friends of mine up there that may have some information pertaining to the case. By the way, Sally has been acting up lately. I think she somehow got a copy of Windows Vista to run as a background emulator to relieve boredom, and it is bugging up the system like heck.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.6.2110
I am on the evening rocket back to HQ as I write this. The visit to Jeebs’ place was quite eventful. It’s fresh in my mind, so I’ll give you a play-by-play.

I walked into the pawn shop at high noon, with a spring in my step thanks to some spring-augmented stilts from a street vendor. I soon accidentally bumped my head on the chandelier. I asked Jeebs about the Walther disintegrators nicely, and then he unexpectedly tells me about these kids walking in and stealing every single bit of high-tech weaponry he has, including the Walther Disentegrators! Luckily, those kids frequented the shop, so Jeebs new exactly who they were. They were Derek Rodriguez and Alfred Lord, both 17. They lived in the Jamaica Estates apartments, room 131 and 342 respectively. I will have to file for a warrant to both interview and interrogate these kids about the robbery and where the disintegrators went.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.7.2110

Paperwork sucks eggplants. I had to go through a Trip Value Assessment, an after-action report, an incident report, a polygraph test, an appeal for a warrant, an overhead expense justification sheet for the spring-augmented stilts, and a part replacement chitty for Sally’s graphics chip (it had become infested with gremlins) just for those past two days! Arrghh!

Anyway, I pulled up the files on those kids. Nothing came up except for this odd code fragment from Sally.
>fuzzy wuzzies
That’s all. I think I need to replace the monitor again.

Chapter 3

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.8.2110

I finally got the warrant for search of the Jamaica Estates apartments, rooms 131 and 342. I am right in front of the building right now, so I’ll go ahead and log it. The log may prove crucial.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.8.2110 Supplemental

2:00 I am at the lobby.
2:01 I ask the receptionist which way I should head to get to room 131.
2:02 Receptionist: “Here’s a map, you should know how to use it.”
2:03 Note to self: Do not ask directions from the receptionist. Ever.
2:04 I am knocking at the door of room 131.
2:09 Nobody has answered.
2:10 I am using the ancient elevator in lieu of a turbolift to get to room 342.
2:15 I am knocking at the door of room 342.
2:16 I apparently am knocking at the front door of the Odd Species Embassy in New York, New York.
2:17 Something has gone seriously wrong. I appear to have entered a spatial disturbance.
2:18 Starfleet Lieutenant Commander Data answers the door. I ask him about the disturbance.
Data: “I have no idea as to what just happened. However, I am on vacation and am able to assist.
2:19 Data pulls out his tricorder and scans me.
Data: “You appear to have come from the year 2110. Welcome to the twenty-fourth century.”
2:20 Make that temporal disturbance. I hate it when Carl Sagan forgets to carry a number.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.8.2410

I have entered a temporal disturbance while knocking at the door of room 342 at the Jamaica Estates apartments in Queens, New York. I have acquired a helper in the form of Starfleet Lieutenant Data. He is an android with a positronic brain. I have no leads on either Incident 987 or how I am supposed to get out of here. Yikes. Of course, the fuzzy wuzzies may have something to do with that.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.12.2410

I just searched “fuzzie wuzzies” about a minute ago and it came up with some interesting results. Fuzzie wuzzies appears to be an asteroid in the next sector over with an odd temporal anomaly on its surface. I’m in the middle of coordinating an attempt to figure out which time and system it goes to.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.16.2110
I am not allowed to divulge the methods by which I got back because of the Prime Directive, but here I am. Everything’s good now, but the Jamaica Estates apartments are going to have to have a thorough scientific scan for anomalies. I hope I can interrogate the two kids while they’re waiting for their rooms to finish the scan. Meanwhile, back to Sally’s defective monitor…

Transcript of interview of Derek Rodriguez and Alfred Lord by SPSI Saxon Fletcher
Stardate 11.16.2110 2:00 PM
Saxon Fletcher: Do you happen to know anything about the temporal anomaly in Alfred Lord’s room?
Alfred Lord: Woops, sorry about that. It’s a leftover from when my whole family lived in the apartment and I wanted to keep my little sister out of my room. I really must recalibrate that thing.
Saxon Fletcher: What do you know about the thief of Jack Jeebs’s whole weapons stock?
Derek Rodriguez: His weapons stock has never been stolen, ever. I should know. He lies to any overly curious people so they don’t go spreading rumors that Jeebs has some illegal weapons. He only sells those illegal weapons to people threatening him with a much bigger gun or a permit, though.
Alfred Lord: His whole stock is intact. I bought a target blaster off him just yesterday.
Saxon Fletcher: Do you happen to know anything about a pair of Walther Disentegrators that disappeared from Jeebs’s store about two weeks ago?
Derek Rodriguez: He sold them to a light-green colored alien that looked a lot like that Slizer dude you see on the “Most Wanted” posters.
Saxon Fletcher: That’s all. Good day.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.17.2110
I had to go through more paperwork than ever today! I think the paper I used was about the yield from an entire tree. I had to go to a debriefing run by the Physicists that Formerly said Theoretical, make an absence excuse sheet, negotiate with Sally’s defective gremlin-catching lawyer, file an After-Action Report from the interview of Rodriguez and Lord, explain the Prime Directive to about fifty of my coworkers, go through a full bio scan, and last but not least, a cost-risk assessment for some utterly unrelated thing that accidentally got wired to me. I plan to quantify Rodriguez’s statement about Jeebs’s sales with my old pals at MiB, test out those stilts, and try to catch up on my doctorate of investigation.

CHAPTER 3

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.18.2110
I’m at the Queens MiB bureau as I write this. It appears that both the MiB have developed a lifespan-enhancing drug called “boosterspice” with no ill effects. This has Potential with a capital P. Sadly, I am not allowed to divulge any details about this breakthrough, or I would have to brain-wipe you. Anyways, I checked with K about Jeeb’s activities. Turns out the kids were right. Jeebs uses everything he can to keep the long arm of the law out of his shop. The MiB (or Mibbies as we call them in the amateur xenobiologist community) assigned me Agent J to help me out on the case, as they lost one of their own (“Acid” Wund, who was visiting). I’ve also been assigned an extremely potent version of the famed Noisy Cricket with a longer antenna to use if things get interesting. Here’s a play-by play log of our “visit” to Jeebs’s shop.
11:00 AM Agent J and I are exiting the Mibbie’s Queens Bureau through the west exit.
11:02 AM I see the street vendor that sold me those spring-loaded stilts. I thank him.
11:05 AM Agent J and I stop to talk to a pug. He quantifies the kid’s statement yet again.
11:15 AM J and I are waiting at the bus stop.
11:45 AM J and I are still waiting.
12:00 PM We get on the bus to MacDougal Street.
1:00 PM We get off the bus.
1:15 We are at the “Question of Time” jewelry shop, aka Jeebs’s shop.
1:16 Agent J: “Jeebs, let’s see the goods.”
1:17 Jeebs: “I don’t know nothing about any goods! I’m just a humble jewelry shop owner!”
1:18 Agent J: “Skip it. We know you have extraterrestrial weapons here.”
1:19 Jeebs pulls out a fearsome-looking shotgun and presses it to J’s head. It’s time for the Son of the Noisy Cricket.
1:20 I shoot the Noisy Cricket II at Jeeb’s head and simultaneously cause Jeeb’s head to disappear, the shotgun drops on the button that changes Jeebs’s shelves, and the recoil throws me back about 10 feet. “Noisy Cricket” my butt.
1:21 Jeebs: “You idiot! Do you know how much that stings?”
1:22 I ask Jeebs about the two Walther Disentegrators he sold a couple weeks ago.
1:23 Jeebs: “That guy said he was mafia. I can’t tell you anything”.
1:24 Agent J: “The mafia doesn’t have aliens.”
1:25 Jeebs: “Alright, fine. I don’t know his name, but I do know where he lives and what he is. He is a rouge Igor from Discworld, transported here by a temporal anomaly. He currently lives in the Jupiter sky colonies.
1:26 Me: “That pretty much seals it. All Igors call themselves Igor, so we know his name, location, and timeframe.”
1:27 Agent J and I are heading back to MiB HQ.
5:00 We are back at MiB HQ. I hate rush hour.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.19.2110
I am starting preparations for the trip to Jupiter to track down the Jovian Igor. I’ve collected a warrant, a small rocket-powered atmosphere skipper, and the pressure suits necessary so far. I’m in the process of figuring out a vehicle-mounted weapons system that won’t accidentally shoot through the gas envelopes of the colonies. My solution so far uses a combination of a railgun shooting small, thin-walled ampoules of hydrogen at an incredibly high speed. Theoretically, this design will have a darn-near unlimited ammo supply, given that the Jovian atmosphere is primarily made up of hydrogen. I just have to keep the whole atmosphere from going up in flames! Agent J has come through with some of the gadgets we are going to need, and my alma mater Clark County University has provided us with a prototype warp drive capable of going Warp 4. Now all we need is a vehicle to cram all this stuff in.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.20.2110
We’ve got a ship. It’s a robust cargo hauler called the Star Porter. I’ve got a configuration for everything. The railgun design has been fabbed and is in shipping, and I am trying to cram the CCU warp drive into Engineering. I’ve collected a crack crew. Now to get the muscle to operate the lifts right… Agent J is wrestling with installing the scanners and matter-energy reactor. I have also come up with another lead about the Jovian Igor. He lives in Sky Colony 4, near the equator.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.21.2110
Ha, all the keys I had to press were the two, the one, and the zero. Anyways, we’ve got everything ready and will be underway once the FAA gives us a clearance, which could be tomorrow or the next millennium, knowing how the FAA hates everyone. I’m trying to find more info on Sky Colony 4. Apparently, the fourth colony disappeared into the Big Red Spot about five years ago, yet its transponders are giving the “all clear” signal, and their locators are disabled. Rumors have been circulating that Four broke away from the Republic. This adds another SP team to my crew compliment, but they’re good people. Heading up SPSI Team TWO will be Special Operator Medvedev. He will have Agent K, Bob and a young upstart named Kirk under him.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.22.2110
We’ve got an FAA clearance at last. We launch tomorrow. All preparations are done.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.23.2110
We have launched. We are going to do a mid-trip refuel with a Ramses-class supertanker, net info dump near Asteroid AP Alpha, and finally detach the atmospheric hopper section, which contains the bridge, living quarters for the SP investigation units, and a gas envelope inflator. I also am riding the hopper down. When we hit the atmosphere, we will gather inflatable gasses for about a minute (sixty kilometers downwards), inflating the gas envelope as we go down. Once the gas envelope inflates, we will gain the designation Sky Rover One. We will make our way over to Five’s last known location, then deploy rocket hoppers in a spiral search pattern.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.24.2110

We have made it to the refuel point with the Ramses-class supertanker Star Provider.
No sight of her, yet, which is very weird. Meanwhile, the crew has been amusing themselves with the holodeck. They have been having as much fun with the constant power and picture tube repairs as with using it. Changing the picture tubes requires hooking into a safety line climbing rig and climbing a hundred-foot ladder of titanium-sheathed Net conduits to the projector. There, they have to input a thirty-two digit hexadecimal security code to gain access to the projector assembly. Once they replace it, they face a hundred-fifty foot rappel down to safety. It’s not for the queasy. The projector blows quite a lot, so they get a lot of chances. One of our engineers is testing a wing system to eliminate the rappel. He has went through five “Frequent Patient” cards at sickbay.
The power units are a whole different story. When they go down, all heck breaks lose. The subject has to suit up in full “battle rattle”, containing a deactivator pistol, a high-strength locator beacon, a holoresolver HUD, and a Scout power armor suit. Once down to the engineering levels, he has to literally do battle with the failing holoprojector computer. The computer generates random images, most used in battle training and therefore quite frightening. The subject uses his holoresolver HUD to check and see if the hologram can do any damage (the holodeck computer has been known to interface with the replicator at times) and takes the required action. If the hologram is innocuous, he adjusts his HUD to block it out and move on. If the hologram’s matter-energy settings are off and it looks to be malicious, the subject tries to access the shipwide network and shut that down. If not, he shoots it with the deactivator, which tells the computer to shut that image down. The computer has, on occasion, taken cues from early pre-warp two-dimensional “videogames” and have a life system, which causes the image to take multiple shots to shut down. To counter this, the arts department is working with the geeks to create higher-power weapons such as deactivator cannons. I think that, with the proper modifications, these weapons will be quite useful on Sky Colony Four. Once the subject has gotten to the central holodeck computer, he has to interface directly with it via his Net implant to reprogram it to accept the new power circuitry. This is incredibly tedious at the best of times, and utterly nauseating and terrifying when the computer is really on the fritz or in one of its moods. After he has reprogrammed it, he has to come back through the “stacks”, which contain, at total, fifteen thousand terabytes of data. He must not bump a single memory stack for fear of taking down life support or his locator beacon receiver software. The Adar designers, in their endless wisdom, made this a fun little labyrinth. Thankfully, we haven’t lost a man yet, but it took five hours until we heard from SP Investigation Team ONE Matrix Specialist Max “Job Title” Porkins.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.25.2110
We have finally sighted the Star Provider and refueled. The Bussard-Cherenkov balance refueling process is quite a spectacle, so I’ll relate the process to you.
First, the subject has to bleed off all its fuel. This is usually accomplished by having the refueling point when the subject is almost completely out of fuel, but the modified Star Porter is a bit different. Our modifications meant that the quad-blaster cannon gas reserves are in the previous main fuel tank, and the fuel is contained in MASSIVE external conformal fuel tanks (ECFTs). The ECFT designer forgot to add external dump valves. Additionally, our refuel point had to be when we were midway there, because that was the last refuel point until Jupiter. We could have lasted until we were three-quarters there, but then we would be dead in space with no refueling opportunity.
Our pilot accomplishes this by taking the Star Porter through VERY aggressive combat maneuvers. He first detaches the atmospheric hopper section so the crew doesn’t get nauseated, and then goes through about twenty barrel rolls. It worked, thankfully, and I didn’t have to ride shotgun on THAT stagecoach. Next, the atmospheric hopper pilot reattaches with the main section (taking up precious fuel, but the main section pilot made it within a kilometer). Next, the tanker takes down an umbilical and refuels each ECFT individually, a painstaking process. Finally, the tanker detaches. Anyways, we refueled well and are now going towards the Net dump.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.26.2110
We have made it to the Net dump but are having some problems. The conduits are overflowing and maxing out the processors. It’s definitely going to be interesting. The engineers have hacked up a solution, involving some duct tape and a welder. We’ll see how long that holds up. I’ve actually managed to dredge u some information regarding these rebel Igors. They actually have a secret society and are plotting to take over Jupiter. They have, so far, only been able to put one Igor in, our perp.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.27.2110
We are now separating the atmospheric section from the section with the warp drive.
T+1 The section has been successfully separated.
T+2 The section is in free fall.
T+3 The envelope has been inflated.
T+4 Redesignation: Sky Rover One.
T+5: Heading to the bearing of the last transmit from Five.
T+6: Preparing to offload rocket hoppers.
T+20: Last known position of Five reached. Initiating full sensor scan.
T+25: Faint signal heard spinwards. Deploying rocket hoppers one and two to investigate.
T+30: Rocket hoppers have reported that they have found Five. I’m heading in.
T+35: I have launched in Boarding One. I am really regretting not taking those drop sickness pills.
T+40: Boarding One has inflated its envelope and we are coming alongside Five.
T+41: Sending query.
T+42: Five has fired its railgun.
T+42: We are undertaking evasive maneuvers.
T+43: We are firing at Five’s weapons stations.
T+44: We have disabled Five’s weapons.
T+45: Coming alongside Five.
T+46: SPI teams ONE and TWO have boarded.
/end log

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.28.2110
We have tracked down the Jovian Igor and he is in jail, but it’s no fun if you, dear reader, do not know how it happened, so here goes!

It was an all-too-stormy day on Jupiter. The time: high noon. We had boarded the rebel Sky Colony Five via the good ship Boarding One and swept the colony like the old Navy SEALs. Suddenly, our old friend the Jovian Igor fired at my first officer Sgt. Novak. Sadly, the perpetrator was a dead shot. I set my trusty Noisy Cricket to “stun” and went after the direction of the shot, with Men In Black Agent J trailing close behind. Little did we know, the Igor had professional training. Like any good blaster sniper, he never shot from the same spot twice. With holographic decoys that we had set out earlier dropping like flies, it looked like a miniature D-Day, except for two details: We were on a blimp and using blasters. Agent J suggested using jetpacks, which we did. Thankfully, they were the new repulsor units. Taking energy from the batteries of the dearly deceased hologram units, we took to the air like so many birds. Trouble is, our flight skills weren’t all that good (both of us having barely passed Basic Jetpack Skills in primary), so we barely made it over the courthouse roof . These comedic antics acted as excellent evasive maneuvers, so we were never hit once. I pulled out my binoculars and had a look around. Surprisingly enough, the Igor was smack-dab in my sights. I took my Noisy Cricket off safety and fired. The recoil knocked me back about 10 feet, thus throwing off my gyros. I barely had enough time to compensate before I hit the ground. My jetpack busted, I had to chase the perp on foot. He ran up a fire escape, firing wildly (and missing) all the time. When he got up, he had to change blaster gas cells. I took the opportunity and fired. The infamous Jovian Igor was down. I took out a Styrette from my supplies and injected the Igor with an anesthetic, which would keep him out for at least 5 hours. Then the worst happened. Blaster fire started pouring in from all directions. It turned out that our little friend was not alone. I left the perp to the paddy wagon and dove for cover. Fortunately, his henchmen were not as well trained, firing from the same spot all the time. Agent J was able to take most of them out, but had to leave the ones better fortified to the Noisy Cricket, which was in possession of me. I found the first one near the radio shack. He was pretty well dug in there, with Dura Crete walls and a heavy ML42. One shot with that weapon, and I would have been dead. I saw him before he saw me, though, and took him out. One shot, and KABOOM! No more bunker! I moved on to the next one, who was snug as a bug I the armory. “This is going to be hard,” I thought to myself. Completely the opposite, this guy was the dumbest of them all. He barely fired and stood way out in the open, where I shot him with the Noisy Cricket. He was, without a question, disintegrated. I took a weapon with less recoil from the armory, as well as a new repulsor pack. Again, I took to the air, but with a little more confidence this time. I spotted the third and plinked a grenade into his hideout near the commissary. It failed to go off. I plinked another, ditto. The grenades must have been affected by the harsh Jupiter atmosphere. I landed and fired my Noisy Cricket at him, and he then went down. That was the last of them. I then went back to our base and we packed up and headed for home with the Jovian Igor safe behind bars.

Investigator Saxon Fletcher’s Case Log (Incident 987) Stardate 11.29.2110
We are en route back home. We have successfully reconnected with our warp drive section, made our Net dump, refueled from the atmosphere, and solved the dual mysteries of the Jovian Igor and the missing Sky Colony Five. It turns out that the Igor society hopped onto Five disguised as normal passengers and then executed a military coup. The colony turned off its transponder and went completely self sufficient from the Republic. I can’t wait to be done with all this running around!

~~
Image credit goes to ywp.NaNoWriMo .org. Used with permission.

Posted by CrazyBrıck on 2010-11-29 19:08:37

Tagged: , novel , nanowrimo , winner , LEGO , inspiration , badge , used , with , permission , minifigure , Men , In , Black , star , trek , sci-fi , short , story , National , Writer , Month , youth , writing , program

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