The Torpedo Class I

Lately I’ve been thinking that I REALLY need to post something. Up until the holidays I had been working on two stories; the second book in the New Empire series, and a stand alone book that has a working title of “The Road of Skulls”.

I was derailed by Christmas, plus all of the events leading up to it. Soon after that I was consumed by New Years celebrations. What can I say, it’s always something.[Read More…]

Finished with another book!

The first book of the Devastated Earth series now has a complete first draft! I’m handing it over to a friend today along with the first book of the New Empire series for a preliminary review. While he’s doing that I’m going to reread the New Empire volume one and check for grammar/spelling errors. I’d like to think that a professional editor would be in the future, but money is very tight right now. My progress with these two books may just stall after that.

But I do have a stand-alone book to write. The outline is complete and I basically just have to type it all out. This could take some time of course, but it has more completed ahead of time than the other two had. Depending on how long my review of the other two take I may just hold this book off as a NaNoWriMo project. Only time will tell.

pinetwork1.jpgIn other news I’ve been playing with my Raspberry Pi’s a lot more. This website is now being hosted on one, which has become a part of the home network. It has a nightly backup, weekly restart, and SFTP capability. Through this project I’ve learned a lot more about Linux (especially the command prompt). I’ve also put some more touches on my Pi Calendar (an older Raspberry model B+ that hangs in the den).

The best part of this setup is if the power flickers, or fails the Pi puts almost no strain on my UPS. My big PLEX/file server shuts down after one minute and the routers, modem, and Pi just keep chugging along. Unless it’s left unattended for some time the website stays up and running.

That’s it for now. Good day and safe travels!

New Empire, Graduation 1

Jalia sat in the back of her group’s training shuttle. She was bored stiff back there, but she wanted to be the last to fly. She had realized a while back to watch others make the mistakes so that she could learn from them.

Tamea sat next to her and was reading over the navigational rules and standards handbook. She had been the first to go and hadn’t done a bad job.

The instructor leaned back and yelled to Jalia, “Trainee Quinn, you’re up!”

The trainee who was piloting clambered back though the seats to his original one. There wasn’t much room in these shuttles. The cabin was only 5 feet tall with a width of about 8 feet and it had about four rows of seats (including the pilot/co-pilots seats). Jalia also clambered through the group on the way to the front. She couldn’t imagine spending her career piloting one of these things, but she had to pass this class to become a Pilot rank. That was the lowest rank you had to be to serve in the Empire.

She sat down and the pilot handed her a pair of goggles. “These will display a virtual test course. I can see it through a display on my side so just take your time, be careful, and remember to not jerk the controls. These little shuttles are more maneuverable than they look. Just start when you’re ready.”

Jalia slid the goggles over her head and took a moment to look around and get used to them. Just could see everything normally but on what seemed to be a split-second delay. It was almost as if she was seeing the world through a digital camera viewfinder. When she turned her head the universe took a moment to catch up.

She glanced around the cabin. She could still see the instructor and everybody else, but the empty space in front of the shuttle was now filled with holographic asteroids and a large, semi-transparent tube winding through them. That was the course she had to follow.

The single control stick was very touchy. Jalia had learned that valuable lesson earlier in training. She gripped it lightly and quickly “tapped” it in the direction she needed to go. She’d seen experienced pilots jerk the controls all around and point the shuttle directly in the direction they wanted but she wasn’t near that experienced yet.

She reached down with her right hand and gripped the main engine throttle. This wasn’t as touchy as the main controls so she slowly nudged it forward.

The shuttle barely vibrated as the engines throttled up and Jalia slowly guided it through the test course.

She had a few close calls, but keeping it at a slow pace helped her out immensely. The only part about piloting in space that she hated was that for every motion you made you had to make a motion in the opposite direction to stop again. This was a simple concept to grasp, but when doing multiple maneuvers at once it started to get complicated. Her trainer had taught them in the beginning that most computer assisted flight systems these days compensated for the pilot and that “counter-thrusting” wasn’t necessary, but for training purposes older, vintage shuttles were used.

After the main part of the course there was a section full of moving asteroids. This was just extra credit. How you handled this portion of the test was just noted on your record. Jalia didn’t get very far at all, but she wasn’t upset about it. She had no plans on piloting again. She was just happy to have completed the main portion of the obstacle course and pass the class.

The instructor patted her on the shoulder. “You did well. You can take of the goggles now.” He marked a few things down on a clipboard in his lap. “Well congratulations everybody. You all passed.” He took and slipped his clipboard into a pocket over his head. “If you want to take your seat Ms Quinn I’ll fly us home.”

New Empire, A hint of trouble

The N.M.S. Mustang Sally was the closest of the three ships to Vega that was dropping the new sensor satellites. It was a simple job. They just deployed a satellite, activated it, and then tested it in concert with the existing deployed satellites before moving on to the next spot. The job only took about a half an hour plus the day journey (by slipstream) to the next drop point. Most of the time for this job was passed with the crew “twiddling their thumbs”.

The Mustang Sally was currently 5 days away from Vega. They had started by dropping the first satellite there and then traveling away. Another ship started at Takara (which was located in the center of colony space), and the third ship had started at Draconis. It was planned that all the ships would finish deploying this first string within a day of each other.

The captain of the Mustang Sally hoped this job would never end. It was easily the simplest contract she had ever signed. After they met the N.M.S. Headway they were to return to Novoya Mir and pick up a new load of satellites and a new route to start deploying. Everybody on board had tons of personal time lately. Parts of the ship that hadn’t been maintained for years were now seeing attention and care. Instead of just “locking down” problems the engineering crew actually had the time to investigate and fix them.

It truly was a mellow time.

Currently they were completing a satellite deployment. This only took about twenty minutes on average and once the Mustang Sally was clear they began activating it and running their tests.

The activation was easy. A simple wireless command was sent and a backup battery started up the small nuclear reactor. Then the shields were engaged and disengaged. These shields were not strong enough to fend off a determined attacker, but they protected the satellite from naturally occurring phenomenon. Then the satellite began sending out signals to its nearest neighbors and became part of the network.

Once the Mustang Sally could see their entire portion of the network they would call it a success and move on to the next drop point, but this time when they logged onto the network they saw something that they didn’t expect.

At first they thought it was a software glitch. There was a large blip nearly two days away from Vega on the edge of the current sensor range. The technicians tried restarting the system but the blip remained. It appeared to be heading toward the colony at slipstream mark 4.

The captain decided to contact the DEDF and alert them to the situation. She’d ask them to verify what they were seeing visually. She now doubted that this was a system glitch, but there could still be a hundred explanations as to what was going on.

******

When the Admirals at the DEDF received word of what the Mustang Sally was seeing they gave it serious merit. After the incident a few months ago with the two Russian ships at Vega they were worried as to what might occur in the future.

Although Vega wasn’t a member of the empire and hadn’t officially made a call for assistance two ships were dispatched anyway. The D.S.S. Freedom was a day away and the D.S.S. Excalibur was only a day and a half farther out.

The D.S.S. Freedom would be there to meet the mystery blip and report back. But if they required assistance the other ship wouldn’t be there for nearly 12 hours.

Everybody, including the two battleships rushing to Vega, was watching the new sensor network closely. When the mystery blip got closer to the sensor satellites the resolution would increase and everybody would know what they were dealing with.

New Empire, Interlude 2

It was June 4, 2047. A little over three months since the D.S.S. Augusta had vanished inside the Polaris cloud. The Empire Council had voted to implement the satellite sensor network to track both the Nomad ships in the region and all registered ships.

The first part of the plan was just to lie out a single string of satellites between each colony. Each satellite would be placed outside the range of the other. This contradicted the original plan but the second step was to double the number of satellites to conform to that plan after all the colonies had a single string of satellites between them.

Even non-Empire colonies were to be included. Due to the danger this new threat presented each outer colony decided on a reimbursement plan to the empire, whether it was in money or trade

Vega was first to have a string of satellites led to it. It was the furthest from Draconis so the string had to curve slightly to avoid Earth claimed space. This string of satellites would form the backbone of the Empire since it would span the entirety of colony space. The Empire Council decided to deploy this string first because they still believed that there was a Nomad ship near the Polaris cloud. That was the only explanation they had as to the loss of the D.S.S. Augusta.

After the Vega string the crews would split up. One crew would concentrate solely on connecting the other colonies to Draconis and two other crews would begin connecting all the other colonies together in a web-like pattern.

Afterwards they would go back over each string, doubling the amount of satellites, and then finally begin filling the space in between until all of colony space was constantly monitored.

Although the outer colonies would be included in the sensor grid it was only there for each independent colony’s benefit. They would pay the Empire to maintain the satellites but the Empire wouldn’t get involved unless help was formally requested.

Vega didn’t know it, but they would be the first to reap the benefits of the new sensor network.

And the danger wasn’t from an alien vessel.

 

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