Archive for December, 2013

December 28, 2013: 9:34 am: Pilot X, writing

“Commander I’ve got something. ”

“What is it Specialist?” Commander Ngtyllik moved over to Scanning specialist 12’s station.

“It’s a match for a surveillance order. The Verity.”

“The Verity? Don’t know it. Who gave the order?”

The specialist hesitated. “Uh, it says here you did sir.”

“What? I have no memory of that. When?”

“I don’t know, sir. In fact I don’t remember entering it myself. It just popped up like its always been there.”

“Nonsense. Maybe it’s from upstairs. Damned odd to slap my name on ot of ot is. Don’t worry Specialist. Good work. Do try to pay more attention when you’re authorizing orders though. Could sound sloppy not to remember orders.”

The Specialist looked doubtful. “Yes sir. I’ve sent acknowledgement and provided approach for now.”

“Good good. What else do we have on it?”

The Specialist poked around on his interface for a minute.

“Not much sir. The order only calls for an alert if the vessel is matched. it’s called the Verity. No known origin. No known crew. One race. Alendan?”

“Never heard of it.”

“And that’s it other than, oh! My apologies sir. It’s a level one alert.”

“What?! That’s ridiculous.” Level one was an all hands emergency if spotted. The idea that a level one could be spotted but nobody be expecting it or even remember entering the order was the most disturbing thing the Commander could think of.

“Well– Capture it. I’ll head upstairs and try to get to the bottom of this.”

The Commander ran up to the Captain’s office but he had already headed off to the Admiral’s Ready Room as soon as the alarm sounded. the Commander raced down the corridors to catch up and came barreling into a room filled with top officers all staring at him.

“Ah, Ngtyllik, I assume you can explain this?”


“Somewhat sir,” this brought a perturbed look to the Admirlas face. The rest if the officers look less than pleased. Nobody joked ant a Level 1 and they all seemed to know even less than he did.

“Specialist Ramsey spotted the target just now on a ship called. The Verity. Records show I gave the surveillance order at Level 1 signed off by you Admiral. Neither the specialist nor I recalled the order, which is damned odd in this case. The ships only details are a race of origin called the Alendans. I’m not familiar.”

A Captain from another part of the operation laughed. “You don’t read fairy tales then?”

“What’s that supposed to mean Fergranters?” The Admiral snapped.

“Sorry sir. The Alendans are characters from children’s stories. A once powerful race that could travel in time but reached too far and brought their entire people to destruction. Typical moral lessons and such,” the Admiral cut him off. Captain Fergranters was from the Cultural Relations arm. They could talk at length if allowed.

“And that’s all we have? Please tell me this isn’t some kind of joke Ngtyllik–”

An aide interrupted the Admiral. “Sir we ‘re getting a transmission from the ship.”

“Is it already locked on approach?”

“Yes sir. It’s been captured on my orders,” said the Commander.

“Ok, so they can’t pull much. At least we did that part right. Let’s hear it.”

A burst if static filled the room followed by a perfectly normal sounding voice speaking the dominant language of the Fringe. Cascade.

“This is Pilot X of The Verity to the command of the Fringe Cascade. I mean you no harm. Doubtless your records are in disarray or even missing about me. I can clear up the confusion. Please allow me to land peacefully.”

The message repeated.

“All right,” said the Admiral. “Peacefully. But make sure a well-armed battalion meets him to make sure it’s stays peaceful.”

December 27, 2013: 3:17 am: Pilot X, writing

His flight was timeless. The Verity was equipped with all manner of features to pass the time, entertain, research, educate and more but he made use of none of them.

Mostly he wept. Not so much for what he’d done but for the need of the doing of it. And for the fact of his survival. He could have thrown himself out of protection and disappeared like the rest of it. Often he wished he had.

But he hadn’t. It was his punishment and his reward. He must live with the guilt of surviving. And also, he must live. That was his reward. The purpose of living to tell the tale, to help the others, to see it was not all in vain.

Hence his flight to the Fringe Cascade, the most advanced civilization left. If anyone knew best how to continue afterwards it would them. Even if they didn’t know why, which they wouldn’t, to them, existence would always have been like that, but even so, they would be clever enough to know something had happened, and how to deal with it.

A light when on at the console. A very important light. A light that usually demanded immediate attention. Pilot X looked at the light and laughed. He had been detected. The Fringe Cascade were still expecting him. They had scanned him and a
Proved his approach, even though by all rights they should have no idea who he was anymore.

He reached to acknowledge the signal, and the Verity lurched and threw him away from the console. Another series of lights went on. These did not make hi laugh. These were bad. The Verity had been captured and was being pulled in. So he was expected but at the same time no longer welcome. Either they knew almost nothing or somehow they knew everything. Either way they weren’t pleased. He’d find out why soon enough.

December 17, 2013: 7:36 am: Pilot X, writing

An echo rumbled through the tower as The Verity settled into place outside the command center. Its arrival added to the clamor and noise of the ongoing battle.

“What is that?! A ship? How did it get in here?!”
“Is that Ambassador X?”
“He’s not Ambassador anymore. He’s gone rogue didn’t you hear?”
“Citizen X, please cease your activities and vacate at once!”
“Citizen? No need to insult the man if you want him to comply.”
“What’s he doing?”
“Dear stars in alignment, is that the Harmony Device? How did he get it?”
“He’s not going. To use it is he?!”
“Ambassador X, stop this minute ,”
Or maybe mor like a shoomp sound.

Whichever it was it was a small sound as he pushed down the plunger activating the device. The Verity protected him in a chrono-neutral envelope as the wave spread out from the device freezing everything. The people in the tower’s command center stopped. The battle outside paused. He cried. The wave was unstoppable now, rippling through space and time to the fringes of the universe, destroying almost all of them, rewriting history in the rest.

But he was stopping them. His people. And their enemies. A war that had unleashed a million maniacs on unsuspecting worlds. A war that would kill all the innocents, leaving him no choice but to take this action, at this moment, irrevocably.

The tower was dark now. He saw the wave returning. He couldn’t really see it, but he could catch hints of its progress as the stars went out. He knew he’d have to leave before it converged back here at the center. Even the chrono-neutral field would be wiped out then. He hadn’t stopped crying. He almost decided to stay and pay for his crime. But he knew he had one last responsibility to those left in this universe he had just remade.

He dragged himself into the Verity and told it to set course.

“Where?” It asked reasonably. Always reasonable, his ship.

He looked out at the spreading darkness and saw a twinkle of light. Stars still existed. A few. Not caught in the wave. Space travel would take ages now. People living among those stars would think it had always been that way. Because of him they would never remember the teeming life of the galaxies as they were. But they would survive. The madmen would not rule them.

“There” He pointed at the distant twinkles. “We’ll start there, I think.”

“Course set for the Fringe Cascade.”

Pilot X fled from the dark tower as it faded and disappeared into never having been.

December 5, 2013: 11:01 am: history, humour

The origins of the medicine ball are shrouded in the mists of the history of the tribes of North America. Some have speculated that it refers to shamanistic practices, others to some sort of traditional healing ceremony. The story is rather more prosaic. In the 1500s explorer Vasco De Gama reported tribesmen using a “weighty spheroid in ceremonial activity” which may lend to the confusion about shamanism.

While no more detail exists from De Gama, a later journal of the explorer Franklin Seagraves describes a conversation with a chieftain about the unusual healthiness of its members. Seagraves writes, “The chieftain then explained that his people use a ceremonial ball with divers markings on it and totems in an activity called by some untranslatable word. He showed me this ball and while its appearance was normal, it was strange heavy. He then caused his sons to demonstrate all manner of passings and liftings and other odd comportations with the thing such like I have never seen fore or since. It was made a gift to me with the recommendation that its proper use was ‘great medicine’ and I should add years to my time in its application.”

References are scattered after this but sometime in the late 1600s some medical men are found to refer to “Seagraves Lifting Ball” and “Seagraves Great Medicine”. These intermittent usages finally settle into the usage “medicine ball” by the mid 1700s and the rest, as they say, is history.