Showing 1 - 10 of 21 posts found matching keyword: mike
Tuesday 28 June 2022
PROLOGUE, PART THREE
Cobryn opened the throttle all the way. He'd never piloted an exploration buggy before, but the fundamental principles had to be the same as piloting a starship: faster was always better. The four-seat buggy surged forward, nearly tossing its passengers from their seats. Oops. Maybe that was too much throttle.
"Wheeee," Quig shouted gleefully over the roar of the engines and the howl of wind through the open cockpit.
Sahara was less enthused. "I thought you said you knew how to drive one of these things!"
"Obviously he does," answered Striker One. "We are already overtaking our quarry."
It was true, Cobryn noticed. The goblins were slowing their buggy down to navigate the rough-cut path – it didn't even deserve to be called a road – through the forest. They simply weren't willing to take the same risks he was. Of course, taking chances is what had gotten Cobryn into this situation in the first place.
He had taken a chance when he accepted a smuggling job for a client he didn't already know. The pay was great, but it turned out the cargo wasn't. Cobryn might be a lot of things, but he was no slave trafficker. The client hadn't liked Cobryn's change of heart. One thing had led to another, and Cobryn had lost his ship, his reputation, and his freedom. With no better options, Cobryn had taken another chance on a mysterious message. One thing had led to another, and now he was on the other side of the solar system chasing goblins with an annoyingly cheerful ysoki, a humorless android, and a lashunta woman who just might be a bigger gambler than he was.
"What are we going to do if we catch them?" Quig asked.
Cobryn scoffed, "What do you mean 'if'? I out-maneuvered that space pirate, didn't I? I think I can handle a couple of goblins in a go-cart."
"When we get close, I'm going to put this grenade in their driver's face," said Sahara.
Striker One was skeptical. "That may be unwise. Our mysterious benefactor has insisted on secrecy, but those goblins were clearly surveilling our arrival before they fled. It would be useful to know why and where they are headed."
"Whatever you're going to do, you'll need to do it quickly," said Cobryn. It certainly didn't take a pilot of his skill to catch these goblins; they could barely keep their buggy moving. Cobryn relaxed the throttle and pulled alongside them, coming eye to eye with the goblin in their passenger seat. It grinned. Only then did Cobryn notice the plasma pistol in its hand. His reflexes saved his life. (Again.) He jerked the wheel, and the pistol bolt blasted the buggy's windshield frame instead of his head.
"Decision made," said Sahara. She lobbed the grenade.
Tuesday 14 June 2022
PROLOGUE, PART TWO
Sahara twitched her antennae in nervous anticipation. Had she escaped from a noose only to face a firing squad?
"Surrender your vessel and whatever your cargo is, and I just might let you live," ordered the space pirate through the starship's radio.
Sahara toggled the radio to broadcast. "We don't have any cargo of value," she said. It was the truth. The holds were as empty as her pockets. Not even the ship itself was worth more than what a scrap yard would pay for it.
"I'll be the judge of that," came the reply. "Turn off your engines and prepare to be boarded."
An electronic signal from the ship's science station caught Sahara's attention. She looked at the android in the gunner's seat. "The pirate weapon has a target lock on us," Striker One said calmly.
Sahara looked at the ratman. "Are the shields working?"
The furry Ysoki nodded vigorously. "You can count on Quig."
"If you say so, Quig," said Cobryn, the ship's pilot. "But shields won't last forever. A pirate ship like that against a tub like this…. We'll never be able to outrun him or his lasers. Maybe we should comply and hope for mercy."
Sahara's three crew mates waited for her response. She hadn't asked to be captain of this vessel, but she wasn't a trained pilot like the human or a natural engineer like the Ysoki. And she certainly didn't have the artificial man's ability to talk to computers. That left her in the captain's chair by default. It was not a comfortable fit.
The last time she'd been the captain of a starship, it had been on a two-seat craft fleeing the slavers who had captured her and her sister. Their escape plan was Sahara's idea, but it had been her sister's beauty that lured an overconfident jailer into giving up the security codes to the ship that would carry them both to freedom. The plan had worked well, but an unlucky break, a guard's unpredictably overactive bladder, had resulted in her sister being gunned down on the launchpad. Sahara took off without looking back. She knew she would meet the same fate if the slavers ever caught up with her again.
That's why she had been willing to answer the mysterious summons that had led her into this latest pickle. She didn't know where they were headed or why, and she certainly didn't trust her crew mates. But so far as she was concerned, death was a better option than surrendering to a pirate who would only sell her back to her captors.
Turning back to the android, Sahara ordered, "Target his thrusters with our gyrolaser. Let's see if we can't even these odds."
She had made her decision. The die was cast.
Sunday 22 May 2022
PROLOGUE, PART ONE
This particular starship was unknown to Quig, but he'd certainly seen its like before. Light freighters were the backbone of the solar system's shipping industry, after all. Therefore, it wasn't the unfamiliar surroundings that set the ratman's hairs standing on edge but the three strangers in the airlock with him.
Summoning his nerve, Quig asked in his high-pitched voice, "Excuse me, but is one of you the person who sent for me?" He dialed his personal communicator to the anonymous message he'd received a week before and held it up for the others to see.
The pale, broad-shouldered android raised an eyebrow in a good simulation of how other races would display surprise. "You're willing to expose your data to persons you do not know? That seems… unwise." Artificial men like this one made most sentient organics existentially self-conscious, but Quig had always found them distracting for other reasons. What made these mechanical marvels tick? He'd love to take one apart and find out.
The scruffy-looking (real) human man leaning against the starship's bulkhead smirked. "I was just about to say the same thing. Maybe I got a message. Maybe I didn't. How do I know you didn't send it?" Across the galaxy, no race was as capable of deceit as humans. Quig made a mental note not to trust this one.
"This is getting us nowhere," complained the female lashunta, her forehead antennae twitching in apparent irritation. She kept glancing out the ship's porthole at the docking bay entrance. Was she expecting more company? "Yes, I got the message. Obviously, we all did. The question is what are we going to do about it?"
The android shrugged almost naturally. "I believe we should do as instructed and take this ship to the coordinates indicated. Why else did we come here if not to uncover the mystery behind our summons?"
The human interlaced his fingers and extended his arms to crack his knuckles. "Works for me. I've been itching to get back in space."
"I think we're walking into a trap," said the woman dourly. "But as there are some… people around here who I'd rather not run into again, I don't see as I have any choice."
That was more or less how Quig felt, too. He couldn't go back home where The Families were looking for him. That was certain death. Better to take his chances with this motley crew. Besides, he'd always liked tinkering with alien technology, and if he had to walk into a trap, at least it was a trap well baited with the promise of getting his claws into an advanced starship's innards. “I'll start the engines,” he volunteered cheerfully.
The adventure had begun.
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Monday 22 February 2021
A series of murders have been committed in one of the seedier quadrants of the space station. We have been assigned to investigate.
This is my space station. My partner is Obo. My name Kesko. I carry a badge.
We were directed by witnesses to the scene of the crimes in a portion of the station which has recently seen a dramatic increase in reports of theft. A thievery ring was suspected.
We had barely entered the area when we were accosted by pair of aggressively threatening space goblins. I attempted to diffuse the situation, but they refused my telepathic communication. After goblins ignored a secondary verbal warning, my partner subdued them with force. I confiscated their weapons to prevent them from being reused.
My partner and I proceeded to investigate the corridor the space goblins had come from. The first door in the corridor was closed. We declared ourselves and our official business but received no response. My partner heard some noise behind the door, and we entered by force.
Room was a storage room occupied by a single unregistered human vagrant. Although initially rude, the vagrant (identifying himself as "Bruxo" but presenting no identification) eventually recognized our authority after a little telepathic persuasion. Vagrant claimed ignorance of any murders but agreed that goblin activity was a growing problem.
In response to further questioning, he tipped us to a creature deeper in the station which he said may be working with the goblins. Warning that the creature is "immune to fire," he offered us a weapon to aid us in subduing it. Weapon was taken from a sealed crate in the storage room. Vagrant was unable to prove ownership. I was suspicious; If he had a weapon that could defeat said creature, why give it to us instead of using it himself? When pressed, vagrant said he was "just trying to help." I declined weapon per department regulations re: accepting potentially stolen goods.
(Note: My partner did take possession of vagrant-offered grappler, a tool she judged potentially useful should we need to descend into the guts of the station. Tool to be returned to the vagrant at such time as we return for a follow up investigation re: potential weapons theft.)
We continued our search of the corridor. Corridor ended in some sort of engine room. On close inspection, I determined that the engine reactor was functioning smoothly, though I lacked the technical understanding to know what it did or exactly how. Partner and I judged it safe to proceed through the room to continue pursuit of space goblin origins.
As we passed the reactor core, we were ambushed by a previously undetected entity that had been lurking within. The unknown and unidentifiable entity appeared as a humanoid comprised of pure energy. Like the goblins, it also resisted telepathic communication. Energy creature moved to touch me. It's hand passed through my chest. I felt a chill, but was otherwise unharmed. I tried to back away. It pursued, touching me a second time again causing discomfort but not harm.
My partner moved to separate creature from me with her department-issued doshko. The doshko passed through the creature in the same manner its hand had passed through me.
I used a telepathic strike to repel the creature to no apparent effect. Creature responded by redirecting energy from the reactor into a controlled explosion aimed at me. I was incapacitated.
My partner issued a verbal warning and fired a warning shot at the creature with her department-issued rifle. Energy creature phased its hand through partner's weapon. It overheated and shorted out. Partner was incapacitated.
Energy creature was unharmed.
Add two more murders to the series.
Saturday 17 November 2018
What else is there to say about a game that UGA won, 66-27?
For one thing, it looked like the team was enjoying themselves. It sure felt like *everybody* got a touchdown.
And UMass scored on a 1 second drive to end the third quarter. That was impressive.
And in honor of Veterans Day, the band played songs for all branches of the armed forces at halftime (pictured above).
And Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were in the house. Each received a standing ovation when introduced.
And, boy, did I enjoy my Coca-Cola and pretzel. Delicious!
Also of note: This was Friend Mike's second UGA game. He has now attended more UGA games than Alabama games. That's a good thing.
Now bring on Georgia Tech.
Friday 4 May 2018
Walter reviews more movies he watched in April!
71. (1300.) The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)
Disney advertised the shit out of this back when I watched the Disney Channel in the 1980s, and I just finally saw it. (The House of Mouse gets us all in the end.) It's a good-looking adventure yarn for kids in the White Fang vein, and I enjoyed it.
72. (1301.) Isle of Dogs (2018)
Best movie of 2018! No, that wasn't sarcasm. I'm all-in on Wes Andersom movies.
73. (1302.) Warrior (2011)
Warrior is not a winner. Friend Keith loves it, and I guess I can see why. But the schmaltzy ending doesn't work if you don't care for all the characters involved, and I didn't. Go to hell, Tommy.
74. (1303.) Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Best movie of 2017! Friend Mike let me borrow this, and I'm so glad he did. I watched it, like, 4 times. It's really, really funny with a James Carpenter vibe and 80s synthesizer soundtrack. Marvel can't possibly make a movie better than this.
75. (1304.) Battle of the Sexes (2017)
I was expecting less biopic and more sports action, but I'm never disappointed in Emma Stone. Even when she's a lesbian.
76. (1305.) Coco (2017)
Honestly, I don't get what everyone loves about this movie. Beyond the creative set design, it's a predictable snooze-fest populated with stock characters. I would say it is easily Pixar's worst film. (And yes, I've seen Cars 2.)
77. (1306.) The Greatest Showman (2017)
Hey, Randy! I've seen The Greatest Showman. It delivers what it promises: a throwback to 1930s MGM musical spectacular! I agree that it is too light on reality and too heavy on CGI. But who can't enjoy a film with a character named Walter the Dog-Boy? Not me.
More to come.
Saturday 17 March 2018
What I did on St. Patrick's Day:
Jacksonville Icemen 5, Georgia Gladiators 4.
Minor league ice hockey might not sound an Irish way to pass the time, but they fight like true drunken expatriates. Saint Patrick would be proud.
Tuesday 12 December 2017
I want to finish listing the movies I watched in 2017 before we get to 2018, so I need to double time these reviews. Here is November part 2 of 3.
149. (1208.) Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975)
This movie's intro and finale borrow the worst bits of 1966's Batman approach to sound effects, but most of it is more in the vein of Adventures of Superman. That's when it's at its best.
150. (1209.) Ladyhawke (1985)
I thought I would enjoy this, but not so much. The costumes and sets were fantastic. The music, however, felt incredibly out of place, constantly reminding me that I was watching a modern take on a fairy tale. Matthew Broderick's constant one-liner anachronisms didn't help. Still, it is a much better movie than Krull.
151. (1210.) Speed Racer (2008)
This film, on the other hand, was great fun (if a bit hard on the eyes). It was surprisingly respectful (perhaps too respectful) of its dumb-as-bricks source material, which I do like. Racer X is the man.
152. (1211.) The Big Sick (2017)
I know this relationship comedy was based (loosely) on a true story experienced by lead actor Kumail Nunjiani, so maybe that's why it still felt so honest. The extended cast all conveyed the feel of real (dysfunctional) families. Good work.
More to come, sooner than later.
Saturday 4 November 2017
Back in September, I had planned to take friend Michael to his first UGA game. That plan was disrupted by Brian's wedding. Today was the make-up date.
Mike had never even been in Athens until arriving for today's game. He's not much of a football person, but he tells me that he had a good time watching the #1 Bulldogs running over the Gamecocks, 24-10. I'm inclined to believe him. I had a good time myself.
Saturday 28 October 2017
Football season has me stressed out. The Bulldogs are having a great year, but I live in dread of the inevitable loss. The Dolphins are having a . . . I'm still not sure what they're having, but it hasn't been easy to watch.
To calm those nerves, let's watch some movies! October, part 1 of 3:
130. (1189.) Xanadu (1980)
YES! This DVD was loaned to me by my new BFF Micheal. The movie is everything I hoped it would be, by which I mean terrible with a great soundtrack. Let the good times roll! Thanks, Mike!
131. (1190.) Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)
This was the original, not the Nick Cage remake. Forget plot and character. This is really just an excuse for a 30-minute long car chase/destruction derby. If you live for the third act of The Blues Brothers, then this is your sort of movie.
132. (1191.) The Magnificent Seven (2016)
This isn't the original, this is the Denzel Washington remake. The remake has nice, glossy cinematography and a dumber than real life villain with a lot, I mean a lot of very gory violence. Frankly, I'll take Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen instead, thank you.
133. (1192.) They Live By Night (1948)
Two kids on the wrong side of the law fall in love and live . . . on the wrong side of the law. Until, you know, the law catches them. That's how these noir movies always end. Still, it's pretty good while it lasts, and I guess that's the point.
134. (1193.) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
Never Go Back is a terrible name for a sequel. As expected, this is more of the same as the first movie. I'd watch a third if it came along.
More to come.