Good Morning Ted and Jody:
Most of the time the television is off. However, when I ride the exercise bike, I do turn it on. Thursday going nowhere fast, I heard an analysis of the current crisis between North Korea and the pestilence by Retired General Wesley Clark. Yesterday racing to the same destination, I heard Leon Panetta’s assessment. Their appraisals confirm mine: we are, in deep doo doo. I note that fewer and fewer talking heads are looking for rhyme and reason in the blithering blusters the pestilence utters. I am not worried. I am scared stiff! Maybe if I stopped riding the exercise bike or switched to FOX I would start to feel safe again. However, I saw a FOX feed that said, the people really need to get behind the pestilence as he has been left with very few options. Of course, they neglect to acknowledge that his big mouth has left him with very few options. So, no, FOX news will not make me feel safe again.
I spent most of the afternoon yesterday watching the tutorials for flying my new drone. I think I need to prepare notes similar to studying for a test. I must confess, I am probably more nervous about flying it for the first time then was driving Dad’s car for the first time when I was 15 (learner permit age in Indiana in the middle of the last Century). Indeed, now I am probably as nervous as Dad was at that time for, insured or not, it was his money that bought the car. Unlike most younger people flying these things, I do not have years with a joy stick and a Game-boy. I never realized what a great training tool computer games are. I should have paid more attention when I read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card: https://www.dpisd.org/cms/lib4/TX01001079/Centricity/Domain/888/Enders%20Game%20PDF.pdf Perhaps by Sunday I will have worked up the nerve to put that much money up, uninsured, into the air over our place on Hall Road under my ‘tentative’ control. If so, I can almost be as brave as my Dad was about 60 years ago. However, I am a bit stymied by downloading the app to control and capture photos. I have gone on line and the video I need skips the segment I need due to a glitch in capturing screen shots. Bummer. It is sort of like the old joke about plugging your lamp in to get light from it. In any event, frustrations with this distract me from the pestilence trying to start wars with North Korea and Venezuela this weekend (maybe more if he is asked the wrong question in a press conference [more about that in another letter])
Warmest regards, Ed
Fiction in 776 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
[Space in the Other Universe, A Few Minutes Before] As it would happen, James grabbed the line between Agent White and the oxygen tank. He quickly tied his tether to hers and hit the reel-in button. Agent White joined him very fast. Actually, both were moving so when they met they stopped still in space. Fortunately, they made contact head to foot so their helmets did not meet and crack under the force. The oxygen cylinder, however, acted as if were a counter weight and spun them around as if they were a hammer at a field event resulting in them orbiting it. Within a split second of James and Agent White, err, emerging and beginning their orbit, the alien craft opened up on its target and two intersecting lasers vaporized the oxygen cylinder releasing the two of them and flinging them, as a bundle, off into space away from the alien craft. “What the hell was that?” asked James.
“The same weapon that took out your space ship,” replied Agent White, “twin lasers from the alien craft. What say we get to hell back to Dodge.” Agent White caused them to disappear by pivoting.
[Spaceport Redemption] Agent White and James materialized in the suiting room from which Agent White had begun her rescue. Unfortunately, pivoting from space where up and down have little meaning unless it is relative to something rather substantial like a planetary object, put the two of them in a semi-horizontal position two feet off the floor. When gravity realize it needed to work its will on the pair they fell literally in a heap.
The two young women who had assisted Agent White donning her outfit rushed over to assist the two. Both James and Agent White were trying to tell the two assisting them to cut the line holding them together. However, the sound was muffled into meaningless sounds by their helmets. Finally one got Agent White’s helmet open and Agent White said, “Get something to cut the tether between us.”
Both assistants ran off and one came back brandishing a pair of nail clippers. ‘SNIP.‘ They were separated.
As Jame’s suit was removed, all three women held their noses. “My but you are ripe,” said Agent White.
James shook his head. “Once in the suit no bathing until one is out. To the showers ladies,” he hastily added, “Alone, if you don’t mind and I will need some clothing from my locker.”
Agent White said, “When you get cleaned up come join us in the communications room. We have two other ships to turn around.” With that Agent White pivoted.
Agent White materialized in the communications room. Deborah threw her arms around her saying, “We have been holding our breath since the alien ship activated its lasers and you and James vanished from the screen.”
Walter asked with trepidation, “Were you able to bring James back?”
Agent White turned to Walter and said, “Yes, James is fine. You know how ripe he got in that space suit? He’s taking a shower. How were you able to watch?”
“Both of the other ships we launched have telescopic lenses on their forward looking cameras,” replied Walter.
“We need to bring them back before they get into the range of those lasers or at least divert them,” said Deborah. “That last shot the aliens took was too close to call.” turning to Agent White, “We are lucky to have you and James back. Now that the alien systems or crew has decided our ships are threatening, I suspect they will shoot first so they don’t have to ask questions.”
“Do you want me to suit up and go out and bring the astronauts back?” asked Agent White.
“No need,” said Deborah. “We have programmers working on changing their voyage and will send a refueling vessel out to assist should that be necessary. We are going to have the astronaut in one join the other and let her ship continue on automatic piolet to do a fly-by using the alien craft as a slingshot. That way we can see if just the craft will initiate the defensive reaction of the alien craft if our rocket is clearly going to miss the alien craft. Or, if our ships are now regarded as hostile to the alien craft. I guess you could say this will be the second probe. But, if it comes down to it, and we need you to go, we’ll equip you with nets so you can reel in the astronauts a bit easier than it was to get a hold of James floating about up there.”