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Re: After graduation [message #8202] Mon, 26 August 2013 02:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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I admit also that I wrote Chance fairly messed up. Now in my defense I also believe that Chance is not about to give up and that if he was presented with overt force he would either warn the person that it was illegal or he could be an even worse sort of person in my mind and leave but stop by the city police and start asking questions about the Starlite. To put it mildly they are spending more than the usual amount of money for young people. That doesn't mean that they did anything wrong to get it...

So Mea maxima culpa....

Starting from where Martin left off:

Chance headed back to his cousin's place where he would crash for the night. In the morning he would find a flower shop and send Val a dozen roses even if he ended up eating beans and rice for the rest of the month to do it.

When Chance arrived at the flower shop they had a dozen roses in red and pink. Going with the feeling that Val might incorrectly interpret red roses he purchased the pink ones. On the card that went with the flowers he wrote: Sorry I made you cry. Truly it doesn't matter to me what you are. I do my best to deal with people as individuals. Get well soon, Chance.

He then headed out to home. He thought once more about asking his watch commander to approve of him taking a side gig teaching a CC weapon's course. It would interfere with his shooting but he wasn't apt to be in the money like Val.
Re: After graduation [message #8203] Mon, 26 August 2013 19:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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Chance was standing around a corporate office while Mark Carmody, the lead detective on the case, talked to Doug Smith, evidently some kind of manager person. From what Chance had been able to gather some computer wizard named Timothy Baxter had wound up in a coma after a car accident and the circumstances were sufficiently suspicious for the Commissioner to get the Department to treat it as a homicide. The detectives would probably want to get the guy's office computer and desk contents, and Chance was there because detectives didn't carry stuff themselves.

Smith said, "He has a desktop here and he usually has a laptop with him."

Carmody replied, "We have that; it was in his car. Do you know if he has a computer at home."

"Yes."

"We'll need to get that, too."

Smith snorted. "You and what army?" He shook his head a bit. "That didn't come out the way I meant."

Carmody had looked startled for an instant. "What did you mean, sir?"

"You're probably thinking of sending a couple of officers in a car or maybe a van and a couple of techs."

"Yes."

"Thought so. Look, Timothy is a computer guy. He has two townhouses with doors between them. He lives in the bottom and the upstairs is all full of computer stuff. I don't know if you'd need a moving van but all his stuff won't fit in a delivery van. You'd be better off having your techs examine stuff there instead of trying to take it all apart and drag it away."

Chance didn't have a high opinion of the three guys that were the Computer Tech department. He caught Carmody's attention as he was leaving Smith's office. "Sir, from what Mr. Smith says we may need some help with Mr. Baxter's computers. We've only got three guys doing that stuff."

"So what?"

"So you could ask the Computer Science people over at Bewildered College to recommend three or four Teaching Assistants or advanced students, they're the kind of people who'd know what they're doing and do it for free. Assign somebody from the Department to ride herd on them. Threaten them with defenestration if they messed anything up or stole stuff like account codes or passwords."

"How do you know all this stuff?"

"When I was getting my AA in Police Science at Bewildered the computer labs were just across the hall from our classroom and I hung out with them during breaks." Chance stopped and snapped his fingers.

"What?"

"Mr. Baxter's computer here might not have anything much on it, he'd probably use the company servers. Looking through those will require a search warrant and the techs doing the looking will have Mr. Smith looking over their shoulders."

Carmody looked at Chance for a moment. "That was good thinking, Chance. You're on loan from the One Seven, aren't you?"

Chance wondered where this was going. "Yes, sir."

"Think you could do the riding herd on the computer geeks bit? Plainclothes if you want."

Chance thought, Interesting, and probably overtime, too. "Actually, sir, being in uniform will keep them reminded that this is serious Department business."

"Okay; I'll set it up with the Bewildered College professors and the two of us will interview likely suspects." Carmody paused. "Defenestration, huh?"

"Yes, sir; it means-"

"I know what it means; the Defenestration of Prague is about the only thing I remember from European History. Hope it's enough to deter our tame geeks."

Chance thought of Valerie and smiled a little.

"What?"

"Well, there's this girl who does skydiving. It wouldn't deter her except that she has a broken leg from the last time she went."

-----------------------------------

Note: this whole thing came from one of those cop shows and the "you and what army" reaction when I thought about them trying to take all the computers from a serious geek's house.


[Updated on: Tue, 27 August 2013 07:41]

Re: After graduation [message #8204] Mon, 26 August 2013 23:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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{earlier...}

Valerie raised an eyebrow. "You don't know how to fast-rope?"

"Is that something like rappelling?" Chance semi-guessed.

"Well duh. DIdn't you learn anything useful in cop school?" She wrinkled her nose. "Or was it stupid things like 'laws' and 'evidence' and crap like that?"

He'd opened his mouth to say something before realizing that it would be unwise.

***

Chance could feel his hands really starting to sweat as Valerie kicked the rope out of the helicopter's door.

"Don't hyperventilate!" she instructed him. "It won't help!"

***

{later...}

Sabrina waited until Valerie had pulled the power back for cruise and adjusted the mixture, not like either made that much of a difference in this plane. "So, where are we right now?"

Without looking, Valerie intoned, "We're in a Cessna One-Fif- Ow! Don't hit the pilot!"

"Instructor is ALWAYS allowed to hit the student. Especially when she's being a smartass. C'mon, Val, where are we?"

---

"Okay, so, are you ever going to talk to that Chance guy again?" This was half the reason to get Valerie back up in the air; she talked more, at least to Sabrina, when she was flying. The hiking thing over Christmas had been a bust; she'd almost crippled herself as well as being just a little too Heart-Of-Darkness to actually talk.

Valerie's first reply was a sigh.

"Yeah but?"

"Why do we have to talk about this? What about you?"

"I talk about my dating and relationship shit at dinner, Val. You don't. And don't think we don't know why you're doing all the cooking and cleaning lately." Sabrina wasn't the only one to think Val needed serious help, if she'd rather cook and clean up afterwards just to avoid the ... rather probing dinner table conversations.

Center interrupted with, "Cessna Two-Five Kilo climb to eight thousand."

"I don't think the gerbils can make it to eight thousand," Valerie commented, though this time she didn't transmit. "Center Cessna Two Five Kilo leaving six thousand climbing to eight thousand." She unkeyed the mike and added, "And don't hold your breath, guys," before ramming the mixture and throttle full forward.

As they established what was in the 152 a positive rate of climb, Sabrina gently pressed, "Val? He really likes you."
Re: After graduation [message #8205] Mon, 26 August 2013 23:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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I was in a 152 with my instructor doing touch-and-goes at Centennial Airport (KAPA), South of Denver. We were scrambling back up when somebody said, "The pattern altitude is 1000 feet."

My instructor answered, "This is a 152, sir."

The airport altitude is almost 5900 MSL and both of us aren't small, and it was a warm night.

Oh, and you don't dink with the mixture except to lean it for the altitude. Running too rich produces less power - coupla guys from Florida wound up in the trees at Leadville trying to take off at full rich.

Note: Leadville's at 9927 feet and both guys were killed. The NTSB write-up is here: http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief2.aspx?ev_id=20001207X04226&n tsbno=FTW95FA359&akey=1

[Updated on: Wed, 04 September 2013 11:27]

Re: After graduation [message #8206] Mon, 26 August 2013 23:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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When we got back to the Starlite, I was feeling like Sabrina had put me through the ringer. I really wanted to spend some time with a light pistol and shoot everything that I could. That was because using a real pistol to shoot my friends would result in me having to decamp to Brazil to live in the rain forest.

Debbie had a crew in the kitchen and said, "You're not allowed to cook tonight."

I headed to do some shooting and found that Kathy was guarding the games while Mike and George were guarding the actual fire arms just in case I wanted to burn some real ammo in the short range we'd jury (author note: I suspect jury is actually a slurring of Gerry) rigged.

Kathy met me there with a phone and said, "Val, we all think you need to call Chance and thank him for the flowers."

I didn't think so, after all he'd made me cry myself sick. "By the way the doctor called while you're out and they want to do another X-ray, if everything is healing right you graduated to a walking cast or possibly a removable boot."

I ended up crying on Kathy for a while after that...
Re: After graduation [message #8207] Tue, 27 August 2013 10:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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WARNING: UHOH DETECTED!

Debbie would forbid piloting with a cast, as a safety issue. So if Val's piloting, the cast is off.
Which also kind of goes with my bit about the hiking, ahem.

Ellen, who hates computers very very much right now
Re: After graduation [message #8208] Tue, 27 August 2013 12:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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Ellen, let's retcon this a little:

Val graduated to a walking cast but that wasn't good enough for her to go on the Christmas hike. She was pissed but realized that her body has limits (too low, in her opinion, and unfortunately not upgradable with the current technology.)

If the X-ray clears it she might graduate to a removable boot thing.

Let's postulate that Val hasn't been signed off for solo flight yet. In that case she'll always need an instructor along. She'd be able to kinda-sorta use the rudder pedals in flight but be unable to use the toe brakes[0], so somebody else needs to do the taxiing.

[0] The bottom part of the rudder pedals connect to both the rudder and nosewheel. In the air the rudder assists in turning the airplane left and right; on the ground the nose wheel steers it. The tops of the rudder pedals are connected to brakes on the main gear - left pedal to the left brake, right pedal to the right brake. Using only one brake allows sharp turns while taxiing, using both stops the airplane.
[quote title=Anne wrote on Tue, 20 August 2013 01:16]"Re: After graduation [message #8209] Tue, 27 August 2013 15:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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mkemp wrote on Tue, 27 August 2013 17:40

Ellen, let's retcon this a little:

Well, normally this whole thing would be buried until it was working; I consider this sort of fixing to be 'editing' rather than 'retcon'. 'Retcon' is where I fucked it up and published it before

Anne wrote on Tue, 20 August 2013 01:16

Val graduated to a walking cast but that wasn't good enough for her to go on the Christmas hike.

Aha!
I was assuming that Tuck broke his leg in roughly October; so the cast would be off by Christmas. Thus the Christmas hike... which would be Very Bad when you haven't been moving too much due to a cast. And then etc etc.

Anne wrote on Tue, 20 August 2013 01:16

"She was pissed but realized that her body has limits (too low, in her opinion, and unfortunately not upgradable with the current technology.)

Not to mention broke. Not to mention too easily broken, not replaceable... and who's the dumbass that went with calcium rather than iron as a structural material? (not to mention titanium...)

Anne wrote on Tue, 20 August 2013 01:16

Let's postulate that Val hasn't been signed off for solo flight yet. In that case she'll always need an instructor along.

No.
This would set Debbie off, and she would forbid flying (in a control sense by Val) entirely. Debbie's freaked out enough by flying anyway, and the idea of 'almost full control of the aircraft' is enough to send her into hysterics. When she's done with those, she'd use her Magic Sales Powers on Mike and Sabrina to convince them that it wasn't safe to let Valerie fly. Until she gets the cast off, plus a bit.

Ellen, who still hates computers very very much
Re: After graduation [message #8210] Tue, 27 August 2013 21:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sir Lee  is currently offline Sir Lee
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Actually, leaving Debbie's opinion aside for the moment, I really can't see any responsible instructor allowing a student to fly with a cast -- even a walking cast. I mean, they need the feet to control the rudder.


Don't call me Shirley. You will surely make me surly.
Re: After graduation [message #8213] Tue, 27 August 2013 23:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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Which means that if Sabrina let Val have any of the controls she was bribing her?

Embarassed Oh and I don't know why that Ellen says I wrote things that Martin wrote... He's a much better writer than me....

[Updated on: Tue, 27 August 2013 23:28]

Re: After graduation [message #8215] Wed, 28 August 2013 16:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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Look, I'm f____ing with Windows 7, Windows XP, and three bad hard drives in a row, plus an intermittent failure of some kind on a desktop, and my laptop died in a storm, and then my parents seem to think that if it has electricity involved then it's my responsibility to fix. That's not including four cats one requiring medicine twice daily, and five] litterboxes, which also must be scooped twice daily.

I am surprised I have the brains to post at all, much less keep track of who wrote what on this f______ing forum interface.

Oh, and Tucows now officially sucks goat dicks.


Ellen, who hates all


Edit: That doesn't mean you have to stop posting, mind. Just stop using Win7 or Win8.

[Updated on: Fri, 30 August 2013 11:05]

Re: After graduation [message #8216] Fri, 30 August 2013 17:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
lurker
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The organic quality of this thread is entertaining especially when Ellen had to even declare this was non-canon, as if we thought it was....
But here is my two-bits on Val learning to fly...

I must first have to agree with Sir Lee:
Sir Lee wrote on Tue, 27 August 2013 18:06

Actually, leaving Debbie's opinion aside for the moment, I really can't see any responsible instructor allowing a student to fly with a cast -- even a walking cast...

A cast is only on for six weeks. A good instructor needs to instill "stick and rudder" skills to a new pilot. It's a fundamental sensory training skill that a new pilot needs to understand to be an efficient pilot. You can still fly without this sensory level skill, but it may lead awareness problems downstream. I would expect Sabrina to be a thorough instructor.

Second,
mkemp wrote on Mon, 26 August 2013 20:36

I was in a 152 with my instructor doing touch-and-goes at Centennial Airport (KAPA), South of Denver. We were scrambling back up when somebody said, "The pattern altitude is 1000 feet."
My instructor answered, "This is a 152, sir."
The airport altitude is almost 5900 MSL and both of us aren't small, and it was a warm night.

I understand that they are attending a college, not far from home but staying near the campus. Using Kings Island Park as the geographical search point, the average airport elevation in the region are between 500-900 ft. It is highly probable Val is training between 2500-3500ft Above Ground Level or AGL (3300-4400 ft MSL-mean sea level). If Val hasn't solo'd yet, she is still learning under Visual Flight rules, which means anytime she is flying above 2999ft AGL, she is expect to fly at K+500ft increments, ie 3500, 5500, 7500 MSL when flying eastward, or 4500, 6500, etc., whenever flying on westward compass headings.
The only reason why I'm mentioning this is that the fuel cost of climbing and descending at two thousand feet increments upon ATC's request can be expensive. Sabrina would most likely keep the training flights at or below 3000ft AGL where the East-West altitude rules do not apply.

I had a flight instructor that was a screamer- I later found out he was an ex-Marine sergeant. He would yell at you if he thought you were straying. If you didn't keep your left hand on the yoke and right hand on the throttle (unless you needed to trim the plane with the trim wheel below the throttle) he would rap your right hand with his pencil. Ahh such memories....

Finally,
Ellen Hayes wrote on Wed, 28 August 2013 13:40


Oh, and Tucows now officially sucks goat dicks


But you'd think the goat at least enjoyed it..... Laughing
Re: After graduation [message #8217] Fri, 30 August 2013 21:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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Let's assume Anne got confused with the timing. Val got the cast off in time to go hiking at Christmas but not in time to get back into shape, therefore the hike really wasn't much of a success.

Just ignore the "By the way" sentence. Val's all healed up, Debbie's not any more hysterical about flying than usual, etc.
Re: After graduation [message #8218] Fri, 30 August 2013 21:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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I was very confused because of some time line slippage. I've been thinking of a way to rescue what I wrote... I think it might work this way: The morning after my crying jag on Chance' shoulder Sabrina asked me if I would come with her while she was flying. She said she would let me read the check list so that I'd have it memorized when I got my leg out of the cast.

Foolishly I went along.... and then insert the rest of my original post. That might make sense.

Anne who is two tired after work to post anything....
Re: After graduation [message #8220] Wed, 04 September 2013 22:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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"Ah, here she is. Valerie, glad you could make it," Professor Ishihara said.

"You know how it is, Professor, just one more bug and the code promotion server's running a little slow." She raised an eyebrow at Chance and the man standing next to him.

Ishihara said, "Valerie, Detective Carmody and Officer Chance Williams. Gentlemen, this is Miss Valerie Tucker."

Valerie nodded at them. "Detective Carmody, Chance. What's up?"

Carmody answered, "Miss Tucker, we need your help investigating a possible homicide attempt. At this point everything has to be kept confidential."

"I understand, sir."

"A man named Timothy Baxter was in a suspicious car crash and the Police Commisioner ordered us to treat it as a possible homicide."

*Somebody real important,* Valerie thought. "Yes, sir."

"We need to examine his home computers for threatening e-mails or things that might to point to anybody wanting to target him."

"I can probably do that, depending what his home setup is like. Do we have any passwords, access codes, that kind of thing? Fingerprint reader?"

Carmody said, "His boss, Doug Smith, said he has a computer he keeps all the passwords in. The keys and encryption keys are in a safe and he's given us the combination. He, Baxter, also has a website." Carmody gave Valerie a card. "Here's the address."

Valerie looked at the card; the URL wasn't anything she recognized. She looked at Professor Ishihara. "Is your conference room free? Looking at the website'll probably give us some clues and the conference room has a projector."

Ishihara said, "It's free." He addressed Carmody, "Mind if I tag along?"

From his expression Carmody really didn't want the professor along but aswered, "Okay."

They all trooped into the conference room. Valerie connected her laptop to the projector and hit Baxter's website. When it was loaded an animated flash "Welcome to Tim Baxter's computing collection" played along with "Apache thinks your IP address is" message. The remainder was filled with a rather mundane list of links: "Web Documentation", "Interesting Repositories", "Interesting Links", "Retrocomputing", "Modern Systems" and "Computer Center".

Valerie clicked on "Modern Systems" and was presented with a list of a dozen system names and short descriptions, most of them characterized as workstations or laptops, about half indicated as running Windows, the remainder as Linux or BSD.

The "Computer Center" called up a graphical network diagram showing all the 'modern' workstations and another dozen systems with labels like "VAX/OpenVMS", "Tape Library", "Sparc64/BSD", "9370/VM/370" and "9370/Linux". The laptops were shown as being connected via a wireless access point.

Valerie leaned back. "Well, let's hope that the keys work and the passwords are up to date."

Ishihara said, "What's the matter, Valerie? Intimidated? I thought you could break into anything."

"For most of this, yes - make a live CD, boot the system, go looking around. For some of it, I dunno. I think a 9370 is an IBM mainframe type thing and I have no idea how to get into it. This'll take some research."

Carmody said, "Why don't you go your research and when you're ready give Officer Williams a call. He's coordinating our efforts."

Vaalerie got very busy packing up her laptop.

Chance said, "Valerie?"

"What?"

"Completely professional, nothing personal."

"Yeah, okay." She finished packing and scurried out the door.

After she had left Carmody asked Chance, "What was all that about?"

"I don't know; she's been avoiding me. I'm glad to see her all healed up and looking better but she hasn't given me the opportunity to say so."

Re: After graduation [message #8221] Thu, 05 September 2013 03:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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"No, Val, you can't make a Gatling gun."

"It's hand cranked! It's legal!"

"What's this on your drawing?"

"Ah, it's-"

"It's a bracket for an electric motor and that's illegal."

----------------------------------

Valerie lifted the 172 off the little grass strip and turned on course toward their destination. "Bewildered traffic, Cessna four yankee fox departing the pattern to the southeast, Bewildered."

Sabrina said, "My airplane."

Valerie raised her hands off the controls. "Your airplane."

Sabrina turned the airplane to the right for a bit then turned back on course. "Your airplane."

Valerie put her hands back on the controls. "My airplane."

"You're probably wondering what that was all about."

"I figured you'd probably enlighten me at some point."

"Notice the road over there?"

"Yes."

"We're going the same way it is so it's really easy just to follow the road when we're this low. Nothing wrong with that except that other people do the same thing and some of them may be going in the opposite direction."

"That could be exciting."

"Nobody ever mentioned it to me as I remember, I just came up with it after reading something about how antiaircraft gunners like pilots who follow roads. Happened to me once. Was flying off to the right like we are now and a Bonanza came right down the middle of the road at the same altitude in the opposite direction. No indication that they ever saw me."

------------------------

MK note: I came up with the idea of not flying down the middle of roads and the close encounter actually happened. I was going East at 7500 feet MSL and the terrain made that within 3000 AGL so the other pilot wasn't violating the hemispheric rule.

[Updated on: Thu, 05 September 2013 07:51]

Re: After graduation [message #8222] Thu, 05 September 2013 07:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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Not to start a debate but I always thought that so long as the electric motor wasn't permanently attached it was legal. Of course I haven't done any research on the subject (Gatling guns and fully auto weapons burn too much ammo for everyday use... Sad ) so I haven't had that much interest. I know that an AR15 will go auto if the sear gets worn.... When I was in basic one of the weapons that was used by our platoon (not mine) kept malfunctioning by going auto.... Diagnosis a worn sear.
Re: After graduation [message #8223] Thu, 05 September 2013 09:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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The Gatling would make an interesting CAD/Mechanical Engineering project if the uni isn't too hoplophobic. Build a couple as demos, one in .223 and one in .308, then license the plans and notes to a firearms manufacturer who has all the paperwork. Maybe make a baby model in .25ACP, kinda like the half-scale Thompsons out there. They could sell the motor drives as 'aftermarket accessories.'

What Debbie wants to do is avoid more attention from the BATFE because the sentry gun probably attracted some.
Re: After graduation [message #8224] Thu, 05 September 2013 10:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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mkemp wrote on Thu, 05 September 2013 08:00

MK note: I came up with the idea of not flying down the middle of roads and the close encounter actually happened. I was going East at 7500 feet MSL and the terrain made that within 3000 AGL so the other pilot wasn't violating the hemispheric rule.

I read that rule someplace else quite a while ago; apparently it's a popular rule for those pilots that actually care about not dying in a stupid flying accident (which is many of them but not enough...).

Ellen, who is no longer dealing with parental computers

Edit: also, mkemp, if you keep bitching to me about leaning for best power at flying altitudes, I'm going to have to make Tuck-et-al invent a turbonormalizer and start re-engine-ing the planes they fly. *sulks* Do you really want all of them to have to go through FAA approval-of-a-new-engine-piece procedure? Lisa would cry...

[Updated on: Thu, 05 September 2013 10:16]

Re: After graduation [message #8225] Thu, 05 September 2013 10:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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mkemp wrote on Thu, 05 September 2013 14:29

Maybe make a baby {Gatling} model in .25ACP, kinda like the half-scale Thompsons out there.

From what I understand, .22LR is the cheapest ammo of all.

mkemp also wrote

What Debbie wants to do is avoid more attention from the BATFE because the sentry gun probably attracted some.

Possibly, but that wasn't so much a firearm as 'twas a controller of (made by other people) firearms. Plus, y'know, NDI sale to armed forces of the United States (except for the development examples; which did not have to be full-auto or even anything but paintball or Airsoft).

Ellen
Re: After graduation [message #8226] Thu, 05 September 2013 10:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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"Back to school," Pam smiled at Mike as the two of them trudged off through the cold gray January day to their separate but close-together 9 A.M. classes. "How's Val?" She'd been kind of sulky and stressed on the bus, and frankly, Pam didn't want to deal with her when she was like that.

"Kinda stressed. You know. She hates strangers at the best of times, and she's still kind of under-confident and paranoid, even though she has the cast off."

"Yeah..." She thought of something horrible. "Um, did you check her for, um..."

"Before she got on the bus," Mike nodded. "Pulled off two pistols, two knives, and I lost track of the sharp throwy things. In a lockbox back home."

"Was that what she was all pissed about?" Pam hadn't seen it; she'd been running late, which usually happened the first day of school no matter how much she tried to prepare the night before.

"Pretty much, yeah. That and Lisa made Tuck eat breakfast. Well, Lisa made it and Debbie made her eat it."

Which was the same reason Pam had eaten some breakfast this morning, though hers had been eaten on the bus. "Is she gaining weight yet?"

"Half a kilo or so."

"That's good." Pam wasn't allowed to ask about her own weight, which really pissed her off - and the last time she'd gotten a scale she could actually read, they'd confiscated it - but it did help to keep her mind on how her body felt rather than abstract and evil numbers.

***

Mike knew he hadn't gotten everything, but he didn't have to; he just had to remind Tuck that this was a college campus, not a war zone. Plus, if he took off the ones he could find, the ones he couldn't find were by definition very well concealed, and so less likely to be spotted, as well as a little harder to deploy, for instance if someone sneezed too loudly.

***

Tucker trudged towards the parking lot where the bus had been, unreasonably glad that George was with him, and annoyed at George for being necessary, Debbie for making him wear attractive clothes rather than the tolerably high DR and not too heavy titanium plate armor he'd welded up, and pretty much the entire population of North America for being such evil shits that he had to be afraid at all. And Mike for disarming him this morning; he'd had to go to new classes with barely one mouse-killer of a pistol stuck in his panty holster - Mike was squeamish about sticking his hands in there, as were most people - and only one half-decent fighting knife.

The bus was shimmering with heat. "Guess they cranked up the big space heater," Tucker commented.

"Looks like," George agreed. "You cooking today?"

"Dunno... Unless Lisa or someone got there first, probably." He started thinking of what he could cook with the limited equipment and supplies that were on the bus. "What's your next class today?"

"Hellifino," George snorted. "I've got an hour, I know that."

"Maybe you ought to write that stuff down or something," Tucker smirked.

"Or maybe put it in a PDA? Nah," George scoffed. "Who'd do something so sissy-like?"

"Very true." It had been 'fun' coming up with something that would transfer data back and forth between the various PDAs, laptops, and desktops to keep everyone's calendar information synchronized. Luckily he'd had years to do it. Christmas had been kind of irritating, though; other people had gotten presents of hardware for themselves and then selfishly refused to let go of them so Tucker could use them as developmental hardware, and the Finance Committee had balked at buying Tucker a separate set of everything. "Certainly not me."

"'Course not. Meatballs."

"What?"

"Meatballs would go really well today," George prayed.

"With spaghetti?"

"Nah, just like in a sauce or something. 'Bout thirty of them."

"Jeezus, George, what's your next class, Napping 401?" George laughed as Tucker continued, "That much protein'd put you into a coma."

"Yeah, that'd be cheating. Nah, just..." He shrugged. Then he raised a hand and called, "Hey, bitches!"

"Hey asshole!" Amanda called back. "How were classes?"


Ellen
Re: After graduation [message #8227] Thu, 05 September 2013 11:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
Messages: 684
Registered: September 2002
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Stuart had never before seen the weird thing the girl was apparently taking notes on. It was way too big to be a Palm. "Excuse me, what is that?" he whispered, pointing.

She didn't answer him, but did something before holding it up so he could see the screen. It was now displaying a graphic which said, "Apple Newton 2100, circa 1998, 162MHz RISC CPU (StrongARM SA-110), 4MB FLASH RAM, 2x PCMCIA cards including 16MB removable flash (ATA not compatible). Now mounted: 10/100 BaseT/56k modem, 4MB flash."

"No shit?" he exclaimed, way too loudly, which made everyone in the class look at him.

***

"Did we back up our data?!" Valerie intoned loudly as she waved her Newton around at everyone else, and Julia sighed and started fumbling for the cables in her pack. *Supposed to do this before you eat, stupid,* she told herself.

***

Tucker sighed, "What I really need is an interface between one of those tiny iPod drives, if not an actual iPod, and my Newton. Living life four megabytes at a time is a real pain in the ass."

"No market for it-"

"I KNOW that!"

***

Ellen, who remembers what 4 megabytes can actually hold
Re: After graduation [message #8228] Thu, 05 September 2013 13:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sir Lee  is currently offline Sir Lee
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Location: São Paulo, Brazil
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Ellen Hayes wrote on Thu, 05 September 2013 12:04

Ellen, who remembers what 4 megabytes can actually hold

<Grampa Simpson voice>You young whippersnappers with your fancy 4 megabytes! I remember when we had an entire office suite in a double-sided Apple disk, with some room left for user files! Yeah, that was 280 KiB including ProDOS, AppleWorks and data!</Grampa Simpson voice>

[Updated on: Thu, 05 September 2013 13:10]


Don't call me Shirley. You will surely make me surly.
Re: After graduation [message #8229] Thu, 05 September 2013 16:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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Uphill in the snow! Both ways!
And we were damned glad to have it!

I started writing Tuck on floppy disks, though they were the fancy-schmancy 3.5 inch High Density ones. DOS, editor - I don't use 'word processors' if I can avoid them, even today - a few utility programs, and many episodes of Tuck would fit on one disk. That is, by the way, one major reason Tuck is in ASCII-text format. I could still write that way, if pushed... and if I could find a floppy drive. I still have about 600 disks, because I didn't figure out how floppy recycling worked before time got critical.
icon10.gif  Re: After graduation [message #8230] Thu, 05 September 2013 16:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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Sir Lee wrote on Thu, 05 September 2013 10:10

Ellen Hayes wrote on Thu, 05 September 2013 12:04

Ellen, who remembers what 4 megabytes can actually hold

<Grampa Simpson voice>You young whippersnappers with your fancy 4 megabytes! I remember when we had an entire office suite in a double-sided Apple disk, with some room left for user files! Yeah, that was 280 KiB including ProDOS, AppleWorks and data!</Grampa Simpson voice>

Yeah, yeah. Barefoot through the snow, uphill and into the wind both ways. You ate dirt and paid them four quid a week for the privilege. Math was easier then 'cause there weren't as many numbers.

Marten Kemp, who cut his teeth on 32k IBM 360/30s and 64k 360/40s; Assembler Language and punched cards and core memory and reading dumps. Different hardware but the same ethos.

You know the phrase "wooden ships and iron men" referring to the days of sailing ships? In the Olden Days it was "iron programmers and Tinker-Toy computers" because hardware was more expensive than programmers' time. These Days the hardware's cheaper than programmers and the problems are many orders of magnitude more complex.

[Updated on: Sun, 08 September 2013 07:38]

Re: After graduation [message #8231] Fri, 06 September 2013 22:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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"Uncle Lanier," I said into the phone, "I have a problem."

"Does it have anything to do with your body?" He asked.

"Yeah," I said, sobbing slightly.

"Your friends are there with you aren't they?" He asked.

"Yeah," I said, "but they can't help with this one."

"So tell me all about it, and your aunt Louisa too," he said as I heard her say, "Child, what is the problem?" Apparently they were both on the line now, which I suppose I should have expected since Aunt Louisa had answered the phone in the first place and I'd been whimpering fairly badly when I called.

I explained that the police were trying to recruit me, among other things. I guess that older women have a sixth sense about this 'cause aunt Louisa asked, "Is there a boy involved in this somewhere?"

That set me off for so long that the only thing that got me to calm down was hearing uncle Lanier ask aunt Louisa how long it would take her to get ready to come up to see me.

I got coherent and begged them not to. I insisted that I just needed their advice about the recruiting pitch. Which I did. I'd been working on the computer problem with Chance for some time when someone leaked a video of me shooting. I'd been aware of the fellow with the railroad tracks on his collar sort of peripherally for sometime but today he'd stopped me as I was leaving the room and said, "Miss Tucker, I'd like a word with you."

For a moment I wondered what I'd done wrong, and I guess he saw that because he said, "Don't worry, you haven't done anything wrong. Someone showed me a video of you shooting at the NRA match in Bewildered a few days ago and I was wondering if someone who shot like that and who was as dedicated to the job as you are here would be interested in joining the force."

"I don't think I would be accepted at the academy," was the first thing that popped out of my mouth.

He'd let me go but I could see that he wasn't going to be satisfied with my answer. Which was why I'd rushed home and called uncle Lanier.
Re: After graduation [message #8232] Fri, 06 September 2013 22:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sir Lee  is currently offline Sir Lee
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The appropriate response would be:

"Well, sir, here's the thing, while I do enjoy shooting it's more of a hobby to me, and computers are my first love, and I want to go to Silicon Valley and make a career of it. I hear it pays really well, too."

[Updated on: Fri, 06 September 2013 22:57]


Don't call me Shirley. You will surely make me surly.
Re: After graduation [message #8234] Sat, 07 September 2013 00:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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It may be just my opinion but I believe that Val is more affected by Chance than she likes to admit...
Re: After graduation [message #8237] Sat, 07 September 2013 07:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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Anne wrote on Sat, 07 September 2013 03:23

I'd been working on the computer problem with Chance for some time when someone leaked a video of me shooting. I'd been aware of the fellow with the railroad tracks on his collar sort of peripherally for sometime but today he'd stopped me as I was leaving the room and said, "Miss Tucker, I'd like a word with you."

For a moment I wondered what I'd done wrong,


That would be more like "I immediately wondered what charges I was going to be arrested for, and I missed his next two sentences because I was adding up traffic and other ordinance violations, misdemeanors, and felonies."

Anne wrote on Sat, 07 September 2013 03:23

and I guess he saw that because he said, "Don't worry, you haven't done anything wrong. Someone showed me a video of you shooting at the NRA match in Bewildered a few days ago and I was wondering if someone who shot like that and who was as dedicated to the job as you are here would be interested in joining the force."


At which point Tucker would stare, until entirely sure that he wasn't mishearing or hallucinating; then he would burst into hysterical laughter, probably precipitating an asthma 'event'.

Which IMO would be pretty funny, and would Tuck even have to answer after that?

Not a polite or politic thing to do, but that's why Tuck doesn't do the negotiating.

Ellen
Re: After graduation [message #8238] Sat, 07 September 2013 08:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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"Oh, Val? Formal dinner and dancing this Friday night," Debbie reminded her. Since she'd gotten out of her leg cast, and was no longer holed up in the Verrücktererfinderinbunker - whatever that was - she needed to be reminded that she had to be nice around other people.

Who am I kidding? She needs to be reminded that she has to be around other people.

As Debbie had expected, Val reacted like she'd just been robbed. Which is why Debbie was mentioning this the Saturday before the Friday night dinner and dancing.

***

"Chance? This is Debbie. We're inviting you to come to a formal dinner Friday night, at the Starlite. And that does mean formal, so if you have a dress uniform, that'd be good. Valerie will be there."

***

Debbie explained, "Because, if you play waiter for the two of them, you won't have to do all the usual formal stuff for the entire evening. But you'll still have to dress up some," she reminded him.

George countered, "Yeah, sure; but what if Tuck spazzes?"

Debbie shrugged. "Mike'll be there at the dinner, and then all you have to do is keep Val from completely losing it until Mike and Kathy get there." While Mike had the best chance of restraining Valerie with rational thought, Kathy could hold Val off the ground. Which reminds me, I need to remember to tell Kathy to wear something she can run in. And maybe we could get Val into sandals, something she can't just fling off, which she usually did when she was running.

He sighed. "Man... I'd almost rather be doing the formal dining partner thing."

"Well, make up your mind... if not you, I gotta tell Mike."

"Why isn't he doing it?"

Debbie admitted, "'Cause he's gonna help me get Val dressed and into the dining room; he said he didn't want to be doing 'that shit all night'."

"Can't blame him for that."

"I'm not!"

***

"Oh, yeah, I love a challenge," Sabrina lied. Finding and/or altering a formal for Valerie when she'd lost so much weight was going to be hard, and she did not have much time, and she had classes and homework and chores.

Still... it's white tie, so long gown, preferably strapless; gloves. Maybe that dark blue one...

"So you got it?" Debbie smiled.

"Fuck off, Deb; I'm thinking."

***

Chance thought, Email from Debbie? What, did they email me an invitation? Then he wondered, Is it graphic? because the file was huge. So he opened it.

It was not an invitation; it was a guide on formal dining and dancing. With a note at the top saying, "You REALLY need to read this!!!!"

Uh-oh.

***

"And no alcohol," Debbie reminded George. "She's tranked up to her eyeballs." Debbie was glad she'd allowed time for that.

"Right right right," he nodded. "Lookin' good," he said to both of them. Valerie managed to flip him off.

Before George could say anything, Debbie punched him in the arm. "Say thank you, Val."

"Thank you, George," she repeated obediently. "You're gonna pay for this, Debbie," she added conversationally.

"I know," she said cheerily, though she had to cover up a twitch of atavistic terror. Valerie had been in that lab too long, unsupervised and unhappy, and the combination had led to some really scary things; and those were only what she knew about.

***

Chance was glad he'd worn his dress uniform, even though he'd had to have it cleaned and pressed, and buy gloves and a few other things; because the men and women here tonight were wearing tuxes and formal gowns like this was the Oscars or something.

"Ah, m'sieur," said one guy as he intercepted Chance. "Your partner for the evening awaits you. If you'll come this way?"

"Uh... yeah," Chance agreed. Is that one of the National Match team? He looks familiar...

The guy, who was in something like a tuxedo but not quite, led Chance through the cocktail-party throng to the back of the room. One of the women noticed him and smiled, and said, "Chance! We're so glad you could make it. May I present Valerie?"

He hadn't quite recognized her; she'd lost weight, looked kind of gaunt in that fashion-model way, was in a really beautiful dress, in a dark blue like the sky about three minutes before it got dark, with heels and gloves; she had her hair up in some complicated style, and her makeup made her look entirely different.

Also she looked unhappy. And intoxicated.

But still really breathtakingly beautiful.

And, then, she smiled at him. It was hesitant and small, but it was definitely a smile.

She held out her hand, and Chance took it in his, bent down, and kissed it. Glad I read that stupid email...

***

Debbie somehow managed not to scream when she repeated, "You let her have a holster?!" She'd just managed to put up with Valerie's formal sword, but she knew she'd have to let that one go.

"She's not gonna shoot him!" Sabrina protested. "Plus it makes her feel more confident."

"That's because she's a homicidal maniac!" The only reasons she wasn't Public Enemy Number One at this point was Mike, and because she'd have to go out to murder people, and because - she had said this - killing dozens of people wasn't as interesting as writing software. "It's a solved problem," she'd said... "Oh god..."

"Chill, Debs! Besides, she's not wearing body armor, so I had to give her something."

"Oh god oh god..."

***

Sabrina was very glad she hadn't mention the baton, or the knives; Debbie would probably pass out. Plus she's only got one of each, not counting the kozuka. And if you count the parrying dagger in a separate class from the garter knife, she added, because Val had a tendency to wear her garter knife all the time, since it had a few extra utility functions like an oxygen bottle opener and was magnetized so it would act like a compass. Sabrina hadn't been sure she could get Val down to that few. She really is feeling better, she smiled, as she touched her own garter knife.

***

George led the two of them to the screened area that held a largish table, set for two. "And madmoiselle and m'sieur will have private dining this evening," he said as he pulled out Tucker's chair. He didn't - couldn't - miss the slump of Valerie's relief.

***

Ellen, who really ought to be getting ready to run errands

[Updated on: Sat, 07 September 2013 09:23]

Re: After graduation [message #8240] Sat, 07 September 2013 11:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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The police Captain called me about a week after I'd turned him down. "Miss Tucker, would you consider accepting a commission as a Reserve Officer? I really need a way to utilize your expertise."

"Don't you already have snipers on your SWAT team?"

"We don't have a separate SWAT team, just some officers who've gone through the training, and nobody shoots as well as you do."

"Tell me more about this Reserve Officer thing. I don't have time for your police academy and I wouldn't fit in there, anyway."

"Things are less formal in the Reserve program. If you can pass the final exam, a background check and a physical you'd be in. A Reserve Officer isn't paid but you get uniforms and get to use our facilities. All the gun shops will give you a police discount. If you're on active duty you have all the powers and protections of a regular officer."

"Health insurance, too?"

"Yes, plus you get the same legal representation as a regular officer."

I had a vision of me and Da Boyz in our heavy-duty social work gear and the rest in their General Quarters turnout equipment. "And you don't have a separate SWAT team?"

"No. Why do you ask?"

"Do you have an exercise in your shoot house on a weekend two or three weeks from now?" It would take that long to organize.

"Yes, why?"

"I think I can interest some of the others." It would be good training and probably a lot of fun. Plus that police discount he kept mentioning would make Debbie and the Finance Committee happy.

And so, on the appointed date and time, the bus drives up with some of the girls on board. The main team makes an entrance by fast-roping down from Sabrina's helicopter to the top of the building.

They run through a building-clearing exercise and come trotting out the front door. Valerie goes up to the Captain and salutes. "Starlite SWAT team at your service, sir."



[Updated on: Sat, 07 September 2013 21:24]

Re: After graduation [message #8241] Sat, 07 September 2013 13:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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It'd be even way-mo-bettah if the local (FSVO 'local') cops DIDN'T have their own 'Fun House' for practice; then Debbie could get the contract to build and maintain one, and rent it out to all the law enforcement groups she could find.

With, of course, a provision that they (Pack and Boyz) get to use it when no one else is.

Talk about a fun first date...

Ellen
Re: After graduation [message #8242] Sat, 07 September 2013 16:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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The local PD's shoot house was really small and limited and getting pretty tattered from all the bullets, and none of the other departments in the region had anything better. Therefore, of course, Debbie found an industrial area out near the airport that was under construction when the developer ran out of money. She got the state to front almost all the money for a redevelopment project.

Three months later we had a three-story shoot house and an indoor pistol range that all the local departments used. The demand was high enough that we refitted another building as a shoot house and another just for paintballers, plus another couple of pistol ranges.

The proximity of the airport prompted departments to bring helicopters for fast-rope training. Departments who couldn't spare a helo for training hired Sabrina's and she had a steady stream of students wanting training.

I set up my sentry gun in the paintball house and charged optimists to try to sneak past it. The sentry gun was on casters and we randomly changed its position to keep people from getting overconfident. That gained enough attention that I designed a smaller and lighter version that just had the detection functions and a camera. It used 802.11 to transmit the camera images and X-10 to provide the basic alarm function. The camera feed was pretty slow but that didn't matter too much. I built an 802.11 and X-10 to wired Ethernet converter to be installed near the sentries because both wireless and X-10 can be disrupted by a prepared adversary.

The girls came up with decorative shells and pretty soon we had orders from alarm companies and places like jewelry stores. Debbie set up a separate company to produce both active sentries and lookalike dummies - some properly paranoid companies would set up one active unit and several lookalikes and randomly change their positions.
Re: After graduation [message #8243] Sat, 07 September 2013 21:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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I almost got into trouble on one of the ride-along things to qualify as a Reserve Officer. Kevin O'Bannion, my Training Officer, was "interviewing" a character and one of they guy's buddies took exception. I told him to back off and he did that stand-tall-and-sweep-the-coat-aside thing to show off a gun he had stuck in his belt.

O'Bannion told me that kicking the guy in the crotch wasn't proper procedure. He didn't say anything about me wearing steel-toed shoes.
Re: After graduation [message #8245] Sun, 08 September 2013 07:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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I was looking at the walls in the shoot house that we'd built. One problem was that it was possible to memorize the layout of the building if you ran the 'course' often enough. I was trying to think of a way to make the walls easily movable. Currently I couldn't think of a way to do it but I would bring the idea up to George and Mike who had more construction type experience than I did.

When I left the shoot house I saw that Chance and some of the other police I knew were running red on blue exercises in the paint ball course. Of course Chance just happened to still be getting his gear out of his car. He smiled at me and my heart sped up like it hadn't in a while with someone who I was dating. *I wasn't dating Chance* I tried to remind myself. My nipples didn't believe me either....
Re: After graduation [message #8249] Sun, 08 September 2013 13:17 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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mkemp wrote on Sat, 07 September 2013 21:12

I set up my sentry gun

Whot, just one?

mkemp wrote on Sat, 07 September 2013 21:12

{...}charged optimists to try to sneak past it.

Those people are called 'beta testers'. =)

mkemp wrote on Sat, 07 September 2013 21:12

I designed a smaller and lighter version that just had the detection functions and a camera.

Original version has a camera. Or more than one.

Ellen
Re: After graduation [message #8250] Sun, 08 September 2013 13:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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As they all sat there in the cloud of CS gas, Kathy was starting to wish she'd brought a book or something; it was B-O-R-I-N-G. Not a book; you can't get the smell out. Maybe a magazine...

"Okay, masks off!" called the police instructor.

Valerie shook her head. "No, see," she said, her voice sounding very odd through the gas mask and the radio at the same time, "if you don't take it off, it doesn't hurt. So I'm not taking it off. Plus the NVGs are mounted." Valerie, Mike, Pam, and Cody were also beta-testing her new night-vision gear for 'chemical warfare compatibility'.

"You always take the mask off at the end of the session," Dan argued.

"That's because they're all stupid and need the abuse. I am fine just like this."

Kathy sighed, because Dan was going to try and rip the mask off Valerie's face, and she was going to fight him, and then somewhere somehow Kathy was going to get kicked or punched or something. "Alright, children, ENOUGH."

There was a pause, then Valerie whined, "You're no fun." Then she added, "And I'm still not taking my mask off."

"Wuss!"

"Fine, you can take yours off if you want," she 'allowed'.

***

Tucker smiled, and played with his drink. Cosmopolitans and the drink known as 'Sex On The Beach' were extremely popular lately, but he still preferred mimosas. "Oh, nothing much. What'd you do today?"
Re: After graduation [message #8256] Mon, 09 September 2013 17:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
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Dan drove the truck pulling the lowboy trailer near the departure end of the parade's marshalling area and George backed the tank off onto the street. An army of volunteers started installing prefabricated decking and a sun shield on the trailer while Dan and George swapped the truck for the tank.

As the time of departure neared the trailer was filled with skinny, bald kids, some on crutches but most in wheelchairs, and their attendants. When the time came the parade was led by the cheerleaders of the Electroshock Therapy High School carrying a banner "Angela Thurson Foundation Walk For The Cure." The high school band followed and then the tank with Angela on the back deck. A crowd of people followed, most wearing T-shirts with 'Cancer Survivor' on them.

The parade route wasn't very long, just from City Park to the Civic Center. At the end Angela mounted the reviewing stand to join the mayor, city council, chief of police and other civic leaders. Dan and George accompanied her and stood at parade rest behind her.

"Mr. Mayor, members of the city council, Chief, ladies and gentlemen: thank you all for your support, for me and for all the rest of us. Some of us have been cancer free for various lengths of time, some of us are not yet cancer free. This parade and your support are valuable because when you're battling a disease your horizons shrink to the corridors and hospital treatment rooms, and to your immediate family and medical team. Being outside for a little while and seeing other people who support us provides a great boost to our morale. My special thanks go to the cheerleaders and band from the Electroshock Therapy High School, and the Starlite Tankers and the rest of the Starlite residents."

Re: After graduation [message #8257] Mon, 09 September 2013 23:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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Chance showed up at the next shoot with someone, I wasn't sure if the person was a girl or a guy they were so androgynous. He introduced me saying, "Val, this is my friend Terry."

The person who had a neutral voice not quite feminine but yet not really masculine said, "Hi Val, I see you and Chance share an addiction."

"Not really," Chance demurred, "Val always out shoots me."

"You mean they are finally getting some competition here?" Terry asked.

"They're still probably not up to your standard, though I imagine that you and Val will be in the top two spots if you decide to shoot today."

Terry shot and beat me. I never did quite figure out if Terry was male or female. And just as with me direct questions didn't work.
Re: After graduation [message #8259] Tue, 10 September 2013 21:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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"Nah," George said casually, "Terry's a girl."

Through many years of experience, Tucker could tell when George was about to be an asshole. He was now about to be an asshole.
"Okay," Tucker pulled the trigger, "why do you think it's a girl?"

"'Cause! Doesn't know how to fast-rope, right?" He also motioned with his hands to show that this was so blindingly obvious it hurt him that Tucker hadn't caught it already. "So only pussies don't know how to fast-rope; therefore Terry is a pussy. Q.E.D."

"I should've guessed," Tucker said, grinning despite himself.

"If Kathy heard you say that," Kelly inserted, "you're gonna be in so much trouble..."

"She's in the salon," George said, with the casual confidence of someone who has checked for obstacles before running the course, as it were. "Hey, are you cooking tonight?"

"Actually, it's your turn, George," Tucker remembered. Kelly nodded in support.

"Ah, man- no, wait, this means I can fix what I want. Alllll-RIIIIIIIGHT!" he yelled as he trotted off, arms in the air.

"Probably sheeps' heads or something," Tucker sighed. "Aw, man... I'm supposed to be gaining weight."

"Maybe we could go out for fast food?" Kelly suggested nervously.

"Oh, let's see what he comes up with first." There were a few 24-hour places within easy driving distance, if it turned out badly.

***

"Fucking compilers." Tucker blew off four shots at Station Six, getting four hits on the steel 'bell-ringer' targets. "And goddamned fucking freak androgynes!" The randomizer demanded Station Ten, so he had to run there and make four hits, which took five rounds and a reload, and then Station Three which meant he had to run back, and then the hit-me light activated on two of the punching bags, which he then had to hit hard enough to activate the G sensor as well as a hard contact in one of the punch-sensor areas, and then he missed another shot on Three, which just pissed him off more.

***

"Nooooo, I wouldn't go in there right now," Mike demurred. "Val's working off some bitchy or something."

"She doesn't need all twelve lanes..." Mike was nodding that she did indeed. "For what?"

"Dude, check the monitor," Mike said, pointing at the television.

She drop-kicked a punching bag before scrabbling on the floor and then body-checking it, bouncing off and drawing her pistol and firing an entire pistol magazine before dropping to the floor and finding another one and unloading half of that before a number flashed on the screen, apparently repeated inside the facility, and she rolled to her feet and ran off. The camera switched to a different one, showing her approaching a different station and slamming to a stop behind a door and firing around it.

***

"Too bad I can't do reloads in class or something," Val said to Sabrina as she grilled veggies for lunch.

"Maybe you should take notes or something? Just sayin'."

"Eh, some of 'em yeah, but some..." She shrugged. "Plus there's in between class, when you have to walk between buildings."

"That's exercise."

"Bah, who needs exercise?"

"Little crippled girls who just got out of their leg casts?" Sabrina reminded her.

"I don't know any of those," Valerie grinned. "You want chicken on this, or fish?"

"Nah, just vegan today," Sabrina decided.

Val promised, "Couple minutes," as she threw some more fresh veg into a different wok. "Hear anything on Janet yet?"

"Nah, she's supposed to be here when she gets done with her test. I think," Sabrina temporized. It had gotten almost impossible to keep track of where everyone was, since there were so many of them now.
Re: After graduation [message #8260] Wed, 11 September 2013 02:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Brooke  is currently offline Brooke
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Anne wrote on Mon, 26 August 2013 20:39

When we got back to the Starlite, I was feeling like Sabrina had put me through the ringer.


That's "wringer" from the gizmo for squeezing water out of clothes on really old washing machines.

Quote:

... I wanted to burn some real ammo in the short range we'd jury (author note: I suspect jury is actually a slurring of Gerry) rigged.


Nope. "jury-rigged" is an old sailing term. But many folks confuse it with "jerry built".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rig

Re: After graduation [message #8261] Wed, 11 September 2013 03:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Brooke  is currently offline Brooke
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mkemp wrote on Wed, 04 September 2013 19:31

"For most of this, yes - make a live CD, boot the system, go looking around. For some of it, I dunno. I think a 9370 is an IBM mainframe type thing and I have no idea how to get into it. This'll take some research."


Oh Lord. IBM hardware. I used to own most of an IBM 2311 hard drive unit. Still have two disk packs for it. and both the service record and the srervice manual. Ran on 220v 3-phase. Except if you look hard at the circuit diagrams, you realize that the drive actually uses single phase. So drive A uses phase 1, drive B uses phase 2, drive C uses phase 3, and drive D is back to phase 1.

Oy. Oh yeah, the heads on the drive were driven *hydraulicly*.

And Tuck is going to scream when he has to deal with EBCDIC and 9-track tapes (and possibly punch cards). I wonder if a 9370 had to have the bootstrap loader toggled in from the front panel on the CPU?

I recall my Big Brother (who worked as an accountant for the FDA) talking about the "fun" of auditing mainframe based stuff back in the 70s. You could flip "sense switches" on the front panel and totally change the way a program ran. So you had to practically have the source code to make sure there weren't any "tricks" in how it ran based on those switchres.


Re: After graduation [message #8262] Wed, 11 September 2013 03:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Brooke  is currently offline Brooke
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Sir Lee wrote on Thu, 05 September 2013 10:10

Ellen Hayes wrote on Thu, 05 September 2013 12:04

Ellen, who remembers what 4 megabytes can actually hold

<Grampa Simpson voice>You young whippersnappers with your fancy 4 megabytes! I remember when we had an entire office suite in a double-sided Apple disk, with some room left for user files! Yeah, that was 280 KiB including ProDOS, AppleWorks and data!</Grampa Simpson voice>



I have a 256 *byte* core plane sitting less than six feet away from me. It's in the storage drawer with the 5.25" floppies. It's the same size, just a bit thicker.

I also used to frequent a BBS that ran on a modified DiskWriter. 8080 CPU, two serial ports, two floppy drives. 8 k of ROM, 1 K of RAM (expandable to 8k but the BBS didn't need it).

One port was for a modem the other was for a terminal. the floppies had 128 byte sectors and the OS was essentially a line editor. One line per sector, with the first sector of the first track reserved for housekeeping.

The DiskWriters were so you could do your data entry on the floppies locally, then connect to the timesharing service and dump the data an full modem speed.

The sysop had been one of the developers and patched the ROM to turn it into a very *strange* BBS. (The carrier detect line on the modem port was tied to the reset line on the CPU. So the system did a cold boot every time someone called)

http://www.backwater.com/archive.htm is the archives of the system.
Re: After graduation [message #8263] Wed, 11 September 2013 03:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
LuLou  is currently offline LuLou
Messages: 73
Registered: August 2007
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mkemp wrote on Sat, 07 September 2013 08:40


" If you can pass ... a physical you'd be in. "





Somehow I don't see that happening, although Val has a long history of agreeing to things before finding out just what they entail.

Re: After graduation [message #8266] Wed, 11 September 2013 07:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
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Brooke wrote on Tue, 10 September 2013 23:46

Anne wrote on Mon, 26 August 2013 20:39

When we got back to the Starlite, I was feeling like Sabrina had put me through the ringer.


That's "wringer" from the gizmo for squeezing water out of clothes on really old washing machines.

Quote:

... I wanted to burn some real ammo in the short range we'd jury (author note: I suspect jury is actually a slurring of Gerry) rigged.


Nope. "jury-rigged" is an old sailing term. But many folks confuse it with "jerry built".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_rig




Note that Anne is dyslectic and the spell check function is not her friend. I know it is a wringer. The other excuse is that often I write these off the cuff without double checking and then post.
Re: After graduation [message #8267] Wed, 11 September 2013 07:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
Messages: 684
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"Dude, I thought you hung out with all those chicks at that sorority house or whatever it is."

Dan looked over at Rick. "Dude. It's Period Week. They're all insane. And bitchy."

***

George was beyond embarrassment at this point, because he'd done it so many times. Plus, as the girls had mentioned every time they could wedge it into a conversation, if he ever ended up living with a female, like a wife or worse yet a daughter, he'd have to go out and buy menstrual pads and/or tampons eventually. Plus, they all agreed, it got serious Enlightened Male points; which they claimed George desperately needed because he was usually so far in deficit in that category.

On the other hand, he didn't see any reason he couldn't buy some other stuff when he was out on an urgent supply run. And Period Week really cried out for barbecue and beer; sort of a counter-agent to all the estrogen and et cetera floating around and making all the women crazy(er). Plus ingredients for a series of apple pies, with which he hoped to attract a few non-resident girls who enjoyed eating rather than dieting and weren't currently menstruating.

So he was not in the mood when the pimply-faced high school girl working as cashier choked.
Re: After graduation [message #8268] Wed, 11 September 2013 07:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Anne  is currently offline Anne
Messages: 355
Registered: April 2012
Senior Member
I was getting frustrated with not improving my shooting scores even with the time I'd spent playing video games. Debbie refused to buy an arcade quality game so I was researching laser pistols with the idea that I'd use one in the paintball house we'd built. Or maybe we could run laser tag tournaments. At some point, even with paintballs I ran into a cost of ammo problem when what I needed was literally hours of practice to catch up with Terry. The damn androgynous bitch was driving me crazy. I couldn't tell what it was and hated to say it in reference to another person. A couple of times she insisted that neuter was what she was trying for. That was when she seemed most feminine. When we were shooting I wondered how much practice time she had to work on her shooting.

If I wasn't dedicated to getting my EE I would be tempted to drop out and spend 8 hours a day 6 days a week shooting. I realized that I really enjoyed the competitions.

On another note Terry was prying into my relationship with Chance, 'just friends,' I told her.

'If you hurt my good friend, I'll rip your head off,' she promised.

'I'll step aside for you then,' I told her. 'I'm no more interested in Chance than you are in Mike,' she told me.


[Updated on: Wed, 11 September 2013 08:00]

Re: After graduation [message #8269] Wed, 11 September 2013 09:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
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Senior Member
Brooke wrote on Wed, 11 September 2013 00:03

mkemp wrote on Wed, 04 September 2013 19:31

"For most of this, yes - make a live CD, boot the system, go looking around. For some of it, I dunno. I think a 9370 is an IBM mainframe type thing and I have no idea how to get into it. This'll take some research."


And Tuck is going to scream when he has to deal with EBCDIC and 9-track tapes (and possibly punch cards). I wonder if a 9370 had to have the bootstrap loader toggled in from the front panel on the CPU?



No front panel boot loader or sense switches or card reader. All of it's rack mounted. The "system console" is a PS/2 model 30(?) with an add-on card, the rest are over Ethernet to workstations running TN3270 or C3270.
Re: After graduation [message #8270] Wed, 11 September 2013 22:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
Messages: 684
Registered: September 2002
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Chase has been invited to a formal dinner and dance at the Starlite, and has been assigned to escort Valerie. George has escaped the tyranny of having to escort this evening, but only by playing waiter (and zookeeper) to the two. We now resume at the appetizer remove...

Because some pedant is going to complain, somewhere between that snippet and this one, Valerie unbuttoned her gloves (possibly with the reluctant assistance of George) and folded them through the mousquetaire opening; because one does not eat or drink with gloves on.

***

"So," Chance finally felt comfortable enough to ask, "what happened? Over the last couple of months, I mean?" He wasn't ready to ask what had happened between the two of them.

Valerie took a breath and looked away. "Oh, I had an accident, broke my leg..."

She didn't say anything else.

"The soup, madmoiselle," the shooting team member - Chance was sure he recognize the guy now, though he didn't remember his name - said, before announcing to Chance, "tonight you are graced with Lisa's poached mushroom and garlic, which is not nearly as frightening as it sounds."

"It's really good," Valerie said with relief.

***

Over the lamb, Tucker finally got out, "I just... I'm too vulnerable, when I'm crippled like that. So... So I stayed in the lab. For two months."

"Oh come on!" Chance complained. "Two months?"

Tucker almost threw up.

"It's true," George inserted, and Tucker almost shot him, because he was George, and therefore probably going to be an asshole. "Except it was more like three months. Chill, b- madmoiselle," he corrected himself. "Dropped her classes, dropped her chores, wired the inside of the place- didn't you come by that time?"

Tucker almost screamed, "You what?!"

***

Chance had indeed come by, just to talk with her. The rest of her friends had all said it was a bad idea, that she didn't want to talk to or see anyone, but he'd been sure that she would at least talk to him, even though she hadn't replied to his emails or returned his phone messages.

He'd gone through the gate, past the signs warning among other things "USE OF DEADLY FORCE AUTHORIZED", trudged through the spotlights which had turned on and tracked him, and even persevered despite what sounded a lot like rifles being cocked and maybe a minigun spinning up. What had defeated him was the dogs, bouncing off a pair of wooden doors on either side of an entranceway, that he would've had to go past to knock on the door of the 'lab' building, thus exposing his back to them AND trapping himself in an enclosed space.

***

"Oh, uh, yeah." Now Tucker was embarrassed. "Those were fakes. High fidelity sound recording plus a couple of pendulum weights with a remote release." It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Actually it still seems like a good idea...

Chance looked stunned.

"I really didn't want to talk to anyone at that point! That was why I dropped all my classes."

"We could've taken her to a psychiatrist or something," George inserted, "but we couldn't rent an armored bulldozer to get in."

"Shut up, George! It wasn't that bad," he said desperately to Chance, knowing it was kind of exactly that bad, or worse.

"The good thing was," George continued - and the only reason Tucker didn't assault him instantly was that he didn't have enough evidence yet to justify to Sabrina the damage he'd do to his dress - "that she came up with a lot of software, and a lot of hardware. Plus like, what, four or five patents?"

"The patent lawyer said nine," Tucker admitted, embarrassed. "Four software, the rest hardware."

***

Ellen, who must take a short break for fresh cheese tamales

[Updated on: Wed, 11 September 2013 23:24]

Re: After graduation [message #8271] Wed, 11 September 2013 23:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
Messages: 684
Registered: September 2002
Senior Member
"No, the sixth course is supposed to be a salad," Valerie insisted.

"How many courses is this dinner?"

"Eight? Didn't they send you an invitation?"

"Oh." That was probably why the portions had been so small. "Yeah," he eventually remembered to answer, "but they sent an etiquette manual along with it, so I... read that instead. I don't think I read the actual invitation past the first couple of lines."

"Ahhh," she nodded. "Wait; you read all that stupid manual?"

"Yeah?"

"Damn." She smiled. "I'd've said 'f-', um, 'forget the party' and stayed home."

"I wanted to see you," Chance blurted.

"Oh." She looked startled. "Oh..."

***

"George is still walking," Sabrina said into Debbie's ear, "so it's going okay."

Debbie nodded; she'd have taken it out on George first, before screaming over here to wreak vengeance.

***

"George," she said pleasantly, "if you don't get me a glass or two of the dessert wine, I'm going to show you two or three of the things I invented that Debbie won't let me patent."

"Er. Mademoiselle will excuse me for a moment?"

She smiled at Chance as George hurried away.

***

"This is nine."

"Nine what?"

"Nine courses. I've been counting."

Tucker counted on his fingers. "I don't think the nuts-and-dried-fruit counts as a course."

"No, it does. And that makes nine."

Tucker shrugged. "Okay, so, nine. Oh, the venison. We don't always have a game course." Someone must've killed something during the last season, which he'd missed again. Not that he minded; if he didn't kill it, or make the mistake of being too close when one was killed, he didn't have to carry it or clean it.

***

Debbie just managed to keep the volume down on her happy squealing, "Oh! They're gonna dance! They're gonna dance!"

Sabrina was smiling just as hugely as she was.

***

"I am so fucking out of this monkey suit," George sighed in happiness.

"Not in the kitchen!" Janet screamed at him, making him flinch. "Go take it off in your room!"
Re: After graduation [message #8272] Wed, 11 September 2013 23:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
Messages: 684
Registered: September 2002
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It's really too bad there isn't a tamale course.

***

Looking at Chance made Tucker dizzy, so he didn't look; he looked at Chance's uniform coat instead. The buttons had crests on them...

***

"Well, Tuck might just STFU and do something with him, which'd be nice," Mike said to Lisa as they waltzed. Tucker without romance was definitely an inventive workaholic genius, but Mike worried because the genius could get twisted really fast.

"Mmmm," she said as they rotated, enough for her to spy on the couple. "May not take that long; she's getting that me-Jane-you-Tarzan look she gets."

Mike didn't miss her sigh. "Want me to 'give' you back to Debbie?"

She smiled at him. "No, it's okay. Plus," she admitted, "I get her at the end of the evening anyway."

"True. And I'll be all alone..."

She gave him an eloquent look. "If Val doesn't have a last-minute spazz."

"Which I'm- we're all hoping she won't."

"Amen!"
Re: After graduation [message #8273] Thu, 12 September 2013 03:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
Hmmm. It seems as if Mike and Jill aren't together any longer. I wonder, he asks innocently, if they stopped after she got adopted by the Tuckers because it would be too much like incest?
Re: After graduation [message #8274] Thu, 12 September 2013 08:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
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Not an unreasonable interpretation.

Hey, does anyone like what I'm doing? Feedback is nice.

Ellen
Re: After graduation [message #8275] Thu, 12 September 2013 08:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
Of course I, and probably everyone else, like what you're writing. Please continue.
Re: After graduation [message #8276] Thu, 12 September 2013 09:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
Messages: 684
Registered: September 2002
Senior Member
Everybody piled outside for the morning run, and Tucker was mostly pre-hurting about that, when he saw Chance, standing by a car in the parking lot, wearing workout clothes.

"Chance?"

There was a bunch of chortling and sniggers from the rest of them, but...

"Bad night?" he guessed. Chance nodded spastically. "Uh... Want to talk? We were gonna go run, but-"

"No, that'd be good," he said, and he sounded spastic too. "How far?"

"Three miles, if I can make it." Tucker could - irony! - now do the pushups and bent-arm-hang, and the sit-ups, enough to qualify for USMC Class 3 (or the Army equivalent for the pushups), but the running was excruciating because his leg had been in that damned cast so long.

"That'd be good," he repeated. He still sounded ragged.

***

"He just... he just chopped her to pieces..." Abruptly, Chance veered to the side of the road to vomit again, though he hadn't had anything in his stomach for hours.

When he had sort of finished, Valerie produced a wet washcloth somehow, and wiped his face. It felt good in the cold. Clean... "How can I feel clean again?" he wondered.

"It fades, I think," she said, startling him; he hadn't meant to say anything out loud. "Or you get used to it."

"How can you get used to something like that?!"

She shrugged. "The smell's nasty, but if you've ever gone hunting, you smell it a lot. Dead animals smell about the same, whatever they are. Eyes, uh, mag- well," she corrected desperately, "the-" but he was smelling it again and seeing it again, and retching and retching because he would never ever rid his body of the filth that had been a human being...

***

Kathy waited with Jill until Valerie had gotten Chance back on his feet and the two of them started again, before slapping Jill on the shoulder and resuming her own jog.

"Not gonna be one of our best times today," Jill predicted.

"No. Wonder what happened to him?"

"Mike said it was probably a bad dead body, maybe his first."

"Oh. Yeah, that could suck." She could deal with a cadaver, she thought, but they were preserved. She wasn't going to go into pathology - or worse, forensic path - partially because of the smells. "Anyone know what it was?"

Jill shook her head. "He didn't say anything that Mike could hear, so I dunno. Just supposition."

***

"Yeah, I think I'm skipping today," Val nodded, looking towards the bathroom Chance was in. "He needs someone."

Pam nodded. "Okay, then... Um, do you have your class-net?" Finding people in one's classes to share notes and things with had developed into a requirement.

"Yeah," she sighed. "I just need it for two; the rest of them..." She shrugged and didn't explain. "Plus, most of this I can work from home anyway. Benefit of CS classes," she smiled momentarily.

***

When Chance woke up, it took him a while to realize where he was, and why it was surprising that he wasn't panicked. Because I'm sedated... Which was probably a lot of why he felt like he'd been glued to the bed.

He eventually managed to roll himself over, and saw Valerie, typing away on a computer or two. Or four, because there were four screens in front of her. Or six. He blinked, and there were still six, four on top and two underneath. Her fingers rattled a keyboard almost continuously, except when she reached out with a hand to do something with a mouse. No, that's one of those upside-down... 'trackball', he eventually remembered.

***

"Can't say, case in progress," Tucker claimed, which irritated Mike. "What I can say, is 'dead body after a full-hate knife attack' with probably post-mortem bonus round wounds," those being the mutilation done on an already-corpse, "which they didn't find for three days. In a heated area."

"Ooof," Mike winced. That was going to smell, and smell tended to stick in the brain. Also, smell wasn't something you could get used to from a textbook or a video; and it tended to bypass the cerebrum and go straight to the midbrain or lower. "Not good."

"No," Tucker sighed.

"One might even postulate that he's not taking it well."

"One might."

"Might one guess that he will be here for supper?"

Tucker flashed a minor grin at him. "One could, if one was guessing." Then he frowned. "I think maybe vegan tonight."

"Um... yeah, that could work." The guy might not want to smell cooked meat for a while.

***

Chance had expected a lot of teasing from Valerie's 'sorority' or whatever it was - 'roommates' just wasn't a big enough word for the two dozen or more that inhabited the place - but they just acknowledged him and then left him alone.

He wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

[Updated on: Thu, 12 September 2013 09:17]

Re: After graduation [message #8277] Thu, 12 September 2013 09:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
Messages: 684
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mkemp wrote on Thu, 12 September 2013 13:51

Of course I, and probably everyone else, like what you're writing.

There is no 'of course' when it comes to feedback...

Ellen
Re: After graduation [message #8278] Thu, 12 September 2013 09:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mkemp  is currently offline mkemp
Messages: 421
Registered: April 2006
Senior Member
OK. I like what you're writing. I like how you're writing it. Please accept this bag full of kudos from an admiring reader.
Re: After graduation [message #8279] Thu, 12 September 2013 09:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Desiree99  is currently offline Desiree99
Messages: 24
Registered: March 2013
Location: So Cal
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Oh Dear I am so sorry, yes it is wonderful. I just did not want to interrupt the flow. Um I check 6 or seven times a day for updates. Please keep adding to this and Ill do my part and let you know how much we love it we being Rae, Jess, Jasmine and myself . Big Love to all the contributing writers to this thread.

Love Desiree
Re: After graduation [message #8280] Thu, 12 September 2013 10:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sir Lee  is currently offline Sir Lee
Messages: 440
Registered: October 2003
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Senior Member
Yeah, I do like it. I like to have new insights on what makes Tuck & Co. tick (even if the events here aren't ever have more than a passing acquaintance with canon, I assume that their personalities are consistent). I particularly like how you weave unrelated everyday events into the plot.


Don't call me Shirley. You will surely make me surly.
Re: After graduation [message #8281] Thu, 12 September 2013 13:05 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Ellen Hayes  is currently offline Ellen Hayes
Messages: 684
Registered: September 2002
Senior Member
As Chance came back out of the kitchen - there were a lot of plates and bowls and utensils to get into the kitchen; but at least they had a restaurant-type fast sterilizer - Valerie was back at the table already, sitting where the two of them had. "How ya doin'?" she smiled.

"Better. Kind of," he amended, because suddenly he didn't feel good. "No; better than I was." He sat down facing her.

"Just not up to how you were two days ago," she stated, and he nodded. "Did you take tonight off?"

He shook his head. "Gotta work my shift. We're short-handed."

Valerie sniggered, "Cops are always short-handed; that's why the rest of us aren't in jail." She smiled at him and added, "Oh, by the way, I stole your car keys and rummaged through your stuff, and washed your uniform and everything else in there. Everything laundry," she corrected. "So you don't have to go home tonight. You said you don't have a pet, right?"

"Right." He definitely couldn't afford a vet bill on top of everything else, and he wasn't sure about the food.

"So, if you want to stay here until you have to leave, you can. Or you could go home, get away from the crazy bitches here, have some alone time. Whatever."

"Uh, thanks... Would you mind?" She raised a single eyebrow at him, which he couldn't do. "I mean, would you mind if I stayed?"

"No... Um, we've got television and stuff," she said as she got up hurriedly.

"Nah," said some guy as he came past, which startled them both. "Board game."

"What? Mike, don't be a du-"

"Trust me! I'm Chinese," he said to Chance, "so I know these things. A board game'd be a nice abstraction, and more sociable than TV."

Valerie accused him, "Plus you want to play something."

"Plus I want to play something," the guy shrugged.

***

Tucker had ended up reading class notes and doing homework as Mike, Chance, Pam, Julia, and Gina had played Kill Doctor Lucky a few times. He wasn't really in the mood to play anything tonight; plus he'd skipped classes today. But being near Chance was kind of nice... He felt sociable and loved and accepted and things like that even though he wasn't really interacting.

When the alarm went off on his laptop, he mentioned, "Hey, eleven o'clock, kids."

As always, everyone groaned, and three of them whined, "But MOOOmmmmmmm!"

***

As Chance changed in the locker room before his shift, Luke asked him, "Hey, man, you okay? I called your house, to see if you wanted to do something."

"Oh. Yeah, I'm better, I guess. Spent the day with..." Well, she's not really my girlfriend yet, is she? Or did that formal thing count as a first date? Fuck, this is just like high school... "Uh, that girl I've been trying to see? The shooter one?"

"Oh, her?"

"Yeah. She..." He didn't want to talk about it; the day seemed like it ought to be private, between the two of them.

"She was good for you?" Luke guessed.

"Yeah."

"Yeah, good deal, man. I'd kill myself if it wasn't for Sharon," he admitted. "'Specially that first time. You didn't throw up on the crime scene, did ya?"

"No, I got out," he said. Then he laughed, and rummaged in his uniform bag. "And..." He pulled out a folded ziplock. "She got me this, to put in a pocket, in case I had another one tonight."

***

After a very surprising dream - of the sort that told her her period was coming - Amanda was in the mood for a nice wakeup with her bed partner, until she felt the breasts. "Val?"

"Mmmm?"

"Get out of my bed, wouldya?"

"Nnnnnn!" she protested. "It was just getting good!"

"Get out so I can abuse myself, okay?"

She whined more, but staggered to the door, managed to open it, went out, and closed it.

***

"Well," Kathy repeated, "you should've told him to come back here in the morning."

"Nnnnn!" Valerie whined at her again.

"I don't care. Besides, this isn't manly behavior."

Valerie glared at her while fingering her nightgown, apparently to check whether she had to be manly or not; which made Kathy snigger. Valerie protested again.

***

"She needs to get laid," Mike told Amanda.

"Seriously," she agreed, nodding. "I hope she stops doing that in class, though."

"Seriously." His arm was already starting to tingle, where Tucker was lying on it.

"Hey, do you think he'd show up again this morning? For the run?"

"He just might," Mike agreed, now that he was thinking about it.

"Do we start giving him breakfast?"

"Only if he starts paying. Rules." Otherwise, they could end up feeding a hundred people six times a day. Days like yesterday, when someone was a guest, were billed to the host person, but there was only so much of that allowed without a discussion. Which Tucker would avoid like the plague. Or worse, since we've got antibiotics.

***

"Gee," Amanda smirked as she stood up, "how'd we guess?" She wasn't the only one smirking at Chance as he found Valerie in the crowd and walked over to her.

[Updated on: Thu, 12 September 2013 21:08]

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