Sorry for the background noise, my mic was beside my computer and picked up a lot of fan noise.
This is something that we hear a lot, both in Canada and the United States. How immigrants are crossing the border to take away our coveted jobs, denying Canadians or Americans (or better put, White Folk) a decent paying (ha!) job.
This morning, while delivering papers to the different retail outlets in the town where I work, I learned something in a very short conversation when the owner of the local convenience store said he needed an ad to be placed in the paper for Help Wanted. Now, we’re a small town, we have three convenience stores, two of which are gas bars, one does auto repair, and the third rents movies. None of them are a 7-11 or Macs Convenience store brand. The one where I had this conversation about putting an ad in the paper for Help Wanted happens to be called the D&E. It’s run by a very nice Chinese fellow and his wife. He owns the store, he bought it, he runs it, and he also hires people to work for him. He also happens to be my next door neighbour in my apartment complex.
But he mentioned that the ad, which previously ran in the paper and was smaller, didn’t garner any phone calls. I said, we can run it for four weeks, and if there’s anything during that time we can go from there. He agreed, but added, if there still isn’t anything, he’d be forced to go to the immigration office and bring people in to work.
There’s reality, taking a swift kick to the gonads of life.
This convenience store isn’t the only place that has to do this. There’s a major potato planting and processing facility in Outlook that does a great deal of business in Western Canada. When harvest time comes around, they need people to come in and assist with everything from tractor operation, to sorting, to bagging. They advertise for this help in every major newspaper and agriculture periodical across Canada. So right there, they have a potential of hitting at least half of the 35 million people who live in Canada. But here’s the kicker. Every year they are forced to contact the Mexican Consulate and search for workers to come up to Outlook, Saskatchewan and work.
Immigrants aren’t stealing our jobs. Canadians and Americans find some jobs so far beneath them that they just don’t want to do them. Or, they are too lazy, because I know there’s people in this town where I live who could work at some of those jobs. $9.50 an hour is better than nothing.
So again, immigrants are not taking our jobs.
I take no credit for this image, only finding it rather fitting.
Now, the entirety of chapter five of Rocket Fox is available for pdf download. Don’t forget, chapter six is also available. You can get both of the here.
Each week, there will be a new pdf file with a complete chapter in the adventure of Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk.
Not far from the gardens was a quaint little eatery and tea house. Like the gardens the Royal Foxburrow Tea House was in the village long before the college saw the first groundbreaking ceremony. This tea house also had the distinction of being in the same family for that entire time. Over the many centuries, it became a place for the students to congregate and have a good tea and even a small meal. Clarfax, along with Hardy, Senia and Jada had partaken in this place since their arrival six years before. It had become a part of their daily routine, and a part of their lives while they attneded college, so today was not unlike any other day for the four of them.
It had become somewhat a common thing to see Clarfax and Hardy walk into the tea house arm in arm, and even the current proprietor of the establishment had thought that it was a delight to see them. The four always had the same table, and always came at the same time of day. Today was just like any other day. The only difference now, Jada was just a regular civilian.
“Thought you two would be here,” Clarfax said as he and Hardy approached their usual table.
“I may be stripped of rank,” Jada spoke up. “But I’m not planning on breaking some of our traditions. Some, even the rigid disciplines of the air force cannot break.”
“We were just discussing our plans once graduation,” Senia comments as Clarfax and Hardy took their seats.
“Hardy delivered my letter,” Clarfax announced. “The date is set, I’ll have my evaluation soon enough.”
“Nervous>” Jada asked.
“No, of course not,” Clarfax said with a wave of his hand. He took a deep breath and looked to his three friends, finally admitting the obvious. “Very, if you want the truth.”
“I have every confidence,” Hardy said with a grin. “I see nothing that can stand in our way. As far as I’m concerned, 76th here we come.” She looked around the table catching the looks in the eyes of her friends, and then defended her comment further. “We have the best scores in the entire group of sixth year cadets. We have the best records, the most commendations. We will get the best pick of placement when the time comes. It’s not arrogance. It’s confidence.”
“I truly hope so,” Clarfax said with a nod. The conversation died down a bit as a server came and brought them all tea and biscuits. Once they had all been taken care of, Clarfax changed the subject, directing a question to Jada. “What are your prospects?”
“I did get a letter, actually,” Jada said with a firm nod. “I made a few calls to the Vulpine Trade Commission, and I received a wave this morning from Captain Red Streak of the Dorgatha. She said she’s currently evaluating my skills.”
“A Jackai captain,” Hardy said with a smile. “She’ll probably take that one black mark as a good sign.”
“Well, it’ll be a different experience,” Jada said with a shrug. “But I know the work will be hard, and from what I’ve heard, Red Streak runs a tight ship.”
“I take it you received the news from the deep space observation platform,” Senia said as she looked to Clarfax.
“I did,” he nodded firmly. “I took it straight away to Robert, Gilbert and Claudia to show them. I promised that if something came in, they’d be the first to see it. It’s very exciting news.”
“I had to pry him away from the group,” Hardy said with a chuckle. Clarfax only looked to her and shook his head with a smile. He knew she was exaggerating the earlier action.
“One thing I am certain of,”Clarfax finally said as he raised his tea cup. The others caught sight of the motion, a signal that Clarfax had something important to say, and was preparing a toast. “Whatever does happen with our evaluations, and our placements. Whether we get the postings we want, or we find ourselves someplace else. Let us not stop being friends.”
“To friendship,” the other three said in unison, gently clinking their tea cups against one another.
Friendship was always the important thing with these four. It had been tried and tested before many times. They’d always pulled through and found their friendship was stronger than ever. And they had always been able to rely and trust each other more than anyone else.
Anyone who visits this site will notice something new at the T.B.R. page. It’s a new table of contents for Rocket Fox, based on the chapter revisions as they have been done, and the upcoming plot outlines as I have them currently written down. It looks a lot like what’s below.
Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawks
Rocket Fox: The Dorgatha
Rocket Fox: The Barrow’s Revenge
The Barrow’s Revenge still has it’s complete story intact, but that will change in time to reflect the way the plot outline is being carried on. Expect that one to be three books as well. So, it looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me, with nine books in the making. I’ll have to have a talk with my 12 year old self about the monster he’s about to create.
The pair walked out into the campus garden, one of the more quiet spots in the entire village. The Chattingham gardens, which resided on the campus grounds, were actually there before the first college was erected. It was a tranquil spot that had several quiet pathways the wound between flower bed, bushes, trees and even a small brook that flowed into a central pond. Here students and villagers alike came to relax and let their worries ease a bit, or even just to stop and smell the roses. It was also a place many of the students came to study the flora that came from all over the region.
For Hardy and Clarfax it was a wonderful spot to spend some quiet time together. It wasn’t unusual to see the pair of them walking slowly hand in hand down the pathways. This wasn’t an uncommon occurance, as many Vulpine and Felanus who came to the college would eventually find a mate and fall in love. But for these two, they shared these feelings since they were kits. A little healthy competition between them, a lot of encouragement from each other and a long lasting friendship that turned into something much more.
“I heard that the deep space observatory had sent in some information from it’s findings,” Hardy said to him with a small smile. “So I decided I’d better let you tell the others before I give you some news.”
Clarfax looked to Hardy with a smile, knowing that whenever she had some good news she always kept it to herself until the very end. “Well I know it’s not the graduation ceremonies. We had made our plans months ago. Would it have anything to do with the upcoming rough ball match?” Hardy shook her head, a sign that Clarfasx should take another guess. “Some secret information on the last training exercise?” Again, Hardy shook her head, leaving Clarfax to ponder just what it might be. “We haven’t gotten our scheduling orders for the final evaluations, have we?”
Hardy smiled and took out an envelope from inside her jacket and handed it to Clarfax. As he opened it, she spoke. “I received my orders this morning. Senia did as well. She’s going to be reporting to Space Port Omega One, exactly one week after the graduation ceremony.”
“That’s only seven weeks away,” Clarfax said as he read over his letter aloud. “Corporal Clarfax Billings, it is with great pleasure that we inform you your evaluation will take place in seven weeks, three days. Report to the ground based space port in Chattingham and you will be shuttled to Omega One where you will meet with the Evaluation Tribunal upon arrival.” He looked to Hardy with a smile.
“The best news,” Hardy said as she wrapped her arm in Clarfax’s. “I have my evaluation the same day.”
“Do you think…” Clarfax began, but paused almost not wanting to spoil it, but eventually finding his excitement too much. “Do you think we’ll get accepted for service with the 76th?”
Hardy shrugged lightly. “Not sure, but it is hopeful. Our evaluations are some of the earliest, and those usually mean they are the good ones. We’ll have the pick of the lot, I’d say.”
“What about Senia?”
“You know as well as I do that senior officers always have their evaluations first,” Hardy explained.
“Wouldn’t that be exciting,” Clarfax said as he thought of the prospects, his eyes seeming to gloss over. “The three of us, serving with the 76th. A dream come true.”
“I love it when you get that far away look in your eyes,” Hardy said as she gave him a hug, nuzzling her muzzle gently against his. “Reminds me that you’re more than just an officer with the Royal Air Corps.” She backed up just a bit to look him in the eyes. “You’re also a dreamer.”
Well, a mild success this evening with the attempt to have Senia Felix, the star attraction of Rocket Fox, use her towel in Club Caprice in Champions Online.
After nearly an hour of waiting, and finally an hour of decent role play with the character, someone sent me the thing I’d been waiting for. As I was leaving, or Senia, rather, I received a whisper from another player.
“So, if I might ask. What’s with the towel?”
Success! At least one person asked about the towel, and I regaled them information about Towel Day. At first they thought it was a joke (which, it actually is) but soon found out it’s real as real can be.
I call that a win. Happy Intergalactic Towel Day, everyone.
Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s just the fact that there was a piece of literature out there that I enjoyed a great deal and fell in love with the comedy of it’s words. Thanks for the fish. Don’t panic. Always remember your towel.
I awoke this morning with the not so subtle reminder that today is Towel Day. There on my tumblr dashboard was something that told me not to forget my towel.
I was excited. Filled with girlish glee (and I am comfortable in my manhood to say I was indeed filled with girlish glee), I set forth to spread the message of the day. Naturally, I thought one way of doing this would be to venture into the gaming world of Champions Online. I would take the character I fashioned for the Rocket Fox series and go into a populated area with her towel. One of the more populated areas that players go to happens to be called, Club Caprice. So there I was, playing the role of Senia Felix, commander of the Royal Vulpine Armada’s Nighthawk class deep space fighter. I walked up to the bar, order myself a tea and scones, and made certain that every time I said something or described an action, that the towel would also be mentioned.
Hang the towel over a shoulder.
Use the towel to wipe off the counter of crumbs.
Slip the towel into the weapons belt.
Much to my surprise, and my chagrin, there was no reaction. None at all.
Granted, I do know that some players have identified anyone playing an anthropomorphic character as a “furry”, and there is a lot of stereotypical baggage that comes with that sub genre. Those players often ignore such characters. Their loss, really. Especially when dealing with the members of the Royal Vulpine Armada. Granted, there are those who are mildly entertained by Senia’s actions; an incredibly intelligent mind in such a small frame. A military officer sworn with a duty to protect and keep the peace. A dedicated explorer.
But what I was really disappointed with was there was no reaction at all, even from those that Senia spoke to and interacted with, who mentioned the towel. Who got the reference. Even when some had to leave, there was no comment to “As the intergalactic saying goes, don’t panic” whatsoever. There wasn’t even a reaction to the comment “thanks for all the fish” upon my leaving the club.
Perhaps it was just the morning crowd. I’ll have to try again this evening.
- It’s Towel Day (travelbetweenthepages.com)
- Interstellar Hitchhikers, Rejoice: It’s #TowelDay! (geeksaresexy.net)
Often, when I write these quotes for Tuesday/Wednesday (how long before it’s Thursday?), I’ll come across a really good one after posting up quote. I really should have learned by now, but somehow, I like clicking the “publish” button. This one is a good one for writers.
“I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, “You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy. I’m a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?” And I really, really don’t.” ~Aaron Sorkin
- Wednesday Quotables (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Why I Write (yarndemon.typepad.com)
- Wednesday quotes (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Notes on Writing: A Quote from Junot Diaz (museandwords.com)
It’s Wednesday, middle of the week. Hump day as it is called (I may go into a historical post as to why Wednesday is given this most unfortunate sounding of nicknames). So it’s time for some random quotes.
The grateful heart sits at a continuous feast. ~author unknown
Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Auerbach
Let your faith be your steering wheel, not your spare tire! ~author unknown (go here to read a small rant I had regarding this quote)
As the radius of knowledge increases, the circumference of ignorance decreases. ~author unknown
It’s those small daily happenings that make life spectacular. ~author unknown
- Wednesday quotables (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Quotable: The Questions (aplacetodwell.wordpress.com)
- Quotable (sfgate.com)
- Quotable Grace: The Problem with “Saved by Grace, Perfected by The Flesh” – Pure Grace Online (randythomas.co)
Before you read this, I should note, while chapter five was to be about Clarfax Billings, what I wrote originally was more about campus life. So that has become chapter six. This is now more about Clarfax and a few of his friends. I should also note that I have this nasty habit of recycling other aspects of other stories in things I work on. ’Uroth’ as is mentioned in this story, is the Critainian word for Earth, thereby identifying that the Critainians at one time resided on Earth. The other point of interest is the new planetary system they are discussing and the life forms they are looking over are elves. To be more precise, they are elves from the world Terra Kal which is the world Shani Wennemein and Pania Alow, a.k.a. Black Mask and Pale Rider, come from.
The main astronomy building at the Chattingham campus was often a buzz with activity. Various people from far across Foxburrow and into the neighbouring Ocata nation came to view the stars and exchange ideas about the beginning of the universe. There were tours of school children that would often come through, guided by the more knowledgeable members of the Royal Vulpine Armada who had their day exploring the sector of space that the Vulpine star system lay in. And there was the students of the Academy who just couldn’t steer themselves away from the vast knowledge that lay in the halls of the building.
One such student was Clarfax Billings. A dedicated scientist, he achieved his rank of corporal through hard work, top training ability and excellent disciplinary measures. He managed to advance a great deal of thought on theories that had come before. But he was also quite humble, because he always mentioned the support he received from some of the civilian students who had interests in the same fields he did.
Clarfax was a black furred Vulpine whose family hailed from the northern regions of Foxburrow. When he was first born, his family moved to Chattingham, as his mother took on a career in agricultural science, attempting to find ways to improve crop growing conditions in some of the harshest climates. While Clarfax had a curiosity like his mother, his lead more to the stars.
On this day, he had difficulty containing his excitement. He moved quickly through the groups of Vulpine and Felanus that had made their way to the main observatory lounge as he was going to the building’s main library. There, he would find some of his classmates and friends.
Those friends included Robert Quickfoot, a stout Felanus whose intelligence and curious nature was only matched by his awkward social stature. Robert was always nervous when talking to large groups of people, but felt comfortable among his friends. Claudia Whitefur was there as well, who minored in astrophysics, while she was majoring in marine biology. Gilbert Shortclaw, a spotted Felanus who wore a large pair of spectacles and always read books a little too close to his face. All of them were gathered around a table, discussing quietly some of the theories they had gone over in class. Just the three Clarfax wanted to see.
Clarfax approached the table holding a large bundle of rolled up maps in his arms. He had a very broad grin on his face. His three friends stopped their chatter immediately, knowing full well that Clarfax had some very big news.
“It just came in,” he said quickly, feeling the words coming out a little too fast. Still smiling, he looked to the bundle in his arms. The three had a small pause, and then wordlessly and quickly cleared off the table of any books and such that might be in the way. With excitement, Clarfax rolled out the maps, placing a large one in the most prominent position.
It was a star chart, detailing the known object throughout the galaxy that had been recorded by the Vulpine, Felanus, Pantherans and Critainians. This map also had the locations of several deep space exploration stations highlighted.
“There’s nothing new on this map, Clarry,” Gilbert stated with a somewhat disappointed sound in his voice.
“Just wait for it, Gilly,” Robert said with a sigh. He knew Clarfax was one for dramatics, and it looked as though there would be a great deal of information to tell on this day.
“Alright,” Clarfax began as he tried settling himself down. “The furthest distance we know of is from ancient star charts the Critainians recorded during the Great Crossing.” He pointed to one section of the map that was marked ‘Uroth system’. “And, we also know that the joint exploration in deep space that began twelve years ago has been involved in very intensive study.” He pointed to another section of the map which read ‘Lupine Deep Space Station 12′. “They just sent back this,” he said as he took out a smaller map, and proceeded to overlay it in a section of the map which had no markers at all.
“There’s nine planets in that system,” Robert said as he studied the chart.
“No,” Gilbert spoke up, correcting Robert. “This one here is just a planetoid. Says it’s a small, ice like word.”
“You know what’s really fascinating,” Clarfax said as he took out another star chart. It looked like a copy of an old map, and had several Critainian markings on it. The title read ‘Uroth’ in bold lettering. “This new system is almost a duplicate of the system the Critainians came from.” He hurriedly sifted through his papers until he found a book filled with notes. “Here it is,” he said as he opened it up to a marked page. “The third planet of the system lay in the habitable zone of the planetary system. Study has show that it holds life, and the dominant population has a social system of government, industry and trade. Though they have not mastered flight, they have built great ships to cross the oceans of the world, and it appears as though they are at the cusp of creating the first steam engines.” He looked up to the others with the same grin he’d had since he found out the information.
“Do they have descriptions of the people?” Claudia asked as she leaned over the table to see the book.
“Oh yes,” Clarfax replied as he sifted through more of his papers. “Here it is.” He laid out a series of papers which shown an upright, bi-pedal being, slender in form with very delicate features.
“They look…” Robert began as he studied the images. “…like simians or primates. Sort of like monkeys.”
“They don’t have any tails,” Claudia said as she took a close look at one. She smiled as she studied the intricate detail of the clothing in the picture. “Very impressive work on their clothing, though.”
“They don’t have fur, do they,” Gilbert said as he looked closely to the images, then back to Clarfax. “Do they?” Clarfax shook his head in reply. “How in the world do they keep warm, then?”
“The research findings haven’t fully come back,” Clarfax explained as he took a seat. “This is only the first of the information that the astrological society has allowed to be released so far.”
“Look at their ears,” Claudia said, pointing to each of the images. “On the side of their heads, but long and pointy.” She took a close look at one of them carefully. “They must have excellent hearing, I suppose.”
The four continued to pour over the information contained in the maps and the research notes, completely oblivious that they were to be joined by a fifth. Little matter really to Hardy Maynard. She enjoyed watching Clarfax excitedly go over new research findings.
“Oh hello, Hardy,” Claudia said with a smile as she looked up. The three males all jumped slightly as they were jarred into awareness of someone else.
“Hardy, you gave us a start,” Clarfax said with a nervous laugh as he caught his breath.
“I didn’t mean to sneak up on everyone,” Hardy said with a sly grin as she leaned over to ruffle Clarfax’s hair a bit.
“I heard you, Hardy,” Claudia said quietly with a chuckle, looking to the three males for a moment.
“Well, I just popped by to see if Clarfax was free,” she said and looked to the table. “Looks like the astrological society finally released their findings.”
“Yeah, Clarry was just showing us,” Robert said with a grin as he looked through some of the papers again. “This all so brilliant.”
“I was just wondering,” Hardy said as she looked to Clarfax. “If I might be able to steal you away for an hour. However, I’ll completely understand if you have something more pressing to do.”
“Spend the afternoon with you,” Clarfax said with a smile as he blushed slightly. “I think I can pull myself away from this for a bit.”
- Hubble Sees Glittering Jewels of Messier 9 (spacedaily.com)
- Can You Find a Hubble Hidden Treasure? (universetoday.com)
- Hubble’s Anniversary Image Reveals Stars’ Birthplace (time.com)
I took the liberty of making a few changes to the proposed cover for Rocket Fox.
I added in a bit of shading to make it appear as though Senia was standing on an observation deck overlooking Vulpinia Prime. I also managed to cobble together a back cover as well.
I’m presently working on some stills to add to the book. I’d like each chapter to have a picture, such as a shot of Vulpinia Prime to begin chapter one, the logo of the Royal Vulpine Air Corps to start chapter two and a picture of Senia Felix to begin chapter three.
Strictly about writing, mind you (though, stopping and thinking is good for any life situation).
Last night I posted the last part of chapter five for Rocket Fox. It was indeed a long chapter. I sat back and read through it, as I do with all chapters I write. I came to realize (mind you, I realized this as I wrote it, but it sank in after reading it) that Chapter Five really isn’t an introduction to Clarfax Billings like Chapter Three is an introduction to Senia Felix or Chapter Four is an introduction to Hardy Maynard. It’s more an aspect of campus life, to be honest.
So, I’ve decided to go back and write a new chapter five, and leave what I’ve written as chapter six. I wanted to put in this confrontation that appears in this chapter, because I wanted to put forward that not all Vulpine and Felanus are beacons of intelligence or open mindedness. That there are those who are stubborn in their world views and will never change in their beliefs.
Also, with Clarfax I want to explore something similar to what I did with Hardy. That being what he enjoys doing. When I introduced Hardy, she was in the motor pool fixing an old vehicle. I’d like to do the same with Clarfax, show him in a place where he’s most comfortable. The library or the observatory. And I want to show he’s friends with Robert Quickfoot. I also want to explore the relationship with Clarfax and Hardy. I want to show they’ve been close since they were kits (yes, that’s not a spelling error, that’s kits not kids, these are fox like humanoids after all), and that relationship has grown as they have grown.
And, I want to introduce the problem that was resolved in Chapter Six, that being Robert Quickfoot’s worry that he won’t be able to get a good position to utilize his skills. It will also foreshadow something which will come up later (in about book four).
I’ve got my work cut out for me, so there’ll be a slight delay before there’s a download version of the recently finished chapter.
- Rocket Fox – more chapter five redux (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – Chapter three rewrite (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – chapter three, final part (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – more chapter two musings (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – redux chapter four (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – Chapter Four redux (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – Chapter five redux (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – more for chapter five (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Rocket Fox – Chapter four musings (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
Finally, after all of that, the students began to filter into the main lecture hall. For many, this was quite the treat; their professor was quite knowledgeable in the field of astrophysics and very well respected. Colonel Nelson Tyrell, a former student who went on to have a storied career with the Air Corps, but not as a fighter pilot as some might guess. Nelson Tyrell became quite vocal about allowing young Vulpine and Felanus who wished to study at Chattingham should be allowed to do so. Any young student, whether military or not. You see, Nelson Tyrell was a scientist before he was drafted into the military during the Great Lupine Land War. He showed skill as a pilot, and was enlisted to fly in supplies to the different encampments during the war. After his service, he petitioned the governments of Foxburrow and Ocata, where he grew up, and suggested that air cadets could find value from learning alongside regular civilian students.
After twenty years, the suggestion has been paying off. The air cadets are exposed to different view points in a wide range of fields, and civilian students have the opportunity to see the rigors of life for Vulpinia’s air cadets.
Nelson Tyrell happened to be a well liked individual as well, and his classes were often filled. A black furred Felanus who grew up in Ocata, he was one to marvel at the mysteries of the universe, and spared no breath in sharing his discoveries with any who would listen. He was also well liked by the entire faculty.
“Good morning, everyone,” he called out to the students as they took their seats in the lecture hall. “Little bit of excitement this morning, as I understand. I’d ask Barnabus to come in and apologize to you all, but I think some of the decor would be a bit off putting to him.” The students chuckled as Tyrell motioned to a model of the Vulpine Star System. “In all seriousness, however, this does bring up a point of history that does need to be discussed, and to show everyone just what we once thought of our world over a thousand years ago.”
Suffice to say, dear reader, Colonel Tyrell continued a rather engaging discussion on how the history of star gazing and space exploration changed the views of everyone on the planet. With the exception of a few, that is. A well discussed three hour lecture, which for those in attendance felt was more like an hour. Tyrell always made certain that his talks were engaging and encouraged comments from his students during such lectures.
Once the time had passed, the students began to exit and prepare for their next class. Senia was called over by Claudia, who began to talk in excited, yet conspiring tones about the upcoming rough ball semi final match. A few others began heading to their dorm areas. As for Clarfax and Robert, they stayed behind. So too did Hardy and Aria.
“I see the ever present Corporal Billings and Mr. Quickfoot have remained behind,” Tyrell said with a smile as he moved over to where they sat. “And Corporal Maynard. I take it you’re waiting for Clarfax to finish.”
“I’m taking him to lunch after,” Hardy said with a broad smile and nudged Clarfax. “Thought I’d stay here and make certain he didn’t sneak off to the library or the astronomy building as he is often want to do.” She chuckled a bit as Clarfax seemed to blush.
“And Private Sharpspeer,” Tyrell said as he spied the spotted Felanus. “I know that you and Hardy are roommates, but…”
“Oh, I wanted to talk with Bobby about something after the lecture,” she said with confidence and a firm nod then looked to Robert. Robert only blinked and gave Aria a look like a deer caught in the headlights. Hardy knew what Aria was doing.
“I see,” Tyrell said with a knowing smile. He could tell when a young female had her interests in someone. “Well, now that we have that information out of the way, what can I do for you?”
“Need a little confirmation,” Clarfax explained as he sat up in his seat. “And maybe some support. I’ve been talking with Bobby and, well.” Clarfax looked to Robert and gave him a nudge. Robert seemed to jump a bit in his seat with the nudge. He was still looking at Aria, rather confused with what she had said. “Tell him, Bobby.”
“Oh, um, yeah,” Robert said as he regained his composure. “I know that others can get placements on board vessels or at research stations. But a lot of them are military vessels. What are the chances of getting on board a vessel like the Huntsman?”
“Ah, one of the best scientific vessels of the Vulpine Armada,” Tyrell said with a nod. “Yes, it’s true that the Huntsman will pick military trained personnel first, but they also look for skilled civilian scientists as well.”
“That means I’ll have to make my mark, I suppose,” Bobby said with a sigh.
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” Tyrell replied. “I know of two ships that are always looking for a good scientist and usually accept recent graduates.” Tyrell took out a data pad and punched a few keys. The display showed two ships and their specifications. “The Dorgatha and the Barrow’s Revenge.”
Bobby took a look at the display and read over the specs for a moment before replying. “I thought the Dorgatha was just a salvage ship.”
“She is,” Tyrell said with a nod. “But she requires someone with your type of qualifications. Astrophysics helps someone like you recognize spacial anomalies, and others on the ship will need them identified and informed if they are in danger and have to change course or if they can continue on without any change.”
“Well, it is something, I suppose,” Bobby said with a sigh. “How do you apply to get on board?”
“Captain Red Streak often sends out a wave whenever she needs new crew,” Tyrell said as he tucked the data pad away. “Tell you what, I’ll keep an ear open and if something comes up, you’ll be the first to know.” Bobby smiled and nodded his head, excited at the prospect.
“See,” Clarfax said as he patted Bobby’s shoulder. “I told you there’s other ways to get out there and explore. Just be on your best behaviour if you get on board with the Dorgatha. Only Jackai vessel worth her salt in the sector.”
Ah yes, the Jackai. A quick pause here, as these creatures will become quite prominent later. The Jackai are one of two races on the planet Lupinia, part of the Lupine Star System. There are two main tribes; the Hyna and the Jayna. The Hyna are vicious and barbaric, while the Jayna are much more friendly. Granted, the Jayna can be just as vicious as their tribal cousins. For now, let’s continue with the small conversation at hand.
“So is that all?” Tyrell asked as he looked to the four students. “I hope that was helpful to you.”
“Yes Professor Tyrell,” Bobby said as he rose to his feet and gathered his books. He was smiling now, thinking about star ships and the great beyond.
“Perfect,” Aria said as she also rose to her feet. “Now I can take you around to the tea house, I wanted to talk to you, Bobby.” She looked to him with a smile and Bobby only looked back with a slightly confused look on his face. Eventually, Aria managed to steer him toward the exit.
“I don’t think Bobby has any idea,” Hardy said with a small chuckle.
“Aria really likes him, doesn’t she?” Clarfax asked. He sighed and shook his head. “She’d have to take the direct route with him, he’s always got his nose in a book.”
“You mean more than you?” Hardy said, playfully laughing.
“Hey now,” Clarfax replied, unable to contain a small chuckle. He knew she was only teasing.
“Well, if that’s all,” Tyrell said as he walked back to his desk at the front of the lecture hall. “I have some work to do.”
“Of course, Professor,” Clarfax said as he rose to his feet and gathered his things. Hardy followed suit, and eventually the pair left the lecture hall with the purpose of getting some well needed food.
Get excited for a four day weekend and all the writing you can get done is just like…
And then the realization that you have a lot of writing to do based on the plot points you want to put in and the character descriptions and scenes and you’re like…
Just a bit of fun with Photoshop.
But I took a small writing break to create another cover concept for book one of Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk.
Clarfax, Robert, Aria, Jada and Hardy made their way across the yard, soon joined by other students making their way to the science building on campus. As they walked, they discussed the upcoming lecture, the previous day’s lecture and speculated on what possibly Captain Mallard would want with Senia and Claudia. It became painfully clear once the science building came into view.
Captain Mallard stood at the entrance to the science building and appeared to be in a heated conversation with someone. Behind Captain Mallard, the leaders of the different houses, including Senia and Claudia, stood silently. As the group of students drew closer they saw just what it was that was causing such a fuss.
Six female Vulpine had chained themselves to the entrance of the science building, while a male stood by with a stone look on his face. He was dressed in the common trappings of one of the more religious clans of Foxburrow. He never flinched as Captain Mallard tried to speak in diplomatic and even tones, keeping her temper in check.
“Mr. Farnsworth,” she said as the small group was in earshot. “This is a violation of campus security. I do not care who you are, this action is illegal. You have not explained yourself at all, neither to the duty guards who found you, nor since the arrival of the house leaders and myself. So if you please, enlighten me as to the reason for your actions that mean to disrupt the routine of the campus.”
“With all due respect, ma’am,” he said in a loud voice as he tilted his muzzle in the air. “I do not expect a vixen to understand, nor do I expect a military official to realize the grave disservice that this building is doing to our youth.”
“And just what would that be, Mr. Farnsworth?” Captain Mallard asked, still keeping her temper in check. She was nearly at her wits end with this one. Students had heard of this Vulpine male and his actions from past reports. He had a habit of dragging a few of his flock onto the base and disrupt daily routines. Nothing he did was ever seen as violent, but it did violate security. He and his followers would spend a few days in detention and then be released.
“We all know what the Great Mother and her sister have taught us as we have grown in society,” he began, his voice pitched as though he were reading his sermon. “That we were born for this land and we are duty bound to stay here. This building and the… teachings within, is blasphemous to what we know to be true.”
Captain Mallard took a deep breath and turned to face the house leaders. They stood at the ready, will to back her up should she require. Claudia seemed the most ready, as this interruption affected her directly. She spied the group of students and looked back to Farnsworth. “Perhaps if I called upon the base chaplin you might consider moving your people aside.” Farnsworth gave no indication either way, but that did not deter Captain Mallard. “Private Sharpspeer,” she called out. “Front and centre.”
“Yes ma’am,” Aria said as she stepped forward and saluted.
“Fetch Chaplin Rosewood and have her meet us at the entrance,” she said to the young Felanus. “Perhaps if we added some spiritual guidance to this debate, we might get somewhere.” Aria saluted quickly and ran off in the direction of the base chapel. Captain Mallard turned her attention fully on Farnsworth.
The small group of students stood behind the house leaders, milling about and whispering among themselves. The house leaders, Claudia included, stood firm, watching the small group of Vulpine that blocked the entrance.
“I recognize this group,” Clarfax said quietly. “Flatlanders. They believe that Vulpinia is one massive plate. Held up by four rhinos or hippos or something like that.”
“We know that’s not true,” Robert replied. “Even I’ve been to Space Port Omega 1, I’ve seen the evidence first hand that our planet is, well, like a big ball.”
“Why don’t they just take them all up in a shuttle and prove it to them?” Clarfax said with an exasperated sigh.
“You can’t force people to do something,” Jada replied in a low voice. “The Flatlanders are very, very stubborn in their beliefs. Their beliefs may be outdated and backwards, but that doesn’t give us the right to tell them they’re stupid.” They looked to their right as they saw Aria returning, the portly frame of the base Chaplin quickly following behind.
Chaplin Tania Rosewood was a veteran of the Great Lupine Land War and many knew that she appreciated her posting on the base much more than her position with the 82nd. She was a stout Felanus who took no guff from anyone. Even someone as stubborn as Farnsworth.
“Barnabus Farnsworth,” Tania called out with a sigh as she stood beside Captain Mallard. Her voice was deep, but had a soothing sing song accent to it. “Thank you, Private Sharpspeer, glad I was called out.” She looked to Captain Mallard and nodded. “Remind me to requisition a decent communication link in the base chapel.”
“I’ll make certain that we talk to Colonel Traymore about that,” Mallard replied with a smile. She was more at ease since Tania arrived.
The Chaplin turned her full attention to Barnabus. “How many times is it this year, Barnabus? Four? Five? This has got to stop.”
“With all due respect, Reverend,” Barnabus retorted. “Until the college accepts my proposal that teaches of the truth of flat land…”
“Theory of flat land,” Tania said quickly, then motioned for Barnabus to continue.
“Until then, we shall continue to make protest,” he concluded with a firm nod that was signified with a slight harrumph.
“Barnabus,” Tania said with a sigh. “If this were a thousand years ago, you and your lot would have been dragged to the stocks already. Fortunately, we did away with such punishments centuries ago. We’ve had this discussion many times before, Barnabus. Your theory is a dying one. We have proof of the way things are. I’ve tried to show you images…”
“Fabrications!” Barnabus cried out.
Among the throng of students that had gathered, Clarfax and Robert whispered to each other. “See? Too stubborn and set in their ways to allow themselves a possible different theory.” Clarfax said with a sigh. “And I’m sorry, Jada. Yes, you have to be polite and discreet when dealing with people like Barnabus, but he and his ilk are spitting on proven theory. Why should we be any different to call him out.”
“That’s the basis for scientific discovery,” Robert said as he tried to keep his voice low. “Be presented with a series of events, try to explain them to a point, revisit the events with different possibilities. Even question your own findings.”
“Hey!” Clarfax whispered toward Senia, just low enough to not drown out the small group at the entrance, but loud enough that Senia might hear him. “Psst! Senia.”
It was Claudia who turned to look and noticed Clarfax. Claudia reached over and nudged Senia lightly and motioned to the group of students. Eventually, both Senia and Claudia stepped back to talk to Clarfax.
“What is it, Clarry?” Senia said in a low voice.
“Maybe if some of us students explained,” he suggested. “He might give up if we state that this is railing against our beliefs.”
Senia looked to Claudia who nodded back as though answering a silent question. Six years at the academy, Senia learned to value the advice of others, even if it came from small glances and quiet nods.
“Alright,” Senia replied. “But let us open it up. Mr. Farnsworth might see an interruption as argumentative and become even more stubborn.” Clarfax nodded in agreement and waited for Senia and Claudia to make their move. “Excuse me,” Senia called out from behind Captain Mallard and Reverend Rosewood. “Might I make a suggestion which could end this stalemate.”
Senia had their attention now, as Captain Mallard, Reverend Rosewood and Barnabus looked directly to her. “Falcon House leader Claudia Whitefur and myself have come to suggest perhaps letting some of the student explain the necessity for such a building as this. Maybe that will shed a bit of light on the situation.”
“Oh yes indeed,” Claudia piped up in her usual happy voice. “If that’s alright with all here.” Captain Mallard looked to Reverend Rosewood, and then both looked to Barnabus. The latter harrumphed in reply, which was taken as an agreement of terms. Satisfied, Senia and Claudia motioned toward Clarfax and Robert.
Clarfax nudged Robert and nodded toward the Chaplin and Captain Mallard. Robert didn’t catch it at first, but began to understand what Clarfax was doing when he began walking toward the two superior officers. “Captain Mallard,” he said as he cleared his throat. “Reverend Rosewood. Mr. Farnsworth.” He took a deep breath and looked to Robert, who was just now starting to realize what Clarfax had in mind. “This is more than just a military college, Mr. Farnsworth. More than a training facility for fighter pilots. We’re also receiving our education, and often that means that we take classes that may, how shall I say…”
“Butt heads with established beliefs,” Robert said quickly, rather embarrassed with his own sudden outburst. But he understood what Clarfax was getting at.
“Precisely,” Clarfax replied with a nod to Robert. “Just because some of these theories may seem foreign and different than what we grew up with, we still have the right to learn about them.” He watched Farnsworth’s reactions carefully. The older Vulpine seemed to be listening carefully at the very least. “To attempt to shut them out or, if I may be so bold, censor them, well, it’s an affront to the very establishment of higher learning.”
Everyone watched Farnsworth very carefully. He seemed to be weighing his options, and to Clarfax, it appeared as though he struck a chord. Without actually saying it, Clarfax was attempting to show that Farnsworth’s actions of attempting to block the class and shut it down was no better than those who called the Flatlanders stupid and backward. It was a bit of diplomacy that Clarfax had learned from Senia.
“I suppose,” Farnsworth replied as he came to his own decision. “That I can see your point, young sir. I don’t have the right to oppose your own education as you wish it.” He reached into his coat pocket and took out the key to the chains that the Flatlanders had used to chain themselves to the doors.
“Oh by the Great Mother, thank you,” Reverend Rosewood said as she removed her hand form her jacket, revealing that she had been holding onto a set of bolt cutters. “I was hoping that someone would try to reason with you, but if that failed I wasn’t gonna hold back and cut you all out.”
Here’s a few quotes that are rather pointed regarding media. They deal with how media presents certain events and how the public portrays them.
It’s a uniquely American prudishness. You can write the most detailed, vivid description of an ax entering a skull, and nobody will say a word in protest. But if you write a similarly detailed description of a penis entering a vagina, you get letters from people saying they’ll never read you again. What the hell? Penises entering vaginas bring a lot more joy into the world than axes entering skulls. ~Author George R. R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire.) Interview published in May 2012 Rolling Stones Magazine.
The press still thinks [global warming] is controversial. So they find the 1% of the scientists and put them up as if they’re 50% of the research results. You in the public would have no idea that this is basically a done deal and that we’re on to other problems, because the journalists are trying to give it a 50/50 story. It’s not a 50/50 story. It’s not. Period. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson, podcast interview.
It’s true, we do live in these times where it’s more acceptable to see someone hacked apart in the most violent of manners, but if it’s sex, consenting and loving between two people, then it’s classed as porn and not to be seen at all. Even still, when it comes to science Media has this need to classify themselves as non-biased, so when they write a story about something like climate change they feel there has to be another side to the story. There is only one side to the story; we’re burning up our environment and it needs to stop. I remember stories that came out about the Hadron Collider. How it described all the really cool things it would be able to do and all the things scientists could study with it, but people kept leading back to “if you turn it on, will it destroy the world”. That may be part and parcel due to the fact that every science fiction movie has always been faced with why science is evil for creating such and such a thing that can destroy the world/mankind. Case in point, Jurassic Park. While there were good intentions to cloning dinosaurs, maybe they should have stopped at plant eaters and skipped the T-Rex and Velociraptors.
I’m not saying we should be warm and cuddly to science, because scientists themselves have got to be some of the biggest skeptics. They even doubt some of their own findings until it’s completely conclusive.
Back to the previous comment about sex and violence, while Martin’s depiction of women in the Game of Thrones series has been somewhat on the negative side, he has a point. We are much more accepting when someone is killed or violently attacked than we are of someone who cares for and loves someone deeply.
I consider myself a cat person, really I do. That is, unless that cat happens to be in a tree, outside my bedroom window, and making the god-awful sounds it makes when it’s mad and I’m trying to sleep at quarter to two in the morning. Then not so much. That sound is incredibly eerie and I’m only glad I woke up before the cat began making its maddening cries. I got up to shout at it and scare it away, but stopped because there wasn’t just a cat outside.
There was a deer.
The cat was hissing and spitting at a deer. Just one, then two more appear once the cat jumped down from the tree and sped off into the night. Good. At least it won’t be making noises outside my window.
I managed to get a few snaps of the deer. Now mind you, this is late at night, I don’t have proper equipment to take nature photos, but I still wanted to take a few pictures.