Things aren’t too bad here in the Ozarks. It’s drizzling outside right now as I’m doing volunteer guard duty at church. My church is hosting their second Wild Game night this weekend. There are lots of donated hunting mounts. Insurance requires there be at least people inside the building 24/7. I volunteered for the 10-2 shift every day this week.
I’m still looking for work, I’m being a little choosy as I want to continue working in industry in some sort of capacity. What I mean is that I’m applying for work with jobs that involve graphic design in some sort or another. I’m not applying for a job flipping burgers. God is providing me the opportunity to do so. Ashya and I are in agreement that we are not hurting financially and we can afford for me to look for a job I’ll be happy with as opposed to “Ah we need Stev working NOW.”
In the meantime, I’m keeping myself busy:
Project 40 Eridani A is my attempt to get some freelance work. I’ve already got 3 pro bono projects in the works, just to get my name out in the community.
Project Connor is an all new, non-Stev story that I’m working on. The Hand of F.A.T.E. I’ve got character sketches put together for the five main protagonists. I’m excited about this one.
United or Untied is my serialized Stev story. I haven’t abandoned it, it was just one of the things stored on the mysteriously erased thumb drive.
Demotivational Posters and other cool Photoshoppy stuff are now being done under Project 40 Eridani A…..
Ashya and I will be celebrating our 3-month anniversary next week. It’s hard to believe (in a good way) that it’s only been three months. No news is good news, all four of the boys seem to be doing well in school. Private Black Spartan has confirmed that no aliens have invaded in the past week.
I hope to have the next installment of United or Untied up this week or next. I’ve also got more demotivational posters in the works, I’m just stuck on some of the “jokes”.
It’s Thursday morning December 9, 2010. I’m sitting in my favorite Panera Bread waiting for the library to open. Christmas music is playing on the speakers. Nearly every table is occupied with a customer. Most of them have their laptops or iPads out.
The sky is gray outside and the sun is refusing to show itself today. I know how it feels. Neither Ashya or I wanted to get up today. All three of the live-in boys felt the same way. It’s just gray and cold enough outside that a nice blanket of snow would cheer things up.
Last night we had practice for the children’s Christmas program at church. I have been blessed with a group of talented young individuals. What they lack in polish they more than make up for in enthusiasm. After church the family went to see Soccer Dude’s game. His team won 6-4.
The job hunt is still proceeding. I’m willing and ready to work but not desperate enough to take a part-time, minimum-wage, burger-flipping job as yet. I’ll keep applying for jobs that suit my skillset.
Still no net service at the house. Apparently we live far enough out in the “rural” area that there’s no DSL coverage. I guess I find southern Missouri’s definition of “rural” amusing. I can see plenty of neighbors from each window in the house. In Iowa that would be defined as a neighborhood.
The Pirate has been doing well in his new school. His grades keep coming back in the high 90s. 48 Fan is dancing with GC Jazz for the first time next Monday. I should be in attendance at that concert. Pvt Black Spartan is still serving our country. She did want everyone to know that she passed her most recent PT test.
God Bless everyone.
Part 2 – Part 1 can be viewed here.
Deep Space 3, a Federation outpost, hung in space like a neglected Christmas tree ornament. Starfleet had just enough presence in the sector to protect the space station from attacks by the Klingons, Romulans, and the occasional Breen incursion. At least that was the official position of Starfleet, the sector held no strategic importance and there were no known resources within the sector. The Federation maintained control by default.
The reality of the situation was that the space station was used by most of the quadrant’s adversarial governments as a place to conduct clandestine deals. As such the station had only ever been attacked once, by the Breen. Coming to the defense of the station was a Klingon Bird of Prey, a Romulan Warbird, a Miranda class starship and 20 free traders with ties to the Orion syndicate. The Breen didn’t bother the sector anymore and the respective governments denied the incident.
Stev had already programmed the holographic projectors dotting the Ghost Rider’s exterior. Any external visual scan would be presented with the pockmarked surface of a well-used independent Romulan trading vessel. The computer was also broadcasting a forged identification algorithm that would fool most scanners into reporting the exact same thing. Just because everyone turned a blind eye towards the goings on at Deep Space 3 didn’t mean he needed to advertise his presence by flying the Ghost Rider into the docking bay.
Stev watched the scanners. Soon he had the station pinpointed on his monitor. Minutes later a light began blinking on his console indicating his vessel was being scanned. Stev kept to his cover and played the part of a smuggler by waiting until he was hailed. Sure enough five standard minutes after the scan indicator went off; the Ghost Rider’s comm system indicated an incoming transmission. Stev put it on main speakers.
“Unidentified vessel, this is Deep Space 3. Please state the nature of your visit,” a clearly human voice requested.
“Deep Space 3, this Captain Teven of the Plaplak Jag’r, requesting permission to dock,” Stev replied affecting a Romulan accent.
“Plaplak Jag’r, what is the nature of your mission?”
Stev silenced the comm. Glancing over at his pet, he asked the enhanced tribble, “Phread what is the name of our contact on DS3?”
“According to the mission data we need to ask for Atropos,” the little ball of fur helpfully replied using his computer link.
Thanking his friend by scratching it along its back in an affectionate manner, Stev toggled the comm system, “I have business with Atropos.”
There was brief silence on the other end of the comm system. Stev mentally counted off the seconds it would take the deck officer to query the computer and verify the information. When the Vulcan had reached zero he pointed at the audio panel.
As if on cue, the audio panel snapped to life, “Plaplak Jag’r, proceed to docking bay fourteen, berth five.”
“Bay fourteen, berth five. Roger.”
“Deep Space Three out.”
Stev followed the indicated flight path. Soon the Ghost Rider was nestled in the assigned berth. The Vulcan nonchalantly activated the shuttle’s security systems. He looked squarely at the tribble, “External scanners indicate someone is waiting at the dock for us.”
Phread refrained from sending his response across the monitor and instead chirruped his reply.
Stev stood, “I may not understand tribble, little buddy,” he said looking down at his companion, “but after all the years we’ve been together, I do know sarcasm when I hear it.” Ignoring the tribble’s approximation of a human raspberry, he laughed and walked from the control center of his ship towards the entry hatch.
Stev listened to his ship as the passive security measures cycled into active mode. To the uninitiated ear the sounds would be mistaken for the normal noises associated with a ship preparing for opening its sealed atmosphere to the environment. He stepped out of his ship as soon as the hatch opened and looked carefully at his supposed contact. He was momentarily startled by a familiar face. His Kolinarh training kept him from betraying his surprise. This was not the first time the Vulcan was thankful that he did not allow himself to be ruled by the emotions he chose to experience. If this person was his contact, the passersby did not need to know he knew her. If she was not his contact she didn’t need to know why he was here claiming to be someone other than the person she might remember. One could never be too careful and he did not need to have his cover broken.
“The price of Romulan Ale has gone up recently,” he delivered the first half of the code phrase in a casual tone as stepped out of the ship and onto the deckplate of the starbase.
“Yes, but Klingon Blood Wine is always reasonably priced,” she replied completing the code looking deep into his eyes as if searching for something she thought to be there.
“Atropos?” he stated more than asked.
I’m sitting here in one of Springfield’s public libraries contemplating the last twelve months of my life. A year ago, Virginia had been declared cancer free by the doctors. My daughter was planning on coming home for Christmas. For the first time in a long time there were presents we had bought under the tree (not just presents donated to a less-than-fortunate family). I had a good job that I enjoyed immensely.
Here I am November 2010. Mrs. Vulcan Stev is gone. #48 Fan is 400 miles away. I’m laid off and looking for work.
What do I have to be thankful for? LOTS!
I have been blessed not once but twice in finding Mrs. Right. Ashya and I partners in EVERY sense of the word. I miss Mrs. VS and I’m not belittling anything of the 22 years we were together. However, Ashya and I fit like two peas in a pod. God has blessed me with a very beautiful woman for me to love, care for, cry on, and be with.
I have 5 very wonderful children. Pvt. Black-Spartan is protecting our country. I am honored that my daughter is serving our country proudly. Soccer Dude is very much his mother’s son. He’s a natural athlete and I’m happy to cheer him on. #48 Fan is maturing the time he’s spending away from Dad. I’m seeing glimmerings of the man he’ll become. The First Mate and The Pirate keep me on my toes. I’m having a blast carting the both of them to and from the library to have internet time.
The fact that I’m not currently working has allowed me to get things done for the family that otherwise would’ve required either myself or Ashya to take time off work.
I prayed that God would heal Mrs. VS. He has. When I stop to think about how she could be just lying in a Hospice bed, not knowing anyone, not responding to anything, I realize that God has blessed us for saving her family from the pain of watching her ebb away.
I have air in my lungs. I have food in the fridge. I have gas in the car. I have money in the bank. There are others out there off far worse than I.
Being thankful means more than looking at all your stuff and living for that. Being thankful means looking at your place in the universe and realizing that you are where you need to be.
Thank you God for all you’ve done for me in the past year.