February 2009 Archives

The Maltese Sparrow

Chapter Thirteen

By Douglas E. Gogerty

This case was hard on several people. I know because they are now dead. I, fortunately, have managed to avoid such a fate. However, if I continue with my expounding of the facts of the case, perhaps I would not stay that way for long. Luckily for me, an officer of the law was participating in the review.

Despite Detective D'Cheuer's presents, it did not save the waiter, Marty's life. I half expected him to become a victim. He was now a loose end in this case. His usefulness ended when he returned from his trip.

"Medical personnel and more police are on their way," asserted Detective D'Cheuer.

"I guess I can continue until they arrive," I replied.

"Dis is going to negatively impact da strippin' ain't it?" asked the security guard.

"I am afraid so," I admitted. "However, you cannot leave because the authorities will wish to speak to you."

"Dats just my luck," he muttered.

"Many people may not be aware of this," I began. "Our waiter friend and his brother were very successful smugglers."

"Smugglers?" asked the police detective.

"They were both competent space pilots," I continued. "The brothers had their own space bay, and they could get practically anything on or off world."

"Even rare birds?" asked Detective D'Cheuer.

"Where did they take my Mable?" asked Maxine.

"They had made quite a bit of money with their exotic pet trade," I resumed. "Sadly, with their help, Mable was taken back home. She would be impossible to locate on Earth. Further, it is wrong to keep intelligent creatures captive. She needed to fly free."

"I guess that means that I do not have to pay you then," Maxine replied.

"You hired me to find your bird," I said. "However, you did not mention anything about returning her to you. I have a rough idea where she is."

"Do you have any idea what such a bird is worth?" she asked with a bit of frustration in her voice.

"You would have been better off with some sort of jewel encrusted bird coated in an enamel to hide the fact that it is very valuable, because everyone involved in that particular transaction is now dead," I responded. "Clearly, a bird like that is hazardous to your health."

"I am still here," asserted Maxine.

"Can I finish?" I asked.

"By all means," replied Detective D'Cheuer.

"Where was I?" I muttered. "Oh yes! Our waiter friend was primarily the go between. He would arrange a meeting between the interested party and his brother. To be honest, who knows who was who because the two Larsentient brothers looked quite similar. They could have regularly switched places."

"Did you just say all Larsentient look alike?" asked a miffed Maxine.

"Well no," I replied defending myself. "Just those from the same brood. Are you going to let me finish?"

"Sorry," Maxine replied.

"Daniel Butler regularly used them in his important business transactions. In that way he could avoid import hassles. Further, as was pointed out to me, human laws do not apply to the Larsentients. Thus, if they were caught, there would be little in the form of consequences."

"You are onto something," inserted the policeman.

"Thus, we know how this illegal bird got on world," I declared. "We also know how it got off. We also know how the killer Maltese blue tits got here and where they went. There is only one question left in this case."

"Why?" asked the detective.

"Because then we'll have the case solved," I replied.

"No!" he responded. "Why? is the only question left in the case."

"Oh! Right," I asserted. "From all that has been said about the intelligence of the bird, it is clear that it wanted to go home. It communicated this fact to whoever would listen. Our friend Manny here listened."

"Of course!" exclaimed Detective D'Cheuer.

"That is right," I asserted. "The mastermind of this entire disappearance of Mable and the death of the two -- er -- now three -- people was the Maltese sparrow herself."

"What?" asked the policeman.

"Huh?" asked Maxine.

"Really?" asked Manny.

"Ummm, if'n yous says so," added the security guard as to not be left out.

"Sure!" I continued. "The bird was homesick and communicated this fact to someone who did everything in his or her power to return the bird home. This, as yet unknown person, must have been a real animal lover to go through all of the trouble to free this bird."

"What about Manny here?" asked the detective with a bit of sarcasm in his voice.

"It could have been Manny," I replied with a nod.

"After all, he recently took a trip," continued the policeman. "Further, he would see the bird regularly."

"You might be onto something," I responded.

"While I think your intelligent bird theory is -- um -- for the birds," added the detective. "I do think Manny here is responsible for everything."

"Can you prove it?" I asked.

"Parts of it," he replied. "Our Larsentient friend here, had opportunity, he had access, he got this security guard to threaten you."

"Dat's right!" exclaimed the security guard who quickly realized his mistake when Manny glared at him.

"You will never take me alive police guy!" declared Manny.

However, the authorities that were called to take care of the dead waiter had just arrived and grabbed Manny. They restrained him and took him away at the detectives request.

A doctor briefly examined the dead Larsentient, put him on a stretcher, and took him away also. All the pieces of this case had been wrapped up. While I think it was Mable who initiated the events, Manny was probably responsible for the consequences.

In Detective D'Cheuer's later investigation, Manny had suddenly come into a great deal of money. This was probably how Maxine, the Maltese sparrow, rewarded him for his service. However, Detective D'Cheuer believes it was a particular smuggling ring's reward to him for taking care of their competition. I think that explanation is crazy! In any event, the case of the Maltese Sparrow was concluded to the satisfaction of everyone. Well, except Maxine whose pet was never to be seen again -- oh -- and the dead people.

The End.

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The Phone Call

Part 1

By Dwayne MacInnes

The wind howled outside the old brick museum. It was fall and nearly midnight. Jason Peterson the auxiliary night watchman was patrolling the grounds alone. In fact, he would patrol the museum alone for the next three nights. The curator and the board of directors felt that they would temporarily close the museum for three days while the state finished some important roadwork. No one could visit the museum once the road crew closed the roads anyway.

Mark Hamilton and Bob Biggs, the regular security guards, decided it was a good time to take vacations as well. Therefore, the curator asked Jason if he would like to pick up some hours. The young guard enthusiastically agreed to work. He only ever picked up shifts if Mark or Biggs was sick or the museum had a special event planned.

Jason reasoned this would be a great time for him to catch up on his studies. He had spent half the semester partying instead of studying for his college classes. If he wanted to graduate in the spring, he had better start cracking open the books. There would be no distractions at the museum, neither could he expect to have one of his friends call him and convince him to paint the town red. In fact, Jason left his cell phone at home just so no one could reach him.

Before they left for the weekend, Mark and Biggs ran Jason through the museum grounds. There were new exhibits that Jason needed to be familiar with as well as a few changes in the museum's layout. The two regular security guards always walked Jason over the grounds before he started his shifts.

"So kid, you have your cell phone?" Mark asked. The guard was only ten years older than Jason, but he always made Jason feel like the gap was much greater.

"Naw, I left it at home," Jason replied. "I can't afford to be distracted."

"Smart," Biggs added. Bob Biggs was in his fifties; he had been with the museum for over twenty years and could remember nearly every exhibit that ever came through. He also placed more trust in things older. These "new fangled gizmos nowadays," a category in which he placed cell phones, were not to be trusted.

"These here are some records for the record player there on display," Biggs pointed out in a History of Rock and Roll exhibit. "I don't have to remind you not to play with them.

"Man, these take me back," Biggs reminisced. "We used to have 45s and LPs..."

"LPs meant Long Playing," Mark stated. "A record is what you would call a noncompact disc. You know like a big CD."

"I know what a record is," Jason replied dryly. "Sometimes I think you are older than Biggs. What's a CD?"

Biggs busted out laughing, "That's a good one."

Mark even joined in. He and Biggs loved to play jokes on Jason and when the youth could throw one back they loved it more.

The three men continued through the museum. Occasionally they would stop so that Mark and Biggs could point something of importance out to Jason. They nearly completed their rounds when they stopped at one last exhibit. The display read ‘Technology of Communication' and behind a sign that read ‘Please do not touch', a quill and pen laid next to a telegraph then next an old phone with a crank generator, followed by a rotary dial phone and then a touch-tone and finally a cell phone.

"I bet Biggs has a telegraph at home," Jason ribbed the older security guard laughing. Neither man joined in the laughter. This made Jason stopped rather uncomfortably.

"Uh, sorry," Jason replied. "I guess I crossed a line somewhere."

"It's not you kid," Mark said. He pointed to the black rotary dial phone. "It's that."

"I know what a rotary dial telephone is. Just because I never used one..." Jason began to say.

"Some say that phone is linked," Biggs said in a serious voice.

"What you mean it is connect to the phone line?" Jason asked.

"No linked to the dead," Mark finished.

Jason began to laugh again, "Very funny I almost bought that one."

When neither security guard joined in Jason abruptly stopped again. "What? No way," Jason stammered. "There are no such things as haunted phones."

"I don't know about that," Biggs answered. "What I do know is that Mr. Feldon died while on that phone."

"People die on the phones all the time," Jason countered. "It doesn't mean they are now haunting their phones. I think you guys have been here too long."

"Mr. Feldon isn't haunting the phone. It's Mrs. Feldon," Biggs said flatly.

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Commander Joe

Chapter Three

Part 5

In order to get to the bottom of the attacks, the Guv had sent a helicopter to scan the coast of Gogerty point. The helicopter crashed, and now the Guv is debriefing the found pilot. Let's watch!

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Term Paper from the Future

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Term Paper: The Rise and Fall of the New Convicts
Class: Ancient History 101
Student: Danu Apu Nagappattinam
ID Number: DAN-2873-883

Part One - The Disconnect with Reality

Who were the new convicts? What did they do? Why would anyone wish 2 to consider them? Were they important? Did they have any major impact? In this first part of this paper, we will explore who they were and what they believed. We will discuss how, after they reached the pinnacle of their power, they ended up being disconnected with the real world, and how this led to their downfall.

The "new convicts" were a political movement in the ancient world. While little is known about the actual members, they did have a major impact on the eventual fall of the super power known as the United States of America. Their rise to power was quick, and they were relevant for less than thirty years. However, their influence shook the foundation of the society, and led 2 to its undoing.

The name new convicts was likely given to them at the height of their power when one of their members was convicted of disclosing the identity of an undercover operative. Thus, Libby "The Scooter" Lewis, gave the label to the entire political movement.

While this political movement may have existed for some time, a charismatic leader eventually led to them holding a very powerful position in the government. He became the chief executive of the United States government. The name of this particular leader has been lost 2 to us. However, from several sources we have a possible name. In these sources he was called Saint Ron.

Saint Ron had several beliefs that his followers would grab onto in the attempt to maintain power. While it is known than Saint Ron suffered from an infirmity of the ancients which caused doublethink in its sufferers, his followers did not allow this to prevent them from following his lead.

Thus, because of his charismatic leadership, his followers build a system completely disconnected with the real world. For instance, Saint Ron spoke of small government, but under his leadership and those of his followers, the government increased its size. This was one of the cornerstones of the new convict movement. Often the leadership would say they were for one thing, but implement the opposite.

Nevertheless, this particular stratagem gave them wide support. Their policies convinced many people that the only thing keeping them down was the government; thus, the masses would support the new convict candidates. Their promises and talk were completely disconnected with the actual implementation. They only stated these things 2 to obtain popular support. However, the actual policies only benefited a limited number of people. Everyone wanted to be one of those few, and thus supported new convict candidates in the belief that they would benefit. Since their movement was built upon a complete disconnection with reality, it would cause their eventual undoing.

In an effort to convince the masses that they were attempting to get the government out of the people's business, they had a policy 2 to cut taxes. Everyone was for paying less. In actuality, these tax cuts benefited the very top echelons the most, but could easily be sold to everyone. While they were decreasing the amount of income, they were simultaneously increasing the size of government. Therefore, the new convicts ran enormous debts. Because of the decrease in revenue, they had nothing to pay for the increase in the size of government.

As U can C you can see, their policies could never lead to a sustainable system. When times were hard and something needed to be done to stimulate the economy, the debts were too large that no money could be found. It was a major economic downturn that resulted in them losing power for good.

To illustrate further this disconnect with reality, there was one small stretch where they did not hold the executive branch in their 30 year reign. An opposition leader was in charge for an eight year stretch. This was the only time in their entire span of influence with solid economic growth.

It is not that they lost all power. They had plenty of members in the legislative branch. Nonetheless these members wasted their time with trivialities. The new convict members of congress spent all of their time attempting 2 to dethrone the opposition leader. Hence, they spent a great deal of time discussing sexual conduct. They did not enact any legislation favoring their position. In this way, they allowed the economy to expand.

Once they regained a position in the pinnacle of their power, they enacted a large number of their policies. Since these policies were not grounded in reality, the consequences were dire. They got involved in several conflicts which further depleted resources, both financially and environmentally.

At the pinnacle of their power, they had control of the legislative branch and the executive branch. Further, they could appoint friendly members to the judicial branch. They could fully enact any of the policies favorable 2 to their point of view.

As I have stated numerous times, one of the major problems with the new convicts was this complete disconnect with reality. Instead of using evidence to support their ideas, they would base their beliefs solely upon the opposite of what the opposition believed. Further, they would use everything at their power in an effort to convince people that what beliefs they held were indeed true. There were new convicts in the media outlets continually expressing the view that what they said was a reality.

For instance, when it was obvious that humans were negatively impacting the climate, the new convicts denied the evidence. They used all of their political might 2 to deny the scientific data. They had several media outlets decrying the falsity of the human influence of global climate change. Hence, with their influence, instead of attempting to rectify this growing problem, they simply went on increasing the negative impact. Instead of accepting the reality of the situation, they denied it and made things worse.

By using the channels of communication to disperse their unreality, they convinced ordinary people that those that used evidence and research to make decisions were the bad guys. They attempted to make educated people out as non-standard. They called them elitists, as if it were an insult. They attempted 2 to build a gap between those that used rigor and experiment to determine reality, and those that simply wanted to be told what was true.

Thus, it is clear that the new convicts did not base their policies in any sort of logical manner. They simply chose a position and did everything in their power to assert that the opposition was at fault for spreading false information. This would even be the case with clear real-life situations.

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The Phone Call

Part 2

By Dwayne MacInnes

Jason momentarily looked from one guard to the other. Neither one cracked a smile. They all liked to joke around, but Jason had never seen the two men so serious before.

"Mrs. Feldon is haunting the phone?" Jason asked incredulously.

"That's the story," Biggs said before taking in a big breath. "It is said that Mr. Feldon never liked the way his wife would constantly talk on the phone.

"She would constantly talk, talk, and talk. For years, it seemed that Mrs. Feldon was attached to the phone. At first, Mr. Feldon felt neglected by his wife. Then he started to feel jealous.

"This went on day after day and year after year. Finally, one day Mrs. Feldon was found dead. She had died while on the phone."

Biggs stopped for a while to let this sink in. Mark picked up the story where Biggs left off.

"Yeah, some even say that Mr. Feldon killed his wife. However, there was not enough evidence to charge him with anything."

"Didn't the person on the other end mention something to the police?" Jason asked.

"The police were never able to find out to whom Mrs. Feldon was speaking," Biggs replied.

"Anyway," Biggs continued. "It was one year to the day of Mrs. Feldon's death that they found Mr. Feldon dead. His body was lying next to the phone."

"They say Mrs. Feldon called him." Mark added. "It is also said that if the phone rings and you answer it you better not hang it up or you too will die."

"Right," Jason said trying not to sound like he believed it. "How do they know that you are not supposed to hang it up? Did some leave a message on the refrigerator?"

"Laugh if you want," Biggs said in a matter of fact voice. "But it was Mr. Feldon's niece who answered the phone one day and she would not leave it. When her husband returned from work, he saw her shaking scared to death holding the phone.

"He asked her who she was speaking too, and she replied Auntie Feldon. The husband knew that her aunt was dead so figured it was some sort of cruel joke. He tried to take the phone away from her but his wife fought him off crying that if she hung up she would die.

"With renewed anger, the husband tore the phone out of his wife's hand and listened to the receiver. Indeed, he could hear someone speaking on the other end that sounded a lot like Mrs. Feldon. He couldn't make out exactly what she was saying over his sobbing wife's cries. But, he claimed she said something about death and revenge.

"Figuring it for a cruel joke, the husband yelled into the phone that the caller was sick and that if she ever called again to bother his wife he would call the police. Then he slammed the phone into the cradle and no sooner did he finish than his wife gave a blood-curdling cry and fell dead to the floor."

"How did the museum get the phone?" Jason shot back trying to poke holes in the story.

"You know old man Murphy the curator never looks a gift horse in the mouth," Mark added. "The family wanted to destroy the death phone, as they called it, but he convinced them that he wanted it. He promised that no one would ever use it at the museum.

"The death phone was an attractive exhibit for a number of years. But slowly the story faded from people's memories and the board of directors wanted the museum to be less sensational and more pragmatic."

Jason faked a yawn, "Yeah, that was a great story. It could have used more demons and ghosts, but still I would have enjoyed it more around a campfire."

"Just trying to warn you..." Biggs started to say before Mark slapped his shoulder.

"Come on. The kid doesn't believe us and our vacay is starting," Mark said leading Biggs to the door.

"See ya in a few days," Biggs shouted over his shoulder as the two security guards left the museum. "Whatever you do don't answer that phone!"

Jason waved goodbye with a smirk on his face as Mark locked up the door. That was several hours ago and now it was midnight. Jason had made several circuits around the museum checking doors and exhibits. It was the same old routine. The doors were secure and everything was in its place.

There was not another body in the museum except the old mummy the curator acquired years ago. Jason returned to his desk and started to read one of his textbooks. No sooner than when he opened it, he heard a ring.

Jason looked at the phone on the desk. None of the lights was flashing and in fact, the ring did not sound right.

RING! RING!

Jason cocked his ear. The rings were coming down the hall towards the communication exhibit.

"No way," Jason thought. He was sitting next to the only working phone in the museum outside the curator's office.

RING! RING!

Jason nervously stood up. It was possible that there was a new phone. Maybe Biggs and Mark forgot to mention it. He strolled down the hall towards the source of the ring.

RING! RING!

Jason stood in front of the communication exhibit. The black rotary dial phone vibrated with the ringing. Jason started to reach out for it, but quickly pulled his hand back. Maybe it was a trick and the caller would hang up.

RING! RING!

Maybe it was Mark trying to scare him. Jason frowned, if it was Mark or Biggs and he did not answer it they would laugh at him for months. Tentatively Jason picked up the receiver. Then he bolstered his strength and put it to his ear.

"Very funny you guys..." Jason started to say.

"Do not hang up the phone," a frail female voice crackled and wavered on the other end. "If you do you will die."

* * * * *

Mark met Biggs outside the museum three days later in the parking lot. The older security guard was locking his car when Mark joined him.

"How'd you think the kid did?" Mark asked.

"Oh, fine I'm sure," Biggs replied. "He's always performed well in the past."

"So did you call him?" Mark asked.

"I thought you were going to call him," Biggs said.

"Oh, yeah. I called him first, but did you call him later?"

"You mean I was supposed to let him in on the joke?" Biggs said anxiously.

"You didn't tell him?" Mark asked. "Oh God, the poor kid!"

The two men hurried across the lot and quickly opened the door. As they entered the main entrance, they noticed that Jason was not at the front desk. They then hurried down the hall towards the communications exhibit.

Mark and Biggs saw Jason standing with his back to them. He was still in his uniform holding the phone to his ear. The way he stood there unmoving and pale unnerved the two guards. They could see his hair had turned white.

The quickly ran towards Jason.

"Oh man," Mark said. "It was a joke."

Biggs snatched the hand unit out of Jason's hand and stopped cold.

"I didn't know you guys cared so much," Jason said behind them.

Mark and Biggs looked at Jason now in his regular clothes and back at the mannequin dressed in Jason's uniform that had been holding the phone.

"Kid," Mark said smiling. "You have style."

The End

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This is hysterical! Bill O'Reilly's hypocrisy burns...

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Term Paper from the Future

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Term Paper: The Rise and Fall of the New Convicts
Class: Ancient History 101
Student: Danu Apu Nagappattinam
ID Number: DAN-2873-883

Part Two - The Lasting Legacy

What the new convicts believed was discussed in the first paper. It was pointed out in the first paper that their ideas and policies were not based on anything but ideology. They did not worry about facts or consequences of their policies as long as they matched their ideology. In this section, we will look at the effects of these beliefs, and how they implemented them.

Since the new convicts had vast resources, they used them whenever possible. They had news outlets, televideo, a thing called the interwebs, and even archaic audio-only transmissions. Further, they had these groups of people called think tanks. The sole purpose of these think tanks was 2 to release quotes for use in the media, write contrary commentaries, and put forth the agenda of the new convicts and their positions.

With all of these influential media outlets in place, they would use them for a variety of things. In the beginning, they used a very ingenious tactic. They would use all of their media resources to label the independent media outlets as biased against them. In an effort for fairness, these outlets would garner to their positions. Thus, these fair outlets had to provide a point of view that did not conflict with the unrealistic positions of the new convicts.

Furthermore, because the positions and ideologies were not based on anything factual, the new convicts experts could say anything. Further, no one could contradict them because they would cry bias. It was a loop that caused great damage 2 to the open society that was the United States of America.

To illustrate, the new convicts were very anti-taxes. At every available opportunity they would decry that taxes were hurting the country. Never mind that these taxes paid for services that greatly benefited the people and industries that gave the new convicts their opportunities. The United States government had a huge military that gave all of its citizens tremendous security. The government maintained alliances with other countries that provide a large amount of business opportunities. What the taxes paid for gave these new convicts opportunities throughout the world.

Nevertheless, their anti-tax stance caused the government 2 to borrow huge amounts of money to pay for these services. Even as the amount that the government owed ballooned 2 to unmanageable levels, they would continue to ask for more tax cuts. They would claim that only tax cuts can generate employment. Once again, a position that had no basis in any actual research. Hence, if any legitimate news outlet would claim that this position was untrue, they would claim media bias. Therefore, their policies began to spiral out of control.

At the height of their power, many of the goods and services offered by the various governmental agencies became taken for granted. In this way, the new convicts could push their unsustainable anti-tax policies on an unsuspecting public. The average citizen would not think about all of the services that were provided by their government. They just liked the idea of paying less. Thus, these policies led 2 to a quick fall from power for the new convicts.

At first, they lost the legislative branch. Hence they could no longer enact any legislation that they wished. They played a very obstructionist role 2 to prevent the opposition from destroying all of their in place policies. Also, they continued to have their media influence. Thus, any drastic policy changes would cause outrage from the think tanks and the friendly media outlets. In this way, the opposition party in control of the legislative branch had to temper their legislative actions.

Shortly afterwards, the new convicts lost the executive branch, and they had to use their resources 2 to hold onto the remaining policies. They called for a new spirit of non-partisanship. Of course, what they meant was to continue with their policies. They would cry fowl whenever the opposition would not agree with them. Furthermore, since they would always vote together, they would point out that the opposition party was not reaching out to them whenever legislation would pass.

Since their policies were not based in reality, there were legitimate reasons they lost power. With the vast amount that was borrowed and the lack of any oversight, the economy became very unstable. Even over the short term, their policies caused an enormous economic catastrophe. When their policies did not result in prosperity that was promised, support for the new convicts greatly decreased. They lost support for many of their positions. It appeared that reality had a bias for the opposition party.

They used all of their resources 2 to fight any legislation meant to fix the economic problems the government was facing. They attempted to sabotage all proposed fixes. They hoped that the opposition in power would fail. In fact, there were many from their think tanks and media personalities that openly admitted this. They bluntly stated that they hoped the new executive would fail. Of course, they did not think through what that would entail. It would mean a deepening economic crisis that was almost the worst their country had ever known. With the failure of this new administration, the economic crisis could become the worst. Further, their policies were actually responsible for the situation their country was experiencing.

Nonetheless, the new convicts did not gather their influence and resources for nothing. While they did not base their policies on any research or evidence, many believed that they were still for the best. After all, many of their followers were doing quite well. This wealth and influence was supposed 2 to trickle down to the masses. Of course, greed was preventing this from happening. The wealthy new convicts were into gaining enormous wealth for its own sake.

They maintained their influence as long as they could. They used all of their resources to sabotage all policies contrary to their positions. After all, they continued 2 to have strong influence in the judicial branch. Not to mention, their societal influence through their media outlets and their other resources were free to operate without governmental intervention.

The new convicts would need 2 to use all of their vast resources if they were to maintain any influence at all. Thus, they would have to take drastic action. In a last ditch effort, they gathered to determine their course of action. Their eventual solution was drastic and daring. It would reverberate throughout their society for generations. They used their influence on such a drastic measure. It was an all or nothing proposition. We will look at that in part three.

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Just Human

By Dwayne MacInnes

Blegis could not believe his luck. For centuries, his planet of Hurlon has been receiving transmissions from another planet called Earth. The Hurlonion scientists were first astounded that the Earthlings were human like themselves. The odds of such a thing happening were astronomical.

The scientists also were amazed to discover that the Earthlings were eager to find intelligent life on other worlds. However, Hurlon technology lagged far behind the Earthlings. So, until recently the Earthlings had no idea that Hurlonions were receiving their messages. Thanks to Blegis that all changed.

Even though traditional radio and television broadcasts travel at light speed, it would take literally hundreds of years for the signals to travel across space to reach the other planet. Even then, the transmissions lost their strength over distance and time, so special amplifiers had to be used to make the signals intelligible.

The planet of Hurlon spent years studying the Earthling's transmissions. The Hurlonions studied Earth's various languages and vast histories. Even the common Hurlonion could catch special entertainment broadcasted from Earth. Even though the Earthlings were human that did not mean Hurlonions understood Earth humor. Nonetheless, the Earth Channel became the top viewing station.

By sheer luck, Blegis was able to send out a transmission towards Earth and received an answer back in only a few minutes. It appeared that the Earthlings had a star craft somewhere nearby. Another remarkable coincident was the fact that this Earth star ship's crew spoke a dialect known as English. A language Blegis spent years studying.

Blegis hit the record button as he began his transmission. The scientists in the lab crowded around Blegis and his enormous computer and transmitter.

Computer of the Future

"This is Earth vessel Valley Forge. Come again please," the voice on the other end of the receiver said.

"Right on, man!" Blegis responded in his best English. "This is one hep cat Blegis of the planet Hurlon."

"Your English is...uh, remarkable," the voice returned.

"Groovy, you would have to be L7 not know English after studying your Earth broadcasts all these years."

"Glad you are a fan," the voice said. "I am Captain Meredith. We have triangulated your signal and are beginning to home in on it. Request permission to visit your world."

The scientists began to shout in excitement. The Earthlings were coming!

It took Blegis a few moments to calm the scientists down before he could continue his transmission. "That is far out! You must have one wicked rocket to be so close to us. Permission granted."

"We can reach your world in three days," Captain Meredith responded.

"That would be bitchin'. You really know how to burn rubber," Blegis replied.

The conversation went on like this for some time. The scientists on Hurlon learned that they were the first intelligent race the Earthlings have come upon in their space exploration. So, when the Earthlings learned that the Hurlonions were also human they too became extremely excited.

The crew of the Valley Forge and the scientists on the planet Hurlon exchanged some ideas and compared notes. It appeared that the Earth transmissions reaching Hurlon were roughly taking 500 years to travel through space. Unfortunately, the Hurlonions were also 500 years behind the Earth in technology.

Blegis and the scientists on Hurlon were amazed to learn how advanced the Earthlings were. Yet, the Earthlings were willing to share their ideas with Hurlon in a token of good will.

The Earth, the scientists on Hurlon learned, had finally overcome their vast differences. From the years of collaboration and unity scientific advancement in health care greatly improved. For example, the Earthlings discovered a means of recording their memories onto computer databases. Therefore, when an Earthling suffered brain damage due to disease, age, or injury they could have their memories reprogrammed. The Earthlings also discovered that the brain could have damaged areas repaired with cybernetic parts.

Blegis twitched with excitement as his fellow scientists pounded his back in congratulations. Blegis would become the most famous Hurlon for being the first to communicate with the Earthlings.

The Earthlings promised to teach the Hurlonions how to attain space travel, revolutionize food production, the secrets to clean and safe energy, and most astonishingly the secrets to immortality. Blegis had to have the Valley Forge repeat that final transmission. Immortality that was impossible was it not. However, the Earthlings insisted that they not only had it perfected but that due to their brain recordings no one actually ever dies! In fact, the Earthlings found a cure for all ailments.

Once Blegis confirmed this last transmission, the scientists looked around at each other in stunned silence. Then it slowly dawned on them what this all meant and that they only had three days to prepare for the Earthling's arrival.

Flying Saucer

The whole planet buzzed with excitement in anticipation to the Earthlings landing. A great delegation was prepared to meet the Valley Forge once it landed on its preordained site. The Hurlonion leaders gave Blegis the highest honor possible that of being the Hurlonion ambassador to greet the Earthlings on their arrival.

The day of the Earthlings arrival came and millions of Hurlonions crowded around the landing site as billions more watched on the Earth Channel. Blegis fidgeted in a mix of excitement and nervousness. He represented his whole planet, and he feared he would say something stupid like, "Take me to your leader."

At first, the clear blue sky did not reveal anything, and then gradually a small bright dot started to grow larger and larger. It was the Valley Forge! The Hurlonions pointed and cried in excitement at its arrival. The roar of the engines grew until the large saucer shaped ship landed on its designated spot.

Some honor guardsmen rolled out a long red carpet towards the saucer and then Blegis began to walk towards the Valley Forge. Once he neared the ship, a long steel ramp slid out of the saucer towards the ground in front of where Blegis stopped.

Blegis stood there like a statue; he knew the entire world was watching him. He slowed his breathing and tried to calm himself. However, the sweat on his palms and brows started to collect. He wiped his hands upon his pants; it would be poor form to shake with wet hands.

The steel door on the saucer slid open and a figure started to advance down the ramp. In the shade of the Valley Forge, it appeared to be humanoid in shape. However, no features were discernable. As it neared Blegis he noticed that is was actually a robot.

The robot stopped in front of Blegis and put out its metallic hand. Blegis approached and smiled. He grabbed the hand and said, "Take me to your leader."

"Damn," cursed Blegis to himself. However, to his great delight, the crowd broke out in cheers and even the robot gave a slight laugh.

"You must be Blegis," the robot stated. "I am Captain Meredith."

"I thought you cats were human!" Blegis blurted out in surprised.

"We are, or I should say we used to be," Captain Meredith stated. "These are our immortal state. There hasn't been a flesh and blood human on Earth for centuries.

"This is the gift we bring to our brothers and sisters of Hurlon."

"Bummer," Blegis sighed.

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This was one of my favorite Monty Python sketches when I was a kid.

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Term Paper from the Future

By Douglas E. Gogerty

Term Paper: The Rise and Fall of the New Convicts
Class: Ancient History 101
Student: Danu Apu Nagappattinam
ID Number: DAN-2873-883

Part Three - The Failing Attempt to Stay Relevant

In the previous section we found the new convicts losing their influence. At the time, the national economy was in dire straits. Because the new convicts were in power, the general public blamed them for the situation. In an effort to stay relevant and retain power, the new convicts had to take some drastic measures. We will look at their last initiative in this part.

The new convicts felt their sliding popularity which led them to losing the legislative branch of the United States government. They had some time 2 to enact a diabolical scheme to retain influence. They had not finished enacting all of their policies, and they believed that if they were given a chance everything would be fine. As has been stated numerous times, their core beliefs and policies had no basis in reality.

They needed a scheme that would give them a chance. Thus, they had a person infiltrate the opposition. This charismatic individual quickly rose in the ranks. This scheme shifted the blame from off the new convicts and onto a targeted group led this implanted opposition member. After all, they still had their media outlets saying whatever they needed to say.

Thus, when this charismatic leader was elected 2 to the chief executive post, their scapegoat was in position.1 Everything was working out as planned. Even before a single policy was enacted, the new convict controlled media began criticizing every move the opposition made. They were going to ensure that even the slightest misstep on every enacted legislation was going to be shown as a failure. The new convict legislators still in power would fight at every turn. They would attempt 2 to add amendments to derail all opposition policies. They were obstructionists.

The new convict media outlets would harp on every little thing. Since their legistlators all voted in a block, they continually claimed 2 to be left out of the process. They would cry that any talk of bipartisanship was a false campaign promise. Of course, bipartisan legislation would be whatever the new convicts wanted. There could be no compromise.

The media controlled by the new convicts had spent years complaining about various organizations. These organizations helped people get into housing. These organizations assisted poor people obtain governmental representation. These organizations epitomized the position of the opposition. Thus, these groups had 2B to be destroyed.

Therefore, with all of their positions solidified and their scapegoat in office, they began their final solution. This action would give them a permanent majority in the legislative branch. Furthermore, it would certainly give them a boost in chances of retaining the executive branch.

What they needed was a segment of the opposition party to place blame. This segment had to be easily identifiable. It was important to be able to clearly identify this group. Further, this group had to be have some very wealthy members. These wealthy opposition members would forfeit their wealth to pay for the short term needs of the rest of the country. That is, they would pay for new convict policies.

While this group of wealthy opposition members would certainly have its share of popular personalities, they counted on the citizenry 2 to accept the free money from this minority group. The popular athletes and media stars could easily be shown as leeches draining money from average citizens and producing nothing to society. At least, the job to convince the public of this was given to the new convict media outlets.

They had planned to round all of these scapegoats up and fix everything. They had not quite determined what to do with this vast group. However, something cheap and effective would certainly be devised. Perhaps they planned on some mass shower or something. The influx of money taken from this group and the outgoing influence of this group on the opposition would be highly popular with new convicts.

The only snag, this policy had been tried before with disastrous results. The new convicts hoped that no one would put the two policies together, but that was not to be. Their last ditch effort ended in failure and they lost all influence.

However, the ripples of some of their policies shook the civilization to its core. The powers of the executive became so great that many citizens did not notice the change into Imperial rule. They did notice when this new imperialism led to an attempt to take over the remaining countries.

In an all or nothing attempt to gain domination over the entire world, this United States did not end up with it all. Thus, their civilization fell to ruins. There is nothing left of them except fragments from here and there. In fact, there are many who do not believe that they even existed. It was all because of the power and influence of the new convicts.

1. "Barack Obama takes office as Republicans’ scapegoat", The Ancient Pravda Fragments Vol 2, (2000-2100): 47.

* * * * *

Term Paper Professorial Review
for Student: Danu Apu Nagappattinam
ID Number: DAN-2873-883

Grade: F

While Professor MacInnes's theories on this so-called United States of America are interesting from a anthropological standpoint, this is not an anthropology course. Further, there is little evidence that the shallow ocean and rocky islands that lie between Europe and Asia were ever a powerful continent. Nevertheless, tales of the lost continent of North America have no place in my history class. We deal in concrete evidence and well supported historical events in this class.

Also, an entire paper with only one citation is certainly not up to grade. Research in my class means more than a fragment of an ancient tabloid known for UFO stories and stories of the paranormal. If you can find support for your theories, you will need to come up with a great deal more evidence.

Finally, this is a term paper and not a text message to your mates. Be careful to use proper language and stop interspersing your text-messaging shortcuts in your paper.

By the way, I believe "Neo-Con" would be more properly translated into New Conservative rather than New Convicts. While your version does make a bit more sense in this context, some of what the ancients said did not always make sense. How can a conservative believe an anything new? You will have to start over to pass this class.

The End

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Kalluunle

I

By Dwayne MacInnes

Gulf of Aden: 0037 Hours

Cargo Ship Kohl

The German cargo ship plowed through the calm sea off the coast of Somalia. The moonlight cut through the slim cloud cover of the night sky to illuminate the phosphorescent wake the large ship left in its van. Only the heavy rhythmic thrum of the large engines propelling the ship could be heard in the quiet night.

Omar looked back over towards the two other skiffs he had prepared for this raid. With a total of 23 men armed with AK47s and RPG-7s he felt confident that they could overtake the ship before the crew could react. Omar glanced at the ship's name painted on the hull. The white letters told him that his victim was the Kohl. She was a large ship and appeared full of cargo headed for the Suez Canal.

Somali Pirate Skiff

Omar stood up in the souped-up wooden fishing boat and raised his arm holding an AK47. The men in the other skiffs watched anxiously as he then lowered the assault rifle towards the cargo ship. This was the signal. Without much noise all three boats powered up their engines and the frenzied purr of the pirates' skiffs' motors sliced through the still air as the small vessels skimmed over the sea.

With the expert arm of a former soldier named Nadif, a grappling hook was thrown and snagged onto the Kohl's rail. Omar smiled and grabbed the rope now secured to his skiff. He slung the AK47 over his shoulder and began to scramble up the rope. The rest of the men in his boat -- save the man operating the motor -- followed their leader upwards to the ship's deck.

Omar jumped aboard and quickly scanned the ship's large steel deck. There were crates of freight secured to the deck and a variety of equipment but no crew. He readied his assault rifle and began to head towards the helm. Two men followed him.

"Not a bad catch is it fisherman," Nadif smiled.

"The fish is not caught until it is in the boat," Omar replied quietly. "We only have a small amount of time before the crew becomes aware. Let us make haste."

Omar noticed that the pirates from the other boats were now aboard. They were now starting to break off into teams to secure the ship. So far the raid was going perfectly. "May Allah watch over us," Omar thought.

Silently like a jungle cat the three raiders climbed the stairs leading to the ship's bridge. It was strange that no one was about. Not even the occasional smoker enjoying the night. There was always someone on deck whenever Omar made his past raids. But again no two raids were alike.

Once the men were assembled outside the bridge's door, Omar glanced through the large windows. The interior was dark and he could not see much. "Damn," Omar thought. "They must be prepared."

"Nadif," Omar whispered to his lieutenant. "The crew must be on to us. The lights are out."

"Abdi has a grenade," Nadif responded nodding towards the third man. "We can hurl it through the door."

"Maya! No!" exclaimed Omar in a harsh whisper. "Don't be a habilaawe. That will destroy the bridge. No, you and I will cover the door while Abdi throws it open.

Nadif nodded in agreement.

Abdi flattened himself against the wall as he reached for the door's handle. Omar and Nadif kneeled down sighting down their AK47's barrels. Omar looked up at Abdi briefly and gave a slight nod.

As the door flew open, both Omar and Nadif fired their assault rifles in quick bursts spreading bullets through the bridge's interior. However, in the erratic flash from the AK47s' muzzles Omar noticed that the bridge was empty.

"Shee! Stop!" hollered Omar.

Nadif ceased fire and looked over at Omar. The pirate leader then walked onto the ship's bridge. It was empty. There was not even the helmsman. Before Omar could reflect further the ship came to a stop. "Dhurwaa, good," thought Omar. "Korfa and his boys must have reached the engine room."

Omar found the light switch and turned it on. The bridge was completely empty save for the three pirates. The wall opposite of the bridge door was riddled with the bullet holes produced by Omar's and Nadif's AK47s.

"Sayid," Abdi said. "Allah smiles upon us tonight."

"Indeed, yes," Omar smiled to the younger man. "We have captured the ship very easily."

"I believe the fish is now in the boat, kalluunle," added Nadif who pulled out a cigarette and lit it up.

"Haa ... yes, I am a fisherman and the fish is in the boat. However, we still need to clean it and bring to shore." Omar responded lighting up his own cigarette.

The three pirates explored the bridge as they enjoyed their cigarettes. A half-dozen pirates then burst onto the bridge.

"Sayid!" one said. "We heard gunfire is everything all right?"

"Relax Asad," Omar said. "We just thought we had an ambush awaiting us. As you can see the bridge is empty."

"Strange," Asad said.

"Haa it is strange that the bridge was empty," Omar said. "But Allah provides."

"Haa sayid," Asad replied. "However, Allah must have thrown everyone overboard because the ship is empty."

"This is naxis," Abdi said from the back of the bridge.

"How is it bad luck?" Nadif asked. "This is sanac, good luck."

"On a boat as the sayid will tell you, it is naxis when everyone is gone because a curse is aboard."

"Relax Abdi," Omar told his fellow fisherman. It was indeed an ill omen to find every one gone. But, Omar did not want to scare his band of rogues that was composed of fishermen, ex-soldiers, and a few boys. Most of them were superstitious. They could worry about naxis after the cargo was unloaded.

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Science can be fun if you just "Look Around You". Today, we're looking at sulfur! Get your copy books out!

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