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Old 21-10-2008, 04:38 PM   #26
Cyber Warrior
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Notes on Episode 12

[strike]Clean Slate[/strike] – Clean Wipe
I managed to find that in the 1993 rewrite, operation Clean wipe in chapter 11 became Clean Slate in chapter 12. I suspect this may have been an error in the 1993 rewrite, so for this reprinting this “error” has been corrected.

Sexual Harassment of an employee
In the past, as in the future / present the character of Reynolds sexually harasses his secretary in a certain way. This was also not in the original 1988 version and came in with the 1993 rewrite. It is dubious anyone would get away with this treatment of an employee, so this was to show not just how evil this villain was, but how powerful he thought he was. One could point out that as the secretary has a recent criminal record how would she get the job there in the first place and get into this position, especially as her probation condition for staying out of prison is to hold down a job. Would an air base allow someone like that near them?

All I can think of is that maybe Reynolds saw her somewhere in a pub trying to find work or maybe he just happened to be in court that day, and found a way to bypass the official hiring and firing process which would have been carried out by the RAF and not the USAF. I suppose this would have to be chalked up to poetic or literary licence, vastly stretched to breaking point. I would hope that with my more contemporary output I was giving more thought to how things could come about.

Membership of a clan?
Although this is set in Scotland, where there are a number of Scottish clans, each with their own unique tartan, at the time I was not thinking about Scottish clans, more something along the lines of a cross between the Klu-Klux Clan and the Masons. (Apologies to and Masons here) The Klu-Klux clan were a white supremacist group in the United States of America.

Man in a White Suit
This character appears a number of times throughout this story. All I can think of having checked through the 1988 and 1989 originals is that I was planning on augmenting one of the other stories, of which the last one included time travel. Yet again this is to show how confusing time travel can be.

RGU St Andrew Street
Actually the RGIT St Andrew Street building as I remember it was quite substantially built, presumably from granite, as quite a number of buildings in Aberdeen are. Unfortunately I can find no images of it to put up here. It is dubious a simple air to ground missile fired from a helicopter would have done much damage to the main fabric of the out side. The only thing that could level it I suppose would be a few cruise missiles. This was obviously something I overlooked from the first Gulf War in 1991. I suppose if they were to hit through windows, they might achieve some severe damage. At the time of the original 1988 story line, it just sounded so cool, so once again, it must have been poetic licence and lack of research.

As another aside, I looked up the online prospectus for Robert Gordon’s University, and the course I did, involving physics does not seem to be run anymore.

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Old 21-10-2008, 07:59 PM   #27
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Chapter 13

From one death trap to another

Philip heard a noise come from down stairs, someone was coming up. Had the marines discovered where they were? The chronon Accelerator was still powered up, since Steve had just vanished a minute ago, it was building up a new charge, just like the old flash guns on the ancient single lens reflex cameras of the twentieth century.

Philip switched off the Chronon accelerator, it was too risky having a gateway to the past. If only Philip knew how to convert this Steve Gryson's device, back to its normal operation. The footsteps were getting closer. Philip went over to the shattered window of the old television room. The snow was coming down very heavily; it was difficult to see down to the ground. He could not see if the marines had found them or not. He looked around for a weapon of some kind, nothing, not even a stick. It was useless, he would have to surrender, and that was if they were taking prisoners. He had just heard two gunshots in the distance from a marine’s weapon; it did not seem like a normal gun fight, more like the single shots of an execution. Perhaps his mother was right after all, meddling with Steve Gryson only meant death.

"Mr Philip Smith" came a Scottish sounding voice. This could not be a marine surely; they were all American or Canadian.
"Who's asking?" Philip asked, hiding behind the door to the old television room.
"I'm Gerald Gray of Stronach's and Gray's solicitors" said the voice.
Philip slowly crept out of the room, holding the chronon accelerator in his right hand as a make shift club. The man looked like he was in his sixties; he was dressed up in a dark brown arctic survival coat. He was carrying a parcel inside a plastic bag in one hand, and a letter and a clip board in the other.
"What do you want?" Philip asked cautiously.
"To be frank Mr Smith, none of us expected you to be here. You see for the last twenty years our firm has been holding on to a letter and this parcel containing a ladies coat. We had instructions to deliver it to a Mr Philip Smith so he could pass it on to a gentleman going by the code name of Lone Stranger, on this date, at this time. You are Mr Smith I presume"
"Yes" replied Philip, "do I need to sign anything?”
"Yes" replied the solicitor and handed him the electronic clip board and pen.
Philip signed it and the solicitor gave him the bag and the letter.
"There were further instructions, Mr Smith, you are to go at once to the pick up point and await the arrival, give the coat to the girl with the blanket. Whatever it means I don't know, we have been trying to work it out for twenty years."
"I know what it means" said Philip, "I have to go somewhere and wait for some body"
"That's all very well, Mr Smith, but watch out for the marines and the militias" the solicitor replied as he turned and left. Philip was left alone again on the top floor of the old student union.

"So Steve has succeeded" Philip said to himself. He felt the van keys in his pocket and went down the stairs.

When he reached outside, the snow was about four inches deep, no problem for a hover-car, but quite something for an old rusting van like his. He opened the door to his van, put the parcel on the front passenger seat and got in. He tried the key. The van groaned and did nothing. He pushed the button to electrically heat the fuel for about a minute, and then tried again. It moaned again, but this time it coughed and spluttered into life. He pulled out onto Schoolhill, turned right and drove up to the roundabout at the top of Blackfriars street and drove along Blackfriars street until St Andrew Street. He then drove along Charlotte Street to get to the back of the ruins of the RGIT St Andrew Street building. He stopped as near as he could to the hole in the fence. All he could do now was go and wait at the re-entry point, he had five minutes to go. He heard the sound of a hover-car flying overhead. He switched off the engine, now he could listen to it, to hear what it was doing. It seemed like it was circling, the old student union building a couple of times, and then it flew off towards the east. Philip got out of the van into the blizzard; he took the parcel containing the coat with him. He trudged through the snow to the hole and clambered through it. He made his way to the west corridor, the stone steps still existed on this side of the building, and he climbed them as fast as he could. He looked at his watch, one minute to arrival time that was if he succeeded in bringing them back. He reached the ruins of the first floor and started picking his way to where Steve had told him the lab used to be.

It looked even more fascinating as Steve gazed upon the multicoloured void from the space time bubble. He looked around at the others floating free with him, they were equally awed. Neel tried to say something, but his words were not carrying. Steve remembered how he felt when he landed the first time, so he grabbed at the bars of mint cake from his kit bag. As he brought one out, another floated free, Steve tried to catch it, but it floated towards the edge of the sphere of the bubble. Steve unwrapped the other bar and took a bite of it. Suddenly the first bar of mint cake exploded in a flash of multicoloured light as it passed through the bubble. Steve looked around. Neel and David had seen it happen as well, then Neel pointed at Trevor, he was starting to drift towards the edge of the bubble. Both Neel and Steve swam over and grabbed him and pulled him in.
"What the hell is this?" Trevor mouthed.
Steve patted him on the shoulder and gave a thumb’s up sign. He turned around and swam over to Sam and Patricia; they seemed to be stable in the bubble. David grabbed Mike’s hand and then Neel's hand. Steve went to check on Patricia, he brushed the hair from her eyes with his hand, and he could see a slight bruise forming on the side of her head. "Great" he thought, she was almost a soul mate, and he had hurt her when he had to push her into the lab." Sorry" he mouthed at her.
Patricia's eyes flickered open, "I'm ok" she mouthed, she touched the side of her head, "am I dead?" she mouthed.

Steve shook his head. Suddenly the multicoloured void started to turn white around them, underneath it turned black. The white came in and started stinging them. Then for all of them except Steve, they lost consciousness. Steve felt really drained; it was all he could do to take another bite of the mint cake.

Philip was very surprised that the floor was still holding here, but then again, most of the missiles were not directed here. Suddenly he saw bolt of lightening hit the floor in front of him. It seemed strange as it did not seem to come from the clouds, he heard the crack of thunder a split second later. He continued to pick his way across the rubble strewn floor, through the snow he could see six figures lying amongst the rubble and one figure sitting up. The snow in the area where the people had just appeared had been blasted away. Philip took a minute to get to them. The sound of masonry falling was almost muffled by the sound of the snow.

Philip looked at one of the men, he recognised him from a photograph his mother had kept, it was his father. He ran over and checked his pulse, he was alive. The sound of more masonry crashing down underneath could be heard.
"Philip" called Steve as he struggled to get up, "I don't think this floor will hold much longer, we need to get off".

Patricia Nealson tried to get up, and then collapsed. Her head was still throbbing from hitting her head and the strange experience she had been through.
"How come we never got that effect at the Wear-Rabbit binges" Groaned Neel as he tried to sit up.
Trevor opened his eyes, turned to look around, then wished he hadn't as something akin to a runaway bullet train ran through his cranium. David and Mike suffered in a similar way. Sam got up, and then promptly collapsed in a heap. "What have they put in that Newcastle Brown?" he wondered.
"We haven't got time for this" Philip shouted, "the floor is giving way".
Steve stumbled to his feet, "Help me with Patricia" he shouted to Philip, "she's got concussion"
Philip walked over and took out the coat from the parcel. "put this on her" he told Steve.
"No time, everybody up, the floor is moving." Steve yelled.

David and Neel helped each other up, the cold wind was helping them clear their heads. Mike and Trevor managed to pick themselves up and then lifted up Sam, he was out cold. Steve and Philip helped Patricia to her feet, even with the blanket, she was shivering madly. Slowly the eight of them picked their way towards the west stair case. Behind them they heard the floor cracking.

"You sure know how to pick a good landing sight" Neel yelled above the sound of falling masonry. David and Neel reached the steps first and sat down exhausted. Suddenly Trevor stumbled, Philip and Steve came up from behind with Patricia, and Philip caught Trevor to steady him. The floor, where they had moments before landed, caved in with a deafening thud. They had only just made it to the safety of the stair case.
"Put that coat on her now" Steve instructed as he sat down in the snow on the steps.
Philip took the coat and shook it out, it seemed to have aged quite well. "Are you ok miss" he asked her.
"I just want to go to bed" she complained, as she reached for the coat. It seemed strange, one minute she was sweltering in a heat wave, the next it seemed like she was at the North Pole. She slowly put the coat on, she seemed ever so tired and her head was throbbing. As soon as she put the coat on, she could feel the warmth beginning to return. Then the darkness overcame her as she feinted. Philip caught her to stop her banging her head on the stone stair case.

"Reach in my bag Philip, there are some Kendal mint cakes, pass them around" Steve told him. Steve found his strength was returning, so he took over from holding Patricia while Philip handed out the mint cakes. Steve gently brushed the snow from Patricia's face, "don't die on me now Pat" he whispered. He gently kissed her on the cheek. Her eyes flickered open as she regained consciousness. "I'm no China doll you know" said weakly, "where am I"

Philip came over with a bar of mint cake and handed it to Patricia, "we need to get to the van, to get out of this weather" he told the pair of them.
Patricia took the bar with both hands and started eat her way through it, she felt ever so cold, hungry and exhausted.

They waited for a minute before they all got up, Sam had been brought round and managed to walk unaided. Patricia insisted on getting up on her own, but as she walked down the steps she seemed unstable to Steve, so he put her arm over his shoulder. Patricia still felt light headed, she was glad of someone to help her, but angry that she had become so vulnerable. The others had no problems coming down the steps on their own.
"Who are you?" David asked Philip as they clambered out of the hole in the fence, "you look familiar somehow"
"I'm you son dad, I'm Philip"
"You're what?" he said in disbelief. David stopped, he was dumbstruck, and the full reality of the sudden trip to the future hit him in the face.
"Come on dad, we need to get in the van"

David continued, still shaking his head in disbelief, trying to take this all in. He had missed his son growing into a man, would Priscilla have him back after twenty years. He was glad to have escaped being blown to pieces, but what had he escaped to?

They located the white van, and Philip opened up the back. Patricia went to climb in.
"Uh oh" intoned Steve, "with a head wound like that you can sit up front with me"
"I don't need wrapping in cotton wool, whoever you are" she objected and climbed in the back. Steve got in the back and sat down opposite her. Neel, Mike and Trevor climbed in as well.
"You sit up front Dad" Philip told his father as he closed the back of the van.
David went to the front passenger street and climbed in. It seemed like heaven to get in out of the snow storm. Philip climbed into the driver's side. "Back to my place then" he said.
"Too risky" replied Steve, "I have a bad feeling; somehow, they may know I'm still alive, in which case they may be waiting for us there."
"Where can we go then Steve" asked Neel.
Steve thought for a moment, "how about the union"
"No good" answered Philip, "someone has been buzzing it in a hover-car"
"A what?" said Mike?
"How about trying Neel's place" Steve suggested.
"Where's that?" asked Philip
"Its ok, I know the way" David chipped in.
"By the way Steve, a man gave me a letter to give to you" Philip said as he passed the envelope back to Steve. Steve lifted his arm up and took the envelope.

"Who are you" Patricia asked, "what is going on, what was that thing we went through and when can I go home"
"Firstly, you used to know me as Steve Gryson, the one who used to preach to you down at the student union".
"You can't be I just spoke to Steve a few minutes ago" She said.
"That was my younger self you spoke to. You have just been isolated in a time bubble which was separated from the rest of the space time continuum. We have all travelled twenty years into your future, but my present"
"But why?”
"Because if we didn't, then we would all have been blown up by an American air attack"
"What?" she asked in disbelief.
"They used my PhD work as a justification to destroy the St Andrew Street building, but I know that was a lie. Every one of us, except you Patricia, has had their name blackened, so the Americans could escape the blame. But the thing they were trying to hide, is being started up again"
"And when its all over?" she asked hesitantly.
"I'm sorry everyone, but as history says we all died, we can't go back" Steve said apologetically.
"Oh" she said and dropped her head. As she thought of all the friends she had lost, her pet dog and her parents, it seemed that now she would be all alone in the world. She wiped a tear from her eye, she was a big girl now, big girls don't cry. She lifted her head up and rested it against the side of the van. "As you keep on saying Steve, if anything can go wrong" she said, trying her best not to show any sign of emotion as other tears ran down her cheek.
"It happens to me" Steve finished

"Shall we get going now?" Philip asked, trying to break the stunned silence.
"Yeah" David replied, "if we can't use Neel's flat, we can try Mike's place".
Philip tried the key in the van's ignition. It coughed, spluttered and complained, but started up. He shifted the gears, they crunched for a bit, but Philip coaxed the van along the road.

Steve looked at the envelope he had been given, it looked old, but he could still recognise the writing, it was Timothy's. He opened the envelope and took out the letter and read through it.

"Dear Steve" it began, "You were right and its all hell to pay, so far they haven't come after us. We managed to get everyone out of the library in time. You were worried about Jennifer Bruce, well according to Mandy, her meeting with a police woman and the councillor was videotaped. Jennifer broke down a lot so I heard. Apparently her stepfather had prior convictions for minor indecent assaults, which neither Jennifer or her mother knew about. When he was confronted with the accusation, at first he denied it. But when he heard of the tape, he confessed, but said she had led him on. A month ago in our time, he was sentenced to ten years; the judge rejected his argument about being led on by Jennifer. Jennifer's mother was horrified and has started divorce proceedings. You may be glad to know that Jennifer has been reunited with her mother, and she has been granted compassionate leave from the college. By the way Mandy is going to succeed me as president, rather her than me. I told her that it was going to be snowing when you landed, as she had seen Patricia the morning you left, she donated the coat, we just hope the moths don't get it. Say hello from us. It's a pity we can't help any further, just get the b*****ds for us. Yours Faithfully Timothy Green"

Steve folded up the letter and placed it in his inside pocket.
"Who was that from?" Neel asked.
"The president of the union, a personal matter" Steve replied, "oh Patricia, Tim says hi and its Mandy you have to thank for the coat, apparently she made president"
"That was nice of him to think of him. Mandy was a good Woman's Welfare officer, she would have made a good president" Patricia sighed and then sniffed.
Neel put an arm around Patricia's shoulders and gave a slight hug, "Hang in there kid, you're not alone in this" he said quietly, "now how many fingers am I holding up?" he added waving three fingers.
"Three, I'm not completely gaga"
"Pity, you could have joined our group"
"You guys are something else" she said trying to force a smile.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The military policeman finished bashing on the door. "There's no answer sir" the MP shouted down the stairs.
"Break it down" replied Samson.
The MP threw his shoulder at the door, its rotten lock broke easily and the door swung inwards. The MP rushed in brandishing his machine pistol and started to search through the flat. After five minutes the MP came out, "No one here sir" he reported to the two officers.
"Ok soldier" replied General Reynolds, "maintain a guard on this place in case they come back. Shoot to kill on sight"
"And make it MP'S, not marines" added Samson.
"Yes Sir" responded the MP and went over to the hover-truck carrying the other MP's and started giving orders.
"What now?" Samson asked Reynolds.
"It's only a matter of time Samson, he has to slip up sometime, and then we will have him. He can't get out of the area; the satellites will pick up any vehicles trying to leave."
"And if we still can't locate him?”
"Then, one of our special MP's can arrange an accident with a few tactical nukes, after we recover fresh-start"
Samson nodded, "in one way sir, it will be a public service, who knows what undesirables can be cleansed, it would be a pity to loose Stonehaven, but hey, that's war"
"Maybe we could go back to Uncle Sam's for the time being" suggested the general, "We could do strip searches on all the waitresses"
"I would rather not sir, I want to check up on Clean-wipe"
"As you wish commander"
With that Samson restarted the hover-car and took off into the snow storm

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The set of flats looked deserted, not even squatters seemed evident, as the group walked down to the basement flat. The window had been boarded up a long time ago. Neel tried his key in the lock, it did not fit any more and he did not expect that it would. Neel took out his skeleton key set, and picked the lock.
"I thought those were illegal" Patricia commented.
"No one really cares now Patricia" Steve replied.
The door creaked open and the smell of damp was quite overpowering. Neel took his small torch and switched it on. The whole flat had long been cleared. "Where's it all gone" he shouted, "my videos, my equipment"
Steve came up behind him, "I'm Sorry Neel. At least your computer and discs were saved."
"It was a council flat after all" chipped in Mike, "if we were all dead, they would have had every right"
Neel nodded, "I suppose so, but it doesn't make it any better"
"At least it’s a shelter from the snow" Mike replied, "mind you they never did cure that damp problem"

Neel walked through his empty flat; he tried the tap in the kitchen. It spluttered for a bit, and then threw out a flow of muddy coloured water. After a few minutes the water was running clear, it seemed strange that they had not cut the water off. Perhaps no one cared anymore.
"In you come" he yelled, "I'm afraid I can't offer you any coffee"
The rest of them entered the basement flat, and closed the door.
Trevor was first to speak, "Well Mr Gryson, what now?”
"I brought back this" Steve said as he produced the backup tape, "or brought it forwards, depends on your view point"
"What is it?" asked Philip.
"It’s a Honeywell backup tape" Explained Steve, "It has the contents of everything the Honeywell computer in St Andrews Street had.
"If you observe Steve, there is no Honeywell computer here" Mike insisted.
"But there's still a Honeywell computer in the university, all we have to do is get you and Neel to load it up and hack into it. You can still do that can't you?"
"Sure Steve" Neel put in, "Hey Mike remember that time we managed to register ourselves as engineers"
"Yeah Neel, but that was just a lucky break"
"But if we could do it again, it would be something"
"Good" Said Steve, "Neel, Mike, and I will go along to the university and try and access a particular account"
"How are we going to get to the University?" Asked Neel, "there are marines every where?”
"They seem to be ignoring us, being a white van in a snow storm does seem to help" explained Steve, "If all else fails, there is still enough charge left in the chronon accelerator for us to get out of trouble"
"What about me" said Trevor?
"And me" Said Sam
"And me as well, we have all suffered because of what happened" David added.
"Ok you guys, I suppose you deserve to know what this is all about. Philip, you stay here with Patricia. It’s not your fight"
"Sure thing" said Philip, "I'd only get in the way"
"No way" Patricia came out with, "I've lost everyone I know, it’s my fight too, I want to be in on the action"
Steve was taken back with this, "No" he said quietly.
"Why not?" demanded Patricia, "I can take care of myself"
"I need these guys Pat, they possess skills we need to beat this thing, I don't want to have to go through again the pain I felt when I believed I was responsible for your death, it almost killed me"
"If you don't take me with you, I'll walk there."
"But the concussion you sustained"
"I've suffered worse Steve, remember Jareel, the deputy we had to go against, how his thugs tried to put me in hospital"
"let her come" said Neel" we might need the services of a pharmacist"
Steve thought of the notes in the operation blackout file, "You may have a point." He took the file out and showed it to Patricia, "What do you make of these"

Patricia looked through the notes, "It looks like the stuff they took to the Gulf war a few years back"
"You mean several years back now" Trevor added.
"Thanks for reminding me" Patricia said curtly, "It was taken in case chemical weapons were used. I would need to see more"
"If you're all going then" said Philip, "you will need a driver; my van is a bit temperamental"

They were driving up King Street, when Philip noticed a ground car was following them." I think we have trouble" He said.
"Just keep driving" Steve replied from the back. He loaded another battery pack into his stun bolt gun, then opened the panel on his chronon accelerator, and programmed the device. He switched it on. To everyone's else’s surprise, the snow flakes in the distance seemed to be suspended in mid air.
"What's that Steve" asked Patricia, now sitting beside him in the back.
"It just slows time down outside this van, we have five minutes to get the university before it exhausts its charge" Steve explained, not looking up from the device." I also used it to go back and rescue you"

Philip sped the van up and turned off of King Street to get to the university. The sight of the few people that were there, frozen in time, also seemed unnerving to the others. The chronon accelerator exhausted its charge as the van parked out side the entrance to the computer department. As they piled out, they were confronted by an MP with an M-16 rifle. The MP looked at them with glazed eyes as he chewed on a piece of gum. He levelled the rifle at them, then collapsed as Steve fired off the torch like stun bolt gun. The chewing gum fell from the MP's mouth on to the ground. The colouration looked odd to Steve, so he picked it up and smelled it. It had at first an unfamiliar smell, then he recognised it from a description, Klexon three seven, now a banned CIA mind control drug.

"We've got problems" said Steve
"What else is new?" Neel replied.
"We have to assume that all the MP's have been subjected to a CIA loyalty inducing mind control drug."
"What!" exclaimed Patricia, "when did that come in"
"Five years after we left St Andrew Street, but it went out three years after that" explained Steve." any one affected by it would cheerfully slice up their own wife and children to show loyalty. I suspect the marines are unaffected because they come from Stonehaven, not Edzell, but they could still be deadly" he added.
"Hadn't we better be getting inside" Suggested Mike as he pointed to the main door of the university administration centre.
"I'll take the van somewhere, so it doesn't attract attention" Suggested Philip.
"Ok son" replied David, "just take care out there"
As they walked towards the building, they did not notice Philip picking up the chewing gum. "I wonder" he said to himself, and then got in the van and started it up again.

In walked the seven to the University administration building. In here was the computer that was to unlock the secret of Blackout and possibly Clean-wipe. The instructions on where to find the various departments was faded with age, but eventually they found their way through the building, to the University's main computer room. It held an ancient Honeywell computer. The machine had been put in way back in 1987 so was about to be replaced by a Lumellatron super computer at the end of the year. Even though it was old, it could still read the Honeywell backup tape, at least that was what Steve hoped. In the computer room were three operators, Steve checked his stun bolt gun, there was only enough charge left in it for one more shot. After thirty seconds considering this Sam set the fire alarm off.

Every one in the corridor suddenly felt liked throttling him, when the corridor sprinkler system activated. Through the glass they observed the operators rush to the air-lock from the computer room. Steve fired the last charge at the first operator that came through the door, and then pointed the gun at the other two.
"Any of you move and you Join your friend" Steve growled.
The frightened operators backed into the computer room. "There's nothing of value here" said one of them.
"Take the roll of twine out of my bag and tie them up" he ordered.

David and Trevor saw to tying the two up whilst Steve pointed the stun bolt gun at the operators.
Neel loaded the RGIT backup tape onto the computer, "just like old times" he said to Mike.
"Ok let’s do it" responded Mike.
"With this alarm, Steve, how long before the authorities get here?" Asked Patricia.
"Beats me" he replied.

It took fifteen long minutes before Mike and Neel could break through into a list of users. As they skimmed the list one name familiar to Patricia flashed by.
"That's Andrew Drafaus, he was some sort of American research biochemist, he died in a mysterious car crash three months ago" She shouted out.
"Three months and twenty years ago you mean" Sam cut in.
"Ok I heard about that Patricia, any ideas what he was working on?" Steve asked
"Only that it was sponsored by the American defence department according to rumours" Patricia continued.
"I remember now" added Steve, "Some Russian delegation wanted to inspect RGIT because they claimed some treaty was being violated. The Principal was livid about that, and that RGIT might have been mixed up in anything that was considerably dodgy. I had written to them with a latest copy of my research notes, so it wasn't my work the Russians objected to"
"Got him" said Mike as he managed to hack into the Drafaus account
"Ok let’s list his files" suggested Neel.

One of the files was named "Biovac" . Neel listed it. The file contained a list of formulae and notes. Mike dumped the file to a printer, then handed the print out to Patricia. "What do you make of that"
"I'm not sure" she said as she glanced at it" It seems to go way above me, its talking about genetic carriers or something" she added as she studied it more closely.

Neel dumped another file called "Biokill to the printer, Steve looked at it. The word kill on the file name seemed to be a dead giveaway.
"This part seems to be some sort of biological weapon" he stated.
"Then this part looks like." Patricia started but never finished
Suddenly the glass window dissolved as a hail of bullets streamed through, totally destroying the Honeywell computer. Everyone in the room dropped to the floor. Steve looked up at where the window used to be. There was General Reynolds and two MP's. Steve looked across the room to the others, to his horror there was Patricia lying on her side in a pool of blood against the printer remains. Neel and Mike we also in a similar condition. He couldn't see David, Trevor and Sam from where he was lying. He heard the sound of reloading and the taking off of safety catches on the MP's Machine pistols.
This was horrendous, Steve was thinking as he stared up at the guns trained on them He had lead his friends from one death trap to another, and this one seemed to have done the job.

"Nice of you to come and tell us where you were, so we could come and finish you off once and for all. And of course, your friends can be finished off as well, after all, we can't have witnesses around can we" said the General with a grin, "Have you, as the old cliché says got any last words Mr Steve Gryson I presume?”
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Old 21-10-2008, 08:01 PM   #28
Cyber Warrior
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Posts: 9,849


Notes on Episode 13

Unexpected parcel
The character Philip get’s a visit from a solicitor as soon as the Lone Stranger has gone into the past. This solicitor has a parcel and a set of instructions that have been kicking around their office for 20 years with instructions to deliver them at a certain date and time. Those who know their films may recognise this idea from Back to the Future 3, which I suspect I borrowed it from. Incidentally this is another addition brought in the 1993 rewrite.

Newcastle Brown
This is a type of ale, originally brewed in Newcastle by Scottish And Newcastle breweries. Now it is brewed elsewhere and the distillery in Newcastle has been demolished.

Variation on Murphy’s Law
The Patricia character misquotes Murphy’s law in the van when she realises she can not go back, and all her friends and relations may be dead in this future she has been thrust into.

Murphy’s law is normally stated, “If it can go wrong then it will go wrong” It is said that it originated in the United States during the 1950’s research into rockets. I often misquote Murphy’s law as being “If it can go wrong it wil test it out on me first”, and so that made it into the 1993 rewrite.

Letter from the president
This was yet again added in the 1993 rewrite, it was kind of closing the book on the Jennifer Bruce story. It is worthy of note, that today there is talk of individuals being able to do criminal background checks of any potential partners, is they have children. Back in 1988 and 1993 that did not exist. There were criminal records checks, but that was only for certain institutions. When I applied to do teacher training in 1992, I most likely would have had a criminal record check.

Getting back to the story, why put it in? Well perhaps I may have felt responsibility to the character, after all she had been through. Seems daft doesn’t it, especially as she is a work of fiction.

Tactical Nukes
Reference is made to “Tactical Nukes”. In the 1980’s there was talk of small scale nuclear weapons, called tactical nuclear battlefield weapons. This was when it was believed that a small limited nuclear war could be fought. The belief by others was otherwise, in that any use of nuclear weapons would lead to MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction

In the story the group end up at Neel’s flat. Neel is based on a friend of mine I made in Aberdeen. Unfortunately he is not in best of health, and I did offer to send him the link to this story, but he declined. His sight is not that good now and he has mobility issues. He is better than I am with computers and is no fan of Microsoft. He also introduced me to good coffee, hence the comment I put in about being unable to make any.

He tells the tale one time when he was in London, of going into a delicatessen shop, asking for a pound of their finest Columbian, and seeing the shocked expression on various people’s faces. Columbia also produces good coffee as well as narcotics.

Registered as engineers
Neel and Mike refer to a time they registered as engineers. My friend on whom Neel is based tells how they one time by accident found an engineer’s password to a main computer system. This allowed them to do more interesting stuff than the system operators could. If I recall, it was because an engineer had programmed a function key to log them in.

Patricia – Woman of action
At the time I was writing this in 1988, I did ask the lass upon whom Patricia is based, if she would stay behind or try and be in on the action. She told me, she would be in the middle of it, and so she was.

Gulf War
The reference to the Gulf War, is a reference to the first Gulf War, sanctioned in 1991 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. It was a multi national effort to kick the Iraqis out, which was successful, but sowed the seeds for what was to happen on 9/11

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Old 22-10-2008, 04:03 PM   #29
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Chapter 14

Shoot out

"How did you know who I was" Asked the Steve as he eyed the two MP's. Their eyes were glazed as they both simultaneously chewed upon the drugged chewing gum. Their machine pistols had bolt on stocks to turn them from hand guns into a form of rifle, which they were holding at waist height.
"A guy called Joe said you were in town" Explained the General, "he was very talkative, it was a shame to have him executed. But as they say C'est la Vie. Oh By the way Mr Gryson, don't count on Marie and Garry Tavistock to tell anyone. I have personally authorised their sentences of death for collaborating with an enemy of the state".

"You Swine" The Steve answered back with every ounce of hate in him.
"Don't worry it was quite quick and relatively painless. One shot through the back of the head, so I believe. And don't worry, we will find the Smiths. I understand that Mr Smith's white van was seen around this area."

Then Steve looked at the Generals stone face, and his evil grin, this man according to reputation never bluffed. He must have killed Marie and Garry in order to silence them. Now he would get Priscilla and Philip and kill them as well. No one would ever know that he had ever survived. He had wanted to set the record straight, and then stop what ever clean-wipe was. All he was doing was bringing death to innocent people. He just stared at the general, the man that seemed to be responsible for wrecking his life, and the man that would end it, was about to win. No he could not allow it; he had to think of something.

"I suppose you even had Drafaus killed as well, to cover up your operation black-out" The Steve cried out.
The general's countenance dropped, "You surprise me, Mr Gryson, you haven't realised, he was terminated long before Blackout. In fact, it was his action that precipitated the need for Blackout"
"But he was one of your own guys, wasn't he" said Steve with a false air of concern, as he slowly started to crawl towards his kit bag.
"That Drafaus was a traitor to the cause, he had proved himself unworthy of the work he was doing. His actions would lead to the exposure of the greatest project of social engineering. He had to die, just like you have to now"
"What cause was this general, do tell" Steve said, playing for time.
"Very good Mr Gryson, you could have done well as an interrogator. But I quite like the idea of you not knowing why you have to die." he said sadistically, "But while we are talking about Mr Drafaus's work" he added. The General snapped his fingers at one of the MP's and pointed at the print outs that were on the floor of the computer room. One of the MP's went through the airlock and entered the computer room. The other MP covered the people in the computer room with his machine pistol. The first MP came and picked the print outs up, folded them up and walked over to the shattered window. He handed them through the window to the general and then continued to level his machine pistol at Steve and the others.

Then Steve remembered the name of the first file "Biovac", and the second file "Biokill". A light dawned across his mind.
"So he developed a way of genetically engineering a germ warfare agent which creates the effect of a nerve gas. A germ warfare agent which could be vaccinated against"

The General laughed. "I am going to regret killing you, you are truly one of the best adversaries I have come across, even if you were a bit clumsy."
The sound of footsteps coming down the corridor interrupted the general. He turned around to look at who it was. Steve could see a man he had not seen before. The general showed him the printouts for a moment.
"That's it" he said in an English accent, "This has saved us two years of research general"
"So anyone can follow the instructions on this print out to institute clean-wipe?" the general asked
The man nodded, "any technician with a gene constructor could follow those notes, I remember Drafaus was very particular about writing things in plain English"
"That's very good Frazer, just what I needed to know"
Suddenly a single shot rang out, the man collapsed and the general blew across the muzzle of his small hand gun.
"Thank you for your time Frazer" The general sneered, "But I have my own technicians who are not contaminated"
"Now for you lot" The general said turning back to Steve.
"General" came a shout down the corridor, the voice sounded like that of J W Samson. The general turned around to see the man running down the corridor.
"What is it now Samson, I have an execution to supervise here" the general asked.
Samson arrived out of breathe; he caught sight of the man lying dead on the floor. "What the Sam hill are you playing at sir; he was working on Clean-wipe"

The general waved the printouts at Samson, "we don't need him any more, as we have the original clean-wipe. Now what is it Samson"
The commander caught his breath and then answered, "General, its Colonel Samuel Travers, he has just ordered the marines to arrest all personnel from Edzell"
"What!” exclaimed Reynolds.
"It seems he has some sort of evidence to connect us with the white slavery rackets, and he is closing in on us now. We have to go now sir, we may just make it to the Shetland base"
"But your hover-car does not have the range commander"
"I have the Mig ninety eight outside sir, it’s the only aircraft we have with the range, plus it can make short work of any hover-tank. If we leave now, we can get away before any of the troops arrive."
The general turned back to the two MP's. "We have to go now, wait one minute and make sure every one is dead"
"Yes Sir" replied the MP in the computer room

"After you have killed every one, you are to shoot yourselves"
"Yes Sir" they both answered, the loyalty drug was very effective. It was a pity the general thought, that he could not use it on the [strike]army[/strike] marines, but couldn't have everything. With that, the General saluted the MP's, the MP's saluted back. Steve reached his kit bag and felt inside for a distress flare, while the Americans attention was elsewhere.

Samson and Reynolds left the centre and walked swiftly through the corridors to the main exit in stony silence. Why hadn't Samson taken care of Travers a year ago he wondered? Now they had to withdraw and regroup. Reynolds reached the exit first, he looked at the sky. The sun was breaking through the clouds as the snow storm faded away. He looked across the quad to the captured Russian helicopter, its blades rotating and waiting for take off. He un-holstered his machine pistol and walked up to it; Samson only just managed to catch up.

"Where to" Asked the pilot as the general got in beside him.
The general told him "It's ok I have another pilot". He levelled up his gun so the bullets would not harm the helicopter, and then fired a burst of gun fire through the pilots head.
"Are you crazy" Yelled Commander Samson, "He was the best pilot I had"
The general pointed the gun at Samson, "you can still fly these things can't you"
"Why, sure I can, and you don't need to point that thing at me sir" the commander replied.
"Then let’s get out of here"
Samson pulled the body of the pilot out of the helicopter and got in the pilot seat.
"Move" yelled Reynolds.
Samson pulled back on the stick and lifted the helicopter off of the ground. At once the hover-car containing the two marines, assigned by Colonel Travers, came into view "This is lieutenant Daniel Peters to the Mig ninety eight" came a voice over the radio as the helicopter rose up, "You are ordered to put down"
"That's what you think, boy" Samson said under his breath as he launched a diamond-back air to air missile. The missile streaked from the launch tube and twisted to home in on the hover-car. The hover-car dived to avoid the missile, but it was useless and the vehicle exploded as the missile struck home.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Unknown to Steve, the Computer operator that he had shot with his stun bolt gun was recovering. The operator had heard what the general had ordered, he didn't care much about the group that had invaded his computer room, but his colleagues were a different matter. He leapt up at the marine left in the corridor, caught him with a right hook and knocked the MP to the ground. The MP dropped his gun, so the computer operator went to kick it away, but he never made it. The marine in the computer room turned round, and in seconds the computer operator was thrown forward, as he was hit in the back by the full blast of the machine pistol. Then Steve saw his chance, and launched the signal flare at the MP in the computer room. He screamed and dropped his gun, as he tried to shield his face from the burning flare that had ignited his combat suit. He walked backwards and fell through the broken window. Steve got up and grabbed a fire extinguisher and played it on the burning MP.
"Anyone still alive back there" Steve yelled, half expecting there to be no reply.
"I'm ok" shouted David
"So am I" Trevor shouted
"And me, I'm ok" Sam added.
"Untie the other operators and tie these two MP's up" Steve ordered. He rushed over to Patricia, she had been shot. He put his fingers to just below her jaw and felt for a pulse

"Don't let her be dead, please God, don't let her die" he kept saying to himself.
At last he found it, it was faster but weaker, but there was one there. Her face looked pale, as she lay unconscious in the pool of blood. She had been hit twice, once in the shoulder and once in the abdomen. The bullets had passed straight through her, but she was still alive, barely. David checked over Neel, while Sam checked over Mike. Neel and Mike had similar wounds; miraculously both were still alive, Neel was just semi-conscious.
"I'm back" came Philip's voice, "what the hell happened here?”
"We've been shot at" shouted David answered, "can't you see?”
"Need any help", came another voice that seemed familiar to Steve.
He looked up at the shattered window; he could not believe who it was. He had aged since he had just seen him, but it was him, Bradley Peters.

"I left well alone twenty years ago Steve, but I can damn well interfere now"
"Patricia's been shot, she's dying Brad" Steve told him.
Brad went through the airlock and looked at the other two who had been hit by the gunfire. "I'm afraid medicine is not one of my talents" he said.
"Do any of you know first aid?" Steve asked the computer operators who had been released.

"I did a course last year" said one, "I got the Red Cross certificate"
"I'm sorry I had to pull a gun on you, but please help them, especially the girl. Now I have to try and stop the general and the commander. Sam, David come with me. The rest of you just do what these operators tell you" replied Steve.
Brad took out a portable video phone, "I'm going to get an ambulance Steve" he said tapping in the emergency number.
"Ok Brad" replied Steve.
"Hey, what about the Marines, their closing in on this place" asked Philip.
"If its [strike]army[/strike] marines surrender, they may be on our side." answered Steve "Right David, Sam come with me". Then Steve grabbed a Machine pistol and his bag and the three of them ran down the corridor. A minute later they reached the outside in time to see both General Reynolds and Commander J .W. Samson flying off in the Soviet marked attack helicopter.
"We've got to stop him before they get a chance to make up that biological weapon" Shouted Sam
"Who are you?" Came a voice from behind. It was the MP they had met when they first came in. He had lost the glazed expression; evidently the CIA mind control drug had worn off quickly due to the neurological effects of the Stun bolt gun.
"Your Commander and the General have used all of you to try to get hold of an illegal biological weapon for themselves." David explained
"He has also drugged every other MP with a banned CIA loyalty drug" added Steve
"So that explains what the Sam hill I’m doing here" Shouted the MP.
"The marines are coming" Steve told the MP, "you will have to surrender to them; Colonel Travers has ordered the arrest of all MP's. Now I need a way of intercepting that helicopter."
The MP looked around the snow covered quad, then a metallic glint caught his eye, "Over there, its the wing commanders hover-car"
"Is it armed?" asked Sam.
"Yes, but it has a hand print recognition system"
"Only Sam and I will take the hover-car Dave, to cut down on weight, you stay here and deal with the marines" Steve said to David, and then he and Sam legged it to the hover-car.

It was by luck that Samson had not locked the hover-car, perhaps under martial law; no one would dare steal it. Steve threw Sam his kit bag in and jumped into the driver’s seat, Sam got into the front passenger seat. Then they saw there was no ignition key.
"Sod it" yelled Sam
Steve reached inside his pocket and pulled out, what looked to Sam, like a Perspex car key. He placed it inside the ignition, the hover-car started up.
"Handy things electronic skeleton keys" he said as he pulled the hover-car straight up, "Sam, in my bag are some signal flare, we may need them to divert heat seekers from either the marines or the helicopter"
"No problem Steve"
Steve put his foot hard on the accelerator; both were thrown back in their seats as the hover-car accelerated over the tops of the university buildings, in pursuit of the helicopter.
"Are you sure we can catch up with them?" asked Sam.
"The military hover-car can fly faster than most helicopters" explained Steve, "in fact the helicopter is being replaced by the hover vehicles. Just try and bypass that palm print recogniser Sam"
"Then why have helicopters now" Sam asked as he started to unscrew the palm print recogniser"
"Because the helicopter still has a longer range"

General Reynolds looked at the radar screen; he could see two hover-tanks in front of them. "Take them out Samson" he ordered.
Wing commander Samson flicked a switch on his control stick with his right thumb; a TV screen flickered on, showing graphics of various weapons and missiles. Samson touched screen with his left index finger at the icon of a long range air to air missile. He put his hand back on the control stick and pressed the fire button twice. Two missiles dropped from the helicopter, a second later the rocket motors ignited. The missiles screeched forwards towards the two hover-tanks. They tried to take evasive action, but the missiles had locked onto them. One missile struck home, and the hover-tank exploded in a fire ball, there had not been time to bail out. The other hover-tank ditched into the sea, hoping that the cold water would hide it from the heat seeker. The missile was not fooled, and it homed in on the sinking hover-tank anyway. Once again, there were no survivors.

"We have a clear run to our Shetland base now sir" Samson said to Reynolds.
"What about the other hover-tanks Samson, there were supposed to be four patrolling the coast and two over Deeside?"
"I have no idea sir, but they can't catch up with us now"

It was five minutes into the flight when Steve located the helicopter on the radar.
"How are you coming along with that palm print recogniser" Steve asked Sam.
"This is more Neel's line Steve, so don't hold your breath"
"Great!, have we got any weapons working"
"No, not even the guns"
Suddenly an alarm went off in the car. Steve cancelled it.
"What was that Steve" Sam asked with apprehension
"We've been scanned by the radar from the helicopter Sam" Steve said and then picked up the radio mike, maybe he could bluff his way out. "You return that helicopter to Aberdeen, you are under arrest" Steve said over his radio.

As General Reynolds heard this order, he looked at the radar screen, a blip was coming up from behind. He pressed a button on the battle computer to get identification. The computer threw up a schematic drawing of an armed military hover-car. "Looks like someone's got an armed hover-car Samson"
"There were only two of them in Aberdeen sir, the one we destroyed and mine"
"If you don't return now" came a voice over the radio, "we will open fire"
"He's bluffing general, only my palm print can activate the weapons system in that vehicle"

"Take it out Samson, I recognise that voice now" General Reynolds told Samson, "It's that Mr Gryson, he must have escaped some how"
Commander Samson switched on the ordinance selector and put his finger on the icon for a rearward firing missile. He pressed the fire button. Another missile fell from the helicopter and ignited its rocket motor. The missile went through an immediate U turn, and headed for the hover-car

Steve saw the missile coming in on the radar. "Sam fire one of the signal flares out of the window" Shouted the Steve.
Sam dropped what he was doing to the palm print recogniser, and hastily picked up one of the signal flares and fired it out of the window. Steve immediately banked the hover-car away and headed downwards towards the sea, to try to avoid the incoming heat seeker.
As the signal flare exploded in an orange spectacular, the missile diverted from its collision course with the hover-car, to the new hotter target. It homed in and detonated on the burning remnants of the signal flare
"I'll try to hot wire this palm print thingy" Shouted Sam "I have an idea, we may get at least one shot"

"I'll need to engage in combat sir, so I can use the Diamond-backs" Samson said as soon as he realised that the missile had failed.
"Just do it, I want him dead" The general replied.
The helicopter slowed down and banked around. The commander selected the diamond-back, advanced medium to short range, air to air missile. The helicopter managed to get on to the hover-car's tail. The hover-car dropped until it was just skimming above the swells of the North Sea. Samson set the aiming lock onto the hover-car and pressed the fire. The missile streaked from the launch tube on its final journey to the hover-car.

Steve noticed the missile on the radar. "Inbound missile" Yelled Steve
Sam dropped what he was doing with the palm print recogniser, and fired another signal flare out the window in the direction of the missile. Steve banked the hover-car and clipped a wave. The signal flare exploded into its characteristic orange ball, the missile diverted its course towards it, and exploded on the burning flare. The hover-car started spluttering, the water from the wave had overwhelmed one of the minor thruster units.
"We've problems Sam, we may not have much flying time left" Steve said as he looked at the various warning lights that had come on.
"Your telling me Steve, that chopper's probably got more missiles than we have signal flares, we can't keep this up, he may have one that locks on by radar" Sam replied.
"Good point Sam" said Steve as he shut down the radar, now they were flying blind.

Samson launched two missiles, one had to get through this time, he thought. Steve saw the missile launch in the rear view mirror. "Two" he yelled.
Sam grabbed at two signal flares and fired them at the helicopter. Steve banked the hover-car again, but he could feel that it was starting to give out. He crashed through another wave and tried to pull up. The two missiles began homing in on the hover-car's exhaust; suddenly one of them saw a better target and left the other missile to carry on alone.
"****" Yelled Sam, "one of them hasn't taken the flare." He launched another signal flare at it, but it had no effect. In desperation he switched the radar unit on at full power. "Take us up" he screamed.
The missile was homing in on the nice neat radar footprint of the hover-car, when suddenly it was blinded by the power of the hover-car's radar output. It continued straight on, it had no choice as it delicate radar unit had just been fried. A second later the missile exploded as it hit the surface of the water. The water plume hit the hover-car, and it shook as the blast wave caught up with it. Another warning signal sounded in the hover-car. "That's all we need" shouted Steve
"What's happened now?" asked Sam
"That last explosion has damaged a thruster unit." explained Steve, "we're dead unless you have anything"
"I have Steve, but the only way around the recogniser is to burn it out, which means we will loose all power. You will have weapons for five seconds before we drop like a stone"

"Damn it" said Samson, as the helicopter flew over the hover-car. "I really thought we had it then, I'm switching to cannons". He touched the screen to select the seventeen millimetre cannon. A red phrase in Russian filled the screen for a moment. "What the hell is that?" he asked.
"It means out of ammunition Samson, the Mig had a non standard calibre, I could not find any ammunition in time" explained the general, "it was bad enough fitting our missiles to it". He glanced out of the window at the hover-car in the distance, he could see a trace of smoke from the rear. "It looks like he may have sustained some damage, he's a sitting duck" the general added.
"Then lets finish this b*****d off and get going" said the commander, "the radar shows a hover-tank nine miles and closing"
"Fine by me Samson"

The commander banked the helicopter around again. He selected two more diamond-back missiles. The hover-car seemed to have stopped moving and was just hovering above the height of the waves. He noticed that front of the vehicle was tracking him, no matter, no one he thought could bypass the palm print recogniser. It was as though they were waiting for death to swallow them up. He dived the helicopter at the hover-car, and fired the two missiles.

"In" started Steve as he saw the missiles race from the helicopter.
Sam fired a signal flare out of his window, Steve did likewise.
"Now" shouted Sam as he stuck a pair of pliers into an open panel in the dash board. He shielded his eyes from a large flash of burning electronic circuits. Steve started pressing several times on the missile launch button. The two diamond back missiles of the armed hover-car screamed out from the launch tubes, up towards the helicopter.

Samson and Reynolds looked the incoming missiles in horror. Samson tried to bank the helicopter around to avoid the deadly missiles. But the speed of the dive meant the helicopter could not pull away in time, and it strayed fatally into the path of the diamond-back missiles. The helicopter transformed into a brilliant red fireball as the hydrogen fuel, and the other ordinance exploded as well.

Sam and Steve felt the lurch of the hover-car as the motors failed utterly.
"Life jacket, under seat" Yelled Steve as the car splashed into the sea. Water started rushing through the open window as the hover-car started to sink. Sam and Steve undid their seat belts and grabbed at a cord between their legs, and pulled. Out came two bright yellow deflated life jackets. Steve motioned to Sam to swim out of the window, as the hover-car was sinking rapidly. Sam had to will himself to move in the icy cold water of the North Sea, he kept his grip firm on the kit bag and the life belt. The water seemed dark and his lungs felt like bursting, as he swam upwards. He struggled to get his life jacket on and pulled the pin on the canister of compressed gas. As the jacket inflated, Sam's rate of ascent increased. A moment later both Steve and Sam broke their heads above the surface.
"We'll be dead in five minutes from the cold" gasped Steve, "I'm sorry Sam, I thought we would come out of this alive"
"I don't think we will have that long" Sam gasped back, as he pointed at a hover-tank that was diving straight at them.
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Old 22-10-2008, 04:04 PM   #30
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Notes on Episode 14

Overconfidence of villains
It has always been a staple of fiction that the villain always explains his dastardly plan to the hero, because he thinks he has defeated him anyway. As I try and do with my more contemporary output, I steered away from that convention, but I had the protagonist guess the plan anyway.

The illegal [strike] Chemical [/strike] Biological Weapon
In the original 1988 story, the illegal weapon was a nerve agent that could be vaccinated against. In 1993 I thought it would be more realistic if it were a biological weapon instead, after all how can you inoculate against a chemical weapon?

Well actually, this is what genetic modification of crops is all about; a plant is genetically modified so it will be resistant to a certain herbicide. That way the manufacturers of said herbicide can tell the farmer that if they plant their gm crop, they can use their product with impunity and not damage the crop.

Of course plants are easier to manipulate than humans and a lot quicker, so maybe a biological weapon is more realistic.

Incidentally, chemical and biological weapons are now considered illegal in international law.

Army Marines?
OK I made an error in 1993, I admit it. Marines belong to the navy, not the army

Effect of being hit by a machine pistol
In this rewrite I had the classic error of what happens when someone is hit by automatic gunfire. Are they physically thrown by the bullets hitting them? The answer is no, and this was demonstrated by the TV programme Myth busters. This is to do with the conservation of momentum. If a bullet could throw someone backwards, then by the law of conservation of momentum the shooter would also be thrown by the recoil.

Influence of Air Wolf
The shoot out scene with the helicopter was inspired in the 1988 original by the 1980’s TV series Air Wolf, the original series with String that is.

Differences between the 1988 and 1993 resolution
In the 1993 rewrite, Sam for a split seconds gets the weapon system to the hover car on line. In the 1988 version the way the helicopter was taken out was a bit more elaborate. First in the 1988 version, the heroes were in the mythical and non existent Black Wing attack helicopter, but like the hover car, the weapons systems were locked out by a password. Second in order to effect the shooting down of the bad guys, it involved the use of hastily modified signal flares. One flare would be used to draw of a missile, and then it would burn out before being hit by the missile. Next another flare was sent on a trajectory so that the missile would pick it up, but in trying to home in on it, the flare would end up behind the bad guy’s helicopter resulting in the helicopter being shot down.

Evacuation procedure
I can not believe I had got this right; the character’s Sam and Steve do not inflate their life jackets until outside of the vehicle. This is correct procedure, as told to me when I recently flew in a helicopter because the boat to take us home from Lundy Island could not sail due to weather conditions. Back in 1993, I had never heard this instruction.

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Old 23-10-2008, 06:03 PM   #31
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Chapter 15

Third man end game

Steve and Sam found it hard to remain conscious because of the intense cold of the North Sea. Steve swam over to Sam; he was beginning to nod off to sleep. The sound of the approaching hover-tank increased above the sound of the waves. Steve just managed to grab Sam's arm. "Wake up he shouted above the noise"

Steve heard a large splash behind him. He glanced over his shoulder; a marine had jumped into the sea behind them, while the hover-tank hovered above. Steve pulled Sam over towards the marine. The marine slipped a harness over Sam's head and tied it up at the front. The marine waved at the hover-tank, and it dropped a cable out of the rear doors. The cable end dipped into the water beside them, then the marine clipped it to Sam's harness, waved at the hover-tank and Sam was winched up towards the hover-tank. The marine then placed a harness over Steve. Another cable came down beside them; the marine clipped the cable to Steve's harness and his own. The marine waved at the hover-tank again, and both were pulled from the North Sea.

As Steve was winched up, the wind took his breath away, he then realised how cold he was. After all going for a swim in the North Sea in the middle of winter, was not his idea of fun. As they reached level with the back door of the hover-tank, he looked around at the grey North Sea. The hover-car had sunk without trace, a small patch of burning fuel marked where helicopter had gone down. Its flickering light added to the orange glow of the sun as it was starting to set. The winch moved into the hover-tank and the back door closed.
"They're in" said another marine, "head for the university campus, we'll meet with the colonel there"

Immediately the hover-tank turned around and flew towards the coast line. Steve took the harness off and sat down on a seat opposite Sam. The marine that was operating the winch opened a first aid box and took out two silver coloured packets. He opened one up, it was a silver coloured blanket, and handed it to Sam. Sam took it and wrapped it around himself. The marine opened another packet and handed it to Steve. Steve wrapped himself up in it. Steve looked around, there were four marines, and each one was armed with machine pistols. The one who had jumped in the sea sat down beside Steve, the one on the winch sat down beside Sam. The marine who had spoken had the stripes indicating he was a sergeant. He sat down beside Sam and glowered at Steve.

"Do you realise ten of our men have died today" He said to Steve.
Steve tried to answer, but for some reason he could not reply. Even well into a collapsed society, where life was worth nothing, the "esprit de corps" among soldiers was one of the few remaining values.
Sam spoke up, "Those guys were trying to kill us as well, two of them were from of your own lot" he said trying to match the hostility of the sergeant.
"Well, we will let the colonel decide what to do with you, along with the other prisoners"
Steve managed to find his voice, "Those MP's were drugged with Klexon three seven, they had to obey the general. Are they going to be court marshalled?”
"I don't know about them, I was told to pick you up"

The sergeant moved across to Steve and pulled a patch off of Steve's anorak.
"You had a micro tracker on me then" Steve said quietly, "how did you manage that?”
"You must have had a run in with a WAIS agent".

Steve looked at the patch; it was designed to blend in with any fabric and contained a powerful micro transmitter that allowed an operator track a subject to within half a meter. They were used by the Western Alliance Intelligence Service, the successors to the old CIA, MI6 and so on. He thought back, it had to be the person who picked him up off of the Laurence Kirk Bypass, the other night, in this time. Something about what had happened was still nagging him. He had killed off the principal players, but the fact about the old CIA front business, running Aberdeen's major shopping centre still played on his mind.

"Approaching landing site sir" said the pilot as the hover-tank started to descend. The marines unholstered their machine pistols and pointed them at Sam and Steve.
"Those aren't necessary sergeant" Steve told him, "We have surrendered, we won't give you any trouble"
"Sorry sir, but regulations and all that"
The hover-tank landed softly in the fallen snow. The marine who had operated the winch opened the back door and got out of the hover-tank. Sam followed him out and waited, shivering in the snow. The marine who had jumped into the North Sea got out and tugged at Steve. Steve slowly got out. He looked around; he was outside the university administration centre. He saw a troop truck driving off, MP's under the guard of marines, looking totally dejected. The lorry turned on to the main road and was gone.
"Move along sir" said the sergeant.

Steve came to himself again, and with Sam, he started trudging through the snow to the administration building. He noticed another hover-tank nearby, and he heard the characteristic sound of another one coming in to land.
"Those should be the other prisoners" the sergeant told the other marines.
"What prisoners are these?" asked Steve, "I thought I saw the MP's carted off"
The question was not answered. They reached the front lobby; there was an officer with steel rimmed glasses and piercingly steel coloured eyes. On the seats sat Trevor, David, Philip and Brad.
"How are the others" Steve asked.
"They've been taken to Forester Hill" replied Brad, "they have a good chance of pulling through"

"I'm Colonel Samuel Travers" said the Officer, "I hear you shot down those traitors, I wish I could have done it myself. I understand you are the legendary Steve Gryson who was supposed to have been killed to save the universe"
"It was Reynolds and Samson that cooked that one up" Steve said defensively, "I was never interested in changing history"
"That may be so, but ten of my men have died, and who knows how many of the civilian police. At first I thought it was just a matter of collusion with the white slave raiders and Edzell. But there seems to be something else going on here, and I'm going to get to the bottom of it no matter what"

The door to the administration centre opened, and two dejected figures stumbled in, pushed by two marines. The figures were a man and a woman and their hands were tied behind their backs with plastic tags. The woman was wearing a grey coat, the man was not. Steve looked up and could not believe his eyes, the woman was Marie Tavistock.
"Marie" shouted Steve, "I was told you were executed"

"I gave orders that all executions ordered by Reynolds or Samson were to be faked" Explained Travers, "I still reserve the authority to carry them out." The colonel added. "Where did you get them soldier" he asked the marine sergeant who had brought them in.
"We got the man out side the Bon Accord shopping centre, and the woman was arrested at the Uncle Sam's restaurant." answered the sergeant.
"I know that place" said one of the other marines, "I was there yesterday, one of the chicks there has decided to work topless. She has the most perfect" he went to continue.
Marie felt outraged at this soldier, she remembered him now as one of those who had made Cherry feel really uncomfortable. "She's only just sixteen, and she was forced to work that way, she hates it" she spat out
"I didn't know" the marine replied sheepishly
"That's enough soldier" the colonel snapped, "This does not seem like a place that a marine should frequent"

A thought occurred to Steve, the brochure of white slaves, the biological weapon, the compliments slip and the receipt, the air-conditioning, and Cherry herself. It seemed as though the pieces of a giant jigsaw were falling into place. "Hang on colonel, your man may have put his finger on something, if you pardon the expression."
The colonel looked at him through his steely coloured eyes, "What are you getting at Mr Gryson"
Steve walked over to the marine who had just spoken, "That girl, Cherry, She has fair hair, beautiful eyes, clear skin, hasn't she"
"Yes" answered the marine and glanced at the stony face of the colonel.
"Steve" protested Marie, "She's only sixteen"
"Exactly, that's the whole point; the way she has been treated is a key to what this is all about. Marie, what is the name of this main share holder who has been running the centre"
"Larry Rider" she replied unsure of what Steve was on about.
"Colonel" Steve started, "do you have access to military records?”
"Why do you ask?”
"Because, I think we are dealing with more than Samson and Rennylds. I think we have a third man. Colonel if I'm right, there's another victim of this conspiracy out there, who doesn't realise it"

The colonel looked impassively at Steve and then walked towards the door. He stopped and turned around. "Keep these people here, if anyone tries to escape, shoot to kill." he ordered. He walked through the snow to his personal hover-tank. He took out a small black switch and pressed it. The side door opened and the colonel got in. He touched a small pad on the dashboard, and a TV like screen appeared on the overhead display.
"Which service?" asked an electronic voice.
"Military service record of a Larry Rider, currently resident in Aberdeen, Scot sector. Cross reference with service records of Wing Commander J W Samson and General John Reynolds"
The screen went blank, even in the twenty first century finding data files took time. He glanced at a photograph of a young girl of sixteen. It was his only daughter, Kerry; she was supposed to have visited him from school the previous year. The plane she was on, had been forced down by raiders. Kerry was taken by the white slavers and raped. When they had found out who she was the tied a large stone to her ankles and dropped her into a loch. They did not have the decency to kill her before, so, as the reports went, the cheered and laughed as she drowned. They never found the raiders.

"Ready" said the electronic voice.
The colonel looked up and read the information off of the screen. "So you were right Mr Gryson" he said to himself. He touched a pad, the display went off and Travers got out and walked to the building. He thought of his daughter, "There's not going to be anymore Kerry's while I'm in charge" he said to himself. He walked into the foyer of the administration block, and pointed to Marie and Garry. "Cut them free" he ordered.
A marine took out a knife and cut through the plastic tags that were biting into Marie's and Garry's wrists.
"Mr and Mrs Tavistock and Mr Gryson are to come with me" said the Colonel, "the others are to be released. Captain Vishalsky, inform the marines at Forester Hill to stand down. The rest of you come with me down to the shopping centre"
"What's going on?" asked Philip.
"Unfinished business Philip" Steve replied, "take the others home or to the hospital. Make sure Patricia is ok for me." With that he left with the colonel and the others.

As the hover-tanks flew down towards the centre of the town, Marie explained to the colonel how Cherry had come to be in the position she was, and how they had all tried to help her. It seemed impossible to read Travers' face; he just looked at them impassively with his steely coloured eyes. Marie told him what she had seen the general do to Cherry. Still his face was dead pan. Travers was quite good at hiding emotions, but it seemed hard to suppress his anger. He went to the front passenger seat for landing.
"Is it secured ok over" he said into the radio.
"Units here, ok over" came a voice over the radio.
"Is the target there? Over" the colonel asked.
"Target has gone to Uncle Sam's, do you want us to move in ok over?”
"Negative soldier, this one is mine" the colonel replied and hung the radio microphone up.

The colonel's hover-tank set down with another hover-tank at the north entrance, while the other hover-tank landed at the south entrance. Marie and Garry got out of the back first, the colonel and Steve got out together. The snow was about one foot deep, and the light was fading rapidly. The colonel strode through the snow easily compared to Steve, Marie and Garry; it was all they could do to keep up. They reached the door and the Colonel slammed it open, it seemed the only expression of emotion they could make out. As Steve got into the centre, it was how he had seen it when he had just returned. He found himself comparing it to the centre he had just visited on his trip back into the past. Yet again, he was surprised by the enormous emptiness of the building, compared with twenty years in the past. Marie and Garry found themselves being left behind by the colonel and the other marines as they struggled to keep up. Steve was only just managing to keep up with him. He saw the shop where Jennifer had bought her sweatshirt, it was still there. Where was she now, he wondered. The colonel virtually flew up the stairs, he seemed mad about something.

The colonel reached the top of the stairs and looked around at the cafeteria. What he saw, he did not like. He saw the small thin virtually naked body of Cherry, shivering as she was clearing the tables. Sitting in the corner was a man in a suit; he was going over accounts with the supervisor. Steve arrived a few seconds later, Marie and Garry about a minute later.
"Is this supposed to be a cafeteria or a pervert’s paradise" the colonel said aloud.
"You may not like it, but that's you opinion, others do" said the man in the corner. The supervisor just remained silent.
"And who are you?" Travers asked.
"I am the main share holder and the owner of this centre"
"Oh yes, I heard about you and what you have done to Miss Turner"

The man narrowed his eyes as he looked at the colonel, who was this man to tell him what to do. "I assume your talking about Cherry; I don't know what you have heard. But lets ask her shall we" said the man in a snide manner.
Cherry looked around when she heard her name, she spotted the marines and felt scared. She had not noticed the marines come in, as she was feeling very cold, and out of it. She looked at the bruise that was forming on her arm, and looked at Mr Rider, the man she hated most, apart from the general.
"Come on Cherry, why don't you tell the man how lucky you are to have a job and a home here" Rider said in a threatening manner, "Just tell him how grateful you are"

Cherry looked at the tall soldier with metal rimmed glasses, she wanted to tell the truth, but Mr Rider was here. He could order her clothes to be destroyed, he had told her, he could throw her out of the centre, he had told her that as well. She had no choice. She just stared past the colonel at the floor and stuttered "I'm er very lucky to have this job. When I er had to leave the home, I had to leave my clothes so the others could use them. I was lucky to get this er uniform to wear, and I have a bed and a blanket in the supervisor’s room". She dropped her head, she was cold, frightened, and hungry and now she had to lie.

Travers walked up to her and gently put his right hand under her chin and lifted her head up. Without thinking, he put his other hand on her shoulder. He felt her flinch, and could feel her shivering. "I can tell when people are lying to me Cherry, but in this case I can understand why"

Susan was coming out from the kitchen section when she caught sight of the officer who was touching Cherry. She didn't care who was there, if this man started molesting Cherry, he would have to answer to her. She walked into the seating area and started walking up behind Cherry.

The colonel noticed a tear running down Cherry's cheek. He wiped it away with his fingers and took his hands from Cherry; she was obviously still traumatised from what the general had done. Susan sighed with relief; this man did not seem like a child molester for some reason. Cherry dropped her head and tried to get on with her work, but she was terrified. Mr Rider had wanted her to lie, and she had failed to be convincing.

Travers walked up to Rider, "I know why she lied, but more importantly did you know that both General Reynolds and Commander Samson have been, shall we say, shot while trying to escape"
"Oh" Replied Rider, "What has that to do with me Colonel" he added trying to stay as cool as a cucumber.
"Well Mr Larry Rider, they were your accomplices weren't they, or shall I call you Mother Goose"
Larry's eyes widened for a moment, "What are you talking about, I never met them before today"

Travers snapped his fingers and a marine came across, "You are lying, both the commander and the general and you, all attended the same interrogation course. Mother goose was your call sign."
The supervisor saw her chance to shop the man who had made everyone's lives a misery. "He is lying colonel, Mr Rider has met the commander a number of times before today. The last time they were discussing bringing in Cherry" she said.
"It's ok Miss Judith" Travers replied, "I have enough to pin his hide to the wall."
Rider was beginning to look nervous, "Do you know who you are talking to, I own this place and a large part of this city. What you may have would never stand up in court"

"I don't need a court of law, you see General Reynolds made a big mistake" Travers said, his face impassive as ever, "you see he declared marshal law, and only a five star general can return the situation to civil rule, under the Western Alliance emergency powers act."
"It means that as the only senior officer in charge, I am the judge, jury and executioner. And I now use my power under the act to confiscate this entire centre from your company"

Larry Rider's face broke into a broad grin "You will never get away with it; we still have friends that can bust you down to a squaddie. But you wouldn't dare, I have an ace-in-the-hole, you see if I don't regularly transmit a disarming sequence, then a hidden nuclear device will be detonated instantly, and this city will be nuked. Do you want to take that risk?"

The whole atmosphere of the cafeteria went still as Larry Rider sat there grinning at the colonel. He got up, smoothed a crease in his trousers and picked up his brief case in his left hand, "Now call off your men and surrender Colonel, you may have won one battle, but methinks, I seem to have won the war. Never mind we can't win them all can we. Cherry come with me now, my hover-car awaits"

Cherry started to walk over towards Rider, the man she hated had finally won. She felt like crying, but held back, she was too terrified to do anything other than submit to this monster in a business suit.

The colonels cap radio burst into life, the colonels eyes lit up.
"Not so fast Mr Rider" Travers spoke up, "Handy things radiation scanners, especially when you use an old soviet tactical nuclear warhead, which does tend to leak now and then" explained Travers. "As we were considered to be under invasion threat, some of my men were ordered to look out for nuclear devices. Didn't you know that scanning for atomic weapons is now part of the routine procedure; I'm surprised the general didn't mention it. Perhaps you never mentioned your little "ace in the hole" to the wing commander that was very remiss of you Mr Rider. You see I have just heard that they have found your device, two hours ago in the old abandoned railway station, and they have just deactivated it."

Larry Rider just stared at the colonel in disbelief; his own little "insurance policy" had been undermined. He slowly started to switch his brief case from his left hand to his right. Suddenly he felt the case being the wrenched from him as Steve grabbed at the case. Steve lifted the case up and showed the handle to a marine, "It's a hidden laser gun in the handle, I thought it looked a bit thick" he explained.
Larry just looked ashen faced, at Cherry's terrified figure as she stood shivering in front of him.

"Nice try Rider" The colonel pointed at Rider, then spoke to the marine that he had summoned "Lieutenant take this man into custody"
The marine walked up to Rider and pulled Rider's hands behind his back, and tied them up with a plastic tie. He then pushed the man to get him moving and then holding him firmly by the arm, he was joined by another marine and they took him down the stairs. The colonel looked impassively on as they disappeared from view.

Cherry decided to get back to work, but she was shaking badly. Colonel Travers walked up to Cherry. Cherry looked up at him, he looked hard and cold. Travers reached into his inner coat pocket and took out an electronic notebook. He unzipped his outer coat and took it off, and then he handed the coat to Cherry. "I think you want to put this on miss" he told her in a gentle voice, "it’s designed for arctic survival"
Cherry looked at the coat, she so wanted to put it on to cover herself up and get warm, but what about the uniform rules?. She turned around to look at the supervisor; her eyes seemed to be pleading with her. The supervisor found this look heartbreaking. Rider had driven her so near to breaking point, that she was still frightened of disobeying him, even when he could no longer harm them. "For Pete's sake put it on, Cherry you need it, from now on you can wear what you like" she told her

Now she had been given permission, Cherry took the coat from Travers and put her right arm down the sleeve, and then the left arm down the left sleeve. She could feel the residual warmth on her back and around her, as she tried to close it up. She tried to fix the zip up, but her hands were shaking too much. "It won't do up, it won't do up" she kept repeating, then she burst into tears, "Why me, what did I do wrong" she sobbed. It seemed to her that everything was her fault, and she was to be punished for some forgotten sin.

Susan rushed up to Cherry and grabbed at the two ends of the zip. She fixed the two ends and started to pull the zip up. Cherry reached for the zip, Susan let go of it and allowed Cherry to zip the coat up until the zip was just under her chin. She was still sobbing uncontrollably, so Susan put her arm around her and guided her to a seat, where Cherry collapsed onto it.

As the colonel looked on, a thought occurred to him, if this had been someone under interrogation, he would have considered them broken. But this was done to a helpless teenager, who was innocent of any crime. He had an idea and started tapping something into his electronic notepad.

"This kid's frozen" Susan shouted, "get her a hot drink of something"

The supervisor walked over to the counter and spoke to Angela, "Give her a large hot chocolate and then a super Sam burger meal, she needs feeding up. I'll arrange for her clothes to be delivered" then the supervisor went into the office to use the intercom. Angela took a Styrofoam cup and filled it up and took it across to Cherry. Susan was still sitting beside the weeping child, she reached up and took the cup and held it in front of Cherry's mouth. "Get this down you Cherry, it will help warm you up." she told Cherry.
Cherry sniffed and took hold of the cup with both hands and started to sip the creamy hot chocolate. She could feel the warm liquid run down inside her, and it felt good. All the time Susan continued to keep her arm around her shoulder, to give her a reassuring hug. "It's all over now Cherry, it’s all over now" she kept whispering to her.

Steve and the others looked on from another table in silence. "So that is why the air conditioning is this high" Said Steve under his breath.
"What are you talking about" said Garry said to Steve.
Marie motioned to Garry to keep quiet.

Angela brought a large Styrofoam box over to Cherry and put it on the table in front of her, and then went back to the warmth of the kitchen area. Cherry stared at it for a moment in disbelief, she had served them, but never dared hope to try one, her meal allowance only ran to one ham salad sandwich and half a pint of milk a day. "Even at the home, we never got that much, when ever we were able to get meals" said Cherry, tears still streaming down her face.
"It’s ok Cherry" Susan told her, "you're not there now, we have to feed you up, or you'll waste away, won't you."
Cherry put the cup down and opened the box up and lifted the giant hamburger up and bit into it. She could hardly believe her torment was ending.
Travers came over and sat down in front of the two girls. Another marine came up and tapped Susan on the shoulder. Susan looked up at him; it was a marine captain offering his coat to Susan. "Mam, it looks like you need this as well" he said.
"Thank you" Susan replied, and put the coat on while Cherry demolished the hamburger. She had been so concerned about Cherry, that she had not realised she was going in to the first stages of hypothermia as well. The marine captain went to the counter and ordered a coffee. Angela handed it over. The marine captain put some cash on the counter and brought the coffee across to Susan and handed it to her. Susan said thank you again and took the cup and started to drink the coffee.

As Cherry finished the burger, Travers started to speak, "Now Cherry, with what you have been through over the last few days, I don't think you would really like to stick around"
"But I have no where else to go" Cherry said in her quiet voice.
"That's where your wrong, Cherry. Do you like horses, animals and countryside ?"
Cherry Nodded and said yes quietly.
"Well, if you want, there's a VIP suborbital craft at Dyce airport. It can take you tonight, and you can go and live with a decent family in Montana in the American Sector. I know them well, they run a Hyper-farm and you would be part of a family"
Cherry was rather startled by this offer; it was more than she had ever dreamed of. Ever since she was orphaned at the age of six, she had wanted to be part of a family, but it would mean leaving behind Susan, one of her few friends. She turned around and looked at Susan. Susan saw the look in her eyes. "You go for it kid, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, don't let me hold you back. I've survived all this time on my own, I'll be ok" She told Cherry.
Travers looked at the two girls; he could tell how close the two had grown over the last few days. "You can have the same offer Susan" he told her, "you two are just like sisters, and I would not like to split you up"

It was Susan's turn this time to be taken aback, "No one has ever given me anything like this before" she answered. She thought of the time she had spent on the run from the home, how it was all dog devour dog. No one ever gave you something for nothing, she was almost speechless. "I don't really know I would have to pick my bag up from the caretaker, I couldn't leave it at the squat" was all she could get out. Susan turned back to look at Cherry.
"Go on" Cherry urged her.
Susan gave in, "Ok" she said, "we can show those yanks a thing or two, can't we." Susan wiped a tear from her eye, then she realised she had been crying with relief.
"Oh yes please" said Cherry eagerly and then the two girls embraced each other for a moment.

A security guard came up the stairs and the supervisor took some money from the till, and pushed past the other marines, to give him the cash and take the three bags he was carrying. She went up to the table and handed one bag to Cherry, "Your clothes Cherry" She handed another bag to Susan, "This I believe contains all your worldly goods Susan". Then the supervisor took from the third bag a pink sweater, and handed it to Susan. "It's a lot more substantial than what you turned up to the interview in." The supervisor said. Then the supervisor turned to the colonel, "When Susan first showed up all she was wearing was a pair of jeans cut like shorts and a white cotton shirt that had to be tied up in front because most of the buttons had gone, She told me that it was that or wear nothing"
Susan's face went several shades of red, "Thanks Miss Judith" she said and tried to hide her face.
"I must go and give the other girls their sweaters" the supervisor said as she went into the kitchen area.
"Well" started Travers, "I will get Corporal Granger here, a female marine, to help you to get more clothes before you leave tonight. The winter here is nothing compared to winter in Montana. Now you two go into the toilets and get dressed as far as you can."
Susan turned round to Cherry, "ok, kid, we better go fix ourselves up, we look in a right state don't we."
"Yeah" replied Cherry and she gave a weak smile. It was the first time that they had ever seen her really smile.

As the two girls walked off to the ladies, arm in arm, the colonel got up, walked over to the table where Steve and the others were and sat down. "Now Mr Gryson, I take it you can tell me what this has all been about" he said.
"I think I can" Steve started, "One thing that is certain, my experiments with tachyons and chronons were just a smoke screen. The vision of these men was the same as Adolph Hitler, a genetically pure race. Over twenty years ago they had the idea of a biological weapon which would attack humans, but could be vaccinated against. Not only would the person receiving the vaccine be protected, but protection would pass to next immediate generation, most likely by the maternal line. They managed to use the cover of, antidotes to chemical warfare attacks, based on experience during the Gulf war, to hide it in the defence budget. They must have picked RGIT, because although it was an excellent institution, its geographical position meant it was off in the hinterlands, away from the prying eyes of your congressional committees of the time. Their first problem though, was when the wife of the man who was creating the biological weapon, gave birth to a baby with Down's syndrome"
"So if they wanted absolute perfection, they would have to die because they were genetically flawed" chipped in Travers
"Exactly, and the biochemist knew it. As it was his child, he must have had a change of heart. As it was common knowledge about the child, he would have been marked for termination, and the work farmed out to his assistant. The only way to stop them from continuing with this biological weapon was to expose the conspiracy. If he went to his own side, the general would be able to squelch all news of it."

"How come?" asked Garry
"It was a well known rumour, that General Reynolds had a file on most of the important people. He would have found a way to spike any investigation" explained the colonel.
"Thank you colonel" Steve replied and then continued, "The only way was to tip off the Russians, that a biological weapon was being manufactured, against the international arms treaties of the time. But the biochemist was murdered anyway. As the Russian delegation was going to investigate the biochemist's files on the Monday after the attack, it was just a simple case of destroying the evidence. As my experiments were hitting the news, I was just used as a convenient scapegoat. They could not afford anyone questioning their so called official line, so anyone who did, was subsequently targeted. It’s just lucky that Sam saved my kit bag; there are sufficient details to prove this. I'm just sorry you had to suffer Marie"

"Well maybe our family name can be cleared now" answered Marie, "but you said the way Cherry was treated was a key to this. Why?”
"To put it bluntly, Cherry was being softened up to take part in the other half of their twisted plan. Think about it. Cherry is a girl who has a high personal moral code: make her do something against her nature so she feels guilty, like stripping off in public; make her cold by turning up the air-conditioning; and reduce the food she has. All that was left to do was sleep deprivation. Recognise this colonel"
The colonel nodded, "The means of breaking a person down for mind programming, some times known as brain washing"
"Larry Rider would have known that, since he did a course on interrogation with the commander and the general, right colonel"
"Yes, they were at Salisbury together"
"I recognised it, because of work I once did with those caught up in cults, they used similar techniques. Now if you look at the first part of their plan, it was to wipe out racial groups they thought were undesirable. The second part was to breed the genetically pure. Cherry, if you look at her, is genetically pure, even her face is symmetrical. She was to be used as one of several baby factories, to create more of the new master race. Being sixteen, she would have more time to produce more babies; my guess is it would have been by artificial insemination, possibly to produce multiple births for greater efficiency. Colonel, please make sure she never knows what was planned for her, it would destroy her."
"That's horrible" Marie said quietly, "so that was the reason behind the uniform policy"
"Partly, the excuse that it increased turnover as much as it did, was probably fictitious. Did you notice that it was really that busy?"
"It seemed pretty busy at the time Steve"
"In order to finance the operation and General Reynolds election campaign, they needed to get involved with the white slavery racket. Any other baby factories would have been a bonus. The money was going through an account somehow, because it was being funnelled to party headquarters. Since white slave traders don't use cheques, what better way of converting large quantities of cash, than to have it hidden with other cash spent at various establishments owned by a holding company, in a town that is due to die anyway. If you audit the accounts, you should find the extra cash."

The two girls came out of the toilets carrying the coats over their arms; they had taken off the baseball caps, reminders of bad times. Susan handed the supervisor a bag, "these are our uniforms, such as they were"
"You didn't have to give them back" she replied as she took the bag.
Cherry walked over to the colonel and tried to hand his coat back.
The colonel refused it and told her "You two keep them, I can get more from stores"
Cherry looked at the coat, "Thank you sir, but it is too big for me though" she said, and offered it back again
"Granger will get you a coat more you size then" Travers said as he reluctantly took the coat back.
Susan put her coat back on, it fitted her quite well.
"Ok let’s go you two" said Corporal Granger as she clapped her hands, "we have some serious shopping to do and a flight to catch". With that the two girls went with the marine down the stairs.
"Are we still under a death sentence" Garry asked the colonel
"What death sentence, you’re all free to go as far as I'm concerned" he replied. The colonel got up. "By the way Mr Gryson, that was a nice bit of shooting" he said and then left with the other marines.

Steve examined his chronon accelerator, enough charge for thirty seconds. He put it away, and slipped out conventionally, the waitresses at Uncle Sam's were to busy celebrating their liberation to notice him anyway. Steve had other things to do.

The five star general that came in to return Aberdeen to civilian rule two days later, arranged for the hospital bill to be paid for those who had been shot. It took two weeks for Neel and Mike to be discharged from the hospital. Patricia was kept in over Christmas, and Steve was the only visitor she had. Meanwhile the press had a field day over the story of a presidential candidate turning traitor. All the press was told was that he had become tied up in white slavery racket, and had died fleeing in a neo-soviet helicopter. Several senators in Washington resigned. The president at the time of the original bombing of course denied all knowledge of the affair as presidents usually do.

Steve and the End-of-the-bar gang were hailed as heroes, the dead computer operator was honoured posthumously. Those who went to prison because they refused to denounce Steve as a mad man had all their convictions quashed and were offered substantial compensation. Of course those papers that had libelled Steve and Co, which still existed, fell over themselves to offer out of court settlements. The fact that Steve had built and used a time machine was of some limited interest, but all the details were withheld. This suited Steve quite well, he just wanted to drop out of sight again.

The best news of all, was that some of the End-of-the-bar gang managed to redo the old RGIT student union bar up. The big opening night was scheduled for Hogmanay. Patricia was discharged from hospital three days before Hogmanay, when she discovered that Steve Gryson, alias the Lone Stranger had decided to leave town the next day by coach.

As Steve waited outside for the coach to arrive, Patricia came and sat down beside him. "Why must you leave?" she asked, "I would like you to stay"
"I have to. People I knew have suffered and died because of me. You yourself nearly died because of me Patricia. This city has to many bad memories" Steve replied. "There's a lot of healing to be done, and my presence here won't help matters. Just remember me as a stranger who saved your life. To me Steve Gryson died twenty years ago" With that he handed a letter to Patricia addressed to the End-of-the-bar gang, "give this to them at Hogmanay"
"But Steve" she protested, "you did a lot of good here as well; you stopped an attempt at genocide."
"All I did Patricia was stop this attempt. There will be others who believe in the shibboleth of the master race in there own warped minds. Remember Adolph Hitler's attempt, the introduction of genetic screening, and the rise of so called nationalism at the end of the twentieth century"

Patricia thought for a moment then said "Mrs Tavistock's putting me up, and she said how you helped them out with that corrupt owner. Miss Judith has taken over running the centre now and Mrs Tavistock has succeeded her as Supervisor." Suddenly Patricia remembered a letter that Marie had passed onto her. "Steve, read this, it's a letter from Susan, one of the girls that went to the states" she said as she handed Steve a faxed letter.

Steve took it and glanced at it. It seemed quite long and handwritten in a very neat script. Steve read through it, "Dear All" it started, "We arrived safely at the farm at night, the building was huge, and the people there, the Brackens, are great and we both love them. It took a day, most of it sleeping to get over the jet lag, they gave us some pills to help. The food here is something else, and there are large amounts of it. Cherry managed to stun the rest of the family into silence one meal time, by saying that at the home, they would have only a third of what they had on the plate, per day, and sometimes they had to go without. Cherry has been helping Mrs Bracken in the kitchen; get ready for Christmas while I have been getting to know one of the herds of cattle. On my first day out on the ranch, a ranch hand gave me a wolf whistle; I shook my fist at him and told him if he did that to Cherry he would have me to deal with. Mr Bracken was there and told him that he would deal with what was left of him. The ranch hand apologised, he quite dishy actually. I have to tell you that we almost lost Cherry the other day. She wanted to get herself a new Bible, so she asked one of the ranch hands if it was far to town. He told her that it was fifteen minutes away, so she tried to walk there in the snow. He didn't tell her that he meant fifteen minutes by hover-car, stupid berk. When we discovered her missing at lunch time, the ranch hand discovered the misunderstanding. It was lucky that Mr Bracken's hover-car was equipped with a sheep location device. She had fallen down a ditch, knocked herself out and broken her right leg below the knee. If we had been half an hour later, she would have died. We took her to the ranch’s own infirmary. Cherry was very upset, but Mr Bracken told her it wasn't her fault and the Ranch hand apologised for the misunderstanding. Mrs Bracken says at least she can keep her inside while she puts on a bit of weight. The nurse says she is three stone underweight. I'm just about ok. Mr Bracken has given both of us new Bibles, though Cherry will probably make more use of it than me. In the spring we will get a horse each to use I sometimes wonder what Cherry would do without me, but I think she will be all right now. Yours Sincerely Susan McLaughlin"

Steve folded the letter up and handed it back to Patricia.
"Because you came back Steve, those two girls have got a new life." She started, "Remember that bit about food." she added, "the colonel visited that home that Cherry came from? They found ten children there, even a one year old boy. Every one, including the resident staff was suffering malnutrition. Now, they have all been treated and farmed out to families for adoption, they even managed to place one child with a family living on that city on the moon"

Steve sighed as the coach drew in, "What about all those police officers who died, what about those marines who died. You have a career to try and pick up again, and your parents died, thinking you were dead. Besides, I know that in the future someone will try and kill me, I don't want you to be around when that happens, in case you get hurt"

Another man came out of the waiting room and boarded the coach. Patricia embraced Steve "Keep in touch please" She pleaded, "We were two of a kind"
Steve didn't answer; he didn't have the words anyway, so he gave her a quick hug and boarded the coach. Patricia watched as others boarded the London bound coach, and then continued to watch as it disappeared into the distance. She realised she had been crying, and then she turned around and trudged up to the old student union.

As the End-of-the-bar gang were drinking at the old RGIT student union bar with Patricia at Hogmanay, a policeman came into the bar. "I have some bad news" he said in a quiet tone
"What?" Mike asked.
"Last night the coach, which Mr Gryson was on, was involved in a crash with a hydrogen tanker. Mr Gryson was not listed among the survivors. There was one man badly burnt who said he had Mr Gryson, but he has since been removed by Luna Cit authorities"
"So Steve is dead" Patricia said faintly
"I'm afraid it looks that way, some of the bodies can't be identified, because we don't have sufficient dental records" the policeman answered.
Patricia started to feel faint, the policeman rushed to catch her. He helped her to a seat. Patricia remembered the letter that Steve had given her. She handed it to Neel, and he read it out allowed.

"Dear friends. I'm sorry I can't be with you for the Hogmanay celebrations, being English; perhaps it's just as well. I know that each of you, who came through in the time bubble, will have to readjust to a world, where our values of decency have long since vanished into the dustbin of history. I used the code name Lone Stranger, perhaps in a world of today, those of us who hang onto moral codes, really are lone strangers. The white slave traders have suffered a heavy blow, but they will be back. Aberdeen will become a ghost town eventually, especially as the oil is just about gone, and the fish stocks that have vanished, because of the over fishing that happened in the past. I am sorry that you had to be put through this, but at least you are still alive. Some one gave me an offer to lecture in physics at the Luna Cit University. I don't know if I want to take it up. The only thing I know is that I have met myself, and I told myself that some one is going to try and kill me. You may be luckier than you think. Your lives now are a blank page, I have to go and meet an uncertain destiny. Ain't life a bitch, and then you die. Yours Sincerely Steve Gryson, A Lone Stranger"

Silence hung over the bar as the last words of Steve's letter rang in the air. Steve had risked everything to save them and clear their names, but now he was dead, the victim of a simple traffic accident.

Patricia got up and walked outside. Neel followed her out.
"Are you ok Pat" he asked.
Patricia took in a deep breath, "I just need some fresh air Neel. You go in. As it’s near midnight, I will do the first footing" she replied.
"I'm not leaving you" he started.
"Just go" she snapped, she didn't anyone to see her in this state.
Neel realised that she wanted to be alone and retired back to the bar. Everyone was getting ready to link hands to see the New Year in.

In the distance Patricia could hear a church bell chime twelve o'clock. Then she looked up at the night sky and caught sight of a shooting star. "I'll never forget you Steve Gryson. I will always remember you" Patricia whispered, as she heard the sound of Auld Lang Syne. The words seemed to have a new poignancy

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne”

The End
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Old 23-10-2008, 06:05 PM   #32
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Notes on Episode 15

Hover Tanks
I have previously described hover cars, so perhaps with this last chapter I ought to describe the concept of the hover tank. This was a concept lifted straight from the previously mentioned Role Play Game Traveller, the main Sci-Fi competitor in the 1980’s to Dungeons and Dragons.

The vehicle in question in Traveller was the G-Carrier, and the Armoured Fighting Vehicle variant, supposedly using antigravity units in the game traveller, which as mentioned before do not exist and according to our understanding of physics can not exist.

Of course like a number of other things, the Hover Tanks were brought in during the 1993 rewrite.

Dipping the winch
During the pick up from the North Sea, the hover tank dips the winch cable directly into the sea. I took this procedure from helicopter air sea rescue procedures. Helicopters and presumably hover tanks generate static electricity, when dropping a line to someone, they always dip it into the sea first, to discharge any static electricity build up, and avoid people in the water or any water craft from getting a quite sizeable electric shock

Burning fuel?
a small patch of burning fuel marked where helicopter had gone down
This may be an error – The helicopter was fuelled by hydrogen, which is a gas at the temperatures the North Sea is at and anyway if I remember my chemistry hydrogen burns with a colourless flame

One could argue that burning fuel could be from the exploding munitions but I doubt it. I was probably thinking about screen play when I wrote this

University Campus – Which one?
When this was first written in 1988, the Robert Gordon Institute of Technology was not technically speaking a university. It was the Scottish equivalent of a polytechnic. Polytechnics were more concerned with practical subjects than theoretical subject, like universities can even though they awarded recognised degrees.

In the 1990’s the then government came up with a plan to allow the polytechnics and some other colleges to convert to being universities, which is why there are none around today. Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology became Robert Gordon’s University, so the instruction to go to the university campus, given to the pilot of the hover-tank in hindsight looks ambiguous. What I was thinking about when I wrote this was Aberdeen University, which is far older than RGIT / RGU.

WAIS Agent and Micro trackers
As mentioned before, the character of Barney, who picked the Lone Stranger up off the road earlier on got a bigger part than in the 1988 original. Here it seems he is a Western Alliance Intelligence Service agent, who had planted a micro-tracker on the Lone Stranger.

This concept predates GPS trackers by a few years, but I suspect we still have a way to go on miniaturisation to get to this level.

The Tavistocks executed in 1988 but not in 1993
The female of this married couple was based on a teenager I knew at church back in the 1980’s. In the 1988 original, this character and her husband were actually executed, (there was no Colonel Samuel Travers to surreptitiously countermand all orders of execution), and in the final episode of the 1988 version the Lone Stranger attends their funeral. For some reason, I do not recall this was a plot twist I added in 1993, to tie in with the Colonel’s own agenda.

Larry Rider – the third man
This was yet another character added in the 1993 rewrite to augment the main plot. He represents the unacceptable face of corporate capitalism at its worse coupled with eugenics.

The Colonel’s daughter
In the 1993 rewrite, I had to give a reason why the Colonel would actually care about stamping out the new form of white slavery, (The capturing of women and forcing them into the sex trade), so I came up with the sub plot that he wanted revenge on these low lives for the murder of his daughter. Note the actual killers were never caught. If the main villains were on the side of the white slavers, and his personal loss meant he was against them, it would make sense for the colonel to side with their enemies. This is the old Arab saying, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”

His determination to make this personal is highlighted, when he declares, he wants to apprehend the third person in the conspiracy.

Virtually Naked
In my review of this, I spotted another error from 1993, hence the green word. Cherry does have one item of clothing, a g-string.

Microsoft’s strange sense of humour
So far I have not commented on this, but in Microsoft Word, when you right click red wavy lines, (Spelling errors) or green wavy lines (Grammatical errors) you get helpful suggestions

In the part where the colonel reveals that Larry Rider’s code name was mother goose, and the supervisor finally speaks up and says that Larry is lying; a green wavy line appeared under the word lying. I right clicked and the suggestion was “laying.” Go back and read that bit and make the substitution, it is one of those bizarrely funny moments of unintended humour

Thermo Nuclear device – Ace in the hole
Again, not in the 1988 version, added in 1993. However this did tap into a fear that still haunts the west.

When the Soviet Union fell in 1991 there was concern that a large number of battlefield tactical nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands. Many of those who guarded them were going unpaid, so the temptation to sell them to the highest bidder in the chaos was a real threat, and possibly still is to this day.

Cherry and Susan’s treatment by the Colonel
The colonel now he has dealt with the final conspirator then turns his attention to one of the victims of the conspirator, Cherry Turner, the sixteen year old orphan made to work in the café, wearing only a g-string in very cold conditions courtesy of the air conditioning system. He gives her a coat to wear and arranges for her to get clothing. Later she is sent off with Susan, another employee aged 19, a runaway, to a new and better life.

If you thought that bit ended up, finger down the throat and overly saccharine, especially the letter from Susan bit, well so did I, but for some reason, even though Cherry was a fictional character, I felt I had to make it up to her for how she was treated in my novel. The letter bit was to emphasis more of how things were turning around for her. I was never satisfied with that and I thought it went over the top as well.

Or maybe the colonel was trying to make up for not being there for his daughter who was Cherry’s age when she was murdered.

The main reason for the bombing in the past and everything comes down to eugenics, defined as:

a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention.
This was exactly the dream of one Adolph Hitler. It had two parts, exterminate that which you consider inferior and breed from the good stock. Many children were born to Aryan fathers, the mothers had no choice, and they were forced to breed under that regime. After the war, many of those children were discriminated against for something that was never their fault.

Weapons Inspection
Why would the Russians be wanting to check RGIT in the first place, which triggered the bombing in the first place? Well in the later part of the cold war, when there was various disarmament treaties, representatives from either side could inspect the other side to make sure there was no cheating going on. This ended with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Denying all Knowledge
I had a throwaway line of the US president at the time of the bombing denying all knowledge. This was an allusion to the doctrine of “Plausible deniability” where the top guy is never informed so he can say he knew nothing. It was also a back reference to the 1980’s scandal of the Iran – Contra Scandal where weapons were sold to the Iranians and the proceeds channelled to the contra rebels in Nicaragua, who were trying to overthrow a left wing government. (This was highly illegal and a number of people were convicted and sent to prison) Ronald Regan was president at the time, and claimed to know absolutely nothing of this. This was most likely true. Ronald Regan eventually died on 06 June 2004 after suffering for years with Alzheimer’s disease.

First Footing
This is to do with a custom in Scotland concerning New Years Eve

Killing of the Lone Stranger and how the other stories panned out
It may seem odd that the main character is killed off at the end of the adventure in such a meaningless thing as a road accident.

But wait, all was not as it seemed, and you see a hint of how things panned out at the end with the reference to the accident victim taken back to Luna Cit.

So how could I continue with the Lone Stranger franchise when the Lone Stranger had been killed, well here is how I did it. When next term, in January 1989 commenced, I did the second story line, Karate Sticks.

As I do not have any intention of doing to the later story lines I did what I did to the first in 1993, I suppose I better summarise these as best I can and in brief.

In Karate Sticks, the Patricia character was working in London where she meets a nephew of the Lone Stranger, a 13 year old. My brother married a Chinese woman in real life, but they had three daughters and no son. My brother’s marriage has now ended.

In the second season, they find themselves encountering a mysterious metal man who is out to destroy the supercomputer that runs the western alliance. He seems to be a baddy at first but turns out to be some agent from Luna Cit, a moon base that became an independent state. He was also the developer of the supercomputer.

They then find out that the supercomputer has become psychotic and wishes to rule humanity, and has to be defeated, but at the cost of the life of the metal man. Even then things are not that straight forward, because this metal man was actually on the same coach as the Lone Stranger, and just after the crash, because of radiation he had suffered and the broken chronon accelerator, he was able to absorb the Lone Strangers essence. As the metal man lies dying, he passes that on to the Patricia character. (Shades of Star Trek 2 and Star Trek 3) OK a direct rip off of those films

Season three was Resurrection of the Sticks. The persona of the Lone Stranger in the Patricia character sent her insane and we open with her in an institution. She is then broken out by agents of the Luna Cit secret intelligence service, who also double up as asteroid miners. There is a bit where the new soviets try and capture Luna Cit. The Lone Stranger’s essence is finally extracted and placed into a cloned body.

At this time, in 1989, people were saying I fancied the person who the Patricia character was based upon, so in the final real, Patricia is killed by a sniper.

Then I finished my degree course with an ordinary degree. Under the Scottish system then, you did three years and if you passed the course you got just an ordinary degree. If you did extra well, you got invited back to do honours.

I didn’t

I did however get to do a post graduate course that would last for just two terms, meaning I would leave at the end of March 1989. In one sense I did get a last laugh, because in 1989 on 01 April, the community charge, nicknamed the poll tax was introduced in Scotland one year ahead of it’s introduction. It was a way of paying for local services, a bit like the council tax is today, however everybody paid the same regardless of income. Those who were doing honours were stung by this; I as I had left Scotland before 01 April, escaped it.

Anyhue, I was only able to do two further Lone Stranger story lines

The Lone Stranger rides out, which had the details of the adventure the Sabaticals and Steve Gryson took part in told in flash back, before the main part of that adventure, which was to do with revenge.

The last story line was The Sticks Rides Home, which I feel was a bit of a disappointment after reading through it after all these years. This one involved time travel again.

Between the original and the rewrite
Then I left RGIT and went back home to Bury in Lancashire, where I lived at the time.

I then did an MSc Course in Quality Engineering at Newcastle University in 1990 before working for a year at the MOD. After that I spent some time in Aberdeen before going back to my parent’s home, now in East Riding of Yorkshire, before trying Teacher Training back in Aberdeen at the Hilton College of Education in 1992

Sometime between 1992 and 1993 I was able to get hold of on floppy disc a load of my files I had generated, and converted them from straight text files to TopCopy Plus, an obsolete word processing file I ran on an equally obsolete Amstrad PPC 512D.

The 1993 rewrite
In 1993, after crashing out of teacher training and returned to my parent’s home in East Riding of Yorkshire. From there, I tried to rewrite my first story line, changing the names of the characters. I thought if I could get this done as a novel, maybe I could earn money as it and realise a childhood dream of being a science fiction author.

I also tried to write the role play game which was set in the “Near future” where there had been a global financial meltdown etc.

I was not happy with it; remember my finger down throat comment?

Life after the Lone Stranger
I managed to get onto a course back up in Newcastle in 1993 at Newcastle College, went up, found that course had been cancelled and was put on another course, this one in electronics. My tutor from my first stint in Newcastle in 1990 managed to get me onto the MSc Electronics course at Newcastle University which I achieved in 1994 to add to my earlier MSc

After training course after training course in 1997 I secured another job. Got my first desktop, a Packard Bell in 1999. Made redundant in 2000.

In 2001 I got another job, (I am still with that employer to this day) By now Big Brother 2 was in play, and in the days before TIBB I typed away on the defunct Channel Four Reach forum, where I was the subject of a series of personal attacks and also a suspected malicious set of phone calls. Out of that was born another franchise, one I would try and return to in 2002 and then leave for five years until last year when the Interactive Fan Fiction section was created.

This is my current franchise, The Mystical Realms. By now the Lone Stranger series was long forgotten

How this story was brought back
Now it is a fact that the old three and a half inch discs are obsolete in favour of DVD’s, laptops, blackberries and USB memory sticks. My desktop is dying and it is the only machine I have which will bridge between the two offline storage technologies. And Low and behold, I rediscovered my original and rewritten Lone Stranger season one saga, plus the others.

During my time on Lundy Island, when I was not able to do much, I spent time, using a copy of that obsolete programme to reconvert the files from the 1993 rewrite, back to Ascii files and then on in to Word files, so I can bring them to publishable standard in the TIBB interactive Fan Fiction section.

And it is my season one, which I have shared with you from this archive. The reason for giving you the 1993 version is because the 1988 version used people’s real names. That was fine for the Honeywell in 1988 and 1989, but not for today, with the internet of the twenty first century.

Why have I done this? Why did I bother?

Well, I wondered how my style has changed or improved since then compared to the Mystical Realms franchise. The big difference I can see is research. In 1988 and 1993, it was patchy

Here in the twenty first century, we have the internet and Wikipedia, and you will notice, on my Mystical Realms stories I will put in hyper links to background research and articles with background information. I would hope this makes me better as an author

The other issue, is that the Lone Stranger was set in the future, and in the 1988 versions and the 1989 one I actually used future dates like 2003 or 2005. Sci-Fi has an inherent weakness, we eventually arrive at those dates. Remember George Orwell’s 1984 and Arthur C Clarke’s 2001 A Space Odyssy?

So now I throw this open to you lot. Some have said my Mystical Realms was confusing.

How do these franchises compare?

Were my stories better then or better now

What are your thoughts?

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Old 23-10-2008, 11:35 PM   #33
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Only read a teeny bit so far, but good!

Also, can you please bump you "Where did BB9 go wrong thread" as I cant find it anywhere.
You know, the one you made before BB9.
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Old 03-12-2008, 07:57 AM   #34
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Am bumping this thread, so anyone who may have read my Mystical Reals Sagas and tales, can compare my styles between 1988/93 and now.
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Old 14-12-2008, 12:50 PM   #35
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Ok I read some of chapter 1 before stopping. The sentences are too long, you're spending too much time describing minor aspects which make the story, so far, a little longwinded. There's a few grammitical errors and you definitely need to work on your metophors and similes. For a start air doesn't whistle. The first sentence would have been better read:

The dust flew into the wind whistling around the buildings of Holburn Junction. Succinct and to the point, and that's how you have to be when telling a story otherwise the reader is going to get bored quickly.

Another thing it would have been best to describe Holborn Junction and the world at the start so we get a better picture of what's going on and character build. Is your story set in some apocalyptic period in the future? What's with the guy in the hovver car and why are cats 'murdered?' Sorry Sticks but I couldn't go on any longer (not that I want to be critical just trying to help). I wonder what others thought.
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Old 14-12-2008, 12:53 PM   #36
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Hmm, I have read some of Stick's stories (dipped in and out) and I do agree with the fact that sometimes they can be slightly long winded, and a tad to explicit, making them rather dull at times. (the earlier ones more)

But I do love the ideas.
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Old 14-12-2008, 03:12 PM   #37
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Originally posted by AndyJK
Ok I read some of chapter 1 before stopping. The sentences are too long, you're spending too much time describing minor aspects which make the story, so far, a little longwinded. There's a few grammitical errors and you definitely need to work on your metophors and similes. For a start air doesn't whistle. The first sentence would have been better read:

The dust flew into the wind whistling around the buildings of Holburn Junction. Succinct and to the point, and that's how you have to be when telling a story otherwise the reader is going to get bored quickly.

Another thing it would have been best to describe Holborn Junction and the world at the start so we get a better picture of what's going on and character build. Is your story set in some apocalyptic period in the future? What's with the guy in the hovver car and why are cats 'murdered?' Sorry Sticks but I couldn't go on any longer (not that I want to be critical just trying to help). I wonder what others thought.
This was set in a kind of post apocalypse, albeit an economic one.

When I first penned this, it was in 1988 at the place I did my first degree in Aberdeen, so the target audience was only too aware of the geography of that area.

For reference here it is on Google Maps

Incidentally in the original, 1988 version, the episode one was one page long. The 1993 rewrite was a vain attempt to boost it to the size of a novel. I was looking for work then and wondered if I could hack it as a writer back then.

In the first write in 1988, the guy in the hover car was just a throw away character, in the 1993 re-write he was turned into a relative of the commander of a base of US Marines.

As for grammar and such, when I rediscovered this set of files, all I did in the conversion process was remove obvious spelling errors and some of the grammatical bits that gave the green wavy line in Word. There rest was preserved for historical purposes, i.e to compare writing styles.

The question is, with my most recent work, has there been an improvement in the 15 years since the rewrite (20 years since the original)
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Old 14-12-2008, 03:38 PM   #38
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Originally posted by Magic
Hmm, I have read some of Stick's stories (dipped in and out) and I do agree with the fact that sometimes they can be slightly long winded, and a tad too explicit, making them rather dull at times. (the earlier ones more)

But I do love the ideas.
So are you saying the later stories in the Mystical Realms series are better?

If we want a history of the Mystical Realms sagas, season one never aired here. Season one aired on the Channel 4 Reach forum in 2001, and was originally going to be a unique way of saying I was not going to post there as I was being flame attacked.

Also Season one, such as it was, in the period of 2001 before the flame attack was started, started off in the first person as a homage to Phil Marlow talking about BB2. When the flame attack happened it was done in the style of newspaper clippings and lapsed into third person.

Season two, in 2002, I tried to do on one of my own websites and a link put on TiBB, but it never took hold.

I did try later to do Mystical Realms stories, but they never flowed and were not in a fan fiction section. There are somewhere lost in the database of TiBB

With the launch of the fan fiction section in 2007, my suggestion for those interested in the interactive story, I thought I ought to come up with something so I dug up the Mystical Realms franchise from 2001 and I went back to first person, as a homage to how I started it all, so I determined that aborted attempts were not canonical, and that this would be season three.

So Season three, the first to air here, was entirely composed in the post reply box every Saturday, and as this was primarily a Big Brother forum, for the reintroduction, like Season one used BB2 as a back drop, I used BB8 as a backdrop.

The vignettes between season three and four, were also written directly into the post reply box.

Once I got to Season 4, on writing the very first episode, I tried to write in the post reply box, but realised I had to be some place else, so what I had written so far was put into a word document to continue later, and from then on, I started the habit of writing episodes off line in Word.

Although the inter season vignettes were third person, I used first person for season four and then season five.

Season five was the last one in first person, because of how the story panned out, so for season six, the tales and season seven, I went to third person. (Season eight is also to be third person)

If you think the earlier first person ones were explicit, a friend of mine who read the seasons three to six and the tales, said that season six was more violent, because possibly of the use of the third person.

I do realise my current output are longer in terms of the size of postings, all I can think of, is that I do a lot of research now for each one and try and get as much of it in as I can. I also provide hyperlinks to background reading, should anyone be interested. Sort of like DVD extras.
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Old 14-12-2008, 03:44 PM   #39
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I really want to watch a good film now.
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Old 14-12-2008, 04:50 PM   #40
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Originally posted by andyman
I really want to watch a good film now.
I would love to see this franchise on the silver screen, but I suspect there would need to be some rewrites due to copyright issues concerning the first four seasons, since season four had guest characters from a certain TV show that started in the 1990's
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Old 14-12-2008, 07:58 PM   #41
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Originally posted by Sticks
Originally posted by AndyJK
Ok I read some of chapter 1 before stopping. The sentences are too long, you're spending too much time describing minor aspects which make the story, so far, a little longwinded. There's a few grammitical errors and you definitely need to work on your metophors and similes. For a start air doesn't whistle. The first sentence would have been better read:

The dust flew into the wind whistling around the buildings of Holburn Junction. Succinct and to the point, and that's how you have to be when telling a story otherwise the reader is going to get bored quickly.

Another thing it would have been best to describe Holborn Junction and the world at the start so we get a better picture of what's going on and character build. Is your story set in some apocalyptic period in the future? What's with the guy in the hovver car and why are cats 'murdered?' Sorry Sticks but I couldn't go on any longer (not that I want to be critical just trying to help). I wonder what others thought.
This was set in a kind of post apocalypse, albeit an economic one.

When I first penned this, it was in 1988 at the place I did my first degree in Aberdeen, so the target audience was only too aware of the geography of that area.

For reference here it is on Google Maps

Incidentally in the original, 1988 version, the episode one was one page long. The 1993 rewrite was a vain attempt to boost it to the size of a novel. I was looking for work then and wondered if I could hack it as a writer back then.

In the first write in 1988, the guy in the hover car was just a throw away character, in the 1993 re-write he was turned into a relative of the commander of a base of US Marines.

As for grammar and such, when I rediscovered this set of files, all I did in the conversion process was remove obvious spelling errors and some of the grammatical bits that gave the green wavy line in Word. There rest was preserved for historical purposes, i.e to compare writing styles.

The question is, with my most recent work, has there been an improvement in the 15 years since the rewrite (20 years since the original)
That's fair enough. I suggest if you feel this is a strong story to go over the whole thing completely checking for errors, condensing sentences and editing parts out that drag it down. I wouldn't start off as you did, it's very Enid Blyton-esque. It's not far from "It was a dark and stormy night..". I am sure you get my meaning. Be original, avoid cliches and non sequiturs. Be descriptive but don't over do it.
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Old 14-12-2008, 08:29 PM   #42
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Actually, "It was a dark and stormy night" was how Snoopy started his novel off

Due to the passage of time, and how the subsequent stories in 1988 and 1989 panned out, I no longer have plans to publish this franchise.

I had rediscovered these files and thought it might be interesting for people who may have read my Mystical Realms stories, to see what I was like all those years ago.

I would hope I have improved over time since the Lone Stranger first aired.
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Old 15-12-2008, 08:29 AM   #43
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Sorry, but I just spotted this

Originally posted by AndyJK
The dust flew into the wind whistling around the buildings of Holburn Junction. Succinct and to the point, and that's how you have to be when telling a story otherwise the reader is going to get bored quickly.
Dust would be blown along by the wind and would not be able to fly into the wind, unless it was magic dust, or they were really powerful nanobots.

I had

The dust flew in the air
Which is a bit more scientifically accurate of what happens when dust meets wind

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Old 15-12-2008, 09:54 AM   #44
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Thats a fair point, it was just a quick example as in the sentence you followed on with 'whistling' and then 'wind' and I was merely trying to condense it.

Edit: I meant to say "the dust flew in the wind" but copied and pasted the sentence and forgot to alter it. :
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