Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A TOTALLY DIFFERENT EXCERPT FROM ' WE ARE MARTIAN.'

So after much cajoling and begging Gorad finally agreed to let me try on a Para-suit and take it for a spin. After I had climbed into the suit, had been briefed on how to use it and the helmet had been attached and sealed I was escorted through the airlock onto the Martian surface. I stood there and looked around for places to fly to and spotted a tall mountain in the distance. I decided that I wanted to do the Superman thing and leap that tall mountain in a single bound so I launched myself off the ground. Unfortunately, I totally missed the tall mountain and continued upwards into the Martian skies, rapidly heading towards Outer Space and beyond.
“Hey Gorad, I seem to have missed the tall mountain I was aiming for and it now appears that I will be landing on Phobos, or crashing into it, shortly! So, my question to you is this;
HOW DO I TURN THIS FUCKING THING AROUND!?,
Over,”
To my great embarrassment and chagrin I could hear the laughter in his voice and in the background when he answered,
“Hello there, Drew, it’s really quite simple. Look down, find a part of the landscape to land on and stare at it while thinking how much you would really like to be standing on it right now.”
I followed his instructions, stared down at a flat piece of ground to my left and the Para-suit turned quickly and flew me towards it.
Back in my fighter pilot days there was a time when the backroom boffins were working to develop sight-guided missiles which the pilot could guide in to strike simply by staring at the target. I don’t know whether they ever produced any, I certainly was never trained to use them and never carried any but I could see potential problems with their use. The primary problem to my mind was simply this:
Once the missile had been launched and was tracking towards the target, guided by the pilot’s sight, I wondered what would happen if the pilot suddenly developed an itch that he just had to scratch in his groin or thereabouts and without thinking looked down to scratch it,.....OUCH!
The Para-suit started acting in a similar fashion. Something caught my eye far to the right of my selected L.Z. and the Para-suit veered and flew me towards that when I glanced at it. Something else caught my eye off in a different direction and the Para-suit veered once more. To an observer on the ground, (and unfortunately there were quite a few), I must have looked like a crazed human shaped Pinball ricocheting and rebounding in all directions around the Martian skies until I was finally able to lock on to a target and keep all my concentration centred on making it my LZ, which just happened to be the plain near the city where all the observers were observing me with great amusement. So it was with some satisfaction that I watched them scattering in all directions like startled cattle as I swooped down from the skies towards them.
Just before I touched down I realized that I was still travelling with considerable forward momentum and started pumping my legs as fast as I could so I literally hit the ground running. The second that I was on the ground I pushed one of the buttons on the left wristband of the suit to turn it off so it couldn’t launch me into the skies once more. This panic-inspired decision was quickly proved to be ill-advised as my forward motion was too fast for my legs to keep up with, and although the suit was no longer propelling me forward it was also no longer supporting me in an upright position which caused me to pitch forward off my rapidly, (but unfortunately not rapidly enough), pumping feet. I landed on my left shoulder and rolled, which then became an ‘arse-over-tit’ tumble across the sandy Martian landscape before I finally came to rest upside down and semi-embedded in a large pile of Martian dust and sand.
I lay there for a while trying to collect my thoughts until I realized that I didn’t have any as they had all been rattled out of my head during my arse-over-titting across the Martian landscape. So instead I started pondering why these sorts of things so often seemed to happen to me,(and only me!), until I was interrupted by the appearance of an upside-down Nick in my visor, bending over me with his hands on his knees, probably to support himself while he laughed his helmet off.
“So did you enjoy your little escapade, didja?” He asked breathlessly between bouts of chuckling,
“Sometimes I get a nasty feeling that I’m all of the three stooges crammed together into one!” I answered,
“You’re definitely an Act!” Nick chuckled as he reached down with his right hand to help me up, “You’ve no Class, but you are definitely an Act!”
He then made an exaggerated pantomime of brushing dust and sand off me when I was standing upright. I looked down at the perfect imprint of me in the pile of Martian dust and kicked it, thus erasing the imprint as the dust collapsed into it.

I was not in the least unnerved, startled or scared by my little escapade, yet it was to be a very long time before I climbed into a Para-suit again.

Friday, 3 March 2017

A LITTLE BIT MORE FROM THE SEQUEL TO 'REACH FOR MARS' 'WE ARE MARTIAN'.

As I drove back to the City I made a mental note to ask Gorad to teach me how to do that trick when next we met. It was way cool! I was trying to decide whether to call the trick a ‘Hot Zone Retrieval’ or a ‘Hot Zone Recovery’, or just simply an ‘HZR’ when Nick interrupted my thoughts,
“So tell me true Drew. Do you really believe that with all the technology at Gonad’s disposal he seriously had to whistle to call his ship in to pick him up?”
“No, he is very much the flashy, theatrical showman type is our Gorad.”
“You mean show-off, surely!”
I then told Nick my thoughts that he had interrupted,
“Yeah, good luck finding someone to practise on, because it sure as Hell won’t be me!”
“Dick?”
“Whatever! But my question to you now is this, Drew. Do you trust Gonad and his goons?”
“You do realise that his name is Gorad not Gonad, but yes I do trust him as it happens for a number of reasons. The first one being that there is nothing that we have that he would either need or want that I can think of. We live in a deserted city that his Race built and then abandoned, we only produce enough food and water to sustain ourselves and we have ‘Sweet F.A.’ of anything else! He didn’t have to go to the extremes that he did to introduce himself without alarming us. He could have just hauled up in his Star-ship and blown us to smithereens if he meant us harm, but he didn’t. Desert Eagle semi-auto handguns are very big and scary looking and they make a hell of a big bang when you fire them but I don’t think we would last longer than half a second in a shoot-out against the high-tech weapons Gorad and his goons would have at their disposal to point and shoot at us.”
“I agree with Drew, for all the reasons he just gave, but especially because we really don’t have any choice. There is Fuck -All we can do about it whether we trust him or not!” Grizzly interjected.
At this point in the conversation we were sitting in the ‘Hangout’ Cafe having coffee and drinks, surrounded by the rest of the crew after we had returned to the city.
“Yeah, and I still maintain that he wouldn’t have bothered with the ‘Circus-Show’ antics if he meant us any harm. He could have just blasted in and unloaded a shit-load of laser bolts at us, or just cut the power to the city with his watch until we packed up and pissed off. I am sure he means us no harm or he would have already harmed us a lot!”



Thursday, 2 February 2017

A LITTLE BIT MORE FROM: 'WE ARE MARTIAN',

I drove Gorad out onto the plain near the city so he could be picked up by the rest of his crew, and of course the rest of my crew tagged along in two other buggies.
“You can stop here Drew, this’ll do fine.”
I stopped the buggy and climbed out with Gorad, expecting a long walk to allow room for his Star ship to land to pick him up and was surprised when Gorad stopped about 15 metres forward of my buggy’s nose. I looked up into the sky but found that Gorad’s ship was no longer hovering above us so I glanced over at Gorad,
“It would appear that your mates have pissed off without you.”
“Watch this.”
He raised his arm and tapped a couple of buttons on his watch then raised his arm into the air with his fist clenched as a loud and strident whistle issued forth from his helmet and filled the air around us. As loud as that whistle had been I would not have believed that it was loud enough to travel to the horizon and beyond, yet within a second or two his Star-ship popped up from over said horizon and blazed through the skies towards us at an altitude of roughly three hundred metres above the Martian landscape. It slowed only slightly as it passed over us before blasting into the Martian skies with incredible acceleration until, with a brilliant flash of red phosphorescence and a “PHUT” sound, it left Mars Atmos and disappeared amongst the stars. I tore my eyes away from the sky and looked around at Gorad to make a smart-arse comment about his dopey mates forgetting to stop and pick him up but the words jammed in my throat in surprise, (which was fortunate because my crew would have wondered why the Hell I was talking to myself).

Gorad was gone!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

JUST A BIT MORE FROM 'WE ARE MARTIAN':

He then straightened and held his hands up in a friendly pose with a smile on his face,
“Don’t worry, I am joking. This place is yours to do what you wish with. I am here simply to offer you any assistance that we can provide to help you to survive and acclimatise to life on this planet. We know that you are from the planet that you called Earth and we know what happened to it and believe me, we do sympathize with you. It was a colossal waste of lives, technological advancement and achievement, art and knowledge. So much was lost in the pursuit of Greed and Evil Power, perpetrated on an entire race by a handful of evil rulers who were already undeservedly wealthy, thanks to the unearned wealth handed to them by their fathers and forefathers, and helped by their political henchmen/puppets.” He then paused and took in a huge breath,
“I do apologise, I do not mean to ramble on, but I hate the useless waste of lives and Planets that greed causes! Universal history has told that tale many times over the Millenniums, believe me! You can’t change what has happened, but you can change and control what will happen from now onwards. I stand before you now as an Ambassador of Zengrila and offer you our assistance for your survival and prosperity! We are one race after all and it is our duty to help our fellow comrades whenever they need it! We are, after all, a mere 60 light year communication’s call away.”
“What do you propose to do to help us then, and what will it cost us?” Nick asked,
“We will help you to build a new world for yourselves, Get this city running properly once more, for example. We will show you how to activate and capitalise on all the functions and power of this city to their full potential, for example. You could be much further along in terra-forming this Planet if you did, for example. When my Ancestors left this planet it was a verdant, lush green planet with beautiful waterfalls cascading into crystal clear, blue lakes spilling out to the seas in gentle streams and rivers. That of course was a very long time, and a number of Meteorite storms ago, but with our help it wouldn’t take a terribly long time to bring it back, and it won’t cost you anything. The first step will be to show you how to switch on the Climatic air conditioning systems to begin the restoration cycle.”
Gorad took a sip of his glass of wine then stared at the glass he held before him and smiled, (or perhaps it was a grimace),
“We will also teach you how to make wine more better!”
Nick and I exchanged glances before I asked Gorad,
“More better?”
Gorad held his glass up once more,
“ Than this.”
He then glanced at each of us and said,

“Oh! I do apologize if I’m fluffing up your language, it has been many decades since I studied ‘Earthling’ languages.”

Monday, 19 December 2016

AND ANOTHER EXCERPT FROM 'REACH FOR MARS',

“Tell me Gorad, have you ever heard of and/or tasted Alcohol in any of its guises?” I enquired. Gorad glanced over at me,
“That depends, describe some of its guises to me.”
So I did until Gorad held up his hand to silence me,
“I have heard of wine, rum and vodka. I would like a glass of the one with the lowest alcoholic content if you please, as I am driving later.”
I made my way to the kitchen and made a coffee for Nick and myself to go with the rum as I figured he needed it and I knew damned well that I did! I poured a red wine for Gorad and carried it all back to the table on a tray. As I entered the dining area I saw that Gorad was being assaulted with and trying to fend off many questions from the excited crew. I rescued him, sort of, by handing him his wine and with a nod of thanks he took a large swallow from the glass, which was very ill-advised. When sampling our alcoholic products for the first time it is advisable to use utmost caution, we were getting better with practice but the use of the word ‘rough’ when describing the bouquet, taste and character of our red wines was still considered a very polite word to use.
Gorad was suffering bouts of coughing caused by his reckless lack of caution but managed to croak out these words between coughing spasms,
“Smooth! Very smooth! I think I know ........what you do with any............ extra methanol you......... find lying about the place.”
Gorad staggered over to the table and sat in the seat at the head of it while I was hammered by a fusillade of filthy looks from all of my fellow crew-members, except Nick of course. He sat happily sipping his coffee and rum with a beatific smile (and no sympathy whatsoever) on his face while he watched Gorad’s suffering.
“You really should sip it slowly, Gorad,” I said belatedly, “You didn’t give me a chance to warn you.”
Gorad’s coughing abated so he tentatively took a small sip slowly from his glass which only caused a slight hiccup instead of a coughing fit.
“Yeah, I guess that was my mistake. Sorry about that.”
He then stood up and leaned forward to rest on his hands as he placed them on the table before him. Dick interrupted Gorad as he was about to speak,
“Did you build this City?”

“I didn’t, but my ancestors did, and we want it back. So if you could pack up all your stuff and clear out by the end of the month we would very much appreciate it!”

Saturday, 10 December 2016

And another from 'WE ARE MARTIAN',

. He stood in the doorway with his helmet still on and his suit charred with Carbon exhaust from his directional thrusters, and still smoking. He stepped into the room and with a slight hiss of escaping oxygen undid the locking clamps of his helmet and lifted it over his head, then tucked it under his arm as Nick and I had done.
The countenance of the creature that was revealed by the removal of that helmet was sort of surprising to me. It wasn’t green, lumpy and bumpy with huge ears, antennas poking out of the top of its head and a protruding snout, constantly drooling, dribbling and possibly even foaming. Nor did it have Burning eyes of any colour!
The creature’s face that was revealed by the removal of that helmet was very definitely human in a very surprising way. Gorad had golden blonde hair swept back from his thin, slightly pale aristocratic face, with the most peaceful, calming, and kindest blue eyes I had ever seen. In fact the powerful presence that emanated from Gorad was exactly that, I felt calm, at ease and safe in his presence. An effect that was increased even more, I noticed, when he smiled,
“Greetings Earthlings,” He paused as his smile grew, “or perhaps I should say Martians. My name is Gorad. I am an Explorer, Scout and Ambassador from the planet ‘Zengrila’ and I mean you no Harm or Hassles.”

He placed his helmet on the end of the table then stepped back and leaned against the wall behind him as Nick and I moved forward and stood on either side of the table then placed our helmets alongside Gorad’s. Yeah, I’m sure anybody reading this with their PhD’s in Psychology firmly grasped in their hands  are probably saying to themselves that surely this act was a subconscious aligning with, and deference of authority to Gorad. Well those people can shove their PhD’s where the Sun never shines (except in their own minds) and grasp something else of theirs firmly in their hands if it pleases them. Nick had nothing but nasty thoughts about Gorad at that time and would certainly not even consider doing anything that might in any way help or please him, and nor would I. The table where his helmet rested just happened to be the closest flat surface to put our helmets down on and as we were tired of holding them tucked under our arms and we wanted a drink, which also happened to be on that particular table!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

ANOTHER EXCERPT FROM THE UP AND COMING NOVEL: 'WE ARE MARTIAN.':

 I then shut off the long range Receiver/Transmitter to prevent any further argument or questions from Dick. This would not have prevented any conversation between the three occupants of the buggy however, yet we travelled the remaining distance to the city in silence. Nick’s silence was worrying me because in all the years I had known him he had never been silent for longer than 45 seconds, even when he was asleep.
The scuttlebutt (maritime version of rumours on the grapevine) on the aircraft carrier while Nick and I were stationed on it was that Nick snored so loudly that if the aircraft carrier was going to be sailing closer than 10 kilometres off enemy shores the Captain commissioned four sailors to guard Nick to ensure that he did not fall asleep and therefore alert the enemy to our presence. It was told that the Captain seriously considered making it a permanent detail so that the whole crew of the carrier could get a decent night’s sleep occasionally! Imagine if you will the considerable amplification and echo effect in a steel enclosure! The only way that I can think of for it to be worse would be if Nick was stationed on a submarine! But one has to ask why the Hell a pilot would be stationed on a Submarine, unless of course, he was a very bad pilot!
(Those of you who have read the earlier entries in these historical Chronicles may remember that I do have a tendency to sometimes ‘ramble on’ when left to my own devices!).
Anyway, after his impassioned plea to refuse Gorad’s requests Nick sat silently, some might even say sullenly, in the passenger seat. He didn’t even bother making any smart-arse derogatory remarks about, or directly at, Gorad. I guessed that the effects of the momentary drop in his oxygen supply had befuddled his normal behavioural traits for the time being, as I am pretty sure was the intended effect for least resistance. One thing I was sure of, however, he sure as hell wasn’t himself!
After I drove into the access tunnel and then straight into the open airlock Gorad broke the long silence,
“I’ve got this, Drew.”
I glanced in the rear view mirror in time to see Gorad push a button on his watch that made the outer hangar doors slide shut. While I waited for the airlock to re-pressurize so the inner airlock doors would slide open I ruminated silently to myself that me being right all the time can sometimes be a hugely annoying pain in the ass to me as well as everybody else!
I drove forward into the city as the inner airlock doors slid open, then pulled up and parked outside the door to the Terminal Cafe. I climbed out of the buggy then glanced back at Nick to see if I would have to assist him from the buggy into the Cafe and watched with relief as he climbed out of the buggy and marched through the door under his own steam. I followed him then stepped to the right side of the doorway as I removed my helmet and tucked it under my arm as Nick had just done on the left of the doorway.
 The rest of the crew looked up at us with mildly enquiring expressions on their faces which suddenly collapsed into eye-widening, jaw-dropping shock, and I knew that Gorad had just entered behind us. You could have cut the stunned atmosphere in the Cafe with a knife, but it would have been a lot easier with a chainsaw I thought to myself as I turned to look back at Gorad.