• Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 – Portals – Week 1

    Day 1 The quad landed in the courtyard of what I would have guessed was an old British castle back home, but here it was somewhere in what would have been upstate New York. As the engines whined down I could hear the other quad coming in behind us as well as some music blaring from somewhere in the castle. I guess the weird silence here got to everyone. I adjusted my dust mask as the pilot popped the canopy. She was a skinny black woman who had spent the entire trip with a pair of earbuds plugged into her ears, nodding along with something playing on an archaic iPod. I had talked to her long enough to learn that her name was Dierdra but that was about it, After that I had done nothing but stare out at the dust-covered landscape as we flew the several hours north towards the site, over surprisingly intact cities sitting alone and uninhabited amidst empty stretches of blowing dust. Still nodding to the music, she pointed towards an entrance to one side of the courtyard where several people were exiting and walking towards us. “Thanks for the lift!” I said. I’m not sure she heard me. She was already engaged with dragging a charging cable over from the solar array back to the quad. I grabbed my pack from behind the seat, wincing as I did. My muscles had cramped up during the several hours in the quad after all the work I

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  • NaNoWriMo 2011 – Week 3

    Chapter 4 – The Division David did not relax until they had cleared the outskirts of Madrid and were driving through rural countryside. He was deliberately avoiding the major highway and using the SUV’s navigation system to find a more indirect route. No one had spoken. Dr. Alvarez was apparently still trying to absorb what had happened back at the Museum. Brad was the one who seemed to be worse off. This was his first active mission and David had forgotten that he had never been on a mission that turned hot and didn’t have the military background he and Alicia had. Adrenaline had carried him along until he got back to the SUV, but he had been silent ever since. He no longer looked as if he was going to be sick but David noticed in the mirror that he still had his eyes closed and his jaw clenched tight. “First time seeing death up close and personal like that.” he thought. Alvarez was the one who finally broke the silence. “OK.” she said quietly in an even voice. “Are you going to tell me what is going on here or not. There’s no way all of you are with the NSF. NSA, maybe. But I think I deserve to know what is going on.” “We’re sorry about your friend.” Alicia said. “That wasn’t what I asked. And I somehow doubt you are.” David shook his head. “Whether you want to believe us or not, we actually are sorry.

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  • NaNoWriMo 2011 – Week 2

    Chapter 2 – Geneva David spent most of the trip reviewing the files on Folts’ team that had been sent. There was nothing unusual about any of them. Folts himself had a fairly extensive file; he was an outspoken critic of the US military, or anyone’s military actually, and had multiple run-ins with anyone that didn’t support his particular view of scientific research. He didn’t seem to be overly supportive of social or environmental issues either. Apparently his entire world view involved his branch of scientific research. Alicia and Brandon had been going through Folts research. The reports he had filed with the NSF seemed to support what Brandon had known about him; he had been working on his nano black hole theory. His grant filings had stated that he expected his research to have applications in energy production but Brad’s own analysis of what he had published showed no hints of research in that area. “I think he’s trying to make a black hole, no matter how small, just to say he was able to do it.” Brad finally concluded. Peter had been working at one of the computer stations toward the back of the plane and eventually came back forward, handing each of them a folder of travel papers. David glanced at his to see an NSF id card, passport and handful of credit cards. Brad had pulled out his passport. “I have one of these already.” he said. Alicia looked up. “I thought you said you had

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  • NaNoWriMo 2011 – Week 1

    Prelude: Amazon Rain Forest – Brazil The moon broke out from behind the clouds, illuminating the junglescape with silvery light that reflected in dazzling highlights from the small stream. The light barely illuminated the ground below the jungle canopy but did reveal the buildings squatting in the middle of the large, cleared field as well as several men wandering slowly up and down the rows of crops growing there. In the darkness beneath the canopy, a shadow moved beneath a tangle of leaves and vines. David Stone lifted a pair of night-vision binoculars to his eyes, carefully angling them to avoid reflecting the moonlight toward the fields ahead, and scanned the area. He lowered them again, touched the earpiece he was wearing and whispered quietly. “I count six. You?” There was a slight pause then the earpiece crackled. “Yes, six on patrol. But I think there is another on the roof of the lab building.” David lifted the binoculars again and looked, then cursed quietly to himself. Gabriel was right; another man stood on what looked to be a platform built against the slope of the roof. He noted that this guard was also using a pair of binoculars to periodically scan the area. “I see him.” he whispered to Gabriel through the earpiece. “He’s running surveillance too. That’s going to make it more difficult.” “Agreed.” came the response. “Should we pull back? Wait for your government or mine to send more people.” David shook his head then remembered that

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  • NaNoWriMo 2011 – Back in the Saddle Again

    Well, NaNoWriMo starts next week. For the three of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is short for “National Novel Writing Month”. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to encourage writers and those who aspire to be writers to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. No, really. I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo several times now and I’ve always failed but I’m trying again this year. My problem has always been that I have ideas for things (including this oft-neglected blog) but never seem to be able to actually consign them to paper (or word processor files in this case). I keep hoping that I will come up some magic formula that will let me write things easily, but have never come up with one. The truth is, creativity is hard work. I’m sure there are some people out there for whom things flow naturally but for me it often feels that there is a physical block between what I want to get out of my brain and actually getting those ideas into physical form. So I’m trying NaNoWriMo again this year. I’m hoping that if I can physically force myself to put words down on paper, then I will somehow open the hole between the inside of my head and the outside. Will it work? Who knows, but for now I’m planning on it. See you in November.

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