Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Momentary Lapse

I could have informed my readers of this a while ago but I'm not really one to 'clue people in'. I'm escaping into literature again and I'm not sure when I'll be back. My amateur attempts at writing satisfied a urge but, now that it's satisfied, I feel no compulsion to continue the Elephant at this time. I apologize for those five or ten people (I flatter myself) who actually read the stuff I posted here. With another nod to Vonnegut I say: "So it goes". You can always stay apprised of my uneventful goings on via Facebook if you so desire. I'm sure all of the above sounds piteously self indulgent but I'm not really in the mood to care.

So. More on The Agency may come later but I'm not sure. Perhaps I'll start something different.

I guess that's all I have to say.

Perhaps a parting quote?
"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
-Sir Richard Steele

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Agency: Part 2

This was a bit delayed...but it's here now.

Chapter 2: The Girders

A flash of light, a whirring, irritating, screech, the smell of ozone. These were the familiar smells of time travel to Dr. Draminov. Dr. Draminov spun through time. Glimpsing, briefly, his past, present, and future missions but focusing particularly on his current one. “That jump had seemed so perfect! Damn it! I had to kill an innocent man to save my skin! Someone will hear about this!” the doctor’s anger grew as he continued his nauseating spin. Due to a clerical error by one of number crunchers at the Agency, and to his own ailing memory, though he was slow to admit it, Dr. Draminov had been forced to discharge his weapon in the presence of innocents and kill the chief coroner. “I suppose that’s what they meant when they said ‘restoring the time line could be messy and often unpleasant’” the doctor mused. Suddenly, with a jaw grinding halt, Draminov was thrown from his spin, landing, as he had practiced many times before, with slight unsteadiness on his perfectly spotless dress shoes. His fur coat curled in front of him momentarily as if caught in a wind. Before him, spread out in all directions, was the city of Washington D.C. Draminov had arrived at his destination.
Draminov continued his musing, for time was, at least for members of the Temporal Studies and Time Line Protection Agency, utterly irrelevant. It wasn’t the first time that Draminov had elongated his mission time window for careful reflection. He liked the time to think and, to Draminov, the views from the Lincoln Memorial in the years before the invention of time travel were some of the best. Really, that had been one of the only reasons he had taken the assignment. He was, he felt, getting too old for the chase. Reconstruction and repair of the time line needed to be left in the capable hands of the next generation. He was getting far too slow to keep up with the hacks, snakes, and Girders. His little quarrel outside the theater a few hours ago had proved that. He’d been forced to make too many miscalculated jumps for the mission to remain clean sweep. Secretly, Draminov hoped that the agency would relieve him of his badge and let him slip into blissful retirement. But, deep down, he knew they wouldn’t do it even if he had to kill an innocent like the coroner. As the most senior agent on staff the agency higher ups needed him for the more difficult and more delicate assignments. His discretion and experience more than made up for his lack of speed. Draminov thought back to his incident earlier. His target window shrinking Draminov had prepared his well orchestrated incursion. And then, the unfortunate had happened. He blew it. From his seat in the balcony of the theater Draminov had taken out his glasses and pocket watch. The man sitting next to him had shifted slightly. Draminov then had done as he had so many times before. Placing his glasses on his nose he had removed his pocket watch from his pocket. Glancing at the dial, he saw his time window, Seven thirty exactly. “Just five more minutes and he’ll be here” he had thought. While still gripping his watch Draminov had returned the watch to his pocket. Carefully concealed from innocent eyes, he had given the watch a squeeze and felt the pocket watch morph into the familiar shape of his revolver. It was now 7:33. Two minutes. The man on his left had shifted slightly again. This time, Draminov took notice, but it was too late. The man had revealed a gun in his left hand. “Sorry piggy. You agency scum have all the time in the world and yet you’re still late for the party. Outside. Now.” The man had motioned for Draminov to exit the theater. Exiting into the cool air outside Draminov had come face to face with his assailants. “These Girders were all the same.” He’d thought, “They all dressed impishly and hoped to catch rookie agents on their first few jumps.” It embarrassed Draminov that he had fallen for their trap. If he had paid enough attention he would have seen the Girder. He would have realized the alteration in the time line. Recently however, he had often forgotten some of the numerous keys to continuity in the mission brief. New agents almost always fell prey to a Girder or two. Usually harmless pranksters with time devices who enjoyed tormenting new agents, the Girder, as this type of criminal was called, had arisen almost as soon as time travel itself. By altering just one minute detail in the time line (and you’d be surprised how small that detail could be: a door locked, a window open, etc.) the Girder could completely destroy the setup of an agent’s mission. Consequently, this would place the agent and their target days, weeks, months, or, in some cases, even years apart from each other. Of course, protocol dictated that if a target did not appear at the exact time and place that was stated in a brief the agent in pursuit was supposed to make an immediate return jump to his own time period. This usually didn’t happen with rookies who, charged with the energy of the hunt, usually stayed back attempting to figure out what had gone wrong with their calculations. This was the Girder’s game. Keeping rookie agents tied up for hours trying to figure out how their mission fell through was, apparently, more fun than seeing the many other attractions that the time line had to offer. After mustering Draminov outside, the three Girders accosted him. Now that he thought about it, his assailants did seem unusually hostile for Girders. The mere fact that they were armed was a deviation from the norm. Usually, Girders liked to blend in with a crowd and silently have their giggles unbeknownst to the agent they were harassing. These Girders seemed especially bold. And to accost an agent in front of innocents was preposterous, even for a Girder! Draminov had no time to think about such developments then as he had stood facing three deadly weapons. Thankfully, the Girders weren’t very bright and, despite their continued threats, hadn’t noticed Draminov’s deft fingers cocking his revolver in the deep pocket of his coat. Usually, an Agency revolver needed to be produced to drawn enough electricity for a discharge. Since Draminov hadn’t drawn his gun, the Girders seemed to believe they had the upper hand. However, Draminov’s revolver was not an Agency revolver. An ancient family heirloom, Draminov’s revolver was from the late 26th century. And while its ammunition was hard to come by now without a time jump, it was worth the hassle. Firing polonium rounds, Draminov’s revolver left no trace of a victim making the stylish gun a perfect weapon for the leave-no-trace nature of a time line agent. Leveling his revolver in his coat Draminov turned to face the leader of the Girders.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Nikola Tesla's Birthday

I watched a really interesting snippet for Nikola Tesla's birthday today. It really is a shame that his genius was nearly lost on the people of his time. Tesla's wildest designs are now becoming reality and his more minor ones (who likes the radio?) continue to change our world. However, we are more likely to pay homage to his chief competitor, Edison, rather than the real genius behind the technology. Despite his inventiveness and dedication to peace, his technology, according to this show, is capable of being formed into weapons of untold power.
While the whole show was interesting, I was particularly enamored with the way he dealt with these possible weapons of mass destruction. In one instance he separated the schematics and distributed these chunks of research to the governments of Canada, Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Tesla felt that in order for this particular weapon to be realized the great nations of the world would need to cooperate with each other. While I'm not really sure why Canada came into the mix I think his idea is generally impressive. I have attached a link to the 'interesting show' and I encourage my readers to watch it. It truly is fascinating. Although, a bit of warning, it is rather long at 40 or so minutes.

Tesla's rumored "time travel" research and legitimate statements regarding such travel will also make an appearance in my latest stories. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Agency: Part 1

I am placing this bit of creative writing at your mercy my dear readers. Be kind, though constructive as this is my first attempt at anything really creative. I understand that it may be a bit strained or even a bit over the top...but what science fiction isn't? Additionally, I haven't had it edited yet...so I'm sure there is a plethora of grammatical mistakes and whatnot. I can only say I'm sorry. You're welcome to tell me where and I'd be glad to fix them.

It is my pleasure to present to you the first "chapter" of The Agency.

Chapter 1: The Sacrificial Lamb

“Should I prepare the body for a more extensive autopsy?” The coroner asked.
“Yes. That would be preferable. I’d like to get this figured out as quickly as possible. I’m in a bit of a rush.”
“I’ll have my findings printed up and on your desk in a few hours.”
“Good.” said the detective, more curtly than was, perhaps, necessary.

Turning on his heel, the detective left as quickly as he’d come.

“Not a very good conversationalist” The coroner muttered.
“At least the people in here don’t talk. Where shall we begin my friends?” the coroner turned to the newest inhabitant of his table.
“I think,” he said out loud, “we’ll begin with personal effects.”
Clipping his wireless recorder onto his ear he made the following notes:

“1 large ring (ruby stone with platinum band)
1 pocket watch (platinum, etched markings on face and interior)
2 cuff links (platinum, red crosses inlaid)
1 pair of glasses (medium magnification, bifocals, platinum rimmed)
1 wallet (currency of various denominations from various countries, driver’s license)
1 metal coin (of heavy weight and containing no visible markings)”

The coroner was only minorly intrigued by the presence of such lavish possessions. After all, it wasn’t the job of the coroner to solve the mysteries of homicide. That job, as he had been reminded many times before, fell to the detectives. The initial crime scene report that the coroner was given only mentioned the perceived cause of death and the basic circumstances surrounding the man’s untimely end. It appeared that the man, a Dr. Igor Draminov aged fifty, was walking home from an evening at the theater when he was attacked by a group of three people. In the ensuing altercation, Dr. Draminov was shot in the chest. The bullet, a solid point, had not left an exit wound, suggesting to the coroner that it was still present in the body. After removing the man’s clothing (1 fur overcoat, 1 suit coat, 1 white button shirt, 1 pair black slacks, 1 pair black argyle socks, 1 pair black dress shoes,) the coroner attempted to look for the entrance wound. Finding only a rather small hole, smaller than that of the traditional entrance wound, near the left pectoral the coroner was momentarily stumped. The crime scene report offered no further insight other than the rather extraneous fact that Dr. Draminov held a doctoral degree in experimental physics. Turning back to the body, the coroner realized that something was wrong. The hole, though small before, was gone. Pondering the oddity of this situation the coroner quickly related the phenomenon to muscle contraction. Deciding it best to get the autopsy completed for the detective, the coroner pressed on. Starting with the head, the coroner made his notes:

“Hair graying clean shaven, eyes ok, no anomalies in ears, mouth, or nose.”
“Facial musculature appears unnaturally contracted near left side of jaw.”

In probing the jaw line the coroner made a rather startling discovery.

“There appears to be some kind of crease on the jar, indicating skin reconstruction or some kind of extensive surgery”.

Indeed, upon lifting at the crease, a great portion of Dr. Draminov’s skin fell away, revealing jaw bone, teeth, and tongue. This was somewhat unusual though not unheard of. The coroner continued to make his notes, oblivious to the contraction of the doctor’s fingers on the other side of the table.

“Apart from the past surgery performed on the jaw, and the previously discovered entrance wound, now gone, Dr. Draminov’s body shows little signs of death.”

At this, the coroner paused, confused. Now that he had a moment to look at the full body on his table the coroner realized the rather impressive physical condition of the doctor’s body. If he didn’t know any better, he’d speculate that the doctor was much younger than fifty. The coroner went to his cabinet seeking a scalpel which was needed to perform the rest of the autopsy. Unfortunately, the new intern at the department seemed to have moved the entire department’s scalpels to the cleaning area after his shift.

“Bloody interns… I swear they’ll be the death of me.” the coroner muttered to himself.

Leaving the examination room, the coroner went to the cleaning facilities in search of a scalpel. If the coroner had, perhaps, remained in the room just a few moments longer, he might have noticed the persistent beating of Dr. Draminov’s heart. A few minutes longer than that and he may have seen the chest rise and fall for the first time in over five hours. A minute later, the formidable though lithe body of Dr. Draminov would rise from the table, reattach its faux jaw, and retrieve its precious “personal effects”. After five minutes into the coroner’s absence, Dr. Draminov could be seen standing fully clothed, once again, surveying his situation. The first noise the Draminov would perceive was the whistling of the coroner as he returned to the examination room. With quick steps Draminov hid behind the door to the examination room. As the coroner entered the room Draminov leapt from his hiding place, twisting the coroner’s neck so quickly and painlessly it took several moments for the doctor’s hand to let go of the scalpel it had held. Letting the coroner’s body to the floor, Dr. Draminov dragged the coroner by his leg towards the examination table. Hauling the body of the coroner onto the examination table, Draminov positioned the coroner’s body like that of every other corpse in the exam room. Moving towards the crime scene report, Draminov picked up a pen and changed the cause of death from “bullet wound” to “broken neck” and made a mental note to square everything away later. Putting on his glasses, Draminov reluctantly removed the platinum coin from his jacket pocket. Holding it in his outstretched palm he waited holding his breath. After five seconds had passed the coin began to hum and release a strong heat. Five seconds later there was a sharp snap, a flash of brilliant light, and Dr. Draminov vanished.

It would be four hours before the new chief coroner would enter the examination room. Lying on the table was the body of the new coroner’s predecessor, although, according to all records that man was Dr. Draminov, an aging physicist assaulted outside the theater. The new chief coroner went to work without a second glance. For, as far as he knew, he had been the chief coroner for nearly twenty years. The chief coroner that Dr. Draminov had killed four hours previously was now a non person, another sacrificial lamb to the continuity of the time line.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

It's been nearly a month...

Forgive me for I have sinned. It's been almost a month since my last post. I don't even have a great excuse. I can't say I'm extraordinarily busy or preoccupied. In fact, I'm anything but. So, my fair readers, I'm truly sorry. I've been told that if I don't have anything nice to say I shouldn't say it at all and I suppose that this bit of wisdom applies to blog posts as well. Additionally, I really haven't had the need or desire to write anything for quite some time. I was stagnant. But never fear! For the past few weeks I have been working on a piece that I will soon post here for your enjoyment. It's quite a bit different than my other posts but rest assured it's coming. I hope all of you have been having a sun filled summer!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


A brief bit of news today...I promise I'll follow this with actual writing.

Three days ago I received one of the greatest gifts a college student can ever receive. Money is great when you get it from a paycheck or from dividends but there really isn't anything like scholarship money. On one hand a scholarship is free money given to you to pursue your goals, and, on the other hand, it's a vote of confidence in your abilities as a student, academic, etc. After a few channels were crossed and repaired with the scholarship office I am the proud recipient of three scholarships. These scholarships should go a long way in taking the financial burden off of my family and college fund. The scholarships and their amounts are as follows:

Forrest W. And Ida J. Benson Scholarship - $1850.00
Ana Call Scholarship - $650.00
Albert Laferriere History Scholarship - $500.00

Special thanks goes to all of the scholarship sponsors and the Sonoma State Scholarship committee who, despite my numerous calls to their office, patiently assured me that I was still eligible for the scholarships despite the US postal service delaying my acceptance letter (long story).