Well winter continues and there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. Now that would be funny, I mean if we could do something about it, say, write Congress, complain, and get summer extended. Of course then I would be complaining about the heat.
Happy almost Christmas! Yesterday I built the last two cars for the RAD update, so last night I began cleaning up the files and entries to put together the new version of RAD.
I also am drawn to jumping feet first into a partial story I wrote a few months back, working title: Dawn of Time. It is stone age fiction, kind of hardcore cave man stuff: Like the way I suspect it was from listening to hundreds of hours a lectures, docu-series, professors, doctorates, archeologists and so forth. Things have changed so dramatically concerning our roots, with the discovery that Denisovans were a third evolutionary line. So, it wasn’t just the Neanderthals that went extinct, it was both species, different species of human, but close enough to interbreed, leaving both DNA within our own, and making Cro Magnons the last surviving humans.
The first view of Neanderthals when they were first discovered was of brutish, violent creatures more monkey than man. It took a lot of study and work to de-bunk that theory, even though the evidence didn’t point that way. People believed they were brutes because of the way they were drawn and represented in articles; most of which was strictly conjecture.
Then along came several serious archeologists, scientists, paleontologists and Jean Auel who wrote the Earth’s Children’s books about a young woman named Ayla: Orphaned as a 5 year old when her Cro Magnon mother died, found half dead and nursed back to health by a Neanderthal Medicine Woman of the Clan; and the stereotypical Neanderthal changed quite a bit. They became gentler, more human, more humane, and the archeology began to bear that out. Then several years ago some archeologists discovered a strange bone, just a finger tip, in a cave that was filled with predominantly Neanderthal artifacts. It didn’t seem to be Neanderthal, or Cro Magnon, but something larger, perhaps just a larger specimen.
It took time to find more, and surprisingly they were able to extract DNA from the sample and another sample and realized they were looking at another sub-species of man. That lead to searching modern human DNA for Denosovan DNA, and since Neanderthal DNA had been mapped and percentages of their DNA found in humans, it was a much faster process to look for and find Denosovan DNA in modern humans.
That changed everything, and if you have been keeping up on the published scientific data over this last year, yes, the year of Covid. Maybe many people missed the publications and lectures and dig information because of Covid. For me, it was an excuse to finally give up on regular TV and gravitate at first to music, then NetFlix, then YouTube. And it was there I began seriously chasing down my Documentary love.
I fell in love with Sue Perkins, and wished she could be narrating, and starring in every docu I watched, but I ran out of Sue Perkins docus and went looking for something else, and found Neanderthal, Denosovan, Cro Magnon… Early Man. Lectures, active digs, finds. So, there you go.
I was already a Jean Auel fan, so it was not even a leap to get me interested, and I found that the relationship between Cro Magnon and Neanderthal was changing. Yes, definitely human, and humane, they buried their dead for instance, but also artistic, skilled, and pretty much evenly suited to the abilities of the Cro Magnon peoples. Yet they died out and Cro Magnon didn’t. The Neanderthal;s even had advantages of the area and lands where they made either last stand. They had lived there for thousands of years before the Cro Magnons left Africa and came to Europe. So they were suited to the colder climate, they new the hunting grounds, yet the Cro Magnon came and with 45.000 years the Denosovans and the Neanderthals were gone.
So, my little story I started: It is a story that can highlight each people and their relationships with one another. First; although not animals, neither of the three species were anything like we would think of as civilized. There have found excavations where Neanderthals were killed and butchered. Hmm, so, they may have considered each other inferior?
Some things remain to be guessed at, there is no way to know, but some things, more and more things, are being discovered with science: Being understood by Paleontologists, archeologists and scientists, and old bones and fossils are being retested and giving up more information because the ways of extracting evidence and DNA have changed. A small piece, such as that tip of a finger bone that sat for decades until someone rediscovered it, can deliver more data that it’s discoverers ever thought that it could.
So, cold, winter, almost Christmas and I am running on about Early Man. I love it though. I even bought a HDTV for my office, used on Mercari to allow my YouTube obsession to play all day while I work. And yes, I paid the 12 bucks a month for Premium YouTube; so no commercials and tons of quality content and music.
You can check out the addition of the beginning of my Dawn of Time writing on the right bar, under Projects/Portfolios.
As for Christmas, well it’ll be here soon. I’ll leave you with a short story and wish you happy Holidays! Dell.
Copyright 2018 Dell Sweet all rights reserved.
Cover Art © Copyright 2018 Dell Sweet
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He got a good look at Petra as he flagged her through the air-locks: All fresh air; your basic space bug-Earth bug delousing unit. People had at one time believed that space was sterile. A few serious contaminations early in the century had stopped that. Of course the delousing process rendered you sterile. It was the same, male or female. The price you paid, so you banked your eggs or your sperm and didn’t give it any more thought. Space travel, constant radioactive exposure, caused all sorts of birth defects. It only made sense.
She was tall, blue-black hair, high cheekbones: Russian. The hair had to be dyed, but it suited her face which was hard edged and a little angular. Something past pretty, but less than beautiful… Maybe, he decided.
He had read her information over twice as he had waited for transport. He had also picked up the lounge seven video feed, matching the description with what he saw so he better understood who he was looking at. He had initially gone by the name to conjure a description in his head. He had been far off to say the least.
He knew she was on thin ice: About a year left on her military benefits and she would be declared homeless; probably insolvent shortly after that. Her only choices were military services or a foot in the door somewhere. Mike had no doubt she would use the job as a stepping stone, but it would set up his operations with Star Dancer for the next two years and he needed the stability back.
Top ten percent of her classes: Short on military experience, only a two year plan. Fluent in twelve languages, double the average. She had no political advantages so she had no opportunities in the corporate world. She needed him it seemed as much as he needed her.
He buzzed her through the last lock. Flushed the air and then keyed his Com-Link.
“I’ve sent the El for you. It’s a slow go traveling three hundred decks, but it’s programmed to bring you to the bridge. I’ll see you in about twenty minutes, Miss Stanovich.”
She turned her dark eyes to the camera. “Thank you.”
Star Dancer Bridge
“Full gravity?” Petra asked as she stepped from the El.
He had met her at the elevator door and they were walking the curved and window ported outer hallway that ringed the central area.
“It’s magnetic and yes it’s full-time… Does it feel like Earth?”
“Very much so… I didn’t think an intra…” She colored.
He laughed. “Don’t worry about it; you won’t hurt my feelings. I know, fresh out of service you must have seen technology that makes this old bucket look its age.”
She smiled, but her face was still flushed.
“Really… I do understand and don’t worry… The field is a perk. The feds installed it. They ship some gravity sensitive stuff, there’s a small cargo space directly above us and really sensitive ‘Destroy if captured’ stuff in security safes on the main deck. One deck down is the exercise suite. Two decks down we have Fed living quarters. Federal troops every trip out. So… We get gravity full time.” He smiled at her again and she smiled back.
“It’s not perfect though. The mag field takes a little getting used to. It’s never bothered me though,” he finished abruptly; realizing that he had just run on longer than he needed or had intended to.
“What does it do?” She asked. “Side effects?”
“Space sickness… Upset stomach: Two of my navigators and one of the Fed crew… It lasted a few days and then they got their space legs. “He laughed.
“You said exercise equipment?”
“Another perk: I carry full crews out bound every trip and I almost always come back with a dead-head crew too. They’re supposed to use it, but they rarely do. They tend to socialize together on their own deck. There’s a small inner-deck El that connects us. The exercise deck is state of the art: Weight machines, treadmills, elliptical, stationary bikes… It’s nice.”
“But shouldn’t they check in with you?” She seemed surprised.
Mike shook his head and shrugged. “Technically I am their captain, but in actuality they couldn’t care less. They’re company men and women: Fed military or company security; civilian transfers, in-contract replacement personnel. They take their orders from the company or the on-ship assigned security chief. As long as they don’t interfere with the running of my ship we operate independently. You’re used to chain of command…?”
“Nothing like that here: We’re like neighboring countries, my own crew stays here and the Fed crews stay there. I can’t recall a time when I have met more than two or three of a crew at any given time. The security chief is Robert Baylor. He’s been assigned to me for the last…” He looked thoughtful. “Something like twelve years. I meet with him before we begin each trip, in fact he was just up here a few hours ago. I might see one or less of his crew during a trip and of course my crew consists of me and a navigator that’s it.” He shrugged once again. “That’s the reality of intra cruising.”
“You transport inmates?” Petra asked.
“Sometimes,” Mike agreed. “I have some outbound this trip. I’ll never see them… Would never know they are there except Baylor briefs me on them. When we reach Twenty Seven, which is the Mars max prison colony they’ll be off loaded. When we finish up there might be some parolees to transport back.”
“The parolees are up here with us?” Petra asked.
“No, never. The only ones up here with us are members of my crew. That consists of me and thee if you take the job. They will house with the feds… Same goes for any hitch; just a name for anything Earth bound that has a pulse. That is all Fed responsibility.”
She nodded and followed him onto the bridge.
The bridge on an Intra-Cruiser is a very small area. It is at the front of the pod with a wrap-around viewing port and a large viewing screen between the seats that could be switched to multiple feeds or single feeds anywhere on or off ship. Contrary to popular belief, even Mike’s own until the fourth grade; there wasn’t always anything of great interest to see in space at any given time.
Most of the wall space was taken up with smaller flat panel displays hooked into ship systems. There were three console units with chairs directly facing the continuous port and center screen.
“You would be here with me most of the time.” Mike waved his hand to include the entire room. “Take your pick of seating, any console can be configured the way you want it to be. Sit down give a shot it’s pretty straight forward.”
She sat; pulled the overhead monitor down and had the navigation screens up in just a few moments. She studied them for a few seconds. “Looks easy enough.”
“It is… Believe me; you’ll be bored most of the time. Off duty there’s the gym. You’ll house with me on our own deck. The rooms are small, just a built in rack and lockers, drawers. There are four racks in each room, three rooms, so in theory I have the sleep space for twelve people. You can pick the room you want. I just spread out my vast collection of junk on the other racks in mine. Ship to Earth is always open; just keep in mind we’re on the backbone of the communications structure, so limited priority. It usually hits the stream in an hour or two. We have personal view-screens in the room and personal logs ship wide. Vids, music, eBooks… You automatically have full educational credits and full access to anything Fed. Anything you want to study; download it and you’ll get credits for it, it will cost you nothing… A Fed perk… There are so many ways to fill the time.”
“When would I have to decide?”
Mike looked at one of the wall monitors and the time stamp that ran along the bottom. “You have about four hours from now. That will give me time to re-configure rations, get your licensing in order, passport, extra fuel supplies… Or, you could think it over this trip and I’ll be back in thirteen months, give or take… That’s my average round trip.”
“So… So you’re offering me the job?” she asked. She was a little wide eyed.
“Absolutely… You’re qualified… Listen, let’s face it you’re overqualified. I’d be damn lucky to get you. The only thing I’d ask of you is the standard two year contract.” She started to speak, but he held up his hands.
“You can’t hurt my feelings. Two years as we both know is the maximum benefit time for you and it will give you the time to look around. It is an incredible world out there. You won’t believe all the contacts and people you’ll meet. It will give you some real time to breathe… Think about what you really want to do. I’ve got some good contacts I could point you at.”
“You would do that for me?”
“Absolutely… You do right by me and I’ll be happy to do right by you.”
“Okay.” She looked around the room. “My stuff is in a locker off Lounge 7.”
It took him a second. “Oh, you meant okay as in you’ll take it, the job?”
“She smiled. “Sorry. Guess I forgot to add yes I’ll take the job.”
“No, no I’m a little slow.” He turned back to his monitor and pulled up the re-stocking charts. “Any particular wants or needs? We eat pretty standard stuff, reconstituted ready meals, but the Fed contracts load us up with all kinds of stuff. Perks again, but they are well stocked here at Fourteen… Real coffee… Media… Whatever.” He continued through the screens and began to recalculate the fuel requirements.
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