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  1. #121
    Thanks FMJ for more of your fantastic story.

    Wayne

  2. #122
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    7

    Later, when Lizzy and Mabel prepared to leave, Pete and Magnus were involved in an animated discussion about the ability of a metamaterial lens to affect Casimir forces and the resulting minimum size of a focused magnetic confinement. Knowing Pete as she did, Mabel was certain the conversation would continue late into the night and she closed and locked the garage door behind them.

    At Mabel’s comfortable home in town, Lizzy thoroughly enjoyed the luxury of privacy with a hot bath and clean pajamas. They talked and watched old 2D movies while, at Mabel’s urging, Lizzy retold the story of her first meeting with the exotic low-slung blue sports car.

    “He’s wide, low, blue, fast and dangerous with a deep voice! What’s not to love?” Lizzy asked laughing at her own joke.

    Mabel produced bowls of rich butter pecan ice cream at midnight and they laughed and talked about Magnus and Pete McCready till half past two in the morning. When Lizzy’s eyes began to droop, Mabel led her to the guest room wishing her a good night and sweet dreams.

    Lizzy had not slept in a real bed in almost a week and when she gratefully crawled into bed between the crisp sheets, she fell fast asleep, but she dreamed of the road.

  3. #123
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    4

    As another day in northern Nevada began to heat up in earnest, Steve, the Special Delivery driver, arrived at Pop’s Garage with the promised special shipping crate.

    Pete thought the requirement of a retina scan was a bit extreme for the receipt of replacement parts, but he tolerated it for the sake of the Special Delivery procedure.
    Especially when Steve informed him he couldn’t deliver this crate without it.

    With Pop’s ID verified, Steve had Pop sign an oddly blank receipt that promptly produced a red “Secure Document” icon at the page bottom. Pop went to the office to retrieve his own data pad and quickly aligned the optical ports of the two instruments to download the receipt. Upon opening it later in the privacy of his office, Pop would discover this shipment wasn’t simply replacement parts but a complete new weapons system.

    Apparently, components for a rotary loader designed to spin the new exotic rounds and a massive power upgrade for the railgun were included. Improvements to the thermal sensor suite and enhancements to communication completed the manifest.

    It was readily apparent that security protocols for exotic weapons work in a covert operation were extreme.
    Last edited by FMJ; 08-17-2017 at 03:12 AM.

  4. #124
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    Thank you! So much story in a small space, don't know how you do it.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  5. #125
    Thanks again. Keep it up!

  6. #126
    Cool

  7. #127
    FMJ thanks for more of your story.

    Wayne

  8. #128
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    12

    Mabel and Lizzy enjoyed the drive in the ancient Lincoln out from town, laughing and talking like old friends and arrived at the garage just as Pop and Steve finished unloading the metal shipping crate from the Special Delivery truck.

    Arm-in-arm, they actually skipped to join Pop and Steve who were taking advantage of the shade under the canopy for a welcome break from the heat.

    “Hello girls!” Pop said enthusiastically. “Steve, I don’t know if you’ve already met them, but just in case, this is Mabel and Lizzy. Mabel, Lizzy, this is Steve, my delivery guy from Special Delivery. That awesome blue machine in the service bay there belongs to Lizzy,” Pop said with a tilt of his head.

    “Pleased to meet you,” Lizzy said offering a hand. “How long have you worked for TVS?”

    “I, um..., I never said I..., Oh shoot, how did you know I worked for TVS?” Steve stammered.

    “I didn’t, until just now,” Lizzy said with a wink as she smiled and turned to walk toward “her machine” in the open service bay.

    “Yeah, she’s a pilot, alright,” Steve said grinning as he watched her walk away. “I better get out of here before she gets the code for my chip, too! Nice to meet you, Mabel, see you later, Pop.”

    Surprised by Steve’s unexpected acknowledgement of Lizzy’s status, Pop was again reminded of the depth the intelligent machine was able to perceive human psychological traits.
    Last edited by FMJ; 08-18-2017 at 11:19 PM.

  9. #129
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    10

    “So, did you boys have a good talk?” Lizzy asked when she sat in the soft leather pilot’s chair.

    “We are on, what Pete McCready calls, a first name basis, if that is what you are referring to.”

    “Yes, that’s what I meant, silly. I heard enough of that wild physics discussion as Mabel and I were leaving to know it was way over my head.”

    “Pop’s range of understanding and experience is much wider than simple mechanics. TVS designation of Pop’s Garage as a service point is well justified.”

    “Yes I believe it is and you’re going to be refueled and get that weapons upgrade that Steve just delivered from TVS today,” Lizzy added with a smirk. “And I will be going to the beauty shop with Mabel for a trim. Bye, Magnus!”

  10. #130
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    Thank you, it is hard to get to much of these stories.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  11. #131
    Thank you FMJ really enjoying your story's

    Wayne

  12. #132
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    10

    If t’would please milady:


    The fairer persuasion could endeavor to forgive the author’s
    vain attempts to accurately portray the scenes and discourse
    in the following chapter.
    Thank you.

  13. #133
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    10

    (11)


    Mabel maneuvered the Lincoln into the last parking space in front of the beauty shop in town with a skill seemingly born of long practice.

    “I don’t see a sign, Mabel. Are you sure walk-ins are welcome here?” Lizzy asked nervously looking at the shop name, “Focus on You” beautifully lettered on the door in a font with lots of swirls.

    “Stop worrying, Lizzy. I’m sure they can fit you in,” Mabel reassured her. “I’ve been coming here for years.”

    Three girls working with customers looked up as the door opened to chorus, “Hi Mabel.”

    A girl at a receptionist desk stood up, “Hi Mabel, who’s your friend?”

    “Hello girls,” Mabel replied in a warm, friendly tone. “This is my very good friend, Elizabeth Temple.”

    Lizzy interjected quickly, “Please, just Lizzy,” embarrassed by her too-proper sounding full name.

    “And just Lizzy would like a trim, manicure and pedicure, my treat,” Mabel said with a twinkle in her eye as Lizzy turned to stare at her open-mouthed.

    “I’m open,” a pretty dark haired girl said raising her hand next to the fourth chair.

    “And I can do your nails when Collette finishes your trim,” another girl piped up from a table where she was doing a manicure for another customer. “I’m Ginger, by the way. Nice to meet you.”

    “See, I knew they could fit you in,” Mabel said with a wink. “Take good care of Lizzy, girls. I have to run to the bank and the post office and then I’ll be back. Bye!”

  14. #134
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    12

    Lizzy just smiled and shook her head in exasperation as she sat down in the comfortable chair with a sigh and Collette started brushing the tangles from her long blonde hair.
    The stylist commented, “I love your cut, how much of a trim were you thinking?”

    “Oh, just an inch or two, whatever you think is best,” Lizzy replied as the stylist began to work.

    Casual conversations in the shop began again where they left off after the interruption of their arrival.

    Lizzy enjoyed hearing the conversations swirl around her about the birth of a new grandchild, the graduation of a nephew from high school and experiences at a family reunion as Collette worked to expertly wash, apply conditioners and trim her hair.

    Lizzy was dismayed to think that she could not share a single recent experience in public without people doubting her sanity or worse, contacting the authorities.

    After a moment, Lizzy decided small talk would probably serve her better than silence.

    “So, how long have you worked here at the salon?” Lizzy offered in an attempt at conversation.

    “Oh, my husband and I moved here from California in March, but I’ve only been working here for a little more than three months. You just don’t know how happy I was to find a place to work where I felt needed and appreciated,” Collette related enthusiastically.

    “We were just so done with California and delighted to find a place with a small town feel where people still value customer service. Mabel wants her employees to share the same view and she pays well. Mabel is the best boss I’ve ever had.”

    “Wait, what?” Lizzy turned to gape at the stylist. “Mabel is your boss? She’s owns this shop? Oh, foot!”

    “Ready for your pedicure?” a girl asked brightly from a side table.

    “I’m back,” Mabel announced as she came through the front door. “Did I miss anything?” she said with a grin.

  15. #135
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    Thank you! Nice down time for Lizzy.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  16. #136
    FMJ- you did just fine. Girls don't tend to get really catty until they know you, or if they're jealous.

  17. #137
    Thank you FMJ for more of your stoy.

    Wayne

  18. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by moldy View Post
    FMJ- you did just fine. Girls don't tend to get really catty until they know you, or if they're jealous.
    Good. I was worried.

  19. #139
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    5

    (12)


    “Well, I guess that’s everything,” Pop said as he removed the water hose from the recessed inlet port on Magnus’ rear fender.
    He watched closely as the hidden hatch over the inlet rotated into position from below and indexed up into the opening with a soft hiss.
    Pop rubbed his fingers lightly over the hatch and whistled softly, “I know it’s there because I just saw it close, but now I can’t even find the edges. Does it just grow together?”

    “My outer sheathing consists of a single diamond iridium crystal matrix energetically reinforced for strength. Energizing the embedded memory nodes in the aperture frames that surround doors, gun muzzles or access ports cleaves the crystal lattice to form the required opening.”

    “So the blue color of the sheathing probably isn’t because of the addition of a pigment either, is it?” Pop asked thoughtfully.

    “No. The blue coloration of my sheathing results from light reflected through the diamond iridium crystal matrix.”

    “So diamonds really are a girl’s best friend,” mused Pop with a chuckle as he sat in the pilot’s chair to review the onboard diagnostics.

    “By the way, why does the new loader have a tachometer, Magnus?” Pop inquired.

    “The exotic rounds for the railgun upgrade must be spun up to a high axial RPM before firing to maximize penetration.”

    “What are they designed to penetrate?” Pop asked curiously.

  20. #140
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    20

    “The exotic round is a hollow core depleted uranium penetrator filled with cryogenic heavy hydrogen. Spun up to 200,000 RPM and launched at Mach 9, they will defeat the magnetic confinement shielding of a fusion engine.”

    Pop thought furiously for a moment before the ramifications of Magnus’ simple explanation dawned on him.

    “Defeat the magnetic confinement? Of course! So the depleted uranium penetrator melts in the plasma core of the engine and releases the cryogenic heavy hydrogen fuel that flashes into a gas! The magnetic confinement of the engine will try to maintain the field stasis, but the end result will no doubt be an overload!”

    “I will be conducting beta testing of the exotic round against the Strax.”

    Pop did a fast mental calculation before adding, “I would suggest observing the effects of that beta test from a distance.”

    “Understood, Pop.”

  21. #141
    Yep, still a great read. Thanks!

  22. #142
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    Wise advice right there, distance is your friend. Thank you!
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  23. #143
    Thanks for more of your story, I am really enjoying it. FMJ

    Wayne

  24. #144
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    Intercepted Transmission

    DO NOT DUPLICATE OR TRANSMIT


    TVS Secure Doc: XI1424.S

    Encryption: 1243

    Source: Unknown

    Location: North American (southwest quadrant)

    Subject: Intercepted Strax transmission fragment

    Translation: Approximate (best available)

    Timestamp: Z:15:24:31

    (Transmission begins)

    A: (garbled and static) <Attack... unresponsive...Hunter 2 destroyed, Tracker 1 destroyed>

    B: <Attacked by?> (garbled and static) <Vector? Unknown? Unacceptable! Transmit detail instant!>

    A: <Attacked! Unit fails. All units fail> (static then explosive report in background) <Killer dead! Killer destroyed!>

    B: <Transmit image! Transmit image instant! Attacker Identify! Respond instant! (static)

    (Transmission ends)

    Timestamp: Z:15:25:05

  25. #145
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    Results from another test of that new gun? Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  26. #146
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    Thanks, FMJ...a good read, indeed!

  27. #147
    FMJ Thanks

    Wayne

  28. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted View Post
    Results from another test of that new gun? Thank you.
    That new shell would take out the whole pod at once unless they were dispersed. Side problem, setting off ours, and everybody else's, nuclear alert system. Shouldn't be much fall out, but if the magnetic field holds at all, we will have a micro hydrogen bomb. When a magnetic field fails, expect a low range EMP, another potential source of collateral damage.
    The difference between being smart and being wise:
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes.
    Being wise is learning from the mistakes of others.
    My life has given others many opportunities to be wise.

  29. #149
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    I guess I stopped thinking a bit to soon, you are right it would make a rather large hole in the ground.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  30. #150
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    (13)


    Lizzy walked out the door of the clothing store carrying two large shopping bags with Mabel in tow.

    “I can honestly say that I knew nothing about this,” Lizzy said sounding worried.

    “Well, they had to know you have a life and they couldn’t expect you to work for free, now could they?” Mabel suggested.

    “Mabel, working never even crossed my mind. I didn’t even suspect I was, and for TVS, no less,” Lizzy replied confused. “And, Steve must have thought I was a total jerk after what I said to him.”

    “At the very least you won’t have to worry about money anymore,” Mabel offered as she opened the Lincoln’s huge trunk.

    Lizzy put her shopping bags inside and braced herself with both hands on the trunk lip while she desperately tried to make sense of the changes that kept happening.

    Lizzy turned to face Mabel in confusion, “I really didn’t know. I was just buying the things I needed and clothes I was sure I could afford. When I checked my chip in there to make sure I wouldn’t go over, I really had no idea. Mabel, there was over two and a half million credits on my chip! I’ve never seen so many zeros in my life!”

    “Heh, I’m glad I didn’t offer to help you pay for your clothes,” Mabel said with a chuckle.

    “Oh, Mabel! I really didn’t know! Honest!” Lizzy cried.

    “I know, I know, I’m just joking,” Mabel soothed. “It simply sounds to me like you’re doing something that’s very important and TVS is aware of it and they are paying you accordingly,” Mabel tried to explain.

    “Mabel...um, could we drive back out to the garage, the long way? There’s more to the story about Magnus I haven’t told you yet and I don’t think it will wait anymore.”

    “Thought you’d never ask. Let’s go!” Mabel said as she opened the door of the Lincoln.

  31. #151
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    4

    All during the indirect route Mabel chose that eventually brought them back to Pop’s Garage, Lizzy related, in animated detail, the incredible events she had witnessed. Events that turned her previously ordinary life upside down immersing her in a world filled with danger, ultra-intelligent machines and otherworldly intrigue.

    Mabel said nothing through it all, realizing from experience that until now, Lizzy had borne the weight of these revelations alone and desperately needed someone to help her share the burden, even if only symbolically.

    But when Lizzy related the details of the horrifying experience of finding the mangled corpse of the waitress from the little diner, Mabel braked the Lincoln to a sudden stop in the middle of the road.

    Gripping the steering wheel tightly and facing forward, Mabel asked,” The waitress, was she a brunette with a highlighted messy up-do with long side-swept bangs? Helpful, friendly, called everybody, Hon?”

    “Yeah, that’s her,” Lizzy said quietly. “Did you know her?”

    “Yes, her name was Bonny. She was a regular customer at the shop a few years back. She lost her job at a small assembly plant when the owner converted to automation and dumped all of his employees. She bounced from one service job to another till she tried waitressing and loved it. The last I heard, she had quite a commute to get to work though.”

    “I’m sorry, Mabel. If it’s any consolation, I have avenged her.”

    “Thank you Lizzy, that helps. I just hope it was quick so she didn’t suffer,” Mabel replied grimly as she gunned the engine in the big Lincoln throwing gravel. “Pop suspected from the beginning that there was a larger game being played that we weren’t supposed to know about,” Mabel confided. “Looks like he was right.”

  32. #152
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    Thank you.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  33. #153
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    10

    Pop had never been good with goodbyes and when Lizzy climbed into his arms again, he got a little choked up.
    Lizzy hugged Mabel and thanked her again and again for letting her come home with her and all the pampering she enjoyed at Mabel’s shop.

    Her goodbyes said, she climbed back into Magnus’ pilot’s chair and the low-slung blue machine pulled out of the garage driveway with Lizzy waving as they drove away.
    Pop and Mabel stood together waving under the edge of the canopy till she disappeared from view.

    Simultaneously, they turned to one another saying, “We need to talk,” and then laughed at the sudden realization of how closely their thoughts ran.

  34. #154
    Thanks. Always waiting for more.

  35. #155
    Great Story, Thanks FMJ

    Wayne

  36. #156
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    5

    (14)


    “They’re getting smarter,” Lizzy said from within the combat restraint as she reviewed the battle log with Magnus.
    “Run that last sequence again where you put a round in that first hunter on the edge of the pod, but slower. Yeah, that’s the one. Okay...right...there!
    It looked to me like he knew the pod was under attack and he wobbled like he couldn’t decide whether to stay in formation or take evasive.”

    “My Lady would suggest a different firing solution?”

    “Not a chance. I know who the marksman is in this team and my reaction time is two hundred times slower than yours. I’m confident your aim is fast, perfect and deadly accurate.”

    “We have enjoyed the element of surprise in a target rich environment for some time.”

    “And we didn’t let any of them get away,” Lizzy added thoughtfully.

    “And yet, the Strax appear to anticipate our attack, even extrapolating the intended target and point of impact.”

    “Is it time to change our tactics so our attack is harder to predict?”

  37. #157
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    4

    “My Lady has a plan?”

    “How about instead of pursuit, just chasing them down at high speed and tearing them up with kinetic rounds, we actually go in for a frontal assault? That is possible, right? We’ve never tried that and they won’t expect it. Tactical gives us the option to choose our attack mode, doesn’t it?”

    “My Lady is correct and observant. I have always chosen the pursuit attack mode to make best use of my superior speed while minimizing the possibility of taking Strax offensive fire.”

    “Let’s give ‘em one right between the eyes so fast they can’t even report back,” Lizzy chuckled.

    “I do need to conduct a beta test of the new exotic rounds we received in the armament upgrade at Pop’s Garage. That attack scenario would be a worthy test for such a weapon.”

    “Are the new exotic rounds you want to test more powerful than the kinetic rounds you usually use? Lizzy asked curiously.

    “Yes, I suspect they are. But due to the axial spin-up requirement, I can only launch one in the same time-frame required to launch four kinetic rounds. Pop believes the results of the test should be viewed from a distance.”

    “Whoa! Pop said that?” Lizzy asked astonished.

    “That was his recommendation and his exact words.”

    “Knowing Pop, I would follow that recommendation to the letter, Magnus,” Lizzy replied seriously.

    “Agreed.”

  38. #158
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    Always good to listen to the support team. Thank you, things are getting a little intense.
    The word Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out. George Carlin

  39. #159
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    Enjoying the story!

    Is it time to find their 'beach head' and hit them when they arrive? Can't hit their off planet supply line, but what about their on planet supply line, supply depots, and bases? More intelligence needed, TVS recovery team to check damaged Stax AI pieces for data?
    The difference between being smart and being wise:
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes.
    Being wise is learning from the mistakes of others.
    My life has given others many opportunities to be wise.

  40. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freebirde View Post
    Enjoying the story!

    Is it time to find their 'beach head' and hit them when they arrive? Can't hit their off planet supply line, but what about their on planet supply line, supply depots, and bases? More intelligence needed, TVS recovery team to check damaged Stax AI pieces for data?
    Answers to all these questions and more, when we tune in next week to, Serious Protection. Brought to you by Arnies' whole beef halves--we deliver! Offer not available after curfew in sectors R or N. (They never come up into the hills!)
    (With full rights and apologies to Firesign Theater)
    Last edited by FMJ; 08-27-2017 at 08:10 AM.

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