Archive for month: May, 2014

Friday Quote – 5/30/14

30 May
May 30, 2014

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.

H.L Mecken

After all, how can people argue when you’re trying to save them from themselves?

Metal Tuesday – Five Finger Death Punch – From Out of Nowhere

27 May
May 27, 2014

I do loves me some Faith No More, but they aren’t what I would classify as metal. Now, a Five Finger Death Punch cover of a Faith No More song – that’s metal.

Lyrics:

Tossed into my mind, stirring the calm
You splash me with beauty and pull me down
You come from out of nowhere
My glance turns to a stare
Obsession rules me-I’m yours from the start
I know you see me-Our eyes interlock
You come from out of nowhere
My glance turns to a stare
One minute here and one minute there
Don’t know if I’ll laugh or cry
One minute here and one minute there
And then you wave good-bye…
Sifting to the bottom, every day for two
All energy funnels, all becomes you
You come from out of nowhere
My glance turns to a stare
One minute here and one minute there
Don’t know if I’ll laugh or cry
One minute here and one minute there
And it hurts inside
One minute here and one minute there
And then you wave good-bye…

Monday Fiction – Avalon – Book 2 Chapter 2

26 May
May 26, 2014

Erik

Erik pulled his coat tighter around him as he watched his target through a pair of binoculars. Crouched next to him, Kurt was monitoring the bugs they’d placed in the target’s office earlier that night. The German didn’t seem to care about the plunging temperatures, but Erik was a native of Avalon City, which sat on his world’s equator. He’d worked in the cold many times over the course of his career, but he never enjoyed it. Maybe, if Anne would quit taunting him with “Winter is Coming!“, it wouldn’t bother him so much.

“What do you want to ask me Kurt?” Erik asked. For the past half-hour, Kurt’s emotions were roiling with anxiety as he built up his courage. Erik felt Kurt’s courage starting to falter, and their target wasn’t doing anything interesting at the moment. Perfect time to find out what was bothering his native guide.

Scheisse,” Kurt murmured under his breath, “I need your advice. I’m thinking about asking Anne out. Formally.” Erik didn’t say anything for a moment. It wasn’t as if he was surprised. Anne and Kurt had been doing the dance since just after they’d met. Erik knew how the two of them felt about each other, even if they didn’t know how to deal with it. The curse of being an empath. Actually, if Erik was surprised about anything, it was how long Kurt had taken to come to the decision.

“Well, that certainly adds complexity to our mission,” Erik said, “Are you asking for me permission as your boss?”

“More notifying you so that you can request someone to replace me,” Kurt said. “I know what the rules are for this, but–” Kurt stopped suddenly and Erik could feel the sudden bloom of embarrassment.

“Go ahead and say what you were going to say,” Erik said.

“But I don’t want Anne and I to end you like Samantha and you,” Kurt said cautiously.

“Well, I can’t blame you for that,” Erik answered after a long moment, and he nearly laughed at the wave of relief that passed through Kurt. “Unfortunately, we don’t have any assets to replace you. With the current upswing of Dark Towers activity on this world, we need everyone in place. So, keep it discrete.”

“Isn’t that against regulations?” Kurt asked, surprised.

“Pretty much,” Erik answered with a smile. “If Lady Maritza is forced to take official notice, there’ll be hell to pay. So, do us all a favor and make sure that she doesn’t have any reason to take official notice. It’s rather obvious how the two of you feel about each other. You’re both professionals. Act like it, and there won’t be any problems.”

Kurt wanted to say something, but the door of the target’s office opened. Erik and Kurt traded questioning looks. Their target wasn’t supposed to be meeting anyone else for the night. They were just hoping to catch any phone calls before their target went home. Two tall men in matching navy blue suits walked into the office. The target paled as he looked up to see them. Erik couldn’t feel the target’s emotion at this distance, but being an empath meant Erik had learned how to read body language. The target was terrified of his new arrivals.

“I told your clan elders that I wasn’t going to be able to help you,” the target said. Well that was surprising. The target wasn’t strictly a Dark Towers agent, but more of a broker of intelligence to the Dark Towers, as well as native criminal organizations. Erik couldn’t think of a faction that the target wouldn’t deal with.

“The terms we have offered are more than generous,” the shorter of the pair said, with an accent Erik didn’t recognize. Southeastern Europe, Kurt wrote down a pad.

“Yes they are,” the target said, “Unfortunately, I have been told by one of my other clients that I cannot share that particular information upon pain of death. While your inducements are generous, they won’t provide me the protection I need.”

“The clan can protect you,” Short One replied.

“No, you can’t,” the target said, with a mirthless laugh. “Not from this client.” Then, Short One teleported next to the target and loomed over the man. Surprisingly, the target’s fear wasn’t heightened. He actually seemed to relax. Then, he opened one of his desk drawers and picked out a manilla envelope.

“Thank you for your cooperation,” Short One said, “Your payment will be in your account by close of business tomorrow.” The two men left the office. Kurt and Erik exchanged puzzled glances.

“Stay here and keep an eye on the target,” Erik told Kurt, “See if he contacts anyone or is contacted by anyone. I’m going to see who those two are and what was in that envelope.”

“Lady Maritza was very clear that we were supposed to only observe the target,” Kurt reminded him as Erik stood up.

“This is what is called a target of opportunity,” Erik said, “I’m playing a hunch.” Kurt let out an exasperated sigh, which made Erik chuckle. Erik walked to the edge of the roof and perched as he waited for the pair to exit the target’s building. The two emerged from the building and walked confidently down the street. Erik pushed off with a bit of power to the next rooftop. He followed them for a few blocks until they turned into an apartment building’s courtyard. He leapt down behind them.

Both of the tall strangers spun as Erik hit the bricks. Erik couldn’t feel the emotions of either of them. That answered who they were – psychics working for the Dark Towers. So, what would a Dark Towers agent not give to Dark Towers collaborators? Erik stood up and gave the two a casual smirk. His suppressed pistol materialized in his hand.

“I would take it as a kindness if you would turn over that envelope without trouble,” Erik said, keeping his weapon visible, but not pointed at the two. The two silently traded what could charitably called bored looks. The tall one was suddenly in front of Erik. How the hell had he moved so fast? Psychics couldn’t gate. The backhand landed with the speed and fury of an orc. Erik felt his teeth rattle as he stumbled back.

“This is not your concern Avalonian,” the tall man said in a similar accent. Erik tried bringing up his pistol, but the tall man moved instantaneously and had Erik’s arm in a crushing grip. Erik let the pistol drop to the ground and the grip eased slightly. “Do not press this further or I will be forced to kill you.”

“You’re not collaborators, are you?” Erik asked, grunting back against the pain. The tall one quirked an eyebrow in confusion before letting out a harsh laugh. As soon as the tall one released Erik’s arm, the Avalonian slammed him with a blast of power. The tall one was lifted off of his feet and thrown back to his colleague. Erik picked up his pistol off of the ground and pointed it at the two of them.

“Last chance,” Erik said, “Give me the envelope.” The two men fell into fighting stances. Erik placed the sights on the tall one, but the short one was punching him before Erik could pull the trigger. Erik felt his ribs crack as the short one rained a series of blows to his torso. Erik knocked back the short one with a blast of power. Then stars erupted in his eyes as a sledgehammer blow hit him in the back of his head. Erik stumbled and a second blow knocked him to the ground. The two men spoke in a language Erik didn’t understand as he fought to remain conscious. One last trick to try.

Erik placed a thin barrier of power above him as he took several deep breaths. He would have the barest second’s worth of advantage with the way these two moved. He felt one of their hands move through the barrier. Erik pushed himself up with a burst of power as he drew Far’ling from its sheath under his jacket. The short sword gleamed brilliantly before effortlessly slicing off the tall one’s hands. The man let out an unearthly scream as his hands smoldered on the ground. Part of Erik wanted to press the attack, but he knew better. Pushing hard against the stones, Erik flew into the air. With a tendril of power, Erik managed to snag his pistol as he flew onto a nearby roof.

He laid on cold steel of the roof, gasping for breath. Whatever those men were, they weren’t anything he’d dealt with before. Erik was going to have to ask Jason about them without explaining what Kurt and he were doing. The Americans tolerated the Avalonians, but they did tend to take a dim view of actual espionage against persons nominally of American citizenship. Before Erik could come up with a decent fib, the blackness swallowed him.

Friday Quote – 5/23/14

23 May
May 23, 2014

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.

Learned Hand

The two quickest deaths of liberty in the hearts of the populace are “safety” and “convenience.”

Friday Quote – 5/23/14

23 May
May 23, 2014

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.

Learned Hand

The two quickest deaths of liberty in the hearts of the populace are “safety” and “convenience.”

When Guns Aren’t Available…

22 May
May 22, 2014

The bad guys will use explosive-laden SUVs.

Guns, knives, explosives, motor vehicles, airplanes, bats, bottles, and numerous other items have been used to kill people. They’re tools. The real danger are people who are willing to murder others.

MAG-20 Class

22 May
May 22, 2014

I’m going to be at the June MAG-20 Live Fire class in Tampa (actually Dade City).

Expensive? Hell, yeah. Worth it? Hell, yeah. Unfortunately, it’s the same weekend as Florida Carry’s Open Carry Fishing Event, so I’ll miss that.

Still, totally worth it. After action report to follow.

Open Carry Activism

21 May
May 21, 2014

Rather than rehash the current Open Carry kerfuffle, I’m going to post this video by Dr. Phil Plait. He’s talking about skeptical activism, but there’s some damn good pointers for those of us who want to win people over to Open Carry.

Metal Tuesday – Manowar – Hail and Kill

20 May
May 20, 2014

This is one of the songs that got me into power metal. It’s also what stoked my interest in “battle” metal songs. Without further ado, Manowar’s “Hail and Kill.”

Lyrics:

Brothers I am calling from the valley of the kings
With nothing to atone
A dark march lies ahead, together we will ride
Like thunder from the sky
May your sword stay wet like a young girl in her prime
Hold your hammers high

Blood and death are waiting like a raven in the sky
I was born to die
Hear me while I live
As I look into your eyes
None shall hear a lie
Power and dominion are taken by the will
By divine right hail and kill

Hail, Hail, Hail, Hail and Kill, Hail and Kill
Hail, Hail, Hail, Hail and Kill, Hail and Kill

My father was a wolf
I’m a kinsman of the slain
Sworn to rise again
I will bring salvation, punishment and pain
The hammer of hate is our faith
Power and dominion are taken by the will
By divine right hail and kill
Hail, Hail, Hail, Hail and Kill, Hail and Kill
Hail, Hail, Hail, Hail and Kill, Hail and Kill

Rip their flesh
Burn their hearts
Stab them in the eyes
Rape their women as they cry
Kill their servants
Burn their homes
Till there’s no blood left to spill
Hail and Kill
Power and dominion are taken by the will
By divine right hail and kill

Hail, Hail, Hail, Hail and Kill, Hail and Kill

Monday Fiction – Book 2 – Chapter 1

19 May
May 19, 2014

Anne

“Remember to relax and concentrate on just feeling the magic,” Veronica said. The two women were sitting cross-legged across from each other. The thick carpet of Anne’s sitting room made the position slightly less uncomfortable. Anne didn’t understand why they couldn’t do this on her perfectly nice overstuffed chairs. Veronica tsked in reprimand which brought Anne’s mind back to what they were supposed to be doing. Anne tried to relax her mind to see the lines of magic. Of course, that was assuming she could relax her mind.

“You’re still not relaxed, Anne,” Samantha said from across the room. Of course, the psychic got to sit in one of the comfy chairs with a drink in her hand. Anne felt the slight pressure in the mind as Samantha scanned her surface thoughts. After three months of living with the Avalonians, Anne was used to Samantha’s casual probing. As far as they were concerned, it was no different from someone being able to read the expression on your face. “Veronica, you’re not going to get anything done today with her.”

“Why not?” Veronica asked, trying to hide her annoyance behind a facade of calm.

“Because Anne can’t concentrate on learning how to sling spells when she’s occupied with what she is planning to do tonight,” Samantha answered, smiling.

“Damn it, Samantha,” Anne said. Anne turned back to Veronica. “I was really trying. Really.” Veronica audibly sniffed and stood up with an unearthly grace.

“Very well. What is so important that you can’t concentrate during one of our few sessions?” Veronica asked. Anne felt a stab of guilt at the small woman’s glare. Anne knew these sessions were important to help her get control of her newly-discovered ability to use magic. Unfortunately, Anne was also a homicide detective and had a stack of cases that took up most of her waking hours. In the three months since Anne and the Avalonians moved into their new home, she’d only been able to make a half-dozen sessions with Veronica.

“I’m going to ask Kurt out tonight,” Anne answered hesitantly. Veronica’s eyes went wide in surprise, while Samantha just wore a satisfied smile.

“As in a date? A real date? Not one of those fake dates you’ve been having with him for the past couple of months?” Veronica asked, her stern instructor face melting into the hopeful smile of a young woman.

“What do you mean ‘fake dates’?” Anne asked, feeling the crimson rising in her face.

“Why do you think he’s always volunteering to go with you when you go running or when you hit that coffee shop in the morning?” Samantha asked. “All those times up on the roof?”

“We just talk,” Anne protested, knowing that the other women were right. Kurt had been perfectly willing to be whatever Anne needed for the past few months as she adjusted to her new life and the loss of her old partner Dale. It was only in the last week that Anne decided that she wanted more from Kurt and felt ready to pursue it.

“So, what is this real date?” Veronica asked. Anne stood up and walked over to where her purse was hanging. She pulled out the three laminated strips of paper and showed them to Samantha and Veronica.

“Three tickets to the Mia Gold concert, and they’re right up front,” Anne asked. “Two for Kurt and me, with a spare for whichever of you has to do guard duty. I had to twist one of my CI’s arms to get these without bankrupting me.”

“That is so cool!” Veronica said, looking at the tickets in awe. “That concert’s been sold-out forever.” It was times like this that made Anne remember Veronica was only in her early twenties. Very early twenties.

“I’m glad you’re appreciative Veronica, because you’re going with them,” Samantha said, the slightest hint of disappointment in her brown eyes. Both Anne and Veronica looked at her in surprise.

“Wait, you’re a much bigger fan of Mia than I am,” Veronica said, “You’ve got all of her songs on your phone. Why don’t you go?”

“Because I can’t,” Samantha said, cryptically, “I’m sorry. I just have other things that I need to do that night. So, feel free to escort them and enjoy the concert. Just remember why you’re going.”

“Nothing against you Veronica, but shouldn’t Erik be the one to go with us? He hates Mia Gold, so he’d just be there to guard us without being tempted to just listen to the music.” Anne saind.

“Erik will be busy with me at the time,” Samantha answered. “So, it will have to be you Veronica.” Veronica and Anne both gave Samantha shrewd looks.

“The two of you will be busy with something that you’re not going to tell us about while everyone else is out of the house?” Anne asked, with a mock severity. Samantha gave Anne an annoyed look, which caused Anne and Veronica to burst out in laughter.

“We have to do something for Lady Maritza,” Samantha said. “For the record, you two are incorrigible.”

“Well, it’s just that the two of you are so close, and you’ve never given us a good reason why you haven’t got together before,” Veronica said.

“That’s because there’s never been a good reason other than timing,” Samantha answered, clearly uncomfortable. “For the longest time, we were happy just being friends. Most of the time, like now, even if we wanted to do anything, we couldn’t. So, we just have a close friendship.” Samantha stood up from her chair. “I should let you two practice. I’ve got some reports to look over for the lady.”

“Well, that was odd,” Anne said, watching Samantha leave her apartment.

“What? She always gets flustered when we talk about her and Erik,” Veronica said, sitting cross-legged on the floor.

“No, not that,” Anne said, “She was lying about having something to do with Erik on the day of the concert.”

“So?” Veronica asked.

“It’s just an odd thing to lie about,” Anne said, her detective instincts kicking in. Odd things tended to get her attention. Veronica read Anne’s expression and let out a long sigh.

“Well, since we’re not going to get any training done tonight, how are you going to ask Kurt out?”