Monday, 26 March 2018

A Space Story - Part 3

I hope that you've been enjoying the start to our sci-fi epic being produced between Tim Clark and I, it's time for the next piece! If you want to catch up on the previous parts:
Part One -
Part Two -

“There’s definitely something down there,” Lieutenant Send commented, his eyes fixed on his sensor displays as they had been for the past five minutes as the Tillerson cruised towards the large asteroid.
“Hang on,” he added.
“What is it?” Captain Danger asked. For all that this was an exceedingly dull mission, he could help but get just a little excited.
“A comet with a very high metallic content just passed the asteroid. Irregular orbit.”
“Do comets usually have very high metallic content?” Danger asked the science officer sat behind him.
“Occasionally,” Officer Landale said with a shrug, “we’ve had various reports of these in the past.”
“Hmm.” Danger commented, tapping his fingers on his armrest. He needed a snack.
“Distance to asteroid?” First Officer Konetkov asked.
“Just over twelve thousand kilometres,” the helmsman replied.
“Can we get a visual on the probe? On the viewscreen?” the captain asked.
“I’m pinpointing the location and transferring to the main screen, sir.” Send answered.
The screen, which had been showing a view of most of the asteroid, flickered and changed to show a particular bit of the asteroid. There was something there, sat on the surface, that definitely did not look like it belonged on a asteroid.
“Can we compare that object to our database?” Danger asked. He was aware that he was asking a lot of questions today. It was almost as though he was out of his depth.
“It’s far too big to be a probe, captain.” Landale said with the know-it-all demeanour of an Ohio State graduate.
“So what is it?” Konetkov said, rising to her feet so she could stand closer to the screen. Everyone knew that she could do with glasses, or laser eye correction, but no one dared tell her.

The words tumbled from Danger’s lips.
“It’s a ship,” he uttered, the expression on his face making it look as though he was surprised at what he was saying.
“It doesn’t look like any Earth Spacefleet ship, captain.” Lieutenant Send, objecting. Danger frowned at him - he could be annoying sometimes. Plus he was taller than him.
“It’s not Earth Spacefleet,” the captain said. He turned to the engineering officer at the back of the bridge, who was trying to look busy.
“Please confirm that all sensors are recording, and that internal ship cameras are recording. Earth Spacefleet Procedure Three Two Two is in effect.” he said, swiftly running his fingers through his hair in an attempt to comb the thick graying locks into place. He suddenly wished that he had had a shower that day.
 Konetkov turned to him and held up a finger in query. “Sir, Procedure Three Two Two is the process of recycling human waste tanks for water generation. Are you sure that’s the one that you want?”
Danger growled, and prodded his control panel to bring up a list of Earth Spacefleet procedures. “Two Three Three!” he barked.
Everyone on the bridge suddenly became very professional, and very sharp.

It was down to Captain Anthony Danger of the Tillerson to speak the next, potentially historic words. He took a last drink of his cold coffee to clear his throat.
 “C&C,”, he said, “Activate external communications, and commence broad spectrum extra-terrestrial greetings. Let’s say hello.”

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Now live - The Journey: Part One!

It's time!

After all the buzz and excitement from last weeks post, it's time to let people out of their misery.

I and my fellow blogger, Tim Clark of the excellent Life, Explained, are going to write a science fiction serial, told from different points of view.  Read below the first part of our sci-fi epic, and stay tuned to Tim's blog for part 2!


Captain Anthony Danger of the Venture-class Earth Spaceship Tillerson, sipped his hot coffee. It had been a long, dull mission for the 80-strong team manning the long range vessel, sent on a low priority mission to explore a series of star systems. There had been little demand from Earth Spacefleet to send a ship at all, but a politician back home had been elected in the Mars 2120 elections on his promise to “Further the Exploration of The Cosmos!”, vowing to identify new mining sources and expand the scientific discovery programme.

 Once the politician had been elected, and discovered just how expensive deep space exploration was, he plumped for building the smallest scout ship he could and sending a somewhat mediocre crew of career spacers out in it, to go look at a group of star systems that, the scientists advised, could be relied upon to “not find anything too interesting that might result in a demand for prohibitively expensive research”.

 So far, they had spent a little over seven months investigating four stars, two uninhabitable planets, seventy two asteroids, and six comets, the last of which they had managed to drill and obtain a large sample of ice.  The ice was asserted as being essential for scientific research, although it was worth noting that, apart from giving the science team something to look at, the ships galley was suddenly offering Long Island Iced Teas again.

 In the bijou square command bridge of the Tillerson, Captain Danger enjoyed a slightly nicer seat than the others, and was positioned in the centre of the room where he could easily turn to address any of the control stations. His second-in-command, Commander Anna Konetkov, had a seat alongside him. Each of them had a control display to the side. In front of them were a bank of three desks, for Helm, Sensors, and Communications/Combat (generally referred to as C&C). Behind them were ancillary stations for other ships functions such as Engineering control, Science, and Research. All stations ultimately faced a large display screen, which was currently showing an asteroid, an irregular two hundred kilometre rock slowly rotating in the darkness, a hundred thousand miles away.

 “Sendie, what’s in that rock?” Captain Danger asked.
 Sensor Operator Lieutenant James Send checked the sensor returns, before half-turning in his seat to address the captain.
 “Asteroid Gamma 6/14 shows reasonably high metallic concentrations of Nickel and Iron, but I can’t give more detail until we get closer.”
 “That’s fine,” Danger said with a shrug, “we’ll get there. No rush.”
 The crew sat in silence, some monitoring their various control panels, while others like C&C (which had spent at least 30 weeks of the 31 week journey bored to tears reading ships communications which covered important issues such as the monthly darts tournament) generally mucked about on games and simulators to pass the time.

 Eventually the dagger-shaped E.S. Tillerson got somewhat closer to the asteroid. Sensor data began to improve in quality. Lieutenant Send reported.
 “I’m detecting high amounts of Nickel and Iron, sir, Lower amounts of silicon, oxygen, gold, palladium... this is a good asteroid, Captain. It’s worth putting on the mining list.”
 “It would even have potential as a future base,” Commander Konetkov ruminated. Danger nodded.
 “Hang on,” Send said, peering at his display and poking controls.
 “What is it?” Konetkov asked, a moment before Danger could speak.
 “I’m detecting traces of a radioactive element... Curium.”
 “Curium?” Danger queried.
 “Yes, sir, Curium.”
 “We’ve never encountered Curium naturally in space before.” Danger said, frowning.
 Konetkov rose and turned to address a woman at the Research station at the back of the command bridge.
 “Have we had any space probes out here?”
 The woman checked the computer. “There have been a number of AI probes that have flown through this system, although I don’t have records of their exact flight plans.”
 Konetkov nodded and sat down again. “That’s it, Captain. It’ll be a probe that’s malfunctioned and probably crashed onto the asteroid.”
 Danger nodded. “A probe... we might be able to recover it and get some data from it. This might be interesting.”
 He raised his voice. “Helm - take us in closer.”

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Buzz and Excitement...

Do you want some BUZZ?

Are you awaiting EXCITEMENT?!?


There's something coming on this blog, in the near future.

Something new!

It'll be great, I promise. Or not - maybe.

But anyway, look out for it, next weekend.

In fact, there's a (tiny) chance for you to be involved in some way. In the comments, tell me something. It could be a name, an event, a character you like, an anecdote about yourself or someone you know, a facial expression, a totally made up thing.. anything. It doesn't matter. Tell me in the comments (or email me at and maybe something that you tell me will appear in a thing that's going to kick off next weekend.

I might be giving more detail before the weekend, I haven't decided yet. Or I might just drop it on the internet. Perhaps I need to discuss with the other interested party (spoiler alert - there's someone else involved) what they think.

In the meantime - it's the weekend, so cheers!

Not sure what drink I've got here. I do know though that my hair isn't as dark as this photo indicates!

Monday, 5 March 2018


Now, I work in construction. This gives me the confidence to construct some buildings as the one in the image below, made out of 3 cardboard boxes, some letters, and a couple of metres of parcel tape.

But, it's one thing working in a sector, it's very different when you try to apply your skills at home.

This, for example, is the wall above the window in my son's bedroom.

You may notice that there is only one hook to the left of the window for a curtain pole, and not one on the right. That's because it's come out of the wall (albeit due to a heavy tug on a curtain)

It might not stand out very well in the picture, but there's actually quite a few places where the wall has been plastered or holes filled.

In short, those curtains have fallen down a good half dozen times since I've lived in this house.

I can't work it out - I use rawlplugs (aka wall anchors), the biggest screws I can find that will fit the hooks, sweat and tears. I'll get those curtains up... and several months later my son will roll against them or something, and they'll tumble down like Jack and Jill with a pail of water.

In other news, I found this the other day

I bought this mainly because one of the fruits in the box apparently is "chokeberry". I'd never heard of them but apparently chokeberries are actually a thing, I just thought it was a poor translation of some other fruit. I am yet to choke on any of them, but I'll keep you updated.
TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs
Paperblog BlogCatalog