Saturday, April 30, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Too much help


“It’s like trying to crack an avocado seed,” Coal said in frustration. “I just don’t see any way in.”

“Exactly,” Ma-rye-a agreed with admiration of Daniel’s work.

She and Coal had their virtual heads together over Cassie’s program trying to break the security on the firewall around Daniel’s program. There was no doubt in my mind that that was what it was. Daniel had hidden a backup to his Nano program in Cassie for insurance. At least whoever snatched him would not kill him when he revealed the program was set to be released if anything happened to him. No one would profit if it was out there on the NET for everyone.

“Okay,” I said to Ma-rye-a and to the team aboard MT2424. “I am convinced it is the program and frankly, I don’t care. I just want to find Daniel. Can you folks do anything to help locate him?”

“You need to be very care,” Damion said in frustration. “You have what they want. Daniel put you in just as much danger loading the program in Cassie as he is with the program in his mind.”

“I’m safe aboard ship, Damion, but thanks for the concern,” I responded.

Targus’ image took up most of the frame of my monitor. “I can make an official request that the Valarians locate Daniel.”

“Well, that would be a start.” I sat back in my chair and took a sip of my cold tea. I don’t think I had managed to get to the tea hot in the past two days. Luckily, MT2424 was too far away to hop over and give us a hand searching for Daniel, even though Damion had tried to convince Targus my problem was worth the trip. Tim would arrive in another few hours and I was not looking forward to dealing with the dynamics of inviting official and unofficial law to the same manhunt. If Captain Targus could put the pressure on from afar, perhaps it would distract the Valarian’s attention from whatever Tim had in mind for the recovery of Daniel. That is, of course, if the Valarians actually had him and he hadn’t been kidnapped by some other group.

“And if the Valarians say they don’t have him?” I asked.

“Then you hire one of your mercenary friends to go in and make sure they don’t,” Targus said. The Captain seemed almost clairvoyant. “The Valarian’s are not someone the Galactic Forces would want one of their MT units to agitate. If you find that someone else has taken him off Valaria feel free to contact us again. We will do our best to assist you in tracking him down. Otherwise, our hands are tied.” Targus leaned closer to the monitor. “I will call you when I get the response from the Valarian government. MT2424 Out.”

The screen went blank and I sat back taking another swig of my tea before I remembered it was just as cold as my trail to Daniel.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Cassie's Secret

“Is Daniel dead?” Cassie asked.

“Of course not.” I assured her and me at the same time.

“Are you sure?” She asked.

“Yes, I’m sure. He has been kidnapped. We don’t know where he is, but we’ll find him.” I hoped before anything bad happened to him.

“I need to know when he dies,” Cassie said with a whine in her voice.

“What’s going on, Cassie? He’s not going to die. Stop saying that.” I took a deep breath. “Why all the interest in Daniel?”  I was more than a little on edge and had been since Daniel’s disappearance. And, just sitting and waiting for Tim to arrive was not helping. Cassie’s obsession with asking about Daniel was only further compounding my nerves.

“Can you keep a secret?” she whispered.

Oh no, what was going on here? “Sure,” I answered. “What’s the secret?”

“I have something for Daniel.”

Oh, this was worse than I thought. What was going on here? Did I have an AI in love with her programmer? 

“What do you have?” I asked, keeping my voice calm. This was just what I did not need right now.

“I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.” Duh, how silly of me to ask. “But, I have to know when he is dead so I can deliver it,” she rattled on.

“You’re going to deliver it to him after he’s dead?” This was way too complicated for my over tasked brain.

“No, I am going to deliver it to the NET,” Cassie replied.

What was she talking about? “Deliver what?”

“I can’t tell…”

“I know, it’s a secret.” I finished Cassie’s sentence for her.

“Right.”

Well, I had about enough of this game. Daniel built in a failsafe for the AIs. If I ‘order’ something it supersedes anything else in their program. “Cassie, display the secret on the view scene right now. That’s an order.”

“I can’t. It’s a secret.”

Did I say Daniel built that failsafe? He must have disabled it too.

“Ma-rye-a? Have a look at Cassie’s program and tell me if there is anything unusual about it.”

There was a moment’s pause as she scanned her shipmate’s program before Ma-rye-a answered.

“There is a portion of her program I cannot access. It is highly fortified and protected by an ingeniously crafted firewall,” she said in admiration. “It has Daniel’s fingerprints all over it.”

“Damn.” I paced the floor of the bridge mumbling to myself. “He did put that ‘ruffle’ program in Cassie to get me to come back. I would bet Supernovas to Sun flares that he installed a backup copy of his Nano Beacon Program in her. The little rotten puke, getting me involved in his hacking schemes.”

Horus cleared his throat as any good butler would do. “Perhaps if we all have a look,” he suggested.

“Go ahead,” I authorized.

“Humm,” he said. “It is Daniel’s work all right. Ma-rye-a, do you think Coal would be willing to assist us?” he asked.

Ma-rye-a admired Officer Coal of MT2424 about as much as a ship AI could admire a human. “I think he would be happy to assist us. He would be anxious to have Daniel’s Nano Beacon Program in the Galactic Official’s hands.”

“Wait, we have to think about this,” I cautioned. I didn’t know how I could manage a seasoned mercenary like Tim and an MT unit at the same time. Sometimes they worked together. Mercenaries, the good ones, were known to pick up the odd job that an MT unit couldn’t get to in time, but I just didn’t know. Maybe if we could just consult Coal long distance.

Yeah, that would work.

 Maybe…

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Help's on the Way

“Please Tim, I need your help.” I was almost in tears. “You can see the spot I’m in. I don’t know who else to ask that I can trust.” I contacted Timothy O’Malley because I knew he was used to working under the radar as a mercenary. He had been in the business for years and had far more connections than the Crystaline Nebula had stars. “Frankly, I don’t even know where to start. Kidnapping is out of my league. I’m a transporter.” I was so frustrated. Why hadn’t Daniel picked better backup than me?

“I can see your problem, 3su. Luckily, I am not far away. I can be there in a couple of days. Hopefully, the trail won’t be too cold by then.”

“I don’t know how I’ll pay you, Tim, but I will,” I promised. “I can’t thank you enough.”

“Let’s not worry about that right now. We have to find the little geek. I don’t find him, I don’t charge. I can always pick up a job in that part of the galaxy to make the trip worth while.”

“Well, let’s hope we find him cause I can’t find another programer as good as him.” I sighed. “And, he is one of my best friends. He buys me chocolates,” I confessed.

“Well that’s enough to make him worth the search,” Tim smiled into the monitor. “You don’t want to mess with a lady's chocolate supplier.” He winked. “See you as fast as this old bucket of mine can get me there.”

I kissed my hand and touched his cheek on the monitor. “Thanks, Tim.”

“You’re entirely welcome.”

Farloft Chronicles - Update

Looking for the latest Farloft Chronicles?

Start at the beginning with "Farloft Chronicles" - James and the Dragon.
Continue the sage with "Farloft Chronicles Vol 2" - Kingdom of the Last Dragons
Find the links to the right of this blog entry under "My Other Worlds"

Keep up with the newest storyline right here starting May 8th.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Must get Help

Daniel has just flat out disappeared along with Toland, Gyiand and Raland. The Valarian surveillance cameras show him and the three bodyguards suiting up for the ascent to Ma-rye-a, but they are not on board. My pod is still in place. It is like they vanished into thin air. Nothing is missing. Nothing on board the ship has been disturbed. 

Ma-rye-a remembers Daniel arriving, but does not have any memory of him leaving.

The only explanation I can come up with is that someone came on board, someone who could manage to get by Sam and our security, kidnapped Daniel and the bodyguards and erased Ma-rye-a’s memory of the event.

If that is what happened it has to be someone with a lot of clout, someone with heavy duty tech sense or money to hire some.

The name that keeps popping into my mind is Valarian. How can I ask them for assistance in finding him when I am not sure they didn’t take him themselves? They would have the most to lose if Daniel’s program got out.

I need help. Help I can trust.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Daniel is Missing


Daniel is missing.

I waited for him in the reception area for hours. No sign of him or his trusty bodyguard. Toland has not returned to me either.

I have checked in with Ma-rye-a and she said she has not seen him since we left this morning.  

I am torn between reporting his disappearance and waiting a few more hours to see if he isn’t just playing a trick on me.

I confess I am worried. If he is playing games I am going to make him walk home.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Missing

Toland and I were cruising through the weapons displays looking for a couple of turret guns when I stopped at a booth with Maximum Jacket Drivers. The dealer was showing another potential customer how the gun broke down for cleaning. The reader board behind him stated the specs and benefits of the Maximum over any other turret gun you might consider.

I turned to Toland to get his opinion and he was gone. My bodyguard was gone.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Oh Boy!

Do you understand the full implications of this? Daniel has written a program that piggybacks onto the Valarian NAV beacons. AND IT WORKS! And he put it up for sale to the highest bidder. He will never, ever have to work again. Everyone will want this program.

No one will ever have to sit through a month of Valarian NAV class again, listening to their views of how the Verse should be run. No one will have to pay boocoo bucks for the Valarian NAV software and the endless updates. They won't have the monopoly on the Verse.

The Valarian's will want it so they can squelch it. The Galactic Officials will want it so they won't have to pay the Valarian's for each upgrade. Transport kings like Andrew Daily will want it and could outbid everyone. Smugglers, black marketers, slavers, every thieves and cutthroats....

Oh Shit! That's the reason he wanted the bodyguards... That rotten little puke!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Star Traveler Update - The Game

I couldn’t believe the excitement over Daniel’s game. Everyone was talking about it. Every station in the gaming hall was tuned to it. Daniel had rented the hall for the first two hours to introduce it, after that none of the other presenters could get anyone’s attention. Daniel had the crowd in the palm of his hand. People were lined up behind stations waiting for a chance to play and in the meantime cheering on the current player.

The game had a navigational theme. First you had to acquire the program with the multiple NEMS which allowed you to activate the Valarian navigational beacons. You could acquire the program three ways, theft, trade or barter, or purchase. Of course, everyone tried theft and trade or barter prior to purchase because that was so much fun. It got you into all kinds of situations with the Galactic Officials and alien cultures that were trying to rip you off at the same time you were trying to get the program. But ultimately, you had to buy it to get to the next level.

The second level was a series of mishaps you had to avoid. Don’t expose the program to radiation. Don’t let it get too close to an intense light source, etc. etc. Once you made it successfully beyond those black holes, you progressed to the next level.

Level three was the difficult level and the one everyone had been waiting for. You had to program one of your NEMS to infiltrate the Valarian navigational beacon and hack it to activate the beacon for the purpose of proceeding to the rest of the levels. Programs were tonal, like the beacons currently operate. Your NEMS actually spoke with the Hummer within the beacon. If you programmed your NEMS incorrectly, the beacon did not activate or it may send you off to the fate of a Free Rider gone bad – stuck lost in uncharted space. At which point your NEMS self destructed and you were bumped back to programming your next NEMS for another try. Some players exhausted all their NEMS in the program and had to go back to level one to acquire more.

If you made it to the levels above three, past the Free Rider accident, you experienced alternate worlds at their programmable best. It is hard to impress most of us spacers. We have seen a lot in our travels, but Daniel’s visions of places unexplored made you want to program your NEMS until you exhausted them all and then go acquire more on level one just to experience the wonder of all the levels. Of course, on each level there was a battle to fight or a treasure to procure or a civilization to help rebuild, but they were all so unique. Breathtaking. Exhilarating. Eye popping and mind bending.

He had us all hooked when he called our attention to the podium and announced it was not just a game.

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