March 2204

Procyon's family campaign

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March 2204

Postby procyon on Sat 04 Jun 2011 01:32

March 2204 part 1

March 2nd 0845 hours/US Space Station, Mars orbit

Rear Admiral Jack Ryan looked over the status reports on the JFK. The refits were just starting. Sections of the outer plating were being removed to provide access to place the conduction circuits that would allow the magnetic field generators to form a protective field around the JFK. The project engineer talked as if it would only take a little over a week. Jack thought that was a conservative estimate, looking at the progress reports coming back. Even if it took two weeks, both of the surviving Interceptors would be able to make the conversion from MkIIa to MkIIb by the end of the month. Then the trials of the new system would begin. Assuming that the aliens didn't return while they were docked and down for the upgrades.
It appeared that there was no plan to refit the Missile Escorts. Apparently their hull was too small to allow effective emplacement of the field generators. It was believed that the weak field the small ships would generate would simply collapse, and that the ship would still be destroyed, or so badly damaged that it would be combat ineffective They would simply have to continue service with the current fragile design.
Jack switched the console in Engineering from the status of the JFK to the repairs on the station itself. The crews were finishing up cutting away the remains of Defense Module 2. There were no plans to replace the destroyed section at the moment. Perhaps when enough Interceptors had been replaced the station would be repaired and upgraded. At the moment there simply wasn't enough construction capacity for the project. That was assuming the US was able to get the upper hand on the aliens for a change. The way it looked, the days of humanity might be numbered.
With the JFK down for a bit, perhaps this would be another good chance to go visit Meagan. Her letters made it obvious she was worried and not sleeping so well.

March 3rd 1420 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Earth orbit

Admiral Hu stepped off of the Captain's shuttle and onto the hard deck of the landing bay. The tour of the new construction was complete, and now the Shek could begin trials to ensure the new systems were functioning at full capacity. The new Cruiser, the Ho Chi Minh, would be operational later in the year. Its design was based on the refitted Shek, and it was intended as a purely long range weapon platform. The small ship that was beginning to take shape in the slip beside the Minh was almost its polar opposite. The Matsu was based on a hull much smaller than the Frigates, and it was intended as an assault vessel designed purely for close range work. Only one was under construction for the moment, but three more were planned for the coming months. They were intended to close with the stationary defenses of an alien settlement and destroy them. They would also be useful for bombarding alien colonies due to the large drive detonation of the short ranged missiles. The small ships would mount field generators nearly equal in strength to a frigate. The fact that the design cost about 40 percent of a Missile Frigate and required much less support made it an attractive design for a ship that would likely sustain substantial losses.
Admiral Hu had pushed for an immediate offensive against the alien colony the US and Euro data showed to exist at Triton. Something was needed to disrupt alien operations before they could renew their offensive here in the inner system. The ministry had not seen it that way. The loss of the Tung had shaken them, and they seemed unwilling to risk the Shek with the Minh only just beginning to take shape.
At least the presence of the Shek and the four Missile Frigates here in the inner system had allowed the Yunnan to assume convoy escort duties without weakening the defense of Chinese assets. Its short range armament actually suited it well for the assault role in reducing alien fixed defenses, but the Missile Frigates had been deemed to valuable to risk on convoy escort duties. The Yunnan was also undergoing trials and would not be able to engage alien vessels at full effectiveness until the crew had gained more familiarity with its systems, but the magnetic field generators it now mounted should help protect it in the event of alien contact. So far convoy escort had been an uneventful duty. The aliens seemed to have no interest in destroying civilian shipping.
The difficult task for the coming months would be to 'mend the fences' with the other powers. The US and Euro would be needed to help secure Chinese assets in the coming months, without attacking them. They would have presented only a small diplomatic challenge, but the FSC could become a problem due to its increasingly friendly relations with those governments. The invasion of FSC soil and detonation of a missile over a research facility would leave lingering animosity that would be difficult to overcome. The US and Euro intervention in the ground war had prevented a rapid resolution to the situation. They would likely continue to intervene if force was used to secure FSC cooperation. China should be able to resolve that problem with force also, but the damage to Chinese assets and Earth's defenses would leave the planet open to alien attack.
Time would provide another chance for China to assert its dominance. But not now.

March 5th 0930 hours/Queen Mary, Earth orbit

Captain Robert McNeely walked into the quarters and saluted. Admiral Kushnir returned the salute and motioned for him to be seated. He looked at Admiral Kushnir's quarters as he sat and noted they weren't any larger than his on the Red October. The Queen Mary was intended as a front line combat vessel and the layout reflected that. The Flag Officer's quarters couldn't be too large or it would cut excessively into the space needed for other systems.
"Admiral Kushnir, repairs on the Red October have begun, and are projected to be finished late in the month or early in April. The damage was rather extensive, but both launch bays and the Phoenix Array are functional and could support any defensive action here at Earth if needed. Much of the research equipment was destroyed or lost, and the particle accelerator banks will need extensive work to get online. I have submitted requests to have the crews of the decommissioned survey ships reassigned to the Red October to avoid the delay of waiting for replacement personnel to be trained and assigned." Robert sat and waited for the inevitable questions. Admiral Kushnir always liked to quiz any commanders to try and assess what hadn't made it in to the AAR's.
"Captain McNeely, what was your assessment of the alien ships' capabilities at the 'Battle of Mars', as it has been designated. In particular I would like you to address the alien level of proficiency in ship to ship combat at this engagement." Admiral Kushnir had the same featureless black faceplate as every other cyborg, but Robert was sure he could feel eyes behind it boring into him. She was after something and Robert wasn't sure he really wanted to address it.
"Ma'am, our crews' level or training and performance is unparalleled. I'm sure you are aware it has allowed us to face these alien ships from a technological disadvantage and still be able to manage favorable engagements." Robert wanted to shift nervously, but resisted the urge. "I have not been involved in the number of engagements that some other officers and crews have seen, but it would be my opinion that the alien training or doctrine has improved since our initial encounters. In particular some of the smaller vessels have become more proficient in ship to ship combat." It was said. Robert didn't like it, but it was what many of the crew members had been thinking ever since the engagement.
Admiral Kushnir leaned forward in her chair. "Captain, how effective do you believe the new alien 'doctrine' or 'training' to be? How great of an impact do you feel it will have in future engagements?"
Robert paused. How do you answer that? There were just too many variable in combat. Too much luck. But Admiral Kushnir cut through his thoughts with a simple "Captain." Robert decided to step out on a limb and take a guess. "Ma'am, I think that the crews of the alien vessels were probably combat veterans. They understood how to maneuver, and how we maneuver. They seemed to be able to predict our positions and plot appropriate targeting solutions. I think that they will rapidly be able to engage our vessels on even footing to make successful engagements difficult in the future. We field smaller ships with weaker defenses, and they will be able to gain a distinct advantage." Robert knew the only advantage the Pan Euro had was their high level of training, but they were losing their well trained crews. With that advantage gone, the chances of winning this war were slipping away.
"Thank you, Captain. That will be all."

1110 hours/Missile Escort Falcon, 27 light seconds from Earth

Commander Justin Reynolds looked over the translation of the incoming message. Three days ago the Pan Euro Attack Escorts Rachel Pierce and Mary Queen of Scots had joined the Falcon, Owl, and the FSC Mary Reed in protecting the convoys of civilian ships, but this new message was unexpected. Justin had been excited to add the Euro ships with their long range sensor arrays. The advanced warning they would provide of alien contacts was invaluable. This message could provide another valuable addition. But the problems it could cause might not be worth it.
Captain Ng of the Chinese Strike Vessel Yunnan (he identified it as an "Attack Frigate") had requested permission to accompany the convoy and to assist in its defense in the event of hostilities. It was no secret the Yunnan had just come out of the slip at Earth only a few days ago, and likely had the new Chinese protective fields that were like the defenses of the alien ships. Justin had heard that the US Interceptors were being refitted with a similar system, but it was just rumor at this time.
The Chinese ship carried significant armament, and the protective fields would make it difficult for even the alien ships to destroy. But this ship had fought with the Mary Reed only a few months ago, and Justin wasn't too sure how well this would work.
But the aliens had begun to use their Alphas more aggressively of late, and the close calls at Uranus and Mercury had left him with the feeling that his luck could be running out any day now. The reports were that four of the small alien ships had survived the engagement at Mars and were likely still in the area. Another ship that could fight the alien Alphas on their own terms was just too good to pass up.
"Comm, send a message granting the Chinese ship permission to join the convoy. And let the Captain of the Mary Reed know he has company."

March 6th 1950 hours/Elders Chambers, New Home 3

The Elders of New Home 3 reviewed the status of the defenses. Two Combat Vessels had arrived to assist in protecting the settlement, and construction had begun on two defense installations on the surface of the moon. Prior doctrine had forbidden the construction of defenses based on the New Homes to avoid drawing fire onto the settlements themselves. But the space based construction facilities were completely committed to replacing losses to the mobile combat assets, and only the planet based construction assets were available to assist in building the defense. The current situation had proved too hazardous not to use every asset available to strengthen the defense of the colony. The race native to this system would return and attack New Home 3 again, and more mobile assets would not be available for some time to come. A great deal of time. A time might come when the New Homes would be responsible for their own defense.
One more Patrol Vessel had been detached and was well on its way to joining the surviving ships of Combat Group 3. That group had now been redesignated Patrol Group 3, and was responsible for scouting the inner parts of this system and identifying any new enemy targets. It was also to attack enemy ships as the opportunity presented itself. This native race needed to be given every reason to keep its combat assets tied down defending their settlements.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: March 2204

Postby procyon on Sat 04 Jun 2011 01:33

March 2204 part 2/ me a hero, and I shall write you a tragedy...(Fitzgerald)

March 11th 1245 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, near asteroid belt

The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 waited for the ship to react. The enemy vessel was simply moving in a straight line in front of Patrol Vessel 17, at a distance of 7.5 light seconds. It was making no attempt to either evade or attack. The Commander paused. Over time, several of the enemy vessels had been destroyed without ever firing on the Patrol Vessels. Perhaps this vessel was like the Support Vessels that brought supplies to the Combat Groups. Unarmed and with poor sensors. If this was true then it would be easy to destroy, but would eventually lead them to a settlement of a group of enemy ships. Either find would be valuable.
The Patrol Vessels had been combined into a Patrol Group. The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had decided that the undamaged Patrol Vessels would divide into two groups to scout for enemy settlements and ships. New targets for the next attack. This ship would be easy prey, but could be much more useful for the moment.
The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 adjusted the fields of his station. Patrol Vessel 17 would follow this enemy support ship. Patrol Vessel 13 would accompany them. And perhaps it would lead them to a new target.

March 14th 0830 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

Admiral Bradley Walters listened as the various members of his staff briefed him on their areas of responsibility. It was a little different from yesterday. Lieutenant Commander Meagan Ryan seemed to be in better spirits, if only a little. The work was definitely taking a toll on the young woman. Her father Rear Admiral Ryan had arrived on the 13th, and was even seated in the room to give his update on the work at the Mars Station. Jack seemed awfully interested in the information on the new ship being built here at Earth. The first of the MkIII's was beginning construction, and would be done late next month. It was being rushed through due to the need for replacement of the recent losses. Perhaps Jack and his crew, with their experience, would be a good choice to take out the new ship. If anyone could find the bugs in her and get them fixed, it would be Jack.
Meagan would be up next with her information on any progress with the magnetic field generators. They worked, but were going to need overhauled every time the ship got hit. That was still better than having to replace the ship, but would still be troublesome. As the charged particles from a detonation washed past the fields, it generated an electrical charge that would burn out the generators. Work was being done to try and stop the feedback, or to draw it off, but so far it had proved difficult. The magnetic field itself was carrying the charge, and trying to keep that charge from damaging the equipment was going to be the trick.
Perhaps it was time to let the young lady take some leave. She had been here on the station non stop for quite a while now. She had even asked for a short leave not long ago. Bradley decided that would be one of the things that got done today.

March 16th 2250 hours/Attack Escort Mary Queen of Scots, 16 light minutes from Mars

Commander Ian McTavish locked his station. Two Alphas had just appeared at slightly over 7 light seconds. Closing. A new contact flashed on the screen, but Ian had been expecting it. The Chinese Strike Vessels at Mars had displayed magnetic signatures like the aliens. Now this one had also.
The civilian ships in the convoy had been grouped close together to try and reduce the distance that the escorts would have to cover. The two little US ships and the FSC ship were up front, while the Chinese vessel and the two Attack Escorts were covering the back half of the group. All told six armed vessels to protect thirteen unarmed freighters. But even one Alpha could be dangerous, and there were two. The US Commander Reynolds was officially in command of the group, but Ian didn't need to be told what to do. Fight as if your life depended on it, because it did.
The Mary QoS showed all stations locked and Ian keyed in for combat acceleration. The group would try to stay together, but being a sitting duck just wasn't going to be part of the plan.

2252 hours/Missile Escort Falcon, 16 light minutes from Mars

Commander Justin Reynolds had received the message from the Pan Euro Attack Escorts of the two alien Alphas. Those long range sensors were such a blessing. They wouldn't have had time to get to battle stations without the Euro ships. The Falcon's sensors lit up with launch signatures as the two Alphas fired on the convoy. A firing solution flashed on Justin's screen and disappeared as the ship's drive stuttered and a missile deployed. Sensors showed all the convoy escorts were launching on the two alien contacts.
Justin keyed in for the Comm Officer to transmit orders to hold formation. The Euro ships were sliding forward along the convoy. They were obviously trying to improve the range for their missiles, but the convoy couldn't afford to be left uncovered. Justin waited as the alien weapons closed. Detonations clouded the Falcon's rudimentary sensors for a few moments and then cleared. It wasn't clear, but one of the alien Alphas seemed to have lost its magnetic field. Then the sensors picked up the wreckage of the Owl tumbling through space, drifting out away from the convoy. Damn, the aliens seemed to have learned the small missile escorts were vulnerable to their weapons.
The Alphas were closing fast, and the lead one had just reached clear sensor range for the Falcon when the next missile finished prep for deployment. The other Alpha had lost its protective field, but this one was the clear shot. Justin keyed the firing solution for the second contact and watched the sensor returns on the launch as it sped away. Sensors showed that the Euro ships were targeting the damaged Alpha, while the Falcon and Mary Reed were targeting the undamaged one. The Chinese missile seemed to have lost guidance early on and wasn't headed anywhere useful. As the alien missiles detonated the sensor reports clouded again. The massive electromagnetic pulse always seemed to overwhelm the arrays.
As sensors came back on line Justin could see that the exchange had definitely gone against the aliens. None of the ships in or around the convoy seemed to have been hit, while the lead Alpha was just coasting through space with its drive bloom gone. The Alpha the Falcon and Mary Reed had targeted had lost its protective field also. The aliens were taking a pounding !
The drifting Alpha had moved into range of the Falcon’s sensors and Justin keyed in the firing solution for the crippled vessel. The other ships had launched on the active Alpha, but Justin knew that if the drifting Alpha hadn't come apart, it would probably still be able to fire. Sure enough a new contact lit up from the coasting Alpha as it managed another launch. Justin watched as the missile from the Falcon found its target and the Alpha was destroyed. The second Alpha stuttered its drive and vented as missiles detonated along its path. Then it too was drifting without a drive bloom. Yes ! Only one left to go.

2253 hours/Attack Escort Mary Queen of Scots, 16 light minutes from Mars

Commander Ian McTavish watched as the sensors recorded the destruction of the last Alpha. The laser on the Mary Reed tore the vessel apart as the hull shattered from the sudden expansion caused by the laser's heat. Both of the Alphas had been destroyed, and the convoy was safe. But Ian hated this part. After the battle were the messages sent to let folks back at home know that another ship and its crew had died bravely against the aliens. It should have been the US Commander's job, but that wouldn't be the case. The Falcon had been hit by the last launch from the second stricken Alpha. Ian knew that the loss of the Falcon was going to be a shock for the US, and the Euro. He had been there last June when the little ship and her crew had managed to fight an alien Alpha to a standstill. Now not only had the little David faced down Goliath, it had rescued many stranded Pan Euro colonists from Mercury before the aliens had destroyed the colony. No one back at Earth was going to want to hear that the Falcon and her crew weren't coming home.
And Ian didn't want to have to be the one sending the message. Two of his grandkids had come home from that colony on Mercury.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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Re: March 2204

Postby procyon on Sat 04 Jun 2011 01:33

March 2204 part 3

March 18th 0035 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Venus orbit

Admiral Hu keyed in for the Venus Station's sensor logs to be transmitted to the Shek. The Shek and the Missile Frigates Shangxi and Henan were detecting no alien presence near the station, and the station itself was reporting no contact prior to the Shek's arrival. Hu decided the aliens most likely had not come to Venus yet, or they would have attacked. The aliens had rather quickly attacked, and then destroyed the Pan Euro station at Mercury. The attack reported by the Yunnan was far to close to Venus for comfort though. This deployment was necessary.
The Earth was guarded by a Pan Euro Battle Group, and the Anhui and Hubei. Add that to the many ground based defenses and the Earth would be able to withstand any alien attack force that had been encountered to date. Venus was far less well defended, and vital to Chinese interests. If it was only the remnants of the prior alien group which had attacked, the Shek and two Missile Frigates would be able to easily deal with them. If it was another group like the one that had descended on Ceres, Venus would have to be abandoned.
For the moment, deploying the Shek to Venus was both prudent and useful, in that Venus was far closer to Neptune at this time than Earth was. It would cut nearly two days off the travel time to the out system - should the ministry chose to launch an offensive within the next month or so. Would the ministry be willing to risk the Shek before the Minh was completed? That was uncertain.

March 22nd 2255 hours/Queensland Research Facility, Australia

Chairman Mukata looked over the data on his monitor. The greatest part of it didn't make sense. But what did was very intriguing. It would require some outlay of capital, but could place the FSC in a position to deal with the other governments of Earth from a more favorable stance. And it would definitely assist against the aliens if it panned out.
A technician that had emigrated from the Pan Euro after his ship was decommissioned had been pivotal to the project. A man by the name of Jager. Regardless, his skill with sensor arrays was remarkable. He had been able to interface an array with a fire control system in a way that had often been thought of as impossible. The implications were enormous. But it would still take time and money to try and create a useful system from the data. Money would simply have to be diverted in the coming months. The work on magnetic field generators was progressing rapidly, and should be completed within the next month or two. At that time all available resources would be put into this project.
Right now Mukata needed to talk to this Jager. To ensure that his loyalties remained with the FSC. And that no one else possessed this data.

March 25th 1750 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 30 light seconds from Earth

The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 didn't believe what he was sensing. The energy signature and flux from the nearby planet was immense. This third planet from the star was simply unreal. To have such a large energy signature, this race must be packed onto the face of this planet. Packed in one upon another in a seething mass. Like some infestation gone far out of control. The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could feel revulsion well up inside.
If the energy signature was correct, this planet's population would have to be thousands of times greater than any Home. The New Homes were only on moons a fraction of this planet's size, but the number of creatures that would have to be involved was unthinkable. Disgusting. How could they stand to live in such a way? There was no way a race like this could ever have been tolerated. Such vermin were only fit to be exterminated.
There was no sense in attacking such a nest of the enemy with only two Patrol Vessels. But if the enemy understood that their true home had been discovered, perhaps they would move more of their ships to this area. They would become less able to deploy ships to attack New Home 3. The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 adjusted the fields around him, and then sensed the torpedoes launched from Patrol Vessel 17 and 13. Moments later the small ship they had followed for days disappeared in the detonations.
The race native to this planet would be able to sense that. And they would know that they had been found.

1758 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, 5 light seconds from Earth

Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon stared at her monitor. She could see the information sprawled across it, but could only think of one thing. 'They have found Earth at last. It will only be a matter of time now. They will attack here also. And people will die.' The attack had occurred too far out for any of the sensors at Earth to record the alien ships, only the detonation of the civilian freighter and the magnetic signature of the alien ship or ships. The aliens had turned on their protective fields for a few minutes, and then shut them off. Possibly they were afraid of unseen defenses. Brenna was sure they just wanted to let everyone know that they were there.
In the next few minutes the civilian news services would have the story, and it would spread to every corner of the world. The recession already had people on edge. This could result in much more. Riots, hysteria. The aliens would be able to do a great deal of damage without ever having to directly attack the Earth itself.
But they would attack. Sooner or later. And people on Earth would die. And the panic then could destroy what mankind had taken thousands of years to build. The alien attack would have to be stopped cold. It could never reach the Earth. Stopped with what they had available now, because it may come before anything else would arrive or be built.
But how? Brenna stared at her monitor with a new resolve. Scrolling through lists and databases, she started to put together a plan.

March 26th 0610 hour/US Space Station, Earth orbit

Rear Admiral Jack Ryan watch as his daughter worked at her desk. It was as if she was possessed. She had been up for over 20 hours, and had barely eaten. She had only eaten a little since the attack on the convoy. She was to have gone on leave the morning of the 17th, but had stayed to work. Jack had stayed to try and help her, but her work was nothing that he was used to. It was worrying. If she didn't try to rest, she would work herself sick. Perhaps even worse than just sick.
Suddenly she was standing and pointing at the screen. "There. There it is." She was white and unsteady. Jack moved over to try and keep her from falling. Then he sat her back down. Meagan just kept pointing.
"What is it honey? What is wrong?" Jack knew his voice sounded flat. It always would. But it had never bothered Meagan. She had always seemed to hear the emotion that wasn't there.
"Its the ship I told you of. It was here. At Earth. I need to tell Admiral Walters." Meagan tried to get up but Jack simply held her down.
"No, you won't. You are going to rest. I can tell him. You are going to pack some clothes, and none of them uniforms. That is an order." Jack waited until she relaxed to let go. She nodded weakly. "But first go lay down. I'll be back in an hour or so." He waited until she nodded to leave.

0625 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

Admiral Bradley Walters cleared the briefing room as Rear Admiral Ryan waited. It was unusual for Lieutenant Commander Ryan to be late. Let alone have her father here instead. Bradley had intended for her to be on leave now, but she had insisted on staying after the convoy attack. Her ability to discern a pattern in the alien fields was uncanny, and her input valuable. Otherwise he wouldn't have let her stay. Perhaps that had been the wrong decision.
When the room was clear Rear Admiral Ryan spoke. "Admiral. Meagan, I'm sorry, Lieutenant Commander Ryan believes she has identified the vessel that made the attack here at Earth as the Alpha of interest. The 'alien ace' as rumor has it. I believe her, but I have ordered her to stay in her quarters and rest pending leave, with your permission of course." Bradley wasn't sure whether Rear Admiral Ryan was asking him or telling him about the leave, but it didn't really matter. The only way that girl wouldn't have come to tell him herself was if she couldn't get up and move.
"Sit down Jack. Lets talk." He waited while Rear Admiral Ryan sat at the table. Cyborgs really didn't need to sit all that much, but it did give Bradley the height advantage, and might make Jack a little less agitated. "If she said it was the Alpha, it was the Alpha. Currently, its code-named the 'Baron'. And it is dangerous. The freighter will make the eighth ship we can confirm that it has destroyed. And it would seem to not only have started intercepting commerce, it has found Earth."
Bradley moved around the table to where Jack was seated. "Jack, I know you are concerned about your daughter. And she is going to get some rest. I guarantee it." He waited for the words to sink in and hoped Jack was feeling a little more relaxed. Able to focus on things more objectively. He was going to need to.
"Jack, you're not going to be spending any of that time with her. That ship out there in the slip will be done soon enough. Then she will be headed for Mars, and you are going to be on her. When you get there you are to transfer your crew to the new ship and spend whatever time you need shaking her down. Learn just what is wrong, how to fix it, and how to use her as well as possible. She is the cutting edge, the best weapon we have in the arsenal right now. Her name is the 'Yari', and you are going to use her to kill the Baron and whatever son of a bitch is commanding her."
Bradley leaned over and keyed the intercom. "Cancel the briefing for this morning. I have another project on the table right now."
"Ok Jack, lets figure out how you are going to do this."
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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