Saturday, December 19, 2015

Aren't You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare Chapter Three part two

Aren’t You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare   
Chapter Three
part two

ProvidenceMine



“You are Cadet Janice Eudora Rand, is this correct?”

Rand shook her head and rolled her eyes.  “Yeah,” she said bluntly.

The commander looked up from the document and simply raised a brow.  Rand sighed. “Correct, Sir,” she said more politely. “Very good,” said Glok.

Oh, isn’t he polite.

“I am going to ask you a series of questions about yourself, and you are to answer me with as much detail and clarity as possible.  Is this understood, Cadet Rand?”

Rand was apprehensive.  “What kind of questions…”

“Is this understood, prisoner?”  Commander Glok wasn’t loud, but he raised and tightened his voice just enough so that Rand got the message, especially since he replaced the more congenial ‘Cadet Rand’ with the more subjugative ‘Prisoner.’ 

Rand felt her cockiness dissipate. 

She became fearful.

So, she decided it was best to get along.  “Yes,” said Rand defeated.  “Yes, I understand.”

The commander’s smile was faint, small, but it held an arrogance that spoke volumes for Rand. 

“Don’t think for one friggin’ moment that you’ve broken me, asshole,” she thought to herself.

“Fine,” he said, his voice holding a slight clip.  “Let us begin, then.”  He returned to the document and scanned it over before posing the first question.  When he was finished, Glok looked up expectantly.  Rand looked right back at Glok, smiling tentatively, her humor and nerve returning, though in a small dose.  “This is a joke, right?” 

The commander said nothing.

Rand was speechless, that small window of bravado slamming shut in her face as panic rose inside her.  She stared at Glok, straight into his eyes, as if fishing for some kind of mercy from this twisted game.

“Answer the question, prisoner.”

Rand tried to speak, but her words fell out in fractured bits.  Glok repeated the question.

“How in the HELL am I supposed to answer that?!” 

She heard noises behind her, the sounds of clicks and rotations, as if something was being fastened.

And then…

“EEEOOOWWW!!!!!”

Pain seared her left shoulder in pulsating waves, hitting her like a legion of claws lacerating through the flimsy material of her prison garb.  She fell hard on the floor, her arms flapping and her legs twisting underneath her.  Hostility rose inside Rand, mingling unpleasantly with the twinges and spasms of physical torment in her limbs.  She clenched her fists as she fought the urge to hurt both the commander and the female guard.  Rand took a long, shuttering breath before flattening her palms to the floor in an attempt to hoist herself up. 

Rand felt a hand tuck in the pit of her elbow, and realized that the female guard who had shocked her was now trying to help her up.  Rand violently pulled her arm away, and pushed herself up from the floor.  As she plopped back on the hard seat, she eyeballed the female guard and then Glok.  Rand was pissed as all get out, but she was also helpless.  Helpless, which made her all the more pissed. 

Commander Glok sat patiently, his hands folded on the table. He looked at Rand, and as if on cue by a silent prompter, simply asked the question again.

That uncontrollable rage exploded out of Rand, her body shaking and hot like a volcano.

“YOU’RE KIDDING ME, MAN!! I CAN’T ANSWER ANY QUESTION THAT…!!!

The second shock engulfed her, making its way from between her shoulder blades to the rest of her.  Rand’s spine curled and then snapped forward like a whip, making her slam against the edge of the table with her forehead before falling to the floor again, face down. 

Rand seethed as she lied prone on the floor, her fingers curling into clenches as the pain from the shock augmented the throbbing that was now in her forehead.

“Are you all right, cadet?”

Rand, in spite of her condition, laughed.  That must have been perhaps the most ludicrous question that anyone ever asked her!

‘Look at me, dipshit’ is what she wanted to say.

Rand didn’t answer him, but slid her hands underneath her and pushed herself up with great effort, finally sitting on her knees as she looked at the emotionless face of Commander Glok.  “Take a wild guess,” she said tightly, as if trying to contain herself.  She struggled, but Rand was able to push herself up on shaky legs and plop herself back on what had to be the hardest seat she ever had to sit on.  She really didn’t know which was worse, the seat or the cold icebox of a floor.  Commander Glok sat as before, hands folded over the dossier, his eyes steady, watchful, like an owl studying its prey-and as before, he asked the same exact question in the same exact inflection.  Rand shut her eyes, knowing that she did not want another shock to her system, yet dreading that it would be her fate.  She felt her body make an attempt at shielding itself, her shoulders curling inward.  “God, no,” she thought.

God, no no no!”

Commander Glok’s eyes swept over Rand as he sat back in his chair.  “I am most surprised that you cannot answer this question, cadet.  According to your academic record, this particular skill should be, shall we say, painless for you,” he said following his statement with a slight cock to his dark red brow. 

Rand wanted to rip his face off.  “Painless, huh?”

“Yes. Painless. Easy.”

They love that word ‘easy’ around here, don’t they. 

Easy or not, Rand knew that she had to do this.  She  closed her eyes and went back in her mind, back to the things she’d learned, skills she had acquired throughout her life.  She could feel herself unwind, feel her body uncoil from the tightness and the fear.  Everything was suddenly familiar to her, as if a thick fog parted and unveiled a clearing, a way out of the forest.  For the first time since entering this program, she was clear.  Rand opened her eyes, turned to Commander Glok, and answered the question. 

“Moi et ma familie sont initialement de New Jersey et resident toujours la.”

The Vulcan did something unexpected.  He smiled, widely.  He even showed teeth, lots of big, strong white ones all in a row. Its appearance was rather brief, however.

It was replaced by a self-satisfying smirk.  “Do you see?  You do know the answer.  It all came back to you, did it not?”

Rand answered by breathing a sigh of relief, perhaps the biggest sigh she ever breathed in her life.  

“Yeah, who would have thought.  They should add a shocking device to all the desks of every Kindergarten class for more solid retention of the Alphabet.”

“It is heartening to hear that you are in good humor,” said Glok.

Rand snickered, shaking her head at the enormity of the absurdity.

“Very good.  Shall we continue then, cadet?”

“I can hardly wait,” Rand snorted.

The Vulcan’s eyes went back and forth between Rand and the dossier, his eyes the only part of his body that was in any motion, like the blinking lights of a computer.  When he finally posed the next question to her, Rand sighed and smiled to herself.  She was far more relaxed now, far more composed, though still pissed off.  Taking a beat, Rand went back to skills learned in her recent past, digging them up, sorting them through, and then answering the question in the Vulcan tongue in which it was asked.  Afterwards, she folded her hands in front of her on the desk and waited. 

The Vulcan put down the dossier and raised a brow.  “You are correct,” he said.

Rand wanted to collapse in utter relief, but she wasn’t going to give these guys the satisfaction. 

No, Sir.

No, thank you.

She didn’t think so…

Her knowledge of the Vulcan language was pretty rudimentary, as the yeomanship training program taught her just enough of the language to get by on a routine trip:  “Where’s is the nearest compound?”  “When will the next shuttlecraft leave for the space station?”  “Where’s the bathroom?” Stuff like that. 

As for French, that was a language she knew well, as she had 12 years of it in school, though she hardly ever used it outside of classes.  

Why in the hell did she ever want to learn French anyway?  She had forgotten the reason.

“Well, I rescued myself from another bit of shock therapy,” she thought.

So far, so fucking good-though Rand wasn’t quite sure just how long her luck would last.  Glok posed four more questions to her in Vulcan, and she was able to answer every one of them.  Thank God.  “If things keep up like this, it’ll be over before you know it,” thought Rand with giddiness.

The Vulcan posed the next question to Rand, again in his native tongue, and waited for the answer.  Rand began to speak, but then hesitated.

“Wait, I know I know this one,” she said aloud in a voice that was now wavering slightly.  She cleared her throat as Glok looked at her in that emotionless mask of his, his hand on the dossier.  Rand was tempted to tap her fingers on the table, but opted to rotate her ankles instead.

 “Never let them see you sweat,” she thought.

She went through a number of possible answers to this particular question, but even the proper use of the goddamn verb had stumped her.  Rand could feel her eyes strain, so much so that her headache returned.  Beads of perspiration had formed on her upper lip and her brow.  She was in trouble, and she knew it.  She looked at Glok, gripping the edge of the table until the tips of her fingers ached. Glok posed the question again.  For Rand, having that question repeated to her was like a weapon.  She stared at Glok mutely, her vision blurred by the sweat that was now falling from her brows.  The Vulcan raised both of his own brows and drew his mouth together in a tight line, shaking his head faintly.

“You don’t know the answer, do you?”

The mock sympathy in his voice angered Rand, but she was powerless to act on it.  She didn’t answer Glok, but continued to stare at him as she tensed up her body, bracing it for another shock. 

“Very well, then,” he said. 

Glok sat back in his chair and folded his arms.  The female guard who had been administering the shocks stepped a few paces back, slowly.  Rand, confused, turned to the female guard and then to the commander. 

What, no shock?  What the hell is going on?

The Vulcan turned his head slightly in the direction of the male guard behind him, and raised his hand until it was level to his chest, his palm facing downward.  Then, without saying a word, he lowered his hand slowly and deliberately until it tapped the table.  The male guard moved to the back wall, opened up what looked like a service box and pushed a series of buttons that lit up in a pattern of light.  Next to this panel, the wall began to undulate, change shape, expand and then protrude until it morphed into a lever, its handle resembling the extended planes of a hammerhead shark. The male guard reached over and pulled the lever down.

Rand could hear a noise overhead, a steady, low-pitched humming. 

“What is that?” she thought.

Rand raised her head and looked up towards the ceiling…




End of Chapter Three








  





































Friday, December 18, 2015

Quick question, please...

Hey guys!

You know who this is!

I just have a quick question, now that the new Star Wars movie is out.

I've noticed that in recent years there has been this infantile competition between Star Trek and Star Wars fans.

When I was growing up, and I will not tell you when that was, anyone who was a Star Trek fan was also a Star Wars fan.  Both were embraced by the fans.

What the hell happened? Why the competitive nonsense?

I was, at one time, a Star Wars fan myself until I grew out of that fandom.

But, even though I am no longer a Star Wars fan myself I still don't understand the animosity between the two camps.

Any suggestions as to this is?

Until next time...

Friday, December 11, 2015

Another Request...

Hey,

It's me, ProvidenceMine.

The reason why I'm writing here today (no, it's not chapter three part two of my story, though I'm almost finished with that! YAY!!)

It's because I have, yet, another request.

I know that fan fiction is done, for the most part, on the internet these days.

However, I know that fan fiction started out in print magazines.

Duh.

I was wondering whether there were any print publications that specialized in fan fiction, namely
Star Trek fan fiction.

If there is anyone out there who might know of such publications, I would love it if you dropped me a line at the comment section.

I would appreciate it.

Thanks.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Update…….

Alex Kurtzman will serve as executive producer.

He is part of the J.J.Abrams team that brought you Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek into Darkness (2013).

UGH!

You know that this is going to be set in the reboot universe, with all of that nonsense about 'punching it,' Orion girls who act more like air-headed bimbos, Spock/Uhura lover spats and revamped story lines from old Star Trek movies.

Let's not forget that Scotty with no Scottish accent.

I couldn't believe that one!

This show will be offered on CBS Full Access for around five dollars a month, maybe 5.99-I'm not sure.

I got this information from StarTrek.com

From the comments, and there are many of them, most seem none too enthusiastic about this prospect.

Glad I'm not alone on this one.

But, hey…

There's always Star Trek Continues!

And, you know what?

I suspect, that as popular as STC is, this new pseudo Star Trek that Kurtzman is offering will make STC even more popular, as unsatisfied viewers will discover and RUN to the fan produced triumph as their appetite for the real thing heightens.

Just my opinion.

Until next time...


Monday, November 2, 2015

Oh, Well….

Just read about it on the Deadline website.


There will indeed be a new Star Trek series coming out in January of 2017.


I forgot who will be the executive producer, and I really don't care frankly.


This show, however, will feature a whole new cast of characters.  It will not feature the cast of TOS.


I don't know about you all out there, but I think that Star Trek Continues does more than rise to the occasion of bringing the show back to life.

So, if it's all right with you I'm sticking to STC.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First Leonard, then Grace, and now Bruce...

While I was surfing through the web to check out the dealings of a Star Trek forum group that I'm no longer a part of, I found out about the tragic news of the death of Professor Bruce Hyde, the actor who played one of my favorite characters on Star Trek, Lt. Kevin Riley.  He was 74, and died of throat cancer.

This has, so far, been a very sad year for Star Trek fans of the Original Series.  

First, we lost Leonard early this year, then Grace, and now Bruce follows them.

Now, I don't know about you all, but I've always thought that Bruce Hyde as Kevin Riley should have become a regular on the show! I'll never understand just why the decision to keep him on was never made. To be an actor who can play a character- and a good one at that- so well in only two episodes that he leaves such a strong impression is a real testament to that actor.

I really hate to say this, but I would have preferred it if Gene Roddenberry had kept both Rand and Riley, with the original actors reprising their roles, of course-and canning Chekov.

Or, to put it more accurately, to never have added Chekov in the intergalactic roster in the first place.

Bruce Hyde, as Kevin Riley, brought a charm, charisma and humor to his role that was second to none.  He was funny, boyish, vulnerable, brave, capable, and loyal.  There was also a little bit of an edge to him, however. He did not have the typical bad boy overkill that is all too apparent in too many characters on TV and film these days; it was more subtle, as if a little nudge might get that element of his on its way.  He was both soft and cocky, and it was a great combination.

I understand that he was an actor for only six years before leaving the field to explore other options in his life, later to become a college professor teaching communications and the arts.  How lucky those students must have been! I frankly can't remember having a really cool college professor, can you?

Well, I am going to close this little tribute by saying that, in writing the Riley character in my story 'Tis Charity To Show, I tried to flesh out the character to the best of my ability and I hope that I truly
did him justice.

I also plan to use Kevin Riley in future stories, without question! 

Rest in peace, Professor Bruce Hyde.

Your presence on Star Trek certainly made my life much richer, and I am quite grateful for that.

Bruce Hyde
1941-2015


Godspeed to you, Sir.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Aren't You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare Chapter Three part one

Aren’t You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare     

Chapter Three  
Part One


Rand is jarred from her sleep by a consuming, deathly cold.  She bolts upright in her bed, pulling the flimsy covers up around her shoulders.  The plexiglass walls were blanketed in frost, obscuring her view of the rows of cells that held the other cadets.  It had only been one goddamn day in this fucking program and she’d already had enough! 

But, she wanted Starfleet, and wanted it badly.

She didn’t go through four years of classes, drills, and training to stop now.  She’d simply have to get through this.  Rand felt a panic rise in her when she thought about the sheer length of this ordeal-this program, as they call it. 

It was more like Starfleet sanctioned misery. 

“Shit.  What to do,” she thought.

She had to calm herself down, clear her head, get herself together.

Then, it came to her.

Rand promptly threw the sheet off of her body and situated herself upright, crossing her legs in a lotus position with her hands placed limply on her lap.  She closed her eyes and elongated her spine.  The cold proved to be a bit too punishing, however, so she leaned over, retrieved the sheet and shrouded it around her shoulders like a meditation shawl.  When Rand was fully covered, she again closed her eyes.

“This had better work, or those survival classes aren’t worth a damn,” she thought.

She counted to twenty until her mind and body were still.  Then, Rand conjured up an image of a red, effervescent ball in the middle of her belly and watched it expand and whip around various parts of her body, bringing rescuing heat with each diaphragmatic breath.  Her corporal interior radiated warmth outwards onto her skin, the cold no longer a discomfort.

“I’ve outsmarted you, assholes!” she thought smugly.

Rand sat with glee on her bed, basking in the glow of her ingenuity. 

But then, she began to feel strange.

She felt a heat from outside of herself clashing with the self-induced heat of her body, making her feel almost like she was being baked.  Rand looked at the walls in her cell and noticed beads of water swelling and rolling down, and she realized that the heat had been turned on.  Rand yanked the sheet from her body in disgust and looked up at the ceiling of her cell in utter desperation.

“Really?!”

A wall of cool air hit Rand like a sledgehammer and she turned in the direction where it was coming from.  An Amazonian sized female guard with short-cropped hair and severe features had entered her cell.  Rand started to say something, but before she could the guard reached over and grabbed her unceremoniously by the neckline of her prison garb and pulled her off the cot and out of her cell like a ragdoll. 

“The fuck…?!

Rand was escorted through the black-tinted halls into an interrogation room with walls and floors painted so white they were almost blinding, making the waiting room where she was at yesterday seem muted and pacifying by comparison.

The only furniture in the room were two iron chairs on either side of an iron table, all three of these items being Spartan in style and painted in the darkest of black. 
For Rand, the whole setting had the effect of seeing stars after a head injury, or an unfortunate examination by a gynecologist in a big hurry.  The woman guard pulled Rand into the room and guided her not too gently to the desk and chairs, pulling out the front chair from under the table. 

“Sit,” the guard said.

Rand simply looked at the chair, then turned to the guard.

“What am I, a cockerspaniel?”

With that, the guard tightened her grip on Rand’s forearm and forced her down on the chair.  Rand struggled, her teeth gritting from the pain of the guard’s fingers digging into her.

“Jesus Christ, what’s your problem?!”

The guard propped her arm on the table and leaned into Rand menacingly.

“Listen, you want things hard, I can make them as hard as you force my hand.  Want things easy, I can do that too.”

Rand looked up at the guard and smirked.

“In what category would you place this treatment thus far?” asked Rand with sarcasm dripping from her voice.

God, she was tired.  

She needed sleep.

And food…

When the hell did they feed you around here?  And what did they feed you…

Rand could hear the familiar sound of a sliding door, but it didn’t come from the same direction where she and the guard had entered.  It came from behind the wall a few feet away from the desk from where she sat, echoes of footsteps getting louder with each step.  Then, a small part of the wall opened up from the bottom and revealed a very formidable figure; a Vulcan male dressed in the same style of black fatigues as the female guard.  He was tall, which was a common trait among Vulcan men.  What really struck Rand about this man was his dark red hair, a trait that was not only uncommon among Vulcans, it was unheard of.  The modern Vulcan was not known to artificially ornament their physical appearance in any way, unlike their ancient ancestors who donned themselves with war paint, jewelry, and body mutations like piercings and tattoos in order to appear warlike to their foes.  The Vulcan’s hair was cut in prickly formation at the crown of his head while the sides were shaved nearly clean off.  Rand noted how the green undertone of his skin, along with the whitewash interior and the harsh fluorescent lighting, clashed in a most uncomplimentary way to the pigment of his hair.  The image that popped into her mind was that of a Frankenstein monster, replete with narrow slits for eyes, hollow plains under high cheekbones, a reed-thin mouth and nose shaped like a hawk’s beak.  He is followed by a male guard who positions himself at the Vulcan’s side, close enough to be of needed assistance but far enough to avoid being intrusive to the superior’s personal space.

When the Vulcan reaches the desk, he pulls the chair back from under the table and sits down right across from Rand.  He looks squarely at her, in that unwavering gaze that Vulcans look at people, before addressing her in a deep, startling voice.

“My name is Commander Glok,” he said.

Rand barely stifled a snicker, but it escaped her.

“Glok?!  Talk about appropriate!” she thought.  Feeling like a target was like a running theme in this fucking program for her.

The Commander’s gaze sharpened, but only slightly.  “Is there anything that you find particularly amusing, prisoner?” he asked as a document was handed to him by his male guard.

Rand discreetly positioned her fingers over her mouth and audibly cleared her throat.  She shook her head for the benefit of the Vulcan. 

“That is good.  It is encouraging to know that you are interested in assisting us so that business can run as smoothly as possible.  He paused as a slight smile formed on his lips. 

“Easy does it, as they say,” he said seemingly proud of himself for coming up with such a witty line.

Rand sighed.  There goes that word again.

Easy.

Fuck easy.

“Let’s just get this crap over and done with,” she thought.

Commander Glok positions the document in front of him and flips it open.  He eyes Rand before lowering his head to read the information before him.

CHAPTER THREE TO BE CONTINUED….





  


























Saturday, August 8, 2015

Aren't You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare Chapter Two

Aren’t You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare  

Chapter Two


Back in the 21st Century, there was a young man who had tried to take his own life by placing a shotgun under his chin and pulling the trigger. 

Everything went as planned.  The gun went off, the bullet propelled out of the barrel, and the young man’s head was indeed blown off of its foundation and left dangling from the back of his neck.  It was like clockwork, as they would say.

However, there was just one tiny little ‘chink in the armor.’

The poor fucker was still alive.

What made Rand suddenly recall that old news story was beyond her.  Perhaps she felt like that guy’s head, dangling by the slimmest of threads, ready to fray and tear off its base.  She was kneeling on the floor, her lungs heaving for air, her body so weak that even being on all fours proved too much for her scant reserves, so she crumpled to the floor, resting her hip there. 

“Get up, prisoner!”

Rand responded with silence, her breathing displaying the extreme exhaustion that coursed through her.  Her prison garb, a flimsy grey wraparound, is barely shielding her from the cold, black floor that feels like ice underneath her.  The air around her is no better, its frigidness making her skin rise in clusters of bumps.  Rand could see a pair of black boots planted in front of her. 

“Get up, I said!”

In spite of herself, Rand chuckled. 

“Why the hell don’t you make like a moth and flutter away before I swat you.  You’re blocking my glorious light.”

She laughed weakly as she watched the boots step over her body and out of her view. 

Rand felt large hands slicing under her arms and lifting her up roughly.  “Whoopsie Daisy,” she said in a voice that tried to come out in an acerbic singsong manner, but instead came out hoarse and threadbare.

She’s thrown back into her cell, a clear-plexiglass room, which is one in a long row of such cells in this black, lacquered void of a landscape.  She barely misses her cot and lands on the floor in a loud, hollow thud. 

Rand hears the sliding door close behind her as she lies on her side, staring underneath her cot.  She feels the lids of her eyes grow heavy and is simply too goddamn tired to try to climb onto her cot.

“Fuck it,” she mutters as she turns on her back and falls dead asleep within the merciful, enveloping warmth of her cell.
























Thursday, July 2, 2015

Aren't You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare Chapter One


Aren’t You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare  

Chapter One


Janice Rand was being seized by restlessness.  The crossing and uncrossing of legs, the tapping of fingers on the chrome table that sat next to her chair and the constant rotations of her ankles did absolutely nothing to make her wait time move any faster.  She glanced at the time board situated over the receptionist’s desk; a full hour had past since she and the other cadets had entered this room, and she couldn’t understand, for the life of her, what was taking so long.  The paperwork, the oath required by all cadets taking the program, had already been collected.  It had been early in the morning, upon rising, when Rand was presented with a sealed plain white envelope by a messenger.  She was instructed to open the envelope promptly, read over its contents, sign her name on the bottom, place the contents back in the envelope, reseal it, and then hand them over to the messenger who stood in her quarters by the doors, waiting quietly and with watchful eyes.  This had been last month, so what was the hold up?

Rand looked around the waiting room and noted the behavior of the other cadets; some were rolling their eyes, some were constantly folding and unfolding their arms and legs, while others tapped their feet and clicked their tongues.  There were a few smart cadets, however, who had either brought a padd to read or a music deck to listen to.  Unfortunately, Rand wasn’t one of the smart ones as she cursed herself for not bringing one of her old hardcovers to read. 

The waiting room was clinically white and circular, and the furnishings were simple and sparse.  The chairs were padded, somehow resembling a benign purgatory where cadets were sent to await a sentence of some kind. 

And wait, they did.

Each cadet at one point glanced over at the digital board, letting out a deep breath of frustration, shaking their heads in utter annoyance.  Rand chuckled to herself; she could certainly feel their pain, that was for damn sure.

“This is absurd,” she thought.

Rand got up from her seat and walked over to the Receptionist, who was sitting behind her desk doing work on the desktop computer.

“Excuse me.”

The Receptionist, a young brunette wearing a bun pulled back so tightly it made Rand grimace at the sheer sight of it, looked up from her work.

“I’m sorry to bother you, but can you tell me what’s taking so long?  It’s been about an hour and no one’s some to orient us yet.  We’ve all signed the Oath of Secrecy.  What gives?”

The Receptionist was polite, but in an almost robotic manner.  She answered Rand in a voice that was both clipped and bird-like, reminiscent of the telephone operators from Mid-Twentienth Century Earth.
“We do apologize for the wait, but the program coordinators are setting up as we speak, so it shouldn’t be that much longer.”

“Yeah, but they had a whole month for set up.  I’ve never heard of this last minute stuff at the Academy.”

The Receptionist regarded her rather coolly, and Rand wondered if she’d put her foot in her mouth.  Not that she gave a shit.  This waiting was irritating and unprofessional and they needed to hear it!  Her eyes strayed over to the emblem on the Receptionist’s uniform on the left side just over her breast.  It wasn’t the usual symbol of an ancient compass inclined over the points of navigation.  It was of an upwardly pointed weapon that tapered down into an oval plate.

A switchblade?

Rand felt her head jerk back ever so slightly, trying very hard not to look to stunned.

“Again, we do realize that the wait’s been long, but if you’ll sit down the coordinators will be here shortly to orient you and the other cadets.”

Rand had been tempted to say something, but the chilly expression on the Receptionist’s face, along with that switchblade planted on her chest, prompted Rand to give her a curt little nod and a barely contained smirk before returning glumly to her seat for yet another possible long wait. 

“This is utter bullshit,” she said under her breath.

Rand had hoped she had been loud enough for Little Miss Efficient to hear her, but looking over at the Receptionist, her eyes transfixed onto the computer screen, was proof that she had failed in that objective.

Sitting back down, Rand turned her attention to the small table where issues of the terminally dull Academy Magazine lay haphazardly piled onto each other.  Corn fed cadets smiling goofily in stiff, awkward poses in sad attempts at looking formidable plastered every glossy cover.  Rand rolled her eyes as she picked up a periodical, desperately wishing that she had brought something of her own to read.  She turned to the interactive bulletin board on the other side of the Receptionist’s desk where she saw two other cadets on either side tapping their fingers onto its screen, hoping to keep themselves engaged through this interminable wait. 

Rand glumly hoisted herself up from her chair and walked over to the bulletin board.  Maybe there’d be something interesting, but she highly doubted it. 

“Exactly what is this Crossing the Rubicon anyway?  What are we being tested on?  How long we can stand boredom before we go completely bonkers? Are we being timed for sleep inducement or something?” she thought.
At the corner of her eye, Rand could see a young man with his head inclined back, his mouth open and body slack on the chair.  She chuckled, shaking her head.

“Yeah, it’s sleep inducement,” she said to herself.

She raised her hand to the icon on the bulletin board winking in front of her.

THRUMP…THRUMP…THRUMP.

Rand stopped in mid-gesture and turned to the sound, which was coming from behind the wall on the far side of the room.  But, only after three times it stopped. 
She shrugged and returned her attention to the interactive bulletin board, placing the tip of her finger on the grey screen and tapping it, activating it to life.  Icons and various fonts flickered and glowed, aligning themselves in orderly geometric configurations. 

“Anything interesting?”

Rand turned to a short, freckled faced, chubby auburn haired young man.  He spoke in a voice that feigned both distress and boredom as he looked at the screen.

“We’ll see.  Hopefully.”

THRUMP…THRUMP…THRUMP…THRUMP.

The sound returned, coming from the back wall, like before.  And, again, Rand turned towards the direction of the sound, forgetting about the bulletin board.

“What, are they doing repairs or something?”

“I hope not.  Between the wait and that noise I’d chew my nails down to the cuticle, for Christ’s Sake!”

“You’ve got a point there, kiddo.”

The sound was dense and unwavering.  This knocking went on in a drone-like manner, slow and plodding, continuous, thick and blunt.  As the sound went on, the thick of it began to hollow out and echo, ringing like a hammer against a steel beam.  Other cadets started turning to the noise as well; some got up from their seats while others stayed seated, leaning their bodies and craning their necks towards the direction from where the sound emanated. 

The hammering abruptly stopped. 

There was a minute of silence…

And then…

TTTTTHHHHHHRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMBBBBBBBBB!!!!

It was like a headlong fall down a great flight of stairs.

The tumbling began at the far end of the wall, but then it spread out like a grid, its branches rolling behind the surrounding walls of the waiting room, and then up in the ceiling. 

There was an uneven rhythm to the commotion.  It would go fast, stop, then slow.  It would bounce, then skid like a pebble on a body of water. 

Rand noticed that the other cadets were out of their seats now, their faces expressing alarm as they were clearly glued to the racket that engulfed them.
She turned to where the Receptionist sat, but the desk was empty. 

There was a resonant slam in the overhead, followed by vehement scrapings crawling their way upward from the walls to the ceiling.

“What the hell…”

Compact oval slots opened up, letting loose grey pipes that revolved and undulated around each cadet, like tentacles.  To Rand, standing face to face to one of these things, looked like the long slender barrel of an Italian pistol.

“SSSSHHHHHPPPPPUUUUU!!!!!”

A spiral of thin, silvery webbing glued itself onto Rand, its slick, feathery substance tightening and hardening as she struggled violently against its grip.  She screamed, stumbling to the floor as she clawed and kicked at the netting.  Her ears were assaulted by the screams, exclamations, and cursing of the other cadets. 

Rand felt the brutal pull of the netting as it dragged her across the floor of the waiting room.  Through this web, she could see officers garbed in black pulling and yanking at the nets containing squirming cadets while others wielded long , black staffs that jabbed into their captives, causing their bodies to flop heavily like fish being dumped onto a deck. 

Rand drew in her breath sharply, as she watched the chaos with a mixture of fear and rage.  Then, a pair of feet planted themselves firmly in front of her.  Rand looked up to see the Receptionist standing overt her, gripping a staff strategically with both hands, the lit end of it glowing like a poker as it hovered over Rand’s face. 

Rand screamed, fighting through the net as it continued to tighten around her.  The Receptionist thrust the staff downward until Rand felt the heat press against her neck, bringing searing currents that coursed through her body until her limbs tingled, the heat morphing into a numbing iciness that slackened her body, face and eyes until she lost consciousness.   

















Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hey Guys, It's Me…

Hey, people!

It's me again.

I writing this post to let you know that Chapter One of my latest story will be on this blog in July-you can take that to the bank.

Writing can be a real struggle, and it's been quite a struggle lately for me.

My life, without going into great detail, has been a bit tumultuous in the past year.

I had lost a loved one almost a year ago, a loved one for whom I was the main caregiver, and another loved one made the big transition to college-to Yale, no less!

I also have another loved one who is in fast decline, and that's a lot to deal with right now.

There have been times when I've been on a roll and was able to write quite a bit, and then there have been times when I would sit with that pad of paper in front of me and nothing would come out-and I mean nothing.

However, I am almost finished with this chapter and it will definitely be here next month.

So, here's to July!

ProvidenceMine.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Grace is Gone Too...

I heard it about a half-hour ago.

Grace Lee Whitney is gone too.

I'm sitting here typing away, wondering how in the hell am I going to write about this extraordinary woman.

This woman, who suffered so many setbacks in her life and career, who was abruptly shown the door during her short stint on Star Trek after a horrific sexual assault by a producer, whose self-destructive path of alcoholism, drugs and sex almost killed her, had not only managed to pull herself out of her own personal abyss and rescue herself from almost certain doom, she managed to thrive--and thrive she did--living to the age of 85 years.

Grace was not a woman who held anything back, as was proof of her heartbreaking autobiography The Longest Trek.  Her account of being adopted as a newborn infant, and of being seen as a bastard by the members of the community in which she grew up, of feeling adrift and rootless not knowing her real parents, and the rejection of biological family members when she was finally able to find them and make contact, are just some of the heartbreaking snapshots of a life of many small tragedies.  She really goes into detail about her failed marriages, career opportunities missed, and difficult relationships.

This was not a woman who glamorized her addictions.  This was not a woman who thought that her addictions made her edgy and iconoclastic.  While people like Amy Winehouse and Jim Morrison wrapped themselves in a cloak of self-delusional worship of their bombastic rocker nihilism, Grace never romanticized her addictions and saw them for what they were--means to cover up and make her forget her own sense of anger, inadequacies, and frustrations for the injustices that had been done to her.

Grace Lee Whitney came from a place of truth.  The book is not an easy read, and at times I had to put it down and take a breather.  But, the more I read and the more breathers I had to take, the more I found myself in awe of this woman.  The fact that she was able to rescue herself and then ultimately turn around and form her own outreach circles, helping other women lost in addiction and despair, in prison and even in her own living room, made her one amazing spirit.

Grace Lee Whitney pulled herself out of the dirt and shined like a diamond! If that sounds corny to you,
you're entitled to your opinion.

Grace Lee Whitney was an opportunity lost as far as possible stars was concerned.  I say this because the heads of the studios could have made her a star, and didn't because she wouldn't play the Hollywood game of sleeping around.  I always thought that she would have made a fantastic Hitchcock Blonde! Don't you think so?

There is a quote that was said by a certain young actress back in the late Seventies(or was it the early Eighties?) that I think is fitting for a woman who fought her demons and never looked back.  It is here:



"I have always considered myself to be the pillar in my life."
-Meryl Streep

Grace Lee Whitney could very well have said that about herself, I think.


To Grace, I wish you Godspeed on your next extraordinary journey.  You are seated now with your fellow angels.

Bless you, love.


Grace Lee Whitney
1930-2015



Monday, April 6, 2015

Aren't You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare Prologue

Title: Aren’t You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare  
Author: ProvidenceMine
Fandom: Star Trek
Series: TOS Prime
Parts: Prologue, 1-8
Rating: R for violence
Codes: R, original characters
Summary:  Forget the Kobayashi Maru!  Can Rand get through Crossing the Rubicon?
Disclaimer: Paramount Pictures owns all of Star Trek and its characters.  This is simply fan fiction, and I don’t expect to profit from this or any story that I writer hereafter.


Aren’t You All Aglow In Your Thousand Yard Stare    

Prologue


It was a most agreeable and elegant soiree, and Janice Rand was reveling in the thick of it.  Urbane, cosmopolitan couples attired in long gowns and pressed black tuxedoes coasted under the high, arched ceiling.  Graceful strains of violins mingled with the clinking of glasses, the gentle shoe tappings of dance floor rhythm, and the cadences of conversation.   Oriental paper lanterns hung from various areas of the mansion, giving off a soft, illuminating frame of light as it shimmered off of the glittery gowns and glowed off the whites of the tuxedo shirts.  Even the champagne flutes reflected this lantern light, darting on rims and stems in a delicate light show display.  Rand raises a glass to her lips, enjoying the dry bubbly fill the corners of her mouth, submerging her tongue in a jaunt of iciness.

“My, Janice!  You’re simply a vision tonight!  Is that dress haute couture?  I’m simply just mad for it!”    

The voice belongs to a petite brunette and her tall, lanky husband.

“Lucy!  George!  Look at you two!” 

The trio exchanged polite kisses and gave one another the once-over approvingly.

“Food for a starving man, Janice!”

“Oh, aren’t you the devil,” teased Rand.  “And with such a lovely creature on your arm!”

“Oh, you’re a dear, Janice!  I’d like to think that we shopped at the same place, but your gown is simply exquisite!  Love that peak of leg!  Simply wicked, dear!” 

“Man trap!  Man trap!”  yells George with his hands up.

The trio laughs.  They talk like this for a while, complementing one another on their jewelry, their aftershave, and the like.  Finally, Rand took a final swig of her champagne, downing the last of her drink.

“You must excuse me, I think all of this scrumptious champagne and excitement has done me in.  The little girls’ room awaits.”

The trio broke out in effervescent laughter as Rand headed towards the hallway.  While on her way to the bathroom, Rand caught a glimpse of herself in an old Art Nouvelle mirror, and had to admit, even to herself, how fabulous she looked.  Her flaxen hair swept up in an elegant twist that emphasized her long neck.  Slender diamond crystal earrings hung over bare white shoulders.  The sleek bustier shell of her black gown flared out into a sweeping layered taffeta skirt, which fanned out from a discreet slit, revealing a stunning portion of leg. 

“Janice, my dear, you are simply smashing,” she whispered herself with a wink.  She turned to the hallway that lead to the bathroom, and sighed with relief when she saw the oval shaped, intricately carved mahogany door up in front of her.  The door opened, and a tall, slender, refined young man stepped out.  Handsome, elegant and self-possessed, he beamed when he spotted Rand and held the door open for her.

“Why Thank you,” she said upping her pace as she reached for the door, grinning at the young man.  Rand closed the door behind her.

“Must try to get his name later,” she thought. 

Rand smiled at the memory of that young man’s face, his manners, and his cologne as she raised the toilet seat and reached underneath her gown.

“What the hell?”   

Rand peered into the toilet with a mixture of disbelief and revoltion.  

There, floating atop the water in the porcelain throne, lay a big fat turd the shape of an overstuffed marijuana joint. 

It was definitely at this moment when that young man lost his appeal.

“How can that ding bat forget to flush when he squeezes something like that out of his skinny ass?!  Eassh!” 

She reached over to flush the toilet, her eyes still glued to the waste left by the young man.  But something made her stop, made her stand back and stare.

The turd, without any explanation, began to vibrate.

Rand looked around the toilet, the bathroom, and then back inside the bowl.  There were no outside vibrations.

“Nope.  It’s the fucking shit.”

The ripples surrounding the excrement became stronger and move violent.  Unable to help herself, Rand leaned in closer until her head was directly over the toilet seat.

“How is that thing…”

SPLAT!

The turd catapulted out of the bowl, landing squarely in Rand’s face.  It latched onto her, dense and grainy like cement.  The dung made its way into her eyes, pressed between her teeth, and clogging her nostrils, which were being assailed by the putrid stink. 

Rand bolted upright in her bed, frantically slapping her face before realizing that she was back in her quarters, alone in the dark.  There was no party.  There was no fancy art nouvelle bathroom.  There was no ball of shit on her face.

Rand sighed, heavily and with profound relief.  She cradled her face with her hands and began to laugh.

“Good God!  Janice, what went on during the day to manifest that dream?!”

Shaking her head and still laughing, she tossed the covers to her bed aside and climbed out so she could go to the bathroom for a glass of water.








Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Few Words about the term Mary Sue.

 Title: A Few Words about the term Mary Sue.

Author: ProvidenceMine.



I have been seeing the term ‘Mary Sue’ quite a bit in recent years, and I can’t say that I like it much.   It is a term that, I feel, has been used too much and too lightly.

For those of you who do not know, ‘Mary Sue’ describes a character, particularly in fan fiction but not limited to it, that is ‘too good to be true.’  These characters are always physically attractive, are smart, capable, and have ‘their shit together,’ for the most part.  It is usually applied to a female character, but has been applied to male characters as well.

Now, I’m not entirely unsympathetic with the sentiment behind the term because I have read books and seen movies, television and theatre pieces where a character was certainly so perfect, so flawless, so over-capable that they were exasperating. 

A sterling example of such a character was Dr. Evan Wilson, the pixie-like irritant from the TOS Star Trek novel Uhura’s Song.  Not only did this woman out-perform everyone, and I mean everyone at their jobs and talents-like Scotty, Kirk, McCoy, everyone- she was also loved by the whole crew, and the aliens of the planet that they were on.  This woman didn’t seem to have a character flaw at all, and she was highly full of herself.

Uhg!

And the worst part of it was, this woman completely upstaged Lt.Uhura, whose story this was supposed to be. 

Now, the book was a bit long and slow to begin with.  But, with Little Ms. Perfect in tow, I found the story a bit tiresome and I ended up putting the book down, but with the intention of finishing it.

I never did.

Dr. Evan Wilson is certainly a good example of a ‘Mary Sue.’  I get that.  However, I’ve read comments from people all over the internet where people leveled that term on certain characters in a way that I can only describe as questionable.

The character of Alya from the book Clan of the Cave Bear comes to mind.  There were so many comments by readers that labeled this woman as a ‘Mary Sue’ that it was quite alarming.  Now, I’ve read this book.  Alya was supposed to be a representative of the dawn of man, its collective coming of age.  She was able to figure out things, invent tools, learn about herself and others in a way that represented the ways in which our ancestors had. 

Jean M. Auel couldn’t write about every single prehistoric man, woman and child, now could she?  So, her main character was the embodiment of the human race in ascension.   

How is a character such as Alya a ‘Mary Sue?’ Is it because she’s beautiful and smart? 

I don’t get it.  I really don’t.

Another mention of a character described as a ‘Mary Sue’ was Claire Randall, the main character of the Outlander series.  A particular commenter on Amazon had referred to Claire as such because she was a strong female character who was a talented healer, and who was also beautiful and desired by many men.

Really?!

Let’s get something straight here.  Claire Randall is a heroine to a ROMANCE novel, okay?  The last time I checked, heroines in romance novels usually were beautiful and desired by many men.  Also, she is far from being perfect.  There is one incident where she puts her foot in her mouth while she is a dinner guest of the garrison commander of the invading English army, effectively putting her allegiance in question, and therefore her safety.  Claire Randall also marries another man in another time, and does end up fighting against the army of her compatriots.

Let me see, now.  Claire Randall is by all accounts a bigamist and a traitor to her country.  Does that sound like a ‘Mary Sue’ to you?

But the most galling of insults for me was when the creator of the term ‘Mary Sue,’ whose name I don’t know nor want to, had actually stated that Captain Kirk fit the mold of a ‘Mary Sue.’

What in the HELL?!

What on earth makes Captain Kirk a ‘Mary Sue?’  It is that he’s an attractive, assertive man who is a brilliant star ship commander?  A man who is desired by women and admired by his peers and underlings? 

I suppose that would make George Washington a ‘Mary Sue,’ right? 

I guess you can also throw in the roman emperor Hadrian in that silly mix.

Let me tell you something.  I’ve must have watched every episode of Star Trek TOS, and I can tell you that Captain Kirk was no ‘Mary Sue.’ There were times when he barked orders and berated his crewmen in such a way that he came off as a downright jerk!  And frankly, there were times when he used women in order to meet an objective, even if a couple of these women were androids.  Watch all three seasons of the show, and you’ll see what I mean.

Captain Kirk a ‘Mary Sue?’  Ha!

See what I mean when I say that the term ‘Mary Sue’ is an irresponsible term?

It would be nice if the term would disappear from the face of the earth, never to be heard of ever, ever, EVER again!!  The woman who created the term ‘Mary Sue’ did a real disservice to writers everywhere- fan fiction writers and otherwise. 

Does this individual believe that all characters have to be like Archie Bunker, Commander Willard, Hal Carter, Scarlet O’Hara or Bella Swan ( before her transformation, of course )?

Maybe she thinks all characters should be like her. 

I shutter at the mere thought of that.

What’s wrong with a character who has his/her act together?  There’s a huge difference between that, and a character who is so perfect that they are impervious to believability…

…like Dr. Evan Wilson.

I think that people who have a love affair with the ‘Mary Sue’ term are clearly people who can’t tell the difference between such characters, and might be better served limiting their reading to coloring books or comic books.

Oh, maybe not.

They might think that Wonder Woman is a ‘Mary Sue’ as well.

You can’t win ‘em all.




Written and finished on March 24, 2015.