Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #212

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #212

…Battles will continue to be fought and armistices forged, but Harv has had his fill, saying his goodbyes at his P-E J Paris office…

“The Last Victory” by Roy Grinnell.

far from the glamour of the movies, Harv Pearson has witnessed the wonder of America’s contribution to the Great War, Col. Billy Mitchell in particular. On one day in late September, watching from the ground, he sees the sky above is filled with allied Related imageairplanes, spanning the horizon and headed for Saint Mihiel. They will total 1400 or more, he learns from Mitchell and quite a sight to see at that.

The sound of all those rotary engines will forever echo in the recesses of his mind. War produces sights and sounds that no peacetime event can and places a stamp on the human souls therein.

It also helps when you are on the winning side and thanks to American contributions, i.e. the air war, submarine warfare and fierce ground assaults. An end to the Great War can be seen.

Rear Admiral William S. Sims

Battles will continue to be fought and armistices forged, but Harv has had his fill, saying his goodbyes at his P-E J Paris office, leaving a skeleton staff to tie up the many loose ends. Personally, he is thankful that they had not lost any of his rotating reporters to the war, which is not the case for other news organizations. In fact, they are the only journalistic presence not to lose a correspondent.

For his last assignment, Harv is going to go back to the U.S. on a convoy ship, under the command of Rear Admiral William S. Sims. Sims has been at it for longer than most anyone, coordinating the transport of war materials, then troops since back in ‘15. He too is making his final voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

Historical Image

USS Chesapeake Bay (DD61)

He has a wealth of stories to tell, many of them end with the sinking of one of many defenseless civilian ships. Until the Navy was allowed to convoy, a safety net surrounding as many as 10 supply ships, millions of metric tons is lost to U-boats… and the bottom of the ocean.

Were there an American naval presence around the English Channel, John Ferrell may be preparing to become the father-of-the-bride for Maggie Lou.

“How many ships have you been on that have been struck by a torpedo?” asks Harv after they have been under way for a day.

“8 too many, Mr. Pearson,” he relates with a stare straight ahead; he refuses to think about what is below the waterline of his boat, leaving that vigilant task to his around-the-clock submarine spotters. “If a cat has nine lives, I don’t want to use up that last one”

“It helps that we are traveling on a destroyer, does it not?” Harv is looking for reassurance, wanting to avoid John Ferrell’s fate at all cost. He had a bird’s eye view then and that impression haunt him long after the last shot of this horrible war is fired.

“Well yes, 5 of the boats I was aboard that got hit were civilian and before 1917. I guess the odds eventually even out.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #212


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #206

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #206

…We must shoot down as many Albatross’ as we can – every one of them is a greater threat to our boys than two battalions of Huns…

Albatros D.III Werner Voss, by Arkadiusz Wróbel

European Allies have had Americans flying in their ranks for a couple of years now and are the most comfortable in the sky.

Wright or wrong, you cannot dispute effectiveness of aircraft and if men like Billy Mitchell do not advance the cause, the Germans would have controlled the skies, perhaps changing the course of world history.

 Harv Pearson is seated in the rear of a room of military men, commanders all, planning an offensive beginning at Saint Mihiel on the Western Front. Mitchell, just a colonel, is prominent in the September 1918 meeting, urging to use just about every available aircraft, ‘to chase retreating German forces into tomorrow.’

“We have the opportunity break through that damned Siegfried Line! Doesn’t it make sense to shoot down as many Albatross’ as we can – every one of them is a greater threat to our boys than two battalions of Huns!” Billy Mitchell will use any means to make his point, including the press and their widening audience.

“Colonel Mitchell, you have been in Europe longer than any other adviser, what are some of the others uses for the airplane, other than those hair-raising dogfights?” asks Harv, the only reporter in the room.

“If they would listen to me, I would sink every ship that they have, but they don’t think our bombs can do it, that’s bull***t!”

“What if the ships are in the middle of the Atlantic? The current range of airplanes barely allows you to fly to Belgium and back?”

 “We could land them on boats.” He is thinking on the fly. “Our aces can land in the middle of a herd of cattle, why not on a ship!”

Air warHarv does not know what to say, getting more of an answer than he was prepared for. As far as he knows, there are no ships with an airfield for a deck. What others are whispering may be true, ‘Billy Mitchell is an extremist, bent on unproven things with little regard for his superiors.’

“Gotta go, Pearson; more Albatross’ to shoot out of the sky.” There is a hint of glee in his voice. Was he going to fly a mission? Harv wouldn’t put it past the fiery flying enthusiast.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #206


page 193

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #118

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #118

…Overwhelmed, surprised, lightheaded, exhausted and downright grateful to be home are they, standing hand in hand, friendships forged by fire and sharpened one against the other…

McKinley Speech-001

On this day, it is Herbert Love and the Leon/Gadsden Nine who stand and wave to the adoring masses. Such is the power of the printed word, preceding them with truth-ly tales and a few innocent embellishments, sprinkled with a little imagination.

Democrat-001One particularly inciting article would be considered old news. Fulton Allanson IV had ferreted out an account of the liberation of the Campbell family from the clutches of Jefferson Smythwick and Fort Sumter South. Thanks to Amanda Campbell and Martha Ferrell, a special Saturday edition of the Tallahassee Democrat is printed, solely dedicated to that amazing act of liberating love.

When you add that stimulating story to current heroic escapades and a compelling pattern emerges. These are, by no measure, ordinary people. There is something about them that must be different, so different that one can only dream of such feats. The status quo is resigned complacency when compared to inspired motivation.

However cherished and immortalized, the balconied nine are privately embarrassed by the pomp attention. Overwhelmed, surprised, lightheaded, exhausted and downright grateful to be home are they, standing hand in hand, friendships forged by fire and sharpened one against the other.

When William McKinley finally speaks, people listen, “Are there any greater heroes than these fine nine people?” igniting yet another five minute ovation.

A few of the many who were helped or saved, such as James and Abbey and the humbled  young debutantes of Tallahassee are there at the fore on the ground and cheering the loudest. Martha and Agnes Ferrell, Frieda Endlichoffer, Laura Bell, Amanda Campbell – husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers are right behind them, joyous to be a reveler, instead of a mourner.

“Thank you all for your graciousness. It makes for a homecoming that none of us will likely forget,” tells Herb Love for the group. “And I would like to say that I am proud to count William McKinley as my friend! He is as fine a man as I may ever meet!”

McKinley has since boarded his train, joining an irresistibly juicy photographic opportunity (the back deck of the back car draped in American flaggery) with the most genuine intentions of course. He introduces each of the nine; from a list he has been given, though he could probably do it by heart. The nine are as individual as they are unique, easily distinguished from the other, even you had not seen them before: a mayor and his wife, a businessman, a journalist, a pharmacist, a school administrator, a cigar maker and his son, the protégé of an elderly German doctor.

  President McKinley concludes with the declaration, “I want each one of you to join me in Washington on election night, guest of the First Lady and me!”

Wow! The crowd is ten thousand strong. What a party! But only those, in those twenty minutes short of an hour at the railway depot, really believe he was inviting everyone.

“I was there with you in Philadelphia, when the Republicans acclaimed their support for you,” Herb grabs the megaphone, really getting into this campaigning thing, “and me and my good friends will be there with you and sweet Ida, when you are once again proclaimed President of our fine country!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #118


page 108

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

…The USS Maine had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, wanting nothing less than independence…

“What the hell was that?” demands Captain Sigsbee from the smoking bridge of the Battleship USS Maine of the helmsman, who already realizes he has no control of this troubled ship. There is no time for him to speculate. The explosion that has rocked the huge boat now topped by another even more powerful blast. “Abandon ship! Man the lifeboats!”

“Where is Commander Gaskel?” asks Captain Sigsbee about his second in command (Martha Ferrell’s brother) amidst a mad scramble of sailors from deep within the bowels of the ship.

“He helped me and some other guys out of the boiler room, sir,” answers one of the lucky ones. “We thought he was right behind us.”

A captain knows his boat intimately. The only two areas that can produce such explosions, assuming it was not sabotage, are the boiler room and the munitions cache. They are too close together for comfort, but Sigsbee has a notion to retrieve survivors and for a moment it looks like the worst is over. Just then, a final blast rips the stern front the bow, just to the rear of amidship. The stern is more heavily weighted by the coal driven turbines and finds the bottom of Havana harbor first.

The fore of the ship lingers on the surface long enough for the remaining bridge crew and finally Captain Sigsbee to make the last seaworthy lifeboat. One minute more separates the reunion of the bow with its anchor, concluding the disaster in no more than twelve minutes total.

(Music: Sleeping Sun Artist: Nightwish Subject: USS Maine)

They had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, rioting against self- government, wanting nothing less than independence. What or who caused the stay of the Maine to come to a crashing end after only three weeks, will be debated and disputed for longer than the lives of those who survive.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #77


page 71

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 89

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 89

…Find the nearest firehouse Fanny, get help, Eddie has taken two to the gut…

Eddie notices a black Cadillac ironically similar to the one that ran them off the road on the way back from Tolentine. It is parked at the side entrance to O’Malley’s.  Inadvisably, he does not share this useful tidbit with his employers, letting them out two blocks to the south as he was instructed.

It is a sound plan; evaluate then act.

Without fanfare Eddie steps on the gas of the sedan, charging up behind the black car. The Packard screeches to an abrupt stop, blocking it in. It seems he is taking matters into his own hands.

“What the hell is he doing, he doesn’t have a gun?” Constance laments.

This was not part of the plan.

Eddie jumps out the passenger side door and storms into the building.

Constance has broken into an all-out gallop in a futile attempt to stop him, her Beretta is drawn. Shrieks at her determined comrade go unheeded.

Shortly after he disappears inside the side entrance, she hears two sharp reports, then silence. She polishes a hole onto a side window to see inside. There is a single man’s body lying next to a person bound and gagged on a chair.

She motions to Fanny has to go around to the rear of the single story structure to secure that exit.

Plan B needs to be good.

Without hesitation, Constance charges into the skirmish. The element of surprise is on her side.

There are two men in the process of rolling Eddie’s bloodied torso over, presumably to see if he is still alive. The person in the chair is beside herself. Presumably it is Edie Dombroski.

Fanny sees what is going on and creates a distraction from the back of the garage. The men rain bullets at her as she ducks between disassembled vehicles and barrels of petroleum products.

Constance steals a quick look at Eddie, and then shoots at both men in turn, one bullet apiece, with deadly accuracy from the kneeling position; no questions asked and none required.

“Find the nearest firehouse Fanny, get help, Eddie has taken two to the gut!

Luckily, Engine #4 is around the corner on Division Street.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Firehouse

Engine #4 Division Street

Forever Mastadon


page 80

The NULL Solution = Episode 157

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The NULL Solution = Episode 157

…Gus McKinney’s sole luxury comes in the form of a vehicle license tag: SOLx3…

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Key to the City

Houston Texas has always been a NASA town. Back in its heyday, the Johnson Space Center was the centerpiece of space aeronautics. Even after critical operations shifted east to Oskaloosa and Lovell S C, and south to Galveston and GLF, never once have they surrendered the nickname of “Space City”.

Thanks to the inland seaport and nearby wide-open spaces, Houston has overtaken Chicago as the 3rd most populated city, as well as metropolitan area in the United States. They are big on bragging rights, particularly when it comes to space heroes.

If he had a case of the druthers, Gus McKinney could have easily given up his pressure-suit for politics. He believes he is too young for that old man’s occupation. But that does not mean he has bought a single meal or beverage while out & about in Texas for THE LAST 20 YEARS.

His appearance on Good Morning Mission Control blew up the Internet for 2 hours. Gus McKinney EVA Action Figure is the most popular Christmas gift for the years 2050 – 52. To his credit, he has repeatedly turned down reality television producers, who would kill for the opportunity to spend quality camera time out at King Ranch. His sole luxury comes in the form of a vehicle license tag: SOLx3. Anonymity goes out the window {at the speed-of-light} when he goes to 7 Eleven for a Slurpee. He does not pay for those either.

He will need all that plus a sawbuck if he wants to be in the mix concerning the coming of Collapsar Axis. Roy Crippen compares confronting it to “shooting spit wads @ the moon”. The decision has been set in stone. The only volleys being lobbed at the Ÿ€Ð menace are “friendlies”, reinforcing the image of a peaceful people who would never consider taking an offensive posture… except the one time when our hero squeezed-off a warning disruptor blast at a single Ÿ€Ð cruiser, back when Terran folks were a bit jumpy about the Lorgan issue.

Hopefully the “invaders” have a short memory.

At least the United States has backed away from the literal ledge, that the rest of the world is about to jump off of. At various times in history, the fact that the Americas are an island unto themselves is quite convenient. The European Union head is connected to Eastern Bloc neck bone, the neck bone is connected to the Russian backbone and the backbone is connected to the Asian tailbone and the Tailbone is connected to the kangaroo bone.

Editorial comment: No bone is connected to the African bone… where disease still spreads faster than the news.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 157


page 153

The NULL Solution = Episode 115

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The NULL Solution = Episode 115

…Make no bones about it, it is truly like an expedition of old; Da Gama, Hilary, Joliet or Glenn…. or one of these oldies:

The two month trip out to Mars is a breeze. Each man has his own way to pass the time. 60 or days may not seem like a long time, but when 2 men from different generations are left to their own devices; those devices are bound to be dissimilar.

Retiring Rick Stanley has much to catch up on, seeing that his career path has recently resembled the Chinese fortunes in the world money markets – down. It is enough to frighten a super G downhill racer, so quick was his trip to the bottom of the astronaut chart. He has been resigned to cashing NASA credits, training future astronauts, all the while sleepwalking; not a gratified way to go out.

So here he is, crunching file after file of technical manuals with the hope of catching up with his up-to-date cabin mate. ‘How do I do this or that?’ is not the burden he wants project on Gus McKinney, who has been described by most observers as the premier space pioneer… ever.

Astronaut Stanley is not without his own fine resume, but his reads like a high school diploma compared to Gus’ doctoral thesis. He may be piloting the drone, but he will not be at the controls of Solution as it circumnavigates the surface of the new Mars.

SOLUTION

At 40 years old, Gus could be Rick’s son, nearly a grandson. The veteran always wanted a son, but due to his job at NASA, his two ex-wives were in no mood to be widows with a child. Astronaut spouses are a special breed. His were not. His were merely social-climbing-window-dressing.

It is an odd feeling when you virtually idolize someone so his junior. He has a way to go to pull even, but he will.

Gus McKinney spends his time honing his fast-twitch motor skills and pouring over the “Harmonia Query”. When he grows tired of blasting alien invaders from a game screen, he punishes himself by running countless scenarios past the NASA data-cloud; nothing can be left to chance.

His no-fear attitude prevents him from regretting any of his choices, on Earth or in space. Never mind that he takes a lucky horseshoe with him on every mission. Technology cannot completely replace the U-shaped iron equine wear-guard fashioned by a person called a farrier. His prized appaloosa mare threw this particular shoe, causing them to stop… one minute and one mile from the path of a southeast Texas twister that suddenly dropped out of the sky, right when and where he would be returning from a back-forty fence check. He will forever take that charm, wherever the winds of space blow him.

Not to be outdone, daughter Marscie gave him a lime-green bow from her hair as he left King Ranch for this expedition. Either charm comes in second to his wife. McKinney wives need to be special and Mindy is.

Make no bones about it, it is truly like an expedition of old; Da Gama, Hilary, Joliet or Glenn.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 115


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