The Book Fangirling Blog Award

Hello Bloggies!

I’ve been nominated for the Book Fangirling Award by the lovely Charley of the booksandbakes blog. Becasue she’s busy working all hours she doesn’t get on here as much as she would like I’m guessing, but it was good to see her the other day especially as she nominated me for this. Thank you Charley!!! 🙂

Anyway, the rules for this one:

  • Create a post to accept your award.
  • Add the blog award button into your post and put it on the side of your blog as a widget. Visit fangirling for the award button.
  • Answer the questions I have below.
  • Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think also deserve this award.
  • Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees

Charley’s questions:

  1. Which is the best book you’ve read in 2015?                                              I’ve been making my way throught the Lord of the Rings this year and it’s brilliant! I could say I wish I read it sooner, but I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do now.
  2. Is there a genre that you tend to shy away from? Why is this and what would make you try it?                                                                                                                             I don’t shy away from anything, but I tend to stick with Sci Fi and fantasy. I’m a guy, so mushy stuff really isn’t my scene.
  3. E-reader or paper book?                                                                                   I love a good book in my hand and could collect books just for being books. But from a purely practical point of view an e-reader lets me take volumes with me.
  4. What makes you love a book?                                                                  Making it interesting and being able to visualise the scenes in my mind. There’s nothing worse than being unclear.
  5. Do you have a favourite reading snack?                                                      I don’t tend to snack when I read, but when I’m writing it’s total crap – buiscuits often being consumed by the packet in no time.

Simon’s questions:

  1. Which is the best book you’ve read? Like ever?
  2. Where you you find the best place to read is for you?
  3. Are you ever put of by a big book or do you relish it?
  4. Are you someone that reads the back pages first?
  5. Is there a book  you loved that’s a total departure from your normal reading? What was it and why did you like it

My nominations:

Meg

Morgan

mnbernardbooks

Patrick

Allie

Teresa

 

As always you don’t have to do it but I would love it if you did. Most of these nominees are new to my reader tribe and I would like to get to know them. Morgan is simply awesome and always deserves my nomination 🙂

Simon 🙂

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Scorched Planet Part 3

Following on from the blog battle story this is the third part of my scorched planet story. I hope to keep this going for a while yet…

See parts 1 & 2 here so you know where we are:

https://universeofpossibility.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/the-scorched-planet-blogbattle-scifi/

https://universeofpossibility.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/scorched-planet-part-2-blogbattle-scifi/

Under David’s direction Lauren drove the transport out into the dusty depths of the plain. He had explained what he had seen, the huge spacecraft flying so close to him and disappearing into the distance. Lauren wasn’t sure about this, they were going out on a limb with no backup and control were not happy.

“Hicks, Lauren, what the hell is going on out there? Lauren, turn around and bring yourselves back, our trackers show you heading out past the outer markers. Please respond”

“We’re going to have to answer them David” Lauren calmly and earnestly pleaded with him. “At least tell them what’s going on, we need some kind of backup. You know I would follow you to the ends of the world. But I don’t want to die if I don’t have to”

“OK” Hicks relented. “Let me get on the intercom, but I tell you now babe, this won’t go down well with them. They will still want us back and I don’t want to go back – I want to see what it is, who it is”

“Just tell them… please David” Lauren insisted as David interrupted controls ranting through the intercom.

“This is Hicks1512, can you hear me control?”

“Affirmative Hicks 1512, this is control” They seemed to have recovered some of their customary professionalism, but he could easily pick up the angry tone in their voice. “Can you please advise your status Hicks1512?”

“Yeah, control. Errrm, we’re going on a little journey and we might need some help”

“What? Why?” was the loud and abrupt response.

“Before Lauren got here I observed a spacecraft fly over me and set down about 10 kilometres south west from the sensor array. We’re going out to investigate and report back” There was a moments silence from control.

“Control? Are you there?”

“Affirmative Hicks1512, we’re sending two teams and vehicles as backup” They called it backup but David knew they were really coming out to get him back.

“Don’t let them go any further than the sensor array” David instructed. Suddenly he felt the vehicle stop. He turned to Lauren “Why have you stopped babe?” Lauren snatched the com mic from David.

“Here, you go – stop doubting him and look in camera one, I’m zooming in” Looking out of the window, David could just see the thin shape of the landed spacecraft through the dust. He looked on the screen as Lauren zoomed the camera into the shape. In a close view more detail could be seen, the lights, the dim blue glow underneath the spacecraft… still no landing gear of any kind though. David was both excited and nervous. This kind of vessel was way beyond human technology, what kind of race of beings built and controlled it? Returning to the conversation, David could hear all kinds of chatter going on from control. He got the impression they believed him now and that they were as staggered as he was, eventually they replied.

“Very well Hicks1512, we understand the situation. Sending two teams out to the sensor station to await further instructions. Proceed with caution and stay in contact. We’re keeping channel 12 open for you, send us your audio visual data feeds.”

“Understood control” David replied “will do – make sure that backup understand that this spacecraft can disable our electrical systems if it flies”

“Understood Hicks1512” Control signed off. The data feed was switched to channel 12. David turned to Lauren, who was already looking at him. “You still want to do this?” Lauren nodded.

“You know I would follow you wherever you went. Please promise me something David” Lauren looked at him, with helpless and longing eyes.

“Sure, name it”

“Don’t get me killed and while you’re at it don’t get yourself killed. I’ve always come with you on every hair brained adventure you’ve come up with and so far we’ve been lucky. But please… let’s be careful this time – I mean it” David looked into her eyes and stroked her cheek with his hand. Lauren was amazing and if it wasn’t for her he knew he would have killed himself several times over by now. He owed her so much…

“I promise babe… I do. You know I love you and I would never forgive myself if something happened to you”

“Thank you” Lauren replied, with no further conversation she brought the vehicle to half speed, slowly moving forward toward the spacecraft that awaited. A cut in the ground, probably an old river bed presented cover for their approach. Slowly the Rover descended the shallow curve of the wall and down into the soft bed of the old river. they could see the giant hull looking ever closer, they were still two kilometers out and it was huge. The ship was perhaps ten storeys tall, there were lights, possibly from crew quarters or rooms easily visible. Both Lauren and David looked for signs of them changing or evidence of the crew, but either there was none or they couldn’t see it from this distance. Eventually the cover of the river bed receded and it opened up into a huge bowl or depression in the ground. The spacecraft only half filled the space and it was floating what was to them around one hundred metres from the bottom. It was  totally motionless and there was no activity to suggest they had been detected, or perhaps they weren’t concerned. After all – why would they be?

“Control this is Hicks 1512, we’ve arrived at the landing site for the spacecraft. Are you getting the visuals?”

“Affirmative Hicks1512, there is interference on the channel but we are getting visuals”

“Shall we change channels Control?”

“Negative, we’ve checked and there is interference on all channels. We think that the spacecrafts drive systems are causing it. we’ve reported to all this to command and we’re awaiting their instructions. We suggest you wait there until we have them”

“Negative control – I suggest we investigate further, what’s the point in waiting we’re both here now!”

“Understood Hicks1512, what do you suggest” Thinking for a moment, David was silent, he thought about the promise he made to Lauren and how he was going to explore this fantastic find and keep his promise. He looked at Lauren, she looked back at him with am inquisitive look, she was obviously thinking on similar lines.

“I suggest we bring the backup forward toward this position, advise them on the route we took and bring them to just before the edge of the bowl. Myself and Lauren will skirt around and see what we can. There’s a depression a couple of kilometres away that may yield a better look. We can report back from there”

This time control was silent. “How do you feel about that babe?” Dave asked Lauren.

She nodded “That’s fine, we can give ourselves some cover by keeping back a few hundred metres as the ground rises a little before the bowl”

“Sure, good thinking”

“Hicks1512 this is control, agreed, proceed with caution and keep the line open for further instructions. we’ve instructed teams Alpha and Delta to proceed to your location and should be there shortly. Their location will be the rally point”

“Acknowledge control” David put the mic back again and Lauren had already started moving the Rover along the rim of the bowl. gradually moving away from the edge David looked to the side, the huge craft hovering just above the rim in his view. Looking round at the terrain, he noticed how there was more grass here, other plants sporadically scattered about. David felt these incidents were connected, but he couldn’t see how. It was then that David noticed the Rover slowing, he looked round to Lauren. Her mouth was wide open and she never uttered a word as she stared straight ahead. The Rover came to a complete stop and David also looked forward, there walking towards them from out of the dust a lone figure was walking towards them. As he drew closer he stopped too and looked at us. How was he there, he shouldn’t be alive. The com speaker was crackling with control’s frantic voices telling them to pull back.

Copyright 2015 – Simon Farnell

No Ownership claimed on images

Dark Horizons Part 3 – Encounters

New-Pluto-Atmosphere

This is the third but not quite final part of my Dark Horizons short story. I hope you read it and please let me know your thoughts.

It had been two days since the unwelcome intervention of the government official and his men. There were the five of them in total, The official and what seems to be his armed guards. The small man, who remained well dressed, but also had a rather eccentric casual look about him, the stereotypical image the media would paint of a scientist. Then there was the two others, they appeared after the facility had been locked down, they were unusually tall, not much under 8 feet tall and seemed to be slim, bordering on what would be underweight for most people.

Henry noticed that the two tall individuals never spoke to himself or his staff and instead spoke only to the official or small eccentric man. Henry was watching across the hall to the private room with peaked interest as they were having a four way and what seemed to be an almost heated conversation. He wanted to know what they were talking about, but he had other things on his mind. The two days since the official’s arrival had put everyone ill at ease, the mood was more melancholy and no one was speaking much, except for the basic functions of the mission. A mix a fear and suspicion had destroyed the team spirit.

The mission had been looked over by the official’s small scientist and presumably his tall helpers, although from what Henry could see he wasn’t sure if they were the ones really in charge. The whole thing was odd. It didn’t seem like they were really bothered with his people, sure they asked questions, but nothing in the questions was about security and no accusations were being made.

The good news was that contact had been re-established with New Horizons and everything was running smoothly., this was the one thing that everyone seemed adamant on was to see this mission through to success. The probe wasn’t transmitting now, during the flyby there were no transmission, when this was complete the probe would then transmit all the data that it had been programmed to collect. There were only a few hours until the images and data would start to come in. Henry was sat back in a chair, looking on at the official and the discussion him and his group were having. “What are they talking about?” he thought to himself.

“How much longer?” brought back from his thoughts by Karl’s question, Henry looked at the mission centre’s clock.

“Two hours and about forty seven minutes, give or take a few” was Henry’s reply. Sarah banged her head onto the desk, shaking her head and gripping her hair in frustration. “Damn I can’t take this much longer, I feel like I’m bored, locked up and nervous as hell all at the same time!” Henry smiled, for months the team had been so busy and all they had been doing was waiting for about twelve hours, the waiting was purgatory to these scientists.

“I know it’s hard, try and relax and think about something else” even as Henry said this he knew it sounded patronising and more than a little lame.

“Relax?” Sarah and Karl responded together. “You know what’s going on don’t you?” Karl replied with some irritation.

“No I don’t, apart from our mission, neither myself or anyone in here knows what this whole thing is about and believe me, it’s pissing me off as much as you guys. But what can I do? I’m hoping that once the data is in from the flyby that this will be over.” Sarah and Karl looked at him with doubtful faces, but saying nothing.

“I’m getting coffee” Sarah announced after a short and awkward silence.

“Mind some company?” Asked Heny, not really sure if that’s what she wanted.

“Sure” replied Sarah to the surprise of her colleagues “Both of you should come.” Curious about the tone in Sarah’s voice the both of them followed her, past a number of breakout area’s, people scurrying about in their jobs and many others, sitting there, waiting. They stopped at a breakout area one at the far end of the centre.

“Why are we way over here?” Asked Karl just as Sarah filled the Kettle and flicked it on.

“Hang on she said” Waiting a moment until the kettle started hissing. “You know I said I had filtered out a signal from the data stream of the probe right before it went offline a couple of days back?” Karl and Henry both nodded “Well I had saved the data to my pen drive just as these assholes showed up and I’ve been looking at it”

“And?” asked Henry, raising his eyebrows.

“It wasn’t naturally occurring, it looks like it was a signal that contained packets of data, sent at very high speed so it looks like a signal spike on first glance”

“You’ve managed to decipher it?” Karl asked with some excitement in his voice.

“Yes I have, but I don’t understand it”

“What don’t you understand?” Asked Henry

“The data, assuming it’s translated correctly it isn’t something I understand” At that moment the kettle finished boiling and clicked off.

“Keep this to yourself” Henry whispered, “don’t tell anyone”

“I haven’t, just the two of you”

“Good, let’s do coffee then”

 

 

Coffee was over too fast, for what seemed like an eternity, the wait went on. Endless small talk and coffee breaks. With the official and his people out of the way, they had nearly been forgotten as the excitement rose in the control centre. The din was raising and people were now retting ready to see the first pictures. Then suddenly, it was there. The first close up picture of Pluto, it’s reddish colour and mixed terrain of mountains, so close as if one could reach out and grab it. Once picture after the other came through, Pluto’s landscape in even closer detail, with what looked like rivers and vast canyons with no visible end.

The images changed to a charcoal grey, Charon was giving up it’s secrets too. For so long just a point of light in a telescope, now as large and plain to see as the Earth’s moon. Nix, Hydra all in close, up although not as close as Charon. The stunning views had everyone glued to the huge screens, at this point there was no other life or world outside Pluto and it’s moons right now.

Then it came… there was a gasp that rose from the watching crown and a short moment of chatter. Then stunned silence. The probe was sending back pictures of Obol, the new moon. Except it was no moon, An elliptical metal hull, puckered with all kinds of burns, impacts and a huge gaping hole from a blast that must have originated from within it’s hull were displayed before the disbelieving eyes of the assembled scientists. On the side there were clear markings from some alien tongue, never before spoken on Earth. The next picture closed in on on another part of the broken hull, Henry watch and was it his imagination – was that lights he could see? Perhaps the vessel wasn’t as dead as it first appeared. Whether dead or alive it was vast. Kilometres long, perhaps five kilometres, he wasn’t sure as there was nothing familiar to reference it to. Each new picture showed another part of a huge spacecraft that had been left, abandoned for who knows how long. Seemingly disabled after terrible event had battered it. Could it have been a natural event like a shower of space debris had smashed into it? Or was it a battle? If it was a battle where was the enemy that had done this?

Another dozen or so pictures came in, looking further along the shattered hull, one picture showed another huge gaping hole. The internal mechanisms, or what was left of them, clearly showing. The blast had originated from within the spacecraft, but it seemed clear that it had been caused by an external force. Perhaps this was a fuel cell or some kind, ignited by the fire power of their enemy. Then Henry saw it… it was unmistakable, lights were visible. Only small and not many. But towards the far end of the spacecraft there were lights. It seemed that it was still alive, even in some small way and perhaps harbouring some of it’s crew. The pictures that followed were of the spectacular canyons and mountains of Pluto, some of the images were of very close and fine detail it was in every way the the success that Henry and his team had strived for. But now, suddenly, it was eclipsed. Everyone stood in stunned silence as if they didn’t know what to do next.

“Amazing eh?” Came the voice of the official from behind him “I bet you didn’t expect that did ya Doctor Jeffries?”

Henry didn’t turn, he just looked on… “Was that what this was all about? Why didn’t you explain rather than make us all think we were under suspicion?”

“Would you have believed me if I told you? Besides, it’s not your concern doctor Jeffries. The images you have just seen you will not find anywhere in your archives. They’ve been very useful for my friends, they’ve been concerned about what happened to their guys for over twenty years” Henry turned to look at him, feeling neither fear nor rage he was still reeling. “What?”

“It doesn’t matter” the official continued, “needless to say this never happened, if I were you I wouldn’t talk about it, just forget it. Because no one will believe you, the only ones that will are the crazies that believe nearly anything or those that really know like myself and you won’t want me knowing that you’ve been talking about it.”

Henry looked on as the official’s guards rounded up all his team, Sarah who had been next to him the whole time looked at Henry with an expression of disbelief. “Go with them Sarah and keep them all calm” Henry instructed her calmly. He watched as they were all rounded up and the guards explained and threatened the team.

“So, this is where it ends” The official spouted out, almost jovially. We’re going to be going and I doubt you’ll see us again. You and your team will be allowed to leave probably a little after myself and my friends have gone.” Henry looked past him, the tall strangers were gathering some things and following one of the guards and the short, eccentric looking guy. Henry turned to the official with a knowing look. The official looked back with his poker face, totally unfazed.

“You’ll forgive me if I don’t shake your hand? I’m pleased that you’re going, I won’t lie and I would rather you went now, so I don’t have to even see you again”

“I have that effect on people” The official replied with smugness “it’s not my job to make friends”

“You’re good at your job then” Henry replied bitterly. “Just go, please get out” Henry turned away and listened as the official walked away. He smelled the burned tobacco as he lit up one of his cigars, puffing out clouds of smoke as he walked off and out.

Copyright 2015 Simon Farnell

No Ownership claimed on images