Saturday, March 31, 2012

America or American't?

When did we become a nation that settled for a step above the worst? has our society declined so much we have lost the national identity that once made us strong? I argue yes. Medicricy is the currency of the day. My favortite example is in sports. Take a football team that absolutely crushes another team by at least 30 points. The winning coach is going to come to the interview and say the other team 'is a great team'...blah blah blah. If they were so great why did you win by so much?

Schools teach our children that finishing last is ok. Bull! There is no reason on God's green earth why anyone should want or accept their child finishing last in anything. Current generations of Americans are a poor representation of what made this country great. Take away what happened to the Indian tribes- because that happened everywhere in the world- men and women came here and MADE this a country. They took what the wanted and didn't settle for anything less than total freedom. The British learned this lesson from us twice the hard way.

And our children are taught how wrong it was to do what we did. How wrong it was for slavery to happen, how we still have to feel like we need to atone for the sins of the fathers. Guess what, slavery has existed since the beginning of time. Why doesn't anyone else get persecuted for it? Don't get me wrong, the act of slavery is abhorrable and a stain on humanity, but it doesn't solely belong to America.

Everything today is I can't. My children don't even try to do their homework before I hear I can't. They don't even try to make their own beds before I hear I can't. The media punishes successful men and women who just happen to be more successful than others. How is that a crime? The beauty of this nation is that every single person has the ability to try to make a name for themselves. The only thing keeping them back is laziness and sloath.

We're not Americans anymore, we are American'ts. Disgusting.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Excitement and the let down

Have you ever picked up a book and thought, this is going to be good. I mean it has to be because the cover is so great, right? Wrong. I am finishing reading Peter Orullian's The Unremembered. It is a new take on an old story, most closely reminiscent of Terry Brooks original Sword of Shananra. The book moves swiftly with a few dull spots. Let's face it, we all find characters that don't interest us in most books. But what I find lacking is a sense of action.

Purpose is hidden behind forked tongues and half answers, which is a wonderful way to continue the plot and engage the reader, but there is so little action I wonder what the author was thinking when he penned almost 900 pages. If good and evil are heading for a long awaited reckoning shouldn't there be some sort of battle involving a host of armies from both sides?

Instead of gripping the reader at the precise moment and letting him/her see the full fury of the world he created, the author leaves a sense of unfinished business. I realize that sequels are the big deal these days. Please go read the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. But what enticement is there to get me to read a 2nd book?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Humanity is Doomed

What is wrong with our society? I can sum it up in two words: Kim Kardashian. Seriously, what talent or ability does she give to the world? Has she written a piece of literary genius, cured a disease, said anything intellectual at all? Ummm, no. But she did get naked for Playboy and let a homemade sex tape out. So why is this hugely untalented woman gracing our television sets, magazine covers, even the evening news? Because we have lowered our standards so far there is nothing else to do.

I blame the internet and technology. Anyone who knows me knows I still enjoy writing a book with a pen and paper. I would rather read a book than watch tv. Technology has dumbed us down to the point where useless people become living martyrs. Not one member of the Kardahian family is worth the sweat or effort of a single US Soldier, but they are reveled by millions of people aching to see wht happens next.

Amercia needs to wake up! Is this the future you want for your children? I say no. My daughter has a Nook, laptop, notebook and a cell phone (All against my wishes) and I have taken almost every one of them away from her. They are detrimental to children and reduce adults to mindless drones who have to have their fix....

When is enough enough?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Part two

Sorry for the delay between postings. Here is part two of An Hour of Wolves. Enjoy:
Harsh winds terrorized the plains. Lightning stabbed down from the purple-black sky across the distant mountaintops with wicked intent. A brief glance made the mountains look like jagged teeth from great beast about to swallow the world. Three moons hung at odd intervals across the sky. Eight men stood huddled beside a dead tree, the polished branches offered only the illusion of protection. Each wore the standard gray field uniform of the Inquisition. Heavy hoods and breather masks protected their face and head from the harsh elements of planet Keltoo. Their gunship was in low orbit; watching, waiting. One of the men intensely consulted the data box in his hands.
“There is nothing alive in the general vicinity,” he announced. His voice came out metallic, strained from the breather mask.
Tolde Breed glanced up at the tree. The branches reminded him of fingers reaching out to grab him in the night. He snorted. Childhood dreams his mother used to spook him into behaving revisited him. The only thing missing was the horrible screech as the fingers clawed at his bedroom window. Older, wiser to the universe, Tolde took no comfort in his childhood. The memories were just that. Reality made him a harsh man. As an Inquisitor, his was a life spent reaching into shadows. Life was bitter. He couldn’t remember the last time he stopped to enjoy a sunrise; the smell of newly bloomed flowers.
Of course there is nothing left alive. Tolde scanned the near horizon. Keltoo was a barren world filled with endless plains of dying trees, scrub brush and patches of grass. Yet still men came to settle here; a prison colony to be precise. Some of the cruelest criminals in the known universe were incarcerated here. Keltoo offered them the end of their natural lives. This was the one prison where there was no possibility of parole and no death sentence. Once condemned here, you stayed until you died. It was a tidy secret the Conclave turned their head away from.
“How far away is the main compound?” he asked.
The Conclave. Tolde had little need for the body of head cardinals that comprised the actual rulers of the universe. He knew the mythology well enough. Every child was taught this from the moment they learned how to read. He could recite it verbatim without effort. Long ago the gods went to war. A great explosion occurred, destroying their physical forms and sending shards of their essences to every planet in the universe. Those planets evolved in the worship of that specific god. It was a convoluted system, but the elected head cardinal of each religion gathered on the central planet of Vau Prime.
“Less than a kilometer, Inquisitor.”
Tolde Breed rolled his shoulders, stretching against the weight of his pack. Inquisitor. The rank, the title, the authority of it was humbling. The Inquisition was the most powerful force in the universe. Hardened men and women who stepped forward to ensure that the essences of the gods remained asleep. The term was juvenile and did not belay the importance of the matter. After the explosion the gods were reduced to essence and those remained in a dormant state. The Inquisition and the Conclave believed that should one god awaken that god would have total domination over all life.
“We move in a five meter spread. Keep your optics on. There is every chance that He is still in the area,” Tolde said.
They fanned out and moved. His men were all battle tested veterans; the very best the Inquisition had to offer. They needed little direction. Each knew their jobs. The point man, Sergeant Matthias, gestured and his men began the tactical march. Tolde was impressed. Inquisitors were a special breed, but the Prekhauten Guard was daunting. Matthias and Tolde had worked together on numerous missions. Both trusted the other to do the right thing and bring each other home alive.
Matthias came across the first corpse less than two hundred meters from the entry bunker. He instinctively help up a fist and dropped to a knee. His men drew up in a loose semi-circle, weapons facing outward. Tolde continued to march. His gut told him that Amongeratix was long gone. Keltoo was a dead world all but forgotten by the Conclave. Matthias scowled behind his breather as the Inquisitor slipped by him and knelt by the body.
“Secure the Inquisitor, full perimeter,” Matthias growled to his men.
Tolde barely passed them a glance. He could already see the disapproving glare on his sergeant’s face. The thought was oddly comforting. Another figure moved closer. The Inquisitor nodded. Every team was manned with a Phallalian Surgeon, the best trained in the universe. Demin was one of the best so far as Tolde was concerned. He moved aside to let the man examine the body.
“This man was killed by radiation exposure,” the doctor announced.
Keltoo was chosen to house the worst criminals in the universe for that reason. With an orbit that took it too close to the Belkin gas nebula, the planet was saturated with radiation. Rumors whispered of escaped prisoners that mutated, though aside from that nothing lived on the barren surface. The ground was scarred black and grey, in a comparative state of nuclear winter.
“There must be some other wound. Amongeratix would not be so careless as to leave survivors,” Tolde ventured.
Demin used the biometric scanner built into his mask. “I see nothing. Look here; do you see how the gums are drawn back, almost shrunk? That is from a side effect of the nebula. This man died from exposure.”
The Inquisitor reluctantly stared down as Demin drew open the body’s mouth. “I don’t see how. He is only a few hundred meters from the front door. Radiation doesn’t kill that quickly.”
“This is prolonged. Perhaps from being stationed on Keltoo for too long,” Demin replied as he busied with the examination.
“I don’t like it.” Tolde looked around, hungry for any signs of struggle.
Matthias slung his rifle and moved beside the Inquisitor. “Sir, we are exposed here. I suggest we move on, find some cover just in case.”
“Agreed. Move your people out, sergeant.”
A stiff wind picked up, driving into the soldiers with released aggression. Dust and debris slashed into them. Matthias scowled behind his mask. His mind worked through the task at hand. Tolde Breed’s words continued to haunt him, and had done so since he accepted this mission. “The universe will burn if we do not catch him”. A daunting prospect but one he was up for. The Three were myths to the normal population. Rumors of a time long ago. He personally had never run in to one before, though there were whispers of teams who did back at the training academy.
The Conclave prison was an ugly building. Onyx black and grey, it was entirely too angular and oppressive. There were no windows; no exits or entrances save for the simple concrete bunker that should have been heavily guarded. A field of motion sensors implanted a few inches beneath the surface prevented anyone from getting too close or too far away. An aerial view showed the prison was a rude square shape, most of it underground. The Conclave took extra care for the undesirables. The safety of the universe was at stake after all.
His chiseled jaw clenched as they approached the gaping hole where the prison entrance used to be. Matthias ran a comprehensive scan of the blast marks and was surprised to find that they came from the outside in. His hazel eyes narrowed to slits. You’d figure a man escaping would do it from the inside out, not the other way around. He passed a glance over his shoulder and nodded. Matthias was the first one in.
The building was all but destroyed. Ceiling panels hung by a hinge. Gaping holes pock marked the walls. Burn marks intermittently traced the floor. Matthias absorbed the scene dispassionately. A battle. He’d seen this before, only not in a Conclave prison facility.  He knew the common legends surrounding the Three, they all did. Only the most senior members of the Inquisition and the Conclave knew the actual truth. The truth that the Three had nearly destroyed the universe in an all out war thousands of years ago. That secret was the most closely guarded in all of the Conclave’s history.
Matthias took point and clung to the right wall. The rest of the squad filed in, leaving only Demin and Tolde outside. Amongeratix was likely long gone but this was not the situation in which to take unnecessary chances. They found three more bodies in the entrance bunker. Unlike their counterpart outside, these men had been murdered. Tolde Breed felt his anger rising. Matthias inched forward until he secured the first hallway.
“It is clear,” he whispered over his helmet intercom.
Inquisitor Breed stalked in. He’d drawn his side arm in the event of an ambush. The weapon was small, standard for his rank, but packed enough of a punch to incapacitate an opponent long enough for him to be apprehended. Sleek and metallic silver, the barrel was stubbed with a tiny flash suppressor on the end. Only Tolde could fire it; the sensor in the trigger well was coded to his DNA. It was a standard issue ion pistol for the Inquisition, capable of firing blue-white bolts of ion fire that generally burned the enemy and used an electrical charge that stopped their hearts. He idly wondered if it would be enough to contain one of the Three. A ceiling light burst part way down the hall, showering the area with sparks and then darkness.
“How many personnel were assigned here?” he asked.
“Fifty-seven guards and a hundred plus inmates,” Matthias answered.
Damn. “Is there any sign of life?”
Demin checked his biometric scanner and shook his head. Tolde ordered them in deeper. There had to be some clue to Amongeratix’s whereabouts. People did not just disappear after a massacre like this, not even one of the Three. It was a game. A great hunt that could easily define his career. Matthias clenched his rifle a little tighter and struggled to contain the adrenalin raging in his blood. The single beam of light attached to the underside of the barrel pierced the intermittent gloom enough to make him wary.
They found the first body in a broken doorway. Dried blood caked the face around the eyes, suggesting the man had died horribly. His body lay in a ruined, twisted mass of flesh and broken bones. Tolde tried not to stare at the agony in the man’s lifeless eyes; the pain and horror frozen over with a dull glaze. He had seen death before though the violence of it remained elusive to him.
“I have movement,” Private Sarle all but shouted.
Matthias was beside him practically before he finished saying it. “Where?”
“Twenty-five meters due west of here. It looks like the operations center.”
Matthias glanced at Inquisitor Breed. It was more of a “this is where we are going” then a request for permission. Tolde had no issues with the Prekhauten Guard doing their jobs. He recognized and appreciated their expertise and was more than willing to let Sgt. Matthias take over this aspect. The squad moved.
More bodies littered the halls at odd angles and places. It was evident that all had been trying to escape some great evil. A part of Tolde had always doubted the validity of the Three as major players. Too much of them revolved around myth and legend. He’d never dreamed that one day his path would cross with one. He wondered what lies had been told to the prison staff about Amongeratix, for surely none would have volunteered to stay if they had known. The very thought of a rampaging demi-god charging through the hallways and killing everything he came across chilled Tolde’s blood.
The operations center door was a ruined piece of metal. Tolde wasn’t sure, but it almost looked melted. Matthias breached the door first, immediately shifting right to cover the near corner. Sarle entered second and did the same with the opposite side. Professionals, the guardsmen spent countless hours training on proper room clearing procedures. It took months for the right team to gel to the point where they could read each other’s mind and actions.
Bodies. Bodies lay strewn in every corner; over every console. Matthias heard one of his men choke back his vomit. Red mist clung to the air amidst piles of entrails and drying pools of blood. Another soldier cursed softly.
“Maintain your focus, gentlemen,” Matthias soothed. “The room is clear, Inquisitor. You may enter. Sarle, where is the life sign coming from?”
Sarle swept the room. A singular blip on the screen showed what he needed to know. Dropping the scanner, he raised the barrel of his rifle. “Here, under this pile of corpses.”
“Tor, Jamison, move the bodies. The rest of you provide cover. Sarle, take the back door. I don’t want anything sneaking up on us.”
Demin and Tolde casually entered, the Inquisitor suddenly doubting his resolve upon seeing this massacre. The violence of action necessary to commit such a crime escaped him. Worse, he felt hatred in the air. Tolde wasn’t sure how such was possible, but there was an unmistakable taint of malice hovering over the dead.
Demin spotted the survivor first and raced between the two soldiers. It was the prison warden, or so his identity chip read when Demin scanned him. What little life was left in him threatened to escape. Demin shrugged his medical kit from his shoulders and did his best to save the man’s life.
Tolde bent down, worried not so much about the warden’s inevitable fate but for the information he might possess being lost forever. “Tell me, where did the man who did this go?”
The warden looked up with his one good eye. His voice cracked and was hardly understandable when he spoke one word. “Occanum.”
His body shook in a final rattle as he died.