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Showing posts from December, 2011

A Combat Robot Tale

Playing a computer game in which you can perform upgrades on space military hardware and fight other space empires with them--Galactic Civilizations, quite an old game--inspired a new story idea for me. Imagine an old robot, designed for combat, intelligent, assigned the inglorious task of guarding the home planet--which feeling resonates with how I felt during Desert Storm, when I was an enlisted military medical technician in a hospital unit that essentially got held in reserve and did only a little to contribute to the war effort.  This imaginary robot would feel like I did, burning with a desire to contribute to the war, eager to show his worth. The robot gets his chance when his model is discontinued.  Since spare parts will no longer kept for, it...this robot will no longer be maintained for guard duty and instead is sent to the front lines to make room for newer models, with the expectation that even though this robot is too obsolete to contribute much, sending it t

A New Kind of Vampire

This post will get a little gruesome.  If reading about anatomical details in the context of a vampire consuming human beings makes you sick, please stop reading. Today in my pre-deployment training, in a class called "Combat Lifesaver's Course," our medic instructor mentioned in his medical training that cerebrospinal fluid is sweet.  He wondered out loud why he had been told that in training, as he were going to taste it--something he'd never do. And at that moment launched in me an idea for story vampires that perhaps constitutes something altogether new.  Imagine a vampire that has no interest in sucking blood, but longs for cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid (a.k.a. CSF) is, by the way, the clear or slightly greenish fluid that bathes the brain and spinal column, providing protection and nourishment.  When it leaks from the ears or nose, it's an indicator of a serious skull fracture, which is why we were discussing it our class. If CSF really i

An Alien Prison Tale

I'm at Fort Dix, New Jersey, preparing for yet another deployment with the Army Reserve.  Fort Dix has a Federal Penitentiary on its grounds and in the process of moving from one point to another on my first day here, I found I had accidentally wandered up a service road for the prison. I was surrounded by barracks buildings much like the rest of Fort Dix but encircled by tall fences topped by concertina wire.  A voice blared over a loudspeaker in a rumble of words I could barely understand, but eventually said something about "Last call for chow line."  I realized with a shock that I wasn't near  the prison as I first thought, but actually on   the grounds of the penitentiary (please note that tall fences and concertina wire is all it seemed to take to transform Army barracks into prison barracks).  With further horror, I realized the people I'd seen working out in a ball field I'd passed, who wore gray uniforms I first had thought must be some kind of new