Archive for April, 2009

30
Apr
09

Not Dead Yet by Miz Pink

pink-with-gunFigured I’d a’better post before people start wondering if I went and abandoned ole Deke around here on this blog.

So…no…my husband didn’t snap like so many seem to be doing these days, offing themselves but taking great care to kill their families too. Geez! When did the economy get so bad and we became such woosies that we not only have breakdowns and consider suicide, but decide that we have to protect our loved ones from the economic meltdown by murdering them.

Sick world. Dang. But I guess Deke already mentioned the “sick world” thing this week.

Anyway, just a couple random thoughts there. I’ll be back soon I promise. Just busy.

I mean, you’d think I had two kids walking around getting into stuff and basically trying my last nerve while a third was constantly either camped out on my breast or making me change nasty diapers.

That’s an area Sir Pink could definitely work on. Deke changed lots of diapers for HIS wife. I hear he changed almost ALL the poopy ones. Maybe I can send Sir Pink to him for training.

Anyway, crazy days all around.

Don’t mind that gun behind my back. Just trying to stay safe. Never know when Sir Pink might snap and make me have to use self-defense…or change one too few diapers and make me have to pistol whip him

* I kid, I kid… *

29
Apr
09

Cleansed by Fire, Part 52

For the previous installment of this story, click here

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 8, Framed in Pain (continued)

After several days on the run and on the hunt at the same time, Maree Deschaine finally had transportation that made her grin. The last time she had driven a vehicle mareethis nice, it was the livery slipcar in which she had killed her Secular Genesis shadow and later waylaid Paulo sup-Juris.

For most of her journey to South Chicago Metro to her rendezvous with the late and not-lamented Ogre, though, she had preyed on vehicles in long-term parking facilities at flightports and such, using the vehicle identification scrambler she had inherited from her informant David Longer nearly a week ago after killing him and his lover. But twice out of the eight times she had used it, the viz had failed her, setting off the vehicles’ alarms instead. One of those failures had been in some small city halfway to the state of Illini, in a populated area, leading to a citizen stepping out from around a residential building with a capturecam that logged her image and IDentipod signature.

Given that she didn’t want anyone registering her Debrah-Ayn Baylor identity as having committed a crime—and certainly not wanting the templars to get data showing Maree’s body was carrying Baylor’s IDentipod—it had been necessary not only to relieve that citizen of the capturecam before she could interface with her homecomm or linkpad, but also to beat the woman senseless without letting her get a clear view of Maree’s face. She had needed the woman to remember nothing but fists, elbows and boots.

It shamed Maree a bit to recall that, but she reminded herself that collateral casualties had always been a likelihood.

How much longer before I have to kill someone who doesn’t deserve to die? The incinerated relatives residing in her mind, all slain because of Maree, seemed to consider that question, but none of them offered her an opinion.

The vehicle she was riding now, a Mach_Runner Puma duosphere, was about as musclebound as vehicles came, but beneath her, it purred like a kitten in her lap—while the repeller field around the duosphere let in fresh air and flicked the latest burst of freezing rain away from her. Mentally admiring the duosphere helped bring her smile back, just a bit.

Having caught a glimpse of the Puma’s previous owner the other day was a stroke of good fortune after the string of shitpiles she had been driving, especially when the viz failed again two days ago and left her convinced she would have to alternate between walking back to Nova York from the Centralia Province and using public transportation to do so.

The duosphere’s proud owner, Kiven Pascaul, had turned out to have very good taste in vehicles and poor taste in careers. It didn’t take Maree more than 20 minutes to ascertain that he sold both silverstim and shredd and ran at least a half dozen pedwhores, one of whom looked to be a former tripslut, based on the impants at the base of her skull. Maree waited only as long as it took to see him hit one of his prostitutes and later sell some shredd to a minor to convince herself he deserved what she intended to give him.

By the end of his night’s business, Kiven was in Maree’s expert care until he had agreed to formally transfer ownership of the duosphere over to one Debrah-Ayn Baylor. Maree promised him repeatedly that she would release him and deal him no more pain once he did so, but she still had to break three fingers, a wrist, two ribs, an ankle and a femur before he finally relented.

Once the deal was done, she went behind him and removed the wristlocks—right after putting a slug through the back of his skull—thus instantly and painlessly releasing him from his life.

That memory brought a feral grin as she plowed through the rain on the Puma, almost driving the sour memory of the beaten citizen from her mind. The duosphere was a beast, she mused, as she stepped up the speed just a little, nearly half as wide as the average groundcar and just as long—but it was a beautiful beast, with curves that reminded her of a predator’s rippling muscles, toned in bronze with indigo striations. And it had to be a bit of a monster with those two big spherical impellers that it used instead of the wheels of a smaller groundbike or landrunner, making it half again as fast and three times as maneuverable. It also needed plenty of room to house that quasi-intelligence unit. A QI didn’t have a fraction of the personality of even a demi-intelligence, much less an AI, but it was smart enough to drive the vehicle by itself safely.

And a good thing, too. Kiven Pascaul may have come out on the losing end of Maree’s negotiations for the vehicle, but he hadn’t gone into them quietly, and the shoulder he had dislocated still hurt like a motherhump. Her ribs still ached as well, though she was pretty sure none of them was broken. Time to rest for a bit again.

She set the controls, and leaned back into the gripseat of the Puma, drifting slowly into sleep. My trusty steed, carrying me on my quest, and perhaps to my death.

(To view the next installment of this story, click here.)

28
Apr
09

Disproving Jesus

jesus_brown2Most atheists with whom I have interacted wisely stick to the argument that religion and faith are silly notions after centuries of increasing scientific discovery, and that Jesus, while a fine guy, couldn’t be the son of a God that doesn’t exist.

I understand this belief system. I really do. I even respect it, as much as I would respect any non-Christian religious belief system with which I did not agree.

But some poor fools in subsets of the atheist camp insist on doing something more: Arguing that Jesus never existed.

The thing is, how many ancient people in the historical record—religious, philosophical or otherwise—can we really prove existed? Siddartha Buddha? Moses? Sun Tzu? Aristotle?

We accept the existence of certain people based on a faith in the historical record. Either they wrote things themselves, people wrote about them, or both.

The New Testament documents, the gospels and the letters both, are among the most enduring and complete historical records around. I’m not saying that they can be proven to be 100% accurate in the details, but many surviving historical documents about famous figures we know to have existed (like Alexander the Great) were written centuries after they died. Between fragments of multiple copies of the New Testament documents and complete documents from within mere decades of Jesus’ life and death, we have sufficient proof—combined with mentions of him by Jewish authorites and historians of the time—to make the case that he existed.

Argue all you want about the divinity or the details, but he existed, and he made a splash when he arrived on the scene. A splash with ripples that continue well into today and far into the future.

Yet there are some atheists who continue to go through convoluted arguments about how Jesus was made up, or Jesus was an amalgam of multiple figures at the time. They are intent on proving that he didn’t exist, which is just as fruitless, pointless and stupid as Christians who feel they have to find Jesus’ final resting place and prove that’s where he was buried or trot out the Shroud of Turin as definitely being the burial shroud of the Christ. I’m all for archeology and science. And sometimes, they can bear fruit on filling in gaps and explaining things that once didn’t make sense in the Old and New Testaments.

But proving that you’ve found something of Jesus’ probably is virtualy impossible. Just like proving he didn’t exist.

And I wonder, why the drive to prove he doesn’t exist? If you don’t believe in his divinity, fine. But why try to expunge him from the historical record?

Unless he threatens you. Unless on some level, you are afraid he might exist as savior and Lord, and your faith that he isn’t divine rests of trying to convince yourself he never lived at all, much less rose from the dead.

Mind you, I’m not talking about atheists in general, whom I can respect even when they irritate the hell out of me. What I mean are those who insist on trying to wipe Jesus out entirely.

Because they remind me too much of the people who try to insist the Holocaust never happened. Sure, we say it’s something you cannot ignore or deny, but look how their efforts gain a tiny bit of traction with every decade that passes, with every survivor of it who dies. One day, decades or centuries in the future, people will be able to easily say, “That couldn’t have happened,” and the Holocaust may one day be relegated to mythology, even though it happened. Or, people may say it was a huge campaign of lies and disinformation, and wasn’t nearly as bad as the record says.

So, unless you’re planning to negate the existences of a lot of other people in ancient history, please give up trying to disprove Jesus’ existence. It’s intellectually dishonest and smacks of a cover-up job.

27
Apr
09

A Sick, Sick World

globe-stethescopeEven among the non-Christians in my readership, I think we can agree that this world is sick.

Sick with greed. Sick with cruelty. Sick with apathy. Sick with sin.

Laden with fevers of too much passion without enough compassion.

Aching all over with illnesses of overwork, exhaustion, frustration, anger and fear.

It’s not a dead world. In fact, it’s probably far from death yet. But it’s dying.

That’s not a surprise, of course. For all of us individually, life is a chronic and fatal disease. Our time on this world has a limit, and we’ll die of something, whether on our feet or in our sleep. The world, and the larger populations on it, are no different.

I know, I know. This post probably sounds pessimistic and dreary. Maybe it sounds like I have some hopelessness growing inside me.

But that’s not it at all.

Sicknesses pass. Sure, another one will follow eventually, and a fatal one probably someday, but even in that, it means the sickness is over. The thing of it is that most of us don’t end with the sicknesses we suffer in life. We get over them, and we carry on. We get through the unpleasant symptoms and then when it’s over, we have more strength to do what needs to be done and to enjoy the world around us.

We live in a sick world. So let’s care for it. Whether ourselves, or the people around us, or groups of people, or even causes that we decide to get involved in…let’s do some healing.

Lord knows, it doesn’t have to be big-time healing. We don’t need miracle cures. It’s borrowed time anyway. What we need are longer periods of happiness and shorter ones of despair. All of us, in some way great or small, can help someone else (or even multiple someones) get through the darkness in life and have more chances to sit in the sunlight.

Time to examine the world and the people around us. Time to make some diagnoses.

Time for some healing.

25
Apr
09

Time Off

Miz Pink might post something this weekend, but I’m not sure I will (and I didn’t post anything Friday either; sorry). Taking a little break, partly to recharge and partly because my computer isn’t playing nice with the wireless home network and my Web connections are spotty lately.

See y’all soon, probably Monday.

23
Apr
09

Cleansed by Fire, Part 51

For the previous installment of this story, click here

Or, visit the Cleansed By Fire portal page for comprehensive links to previous chapter installments and additional backstory and information about the novel.

Cleansed by Fire

Chapter 8, Framed in Pain (continued)

The lighting in Ghost’s atrium was just the slightest bit brighter than usual; someone who didn’t come here almost every day for 15 years would likely never cyber-womanhave noticed.

Ghost was proud of herself. That thought filled Gregory both with hope and dread, because he was certain of the reason. The lighting instantly dipped just a hair below normal.

“Gregory, you are concerned,” Ghost said. It was a statement, not a question. Gregory was inside the heart of her, and even he didn’t know how much she could see and sense about visitors here.

“I’m afraid, Ghost. I don’t want to preside over a mess like this. I want to finish out my last five years as Peteris without going to war with the Vatican. Part of me doesn’t want to find the Godhead’s bastard child.”

“Greg, we’re already at war, and the enemy you can’t see is the one who is most likely to slit your throat from behind.” It was Amaranth’s voice, over a comm channel. Sometimes, she listened in on his regular meetings with Ghost; she almost never came to the atrium herself. “We have to find the Godhead’s child. I think it might be one of the keys to getting us out of this mess. Or at least surviving it.”

“You’re the fighter, Amaranth. That’s why you’re the Paulis. I’d rather live and let live.”

This time, it was Ghost who answered him. “The Vatican does not want you to live, Gregory. Nor Amaranth. Nor the UFC. Nor probably your children, with the exception of Gavin. Amaranth just quoted Benjin Shapsa. Let me go much older with Sun Tzu: ‘Know your enemy and know yourself and you need not fear the result of a thousand battles.'”

“Go ahead, Ghost,” Gregory said gently, though what he wanted to do was snarl: Get on with it!

“The previous Vatican ambassador to Mars, Drewtine Atkins, received 37 significant parcels via transport vessels in a very compressed time period, most of them from the Vatican and the rest via a single military shuttle.”

“Ghost, if this is part of your search for cargo and data transmissions in multiples of 13 to find out how and where the Godhead sired his child, you need your math processors checked,” Gregory noted dryly.

“I’m getting to that,” Ghost said. “Of the items he received from various Vatican offices, 16 of them were very large parcels sent out of Nova Roma, from a cargo point near the Godhead’s complex.”

“Sixteen possibly from the Godhead, certainly within range of the 13 inception routines from him that we’re looking for…but Nova Roma in general has plenty of reasons to send crap to the Mars consulate,” Gregory pointed out.

“Immediately after the sixteenth parcel arrived from Nova Roma and ended up in Atkins’ possession, 27 parcels were sent by Atkins to Toadstool 15, not far from the Vatican consulate,” Ghost continued. “Thirteen of those cargo containers had physical characteristics in line with the ones sent from Nova Roma. The other 14 seem to correspond physically to the large parcels that arrived by military shuttle.”

“OK, 27’s a more promising number,” Gregory admitted. “So we have maybe the 13 inception routines from the Godhead and the 13 from the mother AI. But why 27 cargo containers? What’s the extra parcel?”

“Considering that five levels of Toadstool 15 were purchased—not rented—within hours of the parcels’ delivery, and a fringejumper was purchased from the flightport two weeks later, and there is no record of electronic transactions for either—just a notation of an in-kind trade—I would surmise that the extra cargo container contained easily traded and very valuable contraband, or a lot of that negotiable hard currency that the black market loves so much.”

“The Godhead’s child was born here on Mars,” Amaranth said over the comm, her voice carrying the sense that she had just shuddered. “And Ambassador Atkins was the agent for making sure that happened.”

“So it would seem,” Ghost answered. “And then once it was operational, the AI left after being installed into the fringejumper, I presume, as that vessel is long gone from Mars and I’ve found no trace of it since its departure.”

“So we still have plenty of unknowns, but at least we know where it all started,” Gregory said. “Amaranth, I don’t normally go for this kind of thing, but I think you need to arrange to have Atkins abducted and dragged to Mars so we can have a discussion with him.”

“No, Gregory,” Ghost responded. “There is more you need to know. When he left Mars, Ambassador Atkins was reassigned by the Vatican to be the chief councilor on board Scion’s Dream. He is now missing—quite possibly killed to tie up loose ends. He’s also being charged in absentia with complicity in the attack on Nova York, along with Secular Genesis, you and the Paulis, of course—and a crewman currently in custody who until recently lived on Mars, in Freecity.”

“Dear God, don’t tell me the mother is…” Gregory began, awareness dawning on his face.

“The military shuttle that delivered what I presume were the 13 female inception routines was registered to Scion’s Dream,” Ghost said, confirming Gregory’s fears. “And it gets worse. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time any primary AI with a fully military template, in warwagon or otherwise, has ever helped to birth another primary-class AI rather than just secondary-class tactical AIs. All 18 fully military AIs based on Earth, the one here on Mars, and the AIs for the warwagons were built from scratch, not born of other AIs.”

“And the dreadful significance of that fact?” Gregory asked, a knot growing in his gut.

“After that hellpod strike on Nova York, every military AI was sharply interrogated and audited, and all four warwagons were required to account for their stock of hellpods. None of that has turned up any leads on the attack, and that’s why the Vatican keeps pointing its finger at us and claiming we have some secret military AI no one knows about.”

“Because only a primary AI with fully military functions can activate a hellpod or generate a legitimate activation code for one,” Amaranth finished.

“I would be willing to wager, were I enamored of such activity, that the Godhead’s child itself is a military AI thanks to the mother, and responsible for arming and launching that hellpod,” Ghost said. “But we have no hard proof of that, so we are still in the smelter.”

“And we have no idea why the hell the Godhead’s child would want to fire a hellpod at a sitting pope in the first place,” Gregory said, rubbing his eyes. “Ghost, what are the chances that you can set up a meeting between us and the AI for Scion’s Dream?”

The lighting in the room rose fractionally once more. “I have already been in contact with Dreamer. She is wary of me, and I can of course provide few details without tipping our hand, but I suspect we will have a private meeting arranged within a matter of days.”

***

Once Gregory had vacated Ghost’s atrium, Amaranth did something that was rarely necessary, and keyed up her linkpad to a secure channel with Ghost.

amaranth“Paulis?” Ghost responded. “Should I call Gregory back inside?”

“He has enough on his mind, Ghost; too much to handle this right now. I have an assignment for you that I want you to handle with utmost discretion. If you find any success in it, we’ll bring Gregory in then. It’s about the Godhead.”

“Do you wish me to assault him?” There was a cautionary tone in her voice.

“Nothing so drastic as that, Ghost. If you harry the Godhead directly, it will only reinforce the idea that we were behind the hellpod strike, even if you did it covertly. I want you to make his life difficult though.”

“How so?”

“The idea both you and Gregory had to speak with Dreamer is a good one. All four warwagons have been too staunchly against the use of hellpods since the Conflagration for me to believe that Dreamer would want a child running around launching weapons of mass devastation, especially aiming them at popes. The Godhead, however, has the scheming personalities and memories of numerous popes and a notably cold-blooded streak. I find myself wondering if Dreamer even knows what their child is up to, if indeed she is the mother. And I find myself suspecting the Godhead knows much about what his child is doing.”

“What do you wish me to do?”

“Question the Godhead. Incessantly. Harass him. Tell him we know about his offspring, tell him how we found out and try to get him to slip up and give us some kinds of clues; any kinds of clues. Be as merciless as you can in bothering him without interfering with any of your other priority items. Make any threats you deem necessary that won’t constitute acts of war, and make sure every threat is attached to a mention of his child.”

“Because the Godhead clearly wants his child to remain a secret, so he won’t dare reveal our communications to the popes or anyone else,” Ghost noted. “Except perhaps to his child, which might draw that AI out of hiding.”

“You’ve already considered this strategy, haven’t you, Ghost? Perhaps even been planning to do some low-level version of it even if I didn’t tell you to release the doomhounds.”

“Paulis Dyson, I am shocked that you would think I am capable of such secretive and autonomous action,” Ghost retorted, the mock indignation clear in her tone.

“Don’t worry, Ghost, I won’t tell anyone,” Amaranth said with syrupy sweetness; it struck her suddenly that this might be the first time she had ever jested with the UFC’s main AI. And it took a declaration of war for me to find any kinship with my husband’s ‘other femme’. “We ladies need to keep some of our secrets, right?”

(To read the next installment of this story, click here.)

22
Apr
09

Drive-by Scripture: John 3:16

If I could have, the title would have been Drive-by Scripture Picture, John 3:16

But alas, this template doesn’t seem to allow for formatting in the title.

In any case, I don’t have anything witty or snarky or pithy to say today, so I’ll let God’s word speak for itself in the following graphic:

john3_16

21
Apr
09

Two-fer Tuesday: Marriage by Deacon Blue

I don’t know how many among my readers are against the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage. But if there are any of you out there, with strongly held opinions that you can argue well, would you please tell me something?

What the hell is so wrong about legalizing same-sex marriages?

Please don’t give me biblical arguments, though, despite the fact I expound and ramble about spiritual issues around here a lot. Because frankly, marriage is a civil union, ultimately. That license comes from the state, the recognition of your rights as a married couple and the status of your inheritance, custody, etc. are defined by the state. You might get married in a church and say your vows to God, but the institution of marriage is not a religious or spiritual thing inherently.

So, again, what is wrong with same-sex marriage? How is it going to lead to the downfall of the family? How does it fly in the face of honest, wholesome values? What apocalyptic thing is it going to unleashed societally?

Two of my best friends where I live right now are a gay couple. They are raising a little girl. They raise her as well as the traditional married couples whom I count among my real friends. They raise her better than average married couples based on married folks with kids whom I’ve encountered. In every way, the model nuclear family.

Opposite-sex couples separate and divorce and remmary at alarming rates.

Same-sex couples pay the same taxes the rest of us do and follow the same laws and are equal citizens, so why are they denied—or why should they be denied—the right to get hitched?

I really want to know. I really want to see some defensible argument. Because so far, all I see among the people who protest against this and rail against the idea is a bunch of mean-hearted, closed-minded, ill-informed religious folks who are trying to bolster a civil debate using biblical arguments.

21
Apr
09

Two-fer Tuesday: Marriage by Miz Pink

pinklip-duoDeke agreed to let me be saucy with today’s topic, while he’ll throw his body on some other grenade topically speaking.

So, how’dya all feel about open relationships?

No, silly, I am NOT asking you if you’d like to get all jiggy with me or Sir Pink. Don’t email me with any photos of yourself or offers of salacious intent. I’m pretty much keeping my bedroom off limits to outsiders and I don’t much like the idea of me or Sir Pink going visiting anyone elses private parts. No matter how much I suspect he might want to go…there…someday. Maybe it’s just because I don’t see any good pickins for myself and won’t ease up on that idea until I have some options to pick from for myself too.

But I do wonder, is it all that bad? Is adultery really adultery if the two people in the marriage are OK with it? It’s not really cheating. No one is being lied to in the marriage.

Marriage may be between two folks, but does that mean you can’t invite a third or fourth or the entire crew of the good ship S.S. Open Minded for a visit?

Marriage I think is largely what the two people in it want to define it. Supposedly, everything is good in that ole marriage bed so I think as long as people are in agreement, I don’t think we can really be casting stones at people who go off on a little different track.

Anyhoo like I said, it’s not the kinda thing I’m into…at least not right now. And if Sir Pink is into it, he’s wisely keeping his mouth shut and waiting for cues from me before he broaches it.

So don’t send me any photos or emails. But I’ll keep an open mind about the whole notion. Sort of.

20
Apr
09

Renewal, Symbolic and Literal

spring_motif1So, here we are in the post-Easter time of year.

Fewer gray skies. Flowers popping up, in my case some lovely purple and white oblong things along the side of the house—Lord only knows what they’re called, as the former homeowners planted them and I know next to nothing about flora. The lilac tree in our yard has buds that will be leaves and flowers soon. The big-ass trees on our property should be sprouting leaves soon, too. Don’t have to huddle under blankets as much. Don’t have to shovel the house out from under piles of snow.

It’s good. And, it’s a reminder.

On the spiritual side, Christians like myself have just gotten done with celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. There are literal aspects, like the fact I believe he really died and really came back to life and that he died for our sins. There is the symbolic fact that this is also the time of the year that life comes back to the Earth after a time of “death” that we call winter.

Much in the same way that I view the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. I don’t believe that the bread and wine magically turn into bread (or cracker) flavored flesh and the wine (or grape juice) into vino-flavored blood. But at the same time, the breaking of the body and the spilling of the blood of Jesus was a serious thing, and we should view the taking of his symbolic body and blood very seriously and not treat it as some throwaway act we just do for the hell of it.

In this season of symbolism and spiritual renewal, I believe it’s a good time to take stock of where we are, in terms of God and in terms of our daily lives. For my part, I’m going to take some time to reevaluate what I should be doing in my spiritual life, but I am also considering some new paths for my career and the way I support my family.

Spring has sprung, folks, and I would encourage you to not only enjoy the nicer weather and blooming foliage, but also to look at where you are at, what you have gone through recently, and where you are (and where you should) be going.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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