Movie Review – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

My movie review system … well, I don’t really have one. I like the one proposed by a good friend of mine, determining how good a movie was by how many drinks you had to make it enjoyable, (You assume you had a good time, it simply goes without saying, but you may have drank a couple beers and had a hot chick for company to make the time go by more joyfully.)

Well, this movie moves to the top of my rating. We had a great time watching it. I drank 2 Wee Heavies by Sam Adams, probably counts for 4 drinks, and my hot chick was in attendance. So a ranking of 5 is the highest ranking I’ve given any movie ever.



Whenever we watch a movie, there is a sub-plot of “Could we do this costume at Dragon Con?” We had some fear though, if we did these Martians and someone recognized it…cute and ironic…but what if:
fan “Wow, Santa vs. the Martians! That is one of my favorite films!” 
me : “Gosh, go away, you scare me.”
 

BTW: Beer Review – Wee Heavy by Sam Adams,
Drink them. It is a Scottish Ale – sweet and spicy. Drink them.  

The Sun is sending a Christmas Present

Notes: all figures are stolen from Solarham.net. I recommend supporting them and buying lots of coffee mugs and T-shirts. Words expressed are not found on Solar Ham, or probably anywhere else, because I’m a lone nut-job living in a cave. (I’m getting a sign for my cubbie, “THE MAN CAVE” )

The sun is heating up an active region just for us, it is flaring a bit early, but since I think we’re looking at an equatorial magnetic shift – see the “ring of fire” around the waist of the sun? – We’ll have solar flares for Christmas.



I’m a little disappointed that the Kp is low. General trending indicates that we won’t cross the yellow during a significant CME. i.e. You won’t see aurora unless you live uncomfortably near the north pole, then you shouldn’t go outside.




So, if you are in North Pole, Alaska, or at Halley Station, Antarctica – enjoy the view. (Of course, it is -18 degrees out there, so I think I’ll enjoy the 70 degree, auroraless, Alabama.)



For an example of Antarctic Weather.

Overall, what is the worst that could happen? Well, keep an eye on Kp, if it runs red and no one is paying attention, we could lose some satellites, have some communication and power issues in the north. If there is bad weather plus bad space-weather and a power failure…well… that would be bad. NOT EXPECTING IT – but (if you are up north) watch your Kp nonetheless.

Excerpt – The Case of the Cosmological Killer: Endings and Beginnings

by Stephanie OsbornThe Interstellar Woman of Mystery


 

And now we come to the last volume of the Displaced Detective series currently in print; don’t worry! There will be more! The Case of the Cosmological Killer: Endings and Beginnings finishes the story that The Rendlesham Incident began.

Holmes and Skye find they have not one, but two, very serious problems facing them. Not only did their “UFO victim” most emphatically NOT die from a close encounter, he was dying twice over – from completely unrelated causes. Holmes must now find the murderers before they find the secret of the McFarlane farm. And to add to their problems, another continuum – containing another Skye and Holmes – has approached Skye for help to stop the collapse of their own spacetime, a collapse that could take Skye with it, should she happen to be in their tesseract core when it occurs
.

 

 

~~~

 




~~~

 

Chapter 1

 

Skye was sleeping peacefully in their bed in Gibson House, and Sherlock was deep in her hyperdimensional equations, reviewing them with all the grey matter he possessed, when a whiff of ozone reached his nostrils.


“Good day to you both,” he said into the air without raising his head. “How are matters progressing?”


“We have hopes,” his own voice came back to him. “The experiment devised by the firm of Chadwick & Chadwick, Limited, looks to prove successful.” Holmes’ voice was tinged with humor. “Or perhaps I should say, Chadwick & Chadwick-Holmes, Limited.”


“I am glad to hear it,” Sherlock said softly.


“Speaking of Skye, where is she?” Chadwick wondered. “I wanted to give her the experimental setup and double-check for updates. We told her we’d come back at this time.”


“Oh, I am sorry. I am afraid she did not mention that,” Sherlock raised his head and shot a regretful but firm glance in the direction of the voices, knowing that the other Holmes would read his thought in his expression. “She is in bed, soundly asleep. She worked most of the night and barely ate at all today. I finally convinced her to take tea with me, and then discovered she was too inflexible to even stand upright. She permitted me to manipulate her musculature sufficient to release the kinks, but by the time I had done so, she was in a deep sleep. She is nigh exhausted.”



* * *

 

“Damn,” Chadwick breathed.

 

“He has a point, Chadwick,” Holmes observed quietly, referring to the refusal to awaken Skye he had noted in the other man’s face. “It does us

no good if she exhausts herself on our behalf, and falls short of the mark when her body and mind cannot take any more.”

 

“I know,” Chadwick agreed. “That’s what I meant, not, ‘damn, she didn’t get the work done.’ She’s me, remember? And she’s pushing herself as hard as I do.”

 

“It appears so,” Holmes agreed. “And that is saying quite a bit.”


 

* * *



“Is that her work you were looking over?” Chadwick asked Sherlock.


“It is,” Sherlock admitted.


“Can you make anything of it?” Holmes wondered.


“I can,” Sherlock confirmed. “And it looks good, insofar as it goes. But it is incomplete. And as I have not been in this continuum as long as you have been in yours, I do not have sufficient knowledge of the science as yet to consider even attempting to complete it for her.”


“You are the expert here, Chadwick,” Holmes admitted somewhat grudgingly. “What do you wish to do?”


“Might I make a suggestion?” Sherlock offered.


“Please,” Chadwick said.


“Dial back in around noon tomorrow,” Sherlock advised. “It will not delay your experiment overmuch; for you, it is a matter of minutes. And this will give Skye time to ‘catch up’ her sleep—she has slept scarcely more than ten or twelve hours total in some three days—and I will see to it that she eats properly whenever she awakens. Then she will have the morning to complete her calculations here,” he waved the notebook at them, “and she can give them to you at noon, then eat lunch.”


“Ha! I know what you are doing,” Holmes discerned with amusement. “Just as I—just as we—once managed Watson’s finances to ensure he did not come to ruin, you are taking control of her schedule to ensure she obtains adequate rest and nourishment. I have been known to do that once or twice with Chadwick, here.”

 

“And, I would suspect,” Sherlock retorted with the faintest hint of a smile, “she has likely done the same with you, on more than one occasion.”

 

“She has,” Holmes admitted, and this time Sherlock did not hear begrudging in the other man’s tone. “We four can become amazingly single-minded when need drives us.”

 

“Indeed,” Sherlock nodded.

 

There was a brief silence, and Sherlock could picture Chadwick gazing at Holmes with a sort of grateful, wistful expression.

 

Open your eyes, man, and see the treasure you have in front of you, before it is too late, he thought with some vehemence.


Eventually Chadwick spoke again, and this time there was a soft smile in her voice.

 

“That sounds like a plan, Mr. Holmes, and we’ll follow it. Tell Skye we’ll see her at noon tomorrow. Meanwhile, you take good care of her, okay?”

 

“As much as in me lies,” Sherlock nodded.

 

“Which is considerable,” Chadwick chuckled.

 

The air crackled, another surge of ozone wafted through the room, and they were gone.

 


~~~
 


Hope you enjoyed it, and check out my website for purchase links, or go directly to Amazon!

 

-Stephanie Osborn

Excerpt: The Case of the Cosmological Killer: The Rendlesham Incident

by Stephanie Osborn
The Interstellar Woman of Mystery
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com


As we continue the promotion, this is the prologue to the third book in my Displaced Detective Series, The Case of the Cosmological Killer: The Rendlesham Incident, a science fiction mystery that continues Sherlock Holmes’ adventures in the modern day. They are: The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival, The Case of the Displaced Detective: At Speed, The Case of the Cosmological Killer: The Rendlesham Incident and The Case of the Cosmological Killer: Endings and Beginnings. You can purchase all of them in pretty much any format you like through my website,
www.stephanie-osborn.com. Hope you enjoy this excerpt.


~~~







 


Prologue—Encounters


“Leeming Tower, this is Blue-One-Niner; Tower, this is Blue-One-Niner.”

“This is RAF Leeming. Go, Blue-One-Niner.”

“Tower, I have visual at one o’clock low, approaching coast along south-southeast heading; range, estimated twelve klicks. Request verification and possible change of altitude.”

“Blue-One-Niner, this is Tower. Please repeat visual info.”

“Tower, Blue-One-Niner. Visual at one o’clock low, estimated range ten klicks and closing.”

“Blue-One-Niner, Tower. I thought you said twelve klicks.”

“Tower, One-Niner. I did; it’s incoming.”

“Blue-One-Niner, radar shows no other aircraft in your vicinity.”

“Leeming, better look again. It’s right there, range now…HOLY SHIT! It just accelerated! Range now seven kilometres and closing fast! I am executing evasive manoeuvers! Climbing to twelve thousand metres! Bogey heading south-southeast, nearing coastline…”

“Copy, Blue-One-Niner. Evasive manoeuvers; you are cleared to twelve thousand. Be advised, radar still shows no—hold one! Where the bloody hell did THAT come from?! Contact Fylingdales—you did? They don’t? Roger that! All other traffic on this channel, this is Leeming Tower; please move to Channel Four immediately. Blue-One-Niner, this is Tower! Do you still have visual on bogey?”

“Roger, Tower! Closing fast…”

“You are authorised to pursue and bring down, peaceful preferred. Scrambling backup.”

“Copy, pursue and bring down. If peaceful refused?”

“You are authorised to use whatever means necessary. If peaceful refused, consider hostile.”

“Roger that. It’s passing below me now. Turning to pursue.”

“Copy that. Blue-One-Niner, can you identify aircraft? Radar signature is…inconclusive.”

“Uh…Tower, that visual is an inconclusive, too. It doesn’t look like any bloody aircraft I’ve ever seen. In fact, it doesn’t even look like an aircraft…”

“Description?”

“It’s a…big fuzzy ball, glowing kind of…yellowish-orange. And moving like a bat out of hell.”

“Blue-One-Niner, please repeat last transmission. It sounded like you said a big fuzzy ball?”

“Affirm, Tower, that’s exactly what I said. Think…giant tennis ball, only more orange. Still approaching coastline near Scarborough… correction! Bogey has changed heading! Damn! Stand by, Tower…”

“Leeming Tower standing by.”

“Tower, this is Blue-One-Niner. I don’t know what the blazes they’ve got, but it’s way the hell more manoeuvreable than my Typhoon. They just executed a sharp turn to port, and I do mean sharp! I overshot by several miles inland, trying to make the turn. They are now paralleling the coastline, bearing southeast.”

“Roger that, Blue-One-Niner. We…saw the turn on radar…”

“Yeah, you probably see something else, too.”

“Roger that. Bogey is…ACCELERATING?!”

“Like that bat out of hell—on warp drive. Punching ‘burners…”

“Blue-One-Niner, this is Leeming Tower. Report.”

“Leeming, this is Blue-One-Niner. Sorry, mates, she’s outstripped me by a long shot. Keep ‘er on radar as long as you can, and try to anticipate and scramble interceptors. I’ve already almost lost visual.”

“Roger that…”




* * *


Inside the radar room at RAF Fylingdales, the Officer of the Day discussed the situation with his chief technician.

“Are you sure?” the OD pressed his radar tech.

“Positive, sir,” the tech replied, grim. “We’ve been watching it for the last five minutes, ever since it showed on radar. The only thing I know of that can travel that fast is a blasted Space Shuttle, and even they couldn’t make manoeuvres like this ruddy thing is making. We’re gathering all the radar data on it we can, profiles and such, but so far, we’ve not been able to put a plane close. Blue-One-Niner got a good visual on it, but that was sheer dumb luck.”

“What kind of craft was One-Niner in? Recon?”

“A Typhoon, sir. And the bogey left it in the dust, even on full afterburners.”

“Bollocks!” the OD exclaimed, shocked and gawking. “Left in the DUST? A TYPHOON?!”

“Like it was sitting still, as near as I can tell from air-to-ground transmissions. Radar supported the assessment, too.”

The OD thought hard for several moments.

“Any idea where it’s headed?”

“Yeah.” The techie scowled.

“Well?”

“You’re not gonna like it.”

“Tell me anyway.”

“Bentwaters.” The engineer gazed solemnly at his superior. The OD blanched.

“Bugger. Get the brass on the bloody horn!”


* * *


Deep beneath the seemingly abandoned RAF Bentwaters base, ciphered telephones were ringing off their hooks. Frantic officers and enlisted personnel scurried about, attempting to ascertain under what sort of threat they were operating.

The underground facility itself was under full lockdown, with absolutely no sign of life visible to the outside.

And that was precisely how they wanted it.

Far overhead, in the deepening twilight sky, a glowing golden sphere floated, searching.


* * *


In the Headquarters of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Director General was in her office, reviewing the dispatches as soon as they arrived.

“Not again,” she muttered under her breath, obviously deeply concerned. “I thought we were done with this decades ago.”

“Doesn’t look like it, madam,” Captain Braeden Ryker noted, subdued, handing her another report. “All hell is breaking loose out there, by the sound of it. Some of the public reports are probably spurious, and some of it—seventy-five percent, I’d say—likely due to hoaxes and copycats and just plain power of suggestion. But that still leaves the remaining twenty-five percent as real. We’ve got jets scrambled all along the coast, and except for the initial intercept, which was accidental, not one of our aircraft could even get close enough to see the thing.” He looked down at the paper in his hand. “We did luck out on one point. Our local field office got a heads-up from Fylingdales at the same time they notified Bentwaters, and Gregory got his ass in gear with record speed. He mobilised a field team in time to have a gander at the object. They’re still in the field, so we don’t have word yet.”

“Is it still out there?”

Ryker glanced again at the communiqué in his hand.

“Not according to the latest information, no, madam.”

“Get a detail out there and start looking into the situation.” The director shook her head, obviously gravely concerned.

“What about…?” Ryker began, then added candidly, “Do you want me to override Gregory, madam?”

“No, I want you to work WITH him,” the Director declared with a wave of her hand. “Get some of the Headquarters experts out there right alongside his team—specialists, to aid him in his assessment, not supersede him. I know Gregory. He’s a good man, with a good team. I simply want all the data we can gather. I want to know what this thing is, where it’s from, what it’s after, and I want to know five minutes ago.”

“Right away, madam,” Ryker nodded, exiting swiftly.


* * *


The field excursion team filed into the back of the nondescript office building, entering an equally bland conference room. They appeared to be college students and young professionals, clad in jeans or chinos and shirts, carrying attaché cases or backpacks, as appropriate. When the last of them arrived and the conference room door closed, they turned to the man in the corner.

“Here we go again, Gregory,” the field team lead sighed, shaking his head. “It’s the Halt transcript all over again, right down to the imagery in the night vision goggles.”

“Any feeling of intent?”

“Definite intent,” another remarked. “It was…looking…for something. A natural phenom doesn’t sweep a grid pattern. This bugger did. Nice and precise, too.”

“Blast and damnation,” Gregory sighed. “What was it looking for? Any ideas?”

“That’s the prize question, isn’t it, boss?” the second field investigator shrugged. “If we could answer that, problem solved, and on to the next issue—which is, what to do about it?”

“Yeah,” Gregory muttered. “Well, boys and girls, get your reports together fast. Headquarters is breathing down our necks. Word has it the Director General herself is involved, and you know to whom SHE reports. We’re likely to have help soon. In fact, some experts are supposed to be coming down from London as we speak, to work alongside.”

There was a collective groan from the room.

“All right, boss,” the team lead noted. “Everyone, laptops out, reports in half an hour. Type fast.”


* * *


Ryker came into the Director’s office at speed, bearing the collected dispatches from the field office.

“Here you go, madam,” he noted, handing them to the Secret Service director. “The latest on the phaenomenon. I can’t say I’m pleased with the way this is headed.”

The scowling director scanned through the reports, speed-reading. “Ah, I see your point. Are the subject matter experts on their way?”

“They are.”

“Very good. Dismissed.” As Ryker turned to leave, she changed her mind. “Ryker, wait a moment.”

“Yes, madam?” He stopped, pivoting smartly on his heel to face her once more.

“Your…friends…in America…” She pondered briefly.

“Williams, madam?”

“No, the scientist and a certain detective.” She threw a small grin at the agent.

“Ah,” Ryker grinned back at her, “Dr. Skye Chadwick and Mr. Sherlock Holmes.”

“The very ones. What are they doing at the present time?”

“I don’t know offhand, madam, but I can contact Williams and find out,” Ryker said. “I have strong reason to believe they may be coming across the Pond for a visit after the first of the year, however. Are you considering calling them in on this?”

“Possibly,” the director confessed, looking over one of the dispatches. “Certainly they possess the specific expertise necessary to look into so abstruse a problem as this. They…” she paused, staring at the paper in her hand. “The night vision goggles showed a HOLE in the middle of the object?” She raised her head, gazing at Ryker in astonishment.

“Yes, ma’am. It makes no sense, I know, but that’s just like it happened back in 1980.”

“And you have every confidence in Chadwick and Holmes.” She eyed Ryker sternly.

“Yes, ma’am,” Ryker responded smartly, with confident emphasis.

“And this is really THE Sherlock Holmes?”

“Without doubt,” Ryker smiled. His certainty was almost palpable. Despite this fact, the Director sighed without enthusiasm.

“Very well. Yes, Captain Ryker. Contact Captain Williams and have him ascertain their availability. Provide Williams with a detailed abstract of events through appropriately secure channels, and see to it he briefs Holmes and Chadwick on the matter as soon as possible. Ensure they are instructed to stand by in the event they are called in on the case.”

“Consider it done.” Ryker snapped off a salute before spinning and exiting the office.

~~~


For more, or to purchase this and more books in the series, go to my website,
www.stephanie-osborn.com, or to Amazon for the trade paperback or Kindle. Or buy The Case of the Displaced Detective Omnibus and get the first FOUR books in the series here!

Fun Weekend – Magna Faire



SO I may have mentioned that I like to swordfight. Well, here is me and Phillip killing each other. Actually, I believe my tip slides on his shirt, his catches on my shoulder piece. I’m the guy in the orange belt with the big breastplate.

I didn’t lose them all, great picture below of the fight against Dragonet. He is durn good.


This is my idea of a fun weekend. I talked history for hours (teaching a whole class Jan 4th)
Anybody ever interested in a swordfight, just give me a call….

Excerpt – The Case of the Displaced Detective: At Speed

Be forewarned: The Arrival and At Speed comprise one story in two volumes. One book in either the science fiction or mystery genres normally averages around 100,000 words. But when the original idea for The Case of the Displaced Detective came to me, I cranked out 215,000 words in two months. And that was just the rough draft. In order to keep it to a manageable size, my publisher, Twilight Times Books, cut the manuscript in half and made two volumes out of it. As it happened, the second story in the series, The Case of the Cosmological Killer, turned out much the same. So the first four books comprise the first two stories. I swear they won’t all be like that! In fact, book 5, A Case of Spontaneous Combustion, is only one volume.

What’s At Speed about? Here’s the publicity blurb:


“Aborting one attempt to sabotage Project: Tesseract, Sherlock Holmes — up to speed in his new life and spacetime continuum — and Dr. Skye Chadwick —hyperspatial physicist, Holmes’ new “Watson” — must catch a spy ring when they don’t even know the ring’s goal. Meanwhile Skye recovers from two nigh-fatal gunshot wounds.

“A further complication is their relationship: the ups and downs between the pair are more than occasional clashes of demanding, eccentric personalities. Chadwick is in love with Holmes. Knowing his predilection for eschewing matters of the heart, she struggles to hide it, in order to maintain the friendship they DO have. Holmes also feels attraction — but fights it tooth and nail, refusing to admit it, even to himself. For it is not merely Skye’s work the spies may be after — but her life as well. Having lost Watson to the vagaries of spacetime, could he endure losing another companion?

“Can they work out the intricacies of their relationship? Can they determine why the spy ring is after the tesseract? And — most importantly — can they stop it?”

~~~


 
Chapter 1—Ruminations and Rehabilitations


Skye woke up in a hospital bed on Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs the afternoon following the shooting, which was Saturday. Her chest and belly ached miserably, and there was a taste in her mouth as if all the armies that had ever marched had tramped across her tongue.

“Uhg,” she groaned softly, smacking her mouth in disgust.

As sensation and full consciousness slowly returned, a previously unnoticed grip on her fingers tightened, and a familiar, English voice murmured, “Skye?”

“H-holmes? Is that you?” Skye wondered, confused.

“Yes, Skye. I am here.”

Through the slits of her barely open eyelids, she saw a dark form loom over her, coming to sit gingerly on the edge of the bed. As her eyes finally responded to her mental command to focus, the form resolved into Holmes, who was now dressed in the RAF uniform he kept in their office. He reached for something beyond her range of sight, then brought his left hand back with a small plastic cup, a straw tucked inside it.

“Here. Sip this.” His right hand never let go her own. Skye allowed him to place the straw in her mouth before sipping the cool water.

“Oh, that’s better. My mouth tasted nasty.”

“That would be the narcotics,” he replied, the hint of a smile on his tired face as he returned the cup to the bedside table.


* * *

“Oh.” Skye gave him a bleary-eyed scrutiny, and Holmes read it accurately.

“No, my dear. Watson broke me of that habit some years ago, at my own request, I might add. And I must confess, I find this world of yours stimulating enough that I have no interest in such substances, anyway.” He allowed the hint of expression to become a full-fledged smile, and he said, “Dear old Watson, it seems, was equally as determined as dear new Skye. But it does mean I have some experience with nasty tastes in one’s mouth.”

“How bad?” Skye gestured to her bandaged, aching torso.

“Punctured left lung, lacerated spleen.” Holmes drew a deep, pained breath. “Considerable blood loss. The spleen was not so damaged as to require complete removal, fortunately. There is speculation it caught a ricochet; the bits of metal pulled out from that organ definitely did not add up to a complete bullet, as opposed to the one in the lung, which emerged intact. But lung and spleen are repaired now, and you are getting blood.” He gestured at the IV bags hanging nearby, where a deep-red fluid dribbled through a tube into her arm. “In fact, one of those is mine. They were low on your blood type.” Then he quipped, “And relative to some of the people in this age of yours, it seems I am quite the healthy specimen.” He paused, becoming very serious. “Skye, I must apologise…I had to break my oath to you.”


~~~

For more, or to purchase this and more books in the series, go to my website, www.stephanie-osborn.com or look on Amazon. Or buy The Case of the Displaced Detective Omnibus and get the first FOUR books in the series here!

A few tidbits to whet the appetite – The Case of the Displaced Detective: The Arrival

In view of the upcoming holidays for gift-giving — Christmas, Chanukah, Yule, Kwanzaa, etc., I thought I’d post a few excerpts from my books to whet your appetite.

The Displaced Detective Series is a science fiction mystery series in which the brilliant hyperspatial
physicist, Dr. Skye Chadwick, discovers that there are alternate realities, and said alternates are often populated by those we consider only literary characters. Her pet research, Project: Tesseract, hidden deep under Schriever AFB, is her means of looking in on these continua. In one particular reality, continuum 114, a certain Victorian detective (who, in fact, exists in several continua) was to have died along with his arch-nemesis at the Reichenbach Falls. Knee-jerking, Skye intervenes, rescuing her hero, who inadvertently flies through the tesseract wormhole connecting his universe with ours, while his enemy plunges to his death. Unable to send Holmes back without causing devastating continuum collapse due to non-uniqueness, he must stay in our world and learn to adapt to the 21st century.

So I thought I’d give you a taste of the start…

~~~


 



Prologue—Objects, Subjects, and Beginnings

A tall, dark figure, clad in formal Victorian eveningwear, strode briskly down the shadowed street, casually swinging his silver-embellished walking stick. No carriages had passed in the last half-hour, and only one hansom cab had wandered by ten minutes before, its horse’s hollow hoofbeats echoing between the buildings. The gas street-lamps were long since lit, but between them were patches of deep darkness, patches entirely too broad for comfort in these circumstances. Beneath the brim of his silk top hat, eagle-sharp grey eyes darted about, studying the shadows, alert and aware. For well this man knew that danger lurked in the gloom this night, danger peculiar to him alone; and he was alone. So very alone.

But not for long. He was headed to a specific destination. To the one man he knew he could trust, the one man who would stand at his side regardless of danger—for had he not done so, many times before? Was not this the reason for the deep, if largely unspoken, bond of friendship between them?

His friend would help. There was no doubt in his mind on that point. Already today two attempts had been made upon his life, and well did this man need help.

“Not far now,” the words breathed past thin, pale lips. “Almost ther—”

The words died on said lips.

A hulking, brutish shadow materialised from the alleyway in front of him. The elegant man in the top hat ducked just in time to avoid the lead-weighted bludgeon that swung through the space his head had occupied fractions of a second before. Instead, the silk hat took the brunt of the blow, flying across the sidewalk and into a puddle in the gutter, its side crushed. Flinging up his cane and grasping each end in his hands, the gentleman dropped into an Oriental horse stance, and prepared to do battle.

“’Ere, now,” the other figure said, in a coarse growl. “Hit’s th’ end o’ you, it is. Me superior won’t be ‘arvin’ it, an’ Oi means t’ see ‘e don’t ‘arve ta.”

“You can try,” the gentleman replied, calm. “But better men than you have tried, and here I stand.”

A guttural, angry sound emerged from the assailant, and the cudgel swung again, this time with enough force to crush bone. Deft, the gentleman caught it with the center of his cane, but to his chagrin the walking-stick, his weapon of choice in many a similar street altercation, chose that moment to give up the ghost. It snapped in two, splintering and cracking. He snarled his own irritation, and flung the pieces aside when he realised there was not enough left to use as a decent weapon.

Then he began to flit and weave as the other man smirked and lunged at him, swinging the club repeatedly, as hard as he could. It was a dance of death, and one wrong move by the gentleman would have serious, possibly fatal, consequences.

But the man in the evening dress was not without weapons; no, his best weapons were permanently attached to his person. The alert grey eyes watched, looking for some opening; and when he saw his chance, he struck like lightning. A fist shot out at the loutish face, catching the hit man squarely in the mouth just as he realised his danger and started to shout for help. All that came out was a grunt, however, and the assassin fell to the pavement as if pole-axed, with both lips split.

The gentleman hissed in pain, grabbing his fist with his other hand for a moment to let the worst of the discomfort pass before examining the damage.

“By Jove, he has sharp teeth for such a troglodyte,” he murmured, peeling off the ruined black kid glove to expose the bloody knuckles beneath. “Completely through the leather and into the flesh. I shall have to have this disinfected, for certain. No time for that now. Go, man!” He turned swiftly to resume his journey.

A crack resounded from the brownstone close at hand, and the man felt a spray of stone chips strike the side of his face. He flinched, and a sharp curse left his lips. He took to his heels and rounded the corner of the street, then disappeared into shadow.

* * *

Not ten feet away from the gentleman, though invisible to him, an elegant blonde woman in a white lab coat stood between tall, electronic towers. Behind her, concentric rows of computer consoles were manned by two dozen scientists, engineers, and technicians. Surrounding all of them was a huge, domed room carved from solid pink granite.

The woman stood for long minutes, silent, watching.

Finally one of the technicians broke the electronic silence.

“So, Doc, whaddaya think?”

“What do you think, Jim? How were the readings?” The woman turned toward him.

“I’ve got bang-on, Dr. Chadwick,” Jim noted, glancing down at his own console, brown eyes darting about as he surveyed his readouts. “But I can’t say for everybody else.”

“Rock steady at Timelines,” someone else called.

“Sequencing looks good…” another said.

“Software’s running nominally.”

“Hardware’s humming right along…”

On it went, from console to console. Finally the woman nodded.

“Perfect,” she purred in deep satisfaction. “We’ve got our subject. Page Dr. Hughes and have her come down.”

“On it, Doc,” Jim grinned, reaching for the phone.

~~~
This is book 1 of the series! Four are already published, with more on the way!

For more, or to purchase this and more books in the series, go to my website, www.stephanie-osborn.com or find it on Amazon. Or to purchase The Case of the Displaced Detective Omnibus, consisting of the first four books,  go here.

-Stephanie Osborn



 


 

Arctic Ice Melting – Save Santa Now

I just want it clear. If you think that saving Santa’s Home on the Arctic Ice Sheet is a valuable ideal… I am mocking you. Santa’s home – if he lived at the actual North Pole – would be under water most years. (Even years with good summer ice.) You see, the sun warms the poles during the summer and the ice melts there. There are lakes of fresh water, in the middle of the ocean, on top of the ice. Weird, eh? But Nothing is as weird as the video following.

I’m just trying to figure out who they intended to watch this video. Did they think small children, who believe in Santa Claus, would be driven by this image to run to their parents and tell them “Stop Global Warming!” ? Anyone who showed this to a child should be beaten and thrown out of society. This is PG material at a minimum and the Aimed-for demographic would have to be under age 9. 

Who else could it be for? Adults seeing this must be disgusted, I was, for roughly every aspect of the film. The “Home Movie” style camera work, the “dying in a bunker” narrative, the damned Intensity of the storytelling. As if I was going to invest emotional capital in Santa Claus? Seriously?



The people responsible for this video are brain-damaged. They need medical treatment for their clear inability to distinguish reality from fiction. The problem appears to be religious fanaticism. Greenpeace clearly  has developed a religion based on the cult of Global Warming. The followers find some inherent symbolic link between christian religion and their own myths, this video only makes it explicit.

And they’ve shown no love for children. It is a few years old now, but who remembers this gem? (i don’t really advise you watching it, it involves a child blowing up for not believing in global warming.) I do think that frightening children is part of their plan. They want to make sure that when they say something that is FALSE, Unscientific, and an unnecessary burden on their fellows – people stay quiet.




In the first of these videos, these poor damaged souls are Crying out “We want Christmas for Our Religion too! Santa Claus, please save us!” If you know anyone who thinks that either of these videos were a good idea, who has strong sympathies for Global Warming Initiatives, or who wants to put up a stocking for Greenpeace….get them help.

Excerpt – The Fetish

by Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

In Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281, Dr. Mike Anders buys a small spaceman fetish from a Zuni elder at a trading post. But there’s a story behind this little lapis spaceman carving. What is it, and how did it come to be?

An ebook short prequel to Burnout.

~~~






The young Zuni listened carefully to his medicine man as he prepared to set out upon his journey.


“This is the time,” James Running Horse told his pupil. “It is midsummer, when the Twins come to the mountaintops. Yes, the Twins,” he nodded, seeing young Vernon White Owl opening his mouth to speak. “The Beloved Two. If you are to continue being my apprentice, you must have their approval. Only then will you truly become my son and heir, and all my secrets will be given to you.”


“But how will I know them?” Vernon asked, worried.



“You will know them,” James said, firm but gentle. “They are like none you have ever seen before.”


“None?”



“Look.” James swept his arm across the wall of the canyon in which they camped. “Study these drawings. The drawings of the Ancient Ones, the Anasazi. They have faded much in just the years I have known them; they must have been beautiful, detailed things when first they were made. But if you keep them in memory, you will know the Beloved Twins when you see them.”



Vernon stared at the ancient paintings, trying to affix their details in his memory. All were tall; some had broad bodies, others narrow. All had two protrusions, like insect antennae, or fox ears, or mushrooms, on the top of the head. They all had two prominent arms, but not all appeared to have feet. Some seemed to have tails like snakes instead. In their current condition, and to Vernon’s untrained eye, it was impossible to tell whether they were coming or going, although none of them were painted in profile.


“Will they both come?” Vernon wondered. “Áhaiyúta and Mátsailéma?”


“Not necessarily,” James murmured, as at last the hint of a smile came to his tanned, wizened face. “They are busy, and they often follow the entrails of Átahsaia across the sky, the grey, ugly demon who once ate our people, to ensure that he does not somehow regenerate. They protect us still.”



“From what?”



A full smile finally cracked the dark, weathered skin. “Ah, that is what you are here to find out!” James said. “Now, you have been through the preparation, a special medicine preparation I have made sure was as complete as possible, and tomorrow is what the white men call the solstice. It is an important time – a time of vision. You have a few hours before sundown; just sufficient to climb to the peak yonder.” He pointed at the mountaintop at the head of the canyon. “You are as ready as you will ever be; as ready as I can make you. Go. I will await you here, however long it takes. You will know when your quest is ended.”


Vernon nodded. He stripped to his skin, leaving his clothing and shoes behind with his mentor, and set off alone toward the peak. The only thing he carried was his whittling knife, on a thong around his neck.


* * *



That night, Vernon was exceedingly glad that it was the summer solstice, for the wind on the mountain peak was chilly even so. He found the small cave, really little more than a notch in the peak, that the vision questers of his people had used for generations, and settled in for the night, although he had his doubts that he would be able to sleep. It had been a long walk, and the last hundred yards of the climb had been arduous; he was sweating profusely, and very tired. Nevertheless, he was growing cold as the sweat on his skin chilled in the breeze. He huddled near the back of the cave and tried to stay out of the wind, knowing he was going to be even more miserable very soon.


Eventually, in the arid air of the high desert, his bare skin dried, and he felt somewhat warmer, although, he decided, that was relative. The sky was crystal clear, a deep blue so dark that it was almost, but not quite, black, and millions of diamonds twinkled across it. But he knew that beautiful, clear skies meant colder nights. He curled himself into a tight ball against the rock, thankful for the daytime heat that still radiated from its rough, sandy surface, and waited.



Sooner or later,
he knew, I will sleep, or I will have a vision. Or both.


~~~

The Fetish is currently only available in Kindle format. To purchase, see Amazon.

-Stephanie Osborn
http://www.stephanie-osborn.com