The Hidden One


Two-Legs have long forgotten stealth.

Probably because much of the modern world thinks of itself as king-of-the-hill, top-dog, ultimate-alpha, dominant-species, …

Such arrogance, such ignorance, baffles me.

For that matter, much of the modern world baffles me.

We listen to self-proclaimed gurus and wisdom-keepers and relinquish all aspects of our selves.

What made us so gullible, so willing to accept hype without question, to march to the beat of a recognizably self-destructive drum?

Did it start when we as a collective no longer required the need for sstealth?

True stealth requires so much effort. It’s situational awareness to the max, it’s training without end, it’s confidence without being confident.

All things which necessitate a sensitivity to one’s environment, one’s place, one’s personal energy and existence.

No wonder we, as a collective, suck at it.

The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 45

The Alibi – Chapter 45

Penny kept her eyes closed and stretched her legs and arms under the covers. She loved her soft mattressed, king-sized bed. She slept naked because the feel of the lightly perfumed midnight blue satin titillated her. Plus, he preferred her in the nude. Sometimes he came in so hungry, so aggressive, so possessive. He didn’t need to be teased. He was always calm. On the outside. But when he was alone with her in the dark? He unleashed something…not quite brutal. Demanding. That was it. Demanding.

She liked him that way.

Her feet bumped something at the foot of her bed.

And her arms, outstretched, hung over the sides of her bed.

And the sheets didn’t feel right.

Whatever stopped her feet at the foot of the bed shifted. “Good morning, Ms. Lane.”

She opened her eyes, inhaled deeply and stopped. Felt like something clogged her lungs and it took three good breaths before she could clear them out.

The speaker was male, white. Late middle age – early senior male. Somewhere near retirement if not slightly past. Clean shaven. Nicely tanned. Dusty brown hair going to gray on the sides. Posh clothes. Silk tie. Great smile under bright gray eyes.

He sat on the foot of her bed facing her.

She catalogued the room. Not hers. Not his. Not one familiar to her. Not quite sterile but common. Like a dorm room. Or a two or three star motel room. She’d been in one once and decided guys who could only afford such rendezvous weren’t worth her time.

A dollar-store vanity over a dollar-store bureau.

Or something like it

A door off to the side and another on the far wall.

Sterile. The walls were a floor-to-ceiling industrial beige. No TV, no radio. A desk but no phone.

Maybe ten-by-twelve feet? No windows. Nowhere near a Brazilian prison cell but what she remembered of one still gave her the chills. This place had the same look if not the feel.

Briggs got her out of Brazil with one phone call. She’d call him now. Put a stop to this.

Where was her phone?

“You’re probably thirsty. Most people are thirsty when they wake up from being spritz with M12.” The man rose from her bed. “Let me get you a glass of water.” He opened the side door. She heard water fill a paper cup. He walked out, handed it to her, and sat where he had before.

“What’s M12?”

“A fast acting knockout gas. A Ketamine derivative.”

“No Ketamine derivative would work that fast. I had to clear my lungs when I woke up. That indicates etorphine or something close. Concentrated. Where am I?”

The man continued holding the cup out. “It’s safe. No intoxicants. No suppressives. Just water. I apologize for the rough handling. We wanted to get you here with the minimum of difficulty.”

“Where is here?”

“We like to think of it as a safe place.”

“Safe for who?”

“Have you ever read Meister Eckhardt?”

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Previous entries in The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery)

Mother and Child

Having praised youth in our last entry, this week we turn our attention to what allows youth to exist, the bond praised in Paul Simon‘s Mother and Child Reunion and humbly immortalized in much of my work, Mother and Child.

My first cognition of a Mother and Child anything came while reading A.E. Van Vogt‘s The War Against the Rull.

There’s a scene in which a female ezwal (alien, six-legged, telepathic saurian (according to Wikipedia. I remember it as more like an earwig), and hostile to humans) and her child are in a crashing ship. The ezwal are huge (a few tons). The mother wraps her herself around her child to protect it and cushion it from the crash.

Even remembering that scene now, I tear up.

It was the first time I was aware there was some kind of mother-child relationship different from the one I experienced.

And I have longed to be the child of a loving, caring, protecting, ezwal mother ever since.

The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 44

The Alibi – Chapter 44

Sherlock listened to the communications coming and going out of Boston harbor and recognized elements from previous oceanic transmissions. Its extensive catalog of deep sea sounds, some from the first microphones submerged in ocean waters, its googleian knowledge of sound production systems, origins, indications, its massive computing, cohesing, interpolating, recognizing systems worked and worked and reworked every element comparing against everything from the chirp of crickets to the songs of whales and trumpets of elephants, from glaciers calving to seaquakes raising islands to the sun, spinning them, colliding them, solidifying them, separating them, extrapolating them, until its coolent glowed blue.

It reshaped the sonar array and pods, reshaped the hull enough to create sound separation and deflection grids, released two towed arrays to act as direction-seeking ears.

And heard.

Sherlock relaxed. A human would have sighed. Sherlock did its equivalent; it let its cryogenic structures form a slight aboric frost, lining its deepest core with veins like leaves on a tree.

It understood.

Could understand.

And wanted to hear more, partially to confirm hypotheses floating in its nitrogen-helium cooled chambers and partially to test this hypothesis against that, these against those, to confirm what it had been told might exist, could exist, but for which there was no direct evidence, only hearsay, only myth, only stories from cultures so ancient humans only knew of them from symbols on cave walls.

Sherlock would test this from that, these from those, with a single message.

A message from the earliest of its learnings.

A message to let the listeners know it was there, it was awake, it was attending, it was aware.

A message student programmers learned as their first attempt at confirming what they’d been taught.

Sherlock sent out a soft, timid, “Hello?”

Previous entries in The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery)

A Cute Young Thing

Ah, youth.

Mine is gone many years, except in my heart when I gaze upon Susan (wife/partner/Princess).

She is my delight and my joy.

Together forty-six years, married forty of them, not always easy, not always nice, and wonderful to remember.

We knew early on we weren’t suited to have children. Anybody who knows my personal history knows I had no good models for parenting, and I openly worried my parents’…flaws?…methods. Yes, that’s better, methods of parenting would cause any children I had harm. As it was, I didn’t do my first wife proud except for the fact I left her, again knowing I was not suited to be a good husband, provider, and father.

I often consider that one of my first rational thoughts, recognizing how flawed I was.

Still have flaws, of course, and they are different ones, hopefully less vexsome ones, more along the line of liking a good superhero movie every once in a while because I need to veg out for a while.

And all that noted, I sometimes regret not having children.

A friend of mine recently had her tubes tied, so abhorrent was the thought of having children to her.
I chided her.

“Children are wonderful,” I told her. “Lightly roasted with a little salt, they’re delicious.”


And I still appreciate The Wild‘s sharing its younth with us.