failure is not an option

Day 364, "Under The Hammer"

If science fiction is your thing, enjoy. Please do not redistribute. Copyright 2012, drewkitty, All Rights Reserved

Day 364, "Under The Hammer"

My watch alarm wakes me up. We've determined that small electronic devices without transceivers are not detectable.

This is spectacularly not true of cell phones and smartphones. What I carry instead is a personal phone -- a device that plugs into an RJ-11 or RJ-34 jack and downloads my E- mail, allows me to make phone calls, and so on. These jacks are everywhere now, because the cell phone is spectacularly dead.

So are over 1.1 million Americans.

I look at the date, September 10, 2002. I get out a pen and begin to write. This. An update to the diary I am trying to keep, to stave off PTSD. On doctor's orders, just like the rest of America.

It has been the Year of Terror. On September 11th, three buildings spectacularly blew up. You know which ones. There was also a crater in farmland. That was a clue, but it took a while for us to realize.

On September 12th, the same. Different cities, different buildings. But always important and mostly with people inside, especially at first. The best day we only lost two buildings, and those were empty. The worst day, ten and all of them were full. Two of them were packed hotels.

The attacks went on . . . and on . . . and on . . . and Have. Not. Stopped.

The Mall of America, the Empire State Building, Sears Tower, the White House, Congress, the Renaissance Center, the Ford Museum, several Bank of America buildings, ALL of the Trump Buildings, the Space Needle. Hammered.

Closer to home: Transamerica Pyramid, Santa Clara Convention Center, Candlestick Park, Oracle Arena _and_ Oracle Headquarters, NASA Moffett Field (blimp hangars and wind tunnels) . . . on and on and on . . . over 1500 buildings in America completely destroyed by kinetic orbital bombardment. If it's a building and you've heard of it, they killed it.

Only in America. The "alien space bats," to borrow a phrase coined by S.M. Stirling to describe the phenomenon, don't seem to like us. Not even a little bit.

Large space facilities seem to have fared the worst. Aerospace engineers and scientists now work from dispersed facilities and secret underground bunker complexes. Not that the secrecy part seems to matter -- publicly known but underground facilities such as Greenbrier and NORAD's headquarters at Cheyenne Mountain have not been attacked. Even most military bases seem to be spared, because the bigger the building, the more likely it is to get the Hammer -- and most military bases have only small buildings.

They don't hit infrastructure. You can imagine what a Hammer would do to the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Hoover Dam. Apparently, not a building and therefore ineligible for Hammering. I have no idea why not, neither does anyone else.

NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center got Hammered the first month. An orbiter was inside, as were several hundred NASA employees frantically preparing it to be moved. They had six minutes warning and they kept working.

Every now and then, there's what can only be called a "miss" -- a large kinetic object plows into an empty field, a mountainside, tarmac, forest. From analysis of the debris of these misses we know that the kinetic kill vehicles are made of asteroid metal. Manufactured. Just plain big old metal rods, flung from geosynchronous orbit from Somewhere by Someone.

Someone we'd all really, really like to stop.

We live in an America that our forefathers wouldn't recognize. "The fabric of our nation has changed . . . to Battle Dress Uniform." Everyone is in an authorized profession. Those with good eyesight are assigned to SkyWatch, a program coordinated by the Civil Air Patrol and North American Air Defense Command aka "NORAD." Literally hundreds of thousands of people who go out each night and watch the sky and chart what they see, systematically.

We have spotted alien spacecraft. We even have names for them: spotter, monitor, flinger, base star. But they don't land and they don't talk. Just keep flinging Hammers at us.

Everyone listens to NORAD alert broadcasts the way people used to listen to traffic and weather reports. Mass transit systems in almost every major city in America have been damaged by nearby Hammer strikes. We reroute and we go on.

Everyone knows someone who has been Hammered. Everyone's been to a mass funeral.

The military is a lot bigger. It's hard to run an economy when someone keeps dropping metal rods on your biggest factories and office complexes. Some of the rest of the world saw some potential advantages. OPEC especially.

We now occupy Saudi Arabia and torched Iraq's oil fields because we were too busy to keep them. Sorry, just business, you tried to starve our nation to death at the worst possible time. So we returned the favor.

Gasoline is still $10 a gallon. That's why there's no need to listen to traffic reports.

There's been significant civil disorder. People who decide it's the end of the world and move up to the hills. They may be right, but we still need taxes paid and on time, and two years in a Federal Service Camp awaits those who don't meet their obligations.

I train Civil Defense Wardens. Wardens have a tough job: the biggest one is to monitor NORAD and be ready to Dump That Building. Six minutes is about what you get, and lucky to have that. Every place of assembly holds weekly timed drills.

Wardens found asleep on duty have been dragged out and shot, and juries have found duly found the shooters "Not Guilty." Even when the shooters were on-duty police officers and the shootings were video recorded. (The sleeping was too.)

There are Bounty Wardens who provide security and maintenance for those big buildings that have yet to get Hammered. They are paid lavishly. Some of them have armored vehicle garages and dedicated escape vehicles. Others have motorcycles and luck.

In New York City, they have zip lines for escape. Yes, people still live in the Big Apple even though she's been Hammered again and again and again. Americans refuse to lose.

A lot of what we are doing to try to fight the alien menace is classified. We build ships and fighters. We train Marines. Oh dear do we train Marines. Sixty divisions of Marines.

We fire lasers and launch antisatellite missiles at alien space ships. Here's the odd thing: we hit sometimes, but there appears to be no effect -- and they don't shoot back. They DO Hammer, but only big buildings.

For example, the battle laser in the hills above Camp Pendleton is still shooting from grid power, both before and after the nearby San Onofre nuclear power plant got Hammered. One guess is that the shape made it look bigger.

We've thought of what alien ships with energy weapons -- even the meager ones we're shooting at _them_ with -- could do: scorch cropland, blow up fuel tanks, light forest fires (and California would be _so_ hosed), even assassinations. But so far we've seen no sign of it. Only Hammers.

Nukes? Of course we fired nukes at them. Problem is, they don't go off. Contact fused, proximity fused, timer fused -- nope, sorry, clunk. A recovered warhead had a subcritical mass in it. Nasty. But not a detonation.

The first two sites at which we tried to build Orion systems -- nuclear propelled large spacecraft -- were promptly Hammered.

Then we launched an Orion that had been carefully built to look like a small town on top. They didn't Hammer it and they didn't fire energy weapons at it -- an alien ship rammed it.

So we build more small town looking Orions and we're whittling down the aliens, one kamikaze at a time.

We don't get it. A guy with a pair of binoculars could spot the tell-tale signs of base construction and major projects. They could be so much more devastating with Hammer placement. But reconaissance and battle damage assessment don't appear to be words in Alien-ese.

Enough. Time to go start my day. I have a long commute to my work.

In a high rise building in San Francisco. It focuses the trainee Warden's attention, knowing that their personal butt is on the line.

It's also very cheap rent. I mean, _cheap_.

You can comment here or at Dreamwidth. Makes no difference to me.
drewkitty

(no subject)

My real name has power. Quora, you can't have it. In the meantime, whatever you do, don't take firearms advice from the site -- because some of the "answers" I saw on that subject were DANGEROUSLY wrong.

A Quora admin sent you a message on Quora

A Quora admin said:
"Hello,

One of the rules of Quora is that everyone uses his or her real full name. Do you mind changing your name to reflect that?

If this is a mistake and you are already using your real name, just reply to this message letting us know that.

You can change your name here:
Edit Profile Name

And you can find more details here:
Do I have to use my real name on Quora?

Also see:

http://www.quora.com/Do-I-have-to-use-my-real-name-on-Quora

http://www.quora.com/Why-has-there-been-an-outcry-against-real-names-on-Google+-but-not-on-Quora

http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/14/quora-to-oddly-named-users-papers-please/
drewkitty

(no subject)

Theferrett posts here ( http://theferrett.livejournal.com/1730479.html )

"There’s one of three reasons people read what you write on the Internet:

"1) They’ve come to trust your opinion enough to want to know what you have to say. (Thankfully, this is the most common reason.) 2) They think you’re a fascinating train wreck, and want to see what sort of dysfunction you’re up to this week. 3) They think you’re an active hazard, and your blog is a lighthouse warning of what deplorable fuckeries you plan on committing."

Based on lack of comments, 1) isn't true for this LJ if it ever was.

2) is nasty
3) is worse

So I think I'm done here. RIP rockythecat.
drewkitty

comment slutting

It's 14 February. We all know what that day is.

Got anything you'd like to say to me? Feel free. Note: public post, so if you can see this, you can comment.

I don't even insist on loving, thoughtful or even positive comments. It'd be nice, but what I really want to do is hear from _you_. Yes, even you. Or you. In honor of the occasion, even you.

All comments screened.

You can comment here or at Dreamwidth. Makes no difference to me.