RoustWriter: Blog

Chapter 501 of Book 3 is in the queue

August 17, 2018
Posted at 2:01 pm
 

This week with Arlene and Jeff:

...Turning to Morales, "I know you two have your own bed there," Jeff said, nodding, "but if you wish, there's a mattress for you guys as well." Then as he continued to read the brochure that came with the mattresses, "If the advertisement is accurate, the mattress will hold air indefinitely, and… would probably increase your comfort," he tactfully added.

Morales chuckled as he replied, "'Probably' isn't the word. Most anything would be better than that pile of leaves and grass covered with skins that we're sleeping on. Now, how do I do this," he said as he knelt by the bundle that Jeff pushed toward him.

When the mattress was inflated, Jeff handed Morales a bottom sheet and helped fit it on the mattress. When that was on, and the top sheet was in place, Morales covered the now much softer bed with their sleeping furs.

"These are very nice," Jeff said as he helped Morales put the furs in place. "It's hard to realize that all that beauty came from such dangerous beasts."

As he finished smoothing out the furs, Morales looked up at Jeff. "I certainly agree that they're beautiful, but, as you say, they did come from very deadly animals that were intent on killing my ass. We've seen tracks from several other saber-tooth tigers as well as more tracks that seem to belong to the cat family, although my tracking skills aren't up to identifying the animals that made most of them. We worry about the wolves being attacked, as well as Jasmine and myself. Lobo and Lila would fight to the death if we were attacked by one of those things, but they would be outmatched in strength and size. As we've said before, they aren't just this planet's version of wolves; to us, they're our closest friends."

Bed made, Morales cautioned the men. "When the fire burns down at night, it quickly gets cold in here. Usually, I get up and put wood on the fire, but when I'm tired, I've been known to sleep all night. There isn't a lot of insulation between us and the cold, so I'll try to wake up and warm the place up about halfway through the night."

"We assumed it would be cold in here, and our sleeping bags are designed to handle it," Jeff assured Morales.

"I've slept outside in weather this cold. Granted, it wasn't pleasant, but I survived with the same sleeping gear I brought," the General commented.

Before Morales could answer, the women, including Jasmine, came out dressed in pajamas - warm ones, not the sexy ones worn at the Retreat. "Your turn, Guys," Arlene said, "but… you need to heat more water. Sorry about that," but she didn't sound very sorry.

Chuckling, Jeff grabbed up a couple of buckets and went after more snow to melt...

Have a goodun;

Roust

Chapter 500 of Book 3 is in the queue

August 10, 2018
Posted at 12:58 pm
 

This week with Arlene and Jeff:

...When everything was in order again, Jeff took his Clan Queen aside. "How are we going to sleep tonight? We all have sleeping bags…"

"…that will zip together, and the air mattresses have Velcro strips that will allow them to be attached to each other."

"Uh, what about Selina?"

"She'll sleep with us, of course. We'll all be wearing pajamas and she can sleep on the opposite side from you, if that would make you feel better. That should preserve her honor - and yours," she teased. "Although we all know there would be no safer place in the world for her than sleeping in your bed."

Jeff kissed the top of her head and whispered, "I wonder if Morales and Conners will sleep together with us here."

"Well, of course, they will," his Clan Queen answered matter-of-factly...

Have a goodun;

Roust

Chapter 499 of Book 3 is in the queue

August 3, 2018
Posted at 1:53 pm
 

This week with Arlene and Jeff:

...Several minutes later as they made their way along the winding path while following the others, Little One, as usual, was spread out over Jeff's back, but she had been strangely silent since her brief attempt to talk to him in the column area. What's wrong? I didn't mean to hurt your feelings when I asked you to wait. I just assumed that you must have observed the same thing Selina did, and probably more strongly. Even I detected some of it, he said through their mental connection.

{{{ The technology exhibited in the column area is… somewhat familiar, but I am not certain just how I came to that conclusion. It just… feels vaguely familiar. }}}

Elaborate, please, Jeff returned.

{{{ It is a type of artificial intelligence with a central core that is very well protected, indeed. However, I was able to breach its outer defenses enough to determine its main objective. There are some slight similarities between it and AIs built by my master race, but only just. For whatever reason, its builders were obviously very concerned with protecting its core programming. }}}

Jeff's response took a few seconds as he paused to think. Then, Ship says that her brain was made long ago, maybe even eons ago, if I'm understanding her correctly. Processes, programming, if you will, would have changed, maybe even become unrecognizable over that period of time.

{{{ I am aware of that, My Prime, but I feel that this was produced by another race. However, I am certain that I would be able to understand it, at least given enough time, but for the barrier. However, it is not a truly sentient brain. It seems to have been developed in order to carry out only certain duties that were assigned to it. }}}

And what duties are those? Jeff asked, not really expecting an answer.

{{{ To operate and maintain the booster station, of course. }}} Little One answered matter-of-factly...

Have a goodun;

Roust

Chapter 498 of Book 3 is in the queue

July 27, 2018
Posted at 1:13 pm
 

This week with Arlene and Jeff:

...After walking several hundred yards toward the ice cave, Morales in the lead, called a halt. Turning to the group, he said, "Shortly after I found the cave, I tried exploring the main passage on past our living area. I only had torches made out of plants soaked in tallow. I could almost see my feet with the light they provided," he joked. "I wasn't as brave as I thought I was, and it didn't take long for the dark to get to me. I turned back because I was beginning to imagine falling into a bottomless pit in the blackness. We have, what? Seven lanterns and headlamps on now. Let's switch everything off for a moment so you guys can see what dark is really like inside a cave."

Arlene, suspecting what was about to happen, whispered, "Oh, crap." It must have been loud enough for Kayla to hear, because she giggled.

Morales, having also heard, said, "Ok, on three, we turn our lights out as quickly as possible. One. Two. Threeee."

Have a goodun;

Roust

Chapter 497 of Book 3 is in the queue

July 20, 2018
Posted at 3:30 pm
 

This week with Arlene and Jeff:

...Jasmine shrugged. "My instruments weren't designed to measure anything in that environment, but we tried, anyway. There are no obvious radio waves of any frequency I was able to check for. I have density readings, but they change from one instant to the next. Sometimes, the instrument even claimed the density of a column was infinite. They are totally non-conductive, the resistance off the scale, at least with the equipment I used for the tests. Reflective characteristics of visible light waves also vary over time, and I mean at the same exact spot. I have everything recorded if you should want to have your physicists review my notes. But, I fully expect that they will say that I am incompetent to take any of the measurements, because everything seems to change from one time to another, but I did, carefully, record the time each time I took a reading. My watch no longer corresponds to Earth time, but the time I listed does, at least, show the duration of the intervals between readings. There just doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the place, and there is something else."

Nervously, she took a sip of her now cold coffee. "Sir, there is, indeed, something else, something really… weird." She locked eyes with Morales who nodded and smiled encouragement. "Sir, we were suddenly back at the crack where we started. I freely admit, that I could have been going in a circle should I have been left to my own devices, but Mr. Morales, who was guiding me, has an excellent sense of direction, evidenced by how he has checked out the area around this cave for miles without ever becoming lost or losing his bearings even for a moment. And he, Sir, was paying attention while I hurried from one column to the next, probably muttering to myself, which I tend to do when faced with a new and unknown artifact of which this is, indeed, a giant example," she quietly said.

"Anyway, Sir, even though he was consciously keeping us in a straight line so we could measure the distance across the place, we wound up at our starting point. Like I said, I wouldn't have thought much about it, since I wasn't paying close attention to where we were, but he was, and it upset him immensely. We went back a second time, and this time we both took pains to walk in a straight line while again pulling a long line behind us to keep from getting lost.

"We wound up at the crack again, and when we investigated, the line was stretched out, parallel, but only a dozen feet from where we were still pulling the same line. At some point, somehow, we were turned around and we must have walked back, all the while trying to maintain our straight course away from the entrance point. We pulled the cord while watching the parallel cord, and sure enough, it began to move. We wound the whole thing up and got the heck out of there," she finished, chill bumps on her neck and arms...

Have a goodun;

Roust