Friday, September 22, 2023


Last week's discussion of salsas got me wondering. What kind of salsa do you like? I go for medium usually, occasionally mild. Most people I know go for mild. I was talking about Salsa God last week and that stuff has a kick! I do need to try more of their flavors though.  

I dove back in to Riverdale this past week. Gah. Let's see. I was going through old tweets this week (remember when I used to tweet) and found this. An interview with me after playing the Bookish Games. Fun.  

This week I never got chapters 50 or 51 of my story out so I've included them below.   

This week's discussion post is Kickass Movie Quotes.   

Here is this week's lyric. 
Wish I knew what you were looking for       
Might have known what you would find      

Here is the lyric f/ last week and the answer      

You take the midnight subway train 
You're calling all the shots       

   Song of the week


Image result for the chinese parrot charlie chaplin rohn cover art

Stella and Hillier faced each other. The Ops center was aflame, with secondary explosions still going off and smoke everywhere. Maia stumbled over, with Howie close. Reinforcements poured into the room. 

Why didn't Hillier leave? 

She looked at Joon and winked. 

"Do I get my crystal now?" she asked. 

"You're joking," said Stella. 

In answer Hillier glanced at Joon. 

"Actually," he cleared his throat, "I did promise her..."

"Well, I didn't," retorted Stella. "That collar's not going anywhere either."

"What about your experimental shape changers? Was that bullshit too?"

At least Stella had the grace to blush. 

"No. That's... wrong. I meant what I said. Although when we're locked in battle with extradimensional predators things get complicated."

A soldier came up, saluted. 

"I'm Lawson. Tactical command. My orders are to give you all assistance and that's from Dr. Grant." 

"You can start by keeping a close eye on this one," Stella replied, referring to Hillier. "Joon will provide you with a control device for the inhibitor collar."

"The collar comes off," Joon asserted. Maia looked at him in surprise. 

Stella raised her eyebrows. 

"That's not your call to make, Joon."

"Actually, it is. I did what you wanted. Went through, visited- how many worlds- and our agreement was that she wear that for the trip." 

"Speaking of, you were sent through to close the Gate."

"Valerus is dead."


"She did it," replied Maia. 

"And she also saved our lives," Joon cut in. "We wouldn't be here if not for her."

"Why did you remain?" Stella asked. "And you could leave even now- I'll allow it. But... you killed Leo?"

"I did," Hillier replied. "We are enemies. But I'm fond of Joon here and, to be honest, I'm not sure why. If I had it to do over... I must be getting soft. You're not such a great influence on me, Joon, are you?"

"Enough," Maia cut in. "She probably did save our life but she flirts and dissembles and murdered Leo." 

"Fuck you," replied Hillier. "And if you knew all the skeletons in his head... and also hers," pointing in the direction of Stella, "you'd be a little less annoying." 

"Can you remain with the collar?"

"No. I want it gone." 

"Take it off," said Joon. 

"Wow, you have bonded. Stand by," Stella said to the trooper. "What am I supposed to do with you, then?" she asked the Intruder. 

"Well..." replied Hillier. "You seem to be without an Ops center." There was fire everywhere, sparks, people rushing to and fro. "I may be your most experienced Gate person right now, and I have Leo's knowledge. I kind of like Joon, and I have my own reasons for wanting to stick around. Treat me right, and I can help you." 

"I can't have you running around." 

"Assign me to Joon." She put her arm through his. "He'll keep an eye on me."

Stella glanced at Joon. 

He nodded. 

Maia snorted in disgust and Stella smiled. 

"Okay. The collar comes off. Joon, this is on you. Your movements will be severely restricted when Hillier is with you. Hillier, don't make me regret this." 

Maia walked away. 

The Gate was still humming. 


Mallory was watching with interest on the surveillance monitors. Maia was walking away, then stopped. And looked up. She couldn't see who was watching, but they stared into each other's eyes briefly. 


"I'm not happy about this," Stella was saying. "You... Leo. How can I ever trust you?"

"Let's remember you took us and experimented on us, and are even now growing versions of us in tanks. You and I may still have a reckoning. Call this... even." 

Stella snorted. 

"And... thanks to Leo, I know about your other project. Are you crazy?"

"What?" Stella asked. 

"You found... something. And Leo knows. Knew. One of the reasons he left." 

Stella glanced at Joon sharply. 

"No, Joon doesn't know. I haven't told him that yet. He's always with that annoying cow," Hillier said, looking in Maia's direction. "I know things. I could easily tell others. If I spread the word you would have my kind hunting you down. I suppose telling you gives you reason to kill me. But again- -you need me." 

Joon and Stella looked over Ops. It was trashed. There were fires burning and the acrid smell of smoke hurt his eyes. 

"You were meant to close the Gate." 

Joon and Stella were in her office. 

"And leave everyone behind?"

"I don't like that either. But they all know, signed on..."

She sighed. 

"I miss Valerus. What is going on with you and Hillier?" 

"I don't know. She plays along but it's all manipulation... or I thought it was, until today." 

"Why didn't she go?"

"I don't know."

"Maia's not pleased." 

"You know, back on Elysium. She could have left us. Taken the form of a trooper and just stepped through. Played along with the Faction. Bided her time until she could get away. She'd still have the collar, but she didn't need to save us. I don't know how much is sincere, but there's... something there." 

"She's an alien, Joon, and while you've clearly bonded, please don't think she's fallen for you or something."

"I know better than that."

"The problem now is, I've been forbidden to close the Gate. And having just been saved by Grant, I don't feel I can buck the Directors now. And...who on earth were those people who came through?"

"Not one of our teams?"


"What did... Hillier mean when she mentioned your other project?"

"I can't tell you that. Even Mallory hardly knows."

"Can we work the Gate?"

"Without Ops... not really. Not all the damage they did. We have redundancies and backups, but they knew the right things to blow up. Even the Hub, if we get it fixed... that is why she isn't in a cell. I do kind of need her." 

"How did the Directorate allow this, where only Valerus... and maybe you... know what's going on?"

"They're hands off. They want results, not detailed minutes. And it's partly my fault for allowing it."

"Valerus mentioned sabotage. Someone on your team."

"I don't know."

"What can you tell me about the time travel?"

Stella got up and poured a drink, offered Joon a tumbler. They clinked glasses. They drank, she made a show of checking her monitor. He waited. 

"A few years ago we sent a team forward. To the 2500's. The world is... different. This place... Sanctuary. It is a sanctuary in that world. A refuge of knowledge. The reports they brought with them... New York City, bombed out. Miami overrun. The world is a different place climatically, but... the culture's different too. People don't give birth anymore, not like us. The idea of giving birth like an animal is uncouth. They clone. Cybernetic enhancements, gender... it's all changed. And we were instructed to make these things occur... sooner. The good things, to their minds. The enhancements, cybernetics. Lifespan has been enhanced."

"What do you mean, bombed out?"

"Portals began opening. Incursions. Creatures appeared... under the sea. In air. They bombed New York City to stop it. Miami was overrun by things from the sea." 

"And... the Incursions now?"

"We feel that the changes being made are causing it to happen now... several hundred years early." 

"The Faction?"

"The Faction are the ones sending people back. After going forward, they're going back."

"To accomplish?"

"I'm not even. I think they've established a foothold back there but they have not reported back in... quite some time."

"To do what?"

Stella poured another drink. 

"So shutting the Gate down would not only strand our posts but these time travelers as well?"

Stella took a drink. 

"The good news is the evacuations are going forward. We have some brave souls remaining as maintenance, but many will return."

"Poseidon's okay?"

"There was trouble. Some of Rodriguez' people got there, shot up the place, but I think Jen is here now." 

"The cloning vats, all of that. The 2500's stuff?"

Stella nodded. 

"So... if the Gate is closed, but those time travelers are still back there... they could change anything?"

"That is the fear."

"So... what then?"

"Honestly I need to find a way to eliminate those people."