Daily archives: June 29, 2006

Heavensent 6.8

Save for the arrhythmic clanging of hammers on metal spikes, the railroad crew worked in silence. They didn’t sing as they worked. A propaganda film crew had shot some footage of them once, but the musical number had been performed by traitors dressed up for the day. Now the Southern cities knew just how happy and well fed were the prisoners of war who toiled in the sun of the conquered plains.

Umat paused for a moment, closed his eyes and relished the shade of the boxcar. The guard would be along soon to prod him with the rifle barrel and insult him. It didn’t matter, he could feel the rain on his face. It fell in big warm drops. He smeared the liquid over his brow, then opened his eyes and stared at his fingers. They were red.

On the boxcar roof, both autogunners were slumped over their weapons, ragged exit wounds in their uniforms. There was a commotion on the other side of the railroad truck, the sound of gunfire. The guard who had escorted Umat back from the work detail was confused, looking around for someone to give him an order and stumbling closer to his prisoner.

Umat had been sent for more spikes to drive into the railroad sleepers. There was a bucket full of them in front of him. He dipped down, grabbed one and whirled on the guard. The spike buried deep in the Southerner’s chest. Umat watched the surprised expression with satisfaction before letting the soldier collapse.

An armed man, in a uniform Umat didn’t recognise, rounded the boxcar. Another came round the steam engine at the front of the service train. Umat raised his hands to show that he was unarmed and chained. The soldiers advanced on him. The one who had come around the boxcar lowered his gun and dug a small book out of a pocket. “We are here to free you.” He pronounced slowly.

“My thanks.”

The soldier flipped back a few pages, read something and smiled. “I speak Overall.” Umat announced. The soldier nodded, he understood the traders’ language. “Do you?”

“Not with brilliance. But enough.”

Heavensent 6.9
Heavensent 6.7
Heavensent 1.1

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Middle age beckons

I find myself broadly agreeing with Daily Mail readers. Hit and run drivers should suffer harsher penalties. I’m not subscribing to the “lock them up and throw away the key” school but I’d be happy to see a lifetime driving ban for the worst offenders. Though if they’ve got to the point where they could get such a ban they’d probably ignore it.

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MPs' green press releases

Only the one this week-


Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, said that offshore wind energy would produce enough energy to power Hampshire ten times over.

Speaking in an adjournment debate on Friday, Dr Whitehead argued the case for an extension of the use of wind energy as not only a non-carbon emitting source but a source that can contribute a substantial amount of power to the energy mix – the question is how we move to maximise this contribution by making it a viable option.

The Energy Act of 2004 allowed for a three phase roll out of off wind energy. So far only the first two phases have seen any development: wind farms in inshore waters close to the coast, and larger wind farms slightly further out to sea such as the Wash, Morecombe Bay and the Thames estuary. Dr Whitehead is therefore keen to see the next and third phase rolled out which would allow for the wind farms to be built in deeper and further waters, essentially up to the boundaries of the energy allocation zone for gas and oil.

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