“The battery is dead sir, but I have a visual on the blimp.”
“Let off some flares so they can take a bearing.”
The radio operator headed back onto the wing. The co-pilot cradled his gun and headed for the hatch. “Spike it. We can hardly take it with us and they should not get it.” The co-pilot stripped the gun and took a hammer to the firing mechanism. To be doubly sure, he packed the breech with explosive and laid it amongst the trip bombs he had primed.
There were destruction charges packed behind instruments and around anything deemed proprietary technology, all ready to be detonated after they abandoned the wing. Or by the first interloper through any of the hatches if the crew didn’t last that long.
They pulled the bombardier out of the cabin onto the top of the wing. The radio operator had taken a hammer to his equipment and was pulling down the aerials, removing anything that might hinder their rescuers.
Framed by blue sky, the scale of the blimp was hard to determine. The barrels protruding from the pods under its belly could be small autoguns or large cannon. It didn’t seem to be moving any more. Indeed, some of the propellers were no longer turning. If those blades were the same size as the ones on the wing, then the powered balloon was truly enormous.
A shape rose from the top of the blimp. Indistinct at this distance, it trailed another, smaller object that swayed with the movement. After a while it became recognisable as a hoverer, carrying a cargo basket. This was longer than any hoverer Mirl had seen before, with blades at either end of a slender fuselage rather than the usual stacked contra rotators.
The co-pilot headed back to prime the destruction fuses. The cargo basket touched down. There were autoguns on mounts on two diagonally opposed corners. The airman at the nearest gun stepped down and headed to help lift the bombardier. And fell, blood spurting from a wound on his neck.
The other bullets hit the basket and the skin of the wing. The radio operator grabbed the bombardier and started dragging him toward the basket. Mirl turned and crouched, his shot pistol at the ready.
Five figures had jumped out of the branches on the far edge of the wing. They were all cocking and reloading their ancient long guns. Between the cargo basket and the attackers was the co-pilot, frozen at the fuses. He turned to Mirl, pulled the pin from the fuse and grinned. A volley of three shots cut him down.
Another bunch of attackers leapt from the branches closer by, screaming as they charged. Mirl levelled his shot pistol and fired at the mass. The incendiary shell exploded just short of the group, coating them in flame. Still they kept coming. Mirl grabbed the bombardier and helped heave him into the basket, following immediately behind.
As the basket lifted off, yet more attackers appeared from the trees. The radio operator pulled himself up to the autogun and began strafing them. Mirl cocked his shot pistol and fired at an attacker making a leap for the basket. The incendiary ignited inside the body as it cartwheeled away.
The basket was hardly a safe distance away when the charges started going off. The few figures still standing on the wing ran toward the trees again, too late as explosions collapsed the plane and detonated fuel. The fireball that had once been the pride of the Southern Air Army dropped to the forest floor.
I was filling out a job application yesterday. It was almost perfect for me, at heart it was basically blogging for the University’s intranet, and I’m probably perfect for it. However, I didn’t know how to tell them.
There’s a bit in the application where you’re supposed to explain why you’d be best suited for the role and all I could think of was “Because I will”. I managed to expand upon that after a few hours of pondering but I should be better able to explain my brilliance.
It’s been a problem for me for a long time. With the minimum of hubris I have to say that I’m a very capable person. I’ve been able to do most of the jobs given to me (except telecanvassing, I only lasted two hours) and do them well. However, I never know what to say, and who to say it to, to persuade people to let me really show my worth. I’ve never been able to sell myself.
If someone can help me overcome this problem, through advice or taking on of Ian Pattinson’s publicity, I’d love to hear from you. I don’t know what the rate of pay would be. Would you settle for a warm feeling of satisfaction for a job well done?
There’s a Manchester bloggers blogmeet this Saturday in Urbis between 3 and 5. I’ve decided to take along my video camera and geta few interviews with other bloggers, for distribution through Revver and publishing here and on their own sites.
If you’re going to the blogmeet and would like to do a short piece to camera talking about yourself and your blog then please get in touch beforehand or come up and introduce yourselves on the day.
American scientists have rebuilt a mouse gene that was present 500 million years ago but later split. They say the experiments shed light on the process of evolution and could be important in developing gene therapy techniques.
“We are first to reconstruct an ancient gene,” said co-researcher Petr Tvrdik of the University of Utah. “We have proven that from two specialised modern genes, we can reconstruct the ancient gene they split off from.
“It illuminates the mechanisms and processes that evolution uses, and tells us more about how Mother Nature engineers life.”
The Slot Rally GB event will take place on September 23rd and 24th at Toyota GB’s headquarters in Epsom, Surrey. It’s supported by Toyota and the National Slots car Collectors Club (NSCC) and will run over multiple stages, with different surfaces and strict time conditions. Entry is £6 per car, spectators will pay £4 for adults and £1 for the under-16s. Children under 12 will get in free if accompanied by an adult. All money raised will go to The Children’s Trust.
Further information is available at www.slotrally.co.uk
Greed is good, after a fashion. More people are recycling their rubbish because of incentives such as prizes of money, cars or holidays. This, and extra funding for local schemes, has raised the amount recycled in half of the country.
The increase in recycling was welcomed by the Friends of the Earth but the pressure group warned much more needed to be done to catch up with other European countries.
Mike Childs, campaigns director at Friends of the Earth, said: “This is very good news that the reward system is working.
“But we still have some of the poorest recycling rates in Europe, and so the government has to look at ways of encouraging people to recycle more.
“This may involve charging people for the amount of rubbish they produce but providing them with a free recycling service.”
Technorati tag: Recycling
A team of researchers at massachusetts institute of technology are working on what they call SCOUTS (Surface Crafts for Oceanographic and Undersea Testing). Built into kayaks, the robotic boats are intended to become parts of autonomous teams which can be used for mine clearing, rescue and other operations. Ultimately, the technology developed will also be used by autonomous underwater vehicles, so the military are obviously interested in the research.
“In order to be effective with robots in the water, you’d best not have a plan that relies on a lot of communication,” [MIT research engineer Joseph] Curcio said. “To be effective with a fleet of vehicles and have them do something intelligent, what you really need to do is have the software be so robust that communication between the vehicles can be kept to a minimum.”