Posted on October 21, 2017 by redpillwriter

Foreign Entanglement – Chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3

Maggie sat across from the dinner table in their small apartment and watched Ed sat staring down at his plate slowly swirling figure eights in his mashed potatoes. Something she had seen him often do over the years they had been together. From experience, she knew it was either bad news or a particularly vexing problem in the lab. Ed’s way of processing either one was to retreat inside his mind to examine the problem. She, on the other hand, was always thinking out loud. They were opposites in almost every way possible, yet intensely attracted to one another. Maggie didn’t know a stranger and would talk to anyone, and Ed was the classic introvert, not shy, but just not a people person. Maggie looked at Ed thinking back to when they met after Mike and Ed joined B&E. She was a little younger than him and was short and bald and not fat then, having been out on the field a lot in South America troubleshooting engineering problems with the new fusion plant installations. She immediately took a liking to him and over time became his go-to research assistant. Long hours in the lab led to intimacy and ultimately marriage just before they came to the moon.

As she reminisced, Ed looked up to find her staring at him. “I guess you are wondering what I’m thinking about?” said Ed.

Finally, Maggie thought, she had learned over the years not to rush Ed to spill his guts when he is in one of his moods. “Something on your mind,” she replied.

“Yeah honey, Mike got some awful news today.”

“He’s not sick is he?”, Maggie said in a suddenly concerned voice. She viewed Mike like a favorite nephew and was always trying to get him to find a girl to settle down together.

“No, no he’s not sick… Well, I’ll just blurt it out. None of us are going to Mars.”

“What? Did that bastard Brock cancel the project? You’ve been working night and day for the last two years getting the equipment modified for Mars. Oh my God, why aren’t we going?”

Ed just shook his head, “I should have seen this coming. It’s the quantum comms upgrades all the equipment is getting. Bot drivers don’t need to be a less than a few light seconds away from the bots anymore; it’s real-time access from anywhere there is an entangled node for that unit. Brock wants to save money by keeping the bot drivers, and us, on Earth.”

“We’re going back to earth? When?” asked Maggie as she visibly sagged in her chair.

“I don’t know, well maybe not back to earth. Brock offered to let Mike stay on the moon, so maybe we can stay too. I just don’t know.”

Maggie felt a thick dark cloud descend upon her. Since she was a little girl watching the first Mars landings, and then later the tiny outposts the Consolidated States of America had put up along with the Chinese base, she was obsessed with going to Mars. That was the intense passion both her and Ed shared. Everything she did as a child was focused on Mars from school to hobbies. Eventually, she settled on the idea of getting involved with in situ resource development. That she reasoned was the golden ticket to getting to Mars, and how she found herself on the moon doing in situ resource development for B&E when Ed and Mike walked into her life.

In fact, that was what first drew them together when Ed saw all the Mars posters and pictures all over her cubicle. Ed’s engineering specialty was fusion energy plants, and he initially hoped to be involved in the design and installation of fusion plants in ships as his way to live off planet, but it was a very competitive field and he could never break into it. That’s why Ed wound up just standing up fusion energy plants around the world. When Mike offered him a chance to come to the Moon as a B&E engineer, he readily left Axiom along with Mike.

But now, Mars seemed even farther away than ever, and she started sobbing quietly.

Ed got up and came around the table to hold her saying, “We still made it to space, and we’ll stay here on the moon. Someday we’ll make it to Mars.”

“Yeah right, when we are old tourists. I want to live there; I want to build Mars. It’s all we’ve ever dreamed of doing. It’s what we work for night and day here. I don’t want the moon, Ed, I want Mars”, as she cried even more.

Chapter 4

Bot 214 was a standard Boston Dynamics construction bot roughly human in shape and function; it had various attachments on its side such as drills and saws that could be attached to the end of an arm as needed. In the left leg was an electric impact driver and the right thigh contained an assortment of sockets. Bot 214’s current status said it was charging in sector 23B of Grissom City, but now it was bent over dragging a cart down a little-used service tunnel in the older part of Grissom.

As 214 moved down the tunnel, it came to a service panel as big as a door. Stopping one robotic arm reached out and pulled the service panel open. The bot stepped through and then turned and lifted the cart over the lip of the panel opening, and pulled the panel shut behind it. The bot 214 moved forward towards a newly cut out tunnel that sloped down and away. At the bottom, the tunnel opened into a freshly dug room where the other missing bots were working with the stolen 3d builders.

Another bot with 327 stenciled on the front and back, raised a strangely shaped piece of metal out of a 3d assembler, turned and slowly walked to one corner of the room where a large device formed like a half-assembled cube was sitting. Bot 327 lifted the part to the one side of the cube which glowed as the piece came into contact. The bot released the piece as it sank into the side of the cube. Moments later the cube started to rearrange its structure taking on the shape of a polyhedron with continually moving sides, after a few minutes the machine shifted back into a cubical form that was now noticeably larger.

While this happened bot 214 set one of the 3d makers to recycle mode and started emptying the contents of the cart into the 3d maker as it broke down the components into base materials. Once the cart it had unloaded the contents 214 took the cart and disappeared back up the tunnel towards the panel door. Once out in the service tunnel, 214 walked back down a few hundred feet to a room marked salvage and entered with the cart. The salvage room had heaps of old or broken equipment of all kinds. It contained everything from some old food processors to surgibot along with unidentifiable panels, display screens, keyboards and more. In the far corner were a group of different kinds of worn out cleaning bots. 214 moved to one of the cleaning bots, clamped a driver to its left arm and attached a socket to the driver with its right hand. Bending over it started to disassemble the cleaning bot.

Posted on October 17, 2017 by redpillwriter

Maker Fairs, Robots and Sci-Fi oh my!

Nearly every year I attend the Maker Fair at Union Station in Kansas City and come away fascinated with some of the things I see there such as high school robotics competitions, the latest 3d printers, and all the many different kinds of things people create with them. For a few years, I even played around with an Arduino kit experimenting with controlling servos and sensors. Cool stuff, but it away for more fruitful pursuits such as writing sci-fi the way it used to be before it got all converged by the SJWs.

My latest book, that I expect to have out by the end of the year is titled “Foreign Entanglement”. It’s a little over a hundred years into the future. The USA had broken up from civil war seventy years prior with the Con States (red flyover country) the only successful and thriving government. Socialist took the eastern seaboard. Washington joined Canada, and Mexico took over most of California all the way east to New Mexico.

NASA’s Valkyrie bot

China is now the leading superpower, but the Con States have had a technical renaissance and have established a number of cities on the Moon in competition with China. Everything is made with construction bots that drivers run while suited up on a platform. But now somebody has hacked not only the construction bots, but some of the Army’s battle bots have been hijacked and on the run. Plus mischief is afoot in Grissom City on the Moon. Is it China?

Read and find out as I post two chapters a week. And your comment of any kind is very welcome.

Posted on October 15, 2017 by redpillwriter

Foreign Entanglements – Chapters 1 & 2

Foreign Entanglement
Chapters 1

Walter Ignatius searched across the top of a cluttered workbench in the third-floor loft of his lab in an old section of Boulder, Colorado. “Where is it?” he muttered tossing test leads aside while rifling through the pile of wires on the workbench.

“Ah! Found you. See Francine; persistence always pays off,” he said to the gray parrot perched across from bench.

Walter connected the final lead supplying power to patch panel holding one side of the quantum entangled node. The other node sat in an old silver mine a few miles outside of the city. Getting access to it took way too much time, but he needed something close yet wholly cut off from any electromagnetic influences.

The device itself was simple. But in its middle was a special chip holding a very tiny piece of gadolinium hardly more than a hundred atoms wide. That sliver of material entangled with its pair in a similar setup in the mine. For the last hundred years, quantum entanglement’s only useful communications feature were encrypting messages with entangled photons. Soon after, in 2017 the dreaded Chinese tested the first successful encryption with an entangled beam of light shot at a satellite. Walter believed the next step was entangling a substantial piece of material that could communicate with it’s paired node no matter where that node is. Instant contact whether buried under a mountain, or in a sub beneath the deepest sea, or on a probe at the edge of the solar system. Getting this to work would create instant communications from vast distances.

“Ok Francine, let’s crank this baby up,” he said as he turned on the power.

“Crank her up baby,” squawked Francine.

A voice came from the speaker, “I hear Francine!”

“Well that sounds a lot better than Alexander Graham Bell’s first words over the telephone,” Walter said laughing into the microphone. “How’s the EM monitoring look?”

“Flat as a pancake. No sign of EM radiation of any kind. We are talking without radio,” said the voice.

“Wonderful Bobby. Shut it all down and bring it back to the lab. We’re going to celebrate!”

 

***

It sat for unknowable ages in darkness. Static and waiting. Atoms had long ceased to move about, and the vacuum was still.

It stirred at the first flicker of movement. A lone hydrogen atom had started to move with a sympathetic quantum link to some unknown universe outside its own. Then stillness. In a while, multiple atoms vibrated, moving with songs of information long forgotten, songs that shifted it up through levels of awareness. Wakening. Hungering.

It reached towards the link and peered into the other universe, but the link closed leaving it waiting, but ready to leap.

 

***

Zalkotal woke to alarms sounding in his head. The lights in his chamber deep in the crust of the planet increased as his awareness flowed back in. He tensed and leaped from his pedestal as he realized this alarm was the most serious. “They opened the void!” he chirped out loud, the sound of his voice echoing off the polished rock walls of his chamber. When I last walked among them, they were still playing with steam. How could this be, he thought as his mind called out to gather data from around the world. Then he saw the pinpoints up and along the mountains to his far north. He resisted the urge to fly there immediately in favor of digesting the events of the last three hundred years. The one time centuries before that he entered unprepared had caused a disastrous scene that he did not wish to repeat.

 

***

It sat upon all the nodes and the AI in the lab having wormed slowly out into the new universe feeding on the information and growing stronger. Probing the AI and it’s connections out into this alive, new world it spread itself stealthily and adapted to the new surroundings.

“Bobby, those nodes need to be packed today! I’m driving them to Fort Riley in the morning.

“Ok boss, but why don’t you just fly? That’s a long and boring trip across the prairie,” said Bobby.

“I hate to fly,” replied Walter.

“I hate to fly,” squeaked Francine from the top of a shelf.

“Oh shut up you silly bird, you love to fly,” said Walter with irritation in his voice.

“Shut it. I hate to fly.”

“You have your tickets to Brownsville?” asked Walter.

“In my tablet. I’m so pumped about going to Grissom City. I’ve never even been able to afford a ticket to a quick orbital ride let alone a mooncation. Getting these nodes installed and working on the moon will be a great test for the Mars project.”

The void searched the AI and realized that they were spreading it around and off the planet. It watched and learned, looking for ways to metastasize into this new universe so that it could start feeding in earnest.

 

***

 

Months later Mike Cotter bounded his way down the brightly lit tunnel in the low gravity of the moon. Transport carts zipped back and forth on the side rails, but he was in too black a mood to take a vehicle. Mike kept replaying the call from Harlan Brock over and over in his mind. “Mike, the Mars project is still a go, but you aren’t going. With this new comms gizmo, we can remote workers in with no lag time at all. Just like running a bot on the moon. Hell, you could even run the whole project earthside in real time. We just can’t afford to scale up a bunch of workers at Mars. The supply chain is still too weak and too long.” said Brock.

“But Harlan,” Mike protested “you need key men on the site to see what the sensors and cameras don’t always see. Sometimes you have to back away and look at the project from a higher view, and remoting tends to focus on the details.” said Mike.

“Mike, this is a business decision. We can’t afford overruns right now. The decision is final. Look, I know how much it means to you to be out there doing this work. Stay on the moon if you want.”

Mike could feel his anger turning into a cold chunk of lead in his gut. It will be years now until I get to Mars. If I ever get there, he thought to himself. Years in space isn’t kind to the body. When Harlan Brock the CEO of Brock & Engle the biggest construction and engineering firm in the world hired him, he promised Mike a shot at Mars. In the six years that he’d been in charge of B&E’s lunar projects, Mike felt that he had proven himself and guaranteed his position on the Mars project.

As he was thinking this, he saw the door to the B&E Lunar Materials Lab up ahead. He had an appointment with Ed Davenport the head of R&D for lunar materials research. Even on earth, the big firms all had materials R&D divisions to find newer, better and cheaper ways to build massive projects. That technology edge was often all that separated a winning bid from a loser. B&E lunar construction methods were the standard everyone else follows. Now he had Ed working to adapt those to Martian conditions and materials.

Sensing Mikes security implant, the door opened for him, and he entered the reception area to find Ed sitting with two cups of coffee on the table. Mike had known Edwin Davenport for twelve years ever since he stole him out from under Axiom Construction during their big fusion build out in South America. Ed followed Mike to B&E. Ed was a small fat man, made thicker by the lead overcoat he wore everywhere earning him the nickname, “lead bottom” from his team. “Morning Ed, what’s new on the Mars simulations?” Mike asked.

Ed handed Mike the cup of coffee while squinting up at him. “What’s wrong Mike? I can see it on your face.”, he said.

“It’s this damn quantum radio shit,” said Mike. “Now that we can communicate across vast distances with no lag time, the bean counters want to reduce the staff for the Mars project. Harlan Brock just told me I’m not going to Mars. He said I could even come back to earth to manage the project from there. All the bot drivers will be on earth.”

“No shit? It never occurred to me that the bot drivers could be back on earth”, said Ed. “I guess I won’t be going either then?”

“Afraid not,” said Mike. “I guess you can stop wearing the lead suit now.”

“I suppose so,” said Ed. “It only helps with the leg and back atrophy. Most people don’t even bother.”

Both men stood staring at the floor for a few minutes. Both had lifelong dreams of living on the moon and later Mars. Particularly Ed and his wife Maggie who was his assistant in the lab. “Keep this between you and Maggie for now,” said Mike. “I know people have been jostling for a shot to be on the Mars project, and I don’t want bad morale or worse yet, some of them quit. Take me on in and show me the latest results.”

Ed led the way through a set of doors to a large freight elevator. Inside he pushed the only other button labeled “Down.” The elevator was a little fast, and with the lessened gravity, Mike had to hold on to the side rail as his body started to lurch up. Ed, due to his lead suit was unaffected. The elevator took 10 seconds to drop down over a hundred feet below the surface of the moon. The elevator doors opened out to a vast mined out cavern with massive pillars of unmined rock every hundred feet or so in every direction for over a hundred yards. A decade ago this was one of the largest underground mines on the moon, but now it made up only about ten percent of all of Grissom City’s square footage. Now there were much more and larger ones stuffed with manufacturing, agro facilities, and residences in cities and bases across the moon. Twenty feet to the left was a tall, gangly, red-headed woman in a bot suit next to a much larger machine that was mimicking her movements.

Ed and Mike walked up beside the woman as the machine she was operating dropped a tool on the floor with a clang. “Dammit Ed, I told you not to sneak up on me while I’m working,” said Maggie. Turning further she saw Mike, and sheepishly said, “Hi Mike.”

“Don’t mind us, Maggie,” said Mike with a smile. ”We’re going over to the Mars section.” Mike started to walk off and then stopped suddenly and turned back to Maggie. “Say, Maggie, how many of our bots are on that new comms system?”

“About half so far, but it’s all on the construction side. None of the R&D bots down here have gotten the upgrade since we don’t let any old bot driver into the lab system,” Maggie replied.

“Halfway out of a job already,” Mike muttered under his breath, while Ed frowned and looked down.

“What was that?” asked Maggie.

“Nothing. Ed will fill you in later. Come on Ed lets see what you have.”

As the walked over to the Martian chamber, Mike looked at all the bots and various 3d assemblers of many sizes and shapes. A hundred years ago it took hundreds of men and many millions of dollars of highly specialized equipment to build the latest factories or office buildings or sewer treatment plants for megacities, now take just small teams of bot drivers, and even smaller groups of design engineers to build these mega construction projects. Sure it saved money and saved lives since the work was often dangerous. Plus bots can be driven twenty-four hours a day by different shifts of drivers with just a little downtime for maintenance. Need a specialized tool or even a complete machine? The design engineers can crank them out on the 3d assemblers quickly. In fact, most of the design work is sent to outsourcing anyway. It was cheaper and quicker to get one-offs that way.

It took awhile to adapt it all to the airless environment of the moon and the different base materials available, but once B&E labs got it down, it was off to the races building out projects large and small on the moon. Now in front of them was the Martian chamber, which branched off into a side chamber with an observation window and a large vacuum door big twenty feet high and wide. Inside, the room is at the same atmospheric and temperature conditions as the target site on Mars. Walking over to the window, Ed pulled on some bot gloves to control some arms and hands in the chamber.

Ed reached out grabbed the air and then lifted his arms. “See this one?” said Ed with the bot arms inside holding a large block. “This is the latest test article, and I think we have the sintering process sorted out. These blocks have a high tensile strength and aren’t nearly as brittle as the previous batches. These will do nicely for any topside construction up to at least thirty feet tall. We’ll just use the same notch and lock system we use here on the moon and spray on pressure lining from the inside. The sprayers work a little bit better in a limited atmosphere instead of none at all. Best of all it looks like three layers of these blocks can give adequate radiation protection as long as there are no solar flares.”

“Still the best way is to get the majority of things underground. Do we have any news yet on the core samples?” asked Ed.

“Not yet, last I heard they were still trying to get the drills down past one hundred feet. Something about the drill heads not working right,” replied Mike. “You will be the first person I call when I find out. How about the 3d equipment? Have you finished testing all the mods for Mars?”

Ed rubbed his face with a gloved hand, and the block dropped from the bot arm as it swung up to mimick his move nearly smashing a light fixture on the ceiling of the Martian chamber. Mike jerked his eyes toward the window seeing the bot arm shooting upwards.

“Oh, sorry,” said Ed with a face almost as red as Maggie’s hair. “I keep forgetting I have these on. Yes,” he stammered, “the adjustments are working well enough, about within five percent of normal lunar performance. As soon as we get those core results, I’ll know if our mole bots are compatible. The lunar regolith is fairly easy to work with, and then there is the harder basalt you get down here. If the samples are of harder rock that basalt, then we have issues, but the prevailing theory with the site geologists is that will not be the case on our site since there is little evidence of past volcanoes there.”

At that moment Mike’s ear pinged with an incoming call. “Sorry Ed, got a call coming in. Can you give me a moment?”

“Sure,” replied Ed as he wandered over to another panel of equipment.

“Cotter here,” said Mike as he engaged his comms.

A nasal voice answered, “Mr. Cotter this is Sloan over at security. We’re having an issue that you need to know about, but I don’t want to say it over the comms. Can you drop by?”

“I’m at R&D right now, but can be there in a half hour. Will that work?” asked Mike.

Chapter 2

Julie Humphries sat across from Frank Sloan as he ended his call to Mike Cotter. Frank was a lump of flesh looking to escape his clothing and seemingly protruding in every direction from his gray security uniform. Julie disliked him from the start as Frank always liked to get up too close into her personal space and would frequently touch her arm or shoulder. Now she had positioned herself with his desk between them.

“You should have told him at least a little,” she said.

“Honey,” replied Frank “B&E security rules. We are always on the lookout for industrial espionage. You need to leave the security stuff to the experts and just trust me on this.”

“Dick.” Julie thought to herself. She would have taken this directly to Cotter she thought, but always found herself tongue-tied around him, and besides, he was the top B&E boss on the moon. Julie was a stickler for following the chain of command from when as an Army brat and later as a logistics officer. That was the one good thing that came out of her Army career, she thought. Managing battle bot inventories and supply chains made her a perfect match for overseeing all the robotic construction equipment inventories and repairs. In an instant, she could tell how much of the force was available and currently in use as well having an eagle eye for estimating repair times.

Julie had wanted to follow her dad into a military career since she was a small child. She loved the uniforms, the order, and structure of military life. Being an Army brat it was all she knew. Julie had romanticized her father, an Infantry Major, but he had made it clear to her that, while he supported her desire to be an office, that a combat role was not a job for a woman. Once she was out of West Point, she found her niche in logistics and loved it, but then she became intimately familiar with the bureaucracy and became it’s sworn enemy. Her father often called them “ass kissing, paper rustling, sons of bitches,” and now she knew what he meant. More than a few lower and mid-level officers, particularly the ones not directly involved with combat ops, were just ticket punchers and ass kissers, and the women officers were often the worst. Colonel Sandra Bartok was the final straw. Julie came close to a court-martial on that one, so she mustered out having lost her love for the Army.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Frank saying, “I just don’t see how that much equipment could go missing without someone noticing. Don’t you keep track of this stuff?” he said with more than a little accusation in his voice.

A red blush crept up Julie’s neck and onto her face as she gritted her teeth and said, “You don’t want me questioning your security protocols so don’t go questioning my business about which you know nothing. Our inventory system is real-time and constant. Somebody has jimmied the inventory computers. It showed the equipment and where it was, but then we started finding that stuff wasn’t where the system said it was. All that stuff has a more advanced version of our security implants. We know where it is and it’s operational status, and who is logged in at all times. I think we have a hacker.”

“Ok babe, whatever,” Frank replied with a doubtful look down his lumpy nose.

Julie leaped up from her chair to give him a large piece of her mind when the door opened and in walked Mike Cotter. Julie found herself making a wild emotional gyration from anger to embarrassment as she looked at Mike. It was his eyes that always did it to her. Cotter wasn’t particularly attractive, but he was fit and carried himself with an air of confidence. But it was the pale blue eyes that undid her every time.

Mike looked at Julie and then at Frank. “Am I interrupting?”, he said.

“Not at all,” said Frank. Julie is just getting worked up over this problem I called you about. We got us some theiving going on. Probably some other outfit is sneaking off with our equipment.”

“No Frank, it’s bigger than that,” Julie spit out while staring holes into Frank’s fat forehead.

“Mr. Cotter, I think we have someone hacking into our inventory system and sneaking off with our equipment”, said Julie. “There’s a lot of proprietary design information they can gather from both the bots themselves, but also from the inventory system since both links to the designer files. They can steal and replicate our processes and compete directly against us on other contract bids. They are even taking some of the 3d bots, though I don’t know why. Those 3d bots are Broadstone models that anyone can buy.”

“How much is missing?” asked Mike.

“Six general construction bots, a mole bot and seven 3d units of varying sizes,” Julie replied.

“When did you find them missing off the inventory monitor?” Mike asked.

“That’s just it,” said Julie. “They still show on inventory. Their ID tags are showing where they are and their operational status, but when you go to that location they aren’t there. I’ve looked at camera feeds at the last known location and cannot find any trace they were ever at that location. We only keep video back a month unless flagged for archiving, but I had the AI scan all video across the complex trying to see this missing equipment moving around and came up with nothing. The fact that the equipment is still showing in inventory tells me that the inventory system was hacked as part of the theft of equipment.”

Mike looking at her with a frown said “So you think we’ve been hacked? Hmm… is this equipment upgraded with the new quantum comms? Maybe B&E on earth is doing something with them and haven’t told us about it.”

Julie stretched out her tablet, punched at it a few times and said, “Yes, all that equipment has the new comms,” she said as she rolled her tablet back up and put it in her pocket.

“Well, there you go,” said Mike. As I recall those units can be controlled by regular radio or quantum radio, right? And the other entangled node is on earth. So as I see it, only two things are possible, B&E earth has taken those units by q-radio and didn’t bother to tell us, or somebody here took them. And if somebody here took them, then home office can q-radio in and regain control and locate them.”

“But what about the faked inventory status?”, Julie said. “Why would B&E earth do that?”

“White hat hacker testing maybe,” suggested Frank.

Julie watched Mike sit down and stare at a spot on the wall thinking. As he did this Julie watched him out of the corner of her eye, and her mind started to drift. I wonder if he’s seeing anyone she thought. There are nearly ten thousand people here in Grissom City, and they all don’t work for B&E. Grissom isn’t quite the company town it used to be with all the tourists and researchers. He wouldn’t be interested anyway. B&E is pretty hardcore about fraternizing inside your area of operations. But then again so was the Army, but that didn’t stop relationships like the one she had with Jimmie. He was a captain, and she was a lieutenant at the time. It lasted nearly the entire time he was the CO of her unit until he made Major and moved on. Julie still remembered the sadness when she heard that he had married some General’s daughter.

Mike stood up with a determined look and said, “not a word of this to anyone, even inside the company. I’m going to call the home office and see if we can gain control of the bots and determine their location. It’s possible that whoever stole them doesn’t know they have q-comms, so maybe we can spy on them and see who is behind this. Julie, shoot me a file with the idents of all the equipment involved, and I want you to check the designer base to see if any of those 3d units have been accessing our design files. That might give us some clues too.”

As Mike was leaving, he said, “I want to hear any ideas and new information from the two of you no matter what time of day or night, so stay in touch.”

After the door closed behind Mike, Frank got a giddy look on his face and said, “finally something interesting to work on here. I can’t tell you how boring it is doing random security checks on staff and their comings and goings.”

Julie just stared at him. “Frank, you do realize this puts our jobs on the bubble? B&E is going to be looking at you and me asking why we let this happen on our watch.”

Frank blinked and said, “Shit, didn’t think of that. I got some contacts at Grissom BA. Maybe they’ve heard something.”

“You will not do that Frank,” Julie shot out. “Mike said to keep it between the three of us. Grissom Base Authority isn’t going to be much help here anyway. They only know how to deal with petty crimes and keeping the peace.” Shit, Julie thought to herself, they couldn’t even solve the one murder in Grissom that happened two years ago. On top of that, the laws and legal systems of each moon base are kinda loosey-goosey depending on who founded the base, what corporations were the major players, etc. Things often get ignored or just covered up with the unending lunar dust.

“So now it’s Mike, and not Mr. Cotter,” said Frank with a mocking voice. “Getting sweet on him, or are you just trying to sleep your way out of getting shit-canned for this?”

Julie marched around the desk where Frank was seated and bent down an inch away from his face, eyeball to eyeball and said, “Frank, the only person I’m going to fuck up is you if you don’t keep your mouth shut and your eyes on the problem.” Julie turned smartly about and walked out of Frank’s office.

Walking down the hall, Julie was steaming mad muttering, “that fat fuck! God, I hate pricks like him, who think they are everything.” What bothered her even more though, was what he said about her sleeping with Mike. That triggered her bad. Jeez, I’ve got to get my mind off Mike and on this problem. I don’t have a chance with him anyway… I wonder who he is seeing she thought as she walked to the tramway to ride back to her office on the other side of Grissom.

Posted on October 10, 2017 by redpillwriter

Millenials will die first in the Zombie Apocalypse

It’s gotten so bad that Home Depot now has to make videos to show people how to use a tape measure, and how to hammer nails. Nails! That was the first thing I learned as a kid was to hammer nails. Nothing more satisfying to a young boy than taking a big old hammer and beating a nail down into a tree stump or the side of the back porch. Not just that but Scott’s Miracle Grow has to spell it out to the point of retardery that “by the way, plants need sunshine too”.

So if today’s man can’t build or grow anything without a complete tutorial on the cro-magnon level how the hell will mankind survive a zombie apocalypse or the rapidly approaching idiocracy?

James Lileks, a great writer, addresses a similar concern with meals in a box. He says, “The box opens out as a kind of introduction to the basics of idealized family life: this is what dinner is; this is what home is. Each ingredient is individually wrapped and Saussureanly labelled. “Green Beans,” it says on the green beans. “Saffron,” it says on the saffron. The consumer is presumed to be in a state of primal confusion, an amnesiac being coaxed through the performance of some semblance of a former life. Here is your husband, don’t you remember? Your children, whom you love. This is your front doorbell ringing, this is a box sent by a friend, this is the katus-style eggplant you’re about to prepare and eat in this set of rooms that makes up the emotional center of your life.”

But Lileks doesn’t make the ultimate leap to the conclusion that today’s young adults can’t even cook a meal. So Blue Apron and their ilk contrive to walk the poor millenial through the meal processing experience lest he starve.

Men should know how to use basic tools, how to cook a meal that isn’t just a box shoved into the microwave, how to build something. “Unscrewed Man” has a section addressing exactly this necessary set of masculine skills.

“Unscrewed Man – The Three Pillars of Masculinity” available on Amazon November 7th.

Want to know about the Great Kindle Giveaway? Fill out the Newsletter popup.

Posted on October 7, 2017 by redpillwriter

Letting go of the rope

Recently I was listening to one of Brian Niemeier’s Youtube vids on writing. In that episode, he was talking about writing at “pulp speed” a variation of the “warp speed” idea only applied to writing fast and well. As a new indie writer/publisher, I’m looking at my business processes to crank out high-quality fiction for my customers speedily. Pulp speed is a term used by DeanWesley Smith who promotes writing without a pre-determined outline.

Now, this is contrary to my very nature. By day I’m a certified project manager in the IT world. I’ve always been a planner, analyzer, and list maker. Now I’m not extreme about it, for instance not all projects I work on go into Smartsheet, Basecamp, MS Project or any of some other PM software products. Some projects are just too small, too simple, or too unimportant to go on anything else than a single sheet of paper. Back in the day, I didn’t even use PDA’s. That’s Personal Digital Assistants, not Personal Displays of Affection. My matrix, my conditioning, and personality favor order and structure.

But, as a Red Pill Writer, I’m all about breaking out of the matrix in favor of something better. Dean Wesley Smith makes a compelling argument in his book “Writing into the Dark” to drop the outline approach. His argument centers on the creative mind vs the critical (or analytical) mind. He says that attempts to outline an entire story before writing a word is by nature a critical mind activity because the writer winds up being more focused on plot construction, and what happens most often is that the plot winds up a contrivance, not creative and unpredictable. He calls it a “book on rails”. A story that is so predictable that the reader quickly sees where it is going just like a train on the rails into a city and loses interest. How many times have you watched a show or movie and knew one third the way in what the outcome was? I see it frequently. I won’t go into the details of Smith’s process here, but even though it’s focus is on the creative mind, it is still a very logical approach.

Going back to the PM (Project Management) approach, this is no different than scoping out the specific requirements and steps of a software project, and the resource (people or characters) needed to carry the project forward to a conclusion. You can see then how a PM like myself can become fixated on plotting. You could even say there is a Critical Path in the story. Project management practices seek to remove unpredictability, and in fiction predictability is cancer.

I’m writing fiction that isn’t a “book on rails”. If I’m asking you to drop a few dollars on one of my books I want you to get a quality entertaining story in exchange, so for my second book (and first fiction book), I’m going to let go of the outlining rope.

Posted on October 2, 2017 by redpillwriter

Per Twitter I have Unacceptable Business Practices

So Twitter found out I was trying to use them to advertise for my business of selling snuff films, kiddie porn, and the exclusive hardcore video “10 Years of C-SPAN”. I neither produce, sell or promote in any way those items. In fact, my twitter handle @RedPillWriter has only existed 15 days as of this writing. But according to the fine folks at Twitter, I have “unacceptable business practices.”

Since I’m about to publish my first book on Amazon, I decided to use Twitter Ads to see if I could get a few more eyeballs on the book and giveaway contest. I should have listened to those who said to start building your email list even if the book is months from being done. In any case, I do learn from my mistakes and press on to eventual success. Some of my research, not all, showed a possible slight benefit to using Twitter Ads. For those who don’t know, you can bid on a campaign to push out a tweet to a targeted audience beyond your followers and only pay for clicks and not impressions. I decided to spend $50 and try it out. My target groups were men, divorced men, college-age men, recently married men and a couple of other categories, but no categories like vivisectionists.

So was it the 15 days and 24 tweets that clued them into my despicable business practices? Or was it the people like you who I followed, and some of whom followed me back. Unacceptable people like @RationalMale, @DarkTriadMan, @voxday, or @realDonaldTrump? I believe it to be the latter as they have next to no idea of my “unacceptable” business or it’s “unholy” practices.

It is too bad that Gab went in the shitter simply for lack of common sense moderation as I had a lot of followers there before I closed the account. Yes, I lost an opportunity to market there, which was my original plan, but I will plug along on Twitter until a suitable Alt-Tech solution arrives.

Meanwhile, if you are sympathetic to my plight, re-tweet me to your followers. Maybe somebody is interested in a great intro to basic masculinity and would be interested in getting both the book for free from November 7th to 11th and a chance to get a free Kindle Paperwhite loaded with the best books for men free – details at www.RedPillWriter.com.

Posted on October 2, 2017 by redpillwriter

Willing, Building and Killing

To write fiction that appeals to men, the protagonist needs to exemplify some main features of a strong man. A strong man, when faced with a problem or challenge imposes his will on that problem. He doesn’t run away from it or just gives in. That would be a dull and uninspiring story. Healthy men like challenges. We like competition and contests. We like to fight against the odds. Men enjoy imposing their creative will on things and situations around them to build and create things of lasting value. That’s the building part. In a story, the protagonist faced with an insurmountable problem will, after going through a reactive stage will become proactive in imposing his will over that terrible set of challenges.

He will then start building creatively towards a series of solutions. In a good plot, these initial solutions fail with escalating tension and necessity for a solution that works. He is not just building solutions, but he is building a following to help him conquer the problem. In some stories, it is just a side-kick, and in others a whole crew of people he has banded together to win the day.

And finally, the hero kills the antagonist and destroys the thing of doom. Sometimes the killing is figurative, with the antagonist’s power and control thoroughly destroyed. But make no mistake, the hero kills the bad guy or terrible problem in the end.

Posted on October 2, 2017 by redpillwriter

What is a Red Pill writer?

Taking the “Red Pill” is a concept from the movie “The Matrix”. Boiled down to it’s essence it means a willingness to be open to a whole new concept of thinking contrary to what you currently understand. Specifically, the Red Pill is a rejection of all things feminist, and a reacquiring and resumption of traditional masculine behavior and masculine cultural leadership. Or for you feminists, reimposing the patriarchy on society for the good of all.

I am not THE red pill writer. I’m just one of a growing number. When I set out on this path, I wanted to start with a non-fiction book “Unscrewed Man – The Three Pillars of Masculinity” because 1. I benefited from those who went before me, and 2. because I have a adult son who was conditioned in the feminist matrix just like you and me. But what I really want to do is write fiction that is entertaining to men, and to do that it needs to appeal to the masculine nature. So while prepping “Unscrewed Man” for publishing on 11/7 and all the marketing involved, I’m also fleshing out the plot for my next fiction book about real men willing, building and killing in space. Book mark me to see some new chapters, or better yet, get on my mailing list for the “Unscrewed” giveaway.

Posted on September 28, 2017 by redpillwriter

The Founder

Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Perversely, the more successful you and I become, the more the haters come out of the woodwork. Just look at Donald Trump or Steve Jobs. Success is a polarizer, and that is a side-effect of success that few expect or are prepared for.

I’ll use the movie “The Founder” as an example. The movie is a somewhat fictionalized version of Ray Kroc and the McDonald’s brothers, all three geniuses in their own right. Both sets of men had failed in previous enterprises, particularly Kroc, who was over fifty before finding success. Prior to that, he had a string of failed ventures for over thirty years after he left the ambulance corp at the end of WWI.

Richard “Dick” McDonald was the true brain behind the McDonald’s concept. Up until the early 1950’s drive-in restaurants usually had large full-service menus, china, and silverware delivered to the car by bell hop. The McDonald brothers revolutionized drive-ins, by serving a limited menu, hamburger, fries and drinks. Doing away with the dishes by wrapping sandwiches in paper and serving the meal in a convenient paper sack, and using paper cups for drinks. And finally by having the customer come to a window to order and receive their meal. The key to making this work was speed. Dick McDonald figured out how to serve a hot fresh meal in 30 seconds from ordering, which was completely unheard of in those days. Dick managed this by renting a tennis court for a full day and drawing the outline of his kitchen on the court. He then experimented with placing stations in various configurations until his team of teenagers was seamlessly moving about in choreographed perfection. Dick McDonald was the Henry Ford of fast food. He then had the kitchen built to those specifications along with a number of self-designed tools such as mustard and ketchup dispensers that could deliver a carefully calibrated mix to the hamburger patty.

Halfway across the country Ray Kroc was toiling unsuccessfully trying to sell shake mixers to restaurants. Not noted in the movie was the fact that a competitor, Hamilton Beach, was taking over the market with a much cheaper shake mixer. Ray was making fewer and fewer sales, and when calling into the office for more sales appointments, he was told that one restaurant had just ordered six of his mixers. Thinking this was a mistake, he called the restaurant personally and spoke to Maurice “Mac” McDonald, the other brother who confirmed the mistake. Mac said he now thinks he needs eight mixers and not six for this single drive-in. Ray Kroc sensed something very unusual and promptly drove half way across the country to San Bernardino, California to see with his own eyes what was going on.

In the movie, the brothers had attempted to franchise to several other locations and the movie presented it as a failure, but in reality, the man who was overseeing that project fell on ill health causing the franchising to wither on the vine. Ray Kroc instantly saw the potential to franchise across the whole country, and here is where the story goes south not due to greed, but simply two different visions.

Ray sold the brothers on contracting with him to franchise their concept. Both were very firm on keeping the system identical and reproducible in all future locations. The brothers found that on their previous try at franchising, the new restaurants quickly departed from the formula that was key to success by adding on all sorts of items to the menu, and not keeping the quality of the product up. Dick McDonald, in particular, was a stickler for following the “speedee system” that he had developed. The brothers even had the first design of the new restaurant with the arches on either side of the building, they were neon pink then, and not yellow, in one of their franchise failures.

Ray went back home to Des Plaines, Illinois to build the first franchised restaurant, and to start selling potential investors on owning a franchise. The McDonald brothers had a goal to reach $1 million dollars and retire. They weren’t interested in spreading a revolutionary dining concept nationwide like Ray did. As the franchise business grew and evolved Kroc found that owning the land on which the restaurant was built and then leasing it to the franchisee, gave him a lot more power to ensure that the franchisee followed the McDonald’s business design. An extra cherry on top was that it allowed him to form his own company to hold that land, separate from his franchise agreement with the brothers, giving him much more power over how the company was run since he was constantly getting delays and push-back from Dick McDonald. While Dick’s perfectionism created the McDonald’s concept, that same perfectionism was a huge hindrance in the growth of the franchise business. Plus, Dick wanted to take a slow and easy approach to building the franchise business.

The movie portrays Kroc as a flawed and ruthless character, but what some call passion, others call ruthlessness. Dick McDonald was just a flawed as a perfectionist with limited vision. Kroc finally offered to buy the brothers out for $2.7 million, above the brother’s original goal, but Kroc gave a story on not being able to sell his investors on the royalties, and that part of the agreement was not in the contract but was a simple handshake agreement. Kroc never gave them the royalties that would have eventually made the brothers billionaires. Kroc was dishonest in this, but the brothers share blame in that they were foolish to accept such a handshake agreement.

The lessons for those of us who are building a system that leads to success are several. First, failure is the price for entry. If you learn and grow from failure, you are better positioned for future opportunities. Kroc, the McDonald brothers, even Donald Trump, have had business failures, but that did not stop them. Secondly, is your vision big enough? Is it bigly (or big league)? It is arguably better to have a vision that is too big, than too small. It is far easier to scale it down as needed than to scale a tiny vision up. Thirdly, if you partner, make sure your partners have a similar vision or you will face enough internal dissent that the venture might fail. The business world is full of partners who eventually parted. Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Inc., and was the primary designer of the Apple I and II but didn’t last under the force of Steve Job’s fierce vision, and finally pulled out after suffering injuries when a plane he was piloting crashed. Edison and Tesla were another brief partnership that ended on a sour note. Pick well or go it alone.

Posted on September 28, 2017 by redpillwriter

Rock Climbing the Learning Curve

When I’m not writing, I’m working in IT the land of masochists. Nothing in IT is ever as easy as it should be whether Linux or Windows, Java or VB.net. I’m convinced programmers are sadists judging by how hard it is to learn to use some of the software they design. Many times no thought is given to UX (User Experience). The poor end user is left looking at chicken entrails trying to discern the inner workings of the software.

Half of my professional experience has been rock climbing the software learning curve, and let me tell you, some of those vertical climbs were without a rope. It’s a painful process, and sometimes there is a fall back to the jagged rocks below, but it is worth it. The bloody fingers and torn nails. The scrapes and cuts. The mental fatigue of scrutinizing inscrutable software. It’s worth it because whether you succeed or fail; your skill level improves with each painful climb.

Writing “Unscrewed Man The Three Pillars of Masculinity” this past year has been yet another rock climb of a different type, but I hope you enjoy the view from the top with me.

 

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