August 30, 2014

Surge Position 1

Photography inside the factory isn't allowed, but a few publicly released images can be found.  Here are two showing where I work.

In the lower part of the picture is the 48 Join Stand, that's where the tailcone, which houses the APU and has the horizontal stabilizer attached to two giant pivots on its front is mated to the "48 Section", which is the portion of the fuselage aft of the pressure dome. Forward of the pressure dome is the 47 section, where the galley and bathrooms are.

On the upper side of the picture is the Wing/Body Join area, and to the right of that is where the forward and aft joins are performed. That's also where that recent lift and deburr that I mentioned a couple of posts ago occurred. You can see why the catwalk was sorely missed, even though we're not terribly fond of it either.

Click to Embiggen

The view from the floor. That big thing on top, putting it on is my job. Including the one on THIS beauty:

Man, I never get tired of watching that one.

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August 23, 2014

Book Plug

My buddy John has a new book out, the start of a Fantasy series, and it's really kicking butt in the rankings.

Portals of Infinity: Book One: Champion for Hire

Check it out and see if it's to your tastes....

(Update, seriously, he's cracked the top 50 in Sword and Sorcery!)
(Now the top 25 in three categories.)

Update the second:
Book 2 is out.

Portals of Infinity: Book Two: The God Game

And the first is available in print.

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August 17, 2014


That sure was a long one.  I hope somebody actually reads it.

Sometimes when I summarize, it's not much of a summary....

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August 11, 2014

Gokukoku no Brynhildr - Brynhilder in the Darkness - End

I finally had a day off from work, so I thought I'd do some work in the garden, but soon it was in the 90's in the sun, so I gave up. Of course, most houses in the Pacific Northwest don't have air conditioning, so it was in the mid 80's inside.

I decided to try to finish off this series.

Now unlike a lot of Harem anime, the center is NOT a passive idiot. For one thing there is his determination to help the girls survive even when they are all very fatalistic about their short futures. Also, he has a better sense of strategy for the use of their powers than they do.

Case in point, it turns out the busty new transfer student is NOT the one sent to kill them. She's a Teleporter. It's short range and basically one shot before her limiter kicks in. She might have another power that hasn't been revealed yet. But the interesting thing about her power is that she teleports by exchanging places with another person.

Now when Gothy Precog says they're going to die by the lake today, and deciding "Well then, we won't go to the lake." doesn't change things, he presses for details and a plan emerges. Why do they go to the lake? A distress call from another of the escapees. She's being chased down by the REAL hunter witch, one whose power is a hugely destructive beam of power that comes from her mouth (The one weakness is that there's a slight delay when she fires it up). Talk about bad breath!

So Our Hero and Not-Kuroneko go to the lake and try to suss out what to do. Unfortunately, they can't save the other escapee in time. Not-Kuroneko naturally goes for the self-sacrifice, punting Our Hero off to the side. Busty Freshmen turns out to be there too, and for some reason she's tying her hand to a lamppost. That explains the version of the prediction where Our Hero died, Not-Kuroneko was seen with her wrist tied to a post nearby. Busty Freshman's plan is to swap places with Not-Kuroneko and sacrifice herself. The Rope is so that Not-Kuroneko can't come to her rescue and die as in the other premonition. Our Hero has a better idea....

As Not-Kuroneko dodges beam after beam, trying to get close enough to use her destructive power, but probably unable to make it, suddenly, Busty Freshman changes places with Bad Breath, and so poof, their enemy is there with her hands tied to the lamppost, with Our Hero standing right there to push the button on her spinal plug to hang up her powers. (He's such a good guy, even though this one has killed in cold blood, he doesn't hit the button to eject the plug and melt her).

In more "Grinding Cuts" Psychic Hacker needs to fix her computer, so she and Our Hero go to Akihabara. She treats it like a date, and he stubbornly refuses. She's brash and rude, as usual, which is kind of funny when she insults a bunch of Otaku in front of a Manga store, and a place selling eroge she says something about how they must all be virgins, which sparks some shocked outrage. (Until Our Hero points out to her that she's a virgin too.) This sets up a scene later on where she establishes that Not-Kuroneko isn't interested in Our Hero, because she thinks he's only interested in the girl she resembles, and then she confronts him about whether or not he likes Not-Kuroneko, and he tries not to confess, and so, having cleared the path, she begins to strip down and throw herself at him. (You know, just once I'd like to see one of these guys take them up on it just to shut them up). He resists though, which isn't hard because she still can't suppress her sarcastic nature, and her idea of showing she likes a guy is to hit him, a lot.

Another smart move is that he has gone to Akihabara in order to take advantage of all the electronic noise when he powers up one other thing Not-Kuroneko provided him, a PDA of some sort with information from the lab. He suspects it might broadcast their position, so being in this place should make it harder to track them down. On it, he finds a map that might reveal the location of the lab. (His hunch about the locator is correct).

Later on, when he goes to follow the lead revealed by the PDA (A blown-up church) he gets arrested, but the girls come to his rescue. While Not-Kuroneko shatters the bullets before they reach her, he tells her to stop being dramatic and blow up their guns already. Genius.

The Lab guys have a girl who eats memories, so the local cops are left knowing nothing about the encounter. That sure makes it easier to contain leaks, but it flies in the face of the idea that anyone who knows about the girls will get killed. She gets characterized fairly blandly, claiming to have a need for sugar to fuel her power, while her handler thinks it's just a sweet tooth. And since she needs to attract people's attention to see their eyes to scan them, her usual trick is to stand there and start lifting her skirt, which certainly turns heads.

And then, Bam! She can not only scan and erase memories, she can write them. Her handler is wearing sunglasses to protect himself, but once she gets him to take her to the big city... she uses the crowd against him until someone punches him and knocks off his glasses. Victory, she scans and erases her handler, has his gun, and not only that, has picked up on someone who knows who Our Hero is (She got his face from the cops). Now if only her plug didn't have a tracking device attached to it (the same thing that was used to force the first opponent to go all gooey by remote control.) Hopefully she can find help before they figure out something has gone wrong with the field op and kill her.

She planted a thought in one of the passers-by who knew Our Hero to fetch him and bring him to a park, and once he's there, she scans him and figures out where the girls are. Our Hero is pretty smart though and figures out who she is and exactly what her power is just from these events. Unfortunately he miscalculates when he tries to recruit her, and she wipes him clean from birth. Damned if I know how he's going to recover from that. Until after the commercial break. He's faking it. But then, it's been established that he has a perfect, photographic memory, so he's not vulnerable to her power of erasure.

She goes off to enjoy a day of freedom, periodically going back to her handler (Who thinks he's been assigned to monitor the Castle) to hit him up for cash. The gang sets off to rescue her. It goes poorly, including another moment of misplaced trust that nearly has Not-Kuroneko offing the rest of the team, until she gets another shot at reading Our Hero and realizes they're sincere. Unfortunately, about that same time, her handler notices that he'd been keeping a journal on the case in his car, and reads it. The jig is up. Or will be shortly.

Just before she finishes melting, she stuffs everything she knows about the laboratory and a copy of herself into Our Hero's head. She also remarks that he's going to run out of memory soon.

Then, in yet another grinding cut, they squeeze in Finals at School and a Trip to the Beach, before introducing the Final Boss, who has already killed off the 7 A-class magicians who were there to control her. Things look bad for the Lab Director, since the council hasn't approved of his actions, and they're pissed.

Kinda rushed there.

But it pays off in the beginning of episode 11. The cops have discovered those 7 bodies, and block the road to stop the Final Boss. She gestures, and a glowing ball of energy appears between her hands. The Cops have no idea what it is, so she explains what she has just created:


Big badda boom! The mountainside is obliterated, superheated to magma, and the whole town can see it. She goes flying, apparently immune to the effects of the explosion (and probably the effects of her landing. No explanation for why her clothes are intact). And it's pretty clear she's a total nutbird.

Back at the crime scene, (obscured by "what sick fuck would want to buy the BD just to see the unobstructed carnage?" black miasma) one of the handlers apparently has a serious healing factor and gets back up. Of course, the cops are looking at the hillside that just blew up so they don't see it. And conveniently, the attack that killed her sliced the beacon from her plug clean in half.

The gang reads about the big boom on the Internet, and the girls figure it's a Valkyria, or Type S (Bet you thought it would be type AAA+ or something, right?) who can use a whopping EIGHT kinds of magic. I guess 7 watchers just didn't cut it.

The Lone Survivor CONVENIENTLY mentions, as she gets off the bus, that one of those eight talents is detecting other magicians, and then CONVENIENTLY flashes back to the Final Boss casually looking at another mountainside and saying "Well, looks like there are four magicians hiding out in the observatory" before she goes off to blow up the cops. INCONVENIENTLY there are apparently eight observatories in the area according to the brochure she conveniently is carrying, but conveniently, this all happens as she gets off at the stop for the right one.

I guess when you have powers like Summon Antimatter and Immunity to Antimatter Explosions. you can waste a slot on Detect Inferior Magicians.

In the meantime, the Council is telling the Lab Director that after the loss of life from the explosion they can't cover up, even seppuku won't cut it for atonement. They'll get back to him once they figure out something worse.

When the Lone Survivor gets to the Observatory, she sees the entire gang laying on the floor, covered in blood. What happened? I thought they had another couple weeks of pills. Shen she goes to examine them, they all rouse. "False alarm." They were all playing Possum in hopes the Valkyria will overlook them if they appear to already be dead.

After introductions are squared away, it's off to the hot springs to wash off the red paint and be covered in white obscuring clouds that won't be on the BD. Lone Survivor reveals that her power is regeneration. Nice, but not proof against running out of pills or a plug ejection. When they all talk about how much they trust Our Hero, she decides to put that to the test, climbing a radio tower and then claiming to be too scared to climb down. Through a complicated series of missteps, she falls, he catches her, but they end up hanging from a pipe that's going to break loose any second. Even when she tells him that the fall won't kill her... permanently, he insists on trying to save her, and manages to swing her to a lower platform, but ends up falling himself. But just before he goes splat, *poof!* Busty Freshman takes his place and drops the last foot or two, while he lands on his butt elsewhere.

Now this last bit impressed me, because Our Hero was smart enough to instantly consider "What the hell happened to my kinetic energy?" I don't know if this is Chekov's gun, but it's nice to at least hang a lampshade on the handwaving of Newton's laws.

Because of his gallantry far and above what she was testing for, exceeding her expectations immensely, after apologizing, she says "I may have fallen in love with you." (Although there's a continuity error, she sees hand-mark bruising on his wrist, but he was holding HER wrist, which is why she couldn't simply let go.) Hilarity ensues. The radio tower explodes, and Not Kuroneko swears it's not her. (A repeat of what happened when Psychic Hacker tried to make more out of what happened in Akihabara while they were studying for a test and she blew up a couple trees.)

The Doctor Our Hero went to talk to to try to get the pills duplicated has found a lead, and he'll be able to make the pills, a Protease Inhibitor, but it will take a month, and the girls only have a short time left. The Doc says then, he'll have to make a choice. (Protease is a digestive enzyme, which is what dissolved the memory eating girl). Conveniently, he went to school with the guy who wrote the perfect paper on Protease Inhibition, who just so happens to the be Lab Director. Insert flashback with morally repugnant pursuit of science statement by the proto Lab Director.

We cut now to Final Boss, who is waiting, enjoying the view from some kind of memorial park. Lab Director shows up, and she speaks menacingly to him until he slaps her, and she starts crying and begs him not to hate her.

I mentioned she was a nutbird, right?

Our Hero delivers the bad news to the girls, and Gothy Precog is the first to figure out the cold equations, that only one can make it on their current pill supply. Psychic Hacker suggests they draw Lots, while Lone Survivor says that she's bowing out, since she hadn't brought anything to the table. I think I mentioned how fatalistic they were. Lone Survivor was lying though, she's got a supply of pills she stole of the corpses of the other handling magicians, she's just not interested in sharing. In fact, the girls all start bowing out, Not-Kuroneko first since she's always selfless, then Busty Freshman, who says she would have died a long time ago. Finally Gothy Precog, who says it's because she can't live without assistance. So Psychic Hacker wins by default, and surprisingly, she objects to living without her friends.

Suddenly, Farce! A toast to their final summer vacation! (Which they never had growing up in the lab, I mean, really) and Busty Freshman gets the juice, but trips, spills it on Not-Kuroneko, and then clumsily starts stripping off her uniform to wash the juice out before it stains, and CONVENIENTLY she's not wearing a bra, and tada! (or should that be Tata?) Our Hero FINALLY sees the moles on the side of Maybe Not Not-Kuroneko's breast.

Well, about time that plot thread got resolved, because they barely have time for the one-way reunion (since Now-Kuroneko's childhood memories are history, while Our Hero's are perfect) before a helicopter comes straight for the observatory and Final Boss teleports in. (That's slot 3 or 4, solo teleportation.) Time for the Final Fight, with only two episodes left!

Final Boss knows Now-Kuroneko, and is disappointed, but resigned when she doesn't remember her back. Lab Director comes off the Helicopter ladder into the Observatory, and reveals that Busty Freshman is the one they've been after to retrieve all along (I guess she's not a Junk Class B or lower like everyone else.).

Lone Survivor considers running, but instead is inspired to try to push Final Boss' button. But her plug is different, so no dice, and she gets spluched for her trouble.

Our Hero pleads with the Lab Director for the lives of the girls, but remember the morally troubling statement he made in the doctor's flashback? Well he's even more ethically challenged now. Not all human lives are equally valuable, and the Magicians are just insects. Our Hero's moral arguments fall on deaf ears, and Lab Director orders Final Boss to kill everyone but Busty Freshman. "But you promised me I wouldn't have to kill Neko!" she protests. You know where this leads.... breakdown in command, and the good guys have two fighters who stand a chance. Time to see how that plays out.

Well, the force is strong with the Lab Director. He orders Final Boss to take out Now-Kuroneko, and Our Hero jumps in to push her out of the way and takes a glancing hit from the blast. Of course, in this case a glancing hit shaves a couple inches off his side from armpit to hips, so he's not long for the world. And the fight stops dead for a minute or two so that everyone can say his name in turn, and he can utter something pithy about the value of life to the Lab Director.

In case you were wondering when Mind Eater's storage of herself in Our Hero's head was going to come into play (I thought it would be him remembering info about the lab, but that never happened), now she appears and talks to him. When he talks back, everyone thinks he's hallucinating due to blood loss. And for some reason, the fight is STILL on pause. Mind Eater finally unloads secrets on him that probably would have been a lot more helpful when he still had all his ribs. Most important is that Now-Kuroneko is actually super powerful, but the lab was afraid of her and locked away most of her power. Considering her personality vs. the nutbirds they keep on staff, the lab's judgement is rather questionable.

Unfortunately, he blacks out and the image of Mind Eater fades before she can tell him how to unlock Now-Kuroneko's power. (Who wants to lay odds she figures out how to do it anyway? No takers?). Okay, so the directors were dishonest with the viewers. Our Hero has hung onto consciousness, and Mind Eater DID tell him how to unlock Now-Kuroneko's power. Remember that third button on the plug that nobody knew what it was for? Yup, you guessed it. and he reaches up and, then, fails to press it because it has an only 0.1% chance of not killing her.

Lab Director finally gets sick of the melodrama and tells Final Boss to kill them all now. But just as she's powering up to blast them all, her power fades! What now? Well, just before Our Hero grovelled for the Lab Director, he powered up the PDA. And just in time, Church Ninjas! (WTF? Oh, come on, they've been in the OP since episode 1)

Overconfidence is your Achilles Heel Church Ninjas! When someone asks how you're suppressing the magic, DON'T tell them it's the little boy you've got with you. Lab Director has a gravity holster up his sleeve, and whips out his gun and shoots the kid in an amazing unaimed, around the opposite hip and behind you shot. Once he's down, Final Boss teleports herself, Lab Director and Busty Freshman out.

While everybody's crying over the now dead hero, Lone Survivor shows up with a big scar across her middle. She's managed to weld her two halves together again. She announces she has the power to heal him, but at the cost of starting to melt herself. But if she can heal him enough before she melts, it's all good. Only she fails. Her plug hangs up, and she keeps melting. The wound is healed, but his heart isn't beating. Lone Survivor dies. But hey, at this point, maybe CPR will work? Now-Kuroneko and Psychic Hacker get to work on him, while the Church Ninjas stand there watching. It works!

Then the Church Ninjas say they're going to kill everyone, because the longer the Magicians, er, Witches host the aliens in the plugs, the more the aliens grow, until they turn into man-eating monsters. How they know this? Dunno. Why are they Pseudo-religious? Dunno. If this is the goal of the lab, then why all this in the first place? Dunno. It's the last half of the episode. Go buy the Manga.

We cut to where the Lab Director has taken Busty Freshman, and now the writers are just throwing as much shit at the walls as they can to see what will stick. Head Transplants, the chance that one of these monsters will be a special one that the Committee will use to grow a master race fit to rule the world. All human life is created by aliens. This in the space of under a minute. And as a Bonus, Busty Freshman is the key to setting off a trigger in everybody's DNA to "Reset the planet".

I'm gonna need a new WTF meter. The needle bent and wrapped itself around the peg.

How the hell do the Church Ninjas know that if the monster in Busty Freshman's neck hatches it will destroy all life on earth? I mean, really, how do you figure something like that out? Still, since all the girls are about to die in a week, Our Hero manages to make a deal with the Church Ninjas to help get Busty Freshman back, so they can kill her, I guess. They think it might still take another year or two for it to hatch. But as they get in the heli to go to the place Psychic Hacker found that the Lab Director was holed up in, a brilliant light that nobody has ever seen before goes up into the air from Busty Freshman's neck. Nobody's ever seen it before, but the Church Ninja's identify it as the light that will end all life on earth, and they have a name for it.

I'm not sure I can watch the last episode with my sanity intact. A straitjacket might be nice, but I don't have anyone around to do the sleeves.

With the light signalling the end of the world going off, the Church Ninjas just hang it all up and land the copter to pray. That leaves Our Hero, Now-Kuroneko, and Psychic Hacker to go running across a couple of mountains to the hideout to save the day. The girls have popped their corks, so they're powerless. Our Hero thinks this may let them sneak up on Final Boss undetected. Suddenly, the girls club him unconscious to save his life.

In the basement under the vacation house, much exposition about aliens and the reset mechanism and the plans of the council is had. Earlier, the Lab Director said that the monster in Busty Freshman was special, it was first implanted in his little sister, the only human life other than his own that he values at all. She died, the slug lived, preserving her brain didn't preserve her soul, so he's saving the slug to bring her back to some form of existence, and the slug is the one in Busty Freshman. He also explained that he didn't care a whit for Final Boss, although she loves him for saving her life, it was only part of his plans. Unfortunately he explained this within earshot of Final Boss, but she still loves him anyway.

Busty Freshman is ready to eject her own core to try to stop the whole mess, but instead of just doing it, they talk about it for a while, but finally, she gets around to it after saying something sappy about smiles.

The light goes out, the Church Ninjas are back in action! The girls are lost in the sub-basement, and Our Hero is regaining consciousness!

By chance, the girls run into the Lab Director and Final Boss in the labyrinth. They pass on the good news the Busty Freshman died in vain, the research goes on. Final Boss knocks out Now-Kuroneko after failing to recruit her. When Psychic Hacker asks her why she's so hung up on Now-Kuroneko, she blasts her, THEN explains that she's hung up on her because she's her little sister. (Someone did remark on their resemblence, except for one having black and one having white hair, and her older sister never having been mentioned that I recall).

Our Hero is lost in the maze, but the ghost of Mind Eater in his head appears when convenient to give him directions. She leads him to the lab where Busty Freshman is taking her own sweet time dissolving, compared to everyone else so far. He's all "Why did you kill yourself?" and she's all, "I saved everyone and I'm so happy! Our brief time together was the happiest time of my life!" I think we're supposed to cry over this or something.

Next our Hero rushes off into the Maze again, and finds what's left of Psychic Hacker, for yet more emotional tear-jerking. Then, finally the ghost of Mind Eater signs off for the last time. While Gothy Precog, back at the observatory begs someone to push her top button (Who's left there? judging by the shadow, and Gothy Precog calling out her name, Lone Survivor managed to pull herself together, again.)

Final Boss is toting the unconscious Now-Kuroneko on her back out the escape tunnel when she meets up with Lab Director. He wanted her dead, so he makes her put her down, so he can eject her core. Just before he hits the button, out of nowhere, Our Hero delivers a flying kick to the jaw! In three Different angles! Mister all life is valuable has finally come to the conclusion that Lab Director doesn't deserve to live. And then, instead of kicking the crap out of while he's down, he fucking LECTURES HIM!

This gives Final Boss the chance to use her powers to pin what's left of the gang to the walls. Our Hero uses More Talking. It's not very effective. He tells Final Boss that Lab Director is only using her. She looks at him and asks if that's true. He says "It is," and she remarks "I love it when you do that." Finally Our Hero realizes they're both beyond saving.

Final Boss is about to kill Our Hero, Now-Kuroneko is pinned, but fights to push her button. Final Boss increases her hold on her, and then, a new fighter enters! Now witness Gothy Precog moving under her own power! She jumps in front of Now-Kuroneko to block the beam. She pushes her button and powers up! (clearly it's safe, it didn't kill GP). She gets all glowy, puts up a shield, Final Boss's power's fail, and bonus, she remembers everything now. Oh if only she'd pushed that button earlier!

In a battle of shield vs. magic blast, Restored-Kuroneko wins, but collapses. Final Boss goes to make a kill shot, but nothing happens. It's the Church Ninjas! They try to machine-gun FB, but for some inexplicable reason, Lab Director throws himself in the way and is Colanderized. And they keep shooting even though there's a body in the way, without moving to get a better angle, until the Magic Blocking Kid fails and she can blast the machinegunners.

A fatal mistake in many ways, with Lab Director dead, Final Boss is cool with destroying the world, and starts in with Summon Antimatter. Kuroneko says she can defeat that with a Micro Black Hole. But first, a kiss, like she's always wanted to do. There's a big Boom. Kuroneko survives. She lands on the edge of the balcony(?) and it collapses under her, but Our Hero manages to catch her, reversing his ancient error. But, is she okay? No, she's totally forgotten him because of massive use of her power.

But at least the Doctor has left a voicemail that he's discovered how to make the drug.

And then, in the end credits, Lone Survivor and Psychic Hacker and somehow still alive, although Gothy Precog is now in a Wheelchair (She did remark that she really coulda used some Rehab).

Oi, what a mess that was.

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August 03, 2014


So, I didn't win the Baen Fantasy Award short story contest.  But that means now you can read my entry.


My first stab at Fantasy since college.

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August 01, 2014

Free Promo is up

Free today and tomorrow.

And it's over.  With an ASTOUNDING (for me) 70 copies moved. Alas, that's over 3 times the sales in the previous 7 months....

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