Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Still Coming

 When I became aware that some miscreants were producing a TV series to be called Dark Matter, I was forced to regroup.  This very day (note it in your diaries) a new, and possibly more apt, title came straight from the cosmos:  Alien Affairs.

In honor of the event I have decided to offer another excerpt.

December 1960

President elect Kennedy said, “I’m not at all comfortable with this plan.”

“It’s gone too far to pull the plug now.  How are you going to keep all those Cubans quiet?”

“Dammit, I don’t know.  I’ll have to think about it.  What else?”

Allen Dulles sucked on his pipe before continuing to brief the incoming president. “In 1947 a flying saucer crashed near Roswell, New México.  We captured it and four aliens, three of which were already dead.”

Kennedy looked incredulous.  “You’re serious.  What happened to the fourth one?”

“It was put out of its misery but since then we’ve discovered from one of the artifacts found at the crash site that they were here to destroy us.”

“My God, why?”

“According to information found at the crash and deciphered several years later, they created the human race as some kind of experiment and they were simply finished with us.  They intended to release some chemical agent that makes everybody sterile and in a generation we would go extinct.”

“And you believe this?”

“I don’t accept the idea that they created us but I have to take seriously the threat to annihilate us.  The concern is, we don’t know if the sterilization agent is on the earth or possibly on the moon and can be released remotely, or if they are sending another squad to try again.  My people say that the soonest they can get here again is 2016, that is unless they have a base on the moon.”

“Well, we damn well better get to the moon and find out.”

“Yes, Mr. President, we could use a little help with that.”

August 1974

The political turbulence of the summer of 1974 landed Gerald Ford in the Oval Office with a suddenness not seen previously in American History.  After his appointment to the vice-presidency when Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace, he had to wait only eight months for Richard Nixon to also resign under fire.  The Director of the CIA, George Bush, had to scramble to bring the new president up to date on clandestine activities.

Near the end of one such briefing session Ford conceded, “We’re going to have to learn to live with Ho Chi Minh and put the whole thing behind us.”

“I’m afraid that is the prudent thing to do,” Bush said.

“There is something I’ve wanted to ask you since I took the oath of office.”

“What’s that?”

“What is the truth about UFOs?”

Bush rubbed his jaw and took a deep breath.  “Mr. President, since the CIA has taken charge of the matter, that information is released on a need to know basis, and just being the president does not give you a need to know.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

“I’m sorry.”

“What could possibly be so vital that it has to be kept secret even from the president?”

“Unless and until something happens that puts you in a need to know position, that must remain classified.”

Ford glared at Bush, dumbfounded.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Coming Soon

Some years ago, on a whim, I visited the UFO Museum at Roswell.  It's a bit schmaltzy but the shear bulk of material they offer is rather compelling.  When I walked back into the New Mexico sunlight I had the oddest feeling and asked myself, "What if it actually happened?"  What could possibly have been so terrible that it had to be squelched for so many years?  Soon you will know the answer.  Check out this excerpt from Dark Matter.

SS January 23, 2015

Carrie took a call daily from Georgia Turnbull inquiring whether she had spoken with the aliens.  “Not a peep out of them.  How are things going in California?”

“We’ve delivered twelve SM-3 missiles with tactical nuclear warheads to SpaceX at Vandenberg Air Force Base and their shop in Hawthorne is working around the clock to fabricate explosive bolt brackets to attach them to the capsule.  SpaceX made the thing with a cowling that will cover them for takeoff and can be jettisoned later—it’s perfect.  You know, of course, you are not in the need to know for any of this?”

“At least you know I won’t be flapping my jaws in the White House pressroom.”

“Call me as soon as that phone rings.  How do feel about it?”

“Scared shitless.”

“You’ll do fine.”

Carrie aimed the remote at the television and spent a few minutes with the sound muted watching coverage of a crowd in Times Square.  Some carried signs but most wandered looking up occasionally as if expecting to see flying saucers descending on them.  “Poor bastards,” she said aloud, “if they only knew.”
She left the office but did not go home.  Instead she stopped at a sports bar near her house in Georgetown.  Her DC uniform—black pantsuit—drew suspicious looks from some of the more disreputable looking patrons.  She ordered chardonnay and glanced around at the flat screens.  Most displayed sports but a couple had news feeds of the people milling in front of the White House.

The barmaid noticed where she was looking and said when she parked the wineglass in front of her, “What do they think they’re going to accomplish out there?”

Carrie said without thinking, “They just want to be with other human beings.”

“Yeah, maybe.  What do you think they look like?”

Carrie could not help smiling.  “I think they are going to look like the aliens we see in the tabloids, little guys with big heads and big black teardrop eyes.”

“Huh.  Well, I suppose that image had to come from somewhere.  I wonder if they’re gonna make contact this time or just fly around some more.”

“My gut tells me this time there will be contact.”

“I hope you’re wrong.  The idea gives me the creeps.  It’s good for business, though.”  She moved on to take other drink orders.

Carrie felt her phone vibrate.  When she looked at the caller ID in the display, it was gibberish.  Her heart slammed against her diaphragm.   She chugged half the wine, put a napkin on top of the glass and ran outside before the call could go to voicemail.  On the sidewalk she tapped the icon and said the normal greeting of the alien language, “Come.”

It took forever for the signal to go and return from interplanetary space.  “Come,” a voice said.  “You are a very clever creature.  Are there many like you now?”

“I am the only person on this planet who can talk to you.”

“How did you manage it?”

“We found your reading device.”  She realized that her heart was still racing.  “We know why you are coming.”

“It would have been better if you did not.”

“Not for us.  We are prepared now to stop you.”

“And how ever could you do that?”

“And why would I be fool enough to tell you?”

“It does make us proud to see how bright our creation has become, but that spark is precisely the reason we must prevent you from getting any smarter.”

“What exactly are you afraid of?”

“We did so well at making you ingenious, but we failed completely at making you passive.”

“That is right, and that is why we are not going to let you destroy us.”

“We are not going to destroy anyone.  Look at it this way, everyone will be free to fornicate without need of contraception.”

“Is that your idea of a joke?”

“Actually, I was being serious.”

“What would we have to do to convince you that destroying us is unnecessary?”  In the back of her mind she found it surreal to be negotiating for the survival of the species.

“It would not be up to us to make that decision.  We have been sent here with orders that must be obeyed.”

“Look, we know where you are.  We have the means to intercept and destroy you.”

“You see, it is exactly that belligerence that is the problem.”

“You don’t leave us a choice.  You engineered us to survive and that is what we intend to do.”

“I will be interested to see what you attempt, but alas, it will fail.”

“Do not be so sure.  We have had seventy years to develop our defenses since you were here.”

“We too have had the equivalent of your seventy planetary revolutions to develop our defenses.  There will not be an incident like the last time.  Apparently those oafs did not know how to fly.”

“How do you know we did not shoot them down?”

“We know.”

“All right.  Do not say I did not warn you.”

“You are a very plucky example of your species, but I am afraid I can see that it is a bluff.  I have enjoyed talking with you and look forward to doing so again.  Now, I have work to do.  Going.”

“Going.”  She disconnected and slumped against the wall.

Back at the bar she swilled the last half of her wine and asked for whiskey neat.  A man two stools away said, “That was some strange language you were speaking.  What is it?”

She had not even noticed him pass her on the sidewalk.  For a moment she felt panicky, then she said, “It’s the language of the Dogon people of Mali.”

“Yeah?  How’d you ever pick that up?”

“I’m a missionary and a nun.”

That quashed his interest.

Dark Matter is in the beta read phase.  Anyone interested in offering to beta read it, please contact me via www.Scott Skipper.com   The "Contact Me" page is under the "More" tab.  Leave an address and let me know what ebook format you prefer.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Stuff of Legends

Peter Claydon, Flight Lieutenant in the RAF, nearly walked in on an SS beating and murder of a British radar technician.  A French Nazi collaborator with access to top secret radar technology and two German thugs were attempting to beat classified information from the hapless Englishman.  Claydon stumbles upon the scene seconds after the shooting—nearly getting himself shot—and receives a message from the dying man.  The message excites a great deal of interest in the intelligence community.  Then, a week later, Claydon spots the same French turncoat in the background of a photograph taken from the body of a Luftwaffe pilot.  Being the only person able to recognize this dangerous traitor, Claydon is assigned the task of assassinating M. Passy.  He is then sent back to France in the company of the daring M. Carnac to locate and eliminate this threat to the secret of that vital new defensive weapon, radar.

This extraordinary story has an equally extraordinary history. D.M. Crook was the grandfather of the modern day publisher of Pursuit of Passy. He has chosen to offer this magnificent book for free which deeply puzzles this reviewer. It is a noteworthy piece of fiction with intrinsic value and I would have been happy to pay for it. In league with Fredrick Forsythe and Ken Follet, Pursuit of Passy is a great book that deserves commensurate attention.

76,610 Words

Free at Smashwords / $.99 at Amazon

Horse Sense

Riley Grannan was a bookie. He so excelled at his craft that he could earn a fortune in an afternoon, or lose one.
Eleven-year-old Dayton Shannon was the motherless son of an abusive father until his Uncle Tom agreed to teach him the ropes of bookmaking. Dayton had a natural affinity and his uncle taught him well enough that the renowned Riley Grannan hired him to assist in his betting operation. At the age of twelve Day got to travel the racing circuit, see the world and earn more in a year than in a lifetime of shining shoes at the train station.

This is the most peculiar book that I ever enjoyed. Many years ago I learned that horseracing is not only a beautiful spectacle, but it is a beautiful way to lose money. Since I shun the odds makers much of the bookmakers’ jargon was lost on me—I don’t even fully understand the title—and I can’t deny that one-hundred and twenty year old racing statistics are an arcane topic, but this story is irresistible. It is told from multiple viewpoints that at times made it hard to remember who was telling the story, and it is not conventionally edited, but none of that detracted from my enjoyment. The characters carry this tale of high stakes, fast living, corruption and redemption in the 1890’s. It is a nostalgic look at racing from the standpoint of that often-unsavory character, the bookie.

117,980 Words
Price $3.99 / $1.99 at Amazon

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The River War, an Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan by Winston Churchill

A war, with little popular support, perpetrated by the strongest military force on earth, utilizing indigenous troops, for the purpose of liberating an Arab country from radical Islamists sounds like current events.  And certainly it is, but it is also old news.  Sudan (spelled ‘Soudan’ in this text) languished under the heel of the self-proclaimed Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmad.  Even the false prophet’s sudden death did not spare the long suffering land from abuse at the hands of greedy, brutal, slave trading emirs.  After years of hand wringing Britain could no longer stand idly on the Egyptian border.  Their solution has become a familiar tactic: send a small expeditionary force, recruit local battalions, deploy state of the art weaponry, and then they did something unique to the late nineteenth century—they built a railroad.  In northern Sudan the Nile makes a tremendous loop adding hundreds of miles to it course, and river traffic is further delayed by a series of cataracts, so Sir H. Kitchener, moved his troops and matériel twenty miles per day on newly laid tracks, in a direct line across the desert, while the Kalipha and his emirs watched their doom approach from behind the walls of Omdurman.  The allied combatants consisted of Egyptian and Sudanese infantry, cavalry and camelry (yes, there is such a word even if Microsoft disagrees).  One member of the British cavalry was a young subaltern named Winston Spencer Churchill who participated in a sabre charge against Sudanese Dervishes and survived to become the leader of a nuclear power.

The River War, an Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan, is an extraordinary period piece and a lesson that generation after generation of world leaders cannot learn.  When radical Islam becomes entrenched, it must be annihilated.  Wherever Islam is unchecked will be terrorism, slavery, imperialism and brutal misogyny.  Copyrighted in 1902, Churchill was only four years beyond his participation in this rather sanguine conflict, thus his meticulous detail and transporting description draws the reader into this fight on the Nile.  This remarkable book can be found in all electronic formats, absolutely free, at the Gutenberg Project.  Of course, donations are appreciated.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Limelight Literature

 LE Fitzpatrick, a blogger from Wales, was kind enough to give Face of the Angel shot in the arm today by publishing a character interview with the much misunderstood Doctor Josef Mengele.

Limelight Literature features unique content from self-published authors.  Check it out.

See what the good doctor had to say then scroll down and see who else Lynzie Fitzpatrick is featuring.

Doctor Josef Mengele, medical researcher, surgeon, anthropologist, geneticist and Auschwitz Angel of Death, hid in plain sight for forty years while dozens of professional Nazi hunters blundered around the world trying to capture him. Face of the Angel tells how an educated man of wit, charm and mayhem languished for decades in fear, loneliness and delusion in South America while his pursuers invented preposterous tales about him.

Only $2.99

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In Paperback at Createspace

Monday, October 6, 2014

13 Hours in Benghazi

Since the embassy is in Tripoli, the United States Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi did not fall under the guidelines of the State Department’s standards for embassy security; therefore, the niceties of bulletproof glass and secure air supply went overlooked in the main residential villa used by Ambassador Chris Stevens during his stay in Libya’s second city.  That was the first blunder.  The second was keeping the American security contractors at a second compound, known as the Annex and controlled by the CIA, ten minutes distant.  Probably the most fatal security breach was employing Libyans as guards.  Most sentient persons know of the storming of the diplomatic compound and the killing of Ambassador Stevens, and three other Americans, on September 11, 2012, but the truthful details of what happened are less clear.  While six heavily armed, expertly trained and highly motivated American security men chafed under the temporizing yoke of the mysterious CIA operative, “Bob,” Islamic terrorists had free range to set alight the Ambassador’s villa with himself and communications officer, Sean Smith, trapped inside the “safe haven.”

13 Hours in Benghazi lifts the cloud of political obfuscation from the facts of this American tragedy.  Mr. Zuckoff’s collaboration with five of the surviving security contractors is an even handed, if gritty, depiction of that catastrophic night in Benghazi.  Failing to do the right things, from the President to the Secretary of State to the embassy staff in Tripoli to the CIA head of station, Benghazi, is a national disgrace.  Furthermore, the still ongoing denials and cover-ups by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and their spokespersons, is nothing less than calling five American heroes liars and denigrating the memory of the four deceased.

This should be required reading for all Americans.  The story is told through the various viewpoints of the participants.  It is concise and well paced.  Sadly, the prose is, shall I say pedestrian—no, I should say atrocious.  One has the sense that a race to market took precedence over good writing.

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