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Monday, November 03, 2008

FAR Future, Episode 58: A Dispatch from the Rear

Tomorrow is The Day. If you haven’t early-voted, get out and vote.

Monday, June 14, 2021
A Dispatch from the Rear

Rene sent an email…

Hola, y'all. We're here, wherever that is. Well, we have a pretty good idea we're somewhere in Saudi, but I couldn't tell you where. Major Shevchuk would prefer nobody knows. We've gone through our evac route, not that we'd live long enough to march to anywhere from here, but there you have it.

I can tell you this much: we're in a little hollow spot in the desert. They choppered our gear in, with a big backhoe, and it dug enough to flatten out a spot for our inflatable caisson and got our cooling pipe laid. We blew it up, attached the heatsinks and re-bars, and buried the whole thing after letting it harden. The latest in desert computing technology, I guess.

So once it hardened up, the backhoe pulled enough sand off the surrounding dunes to bury it good, and we stuck an Arab tent up on top of it to hide the satellite dishes. We've got a gennie and solar panels to run air conditioning and our equipment, and the caisson has enough room for all of us to bunk in. The fan noise makes everyone sleep pretty good. So from the air, we look like some desert nomad out in the middle of wherever. It took us a day to get operational, and it's been eat, work, sleep ever since.

There's just a few of us out here. Major Shevchuk, who's our commander, I think he’s from Michigan like Farf-Dad. Cpl. Manny Velasquez, from “by God Texas,” works our comms. He’s got the attitude for Texas, alright. I think he’s trying to forget any EspaƱol he ever learned, seems to think he’s not Mexican just because his granddad slipped across the Rio before my dad did. But he knows his stuff, and he’s OK as long as you don’t try talking politics with him. Sammy T is the other grunt here besides me, he's a black guy from DC, pretty quiet but a good guy. Sammy and me swap between day shift with the Major, and evening shift. Manny takes night time. 'Course, all of us are on 24-hour call if we're needed and kind of back up the posted shift when we're not sleeping. Not much else to do out here besides study, read, or listen to music. We can pipe in whatever music we want off the satellites, and download ebooks off the Army library, but Major Shevchuk wants any of us to be able to run the whole post if we have to, so we spend a lot of time with that. The major is a wizard on a computer, way better than Farf-Dad. But by the time we get home, we'll be able to rebuild a diesel generator in our sleep without having to stop cracking enemy codes or debugging a program, jejeje.

Really, though, the post runs itself now that it's set up. Manny checks the satellite dish alignment every day, me and Sammy T inspect the EMP bomb (which we'll set off if it looks like the post is going to get captured, it will fry every chip in the bag) once or twice a week, and all of us try to keep the dust and sand swept up and out of the filters. The gear's all raised off the floor, so it would take a lot of sand to clog things up, but Major Shevchuk is used to computer labs being clean. We also inspect our arms… not like we have much, just the usual sidearms and a couple of RPG launchers, but it all needs to be kept clean and ready for action. Basic was far too easy, shower-wise. We don’t get a shower out here, we just get a “French Bath” (wipe the sweat off with a damp cloth or wet-wipe). We don’t notice the smell, but I’ll bet it makes the barracks seem like a flowerbed by comparison!

And that's about it from here. Love you guys.

I'm sure glad he's out of the main action. The news was all over the Iranian sea invasion getting repelled last week; they must have decided the best defense was a good offense and got their war on. I suppose the overland route through Iraq is coming next, especially since the south is pretty friendly with the Iranians anyway, although they’ll likely get bombed into the sand going that way. The Russians and Chinese are threatening the junta with “an attack on Iran is considered an attack on us,” with the junta responding, “if that’s the case, then you’ve attacked us first — stop it or we’ll make it stop.” But the only way you would know that the Iranians sunk a couple of their rented tankers in the Straits was that gasoline is suddenly becoming unobtanium. The SPR is probably wide-open for business now, but if the junta has any sense they'll focus on producing enough diesel to keep the farmers and trains going. The gas they'll grab for themselves and their cronies, as always. There are rumors that the Saudis have a pipeline running clear across the country to a mothballed terminal on the Red Sea, and they’re supposedly opening it up now, but I’ll believe it when the imports start coming in again.

Serena and Kim lucked out — she’s now an MP at Ramstein in Germany: vulnerable to terrorist attacks, but you could say that about anyone. Kim is still stateside, and he got the job Rene wanted, teaching English to Hispanic recruits. Seems that the junta extended the service-for-citizenship plan to anyone south of the border, they’re signing up in droves, and the junta wanted a white guy who is fluent in Spanish. When Rene found out about it, he demonstrated his abilities in Standard Military English (nod to David Brin on that one) and laughed his skinny butt off. Kim gets to call Christina a few times a week, and Christina says she’s working on a hormone that can be dispersed over a wide area to make people rational for a change and put an end to this war and junta nonsense. I think she’s joking… I think. But if anyone could pull off a stunt like that, it would be Christina.



  1. Hiya FAR.

    What I do love about your episodes are they are so close to the truth or appear to be.

    One thing that caught my eye was the part about Ramstein. When I first got to Germany, the Red Army Faction set off a car bomb at the USAF HQ, and the second time I was there they did the same thing at Rhine Main AFB. Like I said, your writing hits very close most of the time.

    Looking forward to the next episode.

  2. Hey FM!

    Quite often, the tiniest bit of research (i.e. quick Google) saves me from looking really silly… the rest I can pass off as being a future development!

    I've got the next 10 (I think) episodes lined up & mostly ready to go. I made a last minute change to this one last night, but that's the good part of being ahead: you can fix stuff.

    When I finish up, I'm thinking about going to two posts a week.

  3. Since I look forward to each episode, two posts a week would be great for me.

    How's the wood thing coming along? I read from before where both you and Yopper said it was relaxing. Just as Yopper said, I would be happy to help as long as I had a lawn chair and a beer by my side. Always willing to share any knowledge I have from the comfort of a lawn chair. ;)

  4. The wood thing won't be going too far until the weekend again. It's dark when I get home from work now. Maybe Mrs. Fetched will bring some home as she leaves the chicken houses, but whatever is going to get split will be when I get a chance to have at it.

    Take that, Rove! whack

  5. Hey Far! Gee, I've been so busy! Read this last night and don't know what happened.. Lots of goodies in this story!

    Must be a rather small EMP bomb, eh? Sure hope these babies NEVER get big enough to cause widespread havoc! When I described my scenario over at BNB, most thought for sure, I'd be leading into something like this (the EMP's)...

    Think they'll be able to spot my radar devices from inside my tepee? ha! I suppose, I'd be more worried about the smoke signals! ha! btw, I call ya, when I need some firewood buzzed-up..

    Doesn't oil break down to 2 parts gasoline and one part diesel?

    Gee, Far, I'd be really nice to Christina, if she's capable in delevoping a hormone that can be dispersed over a wide area that would make people rational for a change, she's quite likely to develope something to turn people into bugs!! I'll bet she's getting sponsership from Monsato or somebody.....

  6. Yooper, for an EM pulse to do widespread damage, it has to be at high altitude. Line of sight, ya know. If you've seen the movie "Hidalgo," you'll remember how big those tents are… plenty of room for a satellite dish, especially when all the other interesting stuff is *under* the tent!

    It's been fairly nice here the last couple of days. We let the fire go out so we could scoop the ash. Just restarted it this evening. I know there was a refining tutorial on TOD a while back, showing typical distillate percentages for light & heavy crude, and IIRC it wasn't 2:1 gasoline:diesel.

    Christina's just talking. I think. She's pretty cheesed about her mister being taken away from her though.


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