Day’?s Verse:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…
Philippians 2:3

Titan Software Company Releases Light Box 2007
For immediate release to the press.

November 1, 2007, Redmond, Washington. Titan Software Company has announced the release of its highly anticipated new operating system, Light Box 2007. According to Gloria Jones, a spokeswoman for Titan Software, “This software package will totally revolutionize computer use as we know it.” The new software provides several user levels, ranging from the Home version, for basic users, to the Elite version, which caters to developers and large corporations. Other versions include Business, Ultimate, and Coding, which address additional specific software niches.

“Light Box 2007,” Jones says, “is the operating system for all applications and users. Where before a software company might run on Unix and Jane Homemaker used Windows, now one operating system serves all these functions. This is the most stable, most configurable, and simplest operating system ever invented. A three-year-old could understand it, but a fifteen-year coding veteran would find it perfect for his needs, too.” Jones demonstrated a computer that controlled a series of manufacturing robots running smoothly under control of the new Light Box 2007 Elite operating system. Another computer, configured with the Light Box 2007 Home version, played music and popped up a window for browsing the Internet with Titan’s Surfer web browser. The operating system also provides a modified platform readily compatible with all current PDAs and cell phones.

Titan Software’s stock increased by 15% with the release of the new software as order poured in for the new operating system. All major computer manufacturers have signed on to install the Light Box 2007 software package, and Titan Software reports that 95% of the world’s utilities have announced an upgrade to the new system. Additionally, many government agencies and private corporations are expected upgrade their computer systems.

Titan Software Company is a subsidiary of Janus, Inc.

Continue reading.

Posted on Earth First!’s web site
…before we can truly come into harmony with the earth, humans must realize that they can’t continue dominating and destroying Nature as we do now. This domination takes many forms and is so prevalent in society today that we can hardly begin to enumerate them. When you get in your car to drive to work, you dominate Nature by utilizing ecosystem-destroying roads, owning a vehicle whose manufacture and operation pollute the Earth, and not least by burning fuel ripped from the depth of the Earth and transported thousands of miles, only to be burned and released as CO2 into the atmosphere. When you fly to Hawaii for vacation, you release more tons of greenhouse gasses in that one trip than the rest of the year, thus contributing to global warming and ultimately destroying the cycle that has preserved life for millions of years—just so you can bring a cloth-and-plastic lei back for your niece!

Air travel in particular perpetuates this destruction/domination cycle. We object most strenuously to the prevalence of flying, and we will perform a demonstration some time today that will bring our objection to the forefront of popular media…

Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.

Heaving a long sigh, Phoenix Drake reflected that he had certainly earned his first-class seat in this Airbus A380. Working for the government didn’t usually result in such luxuries—Drake had arrived in Japan in a Chinese junk that, he thought, probably qualified to be on display in the Smithsonian. The tag would say, “Oldest Still-Functional Watercraft,” or something. But then, he’d been hot on the heels of Chu Ooi, the notorious cyberterrorist who had threatened to crash all the high speed trains in Japan simultaneously if he didn’t receive some outrageous demands. Nix didn’t even remember what the demands were. Not his job. No, he’d caught Ooi with his pants quite literally down in a situation that was as sticky as a bag of Halloween candy left sitting on a heat vent overnight. Thankfully, Nix never went into such situations unprepared, and he left with Ooi safely in tow. The girl he’d left behind, but not before imparting some information he considered crucial for the girl’s ongoing personal hygiene.

“Just another day’s work,” Nix murmured exhaustedly, sipping champagne and glancing around him. Though propelled by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, Nix noticed barely a vibration as he set his glass onto his table. This plane was really marvelous. It was gleaming new, perfect in every way, it provided free high-speed Internet access even at 38,000 feet, didn’t skimp on leg room for even economy passengers (Nix had glanced back that far when he boarded, just to gloat a bit) and left even Nix—a large man by any standards—with room to loll and relax after his hard work. Oh, yes, Nix had certainly earned this comfort. He might as well be comfortable on this long flight from Japan to Seattle, especially since flying hardly ranked among his favorite activities.

Idly Nix pulled out his laptop and began a list:
Least Favorite Activities.
Staring blankly at the screen, Nix decided he was too tired to even quantify and organize thoughts about things he hated. Instead, he decided to write an email to his mother, Geraldine Drake. She was probably worrying about him, gallivanting off after what she called “bad guys,” as if Nix were James Bond fighting some clearly defined Evil. Ruefully, Nix shook his head.

“If only I was half as talented as 007,” he muttered to himself. True, he was a crack shot with his favorite custom-made pink derringer; and, as an ex-Navy Seal, he did possess some pretty sweet personal defense moves. He particularly liked knowing that he could toss almost anybody over his shoulder. “Helps self-confidence,” his instructor had said, and sure enough, Nix never worried. Then again, he’d never had self-confidence issues. Too, he had finally graduated from college and was the proud possessor of a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Women—well, women didn’t exactly swoon at the sight of him, although Nix couldn’t understand why not. He worked out, lifting weights and running diligently. He could quote poetry. He planned romantic evenings for that wonderful moment when some woman did accept his advances. He liked puppies and could talk about his feelings.

“What more could she ask for?” he asked rhetorically, and was surprised when a feminine voice nearby answered.

“For you to be home more often?”

“What?” Nix glanced around, flummoxed. Wow! The woman standing next to his chair, dressed in a navy blue uniform that only accented her incredibly lush figure, smiled in a friendly way. The drinks cart, and indeed the entire aircraft, faded into insignificance as Nix beheld this vision.

“I mean,” she clarified, “maybe your girl wants you to be home more often. Otherwise what would she have to complain about, with a man like you?” Blue eyes assessed him frankly, approval registering in her face. Her teeth were very white, Nix noticed, her hair gleamed in brown waves down her shoulders, and her shapely, nylon-sheathed legs tapered into neat ankles that made him tingle. Nix couldn’t resist gorgeous ankles.

“I don’t think so,” Nix contradicted, then kicked
himself. “I mean, um, I don’t actually have anybody at home. I mean, I have my mom…” Dang! This just wasn’t going the way Nix hoped.

“That’s, er…” she paused for a moment, at a loss. “Sweet. Real sweet. Can I get you anything more to drink?” The flirt had left her voice, replaced by a businesslike tone that dropped Nix’s heart right into his toes.

“Orange juice please,” he said, glancing away. She poured the juice, placed it with a bag of peanuts on his table, and moved on to the next passenger, leaving Nix to groan in exasperation. “Great job, you big boob,” he hissed to himself. He nibbled the peanuts and sipped the orange juice, wishing now he’d asked for something more manly. Oh well; he still had to email his mom. Her hemorrhoids were probably bothering her again, and Nix hadn’t been there to listen to her for the last few weeks while hunting down Ooi. Mom definitely would want to talk to him by now.

Logging on, Nix saw that he had a few work emails that needed attending to, as well. Marion warned him of an upcoming assignment involving renegade streetlights; Jim had asked him to be sure to send him a copy of the code Ooi had written; and Jake’s half-dozen emails looked too brainy for Nix just now. Who knew what that kid would want next—a dissertation on the nature of time and its relationship to malicious computer code, perhaps.

The orange juice long gone, Nix decided this would probably be a good time to check out the restroom facilities. He expected them to be as spectacular as the rest of the plane. Moving up the aisle, Nix passed a silver-haired man with a pet carrier in the seat next to him. “Ooooh,” Nix cooed, “Is that a kitty cat?”

The man glanced from his tablet PC to smile at Nix. “It sure is. You like cats?”

“I love cats,” Nix enthused, “they’re so soft and fuzzy and loving. And playful. What’s your cat’s name?” The man opened the carrier and produced an incredibly fluffy white cat, which looked somewhat disgruntled.

“She’s doped up on Dramamine,” he said, then seeing Nix’s confused expression, explained: “She doesn’t like flying any more than I do. But it’s a necessary evil this time, I guess.”

“True,” Nix agreed. “I’d much rather stay on the ground, thank you very much. Flying over the ocean makes me so nervous, especially. But at least—er, what’s her name?”

“Jasmine,” the man said. “She’s my sweet flower, a reminder of why I do what I do.”

“How wonderful she could come with you today,” remarked Nix, handing the limp cat back into her owner’s outstretched hands. “Do you have any other pets?”

“One Siamese. I actually bought him in Thailand,” the man said. “He’s too nervous to travel at all, though.”

“I’m sure he’s looking forward to having you and his furry companion home again.”

“I’m sure he would be,” the man agreed noncommittally, glancing back at his computer screen. “If you don’t mind…” he motioned to indicate he had work to do. Nix saw a complicated-looking program on the screen, some sort of flying simulator, perhaps.

“Certainly. I was just on my way.” Moving back up the aisle, Nix noticed two men in black-and-white checked Arab-style turbans and long, pale robes. They, too, had their laptops out and were busily clacking away at the keyboards. Amazing, thought Nix, how you got so many different types of people thrown together in a situation like flying on a plane. Probably they’d just made a killing selling oil to the Japanese. Then he looked ahead and saw with dismay the occupied light lit above the bathrooms. Well, even first class could only have so many bathrooms. Resigned, Nix moved into place to wait.

Glancing idly around, he saw the flight attendant who had served him orange juice looking nervous. Gallantly he moved closer and inquired, “Is everything OK?”

“Fine,” she replied perfunctorily. Then she looked up, and seeing Nix’s stricken look, softened her tone. “I apologize, sir. Just routine concerns.”

“Alright,” Nix agreed, but as he was about to step away, one of the pilots stuck his head out the door. “Janine, we’ve got a serious problem here,” he said. The flight attendant waved Nix back and moved in to talk with the pilot. Nix stayed where he was. The pilot looked very pale, the whites of his eyes showing clearly beneath tousled hair and a slightly rumpled uniform.

“What is it, Captain?” Janine put her hand on his arm in a protective way, bringing a pang of jealousy to Nix regardless. Even so, the pilot’s evident distress drew Nix involuntarily a step closer. He clearly heard the next words:

“Don’t tell the passengers yet, but we’ve lost control of the plane. The copilot and I are no longer telling this aircraft where to go.”

Or: My NaNoWriMo profile.

KF quality

9 thoughts on “Action Novel: Day 1

  1. Katie,
    A good start to the story. I like the way that you broke it off with a hook for the next chapter.

    I am not sure I am crazy about intentionally including bad similes. To anyone outside our family, they are just bad writing.

    You might want to introduce a few more characters before the action gets too dramatic.

    Good luck!


  2. Hey, Deborah makes a good point. The “Personal” section of your web page shows you still a senior in college with a mail contact address a WPI PO box…

  3. I’m excited! I don’t actually know anything about this one, so it will be a surprise to me. I love how it starts with the vignettes, just like a Cussler novel would, although there’s no Civil War ironclad bearing a priceless Incan artifact getting lost looking for the Northwest Passage.

  4. P.S. I love Phoenix Drake as a name, although Nix is a strange and slightly confusing nickname. (Cussler always refers to male characters by their last names.)
    Hee, he already has more character development than Dirk Pitt. Thinking about how women might react to him, as opposed to the guy who randomly gets girls even though he never does anything that might conceivably attract them.

  5. Great start, Katie…

    I am not so sure about “cooing” over the “kitty cat”. Seemed like a very effeminate reaction to the cat…if the cabin attendant heard that conversation, Nix wouldn’t have to worry about his Mom being the “girl” back home…he would have already dumped any chance with the attendant.

    Loved the ending…can’t wait for the next installment.


  6. Deborah and Mom: You’re right, the profile is somewhat outdated. I’ve updated it.

    Dad: I think you’re also correct, that although I’d enjoy sticking bad similes and metaphors in, I’ll leave them out for now. They’ll be easy enough to add in later, and if I recall correctly from last year, I came up with some amusing turns of phrase accidentally anyway.

    Colleen: I have switched from Nix to Drake. Nix will be reserved for what girls call him. 🙂

    Nana: Oh, just wait. This is all part of the plan.

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