Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanking

I think it's fair to say that this last year has left many scratching their heads looking for something to be thankful for. For me, it's been the craptastic economy in the San Francisco Bay Area, the fiasco of relocating to Seattle, Washington (And what looks like the return to San Mateo, Ca) and all the devastation that has left in its wake, and the fall out from some social issues.

But for the most of us it's been the passing of many big names in music and the arts, along with the insane, did-not-see-that-coming end to the 2016 presidential election, Standing Rock, race issues, and world affairs. And almost no one is getting out of this year unscathed financially... well, except the rich and those tech fuckers. (And I'll admit tech is starting to feel it at some levels and in some sectors.)

HOWEVER... (There's always an "however".)

If you're reading this, that means you're still substantial in the department of having things. And, we can all be mindful, and thankful, that's there's going to be a tomorrow. So, with that in mind, let me wish you all the best today, and to the end of the year. May your blessings be countless and your tummy ill from poor dinner choices.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to console myself at a local pub. Have a good one.

(Is... is 2016 over yet?)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Heart-felt Words


After two years, now, of living with my heart situation I guess I've become pretty accustomed to it and don't pay it any never mind outside of the occasional impact to my diet or physical output; minor that they are.

However, as normal as it may be to me, it's still certainly not normal to others; specially when these others, such as my friends I'm staying with here in Seattle, have already had another friend nearly die on them after having a heart attack. So I guess, from the other room, it's totally plausible she'd hear "OH MY HEART!"  and be... concerned.

But I've totally reassured them that I'm really okay, and that if anything does go wrong, it'd be quiet, and they'd probably just find my dead corpse the next morning in my bed. You know, because I appreciate their concern. (But really, I do.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pocket Full of Posies Chapter 1 page 24


Wow, the dress code at some bars, I tell you...

Your friendly neighborhood Conductor here, letting you know that we've reached the end of Chapter One of Galactic Gun: The Adventures of Justin Bailey in Pocket Full of Poses; "Turn of a Friendly Card". Our story will be stopping at this station for an extended stay as we refill the tender and top off the boiler. However, there will be some random editions of Stuff: The Bio-Comical Life of a Would-Be Cartoonist to fill in the time until we get rolling, again, with the crew of The No.7.

See you in December for more Sci Fi goodness!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pocket Full of Posies Chapter 1 page 21



 The Second Space Age of Man is often referred to as “The Golden Space Age”; heavily romanticized with epic tales of adventure, danger, and discovery. Whole books and movies have been dedicated to its legends of heroes and peril, as the early Martian astronauts struck out into the vast unknown in great ships with little more than a hope and a prayer to aid them on their way.

But the romance of history often betrays the reality. While it’s true that there were many discoveries during The Second Space Age, and it’s often believed that epic figures, such as Tia Mara the Pirate Queen or The Solar Barons, are based in some sort of factual events, what is often underscored is the not only tedious task of navigating the stars, but – even during The Second Space Age – how truly dangerous that journey could be.

The conquering of the time barrier, the relative breaking of the light speed limit, is generally considered the herald of The Second Space Age of Man; when the great generational star ships departed the Martian system in route to distant stars in a quest to spread out throughout the cosmos, find new resources, and establish mankind as a truly interstellar species. And these massive ships were testaments to the technical achievements of their creators; powerful and complex, carrying thousands of people into the inky unknown safely within their guarded vaults.

Except they were actually anything but safe.

As with most human endeavors eagerness and self-confidence carried the day when actual fact and hardware weren’t available. So while these early, mighty ships were able to travel a thousand light years in only a couple of centuries they only had the most rudimentary provisional support for some of the most prevalent and dangerous hazards to face in space; prolonged exposure to micro-gravity and cosmic radiation chief among them.

Some of the early designs tried to incorporate habitat rings that depended on centrifuge motion to supply a form of artificial gravity. The initial concepts had a habit of jamming up or even tearing tracks and motors during trips; often leading to whole rings having to be abandoned mid trip, which could lead to nightmares of redistribution of supplies and living spaces to accommodate the needs of the ship crew and passengers. In some notable cases – as in the flight of UF 1121 “Hermes” – the main actuator assembly had a catastrophic failure in which it tore through the outer hull of the habitat ring causing a total environmental collapse of the habitat, massive loss of life, and the scrubbing of the settlement mission.

As designs took advantage of new technologies to initially internalize centrifuge habitat rings, before the technology became eventually unnecessary and obsolete, the second hazard to long term space flight provided a much greater challenge; cosmic radiation.  

Emanating from many cosmic bodies and events, cosmic radiation travels for light years in currents through space, often nearly undetectable until it is almost on top of you. Its radiation is potent; able to penetrate many structures and materials, and can – in some cases – kill you within minutes of exposure. And outside the protection of an atmosphere low level constant exposure is an ongoing threat that can have devastating consequences to even the most robust organism.

Initial ships during The First Space Age of Man didn’t travel too far beyond the confines of Mars, earth, and the greater Solar System. These shorter, more close to home journeys weren’t at as much a threat. Establishing of the station colonies during and after The Greatest War utilized burying structures under asteroid surfaces in order to take advantage of the natural protection of the surface.

As travel began to be longer, and at greater, more exposed distances, bulkheads became heavier and more reinforced, and crews spent most of their trip enclosed in shielded pods; often in a form of induced stasis. Better sensors and early warning detection systems meant crews could stay out, and active, longer; being able to retreat to the safety of radiation bunkers within ships. But these options weren’t always reliable and effective, especially when bombardments could last days. And the cost and logistics of building ships with such bulky hulls and costly shielding severely limited the implementation of a stellar fleet

While the development of new plating technologies and the introduction of circulating hull water jackets helped to alleviate the issue some, the final solution came from one of the most unexpected sources; engine design.

The challenge with developing a functional and practical gravity drive came with the high magnetic fields the engine would create during operation. These would have disrupting affects on a wide variety of machinery and computer systems vital to ship operation; not to mention the potential hazards to the health of the crew. During hangar tests and simulations engineers from Orbital Sciences, in conjunction with the Sierra Nevada Corporation, began to experiment with reconfiguration of the engine nacelles and field coils when they found that, under certain parameters, they could form a controllable field around the engine, shunting off magnetic forces and interference to manageable levels.

While this was useful in protecting ship operations, it was the secondary effect that caught the team by surprises; they had inadvertently also created the prefect radiation shielding. The field’s output was acting in much the same way as the field of a planet would, absorbing and deflecting nearly all but the most potent of radiation.

The Boeing 999 was the first ship to employ a combination of the engine field output shielding (EFOS) in combination with new advances in hull fabrication and the circulatory water jacket scrubbing process. A test ship, it demonstrated the effectiveness, and affordability, of the design and revolutionized space travel. Eventually ship manufactures begin to develop their own EFOS systems, and by half way through The Second Space Age of Man, The Golden Space Age, man saw impressive strides to the stars, laying not only the foundations for the romance of the era to follow, but setting the stage for the formation of The United Corporate Commonwealth, and man’s true place among the stars.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pocket Full of Posies Chapter 1 page 19


Watching Green and Mad Man coming in Squawk asked Maps; “How does that prayer go, again; ‘our lord who arte in Nashville; Elvis be his name’…?”

Maps shook her head. “I don’t know, I’m not religious.”

Green pumped his legs hard, but was aware Mad Man was falling behind. “Shake it out solider; we’re gonna miss our bus.”

“I… I don’t…” Mad Man was huffing and puffing hard as he tried to talk. “… not thinking I’m gonna make it, boss.”

“T minus nothing and five, guys!”

Reaching back with his other arm Green took hold of Mad Man’s shirt and with a heave tossed him the last hundred or so feet out over the cliff. Then, with a yell, sprung up in the air in a mighty leap. Seeing their captain now air born, Maps and Squawk looked at each other and followed them out into midair. Just as gravity took hold of them, there was the roar of engines and the humming of gears as the boarding portal on the side of the boxy shuttle slid open. The ship over took them, rolled on its side, and slowed just enough to swallow the group up; the image of the approaching war hawk now filling the open door as they tumbled in. “Now, FF! NOW!”

With the shuttle horizontal, Bailey lit the engines and the shuttle screamed forward out from under the diving war hawk. Green looked back through the still open door and saw the pilot’s last ditch effort to pull up as it slammed into the valley floor, spraying wreckage and fire.

Looking back with a smile Bailey spoke into his headset mic; “Base, this is Tango Tango Two Niner; I have my company and am Romeo Tango Bravo. Over and out.”

Green hit the closure on the shuttle door and began to walk to the front of the shuttle to take the second chair while the rest of the unit settled down in the hold area. “FF, that was yet another direct disobey of orders by a superior and disregard for the chain of command. Aside from Maps’ obligatory call for your court martial-“

“That man has no business in the corps!”

“As I was saying, besides the usual call for your head, what shall I do with you, mister?”

“Give him a couple demerits, boss,” Mad Man, piped up.

“Yeah,” added Squawk, “and make him buy the first round, too.”

“With one dissenting, it’s so noted. Take us home, fly boy; I’m thirsty.”



The night air clung harder to everything than it did in the day; the low drone of the nocturnal wildlife and insects an intermittent symphonic cacophony. Foot traffic was minimal in the dim light of the makeshift outpost, made of small portable buildings and tents. Most soldiers wore only the barest of essentials; fatigue pants, boots, and a light tank top or t-shirt that was, more often than not, stained by sweat and the humidity of the air. From the mess tent Squawk and Mad Man stumbled out, singing some war song, helping each other walk as straight as they could possibly muster between them. Green and Bailey stepped out into the damp night air and watched them as they walked toward the tent barracks.

“Got ourselves a couple days off-duty time, kid,” Green said, with is hand on Bailey’s shoulder. The trace of alcohol evident in his speech. “Any plans?”

“Nah. I’m still in air corps, so I figure I’ll pick up another rotation, tomorrow. Need to batten down the shuttle, first. Give you light weights a chance to sleep it off.”

Green smiled, stepping back with just a little sway in his step. “Okay, then. See you in a couple, Flying Fists. Don’t get your ass shot down, now; I need my best pilot.”

At the makeshift air field the shuttles and other craft were covered by large tarps that were latched to spikes in the ground. In the darkness of night they looked a lot like a field of tiny mountains. Justin stepped up to his shuttle and ducked under the tarp, entering through the shuttle door. In the low light from some of the instruments on standby he could see Maps’ tall slender frame sitting in the second chair, a very large bottle of beer in her hand.

“Maps…?”

She took a drink from her bottle. “You know what I can’t figure out, airman?”

“No, Maps,” he answered as he sat at the pilot’s seat, punching up a display. He turned to look at her. “What?”

“You, that’s what.” She took another long drink from her bottle. “I mean, how does a someone like you,” she said motioning to him, “end up here with us?”

Justin punched up a couple of check lists silently, checked some read outs, and got out of his chair. “I don’t know, Maps,” he started to answer as he opened an access hatch in the hold wall, “maybe I’m just lu-“

“Damn it, that’s what I mean!” Justin wasn’t sure if it was frustration, anger, or just the beer behind her outburst. “I am a lieutenant, airman. You should be addressing me as so, as your su-peer-ior,” she barked with a beer inspired slur. She got out of the second seat and started to stumble her way toward him. “He’s Sargent Mulligan, not ‘Mad Man’. And Specialist Reuder is not ‘Squawk’. And I don’t even wanna go into that trouble ya’ll could have got into, that stunt with Captain Greene.” Her heavy emphasis on her last line threw her slightly off balance, making her brace herself on the bulkhead wall with her hand. She slumped forward into his face with as much a serious look as she could muster.

“One time, to procure something Mad Man couldn’t get on his one, and you’re still bent? We never said he was a colonel; just a friendly – “

“Don’t give me yer lip, airman,” she drunkenly cut him off. She swayed a touch as she pointed at him with her beer laden hand. She tried to get in his face, but Justin went about his work adjusting valves with a couple of spanners from a nearby tool box.

Even in the dim light of the shuttle hold Justin could tell how hard Maps was focusing on him; her eyes a touched blurred by beer. He dropped the spanners back in the tool box and button upped the bulk hatch. Picking up the tool box he walked a few feet over to a floor hatch, knelt down, and opened the hatch. He surveyed another set of pipe gauges and began to tinker with valves.

 “See,” she continued, “I worked damn hard to get where I am. I know the respect and dedication it takes to be a good solider; a good officer. But you, well you’re just some punk kid; all sass and spit and jokes and everyone just loves you.” She stood over him, looking down with condescension in her eyes.

Justin, biting back on his anger, stopped what he was doing, put the spanner down, and looked up at Maps, now looming over him. “With all due respect, LEUITENANT,” he said with sarcastic emphasis, “you can take your man’s army and you can fucking shove it.”

“Ex… excuse me?!”

Justin got to his feet, looking up into Maps’ eyes. “You heard me,” he said, allowing his anger to rise just a little. “I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here at all. I had my way I’d be back with my dad and my crew building homes and colonies and generally feeling good about life. But no, here I am; in the middle of someone else’s hell hole making fly time while people are trying to put holes in me where holes ought not to be.”

This time he stepped into her face with a fierceness she had never seen from him, ever. It took her by surprise, and she retreated a step or two back.

“If I had my way, I’d be back on that tub with my dad, and my company, doing something that matters; making tomorrow for good folks, building futures, and being with the people what matter to me and mine. Instead I’m conscripted into a world of stupid for his majesty’s royal army, playing toy solider, helping clean up some distant cousin’s shame from decades ago for the good of the empire.

You want to be a good little killer? Fine. Go blow holes in people and places; get your shiny metals and your victory parades. But this is your mess I’m stuck in, LEUTIENTANT; so if a few quirky names and a little making jolly gets me through the other side of your sick idea of a life, then that’s what I’m making for.”

Justin stooped down and picked up a spanner. “Now, if you can’t make yourself useful,” he said, waving the spanner at her, “there’s the door,” he said, pointing with it. His face was stern, slightly hardened with anger, while hers was in complete shock. An awkward and uncomfortable silence fell over the hold of the shuttle.

Then, suddenly overcome with bizarre feelings she wasn’t prepared for, Maps reached out, took hold of Justin’s t-shirt, pulled him to her, and planted the most desperate kiss of her life on his lips. Justin, reeling in shock from the unexpected turn of events, lost his footing, and the two tumbled to the floor; her landing squarely on top of him.

“Maps…!? You’re drunk; I don’t think –“

“Oh, for once in your life, Bailey,” she said in a heavy breath, cutting him off, “shut the hell up and just follow orders.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Stuff: See me, hear me, touch me, flare me...


Holy crap, the hoops you have to jump through for a Reddit comics moderator, sometimes.
Hopefully this proves that my "reddit account is the same person as [my] social media or website".


Pocket Full of Posies Chapter 1 page 18


The air was hot, sticky and heavy with the buzzing of insects under the afternoon light; ground shaking as shells exploded around the small unit of four soldiers dressed in jungle fatigues. Just on the edge of a clearing, they took cover behind felled trees and whatever else could shelter them from the endless barrage of fire from across the grassy clearing. Captain Green wiped some dirt from his eyes, sweat beading on his dark skin, as he tried to survey the situation; munitions zipping across the open grasslands.

“FF this is The Colonel; do you copy?” The scratch of static and dead air screamed back into his ear piece as he cupped it in attempt to contact his pilot. “FF, do you copy, over?” Again, nothing. He took cover, again, as another flurry of fire rained down on them.

Green turned back to his unit. “Squawk! Where are you?”

“Here, Colonel,” Squawk replied. His small body was perfectly covered by a boulder overgrown with moss and ferns under the shadow of a large tree. He was so perfectly tucked away that only the occasional hot round zipping by gave his position away.

“I can’t hear; I think we’re being jammed. See what you got on that.”

“On it, boss.” Squawk quickly went to work with some gear he pulled from a pouch on his harness. After a few moments of knob turning and button pushing he looked up, smiling. “You got ears, again, boss. Go.”

“Flying Fists this is The Colonel; do you copy?”

After a couple pops and crackles a familiar and friendly voice broke through. “Got you five by five, Colonel, finally. Stand by I am in route.”

“Negative, FF. The LZ is hot. I repeat: the LZ is hot. Abort extraction and Romeo Tango Bravo.” Green took cover, again, as more fire zipped past, just missing his head. Mad Man, the unit gunner, stood up from his cover just behind The Colonel and laid down a curtain of fire back toward the shooting. The Colonel looked back to see the happiest of grins across Mad Man’s long, pale, thin face.

“Did you copy, FF? I said the LZ is hot. Abort extraction and Romeo Tango Bravo.”

Inside the cockpit of his VTOL pod extractor shuttle, Pilot first class Bailey tapped his heads up, quickly scanning his topography maps. “Copy, Colonel. Confirming change of LZ. Move to…” he looked at a quadrant just west of their current position and smiled, “2.11 north by 36.4 west. Rendezvous in T minus 5 minutes.”

“No, FF! Damn it, I said-“Another barrage of fire cut him off and the unit went deep into their cover. “I am going to beat that kid senseless.” He looked back to his unit. “Maps! Where is 2.11 north by 36.4 west of here?”

Maps, who made it visibly known she hated her nickname every time someone used it, tapped up her heads-up visor and searched her surveys. “That… that can’t be right, sir. That’s nowhere.”

“What? Of course that’s somewhere. Where the Hell is it?”

Another hail of gun fire made them drop back under their cover. Maps peeked out, again. “I mean that’s not anywhere we can go, sir; it’s about three feet off a cliff in midair.”

Bailey pulled hard on the yoke as munitions exploded around his ship. He tapped his comm as the hail call came up. “FF, are you nuts?”

“Not that I know of. Why; what have you heard?”

“FF, that’s nowhere.” Cupping his ear piece, from where he was taking cover, Green could just barely hear Bailey was under fire. “That sounds like engagement, FF!”

“Yes, sir. I picked me up a play date, so I’d be getting busting to those coordinates ‘cause I’ll be coming in fast and hot. You got…” Bailey checked his heads-up displays. “…four and thirty three left.”

Squawk leaned over from his cover, popped off a few rounds, and called out. “What the Hell is he planning?”

Green shook his head. “I don’t think you want to know.” He turned to Mad Man. “I hope you packed it.”

“Never leave home without a Standard Issue Big Gun, boss.” He quickly dropped his pack and began pulling pieces out of it.

“Good, you have our six with cover.” Green then turned to Maps. “You got point. We need to be at that spot in four and…” He checked his watch. “… twenty two, exactly. Squawk, you follow and try to keep an open group channel. We need to know FF’s position as precisely as possible.”

Another barrage forced them to the ground. “Wait,” Maps interjected, “why? What’s going on? What’s he doing?” Then it suddenly hit her. “Son of a bitch, no. No! There has got to be a better, sensible retreat. What about regula-“She was cut off by another barrage. The enemy line was advancing on their position fast.

“You were saying?”

Maps groaned as she got to her feet in a crouch. Squawk worked his transmitter with one hand as he pulled his side arm with the other. They all turned back to Mad Man who had just finished snapping the last piece into a rather frightening looking mini gun. “Right, kids,” he said with a smirk, “here we go!” And, bracing himself with one foot, unloaded his own barrage of fire through the brush and into the open field.

That must have caught their pursuers off guard because all fire stopped. “Now,” Green ordered. The four hustled through the tree line in formation heading north and west. Gun fire resumed slowly and every few paces Mad Man stopped to lay down more cover fire. Enemies were now entering the tree line from the clearing; they could be heard breaking through bushes and yelling their own commands. But Green’s unit was already reaching the other side of the small forest.

Mad Man spun on his heels to lay down another cover barrage. But a few shots in the gun sputtered. He quickly fumbled with it as Green ran back. Return fire zipped by as Mad Man tried to work the gun. Green gripped the over barrel handle to get his attention.
“Damn it, man; move!”

“Hold on, I just need to-“

A few rounds pelted the tree just to their right. The final round struck Green’s forearm. It sparked with cracked metal, splinters of soft, artificial skin, followed by a slight spray of fluids. They dropped into a crouch under the shrub level.

“Gah!”

“Boss?!”

“It’s okay; just machine, no flesh.”

“Let me get up and running and I’ll-“

“Drop the gun and move, solider. I’ll leave you here rather than miss our only pick up.”

Mad Man opened his mouth in an attempt to argue, but an erupting branch over their head cut him short. He threw the gun down and they both sprung to their feet and into a sprint. “Squawk! Where we at,” Green barked out over his comm.

Maps and Squawk had already made position and were low, looking back at the tree line, ready to lay cover fire. Behind them the cliff edge loomed a hundred feet or more over the valley floor; jagged rocks greeting any would be jumper. “T minus one and ten, boss. I’d pick up the pace, if I were you.”

Green and Mad Man emerged from the forest line as a maelstrom of blind fire spewed out around them. Looking ahead, Green could see the shuttle doing its best to avoid taking fire. Bailey was a damn fine pilot for sure, and the shuttle was more agile than its pursuer, but he was out gunned and out throttled.

As he saw the shuttle bank high and begin an angled descent at their position he got back on the comm. “Okay, we got one shot at this. At T minus zero everybody goes straight off that edge.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pocket Full of Posies Chapter 1 page 16



 “Mortan, this has got to be the single dumbest idea you have ever had.”

Mortan stopped tugging on the wrench affixed to the valve. “Wait. I thought coming here was the single dumbest idea I have ever had,” he replied with a grunt.

“Nah, we crashed here, so I think you get a pass on that. Well… depending on how this idiotic scheme plays out, of course.”

“See Georgio, that’s why I married you; your compassion.”

Georgio lifted his binoculars to his face, looking down the path of the water line that led from the pump system back into the hills. “Nope, you can’t sweet talk your way out of KP duty at camp tonight, sweetheart.” With the binoculars still to his eyes Georgio fumbled in his jumpsuit pocket and pulled out a small communicator. “Camp, this is the pump station. Do you copy?”

“Loud and clear, pump station,” came the reply over a hint of static. “We were getting worried you two were taking advantage of the privacy out there.”

“That’s a negative, camp. I have to wake up to his mug every morning. Takes some of the magic out of it, now.”

“Hey,” Mortan exclaimed with one final big tug of his wrench. “Don’t think I won’t remember that remark tonight.”

“Georgio turned to his husband; “you better.” Putting down the binoculars he tapped a few buttons on the pump control and read over the gauges. “I take it back, if this works.”

“It’ll work; you’ll see,” Mortan answered. He tugged a little at the valve, happy it wouldn’t budge easily, and hopped down from the flow assembly. He looked back over the cliff to the barren empty dry land that stretched out toward the horizon. The ringed planet Epison was just coming over the mountain line with the very hint of Pixus – it’s other moon – just beyond it.

“You know,” Georgio said as he stepped up to see the view with Mortan, “it’s a pretty sight… despite, you know, being on one of the ugliest, most lonely rocks in the whole galaxy.”

“For better or worse, dear,” Mortan retorted. “I’m so sorry about ripping you from your aristocratic life at the university, but some successes take actual work. I got this whole thing mapped out; the water from the mountain river below Watt’s Peak comes out at 3200PSI per second. Pump station one sends it out to pump two where the cannons concentrate and aim that force. The collection pumps divert the flow off the side of the hills and into the filter stations along the line. They catch all the minerals we’re looking for and this final pump pulls the waste sludge out here, away from the whole thing.”

A crackle from the communicator interrupted them. “Hey, we have action on the line; the pump ready to go?”

The two men walked over to the pumping system. “Well,” Georgio said with a smirk, “it’s your little brainy scheme, you should have the honors.”

With a sarcastic smile at Georgio, Mortan flipped a pair of switches. The gauges all jumped erratically for a moment as a metallic scratching sound came out of the pump; shuttering as it eagerly pulled down the line. Georgio was sure it was his imagination, but he could almost tell where all the sludge was by where the huge pipeline lurched every so slightly. As the sludge hit the pump and was kicked back out the exhaust end and over the cliff the whole of the pump sudden started to hum with a constant fluidness.

Mortan held out his had as the muck spewed out onto the empty plain. “Ta-da! No more drudging slew lines for hours on end.”

“I dub thee,” Georgio said mockingly – as if holding a sword to the ground – ‘Drudge Falls’.”

A crackle from the communicator interrupted them. “Pump, this is camp! Hole-EE shit! Stations two and three are already filled and one is backing up. We… we got gold, copper, and iron; more than a week’s worth of drudging could have ever turned up! Hot damn, I’m glad you talked us into wasting a whole month of work on this, Mortan!”

Georgio stepped up to Mortan.“You’re insufferable when you’re being smart, you know that, right?” He lifted the communicator; “Camp this is pump. We’re going to be taking advantage of that privacy now. ETA…” He turned to look at Mortan. “Oh, at least an hour. Over and out.” Hooking his arm around his husband, he switched off the communicator and tossed it aside. “Well, looks like the worse is over. So, show me the better, now.”