Chapter IV - Junk


Unknown Enemy
I guess I've delayed this long enough. Here's chapter IV then. Please note that this chapter did not go through the usual polishing process. As such, there will be a lot of errors, slip-ups and mistakes, and I'm expecting you to hunt them all down

Also, a few other notes, mainly for those of us who didn't play WC 2 SO 2. In the game, Maniac actually commanded a squadron of test pilots. They were testing the Morningstar fighter. Unfortunately, there was a traitor amongst them. When the traitor stole a Morningstar, she planted some explosives on the flight deck of the Concordia. As a result, Maniac's squadron effectively ceased to exist - of it's four members (that includes Maniac himself), one was the traitor, another died in the explosion, another still (Talon)... well, you'll see
... leaving only Maniac. Blair and Maniac then went with Paladin into the Ayer's system, where they eventually destroyed the asteroid base belonging to the Mandarin movement (the traitors). WC2 SO2 ends after Paladin & Co. return to the Concordia. So, that should give you a bit more info on what's going on, Matrix

Another note: The Kilrathi rank of Fourth Fang is the equivalent of 2nd Lieutenant.


IV. Junk.
It was several hours later. They were gathered on the bridge, even as the TCS Krak’ni’hra continued on its voyage through the Canewdon system. Once again, Weaver wondered exactly where it was they were going, and why. Well, no matter. It looked as though he would find out very soon. He glanced at Paladin, who was standing by one of the windows. His face still bore the marks of anger, Lawrence noted.
It had been just a few minutes ago that Weaver had the rare – at least he hoped so – opportunity to be the very person that Paladin focused his anger on. But he may have been right, Weaver grudgingly admitted.
“You have a lot ta learn ‘bout responsibility, boy!” The Colonel had told him then. “When ye fly out thar, it’s not just yer own skin ye risk – yer wingmen, yer shipmates – we all live or die depending on what you do!”
He seemed to have a point, Lawrence ruefully admitted. The more he thought about what Paladin had said, the more he could see that point. When one is a soldier, one is never alone.
“All right then.” Taggart’s voice pulled him back to the present. “Now, if there won’t be any interruptions this time,” and Paladin pointedly turned to stare at Weaver, “perhaps I can explain to you what our mission here is.
“Several weeks ago, the Kilrathi launched a lightning-fast offensive into this sector. Their forces captured the Deneb sector Headquarters within just six hours. Since then, they had been rapidly consolidating their hold on this sector. Our Sixth Battle Fleet, which was stationed in this sector, appears to have been nearly completely destroyed during the fighting. However, a few Confederate ships from other fleets – most notably the Concordia – had maintained a foothold in the sector until they had finally been ordered to retreat two or three days ago.
“However, I believe that the Sixth Fleet’s destruction had not been as complete as it seems. After all, it takes quite a bit of time to completely sweep a whole sector free of hostile ships. The Kilrathi did not have this sort of time; their attack had proceeded too rapidly to do this immediately, and later on Confed reinforcements required more than a bit of Kilrathi attention.”
“So, we’re here on an S and R?” Weaver threw in.
“Essentially.” Paladin replied. “Actually, I’m hoping to also gather some intelligence while we’re out here. But yes, basically our mission is to seek out any survivors from the destroyed fleet, and bring them home. Now, the Concordia has previously operated out of this system, so we’re gonna have to go further into Kilrathi territory. That is why we’re heading for the jump point into the Deneb system. Once we’re in Deneb, we’ll set up camp – so to speak – in the asteroid belt, and search the system for survivors.”
Lawrence looked at Paladin curiously. This was not at all what he had expected. This man was utterly unlike Javelin. What contrast there was between the two – one abandoned his wingman while the other would risk his life to rescue people he’d never even met! More and more, Weaver wondered about the various people he had worked with during the last few years. Were there such contrasts amongst them, too? Were some brave, others cowards? He had rejected them all, not willing to take a chance. Suddenly, he froze. Did that not make him a coward?
No, that’s not true, he thought. I nearly died out there today, and fear never crossed my mind. And yet...
What odd contrasts there can be between men; what odd contrasts there can be within a man? To be fearless – even foolhardy – in the face of death, and yet to fear betrayal. Was it paranoia or mere childishness?
“Lieutenant, wake up!”
“What... Oh. Sorry, sir.” He replied when Paladin’s voice finally pulled him back to reality.
“Is your ship back on line now?”
“Yes, sir. I think we got most of the damage fixed.”
“We?” Taggart asked curiously.
“Er... Rhe’dhi helped me. He offered to, and I didn’t see any reason to refuse him.” Weaver explained, somewhat nervously.
“I see. That’s perfectly all right.” More than all right, Paladin thought as he smiled inwardly. With just a bit more help, this kid might finally break out of that shell. “Well then. Are you ready to get back out there?”
“Yes, sir!” Weaver replied eagerly, with a brisk salute. After spending a few hours repairing his ship, he needed to relax. And there’s no better way to relax than a joyride in a Ferret, he thought.
“All right then. You and Rhe’dhi will patrol the area directly ahead of us as we head towards the jump point. Now get suited up.”
“Yes, sir!” Lawrence’s reply was – if possible – even more eager. He turned and almost ran towards the door.
“Oh, Lieutenant?” Paladin’s voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Try not to lose your wingman this time.”
“I...” Weaver was about to object, but wisely decided against it. Like the child that misbehaved one time too many, he instinctively knew that Taggart’s patience was wearing thin. “Yes, sir.”
Captain Burkheimer, who had been listening to the exchange from his post at one of the computers looked up, giving the Lieutenant a brief, but searching glance as the young man left the bridge. Then he turned, and his gaze met that of Rhe’dhi, the young Kilrathi pilot. The question in Talon’s eyes was so plainly visible that it needed no words to express it. Weaver’s last ‘yes sir’ should have been at the least quite reluctant. So why had there been a note of enthusiasm in the young man’s voice?
Rhe’dhi, his eyes sparkling, gave him what resembled a smile. They stood there, grinning at each other for a few seconds. Finally, the Kilrathi saluted him, and left the bridge.
* * *
With a rough jolt, the Ferret pulled away from the Krak’ni’hra. One by one, he tested all the systems. The shields were fully charged. The controls handled smoothly. The guns – he held down the trigger for several seconds – they worked just fine. As a matter of fact, everything seemed to work fairly well – though not perfectly. Finally, he turned the ship in the direction of the jump point. He was about to switch to full power, but then he remembered Rhe’dhi. He set his speed to the fastest the Broadsword could handle, and left it at that. Maybe it was better this way. The last few hours had given him a lot to think about. The slower they would go, the longer he could think. And he needed all the time he could get.
“All right, Rhe’dhi.” He spoke into the comm system. “You’re coming along. But maintain comm silence. I’d like to have some peace.”
“Vherhi whel. Bhat... r’mm’br whath I thould yho.” Came the reply.
Yes, Weaver thought. Remember. In truth, it had not been Paladin that had persuaded him to stay with Rhe’dhi. It had been Rhe’dhi himself, challenging Weaver to rethink his own behaviour. He gave him a great deal to think about. Even now, as the two ships sped towards the jump point, Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence was looking back at that conversation...
* * *
“...Did I nhoth phroove thath tho yho? I amh hon yhorh sidhe.” The Kilrathi had asked him.
Weaver put his hands on the side of the Ferret, pulling himself up so he could look the Kilrathi in the face. “You don’t understand. I’ve been betrayed once before, and once is enough. I feel safer when I’m alone out there. At least then there’s nobody to betray me.”
Rhe’dhi studied the man in front of him. What a curious creature, he thought. Such gaps in his logic. “Anhd... when yho where ab’ot tho die out there thodhay – alhone – did yho fheelh safhe then?”
Lawrence turned back to the Ferret. For a few minutes, he seemed to forget that the Kilrathi was with him. Rhe’dhi sighed. Perhaps there was no way to break the wall that this young Terran had put up around himself.
The silence continued. Both man and Kilrathi now seemed to be totally focused on the repairs of the ship.
“No.” Suddenly Weaver answered Rhe’dhi’s question. “No, I didn’t. But I could have made it alone.”
“Khoudh yho? Rheallhi?” The Kilrathi pilot seemed sceptical.
“Well, even if I would’ve died, so what?” Lawrence burst out. “’With my mane bowed, I lie down And offer up my life’ – as you Kilrathi say.”
“’Offher ap mhy lhife – fhor honour’.” Rhe’dhi corrected him. “Bhat, arh yho shore ofh that? Mhake nho mhisthake - whe Kilrathi dho nhot askh our philoths tho jhusth throw awhay ther lhife. Anhdh whas that nhot what yho w’re dhoingh?”
“I don’t know.” Weaver replied in a slightly tormented voice. “I don’t know what to do anymore.”
“I whill thell yho. Yho sheem tho knhowh the Kilrathi khreed ofh shervis. I knhowh yhor whinghmhan’s khreed. Lhisthen tho mhe, andh thinkh abhout these whords.” He paused, concentrating on the correct pronounciation. “’Withouth mhy whingman I amh nothing. Without mhe, mhy winghman is nothing. Only thogether can whe achieve What our khause has khalld us tho complete.’”
As they flew now towards the jump point, what Weaver remembered most were those particular words that Rhe’dhi had told him. Lawrence had known those words. He had heard them spoken hundreds of times. At the academy, on the carrier, in the research base. But Javelin had spoken those same words so often. In the end, Weaver no longer saw the meaning that had originally been behind them; rather, he saw irony and hypocrisy. Empty words, to give false comfort to the naïve. Until now. He had never heard them spoken the way Rhe’dhi spoke them – with faith.
‘Without my wingman I am nothing. Without me my wingman is nothing.’ There was a not-so-subtle message in there, Weaver realised. As he did so, his thoughts went back to the conversation he had with Paladin after he finished repairing the Ferret.
“Sir, I could have handled those ships by myself.” He told Paladin.
“Perhaps. Yes, I imagine you could have; by weaving in and out of the asteroids.” Paladin had replied. “In a Ferret, you had no trouble manoeuvring out there. But what if it had been Rhe’dhi who encountered them? Would a lone, slow Broadsword handle those ships? We both know the answer to that question, Lieutenant.”
Indeed, they did, Weaver thought as he glanced at his radar. All clear. But there was still plenty of time before they would reach the jump point. Anything could happen. So, what if the Broadsword had been flying alone then? Rhe’dhi would’ve died. He certainly wouldn’t have managed to get away – not in that crate.
Well, so what? He hadn’t asked for his company. The Kilrathi could have stayed on board the Krak’ni’hra.
But he had been assigned as his wingman. It had been Weaver’s duty as wingleader to help his wingman. Certainly, Rhe’dhi hadn’t hesitated to perform his duty; to protect his wingleader.
All this sounded altogether too familiar to Weaver. Only last time this happened, Weaver was playing a different role...
A warning beep. They were almost at the jump point. “Rhe’dhi?” Lawrence spoke into the comm system. “Your radar’s range is longer than mine. Do you see anything out there.”
There was several seconds’ silence, and then the Kilrathi’s voice came through the system. “Nho. All ish khlear. Bhat I amh noth yeth in rhange ofh the jamp point.”
Good. Weaver sighed with relief. He had already fought the enemy once today. And that was definitely enough for one day. Particularly as long a day as this one had been.
“Weaver!” Rhe’dhi’s voice was not so much nervous as it was alert. “I have rhadar khontakht. One grray point, bhat a lharge one!”
The Lieutenant glanced at his own radar. Nothing yet. But then, the Broadsword had a more powerful radar than the Ferret. A large point? Obviously it would be bigger than a fighter. And it was between them and the jump point. “Let’s fly in a bit closer.” Weaver finally decided. Decided – he grinned. As if they had any choice, the way things stood. “And keep scanning all frequencies. Maybe we can identify it if we hear their communications.”
* * *
“Ye miss it, don’t ye?” Paladin gently asked Talon. It had been nearly two hours since Weaver’s flight went out, but Talon kept glancing in that direction, as if still expecting to see the two ships.
Instead of answering, Captain Burkheimer stood up. He walked away from the console, finally stopping at the huge window that formed the front part of the bridge. He leaned against it.
Colonel Taggart frowned. He understood what the boy was going through, but he needed him to be paying attention – not wallowing in memories. Particularly not now. They were alone on the bridge, the Kilrathi Khantar having excused himself to get some rest. Out here, in enemy territory, there was no telling what could happen. That’s why he needed Talon to focus on the present, or rather on the radar array. In an hour, they’d reach the jump point to Deneb, and even with the two fighters out there, he couldn’t be sure it would be safe.
Talon still remained silent. Finally, Paladin got up from the console. He took one quick glance at the radar, and then walked up to where Jeff was standing.
“God dammit, yes.” Talon sighed. “To be out there is to be free! I loved it. But…” he lifted up his right hand, looking at it with intense concentration in his eyes.
Paladin too, gazed at the boy’s hand – and at his face. He saw beads of perspiration appear on his forehead, the eyes narrowing; as if he was performing a feat of superhuman strength. Slowly, the boy’s fingers closed into a fist, but not quite. It was as if he just didn’t have the strength. Finally, Talon sighed, and used his left hand to close the right one.
“Heh.” He said, a bitter smile on his face as he turned towards Paladin. “You know, people say all sorts of things about Major Marshall. They say he’s nuts. They say he’s too irresponsible to command a squadron. But they’re wrong. Oh,” he continued, seeing Taggart’s sceptical expression, “I don’t mean a frontline squadron. Nah, he’d never manage that. Probably would resign within a few weeks. But a test pilot squadron… He was the best leader possible. People worry that his crazy flying style will rub off on his subordinates.” Talon shook his head. “It didn’t. But his love of flying did. Oh, we did some crazy things in those Morningstars. You know, we really pushed the envelope. And it wasn’t because of Maniac’s style.”
Paladin smiled. “Yes, I know what Maniac’s like. I remember when he and Blair first came on the Tiger’s Claw. But…”
“But why am I talking about Maniac?” Jeffrey grinned. “I guess I’m just trying to explain why I miss flying so much. God, they should assign Maniac to the Academy. With him there, every one of those recruits would learn to truly love this.” He made a broad gesture, as if wanting to encompass all the stars in a single sweep of his hand.
The Colonel also smiled. The thought of Maniac back at the Academy was enough to brighten up any conversation. Confed High Command would probably court-martial somebody for the mere suggestion. “Listen, lad.” Now it was Paladin’s turn to gaze out on the stars, an odd look of longing on his face. “You don’t need to explain to me. It’s been over ten years since I retired – but I still miss it. God, what I would do for a joyride in a Rapier! As you can see though, there’s nothing I can do about that. Which,” his smile became even wider. “Is exactly why – when they offered me a desk job – I requested one where I could strap some afterburners to the desk. As you can see, I got my dream desk.” He pointed at the bridge behind them. “This may not be what I had out there, but it’s close enough for me. Lad, there are other ways to fly. Your injury doesn’t leave you completely grounded. So, lighten up.” He patted the boy’s shoulder, and went back to his seat.
Talon, seemingly engrossed in his thoughts, stared at his right hand, as he ran the left over the scars. The explosion on the Concordia’s flight deck ruined his career. But perhaps Paladin was right? Maybe there were other ways to fly? He sat down at his console. Here he was – a radar array in front of him. The stars were before him. Beneath his feet, he felt the powerful engines of the Krak’ni’hra as they rushed towards the jump point. Wasn’t this what he longed for, after all? “This may not be what I had out there, but it’s close enough for me.” He quietly repeated Paladin’s words. Maybe – maybe it was close enough. He smiled, and devoted his full attention to the radar.
* * *
“Nothing. No response on any channel.” Weaver finally announced, as he flew past the seemingly derelict hulk yet again. “I guess the Kilrathi trashed it completely.”
“Weaver, therr is sumthingh wrongh hheer.” Rhe’dhi’s voice came over the comm system. “Shiph lhike thiss… It whouldhn’th ssurvhaiv a Kilrathi attackh.”
Lawrence frowned. That was true enough. And yet, here it was, drifting peacefully towards the Deneb jump point. “Well, it’s definitely badly damaged.” He said, as he looped under the main hull to see the engines. “Just look at it’s engines… and it’s ion trail goes off the scale. It must be a major leak.”
“Purrhaps the enghinss ehxphlodhed?”
“Yeah… or it could be cumulative sys failure. I mean, look at this thing… it’s an antique.” He flew past a seemingly ancient laser turret. “I didn’t think Confed used those old Draymans any more.”
“Weaver!” The tone of Rhe’dhi’s voice made Lawrence involuntarily turn his head towards his wingmate. But the Broadsword seemed to be fine, where it was hovering ‘above’ the wreck. Radar was clear too. But then, Weaver was in the Drayman’s radar shadow.
“What is it, Rhe’dhi?”
“Whath yho ssad. Lhookh. The shiph hhas nho Khonfhed mharkhings.”
Damn, how could I have missed that? Weaver thought. “You’re right. As a matter of fact, it has no markings whatsoever!” He slowed down, approaching the underside of the ship even closer. Then he pulled up towards the thin section where the large cargo module met with the main part of the ship. “Damn! Would you look at that!” He said, half to himself.
“Whath? Weaver?”
“There’s a fighter docked here! And it’s also unmarked.”
“Thiss is sstranghe. Ish the fhighther as h’oldh as the shiph?”
“I think it’s even older! I flew one of these – back at the Academy. It’s a Scimitar class medium fighter. Rhe’dhi, how far away is the Krak’ni’hra?”
“Anatherr thenn mhinetss is mhy esthimhait.”
“All right. I think I’d better let him know about this.” Weaver stated, even as he pulled clear of the Drayman.
“R’mm’brr, kheeph it shorth. Nho thime to trhase.”
* * *
“Rodent found pile of junk near springboard.”
Colonel Taggart continued staring at Talon. “What on earth could he mean? Assuming, of course, that rodent is Weaver. Are you sure that was the entire transmission?”
Captain Burkheimer turned back to the console. “Yep. It looks like that’s it. Rodent found pile of junk near springboard. I guess he didn’t want to give the enemy time to trace him.”
“Yes. Well, assuming rodent is Weaver – Ferret, I guess – then I guess springboard must mean jump point.”
“Makes sense. But what’s a pile of junk?”
Paladin shrugged. “I don’t know. I imagine it makes sense to Weaver, though. At any rate, he’s found something at the jump point. The message doesn’t sound like a warning though.” He mused. “So, I guess we can keep going at full speed.” He switched on the comm-unit. “Hharak? I think we’ll need you on the bridge.” Shutting off the comm, he turned back to Talon. “But what on earth did they find? That lad’s got a thing or two ta learn ‘bout communication.”
* * *
“Good grief!” Paladin exclaimed. “’Tis indeed a pile of junk!” He and Hharak were standing at the window, staring at the stricken freighter.
“Ahh… ah Drayman khlass. Thiss bringss bhak mhem’reess.” Hharak had the grace to look uncomfortable. “I… desstroy’dh mhorr than a fehw ofh theess, when I whas sstill a Fang.” He cast an apologetic glance towards his human ally.
“Aye lad, I’m certain you did.” Taggart replied, giving the Kilrathi a friendly pat on the shoulder. “But that’s all past now.” He continued, not noticing the surprised look Hharak gave him. Certainly, there was no such informality on board any Kilrathi vessel.
“Colonel?” Talon’s voice interrupted them. “Rode… ah, Weaver is hailing us on short-range.”
“All right, lad. Put him through on the speakers.”
“Yes, sir…” he replied, flicking a switch.
“Colonel? Do you copy?” Weaver’s voice emerged out of the speakers.
“We read you, loud and clear. What’ve you to report?”
“Sir, the Drayman appears to be disabled. I don’t know what happened to it, but its engines are totalled. It’s moving towards the jump point on momentum. But… sir, this thing’s unmarked.”
“What?” Paladin took another look at the old ship ahead of them. They were still some ways off, but any markings would have been visible by now. “Damn, but you’re right!”
“There’s more, Colonel. There’s a Scimitar docked with it. Also unmarked.”
James frowned. Civilians were required to register their ships. Particularly combat vessels. This unmarked ship was suspicious, to say the least. But if there were people on board, they couldn’t in any conscience leave them behind – even if they were pirates… or Mandarins. Quickly, he made up his decision. “Lieutenant, how’s your fuel?”
“I’ve got plenty. Didn’t use much this time out.”
“All right, then. Stay where you are. I’ll need you out there if the enemy appears.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Rhe’dhi? Do you copy?” Paladin continued.
“Fourth Fang Rhe’dhi rrep’rrtingh.”
“Return to the Krak’ni’hra. We’ll need transport to the Drayman.”
Captain Burkheimer looked up from the console. “What are you planning, Colonel?”
Paladin grinned at the young man. “Why, a rescue of course.”


Ok. Commence commenting.
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It sucks, it sucks so much that I like it.

It's actualy great, just like the first three chapters. But it's to short, I can't wait to see what's up with that Drayman. Also, why can't the Kamekh just dock with the 'sport?
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It's longer than the other chapters

"Why can't the Kamekh just dock with the Drayman?"

1. Because it's still moving towards the jump point. Jump points tend to be fairly dangerous areas when they're in enemy space. To be there longer than necessary, would be a bad thing.
2. If a wing of Kilrathi happened to fly by, it probably wouldn't take more than a few potshots to finish off the Drayman (if you've played WC 1, y'know what I mean). The Kamekh definitely does not want to be caught up in the blast. The smaller fighters, on the other hand, are fast enough to pull out before the blast.
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This is surely building up suspense!

About the jump point: How far away from the destroyed Drayman is it supposed to be? It definitely has to be some noticable distance there. Otherwise it would be too dangerous to examine the wreck by going aboard because the alert time woud be too short if some cats jumped in.

No one will hear your cry of death in the void of space

[This message has been edited by Nighthawk (edited February 14, 2000).]
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Actually, it's not all that far away from the jump point. Another reason not to dock with the Kamekh. I guess you're just gonna have to hope they're not interrupted
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Cool! Something's happening. =)
Since it is a new piece I have plenty of comments. As always, I get to make them and you get to ignore them. =) We have an understanding, so *deep breath* here goes. BTW, It's all a bit cryptic but makes for more 'versation.

"appears to have been nearly completely destroyed" - "Nearly" is "almost" odd.
"it takes quite a bit of time to completely sweep a whole sector free of hostile ships" - Er...okay. I got it after the third read.
"The Kilrathi did not have this sort of time; their attack had proceeded too rapidly to do this immediately, and later on Confed reinforcements required more than a bit of Kilrathi attention." - Long and windy.
"Actually, I’m hoping to also gather some intelligence" - I'm "also hoping to" gather some intelligence...I'm in dire need. =)
"what odd contrasts there can be within a man?" - "A man" is any "one man."
"Is your ship back on line now?" - Online.
"And there’s no better way to relax than a joyride in a Ferret, he thought." - I thought he knew? =) Dunno why, but the "he thought" seems unnecessary, especially since you abruptly switch from narrative to first person in several places...and get away with it. =)
"Captain Burkheimer, who had been listening to the exchange from his post at one of the computers looked up, giving the Lieutenant a brief, but searching glance as the young man left the bridge." - Unweildly. Shorten eg. remove "at one of the computers" and the last comma.
"at the least quite reluctant." - Not "quite."
"challenging Weaver to rethink his own behaviour. He gave him a great deal to think about." - Consider changing one re/think to ponder...or re/consider.
"Rhe’dhi studied the man in front of him." - "Man" in front of "before."
"Would a lone, slow Broadsword handle those ships?" - "Could" "all those ships" handle the Broadsword?
"He had already fought the enemy once today. And that was definitely enough for one day." - Switch . to , and cut "for one day."
"In an hour, they’d reach the jump point to Deneb," - First comma unnecessary.
"Talon still remained silent." - "Still" here?
"Yes, I know what Maniac’s like." - "Maniac is" since "Maniac's" just one sentence back.
"I remember when he and Blair first came on the Tiger’s Claw." - Onboard and aboard are just not on.
"The Colonel also smiled." - Less also.
"Your injury doesn’t leave you completely grounded. So, lighten up." - "...grounded, so lighten up."

That's all the questionable ones, now the ones I particularly liked.
"They stood there, grinning at each other for a few seconds." - *grin*
"I don’t mean a frontline squadron. Nah, he’d never manage that. Probably would resign within a few weeks." -

"The thought of Maniac back at the Academy was enough to brighten up any conversation." - Heh.
"Rodent found pile of junk near springboard." -
That sounds like my crypticism...and I too need to learn a thing or two about communication.
"Rode… ah, Weaver is hailing us" -

In general a very enjoyable piece - in my opinion the best rounded so far. Weaver's self contemplation builds his character well, and Rhe'dhi is quite the kitty philospher, non?
BTW, I couldn't have deduced the info about test flights from the story. =P
Right. That's it. Now I'm expecting you to criticise my story just as much. =)

[This message has been edited by Matrix (edited February 14, 2000).]
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Yes, you do have a thing or two ta learn 'bout communication, laddie
. Those must be the most cryptic comments I've ever seen.

[Several hours later]
? I had a lecture. And with my unlimited connection, I can just leave the computer switched on

Damn, you're right too often
. I think I accepted 90% or so of those corrections. And I spotted the would/could thing even before that
. Well, like I said. This was a relatively unpolished piece.

I wonder if anybody else caught the "resign" thing?

Rhe'dhi is indeed quite the kitty philosopher, like most proper cats. Of course, when you're the second most important character in my story, you almost have to be a philosopher

As for the test flights, I'm sure you could've. But it's always better to explain twice then to leave somebody wallowing in confusion.
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I'm still learning as I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I tried not to make those comments too, cryptic.

As per your connection...lucky cat.

Hey I resent that - I'm only 89.9% right...most of the time.
If only...

I think you should post the chapters up just like this. We can do the polishing for you, and that way you can get onto the next chapter faster. I want more cat soon anyway.

And while on the topic of philosphy (and philsophers), the lead character doesn't have to be one? Oh-kay.
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I guess I can post them in this form. But I have to write them first, though
. Chapter V is half finished. Fortunately, that's the bigger half
The main character also has to be a philosopher, but it was Rhe'dhi that we were talking about.

You want more cat philosophy? Here goes. Life is all about sleeping and eating... but mostly sleeping.

Now, that's cat philosophy
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I like your story. Finding the old Drayman was pretty cool.

I'd write more but the pipes in my house are going to freeze if I don't blow dry them for a few minutes every hour

About Kokonut's story... remind me a few days before easter to call him when I go down to Montreal, okay? I might not remember.
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Cricket: Thanks. I'll do that.
What's with the pipes?
Does that happen every winter?
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That's more a fact than philosophy, but I like it even though you forgot mating and marking territory.

Cricket: If it's the drainage pipes, then pour methylated spirits down the drain. That'll save you some trouble.
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It happens whenever the temp goes under -30C

It's not drainage pipes, its water pipes. The stuff that comes out the tap. You can keep them cleared by leaving the water on all day or by using a blow dryer to melt the ice in them every hour or so. Of course, the first way is a bit more expensive.
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I like it.
Okay, just one other comment, though: It might've been better if you hadn't kept flashing back to previous conversations. But if you had really wanted to do that, you could have used the word "had", e.g. ...he had said... and the like. It would have been less confusing.

Going to read Chapter V now...

If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action!
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Then I guess I did it right
. Weaver's confused, so the reader should be too
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