“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”


"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Monday, June 17, 2019

A fragment....

“Sunflower. Sunflower. Sunflower. Network compromised. Consider all comms hostile. No further official traffic will follow. Activate Tsunami protocol."

There are few things as lonely as hearing your support network collapse. 

I'd gone through it twice - each time leaving me physically and mentally adrift, hoping to survive another 24 hours, much less make it further. But those had been single-shot missions, losing the resources and plans to keep an op running in Istanbul the first time, and Stockholm the next. It had been rough, but at least I’d known out “there” somewhere was safety, if only I made it across the right border. When your control tells you that there *isn’t* a home to go back to, that made it worse. 

Especially when you're a deniable asset, when you don't even exist. Tsunami was the code word implying *everything* was blown - that not only was our identity compromised, but that the whole system was now against us and we were on our own. That, no matter what happened, we would never be able to go back to who we used to be, and we had to find a way to quickly erase who we currently were. We'd used it a few times as a drill for "disappearing" from the grid and society, trying to evade to a friendly network and escape a hostile country at the same time. The fact it was announced out of the blue brought a new realism, an understanding that in a few seconds the rug was yanked out from under you. Imagine going into work and finding out not only had you been fired, but your boss was now actively seeking to arrest, if not kill you, just to keep things clean. That’s what Tsunami meant.

The next transmission made it more real, a rare glimpse at a human presence behind the omniscient machine-speech of the mastoid com-plant. A quiet female voice breaking protocol, a final note to those of us in the field. "Good luck and God speed."

What else could I do? I grabbed the backpack from my chair, and tucked my pistol under my shirt, walking out the door knowing I could never come back. 

So you wonder why I was suspicious 8 years later when they showed up to recruit me again? 


Monday, June 10, 2019

Milestones

Celebrated one of those decade birthdays last week. A small gathering of local friends and a few family members. Good food. Conversation. No stress or drama. It was rather pleasant.

Of course, one of the joking comments is the fact I've beat the odds by making it this far. Point is, that's a true fact - between the career path I've followed, and various moments of dumb choices along the way, I very easily might not be here.

More importantly, I was able to take a moment to realize how fortunate I've been through all of this. To still be alive. To have visited amazing places, all around the world. To have done things that a lot of people only dream of. To have met, and even become friends with, some truly incredible people who populate this world. To have a family that cares, even in the hard times.

I can't say what the next bit of this ride will bring. But I've enjoyed the heck out of it so far.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

As part of my daily drive home I pass by the Pentagon memorial for the 9/11 attack victims.

This is always a point of reflection for me - the three arcs rising into the sky in tribute just outside our nation's capital.

While the memorial rightfully commemorates those who died that September day eighteen years ago, I also remember those I have known through the years before and after who died in service. Peacetime and war, in combat, through accidents, and unfortunately even some suicides.

And, I ask myself a question every time I drive by. "Did I earn my place today? Did my actions at work honor their sacrifices and make them proud?"

Usually I can tell myself yes, that I've done what I can to help make my country, her citizens, and the world as a whole a safer place. Some days I fall short - losing focus on the things that are important, or simply taking the easy path and being lazy at times.

But, on the whole, I use that daily ritual to remind myself of them, and to try to do them justice.

For 243 years men and women have given their lives in service to the United States of America.

All had their own reasons for service. All had their own hopes and dreams. All left someone behind who felt the void of their passing.

We can debate various bits of politics, history, or where we stand in the world today.

But, let us not debate their sacrifice. Let us all take a moment today and reflect, and strive to be worthy of the legacy they left behind.

Rest in peace, my brothers and sisters.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Umm... if you say so.

Just got back from a short work trip. As part of which, I had to get a rental car.

Now, in the interests of fiscal prudence, and good stewardship of the taxpayer's money, I was properly directed to get a "compact, economy" vehicle for the rental. Perfectly fine by me.

Well, I get to the destination airport, pick up the keys and sign the agreement and head outside.

Where, I'm greeted by a Cadillac mini-SUV...

(Side note - I'm not a Caddy guy... not my style... but yes, it was nice.)

I take a few moments, compare the remote I have with the assigned space with the vehicle occupying said space, and confirm I'm not hallucinating - then I head back inside. Very nicely, I inquire as to whether there's been a mistake, as I'm supposed to be in an economy vehicle, not a luxury one.

To which, the clerk leans forward, and almost conspiratorily says "Oh, but it's a hybrid. That makes it an economy..." as if that explains everything.

At which point I figure it's their money, and head on my way.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

*Knocks the dust off*

I want to try to get back to writing and posting again, really... going to make an effort, even if short stuff.

So - as much of my life these days involves the daily commute to & from things, and with me no longer being in "cop mode" during such drives, I have a growing list of observations regarding drivers.

I think I'm going to start an online university. My first two courses are going to be:

"Turn signals. Decorative accessory, or useful item?"

and

"Why is everyone passing me on the right, and what it should mean for my life?"

Monday, February 20, 2017

Overkill

So, I recently had cause to order some adhesive strips from Amazon, due to an unplanned vehicle replacement.

This isn't a complaint thread - they did great, as always, in price and service.

No, this is an observation on the packaging used:




The order in question is the small bag at bottom.

The packaging is the large box, complete with bubble wrap....

Can't say they didn't protect my purchase!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Good Security Resource

The link here was originally written to provide women with a resource addressing online and social privacy and safety in the digital age. However, it is a good set of tools for anyone interested in such things and unsure of where to start. Worth looking over.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Know your enemy

One of the persisten problems with the "War on a Verb" approach of the past 16 years has been definitions. This has shaped everything from the reluctance to say or do certain military things, to accusations of racism, bigotry and the like towards agencies and individuals concerned about who the threat is. The sad fact is that the VAST majority of people spouting off about the whole topic don't actually know what they are discussing (this includes .gov figures and politicians) - so, they either deliberately or accidentally contribute to the spread of bad information.

In particular, I'm discussing the whole concept and conversation about "Radical Islam," "Jihad," and the like.

Words matter. In understanding what is truly going on. In holding informed discussions. In every sense of making the appropriate decisions.

As a small bit towards helping, I encourage you to read this essay which discusses intelligently the differences between "Muslim," "Islamist," "Jihadist," "Takfiri," and the like. One of the best summaries I've seen, and very balanced towards facts not opinions. It also links to deeper sources should you have the interest.

Good reading for anyone concerned.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Interesting, and concerning thoughts

Lawdog has a post up here worthy of a read.

He's not the only one sharing this concern - a lot of people talk a good game, but don't realize the true dangers of a civil war, or even the run-up to one.

And a whole lot of folks, on both sides, are digging in their feet these days...