Luckily Captain Rowdy was able to restore the main laptop computer circuit and restore lost data.  It’s an EDR (Emergency Damage Repair), so I don’t know how long the jury-rig will hold.  Hopefully by remembering to hit the manual backup override regularly I’ll dodge more croaking of the circuit until I can reincarnate the module.

I’m working on redlines now, in readiness for the third set of revisions, so I don’t need the computer right now.  I’m handling hard copy and jumbling notes about, making a module interface not as critical at the moment.

The launch patrols didn’t sight any phantom dogs, and I haven’t seen any other Unbelievables on the sensor records, cloaked or uncloaked.  The neighborhood cats all seem out in force, however, so increased activity must be going on.  I just hope commander Smokey can handle it, even though Frankie and him just broke up.  I saw a volunteer cat stuck in a tree, either scouting for Clingon jackup cruisers or cowering from phantom pack intruders while waiting for backup.

I’m holding on to the last few mental torpedoes for now, in case I need a special delivery system.  I mean, talk about being stuck in Sector 2.2!  For those of you not in the know, the Star Trek arcade video game had a round where all you did was chase a crazy robotic drone based on Nomad, the super powerful probe from one of the TV episodes, as it dropped mines everywhere and set you up for blowing up real good.  The first time I had to fight that thing was in Sector 2.2 (every round was fought in a “sector”, where Mr. Spock’s voice would say, “Now entering sector…”), I was stunned.  Since then, it’s a euphemism for the suk-level.

And yeah, no starbase neither.  How’s a karmanaut supposed to recharge shields or reload on torpedoes, make repairs, have shore leave, etc. when you can’t get no dock-up?  See, right now I’m stuck at work with no backup, which means no vacation until I can hire a new console operator.  I’m literally like Kirk in “The Doomsday Weapon”, piloting a half-destroyed starship on near-automatic with only a super-engineer keeping the ship running (or as we say, my psychological automatic process).  Meanwhile, some nut is taking my real ship out for a joyride to pick up some Romulon ale and Twinkies.

Or rather, I’m stuck in the not-bonus round, getting jacked, and there’s no starbase recharge for a while.

What happened was my friend and co-worker, a British citizen, was taken into custody by immigration and detained.  Apparently some new law is roping in hundreds of regular people, even with their documentation in order, and forcing deportation hearings on them.  Meanwhile, they sit and rot in tent cities with no laundry or barber facilities waiting for a due process that never arrives (via the handy dirty trick of moving suspects from place to place at taxpayer expense without even telling the court).

His car was broken into and stripped right before this two-month ordeal began, so he wasn’t having a good time to start with.  I think the most surreal moment was when his dad told me he had been shipped to Brownsville Texas, near the border, right as Hurricane Dolly was slamming into the coast.

My friend finally accepted deportation (he’s a small guy and doesn’t speak Spanish, and living with mercenary guards and hardened Latinos was wearing him out), and in a twist of fate immigration dropped all charges and basically said, “never mind, come on back to the states anytime you want”.  He’s understandably reluctant to come back, and at least he’s gone to a country with family and friends where he won’t disappear.

Me and the co-workers have talked to him, and he’s in great spirits, trying to get his life in order after twenty years in the states.  His parents are probably going to sell their businesses and move back there in the next few years.  Tax dollars at work!  Cheap labor, come on in.  Skilled workers who play by the rules, get lost!  And they ask me why I drink.

But the net effect for me is no console operator, and work has entered a period where it’s the busiest time of the year.  I’ll make it through, but having to pilot the ship and hit the phraser button rapid-fire because you’ve got no recharge ability blows.  The crumbum volleys are a flying fast and furious I tell ya!

Even though I don’t have cable, it’s hard to avoid the backwater shadow cast over society by big business.  The ultra-rich are busy bidding for the candidates they think will be best short-term monarch for their interests.  The fleer patrol (false prophet flagships) is out in force in the mediapoly, making sure nobody talks about the issues or carries any news about what the public actually wants.  I swear, I have enough problems without having to hear about the shenanigans of McCuckoo and Ophony as they try to sell us their brand of toothpaste.

Around here where I live, it’s always a tender time during ratify-candidates-already-decided-for-you days.  It’s serious business, because depending on who is coming in or going out, many people’s jobs are at stake.  People seem to drive a little more hard-nosed, shop a little more with the jitters, and hop on pop a little harder in their domiciles.  TV and stereo systems always rise in volume during this time as folks try to drown out the stress with louder programming instructions.

Unfortunately, poor Blink our cat must have taken a hit to the life support.  She’s one of the more dedicated huntresses in our household, eliminating meeses and cave crickets wherever they may roam.  We noticed her urine was coming out wine colored (that’s fancy talk for bloody whizz).  We took her to the vet for a checkup and some kitty drugs, and it appeared to clear up.

Alas, the symptoms returned, and Blink was not a happy camper.  We took her back for a steroid injection to unclog the tubes and an x-ray, which showed no stones or other obvious problems.  We got more kitty drugs, and after a long while, she looks fine.  Hopefully it was a really nasty infection and we’ve taken it out, because the next step is bloodwork and an ultrasound, and that might get serious.

Having the cat patrol makes certain things nicer and easier, but you have to pay the upkeep costs.  Not just love, but also the physical chore of waste disposal, water and food refueling, toy playtime, and of course life support via vet specialist checkup.  Blink has been using me as her personal starbase to dock at and recharge, which I’m grateful for.  Her problems are typical of the edge-of-your seat crumbum storm it is out there right now.

Bob Dylan was right, “Look out kid / You’re gonna get hit” and “Better jump down a manhole / Light yourself a candle”  If I can just dodge those crumbum mines, maybe I can get a shot at the Nomad probe and get out of this sector.  Good thing I kept the reserve warp ready.