Results for tag "sector-64-coup-de-main"

10 Articles

Plausible Alien First Contact (Part I)

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Backstory For My Award-Winning Sector 64 Series

(Get the Free Ebook and the Free Audiobook for the Series Starter) 

For the backstory of my SECTOR 64 series, I put forth an alien first-contact scenario that my readers find very plausible, some even wondering aloud if this could be our current reality.

Let’s imagine that elsewhere in the galaxy a species elevated itself from the primordial soup a million years ahead of us. Making the most of that thousand-millennia head start, they master physics, achieve faster than light (FTL) travel, and populate thousands of star systems.

Always looking for burgeoning technological societies to bring into the galactic government, they populate the galaxy with a network of detectors designed to watch for certain markers thought to be key indicators, i.e.: unnaturally organized radio waves or light waves (laser beams) and unnatural fission reactions (nuclear detonations). Some, like radio waves, would probably just be annotated for future research. Others, like nuclear detonations, would require a more urgent investigation.

While they’ve mastered FTL travel and communications, their sensors are still limited to detecting occurrences at the speed of light. In other words, if a burgeoning society starts blasting radio waves or nuclear electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) across the cosmos, our curious aliens wouldn’t detect it until the wave traveled at the speed of light to the nearest sensor. Then it could use their FTL sub-space communication network to pass on the news.

To comprehend the logistics involved, we must have a full appreciation of the galaxy’s size. It’s a BIG galaxy. If our curious aliens only wanted to deploy ten million sensors, they would have to disperse them throughout the galaxy on a grid with one-hundred light-year spacing. The Milky Way is 100,000 light-years across and one thousand light-years thick. That means if you could travel across the entire width of the galaxy at the speed of light, the Earth would circle the Sun 100,000 times during your trek. (Note: these are external observations. The hypothetical FTL traveler would experience this time quite differently, but that’s a subject for a future blog.) Even if you could travel at an incredible 100,000 times the speed of light, an Earth year would pass in the time it took you to traverse the galaxy.

When it comes to jaunting about the Milky Way, your FTL travel would have to be SIGNIFICANTLY faster than the speed of light to be of any appreciable use. Scientist and sci-fi writers often employ wormholes due to their hypothetical ability to fold space. Joining two points of space-time, like folding a paper in half, brings two remote locations together, rendering interstellar travel as simple as stepping through a door.

Back to our first contact scenario. Because of the aforementioned galactic scale, our fictional aliens have quite a few (read: ten million) sensors spread throughout the Milky Way. One day, they receive a signal indicating that a nuclear device detonated on a planet in the remote portion of the galaxy identified as SECTOR 64. They discover the signal originated from a medium-sized rocky planet in a solar system only two light-years from the sensor. (That would be very fortuitous, remember our one-hundred light-year spacing.)

So our curious aliens fold space-time and dispatch a scout ship to SECTOR 64. Arriving only a few days after their sensor detected the first nuclear blast, they get to the planet the locals (humans) call Earth in a year the humans have designated as one thousand nine hundred and forty-seven or 1947. Because of the sensor’s two light-year distance from the planet, two Earth years have passed since their original nuclear detonations in 1945.

Our curious alien scouts travel to the only place on the planet where they detect nuclear weapons. It happens to be relatively close to where the first nuclear detonation occurred. The humans call the region New Mexico.

In 1947 only one nuclear-armed bomber squadron existed, the 509th Bomber Group based at an Army Air Corp Base known as Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF).

Yep, you guessed it. That’s near an infamous small town named Roswell, New Mexico.

In a tragic accident, the scout ship is knocked down by a surprisingly powerful thunderstorm.

After a series of nearly calamitous events, the aliens do make first-contact with world leaders of the day.

Click or tap here to read PartII of my Plausible Alien First Contact Scenario, and find out about the decades-long program that our hypothetical galactic government would use to integrate us knuckle draggers into their society. Discover why it would be a secret program, even today, almost seventy years later.

Sound like an interesting backstory for a series?

Now for free, get the prequel novella, Sector 64: First Contact, that kicks off my award-winning apocalyptic series. Available as both a free ebook and a free audiobook (narrated by R.C. Bray—The Martian).

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2014 Galveston Lone Star Motorcycle Rally

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My ‘Choppers’

Many of my readers only know me as an author who flies ‘choppers’ for his day job, but you may not know I build and ride them, as well.

I finished the baby pictured above in June 2008. A few months later, she made her Galveston Lone Star Motorcycle Rally debut, and she’s still going strong in 2014. It’s almost time for this year’s rally. Look for Donna and me there November 7-9.

Save us a parking space … a really long parking space with plenty of turning room. That rake allows for the turning radius of a Mack truck … but it looks good doing it. Hey, I never said it was practical.

When you see that ten-foot-long yellow chopper with my beautiful wife, Donna, behind my ugly mug, give us a yell. If you can’t remember my name, just yell out, “Hey you, author!”

Hope to see you there.

Me and the Chopper on the Cover of the Houston Chronicle 2008 — Hurricane-Ike-Delayed Lone Star Rally

2008 Ike Delayed Lone Star Rally

Bike Stats:
Chasis: 2007 JSR Custom – Outrage
Suspension: Rear – None (Hardtail)
Front – American Suspension Inverted Forks
Wheels: Xtreme Machines – Burnt
330mm rear tire (WIDE)
Engine: Ultima 127 cubic inch El Bruto
HP – 140
Tq – 145 LB FT
Exhaust: Vance & Hines Big Radius

Parking a 10′ chopper can be a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

The Night I Met Donna, My Beautiful Wife.

The Night I Met Donna, My Beautiful Wife.

Daytona Biketoberfest 2011 - First Place at the Broken Spoke Saloon

Daytona Biketoberfest 2011 – First Place at the Broken Spoke Saloon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daytona Beach Biketoberfest 2011 - Main St.

Daytona Beach Biketoberfest 2011 – Main St.

Key West - 2012

Key West – 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key West - 2012

Key West – 2012

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What’s Wrong With The Fermi Paradox

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In a 1950 discussion with colleagues on the subject of the potential existence of extraterrestrial life, famed physicist Enrico Fermi asked, “Where are they?” Uttering those three words, Fermi forever tied his name to the issue as it came to be known as the Fermi Paradox.

fermi paradoxHis question is reasonable.

The Fermi Paradox lies in the contradiction between high estimates of the potential numbers of extraterrestrial civilizations, and the lack of evidence for or contact with said civilizations.

Considering the billions of years of galactic history predating humanity’s arrival and taking Earth’s life-development timeline as average, the age of the universe and its vast number of stars suggests extraterrestrial life should be common. Even using conservative numbers for the percentage of stars with planets and the percentage of those that will host life and so on, the number of technological galactic civilizations could easily be in the millions.

So, withstanding the multitude of UFO sightings, where’s the hard evidence that would surely be visible in the form of spacecraft or probes if the galaxy teamed with life.

There are several gaps in this logic, one being that all UFO sightings are either hoaxes or misidentified natural phenomenon. The US Air Force’s Project Blue Book found a small percentage “inexplicable by contemporary technology.” If even one sighting were real, the paradox evaporates.

However, for argument’s sake, let’s say every UFO sighting in history has been terrestrial in origin. What are the other holes in the argument?

One is the Zoo Hypothesis. Essentially it postulates that earth-space is a sanctuary. Much like a wildlife refuge, it is to be left unmolested and unaltered by external cultures and technologies, allowed to develop on its own course and of its own volition. Under this hypothesis, alien ships could be observing us now. As long as they remain undetected, they could pursue their anthropologic aspirations utilizing their advanced technology.

Fermi’s paradox evaporates at the very idea that aliens could inhabit local space undetected by our current technology.

Undetectable spaceships? Sounds like paranoid conspiracy theorist fodder. Maybe not when you consider how close we are to realizing that ability.

Humans, barely a century from our first forays into the air and mere decades since first breaching our atmosphere into local space, are already pondering invisibility cloaks rendered through the employment of metamaterials. While that century’s hundred years seems like a long time on a human timescale, it is less than a blink of the eye on a geologic timescale, even less on an astronomic timescale.

Another paradoxical hole arises when we review the assumption that we would see an uncloaked ship.

Most of us grew up in the space and information ages. We believe we know what’s out there and surely must know what is in our solar system. In this time-lapse computer animation produced by Scott Manley, we humans look like cavemen shining our light of discovery upon our solar neighborhood. Watch the video. You’ll be amazed at how little we knew about our solar neighborhood a few years ago, much less in Fermi’s time.


The rendered asteroids are mostly 100 meters or larger. By the end of the animation, there are roughly half a million asteroids. Current scientific estimates place the number of asteroids 100 meters or larger at half a billion. That’s billion with a B. Meaning there are a thousand times more football-field-sized asteroids than have been found to date.

In other words, in 2014 scientists believe roughly 499.5 million sports-arena-sized asteroids remain undiscovered in our neck of the solar system. 

In that light, how much water does Fermi’s 1950 assertion hold. Even 64 years later, we can’t say there aren’t (potentially cloaked and potentially smaller than a football field) alien ships visiting.

All things considered, it doesn’t seem like much of a paradox.

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SECTOR 64: Writing Progress Update

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Click to Visit The Book's Smashwords.com Page

Many of you have asked when the next part of Sector 64 will arrive, so here’s a quick writing progress report.

The first and second drafts of book two’s beginning, middle, and ending are complete, but there’s a hitch. I am working with a professional editor recommended to me by my Facebook friend, and very successful author, Scott Nicholson. Based on my editor’s inputs, I am wrapping up an extensive rewrite of book one, SECTOR 64: Coup de Main, which has more than doubled its length. Coup de Main’s outcome remains unchanged. However, I created a separate storyline for Captain Sandra Fitzpatrick. While she is a major character in book two, she played a minimal role in book one. To balance her side of the tale, and to give the reader another perspective on the story’s other characters, I’ve thrown one of the attacking alien ships at Sandy and the West Coast.

While the addition of Captain Fitzpatrick’s storyline has allowed me to seamlessly tie book one in with the events of book two, it also afforded me the opportunity to give the story’s other characters more depth. Sandy’s experiences also give the reader a clearer picture of the apocalypse the aliens visit upon us. While these changes do give the story more depth, I haven’t added fluff. The additions are full of raw action, intense scenery, and heart wrenching emotions.

At fifty-two thousand words, the original SECTOR 64: Coup de Main was more novella than novel. The new story’s beefy hundred ten thousand words bring it to the industry’s standard length for a science fiction novel. Considering this, I will publish the revised story as an epic new novel based on the novella, Sector 64: Coup de Main. Since many of you already purchased book one, and waited a significant amount of time for part two, I plan to announce a twenty-four hour period in which the yet to be named book one will be available for free on Amazon. For those of you who’d rather only read the added parts of the story, I will release a free novella that splits Sandy’s experiences out from the main tale.

All that having been said, I’m still at least a couple of months away from completion of book one. Much depends on my editor’s timetable as well as my own work schedule.

Thanks for your patience. In my ever so humble opinion, it’ll be worth the wait.

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Will We Find ET in the Next 20 Years?

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In a Popular Science article, SETI director Seth Shostak said he believes we’ll detect alien life in the next twenty years. He listed a few ways in which this may come about. Primarily, he believes that SETI’s improving technology and its anticipated ability to search a million star systems over the next twenty years provides the most likely avenue for success.

He also touched on the idea that an alien race might detect the radio signals we’ve been emitting for decades and send a reply. Minimizing the possibility, he pointed out that only a few tens of thousands of stars have been exposed to our transmissions.

If one employs conservative/pessimistic numbers in the Drake Equation, then life is probably too rare and scattered to expect a reply anytime in the next several thousand years. However, if you plug slightly more optimistic values into the equation, you see a galaxy teaming with life.

This later scenario presents exciting possibilities and is an area that warrants further consideration.

Given the relatively slow speed of light (relative to the size of the galaxy) only a tiny fraction of the Milky Way may know we exist. Arguably the most powerful unnatural radio signals humanity ever sent out were our above ground nuclear detonations. Restricted to 186,000 miles per second, that energy has blazed across the galaxy and covered a whopping 66 light-year radius in the intervening 66 years. That’s a bubble of information roughly 122 light-years across.

Big huh?

Not really, it’s only 3/100,000 of 1 % (0.000003%) of the galaxy.

Difficult to visualize? Imagine you shrunk the galaxy down to the volume of the Superdome. Now imagine you’re up in the nosebleed section. At that scale, picture a four-foot-wide beach ball at mid-field. That sphere, a few centimeters over a meter, would represent the 122 light-year bubble of stars exposed to the energy waves emitted from the planet in 1945. It’s unlikely anything outside of that beach ball even knows we exist.

Our galaxy is not as boxy as a stadium. The Superdome’s interior volume is roughly as tall as it is wide. At 100,000 light-years across and only 1,000 light-years thick, the width-to-height ratio of our galaxy is 100:1  Now picture that four-foot sphere from a mile away instead of the upper-deck. And remember that if you’re not in that bubble, all you hear from its center point is cosmic white noise.

Knowing how small the portion of the galaxy is that may know of our existence, consider this: every day that sphere’s radius grows, its surface grows exponentially. In other words, the potential pool of star systems learning of our existence is growing daily, and at an ever-increasing rate.

Complicating the issue is the time a reply would take to reach us. If a civilization decides to beam an instant reply, it will take just as long for us to receive it as our signal took to get to them.

What if 33 years ago—back when that bubble was the size of a basketball—a relatively advanced civilization in our galactic backyard received the signal and blasted a return message our way? We’ll receive it thirty-three years later (today). Therefore, any instant replies beamed in the last 32+ years are still en route.

And that is only if they decide to reply immediately. Considering the signal they received was a nuclear detonation, they may want to listen for a while. After a few decades of I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, Cheers, Seinfeld, and Lost, they decide, ‘what-the-hell let’s say hello to our wacky neighbors.’

Side note: I often muse over the idea that somewhere there’s an alien race agonizing over who shot JR as they painfully wait for the next season of Dallas to reach their planet. Who knows, there may even be a cultural niche of Elvis Presley fans on some remote rock (there’s some bad news heading their way circa 1976).

People and politicians often ask, ‘Why should we spend money listening for aliens? It’s not like they’ll balance the federal budget for us.’ That’s tantamount to a five-year-old saying, ‘Why should I go to school? There’s nothing they can teach me.’ Setting aside man’s innate curiosity and our desire to answer the burning questions—Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?—there are more practical reasons to search.

In regards to social and scientific development, we are assuredly babes in the galactic woods. Any data gathered from alien contact would probably be more enlightening than Pythagoras’ Theorem. Spanning decades, it would be an inefficient discussion, but likely, we would be the prime beneficiary of that interaction. Thus, a tiny-tiny-tiny-minuscule investment (relative to GDP) lands us invaluable knowledge.

In Carl Sagan’s Contact, aliens send us blueprints for a wormhole generator. But saving that, what if they merely said, ‘Hello, here’s the perfect mouse trap’ or ‘free energy and the cure to world hunger’?

 

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