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June 15, 2005

Volume 2, Issue 15

What do you make of this, ladies and gentlemen?

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They called her foolish, but she was an optimist. Transporting ten doves and a cage large enough to humanely hold them had been tough. Smelly too. But the smell reminded her of her mission. He needed her. He needed her doves. She'd heard His call.

She pushed through to find the spot. She could feel it's aura -- a perfect marriage of His with hers.

The time came. Ten counts. Ten doves. All free. He was free. They were free.

Later, her life complete, she laid down on the tracks, smiled and waited for Him to call her soul to Neverland.

Posted by: marc at June 15, 2005 6:54 AM · Permalink

Damn, I am still out of phase. I have reset this mission three times. All the information has been gathered. It is kinda of tough reading reports out of phase but all those weekends at college finally paid off. Now all I need to do is set the bones in this field and then it is back to base.

I have triple checked the parameters and the calculations appear to be in order. My perfect rating is going down the tubes before my very eyes. It could be that this set of bones is mine that would faze me so.

Posted by: Blaine at June 15, 2005 6:55 AM · Permalink

The flutter of wings wakened him,
the birds flashed by in a blur, and he sat up quickly. That made his head start pounding, then he saw the scene in the field around him - dead men and horses, as far as he could see.

Where am I? He looked again at the remnants of a huge battle. Who am I? was next, followed by: who won?

He saw scavengers in the distance, peasants picking over the dead. Maybe they could tell him something.

Then a final question came to mind: why am I wearing an Armani suit and Italian shoes?

Posted by: hnumpah at June 15, 2005 7:10 AM · Permalink

Winged animal. Hylocichla mustelina. Female. 20 centimeters. Estimated mass 42 g. A… bird.

Optical sensors automatically provided the necessary information for positive classification, and hidden subroutines surged to life. He was ostensibly programmed as a meteorological drone, but his maker had given him one other critical duty.

“Birds are evil creatures. They carry the soul of the devil on their wings.”

Silently he followed the wood thrush to its home: a nest atop an apartment building. If he could, he would have smiled – there were many other birds here. He armed his warhead and transmitted his final report to headquarters.

Posted by: Keiran Halcyon at June 15, 2005 7:45 AM · Permalink

Jordan stared at the first image from the probe with a frown. Everyone in the control room was celebrating except for the theorists. The planetologists were excited. The theorists looked scared. The probe was already transmitting when they turned on the receiver, which was impossible. They were huddled in the back of the room speaking in hushed tones. He assumed they were trying to find a way to explain the time warp or blame the engineers.

An engineer handed him a print out. It read: Yukon Territory.

Jordan looked around the room fantasizing about firing every damned one of them.

Posted by: DocMac at June 15, 2005 7:48 AM · Permalink

It was in some ways an honor. In others of course it was an insult. He was of two minds about the whole thing. Part of him wished that she had never sent the picture in, but you can't curb the enthusiasm of six year olds. He was sure his daughter had meant well. There was a part of him that was proud also. After all the picture had been printed in the National Geographic, an international magazine. His name was even given in the credits.

It was the title however that caused the mixed feelings.

"Worst nature shot ever."

Posted by: Gahrie at June 15, 2005 8:45 AM · Permalink

With the jiggling of a joystick an incomprehensible distance away, the probe's camera head moved to the right, surveying yet another bleak landscape.

“Crap. Another lifeless rock,” said one of the scientists with disgust. He moved the rover forward to crest the next hill.Maybe we are all alone out here.

The probe stopped at the top of the hill, and so did the breathing of everyone watching.

“Aren't those... trees?”

A rapt silence was the reply.

Right then, a shadow buzzed past the probe's camera.

“Sweet Jesus! Did you get a picture of that?”

At that moment, the world changed.

Posted by: j.d. at June 15, 2005 8:58 AM · Permalink

If he hurried, he had time for one more tree. He selected one and, after cutting the notch, automatically began the undercut. But rather than collapsing on the notch as it should, the tree sat back on the saw's bar. It stood, undecided for a second or two, as he tried to wrench the saw free.

When it fell, it pushed the spinning chain deep into his right thigh and sat on top of his lower body with a weight as certain as death.

His vision narrowed and color drained from the scene. Is that me, he thought, flying away?

Posted by: skinbad at June 15, 2005 8:58 AM · Permalink

Something must have scared the bird.

Or maybe it was just hungry.

Or bored.

Or horny.

It didn’t really matter. He had his orders. Protect the perimeter. Anything out of the ordinary, check it. In person. You can’t trust base security to a monitor.

“I’m getting too old for this shit,” he thought, as he strapped on his gear and prepared to leave the complex.

They could be anywhere out there, hiding behind the trees, lurking in the shadows… Waiting to spread their disease. To infect him with their cooties.

Sometimes having a “Boys-Only” fort built by nerds really sucked.

Posted by: copygodd at June 15, 2005 9:59 AM · Permalink

Phoenix-fire burns quickly.

The egg was in the park in Los Rocas, mistaken for a hard, smooth boulder. It had been there, half-buried, for centuries, before the Spanish built the tiny fort that gave the village its name.

Phoenix-fire burns brilliant.

The cracks appeared on Monday, jagged red-orange lines across pale white shell. On Tuesday, the egg would have felt painfully hot, even amid the swelterning weather, had anyone touched it. On Wednesday it rained, drops sizzling and boiling when they struck it. On Thursday it cracked open, releasing the chick and flames hotter than the sun.

Phoenix-fire burns mercilessly.

Posted by: Jeff R. at June 15, 2005 10:02 AM · Permalink

Whoa, was that a pheasant or a meadowlark? I shoulda brought the ole 12 gauge.

Man, this scope really sucks, How the hell'd all that dirt get in there. I shoulda bought that new scope instead of them slotted rims for my Ford. But what the hell, them rims make the old cherry popper a real chick magnet.

Great, now I'm out of beer, I gotta piss, there's no damned deer around and I'm stuck with this lousy scope.

Shit, I'm gonna shoot the next damned thing that moves. I just hope it ain't a propane tank like last week.

Posted by: David at June 15, 2005 10:08 AM · Permalink

The sun hammered golden spikes through the canopy and onto the muddy trail. A few lazy cicadas whined at the still forest heat. Justin, covered in sweat and scratching his groin from chigger bites, wheezed along with his camera beating a savage rhythm against his chest. Justin wasn’t much of an outdoorsman.

Suddenly, the creature stepped into a small clearing ahead. Covered in thick, matted fur, it ambled ape-like toward the trees beyond. Shaking, Justin tore off the lens cap and started shooting.

Ten frames and not a single one had Bigfoot in it! Justin wasn’t much of a photographer.

Posted by: Jim Parkinson at June 15, 2005 10:08 AM · Permalink

"Have you ever thought about the birds?" he said. "Whenever I ask that question, I get the strangest stares as if to say thinking about birds is a waste of time."

"Well, I--"

"The world around you is alive, my young friend. Here, even in this city. Above your head, below your feet." He stomped his foot. "This city, all cities, teem with life. You would do well to remember that."

"Uh, thanks."

"My pleasure. And always keep the birds in mind."

The old man slumped down on the pile of trash. I hesitated, then started back to the site.

Posted by: Shawn at June 15, 2005 10:30 AM · Permalink

I must have pissed somebody off because I keep getting crappy assignments.

I can handle the time distortions as good as Jenkins but he gets to photograph the Crucifixion. Hanks is a worse photographer than I am but he is out doing the Battle of Hastings. And don’t get me started about Parker’s historical knowledge. He gets to do the Cretaceous spread.

Hell, I’ve even got seniority. Like that matters to the desk jackasses back at TimePix.

So here I am, covering some fucking 19th century tornado that only killed a couple hundred people.

Oh shit! Right place, wrong time!

Posted by: Jim Parkinson at June 15, 2005 11:48 AM · Permalink

So, this is death. I’m a little surprised, to be perfectly honest. Not so much by the nature of the afterlife as by the existence of it. Well, I always said I’d become a believer the very moment I had concrete evidence. I’m not too big a man to admit when I’m wrong. Still, it’s kind of drab. Something that’s supposed to be eternal ought to be more interesting, if you ask me.

Wait, what’s that coming toward me, with the wings? Could it be? Coming to bear me to Heaven? Wait, don’t pass me by! I repent!

Oh, hell.

Posted by: David at June 15, 2005 1:05 PM · Permalink

"What the hell?"

Alex stared at the LCD display on his digital camera. Below him, on the beach, hundreds of people were enjoying the summer sun. The waves rolled in and broke on the shore. It was a picture-perfect image of summer - or so he thought. He looked back at his camera, and the desolate black and white image.

Alex studied his camera closely, and only then realized he had grabbed his daughter's camera by mistake. Damn designer cameras, he thought. This is what I get for buying her the Sony Cybershot Teen Angst model with the built-in auto-melancholy setting.

Posted by: No One of Consequence at June 15, 2005 1:31 PM · Permalink

Now it's time to go to the Pinedale center parking lot. Take it away, Les Nessman!

Hundreds of people have gathered to witness what is perhaps the greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving history. The crowd is moving out into the parking area. I think I hear something now. It's a helicopter, flying a large banner that says happy,,,thanks....giving...W....K....R....P!. What a site. Something just came out of the back of the helicopter...it cant be a sky diver, There are no parachutes yet.
Oh my Gawd! There Turkeys!

The pinedale shopping mall has just been bombed with live turkeys! Film at eleven.

Posted by: JM at June 15, 2005 1:55 PM · Permalink

I want you to take a good look at that photograph. It's a snapshot from a time-series taken by two British nature enthusiasts in a little field near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia, way back in the year 1908.

What you are looking at is not a tranquil meadow. It is a massive explosion. See the black curve in the upper left-hand corner? The black is the sky. The white background, which the untrained eye takes to be the sky, is light created by a fifteen megaton blast of unknown origin. We still can't figure out the bird's afterimage.

Posted by: G-Do at June 15, 2005 5:28 PM · Permalink

Check before you post!