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Pablo Vilas

Joined January 2014 and calls Travels, tinkering and thoughts home.

163 stories, 2 challenges, 236 comments, and 5 friends

“Ascension” writer’s notes are here, http://ficlyascension.wordpress.com/ . Corrections and improvements, please!

Born 1948, married, two daughters. Living in Seattle, Washington state, USA. Retired from a career in IT. I enjoy wilderness sports, photography and writing.

Stories

  1. Ascension: Searchers

    Miner Hugh Hensen and USNE ensign Carmen Samter emerged from an apartment and closed the door, slipping an RFID chip next to the hinge. Should Bates try to enter, an alarm would sound and they’d catch him. That is, if it wasn’t somebody else, and B...

  2. Ascension: At Large

    “There’s no shortage of that skill here, Commander,” Ishikawa said. He paused and stared intently through Reckall’s faceplate. “But I must tell you that you didn’t improve my trust in you by having an eavesdropper on board during what I tho...

  3. Ascension: White Flag

    The brave patriots of the Republic of Threeworld, in fact its entire population, conducted Reckall to Shuttle 2 under a white flag that would not flap. “While we’re waiting for the opening of the can,” Ishikawa told the mixed gatherin...

  4. Ascension: POW

    Reyes and Henson had come to Mother’s aid too late. “Who was she defending?” Henson wondered. Reyes pulled debris aside, revealing the helmet of a powerful, four-armed power armor suit. “Reckall,” he read the man’s n...

  5. Ascension: Release

    Standing over her friend, Mother faced a much larger machine, winged, deadly, striving to escape the net. She fired her museum-piece chain gun until it rattled empty, seven rounds. They didn’t even scratch it. She instantiated a GTG missile; whil...

  6. Ascension: Friendly Fire

    Bates clutched his hand, howling in pain. Carmen bent over Gillian, seated his helmet and locked it. A blow from a socket wrench knocked her to Shuttle 2’s deck. Her suit’s equipment backpack absorbed most of the blow. She rolled and kicked...

  7. Ascension: Boarding

    On Shuttle 2, USNE Ensigns Carmen and Gillian had been suiting up to relieve the guards when orange lamps came on; decompression! The inner door of the airlock swung toward them; a glove on its edge. Through the smashed window they could see that the m...

  8. Secant

    Jasper knew very well what hole Markin meant; the end of a gun, a sight he was anxious to avoid. The Monument occupied a rise at the mouth of the canyon through which their supply line ran. They had to decide; occupy it? Blow it up? And the Directorate...

  9. Ascension: Siege

    “Of course I can’t speak from personal experience,” said the pleasantly monotonous voice, “But my references show that the zero-gravity brothels of Xanadu are popular. The Kama Sutra had to be expanded to encompass the many inno...

  10. Ascension: Iblis 2

    A battle-scarred figure in a USNE suit stumbled out of the murk to Shuttle 2’s airlock. “Message from Reckall to the pilot,” he gasped. Two guards blocked his way. “You have no clearance here. Return to your unit.” “...

  11. Ascension: Xanadu

    10 meters below the elevator terminal, the platform crashed to a stop, flinging men and equipment into the air. Beyond, its vertical rails had been twisted by the collapse of the ceiling. Feverishly the attackers scaled the ruined structure, dropping r...

  12. Ascension: A Jump to the Right

    Dust from the second detonation settled; Ishikawa frowned. “Let’s try Booker again.” “Sir, I have bad news,” Reyes said. “The 1984 has been destroyed. We’re still assembling packets relayed by far-side satellites. But it looks like the Sy...

  13. Ascension: FAQ

    The broadcast beamed at the 1984 was running a panel discussion. “On behalf of our listeners, I have some questions,” Reyes said. “What does ‘surrender’ imply?” Ishikawa smiled. “We’ll be taking temporary control of their warship for a ...

  14. Ascension: Happy Together

    Rocks loosened by the explosion continued clattering against Mother’s hull for minutes afterward, diminishing at last to a thin snow of sand. The circuits and tubing behind her maintenance panel looked undamaged; the relays, pumps and servomotors of ...

  15. Ascension: Why Surrender

    The picture changed to the logo of the Threetown Public Library. Booker’s pleasantly monotonous voice came on. “Greetings, 1984. You may interrupt this message at any time by saying ‘We surrender.’ Please carefully watch the following coordinat...

  16. Ascension: Weather Report

    A new broadcast reached the 1984. This time, Lieutenant Reyes was at the mike. “Good morning, USNE 1984! This is Radio Free 3HE, coming to you from somewhere underneath Threetown. Our weather; a low pressure zone remains in the area. The three-mo...

  17. Ascension: Silence

    The mine elevator’s rumble sank through a labyrinth of tunnels. Its echoes in the cavernous, dimly lit terminal were replaced by an unnatural nothing. Any little sound the two mechanized people made—the pop of a cooling panel, the whining of a serv...

  18. Ascension: Shelter

    “Here is the level 1 mechanical shed,” Mother said. “When the mine starts up again, your noncon will find you here, and we will all work again. I like to work.” But the strange machine on her back deck would not dismount. * * * The shuttle a...

  19. Ascension: Ride With Me

    In the tunnel, Mother received the new orders. She lowered her drill and considered what to do about the machine she’d met. The order of things in the mine was hierarchical; directors in Operations told the noncons what to do. The noncons used just-i...

  20. Ascension: Plan B

    In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful … Prostrated before the fresh grave, a small figure drew a sobbing breath. Praise be to Allah the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgmen...

  21. Ascension: Work to Do

    The thing that said it was a man made its visor transparent. Inside, Mother saw … nothing. She extended a camera boom to see inside the suit better. The suit was empty. “You’re a machine after all,” she said, puzzled. Men can lie. I see that it...

  22. Ascension: Intruder

    Mother considered the intruder. She had weapons now, too; Ishikawa had scoured the dead city’s workshops and museums for a strange assortment of rockets, edge-weapons and antique guns. These had been hastily installed. Some held only a few rounds. So...

  23. Ascension: Cemetery

    Bates returned to the blown-out hideout. He’d whined bitterly when Allen told him to work; but now he heaved supplies off the improvised sledge with a will. In their place he put Riley’s body. Either of his dead companions would have served equally...

  24. Ascension: Iron Lady

    Mother knew she was really Tunneler 13. But Booker had said Mother was her nickname, which was sort of like a name—good enough for a library card, anyway. Humming, she moved 300 meters down the tunnel, bored a hole 8 feet up the wall and packed it wi...

  25. Ascension: Iblis (Mature)

  26. The Captain's Sap Falls

    A distant grating sound from above—instinctively the Captain flung himself to one side. A row of sandbags was here. He dropped gratefully into the trench. A British major with a shocking wound was directing the crew of an 18-pounder. “Welcome to Bo...

  27. Ascension: The Damned

    “No response,” Allen muttered. He folded up the portable transmitter with a clatter. “Eashy,” Riley warned. His mouth was healing from the beating at the subway station. “You ‘reak i’, we don’ have anusher one.” “We’ve got to move...

  28. Ascension: Almost Suspicious

    “Captain, a ship is approaching,” said Reyes. “Its transponder signals ‘Heavy frigate, USNE 1984.’” “All personnel to base.” Ishikawa expected a Synod ship; he knew a large one was in orbit. The USNE hated the Synod. So the approaching ...

  29. Ascension: Rescue

    “I’m sorry, but your application is premature,” heaven’s doorkeeper, a Synod priest whose nose-hairs had long gone untended, pompously intoned. A recurring jostling annoyed Ishikawa; it was interfering with this interview, which was going south...

  30. Noir: The End

    So near to fruition, my plan! Tugger will march with the master race. In time he will accept his glorious role as stud to the legions of eager Mütter des Reiches. For I see now that to breed an army requires a thousand mothers. I was selfish to suppos...