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Friday, July 25, 2014

Chronilogical Chaos

Repost from 5/14


Upon talking about yesterday’s blog with a co-worker earlier today the discussion took the inevitable turn all conversations about time travel do.

“I would go back to the late 1930’s,” he said proudly oblivious, “and take out Hitler before World War 2 started.”

“I would jump to tomorrow night,” another added, “and find out the winning numbers to the Powerball drawing. Then I would come back and buy a ticket.”

Which one of these scenarios is the most nobel? Before you answer that question, think on it.

Going back into the past and averting WW II is a dignified cause indeed, but, when you follow the chain of events, what would be the consequences? At the time the war broke out the US refrained from joining the confrontation for quite some time. As a nation we could not endure such a strain on a weak economy. We quickly came to the aid of the English when Germany began bombing London, but we did not gear up for battle until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December, 7th, 1941. The next day the United States declared war on Japan. It was only three days later did we declare war on Germany.

Think about that a moment. At that time Japan had a superior navy, in numbers and skill, to any other in the world. Germany was a military juggernaut with massive numbers of tanks and men. America, spurred by great feelings of nationalism, could no longer stay out of the World War. Everyone from youngsters to famous people like Elvis Presley, were signing up for the war effort. Everyone was buying up war bonds to support the cause. The nation’s economic machine switched into high gear and within a year and a half the factories across the States were churning out ships, tanks and planes unlike any industrial nation had done before in the history of the world. As one Japanese Admiral put it, “we have awakened a sleeping giant.”

We all know the results from there. Without World War 2 the United States would have never become a superpower. Not only a superpower, but we would have never gone as far into space as we have. Why do I say this? Follow the line of reasoning. After the war the US brought over Nazi Scientists in Operation Overcast to begin engineering military and scientific rocket systems. At the head of the project was Wernher von Braun, the German Scientist who developed the V-2 rocket that killed so many allies and civilians within the early part of WW2. As a result the Apollo rocket system was born out of the ashes that war.

Scientists called this the butterfly effect.  “In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, where a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane's formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before. The death of Hitler and the nonexistence of the world conflict would have changed the course the United States was put upon. Would the nation be the post war country it became? How would the political and economic landscape have been affected?

The thing is, and everyone of the younger generation of our society should learn from this, every action has a consequence. Today’s youth does not grasp this concept because they live in a world removed from the physicality those of us older grew up with. When we communicated, we were face to face (or ear to ear). We could not post thoughts in virtual space and reach the audience these folks do today. Not having true physical proximity to our audience injects certain bravado into some people’s attitude and the consequences become a mere oversight after all is posted and published.

I digress…

Let us revisit the co-worker who wanted to win the lottery by finding out the numbers beforehand using our Time Machine. Although his intentions seem much less scrupulous than the murderous employee who wanted to off Hitler, this man wanted to go forward in time leaving set history untainted. The consequences of this suddenly wealthy man’s trip would be far less devastating to our nation. The best part of the whole scenario is the fact that I am this coworkers newest friend.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Coolvian


It was 1980 and I was in my pre-teens. School had ended and summer vacation had come along and, after the frenzy of freedom from Junior High classes had worn off, the hot days settled into a laid back and lazy routine. My brother, sister and myself were what we would call in these politically correct days “latch key kids”. Mom would leave for work early in the mornings and, being the oldest at 13, I was in charge.

Back in that decade we did not have a plethora of entertainment to choose from like we do today. There wasn’t Facebook, laptops or smart phones. We relied heavily upon adolescent imagination and creativity to pass the time.

Television viewing then would have been considered abysmal by today’s on demand standards. We had three TV stations; two networks and PBS. Soap operas and preschool programming were the order of most days and these shows had little hold on our young minds.

But, one bored afternoon, something life altering and amazing happened. While manually giving the control knob (what is a remote control?) a turn on the old console Zennith, an action hero with a mangled bush of curly brown hair and a long flowing multi colored scarf materialized across the screen on our Public Broadcast Station. I was instantly mesmerized by this British accented, sonic screwdriver wielding super hero as he fought off aliens who threatened planet Earth. I had discovered Tom Baker’s version of the alien Timelord known as Dr. Who.

I will save the history lesson of the show for another blog post, but, for those who have never discovered it I will give a brief description as described from Wikipedia: Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television program produced by the BBC. The program depicts the adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord—a time-travelling humanoid alien. He explores the universe in his TARDIS, a sentient time-travelling space ship. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Along with a succession of companions, the Doctor faces a variety of foes while working to save civilizations, help ordinary people, and right wrongs.

The program was high brow, action filled fun catering to my every nerdish whimsical passion. Upon arriving at school following that first Whovian summer, I had a whole new repertoire of discussion with my nerdy friends. The cool kids had no clue what we were talking about and it was almost as if us “smart kids” were part of a secret society as we carried on about Daleks and Trans dimensions at the lunch room table. It was more than just a show… it was a concept.

Today, with its later generations of doctors and expanded budget for special effects the show has burst into the main stream here in the United States. Dr. Who has become cool. But, to all of us nerds of the eighties the rest of the world is just catching up on what we always knew.






Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Top Three Science Fiction Films



Star Wars (1977) Though not the best of the Star Wars Franchise it was the movie that started it all. Movie special effects would never be the same after this George Lucas motion picture tour de force. That summer movie goers were treated to a spectacle of weird aliens, shiny robots, princesses in peril, humble heroes and epic battles the likes never seen before. It was the ultimate story of good versus evil from the opening scene to the films finale. The blue print for all science fiction to follow would forever change. Because of its innovativeness and its unforgettable scenes A New Hope makes number one on my list.

Blade Runner (1982) This film lands next to best on my list because of its uniqueness. An epic film in personality and morality as our hero investigates a story centering around human clones. It combines the old film noir detective movies with modern day Science Fiction. Harrison Ford is a modern day Humphrey Bogart working his way through a mysterious case in an ultra modern Los Angeles wrought with neon and monster skyscrapers. Constant rain falls as the best of visual story telling plays out on the screen. Add a haunting soundtrack and you have a masterpiece only Ridley Scott could have achieved.

Aliens (1986)Third on my list is James Cameron’s follow up to Ridley Scott's Alien. The sequel is a non stop thrill ride centering around Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) the only surviving member of the original film. She is called upon to aid a group of well armed space marines when communication with the colony on LV-246 is lost. As she sets foot back on the planet of her original ordeal her worst fears are confirmed. This movie has it all. High paced action, cool futuristic weaponry all culminating in one of the best sci fi scenes ever shot: Ripley’s battle royale with the mother alien utilizing the robotic cargo loader. Kudos  to James Cameron on this remake, it is definitely one of my favs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hilariously Horrific

Today I grab the hands of time and give them a spin into the past to revisit one of the most fun films ever made. The Evil Dead 2.  Below is the story line as posted on IMBd:


"A young man, named Ash, takes his girlfriend Linda to a secluded cabin in the woods where he plays back a professor's tape recorded recitation of passages from the Book of the Dead. The spell calls up an evil force from the woods which turns Linda into a monstrous Deadite, and threatens to do the same to Ash. When the professor's daughter and her entourage show up at the cabin, the night turns into a non-stop, grotesquely comic battle with chainsaw and shotgun on one side, demon horde and flying eyeball on the other. "

Sam Raimi's tale is the ultimate satire of horror films. Its low budget special effects, over the top grotesque sight gags and excessive corny acting were all by genius design making the film ooze personality and become an instant cult classic. It was comedy disguised as a horror movie and those who grasped this concept fell in love with this motley movie. I know I did.

It instantly made Bruce Campbell's career, especially the battle he fought with his own hand, in this author's mind, the most memorable horror movie scene ever filmed. I was so lost in the shot I almost succumbed to the notion I was watching an episode of the Three Stooges.

Who could forget the flying eyeball or the cheap special effect skeleton dancing in the moonlight? All outlandishly cheesy and completely amusing. Those who walked into the theaters in the summer of 1987 to see a horror flick were, I'm completely sure, very disappointed. But, for those like myself, who were able to take in this film on a larger scale... we witnessed a masterpiece of comedic genius. What side did you find yourself on?



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

If you had a Time Machine

Tonight's blog is a repost from 5/13/13

If you had a time machine, where and when would you go? Would you walk with Jesus, or would you stride with the dinosaurs? If you thought these events might affect the belief system that helps you cope with the modern day world would you reconsider your destination? Because we are all individually different in our fundamental theologies, beliefs and interests many of us would want to see the origins of our faith, whether it be based in scientific evolution or in spiritual conviction.

I, on the other hand, would hold onto my sacred viewpoint and intrigue myself with humanities greatest and most mysterious achievements. This may be because of my Science Fiction mindset, but, my first stop would be Atlantis curious to whether Plato’s accounts of the mythical society were true. Did they possess electricity? Had they harnessed the power of flight? Exactly where was the Island Kingdom located; within the Mediterranean, the Atlantic Ocean or was it somewhere in South America?

Then I would spin the dials to an era when the Ancient Library at Alexandria was untouched by devastating flame. I would spend weeks, maybe even months (if I could read the languages of antiquity) pouring over the long lost history of the primeval world. Can you imagine the inspired stories that would come out of such a session? How would today’s world be reshaped if such vanished history was rediscovered?

Finally, curiosity would thrust me into the future. I want to observe the day our species takes that first baby step into a bigger cosmos. How will our first contact with an alien race come about? With the discovery of so many extra solar worlds within recent history the notion we are alone in this great big universe is absolutely absurd. Would these non Earth cultures welcome us with open arms to a peaceful life amongst the stars, or will we awaken the attention of blood thirsty hordes hell bent on stealing our Mother Planets natural resources? These are questions Science Fiction has been asking since the creative minds of Jules Verne and Isaac Asimov ignited the dreams of our little Earthbound race.

Where would you take your time machine? And more importantly… why?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What Super Power?

 

If you could have one super power which would it be? Just one, no cheating.

Would you fly like Superman? And where would you go?

The power of invisibility is a good one; if you had this power how would you utilize it?

Super strength is a common trait in most heroes.

How about ESP? Think about what you could accomplish if you could read people’s minds.

Another great one would be super genius. Would you solve the world’s economic problems with it, or find the cure to cancer? Would you figure out how the human race could give up its dependence on fossil fuels?

Remember though, power can corrupt and effect one's perspective. When you have these special abilities there is always the moral angle to consider. Selfish and prideful feelings could sway ones decency to the point an honorable citizen could deviate and cross the line. The personal perception between hero and villain blurs when egotism and selfish needs creep into the picture.

One of the best quotes from the pop culture super hero motion pictures of the current age is from the movie Spiderman.
Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, played by Cliff Robertson, senses his young nephew is struggling with inner turmoil. Little does the elder know that this is brought about from Peter’s new found super abilities.

With great power comes great responsibility.”

Think about that when you choose your power. Would you use it for the good of mankind, or would you selfishly squander it on personal gain? When contemplating this concept, could you keep your moral compass from spinning to the dark side?
 
So, with all this in mind, what power ? And, more importantly, how would you use it?





Monday, April 28, 2014

The Germination



As I come into contact with folks out in the ordinary working world they seem to always be intrigued upon discovering I’m a published author. I would say it’s probably the single most interesting thing about me. Otherwise, I am just a normal everyday down to earth red blooded American male just getting by in a tough unforgiving world.

Inevitably I am always asked how I got my start. That tale is not extraordinary, but to satiate the curiosity of those future inquiries, I shall share it here on this blog.

Upon growing up I never fathomed becoming a writer. English was always my worst subject growing up. Conversely, the Sciences and Arts captured my enthusiasm. There was nothing more I hated than having to write a paper. To me it was a cruel form of punishment.

Then, in sixth grade, something pivotal happened altering the course of my youth drastically. Emotional turmoil was added to life when mom and dad broke up. My mother endured the strife of living as a single parent in South Carolina for as long as she could but, eventually, the yearning to return home became overwhelming. After several years of divorce she fled home to upstate New York with us kids in tow.

I said farewell to friends I’d spent an entire youth acquiring and, eighteen hours later, found myself transplanted into a strange new environment where people acted completely different from what I was used to. I was set adrift in a social desert for there was a full two months until the beginning of my sophomore year. I did not know a single soul. I was an alien wandering a strange world.

We lived just outside Camillus, New York. On the third day of summer my mother brought me and my brother to the little library just off the picturesque Erie Canal in the heart of the small village. I fell in love with the place immediately. It was escape from what’d become a tortured reality of boredom and unfamiliarity.

Tales of spaceman, aliens and hobbits filled my summer days and nights. For two solid months I read every waking hour. Stories by the masters Tolkien, Asimov, Hubbard and Anderson cultivated a passion for fantasy and science fiction that still exists within my soul to this day. That year I discovered a love for horror as well delving into the exhilarating worlds of Stephen King. I had discovered a love for reading.

When school finally began I found it difficult relating to this new culture I’d been thrust into. I found comfort writing in a tattered old green spiral bound notebook. I carried that growing collection of short stories with me everywhere. I had no idea whether these works were good or bad, but they were mine. They were my precious distraction.

Soon curiosity got the best of my peers. One winter’s day I found myself the center of attention at a cafeteria table of strangers. I was delighted at the expression upon the faces of those few who listened to tales spun in my southern laden accent. 

The following day more joined our table. The social group before me was of the nerdiest of variety. Their intellectual minds absorbed my work with utmost delight. The next day the table’s number grew two fold. I was finally part of a niche. I had friends. But, more importantly I had discovered something surprising inside myself. A talent for story telling. A seed had been planted inside the core of my being. The following weeks and months it was nurtured and would begin to grow exponentially.




Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Cosmos Condition



The human condition and need for a steady paycheck has taken me away  from this blog for way too long. I return with a thread about my favorite show in the whole wide world. Forgive me for flashing back to teenagism, but I grew up on this television series and it holds a nostalgic place in my heart...


I grew up on Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. It opened worlds of understanding my adolescent teen mind hungered for. While works such as the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and movies the like of Star Wars romanticized my love for science fiction, Cosmos gave me an understandable structure of possibility. It made me question the laws of science and nature and nourished my desire to fathom a plausible future governed by natural law. I believe that is why even though concepts within my writings may be somewhat outlandish; I strive to give them scientific gravity. The result being my work comes across as being believable.



My best example of this model is the explanation of vampires within my Morian Trilogy of novels. I don’t take for granted the notion of these mythical creatures, but strive to explain the condition why they exist as they are and how their behaviors and practices evolved. All these characteristic are shaped and validated through an evolution of history and endurance of torturous environmental conditions. The story told is governed by the rules of the universe I came to understand through this television series I fell in love with so long ago. I like to think of it as the "Cosmos Condition."



 Now there is a new embodiment of my beloved show on the Fox line up of television channels. Its narrator, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, was a protégé of Carl Sagan himself and, he too, experienced the Cosmos Condition dictating his career. The keen minds of Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan strive successfully to make Science and natural law entertaining to those intellectually gifted. With the animation talents of MacFarlane and the talents of Druyan to spin easily comprehensible dialogue it attracts others who are not so scientifically inclined and enlightens these minds with the Cosmos Condition.



Who knows how many future courses will be influenced by this new evolution of the Cosmos series. Will it give the world the next great Astrophysicist like Carl Sagan or Niel deGrasse Tyson? Will it influence genius in producers the like of Seth MacFarlane to strive to bring more intelligent programming to the youth of our nation? Or, will it influence some common citizen like myself to write engaging believable Science Fiction? All I can say in conclusion is our society needs more entertainment like this show. It can only raise the IQ level of the future of this nation… and the world. As a whole humanity is extremely ill informed to the Cosmos Condition.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Epic Spirit

Having a problem with the BlogSpot interface... it will not let me add any photos to my post. So, this post will be text only. :(


Being the son of Merlin Jones gave a unique perspective on the nightclub all of us grew to love. It was more than a place, more than bricks and mortar making up the edifice. Merlin’s was a concept. Words cannot express the spirit the place possessed. Sadly, those who never experienced it can never know.


 Merlin’s spirit was made up by the personalities that frequented the club. My dad always told me, you have to characters to make things interesting. Who could forget Booger a...nd his magic tricks? There, by his side, his faithful wingman Charwie always had his back. Who could forget Derrick tearing up the hardwood floors in front of the bandstand? Railroad, Wallyword, Franklin McCarter, Randy Brady, Sammy D, Robbie Hazle, Myron, Lee Johnson, Richard Hoover, Jay Metze, Suzanne, Lisa, Debbie, Jennifer and so many more added their flavor to the mystique of the Merlin’s concept on stage and off. 

 Later came other unforgettable personalities in the guise of Cotton, Wahoo, Odell, Doc McGillicuddy, Ajay, Stephen Jones, and countless more. Time has dulled memory of names, but the impression they all made lives inside us to this day. I grew up with these folks and they became more than people, they were family.

 Our loyalty to the Man who orchestrated the spirit was undying. My Dad, Merlin Jones. He entertained in more ways than just on stage. He never met a stranger, and because of his principled nature many called him “good friend.” He gave a little piece of himself to everyone in the building on every given night. Merlin was a brightly burning star giving his warmth to every person. All felt welcome…everyone felt part of the family.

 I have met many who have told me, my husband and I met at Merlin’s. Later years others have told me, my mom and dad met at the club. Time persistently races on, but the spirit of Merlin’s still lives inside of us all. 

 On March 15th we shall grab the reigns of time and give them a yank with all our combined might in an effort to push back the arms of the clock. Once diminished adrenaline will flow through veins as hearts recapture remembered youth when old friends reunite. We will be entertained as epic spirit is relived on stage, at the bar and on the dance floor.

 Now, we have the chance to introduce our spirit to new significant others as we make new memories at the Hanger. Like a phoenix Merlin’s shall rise again…even for just a fleeting moment of one evening.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Top Five Fav SciFi Villains.

One of my Favorite posts. Who doesn't like to talk about their favorite villains?



What are your TOP FIVE Science Fiction VILLAINS of all time?

I will get the ball rolling with my FAV FIVE list of bad boys.

5. The Daleks: When I was a pre-teen cable was not yet invented and a rag-tag pair of “rabbit ears”
provided our boat anchor of a Zennith console television with four channels. I remember one boring Sunday morning I found the network programming completely tiring for my twelve year old attention span. The fourth channel we received on our tube was PBS. There I saw this curly haired TIME LORD with an immesively long scarf battling these ALIEN ROBOTS with these terrifying spine chilling metallic voices. “EXTERMINATE!!” I was immediately hooked and have been a
DR. WHO fan ever since.

4. ARIIA: The Department of Defense’s intelligent gathering supercomputer in EAGLE EYE makes my list for a more modern-day option. Think about it, being controlled by a calculating machine contemplating the murder of the President’s entire cabinet without a shred of human feeling? Also, her power to manipulate utilizes every grid within our modern day society from traffic cams and signals, to automated cargo cranes… you are never out of her reach. That is a scary concept and makes her number four on my list of best Science Fiction Villains.

3. Victor Kruger: The movie HIGHLANDER is, in my opinion, one of the best films ever made. Its mysterious plot line was brilliant and the use of flashbacks influenced my own writing style in my latest works within The Morian Trilogy. But, the most amazing part of the movie was its extraordinarily wicked protagonist Victor Kruger. Every statement uttered by this bad guy dripped with conceit and contempt. I will never forget the scene within the church when he walked in with the safety pins adorning his neck scar. He was the devil himself in that sacred place. He made such an impact on WES CRAVEN that he named his villain in NIGHTMARE ON ELMSTREET after the HIGHLANDER villain.

2. HAL 9000: Heuristic Algorithmic in Authur C. Clarke's 2001 Space Oddessey. This computer started out innocent enough, but, by the end of the film he has to be one of the creepiest Science Fiction villains ever. That unemotional mechanized voice shot an icepick into the soul much the same way the DALEKS do. Also, that one red blaring eye was always staring and had the creepy effect of forcing the paranoia upon the screen to jump into the hearts of the audience in the darkened theater.

1. Emperor Palpatine: When you explore the scope of villains the Emperor stands out for me. His visage was ominous within my teenage mind when I first saw him in the shimmery hologram as Darth Vader kneeled before him. I believe that is why Vader fails to make my list, because, as menacing as he was at times, his leash was always held by Palpatine. Also, in the end, Darth Vader turned because he still had good in him. The Emperor was nothing but pure scheming, backstabbing and unadulterated evil.



What are your FAV FIVE villains of all time in Science Fiction?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fav Five Sci Fi Heroes/Heroines

After my last post I decided I could not resist giving the contrasting heroes and heroines a fair shake. Sounds easy enough right? Then I began compiling my list of protagonists and realized this was going to be a harder task than I had originally envisioned. When thinking of bad guys it was easy to pick out the ones you  love to hate the most. There are SO many good guys/girls out there how do you determine which top the “good list"? Giving a generous scope to the Science Fiction genre, here are some of my favorites.


5. Michonne: I have become a huge WALKING DEAD fan recently. Rick Grimes is a pretty damn good hero, but his morals have wavered often in the later episodes of this epic thrilling piece of doomsday science fiction. This show is rich with great good guys (and bad), but one character who has always remained chivalrous and has stuck to her guns (samari sword) is the enigmatic character named Michonne. She is a bit short on words but what she lacks in dialogue she makes up in action. This woman, despite being shunned, remains steadfast in her judgement of character and chooses to fight for good. She has become quite the bad-ass.


4. MadMax: Sticking with the “end of the world” theme; the Mad Max series of movies gave us a view of a post apocalyptic world that has been engrained occult-like into our culture. Max Rockatansky started out as a policeman in Australia’s Main Patrol Force who exacts violent revenge upon a biker gang in the first Mad Max movie. He came into his heroic role within the second installment Road Warrior, becoming a futuristic cowboy-like figure who preferred muscle cars over horses (I read this on www.denofgeeks.us.com and couldn’t resist using this analogy). "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."

3. Ripley: This futuristic heroine started out as a lowly warrant officer with a prejudice against senthetic lifeforms aboard the space ship Nostromos in 1979’s Alien. When we happen onto her character in 1986’s Aliens she has been hardened by a society she cannot seem to fit into. When the company comes calling on her expertise she finds renewed purpose in her life. As the mission deteriorates Ripley finds her inner warrior as her maternal instincts take over and she finds great inner strength. She is able to overcome the aliens after her armed battalion of escorting space marines are decimated by the enemy. She is the toughest Science Fiction heroine I can think of.


2. Captain James T Kirk: This guy. What can I add that hasn’t already been said time and time again. The Swaggering Starfleet Captain always had the wellbeing of his crew and the sacredness of human principals as his primary concern as he travels in through alien space (except when it came to the wooing of green alien women). He always had a way of bending the sanctity of the Prime Directive to accomplish these endeavors. Also, he always seems to remain in control, especially when faced with the NO WIN SCENARIO. And lastly, but not least….KKKAAAAAAHHHHNNNNN!!!


1. Han Solo: This champion was the idyllic Swashbuckling heroic NERF FURTER this galaxy (and that one far far away) has ever seen. He completely eclipsed the films main protagonist in every characteristic; looks, bravery and boldness. AND, he had the coolest space ship, the Millenium Falcon, and the best sidekick in Science Fiction history, Chewbacca. I would bet that every kid who grew up in my generation would choose to be Han Solo over Luke Skywalker.


What are your FAV FIVE HEROES/HEROINES of all time in Science Fiction?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Surprise Party

 Today is another teaser for the Morian Trilogy. All three books of the series are available online at iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Lulu.

"I want to give you the honor of being one of the first persons to see my new invention," the emperor said with giddiness creeping into his voice.

Uslum feared that he was going to do more than see this new invention. From the look of the other devices within the room he was in for an exceedingly unpleasant evening.

"Out of due respect," Uslum weakly replied, "I would just like to return to Siam and tell my king anything you would like."

With catlike reflexes the emperor was suddenly on him, pressing a hand over Uslum's mouth at the same time pinning him up against a stone column. Uslum hit with such force it knocked the air from his lungs. Wu had incredible strength and struggle as he may Uslum had no chance of breaking free.

The emperor moved in close staring right into the unfortunate Siamese man's face. Even as his mind raced trying to plan an escape he could not help but to marvel at how blue the emperor’s
eyes were. Wang Wu moved his mouth to Uslum’s ear and whispered so quietly the words were barely audible.

"I want you to beg for your life."

The emperor backed away so inhumanly fast all Uslum saw was a blur.

He immediately crumpled to the floor gasping for breath. Suddenly Wu’s fist hit him on the back of the head and he was face down upon the cold hard stone floor.

"Now that is how someone should bow down before me." Wang Wu placed a sandaled foot on the back of his head and ground his face into the hard floor."Now beg Son of Siam."

Uslum rolled to one side up onto his knees. He looked up into the eyes of the most powerful man in the known world and spat at his feet.

"Never!" he shouted defiantly.

The emperor laughed and within its echo Uslum found validation for every black story he had ever heard about the deeds this evil man had ever committed.

He attempted to bolt for the spiral staircase corridor but his way was instantly blocked. The Chinese nobleman had supernatural quickness.

"Where are you going son of Siam?" Emperor Wu toyed. "This party is for you."

The emperor roughly turned him round and shoved him forward toward the opposite end of the room. Uslum stumbled and fell at the foot of a heavy wooden door. It slowly swung open and there stood Feing.

"Is everything prepared for our guest of honor?" the emperor asked the Overseer.

"All is ready Highness," Feing hissed. "Our lady friend is just about done."

"Excellent."

The emperor grabbed Uslum by the arm and shoved him across the room where there stood a metal statue about seven and a half feet high. It had the face of a woman and two halves of a door that apparently opened outward from the length of its body. On the right side near the bottom a spout emptied into a large clay bowl filled with what appeared to be blood. He noticed there was still some dripping from the spout's end.

Uslum turned and defiantly stared the Chinese leader in the eyes without saying a word.

"How do you like my new invention?" Wu circled Uslum.

"Favored Son of Siam," the emperor said with a smug look upon his face, "I am sad to say you will not be the first to test the device even though I had intended the honor to be yours."

"But you did do us the honor of choosing the initial subject yourself," Feing hissed at the captive. Immediately his heart sank for he realized who the Overseer was talking about. Feing reached up above the split door and grabbed a small knob pulling back a small sliding door revealing a small window.

Uslum peered inside and his fears were confirmed. All he could see were the green eyes but that is all he needed to know that this was his beloved Meeka.

"You bastards!!!" he shouted and banged on the statue with tightly clinched fists.

Upon rattling the steal statue he saw recognition in Meekas eyes and came to the horrific realization she was still alive. Upon seeing his face a brief look of relief flared within her eyes before they glazed over and the life suddenly left her body.

Rage welled up inside him as he turned to face the two Chinese men, but Feing suddenly had his arms behind his back and bound his hands tightly. He struggled against the bonds to no avail.

"You are nothing but barbarians!!" Uslum shouted his voice filled with inner rage.

 "Correction," the emperor smiled while unlocking statue’s doors, "We were barbarians, now we are Chinese noblemen."

As Wu yanked opened the statue there was an audible ripping sound as spikes that were attached to the inner side of the door freed themselves from Meeka’s lifeless body still dripping with her blood.

Uslum winched with imagined pain. Meeka’s body still stood upright in the back of the morbid statue. Even in death her loveliness was stunning.

"Beautiful is it not?" The emperor reverently admired. "You see the spikes in the back and front are hollow. When the captive is placed inside the spikes in the back hold them in place as the doors are closed thus placing spikes into the front of the body holding them completely still."

 "You cold-blooded bastard!!!" Uslum screamed his voice hoarse and racked with pain. He watched as the emperor roughly grabbed Meeka’s body and unceremoniously yanked her free of the spikes and threw her to the floor. Uslum broke down into a fit of soft sobbing.