Friday, May 26, 2017

Dear Annapolis/West Point grads: A Word From The Past Concerning Your Future

Today, midshipmen and cadets graduate. Amidst the piles of vomitous PC-happyspeak they're likely to hear and be drowned under for the next 4-35 years of their careers, I thought a little speech delivered forty-four years ago at Annapolis might be in order.
The subject has never been more timely or apropos.


                     Robert Heinlein
                     USNA 1929

Forrestal Lecture at Annapolis 1973

(To the Brigade at large:)
 

Why are you here?
 
(To a second plebe:)
Mister, why are YOU here?
Never mind, son; that's a rhetorical question. You are here to become a naval officer. That's why this Academy was founded. That is why all of you are here: to become naval officers. If that is NOT why YOU are here, you've made a bad mistake. But I speak to the overwhelming majority who understood the oath they took on becoming midshipmen and look forward to the day when they will renew that oath as commissioned officers.
But why would anyone want to become a naval officer? In the present dismal state of our culture there is little prestige attached to serving your country; recent public opinion polls place military service far down the list.
It can't be the pay. No one gets rich on the pay. Even a 4-star admiral is paid much less than top executives in other lines. As for lower ranks, the typical naval officer finds himself throughout his career just catching up from the unexpected expenses connected with the last change of duty when another change of duty causes a new financial crisis. Then, when he is about fifty, he is passed over and retires... but he can't really retire because he has two kids in college and one still to go. So he has to find a job... and discovers that jobs for men his age are scarce and usually don't pay well.
Working conditions? You'll spend half your life away from your family. Your working hours? 'Six days shalt thou work and do all thou art able; the seventh the same, and pound on the cable.' A forty-hour week is standard for civilians - but not for naval officers. You'll work that forty-hour week, but that's just a starter. You'll stand a night watch as well, and duty weekends. Then with every increase in grade your hours get longer - until at last you get a ship of your own and no longer stand watches. Instead you are on duty twenty-four hours a day... and you'll sign your night order book with: 'In case of doubt, do not hesitate to call me.'
I don't know the average week's work for a naval officer but it's closer to sixty than to forty. I'm speaking of peacetime, of course. Under war conditions it is whatever hours are necessary - and sleep you grab when you can.
Why would anyone elect a career which is unappreciated, overworked, and underpaid? It can't be just to wear a pretty uniform. There has to be a better reason.
As one drives through the bushveldt of East Africa it is easy to spot herds of baboons grazing on the ground. But not by looking at the ground. Instead you look up and spot the lookout, an adult male posted on a limb of a tree where he has a clear view all around him - which is why you can spot him; he has to be where he can see a leopard in time to give the alarm. On the ground a leopard can catch a baboon... but if a baboon is warned in time to reach the trees, he can out-climb a leopard. The lookout is a young male assigned to that duty and there he will stay, until the bull of the herd sends up another male to relieve him. Keep your eye on that baboon; we'll be back to him.
Today, in the United States, it is popular among self-styled 'intellectuals' to sneer at patriotism. They seem to think that it is axiomatic that any civilized man is a pacifist, and they treat the military profession with contempt. 'Warmongers' - 'Imperialists' - 'Hired killers in uniform' - you have all heard such sneers and you will hear them again. One of their favorite quotations is: 'Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.' What they never mention is that the man who made that sneering remark was a fat, gluttonous slob who was pursued all his life by a pathological fear of death.
I propose to prove that that baboon on watch is morally superior to that fat poltroon who made that
wisecrack. Patriotism is the most practical of all human characteristics. But in the present decadent atmosphere patriots are often too shy to talk about it - as if it were something shameful or an irrational weakness. But patriotism is NOT sentimental nonsense. Nor is it something dreamed up by demagogues.
Patriotism is as necessary a part of man's evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual. A man who is NOT patriotic is an evolutionary dead end. This is not sentiment but the hardest of logic.
To prove that patriotism is a necessity we must go back to fundamentals. Take any breed of animal - for example, tyrannosaurus rex. What is the most basic thing about him? The answer is that tyrannosaurus rex is dead, gone, extinct.
Which brings us to the second fundamental question: Will homo sapiens stay alive? Will he survive?
We can answer part of that at once: Individually h. sapiens will NOT survive. It is unlikely that anyone here tonight will be alive eighty years from now; it approaches mathematical certainty that we will all be dead a hundred years from now as even the youngest plebe here would be 118 years old by then - if still alive.
Some men do live that long but the percentage is so microscopic as not to matter. Recent advances in biology suggest that human life may be extended to a century and a quarter, even a century and a half - but this will create more problems than it solves. When a man reaches my age or thereabouts, the last great service he can perform is to die and get out of the way of younger people.
Very well, as individuals we all die. This brings us to the second half of the question: Does homo sapiens AS A BREED have to die? The answer is: No, it is NOT unavoidable. We have two situations, mutually exclusive: Mankind surviving, and mankind extinct. With respect to morality, the second situation is a null class. An extinct breed has NO behavior, moral or otherwise.
Since survival is the sine qua non, I now define 'moral behavior' as 'behavior that tends toward survival.' I won't argue with philosophers or theologians who choose to use the word 'moral' to mean something else, but I do not think anyone can define 'behavior that tends toward extinction' as being 'moral' without stretching the word 'moral' all out of shape.
We are now ready to observe the hierarchy of moral behavior from its lowest level to its highest. The
simplest form of moral behavior occurs when a man or other animal fights for his own survival. Do not belittle such behavior as being merely selfish. Of course it is selfish... but selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative. An animal so poor in spirit that he won't even fight on his own behalf is already an evolutionary dead end; the best he can do for his breed is to crawl off and die, and not pass on his defective genes.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family. This is the level at which six pounds of mother cat can be so fierce that she'll drive off a police dog. It is the level at which a father takes a moonlighting job to keep his kids in college - and the level at which a mother or father dives into a flood to save a drowning child... and it is still moral behavior even when it fails.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for a group larger than the unit family - an extended family, a herd, a tribe - and take another look at that baboon on watch; he's at that moral level. I don't think baboon language is complex enough to permit them to discuss such abstract notions as 'morality' or 'duty' or 'loyalty' - but it is evident that baboons DO operate morally and DO exhibit the traits of duty and loyalty; we see them in action. Call it 'instinct' if you like - but remember that assigning a name to a phenomenon does not explain it.
But that baboon behavior can be explained in evolutionary terms. Evolution is a process that never stops. Baboons who fail to exhibit moral behavior do not survive; they wind up as meat for leopards. Every baboon generation has to pass this examination in moral behavior; those who bilge it don't have progeny. Perhaps the old bull of the tribe gives lessons... but the leopard decides who graduates - and there is no appeal from his decision. We don't have to understand the details to observe the outcome; baboons behave morally - for baboons.
The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called 'patriotism.'
Behaving on a still higher moral level were the astronauts who went to the Moon, for their actions tend toward the survival of the entire race of mankind. The door they opened leads to hope that h. sapiens will survive indefinitely long, even longer than this solid planet on which we stand tonight. As a direct result of what they did, it is now possible that the human race will NEVER die. Many short-sighted fools think that going to the Moon was just a stunt. But those astronauts knew the meaning of what they were doing, as is shown by Neil Armstrong's first words in stepping down onto the soil of Luna: 'One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.' Let us note proudly that eleven of the Astronaut Corps are graduates of this our school. And let me add that James Forrestal was the FIRST high-ranking Federal official to come out flatly for space travel.
I must pause to brush off those parlor pacifists I mentioned earlier... for they contend that THEIR actions are on this highest moral level. They want to put a stop to war; they say so. Their purpose is to save the human race from killing itself off; they say that too. Anyone who disagrees with them must be a bloodthirsty scoundrel - and they'll tell you that to your face. I won't waste time trying to judge their motives; my criticism is of their mental processes: Their heads aren't screwed on tight. They live in a world of fantasy.
Let me stipulate that, if the human race managed its affairs sensibly, we could do without war. Yes - and if pigs had wings, they could fly. I don't know what planet those pious pacifists are talking about but it can't be the third one out from the Sun. Anyone who has seen the Far East - or Africa - or the Middle East - knows or certainly should know that there is NO chance of abolishing war in the foreseeable future. In the past few years I have been around the world three times, traveled in most of the communist countries, visited many of the so-called emerging countries, plus many trips to Europe and to South America; I saw nothing that cheered me as to the prospects for peace. The seeds of war are everywhere; the conflicts of interest are real and deep, and will not be abolished by pious platitudes. The best we can hope for is a precarious balance of power among the nations capable of waging total war - while endless lesser wars break out here and there. I won't belabor this. Our campuses are loaded with custard-headed pacifists but the yard of the Naval Academy is not one place where I will encounter them. We are in agreement that the United States still needs a navy, that the Republic will always have need for heroes - else you would not be here tonight and in uniform.
Patriotism - Moral behavior at the national level. Non sibi sed Patria. Nathan Hale's last words: 'I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.' Torpedo Squadron Eight making its suicidal attack. Four chaplains standing fast while the water rises around them. Thomas Jefferson saying, 'The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots'' A submarine skipper giving the order 'Take her DOWN!' while he himself is still topside. Jonas Ingram standing on the steps of Bancroft Hall and shouting, 'The Navy has no place for good losers! The Navy needs tough sons of bitches who can go out there and WIN!'
Patriotism - An abstract word used to describe a type of behavior as harshly practical as good brakes and
good tires. It means that you place the welfare of your nation ahead of your own even if it costs you your life. Men who go down to the sea in ships have long had another way of expressing the same moral behavior tagged by the abstract expression 'patriotism.' Spelled out in simple Anglo-Saxon words 'Patriotism' reads 'Women and children first!'
And that is the moral result of realizing a self-evident biological fact: Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on... as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you've had it, you're done, you're THROUGH! You join tyrannosaurus rex, one more breed that bilged its final test.
I must amplify that. I know that women can fight and often have. I have known many a tough old grandmother. I would rather have on my side in a tight spot than any number of pseudo-males who disdain military service. My wife put in three years of active duty in World War Two, plus ten years reserve, and I am proud - very proud! - of her naval service. I am proud of every one of our women in uniform; they are a shining example to us men.
Nevertheless, as a mathematical proposition in the facts of biology, children, and women of child-bearing age, are the ultimate treasure that we must save. Every human culture is based on 'Women and children first' - and any attempt to do it any other way leads quickly to extinction.
Possibly extinction is the way we are headed. Great nations have died in the past; it can happen to us. Nor am I certain how good our chances are. To me it seems self-evident that any nation that loses its patriotic fervor is on the skids. Without that indispensable survival factor the end is only a matter of time. I don't know how deeply the rot has penetrated - but it seems to me that there has been a change for the worse in the last fifty years. Possibly I am misled by the offensive behavior of a noisy but unimportant minority. But it does seem to me that patriotism has lost its grip on a large percentage of our people. I hope I am wrong... because if my fears are well grounded, I would not bet two cents on this nation's chance of lasting even to the end of this century. But there is no way to force patriotism on anyone. Passing a law will not create it, nor can we buy it by appropriating so many billions of dollars. You gentlemen of the Brigade are most fortunate. You are going to a school where this basic moral virtue is daily reinforced by precept and example. It is not enough to know what Charlie Noble does for a living, or what makes the wildcat wild, or which BatDiv failed to splice the main brace and why - nor to learn matrix algebra and navigation and ballistics and aerodynamics and nuclear engineering. These things are merely the working tools of your profession and could be learned elsewhere; they do not require 'four years together by the Bay where the Severn joins the tide.'
What you do have here is a tradition of service. Your most important classroom is Memorial Hall. Your most important lesson is the way you feel inside when you walk up those steps and see that shot-torn flag framed in the arch of the door: 'Don't Give Up the Ship.' If you feel nothing, you don't belong here. But if it gives you goose flesh just to see that old battle flag, then you are going to find that feeling increasing every time you return here over the years... until it reaches a crescendo the day you return and read the list of your own honored dead - classmates, shipmates, friends - read them with grief and pride while you try to keep your tears silent.
The time has come for me to stop. I said that 'Patriotism' is a way of saying 'Women and children first.' And that no one can force a man to feel this way. Instead he must embrace it freely. I want to tell about one such man. He wore no uniform and no one knows his name, or where he came from; all we know is what he did.
In my home town sixty years ago when I was a child, my mother and father used to take me and my brothers and sisters out to Swope Park on Sunday afternoons. It was a wonderful place for kids, with picnic grounds and lakes and a zoo. But a railroad line cut straight through it.
One Sunday afternoon a young married couple were crossing these tracks. She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free. Her husband stopped to help her. But try as they might they could not get her foot loose. While they were working at it, a tramp showed up, walking the ties. He joined the husband in trying to pull the young woman's foot loose. No luck.
Out of sight around the curve a train whistled. Perhaps there would have been time to run and flag it down, perhaps not. In any case both men went right ahead trying to pull her free... and the train hit them. The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and died later, the tramp was killed - and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself. The husband's behavior was heroic... but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that's all we'll ever know about him.
THIS is how a man dies. This is how a MAN . . . lives!
'They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old;
age shall not wither them nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them''

Gear Tip: Your Friend Velcro



A decade and more out of the .mil, and finding out to my chagrin that running around pulling security on the southern border for what became several years would require me to gear up and ruck up in an epic grunt flashback, one of the new iterations of weapon carriage I tried was the drop-leg holster.

Ignoring completely the Tactically Cool Tactical Operator Operating Tactically and CDI (Chicks Dig It) factors, there were practical considerations, in that it's much easier to get it down below chest and vest gear rigs and body armor (and yes, with cartels dumping entire magazines into the faces of downed Border Patrol agents nearby, you can damn betcha we wore all that, even for mending fences, when only 10 yards from Mexico), and easier to deal with jumping into and out of vehicles day and night, and still being able to reach and draw the weapon, should it become necessary.

But, like with spawn-of-satan single point slings (don't get me started), the bane of the existence of drop-legs is that sooner or later (sooner if you run, even briefly) they inevitably end up smacking your weapon(s) right into your junk. By malign design.

Ow.

And I've tried them nearly all, so don't bother suggesting Brand X or Tacticool Overpriced Widget Maker Y in comments. They all do it, because anatomy.

This is because no matter if you tighten them to tourniquet levels of adjustment, your leg is a cylinder, and things will go where they will go, usually at the worst time, and in the most uncomfortable way.

The same is true even for unsecured belt holsters. Heavy things gravitate to your middle when you move, because they can. Where they'll gore your junk, eventually. Even if you're Indiana Jones.

My solution was simple: I switched back either to a Bianchi GI issue holster and belt carry, clipped in place nigh-immovably, or used either the old- or new-school versions of GI shoulder holster, and the pistol is where I left it, no matter what I do.

But some people haven't learned their gear yet (which is the bigger take-away lesson, IMHO), and I've seen a couple of folks, even those on duty, and in courses still trying/using the drop-leg. Some of them because of agency policy. With the same painful short-comings. So for those who're still enamored of them, this tip.

Most larger Wal-Marts, and sewing-type craft stores, sell the two items you need: a wide swath of Velcro strap, and Shoe-Goo. Glue a 3-4" long section (or two side-by-side if they're narrow) of the widest hook piece you can obtain (If you find 3"x4" or 4"x6" pieces now because Internet, even better) to the back of your holster. Leave the loop attached, and press it into place at least overnight with bricks, books, weight plates, etc., after stuffing it to its normal dimension with either the (safe) weapon in place, or newspapers/rags stuffed in to approximate the normal profile.

Do the same thing in reverse: Shoe-Goo the loop section (make sure you get this right, or you'll have two Velcro pieces that won't lock together) to the trouser leg(s) you're likely to be wearing when SHTF, in the corresponding location where you want the pistol to stay on the side of your leg, versus digging into your wedding tackle.
Again, press into place, and weight it down with heavy items, and let it set overnight, if not for a full day.

The ambitious can use C-clamps and boards in either or both cases instead of weights.


Then when you wear drop-leg with trousers, it gets stuck where you want it, and stays where you put it, in perpetuity. FTR, I have sewn entire garments and repaired shoes with Shoe-Goo, and in every case, the Shoe-Goo outlasts the garments/shoe you repair with it.

If you do this, the prospects for you someday having children, and not screaming like a girl at an inopportune moment, will respectively increase/decrease, to your great relief.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

History: If You Won't Preserve It, You Don't Deserve It

h/t WRSA


I have no love for revisionist visigoths, but I also have zero fucks to give for those who can't do anything but wet their diapers over it.

Reference: someone crybabying because they couldn't get anything done, and their beloved monument(s) got chopped down and hauled away.

Pot/Kettle.

1. Numbers talk, bullshit walks.
You either have numbers, or you’re just BS.
If 10,000 (hell, even 2,000) like-minded and resolute people showed up at any one of those monuments, surrounded it twenty to fifty bodies deep, and said “Fuck y’all, cops, BLM, Antifa, anybody; this sumbitch ain’t coming down, EVER! And we’re coming after those council members who tried to get rid of it in a recall Monday morning.” that would’ve been that. (And you probably could have expanded tenfold after Day One.)
But there’s no such base of support.
So you (whoever you are in any case) get rolled.
Welcome to How The World Works, Since Ever.
(Double Bonus Pussy Points if the reason you got rolled in the council vote in the first place was because you and an army of fellow geniuses "voted with your feet", decamped to somewhere else, and the relevant districts are now solid welfare-sucking blue. Your earlier selfish cowardice now pays dividends that last forever. Well played.)

2. 90% of everyone who shows up for such an ad hoc “happening” is a cam-whore, a thief, a liar, and a certifiable whack-job, or frequently all of the above.
Video camera lights draw those assholes like porch lights draw moths, in 110% of all known cases.
If you haven’t vetted your crowd long beforehand, and imposed a hierarchy and discipline on them, long before anybody shows up with cameras, you aren’t tall enough for this ride.
I’m sorry if that only now became apparent to anyone, or is news to them.
The memo has been out since at least the 1960s, if not 1917 or 1790, and probably long prior. This is one of those Reasons History Is Important To Life you didn’t learn in school because you were fucking off and/or your teacher wasn’t very good about driving the lesson home.
Final Exams can happen decades later, there’s no grading curve – it’s pass/fail – and you just got an “F”.

3. Stop playing on enemy turf:
If someone wants to take something down, find a site on private land, and put it back up. The same (if TPTB will let you purchase it for a nominal fee) or bigger than what was removed. Once it’s on private property, you can defend it, legally, with force of arms if necessary.
Expecting the guvmint to do it for you, because reasons, is still sucking on Uncle’s tit, and the other side of the coin from EBT cards and welfare phones.
If you don’t have the means to be a patron of the monuments you care about, once again, you aren’t tall enough for this ride financially either.

4. Honestly, let’s be men about this: there’s nothing wrong or shameful about admitting you can’t do what you want. Dig in, and get to work on that, so that you can do so eventually.
Or else admit you really didn’t care that much, find another hobby, and shut up about it.

Being grown-up is hard. Suck it up, buttercup.
That is not the face you want to show to the world.

Pull up your big-boy pants, and git ‘er done, or go home.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

More Pondering

Why everyone west of the Rockies inherently despises Government 3-9X more than those of you inhabiting points to the east of that zone:
                                pic embiggens

Seems to me the easiest way to reduce the size of government in perpetuity would be to limit it to no more than 10% of the territory of any state, which would cost nothing but the ink to make it official.

Congo Ebola Update


Link

Now 4 deaths (out of 29 cases so far) confirmed by WHO as of two days ago, but the good news is contacts being traced now down to 300 and change from 400, over 50 earlier ones having passed beyond likely infection timeframes.

The bad news is that the outbreak is associated with multiple unaccounted mystery deaths from weeks ago.

IOW, as usual, they missed it by a mile. For weeks. In a country that's had EIGHT Ebola outbreaks since 1976.

The other bad news is that they took the first patients to a hospital with no isolation facilities.
And calling the abbatoir in the middle of Shitville they were taken to a hospital is probably an insult to abbatoirs.

The other other bad news is there are no roads to even get there.
So relief/response teams still haven't gotten to the actual, you know, outbreak site.
Let alone constructed isolation/treatment facilities.
So they still haven't isolated the outbreak, two weeks later.
And the area borders on another country that's also dirt-poor. (If you lent them the dirt.)

Spin up the Adage Machine, Sherman:
"Africa Wins Again." - Kim DuToit

The other good news is that it hasn't shown up in Kinshasa, or Nairobi. Yet.
The other other good news is that no one from CDC has anything to do with responding to this outbreak. Yet.

So the outlook is piss-poor, but no pissier or poorer than it was a week ago.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Something To Think About

(h/t to SNAFU! ) 

                                      pic embiggens

Just something to ponder. It also gives you an idea where the countries assigned to states rank as well.

It also kind of shoots all that "let Commifornia go to hell" sentiment right in the pants too, but facts and reality rarely matter to ranting monkeys scraping their diapers for another handful of ammunition to fling. In fact, CA's economy is nearly as big as TX and NY combined, and is as big as the economies of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas combined.

If you were wondering about ranking, after the U.S., here are the rest of the Top Ten as of 2016, and the states it would take to equal them:
2. China         (all of the US minus CA, TX, NY, FL, and IL)
3. Japan         (CA and TX combined)
4. Germany    (TX, NY, and VA combined)
5. United Kingdom
6. France         (slightly less than CA)
7. India            (TX and OH combined)
8. Italy             (TX and KY combined)
9. Brazil           (TX and NE combined)
10. Canada

Bonus:

When People Are Bored, They Lose Focus. And Get Stupid.




The societal breakdown we’re looking towards (and hoping to avoid or delay as long as possible) is best understood as making popcorn: a few early pops here and there, but when the temperature gets hot enough, all the corn pops, and no one has to co-ordinate any of the kernels to get that to happen. It just does. It’s a physics thing.

The lesson is, things ain’t hot enough yet.
Simmer down; it’ll pop when it’s time.

If you don’t see people forming tribes and groups, it’s because they don’t see the need. Yet.
Not everyone lives on the hill, and not everyone keeps watch down the road.

If you’re one of the farther-seeing ones, or farther-travelling ones, and you’ve passed on the message that a dust cloud is heading your way, that’s it, your work to the community so far is done.
No one’s stopping you from taking advantage of the information yourself, in the lull between seeing the dust, and seeing the horde that’s creating it riding into sight.
ROWYBSs, and make prudent preparations.

It’ll be awhile yet.
But if they are headed this way, it will become apparent to everyone in due course.

As to who ends up kneeling in front of a ditch, I wouldn’t bet the farm on things going like the “neo-Jacobins” imagine. Even just looking at how their plans have turned out so far, their predictive powers leave a lot to be desired.

 
Meanwhile, while noting the signs, whinging because no one will join your mulisha is not only childish, it’s a waste of your prep time.
Invest yourself in being the one everyone wants to pick for teams when things go to shit, (or better yet, the one everyone wants to pick them for their team) and the details will work themselves out.
None of which involves anyone purchasing a saber, sash, or gold-braided epaulets.


There’s waaaaay too much cosplay “preparation” going on, and not nearly enough dirt time in the bush, logistics time at PrepDepot, or improving your position.

 
So if folks are going to play with electrons, maybe spend more time with pdfs, and less with jpgs.


http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCWP%203-11.3%20%20Scouting%20and%20Patrolling.pdf


You invest where you're going to get a return.
That doesn't look like this:


Just saying.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Revolutions


                             "Liberte', apostasie', muertre'!"


In regards to a great historical lesson regarding the forgotten aspects of the French Revolution over at  ZMan's blog, I note the following:

The 800-pound gorilla in the room every time someone wants to compare the French Revolution with our own (largely fuelled by the same Enlightenment thinkers) then, or our situation nowadays, is that their elites went out of their way to extinguish religion and espouse atheism, whereas ours embraced religion and relied on it for no small amount of underpinning (modern revisionism be damned, literally). We know where ours went. How did that work out for them?

Diderot, Voltaire, and Rousseau begat Robespierre and Napoleon, just as surely as Darwin, Neitzsche, and Freud begat Lenin, Hitler, and Mao.

Hitler eventually persecuted his own Useful Idiot atheists, but primarily because he wanted to keep the trappings of German religion after dethroning the subject, to ride that parade right up to the steps of the Nuremburg rallies. Just like thieves and the IRS, Government always hates competition.

And, on a smaller scale, the likes of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and any number of colleagues back to before even Roman emperors illustrate the same lesson: tyranny must needs not be merely obeyed, but worshipped.
 Like Baal and the Aztecs, human sacrifice is always involved, at some point.

       Another proud contributor to Aztec values gives his utmost.

Once man is the only measure, everything is permissible, and only might makes right.

This is where the Trumpistas are literally doing God’s work: their existence bypasses the log in the eyes suffered by the Cult of Obama, and now the Rabid Left has noticed the splinter in the alt Right’s eye of sticking with Trump no matter what, and they began to mouth once again (however insincerely, and purely for show and personal advantage) the platitudes of “a nation of laws, not men”.

The scary part is when they bare their actual fangs, and merely note their displeasure that they didn’t get to pick the emperor of their own choice this time around, that one sees their whinging is mainly fueled by envy and jealousy, and not freedom-loving horror. After the diaper-wetting and poo-flinging episodes abate, they will begin counting the days when they can and will have their way with the country again, and laying out the scope of how much farther they can push the pendulum when it’s once again their turn to grasp the levers of power and turn us back toward the cliffs of insanity.

Which is why you don’t have enough allies or ammo, nor biceps, bullets, beans, and band-aids for what’s to come, and should be building the infrastructure to accommodate as much of them as you can amass and secure beforehand.

Sportiness cometh.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Let The Games Begin



And now, only three days after the WHO report referred to two posts ago, the number of contacts in Congo has jumped from 129 to 400, per AP.

Scroll back and see where I put this under "possible worst case".

It's probably safe, at this point, to drop it down another notch on the scale.
And to check sales on canned goods. Really.


Because WHO, and African kakistocracy are back on the case. (What could possibly go wrong?) As if Inspector Clouseau had called the Keystone Kops for back-up.

Now all we need is one Ebola-infected traveler to hit the US, then we can get the CDC in on the hijinks, and it's a Saturday matinee.


And if it gets from the northern border of BFCongo to the capitol, Kinshasa, and its 10,000,000 people with rates of 60% literacy, and the same lack of health care, running water, or flush toilets, in a country that borders on nine other underdeveloped and poor countries, a population already ravaged by AIDS, malaria, and dozens of other diseases, and then things'll get mighty interesting.

The only good news is there's a promising experimental vaccine, which they might be able to get there, and the world can use a few thousand Congolese villagers as human testing guinea pigs. If, if, IF it turns out to work, that would be great news. If not, well...

We've already seen what the next 12 or so doublings look like. Pray we don't go there again.
Best wishes, and sleep tight.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Well...Bye... Powers Boothe, R.I.P.



We note belatedly and sadly the recent passing of actor Powers Boothe, aged 68, in his sleep Sunday at home. Survived by his college sweetheart and wife of 48 years' marriage, and their two children.

He won an Emmy for his portrayal of cult monster Jim Jones in 1980. I first noticed him for his work in Southern Comfort, as well as a great part as a shot-down fighter pilot in 1984's Red Dawn (the only version worth watching or talking about, IMHO).


Alongside many other roles (he was active and working from 1977-2016), he made a superb villain in Tombstone, and made an even better one as Al Swearingen's counter-villain c**ksucker Cy Tolliver in the entire run of the brilliant cable series Deadwood. Clearly, it was never a stretch to cast a Texan as a cowboy.


Whatever you catch him in, or enjoyed him for, it was time well spent, by a worthy practitioner of the craft of acting. He was one of the good ones, and he will be missed.


Here It Goes Again



Another Ebola outbreak. (Not that the 2014 one has really gone away, but I digress.)

From comments:

Aesop,
Off topic... but here is an update from WHO on Ebola:
WHO dashboard report 2017 Congo Ebola outbreak 15 May 2017
I am curious to hear your take on this - last week it was 3 and this week it is 19.

And depending on the location, next week could be 50, or 300. Or still 19.

They're following an additional 129 people, according to the report.
(BTW, both dead victims #2 and #3 were the ones who helped transport and treat #1, and the next 16 are people they infected. Stop me if you've heard this one...).

The saving grace this time is that this outbreak is in outer BFCongo, rather than in downtown Kinshasa (pop. 10,000,000)

The incubation period for Ebola virus was formerly considered 2-21 days, IIRC. A 2014 WHO report suggests it may be latent for over 42 days.) That means reports of infected persons now are always  at least 3-6 weeks behind reality, and the pool of infectees is always 21-42 days' worth of contacts higher than you think, and estimates are always behind the curve.

Think about how many people you come into close (like hand-shaking close) contact with in 3 weeks' time, and then imagine you had Ebola, and you get the idea.

Until they throw a quarantine line outside the virus' ability to spread among those infected, it keeps going outward inexorably like ripples in a pond.

Now imagine one of that potential infected pool gets on a 767, passes through two airports, and goes to a conference, before showing clear symptoms.
Then go back and re-read what I wrote on Ebola from 2014-2015.

My take is that every time a country has an outbreak, and isn't immediately declared an international catastrophe with a major international health care response, with all persons departing that country put on mandatory seven-week isolation quarantine until two months after the last case in that country, we've already fucked up by the numbers.

This was settled science before there was any science, because the Black Death was a thing 600 years before Pasteur figured out the details, and quarantine works. ("quarantine:n. 1. a 40-day period of observation of potentially infected victims to discern whether or not they are, in fact, diseased. From Italian quarentena quarantine {of a ship}, from Latin quaranta forty")


In 2014, we were two patients away from the US becoming Sierra Leone.
TWO.

And to this day, no one knows where the last outbreak came from, or why it went away, because not one of the multiple requirements WHO laid out to control the epidemic was ever reached in any of the three affected countries in 2014.

Ebola is a guy juggling hand grenades with the pins pulled during a fire in a live nuclear missile silo kind of bad, and we can't keep staying stupid and getting lucky indefinitely.

Math refresher (rounded):

 1                      1             Initial case: Patient 0.
 2                      2
 3                      4             Where we were last week.
 4                      8
 5                    16
 6                    32             Where we are now, officially.
 7                    64
 8                  128             Where we probably are now, in reality.
 9                  256
10                 512             Where we might be now, worst case.
11               1024
12               2000
13               4000
14               8000
15            16,000
16            32,000              Official tally of Ebola cases in 2014.
17            64,000
18          128,000              Probable actual tally of cases in 2014.
19          256,000
20          500,000
21       1,000,000
22       2,000,000
23       4,000,000
24       8,000,000               Kinshasa, DRCongo approx. population.
25     16,000,000
26     32,000,000
27     64,000,000
28   128,000,000
29   250,000,000
30   500,000,000
31 1,000,000,000
32 2,000,000,000              Africa's population, more or less.
33 4,000,000,000
34 8,000,000,000              All human life on Earth.

So, you get 34 doubles to go from no one, to everyone (with the caveat that some will never get it, and some who do get Ebola will survive nonetheless, whether it's 7 people or 7 billion people we're talking about).

IOW, nothing to worry about.
Yet.

Preparation for it would be get yourself able to hang at home (or wherever) hunkered down and shuttered in for the course of any pandemic.
Proper treatment of it in others is get the hell away, or settle your affairs.
If an epidemic becomes a pandemic, neither you nor your sentiments will be respected by a virus, especially if someone dear to you contracts the disease. It will kill you deader than canned tuna, and it won't care that you were making a noble sacrifice.
Get. The. Fuck. Away. And. Stay. There.

As Commander Zero and Remus have exhorted on other things like riots and general unpleasantness:

Avoid crowds.
Be somewhere else.

That means you, unless you have the entire Emory University Hospital BL-IV Serious Communicable Diseases Unit handy to pull right out of your @$$, at a moment's notice.
Nothing less will suffice.
If not, the one and only plan to cope is to stay the hell away from this.
Ebola is a m*****f*****, and you're the mother in that word.



Maybe keep a pin in the story, but at the moment, it's a typhoon in Sumatra: there are many other far more pressing things about which to be concerning yourself.
 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Future War - The Weapons Of World War Four





This was shamelessly stolen and re-written, without the author's permission, from this article in Small Wars Journal , written (before my editing) by SSG Oren Hammerquist.

The monstrous amount of Derp in the original article has been removed for your protection.

                                                                -- * -- * --

Senior Chief Special Warrant Kyle Barristan raised an eyebrow as he watched the sergeant survey their equipment. Wisely, he asked permission before entering the ART—Advanced Reactionary Technology—squad tent. Unwisely, the sergeant seemed to have forgotten his purpose and surveyed the ART equipment. By necessity the existence of most of the equipment had been declassified, but ART Squad members—the famed Chrome Caps—still discouraged random curiosity.
The tent offered a great deal to satisfy such random curiosity. Mixed among the Army cots designed in the Vietnam conflict—never fix something that worked—were neat arrays and rows of micro-drones called Skippers and Gnats. Neatly hung to one side were six body armor suits looking like a cross between a wetsuit and a still suit from Dune. Computers and advanced weaponry in a canvas tent—though lined with insulating material—formed a juxtaposition every bit as strange as a smartphone in a World War I trench. Only the six Special Warrant officers—specially trained and selected to use this advanced weaponry—seemed at home both with the technology and without.
The Sergeant who entered the tent didn't look old enough to drink, and he may not be in most states. The silver letter "T" under his stripes indicated he'd entered on a technology rank waiver. He must have at least a bachelor's degree in one of the computer sciences—of which there seemed to be a new one every year—but not a master's yet or he'd be a Staff Sergeant. Since most tech waivers finished most of their college in advanced placement classes in high school, chances were good the Sergeant was twenty or younger.
"Did you need something, Sergeant?" asked Barristan.
"This is from Battalion, sir," the young man replied.
"What do you want?"
"Top asked me to get a translator."
"Why?" Barristan demanded.
"Some Wadi at the gate spittin' gibberish," the Sergeant said.
"Then go ask the translator," Barristan said.
"He's in route to Landstuhl," the Sergeant said. "Got hit on patrol last night. I thought you knew."
The six warrants sighed. This only created more work for them. "I'll send someone right out, sergeant," Barristan said.
Barristan pulled his "chrome cap" from the charging case beneath the bunk. When the eye visor was raised, the assembly vaguely resembled a silver baseball cap with a black bill. Except, of course, that the assembly comprised a helmet rather than a hat. Still, the name "chrome cap" stuck partially due to the choice to wear light-gray berets in uniform.
The front of the mask looked like a cross between a fighter pilot oxygen mask and a chemical protective mask. The goggles, with wearer-selected variable tint, allowed projection of augmented reality (AR) graphics and text alerts. Barriston grew up on classic science fiction, and felt all the helmets needed to look more like a Cylon was a red light running across the eyes.
"We can do that, Senior," said Salish.
Tomms added, "Yeah, you know Liu is the world's greatest conversationalist."
The Chief Special Warrant nodded once without looking away from his book.
Barristan shook his head. "I have to take a piss anyway. This probably isn't good news, so let's get the Skippers and Gnats ready. Check the armor to make sure the batteries are good and the Kevlar is in good shape."
The others nodded and Smith asked, "You actually expecting bad news here?"
"I've never known a local to bring good news," he said.
* * *
The heat outside the tent hit Barristan like a wall. Even at the other end of the one-square-kilometer combat outpost, mirages flowed in the heat. Barristan's uncle used to talk about the heat from his time in Afghanistan. Heat played tricks on the body. At 120 degrees, sweat evaporated so quickly that someone walking from a cooled area into the heat felt a momentary chill. That was thirty-five years and ten degrees earlier. Barristan clipped the pistol belt on and donned his gloves.
Barristan turned the corner toward the gate wearing only his pants, t-shirt, boots, and chrome helmet. The local stepped backwards with wide eyes. A gesture from his left hand turned his translator on. As he lifted the goggles, he held up a hand.
As Barristan spoke English, the speaker outside the mask said in Uzbek, "Don't be afraid. It is only a helmet."
The man looked suspiciously for a moment before nodding. Barristan lowered the visor and activated his millimeter-wave scanner. The AR scanner highlighted items of interest inside the man's pockets. The only item of concern to Barristan was a long, thin, curving item hanging from what appeared to be a chain around his neck. It was clearly a knife, but it could be for religious purposes. Or, it could be for him. Best keep out of arm's length.
Translator reactivated, Barristan said, "Can I help you?"
The man spoke rapidly in his native tongue as the suit translated to a machine voice inside the headset. Unfortunately, the words initially made little sense:
This man was not local. It raised a red flag.
"Search dialect," he ordered the onboard computer.
As the man continue to speak in partially translated speech, the computer ran text across his visor. Finally, it said, "Northern Uzbek Colloquial 7: 85%."
"Switch translation."
Immediately, the man's words began to make sense.
"Can you understand me better now?" Barristan asked.
The man again looked surprised. Barristan knew he wanted to ask how the robot-man could switch to a local dialect; the fact that the man did not say this raised the second red flag.
Barristan wouldn't have tried to explain the helmet even if the man had asked anyway—he'd never do that again. As a Special Warrant, he once tried to explain computers to a farmer who didn't even have air conditioning. Thankfully, declaring people witches was a European thing. By the end of his failed explanation, Barristan himself had begun to wonder if he was a wizard of some sort.
Barristan explained in auto-translated, colloquial Uzbek, "I did not understand you at first. Please tell me again what you need."
"I beg you in the name of Allah to help our village. Men came in with IEDs, hand grenades, and many other weapons. Please. Will you help us?"
Barristan asked, "Where is your village?"
The man gave directions up the main road and left at the first "T.” Barristan promised they would consider it and resolved to himself to take any route other than the one given by the supposed villager.
In the tent, Barristan related the cry for help and the dialect issue. Tomms asked, "You think it's a trap?"
"No doubt in my mind," Barristan said.
"We're going to walk into it anyway, aren't we?" Salish asked.
"Isn't that what Rangers do best, Rick?" Barristan asked.
A ten-legged sniffer drone crawled out from under a table and nuzzled Barristan's foot. Despite looking like the bottom half of a foot-long cockroach, the team considered Odie—OD-E or Observation Drone-Explosives—a pet. It was one of seven which the team deployed on missions, but it was the friendliest one. It was therefore the only OD-E called Odie and had a decent rendering of the Garfield sidekick painted on top.
"I signed up for the cool toys," Smith said, offering her own foot to be nuzzled by Odie. "But I'm always up for a fight."
None of the four highly-educated Special Warrants (the four holding one or more PhDs) could explain the personality exhibited by the sniffer drones. "I want to roll in one hour," Barristan said.
"We'll be down one sniffer," Campbell said. "Wallie picked up some debris on the last search."
"Wallie always picks up debris," Smith grumbled.
"Six is plenty," Barristan said. "Tomms, talk to me about the armor."
"Batteries are charged and I see no damage or abrasions," he said. "I'll give it a once over again anyway just to make sure."
"I can help you," Smith offered. "I'll check magnetic alignment on the rigidizing armor."
"That's good," Barristan said. "Salish, I need you to make sure our translation databanks have all the languages we need. That Uzbek dialect required an uplink to our server."
"No problem, Senior," he said. "I'll check the droid-helmets while I'm at it."

"No you won't, Smith. I want eyes on."
"Roger that, Senior", Smith replied, punctuated with a heavy sigh. It meant she'd be deploying earlier than the others, probably with Campbell for back-up, and running the intel mission. The SOP was to use a wing - six to eight, usually - of Dragonflys. More like "super" Gnats, the Dragonflys were UAVs loaded with sensors, and a couple of the Gnats apiece as sub-assemblies. They'd split up and recon the route they weren't taking - down the main road and through the pass - and the overland choices to help decide the one they would take. Smith would have them meet up at the target site and fly wagon wheels overhead. They could see - and hear - from half a mile overhead, while dropping their Gnats to do a much closer recon of the ville from rooftop height. Their Gnats would also listen in on conversations, and relay them to the server for translation, voiceprint analysis, and to make hard-copy data for the warrants and the intel team to go over. They could even perch on ceilings and walls and become literal room bugs. They'd usually deploy to strategic intersections, but if intel or key word analysis indicated possible HVTs - High-Value targets - they'd automatically slip in and set up watch nearby.
All of that would be received at base, and by Campbell and Smith, both en route, and eventually on station in overwatch before the rest of the team moved up. No one wanted a small-scale repeat of Little Big Horn, and eyes-on made that highly unlikely.
What Smith (and Campbell, though she didn't say it much) didn't like as much was always being the intel and recon section. The senior's answer to that, when he once bothered to give her one, had been logical and succinct:
"1) You need back-up, Smith.
  2) You two're the best on the team with the hardware, and Campbell is even better than you at sneaking and peeking.
  3) Neither one of you ladies can keep up with the boys overland. Biology still wins. But if you leave early, we can catch up to you.
  4) I'm not walking 100 years of post-grad education into a meeting engagement at some Dirtville in Trashcanistan  blind, deaf, and stupid.
  5) Because we need an overwatch and comms relay to main, no matter what.
  6) Because you know I'm right about the assignment.
  7) Because I'm the team leader.
So qwitcherbitchin', troop, and get on it."

Smith had made the mistake a second time, and gotten just the last item re-emphasized. She hadn't questioned the senior on the point since. She didn't like it, she just had to do it.

Campbell was already hard at work preparing the 106 drones—50 skippers, 50 gnats, and six sniffers—they would use on this mission. Barristan felt she probably liked drones better than people, but he didn't dare say anything aloud. The drones seemed to like her better than most people too.
Forty minutes later, all six team members donned their form-fitting body armor. The flexible material was a tenth of the weight of ceramic plates used in standard body armor. Despite the reduced weight, it was five times less penetrable than ceramic—capable of stopping multiple AK-47 rounds without damage—and twenty times less penetrable than Kevlar alone. Though the Army called it "liquid body armor," it actually had a gel between the layers allowing it to redistribute force from small projectiles across a much larger surface area. The concept was similar to placing an egg in the palm of your hand and squeezing. It won't break because the force is spread out evenly but you could quite easily push a finger through the shell. A straight pin, even easier.
Some stated that being shot felt like being kicked on one entire side of your body at once. It could also reduce the point impact of a bullet traveling at 2700 feet per second to being shot by an over speed paintball. It left bruises occasionally, but it was better than letting the bullet pass through the wearer's body.
To make the armor even stronger, a layer of fabric filled with metal fibers in mesh weave covered the entire body. When power was applied, this layer became instantly as harder than steel. The most important element of the sensors was the ability to sense explosions and rigidize the entire body. Because the suit must assume only one shape, it pulled the body into a modified fetal position in the event of an explosion.
Smith and Campbell sent the Dragonflys aloft on programmed routes, and struck out behind them towards a good overwatch position selected from terrain maps, while the drones fed a steady stream of all-spectrum intel back to them, and relayed it the team and HQ in real time.
The AR-capable goggles imposed a path on the landscape as they walked. Though this mission used the path (marked in green today) primarily for situational awareness, the suit computers were accurate enough to plot a safe walking path through a known minefield. Every member of the team had tested that system in school; though those mines were filled with paint, they also gave a minor electric shock to remind ACT trainees not to stray from paths marked red.
About twenty minutes behind their recon element, the rest of the team formed up.
"Okay, Salish, turn the sniffers loose," Barristan said.
Though "turning the drones loose" involved choosing the "random" setting, there seemed to be nothing random about the way the drones assembled. As expected, Odie took charge. For some reason, Odie always took charge, which none of the ACT members could explain. Immediately, Race, Drone 6 of 6, sent a message warning of partially degraded operations. Another ghost in the machine, Race always acted as a communications hub.
"What's that mean?" Barristan asked.
"The drones are complaining that Wallie isn't with them,” Liu explained.
The drones had already fallen into an M-shaped formation with Race in the center and rear to aid communications. The legs of the formation pulsed slightly with terrain and search patterns, but they maintained a surprisingly consistent pattern.
Knowing they were likely walking into a trap, the team were understandably quiet. Though whoever had moved into the village expected them to come through the main road—a choke point with plenty of elevated firing positions—they might also have backup plans for the entire perimeter.
Apparently, the silence had become too oppressive for Salish. "So I'm delayed on my dissertation, but I'm getting close again," Salish explained.
"Cut the chatter," Barristan said.
Salish apologized, but the silence became oppressive again. Barristan said, "Okay, go to hyper. Use radio for mission updates."
"Hyper" was a special capability only ACT droid-helmets possessed. In addition to anti-jam radio capabilities, the ACT could turn on hypersonic voice transmitters to translate speech from inside the helmet to sound waves above the human range of hearing.
This system of sound transmissions had several benefits over radio transmissions. First, radio waves could not travel through solid objects like sound waves. Second, the sound transmitter/receiver assembly took a third of the power required for a radio. Third, the sonic system could listen and transmit simultaneously unlike radio.
"I was complete with all my research and I was starting to compile it when someone over at MIT released almost the exact same study on machine language," Salish said. “His study was better. Mine became irrelevant."
A warning from one of the drones, Mr. Crabs this time, interrupted. Barristan turned to see an arrow floating above the landscape in his visor. Mr. Crabs, true to his name, scuttled sideways as it found the perimeter of the buried explosives. AR lines formed on the ground as the drone relayed, through Race, its findings. The boundary of the superimposed-graphic took shape.
"Weapons cache," Barristan said. "Let's mark it so regulars can take care of it. Our mission is onward."

"Senior, good call on the alternate route. We've got about a squad of locals in ambush positions in the pass 3 klicks east of you. Higher is sending us some UAVs for CAS in about two minutes. You want to take them out?"
"Affirm" answered Barrish. "We'll use the CAS attack as cover to enter from the west side of the village."

At just over 300 meters from the village, the team took cover along a wadi.
"Skippers and Gnats," Barristan ordered.
"Skippers" were small bots about the size and shape of a ping-pong ball. Two metal flanges could retract and extend to make them roll and “skip” forward. The bots were "dumb bots" with no artificial intelligence. They had three purposes in life: move forward, stay between 1.99 and 2.01 meters from all other Skippers, and transmit to a correlation server. The "gnats" were little more than flying versions of the Skippers.
A "ready" status blinked in visors and the six checked their arm displays showing the overview of the battlefield. Barristan drew two routes on his pad for the main assault force and flanking force. The other three nodded and prepared to move on his command.
The CAS drones showed up, and started launching heat-seeking rockets at the targets GPS-designated to their IR homing sensors. It was comically one-sided. A dozen fighters were mopped up in the first volley, most with a surprised look that would be on their faces for eternity. One had unwittingly used a large boulder to avoid the initial kill shot, then found a second for another close call as he tried to flee, but the third shot blew him in half when he was caught in the open.
"13 KIA, Senior", noted Smith. "We're clear there. Overwatch on the village is all up."
The radio call arrived at the village a second or two ahead of the sound waves of the explosions.
"Give me smoke," Barristan ordered. The six sniffer drones released their smoke, obscuring the battlefield from potential shooters. Even completely obscured, the visors provided outlines of buildings in AR to the ART team and laid the path on the ground. When a couple of shots were fired through the smoke, the position of the shooters also showed red through the smoke in the team's visor displays.
Team A (the assault force consisting of Liu and Salish) bounded forward out of the smoke into cover, firing on the move. They laid down suppressing fire with 30mm DP grenades set on airburst over the unfriendly positions. The rounds would go over and airburst, or through cover, and really ruin someone's day if they hit anywhere close. If not, they'd keep heads down. Immediately, Team B (the flanking force with Baristan and Tomms) moved to the right within the smoke to a side street revealed by the Skippers. Team A emptied their first magazine (10 rounds each alternating at one second intervals) and dropped again into full cover. Team B rushed forward into the city streets as the four enemy shooters moved out of cover and began to fire.
AR goggles superimposed the live feed of the four shooters through walls as well as friendlies. No chance of shooting one’s own. Silently and without firing a shot, Team B moved behind the shooters and within 100 yards. The weapons contained a toggle switch on the foregrip allowing the team to select targets as their own.
Barristan ordered, "Go." And four weapons fired simultaneously. "Moving in," Barristan said.
Two of the four (Barristan's two) were dead. After scanning the bodies with millimeter-wave scanners, Salish and Tomms rendered aid.
Liu moved forward to sweep past the flanking team in case there were more shooters. The computer added team locations from the Gnat and Skipper feeds to the AR display.
"Senior, we'll need a MEDEVAC for this guy," Salish said.
"Same here," Tomms said. "He's priority."
"Campbell, are we clear?" Barristan asked over the radio.
"Yes, Senior."
"Okay, set up a perimeter with the swarm," ordered Barristan. "Have the Sniffers check around too, just in case. Smith, call a chopper if they have it. Tomms and Liu, let's find someone in charge."
* * *
The windows and alleys along the streets began to fill with half-seen civilians. Barristan expected this. In towns like this, built of mud walls with wooden supports, the team often inspired fear. The villagers probably lacked the words to even describe what they saw. Barristan walked directly up do one of the men and switched his suit to translation.
"Take me to your leader," he ordered, and the ultrasonic decoder registered laughter from Tomms. Liu never laughed at this joke—and Barristan made it every mission. Then again, the villagers didn't either. Some things did not translate.
Helicopters picked up the two wounded prisoners, Campbell redistributed the Skippers' and Gnats' deployment, and the Sniffers finished a sweep of the town perimeter. Now the four gathered in the center of town waiting for the village leader. Overhead the Dragonflies continued their circuit, forming a tech umbrella under which such a small team could operate far beyond the abilities of larger teams with less organic tech support.
People slowly crept forward now. They would come up and touch what they had been afraid of earlier. Though it still unnerved Barristan, it happened everywhere. Even soldiers sometimes reacted by hiding first and touching second. Curiosity was perhaps the most human of all reactions.
An elderly man hobbled forward and Barristan stepped forward. "I wish you peace, sir," he said.
The old man shook his head. "Leave us."
Barristan assumed the remark was directed to one of the younger men beside him and continued, "There were four terrorists here. There was another squad in the hills to the east. We have removed them and we will remove any other explosives and weapons you do not wish to remain here after them."
"No," the man said. "We wish you to leave. Leave our village. Now."
"Ungrateful sons of bitches," Salish noted. Barristan frowned, but the visor hid this from his subordinate and the ultrasonic hid Salish's words from the villagers.
"We removed dangerous men from your village," Barristan insisted.
"You are devils and you brought evil with you."
"Those men we killed, they were devils," Barristan argued. "If they come back, will you let us know?"
"When you come, they come," the old man said. "They were here because you were here. You will leave us forever or there will be more."
"What? Is he up for re-election?" Liu joked.
Tomms added, "Maybe for lead jackass."
"Cut the chatter," Barristan said. Maybe the villagers couldn't hear it, but it distracted him.
Barristan said, "They asked us to come here and then shot at us. Why?"
The look of anger on the old man's face said either Barristan had said the wrong thing or the computer translated it incorrectly.
“They will not come if you go,” the man insisted. “Go now.”
The crowd now formed a tight circle around the team. The other three began asking the villagers to back away, not interested in being touched. Their pleas had no effect, and Barristan had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.
“We must look around your village,” Barristan explained. “We found several places that might still hold weapons, and we must remove them if any are found.“
"We've got a hit!" Smith called in. "92% positive ID facial recognition on a wanted HVT. The woman behind the leader."
Barristan turned to see the woman. As he pointed at her, she pulled and raised a knife in her hand.
On reflex, Barristan drew his M1911 and shot the woman in the head. Now, the crowd scattered. For a moment, the streets were silent. Salish, Liu, and Tomms assumed a four point 360-degree watch.
“Let’s move to cover,” Barristan ordered.
The order came too late. Barristan turned his head just in time to see a black object strike his visor. The glass did not shatter. The polycarbonate outer layer stopped the pebble before it could do any real damage. It took him several seconds to associate the damage with the rock that fell on his foot. Just as he recognized the source, a salvo of pebbles hit the team.
Liu was the only one to name the problem, “Fucking slingshots. Inside the houses.”
The rocks travelled at 60-100 miles per hour: too slow to set off defensive sensors but fast enough to hurt. The scuff on his left side visor reminded him that the relatively slow-moving rocks could still cause damage to their equipment.
“Let’s move!”
The team hurried to the still marked path Team B used to flank. Salish took point. When they came between buildings, the salvo began to include heavier rocks dropped from above.
"They've got a couple of groups ahead on the rooftops", called Campbell from overwatch. "Take the next gap left."

One hundred meters from the edge of the city, Barristan felt hopeful, but his optimism was too early.
"Odie's got a sniff of explosives, direct front! Everyone down!"
The team members suddenly crumpled into the fetal position against their will. The acoustic and infrared sensors processed the explosion before the team even knew it had happened and took actions to protect the team. Mercifully, the automated rigidizing of their suits caused the pebbles to bounce away as if striking steel. The relief was short-lived as the explosion, designed to topple a wall, sent a ton of rock across the alley down which the team would have been travelling in a few seconds.

Barristan used voice commands to switch from translation mode to infrasonic. This would travel through the rubble better than the ultrasonic frequencies.
“Status report.”
“Tomms okay for now.”
“Salish okay.”
“Senior, this is Liu. Engaging det team."
Liu snapped off half a dozen grenades through the wall were the millimeter-wave radar traced the wires from the failed blast ambush. Half a dozen staccato bass beats marked the moment the DP grenades shredded the man holding the detonator.
“Liu, can you raise the other sniffers?” Campbell asked. “I'm out of range."
“Standby.”
Several seconds felt like an hour. “I got Race,” Liu said. “Apparently Odie left thirty seconds after the explosion. They have arrayed themselves in a perimeter around the ville."
Smith called in: "I've got CAS online if you need it, Senior. Campbell is flanking to the north of my pos; she's got a number of unarmed civvies - men, women, and kids, piling out the northwest side, getting out of Dodge."
“Good work, you two”, Barristan said.
“I didn’t do it,” Liu said honestly. “I wish I had.”
“Odie did it,” Campbell said. Barristan knew she said this on faith alone. Regardless, he didn’t question the assumption.
“We live through this,” Tomms said, “I’m painting a medal on top of that cockroach. To hell with regulation.”
“We live through this,” Salish added, “I’m going to cite him in my dissertation.”
Only three team members laughed.
“We live through this,” Tomms said, “I’m going to slaughter everyone in this shithole village.”
“No you won’t,” Barristan said. “That’s an order.”
No reply.
“You know what Albert Einstein said?” Barristan asked. “He said that whatever world war three looked like, world war four would be fought with sticks and stones.”
* * *
The Sniffer relay system began giving thirty-second updates to the team.
The swarm had cleared the village, and conventional units were moving to surround the refugees and separate sheep from goats. “If you see anyone with a slingshot, shoot to kill!” sent Barrish.
The drones had catalogued any sites needing further investigation: voids in walls or floors, weapons, explosives, and electronic gear like radios or laptops. A follow-on search team was bagging and tagging it all now.
One site, apparently booby-trapped, was blown in place.

The return chopper was already landing outside, and the ART Special Warrants climbed aboard as they arrived. Smith and Campbell had moved up to join the team, and sent the Dragonflies to recon the chopper's likely track home.
The rest of the bots, Gnats, Skippers, and the Sniffers, had been gathered up, distributed, and carefully packed before loading onboard.
They'd taken out a large team here, snuffed at least one HVT, and bagged a truckload of arms and intel, which MI could sort out at their leisure.
The bad guys hadn't seen them coming - this time. But they kept getting more clever each time.
"We can't keep doing this forever" said Barrish to no one in particular. "One day they're going to get lucky. Next time, we wait until dark, and go in with night on our side too."
                                       -- * -- * --

I like my version better, but I'm biased.

It was easier to add and subtract, than to laboriously fisk the derp out of an otherwise decent effort.