On his way out of the bar, Soldier Sam hesitated beside another one down the street, but was too excited about meeting Sarina at Cupids Office to get another drink. Then he paused, and heard his name being called. It sounded like Cupid’s voice.
"Oh, yeah, I’m coming back to your office right now," Soldier Sam promised.
"Before the internet it was very difficult to come up with Ideas for a great time on Valentines Day” Sarina explained. “Cupid would be shooting from the hip and needing an idea for a Valentines Day Activity in a split second.
“Yeah, Now it's an easy job” added Soldier Sam. “ Anyone can find a date idea and present it to Cupid. That’s one of the reasons why they are all such bad ideas. They got Directors that think they have come up with a decent scene and call it a show! What do they know?"
'I don't know what a girl like me is doing out here anyhow,' said Sarina.
Soldier Sam could have supplied the answer, but he wasn’t sure if he should. “Do you really want me to do this, Sarina?”
'It's a funny business, remarked Sarina.
'Funny!' responded Soldier Sam., 'It's confusing! Here against my better judgement I write just what you tell me to make our Valentines Day Activity be approved--and Cupid tells me to get out because we can't seem to agree on what would be the best way to present it.'
'That's an interesting take on it,' remarked Cupid. 'What do you want me to do, Soldier Sam-- knock you down?'
Cupid checked to see if his arrows were still there.
'Try it!' Soldier Sam suggested. 'You probably couldn’t Cupid, I’ve got a few more pounds on me than most' He hesitated and said honestly. 'I mean extra junk on me that I should work off. I never go to the gym.'
"You’ve only got several days to come up with a Valentine’s Day Activity I can endorse," said Cupid, "--but this is only a deal if your Valentine is for Sarina, of course."
"Don’t even believe for a moment that my target is anything other than Sarina!" Soldier Sam affirmed. "My idea won’t be any crazy stuff either. I've only got this one chance with Sarina and she knows it."
"Well all right then. You have an audience here with me, and if anything you can do is a good idea, I’ll let you know." Cupid said.
"But don’t put Soldier Sam under this much pressure to make a decision. I’m sure he will try his best to come up with a spectacular plan" insisted Sarina.
"We're not asking you to invent a miracle, Soldier Sam. If you want you can think it over for a bit. Then get back to me." Cupid conceded.
Soldier Sam felt a little better with this kind of moment to get a plan together.
"Oh, I'll definitely be happy with Soldier Sam’s Valentines Day Concept," Sarina said quickly. "Soldier Sam will for sure be able to dig up a good plan on the internet. There are a lot of examples my contemporaries have cited over the years.
“Yeah, I’ll make up something special and I'll convince you if it can work or not." Soldier Sam was grateful that Sarina didn’t mind if he recycled a plan he could find in his research.
Cupid checked to make sure he had enough arrows for Valentines Day and wrote something on a Orange Heart-Shaped piece of paper.
"All right, Soldier Sam. Run into your office and hop on the computer. It shouldn’t take you that long" suggested Cupid.
Soldier Sam only had to sit on the computer for bit before he uncovered an idea. He printed something out on paper and rushed to tell Sarina about it before he presented the plan to Cupid
Look, Sarina. We can Invent a new drink and name it something that belongs to only us” Soldier Sam was excited.
Yeah, perfect” responded Sarina, “We can Have fun mixing and testing new ideas to invent something unique that appeals to both of us. You don’t have to splash out we’ll just get the ingredients we can and go from there.”
Cupid overheard their discussion. “What can you guys handle? Any of the strong stuff? Can you invent something new using bourbon and give it a name? If you can, then this drink now belongs to you both!” That’s a great idea” decided Cupid.
Sarina started to wonder if other people had done this same thing for Valentines and their inventions were listed somewhere. Surely they would be able to come up with an original name once they had both Sampled a few.
Soldier Sam made his way around Cupid’s desk and poured out his heart. He had been waiting for an opportunity just like this to show Sarina he was worthwhile in life
Soldier Sam put the icing on the cake. "Thanks Cupid, at first you seemed like you we’re not going to approve the activity, but now you have generously agreed to let me and Sarina play a game like that on Valentines Day. I'm so thankful you did"
"There you are," said Sarina triumphantly. Soldier Sam we just punched our ticket to a great Valentines Day!”
Soldier Sam’s Training for New Starship Missions was not at all like what he expected. Rams Mascot was not a typical Instructor.
Rams Mascots tough standards taught Soldier Sam a lesson. Soldier Sam knew, at last, that it was a good instinct to fall in love with flying to the Moon. It was great training for the mission that was to follow. It was perfectly normal for Soldier Sam to feel challenged to his limits by Rams Mascots instructions every night, even if they must exist in entirely different realities — Instructor Rams Mascot and trainee Soldier Sam, It was perfectly good that Rams Mascot came to appreciate Soldier Sam’s dedication to the mission.
Some Starship commanders who hear about the addition of core values discussions and foot-locker mentoring say that boot camp should be more physically demanding. But drill instructors say their main job is not to prepare Starship Commanders for combat. Their job is turning civilians into Starship commanders, and there's a specific process that has to occur in order for that to happen in a short period.
Many skill sets must be in the training tool box-- “Engineering” provides power to the other bridge positions. “Helm” maneuvers the ship. “Weapons” prepares and fires torpedoes at the enemy. “Sensors,” “Shields,” and “Tractor Beam” have duties as well. One player acts as captain, charged with making sense of the great mess that develops against another team of players on a similar enemy ship.
Every soldier knows firsthand the daunting challenges of the twenty-first-century combat environment: rapid and disruptive change, fleeting opportunities, incomplete information, an overall sense of uncertainty and disorder. While military commanders have long faced such challenges on the battlefield, meeting them has come to be even more difficult in today’s world of electronic weaponry, blurred battle lines, and unshaped enemies.
Military strategy has had to evolve in response to the changing environment. This has led to the growing focus on an approach to armed conflict called maneuver warfare. Recognized as a viable combat construct for many decades, maneuver warfare has risen to prominence more recently because it is so well suited to today’s combat environment. Although designed for the battlefield, the approach offers a novel and useful way to think about many types of strategy, allowing everyone in the ranks to capitalize on rather than submit to the formidable challenges they now face.
Tell me a little bit about your Training experience, Soldier Sam.
For one of our missions we had to go around and continue on to the rendezvous point. Nothing should get in the way of rescuing the captured ally.
It was a tiny, artificial base called Station Romeo, and some recruits and I were approaching it in a shuttle we’d been crammed into for a long time.. My group and I were all apprentices in the safety engineering transport internship program. I believe that later, the new astronaut trainer hears that the transport pod on the Station has disappeared.
It might be because the people assigned to the base was inadvertently scared off by a visitor, or maybe because the commander decided that "the Station was getting too crowded" -- I cannot recall.
It is intimated that the transport pod with the group assigned to it still exists on the moon, just moved to a different spot, where they await to be rediscovered and visited by lunar explorers in the future.
It wasn't that Football guy but it was another a whole lot like him who decided to take up the rescue squad training, possibly on the ground that when the mission went to hell he could fall back on office work. He didn't realize, of course, that that would be very much like falling back full-length on a kit of writing tools.
But this guy didn't seem cut out for journalism, being too self conscious to talk to anybody and unable to use a typewriter, but Rams Mascot assigned him to the rescue mission anyway.
This was a genuinely big "beat," the mission was, for it took up many times as much ground and got a boatload as great a resource appropriation as any training mission we had undertook to date. The guy knew quite a bit about the subject but nevertheless his stories were dull and colorlessly written.
He took all afternoon on each of them, on account of having to hunt for each letter on the typewriter. Once in a while he had to ask somebody to help him hunt. "S" and "M," in particular, were hard letters for him to find.
Finally, we landed on the Moon because I collided with a massive asteroid. The Moon’s surface was covered by bowl-shaped craters. There weren’t any gun batteries or security that we could see anywhere.
My foot-prints stayed on the Moon’s soil for a very long time because there is no wind to blow them away. Soon, I started to be hungry so I flew to the station to eat. There were few menu items to choose from.
Anything else you want to tell me, Soldier Sam ?’
Yes, Sarina. It goes a little something like this.
“These nightly communications sessions with you validate my understanding of intent and how you're responding to my intent.”
TOUR SITE SCENES
Sarina and Soldier Sam had arrived at the North Pole!!
Sarina is a very good friend of Santa, so he invited her to come to his workshop. As I walked into the toy shop, I heard little elves chattering about Christmas. They made everything: iPods, board games, pogo sticks and CDs. My favorite item was sitting all by itself on a glass table. It was an Orange digital camera with a card written in cursive saying, “Even though you’re naughty, I got your favorite gift, Love Santa.”
Wow! We are going to get a Tour of Santa’s office, where all the important Christmas decisions are made!
Sarina walked to the desk and opened a drawer, and inside was a long piece of paper. It said naughty kids and nice kids. I thought and thought, and I finally figured it out: It’s Santa’s list for who’s been good and who’s been bad. I immediately searched on this list, and I was on the naughty list. I took a pencil and made sure nobody was watching. I erased my name on the list and then put it on the good list.
After seeing Santa’s office, let’s check out another part of the North Pole—Where all the Work gets done. This is where the magic happens!
Sarina decided to visit the sleigh. The sleigh was huge and wide. It had a bag full of toys. It was bright red and, guess what, another naughty or nice list. It was decorated with white icing. It had a built-in laptop and iPod in it. I was the luckiest guy on Earth (maybe) because I got to visit Santa’s workshop. The sections I visited were awesome, and it was the most wonderful experience I had.
With the first snowflakes of winter, the little reindeer games of tag and hide-and-seek change to challenges of skill and daring. They want to prove to themselves and others that they are strong and fast. Just like the young bucks Santa would choose at the Reindeer Games to fill the openings on Soldier Sam’s teams.
This particular morning, a competitive Soldier Sam challenged his friends to a race.
Sarina had been working really hard making a new computer board game for Soldier Sam this Christmas.
Sarina had one problem, she couldn’t decide how a player should “win“ the game.
Sarina had been thinking for days and days, and still could not agree on an ending.
“Line up here for the race!” Sarina shouted as Soldier Sam ran around his circle of friends.
Soldier Sam pawed the ground as his friends toed the mark. “Ready! Set! Go!” Sarina screamed as he burst ahead of the others racing across the meadow.
“I win! I win!” Soldier Sam boasted as he pranced about.
Then Detective Sarina realized for the first time that there was a third set of footsteps on the stairs That could only be Soldier Sam. Then it dawned on her and she realized she had walked into a trap. Sarina informed Santa she had walked into a trap, but quickly figured it out and moved on.
“Sarina and Soldier Sam. I have a Holiday Mystery for You to solve. Announced Santa.
“Oh, Santa. I’m great at Solving Mysteries! Maybe Soldier Sam could help too. What’s your problem, Santa?” Sarina asked.
Santa sure did have a mystery that no one at the North Pole could solve.
Visit a world where car mechanics are the world’s biggest celebrities and one person's trash is another's treasure. They get to make a movie about their discovery.
If I could just get out to Santa’s studio, thought Soldier Sam--I could maybe get an idea about a Christmas Day Activity on the spot.
This consideration was interrupted by Sarina, who, announced "Soldier Sam, I told you I didn’t think Santa would check his voicemail, but he just telephoned me and wants you to see him right away."
Soldier Sam and Sarina arrived at Santa’s Studio, but were disappointed when Santa’s Sign on the door said 'I haven't got a Date for you on Christmas Day. We've got more applicants now than we can use.'
'I didn't ask for a Date,' said Soldier Sam with dignity. “Just a chance to spend some quality time with someone that I Love. But I am planning to rate some tickets for a show preview on Christmas Day and I was hoping you could endorse the activity'
“Hey Santa, take us to the Christmas recreation centre. I bet Soldier Sam and I will find a clue there to Solve your mystery.
'Oh yes, I want to talk to you about that,' Santa responded. 'We may have to take your name off the credits for the big Christmas Day Show.
'What?' exclaimed Sarina. 'Why, Soldier Sam’s name is already on! I saw an advertisement in the North Pole Times. He’s put so much work into it.
But Santa had an answer for that: “'I may have to take it off when we open the show. Soldier Sam hasn’t really come up with a good enough idea for your Christmas Day together.
It looks like Soldier Sam claimed lines where all you did was change "Yes" to "Yes sir" and "Red Heart" to “Crimson Heart” and stuff like that.'
'I been in this business for a long time” protested Soldier Sam' 'I know my rights. Those Christmas Cards were a mess. I was called in to revise a poor effort!'
'I'll join the North Pole Publishers Clearinghouse and fight it.' declared Sarina.
Santa changed his tune a bit, touched by Soldier Sam’s sad face. 'Still, I did hear about your efforts on a Crossword Puzzle or something like that. What’s up with that?”
“Yes Santa, I did! Let me tell you about it”, Soldier Sam’s Expression turned to one of excitement.
“I Made a one-of-of-a-kind crossword puzzle. The answers to the clues are all about the Adventures Sarina wants to go on Christmas Day. It’s clever because the last clue is the name of a special restaurant that we both enjoy.”
Ok, Sarina and Soldier Sam. I’ll take you to the North Pole's Christmas recreation centre. Maybe you will find a clue to solve this mystery. Just be on your best behavior.
You are a Guest at the North Pole. You will learn many useful things about our Operation that will be sure to help you on any mission you might find yourselves on in the Future.
Visit of the North Pole's recreation centre
How are you this morning? Because you have worked very hard since you've arrived at the North Pole, I have decided to take you to the North Pole's recreation centre today. We will enjoy a day filled with fun and relaxation! The elves meet at the recreation centre on their day off to play and to meet their friends. As you will see, there are many fun games and activities to explore! Enjoy your day. We will be very busy! Have fun!
“Hey, Santa!” Look Soldier Sam! Look at that Orange Box sitting under the Christmas Tree. What could possibly be in the Orange Box?”
“Why don’t you open the Orange Box up, Sarina. Maybe it has something you are looking for!”
“Ok, Santa. Come over here and check out this Orange Box with me, Soldier Sam!” Sarina was so excited. They opened the Orange Box together.
Look Soldier Sam!” Sarina exclaimed. “It’s the Clue we have been looking for. I just knew we would find something at this Stop on the North Pole Tour!”
At Santa’s workshop, one of the least coveted jobs is in wrapping department. This is where all the interns live - the work is hard, but at least the pay is terrible. To wrap all the presents for the good people of the world, you’re going to need some funky paper. There are lots of stores that offer some truly unique paper and giftwrap ideas, including chalkboard paper, and this amazing special product that is the best Christmas wrapping.
What a Great North Pole Tour you took me and Soldier Sam on, Santa. Now we have the clue to solve your mystery!” Sarina was so happy.
“Yes Sarina” Santa appreciated Sarina’s Smart Detective Work. Merry Christmas to you and Soldier Sam from all of us at the North Pole!”
Visit a world where car mechanics are the world’s biggest celebrities and one person's trash is another's treasure. They get to make a movie about their discovery.
Listen, Soldier Sam.” Sarina said. I want to make a picture about Santa’s Sleigh Mechanics Shop because all the Elves are working there on the transmission and wheels and training all the Reindeer.
“But coming up with a story without being there is tough, Sarina” Soldier Sam replied. “ Why don't you go over and see the Shop Superintendent? To get some stories on that Reindeer that just left our office
That superintendent owes me big time, and he could maybe give you an idea for a Sleigh Shop picture. And then you bring it back and sell it to Santa.. You're on salary, aren’t you?'
“Until Christmas” Sarina answered that question.
'Go and see that Busy Reindeer that hangs out in the Sleigh Shop. He'll introduce you to the Shop Superintendent. Look, Sarina, I got to make lunch at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen now. Just remember, Sarina, that Superintendent owes me a lot of money.
It didn't seem hopeful to Sarina, but it was better than nothing. Returning for her coat in Santa’s Office, Sarina was in time to pick up the telephone.
'This is Santa” his voice greeting her. 'I can't get rid of it this afternoon. There's Reindeer Traffic on every road--'
'I can't talk about it here,' said Sarina quickly, 'I got to go over to Sleigh Shop on a business call.
'I've tried to beat the traffic,' Santa complained '--and tried! And every time, some Reindeer comes along--'
'Aw, please!' Sarina hung up--she had enough on her mind.
For years Soldier Sam had followed the deeds of the Workshop Elves. and the almost as fabulous doings of 'the “Sleigh Coasters', who represented the best Shop for outfitting the Sleigh to be compatible with the fit of the Reindeer Group.
Solder Sam’s interest was not so much tactical or training as it was practical--but the Sleigh Coasters had captured his investments plenty in their day--and so it was with a sense of targeted proprietorship that he stepped upon equal parts, Green Red and White Elves at the shop.
Sarina located the Reindeer who conducted him to the Shop Superintendent, who happened to be Santa. Santa,, a famous foremen, was in excellent humour. With all of the Reindeer in this year's line, none of them quite old enough for pensions, but all Transit Specialists of experience, his team was in a fair way to conquer his section of the mission..
'Glad to be of help to your studio,' Santa said. 'Glad to help Soldier Sam. What can I do for you? You want to make a picture? . . . Well, we can always use publicity.
Sarina, I got a meeting of the Facility Reindeer Committee in just five minutes and perhaps you'd like to tell them your notion.'
'I don't know,' said Sarina doubtfully. 'What I thought was maybe I could have a drink with you. We could go somewhere and hoist a bottle of bourbon.'
'Afraid not,' said the Superintendent, still in good spirits.. 'If those smarties noticed liquor on me- that would not be good.
Come on over to the meeting--somebody's been getting away with watches and jewellery and things like that on the Shop Floor and we're pretty sure it's that Reindeer Suspect.'
Santa, having played his role, got up to leave.
'Like some good action on the Rams Game this weekend, or whenever they get around to it the spread is pretty good? The Reindeer was testing the waters.
'Not me,' said Santa.
'You, Sarina? Don’t you have some inside view?
'Not me,' said Sarina..
'Sarina' said someone in the Reindeer Crew, 'Soldier Sam was in here the other day and asked me to pimp out his ride, He wanted to show it off to you, and we had enough time on the schedule.
'I hope you set fire to it,' said Sarina. I do like it when I get taken around in something Hot”.
'I did,' said the Reindeer, winked at Sarina, the most important customer, over a tire.. 'He asked for some rims too so I took it all off and Started over on it.
Now his ride is almost as hot as Santa’s Sleigh. We figured we owe in big, well with all those contracts he got us. All of us decided on that” the Reindeer explained.
In fact the rental you came over in looks like it needs some work too. I bet you really want to invest in rental work, don’t you Sarina? Asked the reindeer.'
This was the morning the kidding was so pervasive that, to avoid it, something unpleasant would have to have happened.
'The worse part of it is that Soldier Sam told me the ending of his show,' continued Sarina. “He just has no patience for a secret.”
What are you waiting for?' demanded Sarina.
'I forgot it!' admitted the reindeer 'Three phones were ringing at once in my office--one from a working director. And while I was talking Santa had to run around. Now I can't remember it and I can't get him back.
'Now he's on a big bat,' said the Reindeer. 'I know because I got Donner and Blitzen tailing him.
It's enough to drive you nuts--here I got the whole story on the Sleigh upgrades except the pay-off scripts. What good is it to me like that?'
'If he has enough Bourbon maybe he'd spill it,' suggested Sarna practically.
'Not to me,' said the Reindeer 'I thought of it but he would recognize my voice.
Sarina called up Santa to see when he and Soldier Sam expected her back at the studio office.
Having reached the end of his current alley, Santa made his picks for the football weekend that wasn’t.
'I got an idea, Mr. Reindeer' said Sarina.
The Reindeer looked suspiciously at Sarina’s eyes.
'I got no time to hear it now,' the Reindeer replied. “We already started some work on transforming some of the trash the elves run around on into a magnificent fleet.
So Sarina called Soldier Sam up on the phone. Would he sponsor even more work at the Sleigh Shop. If it meant a better picture? The Christmas Deadline was fast approaching.
'I'm not investing anything more,' Soldier Sam responded to Sarina. 'I got a deal almost ready over at the Spare Parts Distribution Outlet. That should put a stop to their schedule and then I could hold out for what they owe me.”
Listen here, Mr. Reindeer” Sarina instructed. “Once I work this Scene into production a little bit, Santa might give you an advance on some of that work.
“I’m sure You all know he has some pretty tall expectations to meet on his Christmas Eve Trip around the world.” Sarina added.
Soldier Sam was ringing her phone again. He wanted to get some insight on the work crew’s progress on virtual training.
“Maybe if I look into the matter I could find what you want to know, Soldier Sam.' Sarina wanted everything to work out brilliantly for Christmas.
LAST DAY ON EARTH ACTIVITY
All the Women at the Office are excited about their Valentine Gifts, but Sarina is not expecting anything exciting from Solider Sam.
Sarina braced herself as she stepped into the office on Valentine’s Day. She glanced round to check; it hadn’t started yet. Good, she’d be able to fortify herself with coffee first. That might help a bit. Looking really busy was her main line of defense though.
Sarina kept her gaze on the screen and her hands busy on the keyboard to discourage anyone from asking her if Solider Sam had cooked her breakfast or made any other lovely gesture.
The onslaught began just before 10AM. A huge bunch of roses arrived for one of the women. Sarina noticed the glowing look on the woman’s face as she read the lovely note attached to her bouquet.
More gifts arrived during the day. Chocolates costing twice the regular price because they were in a heart shaped box, Extravagant cards and Teddy Bears and Flowers,
Why did all the presents have to be sent to the office?, Sarina complained. It was as though everyone had to prove something to the world, not show their love to one special person.
The real frustrations Sarina was starting to feel didn’t kick into high gear until lunchtime.
By then everyone who was likely to receive such a thing had their flowers, cards or chocolates. A bunch of women had been taken out to lunch and another had left to meet her fiancé as they were off to the Canary Islands for a couple weeks
Conversation then turned to plans for the evening.
Most of the women seemed to have arrangements for a meal out. Soldier Sam and Sarina didn’t go to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day. Soldier Sam always said everywhere was always so crowded that the atmosphere was hardly romantic.
One woman had plans Sarina approved of. “We’re going to an Laker Game. We both like Hoops so he thought it was a good idea. That’s pretty romantic, don’t you think?”
Sarina and some others agreed.
“And we’ll grab a takeaway and bottle of wine on the way home.”
That sounded rather nice to Sarina but it was clear one or two others felt that unless the gesture was expensive, it didn’t really count no matter how much thought went into it.
“So, what are you doing, Sarina?”
“We’ll have a meal in“, Sarina tried to sound Upbeat.
“Which you’ll have to cook, I suppose.”
Sarina was planning to cook, but a Frozen Pizza wasn’t her idea of a Good Valentines Day.
“I insist on being taken somewhere luxurious for any special occasions and being given a nice piece of Shiny,” Sarina was told. “You really should get that man of yours trained.”
Sarina and Soldier Sam’s relationship was a true partnership. Special occasions were a reason to celebrate together, not for one to spend money on the other. Any spare cash they had went towards paying for the house, not on Shiny Things.
Sarina didn’t really expect Shiny Things, but there was one piece Sarina would very much like to have. Still, she didn’t expect it. She knew Solider Sam loved her and hadn’t they proved their commitment to each other already?
As Sarina left work that evening, the maintenance guy was hanging around the Lobby. Sarina smiled at him and his face seemed to explode into a grin.
“Whatcha doing for V day, Sarina?”
“I don‘t really even think Valantine‘s Day is a Big Deal“ Sarina replied “ I mean, come on. The clichés are ridiculous. Candy. Flowers. Who Cares?
The maintenance guy laughed. “You’re such a cynic. You’re not even going to dinner?”
“I’m planning to go home and put a Frozen Pizza in. Not even with Toppings. Just the Cheese kind.
“You got a delivery, Sarina..”
Sarina smiled. Soldier Sam wasn’t so bad. He wouldn’t let the whole day pass without something. That was just the type of guy he was, and another reason she loved him.
It wasn’t your typical roses, it was a vanilla envelope with her name scrawled in calligraphy instead. Curious, Sarina slit it open and pulled out a single sheet of paper.
“Go outside” it read.
Sarina looked up suprised. “It says to go outside.”
So Sarina went outside. out the door. A Taxi with a Big Heart Shaped “S” was waiting at the curb. The driver stepped forward and opened the door. “Sarina? Someone is expecting you.”
What was going on? Sarina slid into the back seat and the Taxi pulled away from the curb.
Oh, Man, Sarina hoped Soldier Sam hadn’t spent a ton of money doing something fancy for her. Sure, sometimes she liked dressing up and hitting the town with her friends, but since she was with Soldier Sam, she was thrilled just for a night out at Burger King.
The taxi cab drove all over town. The driver was telling stupid jokes to get Sarina’s attention. Sarina waited until her patience reached a limit and asked him to pull over at the corner,
Nope the taxi drive replied. I have specific instructions on where to let you off.
“There’s a pint of cheap bourbon under the seat there. Make yourself comfortable. We aren’t there yet.
Sarina did and it took the edge off a little bit.
A short time later, Sarina asked if he had any more bourbon and he said he did.
So Sarina just decided she would roll with it as long as there was something to drink.
It didn’t matter, Sarina Decided. Solider Sam was going to do what he was going to do and she would have to just live with it.
Finally, the Taxi pulled up to the curb in front of an abandoned warehouse.
Sarina was like WTF but she trusted Solider Sam.
Stopping in front of the Main Entrance, the driver handed her another envelope.
Sarina opened it.
“Go through the partially shuttered doors, make a right, and follow the hallway.“ it said.
Sarina followed the instructions, wondering why her heart was beating so fast. Another piece of paper was taped to the Door at the end of the Hallway.
“Enter” it read.
Cupid’s Office was covered in darkness, but the moment Sarina opened the door lights flashed on as Bright as the Sun on a Bronx Summer Afternoon.
Sarina had never been so Shocked.
It was a massive replica of Yankee Stadium built entirely with Legos as big as a House!!
Suddenly, Solider Sam appeared.
“What are you doing?” Sarina asked.
He smiled and handed her a Drink in a Tall Plastic Cup just like they sell at Yankee Stadium.
“I figured you’d be disappointed with all the usual Valentine’s Day Stuff. So I thought it would be fun to build this for you. Bet you never expected that!
Surprise rocketed through Sarina. Solider Sam knew her so well,
She reached out and took his hand.
Solider Sam led her to a Pair of Bleacher Seats from the Old Yankee Stadium.
Sarina sat next to him. Her Favorite R&B Classics started playing from Speakers the Second she sat down.
The Lego Yankee Stadium shone bright, as bright as comets exploding and they just took it all in for a Moment.
Finally, Solider Sam handed her a pack of M&Ms and a Valentine’s Day Card.
“You’re all I got, Sarina.”
“Oh, what’s this?” Sarina wondered.
“Can I open it?, Sarina Asked.
“Sure Sarina, of course,” Solider Sam said. “I Love you Hot Stuff. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Sarina poured out some M&Ms into her hand and said, “Oh, that’s so sweet.”
“You’re the best, Sarina..”Soldier Sam said in the Best way he knew how.
“Thank you, Darlin‘,” Sarina Replied.
“ Look, I wrote `“I Love You just every bit as much you Love Yankee Stadium.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Solider Sam,, Sarina said.
“I’m not going to give up on Valentine just yet, Sarina. “You know I’ll win.”
Maybe Valentine’s Day wasn’t so bad after all.
You're a member of a Starship crew that is lost in space following the Explosion of the Sun, destroying Earth. During that time, Rams Fans were aboard and dreaming of another chance to see a Football Game on a new planet..
But as the Rams Fans start to lose hope of ever finding a home and a better future, passengers become destructive. Rams Fans regularly participate in their own football games for entertainment and man the virtual reality stations to get their Rams fix in and escape their reality.
Your Guidance of the Starship has been smooth, and all members of the crew simply sit and stare at the ship windows, equipped with non-stop highlight reels from all the football exploits experience in Rams Stadium during its entire existence on earth. Even with the capacity to look out into outer space with its stars and comets and brilliant asteroids, everyone was fixed on the Rams Content.
As the Starship's captain, can you keep your passengers on the right path and find a planet suitable for hosting Rams Games before your ship descends into madness? Soldier Sam is aboard, and you have survived because of an advanced tractor beam contained on the ship.
You want to find out if there was any possibility your ship would reach the new planet anytime soon and no way of knowing what you are facing––you take Soldier Sam’s hand and open the airlock.
Soldier Sam and his cohorts have made some wings of the massive ship into raucous battle zones. His plan is to seal off all those loyal to the Rams team and open the airlock, leaving them all in space. You have seen Solider Sam act up like this before, and when you discover the 35th Wing is planning to engage, to take supplies with them, and to make a desperate sprint to a far away galaxy, it is up to you to stop him.
Another oscillation wave passed. Sarina and Soldier Sam jerked and squeaked at the end of their harnesses. Soldier Sam held on tight. On the monitors, Rams Mascot’s video signal went in and about.
The Radio Crackled. Sarina and Soldier Sam both heard the noise.
“Rams Mascot is that YOU?!!” Sarina was shocked.
“Wait, Rams Mascot, I can’t hear you. Speak up!” Sarina shouted.
“Rams Mascot we have a bad connection. Hold on while Soldier Sam and I fix the ship so we can hear you. Sit Tight! Don’t Go anywhere, We will reestablish the connection,” Sarina Promised.
“The crew can’t get out if we leave,” Sarina said. “The doors are locked. We have to override and set them to manual. Or else we will have major problems/”
“Somebody’s going to have to stay and manage the doors, if they’re on manual,” Soldier Sam had a plan.
“Us,” Sarina said. “We’re staying. We’ll evac back to the shuttle once the crew is in the pods.”
Soldier Sam looked at Sarina and she looked at him.
“We are going to have a tough time here, if we stay.” Soldier Sam said what Sarina was thinking. Sarina didn’t speak angrily. She spoke as if she were making sure all the Rams Fans knew the risks.
“Doors are down between us and the shuttle, too. They’re all down.” Soldier Sam observed.
“I’ll stay,” Sarina said.
A wash of Orange lit Sarina’s panel, and the main support alert light over the monitors went Orange. “Pressure is dropping throughout the hull,” Sarina reported. “We’re springing leaks all over the place.”
“Sectors 3 and 4 just blew,” Soldier Sam said. That was Sarina and Soldier Sam’s route back to the shuttle. Decision made for us: we couldn’t leave.
Sarina knew how to do this. She had done it over and over again in the simulator. This is just a drill? “Override Sector 8, 9, and 10. Soldier Sam, take control. Switch the decompression doors to manual override in all sectors.”
.Sarina’s plan was to open and close them in sequence to act as a series of airlocks.”
“Air’s gonna get thin,” Soldier Sam said..
“Better than no air at all. Soldier Sam, do you have comms with the crew yet?” Sarina’s hands had stopped shaking, but here muscles were squeezed tight.
“Affirmative,” Soldier Sam said. “I can broadcast, at least. I’ve got the loudspeakers.”
“Tell the crew to gather and, once we pop the doors, to get out.” Sarina decided.
Another oscillation wave hit. It seemed worse than the previous one, somehow. Another cable was going to detether any second.
Sarina took the edge of the console and snarled, “How in this busted universe is it getting worse?”
“Ouch!,” Soldier said. Then, “OK, they’re through the first door.”
“Where are You, Rams Mascot?” Sarina shouted into the radio receiver.
Rams Mascots voice came through loud and clear.
“WHERE ARE YOU, RAMS MASCOT?” Sarina wanted to know as soon as possible. “Can the Planet’s Terrain and Atmosphere support Rams Football””
“I’m on Planet NASHIRA! “Check it out, Sarina!”
Planet experiences dust storms, which can turn into what resembles small tornadoes. Larger dust storms occur when the dust is blown into the atmosphere and heats up from the Sun.
“Sounds perfect for Rams Football” exclaimed Sarina.
Sarina’s Partner, Soldier Sam, stood in front of the controls talking to Rams Mascot. He was just a Legend to Soldier Sam.
Soldier Sam’s position in the Starship would be up soon and he had begun to have that difficult feeling of those who live always on the edge of existence.
'Stuck here on this Starship with you, Sarina,' Soldier Sam complained. 'That's the only option I have.'
'How do you live?' asked Sarina--without too much show of interest.
'I don't live. The days go by, the weeks go by. But who cares? Who cares--after all these years.'
'You had a good time in your day, Soldier Sam' Rams Mascot reminded him.
Soldier Sam looked after an accounting firm back on earth.
'Sure,' Soldier Sam admitted, 'I had a great business. All anybody could want.'
'You mean that business that Sarina set up with the Rams?' asked Rams Mascot.
Solider Sam looked quickly at Sarina, punching away at the controls.
'No. I didn't say that was one. But I've had plenty of the Rams Fans Crew feeding out of my pocket. Not now though--a man my age is not considered a Brilliant Prospect.'
'But you've got Sarina,' said Rams Mascot. 'Look Soldier Sam, I'll give you a tip”
We are coming to Rams Planet, Rams Mascot! But we have to make 2 Stops.
First we are going to Planet X for some Upgrades to our Starship since we expect to Drift for Long Time to land on Rams Moon.
Then New Starship Upgrades for Big Fight to get from the Moon to Rams Stadium.
We are going to make a day of it on Planet X while our ship gets fixed. It will be an Adventure!! Then we will go on a Day Trip on Your Rams Moon too.
“Look, Solder Sam!” Planet X is fast approaching “ said Sarina. Prepare for landing!!”
During landing it’s like when you’re on a roller coaster and it stops really fast.
PLANET X ADVENTURE ACTIVITY
Solider Sam was running along the Beach, trying desperately to figure out where the Fireworks Show was going to take place that night.
As soon as he got to the first road he could see, a Great Truck was rolling down the road.
Soldier Sam recognized the unforgettable sight of Sarina. The Truck rolled toward Solider Sam and he ran in front of it.
Sarina slowed the Truck down. Soldier Sam held up his hand and the Truck halted. Sarina leaned out the window.
'Is there no other patrol here?' Sarina asked of Soldier Sam.
'No, Sarina,' said Soldier Sam quickly. 'There should be. I'm Soldier Sam, just another guy trying to make it from the Beach to the Fireworks Show Tonight. Could you give me a lift down the road?'
It was unprecedented--it was asking for an act of grace, but Soldier Sam’s need for the Fireworks Show that night was great.
Sarina looked at Soldier Sam closely.
'Oh yes, I remember you,' Sarina said. 'Get in.'
Soldier Sam considered this and concluded Sarina probably meant for him to get up in the back of the Truck.
But Soldier Sam was feeling bold and wanted to talk to Sarina so compromised by opening the front door.
Sarina was one of the biggest Stars the operation had ever seen.. She did not occupy herself with a simple patrol like this much anymore.
Sarina spent most of her time rocking from coast to coast on fast planes, merging and launching, launching and merging, but sometimes she enjoyed a break by going on the beach road patrols.
'Some day, these full operations stranding someone like you on the beach might become a problem, Sarina suggested.
“Yes, Sarina' agreed Soldier Sam heartily, 'Sarina--'
'Sarina cut him off. They ought to have a frequent patrol out there.'
'Yes. Sarina. Sarina--'
'Hm-m-m!' said Sarina. 'Where do you want to be dropped?'
Solider Sam geared himself to work fast.
'Sarina, when I was just a simple recruit--'
'I know,' said Sarina. 'You just wanted a Job.'
“But, Sarina now I don't want anything at all. Soldier Sam said in all honesty.
'But it would sure be a miracle to get to see the Fireworks Tonight.' Soldier Sam asked.
Sarina wasn’t planning on going directly to the Fireworks Show. Instead she drove swiftly up the main street to the Area where more Troops had probably found themselves.
In front of the next administration building Sarina stopped on the pretext that the engine was missing, and almost in no time a small but definitely interested crowd began to gather.
'Where are we going?' asked Soldier Sam.
Sarina drove on up the road. Ahead of them a small company group was walking--one of them, turning, saw the Truck and drew the attention of the others to it.
Whereupon the senior member of the party threw up his arms in what appeared to be a gesture to get Sarina’s attention, and walked toward the Truck as it approached.
Sarina came to a stop. An excited leader ran up and put his head in the Truck window.
'Sarina, our company has just been though an Exercise Can we use your radio to advise the other groups?'
“What exactly Happened?” Sarina asked.
We ditched our post & started running, totally losing sense of direction. We were being chased. We narrowly missed being hit. Fresh Reinforcements were on the way. Once we had achieved some separation, we slowed out pace. We saw our boss conferring with staff, so we stuck around to see if we could learn anything. We discovered others had held the line & there was no need to retreat after all.
Well, despite being through a lot, it seems you are in a less precarious status now, right? Sarina asked.
The group nodded in the affirmative.
So Sarina and Solidier Sam headed out again to the Fireworks Show. It was a long ride ahead.
Soldier Sam had never been in a Truck before, and had no concept for how they work as far as mechanics goes.
Many Leaders like Sarina describe the essence of how things are supposed to work to increase understanding among subordinates like Soldier Sam.
And Soldier Sam was about to find out much, much more about Trucks. More that he would have ever wanted to know, in fact.
“Well, we have been through a number of things over much time that were were a great deal like ultimate disasters,” began Sarina.
I remember in particular some of the repercussions of an old Truck we had that wouldn't go unless you pushed it for quite a way and suddenly let your clutch out. Once, we had been able to start the engine easily by cranking it, but we had had the Truck for so long, like I said, it wouldn't go unless you pushed it and let your clutch out.
Of course, it took much more than me to do this; it took sometimes as many as a dozen of us, depending on the grade of the roadway and conditions underfoot. The Truck was unusual in that the clutch and brake were on the same pedal, making it quite easy to stall the engine after it got started, so that the car would have to be pushed again.
Soldier Sam was trying to understand, but just couldn’t stop anticipating the Fireworks Show. It was all he could pay attention to.
Sarina went on explaining to Soldier Sam why she had never liked those old Trucks, even when it was good, so that explained her suspicion of all the older Trucks that haven’t been maintained properly.
Soldier Sam knew that in the future, he would be required to identify everything in the entire fleet that came into the Maintenance Operations to be upgraded: Hornets, Super Hornets, F-35s, CH-53Ks coming on line, Apaches and F-16s in the other Services.. The list went on and on... Soldier Sam could never remember.
The only Truck Soldier Sam was really interested in was the one they were riding in at the moment, for it needed to hold together to get to the Fireworks Show Grounds, now rapidly approaching.
Sarina and Soldier Sam jumped out of the Truck to get a good view of what was sure to be a Fantastic Display just as the MC started shouting through a megaphone to prepare everyone to the action ahead., "GET READY! GET READ-Y!!” he was yelling, "THE SHOW IS ABOUT TO START!"
The theatre was in absolute darkness before there were rumblings of thunder and flashes of lightning offstage.
Fireworks Shot in to the Air.
Neither Sarina or Soldier Sam, or anyone else that was there would ever be able to completely get over the Incredible Display, one that Soldier Sam planned on fully considering on the right home. But at the moment, he just wanted to React.
“This is defiant and brilliant!” Soldier Sam started to put in his Two Cents.
“Damn Yes! Hard Core!”, exclaimed Soldier Sam.
“And that's how you do that!! added Soldier Sam I can't think of any better way to say what I don't want to say.”
“I know you think things too, Soldier Sam” said Sarina. You just don't like to get in other people's business.”
“So do you want to know what I believe in or what? asked Soldier Sam.
“What Soldier Sam? Asked Sarina
No One has Values anymore” replied Soldier Sam.
“Everyone has Values, Soldier Sam. But they are not always the same. Sarina responded.
“Cause...'Merica!! Soldier Sam replied.
No one has ever come anywhere close to telling my story. Thank you, Sarina. No one could have said it better.
"There is Nothing America Can Not Do. It just needs to do what is right" Sarina said
"I'm the American Pitbull you want, Sarina. Soldier Sam was being sincere “ It's all I want to be. So make a move on me!”
Hours later, the Fireworks Show finally ended and everyone had to get back to what they were doing before the Show that night. Sarina and Soldier Sam, each in their own times, had never known a July 4th moment such as this.
But to get back to the Truck, Sarina and Soldier Sam climbed back in to get back to the Beach for another Round.
Sarina wanted to talk more about the Truck, and Solider Sam was glad for the opportunity to express how much Sarina and the Fireworks showed extreme parallels to Beauty. Soldier Sam was trying to imagine the Ultimate Beauty that would be on display if Sarina herself was a Fireworks Show.
Sarina still had a few words of instruction for Soldier Sam. Solider Sam Loved to hear Sarina talk, even if he could not follow the substance of it.
One of my happiest memories of This Truck was when my Boss at the time replaced the real deal by getting together a great many news clipping articles from his office, placing them in a square of canvas, and swung this under the Truck with a string attached to it so the canvas would give way and the steel and tin things would clatter to the street.
This was a little scheme to frighten my company group, who had always expected the Truck might explode. It worked perfectly. That was over a decade ago, but it is one of the few things in my life I would like to live over again if I could. I don't suppose that I can, now.
"Stop the car!" I had shouted, recollected Sarina "But it couldn’t. The engine fell out." "God Almighty!" we all knew what that meant, or knew what it sounded as if it might mean.
Time was all mixed up in Soldier Sam’s Brain. He didn’t understand anything about how Trucks worked. He was still trying to put together an explanation in words for the Fireworks that night. How they had been so Beautiful, just like Sarina. Soldier Sam was trying to put that into words.
All Soldier Sam could contribute to the conversation for instance, he thought--or, rather, knew--that it was dangerous to drive a Truck without gasoline: it fried the valves, or something.
"Now don't you dare drive all over town without gasoline!" Soldier Sam suggested to Sarina as they started off onto another road. Gasoline, oil, and water were much the same to Soldier Sam, a fact that made matters both confusing and perilous.
Soldier Sam could only suppose that Planes, Trains, Trucks and Aircraft. Even Ships, were propelled by some newfangled and untested apparatus which was likely to let go at any minute, making us all taste trouble.
Sarina knew that eventually, everything in the fleet would be replaced in the final assessments. We had parked it too far from the curb on a street with a car line. It was late at night and the street was dark. The first streetcar that came along couldn't get by. It picked up the Truck and drubbed it losing its hold now and then but catching a new grip a second later.
Tires booped and whooshed, the fenders queeled and graked, the steering-wheel rose up like a spectre and disappeared in the direction of the Long Blue Road whistling sound, bolts and gadgets flew like sparks.
Soldier Sam knew that Trucks, Aircraft and the like he never remembered would still be going on every July 4th forever, God Willing We Get Our Act Together.
But all of Sarina’s talking about Sparks, Flight, Pops and Sparkles for the Fleet was giving Soldier Sam a notion of how he wanted to explain to Sarina just how Beautiful She Is.
Soldier Sam almost had his description of the Fireworks Show he wanted to let Sarina in on ready to go as they approached the Beach after a Long Day and Night.
"Tomorrow, this Truck will all fly to pieces, Soldier Sam”, Sarina told him, in graphic description of just how Lucky Soldier Sam had been that night.
“Sarina, Sarina!!” exclaimed Soldier Sam. “I finally Figured out how Beyond Beautiful Fireworks would be if they were like You!!”
The Starship started to move again, this time with more speed. The speed kept on increasing and when it was in the middle of the runway, the Starship started to climb up and was off the ground.
The officers concluded that, in this particular action, it would not be advisable to chase the targets along their path en route to the destination, since this would increase the chances of our flanking columns coming under attack. If the forces on the Mainland islands detected the aftermath of our exercises, they would either lie in wait for us or send out increased detachments of patrols. At this stage, only some of the officers could be tasked with the involved compass readings required for the next round of reconnaissance since the great majority of them had lost some perspective on the mission because of the cumulative effects of Mainland actions against the unit.
The particular turbulence of the sea had ceased. The waves came without snarling. The obligation of Soldier Sam the oars was to keep the boat headed so that the tilt of the rollers would not capsize it, and to preserve it from filling when the crests rushed past.
The black waves were silent and hard to be seen in the darkness. Often one was almost upon the boat before Solder Sam was aware.
After several hours of careful maneuvering, we came up on a Mainland position that was convened in a concentrated group and the officers decided to approach them from behind. It was really too dangerous to stay in the area. The opposing forces were just coming off an action instigated by one of our flanking units and, having been surprised at that juncture, they would soon turn their attention to a comprehensive sweep to rout out any lingering threats. Another unit in our column decided it would be prudent to escort our unit to another position that would not present as dire a scenario. The officers had become consumed with the anticipation and concern that comes with a potential contact in such close quarters.
Suddenly there was another swish and another long flash of bluish light, and this time it was alongside the boat, and might almost have been reached with an oar.
Sarina saw an enormous Shark Fin speed like a shadow through the water, hurling the crystalline spray and leaving the long glowing trail.
Soldier Sam was awakened by Sarina’s reaction to the Shark and looked over his shoulder at Sarina. His face was hidden, with his hands, just waking up for a moment then leaned a little way to one side and swore softly into the sea.
The chairman had communicated to the officers that we would not be staying in this position for any great length of time, and some of them were still arguing over the maps, drowning out the objectives of the chairman. Anticipating another sneak attack from the Mainland forces, the officers came back another time on our original bearing which could only mean one thing given the miscalculation the officers had sustained in reading the maps. It looked like we were for a minute lost so the chairman cut off his staff work and directed the unit to start circling to pin down the location of both the unit and the Mainland forces on the nearest island thinking that, despite the current predicament, this could be his lucky day.
Soldier Sam began searching around the approaches to the moon where they found the trap tunnel door where the adversary was taken away.
Sarina knew that this must be some sort of access point and began to dig around on the controls.
Soldier Sam dug and searched all around for a key that would work, but no luck. Until suddenly as Sarina dug around the control room, she made a hit when she looked at the adjacent bunker.
MOON ADVENTURE ACTIVITY
Sarina Flight Simulation Center is a Huge Place…. The Head Honcho had done this before. He would feast upon the pilots in training, using them up before sending them back where they came from.
“I have to think of a plan. Otherwise I won’t be around forever, either," thought the Head Honcho. Soon he came out with a clever plan. He would invite the talent out to Lunch one by one, and make up that he was doing it to discuss a pay raise, he decided.
Among the on-air talent was Sarina who was brilliantly full of energy, always ready with quick-wit and Humour, and able to adeptly handle anything that was thrown her way with Grace and ready confidence to tackle any job.
As Sarina Passed by the Head Honchos office, she noticed how the Head Honcho working on a huge stack of papers and asked him, “Why are you so swamped with paperwork my friend?"
“What can I say," said the Head Honcho in an exasperated voice. “Something terrible is going to happen."
“What is that?" asked Sarina, starting to register some worry on her own Radar.
“When I was on my way here this morning, he said I heard the minutes of a stockholder meeting where they were concerned about the state of the network and cut my funding dramatically, for years to come.
The money will dry up and we will all have to head back into the real world. I am quite stressed. I already have a fat pension. But you all are so young. There is so much for you to see and enjoy," said the Head Honcho.
Sarina tried to get the message out to her crew, who responded with alarm. “Oh no! What do we do? We will all get Pink Slips” they exclaimed.
“There is a very big studio some distance from here. I can take you all there one by one and provide the best possible recommendation so you won’t be left on an Island." announced the Head Honcho.
All the on-air talent were comforted and they agreed to visit the new studio one by one.
Every day, the Head Honcho would meet with the dedicated employees one by one. He would arrange lunch for each of them promising them and all-you-can Eat experience right before getting to the new studio.
But instead of taking them to a new studio, he would fire them right at the restaurant and take their campus passes from them right then and there before returning to Studio headquarters.
After some days, Sarina went up to the Head Honcho. “You have been taking all my Friends to the other Studio. When will you take me?" Sarina asked.
The Head Honcho thought to himself, “I am tired of firing all the talent with big salaries on their contract, its not as satisfying. Firing new employees with small contracts would really send a message to the remaining staff.”
The Head Honcho agreed to take Sarina to the new studio.
But Sarina was ready for the encounter. She decided to take her own car to the restaurant and leave her security pass under the seat in case anything went wrong.
So Sarina got in her car and started the journey. After a while, at the restaurant, Sarina started to grow impatient.
“How far away is the Studio? Shouldn’t we be on our way? Sarina asked the Head Honcho.
“You fool," laughed the Head Honcho. “I am not taking you to any new studio. I am going to take your security card and fire you right then and there, just like all your Friends.
“I am not a fool to allow you to let me go. I am so good at what I do and my salary is modest compared to most," said Sarina.
He agreed. “Sarina, you are indeed such a Talent. Maybe we could utilise your skills in even bigger and better ways since all these Formats are changing so rapidly.”
Sarina committed herself right then and there to work extra hard to achieve Great Things in the Future.
Everyone at Studio HQs breathed a huge Sigh of Relief that their most Talented Leader was still going to Light up Headquarters with all of her Positive Energy and Brilliant Creative Ideas!”
“So, Soldier Sam, “What do you have planned for the exercises next week?” Sarina asked.
“This week I am taking more notes at the Air Combat Simulation Center, in preparation for the Live Fire Exercises next month. The Troops are still behind in getting reps for the manoeuvres.
Sarina is paying the cab driver and they both get out of the taxi. Finally they are at the Stadium for the Rams Game and Sarina is beaming in all of her beauty and glory.
“So how would you describe last week’s work at the Simulation Center if you could write your own review just for yourself?“ Sarina asked as they walked up to the Gates.
Soldier Sam smiled.“ I described how states were formed and battles fought. You may see my books standing straight up on the shelves of libraries. They stand up like sentries.”
Although Soldier Sam writes boldly he doesn’t like the spotlight at work. There are many books here. Nations march back and forth in the books. It is often quiet for Solider Sam during most days but in the books a great thundering goes on.
Napoleon leads an assault on a distant compound.
General Grant moves some artillery into position.
Alexander streaks across the manoeuvre space
Sarina watched as Soldier Sam made his way onto the flight line.
Solider Sam put his tools into his pocket and approached the aircraft and found his spot to work for the day. Then he settled in & placed the Special Tool Sarina gave him in his pocket.
Soldier Sam loved Sarina with all his heart, since she was so Full of Life. When Soldier Sam got the position on the Crew, she watched him try to find his way, but Soldier Sam felt like giving up at first so much he ignored the early morning alerts on his phone for a long time.
Sarina was determined to help Solider Sam gain the strength and confidence he needed to succeed.
Finally, Soldier Sam got the courage to go back to work, but how would he get to the flight line from the new house? He would have to take the Train, but was now too overwhelmed to get there himself.
Sarina volunteered to get on the same early morning Schedule, so she could drive Solider Sam through traffic & walk him to the flight line, even though they worked at opposite ends of the Greater Metro Area.
At first, this was agreeable, and fulfilled Sarina’s need to protect him since he was not used to making all the important decisions at the job, even performing the slightest task without tremendous effort.
Soon, however, Sarina realised the arrangement wasn’t working. Soldier Sam is going to have to start pulling his own weight, she admitted to herself. But he was still so early on the Job, how would he react?
Just as Sarina predicted, Solider Sam was shocked at the idea of not getting a ride and having Sarina walk him to the flight line. “This Sucks!” he responded bitterly. “How am I supposed to know where I am going? I feel like you’re leaving me in the Dust.”
Sarina’s heart broke to hear these words, but she knew what had to be done. Sarina promised Solider Sam that each morning and evening she would ride the Train with him, for as long as it took, until he got the hang of it.
And that is exactly what happened. For weeks, Sarina accompanied Soldier Sam to and from work each day.
Sarina taught Solider Sam how to rely on all his senses to determine where he was and how to adapt his new Job. She helped him befriend people on the Train who could watch out for him, and save him a seat.
Finally, Solider Sam decided that he was ready to try the trip on his own. Monday morning arrived, and before he left, he said a nice goodbye to Sarina, full of his new-found confidence.
Soldier Sam’s heart was filled gratitude for her loyalty, her patience, and the hope she brings. Solider Sam said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… Each day on his own went perfectly, and Soldier Sam had never felt better. He was doing it! He was going to work all by himself.
On Friday morning, Soldier Sam took the train to work as usual. As he was exiting, the driver said, “Boy, I sure do envy you.” Solider Sam wasn’t sure if the driver was speaking to him or not.
After all, who on earth would ever envy a guy with a stressful job on the flight line who had struggled just to start his projects for several years.
Curious, he asked the driver, “Why do you say that you envy me?” The driver responded, “It must feel good to know that someone always has your back like you do. Especially Early Mornings when it is Still Dark out.”
Soldier Sam had no idea what the driver was talking about, and again asked, “What do you mean?”
The driver answered, “You know, every morning for weeks, a fine-looking woman has been standing across the corner watching you as you get off the train. She makes sure you cross the street safely and watches until you get to the flight line. Then she gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky guy.”
A couple tears of Happiness found Soldier Sam’s cheek. For although he couldn’t physically see so early in the morning, he had always felt like she was there for him.
Soldier Sam was lucky, so lucky, for Sarina had given him a gift more powerful than any fighter jet, a gift he didn’t need to see to believe-the gift of hope that can bring light where there is darkness.
Sarina stayed on the Flight Line that day. She had some great ideas to test out. When Soldier Sam asked what she had planned, Sarina had plenty of answers for that question.
"I am going to invent some wings and fly," Sarina announced.
"Now I really know you're crazy. You won't even get off the ground," Solider Sam said.
"You'll see," Sarina responded.
So Sarina went to her workshop and began working. For a couple of hours, she worked.
Then Sarina came out of her workshop with a great big look of accomplishment on her face.
Sarina called up Solider Sam on the phone. "I’m ready to fly, but I need your help," said Sarina.
"Did you really build some wings?" Soldier Sam asked.
"Yes I sure did and they are really beautiful," said Sarina. "They're a little heavy though. I need you to help me drag them up to the top of Magic Mountain.”
"What did you make them out of?" Soldier Sam asked.
"I made them out of some scrap metal I had laying around from when I was out junking last year," said Sarina.
"Metal! Don't you think that will be too heavy to use for wings?" Soldier Sam asked, surprised.
"No, I calculated all of the angles. I will be like a human airplane," said Sarina.
Soldier Sam just rolled his eyes. "Ok, I will be over right away and we'll try them out.”
"See you then," said Sarina.
Sarina and Soldier Sam dragged the wings up to the top of Magic Mountain and Sarina strapped them on.
"Are you sure those are not too heavy? Soldier Sam asked again.
"No, the faster I run, the lighter they will get. The wind will lift me up and I will be flying," said Sarina, quite confidently.
"All right, I am going to get a running start and take off," said Sarina. So, Sarina backed up a bit and started running.
As Sarina ran, the weight of the wings started to wear out her legs and she got lower and lower to the ground.
Just as she got to the crest of the mountain, her legs gave out and Sarina skidded across the ground flat on her face.
After Soldier Sam rolled his eyes laughing for about a minute, he got up and asked Sarina if she was Ok.
"Yeah, Yeah, real funny," said Sarina "I guess you may be right they are a little heavy, but I know the shape is just right. I will just go back to the workshop and make them out of another material. Something lighter"
Soon Sarina called Soldier Sam up on the Phone.
"I've done it," said Sarina.
"You've done what?" Soldier Sam asked.
"I reworked the wings. I made them out of wood and tissue paper. These things are so light I may get going by simply jumping off the Workshop Roof”, exclaimed Sarina!
Come on over, I need a witness," said Sarina. "I'm on the way," Soldier Sam said right away.
When Soldier arrived, Sarina was already up on the roof with those ridiculous Orange wings.
"Orange Wings!" Soldier Sam laughed.
"Yeah, this is the stuff I had left over from when I invented that giant Robot we used for the Orange Basketball Game last year," said Sarina.
"So you think you're just going to jump off and fly?" Soldier Sam asked.
"Yeah. Here goes," said Sarina.
Sarina backed up a little and took a quick dash and a jump.
“Oh, No!” Sarina Exclaimed. SMACK! The wings broke right off and Sarina landed straight away on her butt in the middle of some bushes next to the workshop.
After Soldier Sam laughed derisively for about a minute, he got up and asked Sarina if she was Ok.
"Yeah, Yeah, real funny," said Sarina. "I guess they may have been a little weak, but I know the shape is just right. I will just go back to the workshop and make them out of another material. Something not as heavy as the scrap metal and not as light as the tissue paper."
"Sounds like a good idea to me," said Soldier Sam with clear sarcasm.
Just a bit later Sarina called Soldier Sam up. AGAIN!!
"I've really done it this time," said Sarina.
"You've done what?" Soldier Sam asked.
"I reworked the wings. I made them out of wax and some strong wood. These things look just like bird's wings. Meet me at Magic Mountain, I need a witness," said Sarina.
"I'm on the way," Soldier Sam responded.
When Soldier Sam arrived, he saw the wings. They did look good!
"I need you to help me strap them on," said Sarina.
Soldier Sam helped Sarina strap on the wings. They fit securely, with a handle under each wing out near the tip for Sarina to use to move the wings up and down and a belt that went around her waist so that they would not fall off.
"Here we go," yelled Sarina as she backed up and began running towards the crest of the Mountain.
Sarina didn't slow down and just as she got to the edge of the mountain, she started to lift up into the air. She was flying! YAHOOO! yelled Sarina.
Sarina flew and flew just laughing and hooting. She flew higher and higher.
She was really getting high now, and she started to worry. "How do I land these things?" Sarina asked herself.
That question was about to be answered.
All of a sudden, Sarina noticed that her wings were starting to melt. Sarina had risen so high, that the sun was starting to melt the wax she used to make the wings. Pretty soon she had tiny wings and she was flying about a hundred miles an hour down towards the woods.
"Boy this is going hurt again," said Sarina to herself.
Sarina crashed right into the trees.
Soldier Sam ran up quickly, "Are you all right?" he asked.
"Yeah, I think so, but I am definitely going to quit trying to fly. This is too rough on the body," said Sarina.
To this day, no one believes Soldier Sam when he tells the story of how Sarina flew like a bird. It may be good that they do not believe him, because others would probably crash into the trees too, just like Sarina did.
Sarina also made a firm commitment not to invent anything that cannot be used while standing on the ground.
Now Sarina often tells everyone, "If people were meant to fly, they would have wings!"
RAMS PLANET LANDING
Sarina and Soldier Sam rushed out of the door shooting adversaries with their ray guns left and right as they ran down the hall.
They opened the first door they could find and there, sitting on the landing pod was Rams Mascot. He smiled his biggest smile and ran up to greet them both.
“I didn’t think you guys were going to get here on time” Rams Mascot said.
“Of course we would, Rams Mascot!” Sarina and Soldier Sam replied.
His premonition was gratified when a Mainland patrol was spotted, and the officers said their hearts were beating strongly and their blood racing. Everything was suddenly bright as the sun and razor sharp. We turned sharply at the end of the strip and came back for yet another pass. Forward, down, observe and fire. Forward, down observe and fire. It was getting repetitive for the officers and it appeared that the second unit would soon have to come into the theatre for a quick relief effort. There was only enough space for the column to move single file into position, and the chairman was considering going against his better instincts thinking, to hell with the steps he learned during training.
But the Shark did not then leave the vicinity of the boat. Ahead or astern, on one side or the other, at intervals long or short, fled the long sparkling streak, and there was to be heard the whirring of the dark fin. The speed and power of the thing was greatly to be admired. It cut the water like a gigantic and keen projectile.
The presence of the Shark did not affect Sarina as you might expect. She simply looked at the sea dully and swore in an undertone.
Nevertheless, it is true that Sarina did not wish to be alone during all this activity in the water.
The chairman devised a plan to clear through, follow on and fire. The flanking fleet had regrouped at the edge of the clearing, and the officers seemed satisfied that the job was done instead of going in pursuit. The chairman felt that the unit was just getting started and gaining momentum, so he told the officers to not relent and go after the Mainland forces without delay. The reconnaissance team had filtered through the communications and found the position of a supply depot, so the officers went about making it the recipient of a good shelling and got busy. It would prove to be a serious business and the stakes for Mainland relations with Oceana were higher than it might have seemed to the officers who were totally consumed with the minute to minute decisions that were critical to the success of the mission. Things were getting hot and the operation would last a couple of days
During landing it’s like when you’re on a roller coaster and it stops really fast.
ORANGE VALENTINES #6
“Support Syracuse Crunch Hockey!”
The Flight through Space was finally complete. The Starship bolted down from the sky and landed in New York.
Cupid was there on the Tarmac to greet Sarina and Soldier Sam.
“Sarina and Soldier Sam!” Cupid called out. “Welcome to Syracuse!”
“Thanks Cupid” Sarina replied.
“Isn’t there a Big Orange Basketball Game Tonight?” asked Soldier Sam.
“There for sure is an Orange Game tonight. But first I have a Place to show you guys?” said Cupid.
Cupid was a Legend at Syracuse. It was in Fact one of his favorite places to be. To work his Magic.
Cupid has a strong sense of duty towards his Valentines Targets. He is also detail-oriented, devoted to their traditions and filled with practical wisdom. His generous heart, old-fashioned values, and easy-going friendliness are all trademarks of Cupid’s personality type.
There was once an incident where Cupid could not see properly after a long days of working. His Love targets pretended to wrap him up and Cupid shouted, “Let me go” before continuing on with his Matchmaking tasks.
Let’s get on our way to our Pre-Game Event, Sarina and Soldier Sam” Cupid instructed.
“This is quite a place. Cupid added.
“Let’s do a little Preview before we get to the site, Cupid” Sarina suggested.
“Hop in my Ride, you two. I have a couple of questions about your Flight before we get to the Tour Site” Cupid responded.
After my realization to what was a quite heart stopping incident I began to run into the wet squishy slimy light brown sand on the planet looking in every direction with my wide open eyes filled with confusion in search of other survivors.
On seeing my predicament, Soldier Sam jumped into action.
“Soldier Sam was a good friend of mine but I was ahead of him in the Starship business. But he was getting a greater return on his training than I had because he had had better instructors.
As soon as this became clear, Soldier Sam was told he would have to carry out the entire trip with me as his commander.
Cupid’s Ride was zigging and zagging though Syracuse Traffic.
Here we are at the Mystery Spot for our Tour, Sarina and Soldier Sam” announced Cupid. “I’m sure the two of you are going to have a lot of Questions.
“We’re ready, Cupid” shouted Sarina. “Let’s Check it out!”
Soldier Sam agreed. “Let’s get this party started, Cupid!!”
“What is this place?” asked Sarina.
“It’s a very Special Sports Arena. Everyone has fun at these games” explained Cupid.
“This is all very exciting,” said Sarina. “This looks like a fun activity right in the heart of Syracuse.”
“This looks like a visit to one of those places where city folks congregate in large numbers. Is it?” asked Soldier Sam.
“Of course,” replied Cupid. “I’m going to take you to one of the most famous gathering spot for sports.
“Syracuse residents love a good sports match up, in Orange Stadium of course, but also for other teams, like hockey.” Cupid explained.
“This is Crunch Stadium!” said Cupid excitedly. Here we can see the best hockey on the planet. The Syracuse Crunch!”
“Hockey? I love hockey” Soldier Sam said excitedly. “Even more than other more popular sports. But don’t tell Sarina that!” Soldier Sam laughed.
“Well, you are in luck Soldier Sam.” Cupid Smiled. The Crunch mascot Crunchman is a fun part of every Crunch game. Fans especially love Crunchman and his antics, so keep an eye out for him at the game.
“Amazing!” said Sarina.
“You guys might be interested in some of the technology the Crunch support with their funds” Cupid suggested.
“Oh, show us, Cupid” Sarina was excited to learn more about technology, as was Soldier Sam.
Drones: Syracuse invented assassin drones, and flying vehicles are everywhere in Syracuse today. In fact, a number of sci-fi books and movies depict drones long before they were in actual use, first for military purposes and more recently, for commercial and recreational purposes, like transport to hockey games.
“Amazing! Said Sarina with wide-eyed wonder. “Why IS everyone all looking at the scoreboards promotions of tech, instead of watching hockey?”
“Some people, like Sarina, for reasons unknown, don’t realise that Hockey is the best sports game ever invented. They don’t have a clue,” explained Cupid.
“Why is that, Cupid?” Soldier Sam was certainly one of the enlightened ones that was all in the know about Hockey.
“Hockey is much more exciting for real sports fans to watch than other sports but most people are heavily influenced by newspapers and television, that don’t promote hockey” Cupid explained.
”Most people in the world receive a limited amount of information about hockey,” Cupid continued.
“Why are there so many Fans about?” asked Sarina.
“Because fans often have smart friends that drag large numbers of them to cheer on the Crunch.” Cupid replied.
“Well, now that Sarina has been informed, Let’s get on to the game!!” Cupid said.
Sarina was distracted even as all the amazing action started on the Rink.
Hanging above the ice are banners honoring the accomplishments of the Syracuse Crunch and other residents over the years.
“You’ll even find a banner recognizing the 1954-55 NBA Champion Syracuse Nationals, so make sure to check them out” Cupid instructed.
“That’s so awesome!” Soldier Sam exclaimed. “What a great history Syracuse has.”.
“Now you know a small fraction about the greatness of hockey, one of the most important accomplishments of Syracuse Sports history,” Cupid said.
“Are there any other great sights with in this hockey area?” Sarina asked as the tour continued.
“Of course, Sarina, You may be interested in a hologram with a special Valentine’s Day clue.” replied Cupid.
“I thought Crunch Land was just a legendary location for Sports” Sarina said.
“That’s what other outsiders believe,” said Cupid “Why don’t you check out what it says,” Sarina.”
Sarina and Soldier Sam approached the Hologram
Read it and see Sarina. It is a special clue about Valentines Day” Directed Cupid.
“Ok, Cupid. Lets See what it says” Sarina started reading the Hologram.
“I think you're a Star!”
Together we would be mighty fine
So won't you be my Valentine?
I'd jump for joy if you'd agree
To be Valentines, you and me.
“I just can’t believe it!” Sarina exclaimed. On Valentine’s Day. A special message just for me!”
“I must be seeing things,” Sarina said.
“Me too,” said Soldier Sam. “This can’t be real.”
“It’s real,” Cupid responded.
“But there is still more to see, in addition to the game.” Cupid was relishing the opportunity to promote the Crunch.
The Crunch Crew are an integral part of every Crunch game as they lead promotions and welcome you to the arena.
“Don’t miss the Crunch Crew if you want to win some cool prizes or take place in fun promotions.” Cupid advised.
“I don’t understand it,” said Sarina. “But this is sure an exciting game tonight.”
The Crunch were demolishing their opponent, flying across the ice and making goals with their slap shots.
When the game was over, Cupid led Sarina and Soldier Sam out of the arena.
“Wow, Cupid, that was quite a Tour!” Sarina exclaimed.
“It sure was” Soldier Sam had a great time too.
“We have some time to burn before the Game. Let’s stop by this Bar” suggested Cupid.
“By the way, Sarina and Soldier Sam,” Cupid remembered something. “You told me about your flight. But I forget to ask, did you two go on any adventures during your Pit Stops?”
“I volunteered to help Soldier Sam, with all his inexperience in preparing for Starship travel. Soldier Sam was motivated and enthusiastic. I kept him calm, and instructed him to know when it was time to prepare for the trial run race.”
When the starting pistol sounded, Soldier Sam took off like a lightning bolt, leaving his fellow trainers behind. As he neared the finish line, he stopped, turned around and motioned for the other crew to hurry.
Soldier Sam is a bit of a bragger and made sure to let them all know that he had won the race and would be the first to cross the finish line..
In between drinks it looked like Sarina had lost her attention a bit.. Cupid decided to give Sarina her Valentine right then and there.
“Soldier Sam looked at Sarina, the star of his Valentines, every year.
“I’ve got a special surprise that you will be sure to like, Sarina!” Cupid announced.
Cupid was excited about Sarina’s Valentine too!
You’re such a nice guy, Cupid!” exclaimed Sarina. These are the kind of tickets everyone wants for a Cuse Game. They are front row courtside seats!”
“Why you had obviously gone to the ticket window already a few days ago. What a plan!”
Now, that is a great Valentine, Sarina” exclaimed Soldier Sam. And it was so thoughtful of you too include me!”
Sarina and Soldier Sam bolted from their seats at the Bar and followed Cupid out the door. It was almost Game Time, and they wanted to be there for all the action!
CUPID’S FIRST SYRACUSE ORANGE GAME EXPERIENCE
Cupid considered what Sarina had been saying about Orange Stadium and just wanted to bottle up all that excitement on Valentines Day At last, the line started to move. Walking up the stairways, he allowed my enjoyment come out. Cupid was astonished by the magnificent scale the Dome.
Light coming from the gigantic floodlights was blinding, it shone down on the hardwood floor, and made everything look so bright, and dazzling. The lights were set on massive metallic structures, which held them high above the stadium; they could be seen from miles as they lit up the night sky. Below the set of lights was a scoreboard. It was magnificently lit up; it displayed nothing but Orange Brilliance.
Comparison was the main problem with Soldier Sam and translated into his not leading the good life he had set out to do and was often the reason for his frustration and inflictions those days!
While Soldier Sam was busy in his thoughts, Sarina and Cupid proceeded with their discussion. They decided to take a trip down their memory lane.
“We were gonna build a replica of Orange Stadium remember?” Sarina said.
“And then we went to have dinner on that Starship for dinner where Soldier Sam displayed his plan.” Sarina continued.
“Its almost Game Time!”, Sarina exclaimed. “We have been on so much adventure today and Soldier Sam doesn’t have a clue as to where we are!”
"Then think of the concession stand snacks we will get once we are inside the stadium, Soldier Sam” Sarina advised.
“Soldier Sam was all busy thinking about that ‘transparent wall' where you bumped was to find nothing other than Hoops Action and celebrated the success of his investigation.
“So we are at the edge of the Stadium ”,Soldier Sam observed. “That means that the game is about to start soon.”
“I’ve got a great idea!” Sarina exclaimed. “Soldier Sam and I should get a photo with Orange Mascot. Then we could prove we were here and have a lasting memory.
“Hey, Cupid,” Soldier Sam wanted to get his attention. “Could you snap a pic of Me and Sarina with Orange Mascot? That would be awesome!”
“Of course, Soldier Sam” Cupid replied. Just find Orange Mascot and I will be over to take the shot of you and Sarina.”
'That is better,' Cupid said. That Orange you are wearing. I think they make them just for the games--like the special prints they make for all the rest. Now drink this and we'll get to work.'
Find ways to incorporate a strong subject to add another dimension of interest to the photograph and help you create an interesting narrative to tell with your photo at the same time.
“Hey Sarina, we got that picture with Orange Mascot! All the lighting was great and we were posed perfectly. Isn’t it great we were able to find Orange Mascot and he was so accommodating?”
“Yes, Soldier Sam” Sarina answered. I thought for a moment Cupid was going to lose his mind trying to operation the photo function on my phone. He had never operated anything like that before.”
“The game is about to start Sarina!” Soldier Sam exclaimed. Why don’t you give me a quick rundown of the season so far?
“I know you have been following it closely and I really don’t have a clue about what the Orange have faced so far this year, Soldier Sam continued. “How are they doing?”
“Sure Soldier Sam,” Sarina was glad to show off her knowledge of Cuse Hoops. “There have been a lot of developments so far this year.
Syracuse has been full of effort, entertainment, and everything else this season except for wins in close situations. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the thing that counts the most.
Syracuse’s inability to cover the shooters came with a caveat. The Wolfpack was always going to be a challenge for SU. NC Sate are big and skilled on the inside.
Once the calendar turned to the new year and ACC play began, Syracuse’s offense shifted while defenses began to cover them differently. For example, In both games against the Wolfpack they clamped down on Syracuse’s shooters. Syracuse opted for drives to the basket in those games when defenders covered them far out.
Reluctantly Soldier Sam got up, took down the bourbon, somewhat thwarted by the taste, and moved into Orange Stadium. 'Now get situated,' Sarina said.
“Why are you even here in the first place, Soldier Sam,” asked Sarina.
For the Cuse game, Soldier Sam had a lot of money on it. He owed the bookie, who stood determinedly beside him at the pay window every day.
Once upon a time he wouldn't have looked at anyone, unless it was right in front of him. But everyone you see around now is petty--always talking about calling the Galaxy Police for running around.
CUSE GAME ACTION
There are many terms that can be used by Cuse Fans to describe fighting situations, such as ‘whipped, beaten, thrashed, hammered, etc.’. Resounding victory is fine. Others can be used to describe a victory for the winners, or a loss for the loser.
The sport of basketball is a competitive team sport that involves scoring points by moving the ball down the court and launching shots through the Net at the end of the floor.
It is such an amazing and unique game that had changed a lot over the years when it comes to strategy and skill of the players, but in some ways the game is so fundamentally simple. Just count the number of times a ball goes through the cylinder. It is so exciting for me to see something like that.
It is impossible to describe all of the Hoops Action that would go down that day in the Dome. It is enough to say it was well worth the price of a ticket and I would get a ticket for every game if my schedule allowed for it.
The home team, putting on Orange jerseys with blue trim took the court with discipline made me feel like I was a part of something. They ran, sprinting to their positions with the Refs blowing their whistles “Play Some Hoops!” the crowd began letting out screams and regards. The game was finally being played Cuse Style.
Sarina was looking forward to the Big Monday Night Football Game showdown, when Rams Mascot would show up at Rams Stadium.
Sarina was beginning to wonder if Rams Mascot was going to show up for the Big Game. Sarina dialed him up on the phone
“Well, Sarina!” Rams Mascot would boom. “Well!”
“Well, Rams Mascot!” Sarina would say, doing her best to boom back at him.
Rams Mascot would sound back and say, “Sarina, I like your spirit! Tell Soldier Sam I said to add something extra to your bottle of Bourbon.”
Oh, that Rams Mascot was just around the corner from the corner! Mm-m-m, Maybe he would show up for the Game after all!
At that moment, Soldier Sam burst into Sarina’s office.
Sarina and Soldier Sam would go to every Rams Game. Sarina would never forget Soldier Sam’s first Rams Game. It was Magic!
Though what Soldier Sam was going to do that day during the Rams Game, Sarina could not have imagined. Make a mockery of football she supposed ...
Well, perhaps so. All the same, hold on to what you got.
" That's the Stuff," said Sarina. " And Rams Mascot told me on the strict down low. it came straight from Canton.
Solider Sam’s mouth fell open at the sight. He couldn't have looked more surprised if Sarina had produced a dozen roses.
" It's bourbon, ain't it ?” Soldier Sam piped.
Sarina turned the bottle and proudly showed him the label. Bourbon it was.
" D'you know," said Soldier Sam, peering up at Sarina " they won't let me touch it while I’m on call for all the equipment maintenance stuff." And he looked as though he was going to break down right then and there.
" Ah, that's where we know a bit more than the Rams Front Office," laughed Sarina, swooping across for two tumblers that stood on the table, and pouring a generous splash into each.
" Drink it down. It'll do you good. And don't put any soda with it. It's sacrilege to tamper with stuff like this. Ah ! " Sarina tossed off hers, and pointed an eye at Solider Sam who was ready at the shot.
Soldier Sam made quick work of his drink, was silent a moment, and then exclaimed, " It's Fucking da Bomb! Gimme More! "
But it warmed Solder Sam, his brain responded—he remembered.
" That was it," Soldier Sam said, ready to tell Sarina all about it. " I thought you'd like to know.
The Rams Players were wandering around the grounds having a look at the Stadium, and they happened to come across the extensive trophies and Super Bowl Rings won by Rams Mascot over the years.
" The Rams Players were delighted with the way the place is kept," Solider Sam told Sarina.
" Beautifully looked after. Couldn't be better. . You've not been across that way around Rams Stadium, have you? "
" No, no ! " For various reasons, Sarina had not been across.
" There's entire hallways full of it," described Soldier Sam, " and it's all as neat as a pin. Quotes by Rams Mascot, game day photo ops, Super Bowl Rings all the business.
It was plain from Solider Sam’s voice how much he was interested in Rings, of any sort.
Oh, Yeah?” responded Sarina. “Tell me more, Soldier Sam!.
" D'you know what the Grounds Crew made the Rams Players pay for a look at the Trophy Case ? " he laughed. " Robbery, I call it. And Rams Players have never seen a single Super Bowl Ring, and probably never will, if you want my opinion.
Rams Mascot wanted to teach 'em a lesson. Quite right, too .Rams Mascot thinks because the players gained access to the Trophy Case with all the Super Bowl Rings over there having a look round they should be ready to pay anything. That's what it is."
Soldier Sam turned towards the door.
" Quite right, quite right! " Sarina exclaimed, though what was quite right she hadn't the least idea. Sarina came round by the desk, followed the shuffling footsteps to the door, and saw Soldier Sam out of the office.
For a long moment Sarina stayed, staring at nothing, while the office messenger, watching her, dodged in and out of his cubby hole like a dog that expects to be taken for a run.
Then : " I'll see nobody for an hour," said the Sarina. " Understand ? Nobody at all."
" Very good, Sarina. I’ll see to it" the office messenger replied.
It had been a terrible shock to Sarina when Solider Sam sprang that remark upon her about the Super Bowl Rings.
It was exactly as though the earth had opened and Sarina had seen Rams Mascot with the Rams Players staring him down. For it was a surprise.
Although a whole week had evaporated, Sarina never thought of the Rams Mascot except as triumphant in his uniform, a winner forever. "
My Dear Rams Mascot ! " exclaimed Sarina
Time had declared then, Sarina had told everybody, could make no difference. Others perhaps might even have recovered, might live their loss down, but not Sarina.
How was it possible ? Ever since she arrived in California, she had worked at building up this business for Rams Mascot ; it had no other meaning if it was not for Rams Mascot.
Life itself had come to have no other meaning. How on earth could she have worked so hard kept going all those years without the promise for ever before her of the Rams Mascot arriving tonight for the Game stepping into Rams Stadium and carrying on where he left off ?
And that promise had been so near being fulfilled. Rams Mascot had been in the office learning the ropes for year now, ever since the Team moved back to LA.
Every morning they had started off together ; they had come back by the same train. And what congratulations Sarina had received as the Team Reporter!
No wonder ; Rams Mascot had taken to it marvellously. As to his popularity with the Rams Players, every man jack of them down to the new kicker couldn't make enough of Rams Mascot. And he wasn't in the least spoilt. No, he was just his bright, natural self, with the right word for everybody, with friendly look and his habit of saying, " Simply splendid ! "
But all that was over and done with as though it never had been if Rams Mascot couldn’t make it on time for the big game that night.. The day had come when the office messenger had handed Sarina the telegram that brought the whole place crashing about her head.
" Deeply regret to inform you ..." And Sarina had left the office a broken woman, with her Game Day in ruins.
How quickly time passed since the last Rams Game! It might have happened yesterday. Sarina took her hands from her face ; she was puzzled.
Something seemed to be wrong with Sarina. She wasn't feeling like she normally would before a Rams Game.
Sarina decided to get up and have a look at the photograph of Rams Mascot in front of his Trophy case, wearing on both of his hand 10 of the Super Bowl Rings
At that moment Sarina noticed that a Ring had fallen into her bottle of bourbon, and the Ring was trying desperately to clamber out again.
What would it make of that? What indeed ! The Ring seemed absolutely stunned, and afraid to move because of what would happen next.
But then, as if painfully, it dragged itself forward. The Ring waved, caught hold, and, more slowly this time, the task began from the beginning.
That Ring is a plucky little devil, thought Sarina, and she felt a real admiration for the Ring’s courage. That was the way to tackle things ; that was the right spirit. Never quit ; it was only a question of ...
But the Ring had again attempted its laborious task, and Sarina had just time to grab another bottle, to shake fair and square on the Ring.
What about it this time ? A moment of suspense followed. And how did the Ring get in the bottle in the first place? Many of these questions would be answered eventually.
Sarina leaned over the Ring and said to it sharply, " You artful little b . . ." And Sarina actually had the brilliant notion of just breaking the bottle over her Desk to have a better look, to try it on.
" Come on," said Sarina. " Look sharp ! " And she stirred the bottle, to no avail. Nothing happened or was likely to happen. The Super Bowl Ring was stuck in that bottle.
Sarina finished the last drink and started forward to press the bell for the office messenger.
" Bring me a fresh bottle," Sarina said, sternly, " and look sharp about it."
Oh Right! Rams Mascot was stuck in LA traffic again. Either that or brazenly defying his duties.
"Git that damn tank back on the road!" Sarina would say, every time she called Rams Mascot that afternoon.
There was a tremendous to-do. Then Rams Mascot finally arrived at the Stadium
Rams Mascot’s New Scoreboard was the NFL’s newest and largest sign and secured first-run rights on the most publicized games.
Rams Mascot would hang around the concession stands to overhear the remarks of all the Rams Fans, and often he would join in himself:
“What was that part about the Super Bowl Ring?” Rams Mascot would demand, moving up and down the lobby, striking his fist into his open hand, “...
Rams Mascot had that Ring... I thought he was going to try and give it to her! I mean,, I don’t get it!”
Rams Mascot had a good deal of trouble about his alterations of certain NFL films and was eventually reigned in by the NFL commish. You can bet it cost him a pretty to keep clear in the end.
Rams Stadium was packed to capacity and Sarina was not surprised to see several times that number sitting outside at Hollywood Park Pavilion.
It was a splendid party, decided Sarina as she dodged a flying football during the action.
Occasionally an overly zealous player would fall knocked hard to the ground, much to the expectations of Soldier Sam.
At that moment there was a commotion at the 50 yard line where Sarina should have been positioned as Rams Team Reporter.
Rams Mascot was standing on his bench and making motions for quiet, getting ready to make a half-time speech.
The crowd yelled approval, thinking that now was the time for Rams Mascot to distribute the expected gifts among them. But what followed surprised even Sarina who looked at Rams Mascot with shocked admiration.
The riot that followed had best be left to the reader’s imagination. But Rams Mascot sounded the alarm, having prepared by prearranged signal to touch off the fireworks.
Suddenly there came a deafening roar and a blinding light. Soldier Sam hit the dirt as the cataclysmic tumult thundered and flashed around them.
“You should have seen the players faces,” Rams Mascot exclaimed to Sarina and Soldier Sam.
“They ran like scared children!” laughed Sarina.
“No Shit, Rams Mascot, I told you to be careful,” said Soldier Sam “You may have really caused some damage.”
“No, no,” said Rams Mascot, “all the shrapnel blew the other way. And it was a good way of getting a rise out of ’em before I signaled for the second half to start”
“Not now,” interrupted Soldier Sam impatiently. “Just tell Sarina what you told me.”
“What Rams Mascot means,” began Soldier Sam “is that there have been many signs I have seen, here and elsewhere.”
“Signs?” said Sarina
“Seriously” responded Soldier Sam. “Many wonders I have seen”.
“But what do all these things mean?” asked Sarina.
“Beats me,” said Soldier Sam with a shrug, “but I thought it made good copy. But there is more.
“Don’t believe everything you hear from the Heralds,” said Rams Mascot.
“We must keep the Rams from the one thing that can mean victory,” said Soldier Sam. “We must keep from them the Super Bowl Ring!”
But how can this be done?” asked Sarina. “And what is this ring?”
“Stop eying the possible exits and I will tell you Soldier Sam answered.
“But only one of them was in the bottom of My Bourbon Bottle,” observed Sarina. “Where are the Rest?”
“Recalled for factory defects,” laughed Rams Mascot. “They tended to short-circuit in the Rain.
“Save the Great One,” intoned Solider Sam.
Rams Mascot would explain to Sarina. “The Great Ring masters all the others. Its powers and charms are shrouded in legend, and many works are said to be given to its owner.
Rams Mascot continued. “It is said that, according to her powers, the wearer can perform impossible deeds, vanquish invincible armies, bend steel with their bare hands, leap tall buildings at a single bound, win friends and influence people, fix parking tickets—”
“And get herself elected Queen of Los Angeles,” finished Rams Mascot. “Anything she pleases!”
“This Great Ring is much desired by all, then?” asked Sarina.
“ But it also comes with great responsibility!” Soldier Sam responded. “For as surely as the Ring gives power, just as surely it becomes the master!
“A Tough Climb, this Great Ring,” observed Sarina.
Soldier Sam glanced at Rams Mascot, who nodded and casually flipped a small object into Sarina’s hand.
“Congratulations, Sarina!” exclaimed Rams Mascot “You’ve just won the MVP Trophy.”
But it was no Super Bowl Ring. It was just an old dollar bill expertly folded in the shape of a Ring. But Not a Super Bowl Ring.
Sarina checked her pockets to see if any other money was in them. They were empty so she put the Ring in one of her pockets.
And later that night, Sarina and Soldier Sam would be visiting Burger King.
The Rams Team Merchandise stood tall above any venue at Rams Stadi-um. Decked out to the tune of no other stadium in sports. The shrine was stocked with everything imaginable. Any Rams Design on anything to wear. Pennants. Coffee Cups. License Plate Covers, Umbrellas [Yes, even in LA] etc. again, anything you could imagine.
At the Door, the Office Messenger stood at the ready, with a sign: “Free Single Merchandise Item if your name is Soldier Sam” Not valid with any other offers. Limit one per customer. Item is non-refundable.
Tonight would be Sarina and Soldier Sam’s first dinner date, and she had left all her money on her desk, and nothing to buy dinner with.
No money on her to get something for Soldier Sam. Sarina had spent some time planning something nice for him. Something nearly good enough. Something almost worth the honor of belonging to Soldier Sam.
And that is where Sarina discovered the Rams Team Merchandise store with that sign on the front of it.
There was a looking-glass between the windows of the majestic store. Perhaps you have seen the kind of looking-glass that is placed in mer-chandise shops.
Suddenly Sarina turned from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brightly.
Sarina and Soldier Sam were very proud of two things which they owned. One thing was Soldier Sam’s boots.
The other thing was Sarina’s incomparable Beauty. If a queen had ever lived in Los Angeles, she would certainly be no match for Sarina.
If a king had lived in LA. Soldier Sam knew that no king had anything so valuable.
Solider Sam had already left for Burger King, so their order could be placed ahead of Sarina’s arrival.
With the bright lights of the Rams Merchandise Shop still in her eyes, Sarina stopped and moved quickly through the door and into the Rams Shopping Center of No Equal.
Oh, and the next hours seemed to fly. Sarina was going from one floor to another, to find a perfect token of her appreciation for Solider Sam.
Sarina found it at last. It surely had been made for Soldier Sam and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the shops, and she had looked in every shop in California.
It was a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, with the New Rams Logo painted in gold, and an American Flag on the top of the sleeve. It was very simply made. Its value was in its rich and pure material. Because it was so plain and simple, every one knew that it was very valuable, and it had been earned. All good things are like this.
As soon as Sarina saw it, she knew that Soldier Sam must have it. It was like him. Simplicity and Value.
And that was that. Sarina hurried to Burger King with the Rams Hoodie, Dollar Bill Ring, and nothing else but Herself.
With that hoodie on, Soldier Sam could represent both of the things, apart from Sarina of course that he considered important.
When Sarina arrived at Burger King, her shopping rush quieted a little. She began to think more reasonably. All that was left to do was eat a de-licious Whopper with Cheese and Onion Rings. Zesty Sauce of course and a refreshing Orange Soda [unlimited refills]
“But what could I do—oh! What could I do without a Burger King Cou-pon?” asked Sarina.
Sarina and Soldier Sam’s dinner was ready for them. Soldier Sam never had trouble ordering dinner at Burger King.
Sarina held the Hoodie in her hands and sat in the seat they always did.. Then she saw him pick up their tray full of food and step in towards the Hall of Drinking Fountains.
Sarina often times said little prayers quietly, about simple everyday things.
And now she asked “Please God, I hope Soldier Sam likes this Hoodie.”
Soldier Sam’s eyes looked at Sarina, and there was an expression in them that she had never seen before.
Sarina waited for Soldier Sam to sit down at their table.
“It’s finally our Burger King Date.. Let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice—what a beautiful nice surprise I got for you.”
Soldier Sam looked around the room. “You say you have a surprise?” he asked.
“You don’t have to look for it,” said Sarina. “It sitting right next to you.”
Should we eat dinner, Soldier Sam?”
From inside his pocket, Soldier Sam took something tied in a napkin. He threw it upon the table. “I want you to understand me, Sarina,” he said. “Nothing in the world could make me love you any less.
“But if you’ll open that, you may know what I felt when I saw you walk through the restaurant door.”
Sarina pulled off the paper. And then Shock. For there was a Super Bowl Ring. The exact one in fact that had been at the bottom of her Bourbon Bottle.
Sarina had seen them in Rams Mascot’s Trophy Row of Victory. She had looked at them without the least hope of owning one. And now it was hers.
And then Sarina jumped up and cried, “Oh, oh!” Soldier Sam had not yet seen his beautiful gift. She pointed in the direction of the empty spot next to him.
The sweatshirt was all he had ever wanted. And now he had one. Sari-na’s Spirit had come through in the Clutch again.
Soldier Sam picked up his Whopper with Cheese and smiled. “Sarina,” he said, “let’s put our Burger King Surprises away and keep them a while. Long after Dinner at Burger King. They’re so very nice.
And here has been told you the story of two Rams Fans who wore their Hearts on their Sleeves.
Each gave the most valuable thing they owned in order to make a sur-prise for the other.
But let’s speak a last word to the pair of these days: Of all who give surprises, everywhere, these two were the best. Of all who give and re-ceive, they are the most lucky.
Everywhere they are the best kinds of Rams Fans