Civil Forfeiture as a plot device?

Sure, why not. About two months ago I discovered my ‘device’, the device that will create that One Defining Moment, aka ‘the Climax’, where everything changes for my main characters.

I’m using a legal fiction, Civil Forfeiture, as the device. I won’t get into too much detail, to avoid giving away how it works into the story, but this topic is perfect. Stunningly perfect.

I even have some personal experience with it. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier.

Now at first my Climax was simply the Chairman and Michelle selling their first starship to the government but then instead leaving the Solar System with it and having their grown kids finish off Starship #2 to sell to the gov.

Boring right? I knew that too, and wrote it out anyway. Again it was just something to start with, to get the imagination warmed up.

I have a 40 minute commute (one way), mostly highway, and I often drive in silence, just brainstorming.

Most times I’ll be running a single chapter through my head.

When I do turn on the radio I end up playing a song that might fit the tone of the chapter. This helps me to flesh out the details even further.

I was reminded of a time, in my current job, where I was called down to our marina to meet with two US Marshals. They were there to seize the yacht of one of our clients and they called just to give our company a heads up that they were removing the yacht to … wherever. (I forget)

That was an ‘in rem’ forfeiture. That means they take your stuff because your stuff is guilty, nothing at all to do with you.
How can stuff be guilty? That’s part of what makes this particular plot device so good.

In speaking with our client’s attorney it turned out that the case went poorly … for the plaintiff.

Perfect experience to build on.

I feel like I’m back in college in studying this Civil Forfeiture topic. There is so much meat available from so many different sources. It’s all really juicy stuff too.

So juicy that I am effectively re-writing the book to incorporate the process properly. FISA court, NSA, a couple of LE alphabet agencies will be involved. It’s the perfect device for my space travel story set in the near future (and then far future), just the thing I’ve been searching for.

Let’s just say that when the story is finally released you’ll wonder “How can that be real?”.

It is. It will be the only non-fiction device in my science fiction thriller lol.

_

I swam with a Blacktip shark

Or at least tried to lol.


(Screenshot from my GoPro)

Myself and my PADI instructor, Nick, were approaching the sunken winch in Molasses Reef down in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

We were about 22 feet deep. This was my third open water dive for certification.

The shark was approaching from my right and I caught him briefly on the GoPro. (video below)

We were both kicking with powerful strokes, perfect form and we could BARELY keep up.  That magnificent beast was swishing his tail about once every two seconds, hardly moving, but enough to lazily outpace us.

Later on we came across the shark again!

I was in trail when my instructor looked back at me and pointed back and to my left.

I twisted myself back a bit … BAM!  There he was!

He was just cruising along, no stress at all, with his entourage, a few stuck to him, the others swimming along with him.

We just hovered briefly as he went by and you could see his right eye take us in momentarily, “just the pair of SCUBA slowpokes from before.”

When he passed Nick we started following him. But like I mentioned above, he simply outpaced us.

What an incredible creature.

This experience created the spark later on for one of the scenes in the upcoming science fiction thriller ‘Distance In Time: Michelle’

The Chairman’s weapon of choice

The Chairman of Curve Aerospace is a CMP Distinguished Rifleman.

But his weapon of choice is his old Winchester Model 1300 Defender 12ga shotgun, holding 6+1 three inch shells.

Winchester 1300 Defender shotgun
The Chairman’s Winchester Model 1300 Defender shotgun
Shotshell hook and loop card attached to left side of Winchester Model 1300 Defender
Shotshell hook and loop card attached to left side of Winchester Model 1300 Defender

The reason? One of his company’s research projects for future military sales is ammunition development.

And the 12ga format provides for considerable flexibility in ammunition design.

An example is the Rocket Propelled, Fin Stabilized, 400 grain hardened lead alloy slug shell. The ‘beanbag’ round for armored folks.
Traveling at over Mach 6.5 it’ll deliver over 40,000 ft-lbs of energy into the target. More than a 20mm cannon shell.

Externally a shell looks like a typical 3″ magnum shell, complete with primer and brass base.
It even fires like one. The specially designed wad inside allows for a standard powder charge to eject the rocket motor and shot combo. An impulse activated, time delay fuse ignites the rocket approximately three feet from the muzzle.

Other payloads include, but not limited to:

RPFS armor piercing
RPFS high explosive, armor piercing
RPFS grenade
Gas shells
Signal shells
EMP shells. These use a special gel and electric charge to deliver a damaging, high amperage shock to electrical systems, computers, etc.

The beauty of the 12ga. That’s why he loves it so much and why his humadrones use the shotgun format for base and home security.

Besides, ‘shells’ sounds cooler than ’rounds’. 😀

The Blue Vase University

Ah, the Blue Vase University.

Are you a graduate?

What does it mean to graduate from the University?

It is a real thing, though not a real place. It is tangible and brings peace. And just to be clear it is not related to some insurance thing.

Then what is it?

To tell you would be to rob you, to deny you the …….. well, let’s just say that the graduate of the Blue Vase University fully understands why someone would be circumspect to explain, much less to explain it in full detail.

“So, if I’m not a graduate how do I get to be one?”

If some of you readers know the answer, don’t go posting it in the comments 😉

For those who are still asking the question just look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘It Shall Be Done.’