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Air Force Wings

tl;dr

OMGOSH GAIS I MADE IT IN!!!!

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For those wondering what actually happened, here is the slightly longer version.

As most of you know, I’ve been trying to get into the United States Air Force for over a year now. I’ve faced more than a couple of “hiccups” along the way.  As of a month ago, things began moving relatively quickly.

I finally passed my medical!  Remember, the big thing holding me back was some dental work. Well, after about $13k worth of work and healing, I made it through.

Next was a back ground check. There was a little bit of misunderstanding between what my local recruiter was supposed to do, v. what my regular CO recruiter was supposed to do.  On top of it, my CO recruiter was out of office, which left a TSgt responsible for collecting my documentation.

Well, it turns out that when my regular recruiter got back, the TSgt left for a week of prep-work to get ready for a MSgt exam!  Oh, and all of those pages and pages of documentation that had been sent his way?  Well, it was locked up tight on his computer! My local recruiter had to send it all back to my regular CO recruiter. Thankfully, things got done in a hurry.

Now my packet had to “get signed by the general.”  Granted, I didn’t know who this general was, but I was under no illusion that my packet would be at the top of his things to do.  My CO recruiter said that it might take a week or two, if no hiccups came along (see: TSgt away at exam prep).  Still, that put the two week limit in the middle of the week my family takes off for vacation.

You know those vacations, don’t you?  They are the kind where you go see grandma, and grandma doesn’t have any wifi set up at her house. You know the one. The one where your fancy-pants iPad becomes useless, because of the said lack of wifi. The one where all you have is two out of five bars on your smart phone, unless you hold it up at the right angle to get 2.5 bars.

Surely, you’ve been on those vacations!

I find myself having some “ETT*,” when I get a call from my CO recruiter late on Monday afternoon!

“Hey, Z!  I’m going to email you the Letter of Acceptance right now. You don’t have to return it immediately. Tomorrow would be ok.”

Me – “Wait, what?  I have to print it out and mail it back?” Hoping that my mother (grandma to my children) has ink in her 10yr old printer.

COr – “No, SCAN IT IN, and email it back to me tomorrow sometime.”

Me – Did I mention the 10yr old printer?  “Sure thing. I’ll get it done, and emailed off to you tomorrow!”

I’m thinking to myself – surely there is a Staples, Kinko’s or some kind of office supply/printing shop in this small town?!

And the answer is?

No.

No there isn’t.

You know what there is?!  There is a library with a very liberal computer policy, and a laser printer.  Yeah…and it closes in 30 minutes!

My phone dings that familiar “just got an email” ding, and we are all heading off to the library (and ice cream at the local DQ afterwards).

Get there in time to print the bad boy out…and stare at it for the next hour. I forego the ice cream for some water-downed lemonade. I gotta get in better shape!

You see…THAT was it.  That single piece of paper.

It had three _________ places for me to write things down. The first being, “When are you able to begin your active duty? ______”  The second being, “Sign your complete name here: _________________, and Date: _________”

Three little blank, underlined spaces and my life is signed away to Uncle Sam for God and Country.

My wife and I spoke to some length that night about when I could reasonably go on active duty.  This was a real choice for us.

Actually, my CO recruiter had mentioned that that was the last real negotiable thing I had. That I could take as much time as I needed to finish things and end well with what I’m currently doing.

My wife and I have spoken about this quite a bit, but now the paper was in front of us.  It was real. Paper and ink, right in front of me.

By 10:00pm Monday night, I had placed the preferred starting date, and signed and dated the document.

That was my contract. That was the agreement. That was my “name on the dotted line.”

Woke up the next day. Got back over to the public library, where it cost me $1.00 for them to scan the document and email it back to me.

A quick save to drop box, and I’m emailing the signed document back to my CO recruiter. By 4:00 that afternoon I received a congratulatory email from my recruiter. He informed me that my packet was over at placement, and that I would be hearing from them at their earliest convenience.

So now…I get to wait some more. 🙂

But, that is ok. I know that the slots are open for me to go active duty during this fiscal year. I know that they desire to have me on board.  Now, I’m just taking the time that is allotted to me and finishing well.

One thing I’m looking forward to is my “swearing in.”  For enlisted, it is done at MEPS. For me, it seems I get to put that together on my own.

I know, weird.  Still, it gives me the chance to have significant people in my life as a part of the ceremony.  As far as I know, all I need is another Commissioned Officer (of any branch) and a US flag, and I should be good to go.  Instructions concerning the ceremony should be coming with my eventual paper work, so it isn’t anything to have done right now.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll point you to an eventual video. 🙂

If things go quickly, I could be going to a COT at the end of May.  While that would be nice, I’m not holding my breath.

Z

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CO – Commissioned Officer. Only a Commissioned Officer can recruit another person to be a Commissioned Officer. But, they get an enlisted recruiter to put us through MEPs, and finish up some paper work. Oh, and the local recruiter gets NO CREDIT for doing all this work on your behalf!

ETT- “Effective Toilet Time” (TMI?) I first heard this used by @The_Koltrane on the Convert to Raid podcast. The idea is to use that 10-15 minutes of potty time to read up on raid information, or watch the lates youtube video about a boss fight.

COT- Commissioned Officer Training course.

The battle for Blade’s Edge wasn’t a complete unmitigated disaster.

Just mostly so.

It started out normal enough. The ogres were beginning to harass travelers. There was even a not-so-successful attack against Mok’Nathal Village.

The idea was to bloody their nose a little bit. They could give the Laughing Skull Clan a good wallop, and they would crawl back into their canyons leaving travelers alone.

At least, that was the plan.

Khesed could have figured out that things weren’t going to go well. He still couldn’t get his thoughts straight, even on the wyvern flight to Mok’Nathal Village.

He would try to center himself. He firmly believed in the “mind-no-mind” concept of battle. Working out of instinct and years of training. He often used the wyvern flights as a time to calm his mind, clear it of distractions, and ready himself for the battle.

Today was different.

He still smelled her.  He still felt her. He still saw her in his mind’s eye.

Everytime he closed his eyes to meditate, he would see her eyes looking back at him.

They landed and imediately went into formation. His squad formed up behind him quickly.  They were a part of a larger group, made up of five squads; twelve combatants per squad.  Each squad made up of two healers, two heavily armored meat shields, with eight heavy damage dealers made up of mages, archers, and explosive melee types.

Khesed and Krum made up the meat shield contingent. Xexell, of course, loved to light people up from afar as a fire mage.

The larger contingent made its way down into the cavern, seeing the Ogre’s huts in the distance.

About five miles out, they broke into their squads, each focusing on a particular area to subdue.  They were to take out most of the leaders they come across, which would end up quelling the Ogre’s attacks for a while.

Of course, that meant looking for the largest, ugliest, utterly disgusting Ogres they could find.

Khesed’s group was responsible for the southern portion, closest to the cave route leading to the Orebor Harborage.

They attacked as they usually did. They start with the “shock and awe,” of fire balls and explosive shots.

“Sneak attack” wasn’t their normal mode of operation.

On top of it, Khesed’s mind never got into the right place.

His reactions were just a second slower than usual.  His normal prayers and spells, which usually flowed from his lips, came haltingly.

Halfway through the fight, with a giant Ogre looming overhead, Khesed found himself flat on his back with a huge club coming down towards his head.

All he could see was a single Draenei face, with a single sultry-quirky smile.

A huge blast of fire brought him out of it, rocking the Ogre back; its club falling away in splinters.  He see’s Krum practically leap forward, as a bullet out of a rifle, shield first, slamming into the chest of the giant beast.  He heard Xexell screaming, “Khesed!”

Khesed vaguely thinks to himself, “Xexell, she must have been where the fireball came from.”

He hears a grunt come from Krum, as he takes the Ogre’s head off at the shoulders with one massive swipe of his sword.

Arising, Krum looks at him, “Khes…what is your problem!? Get up Blood Knight, before I put my everlovin’ foot up your Blood Elf ass!”

“MOVE IT!”

Coming to his senses, Khesed picks himself up. Faltering a bit, unsteady on his feet, Xexell comes quickly to his side. Sending off a magical bolt of ice past Khesed’s head, she takes him under his arm. Leaning upon her, they make their way to the back of the line.

Khesed never remembered very much of that battle in days to come. He took some brutal hits, and later found out that he had almost died if not for the healers on hand. The one thing he did remember was a face of a Draenei woman making its way in and out of his consciousness.

When Khesed came fully awake, he saw the huge form of Krum lying in a cot against a far wall of his room. Somehow, they had gotten him back to Shattrath City. Trying to sit up, a gasp escaped his lips. Khesed was sure that he had more than one busted rib. Krum turned over, noticing that Khesed was awake. Sitting up, “How are you doing, Khes?  Feeling a bit better?”

Grimacing, Khesed said, “I’ve seen worse. You would think that the healers would have mended my ribs though.”

Krum smiled a bit, “They wanted to; but the Commander told them not to. He said something about lessons needing to be learned; and the best teacher being pain.”

“Well, aren’t I the lucky one then. The Commander being so worked up over my continuing education and all.” Khesed couldn’t help but smile at that.  He knew good and well that the Commander only cared about battle readiness. If he thought you weren’t going to learn from something, he was just as quick to turn you into a cook than keep you in a battle division.

“At least he thinks I’m salvageable,” Khesed said has he gingerly poked at his bandaged ribs.

Krum looked at him, “Look Khes, I’m don’t know what’s going on. But, you need to take care of this.  You were distracted out there. It almost killed you, and could have killed us as well.”

Giving Khesed a firm nod, “You need to figure out what you need to do concerning this Draenei woman. For your sake, and ours.”

Arising to leave, Krum looked back; “I’m your friend. I’m with you, no matter what happens. Just… Just, don’t be stupid. You damn Blood Elves get so caught up in yourselves. Don’t make me knock some sense into your pointy eared skull. Why you would prefer Spacegoat when there is beautiful, bountiful, wonderful Orc female flesh out there is beyond me!”

Smiling at his friend, Krum took his leave mumbling about needing something to eat.

He was right, Khesed knew it.  He had to come to his senses concerning this Aldor maiden.  Surely he wasn’t falling in love. Oh, by all the ancestors, NO!  But, he had to admit that his inability to concentrate was overwhelming.

He needed to find her…at least one more time.

Trying to get up, he ended up falling back into the bed. The pain in his chest was just to great.  He was too weak for his own healing abilities to take affect. Looked like it was going to be another day of resting before he could get back to the World’s End Tavern to possibly run into her.

Looking towards the far wall, he notices his reflection in a mirror.

“Falling in love with a Draenei, Khesed?  Almost getting yourself killed? Any other great ideas, you dumb bastard?”

With that, he laid back down for some of that rest he so desperately needed.

Falling

The next morning she was gone with nary a word.  To say they were both embarrassed would be an understatement.  She was Aldor, he was Scryers.  These sort of things just didn’t happen! She made her way out of the room, with but a glance in the direction of Khesed.  Khesed could barely keep his eyes open, due to the headache he was experiencing.  Be could barely get the cleansing prayer together in his mind; and when he was better…she was gone.
He didn’t even know her name!

To think, just a few years ago he would have been one of the Blood Knights hunting down the Draenei refugees that crash landed on Azeroth.

Khesed just shook his head as he left The World’s End Tavern.

On the way to the Scryer’s Tower, he ran into Krum. Krum was a giant of an orc; as one would imagine an orc warrior to be. But, he was also Khesed’s friend. Alongside of him was another of his comrade in arms, Xexell.  She was one of the Blood Elves, as well as one of the Scryer’s mages, and regularly enjoyed harassing the young Lieutenant.

“Hey Krum,” Xexell said loudly as Khesed approached.

“Yes, Xexell,” he replied with a gleam in his eye.

Xexell, very loudly so everyone could hear said, “Don’t we have some regulation regarding bestiality and our officers? I thought only humans and gnomes enjoyed a nightly plate of spacegoat!”

Xexell and Krum literally fell into each other’s arms laughing as Khesed approached with his face turning a bright red.

“Don’t you have something better to be doing right now? We do have orders you know.” Khesed sounded terse, but a small smile began to creep into the edges of his frown.

“Come on you two, we need to get our things and head to the flight path.  We leave for Blade’s Edge in two hours, which means the Commander wants to see us in one.”

Krum and Xexell fell in behind Khesed, laughing and making crude comments about having spacegoat tail for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

All Khesed could do was shake his head.

Krum and Xexell may have believed it was a disapproving shake of his head, but in actuality Khesed was trying to clear his thinking.  He hated to admit it, but he couldn’t get the Draenei clothie out of his head.  While much of it was lost in the fog of alcohol; he still remembered quite a bit.

He wasn’t that drunk.

Damned, if he hadn’t become smitten with the Aldor maiden.

He couldn’t seem to get her out of his head.  Her smile was brilliant in his mind. Her eyes were all enveloping.

Her body… He began to turn red all over again, remembering every bump and curve. He had ran his fingers lightly over every part of her as they slowly made love. He could still see her, still taste her, still smell her.

What was happening to him?!

Shaking his head, he muttered to himself, “Dumb bastard.”

500 Words

Ok, so I mentioned the 500 Words thingy. Feel free to click on the pic in the upper right hand corner.

What am I doing?

I want to write 500 words a day for the month of January. I want some consistent writing (on my part) to be done. I feel that I work better in the midst of a “challenge/goal” than me just saying: “I’m gonna write moar this year, YO!”

There goes the white, middle aged, male trying to be hip again!

So, I’m going to be writing 500+ words every day. Which will be around 3500+ words a week.

This does not mean that I’m promising to post every day. Or instance, I’ve written over 1700 words over the last three days, but not for the blog.

It was work related.

If the future holds true to form, it will probably mean WoW related writing at least for Monday and Tuesday. So, I’m thinking there will probably posts up for those days.

That’s about as clear as mud, right?!

Yeah, thought so.

Also, I’m writing this on my smart phone/WP app. Who knows what it’s going to look like when I hit “post.”

That being said, we shall not leave Khesed and his un-named companion to drift. Their story of happenstance, pain and ultimate relief will continue soon.

Until then, give someone next to you a hug. And be sure to duck if they are total strangers!

Z

Yeah, I really didn’t do that , did I?  I didn’t put out a great big Merry Xmas or a Happy New Year on the day of.  To be honest, I didn’t even think about it.

My Christmas was spent with family, as I hope you had the chance to be with those you hold dear.

My New Year’s Eve and Day was spent with my wife and children.  I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I don’t really have resolutions this year, which is a first.  I can’t say I have many goals, though I could mention one or two.  Do I want to do stuff, to get things done this year?

You bet.

So, here are some of my hopes for this year.

I hope to get into the Air Force some time this year.  My dental issues are taken care of. All I need to do is pass MEPS, and I’ll be one step closer.  This has been well over a year, maybe even a year and a half now.  Have I doubted my course?  Of course I have. But, tenacity is all about staying in the game even when things get hard.

I want to be tenacious this year.

I want to write more this year.  Perhaps you’ve seen the 500 words .gif at the upper right hand corner of the screen. It is a challenge by Jeff Goins to write 500 words per day.  My January 2 is about over. This will probably post on January 3rd…but, this is my 500 words for January 2nd. 🙂

It’s not that I’m going to be a professional writer. Not at all. I want to be a USAF Chaplain, remember?  But I do want to write in a consecutive, meaningful way.  I may not write my book to be published, but I will write for the month of January…at least.

I want my legendary cloak, dangit!  Surely, I can get that done this year.  Right?

Finally, a little other WoW related hope. I want to flex raid a bit.  I realy want that BoA bow that drops from Garrosh.  I have a Horde hunter that is geared for it, but my Alliance hunter is a little undergeared at the moment.  If you have a time on Monday mornings, or just about any other evening, please let me know.  I’m good most nights but Wednesdays.

My dirty little desire is to one day make it on the Twisted Nether Blogcast.  But, don’t tell Fimlys or Hydra now about it. It would feel to much like a pitty invite if I was able to be on any time soon.  But still, wouldn’t that be the coolest thing ever!  I mean no offense to The Tauren Think Tank, Convert to Raid Podcast, The Instance, Azeroth Round Table, and the many others that are out there. But, Fimlys and Hydra have it going on, YO!

Yes, a 40 year old nerdy, southern, white dude just said “YO!”

I want to do at least one ZKI™ this year. Time to get started on that.

I hope you all have a blessed 2014.

May each day grow in light, love and happiness.

Z

Dreaming

A horrible storm raged around him, forcing Khesed to spend the night in Stonebreaker Hold on route to Shattrath City. Making sure his wyvern was properly taken care of, he headed towards the Inn.

Entering into the establishment, Innkeeper Grilka waived him over.

“Back from the front, paladin? What can I get for you?”

Khesed responded, “A place to rest, something strong to drink. What else does a warrior need?”

Grilka smiled at Khesed, pulling out a skin Sin’dorei wine.

“Something stronger please. I have memories that I don’t desire to entertain tonight,” Khesed said with very little emotion.

Grilka grunted, putting the Sin’dorei wine up and pulling something else out.

“It’s dwarven. Don’t ask me what it is, for I’m really not sure. But, I know it practically eats away paint, rust, and a number of other things. Just don’t ask me where I got it.”

Khesed nods, “I appreciate this greatly.” He places the fee for the drink and bed on the counter with a grateful nod.

The bed wasn’t much. It was more of a hammock attached to the wall and a pole. The walls were animal hides in true Nagrand style.

He didn’t care. What ever this dwarven drink may be, he was sure it would knock him out
before he finished it.

By the nether, it was stout!

It wasn’t that he was afraid to dream. He just preferred to not remember it the next morning.

He could feel it coming on as he drifted into the alcohol induced stupor.

The dream began as it usually did.

Looking up, he sees it. The sign of the World End’s Tavern. He and a number of other Scryers were regulars there. They liked to show up the night before, toasting the future exploits they would have in battle. They would show up when they got back, toasting those whom they lost in battle.

He’s sitting inside now, raising his glass with the others when she walks in. A Draenei woman walks in with a group of Aldor.

WoWScrnShot_010214_000506

Usually, that isn’t a problem. Khadgar’s Servant made it very clear to him that violence would not be tolerated within the city. Also, Khesed really didn’t care about the Aldor. Not that he liked or disliked them. He just didn’t care about them.

She was good looking…for a Draenei.

Soft blue glow to her skin. Petite horns, slightly curving back over her white gleaming hair.  The thin robe she was wearing left little to the imagination.. To say she was healthy would be an understatement. She had both an air of beauty, dignity with a dash of playfulness. There was no doubt that she could easily handle the staff she carried on her back.

He also had to later admit…she had a fine tail.

WoWScrnShot_010214_000715

Eventually the jibes started coming. To be honest, he never can seem to remember how it all began. All he remembers is that he’s throwing sarcastic remarks back and forth with the rest of them.

Again, no one is really angry. No one was stupid enough to pull anything. But, the exchange does get a bit heated, especially with the Draenei female. Maybe it was the way she carried herself. Maybe it was the way she threatened him with her staff. Before he knew it, they went from arguing to their own private room there at the World’s End.

What a dumb move. What a stupid move.

“Dumb bastard,” Khesed mumbles to himself  tossing and turning into the night.

________________________

*a great thanks to Askevar for the use of one of her alts as the model for the Draenei in Khesed’s storyline!

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.  I found some of this humorous, and all of it makes me love anyone who reads this blog. 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Flinging himself into battle, Khesed shouts; “May the blessings of our fathers be upon you!”

It seems that every Scryer on the battlefield was enveloped with a holy light. Each one gained strength, quickness, and keener insight.

Having blessed his comrades in arms, Khesed flings himself into the battle.

He runs forward, stepping upon and leaping forward into the air from the back of a foe doubled over from a stomach wound. He lands in the midst of a group of Kael’thas’ Sunfury Bloodwarders, seeming to land with one knee and one hand touching the ground.

“Burn with holy fire,” he mouths quietly. The ground seems to erupt with holy flames, burning every foe within ten feet of him.

He immediately strikes out with his weapon…Foe Reaver it was once called… not only striking the Sunfury Bloodwarder in front of him; but sending waves of holy power around him. Seeming to strike other surrounding foes, pounding into their bodies.

Calling holy energy from within, he strikes a Sunfury Magister a bit beyond the warrior in front of him. He immediately slams his shield into the warrior, as righteous energy seems to double the impact.

The warrior stumbles back, allowing Khesed to grip his sword even tighter; and with a thought sending more holy energy out around him as a holy shockwave.

The Bloodwarder drops, never to rise again and Khesed lunges into the Magister, impaling him upon his sword.

Other attackers decide to ignore their previous targets, deciding that he was more of a threat.

Attacked from three sides, his shield takes one hit; his sword deflects another, and his back plate deflects an attack from the rear.

Spinning in a circle of light, the ground erupts with renewed holy flames around him. Slashing the foe in front of him, he also calls forth the holy energy from within to burn the Bloodwarder even more with holy fire. Khesed seems to be mouthing words, almost as silent prayers with each slash, parry, and strike.

The Bloodwarder in front of him slumps over, taking the full effect of the divine judgment, expending his last breath.

The other two took advantage of Khesed’s concentration upon their brother in arms. One slashed down upon Khesed, beating upon his shield time and time again. The other had made his way around to his opposite flank, lunging for a mid-level strike to pierce his ribs.

While his armor took much of the impact, the weapon did make its way through. Khesed grimaced as the blade pierced his side. Calling forth the holy power, his wound began to mend. Yet, he was still wounded and he knew he had to finish these two off quickly.

Calling forth the holy power of the Naaru, his body seems to glow as a vessel overflowing with light. Letting out a massive surge of power in a holy shock to his enemies; they stumble back in pain. One falls, not getting back up. Khesed leaps towards the other before he recomposes himself. Slamming into him with his shield, then planting his sword into his chest.

Looking up, he sees that the battle is starting to wain around him. The forces of the Naaru drive Kael’thas’ forces back. They’ve secured the area as required, the last Manaforge was finally theirs. Khesed falls to a knee utterly exhausted.

He hates what comes next.

So exhausted that not even the adrenaline rushing through his body can force the thoughts out of his mind.

During the battle, there is no thinking. There is action and reaction. There are forms, immediate spells and prayers…all deeply rooted into his being. He does it all without thinking, one fluid motion of death. Reacting to each stimuli as it presents itself.

But afterwards, when his mental defenses are down, he remembers.

The memories, along with the wave of emotions, crash into him like a personal Holy Shock. Cascading through his body, with just as much pain as the spell he learned to cast so long ago.

His child. His first and only child, disappearing before his eyes in the shaft of Naaru generated light.

Getting up, he pulls his helm down tighter upon his head. People will assume that the tears are from his wound to his side. But, where the holy energy is mending that wound; it can’t do anything for his sundered soul.

He makes his way back to Area 52 with the rest of the formation. From there, a brief meal and then a wyvern ride back to Shattrath City.

This… This wasn’t working. He was going to speak with the Seer, Voren’thal.

unForgiven (nsfw)

*As he tromped along, you could hear him mutter under his breath*

“Dumb bastard.”

*a few minutes pass by*

“Sorry son of a bitch”

*a few more minutes pass by*

“All for what?”

*more silence*

“Dumb bastard.”

*He places one foot, violently in front of the other*

“What were you saving? Prestige? Family honor?”

*He spits onto the side of the path as he marches a long*

“Sorry son of a bitch.”

“DAMN YOU!”

*His jaw tensed as his fists clenched. His nails bit into his flesh*

He could see his newborn be taken by the Naru.

Dematerializing they called it.

To him, it just looked like his child was torn apart molecule by molecule into a column of light.

And, he agreed to it!

*He choked back his sobs*

“Dumb bastard.”

*continuing to march forward*

“Sorry son of a bitch.”

*He began to weep angry tears as he continued to march along*

Clenching his sword and shield. What he needed was a fight. Maybe, if he was lucky, he would die and meet up with his child somewhere out there in the nether.

Or wherever that damnable light went.

All Khesed could do was march forward, not looking back, green eyes set as flint.

“Dumb bastard.” *He muttered one last time.*

secret

I’ve an idea.

I have some thinking, some scouting and some planning to do.

Be prepared

A “ZKI”™ is in process…

Z