Transport Fever: The virtual model railroad (sort of)

Transport_Fever_open.png

Is the game Transport Fever any good?  Is it for you? Let’s find out.

The year is 2000 and you watch as your stage-coach from 1875 comes rolling into town just past the electric tram. Your fully loaded stage of 4 passengers stops at the airport as the 747 Airline to Dallas is just taking off. Why? Because you can in Transport Fever!

Is this game perfect? Nothing rarely is but if you enjoy Cities Skylines or SimCity you just might really like Transport Fever even more.

The not-so-good (probably)

Before I mention all that’s good about Transport Fever, let’s get some of the basics, technically speaking, out-of-the-way that could be considered negatives with this game.

Tycoon Game?

Users have mentioned that Transport Fever is not a true transport tycoon game because there is no competition with other networks.  You are alone in this game as you build your networks and try not to go broke in the process (unless you are using the no cost mod of course).

Learning Curve

There is a learning curve in Transport Fever but it’s mostly due to a somewhat poor designed menu system that appears to be a bit out dated IMO.  The fonts in the menus are also smaller than they need to be which can make general navigating a daunting task until you get used to what the options do and where they are located.  You will also encounter some redundancy in menu options which can be quite confusing at first. For example, opening up the new line option can be done by clicking on multiple locations.  (Note: Fonts can be scaled larger in the settings menu (upper right) but doing this enlarges the bottom task bar and other menus to something too large for my liking!)

Laying Train Tracks

Generally track laying in Transport Fever is fun but sometimes you will find the track (and roads) do not want to go where you want them to due to uneven and height variations in terrain.  Using the in-game terrain height overlay option can help.  (It is located in the bottom right menu.)  Helpful note: A flat terrain works best for track laying but mountains and hills are fun and challenging maps to play.  

If your computer CPU and GPU are not very powerful, like mine, your frame-rate will suffer on larger maps and in later years when more transportation networks are working at the same time.    (My system: AMD Phenom II 945 x4, 8gb ram, GTX 750ti 4gb)

YouTube Gameplay of Transport Fever can help when you are just starting out or anytime

I highly recommend watching YouTube videos of basic gameplay and read about the game in the steam community for Transport Fever. (On YouTube I suggest Skye Storme or Colonel Failure as great places to start.)

 

The Good

 

A little bit like a Virtual Model Railroad

Create Virtual Transport Networks to watch the trains (boats, and planes)

Transport Fever features virtually unlimited track manipulation for creating a simple model rail system. Don’t want to mess with the mechanics of transporting all the goods?  In Transport Fever you don’t have to.  Want to transport only food? You can.  If you just want to transport people from various cities and watch your towns grow, you can do that too.  And with the no cost mod enabled you can create rail lines, ship lines and air transport lines galore.  While Transport Fever can be a great sandboxy type game for laying rail, it is not a very realistic virtual model railroad because you do not have as much control over your trains as you would in a real model rail layout.  Also, Important to note you cannot drive the train but you can ride along with it.   Note that in later years, a better computer system will be desired to fully enjoy your extensive transportation network. 

Graphics and Optimization

Transport Fever looks and plays better than Cities Skylines and I have an old machine (AMD Phenom II 945 x4, 8gb ram, GTX 750ti 4gb) until you get into the later years especially on the larger map sizes.

Sound

There are lots of sounds in this game. Some are wonderful and some can get downright annoying and repetitive (I’m thinking of the default airport, birds and train stations). But guess what? If you enjoy tweaking game files, (back up originals first) you can remove or even change certain sounds in the sounds folder. (HINT: There is a silence.wav sound which I found came in handy if you simply desire, silence. )

No Cost Mod and No End Year Mod

The Cost option comes included with the game and it makes Transport Fever the ultimate model railish transport sandbox. Enjoy laying train tracks, roads, airports? Lay them at your heart’s content and why not put in multiple tunnels underground or a giant bridge across the lake, because you can.
The game also includes a NO END YEAR mod so you can use that Stage Coach in 2047 and beyond.

Mods

This game uses community mods and they make an already great game expandable. The creators of these models and mods are truly talented artists!

I will list many of mods I use here that I believe are essential to have a great sandbox experience in Transport Fever.   (Note: As I live the USA, I enjoy mostly American looking models)

One of my favorite collections featuring Santa Fe and BNSF

A big thank you to the creators of these great models, skins and mods!

 

Conclusion

Learning curve, room for improvement? yes and yes but I highly recommend this game for the beautiful trams, stage coaches, trains, the sounds, the planes, the trucks, the endless train tracks and the fantastic working mods and models found on the Steam Workshop…….

Need Help?

As always feel free to ask if you need some basic help with Transport Fever and I will try to point you in the right direction.

 


Transport Fever on Steam

Transport Fever Workshop on Steam

Transport Fever Industrial FlowChart

How Transportation Works in Transport Fever

Transport Fever Wiki

Transport Fever Official Website

Map Creation Tool for Transport Fever

Fantastic video on how to Create your own terrain map for TpF using Minecraft WorldPainter

World Painter

Hope

Audacity

Fullyfreefilms.com


Image source

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X-Plane 11 – Should You Buy It?

Cessna_172SP_hum2
Cessna 172SP X-plane 11 over Arcata, CA

This post is a quick review of my experience using X-Plane 11.  I hope to help you answer the ultimate question of Should I buy it? while I add some personal comments along the way.

X-plane 11 is an advanced flight simulator by Laminar Research which utilizes modern 64-bit architecture found in today’s computers along with the latest GPU’s and CPU’s.    I will list the pros and cons I found in using the X-Plane 11 Demo and ultimately purchasing the complete X-plane 11 simulator on Steam.

This review represents my experience after running X-plane 11 on an older computer.

My Computer Specs: CPU- AMD Phenom II 945 Quad Core, MEMORY- 8 gb ram, GPU- GTX  750ti OC 4gb memory, HARD DRIVES- Two 500 gb, One 250 gb

Cessna_172_Hum

Pros/What I do like

User Interface (UI): 

Pleasing to the eyes.  The UI in X-plane 11 has been given a complete and welcome overhaul from past versions of the sim. Old and new users will find the settings easier to navigate and understand. Whether configuring a joystick, flight yoke or tweaking the sim’s graphics, the simple sliders, added search function and visuals make configuring X-plane 11 to your liking fun and intelligent.  I personally enjoy the new layout and views for displaying aircraft, airports, weather and the visual representations of various flight yokes and joysticks simply wonderful.

Lighting: 

Impressive. The lighting in X-plane 11 is simply amazing and in my opinion, more realistic than ever.  I have been using X-plane 10 global the past few years and after first running the X-Plane 11 Demo, I immediately noticed a vast daylight improvement over the previous version of the sim.  The sun is more dynamic and bright, with better rendered shadows–as one would expect on a bright sunny day.  At night, HDR lighting adds more realistic vibrant lights on cars, buildings, aircraft and runways.  (Note: need a good graphics card with at least 4 gb ram I recommend for HDR and to utilize maximum effects within the sim)

Sound:

Good. Aside from the ATC audio, general environment and aircraft sounds are quite realistic and pleasing.  Audio for default X-plane 11 aircraft is generally acceptable.  I have found aircraft audio mostly depends on the aircraft you fly and their original quality, whether payware or free.  (As expected, payware aircraft tend to be more realistic both visually and sound-wise)

Clouds: 

Clouds appear to be softer and whiter in X-plane 11 but my FPS did take at least a 10 point frame rate drop when flying in heavier fog/cloud layers.  Clear skies it is.

Frame-rates (FPS):  

I have been pleasantly surprised by the improvement in frame-rates in X-plane 11 over X-plane 10.  (Settings for my machine are 4x anti-aliasing, HDR High,  Shadows on,  Scenery Options Medium -Low,  Reflections off. ) My system is quite old but even with my older processor and the GTX 750 ti 4gb I was able to hover around 30fps when flying in my hometown  (KEKA, KACV)*.   At these settings within the Demo Area I was able to get around 22-23 fps, clear day and even better FPS at night. )

Graphics/Autogen: 

Overall the default textures for terrain, buildings, road-networks, airports etc. are fantastic in X-plane 11.  Days (and nights) are more realistic  than ever in X-plane 11 with the new haze (particle system?)  that has been added to the atmosphere.   As mentioned before, HDR lighting makes street lights, runways, and aircraft lighting look real.  Yes I enjoy lights. With a decent graphics card (the more memory the better)  visual settings and lights will look great in your sim.  The trains/traffic have even been updated in X-plane 11 too!

Addons, Plugins and Tweaking

If you like tweaking,  modding and using addons you will love X-plane 11 because adding custom content is a breeze in X-plane 11.   (The FlyWithLua plugin is a great example)

 

An important note about default X-plane Airports for new users:  Some default airports in X-plane 11 will not include buildings but updated airports which do include buildings, hangers and terminals are being added to X-plane via updates.  Find out about the airport gateway hereBuild/improve your own airports with World Editor (WED)


Cons/What I don’t like

 

User Interface (UI): 

While I completely enjoy and welcome the new easier to navigate and appealing layout of the UI, I still find myself wishing I could control certain settings.  This of course is my coming from using X-plane 10 which allowed control over those settings in the UI.  For example I would like to be able to disable birds, deer and boats. I see no options to disable those.  And if fire and balloons still exist within the game (haven’t seen them yet in X-plane 11) a disable option would be welcome for those too.  I would also like to be able to control the number of cars on the road, and the number of roads, separate from the number of buildings.  For me adjusting them is from a cosmetic and a realistic stand-point.  (My town for example has many roads, but very few cars or buildings.)

Sounds: 

ATC in X-plane 11 make work more realistically than in it did in previous versions of X-plane but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tried it yet.  I find the synthesized voice that is used completely unbearable to listen to.   Some default aircraft such as the helicopter produces some wonky rotor sounds which sound more mechanical than realistic.  Screeching tires sounds are better but still exist in the default Cessna 172 which I don’t like.

Steering/ Controls: 

It might be just me, but I find the steering/rudder controls of the default Cessna 172 and helicopter erratic and somewhat difficult to control on take-off.  New users especially users coming from FSX may have some difficulty at first.

Clouds

While generally clouds and fog in X-plane 11 are good we know they could be improved visually in terms of their shape, definition and overall appearance.  Thunderheads and storm clouds should appear like tall menacing thunderheads (cumulus cloud) rather than layers of stratus.  Contrails in X-plane 11 need fixing (more on this in the graphics section below).

Graphics:

Of course the visuals can always be improved and I know the X-plane developers are working hard on so many awesome aspects and improvements for X-plane 11, including realistic clouds and autogen.  However, aside from unrealistic ATC audio, two areas that really distract my flying is the terrible rendition of airline contrails when viewed at a distance and the deer/birds that pop up when you least expect them.  Right now default X-plane 11 is showing black/grey contrails which are hardly realistic.  The first time I saw it I thought the plane was on fire.  I will be looking forward to new longer and actual white aircraft contrails (as seen in FSX) which would improve the visuals greatly in X-plane 11.  Being able to disable unrealistic looking deer and birds on the runway would be fantastic too.  Thank you Laminar Research.

 


Should You Buy X-plane 11?

If you love flight sims such as FSX or Prepar3d, than yes of course you should buy X-plane 11.  X-plane 11 runs better and the atmospheric visuals are impressive.  In addition, the improved UI  and the realistic lighting is enough to give this simulator an emphatic positive recommendation from me.  However, I also recommend first trying out the Demo for X-plane 11 before you spend the money on the full version (either on Steam or via X-plane.com).   With the demo version you will be able to see how well (or poorly) the sim runs on your particular machine while you experience the new user interface, flight controls, included aircraft, weather and lighting systems this great flight simulator provides.   And let’s not forget about the plugins and script addons which help this sim too.

Final note:  X-plane 11 is always being updated and improved.  Users can opt in or out of beta’s releases of the simulator if that is something that interests you.

 

*KEKA/KACV –  as of this posting these default airports did not feature airport buildings/hangers but I did add custom created content in my game.

 


Disclaimer:  The opinions and information expressed in this review are my own and are based on my own experience.  These views or opinions are not intended to reflect the views or opinions of Laminar Research nor any of the developers of X-plane 11 in any way.

 


X-plane 11 Official website

X-plane 11 community

X-plane 11 on Steam

Movies everyone should watch before they die

Get Hope

Find me on Steam

My X-Plane 11 Review on Steam


Images are my in-game screenshots from default X-plane 11.05

 

 

 

 

Quick Review: X-Plane 11 (Should You Buy It?)

Cessna_172SP_hum2
Cessna 172SP X-plane 11 over Arcata, CA

This post is a quick review of my experience using X-Plane 11.

X-plane 11 is an advanced flight simulator by Laminar Research which utilizes modern 64-bit architecture found in today’s computers along with the latest GPU’s and CPU’s.    I will list the pros and cons I found in using the X-Plane 11 Demo and ultimately purchasing the complete X-plane 11 simulator on Steam.

This quick review represents my experience after running X-plane 11 on an older computer.

My Computer Specs: CPU- AMD Phenom II 945 Quad Core, MEMORY- 8 gb ram, GPU- GTX  750ti OC 4gb memory, HARD DRIVES- Two 500 gb, One 250 gb

Cessna_172_Hum

Pros/What I do like

User Interface (UI): 

Pleasing to the eyes.  The UI in X-plane 11 has been given a complete and welcome overhaul from past versions of the sim. Old and new users will find the settings easier to navigate and understand. Whether configuring a joystick, flight yoke or tweaking the sim’s graphics, the simple sliders, added search function and visuals make configuring X-plane 11 to your liking fun and intelligent.  I personally enjoy the new layout and views for displaying aircraft, airports, weather and the visual representations of various flight yokes and joysticks simply wonderful.

Lighting: 

Impressive. The lighting in X-plane 11 is amazing and in my opinion, more realistic than ever.  I have been using X-plane 10 global the past few years and after first running the X-Plane 11 Demo, I immediately noticed a vast daylight improvement over the previous version of the sim.  The sun is more dynamic and bright, with better rendered shadows as one would expect on a bright sunny day.  At night, HDR lighting adds more realistic vibrant lights on cars, buildings, aircraft and runways.  (Need a good graphics card for this at least 4 gb of ram)

Sound:

Good. Aside from ATC audio, general environment and aircraft sounds are quite realistic and pleasing.  Audio for default X-plane 11 aircraft is generally acceptable.  I have found aircraft audio mostly depends on the aircraft you fly and the original quality whether payware or free.  (As expected payware aircraft tend to be more realistic both visually and audio-wise)

Clouds: 

Clouds appear to be softer and whiter in X-plane 11 but my FPS did take at least a 10 point frame rate drop when flying in heavier fog/cloud layers.  Clear skies it is.

Frame-rates (FPS):  

I have been pleasantly surprised by the improvement in frame-rates in X-plane 11 over X-plane 10.  (Settings for my machine are 4x anti-aliasing, HDR High,  Shadows on,  Scenery Options Medium -Low,  Reflections off. ) My system is quite old but even with my older processor and the GTX 750 ti 4gb I was able to hover around 30fps when flying in my hometown  (KEKA, KACV)*.   At these settings within the Demo Area I was able to get around 22-23 fps, clear day and even better FPS at night. )

Graphics/Autogen: 

Overall the default textures for terrain, buildings, road-networks, airports etc. are fantastic in X-plane 11.  Days (and nights) are more realistic  than ever in X-plane 11 with the new haze (particle system?)  that has been added to the atmosphere.   As mentioned before, HDR lighting makes street lights, runways, and aircraft lighting look real.  Yes I enjoy lights. With a decent graphics card (the more memory the better)  visual settings and lights will look great in your sim.  The trains/traffic have even been updated in X-plane 11 too!

Addons and Tweaking

If you like tweaking,  modding and using addons you will love X-plane 11 because adding custom content is a breeze in X-plane11.

Note for new users:  Some default airports in X-plane 11 will not include buildings but updated airports which include buildings, hangers and terminals are being added to X-plane via updates.  Find out about the airport gateway hereBuild/improve airports with World Editor (WED)


Cons/What I don’t like

 

User Interface (UI): 

While completely enjoy and welcome to new easier to navigate and appealing layout of the UI, I still find myself wishing I could control certain settings.  For example I would like to be able to disable birds, deer and boats. I see no options to disable those.  And if fire and balloons still exist within the game (haven’t seen them yet in X-plane 11) a disable option for those too.  I would also like to be able to control the number of cars on the road separate from the number of buildings.  For me this for cosmetic and a realistic stand-point.  (My town has many roads, but very few cars.)

Sounds: 

ATC in X-plane 11 make work more realistically than in it did in previous versions of X-plane but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tried it yet.  I find the synthesized voice that is used completely unbearable to listen to.   Some default aircraft such as the helicopter produces some wonky rotor sounds which sound more mechanical than realistic.  Screeching tires sounds are better but still exist in the default Cessna 172 which I don’t like.

Steering/ Controls: 

It might be just me, but I find the steering/rudder controls of the default Cessna 172 and helicopter erratic and difficult to control on take-off.  New users may have some difficulty at first.

Clouds

While generally clouds and fog in X-plane 11 are good we know they could be improved visually in terms of their shape, definition and overall appearance.  Thunderheads and storm clouds should appear like tall menacing thunderheads (cumulus cloud) rather than layers of stratus.   Contrails in X-plane 11 need fixing (see my comments in graphics section below).

Graphics:

Of course the visuals can always be improved and I know the X-plane developers are working hard on so many awesome aspects and improvements for X-plane 11, including realistic clouds and autogen.  However, aside from unrealistic ATC audio, two areas that really distract my flying is the terrible rendition of airline contrails when viewed at a distance and the deer/birds.  Right now X-plane 11 is showing black/grey contrails which are hardly realistic.  The first time I saw it I thought the plane was on fire.  I will be looking forward to new longer and actual white aircraft contrails (as seen in FSX) which would improve the visuals greatly in X-plane 11.  Being able to disable unrealistic looking deer and birds on the runway would be fantastic.  Thank you Laminar Research.

 


Final Verdict/Should You Buy X-plane 11?

If you love flight sims such as FSX, than yes of course you should buy X-plane 11.  X-plane 11 runs better and the atmospheric visuals are impressive.  In addition, the improved UI  and the realistic lighting is enough to give this simulator an emphatic positive recommendation from me.  However, I also recommend first trying out the Demo for X-plane 11 before you spend the money on the full version (either on Steam or via X-plane.com).   With the demo version you will be able to see how well (or poorly) the sim runs on your particular machine while you experience the new user interface, flight controls, included aircraft and weather and lighting systems this great flight simulator provides.

Final note:  X-plane 11 is always being updated and improved.  Users can opt in or out of beta’s releases of the simulator if that is something that interests you.

 

*KEKA/KACV –  as of this posting these default airports did not feature airport buildings/hangers but I did add custom created content in my game.

 


Disclaimer:  The opinions and information expressed in this review are my own and are based on my own experience only.  These views or opinions are not intended to represent Laminar Research nor any of the developers of X-plane 11 in any way.

 


X-plane 11 Official website

X-plane 11 community

X-plane 11 on Steam

Movies everyone should watch before they die

Get Hope

Find me on Steam


Images are my in-game screenshots from default X-plane 11.05

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part One

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part One (of Ten)

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

“You can’t go that way,” he said.

The man was tall with black bushy hair and a five o’clock shadow that appeared to cover the bottom portion of his face. He was wearing a midnight blue sweater, light gray pants and dark colored loafers. He was yelling to a man running ahead of him.

The second man who appeared to be of Middle Eastern decent, was much shorter and faster. His bronze colored hair was partially concealed but he was wearing a little brown fedora with a pink feather. He had on long lightly colored khaki pants and a rainbow vertically striped shirt that appeared to look similar to a woman’s silk blouse.

Then things turned strange.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring!” The bushy haired man began to sing. “We got our tickets, we got our tickets!” He sang with a sense of pride in his voice. The taller man had nearly caught up to the shorter man now.

Suddenly I watched as the shorter colorfully dressed man, abruptly stopped running, began to spin around 180 degrees and then proceeded to do a back-flip in the middle of the room. The man then picked up what looked to be a metallic designer-style briefcase that had apparently been laying on the floor nearby. Than as mysteriously as both men had appeared, they quickly vanished.

I knew something about this story wasn’t making sense and then it hit me, it must be a crazy dream. It was becoming difficult to tell what was real and what wasn’t. I decided to yell to see if I was awake. I tried to yell something out loud but nothing—no voice.

As if this already odd situation couldn’t get any stranger, it did.

Suddenly I began feeling cold……and wet, really wet. Rain? Yep, that must be it—it was raining and I was outside somewhere in the cold wet rain. But where was I and why couldn’t I speak? I wasn’t sure but what was clear was that the black pants I had been wearing were now beginning to stick to my legs and the blue pullover I had on appeared to be glued to my back. I was drenched.

Then I felt something wrapped around my neck. It must have been the strap from the bag I was intending to carry on the plane.

That’s it! Then I remembered, I was at the airport! Maybe things were going to start making sense again. My flight! I’m going to miss my flight! I tried to run but I couldn’t. I seemed to be stuck.

Then I heard what sounded like a man yelling.

“Keep going this way….” I heard the voice trail off for a moment……then it returned.

“They’re gonna end up in hell!”

Although I couldn’t see anyone, I heard another male voice further in the distance.

“C’mon, we gotta hurry!”

I wished the man would notice my predicament. This time I tried to scream, hoping to get someone’s—anyone’s attention. I opened my mouth to utter the word, help! I was certain my lips were moving but I still couldn’t hear my voice. Was I deaf? Couldn’t be, since I thought I had just heard a man yelling.

Then I heard a female voice close by. The voice was one of gentleness and sorrow yet she commanded authority.

“I’m sorry sir,” the women said, “but this ticket won’t get you to heaven. I am truly sorry.”

I heard a man respond, sounding agitated.

“There’s no way we’re going to hell, if hell doesn’t exist!”

This time I wanted to respond aloud. But what if it does? I thought.

Then I heard another male voice yell, “We got a fire here! There’s a fire!” he yelled.

At that moment what Jesus says concerning hell began to flood my thoughts. What if these people were not part of a dream at all? What if there was a fire and people were truly going to die?! I felt the need to warn them and tell them what God says.

 

 

 

Suddenly a surge of pain ran up my arm. It felt like my left arm was being ripped from its socket. Then I felt the surge of pain again—this time it was even stronger. The pain began to ricochet around my shoulder and back through my arm again. Just then my whole body felt like it had hit a concrete wall—and hard. I opened my eyes to see the leg of a chair next to my head. I seemed to be lying on the floor in a pool of water. Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Ten

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Ten of Ten

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

Everything went black for a moment, as if we had entered a tunnel but suddenly the bi-level coach we were in began to shake. As if in the middle of a massive earthquake the coach started to tilt and rock violently back and forth! It felt worse being on the upper level of the coach—we were sure to come off the tracks! And then there was the familiar smell of smoke as it filled the inside of our passenger car. Looking outside, daylight was rapidly being replaced by an eerie smoky night as the smoke grew thicker and thicker. I heard various screams and cries for help then loud explosions as if someone had lit a few sticks of dynamite next to my chair. I heard people yelling, “Get out! Get out!” and “Save yourself if you can!”

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Nine

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Nine

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

Once we arrived at police headquarters, Natalie and I were given a ride to the train station by an agent officer from the headquarters. As I got into the back seat of the four door sedan, I took a seat behind the driver and Natalie got into the seat next to him. The dark haired driver was wearing a black suit coat, black trousers and sunglasses. The car itself appeared to be a brand new high-end luxury car. Inside I noticed the distinct new-car smell of leather upholstery. Then the curious thought of whether this particular car had been used as a bait car for catching car thieves crossed my mind.

My curiosity got the best of me so I asked our driver that very question. He shot me a half grin which I could see in the rear view mirror. Then he said, “That’s classified information I’m afraid. If I told you then I’d have to….”

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Eight

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Eight

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

I immediately recognized the man as he walked to the front and then it dawned on me where I had seen him before. Sure enough it was the man who had fallen on me in the hotel lobby and it appeared to be the same man I had apparently seen do a back-flip at the Minnesota airport!

“My name is Martin Kasam,” he said with a clear but thick middle eastern accent. “I have been the lead special agent for the Federal Anti-Terrorism Division here in the Minnesota region.”

Martin talked fast but he seemed to have the unique ability of enunciating every syllable in every word as he spoke.

“I want to welcome you all here but we have much to cover so I won’t waste your valuable time.” he said.

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Seven

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Seven

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

We continued walking along side agent Da Voy as he led us to each of our rooms. We passed four elevator doors on both sides of us and then I noticed rows of doors lined one after another throughout the long hall. It looked as if we had arrived at another hotel but this time by helicopter. As we passed a few more doors I noticed each door had a curious white letter and number combination printed on the front. I was contemplating the meaning of the letters and numbers when agent Da Voy stopped in front of door 2COR 520-1249.  He told us that this would be Natalie’s room and the room directly across from her was to be mine. Jacob would be in the room next to Natalie’s. The agent then handed us each an electronic room access card and told us we would find changes of clothes that may or may not fit among other amenities inside our room. My room number was 2COR 520-1250.

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Six

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Six

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

Once inside the helicopter, the sound of the rotors were still nearly deafening so I was thankful for the headset I was given. As the helicopter slowly lifted off the ground, I reflected back to my seeing the multiple helicopters circling the skies around the city as we arrived at the hotel.  Who could have imagined this?  I was now flying in a law enforcement helicopter headed to who knows where during what appeared to be the worst attacks this country had seen since September 11, 2001. I glanced out the right side window to see us now moving away from the Ritz hotel. The parking area below appeared to shrink in size as we continued to gain altitude. The chopper pilot banked the helicopter slightly to the left and then we leveled out momentarily. Suddenly it felt as if we were beginning to tip forward and then we began to speed briskly away from the hotel. What was this all about? I wondered again. Sure, it was exciting riding along as we were in a law enforcement helicopter no less, even though I had no idea where we were headed. Yet whatever it was we were part of, it seemed pretty important to involve special agents and undercover law enforcement.

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Five

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Five

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

Just then Jacob reached his arm over my head toward my chest. I saw his hand was open as if he wanted me to shake it again but then I realized he was trying to help me up. I grabbed Jacob’s hand.

“That was quite a fall,” Jacob said as he pulled me up. Jacob pointed toward the other man wearing the Fedora. “I think someone pushed him.” he said. “We should find Russell and see if we can get out of here before things get out of hand.”

Things might have been already out of hand.  A large scale uproar was now beginning to erupt in the far side of the lobby. I heard a few of the people hollering and talking loudly. Some security officers rushed by us toward the commotion. Many of the hotel guests were growing increasingly agitated by the minute so I began to look around for our cab driver. Where was Russell? I had lost track of him after we had gone inside the hotel. He seemed to be on a mission.

Continue reading