Does anyone know at what point in the MEB/PEB process you are able to download the VA disability verification letter that shows total percent of disability?
I’m trying to apply to Northrop Grummans IMPACT program that has extra benefits for 30% disabled or higher and want to know when I will be able to access this letter to apply through this program. Thanks!
First Chapter Chapter Eighteen
Chao peered at the holographic display at the front of the landing boat as she talked to an international audience. “Okay, folks! You can now see the Coalition Exploration Bureau’s ship Exultant Finger of Rithro
. It’s missing its usual armor configuration; normally, this corvette would have triangular cones of armor at the front and back. But they re-configured that armor material into a shell to prevent us from seeing them as they flew towards Earth. Merely as a precaution; they flipped the shell around a few weeks ago to display their ship to us. They even extended their radiators towards our planet, which to them is a signal of surrender.”
She smiled at Parvati, who floated next to her. “Pretty cool, right?”
“Very cool indeed!” exclaimed Parvati. “So where is the damage?”
Chao pointed. “See these toroidal tanks around the middle of the ship? They hold hydrogen for the ship’s fusion drive, but after tangling with that Breaker some of them got punctured. You can see the holes there, there, and there. That means they’re now limited in how long they can burn the reactor. Plus the FTL drive is now pretty much kaput. It apparently uses a lot of energy.”
Parvati pondered the display. “Faster than light,” she mused. “We need that. After we get the fusion drive technology, of course. Assuming that ever comes out of committee.”
Chao laughed. “Well, that’s why we’re here, right? To show all of humanity what could be ours.”
“Will we go outside? I mean, for real outside?” The actress reached towards the display, halting when she realized there was no physical screen.
“We’ve got pressure suits. Should be okay, we did plan for going out for a few minutes to get some direct video. It’ll be limited in time, those suits aren’t really meant for proper EVAs…”
“Oh, that’s no problem!” said Takh from behind them, causing both women to do the equivalent of a zero-g jump. For someone so big, he somehow managed to just…arrive on the scene. “We’ve got plenty of components on board, we can make you all some proper hardsuits!” He grinned at the camera on Chao’s chest; watching an udhyr grin was an awe-inspiring sight, what with all of the teeth and mandibles. “It’s all snap-together for any body type, it works just like your Legos!”
Parvati, of course, was the first to regain her composure. “Thank you Takh, I’m sure that will be very welcome. One thing has occurred to me; even if our material is successful in allowing you to patch your tanks, you will still require hydrogen to fill them, yes?”
The XO’s cheer didn’t fade. “Of course. We’ll find a nearby ice-containing body and extract us some hydrogen. We already have a few candidates chosen. You can all come and ride along! It should be fun to watch.”
“Yes, very fun.” Parvati met Chao’s eyes in a clear unspoken message of is this guy for real?
A much smaller hand crept its way around Takh’s leather-armored shoulder. “Now, my dear,” said McCoy. “We mustn’t interrupt the PR people. They’re half the reason we’re out here, after all.” She winked at the two other women; both of the latter winked back.
“Oh, of course!” Takh bowed formally to the two. “Forgive me.”
“No worries,” said Chao.
“There is nothing to forgive, my good sir,” replied Parvati with an equally formal bow.
The huge alien and petite corporal vanished, leaving the two women to watch the ship as the boat headed for its docking cradle.
“They are utterly adorable,” said Parvati.
“So are you two,” said Chao.
“You and Ravindar. I’m not saying to make your move right now. We’re gonna be on camera for a while, and I know I just made a bunch of people on Earth go squee
. But you need to tell him how you feel.”
For once the actress looked flustered. “I…I couldn’t, he’s so brave and strong…”
Chao’s voice sounded out like the slamming of a vault door. “Stop. I had the same problem. I was into someone who was brave and strong. Not as big as Ravindar, but then again few people are. Then I found out he was into me too, but because he thought I was smart. I’m not as smart as he thinks I am, but I’m not going to tell him that.”
Parvati glanced into the rear of the landing boat, where Martinez was in the midst of puttering around with the human and alien crew. The actress now looked thoughtful. “I see.”
“All I’m saying is, you don’t need to be exactly in-sync in terms of what you see in each other.” Chao smiled. “Heck, you might even find out that you’re in-sync in ways you didn’t see coming.”
The dark-haired Indian fixed Chao with a stare. “I sense there is a story somewhere in there that you’re not telling me. Ah well, as you say it can wait until we are all no longer under the camera’s gaze.”
Master Sergeant Wilkes smiled down at the spidery alien. “Kifa, there’s someone I’d like you to meet. Consider it part of your helping us to train. This person made a living while driving one of the highest, fastest aircraft we’ve ever made.”
“Oooh!” Kifa looked very pleased at the idea. “That’s a good area to focus on! Where orbital mechanics and aircraft mechanics meet.”
“Indeed.” Wilkes nodded at the near door. “You may come in, sir.”
A man walked in, his face stretched taut in the way which only scar tissue can appear.
Kifa peered up at him. “Forgive me, this is probably very insensitive, but…were you injured?”
He laughed. “I sure was! Burned to a fare-thee-well!”
“Oh, I am so sorry!”
He smiled. “No need to be sorry. Hey, do you want a headpat? Word on the street is your species like that sort of thing.”
The xyrax rocked back and forth on its legs. “Well, a human headpat is always welcome….”
The man reached up and wiggled his fingers, making a great show that his pinky had full range of motion. “See this? Pure miracle that I can do that. The surgeon putting my hand back together, just on a whim, decided to put a pin in here so’s that my pinky finger can grasp properly. Good thing too, otherwise I would’ve never made it through the physical training.”
He then reached forth and with that rebuilt hand dispensed quite a few righteous headpats onto Kifa. After a mutual moment of happy bonding, the xyrax spoke again.
“What training were you pursuing?”
“The same thing you and I are gonna be doing for a week or so.” His eyes, narrowed with scar tissue, lit up. “My dear Kifa, I’m gonna make you into a Sled Driver. God willing and the creek don’t rise, we might get to do it for real and not just in the simulators. They’re already pulling a bunch of Blackbirds out of mothballs. Hell, even the Russians are offering us titanium for building new ones. Seems like everybody’s got a fire lit under their kiester.”
Kifa’s eyes, already big and black, got even bigger. “What is a Sled Driver?”
“Why, it’s only the best profession on the planet, my little blue-furred friend. We get to go fast.
Joachim regarded the cylindrical, human-sized tank with some trepidation. It looked far too much like a transparent coffin. “You want to stick me in that thing?”
Zawahir nodded. “I know it’s a lot to ask, sir. It is entirely up to you, in the end. But if this works…” He waved at the tank. “If this works, then you will emerge from that tank physically in your twenties.”
They both regarded the tank for a moment, which was full of a clear and, at the moment, a very exclusive
“Corina too, of course,” said Joachim as he leaned back in his wheelchair. “If it works on me first.” He still wasn’t quite sure where he was; there had been a lot of back-and-forth with planes and whatnot.
“Of course,” said Zawahir. “That goes without saying.”
“Then the two people injured in the DC attack. This will regrow their limbs, correct?”
“Well, naturally.” Zawahir smirked. “They’re the Borlaug Institute’s big publicity stunt, after all. Testing on two people before-hand should be enough to let us know if it’ll work on them.”
“Of course.” Joachim gazed at the tank. “I’ll do it, on one condition.”
“If…if I don’t come out okay, I want everyone to know that I tried, right? And I do mean everyone. All of humanity.”
“I’m just one person. At the moment, I can only promise that I’ll say what I can.”
After a moment, Joachim nodded. “Then put me in there. I just need to talk to Corina beforehand.”
“Of course, sir.”
The blue-suited woman with a blonde pony-tail smiled as she stared into the camera. “Welcome to Summit Technologies’s livestream of Point-Counterpoint, I’m Amy Coulson. We are currently talking about and debating the latest announcements in space-based systems. As everyone is aware, this has become a source of great concern in the last month or so.” She nodded to the beige-suited man next to her. “This is Walter Higgins, formerly of TRW and who now works for Northrop-Grumman. Walter, to start with can you tell us what the current status is of the repair effort for the alien craft?”
Walt leaned forward, putting his forearms on the desk in front of them. “Well, the main concern is if the plates we’re providing for patching will actually work. So only one of the Rithro’s
boats was launched…the one with Chao Me Chu and Parvati Devdhar, they’re towing the fifteen-ton loft provided by ULA to avoid wasting too much energy. Just in case the patching doesn’t work.” He winked at the camera. “I assure you, as someone in the aerospace industry, ULA is going to be very proud of that for a good long while. Anyways, at the moment, they are approaching the L5 point and we should be able to get some spectacular pictures of, well, everything. Of the Earth from near the Moon’s orbit, of the Moon itself, and most importantly of the Rithro
Amy nodded in a comradely fashion, but Walt was not fooled. He’d dealt with reporters before. “Sounds intriguing, and I’m sure everyone on Earth looks forward to such sights. But mere patching will not be enough to solve the ship’s issues, correct?”
He sighed. “You’re right. One of the ship’s fusion engines was damaged, and that limits their top speed. Think of it as…you’re a big ocean liner with three propellers, and one goes down. You might still be able to steer using just the other two, but you’re not going to be as effective or fast as you might be.”
“Effective,” she mused. “I suppose that our helping fix their fusion drive is among those bits of alien tech currently prohibited?”
“Yes. I have heard some rumors that the Borlaug Institute in Iceland has had some great initial success, so I hope that soon we will be able to tackle the fusion drive problem.”
She stared at him a bit, which he knew was a bit of theatricality. “Such a repair would make them more capable against these so-called ‘Breakers’, correct?”
“So-called? Now, Amy. Don’t tell me you’re agreeing with those lunatics?”
In the weeks since the simultaneous attacks, a few manifestos had cropped up online. All mostly spouted the same nonsense; at least, nonsense in Walt’s eyes. They all said the same thing; that the Breakers were fake. That this whole rigamarole was a false flag effort by the Coalition, one intended to get all of humanity under their thumb.
“I don’t agree with them,” said Amy, to her credit. “I’m merely stating the other side of the conflict. Yes, I think most people agree that there is an alien ship up at the L5 point which has been grievously damaged. I do trust the evidence of my eyes. I’m sure our two…”
“…five brave souls heading out to that very point at L5 will see exactly the same thing as the Hubble did. But. Have you considered, just for the sake of argument, that evidence of an attack is not evidence of Breakers? Perhaps this is some local dispute, and the crew has set up some sort of fake attack. They could intend to use us as shock troops to settle it.”
Walt leaned back in his chair as he went through the longest twenty seconds of his life. He knew things, thanks to his role. He also knew that if he spoke them aloud he would be burning his entire career right down to the waterline. “That is somewhat possible. But not probable.”
She leaned forward, as if sensing she had him on the ropes. “Why?”
“Because they didn’t need to.” His gray eyes were calm as he stared at her and measured his words. “Do you have any notion, any single clue, of the firepower that ship possesses?”
“Um…well, no, that part’s still classified.”
“I will give you a hint. They have a spinal railgun that could, with around three shots, turn any metropolitan area on earth into a molten crater. They have nuclear-tipped missiles, even one of which could burn a city to the ground. They didn’t need to play nice, Amy
. Those aliens could have stood off in orbit, smacked a few cities, and then gotten on the radio to dictate terms of our surrender. We’d have no choice but to comply.”
He stared daggers at her, half expecting some black-suited guys with earpieces to jump in and haul him away. But nothing happened, it was as if the world was holding its breath. “They did their very best to treat with us fairly, to treat us as equals.”
Amy looked away. “I…I hope that is true.”
“It is.” He glanced behind his shoulder for any Men In Black, but nobody was there so far. Maybe he should continue. He assumed a smile, one which he did not feel. “Anyways. We will see what they see, when they get there. There is, also, the international consortium’s proposal for the Sea Dragon.”
The reporter rallied, clearly grateful for the change in subject. “Ah, yes. You’ve reviewed the designs of this craft. Is it really necessary?”
“At the moment, yes. Starship holds a great deal of promise, but they’re still trying to crack the reusability and multiple-refueling issue. This design does permit reusability…of the first stage, if nothing else…but it isn’t strictly necessary for success. Success, in this case, consists of tons to orbit.”
“Why something so big, though? Won’t it be an issue?”
He chuckled, feeling surer of himself. “That’s why we’re launching it in the ocean, in the middle of nowhere.”
She actually looked troubled, so he figured he’d throw her a bone. “The first launch won’t have anything…controversial.”
“But Walt, the second launch is the issue! Nobody has launched this much radioactive material into space.”
“We need to, Amy,”
“But on an almost untested rocket? From a design which is decades old?”
“We have top people on it,” said Walt. “Including people from that era, who know exactly the pitfalls and also have access to modern technology.”
“It’s still secret as to their identities. But like I said, I can confirm rumors that the Borlaug Institute is already paying significant dividends.”
Amy rolled her eyes. “Over a billion dollars funneled into a figurative black hole in Iceland. Why would you believe anything they say?”
“They’re going to have some serious proof soon,” said Walt.
Iceland. Joachim had never, ever expected to visit Iceland. But yet here he was…again. He stood with no cane, with nothing supporting him but his own two legs. He stared at a nearby volcanic massif, one covered with green lichen. The spring was coming in, and the ground around him was similarly strewn with fuzzy green growth. His beard and hair were now coming in dark again, with only a hint of gray at the tips to betray his true age.
He heard some light-footed steps coming up the trail behind him. It must be Zawahir.
“Why the hell am I back in Iceland?” Joachim replied.
"This is where the tech is, at least for the moment. How are you feeling, sir?”
“I feel…like my old self, Zawahir. I forgot what it was like to have knees that don’t hurt anymore. How is Corina’s, er, ‘tanking’ proceeding?”
“Very well, sir. I am overseeing the procedure of her ‘tanking’ myself, I just wanted to come and let you know that everything is looking good.”
Joachim looked down at the back of his hand. It was no longer wrinkled, no longer showed a welter of age spots. “When?”
“She should be out in…seventy-two hours. That’s how long it took you.”
“Good to know.” He turned to face Zawahir. “My friend, I am going to need every single internet connection you have for the next seventy-two hours. I have a lot of design work to take care of in that time frame; I will need to have a lot of meetings using those oh-so-clever ‘online’ apps. I’ll be indisposed after that.”
Joachim stepped forth and placed a newly-strong hand on Zawahir’s shoulder. “My dear Zawahir. I am now physically twenty again. In the next three days my wife, the love of my life and she who I hold dear above all else, will also emerge from your magic alien goo and she will also be physically twenty years old. What do you think will happen after she is thus reborn?”
Zawahir’s eyes widened. “Oh. OH! Yes, of course. Please, follow me.”
Joachim chuckled to himself as he followed the man towards the low-roofed buildings of the Borlaug Institute in the distance.
Chao was now clad back in her pressure suit; fortunately, the aliens were quite adept at helping the humans back into their cloth-and-glass cocoons. She looked over at Parvati. “Neil can bite us.”
Parvati grinned. “For sure. Neil was a very great man, but sadly he never got to see an alien starship.”
Chao checked the readout at her wrist, ensuring that she was indeed sealed up and pressurized. She looked over at her four fellow humans, and received nods in return. “We’re go, Captain Sadaf.”
The on-board crew of the Rithro
were now back in their chromed, faceted hardsuits. “Depressurizing,” said Sadaf. “Please monitor those to either side, sing out if you see any stress.”
Chao reminded herself to breathe normally as things just got…quiet. Very quiet. She managed, through sheer willpower, to not have an utter panic attack as she realized that there was nothing between her and a life-sucking nothing
except for a few layers of fabric and plastic.
She glanced over at Parvati, who looked to be also in the midst of trying (and fortunately succeeding) at combating her own panic attack behind her Plexiglas helmet. “Doing okay?” asked Chao, and immediately felt like an idiot for asking such a stupid question.
Still, Parvati nodded. Chao felt a tap at her shoulder, and looked over at Martinez. The corporal grinned at her from behind his own transparent head-cocoon. “Doing okay?” he asked with just the right bit of cheekiness.
Chao slapped his shoulder, but it was a playful slap. “Dipshit.” She forgot, in the moment, that she was begin transmitted live to the world. Her curse was thus broadcast to pretty much every kid on the planet, who then gleefully repeated her curse-word until they all got smacked by their parents.
She didn’t know that at the time, her entire world was the airlock door that now opened to reveal…black.
Chao had enough experience in zero-g maneuvering to push herself towards the door. “Oh. Man. Folks, this is it. Gonna step outside, for at least a little bit.”
She could feel both Martinez on one side and Sadaf on the other. The latter figured; the captain struck Chao as a ‘lead from the front’ type.
“Grip the frame,” said Sadaf. Through the translator bead her voice was deadly calm. “No big muscle movements, just kind of…drift where you want to go.”
Chao obediently swung herself up and out of the boat, reveling in the fact that now she was seeing the Exultant Finger of Rithro
in real time. The long ship stretched alongside a clamshell-like shield, its radiators stretched out towards the Earth in a gesture of surrender.
Speaking of which…
Chao kept a firm hold on the doorframe as she looked behind her. A small, fragile, blue-and-white marble floated before her, a sphere which looked to be the size of her thumb-tip held at arm’s length. Chao did so with her free gloved hand, watching her thumb occlude that fragile-loooking sphere. And in that moment, her world was completely changed.
It is one thing to know a fact. It is one thing to meet aliens, to accept that they are from oh so very far away, that your world is but one little dust mote drifting in the vast and limitless cosmic ocean. But it is quite another to see that fact laid bare before you, where you can witness it in real-time through nothing but a Pexiglas helmet. Chao now knew. Everyone she’d ever known, everyone she’d ever heard of, every king or warlord or emperor or internet celebrity who anyone had ever heard of had lived down there, upon a sphere that looked to her like the most ephemeral of soap-bubbles. She had the crazy notion that she could just reach out one gloved finger and pop it.
She also knew that millions, perhaps billions, were watching this live via her bodycam. Perhaps they were going through the same epiphany.
Her breath caught in her throat, and she knew she was on the verge of tears. No, that was a bad thing. She was in freefall; there was no way for those tears to stream down her face. They would just collect over her eyes and blind her. So Chao breathed in deep and managed to tamp down those threatened tears.
“Chao?” called out Sadaf through her comm. “Are you all right?”
“I’m good, Captain. Just…next time…, we send up a poet.”
Shaw hated, hated, hated having to use a wheelchair to get around. Most of the time he could wheel himself around using his substantial arms, but every so often the nursing staff would try to get oh so helpful and try to push him towards where he was going. Several of them had nearly lost limbs of their own thanks to such efforts.
Still, he was alive and that was a good thing. Although…watching Agent Milton Vila and his family, who were nearby as he went through his own convalescence, made Shaw reevaluate his life choices. It would be nice to have a wife and kid to hug while one went through the worst thing ever. But he was too old, such things were well behind him. While on autopilot, Shaw wheeled himself down the tiled and very off-white hallway with a sour air. One which told the entire staff that he was Not To Be Disturbed. He was thinking of a particular girl, one with the cutest pigtails and the sunniest smile. Yeah, she would have been the one, if he’d had his head on straight back then.
And then, in spite of his ‘Fuck the Fuck Off energy’, someone did block his path.
He stared at a pair of narrow legs, clad in narrow pants, then looked up with a distinct lack of humor. “I do believe you are in my way.”
The dark-skinned man blocking his path smiled, but it was a gentle smile. “I am. But, I am very sure you will want to hear my offer. Both you and Agent Vila.”
Shaw regarded him with gimlet eyes. “Oh, really? What’s your name?”
“I’m Zawahir Ibn Harith. I am the head of the…”
“I don’t give a single solitary fuck,” said Shaw. “I’ve had plenty of people trying to get me to tell them my life story since I got my leg removed with extreme prejudice. I don’t know how you got in here, but you strike me as someone just like them, Harith. So. I may be minus one leg, but I can still fuck you up but good. I can fuck you up so bad you’ll never shit right again. Do you wanna get out of my way now?”
The man’s smile didn’t change. “Borlaug Institute.”
“Really, sir. Both you and Agent Milton Vila. It sounds…very cynical, but you were the two that we wanted to heal first. As an object lesson to humanity. Do you understand?”
The notion made Shaw’s mind reel. “Heal?”
“Fully. We have successfully restored two people to the prime of life, and we are now certain that we can do the same for you and Agent Vila. With all of your limbs intact. We have done a great many tissue-sample experiments, and it appears that the regeneration also re-grows limbs.”
Shaw looked down at his missing lower leg. “And you’ll do the same for Milton?”
“Of course, sir.”
“Stop calling me sir, I work for a living. Call me Mack.”
“Very well…Mack. I won’t lie to you, this has been planned well in advance. But it turned out that limb re-growth for humans also unlocked certain regeneration within our cells, particularly the telomeres…”
Shaw held up a meaty hand. “Just…I’m a dumb grunt in such matters, don’t bother to tell me how it works. So you have some kind of magic goo that you slather over me and hey presto I’m twenty again?”
“That is more or less the shape of it, si…Mack. You will need to be immersed in the ‘magic goo’ for at least three days. Perhaps more, since this will also be regenerating a limb.”
“Either way, I go first,” said Shaw, with a flinty glare up at Zawahir. “I’m the test subject, and you need to test me good after I get re-birthed from your goop. I know you said you’d done it on two people, but we need to make sure this doesn’t give me some kind of bullshit super-cancer before Milton goes in. He’s got a wife and a kid. If he has to use a prosthetic instead of magic alien goo, then he has to use that instead. Understand?”
Zawahir gave Shaw a little bow. “Of course. I do believe you are quite the appropriate test subject.”
“Oh, go fuck yourself. Where is this shindig taking place, anyway?”
Personally I have not read it but I will. What do you guys think of these crafts being developed by the same companies that profit from war? Raytheon, Northrop Grumman etc…? The long game leads us to more fear mongering and eventually a “fake ufo invasion.” Now I want to believe in otherworldly beings as much as you do but I do find it suspicious that all of this is coming out in a most volatile time.
They have an entire resource group for employees on the spectrum.
I currently work for Northrop Grumman as a flight operations technician, troubleshooting and testing/repairs on F-18 Super Hornets. I started an online degree for Industrial Engineering Technology, and it seems like a very versatile degree! I work hand in hand with ME's and IE'S every day. I would love to go the process engineer route, would it be helpful to get something like an Engineering Technician position while getting my degree. Anyone else have this degree and what career path did you take?
Hey all, I need your advice. I graduated back in 2019 and I have been working as a mechanical engineer ever since at the same small company with only 10 engineers out of 150 employees. I’m trying to find a new job with much bigger companies where they have a much higher ladder to climb than my current place does. I’m trying to freshen up on the basics from school now as I have some big interviews lined up. I’m especially hopeful that I get an offer from Northrop Grumman after I interview this week. I’m assuming my future interviews will ask me technical questions especially if the jobs I’m interviewing for are not immediately related to what I’ve been doing over the past few years. This makes me somewhat anxious because I’ve forgotten so much from school that they could ask about.
How did you study for your past interviews? What resources did you use? I rented all my books while at school so I can’t as easily go back and study them.
Any pointers would be very much appreciated.