The NULL Solution = Episode 49

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The NULL Solution = Episode 49

…Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life…

“By what cosmic law is that possible?” Skaldic cannot explain the strange machinations of the silvery sphere.

⃝    is indeed a uniquely personal experience, whether in this galaxy or the next. Funny thing is, nobody but Skaldic and Sammy Mac makes a big deal about it.

“If it is alive, how does it travel 64 parsecs in the time we walk through a door? Maybe it’s not an individual. There might be a bunch of them, a fleet of shiny bowling balls whizzing around, muting Seljuk outposts and turning your Gifted into pillars of salt.”  Sam references the Holy Bible and tenpin sport in the same paragraph. How foreign these notions must be here on Eridanus, without an overt “god”. “If ⃝    had malicious intent, it/they could have destroyed those planets and turned Eridanian minds into mush. You told me that the Gifted are whole and I can attest to an alliance that was allowed to form between 4 scattered civilizations. I’m telling you Skaldy, we are not alone in the Universe.”

“Where did all the stars in the sky come from? Was there only emptiness before they came to be? And why are there so few planets with intelligent life, like you have been telling me?”

The back and forth has taken a philosophical turn. How can an Earthling convey his belief in the existential? Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life.

“I can only speak for me and my family. Those on our planet, who are of the same opinion, believe that there is one true God, a creator of all things; every star and planet, comet and asteroid, bird and animal, male and female.”

“We call that middle star  {middle star}, the star that caused all the rest to appear.”

“Okay, I get that,” Sam drinks that in. “We have an instruction manual for that, written about and by the greatest man who ever walked upon our world. It begins by telling the story about how our God created the Universe.”

“You have told me, that your planet thought it was alone in what you call the Universe, that Eridanus is the first contact you had with any others.”

“True enough, man. For 66.67 % of my life and probably to this day on Earth, we thought we were the one and only beings.”

“Did not your book tell you about the rest?”

“Not in so many words, but I’m sure the answer is somewhere in there. Not until Celeste and I stumbled upon the NEWFOUNDLANDER did we have proof. Otherwise we had no way of knowing.”

“Just like we know not what ⃝    is or what purpose it serves.”

“That is a real barn-burner my friend!” Sam uses another idiomatic phrase.

“What is a barn?”

They will get to that new word and other subjects in time. The many mysteries of life will remain.


The NULL Solution =

“Mystery” Artwork by Anton Kononov

Episode 49


page 52

The NULL Solution = Episode 48

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The NULL Solution = Episode 48

…“Skaldy”, the moniker that Sammy Mac has bestowed on the lead Null, has much pent-up energy to let out, himself an island of squandered talents…

Not surprisingly, Sammy Mac and the Null named Skaldic get along famously. The Earth/Null Mutual Admiration Society declares Stardate est. 2052, the Year of Galactic Unrest. The preceding retrospective editorial is neither an official declaration nor formal organization, but it is an apt summation of the now strong bond forged by men of like minds.

His other fault{s} aside, Sampson McKinney embraces the normality of the only normal being {other than his family} he has had company of since leaving Earth 20 years ago. {That Chasonn dude was cool, but he speaks yet another strange language and he may never see him again}{Deke is Deke, his married son who spends more and more time with his mother}

In Skaldic, on the other hand, it gives him a fresh foil with which to bandy theories and concepts. “Skaldy”, the moniker that Sammy Mac has bestowed on him, has much pent-up energy to let out, himself an island of squandered talents.

Poor Offy {Offingga} feels like she is being squeezed out these days, retreating to the familiarity on the Null Tower.

Like new lab partners in chemistry class, there is palpable excitement about the next combination of compounds.

Skaldy has thoughts concerning recent Eridanus events.

Sammy Mac shares his thoughts on that +plus+ Seljuk, ⃝    and Earth.

Those thoughts lead to a productive collaboration.

Skaldic is a sponge, sopping up every last drop. In between drops, he plants an original thought on Sampson, “ ⃝    moves like it is alive.”

“I never looked at it that way. When I saw it, all I could think of was a silver bowling ball without finger holes… never mind that bowling bit.”

“Did not you and everyone else see their reflection in it, like it was this close?” he points to a shiny surface not far away. “By what cosmic law is that possible?”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 48


page 51

The NULL Solution = Episode 47

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The NULL Solution = Episode 47

…Skaldic has chosen his own path, he chooses the Null way…

CHAPTER FIVE

Null Not Void

 In times of doubt, when what she sees does not compute, Deimostra McKinney will pursue it to the point of understanding. Just why the Null are labeled as inferior eludes her. And why do the so-called Gifted have the right to lord over them. As far as she can tell the Null she has met are as pleasant, maybe even more genuine than their counterparts.

It is time for Cerella to finish the subject she hurriedly brushed aside when the Null first met the Space Family McKinney. At the time, ⃝    was the topic that dominated any discussion that shed light on the Null and their secluded Tower.

That Deimostra is a societal infant and that she can identify injustice is telling for sure.

“It has always been so Deimostra. It has never been an issue. They are not intuitive of the mind. They are inferior. They are well cared for. They lack for nothing. They are Null.”

“And yet Eridanus’ welfare has been in Skaldic’s capable control until the time we got back,” she takes exception to inferiority.

Skaldic has chosen his own path. He chooses the Null way.

“Then why weren’t we banished to our own tower or the Null Tower when stepped off the NEWFOUNDLANDER? You must have thought us to be less-than-nothing. Stowaways on your precious property… that’s what we were.”

“It was Celeste who convinced us that you were intelligent beings. She communicated in the Olde Language and you were not considered a threat to us.”

“There, don’t you get it Cerella? Why can’t the Null learn what we learned? Or why do they even need to?”

“We have the left old behind and have embraced the new. The Null have no interest in the ways of the Gifted.”

Celeste is near, picks up on her daughter’s argument discussion and adds her perspective. “On Earth, we had people we called slaves. They were savages from the wilds of the continent Africa. They were bought and sold like a commodity… the Null are not slaves.”

“But until The Gifted fell silent, the Null were not allowed out of their tower, like they have some strange disease. They aren’t slaves, but there is a distinct separation going on here.”

Mother raises both arms and shrugs, “She has a good point Cerella.”

Defeating centuries of perception is like running into a brick wall; the inexorable force meets the immovable object.

“All but Skaldic and his attendant will be permitted outside the Null Tower.”

And that, is as they say, is that.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 47


page 50

The NULL Solution = Episode 46

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The NULL Solution = Episode 46

…All suspects are present and have been accounted for; excepting ⃝   …

— The offended {fired upon by one Gus McKinney} Ÿ€Ð weren’t prepared for anything that offensive.

A perceived harmless bug bite turned into a nasty inflammatory welt. Ÿ€Ð controllers retreat to regroup. Their original objective was to find out whom or what was responsible for ⃝    , but instead they run into this, seemingly chaotic and overly defensive world.

But it is not the only unmanned probe that was sent out. The other {distinguishable/known} worlds in this end of the Universe have been scoped-out with varying results.

Suspect #1: Those quiet Eridanians are not merely quiet, but downright silent. On the list of possible suspects, they were the first to be visited and the least likely to produce something such as ⃝    .

To that end, they happen to immediately precede the return of the McKinneys + Cerella to Eridanus, came and went without a trace like shadows passing in the dark. So back it goes.

Suspects #2-3-4 etc..: There are several habitable systems that need to be logged for progress, but none have progressed beyond elemental physiology; plant, animal or sentient. All in all, the empty goldfish bowl remains so.

Prime suspect: The Seljuk are another matter. Before galactic peace, they and Ÿ€Ð imperialists had a healthy squabble over a cluster of Class M planets, which were in free space and ripe for colonization. It got so ugly that it left a bad taste for both groups. Fleets were decimated, billions of lives lost and in the end.

Without a clear-cut victor and not enough incentive for either party to bother continue hostilities, withdrawal to respective galaxies was in order.

Reconnaissance from Seljuk territory yields a disturbing find. The system’s sentinel outposts are electronic wastelands, short-circuited stations of no use to the builders. The force that caused this damage had to be fearsome, prompting yet another prober to head for home. They arrive after Defender leaves. It is just as well, for had they bumped into each other, blame for Seljukian misfortune would have been unduly assigned.

All suspects are present and have been accounted for; excepting ⃝     which they endeavored to clarify most.

The Ÿ€Ð are a reactionary bunch. IF there is a next time, they WILL send out attack crews.

“Are yea friend or foe?” That question has yet to be answered.


The NULL Solution =

Friend or Foe Album Cover – Menomena

Episode 46


page 49 (end ch. 4)

The NULL Solution = Episode 45

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The NULL Solution = Episode 45

…You went and shot the gosh-darn thing, Gus! What the hell were you thinking?…

The number of interested parties is increasing by the minute, with Lorgan remaining the wildcard.

But, that SEx is coming and going like a family transport is not a secret that can be kept. That the Terran system doorbell has been rung cannot be silenced.

The Ÿ€Ð automaton is now proceeding at a reasonable pace, having slowed from the frenzy of intergalactic travel. From space-consuming monster to obstacle dodging snoop, it approaches the fourth planet like it has been there before {perhaps} and it is there that Gus and his souped-up SEx will meet. The Ÿ€Ð operators are not expecting that sort of company.

As a matter of fact, when Gus pops onto their sensors, the interlopers from Galaxy Sexta A  bring their drone to an abrupt halt, like it was pretending to be invisible.

Gus has a front row seat to the maneuver. He is at a loss for what to do. Because the technology for instantaneous communication has not caught up to SOL, he must rely on his instincts. When a bright red light on his sensing instruments shows red, he depresses one of two new choices on his navigation panel. The other selection is the untested deflector shield… which means Gus has unleashed the previously untried disruptor. The already stationary target is rocked. What Gus does not know is that there are no operators on-board.

After several minutes, undoubtedly stunned by the underestimation of the rudimentary Earth ship, the Ÿ€Ð cruiser makes an about-face and dashes away much faster than whence it came.

“That was easy, SOL Control! Whatever it was wasn’t prepared for a fight.”

A minute later, Earth’s response reaches SEx, “You went and shot the gosh-darn thing, Related imageGus! What the hell were you thinking?

“It was going to shoot first… sensors picked up an energy surge… why didn’t blow it up?”

“There is an intensity adjustment he doesn’t know about,” Fletcher Fitch tells Roy.

“Why didn’t it blow up? That is not the message we want to send to extraterrestrial visitors McKinney! Whoever sent that thing can’t be happy.”

“The who in this case turns out to be nowhere near as advanced as Lorgan.”

“But it did come from a place we’ve only seen through Hubble’s eye. That means they have been flying very fast for very long. We will be lucky if we haven’t started an intergalactic war.” There is a measure of perspective in Roy’s voice. “Nukes are flying back & forth like 4th of July fireworks… we just avoided World War III and now this? We may be biting more off than we can chew.”


The NULL Solution =

Hubble

Episode 45


page 48

The NULL Solution = Episode 44

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The NULL Solution = Episode 44

…Asteroids do not exceed SOL, nor do they weave their way through the busyness of the Kuiper Belt…

A lone Ÿ€Ð cruiser has entered Earth’s solar system, their initial venture in search of ⃝    , or whomever set them on their {large} ears by the atmospheric disruption of their world.

Barebones, yet armed to the hilt, the Ÿ€Ð cruiser has automation as its guide. The collective authority that rules them, does not view Earth as a threat, but do not leave a single known civilization/rock unturned. And as it so happens, this watery blue planet appears to be on the verge of destroying itself by thermal-nuclear mutually-assured suicide.

For as expansive that infinity is, the number of developed star systems can be counted on one hand {with as many fingers available to the one who counts}. The oldest of these do track the progress of the fingerlings, like goldfish in a bowl. If not for those recent warp signatures, the Ÿ€Ð would not even bother to look into this seemingly insignificant parsec of the aquarium.

–That very Ÿ€Ð blip shows up on the Terran long range surveillance system.

With SOL capability, comes the need to peer further out in the neighborhood. Every direction of the compass, upside-down & sideways, there is a record of all things on the move, if for no other reason than any threatening asteroidal activity. Tracking Stellar Explorer is the modern-day priority purpose.

It is a lackluster job but somebody or something has to do it. That something suddenly makes enough hullabaloos to wake up the man-in-the-moon. The last time the warning system went off, was when a tumbling unbalanced planetoid came close enough that it singed the Man in The Moon’s whiskers. That it did not make a direct hit saved a catastrophic chain of events.

The whole of GLF is now aware that there are Bona Fide bogies loose in the Solar System. Granted, this one is not Lorgan, but it ain’t no asteroid either. Asteroids do not exceed SOL, nor do they weave their way through the busyness of the Kuiper Belt; they plow.

“How long would it take to get SEx off the pad, Fitch?” Prez Roy is thinking out of the box, typical Commander-in-Chief Modus operandi.

“You’re not thinking…”

“Oh yes I am. I want Gus to go out and take a close look at that ship.”

“But I’m not finished with the deflector shield array.”

“Turn it on anyway.” He turns to Gus, “Aren’t you game, my boy?”

Gus McKinney is the boy in question and the Prez’s stepson. Facing down possible intruders is not in the Astronaut’s Handbook. “I really like the way she handles! She flies more like an F-49 than a deep-space shuttle.”

“Is that a ‘yes’?”

“That’s a ‘hell yes’ Crip!”


The NULL Solution =

Related image

Episode 44


page 46

Horrific Sea Creatures – Action Video!

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Terrifying

Sea Creatures

That Need

Their Own

Horror Movie

The surface of the Earth is 71% water, that water is home to some amazing and terrifying creatures. Some of these aquatic animals are rarely seen by humans and live in the murky depths of the ocean, while the others live near the surface and are quite dangerous to us. What they all have in common is that they are the stuff of nightmares.

 10. Gulper Eel

Eurypharynx pelecanoides, commonly known as Gulper Eels, are found in tropical and temperate waters around the earthat depths ranging from 165 feet to 1.8 miles. The eels have large mouths, which is where it gets its other name – Pelican Eels. Their large mouth allows the eels to swallow other animals, mostly crustaceans, even if the animal is bigger than the eel itself. The eels aren’t some small creature, either. They are usually about 30 inches long.

While they look pretty intimidating, they aren’t something you should ever worry about encountering because human sightings of them are pretty rare.

9. Dragonfish

Stomiidae is a family of fish that are better known as Dragonfish. There are 290 species, many of which look terrifying. For example, the Black Dragonfish has a striking resemblance to the Xenomorphs in the Alien franchise.

Dragonfish are found in oceans throughout the world, and one of their most notable features, which is found on most species, is its large mouth that’s lined with large fangs. The good news is that the Dragonfish have fairly weak jaws that close slowly. Their fangs are used to hold large prey in place while the jaw closes.

Some Dragonfish have bioluminescent photophores, which are organs that glow, so they are often found in extremely deep water where light doesn’t reach. So basically, don’t worry about encountering one if you’re taking a dip in the ocean. If you do, you have bigger problems to worry about, like the extreme cold and your lungs collapsing.

8. Anglerfish

National Geographic, who loves to show the beauty of the world, calls the Anglerfish “the ugliest animal in the world.” And we don’t disagree with their assessment, because Anglerfish are pretty hideous animals. There are over 200 species of them, and they generally live in the deep waters of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans, sometimes at depths of up to a mile.

In some species, the males and females look and act drastically different from one another. The females have a dorsal spine that sticks out over their head like a fishing rod, which is where they get their name. At the tip of the spine is a luminous organ and this light lures prey close to their gigantic mouths. Their mouths are so big that they can swallow prey twice their size. Often, females are no bigger than a foot long, but some species are up to 3.3 feet long.

The males, on the other hand, are much smaller; they only grow to be a few inches long. You may be thinking that must make for some awkward mating, and you would be absolutely right. What happens is that the males bite the females. Over time, they fuse their faces to the female’s body and that is how he’ll live out the rest of his life. When the female releases her eggs, the male releases his sperm. So not only are Anglerfish ugly, but they’re also clingy. But we’re sure they have great personalities, just so funny, you guys. Give them a chance, you might like them.

7. Sarcastic Fringehead

Sarcastic Fringeheads live in a depth range from 10 to 240 feet off the coast of California. Usually, they live in rocky cervices and shells, and only their head is exposed. The Sarcastic Fringehead has two traits that would be horrifying in a neighbor or a roommate: they are very territorial, and can’t see very well. If an animal, or a human hand, gets too close to their home, the Fringehead will open its mouth really wide and expose it’s fangs, making it look a lot like the Predator. If this doesn’t scare away the potential predator, the Fringehead will attack. Since they don’t have good eyesight, they will attack anything they feel threatened by. This includes animals that are much bigger than them, including humans.

The Fringehead also has one of the most unusual ways in the animal kingdom to settle territorial disputes. If a Fringehead moves into an area where another Fringehead is living, they “mouth wrestle” for the area. This involves them pressing their open mouths against one another, and the fish with the bigger mouth wins the territory. So if you have had to go through some hassle while moving into a new home, you should just be thankful that real estate deals among humans aren’t done in the same way as the Fringeheads. Well, that is, unless you have a gigantic mouth and love kissing strangers aggressively. Man, no wonder Mick Jagger lives so luxuriously.

6. Stargazer

Do you know someone in your life who doesn’t like to wade into the water at a beach because they can’t see the bottom, and don’t want to touch any marine life? Well, do not tell them about the Stargazer fish.

There are 51 species of Stargazers, and their most recognizable feature is that they have eyes on the top of their head. Another unique feature is that they bury themselves in the sand of the ocean floor, and wait to ambush prey. Some species also have traits that trick prey into getting closer. This includes gills that discharge water, which stirs up the sand. The Stargazer’s prey will think that it’s a smaller creature that they eat Then, once it moves in, the Stargazer sucks in the prey.

If the prospect of finding a grotesque face on the floor of the ocean staring up at you wasn’t frightening enough, the Stargazer also has venomous spines near its gills that can generate electric shocks that are about 50 volts. That means if you come across one, do not try to pick it up or step on it. The good news is that you probably won’t come across one, because they usually live in deep parts of the ocean. However, some have been seen in ankle deep water in Virginia Beach.

5. Alligator Gar

There are seven known species of Gar in the world, and the biggest is the Alligator Gar. They are scaly fish that are six feet long and weigh up to 300 pounds. They have a long, flat mouth, similar to an alligator (hence the name), which is full of incredibly sharp teeth. They are found in lakes, bayous, and bays in North and Central America.

While they look vicious and are as big as a large man, there are no confirmed incidents of Alligator Gar attacking humans. However, they do pose another risk to humans besides biting. Their eggs are poisonous if they are ingested. So if someone offers some Alligator Gar caviar at a party, you may want to pass.

4. Great Barracuda

Great Barracudas are found in tropical waters throughout the world, and are large fish that can be over five feet long and weigh over 100 pounds. They have two rows of razor sharp teeth that they use to rip apart larger prey. Another notable trait that makes them frightening is that they move pretty fast: they can reach speeds over 35 miles per hour. For some perspective, the fastest human swimmer, Michael Phelps, only reaches speeds of about 4.4 miles per hour.

Humans being attacked by Great Barracudas are incredibly rare, but it has been known to happen. They are responsible for at least two deaths in the United States, one in 1947 and another in 1957. There was another attack in 1960, where a diver was bit twice and needed 31 stitches to close the wounds. However, beyond that, barracudas generally leave humans alone. We can only assume it’s because they really appreciate Heart recording a bitchin’ song about them.

3. Reef Stonefish

Reef Stonefish live in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, and they get their name because they have camouflage skin that makes them look like reefs or rocks. Often they are just over a foot long, but there are reports of monster ones, about 20 inches long, being found in the wild.

Why the Reef Stonefish appears so high on this list is because they are considered the most poisonous fish in the world. The venom is transmitted by 13 spines in the dorsal fin, so people are usually stung when they accidentally step on one. Before the arrival of Europeans in Australia, there were several deaths caused by the fish. An antivenom was developed in 1959, so no deaths have occurred since then. However, a dozen people are stung every year and the stings are quite painful. The venom has both cardiovascular and neuromuscular toxins, meaning it will affect your muscle and cardiovascular system. Supposedly, the pain is immediate and intense. Some people have asked for limbs to be amputated because the pain got to be so bad. One victim said:

“I got spiked on the finger by a Stonefish in Australia. Never mind a bee sting; Imagine having each knuckle, then the wrist, elbow and shoulder being hit in turn with a sledgehammer over the course of about an hour. Then about an hour later imagine taking a real kicking to both kidneys for about 45 minutes so that you couldn’t stand or straighten up. I was late 20s, pretty fit physically and this was the tiniest of nicks. Got sensation back in my finger after a few days but had recurrent kidney pains periodically for several years afterwards.”

In case that story didn’t make it clear, if you’re in the waters or reefs of Australia, watch where you step.

2. Goliath Tigerfish

With a name that contains the words “Goliath” and “Tiger” you have to know that theGoliath Tigerfish is a sea creature that you don’t want to mess with. The fish is found in several rivers in Africa, and according to locals, they are the only fish that aren’t afraid of crocodiles. Supposedly, they even take bites out of them.

The biggest one ever found was 5 feet long and 154 pounds, but it’s believed that there are larger ones out in the wild. They have 32 jagged, razor-sharp teeth that are up to an inch long and when they bite, they can cut cleanly through prey. They also move quickly and are one of the fastest fish in the rivers.

Besides their speed, they have other senses that help make them fierce hunters. They can sense vibrations in the water, and they have excellent eye sight. They find prey in turbulent waters and since they are strong swimmers, they simply eat the weaker fish that are struggling with the current. Encountering one Goliath Tigerfish sounds terrifyingenough, but it’s even worse because they travel in packs (yeah, we know fish travel in schools, but that’s not as intimidating, OK?).

There are several stories of people being attacked by Goliath Tigerfish, leaving peoplewithout fingers, and in one case, a woman’s Achilles was cut. Another story involves people disappearing after falling off a riverboat. However, none of the attacks have ever been confirmed.

1. Geographic Cone Snail

Geographic Cone Snails are probably the least intimidating looking sea creature on this list, but they are probably the most dangerous. They are found in the reefs of the Indo-Pacific and sport six inch shells that have an intricate brown-and-white pattern.

The snails have teeth, which they fire off like harpoons and are full of a powerful venom called Conotoxin. Once a fish is hit, it becomes instantly paralyzed. The venom is also quite harmful to humans and there is no antivenom. What happens is that the venom spreads, paralyzing the body, including the diaphragm, which stops the person’s breathing. The only treatment for someone stung by a Geographic Cone Snail is to keep them alive and wait for the venom to leave their body. Sometimes this can take several hours… or it can take several weeks. Unfortunately, not everyone lasts that long. In fact, Geographic Cone Snails are responsible for dozens of deaths over the past century.

What’s interesting about the venom is that it’s a unique combination of compounds, and there are proteins in it that may be incredibly effective in pain-killing drugs. Studies have shown that it can be 10,000 times more potent than morphine and doesn’t have any of morphine’s side-effects.


Horrific Sea Creatures

– Action Video!