THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 185
…The mourners want to stop crying, but who will be the first? They wish they had more answers when God alone knows what happened on Mars…
Presidential candidate Crippen wraps up the grim occasion.
“But because we don’t know what exactly happened to them, is of little matter now. Today we are here to honor them and to make a promise, the promise of continuing dream of the McKinneys …and all of us at NASA… the dream of colonization, not just of Mars, but the stars beyond it! But we are going to go there, AT THE SPEED-OF-LIGHT!!!.”
The reference to the SOL Project is intentional.
Roy does not miss the opportunity to draw Charlotte Walker onto the funeral altar, a move that does not go unnoticed by the attending press.
Roy Crippen, Braden King, Deke McKinney and Gus lay a giant RW&B wreath on the flag-draped caskets. The clergy representatives, each of their faith, give their blessing. The honor guards carry the sarcophagi to the waiting horse drawn cortege.
The crowd disperses slowly, bound together by a trance of unbelief. They want to stop crying, but who will be the first? They wish they had more answers when God alone knows what happened on Mars. They do not want to have to memorialize speculative assumptions, but just when is the right time to say when?
Apart from a mourning nation and most of the “civilized” world, two significant figures remain stoic. Whether or not they are expected to be resigned and vulnerable, the McKinney boys, with eyes to the heavens and beyond, hold firm. They are sending a message for the world to heed: ‘We remaining McKinneys dedicate the rest of our lives to the memory of our parents and the future of America’s space program.’ —