THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 241

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 241

…Celeste glides closer to her sons, takes off her wedding band, revealing the inscription “Sampson to Celeste 1/1/2000”…

Not THAT kind of wedding band / painting by Joan Zylkin The Event Painter

#They are about to exceed the speed-of-light threshold#, one of the technically trained expedition-ists thinks aloud. They are suspended just a few feet behind the now unconscious test pilots. Celeste’s heart is fluttering somewhere up in her throat, stomach filled by stampeding butterflies.

#This vehicle does not contain a molecular stabilizer. We must make the necessary modifications immediately#

Without the need of words or visible actions, the task of making the Stellar Explorer astronaut friendly is tackled head on.

While the technicians tend to the engineering inadequacies, Cerella handles the human aspects. One of the two such living, breathing humans shifts about uneasily, perhaps an internal struggle to fight the effects of his deteriorating body.

“Gus,” urges Deke McKinney, “wake up. There is something wrong here!”

Gus snaps awake to check his instruments, “Everything is fine. We have passed Warp 1!!!”

“But WE are not fine.”

“Oh my God Cerella, you have to do something or they will die!”

Cerella nods and motions for them to face-up the seated space travelers. She is aware that consciousness will be temporary, until the repairs take hold. Once the human DNA molecules are stabilized, the degradation will cease.

One minute Deke and Gus were interacting; the next Gus drifts away again. Deke’s last cogent visual contains the visage of their mother. Understandably, he believes he is hallucinating, until he sees the strange figure of another creature next to her.

Before Deke can speak, Celeste closes her eyes in attempt to speak to them telepathically, while mouthing, “It is really me,” in hopes that lip reading will take place.

“That cannot be you Mom! Hey Gus wake up, tell me that I’m seeing things!”

Gus does not stir, his body embracing the unconsciousness due to the shortage of sleep from the night before.

#I am going to curtail the level of bodily function in your sons# Cerella intends to perform the equivalent of suspended animation, the slowing of human metabolism, to stem further regression and shorten the perceived length of Deke & Gus’ trip to Eridanus.

In a last ditch effort to convince him that she indeed who she appears to be, Celeste glides closer to take off her wedding band, revealing the inscriptionSampson to Celeste 1/1/2000”.

Cerella steps in to grant them some physical peace.

Deke’s stressed left lacrimal gland releases a tear. His last conscious second is used to mouth the words, “We miss you.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Chaotic Tears by Hollie Leffel

Episode 241


page 283

Contents TRT

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