THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 89
…The boys could not keep their eyes off the King Ranch linkup with Colony Mission Control, watching the slow visual crawl of the New Mayflower on its way past the moon…
—Meanwhile, outside the Greater Houston Metroplex, reaction to the Mars bound New Mayflower is every bit the equal to Galveston, perhaps having the edge with the mission’s two biggest rooters Deke and Gus McKinney there at King Ranch. The pre-launch drama will not be left out this time, leaving it for it in the hands of local news.
Braden King does not relax until the New Mayflower reaches escape velocity and clears the ionosphere. Then and only then does he join the boys who have exploded their bedtime to bits. Wild horses could not have kept them from watching their parents’ rescue mission move downrange and Braden has learned his lesson about withholding the truth.
“I wish we had a molecular particle transporter,” Gus muses, “and then I could beam Mom & Dad in time for Wednesday.”
He speaks about the big birthday bash that surrogate parent Braden King has had planned for weeks, to treat the McKinney boys who were born within five winter days of each other, one year apart.
“CalTech has been doing some amazing experimentation in that area Gus. One of my friends at the Space Academy has a dad who has successfully scrambled basic molecules and reassembled them.” Leave it to Deke to know so much about the project. “In fact, they say by the end of the 2035 they will be transporting a lab rat to a remote location.”
“That sound cruel to me… what if the rat goes in and comes out a cat.”
“I think he would be happy.”
“Or worse yet, get lost on the way,” Gus being an advocate for all creatures large and small. “They don’t get a vote.”
“If we didn’t use animals for research, the planet would have been overrun by flesh-eating epidemics back in 2018.”
“You were 3, how would you know Deke?”
“He is right,” if Braden says so, it is therefore gospel, “if I remember it spread out of Africa and never made it across the Atlantic.
“You know I’ve been thinking, maybe it would be a good idea to invite Uncle Roy to the party,” no not blood uncle. “He could use a day or two in the bunkhouse to wind down.”
“Well, duh Mr. King!” Braden speaks for the boys who are transfixed.
The boys could not keep their eyes off the King Ranch linkup with Colony Mission Control, watching the slow visual crawl of the New Mayflower on its way past the moon. It will be tough keeping the rescue from dominating their every thought.
“Well double-duh Braden, I didn’t see his name on the list?” King mentions.
“It wouldn’t be a party without Crip, Mr. King.” He mocks.
“Oh yes, that is an excellent suggestion, we like it when he rides old Hellraiser the bull.” Braden has conducted the conversation for the 3 of them.
“That’s it boys, I think it is time to hit your bunks. Haven’t you heard that a watched spaceship never moves?”
He gets no argument.
“Come on Gus, we cannot stay wake for four months. And Mr. King, Uncle Roy would never ride Hellraiser, he smarter than that.” The brothers are aware of Braden’s needs, “And you deserve to have time with adults of your own age, you know like 64!”
Right now he feels all of 80. —