THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 105

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 105

…“Hey look, this is the ending to Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony!” Only Cel would know that. It was underneath a brochure of the 1893 Columbian Exposition…

columbian-exposition

Sam & Cel discuss the antiquities room aboard the dormant NEWFOUNDLANDER.

“The pristine state of this stuff leads me to believe that they are the originals, not poached from a crypt. Whether Egypt or Mesopotamia, these have not seen the harsh exposure of the centuries since,” Celeste postulates.

Image result for plunder artwork

“Pirates” by Migy

“I guess that this explains which direction these pirates were heading?”

“Perhaps, but it seems that they have been going forth and back for a minimum of 5000 years.”

“Would you call these artifacts stolen goods?”

“They did not steal this stuff. If they had pilfering in mind, this hold would be filled with more and much of it would be gold.”

“What if gold is as common as sand is on Earth,” Sampson McKinney is skeptical as to the motives employed by such an advanced race.

”You’ve got me there, but if you really put this into the proper perspective, why would a superior civilization bother with plunder. They may be in the midst of determining if Earth is worth the bother.” She points out some other non-Earth items. “Look at this kaleidoscope thing; have you ever seen anything like it? Or this clay creature doesn’t look like any specie I know of.”

“Alright, I’ll cut them some slack, but they have some things that may have changed the course of history, or if our archaeologists had seen this stash, pieces of unrecorded history would be easier to decipher. “

Panning the circular room in review Celeste relents, “Yes these things would set some theories on their ear, but you have to view space travelers as benevolent, until they prove otherwise. The way they have cared for it, they had intended on putting them back where they found them.”

“Your compassionate side is why we make a good team. Me and say, Rick Stanley, would be treating these guys like petty thieves and they’d be lucky to be dead. You, on the other hand, always give people the benefit of the doubt and I have to make sure you don’t take any wooden nickels. How many nickels is that Khufu equal to?’

kill_devil_hills_banner“Nothing if their beaches are made of gold dust.”

“Wouldn’t the Golden Strand or Kill Devil Hills North Carolina  look mighty fine right about now?”

“Hey look, this is the ending to Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony!” Only Celeste would know that. It was underneath a brochure of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

“The Newfoundlian equivalent to B minor probably starts up these rusty engines up… on the count of 3………” Is Sampson kidding?


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 105


page 100

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 104

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 104

…“Khufu,” she singles out a solid gold bust!

“God bless you.”

“That would be Cheops to you Sam.”…

cheops

The Pyramids of Cheops at Giza by Moonlight By Duane Michals

“I just wonder, work with me here, that these Newfoundlians communicated through what we think as music?”

“TAPS is the only tune these guys were singing.”

“That is cruel Sam, after all we may be found someday, decomposed in each other’s’ arms, and LONG GONE LONESOME BLUES will be playing in the background.”

“So sorry my diminutive friends,” he backs down from his frivolous speak. “I don’t think they know what hit ‘em.”

mystery-room

Escape Games Mystery Rooms

The single most important thing that the McKinneys and the crew of the NEWFOUNDLANDER do not share, despite sharing presumably an identical environment, is Sam, Cel & bun-in-the-oven is alive and thankfully well. No killer virus present; the tried and true maxim of cause & effect has eluded the spaceship’s new tenants.

After gaining admittance to the mystery room, soft indirect lighting reveals the stowage function of the space, as Celeste had predicted. It possesses all the peculiarities of a storeroom, only without the dust that normally collects on legacy items, on a ship of this size, on a planet where dust is a staple.

Equally unique is its relative emptiness. Why is such a space on an interstellar vehicle so underutilized? The answer to that question may have to do with the muted lighting and filtered environment.

“Does this remind you of museum storage room, where incomplete dinosaur skeletons wait for missing pieces?”

fourth-dynastyAt the precise moment they near some items, mostly likely activated by a motion sensor, pre-focused shafts of light appear.

“Fourth Dynasty Egyptian.”

“Are you serious,” Sam asks?

Statue of Khufu in the Cairo Museum

Statue of Khufu

His versatile wife numbers Egyptology as an educational pursuit during her college career. “Khufu!” she single out a solid gold bust.

“God bless you.”

cheops-adventure“That would be Cheops to you Sam.” He was not making fun, merely his lack of similar expertise. “There are references to this bust, but no one has ever seen it… 4500 year old solid gold.”

Another shaft of light is cast upon, “And what is this?”

“Another piece of the Palermo Stone, I don’t think this one has been catalogued. Do you see the similarities between Egyptian writing and the Newfoundlian Scrpit?”

Image result for code of hammurabi drawing“English grammar is confusing enough.”

“That is the Code of Hammurabi,” she points to the writing on a Diorite stone tablet, nearby, “Cuneiform writing for damn sure!!!!!!”

And though he is not as versed in Egyptian antiquity, in the manner and scope of his encyclopedic partner, he is not completely devoid of ancient historical knowledge. “The Code of Hammurabi is from 21st Century B.C. Babylon, kind of a wage scale and social ranking for old-time Near East lawmakers.”

“Very good Sammy Mac and here I thought that space had vacated your unrelated memories; there is more than g-force and time travel up in that brain of yours.”

He is used to her deriding his seeming lack of culture, not that she is entirely wrong.


THE RETURN TRIP

antiquities-001

Episode 104


page 98

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 84

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 84

…“Are you saying that that is a real universe in a container?”

abstract-universe

Abstract Universe by Wabi Sabi Kate

Celeste stalks the finite inverse cones, believing not that it contains a universe of matter, but a quantity of matter that makes up the universe, which continues to grow while pushing the bounds of the room.

Finally able to speak Celeste asks, “Why isn’t it pouring out of this room?”

“I’m not sure but I am guessing that this fog has something to do with it.” Sampson sweeps his hand through it, capturing then releasing it like the tangible material it is.

“Are we looking through a window or is this an open door,” Celeste wonders aloud.

“If it were a real door, we’d be waist deep in asteroids not gas.”bottle-001

“Are you saying that that is a real universe in a container?”

“Since I’ve been watching this stew, I’ve seen the birth of a star, monstrous passing comets, and strange inhabited worlds,” he stands on the brink transfixed. “Just don’t ask me how this is possible.”

“If not how, then where, when, and why?”

Where? – I don’t think this has anything to do with Mars directly, or anywhere close; pick a star any star.

When? – Judging by accelerated pace of this microcosm, we may be looking back as far as the birth of Jesus Christ, or whenever these people died, thousands of years.

“”Why? – Why that may be the easiest of all, that we meet here on Mars sharing on common goal; for us it is reaching out toward the stars, for them Mars was a steppingstone on their way to encounter other intelligent life.”to-from-001

“They were on their way to Earth, weren’t they?”

“Or how about on their way back from Earth??”

“Or they ran smack-dab into a virus here and died because of it, like a reverse epidemic that spelled the end of the Inca’s, Mayan’s or any of many other civilizations, big or small,” Celeste reflects. “And we both have failed, each in our own way,” 

Ironically put, intriguingly postulated.


THE RETURN TRIP

universe-in-a-bottle

Episode 84


page 79

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 81

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 81

..the flavor of the food is analogous to “the chef” telling you that calamari tastes just like chicken or the wisdom of  Popeye the Sailor coming up with scientific evidence that spinach gives you superhuman strength.

singing-chef-vickie-wade

Singing Chef by Vickie Wade

“Not bad, but lay off speaking in gobbledigook {Newfoundlian}. Because I can’t read your lips,” Celeste insists.

With his initial inhibitions decreased, two different colors are selected, Alpha Centauri-amber and dark matter-mauve. A longer rendition of what sounds like an alien remix precedes the arrival of his selection, again whooshing open, exposing a 2-dish assortment of steaming nourishment. It is unrecognizable, but it isn’t moving and is marginally aromatically tempting.

Cupbearer to the King

Again, with the aid of the air-water-food scrutinizer, “Enzyme modified something, xanthan concentrate, autolyzed extract, and hydrogenated disodium phosphorate. gobbledigook {you first}

“Where are the knives and forks?” Celeste asks pretentiously.

“Use your fingers until and when I can find the right colors to push. You know we cannot be sure how these guys consumed their food; for all we know they may stuff it into their stomachs through a navel valve.”

“Assuming they have navels.”

“Do you want to do an autopsy on one of them?”

“Not before we eat Sam… you don’t want me to lose my dinner, seeing I am eating for two.”

“Or more.”

“Stop yourself and eat!”

Describing the flavor of the food is analogous to “the chef” telling you that calamari tastes just like chicken or the wisdom of  Popeye the Sailor coming up with scientific evidence that spinach gives you superhuman strength; to each his own.

“Eat, eat, there is plenty more!”

When cast in that subjective light, the food they sample aboard the NEWFOUNDLANDER is an acquired palate, as opposed to Grandma Sally’s home cooking. Overall the adage cliché “never look a gift-horse in the mouth” applies on this distant planet and you are going to run out of your own food.

Sampson makes mental notes of all his happy-finger combinations while using Doctor Yum’s magical-meal-maker-machine, as he calls it. They can only hope to get better at working it… perhaps some Italian? —

— Energized and ever curious, the two-remaining visitors on Mars press on to the depths of the alien ship…


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 81


page 76

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 80

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Please note that I wrote this book  in the mid-1980’s (before updating it). 

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 80

…Sam proclaims, “H20___ out-of-the-faucet ___ shower-taking ___ sprinkle-on-your-garden ___ garden-variety ___ drink-it-down ___ WATER!!!!

water-digital-artwork

Water Nuclear Bomb by Dimitar Krstevski

The Space Family McKinney continues to explore the “NEWFOUNDLANDER”.

In one such alleged crewman quarters, Sampson, going on the assumption that no harm could come out of testing switches or push-buttons in the privacy of one’s own room, decides to do just that. There is a lighted checkerboard panel on a wall, right next where one would sit and well — not work, so this would be the time to experiment.

He chooses two such buttons to push, one colored black-hole-blue, and the other galaxy-green. Seconds later, there happens a fanciful flickering light in combination with a whimsical whoosh; a small opening opens to reveal a sippy cup type container filled with some sort of liquid.

Celeste watches her husband’s foray into technical tryouts, shrugging as he removes the vessel from the alien cube, “It’s your hand dear.” The opening closes as soon as the sippy and its clear fluid is removed.

Evidently the liquid is meant to be consumed, yet this is no time to be reckless even though thirst and hunger are high on the list in the unenviable sport of survival. So instead of two gulps and hope for the best, Sam uses the same versatile sampling device he used to analyze the air, in order to break down the elemental composition of the benign smelling liquid.

When the handheld monitor turns green he proclaims, “H20___ out-of-the-faucet ___ shower-taking ___ sprinkle-on-your-garden ___ garden-variety ___ drink-it-down ___ WATER!!!!”

“What do they add to it to make it smell so inviting; there must be more to it,” armed with the crave-driven sagacity of a pregnant lady.

“Purified water, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride and a negligible amount of sodium minerals,” he specifies. “The nutrition label reads: CRISP, FRESH TASTE, FILTERED THROUGH a STATE-OF-THE-ART PURIFICATION SYSTEM AND ENHANCED WITH MINERALS FOR a PURE, FRESH TASTE THAT CAN’T BE BEAT.”

“You made that up, you can’t read gobbledigook{Newfoundlian}.”

gobbledigook{bottoms up you chicken},,” translates to bottoms up. He lifts the liquescence to his tentative lips? bravely?, partaking in the alien brew. It is on the warm side, though the container remains at the ambient room temperature of 820 F, as long as it doesn’t burn on the way down.

gobbledigook{Try some} {try some},” he submits it to Celeste for her assessment.

“Not bad, but lay off speaking in gobbledigook {Newfoundlian} . I can’t read your lips.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 80


page 75

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 79

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 79

“This baby is definitely not a luxury cruise ship; few windows, no padding or frills, and come to think of it NO females.”…

future-cruiseship

Future Cruise Ship by Robert J. Tiess

“So let’s check out this galaxy trotter!” Sam exclaims.—

—Now two things are easier said than done: Knowing where to start and resisting the urge to press buttons of unknown function.

Image result for the quick and the deadGood old-fashioned observation is the safest way to go, you know, like finding out why the owners of this intergalactic flying machine have seemed to meet their fate with an uncomfortable immediacy; that is the quick and the dead, everywhere bodies strewn exactly where they wanted to be at that fateful moment.

The commander of the ship, or the person who probably called the shots on the NEWFOUNDLANDER, is seated in a swivel chair, facing what appears to be a viewing screen, poised as if he was expecting his ship to move. Others of the crew are braced at their posts, also indicating anticipated movement.

If that was the case at the time, then why were they leaving compatriots behind, left to die on the unforgiving Martian terrain.Related image

Amid the frozen moment in time, while moving about the narrow passages, Celeste takes note, “This baby is definitely not a cruise ship; no windows, no padding or frills, and come to think of it  NO females.”

“Then it must have been a dream vacation for these guys.”

“See what happens when you leave all the wisdom at home?”

“Or they were on the way to Earth and Mars’ orbit happened to be on their course heading.”

“Curiosity killed the cat,” she comments, “or when on Mars don’t drink the water.”

“That may not be so farfetched Cel. Judging by the landscape, that depression down range may have been a huge lake/inland sea, at the time they arrived… ain’t here now though.”

“Whatever the case, these guys were traveling light, like the economy class on a Boeing SST 807.”

“Hey, these GUYS didn’t come from just down the block, I’m sure they have budgets where they come from,” his practical nature surfaces, “and I am guessing that this ship covers at lot of space in a big-time hurry, which would explain the frugality.

“Why don’t you try to use that thing?” Sampson eggs her on.

At his bidding, Celeste fondles that black oval-shaped rock thing which she has seemed to gain mastery of; left click in, sort of, center-scroll the lighting. It is the key boat-001to getting around here.

“Absolutely Spartan.” Comments Sampson upon seeing a typical personal-space for the crew of the newly christened, NEWFOUNDLANDER.

“Nothing like the suites on the Colony, hey. We she realizes what she just said, she reaches over to put a hand on Sampson.

“I know, it’s still hard to believe she is gone.” The sullen Commander speaks of the trillion dollar wonder that they had boarded, for the first time a scant 45 hours ago.  So much has transpired since then, the entirety being both a space-traveler’s dream and nightmare simultaneously.


 THE RETURN TRIP

boat-001

Episode 79


page 74

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

…Suddenly, stranded & pregnant in space is trumped by, “Are we taking off?”

stranded-in-space-001

“This is your last clue: One thing leads to another and we gave “it” a name,” Celeste Prompts.

“Itsaboutdamntime!”

“What did NASA tell us about the efficacy of birth control in a semi-weightless environment?”

“Dontellmeyouare?!?!?”

“Bingo, give that man a cigar!” Celeste can only make light of delicate condition. “I are-you-sure-001believe that I have become the guinea pig for an unscheduled NASA experiment.”

After a flood of possible emotional responses runs its course, he concludes, “I wonder if Engineer Karl had the foresight to build a nursery into (NASA’s rescue ship) New Mayflower’s medical bay?”

“WE don’t need to worry; women have been giving birth in unusual places for four millennia.”

“In space, damn Cel, are you sure you’re pregnant? We don’t need to be distracted by a false alarm.”

The mother-to-be runs her hands through her blonde hair front to back, “It has been about 15 years, but yes I am 100 percent sure and this time feels different, maybe the daughter you’ve been wanting?”

schawonkschawonkabelumphhh !!!!!!

Related image

schawonkschawonkabelumphhh !!!!!!

The tender family moment is stunned back into present realities by a vigorous combination of a good healthy belch and a Winnie the Pooh sound effect.

Suddenly, stranded & pregnant is trumped…

“Are we taking off?”

Sampson pauses to identify the cause of the quaking. “No, no we’re not, but I think it is time we more thoroughly assess our newfound sanctuary.”

“Along those lines, I think we should give this thing a name, since we can’t read extraterrestrial and just because we can.” Celeste thinks on it, while Sam starts scanning the bridge of this bucket of unknown metal. “Newfound sanctuary, Newfoundland Province Canada… how does the
NEWFOUNDLANDER
 sound?”

newfoundlander-001“That’s a good one, the NEWFOUNDLANDER! So it shall be from this day forward,” Commander McKinney proclaims,
entering it into his continuing log of the newest incarnation of the Space Colony and temporary Mars City. “So let’s check out this galaxy trotter.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 78


page 73

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 76

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 76

female-astronaut-001

meanwhile-caption-001Sampson McKinney becomes the first Earthling, to board a spacecraft from another solar system. There have been other claims, by upstanding citizens everywhere from deputy sheriffs to bank presidents, who claim to have been abducted by aliens, but no one takes those people seriously, much like the folks that have been to heaven and back.

There have also been faint rumors, on the Q.T. of course, that NASA and particularly the Air Force intentionally discounting any account of alien contact or UFO sightings. Sampson has heard these intriguing stories, from Area 51 to the possessed African tribesmen, and finds it terribly ironic that he and Celeste are now in the position of having to prove, what can only be described as the greatest discovery of mankind since Galileo deemed the Sun as the center of the solar system, or at least the microprocessor.

So here in this “alleged” alien spacecraft {are they sure it isn’t Russian?} there is no denyingInside Newfoundler what he is seeing and bravely breathing. It is a calculated risk to ignore the distinct possibility that there is something about the native Martian air is fatally contaminated. But what do they have to lose, after all, had not most every cancer been conquered? Likewise, on the brink of this new world, can they afford to be timid?

“It sure is warm in here.” He planned on waiting several minutes before allowing his bride to remove her helmet, just in case, but she wasn’t about to get stuck here all alone so hers is already unlatched.

“This is incredible Sam, do you know what this means?”

Might she be referring to the seemingly endless supply of breathable air, as opposed to Tycho’s finite resources?

“If you thinking what I think you are, we still need to eat and drink.”

“I know that, you Celtic lout! Hell, we should be exploring this joint instead of holding our hats in our hands……..” she fails to complete the rant.

“Celeste!” He rushes to his wife, who dropped like a Mars rock onto the unyielding glossy deck, without outward signs or warning.


THE RETURN TRIP

my-project-23-001

Episode 76


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #294

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #294

…I have become a big Constance Caraway fan… and that Ace Bannion, he cracks me up; reminds me of Bob Ford, in a rugged sort of way…

Miami International Airport 36th Street Terminal

Within hours, Lyn Hanes is walking down the corridors of Miami International Airport. Although Coppertoneshe was a Floridian, she had never been this far south. She is amazed how different it is from the Panhandle, both in climate and population. It is very warm and very military, the latter left over from WWII, and it is currently holding Robert Ford in a bunker below ground.

          As it turns out, they were looking for her to show up, not because Ford told them she would be coming, just because they had been digging for dirt on their detainee. “Please come this way, Miss Hanes.”

          She does not resist and ends up in a room by herself. It reminds her of their experience in New Mexico. It should. Old friend, Sgt. Vincent Smith comes in, flanked by new recruits.

Meet again “We meet again, Miss Hanes.”

“So nice to see you Sergeant.”

“You know I had a feeling we would be seeing more of each other. And imagine Image result for good old timesRobert Ford being here too. Just like old times, wouldn’t you say?”

“Good old times?”

“Good, only if you aren’t looking for the truth. In the meantime, I have become a big Constance Caraway fan. And that Ace Bannion, he cracks me up; reminds me of Bob Ford, in a rugged sort of way.” He is slightly sarcastic in his undertones. “Tell me, Miss Hanes, how did you ever dream up that whole space ship thing? That’s pretty far fetched stuff for Constance to get involved in.”

“I was listening to a rebroadcast of “War of the Worlds” on the radio and it gave me this idea for Constance to investigate a spaceship crash.”

“Something inspired you, but I believe it is what you didn’t tell me then and what you aren’t going to tell me now, that gave you the idea. And good old Newt Swakhammer, you know you can’t make up a name like that.”

   “There is no Newt Swakhammer in my book.”

          “Oh, you’re correct, I keep getting the real and the made up, mixed up. Old Newt seems to have a fuzzy recollection of a man and a woman, an airplane and missing government property. Constance Caraway had a strangely similar episode. It’s funny how art imitates life.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #294


page 276

The NULL Solution = Episode 197

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The NULL Solution = Episode 197

…I believe that the McKinneys are seriously concerned about bringing back a viral agent that may be able to morph into a pandemic on Earth…

Crip may want to run this by the decontamination team.”

“The kid just needs a stiff shot of caffeine. That will perk him up!”

“We cannot take the chance. You message Roy while I do some lab work.”

As it would happen, the message meant for the director of NASA seeps into the cracks of bureaucracy and into the hands of a snotty-nosed underling.

-He reads.

THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH JOYNER. NOT EXACTLY SURE WHAT IT IS. CELESTE IS LOOKING INTO POSSIBLE LINK TO BUG THAT KILLED THE CREW ON MARS, WAY BACK WHEN. SEE YOU SOON – SAM

-He reacts.

Instead of delivering the {For Your Eyes Only} message to Roy Crippen, who would keep it under his hat for the sake of secrecy, the staffer shares it his colleagues while he is on his morning break. “Look at this, guys,” he proudly flashes the rare communication from the returning McKinney mission, “you don’t see one of these every day… it’s from Sampson McKinney himself!”

He thought he was reading about a little insect bite or something. The breakroom sees it differently, especially the medical officer in charge of infectious space threats.

“I’ve read about the 2030 Tycho/Space Colony 1 mission… they never were able to isolate the precise cause of the alien disaster. You don’t lose 50+ crewmen and ignore the cause. I believe that the McKinneys are seriously concerned about bringing back a viral agent that may be able to morph into a pandemic on Earth.”

“That is some farfetched theory, man.”

“Hey, do you want two aliens coming to Earth and spreading a deadly disease?” The room goes silent. “It’s my job to prevent such things and that’s what I am going to do!”

The horses have just got out of the barn.

By the time Roy tries closing the barn door, it is too late. Varying forms of Sam McKinney’s cautionary tale explode across every single known Internet medium and then some. And just like the Collapsar Axis invasion/panic/narrative, anti-alien sentiment suddenly trumps the feel-good homecoming story.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 197


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