THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 70

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 70

…the red carpet seemingly rolls out, with Roy Crippen holding the key to this city of space geeks and rockets…

Image result for red carpet painting

Marcus Glenn- Red Carpet Series Painting. ( THE NITE THE STARS FELT CLOSER )

As her new/old-school speedometer needle exceeds the 225 speedometer limit, she has covered the 50 or so miles in an exhilarating 13.3 minutes. Francine takes the GLF (Galveston Launch Facility) exit off I-45 and travels down the expressly made frontage road for the spaceflight center.

She had been here before, but only once and only to be turned away by a snotty guard. But today the barrier drops below the pavement, the red carpet seemingly rolling out, with Roy Crippen holding the key to this city of space geeks and rockets.

“Go straight ahead to Area 3 and hang a right… nice car… you can’t miss it.” Formalities are spared but he does admit, “You are prettier in person than you are on television.”

“Well you are more handsome than your televiewer image.” She is used to gratuitous attention, the kind a lecher or slack-jaw emotes, but hearing it from a dashing astronaut-type is an especially pleasant experience.

As she drives thru the massive complex, a village in itself with streets and speed limits to match. Building heights vary greatly, from ordinary offices to futuristic towers, white coated men and women scurrying back and forth, even at this late hour.

Just as on the Interstate she glides through unimpeded. Crippen tells her to stop in front of a building, which seems to defy gravity or balance. The new Mission Control has been hailed as an architectural wonder and she can see why, with its top width 5 times that of the base and a combination V & X.

“It’s a secret,” he sees that her mouth was agog and ajar, “and don’t disable the start button Miss Bouchette; someone will happily park it for you.”

“I bet he will,” she makes eye contact with the valet while vacating her now well broke-in car.

“You made great time. Good call on your part.”

“Other than feeling like I was in a one car race, I made it here in one piece.” She takes a closer look at the man she had only just met and is so often the case, the voice and face are a disconnect. For a man so slight, he is extremely appealing. ‘I wonder if he’s married,’ a girl is allowed.


 THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 70


page 66

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 68

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 68

…Suddenly, like a husband forgetting to tell his wife that his boss and wife are coming to dinner at 6:00 {it’s 5:30}, Roy Crippen’s ears go flush with an influx of warm blood...

Clarity by Natalie Rye

****What if this whole nightmare was a deliberate and calculated plot that is still playing out? Just how far will jealous enemies, like the unified Korea or Talibanistan, go to prevent such an ambitious venture as Space Colony 1 from achieving success.****

SOCIAL MEDIA NIGHTMARE

And then there is the matter of the informant who breached security to leak this embarrassing story to Houston and the World. Were it not for Francine Bouchette’s conscience and cooperation, it would have turned into a social media nightmare, with rumors turning into lies turning into panic.

And just how many details of the New Mayflower’s coming launch are out there, to be used for nefarious intent?

Suddenly, like a husband forgetting to tell his wife that his boss and wife are coming to ah-ha-momentdinner at 6:00 {it’s 5:30}, Roy Crippen’s ears go flush with an influx of warm blood. Reporter Bouchette had mentioned that the informant had an accent peculiar to the Himalaya region. Most everything the informer told her was accurate, as if an insider were involved.

THE SPATIAL DEBRIS MONITOR! That supposed Nepalese technician replaced his friend Phil Jansky, who died from a sudden brain hemorrhage. Some guy named Shah Gherkin is all he can recall from the heat of the mission run-out.

He takes a quick look at the countdown clock; t-minus 3:00.00 with still time to act on a hunch.

“I need to speak with Francine Bouchette from KHST Houston,” he demands of the Braden King.

Francine was in the midst of preparing for the Ten O’clock, but responds tout de suite, upon hearing who was calling her. Coincidentally she had been trying to contact him, ever since her afternoon exclusive but was unable to get through.

columncolumn2“I am so glad you called Mr. Crippen; I’ve been trying………”

“I am sorry for interrupting, but I would like to meet you at the Galveston Launch Facility in 15 minutes. This is concerning our, I mean your informant.”

“Can I possibly get there in 15 minutes?” she ponders how she can go 50 miles in that short time.

“I’ll have an F-77A scrambled for you at Hobby Airport; you’ll be cleared at the gate.”

KHST is located on Houston’s far southwest side. “I have a better idea, I can get to you quicker if I drive, and you clear I-45 for me, meet me at the GLF gate.”

He relents to her plan, while she only has time to grab her purse and streak to the parking lot, “I won’t be able to do the 10 o’clock,” is the only explanation she gives to the producer on the way out of the newsroom.

cropped-stay-tuned-001.jpg


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 68


page 63

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 65

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 65

…Celeste would have laughed had she not popped her light on, fearfully recognizing the cause of Sam’s fall, “That is a body!”…

surprise-leonard-filgate

Surprise by Leonard Filgate

“Damn!” Sam galumphs into spread-eagle prostrations. “Maybe we should be using the helmet lights,” he taps the side of his head to do so, to light their way and expose the upright-cancelling offender.

“Whooaa!” he springs to his feet like a wrestler scoring 2 points on a lightning-quick reversal {and low gravity}.

Celeste would have laughed had she not popped her light on, fearfully recognizing the cause of Sam’s fall, “That is a body!”

dead-alien

Sampson backs off a few steps, so they can both see a space traveler of unknown origin, who hadonyx-black-001 met his doom several steps from the entrance. The not-of-this-neighborhood being had the rough configuration of a human; a pair of legs and one arm… at his side and the other extended out, as if to retrieve a black object, like the one they found minutes before.

IT must be a device of some kind, though either she or Sam could get theirs to so much as light up. While Sampson inspects the spaceman, Celeste further fondles her gizmo, hoping to solve its mysterious function. Had it been a ray gun, she would have blasted everything around her, but gladly it was not.

They area is spared laser fire, but she finally gets it to do something, somehow causing a momentary digital Related imagesound, hummmm in the key of C, “Hmmm! Come on, work you dumb thing!”

Then, without notice or noise to that matter, what they had guessed to be the front door, opens in a flash.

“Looks like you found the invitation Cel,” utters Sam as they must do something other than stare.

star-crossedUpon further review, this must be the star-crossed vehicle’s version of an airlock, but it didn’t do either of these guys any good, “Bodies two and three,” he point to the floor.

But as fast as the outside door opened, it closes itself.

Celeste, who could apparently operate her black oval, coaxes the set of parallel and perpendicular lines to open the interior door, followed by a rush of pungent air from inside. It seemed so unlikely, but after all these unknown years, this ship still had some operational time left in the tank.

The combination of gasses inside looked good to the mass spectrometer, but something about the Martian environment caused these life forms to expire and caution needs to displace curiosity. “Oxygen is at 20 big ones Cel!” 20% is surplus good.

Near proper amounts of nitrogen and hydrogen gases are present, along with 2 inert and 1 unknown, defying classifications on the current Periodic Table.

“I believe it’s safe to go inside, what do we have to lose,” states gambler Sam, revealing his new what-do-we-have-to-lose state-of-mind.


THE RETURN TRIP

newfoundlander-sketch-001Episode 65


page 61

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 57

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 57

…“You’re just a speck of moon dust to her, like she would be interested in a kid like you,”…

Pebble Beach by Emily James

 CHAPTER FOUR

  Space Family Confidential

  “As we prepare to bid adieu from the scenic and historic Pebble Beach Golf Links, you are looking at rare ground, one of only 500 pieces of real estate around the world that has the capability to host a professional golf tournament, none more treasured than this.

“And how appropriate it is that the man holding the Bing Crosby Trophy is none other than Evan pebble-beach-trophySamuel Michelson, whose father has joined him on the 18th green. Let’s go down to Bubba Watson for the presentation…”

Gus McKinney is wearing the headset for the televiewer and he has set it in motion to search for other sporting activities. They have violated rule #1 in the McKinney brood: Never put a VoIP block on the televiewer. They have been incommunicado for the balance of this January day. Braden King, their Earthly guardian is currently on his way back to the ranch, to ward off “you know what” from reaching the kiddos before they can be properly {co}parented.

Related image“AW, COME ON GUS, if we have to watch Four-man Power-Curling or Male Ice Dancing I am going to throw up,” brother Deke is already tiring of the 2030 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway. The mindbogglingly 1000 choices arbitrarily comes to rest on the low number 13, the lower the number, the more local it is; 1000 being JEOPARDY!, hosted by Watson the IBM brainiac.

“Good Evening, my name is Francine Bouchette and this is a KHST 13 Special Report, your news authority for the last 10 years.” An assortment of Space Colony footage scrolls on the screen.gif pretty art indie moon Grunge space stars dark Alternative moon gif phases craters

“Isn’t she a fox?” raves Gus.

“You’re just a speck of moon dust to her, like she would be interested in a kid like you,” which isn’t completely true, given her afternoon’s crash course in McKinney Family history.

breaking-news-1

The ever-fetching Francine reappears on camera; now joined by her junior co-anchor {piece-of-crap} Steven Sharkey who doesn’t have a clue on what he may be reading in a few seconds.

“In a KHST 13 News Authority Exclusive, I just got off the phone with Space Colony 1 Coordinator Roy Crippen, a friend to Channel 13 News, having confirmed a story that I have been tracking down all afternoon. He has confirmed the horrible news that Space Colony 1 appears to have been destroyed, which verifies my confidential alternate source.”

“Nnnooooooo,” screams Deke…


THE RETURN TRIP

newsroom-001

Episode 57


page 54

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 54

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 54

…When Francine concentrates on a task at hand (instead of her 15-story ego) it amazes even herself

Image result for ego artwork

Stella Im Hultberg ‘Alter Ego’ Painting

For once in her life, Francine escapes the limelight to seek out and pick the brain of the station’s NASA expert; when in doubt, go to those in the know. In this space-saturated news environment, admittedly, she did not pay close attention to the Space Colony story, merely glossing over the copy her “inept script writer” provided for broadcasts.

Being the weekend, the space geek is at home, so she must do some videophone work to get her information, “Good afternoon Gilly, can you give me a few minutes?” The person on Francine’s screen is not thrilled, but is professional enough to comply.

Randi Gilbert

“Sure Miss Bouchette, what can I do for you,” Randi Gilbert, who is a former test pilot for the Air Force, has a fluid pipeline to the goings-on both at Lovell and Galveston.

“Say, I am working on this story for tonight’s cast and I need some background stuff about Space Colony 1 and that married couple Celeste and Sampson McKinney. I have been looking at file files, but I’m not getting a good feel for them as real people.”

“They are THE story of the 21st Century so far Francine…”

Gilbert goes on to tell the story of a true space family, whose heritage and focus is all about exploration, “to boldly go” as once was said.

She goes on to explain just how massive an undertaking that the world-cooperative-project truly is. 135 countries, with two or so notable exceptions, have pooled their talent and resources to give the planet Earth an out if-you-will, a relatively nearby outpost, as well as a future home to hundreds of settlers…

“Thank you for everything Randi, we will have to do lunch one of these days.”

Like that will ever happen,

“You bet Francine.”

That would be goodbye for now.

Dominic Urbano, Digital Artist

Dominic Urbano, Digital Artist

When Francine concentrates on a task at hand, instead of her 15-story ego, it amazes even herself. Behind that brazened façade lays an appreciable amount of untapped potential, perhaps needing an infusion of COMountain Dew carbonation to encourage the coming out of that trapped talent.

Her further research centers around the year 2018, about the time the Space Colony project morphed from the state of figures and computer animation, to a worldwide financial octopus; the substantive mass of lightweight titanium it has ultimately become {unthinkably became?}. With Galveston so close at hand, the crux of R & D for generations of NASA ventures, KHST’s story files are crammed with stories of the men and machines that explore beyond Earth’s atmosphere.


THE RETURN TRIP

Jung’s Model of the Psyche.

Jung’s Model of the Psyche.

Episode 54


page 52

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 47

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 47

…What exactly is your point Mr. Frodo — that that Sang-Ashi thing is really a weapon?…

Related image

What space looks like to kids 2ND PLACE (MULTIMEDIA), 6TH-8TH GRADE Student: Anolani School: Kapolei Middle School Location: Kapolei, Hawaii

“Your story is intriguing Mr. Afridi, but our spatial debris monitor assures me there is nothing in the vicinity of Mars.”

january20“My calculations show otherwise; it was to pass within 10 thousand kilometers on in the 20th day of the first month 2030… today!”

“He should know Crip, he helped build the darn thing,” Braden reminds him.

Image result for frodo

Frodo by Rolozo Tolkien

What exactly is your point Mr. Frodo — that that Sang-Ashi thing is really a weapon? We are currently out of contact with Space Colony, specifically the Mars lander. The McKinney’s are currently spending daylight hours on the surface of the planet.”

It is Afridi, Aldona Afridi, and that is not a good sign. You should signal the Colony to activate its energy absorption field.”

This guy is acquainted with sensitive tech info. “You know more about the orbiting station than you should.”

“I am a great admirer of the project and regret not being allowed to offer my talents to it.”

There is a brief pause in the conversation, as Roy directs key personnel to check out Afridi’s assertions. His news is disturbing, yet there is no harm is arming the energy absorption field.

“Space Colony!!!!!!!!!”

A dazed technician stands, face paled by disbelief.

“What are you saying son,” Roy reacts to the commotion caused by the suddenly sullen young man.viewscreen-2-001

“It’s gone…” All he can do is point at the mission mockup and the flashing light that no longer shows an orbit line around Mars. With all the distractions, no one had been monitoring the status lights; one green blink on the surface, none in orbit.

“Mr. Crippen, what has happened?” Aldona Afridi has more than a passing interest in the goings on.

Roy frantically seeks out key faces around the room. Total shock applies, with some tears on the move, spreading among most of the assembled 100 technicians.


THE RETURN TRIP

space-colony-ii-001

Episode 47


page 45

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 37

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 37

…The Space Family McKinney, most recently of Mars, peers jointly out onto the planet outside…

Related image

Illustration by Legendary outer space conceptualizer Chesley Bonestell

The Mars landing fracas adds ½ mile, bringing them closer to the Tithonius Peninsula, but the averted disaster has raised everyone’s pulse x 2. When Tycho’s four pads contact Martian firma, they sense that it sinks down a bit, not like on Earth’s Moon where scientists had predicted 18 inches of moon dust when only 4 was present.

Heartbeats recede to mission norms.

A hazed yellow sun looms an hour above its dawning and even though the rays were reaching out 150 million miles, the equatorial latitude takes in enough radiation to raise surface temps to a balmy 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

my-project-23-001The Space Family McKinney, most recently of Mars, peers jointly out onto the planet outside, from opened viewing portals, with all the bluster settling down around them. Though their ground level perspective is less lofty, it does not temper their excitement.

Mars’ eerie serenity has the feel of an Old West ghost town. It has the feel of aged stillness, devoid of activity. Pay attention and you can imagine the passing of occasional tumbleweed. Listen closely and you can hear the sounds of a creaking one-hinged saloon door. Feel the wind sweeping down dusty streets. All that is missing are cobwebs and the ancient strains out of an out-of-tune piano, played by a shapely blond beauty bedecked in silk and sequins.

planet-mars-art-by-veenenbos

Artwork by Veenenbos

“The red sky is going to take some getting used to,” Celeste admitting her blue bias, “with nothing out there but craters and sawed-off mountains to break things up.”

“New things are popping up all the time. How about my landing skills? They are going to program that one into the simulator.”

“And we better improve that approach angle, seeing we are going to be doing it every two weeks for the next 8 months.”

A fresh voice joins in,I hate to interrupt, but you have but 12-odd hours of daylight to burn… and the matter of soil depth consistency is an issue.” Roy Crippen is getting itchy, along with a developing stress rash.

“Sounds like a plan Crip! What would we do without you?” Sampson quips.

“You would fly straight into the side of a foothill, that’s what.”

Vertical-001“We saw it,” Celeste relates her end of the story.

“It’s time to drop the wheels and see what we can see. You can be the backseat driver, Crip.”

The newest “manned” Mars Rover’s batteries are fully charged.

“Don’t mind if I do. I need you to keep that thing upright. The tow truck is 50 million miles away mars-roveryou know.”

“Cel is driving that buggy.”

 “That will drop our insurance rates!”

“I believe you are breaking up, can you repeat that wisecrack?”

“All right Sam, just check in before returning to the Colony.”


THE RETURN TRIP

mars-map-001

Episode 37


page 37

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15b

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15b

…Sampson McKinney found himself rooting for a better outcome for this “girl”, who has a name that he doesn’t know…

…“That doll is the bomb,” one other exclaims!…

seems-like-yesterday-001

16 years ago, when a 20-something Sampson McKinney stands watching as fellow cadets at the singular Astronaut Preparation—Lovell Space Center, are subjected, in turn, to the dreaded Challenger Control Simulator. You know, just in case one loses control of what you are flying {gravity-less}.

Up until now he found the process mildly entertaining, until an unmistakably tall, blond and FEMALE steps up to take her turn. A Swede,’ he heard a guy in front of him say.

Sam found himself rooting for a better outcome for this “girl”, who has a name that he doesn’t know. “Olga” is the prototypical Scandinavian female name keeps popping into his uninformed mind.

She climbs into the booth, seemingly undaunted by the lack of previous successes. From the outside you do not know what is going on inside. It is supposed to be a un-rehearse-able surprise, which is the point, with varying degrees of achievement.

One thing is obvious, even to the most casual of observers; the simulator hums along as if it hadn’t been started. “What’s the deal,” Sampson utters aloud.

“That doll is the bomb,” one other exclaims!

Out she comes; standing tall and proud for a few short moments, but the young McKinney can tell her Image result for dizzy gifstability is in jeopardy. He artfully snatches her bobbly-wobbly body before it can reach the ramp floor, guiding her to the outer hallway.

Image result for boy meets girlSeconds later, with her body regaining some perceptive function, she tells her rescuer, “That is one wild ride,”

“It looked pretty smooth to me,” he admits.

In one of those “wow he is handsome” moments, she has to parse her words carefully; sometimes your hearContinuedt takes the lead. “I want to thank you…” her face turns green, words followed by the discharged contents of
her tender innards.

“You’re welcome Miss,” he tells her facetiously. He manages to look past the messy situation.


 THE RETURN TRIP

boy_and_girl_by_mykittyjasper

Boy and Girl by mykitty jasper deviantart.com

Episode 15B


page 14

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 5

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 5

…Commander McKinney’s first step in real gravity resembles that of a newborn colt…

Newborn Colt by Robert J Bryan

Newborn Colt by Robert J Bryan

Like the superb team they are, precisely the reason they were chosen to inaugurate the Colony, the McKinneys {of space family fame} are moving to advance history. Sampson brings their modified space shuttle into docking position, unleashing thruster blasts for fine tuning. The massive craft floats in with deceptive ease, belying its gross tonnage of 90,000.

independance-dayOnce in place, they are able to shut down the weary guidance systems of the deep-space shuttle, not to be reactivated until it makes way for the second wave of colonists, another 6.2 months from now (which will be 7/4/2030—Independence Day). It will be a long wait, but there will be no shortage of things to do. Space Colony 1 is a state-of-the-art scientific laboratory and this particular pair of space veterans can make these instruments dance.

Sampson frees himself from the pilot’s chair gladly. Albeit quite comfortable, the seat has his body’s imprint in it, but it will be good to have a change of scenery. He and Celeste are looking forward to stretching out underused muscle and ligament.

After extended space travel, this first foray into it, space medicine experts are giddy by having this look into the human physiology aspect. Commander McKinney’s first step in real gravity resembles that of a newborn colt. It is embarrassing to stagger helplessly with almost everyone on Earth watching live or on tape delay. He shrugs off Celeste’s chuckles to regain his balance.

beauty-crown-001Not unexpectedly, the sleek figure of Lieutenant Commander McKinney does not fare any better than her mate, but looks prettier doing it. From most any point of view, her Miss Sweden 2014 crown would not have tumbled from her head, not like her astronaut headgear. She tries to corral her long platinum blond hair, throwing her head back, trying to act like nothing had happened.

In the process, she tips over sideways, puts out her left hand out to brace herself… thereby slicing open her palm on a digital gyroscope display. Blood flows through the epidermis immediately, sending Sampson to the nearest station first aid kiosk for gauze and sterilization material. He is terribly concerned, yet calmly tends the ugly wound.display

“Don’t think that this will keep you off the job,” using his worst bedside manner. “It should be okay before we need it.”

“I certainly hope so… it’s just a flesh wound.” Celeste is confused by his prognosis.

“I was talking about the monitor!”

Sometimes he treats her a little too much like “one of the guys”. It is advisable for him to display more spousal compassion.

“Did you assign us separate cabins Commander McKinney sir?” She is kidding……….mostly.


THE RETURN TRIP

mars-2030-001

Episode 5


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