THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 110

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 110

…In a fashion, much like the members of the ancient NEWFOUNDLANDER crew, the Defender makes off with valuable Earth treasure…

Sampson & Son have not seen the Heinlein’s Green Hills of Earth for a very long time. Cruising handily past 6 planetary orbits and beneath a crescent moon, the alien spacecraft named Defender silently glides down next to the homestead both men have been longing to see. For Sam it has been 24 years, for Deke, his 4 years seems like an eternity.

Aside from remodeling, updating and a brand-new barn, locating Cerella and Joyner was relatively easy. To avoid from alarming Roy, Francine, Gus, Mindy and Marscie is priority one. Doing so would unnecessarily complicate the operation by upsetting Earth’s timestem, as well as the King Ranch equilibrium.

Deke McKinney barely recognizes his earthen-ized mate, who he suspects had suspected such a mission would come to pass, even after her parapsychological ties were severed by the birth of their son. She had told Joyner many stories of his father and the planet from which they came, seeing that the worlds are as opposite as opposite can be.

As Deke hugs him for the first time, Cerella explains to the child, who is sprouting like a weed, “There will be time to acquaint after we return to Eridanus. Remember your experience here with fondness, my son. The emotional ties of these people is strong, to be treasured for all time.”

Sam has wandered off to the west wing to have a gander at his other grandchild. How could he resist the temptation? It takes every ounce of his strength not to wake Gus’s sleeping Marscie. He cannot help but lament the circumstances that caused the Space Family McKinney to be separated by trillions of miles, not just another wing of the sprawling ranch home, but he does.

In a fashion, much like the members of the ancient NEWFOUNDLANDER crew, the Defender makes off with valuable Earth treasure, this time in the form of living creatures. However, on this occasion, the aliens leave behind a calling card, in the form of Celeste McKinney’s love/”kidnapping” note, discovered by Francine Bouchette-Crippen, on the island counter in the main kitchen at King Ranch, in Waller County Texas USA. She is up early to make breakfast. There will be two less place settings on this most melancholy of mornings.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 110


page 109

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 96

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 96

…Prez Roy sees the situation getting out of hand in a hurry, “We are lucky that China is too proud to admit failure.”…

CHAPTER NINE

Phantasmic

 

Related image

Golden Age of Space

“It is getting to the point where I cannot trust what I am seeing anymore.”

Even in this new golden age of space, the human eye is still the gateway to what the rest of the body considers real and true. With life expectancies rocketing past 100, the complexity of vision is a barrier to the fountain of youth. Squinting, blinking, rubbing and untrusting; those are the choices when, seeing is not believing.

“I am 98.797 % sure I saw another spacecraft snooping around Mars. That other 1.30 tells me I’m wrong, because it is gone.”

“That would be 1.203 Crip,” corrects Fletcher Fitch.

“See, now it’s my math that’s going south!”

“Are the Chinese still out there?” Gus McKinney wonders. He has been too busy lately to notice.

“Yes and none too happy I hear.”

“Thanks to our SOL Nonproliferation Policy!”

“Yes. We do not need them zooming about, doing what they do best.”

“Copycats?”

“Copy that Gussy.”

“Were we able to get a fix on the bogie?”

Fitch fiddles with the long-range sensors, “No. It wasn’t Lorgan though, that’s all I know.”

Prez Roy sees the situation getting out of hand in a hurry, “We are lucky that China is too proud to admit failure. Their curiosity gets the best of them… about that jumbo building I mean. They had the same view as us, but they have their cheapo space telescope.”

“Speaking about cheapo telescopes, you don’t need much of one to see that the Red Planet is turning an earthly shade of green.” Gus parrots the buzz on the street.

“Damn that RONCO 3000! Every amateur astronomer has one.”

“3 easy payments of $39.95… but the naked eye can see the difference in hue… well maybe not yours Crip.”

“What do we tell the “Bassett Hound”? She and her lapdogs are panicking bigtime. Election Day is next week and even the Republican candidate is screaming for answers.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 96


page 97

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 93

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 93

…It’s everybody for himself out here, unless it gets too close to home,  in which case NIMBY is how we on Earth phrase it…

— In the realm of sightseeing, doing so in space is unrewarding. Be it at the snail’s pace of SOLx1 or TSF compression, there is next to nothing to really see. The Orion Nebula is quite spectacular from a distance, but from a drive-by view, you cannot tell the mass from the gas.

During the McKinney NEWFOUNDLANDER stowaway voyage of some 4+ years, Sampson and Co. were quite literally bored stiff. Much of this perception is due to never coming within a million miles of anything.

At TSF {Time-Space-Fold}, this pair never comes within a million miles, only infinitely faster; boredom at a blur.

But for a Nullian space novice, the File:Comet and tail animation.gif - Wikipediahallmarks are wide-eyed and many. A NSO {near space object} as common as a comet is cause for wonder. Not long after spotting one such icy rocketeer, Skaldic still had to wait hours for it to get close enough to analyze.

“Comets are cosmic leftovers Skaldy, not a danger to anyone, although if one would collide with an inhabited planet, it would no longer be inhabited. The odds of that are incalculably scant though.”

“Scant like a Null, riding in a spacecraft, headed for a distant star?”

“Come to think of it, make sure that comet isn’t headed to Epsilon Eridani.  NIMBY is how we on Earth phrase it. It’s everybody for himself out here, unless it gets too close to home… like that is – that is.” Sam points to the viewscreen and the image of Mars.

They have entered the influence of Earth’s star and as luck would have it, the Red Planet is less than .0000005 degrees off their course to Earth. “I am going to swing by some old stomping grounds while we have the chance, for Auld Lang Syne.”

Not that Skaldic would mind. It will be something new to look at and he has heard the legend of how and where the McKinneys were whisked away aboard the ancient

Tycho

Eridanian Explorer. History is fun, unless you don’t like history, in which case you get an F for a grade.

“Slowing down to .45 SOL,” Sampson informs the latest edition of the accidental tourist, “crossing Neptune’s orbit – no other planet in our path. I want to see what Tycho looks like after all these years.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 93


page 94

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 88

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 88

…Like a cat on a hot tin roof, some 20 billion beings, as disparate as the birth of a star is to a black hole, are longing for the days of old…

… out where Eridanians fear to tread, a coalition of another sort is serves its purpose in the form sharing current events. There is currently no exchange of ambassadors between allied cultures, so traditional forms of communication are vital for the well-being of all concerned.

Seljuk is pleased to learn {from Eridanus} that their disruptor ray and force-field are being put to good use by Earth. They are grieved to hear the news about Princess Cerella’s kidnapping and her eventual medical emergency on Earth, of all places.. They are pleased to know that Ekcello and the rest of the Gifted have been restored to their former giftedness.

…as they say.

In all the news that is fit to print from Seljuk, leader and raconteur Chasonn has some news of his own to share; both bad and good variety.

The bad news is that a gigantic planetary refuge/ship has been launched by the Ÿ€Ð.

The good news is that the entire population were able to escape Ÿ€Ðian home world before it was rear-ended by a sister world.

More possible bad news: they are on a course for Earth.

More possible good news: Chasonn and his people are poised along a path that leads from Galaxy Sexta A to the Milky Way.

No news would be better news.

Chasonn is a peaceful sort on most days, but he has done some scouting of his own and by the looks of Collapsar Axis, nothing good can come of its plodding progression through this greater Great Expanse neighborhood. Of the major civilizations in this sector, Chasonn’s steadying influence has resulted in intergalactic concordance. Nothing bad ever happens over this way, until he lost those three major outposts. And even though no lives were lost, a security blanket has been yanked away from them.

Misplaced security is the common thread intertwining nearly all parties concerned lately. In no particular order, but curiously serendipitous nonetheless, you have the Seljuk incident, the Eridanus episode, the Ÿ€Ð displacement and Earth on pins and needles.

Like a cat on a hot tin roof, some 20 billion beings, as disparate as the birth of a star is to a black hole, are longing for the days of old, i.e. Stardate 2029 when:

  • Chasonn had worked selflessly to make the Triangulum Galaxy a model cluster of stars.
  • Ekcello had the Gifted right where they wanted to be.
  • Earth was poised to colonize Mars.
  • Life was good.

Two decades later, all these feet are being held to the fire.

So what gives?


THE NULL SOLUTION

Coals in a Fire – photo from Mongkol Chakritthakool (footprints added)

Episode 88


page 89

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 85

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 85

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

Fuzzy Math

Fuzzy Math by Sadie Benning

Pilot Gus McKinney will be on his own out in space, though in no uncertain terms is he to engage anyone/thing. “Go in, collect as much data as you can and get out – got it? Do not – no I forbid you to enter Mars atmosphere under any circumstances. Until we know exactly what is going down out there, we do not take chances.” —

NASA photo

— And so it is, with mission guidelines clearly understood, that Gus takes Stellar Explorer out for some old fashioned seat-of-the-pants fact-finding. Just like when man landed on the Moon the first time. The very reason astronaut Armstrong had to jump off the ladder of the lander is because NASA expected the moon dust to be 18” thick not 3. In the same way as good as he is at flying at the speed-of-light, the new/old Mars may hold some surprises.

“No surprises yet Crip,” Gus closes in on the Red Planet quicker than a starving man filing a plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“We show Lorgan on the dark side,” Fletcher Fitch reports, “oh wait…”

“… I see him,” he will be cautious this time, “and now I don’t. For a second there, I thought I saw a reflection of the United Nations… flags everywhere!”

“That old cow has been put to pasture years ago, Gussy.” Rancher/Prez Roy uses a Texas-sized analogy for the ineffective alliance {UN} of nations which the United States booted off its soil in 2025 unceremoniously, once political correctness was properly harnessed.

“Yeah, whatever, I saw what I saw and now I don’t. Nothing surprises me about that thing anymore.”

“Keep an eye on the alert screen just in case. SEx’s sensors ignore mirages.”

He is jolted by to a complete stop not long after the following message appears on the alert monitor:

I am the how & why that blocks your way

2 + 1 = 6

6 – 2 = 9

0 – 1 = 0

Solve the what where & who and you can pass through


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 85


page 86

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 67

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 67

…I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
and gaze at the moon till I lose my senses…

— It has been pretty quiet in the neighborhood, both the Milky Way and the King Ranch spread – each 200 x 200 square {parsecs and miles respectively} each. No UFOs, no Lorgan, no problem.

The same approx. area as the country of Andorra {tucked in the Pyrenees}, King Ranch acreage is much easier to patrol than the parsecs of space. Even the most adventurous steer will not exceed the boundaries of barbed wire, streams or shotgun toting neighbor, whereas the Space Colony 1 pioneers, disappeared into the thin air of a controlled NASA situation.

“Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in

Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in

Just turn me loose, let me straddle my old saddle
Underneath the western skies
On my cayuse, let me wander over yonder
Till I see the mountains rise

I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide country that I love
Don’t fence me in.”

Gus is in good voice this morning. He knows the Cole Porter lyrics by heart. It was his anthem back when he was thirteen and feeling his oats.

Mindy is calling to him by the most basic form of communication, “Gus McKinney, get your ass in here right now!” she shouts at the top of her lungs.

Those shouts carry across Waller County, most of which the King, Crippen and McKinney families own. Save the small settlements here and there, which are mostly grouped around the ubiquitous Walmart Megastores.

He skillfully reins his chestnut stallion back around to the house, from where he was headed, which was… oh he forgets.

“I need a shower Sweetie,” admits the wandering wrangler.

Unpretentious and a good mother, his wife requires some alone time as well – which does not include riding a horse to the back-back-back forty.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 67


page 69

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 59

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 59

Župzïð the Last is so named because he will be the final ruler of the Ÿ€Ð star system, which will soon be meeting the end of a very long run…

CHAPTER SIX

Milky Way Apprehensive

 A star’s glow, however bright the shine, travels at a prescribed rate of speed; unless it is altered, bent, skewed, accelerated or absorbed.

Similarly, not everything stays exactly the same forever.

And so it is with the temporary peace in the Milky Way. Some are content to let the other shoe to drop, others do not.

The Ÿ€Ð are not about to take the loss of their “exploratory” fleet lying down. The #13 ship may well have been their unlucky downfall. Would 12 ships have fared better? Is number thirteen a universal bane? Do not all the civilized of space count upward from zero?

Once upon a time, Župzïð the Last would have been one of those 13 commanders whose ship was dispatched into the vacuum of space… on the fringe of a puny star system in the Milky Way. In what is Stardate 2052, his thick blood is boiling.

 Župzïð the Last is so named because he will be the final ruler of the Ÿ€Ð star system, which will soon be meeting the end of a very long run. The home planet’s {of three} orbit is slowing down. That deceleration will upset the heretofore convenient parade around their white giant of a star.

The funny thing about gravity is that it is the single true universal influence.

Župzïð the Last was revered by all,

Župzïð the Last’s world was about to fall.

All of Župzïð’s spaceships and all of his brightest,

Couldn’t help Župzïð save the Ÿ€Ð planet.

And so goes the folk tale that is shared around Ÿ€Ð gatherings in these final days. Most of the most have already scattered themselves among nearby **inhabitable planets {**anything round w/atmosphere}. Panic induced and uncontrollable, the once proud, if not revolting, societal fabric of the Ÿ€Ð has been torn from apart from within.

But that doesn’t mean that the transcendent core was about to go the way of inconsequence. With the aid of waning planetary resources, Župzïð is building a space oasis of the grandest scale. In his inimitable way he crows, “Cowards will regret not joining the Ÿ€Ð sanctuary.”

The Collapsar Axis will be completed soon. The good news for neighboring galaxies is the Collapsar Axis is too large to move very far… yet.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 59


page 61

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 53

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 53

… the Universe looks more like a snow globe, as opposed to a cosmic blur…

Image result for snow globe gif

A peeping tom generally is not well thought of; a feckless loser peering through a bedroom widow comes to mind. In the same way, binoculars can be a beneficial visual aid or an instrument of intrusion.

For the keepers of the Hubble2 Space Telescope on 2052 Earth, no such sinister purpose can be assigned. Since before the advent of stardates, back in 1990, somebody’s job has been to point and look, staring down an orbiting barrel to when time began. In the last decade, a new generation scope has been improved the view exponentially. Now the Universe looks more like a snow globe, as opposed to a cosmic blur.

Hubble’s gaze has seen what is thought of as the moment of creation.

It has also seen the Ÿ€Ð fiasco.–

Reservations are taken for the use of the greatest of all telescopes. Prez Roy Crippen takes a week’s worth of markers for the search of the mysterious Lorgan or at least looking farther into space for objects other than planets and such, even though what they see is older than real-time.

Stargasm by Sean Connolly

‘I can’t keep from thinking that Lorgan transcends time and defies the physics of space’ he thinks. “What was that?” he asks Fletcher Fitch, who happens to be in his company and ready to take over the next shift of star-snooping.

“If that’s a supernova, it’s the smallest one ever. If it’s not a stargasm, it must be some manner of detonation… it is becoming ever apparent that we aren’t alone in the galaxy, Roy.”

“I did not mean that, I meant that,” he points at a distant silvery object that is reflecting an image of a distant Earth on its sheen.

“Do you think that caused THAT?” Fitch is fixated on the explosions out towards the edge of the solar system.

“All I know is that I never want to be on Lorgan’s bad side. Of all the bad things… and likewise we cannot rule out the good… that go happen, say in the last 4000 years, may be attributable to Lorgan.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 53


page 56

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 52

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 52

…Parsec after parsec blows by and not an Antaran inch is gained…

Reticence and restraint are not a qualities that the Ÿ€Ð possess. Distrust and distress however are present in spades.

Instead of lying back among the comets and asteroids, they panic at the next sighting of O  . The unmanned recon spacecraft are replaced by a warrior filled squadron, not seen in these parts for eons.

During this sighting-turned-encounter, O does not just vanish into thin air. Nor does it dash off at blinding speeds. What it does do is toddle off to a certain distance then maintains that distance. As hard as the Ÿ€Ð paddle, all available paddles in the water, they cannot catch up.

The commander of the 13-unit Ÿ€Ð fleet feels like he is being taunted. Parsec after parsec blows by and not an Antaran Inch is gained. The only way to bridge the gap is with the weapons that are normally used to terrorize opponents, generally to a bad end for the hunted.

But even when armed and lethal, the orders to fire are on ice. Perhaps there are questions about their weapons at great distance. Or perhaps such a prolonged sighting has them mesmerized.

Either way, the chase goes on.

And then the fleeting object slows below the speed at which light goes from here to there. Herein lies that all-important time, the critical time when crucial decisions are made and cannot be taken back. There is an itch that induces a twitch… that leads to irrevocable series of events.

The flagship of the Ÿ€Ð contingent causes the dominoes to fall, one by one all manner of ordinance are hurled at O, which has driven them to wits end. Had they knowledge of what happened to the Koreans, surely they would have chosen to give up the chase and chalk the experience up to a lack of understanding…

…But it is too late for regrets.

The entirety of the Ÿ€Ð pursuers are vacated from the space they had occupied, just inside Terran territory; vamoosed like they were never there at all. History will know it as “The Planet 9 Affair”.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 52


page 55

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 45

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 45

…You went and shot the gosh-darn thing, Gus! What the hell were you thinking?…

The number of interested parties is increasing by the minute, with Lorgan remaining the wildcard.

But, that SEx is coming and going like a family transport is not a secret that can be kept. That the Terran system doorbell has been rung cannot be silenced.

The Ÿ€Ð automaton is now proceeding at a reasonable pace, having slowed from the frenzy of intergalactic travel. From space-consuming monster to obstacle dodging snoop, it approaches the fourth planet like it has been there before {perhaps} and it is there that Gus and his souped-up SEx will meet. The Ÿ€Ð operators are not expecting that sort of company.

As a matter of fact, when Gus pops onto their sensors, the interlopers from Galaxy Sexta A  bring their drone to an abrupt halt, like it was pretending to be invisible.

Gus has a front row seat to the maneuver. He is at a loss for what to do. Because the technology for instantaneous communication has not caught up to SOL, he must rely on his instincts. When a bright red light on his sensing instruments shows red, he depresses one of two new choices on his navigation panel. The other selection is the untested deflector shield… which means Gus has unleashed the previously untried disruptor. The already stationary target is rocked. What Gus does not know is that there are no operators on-board.

After several minutes, undoubtedly stunned by the underestimation of the rudimentary Earth ship, the Ÿ€Ð cruiser makes an about-face and dashes away much faster than whence it came.

“That was easy, SOL Control! Whatever it was wasn’t prepared for a fight.”

A minute later, Earth’s response reaches SEx, “You went and shot the gosh-darn thing, A Trap So Devious that Even Admiral Ackbar Missed ItGus! What the hell were you thinking?

“It was going to shoot first… sensors picked up an energy surge… why didn’t it blow up?”

“There is an intensity adjustment he doesn’t know about,” Fletcher Fitch tells Roy.

“Why didn’t it blow up? That is not the message we want to send to extraterrestrial visitors, McKinney! Whoever sent that thing can’t be happy.”

“The who in this case turns out to be nowhere near as advanced as Lorgan.”

“But it did come from a place we’ve only seen through Hubble’s eye. That means they have been flying very fast for very long. We will be lucky if we haven’t started an intergalactic war.” There is a measure of perspective in Roy’s voice. “Nukes are flying back & forth like 4th of July fireworks… we just avoided World War III and now this? We may be biting more off than we can chew.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Hubble

Episode 45


page 49