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

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 44

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 44

…Asteroids do not exceed SOL, nor do they weave their way through the busyness of the Kuiper Belt…

A lone Ÿ€Ð cruiser has entered Earth’s solar system, their initial venture in search of O , or whomever set them on their {large} ears by the atmospheric disruption of their world.

Barebones, yet armed to the hilt, the Ÿ€Ð cruiser has automation as its guide. The collective authority that rules them, does not view Earth as a threat, but do not leave a single known civilization/rock unturned. And as it so happens, this watery blue planet appears to be on the verge of destroying itself by thermal-nuclear mutually-assured suicide.

For as expansive that infinity is, the number of developed star systems can be counted on one hand {with as many fingers available to the one who counts}. The oldest of these do track the progress of the fingerlings, like goldfish in a bowl. If not for those recent warp signatures, the Ÿ€Ð would not even bother to look into this seemingly insignificant parsec of the aquarium.

–That very Ÿ€Ð blip shows up on the Terran long range surveillance system.

With SOL capability, comes the need to peer further out in the neighborhood. Every direction of the compass, upside-down & sideways, there is a record of all things on the move, if for no other reason than any threatening asteroidal activity. Tracking Stellar Explorer is the modern-day priority purpose.

It is a lackluster job but somebody or something has to do it. That something suddenly makes enough hullabaloos to wake up the man-in-the-moon. The last time the warning system went off, was when a tumbling unbalanced planetoid came close enough that it singed the Man in The Moon’s whiskers. That it did not make a direct hit saved a catastrophic chain of events.

The whole of GLF is now aware that there are Bona Fide bogies loose in the Solar System. Granted, this one is not Lorgan, but it ain’t no asteroid either. Asteroids do not exceed SOL, nor do they weave their way through the busyness of the Kuiper Belt; they plow.

“How long would it take to get SEx off the pad, Fitch?” Prez Roy is thinking out of the box, typical Commander-in-Chief Modus operandi.

“You’re not thinking…”

“Oh yes I am. I want Gus to go out and take a close look at that ship.”

“But I’m not finished with the deflector shield array.”

“Turn it on anyway.” He turns to Gus, “Aren’t you game, my boy?”

Gus McKinney is the boy in question and the Prez’s stepson. Facing down possible intruders is not in the Astronaut’s Handbook. “I really like the way she handles! She flies more like an F-49 than a deep-space shuttle.”

“Is that a ‘yes’?”

“That’s a ‘hell yes’ Crip!”


THE NULL SOLUTION

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Episode 44


page 48

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 11

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 11

Chapter Two

Free at Last

…“Yahoo!!!” What is this excitement all about? It’s only the absolute biggest thrill, EVER…

“There is something about the fresh air of deep space.” Sammy Mac cannot contain himself.

“There is no breathable air in space Father McKinney.” Cerella still hasn’t mastered the subtleties of obtuse human references.

“That’s the trouble with your spacecraft design… not enough windows! I like to see where I’m going.”

“You are going 15° mark 7.” The mismatched trio is about to shift gears, so-to-speak.

“We are skirting the Orion Nebula, Dad. You may want to sit down and close your eyes when we engage the TSF, I know that I am.”

Time-Space-Fold technology will scramble the most stable of molecules. In order to traverse light-year chunks of open cosmos, one needs to challenge the fabric of time itself. It is one thing to increase speed by a nearly infinite factor, it is another to compress the future, like the bellows of an accordion.

Even the Eridanian Princess is displaying signs of anticipation. It’s not like she has piloted a 1000 year old machine before. She is as tense as her refined race will allow her, yet experiencing excitement. What is this excitement? It’s only an ancient contraption after all.

Sampson, on the other hand, has reliable memories of spending 5 years aboard a 4500 year old Eridanian pre-TSF craft. “Yahoo!!!” What is this excitement all about? It’s only the absolute biggest thrill, ever!

“This is cool Dad!” The Defender may not have many windows to see out, but it does have real-time sensors that give the sensation of motion. Deke McKinney is aware of how rare an experience this is.

“It will take us a cycle or two before we reach the Seljuk. In the meantime, we need to scan all parsecs for extraordinary activity of any kind. Do not rule out anything, especially any sign that we are being targeted by long-range sensors,” Cerella points to the array of lights to the left of navigation.

“We are moving so fast, I don’t see how we could be tracked.”

“The opposite is true Father McKinney.”

In a static universe, other than the unremitting expansion, they represent a fleeting wisp in the corner of the eye of anyone who has them open.


TH NULL SOLUTION

Episode 11


page 17

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 9

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 9

Defender?… I didn’t think they named their prototypes, heck we don’t even know if this this thing has tasted a spec of dark matter?…

“As far as I can tell, the atmospheric restriction has been suspended. There is nothing preventing us from taking THAT,” Deke points to the most advanced of the ships they have been drooling over, “out for a mission.”

There appears a glint in Sampson’s eye, unseen for many a cycle here on Eridanus. “ItRelated image sure beats being a sitting duck while the Elders have their wings clipped.”

All four pairs of Earthen-eyes look to Cerella for signs of dissenting demeanor. With her world in a state of flux, coupled with the reliable altruism of her mate and his father, she cannot muster the logic to oppose the plan. There is one caveat, “I would need to be a part of any such undertaking. All the sensors at your disposal will not be able to detect “their” presence.”

“Who is “they”?” an appropriate question from Sam.

Cerella covers her face with the hooded portion of her white adornments, period.

“That’s your answer Dad. Let’s get the Defender fired up before she changes her mind.”

Defender? I didn’t think they named their prototypes, heck we don’t even know if this this thing has tasted a spec of dark matter.”

“It has, at least in the simulator I built.”

“That’s our boy Cel!” Sampson crows to his wife. “You and Deimostra hold down the fort and if Ekcello and the gang wake up while we’re gone, tell him we are going around the block, isn’t that right Cerella?”

“I must alert the Seljuk about our activities before we leave the atmosphere.”

Image result for got junk png“Oh, the Selljunk! I thought mentioning them was icksnay, out-of-bounds, off-limits.”

“The Seljuk are not the problem. They are friends to Eridanus,” end of topic.–


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 9


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 261

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 261

…Gus peers out of the pink sky, wondering exactly just which star out there has that one certain blue jewel in orbit around it…

A loving father cups Gus’ face with his hands, massaging his cheeks, wiping away the tears. “I want you to know that it took me a very long time to realize that my {Freudian slip} … I mean our, return would do more harm than good. If we go back now, with everything we have learned, we will screw up everything, every timeline, and we would be using technology that the world cannot properly handle.

“Gus, it took a monumental effort to cooperate enough to colonize Mars and even then the Koreans were compelled to screw things up. How can we be trusted to crisscross the galaxy?”

“Now, that you know the secrets, why the hell not? We could use the improvements to SOL, fix all that molecule crap and take it from there. You are selling mankind short, aren’t you?” He is expressing the hope of the current generation.

“No, no Gus, you’re not getting it. These Eridanians lost fifty of their astronauts, just like that,” he snaps his fingers. “The very NEWFOUNDLANDER that saved our lives was lost and abandoned. But they learned from that screw-up, four thousand damned Earth-years ago. No other planet or galaxy gave them the technology for that ship, they built it themselves. Trial and error are a Universal precept.”

“Earth-years Dad? You sound like they have you brainwashed.”

“Did I not mention that they brought you back from the dead? Don’t be a pudknocker!”

Gus peers out of the pink sky, wondering exactly just which star out there has that one certain blue jewel in orbit around it.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, you bet….” Not entirely true.

But life goes on.-

-Back at the pleasant, earthly living quarters for the first such of the specie to inhabit the sextet planetary system of Epsilon Eridani {two stars-two planets-two moons}, once again are emptied of McKinneys, as is their custom to dine with the native Eridanians, who are enamored by those totally wacky Earthlings and their stimulating company.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 261


page 233

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 243

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 243

CHAPTER TEN

Where Were We?

…the Stellar Explorer, piloted by the McKinney brothers, is losing control…

“SLAV, we are losing contact with the chrono-link. The ship is breaching the threshold, but it’s like we are watching it via remote hookup…,” Deke tries to explain what is happening.Stellar Explorer

“We have you on our screens, engage the emergency decelerator immediately…” encourages the SLAV.

But instead of slowing, it has more than doubled its maximum velocity. The SLAV crew struggles with what they are seeing and the data that defies description, considering known parameters.

“We were talking with them one minute… they were having problems… we cannot regain contact.”

At SOL Mission Control they are desperate for answers. “How can that be Fletcher Fitch? You never hinted that they could travel that fast!” Roy Crippen’s comprehension cannot possibly keep up with the pace Stellar Explorer was setting.

“No sir. We don’t know if the speed-of-light can be exceeded… and the crew blacked-out just after they lit the fuse.” After reviewing the data, the former Talibanistani-national posits, “But then after reaching SOL 1 and maintain it for a minute, it immediately jumped to SOL 2 and they are now approaching SOL 3. The heliopause {rim of the Solar System} will be breached in five minutes.”

There is only disbelief from Mission leadership.

“What do we do President Crippen?”

“Didn’t that thing have a velocity governor, Afridi — I mean Fitch, can they make the turn going that fast?”

“We are running the numbers now Mr. President. The unmanned test went nothing like this. We are only scratching the surface of exo-WARP conditions.”

“Tell me about it!” President Roy is at a loss for action. The fate of Space Colony 1 haunts him still. “Holy crap! This cannot be happening!”

There are no concrete answers let alone solutions, in this speculative world of SOL technology. How could this be… having tested three unmanned cruisers (the same one 3 times) at these exact speeds completing the mission without a hitch… and now this?


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 243


page 218

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 209

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 209

…The McKinneys are relieved when their space-taxi whooshes past the ominous molten maelstrom and subsequently an uninviting barren exo-world that looks like it would make a great prison planet

The NEWFOUNDLANDER continues to hurtle toward the planetary system which must surely be their final destination. The ship with a remote control mind uses all the right moves on its approach, like it had done this very move before. A skilled navigator himself, SamImage result for speed of light gif sincerely hopes so, because he is beginning to feel uneasy with the speed at which they going at this late stage. That scary mega planet is looking large and larger, its red-hot surface churning like the gates of hell… and they have barely dipped below SOL.

Born to go fast and built for speed, Sampson and Celeste are in white-knuckle mode, each in their own way, praying that the NEWFOUNDLANDER would slow down! Imagine being a passenger in an auto without a steering wheel whose brakes have failed and that would pretty much sum up the situation.

Little do they realize that due to the orb’s enormous mass, the illusion of proximity is just that, an illusion? At a half a million miles out, the stardrive that had relentlessly propelled them past several other stars without a pit-stop begins to back off, freezing the white dots of light behind them. An example: Earth’s sunlight will catch up to the Epsilon Eridani solar system in another year or so.

They are relieved when their space-taxi whooshes past the ominous molten maelstrom and subsequently an uninviting barren exo-world that looks like it would make a great prison planet. Once the sub-light deceleration has taken full effect, and you can DreamySkies-blue2-(Magical)definitely notice the difference.

The only possible landing point is the third largest member of this unique triumvirate, a misty looking sphere, the size of which is hard to judge. There are no clues as to what lays beneath the cloaking shroud; no hints to its close-up appearance.

Instead of knifing through the planet’s pea soup ionosphere, to allow that anxiously awaited first glimpse from on high, the NEWFOUNDLANDER nestles into an orbit above the vaporous barrier.

What lies beneath the clouds & mist?


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 209


page 189

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 171

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 171

…“How do I politely kick the butt of the first female presidential candidate since 2016?”…

To his credit, Roy Crippen has been coached into being an eloquent speaker, once some of that Texas drawl is withdrawn and his quiet ways set aside for super-sized Roy.

His sneakily crafted campaign assault against Pete Sanchez and his policies are working. The once modest crowds are increasing steadily. He seems to be growing in popularity with people who are taking the future seriously, not just along for the ride.

His speech today at Chicago’s Lincoln Park & Zoo expects to draw 100,000; none of them Republican Party plants, as opposed to the Kool-Aid drinking poster-wavers at {Sanchez VP} Sylvia Freelove’s scripted stops. Sometimes it’s hard not to think that he is running against Pete Sanchez.

How do I politely kick the ass of the first female presidential candidate since 2016?”

“Let me see that tie,” insists Francine and far from the first female first lady hopeful. By virtue of a scheduling snafu, Francine is in the Windy City to speak to the convention of Aeronautic Manufacturing Contractors in her newest/continuing duties as Public Relations Executive for NASA. Today she will wear both gaudy hats, much like her candidate hasn’t completely left NASA behind, “Did I pick that one out?”

He proudly cinches up his favorite Orion Constellation tie. “I am, after all, “The Hunter” in this campaign…..hunting down an obstacle to social progress and an opponent to a second Mars Colony.”

“I’m not sure the voters are going to make the connection Roy. It looks like you splattered paint on it from 30 feet away. Maybe the one that matches your eyes would be a better choice.”

“Bloodshot?”

She completely ignores that comment, spoken by a man with his mind set on his, ‘This is my lucky tie.’

“Wasn’t that the tie you were wearing the day the New Mayflower landed on Mars?”

“Okay it may not be all that lucky, but there is something about it that is consoling.”


 THE RETURN TRIP

Lucky Goldfish by Pan Xiao Ling

Episode 171


page 162

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 164

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 164

…Sampson McKinney is, at most, a spaceship pilot, not some flaky, lab coat wearing, eat & sleep pure science guy that he wishes he were now…

“I think we are going to dissect the Orion Constellation, right about at “The Hunter’s” navel.”

“I was just double-checking your numbers Cel and I would guess if we are whizzing our way with a purpose, our destination is a star close to what we call Bernard’s Loop. But yeah, we are going to see if Orion’s belt buckle does indeed twinkle.”

“Do you have any guesses about the time frame we are looking at; I mean are we talking about 10 years? Celeste is well aware that they are not going around the block, but the mental commitment it takes to orientate the human brain for space travel is far from immediate gratification. The one saving grace is that SOL or even multiples of it, are not fractions thereof; at least you have the sensation of getting somewhere very f-a-s-t… zoom-zoom.

Sampson finds himself in a position he never imagined. He is at most a spaceship pilot, not some flaky, lab coat wearing, eat & sleep pure science guy that he wishes he were. That guy would come in handy now. Then again, 21st Century earthly mankind has not been programmed for the parameters they are facing.

“Vell, vell Frau McKinney, das eez a doozy uv a qveston,” he does his best to imitate the stereotypical German rocketeer, like Werner von Braun.

“Spare me the Einstein and give me your best estimates, we are raising a baby here and I need to have some idea of what’s what!”

“Of the five most likely star systems on this heading, Bernard’s Star and Struve 2398, a single and a binary red system respectively are six light-years out. Another red, Ross 154 is at eight. But you have to keep in mind that these red stars are cool by our standards, which means they well past their prime, on the downslide side of life.”

“If you knew your sun was burning out, wouldn’t you go searching for another sun and planet as a bailout?” Celeste submits possible reasons for the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s trips to Earth and eventually Mars.


THE RETURN TRIP

Dying Star by Sammy15

Episode 164


Bernard’s Loop (catalogue designation Sh 2-276) is an emission nebula in the constellation of Orion. It is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex which also contains the dark Horsehead and bright Orion nebulae. The loop takes the form of a large arc centered approximately on the Orion Nebula. The stars within the Orion Nebula are believed to be responsible for ionizing the loop.(Wikipedia)


page 155

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 163

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 163

…No strangers to astronomy, like any astronauts worthy of his or her spacesuit, the combined knowledge of the McKinneys serves them well …

The Great Orion Nebula was captured with a Canon T1i using a Celestron CGEM-800 telescope by Philip A. Cruden

Image result for speeding away gifCeleste gradually recovers from time distorting space speed and the resulting blackout, examining Sammy for signs of physical harm. It seems that the 1st baby in space has slept through the 100-to-300,000 mph acceleration. She is very much like any other child when come to riding in the family car; after a couple boring minutes they are fast asleep, usually for the duration.

For the duration of their trip away from their solar system home-space is:

  1. up for grabs
  2. one guess is as good as the next
  3. let the meter run
  4. the GPS is on the fritz

Unlike distances between planets in the same sun-system, intergalactic space travel entails the equivalent time light needs to travel from point A to point B, and where the only significant “landmark” celestial bodies are an occasional asteroid, meteors of erratic size, and the granddaddy of them all, the wandering comet.

No strangers to astronomy, like any astronauts worthy of his or her spacesuit, the combined knowledge of the McKinneys serves them well. They are charting their progress through this new astronomical perspective with the aid of galactic star charts salvaged from the dear departed Tycho plus old fashioned reconnoitering.

orion“Do you remember the history syllabuses that taught us about Alpha Centauri correctly being the closest star to our star and all the speculation about where other forms of life may come from,” asks Sampson about the horse ‘n buggy days of dim understanding.

“Yes I do. They were a light-year short in calculating the distance and didn’t even know that it was part of a three star system.”

They harken back to when the Hubble Telescope altered cosmic perspectives from seeing uncountable #’s of stars to reveal a jaw-dropping millions of galaxies.

Then to have had the brief privilege of working with Space Colony’s 20” mirror, you could say that the Universe is getting smaller and bigger at the same time. “But we are not traveling on a course that remotely resembles a path to Centauri. I think we are going to dissect the Orion Constellation, right about at “The Hunter’s” navel.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Lego Hubble Telescope

Episode 163


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