The NULL Solution = Episode 49

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The NULL Solution = Episode 49

…Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life…

“By what cosmic law is that possible?” Skaldic cannot explain the strange machinations of the silvery sphere.

⃝    is indeed a uniquely personal experience, whether in this galaxy or the next. Funny thing is, nobody but Skaldic and Sammy Mac makes a big deal about it.

“If it is alive, how does it travel 64 parsecs in the time we walk through a door? Maybe it’s not an individual. There might be a bunch of them, a fleet of shiny bowling balls whizzing around, muting Seljuk outposts and turning your Gifted into pillars of salt.”  Sam references the Holy Bible and tenpin sport in the same paragraph. How foreign these notions must be here on Eridanus, without an overt “god”. “If ⃝    had malicious intent, it/they could have destroyed those planets and turned Eridanian minds into mush. You told me that the Gifted are whole and I can attest to an alliance that was allowed to form between 4 scattered civilizations. I’m telling you Skaldy, we are not alone in the Universe.”

“Where did all the stars in the sky come from? Was there only emptiness before they came to be? And why are there so few planets with intelligent life, like you have been telling me?”

The back and forth has taken a philosophical turn. How can an Earthling convey his belief in the existential? Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life.

“I can only speak for me and my family. Those on our planet, who are of the same opinion, believe that there is one true God, a creator of all things; every star and planet, comet and asteroid, bird and animal, male and female.”

“We call that middle star  {middle star}, the star that caused all the rest to appear.”

“Okay, I get that,” Sam drinks that in. “We have an instruction manual for that, written about and by the greatest man who ever walked upon our world. It begins by telling the story about how our God created the Universe.”

“You have told me, that your planet thought it was alone in what you call the Universe, that Eridanus is the first contact you had with any others.”

“True enough, man. For 66.67 % of my life and probably to this day on Earth, we thought we were the one and only beings.”

“Did not your book tell you about the rest?”

“Not in so many words, but I’m sure the answer is somewhere in there. Not until Celeste and I stumbled upon the NEWFOUNDLANDER did we have proof. Otherwise we had no way of knowing.”

“Just like we know not what ⃝    is or what purpose it serves.”

“That is a real barn-burner my friend!” Sam uses another idiomatic phrase.

“What is a barn?”

They will get to that new word and other subjects in time. The many mysteries of life will remain.


The NULL Solution =

“Mystery” Artwork by Anton Kononov

Episode 49


page 52

The NULL Solution = Episode 46

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The NULL Solution = Episode 46

…All suspects are present and have been accounted for; excepting ⃝   …

— The offended {fired upon by one Gus McKinney} Ÿ€Ð weren’t prepared for anything that offensive.

A perceived harmless bug bite turned into a nasty inflammatory welt. Ÿ€Ð controllers retreat to regroup. Their original objective was to find out whom or what was responsible for ⃝    , but instead they run into this, seemingly chaotic and overly defensive world.

But it is not the only unmanned probe that was sent out. The other {distinguishable/known} worlds in this end of the Universe have been scoped-out with varying results.

Suspect #1: Those quiet Eridanians are not merely quiet, but downright silent. On the list of possible suspects, they were the first to be visited and the least likely to produce something such as ⃝    .

To that end, they happen to immediately precede the return of the McKinneys + Cerella to Eridanus, came and went without a trace like shadows passing in the dark. So back it goes.

Suspects #2-3-4 etc..: There are several habitable systems that need to be logged for progress, but none have progressed beyond elemental physiology; plant, animal or sentient. All in all, the empty goldfish bowl remains so.

Prime suspect: The Seljuk are another matter. Before galactic peace, they and Ÿ€Ð imperialists had a healthy squabble over a cluster of Class M planets, which were in free space and ripe for colonization. It got so ugly that it left a bad taste for both groups. Fleets were decimated, billions of lives lost and in the end.

Without a clear-cut victor and not enough incentive for either party to bother continue hostilities, withdrawal to respective galaxies was in order.

Reconnaissance from Seljuk territory yields a disturbing find. The system’s sentinel outposts are electronic wastelands, short-circuited stations of no use to the builders. The force that caused this damage had to be fearsome, prompting yet another prober to head for home. They arrive after Defender leaves. It is just as well, for had they bumped into each other, blame for Seljukian misfortune would have been unduly assigned.

All suspects are present and have been accounted for; excepting ⃝     which they endeavored to clarify most.

The Ÿ€Ð are a reactionary bunch. IF there is a next time, they WILL send out attack crews.

“Are yea friend or foe?” That question has yet to be answered.


The NULL Solution =

Friend or Foe Album Cover – Menomena

Episode 46


page 49 (end ch. 4)

The NULL Solution = Episode 37

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The NULL Solution = Episode 37

…As improbable as it may seem, I think they are reaching out – or back – or forward to us, like we are going to run into something we currently can’t deal with…

Gus McKinney has reported for duty and gets in on the Space Technologies Expo.

F-squared acts like he has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “What have you been hiding from us Fletch?”

“Easy Gus, this download just started a minute or two ago,” Roy confirms in defense.

Like kids in a candy store, they “Ooo” and “Ahh” and “of course” their way through the Image result for star trek transporter gifmaterial, which has the feel of techy wisdom – sent from the future.

“Why didn’t we think of that,” the astronaut of the group comments on the section most applicable to him. “This molecular stabilizer is just a stepping stone to a Star Trek transporter, I’m telling you!”

The ramifications of these technologies pale in comparison to their implementation or rather when or if they are implemented.

“This has my Mom’s fingerprints all over it. I don’t mean that this her techno stuff, but it dovetails with the visions I’ve been seeing of her and Deke. As improbable as it may seem, I think they are reaching out – or back – or forward to us, like we are going to run into something we currently can’t deal with.”

“You may be onto something Gus. I think we better start working our way through the engineering, Fletcher. If he’s right, we will need this stuff sooner than we think.”

“But what about Lorgan, shouldn’t we be worried about it?”

“So far all we know is it doesn’t like Koreans… just like you Fletch.”

“I see your point.” Back in the day, he was on the Korean dime. “I’ll get on it right away.”

“Just a word of warning, if you need help with integrating and me or Gus aren’t available, do not share details with anyone else. If word gets out about what we’re up to… I don’t want to think about it!”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 37


page 41

The NULL Solution = Episode 35

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The NULL Solution = Episode 35

…On a normally ugly, smelly day, early in the year StarDate 2052, the Ÿ€Ð are thrown for a loop by the critical combination of an unsolicited trespasser and fate…

(YouTube Snippet)

CHAPTER FOUR

Friend or Foe

 

The Definition of an Alliance;

An alliance is a pact, coalition or friendship between two or more parties, made in order to advance common goals and to secure common interests. It can be a political agreement between countries to support each other in disputes with other countries, making them allies.

Alliances on a planet are pretty straightforward. Separated only by borders {ocean, river or imaginary}, they are leagues fashioned through philosophical similarities.

  1. On Earth, certain countries align themselves together {distinct factions}.
  2. On Eridanus, the many towered cities are filled to the top with people connected by brainwaves {except the Null}.
  3. The Seljuk can be called “reclusive”, preferring to keep things private {but things change}.
  4. The Ÿ€Ð are the Ÿ€Ð, an alliance unto themselves {whatever that means}.

The 4 planetary systems are separated by 64 combined parsecs {ea. 3+ light years}. They are 4 civilizations that could not be more dissimilar. 4 fates are being tethered together by an uneasy, unidentified, unwanted, unaware or unwittingly urgent alliance.

Choose a lane or it will be chosen for you.

The Ÿ€Ð {#4 above} have always been a wildcard in this corner of infinity. They are unsightly in the eyes of 95% of known species and revolting to the rest. To make their palatability worse, they carry an odor that would offend a Venusian Wasteworm.  Add to this unsavory list, Ÿ€Ð do not possess a shred of decency. They assume the worst in all things and act accordingly.

3 Planets by ENDESGA on DeviantArt.com

No good things can come of things, which they do not understand. Such is their attitude when an intruder dare enter their space without permission. On a normally ugly, smelly day, early in the year StarDate 2052, they are thrown for a loop by the critical combination of an unsolicited trespasser and fate..

The Ÿ€Ð star system is a simple one; three planets, of incremental size, in orbit far enough apart as not to exert gravitational influence on the others. Only one of these is suitable to sustain their species {not too warm, shrouded by dense clouds, extremely humid}{as opposed to Eridanus which is equally muggy but much warmer}. The clouds are an artificial blanket that covers over them, like a drapery over a window, so no one can see in.

One can imagine the horror that ensues when a shiny smooth ⃝ takes up an orbit beneath that protective security layer. They frantically scan and analyze in the brief time they have. Before a strategy can be formulated, a bright illumination clears away their synthetic security. For the first time in eons, the Ÿ€Ð are exposed to the harsh ultraviolet radiation of their star.

They are forced to make the proper environmental measures to ensure inhabitability of their world.

If there is one Ÿ€Ð-ian credo, it is “Attack first, ask questions later”. Galactic harmony has gone on too long for their taste. Their leaning would be to exact a measure of revenge.


The NULL Solution =

Galactic Harmony

Episode 35


page 39

The NULL Solution = Episode 18

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The NULL Solution = Episode 18

…For the first time in all his born days, Roy expresses doubt in the field of his passion, “Do we belong 93,000,000 miles out in space?”…

Roy Crippen, beloved #48, sits back on a chair in his personal space at the Galveston Launch Facility. He had orchestrated the great theater for this day. Everything was going just fine until it wasn’t. What started as a way to hide a missing McKinney has rapidly descended into panic on his part.

Human nature’s default reaction is to think the worst. ‘Gus will not be coming back.’ His lone mistake was placing a time-frame on the return of the Stellar Explorer.

The location of his office is a state secret.

That he is there is also a secret.

He uses whatever mission hook-ups he has at his disposal to search for Gus, or that shiny spheroid his stepson was speaking of, up until there was the blaring sound of silence.

The Sun is making a better door than a window; looking directly at it damages the cornea, looking around it is tough, looking through it is impossible.

Gus’ last words rattle around his brain, “I’m back in control of SEx, slowing down to get a closer look. I can tell you one thing, somebody made this thing…”

For the first time in all his born days, he expresses doubt in the field of his passion, “Do we belong that far out in space?”

  1. 10 -Space Colony 1 destroyed √
  2. 45 -Sampson & Celeste gone √
  3. 25 -Deke McKinney absent √
  4. 50 -Gus & Stellar Explorer missing (possibly, maybe) √

He would prefer not assuming the worst, but that is an imposing list of failures that stares him in the face, even though the facts about the first 3 are not known to him or anyone else on Earth. That is zero comfort when comfort is needed ASAP.

Otherwise in great health, President Roy’s heart gives in to the mounting stress.

The location of his office is a state secret.

That he is in it now is a secret.

That he lies prostrate on the floor this day is an unintended consequence.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 18


page 23

The NULL Solution = Episode 2

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The NULL Solution = Episode 2

…Deke is gone and SEx {ÊS ÊX, its demonstrative nickname} is off-the-charts fast, with a reinforced hull and a molecular stabilizer that we didn’t even know existed…

–It is currently 2051 and much has transpired in the intervening two decades:

 

  • Mars has been visited by 17 probes and landers from numerous countries, but remains unoccupied by any human being

    World Space Consortium

  • Thanks to the New Mayflower’s rescue attempt and ultimate exploration, a plethora of firsthand insights about The Red Planet have been executed
  • The World Space Consortium has disbanded due to the distaste of human lives being “lost”
  • There have been 3 more Commander-in-Chiefs since Prez Roy, all of whom have a vested curiosity about the SOL Project

“What about the cabin security? What do those cameras show?”

“Nothing after you guys lit the fuse, Gus, nothing until you made the Pluto turnaround. The funny thing is, we could not access that video feed until after you landed. Either way the result is the same,” Roy recaps, Deke is gone and SEx {ÊS ÊX, its demonstrative nickname} is off-the-charts fast, with a reinforced hull and a molecular stabilizer that we didn’t even know existed – isn’t that right Fitch?”

The man formerly known as Aldona Afridi tries unsuccessfully to mask his humiliation. Back in Talibanistan, they and the Koreans would have banished him to the rugged winter mountains for his lack of explanation. “We never considered the change in molecular structure of the human body as it crosses the SOL barrier.  I only calculated g-forces. How could I overlook molecular structure?”

“None of us did, Fletch, no need to beat yourself up.”

“What would have happened without a molecular stabilizer,” Francine is cautiously curious, “one body, two bodies or no bodies?

“Look dear, we’ve got Gus and we’ll have to guess the rest.”

His mother by any other name, she hugs Gus McKinney as tightly as she can. He will have to do for now. Deke McKinney is formally considered MIA, however unexplained.

The rest of the world cannot know the puzzling outcome of mankind’s first jaunt to the edge of the Solar System, at least for the time being.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 2


page 8

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 267

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 267

…A little thoughtful investigation, sprinkled with a pinch of feminine intuition and you have the recipe for a romantic ambush…

 

Idle speculation is tantamount to a worry-overdose for Cerella, of the tower Eupepsia, and she is not going to have any of it. It is time to be proactive, get even closer to her work, shape the future before it shapes her or take the bull by the horns. She moves to act on her own, to secure the future of the Earth people she has grown to love.

Step one in her plan, to cement the McKinneys into Eridanus history involves a cultural custom which is exercised but once in a female’s lifetime.

A little thoughtful investigation, sprinkled with a pinch of feminine intuition and you have the recipe for a romantic ambush.

Deke had been busy studying the Olde language under the tutelage of a historian, perfecting the tones of his diction… when Cerella silently shuffles into the room, nervously placing stray strands back where they belong. Absent is the long silken robe of her day-to-day look, replaced with two wispy layers of blue voile, previously reserved for the privacy of her quiet time.

She continues her “waiting to be noticed” pose until the dialectal tutor gets the hint and excuses herself, giving way to her Heiress – the cat chasing the canary, “You have a visitor, my honored student.”

Her appearance shocks him off his guard, “I hope you don’t mind me learning the Olde Language. It takes up some of my free time.”

She verbalizes her response, “The Olde Language is not forbidden, merely ancient and sacred. It is good that you are taking interest in my culture, these skills will benefit us in the future.” {Us and my, are possessive references}

“Wow, don’t you look like an angel?”

“What is an Angel,” she asks.

“In your case: a heavenly body in a heavenly place,” when in doubt, flatter.

“It occurs to me that you have never seen my individual suite Deke McKinney. There are some treasures from the Mother Planet I thought you might want to see.”

“I would like that,” he admits, unaware of any ulterior motive.

“I also have an important matter to discuss with you, as it applies to how we relate.” She could not allow herself to entirely deceive him, without letting the Cheshire cat out of the bag.

“You have piqued my interest.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Banksy Triptychs

Episode 267


page 310

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