THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 273

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 273

…For someone about to give birth any day now, Cerella looks no plumper for the wear…

History Lesson

History according to Gus McKinney

A lot of pent-up emotion spills out onto the Eridanian landscape, expunging that indigenous cloak of suppression. For a brief time, this joyous time and place obscures what is 10 light years away; except for Gus McKinney, who never wants to forget one certain woman {Mindy} OR Deimostra who is enamored by the romantic history of the other 9+ billion people she never had the chance to meet.

That place and those times are long ago and far way. Right here they live in peace. Right now there is no room for homesickness.

Cerella is an excellent diversion to that end.

#Gotta love those Earth girls#

“Cerella, come join us dear. We were just getting a history lesson from the boys,” Celeste insists that mother of her pending grandchild share in the family setting; rare is the occasion that Eridanians feel compelled to do so. “You are absolutely glowing today.”

Bedecked in dresses cut above the knee, which is comfortably conducive in this clammy climate, Celeste and her daughter display flesh not seen in these parts.

Image result for hubba hubba gif#There is nothing left to our imagination# lament the Native females.

#How refreshing {how about those Earth women}# praise the Native males.

What is amazing about Cerella’s appearance is centered above her waist instead of below. For someone about to give birth any day now, she looks no plumper for the wear.

But she is definitely with child, as Celeste had discovered when future mother-in-law Fortän invited her over to her city for some grandmotherly chit-chat a few cycles back.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 273


page 242

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 237

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 229

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 229

…Earth must be convinced that Deke & Gus McKinney are yet another major failure in Earth’s misbegotten ventures into space…

Misbegotten Moons by Elena Stone

#The successful test of an unmanned vehicle at sub-light velocities is leading Earth to the wrong conclusions# Ekcello is as emotionally invested as his Eridanian rationality will allow him, #There is a point in time, before they achieve that SOL threshold, that we could make the necessary alterations to their space-drive and bring them here to Eridanus#

Sampson prefers another option, “Why not save their lives, make the test a success and let them slingshot back to Earth? I don’t think Eridanus is in their flight plan.”

#For your technicians to believe that it was by their merit that made the speed-of-light possible, when it clearly is not, would be like us sending you and Celeste back; the damage and confusion would offset the good intentions. They must be convinced that Deke & Gus McKinney are yet another major failure in Earth’s misbegotten ventures into space#

“Now wait a minute here Mister! We may not be the most successful space program going… however many other space programs there are… but you are not letting us learn by our mistakes.”

#That logic is flawed#

“What are you saying Sam? Don’t you get it?” Celeste is adamant. “Either way the results will be the same, in the eyes of our world. Why should the reputation of the SOL Project take precedent over reality? The best possible solution is for the boys to join us here on Eridanus.”

#At this point in the space/time continuum, the people of Earth cannot know the difference between death and disappearance as opposed to perceived success. How will your sons be able to explain the sudden emergence of a completely foreign technology. They could not#

“Excuse me if I find it hard to get used to deciding the outcome of otherwise predetermined circumstances, family or not. They are going to freak out when they, all of a sudden, find themselves here. At least we had 5 years to think about it.”

#We implore you to listen to your mate. She has seen for herself and she understands#

Though outwardly he appears a dissident, Sampson McKinney has internalized and reconciled this matter of morality and mortality. Of all the things usually attributed to the Lord’s mysterious ways, the manipulation of the future by an alien race, raises more questions than those answered; each instance becoming moot and academic.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 229


page 207

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 223

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 223

…The staggering ramifications of Ekcello explaining the McKinney’s fate are lost, overshadowed by the immediate; will a hundred tomorrows erase the memories of the day we/they first met…?

Time Flies but Memories last | Christian House Sitters

… Indeed that first day on Eridanus was memorable, nothing that the passage of the intervening ten years can erase, though they can only guess how many Earth years have fallen by the wayside. For a man playing catch-up, Sampson will, to this day, swear it was only three, but then again, aging does not seem to be a factor here.

And as much as things change, sometimes they do not. Celeste’s propensity for the parapsychological has firmly entrenched her as a favorite of most of the dwellers on this thought-heavy planet. The music she produced in the guise of deep-space computer communications from the bridge of the NEWFOUNDLANDER Explorer has become all the rage.

Deimostra, whose physical development should match her 16 year Earthly age, is lagging behind by ½, while her intellect races to 16².

Sammy Mac is a different story. It is not that he personally feels out of place, but the bravado mannerisms that are irretrievably stamped into his personality are an acquired taste on Eridanus. To be sure, one of the concepts these cerebral people have the hardest time comprehending is his need for competition, as it applies to gamesmanship or one-upmanship. In Celeste they see refinement and culture / In Sampson they find football, baseball, horse racing, and a burning yearning to win and be the best.

“You must have had some form of sports somewhere along the line,” he would tell them, ignoring the telepathy that they insist he master. “We saw your ancestors on Mars you know and they seemed to be regular guys—no floating or mind-games. In fact, the recreation room on the NEWFOUNDLANDER was filled with one particular weird game… like they were gambling.”

His contention falls on deaf ears, no matter which, they ignore his primitive rants. It was as though they have erased the memory of their ancient forebears, wiped them away and started with a clean slate. What they used to be has been placed in the pay-no-mind column of the collective memory.

These days, they have been forced back in time, in the form of a clunky spaceship and three creatures whose muddling civilization has been mostly forgotten about. Sampson’s stubborn reluctance, or wrongly hardwired brain, most assuredly will remind them to avoid such impulsiveness in the future.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 223


page 202

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 212

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 212

…Only one new model in four thousand years, how can that be, I think we may have made a slight miscalculation…

Miscalculation by Jared Hindman

The largest of these towering edifices opens its low-level gates, in order to swallow the NEWFOUNDLANDER. The giant size sliding doors draw apart slowly and they can almost hear the creaking of the glides due to a possible drought of inactivity. The well-traveled ship both lumbers and floats in, after the gap reaches its full extent.

The adult McKinneys cannot take their eyes off the still functioning monitors. They have entered into what appears to be a vehicular {space} gallery.

“Do you remember the EAA Convention in Wisconsin?” Sampson tests his wife’s premarital memory about a yearly gathering of flying machines, pilots, enthusiasts and an accompanying aviation museum.

“Yes I do. You wanted to show off something there to your buddies.” Celeste was thinking about her inaugural introduction to his friends and fellow airborne buffs.

“Yeah Oshkosh, by gosh, and the P-51 Mustang I had been working on for 5 years!” That comment earns him a fist to the shoulder. She meant hers-truly. “There is every type of spacecraft imaginable here.”

About that he is correct.

And then some; human eyes have not seen, nor can they imagine where some of these ships came from, though there a few that look like they were made by Earth’s own rocketeers, “That looks the first liquid-fueled rocket made by Robert Goddard in the 1920s! They made a movie about that Celeste. Stick an American Flag on that one.”

Identifying the antiques is easy. Just where the NEWFOUNDLANDER fits into this collection, only the folks of Planet X would know, although that vacant slot on the right, near the end of this mindboggling menagerie seems to have NEWFOUNDLANDER written all over it.

“There is only one ship here that looks more advanced than this one.” He is baffled. Only one new model in four thousand years, how can that be? I think we may have made a slight miscalculation.” (like Wile E Coyote)


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 212


page 192

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 205

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 205

…great pains have been taken to restore the spacecraft to how they found it (minus the dead space-guy dudes) approx. 5 years ago…

For all the tragedy and misfortune that the Space Family McKinney has endured, most astronomers worth their salt would give over the left side of their brain for this opportunity.

This, “plain dumb luck” as Sammy Mac puts it, renews the group vitality. The Sammy Mac tag is a well-earned nickname, born out of sure bravado and worn like a merit badge. Before the sudden disembarking, the McKinney family unit had been sentenced to a potential lifetime on that barren red sphere, with only their resourcefulness as a survival skill. Badge awarded: Planetary Exploration.

They likely will never know that fate actually interfered and whisked them away from a New Mayflower rescue. Perhaps it is just as well.

So now comes the chance, however up-in-the-air, to actually have other beings to interact with; to share knowledge and history, keep company or perchance complete a rewarding life. That which was out of reach 5 years ago has been broached in the unlikeliest of circumstance.

To erase any possible doubts as to their intentions in their awkward capacity as stowaways and reflect positively on their culturally civil nature, great pains have been taken to restore the spacecraft to how they found it (minus the dead space-guy dudes).

“How are we going to explain the absence of their crew?” Celeste wonders while she and Sammy tidy up.

“Hopefully they have already guessed the fate of the expedition, seeing that it had gone on so long and returns only by the grace of automatic recall. If these folks bury their dead, we can show them the pictures of their Martian graveyard. If they do not bury their dead and consider the practice barbaric, then we didn’t see anyone on Mars alive or dead!”

From out of nowhere, a new sound filters into the bridge of the ship named by them, NEWFOUNDLANDER. Celeste is quick to identify it, “That is music played on a recorder! Why didn’t I pick up on that earlier?”

“Recorder, as in recorded music?”

“No I mean recorder….a 12th Century crude version of the flute… a musical instrument.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 205


page 185

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 190

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 190

…“This country just isn’t ready for a henpecked president…

“Braden tells me that Deke has been dating a girl and he has asked her to “Rising Star”. What on earth is that?” It is Francine‘s job to at least have some clue about the boys’ social life.

“Good for Deke! I was wondering when a girl would turn his head!” Roy beams.

“So he takes a girl to a planetarium to watch the stars? Wouldn’t his convertible be better for that?”

Space Academy“No, no, silly, it’s the big fall event at the Space Academy. I remember taking Becky Bartman… she was a cute filly from Plano… oh wait, I get it.. Rising Star is a dance Francine.”

“Does Deke even know how to dance? And Braden needs to be in town that week, because who knows where in Florida we will be.” Francine knows what’s what with campaign logistics. “Has this girl been vetted?”

“She’s a date, not a democrat!”

“How do you know she’s not?”

“Teenagers are not political creatures and Sammy Mac raised his boys right. I trust he’ll be a perfect gentleman.”

“Will she be a perfect lady? Have you met her family?”

“It sounds like he just met her, give it some time. If the girl interferes with his Academy work, I’ll step in.”

“Okay, you’re the president of our family, but I’m appointing myself vice-president of girlfriends, since you didn’t have the guts to make me the real Veep.”

“The country just wasn’t ready for a henpecked president; Hispanic, Black, Female, Democrat, Democrat, Democrat, did I say Democrat ???? , but not henpecked by the #2. I’ll have my hands full with the one I got.”

“Fine, I didn’t want Char’s job anyway, so I will settle for nosy First Lady.”

“There you go, knock yourself out!


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 190


page 179

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 148

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 148

…“What do I tell the world? And will they believe me?” asks the President of the United States…

Francine could not possibly guess what Roy is about to tell the leader of the free world, of all people.

“Please don’t beat around the bush. What the hell happened to the United Korean Peninsula’s sovereign property? I have to tell them something…… and I have a stump speech to deliver in 10 minutes.”

“I’m sure that will be a Democratic knee-slapper!” Roy is sure that the President has heard the rumblings about Roy’s possible political plans. “We have thrown a wet blanket over the whole Sang-Ashi thing and I guess you can spin it any way you want.”

“Well then just spin-it-out man!”

“We have indisputable proof that Sang-Ashi was built by the Koreans for the sole purpose of sabotaging the Space Colony program, doing whatever it takes to stop it in its tracks. To that end, they have used a deep-space probe to disguise their destructive ways.

“In response to that aggression, we needed to disable Sang-Ashi as it was about to take out the New Mayflower as well. However, the crew did not pull the trigger, the onboard mainframe did.”

This information produces differing reactions; Francine cannot believe Roy was so blunt. President Sanchez sits down, aghast at the notion.

“We can’t do that!” he proclaims.

“We had to take defensive measures,” Roy indirectly crediting Aldona Afridi. “We are not going to sit on our hands while two rogue global powers have their way with us!”

“Two? Who is the other one?”

“Talibanistan.”

“That’s impossible. My Secretary of State tells me that he has a working relationship with Kamran Khan-Nutkani.”

“Sure it works for them! And who do you think is behind the freeing of Samiq Gaad and the kidnapping of the McKinney boys?” He warns, “Do not be hoodwinked by a Talibanistani Trojan Horse.”

“What do I tell the world? And will they believe me?”

“Think about Sampson and Celeste McKinney, stranded on Mars, running out of food, water, and oxygen.”

“The country would not stand for news of their deaths, they adore that couple,” he makes a politically generic statement.

“Exactly.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Talibanistan

Episode 148


page 140

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 142

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 142

..Roy’s attempt at respect is lame and short-lived, “Did they happen to mention that Sang-Ashi destroyed Space Colony 1, or did they leave that out?”

While Francine & Roy discuss the lofty merits of a Presidential bid…. his wristphone wants to wriggle off his wrist. Braden King’s face is fills up the 2 x 2” screen.

“It’s nice to have you back on the job Braden; your replacement was kinda dull.”

“Dull would be refreshing right now Roy! I have President Sanchez (US) on the line and he is hopping mad… asking to speak with ‘the g** d****d head of the space program!”

“That isn’t my title, but if he wants to talk, who am I to refuse. Put him through.”

Image result for beep bop boop gif

Beep Bop Boop

“Mister Crippen, I just got a call from United Korea demanding an explanation.”

“About what, do they feel left out of the Coalition? They had their chance and BTW, tell them to stay the hell out of space–Sir!”

“They are claiming that we destroyed their Sang-Ashi Space Probe, that was on its way back from Mars, is that true?”

“We knew that it was on a heading back to Earth, but as far as I know, we were just keeping tabs on it–Sir.” Roy’s attempt at respect is lame and short-lived. “Did they happen to mention that Sang-Ashi destroyed Space Colony 1, or did they leave that out?”

“We have not proven that assertion Mister Crippen.”

Roy takes a deep breath, looks over to Francine for constitutional underpinning.

“This is Francine Bouchette, Mister President, Mr. Crippen’s Press Secretary. He will look into the matter and get back to you.”

Which he does and not just at the President’s bidding, telling Braden, “Have Image result for wake up gifMission Control wake the boys up on the New Mayflower  and I will be speaking with them shortly.”

“It will take some time for them to come out of hyper-sleep, but had anything happened out there AL would have rousted them earlier.”

“Yeah I know, but he didn’t, so something must be up.”

“Does this have anything to do with those enhancements that Aldona Afridi passes along?”

“You are catching up fast! I don’t know, I suppose maybe,” Roy is running scenarios
through in his head, while changing the subject to calmer King Ranch domestic issues. “How are the boys doing?”

“Well it turns out that they must miss Francine a lot, asking me about her all the day long. I gave them her mobile number this morning so give her a heads-up.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 142


page 134

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 124

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 124

you have seen what these people are capable of, so do not underestimate their reach or cunning

Cunning by Skia on DeviantArt.com

“In opening, my only question for you is, did you recognize the man who shot you?” asks the Man in Black

That is a stupid question from someone who should already know the answer, considering that the hail of bullets sailed through the closed door of the lavatory, while the victim was seated on the stainless steel pedestal.

“No I do not.”

Related image“Was there anyone on your flight who looked familiar to you, suspicious or otherwise?”

“I did recognize that pop singer my daughters are so crazy for, the one that has all those tattoos…”

When a bad-guy can board an international flight with a weapon and a covert agency of the USA cannot identify him, it is an insecure feeling.

It is obvious that neither Afridi nor his family can be of any help, at least for the Man in Black. He motions to the other non-family interested party, who has her own set of questions.

“My name is Sandi Gilbert, a close associate of Roy Crippen, here at Lovell and at Galveston and we would like for you to tell us about the revelation you flew all this way to share.”

Lieutenant II Gilbert has been leading the Incident Audit Team {Space Colony 1.20.2030} from the beginning and the older sister of KHST’s NASA Expert Randi Gilbert. All the evidence supporting the accidental destruction of the Mars orbiting Colony has been peeling away, one pungent layer at a time. Unlike the Space Shuttle Challenger that exploded on a frosty Florida morning in 1986 or Shuttle Columbia’s re-entry miscalculation in 2003, both of which happened with wide-eyed witnesses in Earth’s atmosphere Space Colony 1 disappeared into the abyss of space, without Earthly observation. NASA has been out of the disaster business since the funding drought began in 2009 and the Mars mission inception a decade ago.

Aldona Afridi is shell-shocked, both literally and figuratively. What an odd path:

  • He had successfully defected from his Far East homeland, at great risk to life and limb
  • Navigated The Orient Express all the way to its Istanbul railhead
  • Made few friends and many enemies along the way
  • Tried and did to warn NASA about a space probe with bad intent
  • Got a ride out of the Near East for him and his family, for safe asylum in the United States only to be shot to pieces while using a Turkish Airlines toilet

Not a bad month’s work for someone who isn’t employed by anyone in particular.

“You may want to check the flight path of Sang-Ashi. It was never intended to continue on out of the solar system. I believe it used Mars gravity to slingshot itself back in the direction of Earth.”

“I’m still not sure what that has to do with NASA or you ignoring a global manhunt to speak to someone,” Lt. Gilbert is trying to blend compassion with curiosity.

“You have a rescue mission underway, do you not?”

“The New Mayflower is on its way; yes that is no secret?”

The New Mayflower

The New Mayflower

NASA

“You would be well advised to compare the flight paths of your Mayflower and the Sang-Ashi probe.”

“NASA can do that Mr. Afridi, especially since a security breach was uncovered in the Mission protocols.”

“Then you have seen what these people are capable of. Do not underestimate their reach or cunning.”

“I will pass on your concerns.” Sandi Gilbert removes her flight cap to add, “Please excuse me for saying so, but whoever “they” are, have been dogging your ass ever since you left Talibanistan.”

“Thank you for noticing… now can I see my family?”

— Some lessons can only be learned the hard way and for NASA, a non-warring agency of peaceful exploration, it is difficult to shift mental philosophies mid-mission.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 124


pages 118 + 119