Simply Not Simple – WIF Human Mysteries

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Simple Things

We Still

Don’t Understand

Some have said that the human pursuit of knowledge is like awakening naked in a dark forest, and being asked “how did you get here?” Despite the many difficulties and false beliefs, man has undoubtedly made great strides in having a better understanding of our world. However, there are still ideas, behaviors, and concepts that we still fail to understand. Even the most simple concepts, like the world being round, hasn’t necessarily found footing. We’ve decided to investigate 10 simple things that we don’t fully understand, in hopes that we can come to understand that we’re not out of the wilderness yet.

 10. Some People Don’t Need Sleep

We know, we know. You’re thinking, what is sleep doing on this list? We all know the function of sleep and its importance for brain health and overall wellness. It’s widely believed that the brain needs sleep to generate new pathways and connections. Without sleep, the body would be unable to hold onto these connections and it would also struggle to rejuvenate itself, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones.

The curious case of short sleepers, profiled in Ying-Hui Fu’s lab at the University of California-San Francisco, demonstrates that we haven’t come to understand sleep as well as we think. In 2009, a woman entered Fu’s lab and gave a surprising account. No matter what time she went to bed, even if it was late at night, she would still wake up at the crack of dawn. She could never sleep in. Never. And according to the subject, it was the same for several members of her family. Skeptical at first, Fu and her colleagues, decided to compare the genome of different family members. The result was an amazing discovery: a tiny mutation in a gene called DEC2. The mutation was present in family members who identified as short sleepers, but not in members of the family who had normal length sleep, nor in 250 unrelated volunteers.

However, without more conclusive evidence the finding would not be well received. Fu was left with a conundrum: how do we prove that the DEC2 gene is tied to sleep?

In order to test their hypothesis, Fu and her team decided to breed mice to express the same mutation of the “short sleepers.” The results proved that their hypothesis was correct: the mice with the mutation performed just as well as regular mice, in terms of physical and cognitive tasks, while sleeping substantially less.

Fu’s subject would relay that her short sleeping abilities allowed her to finish college in just two and half years and has generally given her ample time to become a more fulfilled person. Imagine, having 60 extra days a year. That’s a reality that future generations will certainly enjoy.

9. We Still Don’t Know How Many Species There Are on Earth

Since Noah and his Ark, human beings have attempted to categorize and catalogue the different species that we share the planet with. You’d think we’d be able to have a concrete understanding of the other creatures that roam this planet with us, but we really don’t. In fact, it’s almost embarrassing how far ranging our estimates are. Most taxonomists believe we haven’t even scratched the surface in discovering all the creatures that live on the planet. After nearly 250 years of work,  and the findings of over 15,000 new living beings each year, taxonomists still shy away from coming up with concrete estimates of how many species inhabit the planet Earth.

Scientists have identified nearly 8.7 million species, but that number is constantly challenged by scientists presenting new methods and models for extrapolation. One concept proposed by Richard May, an evolutionary biologist, is that the diversity of land animals increases as they get smaller and, granting that we’d discovered most species of big animals, he used them as a model for smaller species and concluded that there are 10 to 50 million species of land animals.

Many might be asking why it is so difficult to come up with a finite number? One of the biggest reasons is that 99 percent of all living space is under the ocean, and we’ve explored less than 10 percent of it.

8. We Know Dreaming is Important, but We Don’t Know Why

Sigmund Freud believed that dreams are a window into the unconscious mind, which express hidden feelings that are repressed or that we’re simply unaware of. And while that may not be true, it’s just one of the many theories on the nature of dreams that have not resulted in fundamental answers. What we do know for certain is that everyone dreams. The most vivid dreams occur during the REM cycle, when the brain is most active, and while it may not feel like it, but experts claim we dream at least 4 to 6 times per night.

If we’re said to dream 6 times a night, and rarely remember our dreams, what could possibly be the purpose? Why do we remember some dreams and not others? We simply have no answers. What we do know is that dreaming is important to our health and well-being. A study in which researchers woke subjects just as they were drifting off into REM sleep found that those who were not allowed to dream experienced: increased tension, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, lack of coordination, weight gain, and a tendency to hallucinate.

We guess that we’ve found new meaning in the phrase “never stop dreaming.”

7. Laughing: A Universal Language?

Something as universal as laughter would seemingly be easy to explain. It’s not. Like dreams, laughter is a powerful display of our unconscious. Laughter is involuntary, and thus is a window into our sensibilities. Think about it. Laughter changes our facial expressions, elicits noises (some more flattering than others), and is without question contagious. Who hasn’t been a room where everyone breaks out into fits of laughter?

So what triggers it? It’s not as simple as you think.

Studies have shown that laughter is less about humor and more about social interaction and communication. Laughter is first exhibited in a child at three and a half to four months of age, well before speech, and as such laughter, similar to crying, is a way for an infant to interact with the mother. The idea that laughter is another form of communication was studied by researchers who went to local malls and city sidewalks and recorded what happened just before people laughed. Over the course of nearly ten years, and observing more than 2,000 cases of naturally occurring laughter, “[they] found that most laughter does not follow jokes. People laugh after a variety of statements, such as ‘Hey John, where ya been?’ and ‘Here comes Mary.’” It is not a leap to suggest that laughter supplements language to undress situations and to better form relationships or create bonds.

6. Yawning Cools the Brain

Another involuntary action that we’ve been unable to come to terms with is yawning. A behavior that occurs across species still has managed to puzzle scientists. A widely held belief that yawning occurs so oxygen can enter our bloodstream and to wake us up when we’re becoming drowsy has actually been disproven. Steven Platek, a psychology professor at Georgia Gwinnett College, is one of the many scientists who have said there is zero evidence that yawning affects levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, blood pressure, or heart rate.

The pervading theory is that the purpose yawning is to cool down the brain. The importance of scientific inquiry is that while eliminating one hypothesis it can make way for another. Subsequently, with studies showing that yawning does not affect levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, other experiments showed that yawning actually changes the temperature of the brain itself.

A Gallup study that took place in 2007 revealed that holding hot or cold packs to the forehead influenced how often people yawned, in instances where they saw others doing it. Additionally, when subjects held a warm pack to their forehead, “they yawned 41 percent of the time… (and) when they held a cold pack, the incidence of yawning dropped to 9 percent.”

Mechanically speaking, stretching our jaws leads to an increasing rate of blood flow to the skull and by inhaling at the same time, the air changes the temperature of the flow, leading to cooler blood flowing to the brain.

Experiments done on our favorite test subjects, mice, supported the conclusion that “an increase in brain temperature was found to precede yawning. Once the tiny rodents opened wide and inhaled, the temperature decreased.”

5. Mosquitoes Like Some More Than Others

“They like you more.” That’s the common refrain when a night out on the beach leads to one family member being left ravaged by mosquitoes. The truth is that remark has almost been taken as explanatory. In reality, most of us don’t know why some individuals are targeted more than others. Scientists have come to the believe that 20% of population is more attractive to mosquitoes than others.

Scientists have not settled on what exactly distinguishes that 20 percent, but one of the leading theories is blood type. A study found that Type O blood was twice more likely to be bitten than Type A.  The data is less conclusive with Type B with researchers concluding that it falls somewhere in the middle of desirable and undesirable for mosquitoes.

4. Blushing May Have Started as a Social Custom

“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.” The eternal words of Mark Twain need only to tell us why exactly man “needs to.” It seems to be the most basic of human behaviors. We blush when we’re embarrassed. Being the product of an evolutionary process that eliminates characteristics that lower survival, how did blushing, a response that shows vulnerability, manage to manifest itself in all cultures and peoples?

Darwin remained puzzled until his death, but that did not stop other scientists from attempting to explain this behavior.

Currently, one of the leading theories of the origin of blushing is that it began as an appeasement ritual: to submit to the authority of dominant members of a group. Naturally, submitting to said member would then increase one’s chances of surviving in that group.

Scientists believe that as our social interactions later became more complex, it became intertwined with emotions like guilt, shame, and embarrassment. And as the rearing of family became of the utmost importance in agrarian societies, neuroscientists note that it may have been viewed as socially desirable and attractive for women to blush and therefore reveal honesty to men.

3. What’s the Deal With Pubic Hair?

No longer hairy apes, we’ve evolved and lost most of our thick wool of hair that seemed to represent that earlier period in our evolutionary past. However, a reminder of that history remains in the most unlikely of places: hair in our genital regions. What purpose could pubic hair possibly have? If you’ve been following along, you’ll know the answer is far from straightforward.

One of the most popular theories is that “since thicker hair gathers in regions where we have apocrine (scent) sweat glands as well as eccrine (cooling) ones, it may serve to waft odors that signal sexual maturity.”

Just another example that we’re just one small piece in a long fabric of evolution.

2. Kissing Isn’t Universal

We were surprised to learn that kissing was not a universally practiced show of affection. It turns out just 46% of cultures engage in the locking of lips.

Probably the most likely proposition is that the custom began during child rearing, where the connection between a mother and an infant comes from the “mouth sensations associated with breastfeeding.”

In addition, earlier epochs, probably engaged in mouth-to-mouth feeding of chewed food, is a custom that’s still carried out by the Manus cultures of the Admiralty Islands.  The act of this is used by women to remind children and descendants of their obligations to her.

Lastly, in terms of physiology, our lips are among the most sensitive parts of our bodies, with sensory neurons linked to our brain’s pleasure palaces. The benefits of which has shown that kissing reduces levels of the stress, hormone cortisol and increases the bonding hormone, oxytocin.

1. Consciousness is a Puzzle That’s Ever-Changing

The most complex concept on our list has been puzzling great thinkers for generations. In the 17th century, Descartes, a French philosopher, posited the notion that mind and body were completely separate. That began a philosophical battle that continues to this day. Without any answers, we will ask you to choose what camp you’re in.

Descartes was the earliest proponent of idealism – the idea that the mind and body are entirely separate. On the other hand there are the materialists, like Karl Marx, who believe that nothing exists apart from the material world (i.e. physical matter like the brain); materialist psychologists generally agree that consciousness (the mind) is the function of the brain.


Simply Not Simple

WIF Human Mysteries

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 276

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 276

May you all live long, laugh often, love hard, with the hope that our paths will cross again someday…

Could anyone possibly trace this comportment back to the root of Gus’ discontent?

Yes. Ekcello and the other members of the High Counsel are collectively aware that Gus is saying goodbye to his family. The young man is conflicted, yet resolute and his hosts have willfully supplied him with the means to leave Eridanus. He is supplying the will to do so.

With that yellow dwarf star {and the blue planet that orbits it} circled on his star chartsescape route and no one manning the security shielding that prevents escape velocity or unauthorized reentry, the new and improved Stellar Explorer is pointed at the other end of the galaxy.

Erroneously believing he needs to be surreptitious, he had positioned the Stellar Explorer in such a way for a rapid route of escape. Everything was set up correctly, except for one nagging detail: Deimostra, his sister had left the party early, exhausted from the excitement, so he had not been "My dear sister Sammy"able to see her before leaving himself.

Dare he risk being found out because of a sentimental lapse? No, she and he had shared in his restlessness privately, though how was she to know how serious it had become. He decides to leave his personal flight recorder behind, with his smiling image and the following message:

My dear sister Sammy;

I’ve only known you for a short time, but I think we bonded over our mutual interest Earth, our home planet, well you know what I mean. It piques your curiosity, but it nags at me to no end. Tonight, I am taking steps to return to Earth, at any cost, because that is where I belong, not here.

May you all live long, love hard, with the hope that our paths will cross again someday.

All my love,

Gus

He places the device in a place he knows she and she alone will find it, alongside her copy of his engagement picture to his dearest Mindy… as he sets his plan in motion.


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Episode 276


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 275

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 275

…feeling alone, even though he is among his closest ties, Gus tries to hide the hurt he works so hard not to show…

The whole Cerella/Deke event itself is a big to-do: #First comes the marriage, which will happen without fail – next comes the child: an Eridanus fairy tale #Image result for magic eight ball gif

Just when that is going to be, is up for much discussion, on both sides of the equation.  Because this conception is a product of two different species, it seems even the most experienced physical physicians cannot accurately predict the final outcome… #It could be tomorrow or ten cycles from now#

“Let’s start a pool on when the Cerella actually delivers and another buck on the sex. Two guesses per person, two bucks a throw and winner gets the entire pot,” why not make good sport of it all, Sampson.

Ekcello thinks, somewhat correctly that a buck is an Earthly animal and ignores Sam like he often does, #The child should be forever known as “Crettano”, heir to the heiress of Eupepsia# believing he gets the honor of naming rights.

“We were thinking along the lines of “Reggie”,” Sampson weighs in on the baby name game. “Reginald Braden McKinney, child of the stars, heir to intergalactic exploration,” should be his lengthy Earthly moniker, being positive that it will be a boy and he will win the pool, “… or Regina in the unlikely case that I am wrong.”

Fortän and Celeste make mind-to-mind contact, each deciding to relinquish their respective control over the matter, secure in the knowledge that, from this day forward, the intertwining of the two worlds is irreversible. What was once thought as impossible…?

Standing alone and inexplicably feeling alone, even though he is among his closest ties, wondering just how he had been spirited away from the love of his life, Gus tries to hide the hurt he works so hard not to show.

  • Where was HIS “Mom, Dad, I’d like you to meet the next Mrs. Gus McKinney.” moment?
    • The day when Mom’s hug would choke a grizzly bear
    • Dad would shake his hand until his arm falls off
    • And how they would accept Mindy McDonald into the family, every bit as joyfully as Cerella

None of the above is on the long-range radar right now and the pressure inside his irresolute mind is building, a crescendo not to be ignored. The abstract notions that flash in and flash out at an increasing rate, cause him to seek out the parents he has rediscovered. He tells them each, “Just what it has meant to see them again and be a part of their lives”. They are flattered by him sharing, but cannot imagine what has brought this on at this, his private pivotal moment.

Gus McKinney has something cooking in his brain and he lavishes his heartfelt affections toward brother Deke, which is not a stretch, because Gus is an emotional guy. It’s the timing and intensity of that affection that is.

As for his interstellar acquaintances, who have become accustomed to emotional outpourings, they equate him to his father; one and the same, cut from the same cloth.

Could anyone possibly trace this comportment back to the root of his discontent?


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The Cloak of Discontent by Margo Schopf – Johannesburg, South Africa

Episode 275


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 263

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 263

…Whatever keeps these young dynamic human beings busy, Ekcello is all for it…

During the timeless days that follow, the assimilation of the two newest additions to Eridanus is as complete as it is going to get. Gus McKinney has tabled his protestations for the time being, while the elder of them busies himself by spending his days learning and understanding the essence of what it means to be an Eridanian. Deke studies the new culture.

The younger follows in his father’s track of citizenship; in, out, around, and through every space vehicle in the Spaceflight Expository, to more fully grasp the essence of space travel and the complicated fabric that is time. He learns that the manipulation of the latter unlocks the secrets of the former.

Whatever keeps these young dynamic human beings busy, Ekcello is all for it. He is relieved, about not having them weigh so heavily on his officious mind. Yes Gus is only temporarily appeased, but being anticipatory is what telepathy is all about. Dealing with this smoldering tinderbox of a human has leapfrogged to his list of priorities.

High Counsel by Wmskp12 on deviantart.com

The High Counsel of Eridanus, the omniscient ruling body of the planet, consists of one representative from each of the fifteen hundred spired cities. In nearly each case, the eldest {very high math} individual holds these mainly ceremonial positions. The need for a governing parliament has given way to a perfectly ordered society. The reasoning behind the choosing of elders is only evident when the rare problem arises.

These old-timers remember what it was like on their now molten Mother Planet, a far cry from the current state of affairs. As a body, they credit the fresh start on a new planet as the secret for their societal success and the corrections for any mistakes made on the old.

And as well-liked and welcomed the Earthlings have become, their overall impact on the average Eridanian is profound and growing.


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State of Affairs, mixed media on canvas by Vanessa Lam

Episode 263


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 254

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 254

…Where in God’s name is Errordannias…

“Holy crap Deke, we must be dead!”

That kind of material is so like Gus. Sampson breaks into a hearty laugh.

They speak to each other like the “others” cannot hear, “That’s Mom and Dad and they haven’t aged? Someone must have slipped us a mickey.”

“Maybe, but before I passed out, Mom was floating in front of me, showing me her wedding band.”

“Maybe we went through a wormhole or something?”

“No Gus, it is really us,” Celeste assures.

Sampson follows up with, “You ain’t dreaming boys, and we are for real.” He has his arms about Deimostra’s quivering shoulder, ushering her forward, “And I’d like to introduce you boys to your sister.”

She smiles sheepishly. Deke and Gus rub their eyes. Instinctively she hugs each in turn. The whole hallucination theory suddenly goes out the window.

Shaky on their feet and at a loss for words, tears of joy stream down their cheeks; no how, whys or wherefores.

“May we present to you, Deimostra Samantha McKinney, child of space.”

“Okay, if this fairy tale contains a sister, fine, but where the hell are we?”

A good place to start would be stepping out of the Stellar Explorer, five family members’ hand-in-hand filing past the menagerie that is the Spaceflight Expository. Upon gaining the edge of the massive entry/exit doors, they are exposed to the miles high pedestals that dominate their new home, “This is Eridanus and it’s not a Towersfairytale.”

“Error-what? Where are the people,” Gus wonders?

“They live in towered cities like Eupepsia, this one and those dotting the horizon. We thought it best that we are your first contact.”

“Where in God’s name is Error-dannias, it sound like Epsilon Eridani the star,” Gus knows his stars, but cannot make the connection to their present position, likely believing that they had just nodded off a bit.


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Mario Star GIF - Sta - Discover & Share GIFs

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 253

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 253

…“Holy crap Deker, we MUST be dead!”…

Near-death experiences: Artwork of Death by Peter Sheehan.

After Stellar Explorer settles into its perch, Celeste wrestles with the techniques she learned from Cerella; the “thawing” of human beings, not the more familiar suspended-sleep-state NASA employed for astronauts on the way to Mars. These are not-so-ordinary lives at stake. Cerella soothes her from the rear, coaching her through the procedure.

Rich oxygen-laden and argon infused Eridanian air replaces Deke & Gus’ Earthly mixture. That they quickly adapt to the hyper- atmospheric combination is important, their parents having had years to do so.

And though she had been present at the out-of-body rescue 30 months ago, it is nothing like sharing the same physical space with her sons; so silent, so innocent, so unaware. She gently, carefully removes the metabolic retardation shroud from around the unconscious men. With the aid of a scanner, which she herself had developed in the interim, a physical human-tailored check created and now performed to detect any temporary or permanent damage to their befuddled molecules.

The hijacked SOL astronauts pass this loving scrutiny like troopers, proving that the timing and placement of the molecular stabilizer had been fortuitous and effective.

In the reverse order of their suspension, the last to succumb is the first to resuscitate. When Deke begins to stir, Celeste hastens her familial onlookers to join her.

Because he was virtually frozen in the moment, Deke’s last conscious impression was Related imageof his speaking to what seemed to be his mother. One can imagine the boggling ramifications of now seeing his father and a strange young girl as well, adding to the aberration; the difference being that this time the images are very clear and not translucent.

Déjà vu all over again prompts him to repeat his attempt to revive his co-pilot, “Gus, come on Gus, wake up dude!”

“What do you want?” Like the morning of their test flight, he is in a fog.

Deke merely points to the three unlikely people standing before them.

“Holy crap Deker, we MUST be dead!”


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Near Death Experience by Caz Cat

Episode 253


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 247

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 247

…And though he will never admit it, Ekcello inwardly welcomes the challenge of hosting two more of those wacky Earthlings…

The whole planet, a planet that is a moon of another planet which is a dwarf sister star, is singing with uncharacteristic giddiness.

For Ekcello, the perennial leader of the High Counsel, this widespread behavior is disconcerting. He hearkens back to a time, way back, to the times when the mother planet was a thriving world. Things were simple and carefree, more of a stoic-free zone, where logic was not the defining methodology. But when they were forced to flee that global geophysical tumult and move their collective to the Moon Eridanus, did the present inhabitants of Eridanus lose their thirst for space travel and abandon memories of unfettered joy.

Upon their arrival, Sampson, Celeste, and Deimostra tickled the baser instincts of the average planetary citizen to get the everlasting fog a’swirling. The approach of the brothers McKinney has induced the 3 I’s of quantifiable excitement, without them having yet set foot in the Central Tower.

TowersInstinct

Klingon Prison Planet V1 by imaximus

And though he will never admit it, Ekcello inwardly welcomes the challenge of hosting two more of those wacky Earthlings. They had come such a long way from the sun-god worshiping, pyramid building, sphinx-ters that the orbiters of Epsilon Eridani had encountered in a millennia long past.

Similarly his relationship with that Sammy Mac guy, something like finding out you fathered a child with a Klingon Prison Planet guard, has blossomed into genuine affection. Just don’t tell that to Sampson… that Ekcello admitted to anything of the sort.

An example of the growing bond between EarthMan and Eridanian surfaces when the latter relinquishes control of the Spaceship Expository to the former. He may not understand the need to keep busy {not just ponder the meaning of life}, like a parent handing the reigns of the family business, so has he to Sam, a trusted child.


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Family Business by Peter E Malbrough

Episode 247


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 246

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 246

CHAPTER 10.5

Company is Coming

…Cerella has made the enormous effort to master her verbal English, to be able to express herself to Eridanus’ newest visitors, whose spaceship is slowing down…

#Do you think your sons will be pleased with their living quarters?# asks Cerella in an apprehensive pitch, totally ignoring that other brother Gus will be along.

“I don’t see why they would not. You have spent the last half of the eclipse solstice getting things just right.” Celeste McKinney is using the spoken word to communicate with the heiress to the High Counsel of Eridanus. Cerella has made the enormous effort to master her verbal English, to be able to express herself to the two newest visitors, whose spaceship is slowing down, while their bodies are slowly speeding up to a new reality.

#What is Deke’s favored nourishment?# Ever since that out-of-body rescue, Cerella seems to have developed a schoolgirl fascination with the Deker.

“Well, for one thing you don’t have cows here Cerella, that’s a big roadblock. My boys were raised on Texas beef.” It is difficult to describe animals that are raised for food. “And secondly, you should replicate that illustration recipe for – you know – pizza.”

Cerella probes Celeste’s mind for the description of this strange combination of ingredients: a flat crust topped by layers of tomato sauce, cheese, and meats on a meat-less world. And woe be to the tomato-less culture, not to mention that it’s not easy being cheesy {without milk}.

“Not to worry my friend, I have been working on a facsimile of a good pie,” assures an anxiously awaiting mother.

#Pie. I can make a fingusberry pie#

“I will take care of feeding them. You handle the hospitality.”

— As inherently different Cerella is from her peers here on Eridanus, particularly her angelically beautiful  features, the heir-apparent to this world of ordered logic has let down her hair. She has embraced humanity and is diving headlong into the caring and understanding of.


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Episode 246


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 241

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 241

…Celeste glides closer to her sons, takes off her wedding band, revealing the inscription “Sampson to Celeste 1/1/2000”…

Not THAT kind of wedding band / painting by Joan Zylkin The Event Painter

#They are about to exceed the speed-of-light threshold#, one of the technically trained expedition-ists thinks aloud. They are suspended just a few feet behind the now unconscious test pilots. Celeste’s heart is fluttering somewhere up in her throat, stomach filled by stampeding butterflies.

#This vehicle does not contain a molecular stabilizer. We must make the necessary modifications immediately#

Without the need of words or visible actions, the task of making the Stellar Explorer astronaut friendly is tackled head on.

While the technicians tend to the engineering inadequacies, Cerella handles the human aspects. One of the two such living, breathing humans shifts about uneasily, perhaps an internal struggle to fight the effects of his deteriorating body.

“Gus,” urges Deke McKinney, “wake up. There is something wrong here!”

Gus snaps awake to check his instruments, “Everything is fine. We have passed Warp 1!!!”

“But WE are not fine.”

“Oh my God Cerella, you have to do something or they will die!”

Cerella nods and motions for them to face-up the seated space travelers. She is aware that consciousness will be temporary, until the repairs take hold. Once the human DNA molecules are stabilized, the degradation will cease.

One minute Deke and Gus were interacting; the next Gus drifts away again. Deke’s last cogent visual contains the visage of their mother. Understandably, he believes he is hallucinating, until he sees the strange figure of another creature next to her.

Before Deke can speak, Celeste closes her eyes in attempt to speak to them telepathically, while mouthing, “It is really me,” in hopes that lip reading will take place.

“That cannot be you Mom! Hey Gus wake up, tell me that I’m seeing things!”

Gus does not stir, his body embracing the unconsciousness due to the shortage of sleep from the night before.

#I am going to curtail the level of bodily function in your sons# Cerella intends to perform the equivalent of suspended animation, the slowing of human metabolism, to stem further regression and shorten the perceived length of Deke & Gus’ trip to Eridanus.

In a last ditch effort to convince him that she indeed who she appears to be, Celeste glides closer to take off her wedding band, revealing the inscription Sampson to Celeste 1/1/2000”.

Cerella steps in to grant them some physical peace.

Deke’s stressed left lacrimal gland releases a tear. His last conscious second is used to mouth the words, “We miss you.”


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Chaotic Tears by Hollie Leffel

Episode 241


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 232

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 232

…There are 3 very good reasons for Deke McKinney to be relieved that his brother broke curfew…

“What time is it?” Deke McKinney asks, as his eyes adjust to the bright lights of the kitchenette, having been awakened from quality sleep.

“I don’t know, 01:30 I guess, why?” Brother Gus doesn’t think much about it.

“We’re going to dust-off the moon in six short hours Gus!” The elder of the pioneering duo does not want any puerile thing to interfere with their brush with the future of space travel. “Did anyone see you come in? You will be scrubbed from the mission if they find out you blew curfew… you know that Maddox {mission coordinator} has been waiting for you to screw up, he hates you, you know?”

“That sapsack? He’s been pissed since his girlfriend hit on me at the Christmas party,” Gus’ voice echoes inside their small refrigeration unit scouring it for a late-night snack.

“There is leftover steak in the vacuum chamber, you need the protein,” practical advice from one who knows. “I told Dad that we would douse the lights at 2100 {military time}.”

“I have three good reasons for staying out:

  1. “Roy hasn’t been President for 10 years
  2. The SOL test is a 15 minute trip around the block.”

“Hey Buddy, Roy Crippen may not be President, but he does oversee the SOL Project and as for that trip around the block comment, I wouldn’t take it so lightly. And that’s only two, what’s the third?” urges Deke.

“3. I asked Mindy to marry me,” he licks the cold beef fat off his fingers.

There are three very good reasons for Deke to be relieved:

  1. He had not been out partying
  2. He had disabled the security cameras
  3. Mindy McDonald has been a game-changer in his brother’s life

“We are going to have the biggest wedding that Houston has ever seen!”

This post dedicated to © Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) R.I.P.


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Episode 232


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