The NULL Solution = Episode 91

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The NULL Solution = Episode 91

…There is no replacing a good spacecraft, when it comes to going from here and there…

Ekcello, Supreme Elder of the High Council on Eridanus, is growing tired of life without his daughter. The natives are getting restless. Those calling themselves the “Gifted” are feeling less so. His daughter is more than a big deal here and her absence, along with a lack of explanation of why she cannot return posthaste, is an issue that only exacerbates his angst.

He sympathetically thanks the McKinneys’ “God” for the news on Cerella’s child, but that is increasingly not good enough. Using Celeste as a go-between is hardly better than a voice recording. His mind is already crammed to the brim with the unsatisfying voices of his people.

Proving that blood is thicker than the null of space between Eridanus and Earth, Ekcello summons his unintentional antagonist Sampson McKinney to ask him a rhetorical question. “Would you consider taking Defender back to your planet? I believe that my daughter and her child belong here with us.”

“That’s also my daughter-in-law and my grandchild you’re talking about. Isn’t that the plan I was pitching a couple moons ago?” That was then…

… “I am talking about now, Sampson. It appears that they cannot return on their own.”

“They need a ride don’t they?” He told him so. “There is no replacing a good spacecraft, when it comes to going from here and there. I never thought I would hear those words come out of that oversized brain of yours!”

“You have sufficient TSF piloting and navigational skills to complete the mission.”

“I could use a co-pilot. Defender is a handful for one person, so send Deke out with me… kiddo & daddio will make a good team!”

“Yes to a co-pilot. No to Deke.”

Ekcello places limits on his magnanimity.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 91


page 91

The NULL Solution = Episode 79

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The NULL Solution = Episode 79

…Because you may not come back, for any number of reasons, the least of which is all the comforts of home and the housekeeper’s cooking.

See – that’s what you get for failing the transmigration class. I am going hyperphysical, baby…

Just as Deke was starting his soliloquy, Celeste pops in to check on her guys. She is acutely aware of Sampson’s opinions on his missing daughter-in-law, which means making sure he does not do anything rash.

“I gather the nonnatives are getting restless.”

“Dad wants to go back to Earth and I was talking him off the Defender ledge.”

“Ekcello and I have been discussing some options…”

“… Ekcello and I – like he cares,” the skeptic in Sam shows itself yet again.

“It’s his offspring who is lost, not ours, so you bet he cares. As I was saying, we talked it over and we think it is time I return to Earth.”

“See – see what I was telling you Gus! I can almost taste a King Ranch Hereford ribeye now.”

“But not in the Defender Sam. We think a well-being check is in order.”

“On Gus and Roy and Francine, yes! And why can’t I go?”

“Because you may not come back, for any number of reasons, the least of which is all the comforts of home and the housekeeper’s cooking.” Like a teacher with a borderline student she adds, “See – that’s what you get for failing the transmigration class. I am going hyperphysical, baby!

“Which means you can look, but you can’t touch, right?”

“Yes, I can leave clues that I’ve been there, but that’s all.”

And so the saga of a lost Eridanian Princess and her Milky Way wandering mother-in-law opens a new phase.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 79


page 82

The NULL Solution = Episode 78

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The NULL Solution = Episode 78

…The Eridanians were raiding the pyramids right after they were built and no one knew…

Father & Son are discussing the current state of affairs.

“I’m in favor in going out and searching for Cerella. She should show up on our long-range sensors.”

“And in a few short {million} cycles or so you may find her Dad.”

“Then I vote for taking Defender back to Earth. Without Cerella, why should we stay out on a world where we don’t fit in?”

“It is you who does not fit in! The rest of us have adjusted nicely… even Deimostra is light-years ahead of you.”

 “If you ask me, it’s a lot more dangerous here. Have you ever seen any Selljunk or Yud anywhere near Earth?”

“It’s Seljuk and Ÿ€Ð and how would we know? Personally, I don’t think we’ve been paying close enough attention to know whether they’ve been by this way or not. The Eridanians were raiding the pyramids right after they were built and no one knew.

“Without NEWFOUNDLANDER, we would not have even passed Mars’ orbit yet. There were supposed to be 1000 colonists at Mars City right now.”

Sam cannot help but long for what might have been.

“Maybe there are now. We don’t know because we are so worried about messing with history. Right now I would trade this foggy dump for a deep-space shuttle ride back to Earth.”

“You wouldn’t settle for anything but TSF, would ya, come on tell the truth?”

“If we didn’t know Eridanus from Uranus, I wouldn’t care.”

“But it is too late not to care! Without the NEWFOUNDLANDER, you & Mom only had a tinker’s chance of being rescued by the Mayflower.”

New Mayflower. I almost forgot about ol’ Rick Stanley… good astronaut that boy.”

“Yes. Did I mention that he was the backup pilot for the SOL project? He would have died because the Eridanians would have had no rooting interest in its success or failure. The only… and I mean only reason we are together as a family is because of Ekcello.”

It’s all water-over-the-dam.

Daniel-Johnson Dam in Quebec, Canada


The NULL Solution =

Episode 78


page 81

The NULL Solution = Episode 76

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The NULL Solution = Episode 76

… the Space Family McKinney is exceeding its status as kings of deep space lore…

While hearing of Cerella’s recent travails first hand, where she actually left out the details of the dark space she occupied for months, Gus can hardly contain himself. One part joy – two parts anger, he wonders why a clearer message was not sent, rather than the fleeting apparitions in dribs & drabs, albeit cryptic clues about his family.

“We could not risk the current timestem on sentimentality,” she explains.

“And yet you plopped the technology for the molecular stabilizer and Warp 3 in our laps?”

“And disruptor weapon and force field?” adds Roy.

“If Celeste McKinney and I do not stabilize the molecules within your spacecraft, you both would have been lost.”

“Celeste and Sam, they’re alive too!”

“… and your sister Deimostra.”

A sense of irony has grabbed the headlines.

“We named our baby daughter Marscie Deimos for crying out loud! Did you hear that Roy, I have a sister?”

For as long as Dr. Picard will allow, Cerella narrates the full McKinney saga as best as she can. Mars to NEWFOUNDLANDER, NEWFOUNDLANDER to Eridanus and now Explorer to the ends of the Milky Way and beyond, the Space Family McKinney is exceeding its status as kings of deep space lore.

A “somehow” family reunion is in order, but first Cerella must recover and the NASA boys need to regroup. If only they could call over to Eridanus and make the arrangements. Lost on all the Earthly excitement is that Deke and Co. are no doubt worried silly. Before she conceived, Cerella would have been able to use hyperphysical transmigration to facilitate or at the very least reestablish a telepathic connection with home, but Picard’s surgery did not preserve those extraordinary Eridanian functions. Although he firmly believes that a brain will find a way to mend broken links.

Too bad, either option would come in handy right now.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 76


page 79

The NULL Solution = Episode 71

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The NULL Solution = Episode 71

…For most of these eleven months, Cerella has had the luxury of letting nature take its course….

“What is the duration of gestation for a birth in these parts? Do you know what I mean?” Celeste McKinney needs some Eridanian insight if she is to understand the direness of Deke’s unborn {they believe} child..

Ekcello needs a very good memory for this. No birth has taken place here for… forever. “I have no way of knowing that answer.  Our longevity negates the need for a new generation. As a civilization, we procreate outside the physical body, although tales of old are told about the times before our home planet vulcanized. We were going to research the subject soon. Poor Cerella will be discovering the birthing process all alone.”

Just like anxiety, empathy also falls fresh on his spirit.

Momentum Into Nothingness by Cristina Velina

It has been eleven Earth months since she conceived. For most of that time Cerella has had the luxury of letting nature take its course. After all, she controlled her own environment and whatever happened was okay. Deke was there.

Deke is not here.

Nothing seems to be here.

And yet her needs are being met; out-of-the-black, not down nor up and without asking. Something or someone seems to have her best interest in mind.

Nothing used to be here.

So, there in the quiet of her aloneness, she discovers that she is indeed not completely alone. During this dark time, in fits and spurts, she would be overrun by a chorus of the Olde Language. Like a blast from the past, cogent songs of life and love ooze into her consciousness. Simple, yet complex; new, yet old; content, yet anxious, something inside her was pleading, ever politely.

It was the new life inside her.

No more does the mystery of an Eridanian female carrying child go unsolved. The process is nearing completion, but among the sweet melodies, a sour note is struck. There was a human being, an Earthling involved. Deke’s genome, the interspecies germination, has manifested itself in the body of his mate for life, Cerella.

The resulting lifeform needs to come out, but it is not an unpretentious or prescribed sequence. Mother and child are alone. They are together. They are in trouble.

Apprehension and despair abound in the Milky Way.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 71


page 73 (end ch. 6)

The NULL Solution = Episode 69

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The NULL Solution = Episode 69

…“You know what, who knows what, what do you say, Jose?” Gibberish always messes with potential government eavesdropping…

— What would have the planet shaking in its mutual boots, would be the intercepted SETI {SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is an exploratory science that seeks evidence of life in the universe by looking for some signature of its technology. Our current understanding of life’s origin on Earth suggests that given a suitable environment and sufficient time, life will develop on other planets} message that has been conveniently squelched.

Utilizing a fractured combination of the four dominant languages of Earth, the long-ears of the dishes hear a warning from a distant civilization. In a nutshell, they were coming to get us.

As swell as cutting-edge technology is, the memo was not signed.

Neither Harper Lea Bassett nor any other world leader will ever know of the threat. The “need-to-know” axiom… well, that falls into the DoesNotApply column of interdepartmental dealings. And the Freedom of Information Act {FOIA} will not be prying it loose either. Some things are better left unsaid or The War of the Worlds will go down in 2nd place when it comes to global panic. –

“You know what, who knows what, what do you say, Jose?” Gibberish always messes with potential government eavesdropping.

“Si!” Gus plays the game.

“I trust Francine, she knows what’s at stake as well as I do. That rover on Nine is looking for more than unexplainable scattered space dust you know!”

“You promised!” Mindy catches Gus in the act. She does a silent ten count. “Give Grandpa Roy a thumbs-up for me.”

He does not bother asking how she knew he was cheating on his fatherly focus. What she doesn’t know is the same as the rest of the world doesn’t, though she might be in on the secret soon.

“I haven’t budged Mindy, really, look she’s almost asleep.”

“I give up,” she towel-dries her hair out of frustration. She willingly married into the Space Family McKinney, thereby legally signing away her rights to a normal life. “How bad is it?”

“As you may have guessed, we’re not alone. And somehow, we managed to pick up an enemy from a galaxy Hubble 2 can barely see! Other than that, things are peachy keen.”

“It makes me wonder what kind of world our daughter will grow up on.”

“Look on the bright side Dumplin’, we did survive WWIII. God would not have prevented Korea from committing planetary suicide, only to allow us to be wiped out by an alien invasion a year or two later. The world has never been more peaceful. Hey, even the radical Muslim terrorists have been scared into practicality.”

He is trying his damnedest to put a positive spin on Marscie’s prospects for a secure future.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 69


page 71

The NULL Solution = Episode 67

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The NULL Solution = Episode 67

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The NULL Solution =

Episode 67


page 69