The NULL Solution = Episode 21

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The NULL Solution = Episode 21

…the mystery sphere suddenly disappears from the scene completely, with not so much as a goodbye, how do you do, or clue as to its origin…

Gus McKinney is pondering on where God lives or where in the infinite Universe this relatively tiny round intruder comes from.

Stellar Explorer was never meant to be anything but a point-to-point prototype. Here and now he is being asked it to be a scout cruiser. To complicate matters, he has lost communication with Mission Control. He won’t be speaking with them until he comes from around the bright stationary furnace.

The “dark” side of the Sun never used to be a hazardous place, seeing that at any given time, about ½ of the solid solar system contents lay on opposite sides of the glowing anchor. That the mystery sphere he is spying seems to be concealed contradictory to Earth cannot be a coincidence.  If it were completely stationary, it would have been seen by someone by now.

No human has ever laid eyes on this thing. Even Messenger, the NASA made probe designed to give the world a close look at Mercury and then meter solar flares & such, had not found it because the people who control the cameras weren’t looking for anything else.

Gus’ eyes are young and just fine. His fleet ride’s sensors aren’t attuned to analyze anything other than those related to navigation. “Jeepers creepers, if that isn’t the damndest thing!”

Not only that, it is moving away from Stellar Explorer like it has seen a ghost. The feeling is mutual.

Not only does it move, but it suddenly disappears from the scene completely, with not so much as a goodbye, how do you do, or clue as to its origin.

“Now that is downright impolite.” Out of sight – out of mind, there is no reason to linger. He expresses his suspicions to himself, “I wouldn’t know a wormhole if it bit me in the butt, but that is where that puppy had to go!”

Borrowing trouble is not on today’s to-do list. Roy’s instructions were to do a sun flyby and come back to Earth when Harper Lea Bassett was on her way back to D.C. So, with a wry smile on his face, and the love of a good wife in his heart, Gus McKinney guides Stellar Explorer from out behind the yellow dwarf star.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 21


page 25

The NULL Solution = Episode 4

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The NULL Solution = Episode 4

…How about the old shell-game… they’re there, no they’re not here, they’re in the air… do you see where I’m headed…

“I just got word that the President is on her way Roy, should arrive in the morning,” Francine Bouchette-Crippen gives her husband the news.

“She doesn’t take NO for an answer, does she?” His best efforts to control the message are about to be neutered. “Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this? She’ll want to congratulate the newest space heroes and Deker will be conspicuous by his absence.”

How about the old shell-game… they’re there, no they’re not here, they’reRelated image in the air… do you see where I’m headed?

That strategy will have to do.

Until Harper Lea Bassett’s untimely arrival, Roy needs to rehash some of what he knows, in an attempt to crack the vexing missing Deke McKinney mystery.

To that end, he must remove emotion from the equation and get down to the nuts ‘n bolts: the Stellar Explorer {SEx} itself. To do so, he goes as far as to kick Fletcher Fitch away from his obsession of dissecting the differences between the old ship and the new mysteriously improved version. There will be plenty of time for that later.–

— Any machine made by man’s hand has a “feel” to it, an intangibility that may defy conventional acumen. With all the interior lights glaring or the busy busyness of the SOL hangar at the Galveston Launch Facility {GLF} it is difficult to separate the mental from the metal.

“I want this hangar cleared. Everybody go home, come back tomorrow and when you do, please wear your official NASA SOL polo shirts, the President is dropping in for a visit.” Former President Roy has a way with his underlings, an assertive manner that inspires, not inciting. As he addresses the semicircle of men and women, he looks directly at each and every one of them, “And when the topic of the McKinneys comes up you don’t know nothin’, which if you are like me, is not far from the truth.  I’m telling you to fib for the good of the program. Our honesty policy will be back in effect the day after tomorrow. See you at 0500 hours.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 4


page 10

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?


THE RETURN TRIP

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

Episode 275


page 319

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Video Games and You – WIF Pop Culture

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Video Games That Are

Part of Enormous

Pop Culture Franchises

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Though not all agree, video games can be considered as being a new art form. Moreover, video games are seen by many as a form of art with which one can actively interact. From the breathtaking landscapes, to the incredible soundtracks and general atmosphere, as well as the enticing plot, some video games can bring together much of what other mediums already have.

In fact, some video games out there were inspired by various bestselling novels, or in turn generated a whole book series with thousands of fans of their own. Some video games have even inspired movies. Be it a strategy game, a shooter, or a role-playing game, it doesn’t really matter as long as it has a good back story, a whole universe, and an extensive lore surrounding it. Here are 10 such video games, even though many others also deserve a spot in this list.

10. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

Developed by Headfirst Productions and published by Bethesda Softworks, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was released in 2005. First came the Xbox version, and then a PC version one year later. The game is an action-adventure/survival/horror genre that perfectly combines a first-person perspective with many stealth elements. The story is set mostly in 1922 and follows a mentally unstable private detective hired to investigate the fictional town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. Unlike many other FPS games, Call of Cthulhu features no heads-up display, and everything from the player’s condition to his ammunition and other stats are represented as realistically as possible. A broken leg, for example, would be shown as the character limping, while a broken arm by a loss in accuracy. Each injury needs its own type of remedy and the player even needs to count the ammunition he’s got left.

All in all, the game received only positive reviews from critics and was considered by some to be among the best horror video games of all-time. However, the game itself was an economic failure, with the planned sequels being cancelled when Headfirst Productions went under. In recent years there has been a revival of the series, and in 2017 a new video game is expected to be released. Dark Corners of the Earth is inspired on H.P. Lovecraft‘s 1936 novella, The Shadow over Innsmouth. Lovecraft was also author of The Call of Cthulhu and several other related stories all within the Cthulhu Mythos.

 A recurring theme in Lovecraft’s works is the complete irrelevance of mankind in the face of the cosmic horrors that exist in the universe. Cthulhu himself and other cosmic deities exist, but have fallen into a deathlike sleep. After Lovecraft’s death in 1937, August Derleth took on the challenge to synthetize and expand the Cthulhu Mythos.

9. Mass Effect

Mass Effect is a sci-fi/action/role-playing/third person shooter first released in 2007. Two later installments came out in 2010 and 2012. A fourth game is expected to be released sometime in 2017. If you’re a fan of this style of video games, it’s almost an impossibility to have not already heard about or played Mass Effect. Developed by BioWare, the trilogy starts off in the year 2183 and revolves around Commander Shepard, who’s entrusted to save the entire Milky Way galaxy and all its inhabitants from a mysterious and overwhelmingly powerful race of machine beings known as the Reapers. And while the plot and story itself are quite complex and enticing, there is an extensive lore surrounding the game series.

To date there are four novels centered on various protagonists other than the ones in the video game. But the plots take place around the time of the games themselves. These not only better explain ambiguous facts from the game, but also expand the history of the Mass Effect universe. A fifth novel, Mass Effect: Andromeda Initiation is set to be published sometime in 2016. Two more books are scheduled for 2017 and 2018. There is also a fan written, interactive novel circulating out there called Mass Effect: Pick Your Path, from 2012, as well as numerous other comics. Also in 2012, an anime film version was released, and there are even talks of a Hollywood production in the works.

8. Mortal Kombat

 This fighting game has been around for a very long time. Originally developed by Midway Games, Mortal Kombat hit the arcades back in 1991. Its idea was thought up even earlier, in 1989, along with its storyline and game content. Mortal Kombat is a fantasy/horror themed fighting game, renowned for its high levels of gore and bloody violence. One of its most notorious parts, the finishing moves, also known as Fatalities, are in part responsible for the founding of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). Modeled after movies like Bloodsport and Enter the Dragon,Mortal Kombat aimed to be a bit more realistic and serious than its cartoon fantasy-style counterpart, Street Fighter.

After Midway’s bankruptcy, Mortal Kombat was bought by Warner Bros. and rebooted in 2011. The game became highly popular among young people and is now one of the few successful fighting franchises in the history of video games. Since its inception it has spun off into a series of comic books, card games, a theatrical live tour, countless game sequels, two TV series, and two movies. These two major motion pictures, Mortal Kombat (1995), and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation(1997) grossed in $122 and $51 million, respectively. While not particularly good, the movies gathered a cult following; especially the first one. The second installment, however, was poorly received by both critics and fans alike, resulting in it bombing at the box-office. Though entirely unofficial, an 8-minute short film was released back in 2010, revealing that a new Mortal Kombat movie is being planned in Hollywood.

7. Warhammer 40K

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Without a doubt, the Warhammer 40K franchise has among the richest lore and backstory in video game history. That’s because the whole idea of this fictional universe first came into being way back in 1983. Back then, the game was known simply as Warhammer, and was created by Games Workshop as a tabletop war game. That game still exists, and continues to expand even to this day. Then in 1987, a futuristic version was developed, sharing many of the game mechanics. This is the 40K, which stands for the year in which the fictional action now takes place. We won’t bother going into detail with the original Warhammer games, since they deserve a top 10 list of their own, and instead try to focus on what’s at hand; namely their video game versions of the 40K universe.

The story takes place during the 41st millennium in a fictional, gothic-looking dystopian universe. The Imperium of Man, as it is called, is a galaxy-spanning human interstellar empire, dominating most of the Milky Way, though it’s not the only power out there. The most iconic and finest warriors of the Imperium are theSpace Marines, a combination between sci-fi super-soldiers and fantasy knights, who are sworn to defend their empire from all the other alien races in the galaxy. The Warhammer 40K universe has a total of 31 different style video games. The most notable of these are eight real-time strategy games and expansions, part of the Dawn of War series.

Four novels have been published alongside this series, somewhat following and better explaining the actions taking place in the games. But the entire list of novels, novellas and other short stories surrounding the 40K universe is humongous, enough to completely fill up a big personal library. And that’s without mentioning itscomic book series. In 2010 the CGI Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie was released to DVD. Terence Stamp, John Hurt, and Donald Sumpter, among others, voice some of the Space Marines.

6. Resident Evil

Making its debut in 1996, the Resident Evil series first appeared for the PlayStation. Initially called Biohazard in Japan, its country of origin, Capcom’s director decided to change its name since it was impossible to trademark it in the US. An internal contest was held within the company regarding the game’s name, finally settling on Resident Evil. Even though the director believed it to be “super-cheesy,” it makes reference to the original game, which took place in a mansion filled with evil monsters.

In its 20 years of existence the franchise has expanded into 11 main games and 22 other spin-offs. As of 2015, Resident Evil has sold over 61 million units worldwide. Originally, the game series was more of a survival horror genre, based mostly on horror film plotlines, exploration and puzzle solving. Since Resident Evil 4, however, the series took on a more third-person shooter approach, focusing on gunplay and weapon upgrades.

The plot revolves around the sinister Umbrella Corporation, a worldwide company with ties to every major industry, and which secretly makes extensive research into bio-engineering. More exactly, they are aiming to create an extremely potent virus that can transform any individual into a super-powerful, yet perfectly obedient being. However, most of these experiments were wildly unsuccessful and have backfired with some truly gruesome results. In their several attempts to create the perfect weapon, the Umbrella Corporation initiated a series of viral outbreaks and mass infection of the civilian population, transforming humans and animals into mindlessly aggressive zombies. Players take on the role of various characters trying to survive and unravel the Corporation’s many secrets.

 The Resident Evil movie series loosely follows the same plot, even though much of the original content is missing or has been changed. The main protagonist, Alice, played by Milla Jovovich, was a security operative working for Umbrella. But with the start of the first movie, she becomes an enemy of the Corporation. Though the movie received poor reviews from critics and fans alike, mostly because of the inconsistencies between it and the game series, the Resident Evil film tripled its budget, and got four more sequels over a span of 10 years. A last installment,Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, is set to premiere in 2017. A more faithful CGI animated movie series also exists, and another film, Resident Evil: Vendetta, will also be released next year. Moreover, the franchise also has its own seven book series.

5. Halo

halo

Halo is a sci-fi/first person shooter franchise set in the 26th century, in which humanity has achieved faster-than-light travel speed and colonized numerous other planets across the Milky Way. The series centers itself on an interstellar war between humans and an alliance of aliens known as the Covenant, also inhabiting the galaxy. The player takes on the role of Master Chief John-117, a member of a group of super-soldiers known as the Spartans.

Since its first release in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved, the franchise has been praised by many and is considered to be among the best FPS video games played on a console. Managed and developed by Microsoft Studios under one of its subsidiaries, 343 Industries, Halo benefited from a tremendous marketing campaign and four more original sequels and their respective DLCs. In total the franchise sold over 65 million copies and earned a record breaking $3.4 billion from the games alone.

These incredible sales and its increasing fandom have allowed Halo to expand into other media as well. Besides the various spin-offs of the game, including a real-time strategy installment entitled Halo Wars, the franchise boasts its own five-part TV mini-series, called Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, released in 2012. Another miniseries was released in 2014, called Halo: Nightfall. A full length movie adaptation was set in motion back in 2005 by 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios, but due to financial reasons, the project was dropped two years later. However, a future TV show on Showtime is said to be in development, though the exact details of the production are still largely unknown. In any case, up until that moment arises, fans of the video game series can also expand their knowledge of the Halo universe by taking a look at its 13 novel canon.

4. The Witcher

The Witcher started off as a series of fantasy short stories written by Andrzej Sapkowski, which are now collected into two books. The first of these stories, entitled simply The Witcher, was written in 1986 as part of a contest held by a magazine, winning third place. The subsequent five novels, which became known asthe Witcher Saga were written and published throughout the 1990s in Poland, and later translated into English and other languages. Before gaining international notoriety with the release of the first video game in 2007, the saga was adapted into a movie and television series in 2001 and 2002, respectively, with both being called The Hexer. In fact, this was the preferred translation of the first story’s title by the author. But with the release of the first video game, however, the publishing company CD Projekt RED decided on the name Witcher instead.

With two more video games in the series, the story follows the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, (a sort of travelling monster-hunter for hire) as he struggles to regain his memories and prevent the destruction of the world. Set in a medieval fantasy universe, The Witcher is an action/role-playing hack and slash video game. The use of Geralt’s amnesia in the game allows the player to make decisions that the character from the books would not have necessarily made. It also permitted the developers to introduce those who weren’t familiar with the backstory with certain aspects of the Witcher canon.

Sapkowski uses a tone that is slightly ironic and with subtle links to modern culture in the books, which are also apparent in the games. Unlike most other similar fantasy stories, The Witcher also emphasizes the duality of human nature, with nobody being 100% good or bad. These aspects have helped both the novels and the video games to be widely claimed by fans as the best of Polish fantasy. Back in 2011, President Obama received a copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings video game from the Polish prime minister in one of his visits to the country. Obama later confessed that he didn’t actually play it.

3. Assassin’s Creed

 Another video game series that’s made frequent headlines in recent years is theAssassin’s Creed franchise. With a movie set to be released in December, the series made its debut in 2007, and has since released another eight sequels, 17 spin-offs, several short films, as well as a number of other supporting materials. Developed predominantly by Ubisoft, the various games can be played on almost every platform conceivable, and its gameplay, varying only slightly from game to game, is set in the historic action-adventure genre, with a particular emphasis on combat, acrobatics, free-running, and stealth. The protagonist of each sequel changes, as the action takes place in different moments and locations throughout history: from the time of the Third Crusade, to the Renaissance period, the Colonial Era, the French Revolution, and the Victorian Era among others.

The overall plot of the series revolves around the centuries-old, fictional struggle between the historically-accurate Order of Assassins and the Knights Templar, who each desire world peace but through different means and ideologies. On the one hand, the Assassins believe in peace through free will, while the Templars consider it achievable only through world domination. Inspiration for the games came from a Slovenian novel, Alamut, written by Vladimir Bartol, as well as from concepts borrowed from the Prince of Persia series. In all, the Assassin’s Creed series has been very well received by critics and fans alike, and as of April 2014 over 73 million copies have been sold, making it Ubisoft’s bestselling franchise. Aside from the comics, Assassin’s Creed also has a book series. Each of the eight novels are tie-ins to their respective video games, following the various assassins throughout the centuries, in their ongoing war with the Templars.

2. Warcraft

No list like this is complete without mentioning the Warcraft universe. Developed byBlizzard Entertainment, the franchise is made up of five core games, the most notable of which are Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, a real-time strategy game, and its expansion pack The Frozen Throne, as well as the infamous World of Warcraft (WOW), a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and bestselling title here. At its peak in 2010, WOW had 12 million simultaneous subscribers worldwide, becoming the world’s largest subscription-based MMORPG.

The latest title in the series, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, is a digital collectible card game. Another notable game in the franchise, though only a mod for Warcraft III, is Defense of the Ancients (DotA), a multiplayer online battle arena. In this game, two teams of players are pitted against each other in an attempt to destroy the enemy’s heavily guarded structures at opposing corners of the map.

All of the games in the series are set in or around the high fantasy world of Azeroth. The story begins by focusing on the human nations that make up the Eastern Kingdoms and the Orcish Horde that arrived to Azeroth through a dark portal, igniting the great wars between the two. Over the years, and with the subsequent game releases, the developers have expanded the planet by creating new continents. With them, there’s been the emergence of other new playable races.

 Unsurprisingly, the series has since spawned its own sizable collection of novels, covering a broad range of characters in various timelines, vastly expanding the lore and backstory of the Warcraft universe. Many comics have also been published alongside these books, delving even further into the canon. In June 2016, its first Hollywood movie was released by Universal Pictures. With only 5.5 million subscribers to WOW as of 2015, the film arrived a little too late, and bombed in the US. However, it did manage to gross over $422 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing game adaptation of all time.

1. Neverwinter Nights

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Neverwinter Nights is a third-person role-playing video game developed by BioWare, and was released in 2002. In the following years the game got several expansions and premium packs, and due to its growing popularity, a sequel was released in 2006. It, too, had its own series of expansions. The story follows the player’s character as he tries to stop a plague from sweeping over the city of Neverwinter. The city is located along the Sword Coast of Faerûn, in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons. As it is in the original tabletop D&D games, players of Neverwinter Nights are able to create their own character from scratch at the very beginning of the game. Everything from gender, race, character class, alignment, abilities, and name can be customized to suit the preferences of each individual player. Overall, the video game was met with positive reviews and universal acclaim.

GameSpot referred to it as “one of those exceedingly rare games that has a lot to offer virtually everyone, even if they aren’t already into RPGs,” while PC Gamer called it “a total package—a PC gaming classic for the ages,” and said that its “storyline [is] as persuasive as any I’ve encountered in a fantasy roleplaying game.”  It has its own collection of books entitled the Neverwinter Saga, written by R.A. Salvatore, which is made up of four novels. However, these are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of literature surrounding the Forgotten Realms universe, since the saga itself is just part of an even larger, Legend of Drizzt series. And for those who really want to immerse themselves into the canon of “The Realms” and probably never emerge out again, the entire book series is a whopping 302 novels.

 


Video Games and You

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– WIF Pop Culture

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 86

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 86

…“That’s right you terrorist fools,” adds the previously apprehensive now animated Francine, noticing that the odds may soon even out…

Related image

Dogs Playing Poker, 1903 – C. M. Coolidge

“As you may have guessed, I am not Gurkhas Dhangotma; in fact, my name is not important. What does matter is that we have you and this female as hostages and we insist that you cancel that silly rescue plane to save your imperialistic friends.”checklist-001

The foreigner’s English fluency is markedly better than he recalls, spoken with the conviction of 10 other automatic weapons.

 

“Sorry Pal! That bird goes off at 11:57 C.S.T. no matter what happens to me, especially since you snakes did such a good job of slithering in under our radar.” Roy is matter-of-fact, having the facts and a lump at the top of his spine.

“You are risking your lives for those of two others so far away? What do they matter?”

“I only speak for me, but I have had it with all you fringe groups trying to have it your way. Jealousy is not a cause to follow; it is a coward’s lot in life… and if you haven’t looked around lately, you may have done-waked-up the good guys.”Related image

“That’s right you terrorist fools,” adds the previously apprehensive now animated Francine rolls the dice, noticing that the odds may soon even out.

With his bluff being called in question, “Gherkin” does not panic or display fear, “We are not terrorists, for if we were such men, we would have opened fire on your rescue vessel with our gunship, instead of bothering with you two. We have no need of furthers deaths when we can accomplish our feat of putting an end to the colonization of space without firing a canon. We will interfere with your silly rescue.”

t-minus-to-launch-001Give the man credit for his utter gall, but as Braden King blares “t-minus 00:20.00 minutes” Roy has achieved his ace-in-the-hole, in gambling terms.

“You are determined Gherkin, I’ll give you that, but at the 20 minutes mark your best laid plans have left you fail-safeempty handed.” Roy walks freely in the brawlers’ circle. “The launch is now in fail-safe mode. Only the mission computers can abort the launch…..and they do not know a gun from a slingshot.”

“You are bluffing.”

“Am I?”


THE RETURN TRIP

poker

by Mollie B

Episode 86


page 105

 

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #282

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #282

…Sara Fenwick knows nothing, has nothing to hide and is simply missing body organs and part of her brain…

My Project 19-001

And then there is the matter of the illusive Sara Fenwick. This one needs no thespian skills in relating her experiences. She does not remember a thing, period. As far as this seamstress-turned-globetrotter is concerned, she just wants to get back for Christmas (1941), even though it’s really 1947.

The same high-ranking officers that questioned Lyn have come to the realization just how futile any interrogation of this enigma would be. She knows nothing, has nothing to hide and is simply missing body organs and part of her brain.

“We will be leaving soon, Sara, I promise,” assures her friend. “Bob Ford is coming back for us.”Blue Ridge Angel-001

“There isn’t any water in the middle of the desert,” Sara correctly observes.

“He has a different airplane, hon. Remember I told you that he and I came from New York to confirm that you were really alive?”

“Of course I’m alive, silly.” She looks at herself in a mirror approvingly. “I don’t feel like I’m 50.”

          “And I feel like I’ve caught up and passed you.”

          “You truly are mad, Lyn. I will always be five years older than you, not that I wouldn’t mind shaving those years off.”

          “I guess always is not as permanent as it used to be.”

          “You haven’t stopped loving me, have you – is that the “always” you are talking about?”

          “Just ignore me, Sara, I’m getting used to having you around again.”

          “Boy, I step out for a breath of fresh air and the whole world goes bonkers!”

  For now, they must rely on the hospitality of strangers and hope that Jupiter and Mars can possibly realign.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Stray Souls - Stolen Memories

Stray Souls (game) – Stolen Memories

Episode #282


page 265 (end ch. 15)

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #279

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #279

… In a weak moment, Sgt. Smith slips, “Some strange things going on around here these days.”…

Starry Nite by Vincent Van Gogh

Starry Nite by Vincent Van Gogh

Safely on the ground and a little worse for the wear, Robert Ford, cargo plane owner and Carolyn Hanes, authoress are greeted by uniformed men — by the score. They are cordial, but seem to be distracted, like they had just seen a ghost.

“Can we inspect your plane?” One of many asks a question without inflection, giving it a HollomanAFBdemanding slant. “Standard procedure.” As if they would know the difference.

          “Yeah, I guess, but you won’t find anything,” Ford says as they are led to a large Quonset hut. He whispers to Lyn along the way, “Act as if we don’t see a thing.”

Before she can even so much as nod, there is a huge explosion, accompanied by a plume of smoke. The sound reaches them seconds later. “….one thousand six, one thousand seven,” Ford times the gap between sight and sound. “One hundred miles northeast… hmmm.”

“What did you say, Ford?” asks a nearby Air Force officer.

   “I was telling Miss Hanes that we covered the last hundred miles with ease. Must be the desert air?”

“Sargent. Smith will guide you from here.”

Without hesitation, the officer joins an armada of military vehicles racing off to the north and east. It is clear that they were not expecting the blast. Two helicopters are dispatched to the scene. They will be at the expected crater long before the ground vehicles.

In a weak moment, Sgt. Smith slips, “Some strange things going on around here these days.” Sometimes one can only shake one’s head. “Come this way.”

They have entered an infirmary type building and are shunted into an empty room – save a table, five chairs and two guards.

“Musical chairs is one of my favorite party games and I believe we need more people to play. How about you guys? ” Lyn is trying to ease the mounting tension. The guards will have nothing of it.

Smith directs them to the two chairs facing the other three, with four feet between them. “Before we begin, I need to warn you that this woman may not have anything to say. She pops in and out of reality. It affects the way she communicates. One minute she seems perfectly normal, totally out of it internal_organsthe next. We have had our best psychological people examine her. The only thing they agree on is that she is missing more than her memory.”

“Missing what?” Lyn wonders.

“One kidney and part of her frontal lobe,” contributes the newest addition to the room. He is dressed mostly in white, distinguishing himself from anyone else they have seen. “With no signs of surgery, I might add. I have heard of people being born with one kidney, but the human brain mass never deviates from its shape… content maybe, but not shape.”

“And you are… who?” Lyn is losing her patience. “We have flown across country, at your invitation and all we are getting are silver streaks, explosions and what seems to be a military runaround.”

“Excuse my oversight, folks, but this case has me baffled.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #279


page 261

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