THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 89

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 89

…The boys could not keep their eyes off the King Ranch linkup with Colony Mission Control, watching the slow visual crawl of the New Mayflower on its way past the moon…

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—Meanwhile, back in the Greater Houston Metroplex, reaction to the Mars bound Image result for metroplex mapNew Mayflower is every bit the equal to Galveston, perhaps having the edge with the mission’s two biggest rooters Deke and Gus McKinney there at King Ranch. The pre-launch drama will not be left out this time, leaving it for it in the hands of local news.

Braden King does not relax until the New Mayflower reaches escape velocity and clears the ionosphere. Then and only then does he join the boys who have exploded their bedtime to bits. Wild horses could not have kept them from watching their parents’ rescue mission move downrange and Braden has learned his lesson about withholding the truth.

“I wish we had a molecular particle transporter,” Gus muses, “and then I could beam Mom & Dad in time for Wednesday.”

He speaks about the big birthday bash that surrogate parent Braden King has had planned for weeks, to treat the McKinney boys who were born within five winter days of each other, one year apart.

Space Academy

“CalTech has been doing some amazing experimentation in that area Gus. One of my friends at the Space Academy has a dad who has successfully scrambled basic molecules and reassembled them.” Leave it to Deke to know so much about the project. “In fact, they say by the end of the 2035 they will be transporting a lab rat to a remote location.”

“That sound cruel to me…what if the rat goes in and comes out a cat.”

“I think he would be happy.”

“Or worse yet, get lost on the way,” Gus being an advocate for all creatures large and small. “They don’t get a vote.”

“If we didn’t use animals for research, the planet would have been overrun by flesh-eating epidemics back in 2018.”

“You were 3, how would you know Deke?”

“He is right,” if Braden says so, it is therefore gospel, “if I remember it spread out of  Africa and never made it across the Atlantic.

Black and White Pattern with Wavy Lines.

“You know I’ve been thinking, maybe it would be a good idea to invite Uncle Roy to the party,” no not blood uncle.  “He could use a day or two in the bunkhouse to wind down.”

“Well, duh Mr. King!” Braden speaks for the boys/transfixed.

super-kidsThe boys could not keep their eyes off the King Ranch linkup with Colony Mission Control, watching the slow visual crawl of the New Mayflower on its way past the moon. It will be tough keeping the rescue from dominating their every thought.

“Well double-duh Braden, I didn’t see his name on the list?” King mentions.

“It wouldn’t be a party without Crip, Mr. King.” He mocks.

“Oh yes, that is an excellent suggestion, we like it when he rides old Hellraiser the bull.” Braden has conducted the conversation for the 3 of them.

Black and White Pattern with Wavy Lines.

11-oclock

“That’s it boys, I think it is time to hit your bunks. Haven’t you heard that a watched spaceship never moves?”

He gets no argument.

“Come on Gus, we cannot stay wake for four months. And Mr. King, Uncle Roy would never ride Hellraiser, he smarter than that.” The brothers are aware of Braden’s needs, “And you deserve to have time with adults of your own age, you know like 64!”

Right now he feels all of 80. —


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 89


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THE RETURN TRIP- Episode 85

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 85

…“Gherkin Dogman!” Roy storms the recognized authority figure, the mysterious temporary Spatial Debris tech, but the butt of a rifle stops him in his tracks….

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Identity by artist Nick Gentry

meanwhile-caption-001“T-minus 0:42 minutes, all systems are green and go for the second manned flight to Mars,” Braden King is giving the greater space community an update.t-minus-to-launch-001

In the case of Roy Crippen and Francine Bouchette, intercom chatter is their audible
window into the coming tight launch window, the many stars a’twinkling yet shedding not a useful light on this moonless night, on the grounds surrounding the New Mayflower.

“Everything is alright Roy, perhaps our suspicions were unfounded,” she states, swayed by the positive update so close to launch.

They are pretty far out onto the tarmac when he tells her, “Let’s not take any chances,” taking her by the hand and sprinting toward Colony Mission Control and away from Gantry #2, where the New Mayflower sits brightly lit, launch vapor pouring from its 450 stance.

As they are running, skimming a scant 2 feet above the flat ground a jetcopter sweeps onto the scene, without US Air Force markings and not with the friendliest intent.

“That is a Mil Mi-38 Hind attack helicopter,” charging through the pitch-black
darkness, beneath the radar of a non-military installation. It drops and blocks their further advance.

 

These interlopers know their targets, with the swift effectiveness of a SWAT team, more than 10 armed men leap from open doors, before it touches down. The head start gives them a decided advantage, securing the intended hostages with ease.

Roy’s initial response to capture is to wax heroic, but disadvantageous numbers fly in the face of logic; an automatic weapon held by a familiar face decides the matter and that is that.

“I knew he would be foolish,” the supposed leader of the force speaks in some mischievous blend of Hindi and English.

“Gherkin Dogman!” Roy storms the recognized authority figure, the mysterious temporary Spatial Debris tech, but the butt of a rifle stops him in his tracks.

“No!” Francine pushes aside the assault-weapon-wielding thug to come to the aid of her fallen new friend. Other than an ugly lump at the base of his skull, the stirring new-mayflower-001victim is not seriously injured.

“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.”

–  A rather simplistic description of the New Mayflower and its new mission.


THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 83

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 83

“Don’t get too close Sam!” a strange mist emanates out 3-dimensionally, swirling and pulsating as if dancing to music…

The “thingy” inadvertently drops to the deck of the engine room from waist level.

Bboinnngggg…… tool and floor combine to fashion a perfect key of A. “Oops.” The pitch did not startle the pair, as they turn to nose around elsewhere… though the humming noise that followed, after taking a half-dozen steps, does.

HHHhhhuuuMMMMmmmmmmmmm…..

Newfoundlander Engine Room

They freeze in their tracks, turning slowly, very slowly to take a peek. A panel, on one side of the upper cone opens, which by itself is fortuitous, paling in comparison to what it reveals.

“Don’t get too close Sam!” at a comfortable distance, from back at the entrance, a strange mist emanates out 3-dimensionally, swirling and pulsating as if dancing to music. The cloud sinks to waist height; neck high for the Newfoundlians as if a whirlpool in slow motion. All they can do is stand perfectly still and hope it is no more lethal than the air, the water or the food…. it isn’t, it doesn’t, it won’t.Related image

Hand-in-hand they begin walking through the haze to its source, like bugs to a light. This is the very essence of why man on Earth decided to venture out into space. Detractors call it expansionism, minimalists call it greed but above all, a spade must be called a spade; the desire to see what is on the other side, whether it be a mountain or a faraway star.

Two sets of eyes wide open, stare into the mouth of a yawning abyss, the 5′ x 8′ unknown – looking more like the edge of eternity. If they had not been here to see it in person, it may well have been an artist’ rendering or cinematographers’ CGI masterpiece.


THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 82

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 82

“Maybe it’s not a good idea to poke that thing around, not knowing what the result will be?”…

Careful now!

— Energized and ever curious, the two-remaining visitors on Mars press on to the depths of the alien ship. As they near the geometrical center, there is the palpable lets-go-exploring-calvin-and-hobbessensation of power about, much like being yards away from a pulsating 30,000 volt transmission line. The black hair on Sampson’s forearms stand on end and Celeste’s blond-locks react statically.

Sampson surmises that they are nearing the “engine room”, “Judging by its staying power it has to be nuclear or whatever style of atomic fuels they use. Old Karl at GLF would be drooling about now.”

The technology needed for intergalactic travel is beyond Earthly understanding, though they are currently on the right track. The NEWFOUNDLANDER most certainly did not plod along to get to Mars, like Chronicle did, or like the 21st Century New Mayflower is about to.

 

Brightly coded signs, reading gobbledigook threatening in form, leading them to believe they have found the engineering section with supercharged propulsion onyx-black-001unit/s. Upon gaining entry to the forbidden area, thank you Celeste and your mystically useful black rock, they can only wonder why it is so closely secured.Related image

There are more lifeless Newfoundlian bodies here than the
rest of the ship combined. Gathered in a tight circle, like Uni-Scouts at a Saturday night bonfire, are 10 of the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s crewmen. There is an object/i.e. device in the midst of the fallen bodies, five feet in diameter and eight feet tall. Two corpses are closer than the rest with what looks like tools in their hands, as if repairing something fragile.fork-001

While bending over to relieve one of them of his tool, “Where do you think this goes,” he beckons Celeste to come join him.

Sampson manipulates the tuning fork shaped instrument, twist it at various angle and degrees. He even goes as far as trying to shove it into the middle, where the two cones intersect, in the middle, but the smooth surfaces are not arrow-downreceptive.

“Maybe it’s not a good idea to poke that thing around, not knowing what the result will be?”press_button_receive_bacon

“You have a point; this has more and different juice than the magical-meal machine.”

The “thingy” Sam is handling inadvertently drops to the deck of the engine room from waist level.…..


THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

…Suddenly, stranded & pregnant in space is trumped by, “Are we taking off?”

stranded-in-space-001

“What did NASA tell us about the efficacy of birth control in a semi-weightless environment?”

“Dontellmeyouare?!?!?”

“Bingo, give that man a cigar!” Celeste can only make light of delicate condition. “I are-you-sure-001believe that I have become the guinea pig for an unscheduled NASA experiment.”

After a flood of possible emotional responses runs its course, he concludes, “I wonder if Engineer Karl had the foresight to build a nursery into (NASA’s rescue ship) New Mayflower’s medical bay?”

“WE don’t need to worry; women have been giving birth in unusual places for four millennia.”

“In space, damn Cel, are you sure you’re pregnant? We don’t need to be distracted by a false alarm.”

The mother-to-be runs her hands through her blonde hair front to back, “It has been about 15 years, but yes I am 100 percent sure and this time feels different, maybe the daughter you’ve been wanting?”

schawonkschawonkabelumphhh !!!!!!Related image

The tender family moment is stunned back into present realities by a vigorous combination of a good healthy belch and a Winnie the Pooh sound effect.

Suddenly, stranded & pregnant is trumped.

“Are we taking off?”

Sampson pauses to identify the cause of the quaking. “No, no we’re not, but I think it is time we more thoroughly assess our newfound sanctuary.”

“Along those lines, I think we should give this thing a name, since we can’t read extraterrestrial and just because we can.” Celeste thinks on it, while Sam starts scanning the bridge of this bucket of unknown metal. “Newfound sanctuary, Newfoundland Province Canada… how does the
NEWFOUNDLANDER
 sound?”

“That’s a good one, the NEWFOUNDLANDER! So it shall be newfoundlander-001from this day forward,” Commander McKinney proclaims,
entering it into his continuing log of the newest incarnation of the Space Colony and temporary Mars City. “So let’s check out this galaxy trotter.”–


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 76

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 76

female-astronaut-001

meanwhile-caption-001Sampson McKinney becomes the first Earthling, to board a spacecraft from another solar system. There have been other claims, by upstanding citizens everywhere from deputy sheriffs to bank presidents, who claim to have been abducted by aliens, but no one takes those people seriously, much like the folks that have been to heaven and back.

There have also been faint rumors, on the Q.T. of course, that NASA and particularly the Air Force intentionally discounting any account of alien contact or UFO sightings. Sampson has heard these intriguing stories, from Area 51 to the possessed African tribesmen, and finds it terribly ironic that he and Celeste are now in the position of having to prove, what can only be described as the greatest discovery of mankind since Galileo deemed the Sun as the center of the solar system, or at least the microprocessor.

So here in this “alleged” alien spacecraft {are they sure it isn’t Russian?} there is no denyingInside Newfoundler what he is seeing and bravely breathing. It is a calculated risk to ignore the distinct possibility that there is something about the native Martian air is fatally contaminated. But what do they have to lose, after all, had not most every cancer been conquered? Likewise, on the brink of this new world, can they afford to be timid?

“It sure is warm in here.” He planned on waiting several minutes before allowing his bride to remove her helmet, just in case, but she wasn’t about to get stuck here all alone so hers is already unlatched.

“This is incredible Sam, do you know what this means?”

Might she be referring to the seemingly endless supply of breathable air, as opposed to Tycho’s finite resources?

“If you thinking what I think you are, we still need to eat and drink.”

“I know that, you Celtic lout! Hell, we should be exploring this joint instead of holding our hats in our hands……..” she fails to complete the rant.

“Celeste!” He rushes to his wife, who dropped like a Mars rock onto the unyielding glossy deck, without outward signs or warning.


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 74

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 74

…Miss Bouchette, can I count on you to help me out here? I will grant you blanket access with Level 1 Security status

security-level-1-001

“You could barely speak English this morning when we spoke this morning.”

“I have not had the honor to meet you until now; I would like to express the gratitude of all the Nepalese people for being part of the great Space Colony. My government sends its deep condolences for the horrible accident.”

This man was genuinely sincere and definitely not the Gherkin Dogma he had met right before the Colony disappeared from the Mars Mockup.

“Are you saying that you didn’t man this station until after Space Colony was taxi-001destroyed?” Roy is more confused than ever.

“That is correct Director Crippen. I was late in arriving because my taxi driver could not find Galveston Launch Facility; it seems he took a wrong turn as we left George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which is odd because you can see Colony Mission Control from many miles away.”

“Sounds fishy to me Director Roy,” Francine interjects her opinion. “I know that many cabbies are new to this country, but they cannot be blind.”

All the while digesting and deciphering, Roy is finally seeing the handwriting on the wall. As Phil Jansky’s replacement continued to ramble on about other trip delaying travails, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together:

 1)   Philip Jansky, Spatial Debris Specialist {20 year NASA employee} dies of a rare & sudden cerebral hemorrhage

2    That death occurs at a critical time in Space Colony 1’s mission, with the McKinneys on Mars surface

3)   In a scramble to replace personnel, a Nepalese technician is flown in by supersonic transport

4)  Space Colony 1 disappears from its orbit around Mars, cause unknown

“From Earth-to-Mars, no one’s laughing from here-or-there.”

5)  A rescue mission involving the premature launch of the New Mayflower is hastily thrown together

6)  One man, two manred man, blue man. A human shell game has been going on, with sketchy timelines and miss-identifications

“Time is winding down Francine and I do not have time to do a full-blown investigation. Can I count on you to help me out here? I will grant you blanket access with Level 1 Security status.”

“A good reporter never turns down the opportunity to do what she does best.” She is developing more than a casual interest in both this interplanetary intrigue and this intriguing man specifically. “You can count on me….as long as I get the exclusive.”

Roy is going to need the help…no matter what she is angling.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 74


 

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