Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #118

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #118

…Overwhelmed, surprised, lightheaded, exhausted and downright grateful to be home are they, standing hand in hand, friendships forged by fire and sharpened one against the other…

McKinley Speech-001

On this day, it is Herbert Love and the Leon/Gadsden Nine who stand and wave to the adoring masses. Such is the power of the printed word, preceding them with truth-ly tales and a few innocent embellishments, sprinkled with a little imagination.

Democrat-001One particularly inciting article would be considered old news. Fulton Allanson IV had ferreted out an account of the liberation of the Campbell family from the clutches of Jefferson Smythwick and Fort Sumter South. Thanks to Amanda Campbell and Martha Ferrell, a special Saturday edition of the Tallahassee Democrat is printed, solely dedicated to that amazing act of liberating love.

When you add that stimulating story to current heroic escapades and a compelling pattern emerges. These are, by no measure, ordinary people. There is something about them that must be different, so different that one can only dream of such feats. The status quo is resigned complacency when compared to inspired motivation.

However cherished and immortalized, the balconied nine are privately embarrassed by the pomp attention. Overwhelmed, surprised, lightheaded, exhausted and downright grateful to be home are they, standing hand in hand, friendships forged by fire and sharpened one against the other.

When William McKinley finally speaks, people listen, “Are there any greater heroes than these fine nine people?” igniting yet another five minute ovation.

A few of the many who were helped or saved, such as James and Abbey and the humbled  young debutantes of Tallahassee are there at the fore on the ground and cheering the loudest. Martha and Agnes Ferrell, Frieda Endlichoffer, Laura Bell, Amanda Campbell – husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers are right behind them, joyous to be a reveler, instead of a mourner.

“Thank you all for your graciousness. It makes for a homecoming that none of us will likely forget,” tells Herb Love for the group. “And I would like to say that I am proud to count William McKinley as my friend! He is as fine a man as I may ever meet!”

McKinley has since boarded his train, joining an irresistibly juicy photographic opportunity (the back deck of the back car draped in American flaggery) with the most genuine intentions of course. He introduces each of the nine; from a list he has been given, though he could probably do it by heart. The nine are as individual as they are unique, easily distinguished from the other, even you had not seen them before: a mayor and his wife, a businessman, a journalist, a pharmacist, a school administrator, a cigar maker and his son, the protégé of an elderly German doctor.

  President McKinley concludes with the declaration, “I want each one of you to join me in Washington on election night, guest of the First Lady and me!”

Wow! The crowd is ten thousand strong. What a party! But only those, in those twenty minutes short of an hour at the railway depot, really believe he was inviting everyone.

“I was there with you in Philadelphia, when the Republicans acclaimed their support for you,” Herb grabs the megaphone, really getting into this campaigning thing, “and me and my good friends will be there with you and sweet Ida, when you are once again proclaimed President of our fine country!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #118


page 108

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #77

…The USS Maine had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, wanting nothing less than independence…

“What the hell was that?” demands Captain Sigsbee from the smoking bridge of the Battleship USS Maine of the helmsman, who already realizes he has no control of this troubled ship. There is no time for him to speculate. The explosion that has rocked the huge boat now topped by another even more powerful blast. “Abandon ship! Man the lifeboats!”

“Where is Commander Gaskel?” asks Captain Sigsbee about his second in command (Martha Ferrell’s brother) amidst a mad scramble of sailors from deep within the bowels of the ship.

“He helped me and some other guys out of the boiler room, sir,” answers one of the lucky ones. “We thought he was right behind us.”

A captain knows his boat intimately. The only two areas that can produce such explosions, assuming it was not sabotage, are the boiler room and the munitions cache. They are too close together for comfort, but Sigsbee has a notion to retrieve survivors and for a moment it looks like the worst is over. Just then, a final blast rips the stern front the bow, just to the rear of amidship. The stern is more heavily weighted by the coal driven turbines and finds the bottom of Havana harbor first.

The fore of the ship lingers on the surface long enough for the remaining bridge crew and finally Captain Sigsbee to make the last seaworthy lifeboat. One minute more separates the reunion of the bow with its anchor, concluding the disaster in no more than twelve minutes total.

(Music: Sleeping Sun Artist: Nightwish Subject: USS Maine)

They had come to Cuba to protect American citizens from pro-Spanish mobs, rioting against self- government, wanting nothing less than independence. What or who caused the stay of the Maine to come to a crashing end after only three weeks, will be debated and disputed for longer than the lives of those who survive.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #77


page 71

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 89

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 89

…Find the nearest firehouse Fanny, get help, Eddie has taken two to the gut…

Eddie notices a black Cadillac ironically similar to the one that ran them off the road on the way back from Tolentine. It is parked at the side entrance to O’Malley’s.  Inadvisably, he does not share this useful tidbit with his employers, letting them out two blocks to the south as he was instructed.

It is a sound plan; evaluate then act.

Without fanfare Eddie steps on the gas of the sedan, charging up behind the black car. The Packard screeches to an abrupt stop, blocking it in. It seems he is taking matters into his own hands.

“What the hell is he doing, he doesn’t have a gun?” Constance laments.

This was not part of the plan.

Eddie jumps out the passenger side door and storms into the building.

Constance has broken into an all-out gallop in a futile attempt to stop him, her Beretta is drawn. Shrieks at her determined comrade go unheeded.

Shortly after he disappears inside the side entrance, she hears two sharp reports, then silence. She polishes a hole onto a side window to see inside. There is a single man’s body lying next to a person bound and gagged on a chair.

She motions to Fanny has to go around to the rear of the single story structure to secure that exit.

Plan B needs to be good.

Without hesitation, Constance charges into the skirmish. The element of surprise is on her side.

There are two men in the process of rolling Eddie’s bloodied torso over, presumably to see if he is still alive. The person in the chair is beside herself. Presumably it is Edie Dombroski.

Fanny sees what is going on and creates a distraction from the back of the garage. The men rain bullets at her as she ducks between disassembled vehicles and barrels of petroleum products.

Constance steals a quick look at Eddie, and then shoots at both men in turn, one bullet apiece, with deadly accuracy from the kneeling position; no questions asked and none required.

“Find the nearest firehouse Fanny, get help, Eddie has taken two to the gut!

Luckily, Engine #4 is around the corner on Division Street.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Firehouse

Engine #4 Division Street

Forever Mastadon


page 80

The NULL Solution = Episode 157

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The NULL Solution = Episode 157

…Gus McKinney’s sole luxury comes in the form of a vehicle license tag: SOLx3…

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Key to the City

Houston Texas has always been a NASA town. Back in its heyday, the Johnson Space Center was the centerpiece of space aeronautics. Even after critical operations shifted east to Oskaloosa and Lovell S C, and south to Galveston and GLF, never once have they surrendered the nickname of “Space City”.

Thanks to the inland seaport and nearby wide-open spaces, Houston has overtaken Chicago as the 3rd most populated city, as well as metropolitan area in the United States. They are big on bragging rights, particularly when it comes to space heroes.

If he had a case of the druthers, Gus McKinney could have easily given up his pressure-suit for politics. He believes he is too young for that old man’s occupation. But that does not mean he has bought a single meal or beverage while out & about in Texas for THE LAST 20 YEARS.

His appearance on Good Morning Mission Control blew up the Internet for 2 hours. Gus McKinney EVA Action Figure is the most popular Christmas gift for the years 2050 – 52. To his credit, he has repeatedly turned down reality television producers, who would kill for the opportunity to spend quality camera time out at King Ranch. His sole luxury comes in the form of a vehicle license tag: SOLx3. Anonymity goes out the window {at the speed-of-light} when he goes to 7 Eleven for a Slurpee. He does not pay for those either.

He will need all that plus a sawbuck if he wants to be in the mix concerning the coming of Collapsar Axis. Roy Crippen compares confronting it to “shooting spit wads @ the moon”. The decision has been set in stone. The only volleys being lobbed at the Ÿ€Ð menace are “friendlies”, reinforcing the image of a peaceful people who would never consider taking an offensive posture… except the one time when our hero squeezed-off a warning disruptor blast at a single Ÿ€Ð cruiser, back when Terran folks were a bit jumpy about the Lorgan issue.

Hopefully the “invaders” have a short memory.

At least the United States has backed away from the literal ledge, that the rest of the world is about to jump off of. At various times in history, the fact that the Americas are an island unto themselves is quite convenient. The European Union head is connected to Eastern Bloc neck bone, the neck bone is connected to the Russian backbone and the backbone is connected to the Asian tailbone and the Tailbone is connected to the kangaroo bone.

Editorial comment: No bone is connected to the African bone… where disease still spreads faster than the news.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 157


page 153

The NULL Solution = Episode 115

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The NULL Solution = Episode 115

…Make no bones about it, it is truly like an expedition of old; Da Gama, Hilary, Joliet or Glenn…. or one of these oldies:

The two month trip out to Mars is a breeze. Each man has his own way to pass the time. 60 or days may not seem like a long time, but when 2 men from different generations are left to their own devices; those devices are bound to be dissimilar.

Retiring Rick Stanley has much to catch up on, seeing that his career path has recently resembled the Chinese fortunes in the world money markets – down. It is enough to frighten a super G downhill racer, so quick was his trip to the bottom of the astronaut chart. He has been resigned to cashing NASA credits, training future astronauts, all the while sleepwalking; not a gratified way to go out.

So here he is, crunching file after file of technical manuals with the hope of catching up with his up-to-date cabin mate. ‘How do I do this or that?’ is not the burden he wants project on Gus McKinney, who has been described by most observers as the premier space pioneer… ever.

Astronaut Stanley is not without his own fine resume, but his reads like a high school diploma compared to Gus’ doctoral thesis. He may be piloting the drone, but he will not be at the controls of Solution as it circumnavigates the surface of the new Mars.

SOLUTION

At 40 years old, Gus could be Rick’s son, nearly a grandson. The veteran always wanted a son, but due to his job at NASA, his two ex-wives were in no mood to be widows with a child. Astronaut spouses are a special breed. His were not. His were merely social-climbing-window-dressing.

It is an odd feeling when you virtually idolize someone so his junior. He has a way to go to pull even, but he will.

Gus McKinney spends his time honing his fast-twitch motor skills and pouring over the “Harmonia Query”. When he grows tired of blasting alien invaders from a game screen, he punishes himself by running countless scenarios past the NASA data-cloud; nothing can be left to chance.

His no-fear attitude prevents him from regretting any of his choices, on Earth or in space. Never mind that he takes a lucky horseshoe with him on every mission. Technology cannot completely replace the U-shaped iron equine wear-guard fashioned by a person called a farrier. His prized appaloosa mare threw this particular shoe, causing them to stop… one minute and one mile from the path of a southeast Texas twister that suddenly dropped out of the sky, right when and where he would be returning from a back-forty fence check. He will forever take that charm, wherever the winds of space blow him.

Not to be outdone, daughter Marscie gave him a lime-green bow from her hair as he left King Ranch for this expedition. Either charm comes in second to his wife. McKinney wives need to be special and Mindy is.

Make no bones about it, it is truly like an expedition of old; Da Gama, Hilary, Joliet or Glenn.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 115


page 114

Your John Hancock – Declaration of Independence Signers

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Forgotten Signers

of the

Declaration of

Independence

What elementary school student in America couldn’t tell you about Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, two of the most famous signers of one of the three most momentous documents of American history? Most middle school students could go a little further and tell you about second president John Adams or John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, if only because of his most prominent signature.

That leaves 52 people who risked execution by making it official that the colonies were, and of right ought to have been, free, independent states whom most people probably couldn’t name. That doesn’t mean they weren’t themselves fascinating figures who are owed more prominent positions in posterity than history has provided them. Let’s do our small part to correct this.

10. James Wilson

A successful lawyer and esteemed judge by the time he became a congressional delegate for Pennsylvania, James Wilson had lent a practical sensibility to the revolution with his 1774 pamphlet “Considerations of the Nature and Extent of Legislative Authority in British Parliament” which argued that parliament had no authority to write laws for the colonies. It had been particularly popular reading among the congressional delegates in the meetings leading up to the Declaration.

Why He’s Forgotten:

In no small part is because of how badly he disgraced himself from 1777 on with gambling, speculation, and profiteering. The fledgling nation didn’t want to draw extra attention to someone like that after he’d served his purpose. He also was accused in 1779 of raising food prices in Philadelphia so high it led to riots that nearly cost him his life. These were the sorts of things that could overshadow a career that had never really become iconic with the public anyway.

Curiously, in the stage musical 1776, possibly his best opportunity to become a household name again, James Wilson is portrayed as voting in favor of declaring independence only as a means of remaining historically anonymous because doing so would be going with the crowd. This is quite ridiculous, as Wilson had clearly been a vocal advocate of separation before votes for independence were even being discussed, but the fact the authors of 1776 got away with it showed how far his star had fallen.

9. William Whipple

A former sailor who’d taken part in the

slave trade in the West Indies, William Whipple at least partially redeemed himself from a modern perspective by being one of the few members of Continental Congress who freed his slaves during his lifetime. During the Revolution he took the rank of brigadier general, distinguished himself at the vital American victory at Saratoga, and lost a leg from a cannon ball in 1778.

Why He’s Forgotten:

One of the contributions to his late life unpopularity was that he took a job in 1782 as the New Hampshire Superintendent of Finance, which unfortunately brought with it collecting taxes. It made him something of a pariah for doing a vital job, but also the fact it was an extremely difficult job (not aided by health problems his lost leg brought on) meant he did not collect enough money to please his colleagues either. Even a Founding Father sometimes cannot escape public scorn just for taking an unpopular but necessary job.

8. Elbridge Gerry

A Harvard graduate who became a merchant, and then was elected to Massachusetts Legislature in 1774, Elbridge Gerry’s main duties during his time in the Continental Congress (aside from signing the most important document) was in the naval and commercial departments. After the Revolution, he was part of the the Constitutional Convention, and came out of it hating the Constitution too much to sign it.

Why He’s Forgotten:

While the man himself is not remembered, he has a sort of unflattering legacy. Following his 1811 election as governor of Massachusetts, it was observed that the districts in his state were drawn to unfairly favor the Democratic-Republicans, which was dubbed “the salamander” by a cartoon in the Boston Globe. Perhaps you’ve heard the portmanteau “Gerrymander” lately in this politically charged climate. It’s the sort of thing that can easily overshadow the rest of a career, however distinguished it might have been.

7. Edward Rutledge

During his time in the Continental Congress as a delegate from South Carolina, former law student Edward Rutledge stood out in two ways according to the National Park Service. For one, he proposed a delay when the motion for independence was first made on June 7. Ostensibly it was to allow the colonies to arm themselves and reach out to foreign powers for alliances. The other way was that he was a mere 26 years old at the time, making him the youngest signatory. Indeed, today he’d be four years too young to even be a member of the Senate.

During the Revolutionary War he joined the army as a militia captain. While he was initially successful at the Battle of Port Royal, during the Battle of Charleston in 1780 he and thousands of other American soldiers were captured. He spent the rest of the war in irons.

Why He’s Forgotten:

Rutledge’s position as a political moderate left him initially opposed to the movement for independence. This has led a number of dramas, such as HBO’s John Adams to paint him as being completely opposed to revolution. It’s really quite unfair, as by the time of the vote he was the one who persuaded the rest of the divided South Carolinian delegates to vote for independence. Still, history found it harder to view the cool-headed, initially incorrect moderate as one of the inspirational founders of the nation, even though he was a military hero.

6. Richard Stockton

This delegate from New Jersey was such a successful lawyer before the revolution that King George III himself expressed a favorable opinion of him. Nevertheless, taxes such as the infamous Stamp Act had left Richard Stockton deeply in favor of independence, and in fact he became a delegate after New Jersey voters learned in 1776 that their original delegates intended to vote to stay with Great Britain, so he was one of two swapped in.

Why He’s Forgotten:

 Stockton was by far the least lucky signatory. In 1776 he was attempting to save his family after the British army invaded New Jersey and was captured. He held out in prison for five cold, agonizing weeks with the threat of execution for treason hanging over him before being offered a pardon in exchange for swearing to not take part in the rest of the war. Stockton accepted and resigned from  Congress, which was viewed as a general renouncement of the Revolution. He went back to teaching law, but tragically he was afflicted with cancer of the lip and lived only two more years, in pain to the end and widely held to be the Benedict Arnold of the Continental Congress.

5. Joseph Hewes

Before he became a delegate from North Carolina, Joseph Hewes was a highly successful sea merchant with a fleet of ships. So while in congress, he was basically one of the resident experts on maritime issues for the colonies. This might sound minor relative to the issues of the fate of nations, but it was actually a much-disputed issue during the debates. During the war itself, he offered his ships to be used for the Continental Navy.

Why He’s Forgotten:

Hewes didn’t survive the war. In 1779, he attended his final session of congress twelve days before his death on November 10. Thusly he was not able to continue distinguishing himself in the eyes of the new nation. His wife had also died in 1766 and he never remarried or had any children, so there was less of a family line to keep his name in the public consciousness.

4. Francis Lewis

Francis Lewis was born in Britain, went to America to found successful businesses around Philadelphia and New York, and became a military contractor. When the Seven Years War was started by George Washington, Lewis volunteered to join the army as an aide to General Hugh Mercer. Despite the relatively safe position he was taken prisoner. At the end of the war he was awarded 5,000 acres of land by the government of New York. Thus when he became one of the New York delegates, he was one of the greatest success stories among the distinguished traitors.

Why He’s Forgotten:

It turned out that the war would cost him almost everything. Long Island was lost to the colonials almost immediately during the war and with it his wife Elizabeth and their estate. His estate was destroyed and his wife treated abominably, the record stating that she had to sleep on the ground for months. Washington himself had to literally threaten to abuse the wife of a British official who’d been taken prisoner, though the long abusive treatment had left Elizabeth Lewis traumatized and she died shortly after. Though Lewis long survived the war, dying in 1803 at age 90, he lost his fortune and fell into obscurity.

3. Caesar Rodney

A former sheriff and delegate from Delaware, Caesar Rodney certainly seems like he should have been one of the most remembered figures to sign the Declaration. He was credited with casting the deciding vote for independence by providing one of two votes among the Delaware delegates for it. On the night before the vote he had ridden 80 miles through a storm to be present. And he also had the best name on this list, if we’re being honest.

Why He’s Forgotten:

Rodney’s vote actually went against the will of his constituents. Even as he made the most important vote of his life, his base turned against him and he was subsequently voted out of office. Public opinion had swung back in his favor by 1782 sufficiently for him to be elected back to national congress but he wasn’t healthy enough to take the office.

On the subject of his health, at the time Caesar Rodney signed the Declaration he was suffering from the cancer that would kill him eight years later. When he made that historic signature it had eaten away roughly half his face. He is thusly not included in John Trumbull’s famous painting of the vote and fits oddly with the way Americanhistorical propaganda tried to deify the Founding Fathers. Even the Delaware state quarter, which features him, does so with him at some distance on a horse. Some people just have to put up with ten times as much to receive one tenth the acknowledgement they deserve.

2. John Hart

John Hart came from such a simple, rustic farm background that the exact date he was born was not recorded except that it was around 1715. From that simple background he still became enough of a success that he spent ten years in the New Jersey state assembly. After that he went from committee to committee on his way to the Continental Congress.

Why He’s Forgotten:

The ink on the Declaration was scarcely dry before extreme hardship befell Hart. Most of all, just months after that momentous event, his wife died on October 8, 1776. He had scarce time to mourn before the British army invaded New Jersey and he became a particularly highly valued target. He had to resort to hiding in caves to avoid capture. Eventually the British gave up the chase and he was able to safely return home. He’d lost none of his patriotism, and in 1778, allowed Washington to camp the Continental Army – all 12,000 of them – on his estate for two days while Washington planned new strategies. Perhaps because of the strain all these horrible events and efforts for his country had placed on him, Hart fell ill and died in 1779. Much too early to take a direct part in shaping the new nation.

1. Robert Morris

Merchants were hardly unique among the members of the Continental Congress. This delegate from Pennsylvania took it a bit further than his peers. During the war, Robert Morris managed the financing and equipping of the Continental Army, but stood to profit immensely because he had all supplies go through his company, and thus the new nation was indebted to him in a more monetary sense than most.

On the other, more benevolent hand, during one of the low points of the revolution in 1776, he loaned $10,000 to the Continental Army to allow it to resupply itself in time to attack for the famous Delaware River Crossing and Battle of Trenton. He later provided credit that allowed the victory at the Battle of Yorktown. He even was one of the original architects of the National Bank.

Why He’s Forgotten:

All of his profiteering caught up with him quickly and alienated many, and in 1779 he was under investigation. Even though he was cleared of charges, criticisms from such iconic figures as Thomas Paine blotted his political and financial career. After the war his bullish financial practices would land him in debtor’s prison for three and a half years, dying in poverty.


Your John Hancock

 

– Declaration of Independence Signers

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 182

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 182

…”I remember where I was when”…

The Garden of Her Memories by Jamil Afridi.

Though it has been almost two years since the Mayflower Incident and 2+ years out from the last audible words spoken by the McKinneys, no one seems willing to let go of the dwindling hope, admit to their apparent demise, and pay final tribute to the first two true colonists in space. As the country regularly follows the growth into manhood of the brave remaining McKinneys, Deke & Gus, the gloom of the past is set aside for the promise of the future they represent. The pioneering spirits of Sampson & Celeste live on in the persons of the two young up-and-coming astronaut-brats; raised on all things space and flying head-on into its present future. —

— But it is time. With the hot humid days of late spring 2032 settling into the American Southwest, the memory, not the bodies of Sampson J. McKinney and Celeste Bergestrom-McKinney are to be laid to rest.

The stage is being set for one of the most memorable memorial services in recent times. The other notables:

  • 2030 — United Korea wails in shock over the elimination of Kim Jung-Un
  • 2025 — The passing of the ageless Sir Paul McCartney
  • 2018 — All of Britannia mourns Queen Elizabeth
  • Any ISIS reign of terror
  • 2012 — The Sandy Hook school shootings

Before the “I remember where I was when…” eyes of one million+ people in Houston and the billion+ linked by satellite, the grieving heart of the world in splayed for all to see.

The nearest and dearest are here to console each other:

  • The Bergestrom’s from Sweden attend in great numbers,
  • As do the Scottish/Irish McKinneys headed by Aunt Sassy.
  • Braden King whose heart has been torn from his chest.

And of course, the McKinney children:

1.1       Deke McKinney, the oldest son who is the new rock of the family.

1.2       Gus McKinney, the eager, bright-eyed dreamer who has his sights set on the stars.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 182


page 218

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