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…

One-Sided Conversations Typography by cheeriosbdr529 on deviantart.com

—Meanwhile, outside 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.”

cats rats hats bats spats by_tomikari

“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 who are 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

When I’m 64 by nickel8 on deviantart.com

Episode 89


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 77

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 77

…Consciousness comes suddenly for Mars’ most beautiful woman. “How long was I out?” …

Related image

Conscious – Unconscious by Marie-Christine Serres

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

The image of all those previous occupants, scattered around like they were stunned by a concussion bomb, is not very reassuring. Only now does he pick up on the well-
aged odor of death, “No, not US Cel! Come on baby!”

He is not a doctor but he is the only being, human or otherwise, standing on the Red Planet. It is he who will be checking for a pulse, even with the NASA and United States logos rising and falling across her heaving chest. For one grateful moment, she had not been done in by the same “bug” that had wiped out the previous homeowners.

Her static body slowly begins to writhe, as if awakening from an anesthetic sleep. Sampson leans back, relieved that he did not entice her fate because of his own cavalier lack of caution. She must have fainted, perhaps from the hyper-oxygenated air, yet this is not the first time she has been waylaid by ill winds, the award-001first time coming in Tycho’s airlock.

Consciousness comes suddenly for Mars’ most beautiful woman. “How long was I out?” Has she pinned down the source of her dodgy episodes?

“About 3 Martian Minutes,” he jokes. “You haven’t been your usually steady self lately. Do you have any clues about what is going on, this is starting to scare me?”

Celeste knows enough about her body, an ability that every woman has need of, enough to know that these compounding events are not body-blows or fouled air. Sam’s concern is the outward manifestation of married love, a comfortable yet flattering feeling.

Samuel McKinney M.D.

“Are you Sam the Detective or Samuel McKinney M.D.?”

Sam the Detective

“As a doctor I am a quack, as a detective I am a hack.”

“Well Mister Quack-Hack, I’m going to give both of you a clue: What memorable thing happened on the night of 15 November 2029?”

“In and out of hyper-sleep I guess, about 40 million miles out. Come to think of it, isn’t that when Al the Computer woke us up to tell us that we were passing by some unidentified space probe?”

“Very good,” is her condescending comment to his incomplete recollection, “but what else went on while we were awake?’

“OOOOooooohhh….THAT else! One thing kinda led to another didn’t it?”rated-r

“This is your last clue: One thing leads to another and we gave “it” a name.”

“Itsaboutdamntime!”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 77


page 72

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 72

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 72

…the man he is watching is as cool as a comet in between stars and manning his post like he belonged there…

comet

Jim Scotti’s Comet Artwork

“There is somebody in this complex from Nepal, that strange little tech named Gherkin who replaced Phil Jansky. I wonder if there is a connection.”

“And you don’t dare question someone’s qualifications. Political correctness has been the ruin of this world,” Francine adds her opinion about questioning anything about anybody… and the fallout.

Without hesitation Roy brings the room consuming monitor to life. Francine can see that it is not an ordinary one, seeming to follow Roy’s slightest gesture, the picture races through various angles of Colony Control.

A Happy Gherkin

It does come to rest, Roy’s steely blues focused on a shot of Gurkhas {not Gherkin} Shah Dhangotma. Of all the Hindi/Arab/Buddhist, Middle and Far East cultures in of this selective space community, this particular man has left him with an uneasy no-peaceful feeling; replacing a previously healthy and indispensable man in Phil Jansky. And what is worse and more telling, is that he doesn’t even know who is doing the hiring since the death of Fred Cabell. It’s enough to put his spinning head on a swivel.

But if he were the informant or the mole or the mastermind, any of the three, the man he is watching is as cool as a comet in between stars and manning his post like he belonged there. But Roy cannot clear his mind’s ear of the man’s clumsy English in the moment before Space Colony 1’s ruin.

“Keep an eye on that guy,” Francine is told, “if he makes any sudden moves, give a holler.”

She obliges and can actually be helpful after getting a few quick tips about controlling that section of the screen… with a blink of an eye.

2018 Map Before the formation of Talibanistan

Roy turns to text searches that may support his flimsy suspicion, or not. Dhangotma’s personnel file is bland and incomplete, though the Baikonur Cosmodrome is listed as experience. Even his file picture has mug shot written all over it, but it is not viewed by someone who knows a hoot about the man.

In alternating between the files and the live video, comparing it to their meeting earlier in the day, his eyes tell him ‘not the same guy’; his memory screams ‘he had jet-black hair, not dark brown’. He knows that you don’t change Spatial Debris techs like you change passwords.

“What’s he been up to?”

“He raised his hand, got up and came back a minute or two
later. My guess it was a quick pee.”

“Then why has his hair color changed?” On a thin whim he says, “Let’s pay Gherkin a visit.” With time dwindling, hunches played trump hunches ignored.


 THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 72


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 26

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 26

…Silky smooth, in the groove…

…Something to prove…

…Then click those hooves…

…The natives are booing…

rhymetime-001

All that political posturing and football frivolity aside, suddenly the Mars orbiting station still-shot will soon be exchanged for Tycho perspectives now poised for its descend-ent leg. And after a full-day’s fun, of course we will have THE RETURN TRIP.beanie hat

At one point Sampson peers out of the main hatch, mouthing the words, ‘Hi Mom’, hamming it up for that camera. Celeste is sporting a doodly-bopper helicopter hat given her by son Gus for good luck.

If the pioneering pair is nervous, their space-happy antics debunk that concern. Like Venetian silk or Mercurial milk, there is nothing but solid greens across the mission dashboard; neither machine nor man providing a reason not to go with a bullet.

“Silky smooth, in the groove,” is the way Braden King describes the morning.

“Something to prove,” Sampson rhymes.

“Are you ready to move?” Roy’s turn.

“Then click those hooves!” Braden is a part-time rancher.

Martians“The natives are booing…..You should approve.” Lt. Commander’s antennae beanie topper is off, game-face on. “In 11.75 hours the Plain of Xanthe is going to be a dark negative 143°. I want to be back in orbit before that.”

By this time Roy Crippen has set to pacing again, nervously covering most of the 40,000 square foot Galveston Launch Control, in search of that illusive glitch, those pesky flies in the ointment. He stops to view certain critical kiosks along the way, manned to a man by a qualified tech.

The comprehensive tour affords him the opportunity, more accurately a good excuse to drop in on the Spatial Debris/Traffic desk and this new Gurkhas Dhangotma fellow. He ambles as nonchalantly purposeful as he can, in the direction of the Nepalese newcomer who has seen Roy’s roving anyhow. The former “sheepherder”, as Roy so sensitively put it, tries to look busy enough, yet he spends an inordinate amount of time looking like he is sitting on a wet pile of wool. 


THE RETURN TRIP

Nomadic Himalaya Sheep Herder – Ghandruk, Nepal – Photo by Chris Streeter

Episode 26


page 25

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 25

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 25

…“You are looking live, at a sold-out Mars Aveeno/Sunscreen Stadium…

mars-stadium-001

“What the mood out there,” Roy asks Braden King, the communication expert, while walking under the live streaming video.

“They’re all good, Crip. Celeste has spoken with Deke’s orthopedist, so she has settled down.”

“There has been a boatload of crap going on Braden; first Fred, then Phil and toss in a reckless child.”

“He was shooting pigeons, keeping them out of the cattle feed.”

mars-planetiers-001“Key people die suddenly without warning, cattle eat, chicken s**t and little boys break bones; what else bad can happen?”

“Good morning Earth,” Commander McKinney summons Mission Control from its funk. “You are looking live, at a sold-out Mars Aveeno/Sunscreen Stadium, where today you will witness a classic confrontation between the hometown Mars Planetiers and their cross-system rivals the Fighting Colonists from Earth.”

Sampson reimagines a long gone Brent Musburger sports-casting introduction, taking everyone by surprise and sanding the rough edges off the tense atmosphere.

“You are too cool for your spacesuit Sam,” Roy reacts positively.

Braden Kings adds, while getting an eyeful of the Martian countryside, “That view must take you back to your old shuttle days, the first time your saw Earth from 225 miles?”

“Not even close, nothing can touch this,” Roy qualifies and reflects. “We all have read THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES; any speculative-fictioner worth his salt has devoured those short stories.”

“When it came time to hang a name on the first of the new shuttles, I could not help but think of Bradbury, 19-freakin-50 when he wrote that stuff.

“Do you remember that his colonists mostly failed after early successes?

“Yes, the shape shifters and the sand ships.”

“They did not react well when it came time to share the planet with those interlopers from 50 million miles away; they were prepared for the Earthlings, but ended up abhorring them.

“It was their world, yet we claimed for our own. Fiction or not, sometimes I wonder if we are doing the right thing.”talibanistan-001

“I think it’s rather late in the game for second guessing, we’ll leave that poo-pooing to the Koreans and I suppose China, India and the Talibanstani Cabals.”

Rhetoric is just rhetoric until it is backed up.

“And the Koreans accuse us of being Imperialists, when helped themselves to their neighbors to the South. And in the case of the Taliban you can say, North, East, West and every “-stan” in between.”


THE RETURN TRIP

earth-fighting-colonists-001

Episode 25


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 18

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 18

…As leader of this outpost, I feel it is my duty to inform you that Space Colony 1 will welcome one and all. May we all live long and prosper.”

live long and prosper by Jessaa Lee Odinson

The task of preparing Tycho for its maiden mission will occupy the both colony pioneers, right up until departure time.

Mostly.

Celeste (McKinney) has been at a disadvantage ever since she set eyes on the Colony station. Most of her waking time since is spent giving herself first-hand knowledge, by manual or blueprint, unlike the Commander (McKinney), who was hands-on in its assembly and knows every square millimeter and circuit.

In the highest reaches of her temporary home is her single significant contribution; a magnificent botanical garden. Not only does this green slice of Earth provide genuine oxygen and humidity, it also is a refuge for those lonely, miss my boys moments. The station’s orbit keeps it in the continual good graces of this solar system’s life enhancing star; its and radiant sunlight. A person cannot get a tan up here, but it sure can help with the inevitable homesickness.

As she passes through the dome, dodging trees, flowers, and yes the insects that are along for the ride, Celeste cannot resist the peeking through the only observation telescope, though its 1500x magnification is more on a scale of looking glass by comparison.

The ladder-tram takes her to the lens viewer, where she is able to take in the wonder of Mars, close up and personal. As she pans the scanning angle, she becomes the first human to inspect (in person) the minuscule moons of the Red Planet: Phobos and Deimos are trailing one another, at different Image result for the moons of marsdistances above, with Phobos held by Mother Mars more closely. It is as if the Greek god of War had himself tested his arm strength by tossing two oddly shaped boulders out away from Mount Olympus, only to have them fall into the gravitational influence of his distant namesake.

Featureless in appearance, save the pockmarks caused by the millennium passing of meteors, the two moons possess their own engaging character and granite loyalty; mini-chunks of primordial leftovers, attendants to a world that still holds many secrets, in spite of the crisscrossing tracks left behind by NASA’s last attempt at exploration.  But those “little rovers that could” paths are on the other side of the planet. This here is virgin territory.

Sampson, for his part, must be getting restless. This could explain him declaring boldly, “This is your Commander speaking.As leader of this outpost, I feel it is my duty to inform you that Space Colony 1 will welcome all members of World Space Consortium, providing they contribute to the common good; meeting the needs of the collective, each according to his or her abilities. May we all live long and prosper.”

“Ya-da, ya-da, ya-da,” responds the station’s only other sentient being.


 THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 18


page 17

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 16

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 16

…In the world of prankster-dom , the name McKinney has become the gold standard…

“You’re welcome Miss,” Sam tells her facetiously. He manages to look past the messy situation caused by the simulator.

To say that “Miss Sweden” is apologetic would be a severe understatement; her accidental hero insisting that she should not upset her scrambled constitution further.

The Infirmary is situated nearby, a wise placement and within minutes of the doctors, who work their magic on tummies.

Sampson McKinney heads for the washroom to rid him of what must have been Miss Sweden’s breakfast that involved pickled herring and lingonberries, while the ill patient sleeps away the next hour.

Since his triple-knit jumpsuit is beyond salvage, he helps himself to a set of  doctor scrubs, though finding a pair to fit his 6’4” takes a little sorting. In the world of prankster-dom , the name McKinney has become the gold standard. Chances are that someone is saying, ‘Did you see what McKinney did to Peculiar Pete at the meeting yesterday?’, or some other hilarious recollection.

The intern on duty, who is beholding to him for taking one for the team, consents to allowing a scam to be hatched, joining a nurse who had committed to the charade.

‘Doctor’ Sam stands over the slowly rousing victim, whose eyes are still closed, but conscious. A cold Image result for rare diseasestethoscope is placed on her tummy, “I am glad you called me in, Nurse Betty. This is a case of digestive reversal. I haven’t seen one this bad in years.”

“And to think it’s Rare Disease Day,” the nurse plays up the gag.

The victim cracks a lid ever-so-slightly to steal a glimpse of the medical team. The ‘Doctor’ is wearing a surgical cap and mask that conceals his warped identity.

“You don’t mean…?” Nurse Betty plays on..

“Yes I do Nurse Betty; we are going to have to operate, get these organs back in place; a complete Visceral Inversion to restore normal digestive function.”

“And she was so young.”

“I want a second opinion doctor. I am feeling much better.” Panic is setting in.

“Relax my dear, and your name is what?”

“Ensign 1st Class Celeste Bergestrom.” She looks around for avenues of escape.

The cruel joke has run its course. The doctor removes his clinical disguise, thereby revealing himself, even though they had met but briefly, “2nd Lieutenant Sampson McKinney at your service.”

“You **#!&^!!**______g   ___s!!!!”

He extends a hand. It was all in good fun, after all…

flashback-001


 THE RETURN TRIP

doctor-sam-001

Episode 16


page 15

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15b

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15b

…Sampson McKinney found himself rooting for a better outcome for this “girl”, who has a name that he doesn’t know…

…“That doll is the bomb,” one other exclaims!…

seems-like-yesterday-001

16 years ago, when a 20-something Sampson McKinney stands watching as fellow cadets at the singular Astronaut Preparation—Lovell Space Center, are subjected, in turn, to the dreaded Challenger Control Simulator. You know, just in case one loses control of what you are flying {gravity-less}.

Up until now he found the process mildly entertaining, until an unmistakably tall, blond and FEMALE steps up to take her turn. A Swede,’ he heard a guy in front of him say.

Sam found himself rooting for a better outcome for this “girl”, who has a name that he doesn’t know. “Olga” is the prototypical Scandinavian female name keeps popping into his uninformed mind.

She climbs into the booth, seemingly undaunted by the lack of previous successes. From the outside you do not know what is going on inside. It is supposed to be a un-rehearse-able surprise, which is the point, with varying degrees of achievement.

One thing is obvious, even to the most casual of observers; the simulator hums along as if it hadn’t been started. “What’s the deal,” Sampson utters aloud.

“That doll is the bomb,” one other exclaims!

Out she comes; standing tall and proud for a few short moments, but the young McKinney can tell her Image result for dizzy gifstability is in jeopardy. He artfully snatches her bobbly-wobbly body before it can reach the ramp floor, guiding her to the outer hallway.

Image result for boy meets girlSeconds later, with her body regaining some perceptive function, she tells her rescuer, “That is one wild ride,”

“It looked pretty smooth to me,” he admits.

In one of those “wow he is handsome” moments, she has to parse her words carefully; sometimes your hearContinuedt takes the lead. “I want to thank you…” her face turns green, words followed by the discharged contents of
her tender innards.

“You’re welcome Miss,” he tells her facetiously. He manages to look past the messy situation.


 THE RETURN TRIP

boy_and_girl_by_mykittyjasper

Boy and Girl by mykitty jasper deviantart.com

Episode 15B


page 14

Sick Puns #40 – WIF Wit and Humor

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Diseased (Sick) Puns

 

The flipside of contagious gum disease is an infectious smile.

 

Which illness are witches most prone to? Crone’s disease.

 

When Wally discovered he had Lyme disease he was really ticked off.

 

The mathematician did not practice safe six and ended up with a binarial disease.

 

She could only compose music in 3/4 time. She had waltz timer’s disease.

 

The retired track official has started forgetting things. He has old timer’s disease.

 

He liked to study infectious diseases. It was in his blood.

 

Don’t kiss birds or you may get an untweetable canarial disease.

 

Chronic illegal parkers suffer from parking zones disease.

 

Those who write about disease become ill-literate.



Sick Puns #40 –

WIF Wit and Humor

 

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #324

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #324

…A 1954 teal Ford Coupe convertible streaks down less traveled roads to Tallahassee’s “new” Regional Airport…

Image result for airport control tower 1960

Municipal Airport – photographer Bill Malone

“This is FREDERICK ALPHA GEORGE 1610, requesting permission to land on runway 2-9er,” ever the pilot Bob Ford asks.

          “Affirmative FREDERICK ALPHA GEORGE 1610, descend to 1000 feet, decrease speed to 120 mph.”

          “Roger that tower, we’re coming in… hello Tallahassee Regional.”

“Hello Florida indeed,” Lyn chimes in. She is exhausted from the six hour general aviation flight, with two stops, one for fuel & one potty break. Her near 60 year old bladder does not hold as much as it used to. “After we set down, taxi me to the terminal, I want to get Slater to pick us up post-haste.”

“Is he off duty?”

“He better be, ‘cause what we are going to do would get him fired.”

“Do not wreck another man’s career.”

Carolyn Hanes is not about to do that. Even though there is score to settle, Joe Slater’s anonymity is assured.

the-sting-001

A 1954 teal Ford Coupe convertible streaks down less traveled roads to Tallahassee’s “new” Regional ford-coupeAirport. Joe Slater is responding to a telephone call from Carolyn Hanes-Ford, a woman he has always admired from afar, mainly because, in times past, he had heard the rumors about her and Sara Fenwick.

  Deafening were the whispers; when two women live together and never seen in the company of men. Two women, who are extremely attractive at that, more than a few times, when then a young patrolman, did Joe resolve to ask Miss Hanes out, only to have the words stick to his tongue or waft harmlessly into thin air.

For now, he is content to help an acquaintance from the past, help a good and respectable man from her past. Here she is, famous beyond Florida and successful surpassing the cause that she is pursuing. He can’t resist scaling that same righteous mountain.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #324


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