The NULL Solution = Episode 175

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The NULL Solution = Episode 175

…When one door closes, another one opens…

Deimostra McKinney has some explaining to do.

“I will tell you what I told Chasonn. I am not ready to make any long-term commitments to a world that is not my true home. I may have been born in space, but I have a brother, that I have never met, on Earth.” His head drops. “And I am not sure that I would be accepted as your mate. I am a social minority here on this planet, but not in a Null sort of way. From what my brother tells me, the Gifted threw a fit when they found out he and Princess Cerella were going to wed.”

“The Null believe what I tell them to believe.”

“That doesn’t work with a McKinney. Have you ever seen Sammy Mac do what he is told, at least the first time? Or my mother… she leads Ekcello around by the nose, if he had one I mean. And what about that rascal Joyner, they need to put that boy on a leash. I wager that he is in the NEWFOUNDLANDER with dad as we speak. He is every bit a child of Earth.”

“Do you prefer Chasonn to me?”

“This must be my lucky day,” two marriage proposals in the young hours of one cycle.

“What is luck?”

“Luck is an imaginary condition that relates to good fortune.”

“Then I am lucky for you?” She is confusing the man.

“I am lucky to have made your acquaintance, yes, but…”

The word “but” is an opposing proposition, not a positive conjunction in any language. Skaldic sees the writing on the wall, “I choose not to test my good fortune. Perhaps Offingga is the better choice for me after all.”

“You are pressing your luck Skaldy ol’ boy. My daughter is not for sale,” insists Sampson who is back from serving as doorman for Chasonn’s melancholy exit from the Spaceflight Expository. Now he rebukes the efforts of another suitor. Predictably, he has a rambunctious youngster in tow.

“You are fortunate to have such a loyal daughter Sammy Mac. She will make some Earthling a worthy mate.”

“Or drive him to my distillery. She is child of space; born to wander and free to make her own decisions.”Related image

Ekcello joins the group. He searches out the Null for a specific reason: to ask Skaldic if he would serve as Eridanus’ representative to Harmonia, not an insignificant gesture for the Gifted patriarch. When one door closes, another one opens.

That completes the roster of charter representatives to Harmonia, making the peacekeeping multinational officially complete. It is a bona fide hit in the Terran System, celebrated on Eridanus and accepted by the Seljuk, but will it play in Peoria?


The NULL Solution =

Episode 175


page 171 (end Ch. 17)

The NULL Solution = Episode 174

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The NULL Solution = Episode 174

…Skaldic happens to show up… him and his convenient home-field advantage…

“Do you prefer Skaldic over me?” Seljuk Chasonn asks.

“You certainly don’t beat around the bush.”

“What bush?”

“An imaginary bush; the unadvertised issue of my affection,” she needs to speak clearly, when diverse customs can be misunderstood. “My brother Deke has taken an Eridanian mate, but they have had years to get to know each other. Skaldic was hid from my sight until recently… and you… you are dashing and smart, but that is not enough for me to judge your character.”

“You are wise for one so young. I could take you to Seljuk, to meet my people.”

“I need to meet the people of Earth first. Do you understand?”

“Chasonn and Skaldic could prepare a contest to prove we are worthy of Deimostra.”

“What is the rush Chasonn? You must have a female on your world that will provide you an heir to your throne.”

She need not hit him over the head with a hammer. She has declared as unavailable. It is time to leave.

Skaldic happens to show up… him and his convenient home-field advantage. His shared experience with the Seljuk leader had brought them close, but only for a while. He would be happy to see him leave for home.

They do a manly exchange of pleasantries, knowing that they would not be seeing each other for a while; a neighboring galaxy is like not having a neighbor at all. Like a relative who lives on another continent on 19th Century Earth.

His cruiser is near the expository and after bidding Sampson farewell, it appears he is edging his way toward it.

“I guess Chasonn has another invention to work on?” Skaldic guesses wrong. The scorned foreigner will have plenty of time to repair his pride.

“Maybe,” Sampson says of his friend as he walks away… back to polishing up the NEWFOUNDLANDER.

“He is an interesting man,” Deimostra has unique insight, “I hope to see him again.”

Feeling like he has a clear path to victory, Skaldic tries his hand at furthering his own cause. “While we were gone, I had a chance to think about my future on Eridanus. I believe there is room in my life for partner, a mate who completes my assent as foremost Null.” His pride is evident, but premature.

“What about Offingga? You two make an awesome team.” Her hammer comes out again.

He thought he had made himself clear. Deimostra McKinney is not usually careless with her words.

“Offingga is like a sibling to me, certainly not a mate. I would be honored if you were to be by my side, to bring Eridanus into a new era, like Deke McKinney has with Cerella.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 174


page 170

The NULL Solution = Episode 173

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The NULL Solution = Episode 173

…Do you realize that I have never stepped foot on Earth once? I was born in space, on that ship over there,..

Francine Bouchette-Crippen is Earth’s appointed representative to Harmonia, having passed the muster required; married to a space-geek-world-leader-type AND experience with communication. So far, she has only been “called in” for a Harmonia Tower and Earth Obelisk orientation. She is still freaked out by the instantaneous location transfers. Fitch has assured her that she is not being disassembled and reassembled by a molecular scrambler. “Such a device has yet to be perfected,” he claims. Chasonn, the Seljuk inventor is unbeknownst to him.

Speaking of Chasonn, he has yet to return to his homeworld from Eridanus. It seems that a certain blue-eyed lass is interfering with his clarity of thought, thereby causing him to designate his Third-in-command as their Harmonia appointee. His Second must tend to Seljukian immediate interests. The Third has gone through the orientation and still cannot believe his eyes, though the concept of Harmonia is an agreeable one.

“I hear talk that the McKinneys are leaving Eridanus for their homeworld, is this true Deimostra?”

“Now who told you that?”

“Skaldic did tell me you were leaving and that I should do the same.”

As an object of desire, Deimostra is uncomfortable with her choices. The choices are fine, how those two choices fit into her family equation is the fly in the ointment. Of course Skaldic would want Chasonn out of the way.

“Returning to Earth is a dream, that’s all Chasonn. Do you realize that I have never stepped foot on my world once? I was born in space, on that ship over there,” she points to the NEWFOUNDLANDER, back to collecting dust in the lineup of possible Eridanian escape ships.

“You live with your parents, you are fortunate. Mine were taken away by the Ÿ€Ð before I could know them.”

“That is terrible. Skaldic’s disappeared right after he was born.” She has now gotten sob stories from both her suitors; Chasonn’s parents were as a result of leadership cleansing – Skaldic’s Nullian roots because they happened to produce a Gifted child.

“Do you prefer Skaldic over me?”


The NULL Solution =

WHAT’S A GIRL TO DO? SIGH by ASHLEY SWARTS

Episode 173


page 169

The NULL Solution = Episode 154

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The NULL Solution = Episode 154

…Skaldic would prefer keeping an eye on Chasonn’s intentions…

“Enough Sammy Mac! As long as we have Chasonn here, I suggest we act on my solution to the Harmonia Query. The planet Mars is central to the stability of this quadrant. We must consult Ekcello before we take Defender out on a mission.”

Space Trip by B-rad-asQ – deviantart.com

“What say you, Chase? Are you up to a trip to Terran territory?”

“We can take my ship.”

“Do you mind if you drop out of orbit and pick us up? I’ll need to see your transport mechanism work a few times before I can trust it.”

They have been ignoring an interested bystander.

“Can I come along?” Deimostra has watched the men interact, her father being the character-filterer in her life. If he gives someone a nickname, that is a green light.

“Just Chase and Skaldy this time around, honey.” Sampson is oblivious to his daughter’s motives. “Why don’t you show Chase around while we get Ekcello’s permission to leave the planet.”

Skaldic would prefer keeping an eye on Chasonn’s intentions. The lady sure accepted her tour guide assignment without hesitation. Deimostra is more than willing to usher Chasonn around the “hood”. Skaldic has his reservations about the arrangement. That fetching smile gives her away.

“You’ve already seen enough of Eupepsia, if you’ve seen one tower, you’ve seen them all. I’d like to show you the icefalls at the far pole. If we time it just right, we will catch the light refraction as Epsilon Eridani dips below the horizon.”

Skaldic was the first to show Deimostra the icefalls.–

“Ekcello does not trust you?” asks the footloose foreigner of Sam.

“He still thinks I may bolt for home on my own,” Sam admits. He turns to Skaldic, “Let’s pack up some of our own stuff. I don’t know what a Selljunk eats or drinks. I’ve been brewing some special grog for an occasion like this. Kind of like a boy’s night out.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 154


page 152

The NULL Solution = Episode 150

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The NULL Solution = Episode 150

…Deimostra has gone from talking love with her mom, to crunching numbers with the object of her affection…

“I’ve been tossing around the numbers,” the infamous Skaldic postulates. “I have made a Image result for juggling numbers gifmap…” he points, “… that is Earth, this is the planet Mars and way over here is our star system.” The graphics are scary lifelike. “At each location I have made a list of your family members and when they were there. I was working off the list you gave to me.”

“Yep, that is pretty much it.” Deimostra can only guess/wonder about Related imagea brother, sister-in-law and niece she has never met. “When you lay it out this way, it makes it seem like we’re all together.”

He can see that she is tearing up, moving closer to comfort her. She lays her head on his shoulder. The moment freezes.

She composes herself, “How about the NEWFOUNDLANDER? That is Image result for juggling numbers gifwhere I was born.”

“Ah, good point! That is where I have been going wrong!” He adds an image of the ship that brought the McKinneys to Eridanus. He adjusts the figures to fit the equation:

2 + 1 = 6

6 – 2 = 9

0 – 1 = 0

“You will have to stick with me on this, Deimostra.” He enters the following data:

**2 + 1 = 6 – (Sampson Celeste + Deimostra) in space = (Sampson, Celeste, Deimostra, Deke, Cerella, Joyner) on Eridanus. “2 + 1 = 6”

**6 – 2 = 9 (Sampson, Celeste, Deimostra, Deke, Cerella, Joyner) Eridanus minus (Cerella, Joyner) = Sampson, Celeste, Deimostra, Deke, Cerella, Joyner) Eridanus minus (Cerella, Joyner) would be a McKinney family reunion. “6 – 2 = 9”

**0 – 1 = 0 (Null minus Skaldic) = Zero. “0 – 1 = 0”

“That makes my head hurt, Skaldic.”

“All the numbers add up. Each represents some connection to your family… it also explains the flawed mathematics.”

Related image“Except the zero segments, 0 minus 1 is negative 1.”

Does not the word “null” mean “without value” or “zero”?”

“Okay, I’ll give you that. But what does null mean in your language?”

“The word “Null” is a designation, not a description. It is Earth’s meaning that makes it a derogatory term. The riddle maker has framed its solution with the Terran system as a foundation,” he concludes. “I can no longer consider myself a true Null.” He faintly laments having to be lifted to Gifted status, in order to restore the essential ancient Null Spirit in the TSF capability of the ship Defender.

 “Six McKinneys on Eridanus, nine McKinneys all told in the universe and my separation from my society satisfies the zero result.”

It is as easy as 1-2-3, maybe 4.

“My head still hurts.” She has gone from talking love with her mom, to crunching numbers with the object of her affection. Love = Headaches. Perhaps that is amalgam she should come away with.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 150


page 148

The NULL Solution = Episode 149

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The NULL Solution = Episode 149

…Have you talked to Deke about this, he is the expert on extragalactic relations you know…

Skaldic the Null is no longer considered a black sheep in these parts, even less so, now that her brother’s mate/wife has managed to integrate an entire world. ‘It works for Deke. Why not me? I think he likes me. He is so much like my father; bold not overbearing, adventurous not reckless, smart not smarmy and not too hard on the eyes either.’  She is comparing notes from the experiences related to her by Mamma Celeste, recounting the circumstances that created the person Deimostra is today – the original Earth-child-of-space.

Of course she has that “talk” with her mother. “In case you don’t remember the story, I met your father back at the Space Academy. I always thought he was a bit arrogant, one of those hotshot pilots who think they are the bulletproof. So here I am, space-sick to the max, in a lift-off simulator and this joker is pretending to be a doctor of all things. He takes me to the infirmary… very convincing, but I knew who he really was. He was just trying to get to know me at the time but that didn’t matter. I could never get that guy out of my mind.

“To snip what is a much longer story, when the Space Colony 1 project was being staffed, we got to spend more time together and not long after that we were married. As it

World Space Consortium

turned out the Space Colony Global Coalition or World Space Consortium or INDEPENDENT FOUNDATION FOR THE OCCUPATION OF SPACE or whatever they call it now, was looking for a married couple to go to Mars… and you know the rest of the story.”

“Yeah you couldn’t keep your hands off each other and here I am!”

“I was marooned, pregnant and hijacked, not necessarily in that order. How’s that for a merry 2030?” Celeste can tell her daughter is serious about a “boy”. “Does Skaldic know… Related imageit is Skaldic right… does he know that you have the hots for him?”

“Mother!”

“Well you wouldn’t be grilling me about the love of my life unless you were having similar notions. Have you talked to Deke about this? He is the expert on extragalactic relations you know.”

“He still considers me his kid sister. I am not going to ask him if he knows anything about Skaldic’s physiology.”

“He and Cerella figured it out, honey. I suggest that you let nature run its course; Que sera, sera.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 149


page 147

The NULL Solution = Episode 148

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The NULL Solution = Episode 148

…When it comes down to it, Deimostra is not spoiled for choice…

Illustration by Byron Eggenschwiler

Speaking of simplistic, that is the very essence of Skaldic the Null. With all the changes coming about on Eridanus, among, about and in between the populated towers with all their social shuffling, the man behind it all matriculates still, in the original Null Tower, albeit in the lofty penthouse.

He also remains a true friend to the other outcasts, namely the Space Family McKinney. While Gifted Cerella works on the nuts & bolts, he remains properly concerned for the earthly visitors and the dark cloud that approaches their true home.

Skaldic has grown particularly close to Deimostra McKinney. It began with him noticing her rapid maturation into an incredible woman and has accelerated at light speed once he solicited her help in solving the Harmonia Query.

With age being a relative term on Eridanus that she became a viable target for his potential affection is not so farfetched. Here is the way aging works on a planet where immortality is a near reality:

  • An individual comes into biological existence
  • 95% of physical growth takes place in 20 Cycles
  • The final 5%+ takes place in the mind
  • The finished product continues with only marginal aging

In the case of Deimostra, she has grown to the equivalent of an adult in her prime, in her own time. She will remain just so, just as it is with the rest of her family. There is something about the excessive humidity that preserves the organic. It slows the metabolism for all. Deimostra is definitely organic and Skaldic has noticed.

Turn around. A chronologically, but not all that emotionally advanced Eridanian is “falling” into that something-something which defies all sense of time/space. When it comes down to it, the Earth woman is not spoiled for choice. Certain erudite mature men have let their curiosity slip out from time to time, but nothing that particularly tickles a girl’s fancy.

As a tag-team problem solving tandem, the divergent pair simply works at every level. They are equals in intelligence and social stature. They have spent one cycle after another attempting to unlock the door to a planet, that neither Skaldic has been to or even care about. He has long viewed Collapsar Axis as the greater issue in theory, but now he cannot minimize the riddle.

The human heart is not nearly as complex. The female protagonist in this tale is impressed with the Null beyond the bounds of logic. She had always doubted the devotion of his friend Offingga even when she {herself} did not factor into the immediate equation. Unable to explain her envy, Deimostra did ignore her… and him for that matter. He was a chum of daddy’s after all. That was then. This is now.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 148


page 146