THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 272

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 272

…“As long as we are telling stories, tell everyone some about Roy Crippen..

As long as we are telling stories, tell everyone the one about Roy Crippen, like getting married?????????????????????????????????????????????????????? {never thought that would happen}, adopted two lop-eared space brats {willfully borrowing our trouble} and then {out of the blue Texas sky} becomes President of the United States of America,” a somewhat jealous Sammy Mac sums-up what he knows.

“You are leaving out Director of the SOL Project. He has to be devastated by now, both him and Braden,” Celeste adds.

“It is a damned shame that he and the entire freaking planet think that the McKinneys are dead and gone!” Selfishly Gus points to the stars and the fiancée it represents, as an example of the grieving.

“Gus is leaving out the good/bad/ugly, the meat in the meatless sandwich. Here we go,” Deke recounts from Earth’s perspective in greater detail:

  • “Space Colony 1 is blown out of Mars orbit by the United Korea’s Sang-Ashi satellite,
  • Mom and Dad are stranded on the surface of Mars with only the Tycho lander to survive in,
  • New Mayflower is sent out on a rescue mission, when it zaps Sang-Ashi into forever,
  • President Sanchez takes out the Korean’s space program with a limited nuclear strike,
  • New Mayflower gets to Mars only to find the Tycho lander empty and you guys nowhere to be found… not even a good clue,
  • And finally, Gus and I are named SOL test pilots and take Stellar Explorer out of the Solar System and do not bring her back!

“Now what else could possibly go wrong in Dad’s… I mean Roy’s world? He was in charge of two colossal space failures and he’s not getting any younger.”

That is quite a chain of events that Deke lays out.

You left out the part where we were taken hostage by a Talibanistan invasion force and Crip rescued us from that oil derrick in his helicopter.” It is fill-in-the-blank time for Gus. “And right after that, he runs for President, which was way cool to be a part of!”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 272


page 241

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 270

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 270

…Ekcello elaborates as best he can, “if I give you the keys to your starship, would you like to take it out for a spin…

— Quite coincidentally, at the same time his daughter was taking a mate, thereby cementing a McKinney legacy in the city of Eupepsia, yea all of Eridanus, Ekcello takes some steps of his own, at the unanimous direction of the High Counsel. His coming actions do not sew a seed of new life; rather a grander plan is planted for the harmony and well-being of the galaxy…

For that end, on any given day or at any given moment, if one would like to locate either Sammy Mac or Gus, one would do well to begin your search at the Spaceflight Expository. Ekcello is no one’s fool, finding father & son engaged in a heated discussion on just where Earth’s theory on the speed-of-light had gone wrong. A debate is supposed to be a back-and-forth, but clearly Gus is spitting into the wind.

Disney’s “Finding Dory”

However errant either side of the argument is, Ekcello listens closely intending not to rebuke but to guide. Sampson is technically aware of where his son’s theories are askew, but it is the wise Eridanian alone who can make SOL wrongs right.

“Would outfitting your Stellar Explorer with a permanent space-drive be of interest to you?” Ekcello is asking a fish if it knows how to swim or an Eridanian if they are good at music.

Instead of jumping for joy, Gus takes a negative turn. Would they trust him to test it out when the project is complete? He has a roomful of spaceships in his room at King Ranch that can only travel at the speed-of-light in his mind. The Space Expository is like that room, merely huger. From where he sees it, what good would it be?

He dismisses Ekcello’s offer, unaware of the gravity of it.

“Gussy, he is talking Warp 3 and you are blowing him off.”

“In your terms Gus,” Ekcello elaborates as best he can, “if I give you the keys to your starship, would you like to take it out for a spin?”

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He is so excited, he is beside himself. For the first time, since coming back from molecular disintegration, being reunited with his parents and meeting his new sister, he can look beyond the pink mist and the stars beyond.

Do you think Gus likes SEx?


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 270


page 239 (end ch. 10.5)

“Jaws” Confidential – WIF @ The Movies

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Surprising Facts

About the

Movie “Jaws”

Jaws is often called the original summer blockbuster, so before the next glut of CGI-laden superhero movies fills screens worldwide, why not read a few lesser known facts about the OG blockbuster that set the precedent that allows them to exist? Starting with…

10. Jaws was a PG Release

Jaws is a film that contains a scene of a man being brutally eaten alive by a shark while screaming (fun fact: the actor supposedly broke his leg during that scene so the screams of pain you hear are real), people having the limbs shorn off, and the most iconic jump scare in cinema history. On top of this, the film also involves scenes involving drinking, smoking, swearing, and at least one instance of a shark eating a chubby kid on a raft. Amazingly, censors of the time saw all this and thought to themselves, yeah, this seems suitable for kids.”

Because yeah, Jaws was a PG rated movie, meaning anyone could go watch this thing so long as they had parental supervision, even if they were still at risk of pooping their pants literally instead of metaphorically. Think about that the next time you go watch an Avengers movie and realize it’s a PG-13 because Sam Jackson says the F-word.

9. It Originally Starred Dwarf Stuntmen

The undeniable star of Jaws is the shark, a role that was variously played by a notoriously unreliable mechanical shark (which we’ll get to in a moment) and several real sharks filmed by the crew. The problem was that the shark, who we’ll just call Jaws even though he had a name (which we’ll also get to), is supposed to be a shark of exceptional size, which kind of created a problem when the crew went to film some real Great Whites and realized they’d look noticeably smaller than their robo-shark. An ingenious solution was found in the form of several midget stuntmen.

The idea was to dress these stuntmen up in the same diving suits as the regular cast and film them next to some average-sized Great Whites, creating a forced perspective that made the sharks look super-huge and buff. To complete the illusion, the production team even built a smaller version of the shark cage seen at the end of the movie that the stuntmen were supposed to float around in. This cage wasn’t built as sturdily as an actual shark cage and as a result, before one of the stuntmen could climb inside it, a Great White tore it to pieces. This led to a total rewrite to ensure…

8. Hooper Survived Because Footage of the Cage Being Destroyed was Too Good Not to Use

The footage of a shark tearing apart the shark cage at the climax of the movie was 100% real and was so good Spielberg insisted that it had to go into the movie. The problem was that the original script called for Hooper to be inside the cage at the time, and for him to be killed in the ensuing attack, just like in the book. Another problem was that after seeing a shark tear apart a shark-proof cage none of the stuntmen would get back into the water.

Not wanting to lose the footage, a hasty rewrite was made to show that Hooper survived by swimming to the bottom of the ocean and hiding from the shark. This change also allowed the editors to use footage of the shark attacking from below (where it’s most obvious nobody is in the cage), framing it as if it’s from Hooper’s point of view as he cowered from the shark in a steadily growing cloud of his own urine.

7. Spielberg Laughed When He First Heard the Theme

John Williams’ theme for Jaws is one of the most iconic in all of cinema. Countless articles and academic papers have been written exploring the deceptive depth of the theme and how it affects those who hear it on an almost primal level. Though considered an integral part of the film’s success today, Spielberg was apparently not all that impressed with the theme when he first heard it, he laughed out loud when Williams played it for him.

You see, Spielberg had assumed that the film’s score would be more akin to that of a swashbuckling pirate movie and thought Williams’ minimalist take on the theme was too Spartan. However, Spielberg deferred to Williams’ judgement for final decision, apparently quipping “okay, let’s give it a shot” when Williams insisted the theme would work. We’re assuming Spielberg has never since question Williams’ judgement after the success of Jaws.

6. The Shark Sank the First Time it was Put Into the Water

As noted previously, the robo-shark used for many of the close-ups in the movie was unreliable to an almost comical degree. This is no better summed up than by what the shark did the very first time it was lowered into the water: it sank like a depressed brick of lead with concrete shoes. Apparently it hadn’t occurred to anybody to check if the shark floated while making it.

Along with sinking, the shark often malfunctioned and would sometimes simply stop working for no reason at all. This not only caused the movie to fall 100 days behind schedule, but also meant that half the shots of the movie involving the shark didn’t have the shark in frame.

Curiously, it’s been noted that the fact Spielberg had to film around the fact the shark wasn’t there most of the time, instead having to suggest its presence, made the movie better. Which kind of makes sense. The reason Jaws is such a scary movie is because there’s a constant threat that the shark could appear at any moment and chow down on your butthole. If the shark had been on screen for 50% of the movie like Spielberg had originally planned, its few sporadic appearances would have had less impact. So yeah, when you watch Jaws and find yourself feeling on edge throughout the entire film, that wouldn’t be the case if the shark had actually worked and you could have seen how crappy it actually looked most of the time.

5. The Shark’s Name was Bruce

 The shark in Jaws is always referred to as either, simply, “the shark” or else Jaws, which is weird since throughout filming his name was Bruce. The name is supposedly a name coined by the the production crew as a nod to Spielberg’s lawyer Bruce Raynor who, like the shark, was a bit temperamental.

Spielberg himself wasn’t personally a fan of the name since, unlike the mechanical shark, his lawyer sometimes actually worked. So instead, he came up with an altogether more apt nickname considering the numerous mechanical faults the shark suffered throughout production:  The Great White Turd.

4. Spielberg Spent $3,000 of His Own Money for “One More Scream”

Jaws, hands down, contains one of the single greatest jump scares in cinema history. We’re of course talking about when Hooper finds Ben Gardner’s boat, and a big rubber head comes flying out of a shark shaped hole in the hull. That scene wasn’t in the original cut of the movie and was only added after Spielberg watched the audience reaction to the reveal of the shark at the film’s climax (the bit immediately prior to the “we’re gonna need a bigger boat” line), and realized the reaction wasn’t as intense as he’d hoped.

So Spielberg went back to the studio and asked for $3,000 to film another scene with a bigger jump scare and promptly got told not to do one. To be fair to the production company the film was 100 days behind schedule and over budget, so they were within their right to say no, but luckily for us, Spielberg didn’t take no for an answer.

With the studio refusing to pony up the cash, Spielberg decided to film the scene in someone’s pool using his own money. To make the water look more like the kind of place you’d find a sunken boat, Spielberg had the pool filled with milk powder and then put a big tarp over the top to limit the amount of light that got through to the bottom. Admittedly greedy for “one more scream” the director then instructed the sound engineers to make the jump scare happen before the music reached it’s natural crescendo, to make everyone poop their pants the first time they saw it.

3. It Had one of the Widest Releases of Any Film Ever

Jaws was, as noted, one of the first, if not the first, major summer blockbusters. In fact, prior to the release of Jaws and then

Star Wars a few years later, the summer was considered a low period for cinema since it was believed nobody would waste a ball-sweltering summer’s day sitting in a cool, air conditioned cinema. Oh, how wrong they were.

Upon release, Jaws set numerous records for having such a wide release, opening in some 400 cinemas on its first day. But here’s the really crazy part: Jaws was such a massive phenomenon that the number of cinemas screening it across the US more than doubled over the course of two months. This was unheard of back then and rarely, if ever, happens today since most films make the bulk of their money in the opening weekend. It’s a testament then to the sheer inertia of Jaws that after two months at the cinema, demand was still so high 500 more theatres decided to screen it, too.

2. It Kinda Ruined Sharks (and Beaches) for Everyone

As noted in the previous entry, releasing a film during the summer season used to be considered box office suicide since it was believed everyone would be too busy having fun at the beach. Jaws changed all that and during the summer of 1975 beach attendance fell nationwide.

The drop in beach attendance was credited to both the success of the film, which saw millions of Americans flock to cinemas, as well as the fact it kind of made it scary to go into the water. Speaking of which, the film is still criticized today for painting an unnecessarily harsh and objectively incorrect picture of sharks, which hardly ever attack humans. However, the success of Jaws saw shark attacks not only being reported upon more often (creating the false impression that they were more common than they actually are) but also a more negative perception of the animal, which led to many of them being killed for no real reason. All of which kind of leaves a sour taste in our mouths, so let’s end on something a little lighter, specifically that…

1. Michael Caine Loved the 4th Movie

To date Jaws has made more money and has a higher Rotten Tomatoes score than all three of its sequels combined. The fourth film in particular has an impressive 0% rating on the website, and is largely considered to be the biggest cinematic turd since the one Jeff Goldblum finds in Jurassic Park.

According to critics the film has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and is more painful to sit through than a prostate exam from a pirate with hand tremors. One person who disagrees is Michael Caine, who has said of the film: I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”

Along with being paid a pretty penny for starring in the film, Caine has praised the fact that it features a realistic romance between two middle aged people (something that’s rarely seen in cinema) and enjoyed that he basically got a free trip to the Bahamas. In case you’re thinking that Caine is only positive about the film because he got a free vacation out of it, starring in the film caused him to miss the 1987 Oscars. And it’s important to note, he actually won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor that year, for the film Hannah and Her Sisters. In other words, Michael Caine had so much fun pretending to fight a giant, fake shark in a terrible Jaws sequel he didn’t mind not collecting the most prestigious award for acting in person.


“Jaws” Confidential

WIF @ The Movies

David Bowie Confidential – WIF Spotlight

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Obscure Facts

About

David Bowie

David Bowie was a man who lived a life filled to the brim with adventure, mystery, and hair-spray. During his time here on Earth, the Starman accomplished more in a decade of his career than most could in five lifetimes. For this reason, even fans of Bowie aren’t aware of the full scope of the kind of crazy crap he got up to during his half-century-long career.

10. He didn’t know how to pronounce his own name, which he had previously changed twice

Born David Robert Jones, Bowie decided to change his name early in his career to Tom Jones in 1965 to avoid being mistaken for Monkees singer Davy Jones. Just a week after making this decision, Welsh singer Tom Jones released his smash-hit It’s Not Unusual in anticipation of the Carlton dance phenomenon of the ’90s. Annoyed, the young singer changed his name again to David Bowie, after the famous American knife – supposedly because, like him, it had two edges.

The problem was, throughout his entire career Bowie pronounced his last name ‘BOW-ee’, while Jim Bowie, the man the knife is named after, pronounced it ‘BOO-ey’. Something the singer wasn’t aware of until he visited Scotland and heard everyone pronounce it “wrong.” Confused, Bowie came to the conclusion that how his name was pronounced wasn’t as important as people knowing it in the first place.

9. He almost died because he ate nothing but peppers for a month

The album Station to Station is considered one of Bowie’s best. Released in 1976 to rave reviews, Bowie himself remained largely oblivious to the album’s success later in life because he spent much of the recording process blitzed out of his mind on cocaine.

Bowie spent virtually the entire recording process in a state of near-psychosis, surrounding himself with ancient Egyptian artifacts and spending much of his time ranting about witches trying to steal his semen. As a side effect of his cocaine-only diet, Bowie largely lost his appetite and subsisted on nothing but peppers washed down with cold milk. This diet nearly killed the singer, seeing his weight drop to below 100 pounds at one point.

The whole experience shook Bowie, who when asked what he thought of Los Angeles after recording the album there, replied simply, “The f***ing place should be wiped off the face of the earth.” Truer words have never been spoken, Bowie. Truer words.

8. He was voted the best dressed Briton… ever

David Bowie changed his appearance and outfit more times than a indecisive Dark Souls player. He donned everything from suits sharp enough to give a the Statue of David a paper cut to custom made couture dresses, just because he could. In a 2013 poll, Britons recognized Bowie’s commitment to constant reinvention by voting him the best dressed Briton in history.

Bowie managed to walk away with nearly 50% of the vote, beating out everyone from Queen Alexandra to Beau Brummel, aka, the man who invented the suit. It speaks to Bowie’s universal appeal and androgynous appearance that a majority of polled Britons felt that he dressed better than all British royalty as well as the guy who invented the concept of wearing a suit.

7. He’s an integral part of the Metal Gear Solid Universe

David Bowie possessed an uncanny ability to alter his physical form like a lizard-man or, if you prefer, man-lizard. Bowie actually changed the way he looked so much that throughout his career he’s inadvertently styled himself to look like every character in the video game series Metal Gear Solid.

As it turns out, this is no accident, and Bowie is a key part of the Metal Gear universe, with key characters and plot points being named after his various alter-egos and songs. As if this wasn’t overt enough, the character Raiden was described as looking exactly like David Bowie in the novelization of Metal Gear Solid 2, while another character called The Fury quotes Bowie as he flies into space and explodes. If this sounds odd, remember that this is a video game series that suggests its main character invented Mountain Dew, Doritos and Axe body spray.

6. He saved the first music video recorded in space

A few years ago real-life spaceman and all-around badass, Commander Chris Hadfield, recorded a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in space, making it the first music video ever recorded in, well, space. As an aside, has anyone ever noticed that if you type out and say the same word aloud multiple times in a row it starts to sound weird?

Bowie loved the cover and personally thanked Hadfield for singing it, calling it the most moving and beautiful rendition of the song he’d ever heard. The problem was, YouTube kept taking the video down because although Bowie wrote and sang the song, he didn’t own the rights to it. This put YouTube in a unique legal quandary as, although Bowie’s publisher was correct in asserting that it owned the rights to the song, said rights didn’t apply in outer space. And that’s an argument Bowie put forward on Hadfield’s behalf, making him instrumental in making sure the first cover recorded in the upper stratosphere stayed freely available for humanity to enjoy. Speaking of covers…

5. He was annoyed by a Nirvana cover

In 1993 Nirvana covered one of the Bowie’s most famous hits, “The Man Who Sold the World”much to the surprise of the singer who was shocked he was a big enough part of the American musical landscape for Nirvana to even know who he was. After Kurt Cobain passed away, Bowie expressed regret at never being able to pick Cobain’s brain and find out why he chose to cover his song, once saying that simply having the chance to speak to the grunge legend would have been “real cool.”

Although Bowie was ultimately flattered by the cover, he did become somewhat annoyed at its enduring legacy as a “Nirvana song.” Bowie would later note that when he played the song at concerts in the States, younger fans would approach him to talk about how neat it was that he’d covered a Nirvana song. Bowie’s reaction was to call them a “tosser” and tell them to “f**k off.”

4. Christopher Nolan begged him to be Nikola Tesla

David Bowie has had such a commanding screen presence that his cameos often caused the movies he was appearing in to freeze for a moment just to announce that, holy crap, it’s David Bowie. Initially hesitant to appear in movies, Bowie needed to be coaxed into starring in The Prestige by director Christopher Nolan.

According to the director, he never had anyone else but Bowie in mind to play scientist Nikola Tesla, which resulted in him being somewhat upset when Bowie turned the part down. Not willing to take no for an answer, Nolan flew to New York to personally appeal to Bowie, basically begging him to appear in the film. Bowie was swayed by Nolan’s passion and agreed to bless the film with his godly visage.

3. He once played the Elephant Man on Broadway

David Bowie was an astonishingly handsome man, what with his teasing androgynous appearance, cheekbones capable of cutting glass, and soul-piercing stare. Which is why it may surprise you to learn that the Thin White Duke once played a man famous for being so horrendously, upsettlingly ugly he literally earned a living standing completely still and letting people stare at his face: Joseph Merrick, better known by his Wu-Tang name, the Elephant Man.

While little in the way of physical evidence remains of Bowie’s brief tenure as a stage actor, with there only really being promotional photos and publicity stills of Bowie in costume, and a few stray clips here and there, reviews indicate Bowie’s performance was one that cemented his reputation as not just a musician, but a true Renaissance Man who was as comfortable on stage reading lines in a diaper (oh yeah, Bowie’s costume was just a big cotton diaper) as he was playing a guitar. Because apparently just being an internationally recognized sex symbol/rockstar/musical super-genius wasn’t enough for David Bowie.

2. He once finished a set with a lollipop sticking out of his eye

David Bowie’s distinctive, mismatched eyes were a result of a childhood altercation with a friend resulting in his left pupil being permanently dilated. Effectively blind in that eye, Bowie had problems with his peripheral vision, which resulted in him being hit in the eye socket by a lollipop thrown by a fan while performing on stage in Norway in 2004.

The lollipop, which became physically lodged in Bowie’s bad pupil, needed to be forcefully ripped from the singer’s eyeball by a stagehand. An annoyed Bowie chastised the crowd before regaining his composure and joking about how lucky it was that the lollipop hit his bad eye. Bowie then told the crowd he’d punish them by playing an extra long set, presumably featuring the song “The Laughing Gnome” like eight times.

1. He didn’t do any of the contact juggling in Labyrinth

One of Bowie’s most famous film roles is that of Jareth the Goblin King in the film Labyrinth. A question Bowie was asked repeatedly following the release of the film is how long it took him to master contact juggling, a skill Jareth possesses and shows off multiple times throughout the film. Bowie’s response was to laugh and explain that the juggling was actually done by somebody else; specifically, master juggler Michael Moschen.

To achieve the effect that Bowie was able to deftly manipulate a steel ball with his long, slender man-fingers, Moschen hid behind Bowie and put his arms through his Goblin-cape. You know, kind of like what kids do when they’re pretending to be Goro from Mortal Kombat. A testament to Moschen’s skill is that he was able to make an orb of condensed goblin-power dance across his fingertips completely blindIt also speaks to the mystique surrounding Bowie that audiences saw him display a skill nobody had ever seen him talk about or mention before and still assumed it was him, because it does seem like the kind of thing Bowie would be amazing at.


David Bowie Confidential

– WIF Spotlight

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 217

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 217

…“Gus & Deke, of The Space Family McKinney I might add, have been chosen to pilot the first SOL Project cruiser!”…

“The Chosen One” Artwork by Stefan Boettcher – Lucasfilm LTD

“Deker you fox, what brings you to the land of “crooks and cronies”?” He has come to Washington D.C. for a meritorious reason.

“I hate to interrupt movie night, but I’m here on official business Dad.”

Please note that Deke McKinney refers to Roy as “dad” and Gus uses the “sir” name. Gus still has not accepted that their birth father needs to be replaced, one-for-one.

“Gussy (he cannot avoid his nickname) has no idea what I am going to tell you.”

He pauses to make eye contact with formerly little brother; 6’2” to 6’3” and when in the past year did he get passed up in height?

Francine urges Deke to divulge that which he is withholding. “Cut the drama Deke darling!”

“While my little brother has been stealing X-66s and politician’s limos, I have been working behind the scenes.”

“Come on Deke darling, tell everyone that you finished at the top of this year’s class and I was in the cellar,” Gus always thinks everything is about him… this time he is right.

Deke looks back at Gus one last time, undaunted by the goodhearted nature of a sibling-rivalrysibling rivalry.

“Gus & Deke, of The Space Family McKinney I might add, have been chosen to pilot the first SOL Project cruiser!”

“Wahoooo….” Gus bounces off the ceiling.

But it is President/Stepfather that injects pragmatism into the moment, “That flight may be ten years off Gus, so don’t be packing your bags just yet.”

“Oh Roy, do you have to be such a killjoy? You spend every-other hour scheming and dreaming about it and then you throw a wet towel over it.” Francine orders a bottle of sparkling something up to the Red Room. “I think that is news worth celebrating.”

Four glasses are raised high, clinked together, the contents emptied into the stomachs of the foremost forward thinking pioneers this side of Orion’s Belt;  2 true space pioneers plus the prevailing first parents out of that big white house in the District of Columbia, USA.

Image result for celebrate gif


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 217


page 196

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 211

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 211

Shangri-La is one proper adjective attached to describe Utopian perfection, though there is nothing on Earth, mythical or real, to compare it to…

NEWFOUNDLANDER follows in behind the withdrawing cover and as it descends to the altitude of an intercontinental supersonic transport, the planet of their fancy is revealed in its entire splendor.

“This is the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on,” Celeste puts her hands to her chest, to contain her rapidly beating heart.

“My God Celeste, I believe we have discovered where Heaven is.” Put an X on this spot for further reference. It’s is one thing to have seen Mars in person for the first time, quite another to observe the incomprehensible.

Eridanus2 - Copy

There are no clear-cut continents or oceans below, or any typical land features for that matter. In the place of familiar geography, spiraling cities, on invisible stilts, rise randomly up into the pastel pink skies. The majestic lofty perches are scattered about the planet surface in no particular pattern. Nowhere to be found: sprawling industrial complexes, its attending pollution, gaudy interconnecting roadways for wheeled vehicles or skies plugged with crisscrossing contrails trailing flitting aircraft.

Shangri-La is one proper noun/adjective attached to describe Utopian perfection, though there is nothing on Earth, mythical or real, to compare it to and no word in the English language can do it justice.

Come to think of it, even the NEWFOUNDLANDER, now making an aerodynamic approach to the nondescript terra firma of this enigmatic sphere, looks strangely out of place. Yet it appears to be coming home like a long-lost relative or the family black sheep welcomed back with open arms, no questions asked; The Parable of the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15):

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

The largest of these towering edifices opens its low-level gates, in order to swallow the NEWFOUNDLANDER. The sliding door of giant size draw apart slowly and you can almost hear the creaking of the glides due to a drought of inactivity. The ship lumbers in, after the gap reaches its full extent.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 211


page 191

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 209

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 209

…The McKinneys are relieved when their space-taxi whooshes past the ominous molten maelstrom and subsequently an uninviting barren exo-world that looks like it would make a great prison planet

The NEWFOUNDLANDER continues to hurtle toward the planetary system which must surely be their final destination. The ship with a remote control mind uses all the right moves on its approach, like it had done this very move before. A skilled navigator himself, SamImage result for speed of light gif sincerely hopes so, because he is beginning to feel uneasy with the speed at which they going at this late stage. That scary mega planet is looking large and larger, its red-hot surface churning like the gates of hell… and they have barely dipped below SOL.

Born to go fast and built for speed, Sampson and Celeste are in white-knuckle mode, each in their own way, praying that the NEWFOUNDLANDER would slow down! Imagine being a passenger in an auto without a steering wheel whose brakes have failed and that would pretty much sum up the situation.

Little do they realize that due to the orb’s enormous mass, the illusion of proximity is just that, an illusion? At a half a million miles out, the stardrive that had relentlessly propelled them past several other stars without a pit-stop begins to back off, freezing the white dots of light behind them. An example: Earth’s sunlight will catch up to the Epsilon Eridani solar system in another year or so.

They are relieved when their space-taxi whooshes past the ominous molten maelstrom and subsequently an uninviting barren exo-world that looks like it would make a great prison planet. Once the sub-light deceleration has taken full effect, and you can DreamySkies-blue2-(Magical)definitely notice the difference.

The only possible landing point is the third largest member of this unique triumvirate, a misty looking sphere, the size of which is hard to judge. There are no clues as to what lays beneath the cloaking shroud; no hints to its close-up appearance.

Instead of knifing through the planet’s pea soup ionosphere, to allow that anxiously awaited first glimpse from on high, the NEWFOUNDLANDER nestles into an orbit above the vaporous barrier.

What lies beneath the clouds & mist?


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 209


page 189

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 207

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 207

…“What do these people look like Mommy?” asks the pupil who has become a sponge of curiosity…

“They will be expecting a reproduction not a response. Boy, are they going to be in for a shock when they find out who they’ve been “jamming” with, probably thinking that their crew had tinkered with the out-of-office message; We’ve Gone Fishin’! Sammy Mac toys with the possibilities.

Here's How To Actually Study For All Your Finals | Tick tock, Tick tock clock, How to memorize thingsAbout fifteen minutes passes without further tonal interaction. The builders of the NEWFOUNDLANDER may be mulling over the unusual way their ship is responding. If there is any doubt in their minds about malicious behavior, Celeste has tempered that. Pity the people who are expecting an empty cabin, on one of their vintage 4000 year-old spaceship models.

Indeed, judging by the intervening musical bantering between Celeste and the home base, these people have to know something is amiss. Did they expect a crew member to have survived millennia, when he could have flown home on his own?

Sometimes they would attempt to mimic and other times they would throw out some more ornate orchestration. Everything they send out has a distinct classical flavor, like they had stepped right out of the baroque era on Earth, like four centuries hence.

Celeste does her best to parody Beethoven or Vivaldi, with her skills and endurance tested at musical message central. She does not dare leave the console during these exchanges and it is apparent the responder(s) do not sleep much or take breaks.

***LATER IN THE YEAR THEY CORRECTLY BELIEVE TO BE 2035***

When the amount of days was less than the months of space behind them, the tension and excitement is compounding. The dueling concertos had stopped, substituted with occasional honks, toots & beeps.

As part of her space-schooling, Deimostra was learning to do the simple 3-note stuff. “What do these people look like Mommy?” asks the pupil who has become a sponge of curiosity.

“We can’t be sure exactly dear, but they would most certainly be classified as humanoid at the very least, but they are definitely far more advanced than us.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 207


page 187

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 206

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 206

…Celeste listens more intently this time and she was able to reproduce the incoming communication to the note, using the NEWFOUNDLANDER digitized instrumentation…

Image result for digital music gif

“Yes and no… I mean recorder, a 12th Century version of the flute…a musical instrument.” Celeste contends.

“Is this a coincidence or could it be that this music is an attempt to communicate with their spacecraft?” Sam’s theory is not revolutionary considering the time they spent on the subject of the overt melodious sounds of the NEWFOUNDLANDER leading up to this seminal moment.

“I knew their use of the diatonic scale was more than fanciful fluff and this confirms it!” She spirits to an apparatus on which she had been secretly experimenting during her private time, “This synthesizer is actually the communication console.”

“Have you been fiddling behind my back?” His attempt at humor masks his openly jealously over his wife making a breakthrough discovery.

“This is no different than you nosing around the propulsion and navigation stuff and besides, you have never shown the barest inclination towards music Sam. Don’t feel left out.

“And before you turn this around a make fun of me, consider this; before I met you, becoming an astronaut was my second choice.  I actually auditioned for 2nd violin at the New York Philharmonic. I could be safely back on Earth, playing Vivaldi at Avery Fisher Hall. But instead I am second fiddle on a spaceship without a rudder.”

Avery Fisher Hall

(Take that!)Equalizer GIFs | Tenor

“There should be a musical response, if it is a form of communication. I’m going to defer to your expertise.” Sam knows better than to make-too-lightly when Celeste is passionate.

As he surmised, a very similar melodious passage is incoming. Celeste listens more intently this time and she was able to reproduce it to the note, using the NEWFOUNDLANDER digitized instrumentation.

“I made sure that there was enough difference in my melody. They will know this isn’t an echo.”

“Great observation! They will be expecting a reproduction not a response. Boy, are they going to be in for a shock when they find out who they’ve been “jamming” with, probably thinking that their crew had tinkered with the “out of office” message.”

About fifteen minutes passes without further tonal interaction.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 206


page 186

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 205

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 205

…great pains have been taken to restore the spacecraft to how they found it (minus the dead space-guy dudes) approx. 5 years ago…

For all the tragedy and misfortune that the Space Family McKinney has endured, most astronomers worth their salt would give over the left side of their brain for this opportunity.

This, “plain dumb luck” as Sammy Mac puts it, renews the group vitality. The Sammy Mac tag is a well-earned nickname, born out of sure bravado and worn like a merit badge. Before the sudden disembarking, the McKinney family unit had been sentenced to a potential lifetime on that barren red sphere, with only their resourcefulness as a survival skill. Badge awarded: Planetary Exploration.

They likely will never know that fate actually interfered and whisked them away from a New Mayflower rescue. Perhaps it is just as well.

So now comes the chance, however up-in-the-air, to actually have other beings to interact with; to share knowledge and history, keep company or perchance complete a rewarding life. That which was out of reach 5 years ago has been broached in the unlikeliest of circumstance.

To erase any possible doubts as to their intentions in their awkward capacity as stowaways and reflect positively on their culturally civil nature, great pains have been taken to restore the spacecraft to how they found it (minus the dead space-guy dudes).

“How are we going to explain the absence of their crew?” Celeste wonders while she and Sammy tidy up.

“Hopefully they have already guessed the fate of the expedition, seeing that it had gone on so long and returns only by the grace of automatic recall. If these folks bury their dead, we can show them the pictures of their Martian graveyard. If they do not bury their dead and consider the practice barbaric, then we didn’t see anyone on Mars alive or dead!”

From out of nowhere, a new sound filters into the bridge of the ship named by them, NEWFOUNDLANDER. Celeste is quick to identify it, “That is music played on a recorder! Why didn’t I pick up on that earlier?”

“Recorder, as in recorded music?”

“No I mean recorder….a 12th Century crude version of the flute… a musical instrument.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 205


page 185