THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 226

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 226

…Sammy Mac, that pretentious Earthling, has mastered the art of changing the tone of a conversation with the Supreme Elder of Eridanus on a dime…

At times like this, Celeste will listen; merely listen for positive signs of sanity in her man.

Out of a combination of boredom and sarcasm, Sampson starts whistling the slow, soulful, deep-south 19th Century slavery tune, Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen”.

Ekcello must have been snooping, whisking in behind Sampson’s rendition of yet another strange sound from a likely strange source.

#What is that curious music you produce Sampson McKinney? I did not know you could musically communicate#

“It’s called whistling Ekcello old man. If it tickles your ears, well if you have ears, then your senses, I have a million more like it…” He jumps into the,Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Sammy Mac, that pretentious Earthling, has mastered the art of changing the tone of a conversation with the Supreme Elder of Eridanus on a dime, before it has a chance to start. Whenever he did this, the Eridanian man of meditation’s expression takes on #Now where was I?# look, extremely unsettling for one of such intense concentration.

On track once again, Ekcello emotes in his lyrical style, #You have two male offspring#

“Yes, Deke & Gus,” Celeste steps in to address an issue never far from her heart; quickly and longingly in her audible voice.

#The High Council has begun to journey back to your Earth and its yielded disturbing revelations concerning their future#

Suddenly Sampson grasps Ekcello on Eridanian terms, “Are they in some sort of trouble?” he wonders aloud.

#Only in the sense that they are in the forefront of a flawed space vehicle propulsion project#

“They haven’t abandoned The SOL Project!” A proud papa speaks of children he never had a chance to see grow up. “I knew my boys would become astronauts!”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 226


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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


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 210

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 210

…that impenetrable gaseous shield that encases Planet X collapses inward, like the flushing of a toilet, revealing…

DreamySkies-blue1-(Magical)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.

“I really, really hope that is water vapor and not pollution, ‘cause I would greatly prefer Seattle to Shanghai. Or worse yet, that is an ammonia blanket!” Sampson McKinney expresses the palpable anxiety pressure in the cabin, with the trio of Earthlings as presentable as they can be after five years in space. The vagueness of the moment has leveled the playing field between adults and child; so many the questions, so few the answers.

Suffering through two orbits and finding it hard to maintain an upright edge, an unexpected event serves to divert their attention. While on the (sun)lit portion of their revolution, Epsilon Eridani bright rays vanish, eclipsed by one or both of its mates. The harsh return to total darkness lasts several revolutions only. The molten brother and the desolate daughter spin away on their intended paths while restoring a stars’ radiation to the seemingly confused little sister.

Eridanus3

Another trip around the outlying reaches of NEWFOUNDLANDER’S home seems likely. The wait is maddening for the stowaways. After all, if they were in a holding pattern above Honolulu International, at least they would know which hotel they were staying at. They have spent what they believe to be one-half of a decade of their lives aboard a hijacked alien spacecraft, willing hostages of the unknown, but reluctant strangers of uncertainty. That they arrive at this place in the galaxy with a shred of sanity to their names is a testament to their training and the dedication to carry out a mission, no matter what it takes or where it takes you.Related image

Photo by Warner Bros., from Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century

But as another ho-hum orbit ends, much like the earlier eclipse and just as abrupt, that impenetrable gaseous shield that encases Planet X collapses inward, like the flushing of a toilet in the Southern Hemisphere at home. 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.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 210


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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 248

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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.

About 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 of the baroque era on Earth, like that 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 246

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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.”

“Is this a coincidence or could it be that this music is an attempt to communicate with their spacecraft?” His 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 Fiisher Hall

(Take that!)

“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 Related imageintently this time and she was able to reproduce it to the note, using the Image result for 15 minutes gifNEWFOUNDLANDER 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.


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Episode 206


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 202

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 202

…“Well Earth has gone from pyramids & chariots to satellites & spaceships since then.”…

Two months later in their truly incredibly unlikely journey, following-up their ongoing “home schooling” of Deimostra, as a family they tackle the issue of just how they could exchange information with the Newfoundlanders. Simple drawings surely must be the most effective way to impart the essence of a civilization, but blank paper is unnecessary in a digital world; a challenge with a budding artist for a child.

“I told you not to launch all those message(s)-in-a-bottle to your mother,” Sampson jousts in his sarcastically upbeat style. “It just occurred to me that these people have already seen Egyptian artwork, so they already know something about us.”

“Well Earth has gone from chariots to spaceships since then.”

 Another avenue of interaction, the recurring theme on the NEWFOUNDLANDER, is musical composition. Every single day of their 4+ year trek they encounter distinct individual tones, spanning six octaves in range, all of which seems to make their world move & shake in a unique and mystifying fashion.

“I will be sure not to hum the wrong song. Green Day may mean something degrading or vulgar,” he editorializes.

“Nothing we have heard is true “melody”, so thankfully my classical training may be useful.”

“Yeah, well if they happen to have 88 keys on some instrument, we can’t push our luck; Chopin and Liszt may not be their cup of tea, any more than Punk Rock is.”

At times, increasingly lately, she worries about Sam’s ability to take anything seriously. Every conversation is an occasion for sharp and increasingly pointed wit. Some of it is genuinely funny and serves to ease the tension of deep-space flight, but on the other hand, much of the so-called levity is biting and coarse, the kind of stuff Sigmund Freud would have concerns about.

Celeste is not Freud, though even she had the skills for it, it is not a good idea to psychoanalyze, when you are not sure what the cure is. One thing she is positive about is that her Mission Commander has been overtaken by the impotent role he is playing in the course of the NEWFOUNDLANDER excursion. Perhaps she should have agreed to let him tinker with the navigation, but at the time, it made sense to take the careful course of leaving well-enough alone.


THE RETURN TRIP

Message in a Bottle by jrivadulla deviantart.com

Episode 202


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