THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 101

…”I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor…

north-star

“I have been avoiding my fiancée, some boring media banquet he wanted me to go to. Sometimes he treats me like a station commodity, not a future wife.”

“It sounds like you don’t see things his way.” Roy dares to test her loyalty.

“We are speaking different languages these days” True feelings bubble to the surface. “I think I have become his pet project, but that’s why I have a talent agent wedding-invite-001and I have no need of two.”

“Have you set a wedding date,” he forces the issue?

“A date, we’ve had 4 June dates and counting; not in the same year and I have managed to tiptoe into July every time,” like it is a Girl Scout badge. “Aren’t you going to ask me if I love him? I don’t know what I love, been chasing after the brass ring so long, I have lost track of my North Star.”

Roy points to the early night sky and Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor.

Francine nods and goes on,“He has done a lot for me, but we are losing touch, both kinds.”

“Sometimes that happens,” like Roy has ever been serious about a girl since his high school physics teacher.

interuptus

Deke and Gus choose this moment to settle a dispute, “Didn’t you choose Mom & Dad to go to Mars because they were the best astronauts for the job? Bobby says that his Dad told him that it was for advertising.publicity-stunt

“That would be a publicity stunt, Gus and no that is false. A husband/wife team was first put on the table years ago,” Roy directs his recollection at Bobby.

“My father said they flat-out screwed up,” a 15 year old’s blather.

Francine steps in, “I think your father should get his facts straight! Who is he to say something like that?”

talk-bubble-001Roy leans over to whisper in her ear.

“Then he needs to get his facts straight, nobody screwed up here.”

“What Miss Bouchette means is that the Senator from Oklahoma needs to reconsider his position, pending the results of our internal investigation.” He puts his arm around Bobby’s scrawny neck. “The entire world is rallying in support of Gus’ Mom & Dad.”

“THE 1st people on Mars and we are damned proud of them!!!” punctuates Deke, who has been encouraged never to swear… but there are exceptions.

Endless Space Video Game

Adolescent squabbles are best settled over high-tech video consoles. Bobby apologizes to the adults and off they go to the house.

“Thank you for defending Sampson & Celeste with such vigor.”

“I hope to have the privilege of meeting them soon,” she is sincere.

“I’ll hold you to that.”


 

THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 101


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 83

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 83

“Don’t get too close Sam!” a strange mist emanates out 3-dimensionally, swirling and pulsating as if dancing to music…

The “thingy” inadvertently drops to the deck of the engine room from waist level.

Bboinnngggg…… tool and floor combine to fashion a perfect key of A. “Oops.” The pitch did not startle the pair, as they turn to nose around elsewhere… though the humming noise that followed, after taking a half-dozen steps, does.

HHHhhhuuuMMMMmmmmmmmmm…..

Newfoundlander Engine Room

They freeze in their tracks, turning slowly, very slowly to take a peek. A panel, on one side of the upper cone opens, which by itself is fortuitous, paling in comparison to what it reveals.

“Don’t get too close Sam!” at a comfortable distance, from back at the entrance, a strange mist emanates out 3-dimensionally, swirling and pulsating as if dancing to music. The cloud sinks to waist height; neck high for the Newfoundlians as if a whirlpool in slow motion. All they can do is stand perfectly still and hope it is no more lethal than the air, the water or the food…. it isn’t, it doesn’t, it won’t.Related image

Hand-in-hand they begin walking through the haze to its source, like bugs to a light. This is the very essence of why man on Earth decided to venture out into space. Detractors call it expansionism, minimalists call it greed but above all, a spade must be called a spade; the desire to see what is on the other side, whether it be a mountain or a faraway star.

Two sets of eyes wide open, stare into the mouth of a yawning abyss, the 5′ x 8′ unknown – looking more like the edge of eternity. If they had not been here to see it in person, it may well have been an artist’ rendering or cinematographers’ CGI masterpiece.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Conquering the Sun’s Empire by Harry Lange

Episode 83


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

…Suddenly, stranded & pregnant in space is trumped by, “Are we taking off?”

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“What did NASA tell us about the efficacy of birth control in a semi-weightless environment?”

“Dontellmeyouare?!?!?”

“Bingo, give that man a cigar!” Celeste can only make light of delicate condition. “I are-you-sure-001believe that I have become the guinea pig for an unscheduled NASA experiment.”

After a flood of possible emotional responses runs its course, he concludes, “I wonder if Engineer Karl had the foresight to build a nursery into (NASA’s rescue ship) New Mayflower’s medical bay?”

“WE don’t need to worry; women have been giving birth in unusual places for four millennia.”

“In space, damn Cel, are you sure you’re pregnant? We don’t need to be distracted by a false alarm.”

The mother-to-be runs her hands through her blonde hair front to back, “It has been about 15 years, but yes I am 100 percent sure and this time feels different, maybe the daughter you’ve been wanting?”

schawonkschawonkabelumphhh !!!!!!Related image

The tender family moment is stunned back into present realities by a vigorous combination of a good healthy belch and a Winnie the Pooh sound effect.

Suddenly, stranded & pregnant is trumped.

“Are we taking off?”

Sampson pauses to identify the cause of the quaking. “No, no we’re not, but I think it is time we more thoroughly assess our newfound sanctuary.”

“Along those lines, I think we should give this thing a name, since we can’t read extraterrestrial and just because we can.” Celeste thinks on it, while Sam starts scanning the bridge of this bucket of unknown metal. “Newfound sanctuary, Newfoundland Province Canada… how does the
NEWFOUNDLANDER
 sound?”

“That’s a good one, the NEWFOUNDLANDER! So it shall be newfoundlander-001from this day forward,” Commander McKinney proclaims,
entering it into his continuing log of the newest incarnation of the Space Colony and temporary Mars City. “So let’s check out this galaxy trotter.”–


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 78


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 73

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 73

“What happened to your lousy English and didn’t your hair used to be black?”…

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The Plot Thickens by Donna MacDonald

“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.

Roy Crippen douses power to the what-not room as he and Francine scamper over to the nerve center of mans’ first colony away from Earth. From scamper to gallop, their pace quickens and if Francine had any doubts as to the seriousness of the situation, all she need do is keep up with the bulldog in front of her.

In a big building with odd angles and unexpected transitions, Roy barrels over an unsuspecting  technician, sending him sprawling. He excuses himself, sort of, while acquiring a limp in the process.

Francine mostly ignores the tech, asking, “Are you going to be alright Roy?”

“What…. Oh yes, come on,” not a complete answer.

“I hope I’m not out of line, but are we chasing a ghost here. You are making a pretty big fuss about one little man.” She is not privy to Roy’s unfolding theory.

He stops to collect himself, address her issues with a glance and a right hand thru his floppy brown straight hair. Francine straightens his tie thereby restoring the look of a man in control.

He speaks, seemingly into the thin air, alerting security as to the nature of his pending confrontation, rejoining the previously frantic pace, with a newswoman bring up the rear.

At this late stage of the approaching launch, less than an hour now, nearly every eye sneaks a peek at NASA’s man of the hour. He looks like a man under the gun, acts like a man possessed, and don’t you dare get in his way.

With Roy grabbing the Spatial Debris tech by the shoulders, spinning him around in-your-face style, the man is startled by the aggressive move, “There is no problem in the launch window, Mr. Crippen, only some small stuff out at 500,000 out.”

“What happened to your lousy English and didn’t your hair used to be black?”

“I do not know what you are talking about, Sir.”

“What is your name and when did you get here?”

“My name is Gurkhas Shah Dhangotma and I have been here all day, except for a short break early this morning. I had been on duty for sixteen hours. Someone relieved me for an hour, no more.”

“You could barely speak English when we spoke this morning.”

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 61

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 61

…“Sampson, take a look at this!” Celeste shouts, mouth agape…

galaxy

Far Far Away by Lynda Anne (Lynda Worthington is an Australian textile artist whose varied and original works cover many techniques.)

Celeste is engaged in a battle between depression and anguish. Her mind is filled with more ‘what ifs’ than ‘could we-s’, but this is no time for gloomy negativity; hope, after all, is all they have going for them.

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Conquering the Sun’s Empire illustration by Harry Lange

She makes the effort to straighten out and fly right, standing tall in the low ceilings of Tycho, now “home”.
“Hey, we have the best view on the planet and the neighbors are well-behaved.”

She walks across the cramped lander to retake-in the sights of the other portal; however the scene is quite dissimilar from last they looked, before the shockwave.

“Sampson, take a look at this!” she shouts, mouth agape.

He is busy doing a rapid-fire back & forth with the data bank, but stops suddenly to see what the big stink is all about, peering over Celeste’s trembling shoulder. When his pupils properly adjust themselves from
near-to-far, he sees exactly what the fuss is about, with a quick check of the hallucination factor. Is it a mirage?

The very mound they had originally detoured to investigate has been cleared of its dust-cover, swept clean by ill-fated winds of change. It would seem that they are not alone on Mars, as one would assume, as a large spacecraft has appeared alongside and it is not of Earth. For all to see: 50 meters of shiny out-of-this-world metal.

And judging by what is left behind, of the soil/dirt that is, it was like it had been covered in mud; Mud? It sits in a dry creek bed, for what has probably been thousands of years maybe more.

Celeste has already donned an infrared magnification enhancement and focuses in on what are markings, to the left of what is most likely an entrance. The insignia are not decipherablebut judging by the size of the entry, there is a strong possibility that the creators of this presumably interstellar ship were not midgets. It looks like Sampson could pass in without so much as stooping.

There are vertical slits, perhaps windows, placed at various points along its angular lines. Using his naked eye, Sampson swears he sees blinking lights through the largest such portal, which Celeste dismisses as a silly notion, that it can only be the reflection of the midday sun.


THE RETURN TRIP

Space Colony’s explosion uncovers something not-of-this-solar system

Episode 61


 

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 42

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 42

May God bless everyone,” is all Aldona can say, in this all-hands-on-deck, everyone-for-themselves, Turkish Delight  free-for-all.

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With the trouble heading to the floor above, Afridi leaps into action, “We are leaving this mosque, Allah be damned! They will not leave until they have found me.”

Fatima stares at the Sultan Ahmet Mosque ceiling, where the Deming and the staff are/were sleeping.

May God bless everyone,” is all Aldona can say, in this all-hands-on-deck, everyone-for-themselves, Turkish Delight,  free-for-all.

His timing is good, in this case only fair, considering his run of uncanny luck. Upon seeing that the assailants failed to leave a “trailer” to protect the rear; the Afridis show exceptional speed in streaking out the back door, one after the other, to parts unknown.

Parts unknown are a sure thing. Had they waited for protection from US official guard, they would be facing no future at all. Perhaps if they had the powers-that-be listened and taken his story at face value, both they and Afridi would be winging their way to Galveston Texas.

So, without concrete direction and armed only with the Ashtaar business card {the key toabdullah-ashtaar-001 Istanbul}, these four hunted people, throw caution to the wind and head for much needed anonymity. “Us against the world” is not a strange feeling to Afridi, though one he thought would vanish once they reached the American Consulate. But they did not make it and the Sultan Ahmet Mosque is now awash in conflict, innocent participants in a fight for now distant outer space.

Amid the smattering of near-distant gunfire and the rushing stream of sirens, a Mehmet Ali Erim driven something-or-other joins the chaotic scene, Mehmet having worried about Afridi’s safety. From out of the shadows Afridi cries out, “Mehmet, Mehmet,” jumps in front of his taxi, lest he not notice him. Taxi drivers are not notoriously good drivers and the man’s actions cause him to panic, depressing the accelerator instead of the brake. With little time to react, Afridi is thrown up onto the hood.

“Are you mad man? There are better ways to hail a cab than this,” helping the dazed man off turkish-taxi-001his front windshield.

“Aldona!!!” Fatima and the girls rush to the scene.

Mehmet begins to piece things together, “My friend from the train station. Hey, did not things work out with the Americans?”

“We had to leave—they have found me.”

“The Americans? You found them. I am confused. I think they believe you.”

“There are others who want me dead.”


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 42


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 39

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 39

…“It is not everyday that a Talibanistani family shows up on your doorstep, with strange warnings about powerful lasers and killer satellites.”…

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“Fatima,” shouts Aldona Afridi to his wife, as he sees her pass by the room in which he seated uncomfortably! He raises enough of a ruckus that consulate personnel moving her are forced to reunite them — at last. He does not understand why they are being handled so awkwardly.

To this point Afridi is not impressed. This vaunted democracy operates similarly to his totalitarian homeland. His original theories, when he set his defection in motion, had the Americans welcoming him immediately as the hero he really was going to be, thereby acting on his whims at once. Instead he is left only with the knowledge that his family had completed their escape routes. Surely this is wonderful news, but definitely shy of his altruistic goal.

“Aldona!” If her husband was having his doubts, imagine what his wife was thinking; alone in a strange land with 2 little girls and left to try to explain a sketchy version of Afridi’s story.

“Fatima,” Afridi echoes, embracing her as close as he was allowed! In the back of his mind were thoughts about his newfound “friend” in Istanbul, Mehmet Ali Erim. He was brushed aside like a swarm of Tibetan Sandflies.

He grasps her shoulders at arm’s length, checking for signs of torture; such were the low sights he was now setting for their ordeal. “They are not acting on my information, Fatima. Every minute is crucial yet they are sitting on their hands!”

Perhaps they do not believe you. It is not everyday that a Talibanistani family shows up on your doorstep, with strange warnings about powerful lasers and killer satellites.”

Does his wife now doubt him, as a crackpot delusional dreamer?

He turns away from her, wondering how such a noble cause goes so unheeded. But he should not doubt Fatima’s devotion, yea confidence in his reasoning; she comforts her frustrated mate. “I am told that you must wait for the American Ambassador, he is on his way from Ankara.”

Image result for far fetched“And don’t leave out the CIA European Chief,” adds Elliot Deming as he enters the room. “They are in charge now, going through the proper channels to sanction your farfetched story Mr. Afridi.”

 

“It may appear unbelievable on the surface, but I swear I need to speak with Director Crippen. He will distinguish of what I speak.”

“How do you know Roy Crippen?”


THE RETURN TRIP

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