THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 38

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 38

…I thought I saw my reflection in that shiny object…

The Eridanian ship Defender is hurtling back home with TSF dexterity. The experience with The Seljuk is fresh on every one of the five minds aboard, now being shared amongst those who care.

“Daddy – what has happened to make a nice man like Chasonn so paranoid?” spoken by the 1st Terran-child of space, who has yet to experience many “human nature” concepts.

Sampson McKinney happened to have a pow-wow with the leader of the Seljuk, man-to-man, heart-to-heart, just when it seemed that the man was questioning the motives of the Defender crew. The pair swapped history lessons about their respective planets and discovered that they had more in common than not.

“Long ago Deimostra, when Chasonn was away at their place of higher learning, every Seljuk leader was whisked away, including his father, never to be seen again… it took almost two centuries for the Seljuk to recover.” It is not customary to sit a 21 year old girl on his lap like he is doing, but some wisdom needs to be handed down not discarded. “Trust is something that is earned, not given. And they have kept to themselves ever since, not unlike Eridanus, right Cerella?”

“After we have been far and wide and seen the whole of the Great Expanse, there comes a time when keeping private is the logical choice. Until you people of Earth were brought into our keeping, we had no need to borrow the trouble that lurks on the other side of this and other galaxies. Chasonn and his people made the same choice… and then here we are charging directly into their renewed chaos.”

“On top of that, our arrival came right after they lost communication with their sentinel outposts, as well as the appearance of that phantom planetoid – like the one we spotted on the way in.” That shiny unknown still bothers brother Deke.

“How can anything that flawless do any harm? It’s just like the pictures you showed me Daddy, what you called a Christmas ornament. There were blue ones, red ones, green ones and silver ones. In fact, for a moment, I thought I saw my reflection in it.”

That gives some others pause.

“I saw my reflection too!” Celeste admits.

“I thought the same thing,” Sammy Mac confesses. He thought he was the only one seeing things.

“That is impossible. We didn’t get within 250,000 miles of that thing, before it vanished that is,” Deke tries to be the voice of reason – he saw his reflection as well without admitting it.

In the time it takes for Eridanus to complete one cycle, Defender is back in the berth reserved for it in the Spaceflight Expository, after its mission to the Triangulum Galaxy. At first blush, nothing has changed in the meantime; not a single Eridanian figure had moved.

But in the excitement of recent exploits, they forget about the Null, specifically Skaldic.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 38


page 43

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 35

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 35

…On a normally ugly, smelly day, early in the year StarDate 2052, the Ÿ€Ð are thrown for a loop by the critical combination of an unsolicited trespasser and fate…

Play Cartoon

CHAPTER FOUR

Friend or Foe

 

The Definition of an Alliance;

An alliance is a pact, coalition or friendship between two or more parties, made in order to advance common goals and to secure common interests. It can be a political agreement between countries to support each other in disputes with other countries, making them allies.

Alliances on a planet are pretty straightforward. Separated only by borders {ocean, river or imaginary}, they are leagues fashioned through philosophical similarities.

  1. On Earth, certain countries align themselves together {distinct factions}.
  2. On Eridanus, the many towered cities are filled to the top with people connected by brainwaves {except the Null}.
  3. The Seljuk can be called “reclusive”, preferring to keep things private {but things change}.
  4. The Ÿ€Ð are the Ÿ€Ð, an alliance unto themselves {whatever that means}.

The 4 planetary systems are separated by 64 combined parsecs {ea. 3+ light years}. They are 4 civilizations that could not be more dissimilar. 4 fates are being tethered together by an uneasy, unidentified, unwanted, unaware or unwittingly urgent alliance.

Choose a lane or it will be chosen for you.

The Ÿ€Ð {#4 above} have always been a wildcard in this corner of infinity. They are unsightly in the eyes of 95% of known species and revolting to the rest. To make their palatability worse, they carry an odor that would offend a Venusian Wasteworm.  Add to this unsavory list, Ÿ€Ð do not possess a shred of decency. They assume the worst in all things and act accordingly.

3 Planets by ENDESGA on DeviantArt.com

No good things can come of things, which they do not understand. Such is their attitude when an intruder dare enter their space without permission. On a normally ugly, smelly day, early in the year StarDate 2052, they are thrown for a loop by the critical combination of an unsolicited trespasser and fate..

The Ÿ€Ð star system is a simple one; three planets, of incremental size, in orbit far enough apart as not to exert gravitational influence on the others. Only one of these is suitable to sustain their species {not too warm, shrouded by dense clouds, extremely humid}{as opposed to Eridanus which is equally muggy but much warmer}. The clouds are an artificial blanket that covers over them, like a drapery over a window, so no one can see in.

One can imagine the horror that ensues when a shiny smooth O takes up an orbit beneath that protective security layer. They frantically scan and analyze in the brief time they have. Before a strategy can be formulated, a bright illumination clears away their synthetic security. For the first time in eons, the Ÿ€Ð are exposed to the harsh ultraviolet radiation of their star.

They are forced to make the proper environmental measures to ensure inhabitability of their world.

If there is one Ÿ€Ð-ian credo, it is “Attack first, ask questions later”. Galactic harmony has gone on too long for their taste. Their leaning would be to exact a measure of revenge.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Galactic Harmony

Episode 35


page 39

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 31

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 31

…”Lorgan it shall be,” which is how Roy labels it in the spacelog, Stardates 2030.09 and 2052.50…

Gus points at the video recording, “You can see the reflection of SEx!”

“That doesn’t make sense. Telemetry puts that thing at just under 500,000 kms away. The only reflection should be the Sun,” reasons Roy.

“Take a look at Tycho’s spacelog shot of Mars’ magnetosphere, there is Deimos in the background.”

“That thing is 5x bigger!”

“Higher.”

“10x?”

“90 km. What reflection do you see?”

“Tycho.”

“Exactly!”

“Now that is freaky. We should be seeing the moon. It seems our “friend” defies physical conventions.”

To that end, a thoughtful Gus gives it a name, “My dad would call it, Lorgan.”

“Please use that in a sentence.”

“I’ve made it a noun. As a Scottish Gaelic verb it would be ‘leaves a mark’.”

“Lorgan was also a bad-guy-slave-master in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, if my memory serves, but we’ll go with your heritage language version. And when did you take that up, by the way?”

“I have my Aunt Sassy McKinney to thank for that.  Me & Deke spent a summer learning it, as punishment for heading for the hills every time she came to visit.” He hearkens back to a much simpler time, when they were a nuclear family; together & grounded.

Lorgan it shall be,” which is how he labels it in the spacelog, Stardates 2030.09 and 2052.50. For what is worth. Who knows where or when it will ever turn up again?”

“For what is worth, Lorgan is weightless. It doesn’t register on the density sensors. Is it real or our just a figment?”

“What we see with our eyes or with Cameras and Spacelogs cannot all be wrong.” Roy decides to bring another set of experienced eyes to the party. “I want Fletcher Fitch to take a gander. He knows more about satellites than anyone on this planet.”

The engineering wiz obliges.

“So do you think it’s a satellite?” asks Roy.

Gus may have given it a name, but falls short of defining it.

“I’ve got nothing.” Fitch has nothing.

Neither does Roy. “I don’t have a clue what Lorgan is or isn’t, but we are going to keep this under our helmets, okay? For now, let’s take a look around the solar system before we shut things down for the day.”

What a day it has been. Gus is back and safe. Roy himself is not confined to a hospital bed, while hearing yet another story about 2 of the missing McKinneys.

Tonight, is Triple-fudge Delight ice cream night at the Crippen residence.

Life is good to them… so far.


THE NULL SOLUTION

The Good Life by Jean Groberg

Episode 31


page 35

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 30

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 30

…“I seem to remember your mom & dad telling me about a shiny moon O that they spotted right after leaving Space Colony 1

“Wow that tops your last tale by a bunch!” Prez Roy wraps his brain around this newest tall tale from the prodigious storytelling talents of his remaining star astronaut.

“The Sun trumps Pluto every time,” Gus would know.

It is not just about Deke, Celeste and their cryptic warning.  It is that vanishing sphere that merits close attention.

Roy suddenly has a flashback moment, “I seem to remember your mom & dad telling me about a shiny moon O that they spotted right after leaving Space Colony 1. The excitement of their landing Tycho threw us off that trail… soon after that the colony was destroyed. The rest is history. Let’s see if we can make a connection.”

Image result for wormhole gif“You’ll see what I mean about that jazzy dealeo. It should be all over my visual array, hell, for over a minute… then poof it’s gone into a wormhole!”

“You do know that there are no recorded wormies this close to the Sun. Out past Uranus, yes, we have detected some crazy stuff.” What mankind knows about deep-space pales in comparison to what they do not. “We’ll be looking for volunteers to go through a worm in the future Gus, how about it?”

“That is a one-way road this boy won’t be going down!”

With SOL technology in hand, going around them is the prudent choice.–

–So… it is off to merge Stellar Explorer’s video with the lander Tycho’s Colony last moments in the Mission Visual sector of the mainframe, for that closer look at the largest alien made object in the greater Earth/Mars neighborhood; what it is, who may have made it and what its purpose is {or was} or is still.

Roy Crippen’s experienced eyes have never seen such a thing. From bogies in his flying days, to too many episodes of Star Trek, the object he is zooming in on is as out-of-place in the solar system as any single item. Judging from the greatest magnification, it is flawless in sheen.

“Look at that,” Gus points, “you can see the reflection of SEx!”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 30


page 34

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 27

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 27

It appears that the Null were not affected by the light…

“It must have been nothing after all.” Sampson McKinney is confused by the confusing incoming communication.

Not so fast.

Equal to nothing, is null. Skaldic the Null is equally surprised to get a signal from one of the many gadgets currently at his disposal.

#DEFENDER RESPONDING ERIDANUS.#, what on the Ice Moon does this mean?” He will not get help from Offingga, who knows but dribs & drabs of the Olde Language. “There must be a translator here somewhere.”

He fingers a section with similar symbols.

DEFENDER RESPONDING ERIDANUS comes in plain as day.

His Olde Language is passable. “Well I’ll be a one legged qaaf {derogatory term}! Let me see… I will speak my name: #skaldic the Null.#  Just a little off-key.–

— After a bit of a wait, the Defender’s audio jumps to life. “Cerella, this thing is lightingRelated image up like a Christmas tree.”

#skaldic the Null#

“Skaldic the Null,” she converts to Earth English.

“Sounds like a Viking warrior to me.” Yes it does.

She brushes past that obscure Sammy-ism.

It appears that the Null were not affected by the light. I should have checked on them before we left.” The Gifted feel responsible for the Null. “I’ll explain the “Null” label later.”

Cerella, the Heiress to the High Council of Eridanus is speaking with the insignificant, suddenly not so, #who is with you?#

“Who is with you?” she repeats to keep the McKinneys in the loop. —

#who is with you?# repeats Skaldic for his interested party.

It takes Offingga longer to process the Olde Language. She nods her head, like he needs her approval to answer. But who she is, is not as important as clarifying intent.

#we are the Null. Is there anything we can do to help you?# 

”We are the Null. Is there anything we can do to help you?” comes a singing, again, a sour note with a positive message.

Responding in a message too long to chronicle, Cerella explains where they are and why they are consorting with the Seljuk. She informs him that they will be back on Eridanus very soon, instructing Skaldic to keep the lines of communication open and not to do anything of consequence without her approval.

What she does not tell him is that Defender has been transformed into a battle cruiser thanks to the Seljuk. The concept of militarization would fall flat upon the ears of an Eridanian, Gifted or not.

Music: Lior Porat Lyrics: Rachel Arenstein & Avraham Roos


THE NULL SOLUTION

Concepts

Episode 27


page 31

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 25

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 25

…There must be a clue in this somewhere…

Clues – Painting by Harmen Steewyck (1612-1656)

–The 1st order of business for Skaldic is to look outward, away from the bounds of Eridanus’ clammy atmosphere. Unable to uncover details from the distance past, he senses the need to access the resources available in the Spaceflight Expository, the physical engine of this star system’s view of the Great Expanse.

During his initial glimpse out, with his naked eye, he notices a bright reflection near the old, scorched home world O . He has never seen it before, but that doesn’t mean much. Nulls have little reason to look up. Before he can get a lock on it, it is gone.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the great Eridanian explorer {not Sampson McKinney} led his family, Cerella Heiress to the High Council and the Defender out in search of answers to the same questions. But Skaldic has no way of knowing these things, just like knowing what strange things are lurking hereabout.

He does use what is available to him there. Backtracking to the “big freeze” moment, one cycle hence, he fires up the global diary. The diary is an independent recorder of what is/has, present/past goings on for posterity’s sake. As much as the Eridanians want to pretend that they are isolated among the nebulae and black holes in their neighborhood, the warp signature of their Defender has pricked the curiosity from some parties afar.

He references the “big freeze” in the archive. He is surprised at the undistinguished nature of that specific timestem. There is nothing unusual in 2052.50, just the freezing of the Gifted.

“The High Council would not leave us in the dark,” he reasons, “not without warning us. There must be a clue in this somewhere.

When in doubt, you slow things down for a better look, which he does. Hidden in a fraction of a second, the narrowest of elapse, is the briefest torrent of light

“That is it!”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 25


page 29

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 23

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 23

Chapter Three

The 64 Parsec Question

…Though Skaldic the Null is equivalent to zero by title, he is the most excellent negative of all the other zilch’s…

Superior Group & Inferior Group by luminita taranu

Maybe it is just as well that Sam & Deke McKinney do not know the goings on back at their home world #one.

Adoptive home world #two is a completely separate issue.

Equally spared and even more in the dark are the people of Eridanus. Their thought-embargo is nearly complete.

The only citizens exempt from mental paralysis are those who are mentally incapable of the Eridanian form of telepathy. As lost souls, they are even more lost, not knowing what is going down and left to fend for themselves for the first time in their immortally deficient lives…

… But even among misfits, there are leaders and so it is with Skaldic the Null. Though he is equivalent to zero by title, he is the most excellent negative of all the other zilch’s.

The others look up to him, mainly because his cube is on the top floor of the misfit tower; the erudite Eridanians call it – well, nothing aloud, but the name “Nulls” is bandied about. They all think of it as a separate colony, not to be a part of the Eridanus experience. After all, the Null are not telepathic.

But what Skaldic lacks in intuition, he makes up for with guile. He would be the elder of the misfit tower, if they were allowed a seat on the High Council. Such is the respect he has among his peers.

Now that the Gifted of Eridanus are silent, it is Skaldic that fills the leadership void. If you clothed him in white robes, you would think he was Gifted. Such a small difference at atop of his body sets him apart, but not in a beneficial way. He and the other Nulls are grossly underrated.

The first thing he does is to check the historic records, those he has access to, for any similar chronicled occurrence in the long and storied past of the Gifted… oh and those others, like him.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 23


page 27

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 15

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 15

…“But that unusual signature is coming from Earth’s general direction.” Any happening over toward “home” is a cause for Sampson McKinney to pause…

–In a cruel twinkle from a faraway star, instead of Gus being late for a date, he mysteriously drops from the near-solar grid. —

From Earth’s angle, there is no tangible sign of the fastest spacecraft this side of the Orion Nebula. It’s hard to trust the raw physics and the unfamiliar position of Stellar Explorer; there is no dark side of the Sun.

This cannot be happening. The Space Family McKinney is an enigma bound by misfortune.

Once again, Roy Crippen is left grasping for a handful of nothing.

“I’m picking up an odd object signature,” sensors on the Eridanian craft wouldn’t lie to Sammy Mac.

The fuss that a space vehicle makes, hurtling at multiple the speed of light, is quite noteworthy. In comparison the fastest recorded asteroid travels at the relative snail’s pace of 68K miles per hour. There is no such thing as skulking about unnoticed, as it slices thru time and space.

“Odd how?” asks Deke .

Though a quick, study Sampson is a SOL newbie and some of Defender’s instruments make his head hurt, “It’s phasing in and out. I would consider it an illusion, if it weren’t Image result for tick tock gifso darn consistent… and then it isn’t.” Tick tock, “Now it’s gone.”

“We cannot linger with that now. We must contact the Seljuk as soon as we are able.” Laser-like focus is an Eridanian attribute. Cerella’s civilization is paralyzed, the answers they seek are logistically polar opposite in this quadrant and they are gobbling up space in that civilization’s own ship.

“But that unusual signature is coming from Earth’s general direction.” Any happening over toward “home” is a cause for pause.

“Did you think that Crip wouldn’t test out their new SOL technology, did you?” Deke is keenly aware that his younger brother would likely be piloting any SOL vehicle from his home planet… unless those Koreans got hold of {ripped-off} the tech. They’re at a loss to explain.

They don’t see what Gus is seeing from with a bird’s eye view.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Bird’s Eye View by Kyle L. Poirier,

Episode 15


page 19

 

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 11

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 11

Chapter Two

Free at Last

…“Yahoo!!!” What is this excitement all about? It’s only the absolute biggest thrill, EVER…

“There is something about the fresh air of deep space.” Sammy Mac cannot contain himself.

“There is no breathable air in space Father McKinney.” Cerella still hasn’t mastered the subtleties of obtuse human references.

“That’s the trouble with your spacecraft design… not enough windows! I like to see where I’m going.”

“You are going 15° mark 7.” The mismatched trio is about to shift gears, so-to-speak.

“We are skirting the Orion Nebula, Dad. You may want to sit down and close your eyes when we engage the TSF, I know that I am.”

Time-Space-Fold technology will scramble the most stable of molecules. In order to traverse light-year chunks of open cosmos, one needs to challenge the fabric of time itself. It is one thing to increase speed by a nearly infinite factor, it is another to compress the future, like the bellows of an accordion.

Even the Eridanian Princess is displaying signs of anticipation. It’s not like she has piloted a 1000 year old machine before. She is as tense as her refined race will allow her, yet experiencing excitement. What is this excitement? It’s only an ancient contraption after all.

Sampson, on the other hand, has reliable memories of spending 5 years aboard a 4500 year old Eridanian pre-TSF craft. “Yahoo!!!” What is this excitement all about? It’s only the absolute biggest thrill, ever!

“This is cool Dad!” The Defender may not have many windows to see out, but it does have real-time sensors that give the sensation of motion. Deke McKinney is aware of how rare an experience this is.

“It will take us a cycle or two before we reach the Seljuk. In the meantime, we need to scan all parsecs for extraordinary activity of any kind. Do not rule out anything, especially any sign that we are being targeted by long-range sensors,” Cerella points to the array of lights to the left of navigation.

“We are moving so fast, I don’t see how we could be tracked.”

“The opposite is true Father McKinney.”

In a static universe, other than the unremitting expansion, they represent a fleeting wisp in the corner of the eye of anyone who has them open.


TH NULL SOLUTION

Episode 11


page 17

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 10

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 10

…We are not searching for where, we are searching for what…

Searching by Ralph Harlow

–Just what would a caged animal (let’s say a lion) do when it manages to break out of the confines of zoo’s enclosure? You best get out of the way, because Mr. Lion is going to head for the nearest open country and the sense of freedom.

As pleasant and accommodating as the Eridanians have been, one Sampson McKinney represents that captive lion. On one hand, he has the Universe laid out before him, while on the other, all those planets, stars and galaxies are nothing but raw meat he cannot sample. It feels like a lion’s lifetime since he has tasted the sweet essence of autonomy.

Up until this point in time, Stardate 2052.50, the Defender has been sitting in the Spaceflight Expository certainly appreciated but absolutely unused. It was designed by a long-gone previous generation on Eridanus, when getting somewhere meant something; to an exploratory people that has since waned and the security of the Milky Way Galaxy was not an issue. On Earth, Jesus Christ had yet to take his first step.

Barnard’s Loop

The Space Family McKinney is poised to see what’s up on the other side of Barnard’s Loop.

Much to their dismay, it is Cerella who will pilot Defender once it escapes the gravitational influence of their “home star” Epsilon Eridani.

“Are we headed to the Pinwheel Galaxy, oh wise daughter-in-law of mine?” That would be one guess, Sammy Mac. She shakes her head “no.”

“How about Andromeda X, at zero point 4 degrees,” yet another suspicion from Deke is shot down.

We are not searching for where, we are searching for what.” Judging by her blank stare, she is not entirely sure. Leading up to this unauthorized expedition she has had a chance to study the ancient/taboo texts that refer to an unknown force that has before upended the Eridanian applecart and that has done so once again. “When we have passed the Orion Nebula, as you call it, I will engage the time-space-fold drive. It is with that invisible impunity that will begin our search.”

“Oh swell. This is like getting a driving lesson, but you’re not allowed to touch the steering wheel!”

Too bad.

“Relax and enjoy the ride Dad,” Deke has 100% confidence in the real driver. “What can we do my dear mate-for-life-wife?”

Cerella decides to concede some control, “Sampson McKinney, please plot a course 15˚ mark 7 to the Triangulum Galaxy.”

“Now you are speaking my language! I love it when you talk navigation to me.”

“Isn’t that the Seljuk neighborhood?” Deke surmises.

“We must check on their safety before we proceed further,” Cerella clarifies.

Sammy Mac cannot resist asking, “And why do you care about them?”

“They are our friends.”

“… the kind of friends that you haven’t talked to in how many years?”

“The passing of time is a relative measurement.”

 

Perception is 90% of reality.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Perception & Reality by Cameron Holmes

Episode 10


page 16 (end ch. 1)