THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 97

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 97

…On November 3rd 2054, before the sun sets on Idaho, Chasin Hedley is declared a landslide winner and eventually becomes a beloved #52…

Lake Pend Oreille (Idaho) sunset by Chip Phillips

“What do we tell the “Bassett Hound”? She and her lapdogs are panicking bigtime. Election Day is next week and even the Republican candidate is screaming for answers,” Roy ponders.

“Then it is time we tilt things in our favor. Let’s have Francine go public with that “secret project” we’ve been working on.” The wheels are turning inside Gus’s head. “You guys remember “The Wrath of Khan” don’t you? Life created on a supposed lifeless planet by Kirk’s son – the Genesis Project. Why don’t we claim that we are behind the greening of Mars… nobody but the Chinese has seen the building, so who’s to call us a liar?”

“We need what’s-his-name, that retired Navy Seal to win the election, that’s for sure. Another four years of Bassett equals exactly no good years for us.”

Link to Wikipedia

“That would be Lt. Chasin Hedley! First it was your eyesight, then math and now your short-term memory; I am detecting a disturbing trend.”

“Trend-schmend. Aren’t you going to turn 40 next year?” Roy remembers adopting two orphaned teenagers nearly a quarter-century ago. “My love of this country and expectations for this planet is the only tendency I am aware of. If we give Chasin the scoop on Mars and stand behind him with the “facts”, old Harper Lea won’t know what hit her. Her campaign won’t have time to adjust!”

“Precisely.”

— And so went the Presidential Election of 2054. On November 3rd, before the sun sets on Idaho, Chasin Hedley is declared a landslide winner and eventually becomes a beloved #52, as it goes. The NASA version of Mars’ evolution was bought hook, line & sinker by the American public. Who else on Earth could prove differently? A very, very late October surprise that bleeds into November takes down Harper Lea Bassett, when every single poll had her leading, leading into that fateful week; Dewey beats Truman revisited.

For the folks at GLF it is a passing victory. Former Lieutenant Hedley is indeed a friend to NASA, as long as he agrees to keep war away from the “final frontier”. He is made aware of the sordid truths surrounding Mars, but the issue fades into the background. Out of sight, out of mind is the prescribed idiom of the day.

The citizens of the world who own a Ronco 3000 are few and far enough in between.

Only Gus McKinney and a couple Chinese astronauts have seen Mars close up.

Nada peep from the Chinese.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 97


page 98

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 96

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 96

…Prez Roy sees the situation getting out of hand in a hurry, “We are lucky that China is too proud to admit failure.”…

CHAPTER NINE

Phantasmic

 

Related image

Golden Age of Space

“It is getting to the point where I cannot trust what I am seeing anymore.”

Even in this new golden age of space, the human eye is still the gateway to what the rest of the body considers real and true. With life expectancies rocketing past 100, the complexity of vision is a barrier to the fountain of youth. Squinting, blinking, rubbing and untrusting; those are the choices when, seeing is not believing.

“I am 98.797 % sure I saw another spacecraft snooping around Mars. That other 1.30 tells me I’m wrong, because it is gone.”

“That would be 1.203 Crip,” corrects Fletcher Fitch.

“See, now it’s my math that’s going south!”

“Are the Chinese still out there?” Gus McKinney wonders. He has been too busy lately to notice.

“Yes and none too happy I hear.”

“Thanks to our SOL Nonproliferation Policy!”

“Yes. We do not need them zooming about, doing what they do best.”

“Copycats?”

“Copy that Gussy.”

“Were we able to get a fix on the bogie?”

Fitch fiddles with the long-range sensors, “No. It wasn’t Lorgan though, that’s all I know.”

Prez Roy sees the situation getting out of hand in a hurry, “We are lucky that China is too proud to admit failure. Their curiosity gets the best of them… about that jumbo building I mean. They had the same view as us, but they have their cheapo space telescope.”

“Speaking about cheapo telescopes, you don’t need much of one to see that the Red Planet is turning an earthly shade of green.” Gus parrots the buzz on the street.

“Damn that RONCO 3000! Every amateur astronomer has one.”

“3 easy payments of $39.95… but the naked eye can see the difference in hue… well maybe not yours Crip.”

“What do we tell the “Bassett Hound”? She and her lapdogs are panicking bigtime. Election Day is next week and even the Republican candidate is screaming for answers.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 96


page 97

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 90

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOUTION = Episode 90

…’The money we spend on space could be better spent at home…’

…But remember, when you mess with NASA, you’re messing with the future…

“Nobody has seen Deke McKinney lately,” states President Harper Lea Bassett.

“I heard he is on location in Morocco shooting a movie.”

“He’s old enough to run for president right damn now; we ought to check into his political ambitions.”

Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

“I want my own “dawg” down there at NASA, someone who will give me all the credit. It’s an election year you know.”

“Would that person be a “Bassett hound”?” Chief-of-Staff Shriver jokes. “It isn’t just the McKinneys who are loyal to Roy; from the sanitary engineers to the Saturn XIV rocket scientists, I swear that they would die for him.”

“I need an issue that will resonate with our Democratic constituency, like, ‘The money we spend on space could be better spent at home.’

“Over half of our constituency cannot speak English.”

“That’s my point exactly! Unless they can eat it, wear it or spend it, they don’t care. The speed-of-light doesn’t mean squat to the person on the government dime.”

“Those are our people for sure.” Privately, Dane Shriver would consider himself as Republican-leaning, if he did not happen to have the cushiest job in the country.

“Make me up a list of possible NASA directors.  Doesn’t {former California governor} Patrick Schwarzenegger need something to do?”

“Other than screwing every B-list actress under the age of majority?”

“That’s kind of harsh Dane. He is one of my biggest donors, be nice.”

“A new director would need to know something about space.”

“Didn’t Patrick play an astronaut in a movie about Jupiter once?”

“No, that was Channing Tatum. He {Patrick} runs a movie studio now; I believe it is Warner Brothers.” It is hard to keep her focused. “I will shoot a list over to you in a couple of days, but I’m telling you, if not Roy, one of his staffers would be best. Remember, when you mess with NASA, you’re messing with the future… the future of all the people who do speak English and actually have a clue.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Messing with the Future

Episode 90


page 91

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 89

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 89

…Speaking of those blasted space-nuts, rumors are spreading about Deke McKinney, nobody has seen him lately…

“Is it just me, or is Roy Crippen a threat to national security?” Harper Lea Bassett asks.

“It’s pretty much just you… and a fundamental sectarian cult the hills of Tennessee. What gives?” Chief-of-Staff Dane Shriver compares his boss to a group of hillbillies who think that if it isn’t found in the Holy Bible, it can’t be true. She just does not get it.

“It seems like NASA is a military drone without the remote control.”

“But Prez Roy is a folk hero and NASA comes in under budget every year… and he wears a white cowboy hat!”

“I wore a white hat on Easter last year!”

“But somebody found it had feathers from an endangered species of bird on it.”

“A Golden-cheeked Warbler, how could I forget?”

“There were only 500 nesting pairs left and they are only found in Texas… and where is our legendary former president from?”

“Okay, alright, but it’s the milliner’s fault. He told me the yellow feathers would bring out the brown in my beautiful hazel eyes.” A scant 51% of Americans would agree, the rest would side with the blue-eyed Republican who campaigned against her three year ago. “If I have him fired, what would be the big whooped-y-do? He’s old and he should retire to that ranch of his.”

“There is still the McKinney factor. They are equally big or bigger heroes as Crippen and that voting block is as loyal as hell to him”

President Bassett is wearing a path into the pink Oval Office carpet.

“Speaking of those blasted space-nuts, rumors are spreading about Deke McKinney, and they say that he a severe case of radiation poisoning… nobody has seen him lately.”

“I heard he is on location in Morocco shooting a movie.”

The the funny thing about rumors & gossip; both lack accuracy as well as credibility and spread faster than a norovirus on a overbooked cruise ship.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 89


page 90

George Washington Digest – WIF Into History

Leave a comment

Lesser Known

Facts About

George Washington

Even as American values change and history is continually revised by new discoveries, George Washington remains one of the most venerated figures in human history. A highly esteemed soldier and general who became a pioneer politician, he appeals both to the intellectual types and those who liked to prove their worth through combat. Unfortunately, for all his acclaim, the casual reader only gets a vague impression of what he was like as a human. It’s unfortunate, because it leaves out a number of very interesting aspects of the life of a fascinating (if deeply flawed) man. Unfortunate for the average person, that is, not for George Washington. His legacy has literally been set in stone. So, let’s get to learning more about America’s most prominent Founding Father.

 10. Started the First Worldwide War

Although he’s a central figure in the American Revolutionary War, Washington had an even more significant role in a larger scale conflict that is often overlooked in American history. In 1754, Washington was a Lieutenant Colonel in command of forty troops that had been dispatched to intercept a column of French troops in Southwestern Pennsylvania. While this was technically still peace time, tensions were high, as the year before Washington had led a retinue to the French Fort Duquesne to demand they leave the territory, and it had been only through a mighty show of force that the French had surrendered the fort without a fight. So it was that on May 28, Washington’s small command found the French column, and despite having been ordered not to engage the enemy, Washington ordered a sneak attack. He was, after all, only about 22 years old and eager to prove himself, even if it meant defying orders. They killed a small number of French soldiers, wounded a few others, and took 21 prisoners.

 According to History.com, his small engagement was the flashpoint that led to the rival nations of France and Great Britain enlarging their armed forces in the colonies, and in time the war spilled over into Europe. It became known as the Seven Years’ War, and it was the deadliest conflict of the Eighteenth Century. Necrometrics. computes the number of dead from that conflict at 853,000, far exceeding the total combined forces engaged in the American Revolution, let alone the number of casualties. Makes the “Shot Heard Round the World” seem almost quaint.

9. Signed a Murder Confession

Well before it escalated to the Seven Years War, in the immediate aftermath of Washington’s unauthorized sneak attack it became clear it was a British/Colonial boondoggle. It turned out the French column was actually on a diplomatic mission, and Smithsonian Magazine states they had the documentation to prove it. The diplomat in question was an Ensign Joseph Jumonville, and according to Washington, he was killed in the immediate aftermath of the attack when a Native American, who went by the nickname Half King, put a tomahawk in his brain. A larger French force was dispatched to deal with the treacherous British and Washington responded by falling back to an improvised log defense dubbed Fort Necessity. Even after being reinforced by more than a hundred extra soldiers, Washington decided to surrender without another shot being fired. During the process Washington was made to sign a document, wherein he confessed to having murdered Jumonville.

In Washington’s defense, he signed the document under extreme duress and it was written in French, a language he was not familiar with. Rather than being court-martialed for disobeying orders and ignominiously surrendering, not to mention literally signing a confession, the British propaganda machine took Washington’s side. The British were determined to have North America for themselves and they needed to rally support for their cause instead of admitting defeat, and heaping scorn on the impulsive lieutenant colonel would do nothing to help achieve that goal. It took seven years of fighting, but eventually the British won and greatly expanded their American colonies, which as we now know would ultimately prove their undoing on that continent.

8. Did Not Have Wooden Teeth: Had Something Almost Worse

These days the historical trivia note that Washington had wooden teeth is so widely debunked that it’s probably harder to find someone who does believe it. This is not to say he had good teeth: he was having them taken out as young as 24. By 1789, the year he was elected president, he was down to one tooth still in his gums. The rest were his own refitted into dentures, nine were possibly form black people, and others were from whalebone. Even by the standards of the time they were unsightly, and the misconception they were wooden was likely due to their discolored appearance.

Although the dental problems so embarrassed Washington that he tried to keep them secret, they ultimately proved hugely advantageous in their own way. In 1781, a correspondence with a French dentist named Dr. Jean-Pierre Le Mayeur included notes that indicated Washington planned to stay in New York City. One of his letters was intercepted by the British, and they believed the letter indicated that it would be safe for a large contingent of British troops to move to a community called Yorktown. As it happened, Washington had changed his mind and moved to trap the British in the most decisive American victory of the war.

7. Signed the Most Slavery-Friendly Law

As with many of the Founding Fathers, slavery was an un-erasable stain on Washington’s legacy and a fixture of his life. The New York Times said he was an owner of ten slaves when he was only 11 years old, after his father’s death. By the time of his marriage in 1759, the number had grown to 80, and by 1776 it was 150. By the time of his death, between he and his wife Martha Custis Washington, he had 317.

Certain historical notes may seem to slightly redeem or at least complicate his feelings. In 1778 he wrote about wanting to get out of the business of owning slaves. When he died in 1799, his will stipulated that he wanted all the slaves owned by his family freed (this amounted to about half of them). But all this is overshadowed by a particularly nasty piece of legislation he urged to be pushed through congress in 1793. Known as the Fugitive Slave Act, it stipulated that slaveowners could cross any state boundaries in pursuit of escapees. It put a fine of $500 on anyone who sheltered a runaway slave or even aided them, an amount History.org tells us is more than eight years’ salary for a teacher in Virginia at the time.

6. Spent Final Years Pursuing a Single Escaped Slave

The most remembered person ever forced into servitude under Washington was Ona “Oney” Judge, one of the slaves Washington and his wife had with him in Philadelphia, whose main duty was attending to Martha’s personal needs. In May 1796, she slipped out of the Washington home. She had no shortage of help, as Philadelphia was so anti-slavery at the time that any slave that lived there for six months was automatically freed (Washington had gotten around this by merely regularly rotating his staff).

An article about Ona Judge on ushistory.org reports that Martha, for her part, seemed personally offended that a slave she felt she’d treated well would want to leave, refusing to believe Judge would ever want to leave of her own free will. Meanwhile, George initially tried to keep the incident under wraps while in abolitionist territory. Eventually he relented, had notices posted offering a $10 reward for aid in recapturing her, and asked the Secretary of the Treasury for help in bringing her back.

After being smuggled to New York City, for a time the president was able to get back in touch with her. Naturally, George was unable to persuade her to return to bondage without threat of physical force, and was worried using physical force would have caused “a riot on the docks.” Eventually she made her way to the community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She married a local freeborn black sailor and spent the final 50 years of her life a fugitive and favorite of abolitionist papers. Even when George Washington died three years later, he still had agents on the hunt for her.

5. A Moonshine Distiller

A popular misconception is that, since George Washington and other Founding Fathers grew hemp on their plantations, they must have been smoking it. That’s extremely unlikely, as they grew a species of hemp with little THC in it, which would have been nearly worthless for getting a buzz. Besides, Washington had a much more viable source of inebriation at Mount Vernon in the form of a huge whiskey distillery.

How huge was it? Big enough that it yielded more than 11,000 gallons a year, according to CBS, making it one of the nation’s largest. Of course, Washington couldn’t go through all that even if he threw lavish house parties, so he sold most of it off at a tidy profit. It’s enough to make you wonder if Sam Adams should really be the Founding Father whose name we most associate with alcohol.

4. HATED Becoming the President

An ambitious go-getter on the battlefield and a math enthusiast, you would think the highest office in the country of his birth would be a plum position for Washington. It should have seemed all the sweeter when the results came in from Congress on February 4 and said that of the sixty-nine votes, he’d won all of them. He was the only American president to be elected by unanimous vote. As History.org tells us, Washington was aware that in 1789 he had the support of the public as well as the landed gentry.

Nevertheless, Washington hated assuming the position. He’d spent months trying to get around being appointed to the position, or flat out refusing it prior to his unanimous election. In private, he removed any sense of ambiguity about his feelings, such as when he wrote to his friend Edward Rutledge that accepting the office meant “giving up all expectations of private happiness.”

3. Presidency Massively Criticized by Other Founding Fathers

Despite initial overwhelming support for Washington in Congress, the press, and the public, by the start of Washington’s second term it was a very different story. One of the milder critics was John Adams, who said the president was “too illiterate, unread, and unlearned for his station.”

Thomas Jefferson took a much harsher attitude in 1795 after Washington signed the controversial Jay Treaty, which gave favorable trading deals to Great Britain in exchange for moving British troops out of forts in territory outside the United States. He accused Washington of treason over that. Just before Washington left the office, Thomas Paine went to the press to accuse him of monopolizing for his own profit and his favorites, and depriving veterans. Amidst all this, many other newspapers criticized Washington too, of their own volition, and it was a large contributor to his decision to retire.

2. Invented Farming Equipment and Designs

After leaving the presidency, Washington devoted his twilight years to what had been his true passion all along: Farming. But being the sort of man he was, he of course needed to be in some way exceptional at it. He created an object called a “drill plow,” which was a huge time saver in that it planted seeds at the same time it tilled the soil.

But more significant was his 1797 innovation, the Threshing Barn. Essentially, it was a 15-sided brick building that was two stories tall, and the top floor was used to beat the wheat against the floor until the chaff was sorted out and the seeds fell to the bottom floor. Of course, it should be mentioned that working in it was something Washington delegated to the slaves.

1. Experimental Blood Transfusion Proposal

On December 14, 1799, at age 67, Washington passed away from an obstructive epiglottis, having only noticed the symptoms of it the day before. It must be said, though, that his condition was very likely not helped at all by the team of doctors dispatched to help him, and who concluded that bleeding was Washington’s best hope. Over 12 hours, they drained a staggering 40 percent of his blood. After he expired, in part because so much blood had been removed, a very odd proposal came up: Putting blood from another creature in. Yes, you read that right. Not another person’s blood. Another creature’s.

One of those present at Washington’s death was a William Thornton, a student from Edinburgh in Scotland. Since blood transfusions were relatively new to the field of medicine, some had claimed they could work medical miracles, including reviving the dead. Despite those outlandish claims, when he offered to give the corpse a transfusion of lamb’s blood, the family understandably declined.


George Washington Digest

WIF Into History

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 22

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 22

…Roy Crippen makes the Secret Service crazy, by being intentionally illusive…

Illusive Man by BloodyDragon117 deviantart.com

President Bassett {#51} is indeed on her way back to Washington, unaware that she has been duped. She has bathed herself in the glory of someone else’s accomplishment. That is enough space-stuff for one day. She has a reception dinner for the East Timorese Ambassador to preside over tonight. The U.S. Ambassador to the former Portuguese outpost is a shirttail relative from her mother’s side of the family. Both of  the Ambassadors and East Timorese cuisine give her indigestion.

“Gus is back on our screens!  Someone let President Roy know… he must be going crazy.”

Roy Crippen makes the Secret Service crazy. The former President is intentionally illusive, like keeping track of an apparition. He believes that security provided to him, or the four odd others of his ilk still alive and kicking, is a waste of precious tax dollars, when they could be given to… say the space program.

Providential is the Word of the Day. Pure dumb luck is the more likely term. But the man is so mercurial; locating him is like finding a ghost impersonating the man-in-the-moon. The USSS does its job.

Today they pinpoint their illusive target, too weak to gather himself, barely strong enough to breathe on his own. How much longer he would have lasted is difficult to say. In the 2:25 it takes for the GLF medical staff to reach him, the USSS agents at the scene resuscitate him twice. The last time he regained consciousness long enough for him to hear the good news, Gus McKinney is on his way back, Sir,” agent #1 reports. Inspired by the news, Prez Roy pushes agent #2, who was performing CPR, off of him in rude fashion. He eschews the gathering and well-meaning med-throng stating, “What in Sam Hill is going on? Where is he?”

{There is no malice intended toward Sam Hill, who used such foul language that his name became a euphemism for swear words.}

“I don’t know Mr. President. Someone told me to tell you when we found you.” Agent #1 should not be apologizing.

“How did you find me?” Roy speaks from behind an oxygen mask, like he was expecting a rescue.

“Francine, I mean the First Lady told us where you like to hide out.”

“Can’t a man die in peace?” He doesn’t mean that, but he does mean this, “Please tell me that Harper Lea Bassett is none the wiser. That’s all we need, more meddling from Washington.”

“You need to settle down, Sir. You just had a serious heart episode.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 22


page 26 (end ch. 2)

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 18

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 18

…For the first time in all his born days, Roy expresses doubt in the field of his passion, “Do we belong 93,000,000 miles out in space?”…

Roy Crippen, beloved #48, sits back on a chair in his personal space at the Galveston Launch Facility. He had orchestrated the great theater for this day. Everything was going just fine until it wasn’t. What started as a way to hide a missing McKinney has rapidly descended into panic on his part.

Human nature’s default reaction is to think the worst. ‘Gus will not be coming back.’ His lone mistake was placing a time-frame on the return of the Stellar Explorer.

The location of his office is a state secret.

That he is there is also a secret.

He uses whatever mission hook-ups he has at his disposal to search for Gus, or that shiny spheroid his stepson was speaking of, up until there was the blaring sound of silence.

The Sun is making a better door than a window; looking directly at it damages the cornea, looking around it is tough, looking through it is impossible.

Gus’ last words rattle around his brain, “I’m back in control of SEx, slowing down to get a closer look. I can tell you one thing, somebody made this thing…”

For the first time in all his born days, he expresses doubt in the field of his passion, “Do we belong that far out in space?”

  1. 10 -Space Colony 1 destroyed √
  2. 45 -Sampson & Celeste gone √
  3. 25 -Deke McKinney absent √
  4. 50 -Gus & Stellar Explorer missing (possibly, maybe) √

He would prefer not assuming the worst, but that is an imposing list of failures that stares him in the face, even though the facts about the first 3 are not known to him or anyone else on Earth. That is zero comfort when comfort is needed ASAP.

Otherwise in great health, President Roy’s heart gives in to the mounting stress.

The location of his office is a state secret.

That he is in it now is a secret.

That he lies prostrate on the floor this day is an unintended consequence.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 18


page 22

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 13

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 13

…Speaking of supposed-to-be’s {what-ifs and cold days in hell}, President Harper Lea Bassett is closing in on the would-be festivities…

“Take it easy, Fletch. While I was poking around in there last night, I discovered that SEx can achieve escape velocity on its own. The reinforced hull, along with the molecular stabilizer, will allow Gus to take that baby out solo.”

The youngest McKinney {that Earth knows about} is suiting up as he speaks.

“Somebody please inform our President about the change in plans, after the fact.”

“But…”

“I know what you’re thinking. We are going to show file footage of the boys inside SEx. Nobody will know the difference.”

Related image“But what about taking off without a piggyback? Somebody is going to notice.”

“Gus is going to be past the moon before anyone knows he’s off the pad. We’re all supposed to be on the receiving stand, isn’t that correct.”

Speaking of supposed-to-be’s, what-ifs and cold days in hell, President Bassett is closing in on the would-be festivities. Few things are more important to a figurehead than advertised appearances. There was a “leak” a week back {not weak back} about her welcoming the heroes of hyperspace in person. She has long since laid claim to bringing SOL technology to the light of day, when in fact it is only her pen and the insistence of her political backers that are truly responsible.

“Where are our men-of-the-hour?” is the most asked question.

“This guy Shriver is being a leaky O-ring,” is how Francine Bouchette-Crippen describes him, for everyone in the inner circle with an earbud. She is not as cranky as her husband, but at their station in life, they don’t suffer fools lightly.

All Prez Roy does is point to the unique contrail left behind by the Stellar Explorer. He makes up a non-treasonable explanation, “There they go, Madame President. We wanted to give you a live demonstration. How will that play in D.C.?”

To support his elaborate smokescreen, he summons a video of Gus and Deke waving to the camera, curiously resembling the one from their original roundtrip to the fringe of the solar system – and back – mostly {before Deke vanished}. The screen behind the reviewing stand is innocently playing that recording and another showing long-range footage, which elicits rousing applause from all the space-geeks and political freaks who would not know the difference between an asteroid and a comet.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 13


page 19

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 12

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 12

…We’re going to take Stellar Explorer out for another demonstration run, to the Sun and back…

Roy Crippen needs to brush-up on his tap-dancing moves. President Harper Lea Bassett has landed at the Galveston Launch Facility with personal glory on her mind. She has been lucky enough to be elected leader of the ever morphing “free world” during the debut of honest-to-goodness viable space travel. Gone, or shortly so, are the days when it takes 4 months to get to Mars. Folks from around the globe are falling all over themselves to line up for the forthcoming Mars City outpost.

Whether she deserves a gram of credit is going to be history’s business.

Her lapdog right-hand-minion-lackey, otherwise known as Chief of Staff Dane Shriver, had been sent ahead to orchestrate a credit taking – made for satellite – must see spectacle, with Madame President playing the part of maestro. He thinks he has done just that.

But Prez Roy has other plans.–

No Deke McKinney is a real problem. Real American heroes are destined to be propped up for their insatiably adoring public, people who are used to living life with the immediacy of their hand-held device lifelines; where they see what happens, nearly as it happens.

Deke McKinney is otherwise indisposed.

Roy Crippen has his hunches, but hunches will not cut it here and now.

He has a plan.

We’re going to take Stellar Explorer out for another demonstration run, to the Sun and back… anywhere but around this town.”

Fletcher Fitch is the first to raise his hand. “The SLAV crew isn’t ready to go. They have been furloughed to Palm Springs.”

“Really, Palm Springs, really?” Roy is playing dumb. He’s the one who sent them there… purposely for such an occasion as this. “We don’t need ‘em!”

Is he nuts? Engineer Fitch is thinking just that. No SLAV, no go.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 12


page 18

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 4

Leave a comment

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 4

…How about the old shell-game… they’re there, no they’re not here, they’re in the air… do you see where I’m headed…

“I just got word that the President is on her way Roy, should arrive in the morning,” Francine Bouchette-Crippen gives her husband the news.

“She doesn’t take NO for an answer, does she?” His best efforts to control the message are about to be neutered. “Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this? She’ll want to congratulate theRelated image newest space heroes and Deker will be conspicuous by his absence.”

How about the old shell-game… they’re there, no they’re not here, they’re in the air… do you see where I’m headed?

That strategy will have to do.

Until Harper Lea Bassett’s untimely arrival, Roy needs to rehash some of what he knows, in an attempt to crack the vexing missing Deke McKinney mystery.

To that end, he must remove emotion from the equation and get down to the nuts ‘n bolts: the Stellar Explorer {SEx} itself. To do so, he goes as far as to kick Fletcher Fitch away from his obsession of dissecting the differences between the old ship and the new mysteriously improved version. There will be plenty of time for that later.–

— Any machine made by man’s hand has a “feel” to it, an intangibility that may defy conventional acumen. With all the interior lights glaring or the busy busyness of the SOL hangar at the Galveston Launch Facility {GLF} it is difficult to separate the mental from the metal.

“I want this hangar cleared. Everybody go home, come back tomorrow and when you do, please wear your official NASA SOL polo shirts, the President is dropping in for a visit.” Former President Roy has a way with his underlings, an assertive manner that inspires, not inciting. As he addresses the semicircle of men and women, he looks directly at each and every one of them, “And when the topic of the McKinneys comes up you don’t know nothin’, which if you are like me, is not far from the truth.  I’m telling you to fib for the good of the program. Our honesty policy will be back in effect the day after tomorrow. See you at 0500 hours.”–


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 4


page 10