The NULL Solution = Episode 164

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The NULL Solution = Episode 164

…Surely the Ÿ€Ð  will overcome anything this Harmonia nonsense has to offer…

“What is a Seljuk cruiser doing in the Terran system? They are too timid to venture out this far.”

“The Seljuk ship is idled alongside one of the towers. I detect three creatures on board.”

“Have they seen us?”

We are larger than this planet’s two moons.”

“Have they seen us?”

“I wish not to offend the Great Leader. Perhaps we should investigate the complex named Harmonia.”

There is no Ÿ€Ð translation for the term Harmonia, harmonica maybe, because a harmonica is a thing. Harmonia is evolving into more of a concept, a function of ideology. Župzïð’s ideology can be contained in a thimble. “His way” in the Milky Way may not wash.

“Make ready the shuttle for planetary exploration. Assemble the most loyal warriors among us to accompany me.” He cannot help himself. Caution & bluster are mapped in his makeup. It is important to him that his image be strong, even when it is unnecessary.

“The weapons have been disabled Great Župzïð!”

“We may not need them!” His landing party consists of the most warrior warrior-types from here to Sexta A. Surely they will overcome anything this Harmonia nonsense has to offer.

Any brashness is stripped away at the entrance to the Martian atmosphere. All the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men… he may as well have brought a fiddle with him, for all the good his bluster does him here. His Collapsar-to-Harmonia shuttle is ushered to its rightful place alongside the mile high tower. Naturally he would have preferred one of the other 3.

Make that an ant w/a fiddle. The latest and final addition to the Mars reboot is dwarfed, as it should be, by the enormity of the moment, just as were the Earthling, Seljuk and Eridanian before him. Tom, Dick and Harry… no, Sam, Chase and Skaldy, all equally awed in their own way.

Neighbors separated by acres of new Mars soil, each following the instructions given them by their host. Not only would it be impolite, but it is mandatory, now that the Null has unlocked the first door of the mystery.  A beginner’s seminar: “Getting Along in the Great Expanse”, the true purpose of Harmonia is unveiled. Like a father speaking to his child.

Still the unknown Lorgan/O remains just that, who, what, where, how and why; in what order is a topic of for a later day. What is clear is that Lorgan is the straw that stirs the drink. No longer does it hide in the shadows, as it first did when Gus McKinney discovered the sphere obstructed from view by the Terran sun.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 164


page 160

The NULL Solution = Episode 68

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The NULL Solution = Episode 68

and this just in to the NASA News newsroom, President Harper Lea Bassett has just announced that she is appointing a Blue Ribbon panel to determine if there is a threat of alien intrusion into our solar system…

As wayward as Mindy’s husband is, which is as far-flung as any considering his job, he has been an attentive father. He can appreciate the importance of parenting, having “lost” his.

“That last dust storm really did a number on the ranch. Carlotta must be at wits end. I’ll keep an eye on our little angel, so take your good long hot shower.”

“Speaking of our housekeeper, promise that you won’t be passing Marscie off to the housekeeper for just any flimsy reason.”

“Do you mean like saving the Earth from aliens?”

“Which reminds me, can you play a Disney download like “The Princess from Centaurus” instead of “Space Invaders”? That is stuff is 20th Century silly!”

“Oh, and Disney is more like reality?” Actually, a character much like real-life Gus is the hero of the movie he is criticizing. But he mostly acquiesces to a higher authority. “Princess Zachnod it shall be.”

“Hey I can do split screen with NASA News, right Marscie?” A mother of one month will give him no arguments. The geek in the anchor seat spews the latest news about the Ninth Planet, which is actually old news but “Generation SOL” needs a steady dose of recent history to keep it from predicting its future; living their lives on a planet other than this one.

‘The most recent data streaming back from the rover suggests that there are thruster marks all over the section it is currently mapping…’

“Oh great, more news on alien evidence! We have mass hysteria in the 80-110 year old demographic and we have found blastoff depressions on Planet 9.”

‘… and this just in to the NASA News newsroom, President Harper Lea Bassett has just announced that she is appointing a Blue Ribbon panel to determine if there is a threat of alien intrusion into our solar system.’

“Hey Dad, how did Mom let that get on the air?” It is a part of Francine’s job, but controlling newshounds is like placing a muzzle on a bullhorn.

Gus and Roy have a perpetual/intuitive link. It is a bit scary, but it does save time-wasting device scrolling.

 “Do you mean the Blue Ribbon panel that I’m not on? Let the “Bassett Hound” think she’s in charge – remember, it is election season again.” Election seasons are a self-perpetuating process.

If only NASA were in control; talk about “for the good of the world”, instead of “the good of the few”. —


The NULL Solution =

Episode 68


page 70

The NULL Solution = Episode 4

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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 the 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’reRelated image 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

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 181

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 181

…“Listen to you! There IS a devious bone in that good-old-boy body…”

“Well it can’t be another Texan and it can’t be another space guy, so why not a rifle-toting, rock’em-sock’em reformer from America’s Dairyland.” Brain gears are churning away. “And we can sneak it in at the end of the Space Colony tribute.”

“Morbidly, you may be on to something, tying this whole deal in with the McKinneys, but, and I underline but, I don’t think it should distract from the solemnity of the memorial service.”

His wife is buying into the notion. That low, murky, gray cloud that has shadowed Roy the past four months {always a step behind like a political version of an undertaker} is starting to clear up, replaced by the blue-hue of tranquility.

With calm comes clarity, “We will wait until the scheduled news conference that afternoon. The emotional impact will be different from the memorial, I won’t even deviate from the respectful reminiscing I have been working on, but sliding the announcement in at the end will negate any negative reaction to Charlotte.”

“Listen to you! There IS a devious bone in that good-old-boy body,” Francine is impressed.

“The time is right for a female Vice-President and I believe you prefer my choice to that Georgia peach of a Congresswoman… the one whose husband just died of a brain tumor… and she has called me twice to express her interest?”

Francine is quite aware of Roy Crippen’s baser appeal. He is a tabloid rock star, a media darling, and the hottest thing presidential since JFK {after an extreme makeover and an injection of swagger}. But just like Kennedy he is more than a pretty face; men with a hypnotic power of persuasion and the adept skill to lead the nation down the road of turbulent uncertainty.

Another welcome asset in his corner is with his support team’s ability to keep a secret. In a society where security and info leaks are an art form, thanks to the instantaneous news cycle and continuously connected individuals throughout the world, in those somber days leading up to the posthumous honoring of Celeste and Sampson McKinney… not a single peep, hint or drip about candidate-elect Charlotte Walker.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 181


page 216

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 149

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 149

…any time Strategic Air Command’s name is invoked, it does not mean that the USA is merely recalling their embassy personnel…

“The country would not stand for news of the McKinney deaths… they adore that couple,” President Sanchez makes a politically generic statement.

“This should have nothing to do with Time Magazine Online “Most Influential People” issue and everything to do with putting reprobate rulers in their place.” Roy moves to move the President of the United States of America into action. The man is stuck on how this latest development makes his administration look, instead of recognizing the threat to the welfare of the planet itself.

“Chances are Pete,” using his first name for effect, “that armchair diplomacy or economic sanctions will not work here.”

Sanchez should ask himself why, in retrospect, that the very same type of jealous admiration exhibited by Korea, were one and the same as his quest for the United States Senate, lo those many years ago. As a younger, more idealistic politician, Sanchez had practiced a suspicious mudslinging campaign against the incumbent Senator, in the primary election that year. And though Sanchez did not get the nomination and the other party ultimately won the general election, it ruined the man’s reputation unnecessarily.

It is a lesson for those who are lame ducks or out of favor; there may be someone or some country lurking, ready to ruin his legacy or bring down the entire nation he is ultimately responsible for.

“I guess we need to flex our muscles.”

“And forget about that gratuitous speech you are about to deliver,” Roy whispers under his breath. “And you know that we at NASA and SAC will be vigilant, Sir.”

— No sooner than the phone goes dead, he wonders if the President meant yet another dreaded commodity embargo or economic isolation; neither of which work against those determined to make, in this case, outer space mischief.

Francine is privy to one side of the conversation, but any time Strategic Air Command’s name is invoked, it does not mean that the USA is merely recalling their embassy personnel. She is aware that stakes of the game have changed and she will have a front row seat to it all.

It is getting late at Lovell and making the trip home to Houston less desirable than usual, but in these times of fear and doubt, where better to spend the night but at King Ranch, “I’ll give Braden a heads up about an incoming Canadian helicopter with a Russian sounding name (Sikorsky) and two tired NASA people aboard,” she states.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 149


page 183

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