THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 100

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 100

…You seem to be quite popular with the ladies Roy, you know, pot roast and old lace…

ladies-night-001

“Here are the New Mayflower heroes, together again,” a stray female employee from LSC/Okaloosa and longtime crusher on Roy speaks with a hint of sarcasm. “Doesn’t a heroes-001crisis make for strange bedfellows?”

Roy has been deflecting loosely-founded assumptions with phrases like, ‘not dating’, ‘a misunderstanding’, ‘they are just friends’, etc… etc……

“In that case Roy, the next time you come over to Lovell, I’ll have a good “home cooked” dinner waiting for you, you remember where I live right?” The woman is smug, glaring at Francine as if to imply that the TV personality has rudimentary domestic skills.

“Yes, I mean no, well maybe I will keep that in mind,” he replies diplomatically, having dated the older woman briefly, but not more than once, that is if you don’t count that Christmas party in ‘22.

After the parade of miss-takers and assumers has dried up, there comes the arsenic-and-old-lace-001opportunity for the rubber to hit the road. “That was very sweet of you, including me with your gift that is,” her words mitigate, her intentions questionable. “You seem to be quite popular with the ladies Roy, you know, pot roast and old lace,” she cannot resist countering that panhandle (FL) pussycat.

“She was a decent secretary, but as for her cooking?”

“I’m giving you a hard time Roy. Like I said, it was nice to include me, but I did look a little clueless, some warning would have helped me not look so… clueless.”

“I was caught off guard when I saw you walking in right behind me. I thought it would be a thrill to have you giving them a gift… my lame reasoning behind that gadget and the card, I love those boys.”

“And they love you, that is plain to see, you are a great guy.”

cell-phone-001“Can I get you another drink?”

“One more, then I need to be going. My phone is lighting up my purse.”

The station calls you on your days off?”

“No, 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.”


THE RETURN TRIP

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Clueless from #lordmesaart

Episode 100


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 91

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 91

…Francine’s words land harshly and dig deep, and may as well have been a dagger to the heart to a man who had suffered more than his share of setbacks as of late…

Image result for dagger artwork

Fantasy dagger by Vadich

…Roy is taken aback by Francine’s callous bluntness, and he hasn’t even asked a question.

Without being asked she continues, “I am flattered that you’ve seen enough of my work that you would offer me the job, without consulting your higher-ups. And believe me when I tell you that the space program intrigues me, interesting and exciting to say big-butthe least.

“But, the big but is that I am in the 2nd year of a 4 year contract and if I haven’t admitted it before now… I am engaged to KHST’s VP of News,” she pauses to count on Related imageone hand, “going on 5 years this May.”

Her words land harshly and dig deep, and may as well have been a dagger to the heart to a man who had suffered more than his share of
setbacks as of late
. Does this signal the return of “old” Francine Bouchette? Had she now secured the inside story, that juicy prize that will get her where she wants to go? ‘Good bye Charlie, I must be getting along.’

Image result for btw“I see,” TMI, BTW, TTYL Roy is an unemotional as possible, after all, what did he expect or hope for after merely holding hands or that pressure packed tender kiss.

FrancineCorvette

New

Francine stands, her skirt soiled and wrinkled and that $150 hairdo looks like a fright-wig. She brushes her hair straight and a mirror helps restore her face, the skirt is too far gone, fitting results for a day that has turned the page – plus 3 hours more.

“I have to head out Roy. I believe you granted me another exclusive and if I don’t get
going, someone else will beat me to it. I hope your valet didn’t drain my hydrogen tank, Corvettes are not fuel efficient.”

Old

“No they’re not; I have a gasoline 2001 Stingray rag-top myself.” He is brave on the outside, “If you ever need a source here at Galvy or Lovell, you can look me up.

“And don’t be too hard on us,” he uses two hands to squeeze one of hers.

Her smile is pained as she turns to find her car and shows herself out of the complex.

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“It’s just another ordinary day in the life of an everyday ordinary space freak.” Roy mumbles this and other self-deprecating phrases on the way to his now lonely office, plopping onto the overused couch to close his eyes. Sleep come mercifully quick, dreams not so sweet. —


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 91


page 113

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 90

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 90

…And then there is the inconvenient reality of her VP fiancée, who is probably worried sick, period, without knowing about what is going on between the TV Newswoman and the NASA Colony Mission Director…

inconvenient-truth-001

Right now (Braden King) he feels like 80. —

— As would Roy Crippen had he not found himself half-passed out on his office couch, next to Francine, who is showing no signs of wanting to leave. She is obviously preoccupied by the concept of how she ever ended up so “close” to the space program. Conversely, for the first time since breaking 200 MPH whilst speeding away from her native Houston, the 10 o’clock newscast she bolted from crosses her mind. Her newly acquired sense of four-letter loyalty has shifted from KHST to NASA, in addition to that deviant stance, she doesn’t feel at all guilty about not having a camera crew along for the station’s {and her career} enrichment.

In fact, her television chores have also occurred to Roy, “Aren’t you going to file a
report to KHST Channel 13 Houston’s News Source?”

“Thank you for that proper station ID,” she forms her real response carefully, if not unenthusiastically. “I suppose I should.” And then there is the inconvenient reality of her VP fiancée, who is probably worried sick, period, without knowing about what is going on between the TV Newswoman and the NASA Colony Mission Director.

For Roy, whose mind never rests anyway, has been doing some thinking, you know, about mortality and bachelorhood. He has noticed the Francine’s transformation from selfish career person to Mamma’s every prayer for a daughter-in-law.

“Francine…….I’ve been kicking something around.” That is an understatement considering the drastic implications for her.the-right-words-001

“What???” She had been in a trance of her own.

“Well……,” he stutters, stumbles, and skirts the issue, “…throughout my years at NASA, both in the air and here with the Space Colony project, I feel there is a void, when it comes to a public presence, that one authoritative voice; someone with your media flair and experience that can deal with situations like we had today.”

Francine thinks she knows what he means, but does not lead him forward, fearing how she would respond.

“Heck,” his Southern drawl breaking in, “for as long as I can remember, it has always been ‘good ol’ Roy’ plunked in front of cameras and microphones and not to nasa (1)thrilled about it.

“No offense, but I’m not a big fan of you press people, although at first the attention was nice enough. But now it is a hassle and it is taking me off-course from my real job.”

“Sure, sure, you want someone else to be the face of failure.”

“Failure, I’m not so sure. We have only scratched the surface of what caused the Colony to go down.”

“I have not seen a single member of the press, not that pompous ass from Channel 5 or anyone from FOX or REUTERS and if they were here they would be asking a millions ignorant questions and some poor sucker here at CMC would have spilled their guts and piss you off.”

Roy is taken aback by Francine’s callous bluntness, and he hasn’t even asked the question.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 90


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 89

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 89

…The boys could not keep their eyes off the King Ranch linkup with Colony Mission Control, watching the slow visual crawl of the New Mayflower on its way past the moon…

Image result for one-sided conversations

One-Sided Conversations Typography by cheeriosbdr529 on deviantart.com

—Meanwhile, back in the Greater Houston Metroplex, reaction to the Mars bound Image result for metroplex mapNew Mayflower is every bit the equal to Galveston, perhaps having the edge with the mission’s two biggest rooters Deke and Gus McKinney there at King Ranch. The pre-launch drama will not be left out this time, leaving it for it in the hands of local news.

Braden King does not relax until the New Mayflower reaches escape velocity and clears the ionosphere. Then and only then does he join the boys who have exploded their bedtime to bits. Wild horses could not have kept them from watching their parents’ rescue mission move downrange and Braden has learned his lesson about withholding the truth.

“I wish we had a molecular particle transporter,” Gus muses, “and then I could beam Mom & Dad in time for Wednesday.”

He speaks about the big birthday bash that surrogate parent Braden King has had planned for weeks, to treat the McKinney boys who were born within five winter days of each other, one year apart.

Space Academy

“CalTech has been doing some amazing experimentation in that area Gus. One of my friends at the Space Academy has a dad who has successfully scrambled basic molecules and reassembled them.” Leave it to Deke to know so much about the project. “In fact, they say by the end of the 2035 they will be transporting a lab rat to a remote location.”

“That sound cruel to me…what if the rat goes in and comes out a cat.”

“I think he would be happy.”

“Or worse yet, get lost on the way,” Gus being an advocate for all creatures large and small. “They don’t get a vote.”

“If we didn’t use animals for research, the planet would have been overrun by flesh-eating epidemics back in 2018.”

“You were 3, how would you know Deke?”

“He is right,” if Braden says so, it is therefore gospel, “if I remember it spread out of  Africa and never made it across the Atlantic.

Black and White Pattern with Wavy Lines.

“You know I’ve been thinking, maybe it would be a good idea to invite Uncle Roy to the party,” no not blood uncle.  “He could use a day or two in the bunkhouse to wind down.”

“Well, duh Mr. King!” Braden speaks for the boys/transfixed.

super-kidsThe boys could not keep their eyes off the King Ranch linkup with Colony Mission Control, watching the slow visual crawl of the New Mayflower on its way past the moon. It will be tough keeping the rescue from dominating their every thought.

“Well double-duh Braden, I didn’t see his name on the list?” King mentions.

“It wouldn’t be a party without Crip, Mr. King.” He mocks.

“Oh yes, that is an excellent suggestion, we like it when he rides old Hellraiser the bull.” Braden has conducted the conversation for the 3 of them.

Black and White Pattern with Wavy Lines.

11-oclock

“That’s it boys, I think it is time to hit your bunks. Haven’t you heard that a watched spaceship never moves?”

He gets no argument.

“Come on Gus, we cannot stay wake for four months. And Mr. King, Uncle Roy would never ride Hellraiser, he smarter than that.” The brothers are aware of Braden’s needs, “And you deserve to have time with adults of your own age, you know like 64!”

Right now he feels all of 80. —


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When I’m 64 by nickel8 on deviantart.com

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 16

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 16

…In the world of prankster-dom , the name McKinney has become the gold standard…

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“You’re welcome Miss,” he tells her facetiously. He manages to look past the messy situation caused by the simulator.

To say that “Miss Sweden” is apologetic would be a severe understatement; her accidental hero insisting that she should not upset her scrambled constitution further.

The Infirmary is situated nearby, a wise placement and within minutes of the doctors, who work their magic on tummies.

Sampson McKinney heads for the washroom to rid him of what must have been Miss Sweden’s breakfast that involved pickled herring and lingonberries, while the ill patient sleeps away the next hour.

Since his triple-knit jumpsuit is beyond salvage, he helps himself to a set of  doctor scrubs, though finding a pair to fit his 6’4” takes a little sorting. In the world of prankster-dom , the name McKinney has become the gold standard. Chances are that someone is saying, ‘Did you see what McKinney did to Peculiar Pete at the meeting yesterday?’, or some other hilarious recollection.

The intern on duty, who is beholding to him for taking one for the team, consents to allowing a scam to be hatched, joining a nurse who had committed to the charade.

‘Doctor’ Sam stands over the slowly rousing victim, whose eyes are still closed, but conscious. A cold Image result for rare diseasestethoscope is placed on her tummy, “I am glad you called me in, Nurse Betty. This is a case of digestive reversal. I haven’t seen one this bad in years.”

“And to think it’s Rare Disease Day,” the nurse plays up the gag.

The victim cracks a lid ever-so-slightly to steal a glimpse of the medical team. The ‘Doctor’ is wearing a surgical cap and mask that conceals his warped identity.

“You don’t mean…?” Nurse Betty plays on..

“Yes I do Nurse Betty; we are going to have to operate, get these organs back in place; a complete Visceral Inversion to restore normal digestive function.”

“And she was so young.”

“I want a second opinion doctor. I am feeling much better.” Panic is setting in.

“Relax my dear, and your name is what?”

“Ensign 1st Class Celeste Bergestrom.” She looks around for avenues of escape.curse-words

The cruel joke has run its course. The doctor removes his clinical disguise, thereby revealing himself, even though they had met but briefly, “2nd Lieutenant Sampson McKinney at your service.”

“You *&^%#+~?`****______g   ___s!!!!”

He extends a hand. It was all in good fun, after all………….

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 THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15a

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15a

CHAPTER TWO

Complications

research-001

Oblivious to any real-time happenings back on Earth, with all its own twist and turns, the Space Family McKinney operates in a space they are making their own. At this moment, in related orbits of Mars and Earth, they are 142.55 million miles from the nearest living life form, or at least that is the conventional wisdom. They are free from the incessant strife that is a direct result of 8 billion people who are urged to coexist, for the common good. It only complicates things when you add a million individuals per month to the pot.

Mars

Mars

Boiling it down to two, with the same last name, should simplify things, but there is a marriage override system that, when an order is given, it is magically turned into a request. The time-tested respectful salute from one commander to another is replaced by a loving peck on the cheek. When you share a bed, as well as a career, you are partners by the strictest measure.

“Have you looked at the spectroscopic analysis Sam?” asks Celeste of her Colony-mate, who is currently doing 4 things at once.

“No, but as you can see, I have my hands full getting these confound systems to talk to each other. I am doing the heavy lifting out here. Sometimes I wish they had assigned Rick Stanley to this mission; he would be giving more help with this nuts & bolts BS.”

I am the Research Officer here Commander Crabby Ass. Do you think Stanley would have prepared that gourmet meal last night or massage your  *^#?>  like only I can?”

“Okay I give,” he heads her off at the pass, “what did the spectro-photographic soundings turn up?”

periodic-table-001“As I expected, there are substantial deposits of Iridium, Rhodium and Columbium, pretty rare stuff as we thought, but the real kicker is that there is Lithium in vast quantities down there everywhere.”

“You’re kidding. Curiosity, Spirit and what’s-his-name didn’t find much on their side of this dusty rock. We could start our own battery factory. Let’s keep this under our hats. If word gets out every spacecraft in the solar system will race each other to get here.”

“Isn’t it ironic? We can tell Talibanistan to take a flying leap, them and their 80% stash!” The enormous consequence of this lithium mother lode may well reach back into time, to pay down long overdue bills that piled up earlier in the Century.

texicali“Let’s stake a claim Cel. I could buy you and the boys the whole state of Texacali! Do you want Saturn my sweet? I’ll throw a lasso around it and make it yours!”

There was a time, back in their cadet/Space Academy days, when an influx of funds would have been welcome. As aspiring astronauts, they did not toil in the higher tax brackets.

Sacrifice. It isn’t just a word used around Easter; it has something to do with a life’s intended focus. Space, and the conquering of it, is a worthy endeavor. Both Celeste & Sampson have chosen this as their space-walk-of-life.

And it seems like yesterday………….

Continued


THE RETURN TRIP

Space Academy

Episode 15A


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