THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 91

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 91

…There is no replacing a good spacecraft, when it comes to going from here and there…

Ekcello, Supreme Elder of the High Council on Eridanus, is growing tired of life without his daughter. The natives are getting restless. Those calling themselves the “Gifted” are feeling less so. His daughter is more than a big deal here and her absence, along with a lack of explanation of why she cannot return posthaste, is an issue that only exacerbates his angst.

He sympathetically thanks the McKinneys’ “God” for the news on Cerella’s child, but that is increasingly not good enough. Using Celeste as a go-between is hardly better than a voice recording. His mind is already crammed to the brim with the unsatisfying voices of his people.

Proving that blood is thicker than the null of space between Eridanus and Earth, Ekcello summons his unintentional antagonist Sampson McKinney to ask him a rhetorical question. “Would you consider taking Defender back to your planet? I believe that my daughter and her child belong here with us.”

“That’s also my daughter-in-law and my grandchild you’re talking about. Isn’t that the plan I was pitching a couple moons ago?” That was then…

“I am talking about now, Sampson. It appears that they cannot return on their own.”

“They need a ride don’t they?” He told him so. “There is no replacing a good spacecraft, when it comes to going from here and there. I never thought I would hear those words come out of that oversized brain of yours!”

“You have sufficient TSF piloting and navigational skills to complete the mission.”

“I could use a co-pilot. Defender is a handful for one person, so send Deke out with me… kiddo & daddio will make a good team!”

“Yes to a co-pilot. No to Deke.”

Ekcello places limits on his magnanimity.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 91


page 92

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 66

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 66

…Marscie Deimos McKinney is brought into the world on Stardate 2053.26 or 02-21-2053 {+ a pinch to grow an inch}…

Human gestation is a reliable timekeeper, ever since Earth prehistoric. Give or take a day or five, the time it takes from conception to birth is nine months. Physicians have stopped tampering with natural childbirth. Gone are the days of the so-called C-section, when mothers, not nature would decide when a baby would make its Earthly appearance. 2-19-2019 was the last straw. That was a Tuesday before the next leap year when millions of February babies were delivered, ready or not, because of the synchronicity of the date. Unfortunately, Carl Jung {inventor of the word caesarean}, had been dead for some 60 years and doctors got tired of being allied with such a supercilious practice. That summer, the WHO {World Health Organization} banned caesarean births when the mother’s life was not in danger.

Mindy McDonald-McKinney and her husband, Gus, have been patiently enduring those 9 long months. Good things come for those who wait.

By the grace of God, who is said to have known her name before recorded times, Marscie Deimos McKinney is brought into the world on Stardate 2053.26. The old-timer’s calendar would have read 02-21-2053 {+ a pinch to grow an inch}.

“How did you two kids come up with her name?” Neither Francine nor Prez Roy was consulted about said naming.

Marscie stands for you-know-what and Deimos for you-know-where. Simple as pie to remember and in honor of my {real} parents,” recites the proud papa. “Our second choice was Ellen MacDonald McKinney, you know; get Mindy’s side of the family in there. Ellen is her mother.

“Too many macs-this and too much mc-that!”

“Right… don’t you like linking Mars’ moon in there?”

“Somehow I think Celeste & Sampson would appreciate the connection.” Francine concludes–


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 66


page 68

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 49

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 49

…Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life…

“By what cosmic law is that possible?” Skaldic cannot explain the strange machinations of the silvery sphere.

is indeed a uniquely personal experience, whether in this galaxy or the next. Funny thing is, nobody but Skaldic and Sammy Mac makes a big deal about it.

“If it is alive, how does it travel 64 parsecs in the time we walk through a door? Maybe it’s not an individual. There might be a bunch of them, a fleet of shiny bowling balls whizzing around, muting Seljuk outposts and turning your Gifted into pillars of salt.”  Sam references the Holy Bible and tenpin sport in the same paragraph. How foreign these notions must be here on Eridanus, without an overt “god”. “If O had malicious intent, it/they could have destroyed those planets and turned Eridanian minds into mush. You told me that the Gifted are whole and I can attest to an alliance that was allowed to form between 4 scattered civilizations. I’m telling you Skaldy, we are not alone in the Universe.”

“Where did all the stars in the sky come from? Was there only emptiness before they came to be? And why are there so few planets with intelligent life, like you have been telling me?”

The back and forth has taken a philosophical turn. How can an Earthling convey his belief in the existential? Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life.

“I can only speak for me and my family. Those on our planet, who are of the same opinion, believe that there is one true God, a creator of all things; every star and planet, comet and asteroid, bird and animal, male and female.”

“We call that middle star  {middle star}, the star that caused all the rest to appear.”

“Okay, I get that,” Sam drinks that in. “We have an instruction manual for that, written about and by the greatest man who ever walked upon our world. It begins by telling the story about how our God created the Universe.”

“You have told me, that your planet thought it was alone in what you call the Universe, that Eridanus is the first contact you had with any others.”

“True enough, man. For 66.67 % of my life and probably to this day on Earth, we thought we were the one and only beings.”

“Did not your book tell you about the rest?”

“Not in so many words, but I’m sure the answer is somewhere in there. Not until Celeste and I stumbled upon the NEWFOUNDLANDER did we have proof. Otherwise we had no way of knowing.”

“Just like we know not what O is or what purpose it serves.”

“That is a real barn-burner my friend!” Sam uses another idiomatic phrase.

“What is a barn?”

They will get to that new word and other subjects in time. The many mysteries of life will remain.


THE NULL SOLUTION

“Mystery” Artwork by Anton Kononov

Episode 49


page 52

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 39

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 39

…You can knock Cerella over with a single solitary puff of misty air. Not in all her upbringing had she ever had contact with the Null…

Of all the inhabitants of Eridanus, the heretofore shunted Null are nearer to humanity, in contrast to the others. With no robes, with visible legs to stand on, they are not whitely colored – rather individually so. On top of that, they are downright approachable.

Skaldic and Offingga see the Defender slide through the massive opening of the Spaceship Expository and they are there to be the official welcoming committee. They stand tall & confident in their newfound independence. Surely they would not be punished for any acts of insolence.

You can knock Cerella over with a single solitary puff of misty air. Not in all her upbringing had she ever had contact with the Null. Now, and that covers considerable Eridanian cycles, she does, not knowing where to look, how to act or what to say.

The youngest McKinney snatches the honor, “I do not believe we have been introduced; my name is Deimostra Samantha McKinney. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”

‘What a dry fresh breath of air are these people of Earth,’ Skaldic thinks, not expecting such simplicity. “They call me Skaldic the Null and my companion is Offingga {translation: the jabberer}.” 

That spontaneous Null irony whizzes past without notice.

“How is it that we haven’t met before now? We {she points to Mom, Dad, and Deke} landed on your planet many cycles ago. Surely we should have crossed paths.”

“The Null tower is on the empty side of Eridanus.”

“There are others like you… so where are they?”

“Many more and it is best that they stay in our tower.”

“You act so different than Cerella and her father Ekcello.”

“We do not possess the ability to communicate with our minds.”

“I can teach you. If my brother can learn, certainly you can.”

“We are inferior beings in the eyes of the Gifted, unfit for interaction.”

Cerella slams the door on the increasingly uncomfortable exchange.

Door Slamming GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 39


page 44

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 6

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 6

Sammy Mac, of Eridanian repute, has an eager partner in restarting the mothballed fleet of starships, namely Deke McKinney…

“Did Gussy make it back in one piece?”

There is nothing more one person, sitting on the sidelines can do, but to ask obvious questions. The day that Sampson J. McKinney experiences hyperphysical transmigration, the Universe will collapse upon itself. Unlike his star-crossed bride, he has crafted a niche of his own, more in the line of two hands on a steering wheel.

“Of course Sam, we knew that he would,” she addresses the concept of taking a peek ahead in any given timestem – without meddling of course.

Sammy Mac, of Eridanian repute, has an eager partner in restarting the mothballed fleet of starships, namely Deke McKinney of left-behind {and mate to Cerella/Princess Heir} fame. He has done his best to temper his father’s skepticism of this planet’s time-traveling ways.

Digital Clock With Hover Animation – CodeMyUI“You have to trust that Ekcello has a firm grasp of Gussy’s timestem.”

“Okay Deke, I’ll give you that, but everything that happens to him back in 2051.25 will have an effect on us here in 2052.50.”

“Think about it Dad, right now Crip, Fitch & the gang are trying to figure out how Stellar Explorer tripled SOL, not to mention me not returning from the mission. I bet that Fitch has pulled out whatever hair he has left. Can’t you hear him trying to make the numbers match up? {‘The SOL crystals must be more responsive to the cooling inducers than we thought.’} It will take him months to decipher the Eridanian modifications.”

“Yeah, baffled, befuddled & bewildered for sure, but SOL x 3 is peanuts compared to the TSF Drives of the Eridanus prototype we have our hands on, right here in the Expository. These babies haven’t even been out of the atmosphere and I can feel the speed; passing by stars like they are so many streetlights.”

“We may never get the chance to experience TSF.”

This is the rundown of Sampson’s understanding he used to describe this advanced method of physical space travel to his son:

“Time-Space-Fold travel is an original concept, at least in this end of the “Great Expanse”. For the sake of comparison, let’s use a $1 dollar bill, of the long-dead paper currency used on Earth, as an example:

  1. Lay it out in front of you on the desk. It measures roughly six inches from end to end.
  2. Fold it in half. Now the distance from Point A to Point B is practically nothing, if not fractional: 6” to mere milli-measurements.
  3. Even at a snail’s pace, Points A&B are really close.

“Now let’s translate that to space:

  1. When that currency is folded once it is close.
  2. When it folded multiple times, ironically, it is closer. The fabric of space is compressed even more.
  3. The speed-of-light is expanded exponentially with each and every fold.


THE NULL SOLUTION

ORION

Episode 6


page 12

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 276

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 276

May you all live long, laugh often, love hard, with the hope that our paths will cross again someday…

Could anyone possibly trace this comportment back to the root of Gus’ discontent?

Yes. Ekcello and the other members of the High Counsel are collectively aware that Gus is saying goodbye to his family. The young man is conflicted, yet resolute and his hosts have willfully supplied him with the means to leave Eridanus. He is supplying the will to do so.

With that yellow dwarf star {and the blue planet that orbits it} circled on his star chartsescape route and no one manning the security shielding that prevents escape velocity or unauthorized reentry, the new and improved Stellar Explorer is pointed at the other end of the galaxy.

Erroneously believing he needs to be surreptitious, he had positioned the Stellar Explorer in such a way for a rapid route of escape. Everything was set up correctly, except for one nagging detail: Deimostra, his sister had left the party early, exhausted from the excitement, so he had not been "My dear sister Sammy"able to see her before leaving himself.

Dare he risk being found out because of a sentimental lapse? No, she and he had shared in his restlessness privately, though how was she to know how serious it had become. He decides to leave his personal flight recorder behind, with his smiling image and the following message:

My dear sister Sammy;

I’ve only known you for a short time, but I think we bonded over our mutual interest Earth, our home planet, well you know what I mean. It piques your curiosity, but it nags at me to no end. Tonight, I am taking steps to return to Earth, at any cost, because that is where I belong, not here.

May you all live long, love hard, with the hope that our paths will cross again someday.

All my love,

Gus

He places the device in a place he knows she and she alone will find it, alongside her copy of his engagement picture to his dearest Mindy… as he sets his plan in motion.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 276


page 245

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 269

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 269

…on Earth we have something called a courtship period…

Leave a tender moment alone. Deke passively offers his hand, waiting for her to seal the deal.

Graphic details aside, Cerella coaches her would-be mate into achieving an unconventional union. One may say it is mutually satisfying. She must have thought long and hard on the mechanics of it all, but if effort is the gauge, she gets an A+.

planetary orgasm

“Orgasmic Physics”

Words are scarce, hardly needed, though she did leave out one minute little small tiny detail, #You are now my mate for life#

Suddenly, talk turns to telepathy and he passes this off as emotional overreaction, until the next thing crosses his mind.

#When our offspring is born, I would like to break with Eridanian tradition and cohabitate, of course only after a public ceremony heralding that the heiress to the High Counsel has taken a mate#

orgasm

“Unconventional Conception”

#How do you know that you have conceived a child?# Expressing thoughts this way comes hard for Deke, who manages to project, #And do I have a say in the matter?#

#I believed you to have feelings for me#

#I do, but on Earth we have something called a courtship period#

#Were you not paying attention Deke McKinney? The Eridanian female mates once and for all time and our law offers no dissolution clause. The child forming in me is your approval of this coupling#

#To death do us part?#

#Death is irrelevant. Are you pleased?#

Thoughts to himself are not, ‘..but I wanted a big family’.

Lies from Mother – bbel.com

#I can conceive but once, I am sorry#

#It is going to take some time for this all to sink in#, he does kiss her tenderly as not to confuse the issue, #and this will be a big surprise to my mother#

#I do not think so, Deke. Before you arrived on Eridanus, Celeste McKinney told me that we would be perfect mates# Her honesty is refreshing, her intent quite clear. —


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 269


page 238

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 268

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 268

…the possibility of intimacy, even to the point of conception, never daring it to cross his mind… well maybe once…

The fair Cerella has piqued Deke’s interest.

There are only two block of rooms atop the towered city known as Eupepsia and it is the place where the McKinneys reside, somewhere down below. You could call them penthouses or you zerocould call them pinnacle palaces, just call this one as Cerella’s; the other being Ekcello’s.

The null-number-zero represents the number of anyone who has ever been at the top of Eupepsia, in the three Earth centuries of Cerella’s young life.

As a planet, not known for their extravagances due in part to lack of covertness’, this level of Eupepsia is dichotomous. No museum or gallery of fine art contains finer material. Deke tries not to gawk at the unparalleled beauty he is seeing… and the girl ain’t bad either.

Things are a tad awkward for a minute or two. As a polite guest, he would ask about this or that and Cerella would skirt the subject, preferring to hone in on their anatomies, specifically how they compare. He has to wonder what the purpose of this social call is.

“As far as I can tell Cerella, everything is in the right place. Do you have a self-esteem issue?” She has him scratching his head, seemingly fishing for compliments, when words like those supposedly mean next-to-nothing to her people.

“I sense that you find me pleasing, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Have you ever fathered a child?”

“… Probably not.”

“Would you like to father a child with me?”

He loved everything about Cerella, yet the possibility of intimacy, even to the point of conception, has never dared to cross his mind… well maybe once

“Would you come, to where I rest, to discover if our bodies function together in that way?”

Leave a tender moment alone. He passively offers his hand waits for her to seal the deal.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 268


page 237

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 267

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 267

…A little thoughtful investigation, sprinkled with a pinch of feminine intuition and you have the recipe for a romantic ambush…

Idle speculation is tantamount to a worry-overdose for Cerella, of the tower Eupepsia, and she is not going to have any of it. It is time to be proactive, get even closer to her work, shape the future before it shapes her or take the bull by the horns. She moves to act on her own, to secure the future of the Earth people she has grown to love.

Step one in her plan, to cement the McKinneys into Eridanus history involves a cultural custom which is exercised but once in a female’s lifetime.

A little thoughtful investigation, sprinkled with a pinch of feminine intuition and you have the recipe for a romantic ambush.

Deke had been busy studying the Olde language under the tutelage of a historian, perfecting the tones of his diction… when Cerella silently shuffles into the room, nervously placing stray strands back where they belong. Absent is the long silken robe of her day-to-day look, replaced with two wispy layers of blue voile, previously reserved for the privacy of her quiet time.

She continues her “waiting to be noticed” pose until the dialectal tutor gets the hint and excuses herself, giving way to her Heiress – the cat chasing the canary, “You have a visitor, my honored student.”

Her appearance shocks him off his guard, “I hope you don’t mind me learning the Olde Language. It takes up some of my free time.”

She verbalizes her response, “The Olde Language is not forbidden, merely ancient and sacred. It is good that you are taking interest in my culture, these skills will benefit us in the future.” {Us and my, are possessive references}

“Wow, don’t you look like an angel?”

“What is an Angel,” she asks.

“In your case: a heavenly body in a heavenly place,” when in doubt, flatter.

“It occurs to me that you have never seen my individual suite Deke McKinney. There are some treasures from the Mother Planet I thought you might want to see.”

“I would like that,” he admits, unaware of any ulterior motive.

“I also have an important matter to discuss with you, as it applies to how we relate.” She could not allow herself to entirely deceive him, without letting the Cheshire cat out of the bag.

“You have piqued my interest.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Banksy Triptychs

Episode 267


page 237

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 262

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 262

…the McKinney custom of sharing a meal with the Eridanians continues, but…

Van Gogh: Three People Sharing a Meal

…One solitary creature stays behind, having eavesdropped on the serious, troubling conversation between family members. Ekcello did not enjoy spying on them, but it is the only way he can gauge their emotional temperature; not only the immediate, but the long run effect. The humans have permeated his perfect previously ordered world and it concerns him.

Would he, could he allow Eridanus slip back into that trap, the morass of emotion and busy-ness that they had worked so many years to suppress? Or is this Earthly infusion what his world needs to step away from the sideline of galactic influence, back into the main-stem of time and space?

And what is best (or fairest) outcome for these strangers in a strange land? Ekcello knows full well that this is not where they belong. —

Strangers

— For some reason, perhaps wanting nothing to do with sleep, after two-point-five years of it, or maybe the overall mellowing of his general personality, Gus lightens up considerably. Being in the presence of universal beauty may be part of it, along with his brother’s keen interest in one specific beauty; “Cool beans… Say Deke, when was the last time you’ve been on a real date? Was it that electrical engineer in the propulsion department; smarter than she was pretty, but prettier than she was interesting?”

He glares back at him. Gus has the Sampson McKinney gene for speaking out of class, as well as forgetting that the walls have ears, “She can hear you, fool!” He is quite protective of her feelings. “Cerella is explaining a specific function on the food module and you are talking smack!”

“Tell me they have pizza here?!” Gus can only hope.

“She has done her best to program some of my favorites.” Deke has the dope. “She is closing in on liver & onions (pause for effect),” the steaming round object, flat and smeared with a red sauce, dotted with something, and topped with something else that seems to have melted, has miraculously appeared in their wall-mounted food dispenser, “oh and pizza”.

Together, this cosmic trio, consisting of 2 prospective lovers and one Gus, sit around a table sampling the neo-American delicacy and its odd gratification. The one who is new to pizza is exhilarated by the experience; thus, are the unpretentious pleasures of the simple life.


THE RETURN TRIP

Artwork by @david_rollyn #liveyourquest

Episode 262


page 235