THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 95

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 95

…The other player with just as many chips on the table is Ekcello and he is experiencing disappointment déjà vu

Michael Godard (poker/gambling artwork)

— Deke McKinney is a concerned onlooker, having significant skin in the game and he has had a front row seat for the entire forth and back. He is afraid to ask a question that he already knows the answer to, but does so, “Do you have my family Dad?”

“No Deker. We, I should say me, decided to stop by Mars on the way. Just like a stray steer back on the ranch, we ran into an electric fence. The planet is regenerating or reinventing or something and I just planned to take a peek… and BOOM-SNAP here we are.”

“Shouldn’t we give it another try? You aren’t paid by the hour.”

“TSF has been knocked offline. I guess going in reverse jammed the throttle.”

The other player with just as many chips on the table is Ekcello and he is experiencing disappointment déjà vu ; Cerella’s “kidnapping” and now a botched reunion. Only his flat-line demeanor keeps him from overreacting, “How long will it take to reinstate the Time-Space-Fold technology?”

“I’m not sure exactly. It may depend on whether the designers are still around to make the repairs.”

“We abandoned physical space travel long ago. The elders in charge of physically collapsing the fabric of space exist only in our memories.”

“Didn’t they leave any schematics behind, like diagrams, mechanics, formulas or theorems?”

“I will need to attempt something that has never have been done…”

“… Like getting your hands dirty?”

“I speak of contacting the spirit of the builders. We on Eridanus believe that a Gifted spirit lives on. I will convene the keepers of the Olde Language and customs.”

“And maybe between the 4 of us, we can figure it out.” Impossible is not a word in the McKinney dictionary.

Make that 5. “Don’t you dare forget about me?” Celeste may be a Bergestrom by birth, but that McKinney doggedness has rubbed off, along with heaping helping of spatial dynamics. After all, it was her expertise that helped get them to Eridanus, lo those many years ago.

Question:

What has five heads & no clue?

Answer:

One smart ass, one chip off the old block, one Null, one transmigrating matriarch & one worried daddy

 

 It all falls into the category of Fuzzy mathematics.

THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 95

page 96 (end ch. 8)

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 79

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 79

…Because you may not come back, for any number of reasons, the least of which is all the comforts of home and the housekeeper’s cooking.

See – that’s what you get for failing the transmigration class. I am going hyperphysical, baby…

Just as Deke was starting his soliloquy, Celeste pops in to check on her guys. She is acutely aware of Sampson’s opinions on his missing daughter-in-law, which means making sure he does not do anything rash.

“I gather the non-natives are getting restless.”

“Dad wants to go back to Earth and I was talking him off the Defender ledge.”

“Ekcello and I have been discussing some options…”

“… Ekcello and I – like he cares,” the skeptic in Sam shows itself yet again.

“It’s his offspring who is lost, not ours, so you bet he cares. As I was saying, we talked it over and we think it is time I return to Earth.”

“See – see what I was telling you Gus! I can almost taste a King Ranch Hereford ribeye now.”

“But not in the Defender Sam. We think a well-being check is in order.”

“On Gus and Roy and Francine, yes! And why can’t I go?”

“Because you may not come back, for any number of reasons, the least of which is all the comforts of home and the housekeeper’s cooking.” Like a teacher with a borderline student she adds, “See – that’s what you get for failing the transmigration class. I am going hyperphysical, baby!

“Which means you can look, but you can’t touch, right?”

“Yes, I can leave clues that I’ve been there, but that’s all.”

And so the saga of a lost Eridanian Princess and her Milky Way wandering mother-in-law opens a new phase.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 79


page 80

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 76

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 76

… the Space Family McKinney is exceeding its status as kings of deep space lore…

While hearing of Cerella’s recent travails first hand, where she actually left out the details of the dark space she occupied for months, Gus can hardly contain himself. One part joy – two parts anger, he wonders why a clearer message was not sent, rather than the fleeting apparitions in dribs & drabs, albeit cryptic clues about his family.

“We could not risk the current timestem on sentimentality,” she explains.

“And yet you plopped the technology for the molecular stabilizer and Warp 3 in our laps?”

“And disruptor weapon and force field?” adds Roy.

“If Celeste McKinney and I do not stabilize the molecules within your spacecraft, you both would have been lost.”

“Celeste and Sampson, they’re alive too!”

“… and your sister Deimostra.”

A sense of irony has grabbed the headlines.

“We named our baby daughter Marscie Deimos for crying out loud! Did you hear that Roy, I have a sister?”

For as long as Dr. Picard will allow, Cerella narrates the full McKinney saga as best as she can. Mars to NEWFOUNDLANDER, NEWFOUNDLANDER to Eridanus and now Explorer to the ends of the Milky Way and beyond, the Space Family McKinney is exceeding its status as kings of deep space lore.

A “somehow” family reunion is in order, but first Cerella must recover and the NASA boys need to regroup. If only they could call over to Eridanus and make the arrangements. Lost on all the Earthly excitement is that Deke and Co. are no doubt worried silly. Before she conceived, Cerella would have been able to use hyperphysical transmigration to facilitate or at the very least reestablish a telepathic connection with home, but Picard’s surgery did not preserve those extraordinary Eridanian functions. Although he firmly believes that a brain will find a way to mend broken links.

Too bad, either option would come in handy right now.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 76


page 78

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 169

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 169

…“Just how long will we be staying on Mars?”

“Until the experiments are done or we run out of excuses… and then we will discuss.”…

“We’ve been eavesdropping Rick… where the hell is Sammy Mac?” If the situation weren’t so bothersome, it would make for a great episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. “Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions?”

“Their boys aren’t listening in are they?”

“No, thank God and we are going to control who knows what, when and you are taking care of the where.”

“Then I don’t think we can say anything for sure Roy – Braden. This is all way too strange and it is going to take some time to do a CSI Mars or wait for them to come back from wherever they are hiding. Tycho looks lived in but not lived-in enough, if you know what I mean?”

“I may be overstepping my bounds, but I am going to have you stay out there and conduct every single experiment or at the very least, pick up where they left off.”

“FYI……I see some early spectro-photographic soundings that show some huge lithium deposits, not to mention liquid water and crude bacteria deep in the subsoil.”

“See if you can unravel the missing person’s mystery first and worry about all the other goodies later.”

“Just how long will we be staying?”

“Until the experiments are done or we run out of excuses… and then we will discuss.”

“What do we do with Tycho when we leave, shut it down, blow it up, hang a For Rent sign on it?”

“None of the above; Just close the door and leave the lights on!”

“Now who would leave a perfectly good machine like Tycho behind on a distant planet?”

“Too bad we don’t have an automatic recall feature or a good hangar to store it.” Roy laments an unnecessarily un-lamentable set of circumstances. “I guess we will have to be the first.”

{Maybe not Roy!}


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 169


page 160

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 168

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 168

…It’s like they hitched a ride from off the planet and we passed ‘em up on the way here, like sub-light-ships in the night.”…

Ships in the stillness of the night, 1888 – Ivan Aivazovsky

— New Mayflower cameras tell most of the story from the outside, however Rick Stanley and his #2 {nameless brand X astronaut} have been inside the seemingly abandoned for some time with a 3rd keeping their ship anchored in the sea of red sand.

Moonlight Stroll by Jay Nottingham

There is a valid reason for the lack of interaction, fueling concerns about what they do not find inside Tycho; neither McKinney. The Mars lander has that “lived-in” feeling, but the residents are not where they were expected to be.

“Doesn’t it look like they come in and out of Tycho a lot…I mean every day?” asks #2. “And there is stuff missing that shouldn’t be…the hard copy of the star-chart is gone, not to mention their EVA gear. Maybe they’re on a moonlit stroll.”

“Yeah and where is the lander interactive tablet? It is portable but you wouldn’t take it out into the dusty beyond.”

The most amazing discovery of all, are the digital numbers on the environmental and power-level readouts.

“Oxygen is at 98.2%. H2 0 is 100% of capacity. And the volts and amps have not dropped below 99% in 2 freaking months?”

No bodies, no consumption, no mischief, nothing is adding up for Rick, who has been through some mysteries of space

Moon Station

{Just like the initial recon/shuttle missions to set up the Moon Station outpost. Mysteriously, they discovered that items, left behind by the Apollo missions, were missing, when no one other than NASA had been there since the 1970’s;  WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?!}

Don’t you just love fiction?

“100% water, what’s up with that? That level should be at 45 by now. It is like they hitched a ride from off the planet and we passed ‘em up on the way here, like sub-light-ships in the night.”

“Or they ended up with a tour guide who doesn’t know shit about Mars.” —


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 168


page 159

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 167

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 167

… I am issuing a gag order, no network feed until further notice. I don’t want Deke and Gus finding out their parents are missing…

“Mission Control, we have a problem,” Rick Stanley reports. “We are seeing some surface disturbance in Space Colony 1 lander’s landing field and it looks fresh, real fresh. Can you see what we see?”

Braden King and Roy Crippen are only separated by their cuffed shirt-sleeves, side-by-side to rely on the other for support.

Braden wonders why neither McKinney is signaling their brave rescuers in any way…. or answering the hails… .or firing a single blast from the quieted Tycho.

Roy is in possibilities mode… they are conserving fuel… they are low on oxygen…that impact crater, maybe a meteorite knocked out their communication gear.

Anxiety levels on Earth can be measured at the Moon Station and the beating of hearts drown out any other sound. Even the successful landing of the New Mayflower fails to break the spell.

“Two of us are going EVA. We can see lights on inside the lander and one of them is the green airlock beacon!”

“Doesn’t that mean they’re out of the lander?” Braden knows enough about procedure to be dangerous.

“You’ll need to close the airlock manually to balance the air and pressure before you enter,” Roy cautions and informs those who have not been around a lander simulator for a while.

It seems like only yesterday that New Mayflower had Mars within
hailing distance. Was it too much to ask for Sampson & Celeste jump on the horn and say “hey!”? Shouldn’t monumental effort be rewarded when expectations are being met?

Those damned Koreans officially leapfrog Osama Bin Laden as “Satan of the Century”? It is a very long line of evil and growing.

“It’s a good thing we did not run a live feed to the networks, in fact I am issuing a gag order until further notice. I don’t want Deke and Gus seeing this stuff.”

One doesn’t read a book from back to front, right?–


Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth’s appreciable atmosphere. {Wikipedia}


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 167


page 158

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 166

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 166

…“Mission Control, there is a problem…

“This is Rescue Mission 2A-1B, the New Mayflower approaching Mars orbit, range 225,200 miles and closing.”

To say that this April day has been anxiously anticipated is a colossal underestimation. Few like comparisons can be made, with the almost three month build up to this historic moment.

“We have been attempting to make contact, but Tycho is giving us an away message. Image result for emotional rollercoaster gifThe signal is strong and there is no sign of distress. She’s a good sight for sure!”

Roy Crippen, Braden King, and the entire GLF staff are poised to witness a watershed moment in the agonizing saga of Space Colony 1. The minimum expectations of the rescue mission involve flattening the emotional roller coaster that has been this colossal project, one that has dominated the past two years in everyone’s’ life.

High-highs followed by the lowest of lows are not a healthy prescription for the faint of heart. Braden can attest to how mounting mental pressures can manifest itself into the physical.

And hope is the most powerful drug at our disposal and you do not need a medical doctor to prescribe it. Suppressing it today would require a cold wet towel or a badass, who-cares attitude. To have gotten the mission organized and off the ground, overcoming relentless interference from determined enemies, and reach this point is a testament to the audacity of hope.

“Take it down to 200 miles and make two orbits at 0º degrees latitude. When you have a good fix on Tycho, use the Plain of Xanthe as a landing strip, just like we did out at White Sands {Missile Range N.M. simulator).”

“We still have not established voice or visual Roy.”

“Let’s not borrow trouble now Rick. Take her down on the smoothest 200 yards you can find.”

This newest incarnation of the Mayflower circles Mars at its equator twice, the first orbit locates Tycho; the second has trouble locating anything that resembles smooth. An area to the left of the lander has the appearance of a recent Xanthe neighborhood to-do.

“Mission Control, there is a problem…..”


THE RETURN TRIP

Emotional Rollercoaster – fightingwithstrength.com

Episode 166


page 157

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 153

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 153

…What is taking four months to accomplish {the New Mayflower rescue mission}, a SOL equipped spaceship would take 10 minutes, akin to a trip to  a corner store in New Orleans

French Quarter Corner Store by John Boles

— After he had escaped from a treacherous country, had his family risk their lives fleeing to Turkey, managed to  contact the Space Colony Director with scandalous information, only to be shot by an assassin’s bullets while being flown into the United States, poor Aldona Afridi is not an yard closer to applying his trade.

SOL-logo

But now the renegade turned research scientist has been assigned to the SOL Project: the independent foundation, with significant ties to NASA that is dedicated to achieving space travel at the speed-of-light threshold and not a mph less. With the recent stranding of personnel, some 3+ months distant and without a lifeline, efforts have been redoubled in the quest of 670 million miles per hour.

Do the math. What is taking four months to accomplish {the New Mayflower rescue mission}, a SOL equipped spaceship would take 10 minutes. What is presently classified as a time-sensitive mission would be akin to a trip to a corner store in New Orleans.

Another comparison may apply to the situation on Mars. Unknown to anyone on Earth, the NEWFOUNDLANDER would have taken over four years to reach this solar system, assuming that they came from the nearest star.

Such are the daunting numbers that face a small grouping of scientists that does now include Aldona Afridi; and he feels well-favored to have the opportunity. He is making a good wage, not a fortune but sure beats the United Korean blood money by light-years.

His family is safe, though the Afridi family name has been changed. Meet the Fitch’s:

  • Father: Fletcher Fitch
  • Wife: Madonna Fitch
  • Daughters: The Fitch girls

How easy are things when you are under the protection of a benevolent Federal Government such as this? You get an undercover makeover, govt. housing and a new outlook on life, just like that.

Fletcher and Madonna Fitch have that new look, new wardrobes and names that they had no choice in getting.

And still, life is good… so far.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 153


page 145

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 146

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 146

…What Francine cannot say {the devil’s-in-the-details} is that an out-of-control computer has an itchy trigger finger or that the destroyed Sang-Ashi space probe had itself likely destroyed Space Colony 1 …

— True to his word, Roy Crippen arranges for a hotline conversation with President Sanchez, irrespective of the leader’s chosen availability. It is midterm Congressional election season and Sanchez and the Democrats may be busy clinging to their support base, fundraising, campaigning, and solidifying their slim majority.

“If I were president, I would be spending less time on politics and more on sound policy,” he mutters to himself. He doesn’t much care for Pete Sanchez as a person, let alone his policies. It is at times like these that Roy feels he could make a real difference in the White House; a thinker and a doer he would be, not a manipulating party person who is mentally missing when things really matter.

A mere 7 meaningful minutes is going to pass as the secure cellular call bounces off three different satellites on the way to Keokuk Iowa via Washington D.C. That tiny towns in agricultural Iowa or the town halls of New Hampshire carry any weight in political circles, speaks volumes about the very drivel that is keeping Roy from jumping into the national arena with both feet. Today, the country’s business is being conducted from an ethanol plant in the middle of 100,000 acres of corn.

Roy thinks compassionate thoughts about Francine, who is currently in the midst of her maiden news conference. International incidents rarely have their roots sprouting from the hopeful unknown of the space program and the New Mayflower Incident, as it is being called, is being blown way out of proportion.

Peering out to the newly constructed conference room, with ten rows of ten chairs, he sees Francine control the room with cool familiarity. Perhaps they were going easy on her, hands are raised, questions concisely put, shouting at tolerable levels, and hardly a discouraging word expressed.

This is itchy

What she cannot say {the devil’s-in-the-details} is that an out-of-control computer has an itchy trigger finger or that the destroyed Sang-Ashi space probe had itself likely destroyed Space Colony 1, to set these events into action.

This is the stuff that comprises a competent Press Secretary. Give them enough information to fill column inches or that 30 second video clip for the evening news.

“I believe that I have answered all your questions for now and I look forward to dealing with you folks in the near future. Thank you and good day.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 146


page 138

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 126

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 126

…The Coast Guard Cutter Monsoon is still 10 nautical miles away, so please be careful.

U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Monsoon – RaVell Fine Art Studio

— A needle in a haystack. That is an apt odds-against appraisal of Roy Crippen’s odds in locating either the helicopter or the boat carrying the McKinney boys. But Roy knows the Gulf like some people do their backyard pool, having seen it all in his fishing boat or 300 miles above aboard the International Space Station and now taking his sweet whirlybird up to its 4,000 foot ceiling for his best view. There are few boats less than 200 feet out in the northerly chop and most of the oil derricks have their crew choppers parked, waiting for the first shift to end, with the second shift still on the mainland.

“There has been a possible sighting, 120 miles due south of Biloxi Mississippi, by the Deep Water Neptune, a BP rig. They are being boarded by what they believe are pirates,” Braden King’s temporary replacement is on the ball.

Pirates of the Caribbean, great, is the Black Pearl flying the Jolly Roger with Captain Jack Sparrow denuding them of their oil?” Every seafaring lad had seen those old Johnny Depp movies. “Did you say the Neptune; I think I know the day foreman there. Tell anyone who cares that I’m a 25 miles southeast and closing in.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Monsoon is still 10 nautical miles away, so please be careful.

Careful is the operative word, seeing that all he has for guns is an old Colt 45, given to him by his grandfather

 A sizeable ship has docked alongside the Deep Water Neptune, without permission or explanation. If the crew suspects pirates, look for some armed resistance on their part. And had it been the ship alone, the rough and tumble brutes could hold their own. All three legs of the platform are secured.

The addition of an incoming helicopter tips the balance of power. Is it Rompin’ Roy and his six-shooter to the rescue?

Sadly no, it is not the square shooter from South Texas. This twin-rotary ransacker is armed with a potent arsenal from which to subdue the rig. After strafing the deck, clearing it of resisters, the camouflaged war bird sets down with a resounding clumsy thud, plainly bottoming out, perhaps because the folks inside were in a panic.


THE RETURN TRIP

The Black Pearl from ANDONOV ART Fine Art / Photography

Episode 126


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