The NULL Solution = Episode 100

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The NULL Solution = Episode 100

…Chasonn has tracked Collapsar Axis as it hopscotches its way from one sentient culture to the next…

Image result for hopscotch gif

Some societies have better things to do than solving inane riddles, even if it does concern a neighboring planet. The Seljuk, specifically Chasonn has a more urgent challenge to resolve. While Earth wrack their brains over word games and Eridanus digs into its long gone past, Chasonn has been watchful, ever vigilantly monitoring the progress of what he has come to know as Collapsar Axis; the sum total of once was the Ÿ€Ð home world.

The wily leader of all things Triangulum, has long since stopped wondering by what means this hulking mass {10 M cubic cubits} is propelled. Chasonn estimates that it may be the single largest object in the known Great Expanse, which is not a planet. Unlike a planet, this Ÿ€Ðian creation is not held back by any particular gravitation.

Lumbering best describes its movement. Questionable are its intentions.

Of all the technological challenges he has faced in the past, none is more daunting than the plan he is hatching.

There is a rooting self-interest in the inexorable Ÿ€Ð progress. He has tracked Collapsar Axis as it hopscotches its way from one sentient culture to the next. Whether it is a primal culture or one dipping its toe in the mighty ocean of dark matter, the colossal colony is scrutinizing each one of them, without fail.

Lumbering is more than slightly misleading. It may take the faith of a powerful God to move a mighty mountain one foot, but only days to bring Collapsar Axis from one star system to the next. Like a predator on the hunt, so does it prowl.

There is one distinct difference in the Ÿ€Ðian approach to space travel this time around. Gone is the divide & conquer mentality of Chasonn’s father’s day, when the Ÿ€Ðian marauders stripped away leaders, to weaken a potential foe… or what they perceived as a future threat to their territory.

Not so, in this time and space. They are looking but not touching.

{It must be quite an unsettling sight: imagine a stone-age people, hunting for their next meal, seeing Collapsar hovering above. Would that not cause them some considerable pause?}

…It is on to the next… and on and on and on they go.–


The NULL Solution =

Episode 100


page 101

The NULL Solution = Episode 99

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The NULL Solution = Episode 99

…“Roger Roy.”

“Not Roy Rogers.”…

Fresh as a daisy in May and as restless as puppy on a string, Gus rushes past the full moon like it is standing still. He will never tire of that moment when he passes the SOL threshold and gravity kicks back in. {They have not solved sub-light gravity {in space} yet, but it is only halfway through the 21st Century}

“No traffic lights, no traffic and no need to stop for fuel; what more can a dark-matter-master ask for?”

“What’d you say?” asks the ground crew of two.

“Nothing guys, nothing, I am a half-million miles out and I swear I can almost see that tower. It appears to be a quiet weather day on this side of Mars, 45 degrees and sunny.”

“Let us know when you drop out of SOL.”

“Done. I do not want to startle the neighbors. I am strapped in and waiting for the riddle to pop onto my screen. It was right about here… and there she is!”

I am the how & why that blocks your way

2 + 1 = 6

6 – 2 = 9

0 – 1 = 0

Solve the what where & who and you can pass through

 “I am typing harmonia as my response. Send… nothing… sending again.”

“Try capitalizing the H.”

“Roger Roy.”

“Not Roy Rogers!”

This time his screen lights up like a Christmas tree. A mass of flashing colors and Related imagegeometric shapes in a blinding sequence comes and it goes. The words WRONG TRY AGAIN conclude the transmission.

“Did you guys catch that? Harmonia with a capital H did something.”

“Eureka, concrete proof of grammar in outer space, just why we sent you out there!”

“Hey, don’t shoot me, I’m just the piano player,” Gus insists. “I think I can land in the opposite hemisphere?”

“Lota good that will do us; Too long of a walk and that is 87 keys too many McKinney, come on home.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 99


page 100

The NULL Solution = Episode 98

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The NULL Solution = Episode 98

…“Harmonia sounds like it could be a utopia, as in Valhalla or Camelot. Are you suggesting that literature is the key?” The Classics was not Roy Crippen’s favorite class in school…

HORIZONS MURAL by Robert McCall

Gus McKinney cannot keep quiet.

He, his two closest friends and a supercomputer named Watson III have been pouring over the Martian riddle, the mathematical conundrum wrapped in a quiz, for months and months on end.

“I am sick and tired of racking my brain over this thing. Theodor Geisel must be behind this!”

“The Chinese think we are the culprits and you are guessing Dr. Seuss’ ghost? How about you Fitch, what’s your theory?” Roy posits.

“I believe it is simpler than just bad math, but that’s as far I’ve gotten. The overriding issue is who is behind it and why. Does the word/term “harmonia” ring a bell to either of you?”

“Why do you ask Fitch?”

“I have programmed Watson III to solve the riddle every single day at Midnight.”

“It hasn’t solved it though, so what’s your point?”

“Well, seven times in 7 different languages, the term “harmonia” has been Watson’s final conclusion.”

“There is ammonia present in Mars’ refreshed atmosphere; we’ve known that for years.”

“Not a-m-m-o–n-i-a, Gus. Yes, you can’t have life without it, but Watson’s English spelling is h-a-r-m-o-n-i-a. I needed a universal translator for most of his other answers.”

“Harmonia sounds like it could be a utopia, as in Valhalla or Camelot. Are you suggesting that literature is the key?” The Classics was not Roy’s favorite in school. He got a weak C in the class.

“Utopia is more of a concept than a place, Dad. Maybe that is the key that lets us down to the surface. How about I give it a whirl?”

“A whirl to you means another ride in SEx. You know that certain people are attempting to monitor when and where you go off to in that thing? You cannot treat it like it’s the family car.”

“We just went over it with a fine tooth comb last week, right Fitch?”

“The SOL drive is as amazing as ever Gus!”

Roy is aware that they absolutely lucked out with the speed-of-light upgrade, thanks to Celeste M. and her covert friends. “A night flight couldn’t do any harm I suppose. It has been a while since we knocked on Mars’ door. Make sure you get some sleep before then.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 98


page 99

The NULL Solution = Episode 97

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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.”

“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

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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 you 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 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 94

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The NULL Solution = Episode 94

…There was supposed to be a small colony on Mars, not a freaking skyscraper…

‘I want to see what Tycho looks like after all these years,” Sam suggests. 

As soon as they can sync the viewer with the geographical location of the Plain of Xanthe, it is clear that the neighborhood has changed. Not only are there clouds and oceans and vegetation, there is a towering structure dwarfing the tiny lander that once called Space Colony 1 its home base.

Sampson McKinney, formerly of Earth, Mars and now Eridanus, is as confused as his the Null next to him, “I thought you told me this planet was barren.”

“It was when I left,” he claims. He has to wonder why Celeste did not leave a clue about her hyperphysical trip back. Surely Crip would have mentioned a little thing like a colony on Mars. A friendly heads-up would have been nice.

Sure as Mars soil is red, a mile-high colossus rises up on the spot where humans once tread.

“Something like that would take centuries for Earth to build. There was supposed to be a small colony on Mars, not a freaking skyscraper. I wonder if the Chinese are responsible, they have always had money to burn?” He contemplates possible explanations.

Just as they get close enough to magnify their view, something strange, yet familiar pops into the scene.

“0” Skaldic has seen it before and so has Sampson, if only for seconds at a time.

Reliably so, it gives off a reflection.

“Harmonia,” reads Sampson.

#Harmonia# reads Skaldic in the Olde Language.

Twice read, once gone.

“Why doesn’t that surprise me? I saw that thing over Selljunk way.”

“I saw it out by our olde home world,” to each his own.

The recent visitors to the vicinity have stopped watching where they were going. The planned descent to the surface is met with a blinding rebuke.

The next thing you know, they are found back in Eridanus orbit; SNAP!

“Holy crap!” After recovering from unconsciousness, Sampson has his say.

Skaldic points to the same viewscreen that recently held pixels of the New Mars. It reads instead:

The Null runs the riddle past a comprehensive Eridanian database. It does not compute.

The Earthling utilizes an Earthly version, with the same results.

Nothing about the last few moments seems to add up.

Fuzzy math or bad Dr. Seuss,” Sam summarizes, “We are a full 180° off course, emptyhanded and confused.”

“That is not all Sampson McKinney.”

“Please Skaldy, I can’t take anymore.”

“The TSF drive is unavailable.”

“Swell. You can add going nowhere fast to the list.”

All in a ½ day’s work.


The NULL Solution =

Painting by MICHELE Z FARRIER

Episode 94


page 95