THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 243

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 243

CHAPTER TEN

Where Were We?

…the Stellar Explorer, piloted by the McKinney brothers, is losing control…

“SLAV, we are losing contact with the chrono-link. The ship is breaching the threshold, but it’s like we are watching it via remote hookup…,” Deke tries to explain what is happening.Stellar Explorer

“We have you on our screens, engage the emergency decelerator immediately…” encourages the SLAV.

But instead of slowing, it has more than doubled its maximum velocity. The SLAV crew struggles with what they are seeing and the data that defies description, considering known parameters.

“We were talking with them one minute… they were having problems… we cannot regain contact.”

At SOL Mission Control they are desperate for answers. “How can that be Fletcher Fitch? You never hinted that they could travel that fast!” Roy Crippen’s comprehension cannot possibly keep up with the pace Stellar Explorer was setting.

“No sir. We don’t know if the speed-of-light can be exceeded… and the crew blacked-out just after they lit the fuse.” After reviewing the data, the former Talibanistani-national posits, “But then after reaching SOL 1 and maintain it for a minute, it immediately jumped to SOL 2 and they are now approaching SOL 3. The heliopause {rim of the Solar System} will be breached in five minutes.”

There is only disbelief from Mission leadership.

“What do we do President Crippen?”

“Didn’t that thing have a velocity governor, Afridi — I mean Fitch, can they make the turn going that fast?”

“We are running the numbers now Mr. President. The unmanned test went nothing like this. We are only scratching the surface of exo-WARP conditions.”

“Tell me about it!” President Roy is at a loss for action. The fate of Space Colony 1 haunts him still. “Holy crap! This cannot be happening!”

There are no concrete answers let alone solutions, in this speculative world of SOL technology. How could this be… having tested three unmanned cruisers (the same one 3 times) at these exact speeds completing the mission without a hitch… and now this?


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 243


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 227

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 227

…“I knew my boys would become astronauts!”…

#Then you are familiar with the situation# Ekcello goes on to explain, #As you may have surmised, on your journey aboard the Explorer, the key to exceeding the speed of light particles lies not in the fusion or fission of atoms, as well as the molecular stabilization of the space traveler. Unfortunately that is the path your sons have been designated to pursue. To exacerbate that mistake, there is another private faction that is attempting to achieve this milestone first; whoever is first will face the consequences of the same flawed technology#

“Don’t tell me. Let me guess. Of course the Space Family McKinney is going light-the-candle first.”

#It appears your sons’ cruiser will be the first to fall victim to that tragic misjudgment#

“They are lab-rabbits, it’s in our blood Ekcello. MY father blew past Mach 5 when I was only 3 years old!”

#We have not pinpointed the exact date, but Deke and Gus McKinney have disappeared from Earth’s timeline#

“So you are into time-travel too?”

#The temporal fabric of time is the secret behind successful space travel; when entropy is suspended, the Universe is at your disposal# Ekcello speaks as an enlightened being, wanting desperately to share his awakening with the McKinneys.

“Are you telling us they have died?” Celeste digs deeper for the truth. “And if they are, have or otherwise dead, are you telling us that you can do something about it?”

#No and Yes#

Ekcello is being his pragmatic self. From his view of perpetuity, he is relating fondly to these people from the planet Earth, a distant place they had previously determined to be a lost cause.

#We are able to alter the fate of your offspring without significantly affecting the orderly flow of the present time-mainstream#

“Why are telling us about this now? Did you ever consider that what we don’t know can’t hurt us?”

#Unlike you Sampson McKinney, the woman Celeste may soon be capable of making a hyperphysical transmigration of this magnitude. If she did at this very moment, she would be devastated and I cannot allow that#


THE RETURN TRIP

TIME TRAVEL SUBWAY by Necrania-art on deviantart.com

Episode 227


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 214

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 214

CHAPTER NINE

  Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

… no matter what schedule Gus McKinney is on, hell-or-high water, he shows up for movie night at the White House…

“What movie is playing tonight?” Roy Crippen, leader of the free world  is always the last to know.

He is still an important individual. Even on a light duty day like this one, he has had a meeting with both the King and Prime Minister of the South Pacific island nation of Tonga, greets the National Spelling Bee champion, and deals with a World Bank proclamation;

  • Tonga has a fishing dispute with Fiji and Samoa
  • The new best speller cannot speak a lick of English.
  • And in the most disturbing development, he learns the details about China’s latest demand against the world banking system, demanding payment in full from debtor nations. (Can you spell repossess? Not.)

Come Hell Or High Water by lilcoletterpress

In a topsy-turvy entangled selfish world, re-elected Prez Roy deserves some down-time and if it is the third Tuesday of the second month of the first quarter of 2037, then he should have known that his youngest stepson is in charge of selecting the movie.

He may be turning 21, he may be assigned to another part of the world or he may be bringing a date; no matter what schedule Gus McKinney is on, hell-or-high water, he shows up for movie night at the White House.

“It’s going to be a space movie, what else do you need to know?” Francine Bouchette-Crippen, who is both First Lady of the United States and Social Secretary, cares less about the movie, yet always welcomes the opportunity to ask a number of $64K questions, with a young man in need of some sort of oversight.star_trek_online

And Gus is so brutally honest that he says the darn(dest) things, “Well, some rookie was supposed to fly an X-66 back to Langley (AFB), but I did it instead… and here I am… STAR TREK: ORION’S BELT, right, that’s the movie?”

“And how did you come to get here last month?” A good stepparent would detect a pattern of behavior.

“I told a Senator’s daughter that she could swim in the White House pool, if she gave me a ride in her daddy’s limo?”

“And when the Senator needed his car, it was nowhere to be found,” an inconvenient fact. “Don’t you remember what happened before the 2032 election? Your brother was accused of assaulting a Congressman’s daughter. You better be careful about bending the rules to suit your fancy.”

“But Francine, I only do it so I can spend time with the best 1st Chick this country has ever seen!”

She is generally steamrolled by Gus’ charm.

And how could his stepdad, the Top Gun of the nation, protest watching a movie Star Trek movie about a peaceful planet in the constellation of Orion that kidnaps baby James T. Kirk III, right after he is born. (At a theater near you in 2037)


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 214


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 165

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 165

… “I have been triangulating ever since we left Uranus behind.

I love it when you talk space-dirty to me“…

“If you knew your sun was burning out, wouldn’t you go searching for another sun and planet as a bailout?” Celeste submits possible reasons for the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s trips to Earth and eventually Mars.

“That would be excellent motivation, but I do not think it applies to our friends. These chaps were just plain curious and that is why I am leaning toward the orange Epsilons — Eridani and Indi. At seven and ten light-years, either of those would be more likely home bases. If you subtract the tracks we are laying down every second, who knows when we would get there.”

“You are talking possibly ten years Sam, and that’s if you are right. I happen to know that Rigel, the white-hot giant of the Orion Constellation is 500 light-f***ing-years away. If it took Columbus 500 years to reach the West Indies from Italy… well you know where that comparison is going.” Celeste’s perspective is that of a new mother, realizing that Deimostra may never set foot on solid ground in her entire space-bound lifetime.

“You’ve got me there Cel, but we must look for the positives in our predicament. Maybe I failed to mention that we may be going much faster than the mere speed-of-light factor of one. As my hero Captain James Tiberius Kirk would say, ‘Can you give me Warp 8, Scotty?’”

“I’ll do what I can Captain, but the strain on the di-lithium crystals may be more than they can take!”

“You remember that episode too.”

“Of course I do. When we were dating at the Academy, we couldn’t go anywhere until thatSpace Academy or any of the other bleeping on-demand episodes or movies were finished!”

“Why didn’t we pack the Star Trek z-ray file into our PDAs. The trip would go by quicker.”

“So do you think we are past Warp 1?”

“Exactly. I have been triangulating ever since we left Uranus behind.

I love it when you talk space-dirty to me. Triangulating Uranus must be code for interstellar whoopee,” she puts her sleeping infant down to make a flirtatious flyby of her husband.

“Isn’t it too early… for THAT?”

“Recovery times on the NEWFOUNDLANDER are amazing.”

It is not your average romantic advance, so in the middle of a serious discussion, they achieve Warp 2 to their makeshift living quarters.


THE RETURN TRIP

Warp Speed Mr. Scott by Euderion deviantart.com

Episode 165


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 136

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 136

…Someday maybe we’ll find other intelligent life out here, but for now we have exactly two living reasons for hauling butt out to Mars…

“We have lost that echo Cmdr. Stanley. That bogie did not change course with us,” assures the 2nd in command, hurtling toward Mars.

“There is no way it could keep up, but we still have to make the changes that Roy sent over. This stuff is genius as long as you want to turn the New Mayflower into a Romulan Warbird and this ECM {electronic counter measure} stuff is right out of Starfleet Command.”

“I didn’t know you were a Trekkie Rick?”

“We all are, whether we watched the show or movies or not. Fortunately or unfortunately there is no such thing as THE UNITED FEDERATION OF PLANETS to defend. The planet Earth seems to be on its own in the Universe.”

“So it would seem.”

Someday maybe we’ll find other intelligent life out here, but for now we have exactly two living reasons for hauling ass out to Mars!”

Having two days crammed into one, while spanning the Caribbean basin and Gulf of the Americas from all points of the compass, Roy takes off from Elgin AFB by his lonely old self. He has burned 3000 gallons of high octane turbojet fuel chasing righteousness, freedom, and dreams, not necessarily in that order.

When yesterday turns into tomorrow and he has done everything possible to secure his sphere of influence, it is time to go home. Just what defines home is up for interpretation. He has already left his Panhandle pad behind him and really has no interest in his Houston high-rise at this point, so no better excuse can there be for making a beeline for King Ranch.

This once solitary man, bothered not with factoring romantic emotion in any matter of his life, now must face the female element head on. Not only has he just spent significant time with Francine, he has entrusted the children {of indisposed friends} with her and on top of that, offered that same woman a job.

Below is classic 1-2-3/a-b-c formula for his private life in reverse {with a twist}:

3. Elucidate his concept of Francine employment

        c) To her and NASA.

2. Clarify the status of the McKinney boys care

        b) As neither he or Braden can do it right now.

1. Describe his feelings for her

        a) When he doesn’t fully understand it.

0. Pray that she feels the same about him

        Ÿ) Now that he has left himself open for a huge fall.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 136


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The NULL Solution = Episode 152

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The NULL Solution = Episode 152

…Hold on there slim, we have a lot of catching up to do…

Star Trek transporter?” Sampson McKinney is an expert when it comes to obscure cultural references. That is a barrier for quality communication.

“Let me explain: I am here to discuss the Ÿ€Ð leviathan, ⃝    , Harmonia…”

Hold on there slim! We have a lot of catching up to do. I will zap over the coordinates to my Eupepsia location right now.” Sampson’s numbers contain an erroneous decimal shift. “See you in a few.”

He waits patiently for the Seljuk leader. He waits still. “I guess there are some wrinkles.”

Chasonn is still getting re-used to having his molecules scrambled. The results can be confusing.

Deimostra is startled when a complete strange off-worlder rudely reassembles in her living quarters, which are a decimal point above Sam’s Expository position.

Chasonn’s initial assemblage on Eridanus is not what he was expecting. This clearly is not Sampson McKinney. This is a female possessing similar facial features, but she is definitely a she.

He freezes in place.

Instead of panic, he encounters calm. Not much surprises her these days.

“Hello, you don’t have to be afraid.” If he had appeared two minutes sooner, he would have gotten an eyeful. “My name is Deimostra.”

The accidental visitor takes one step forward with his hands raised. “I am Chasonn of Seljuk. I was expecting to see Sammy Mac.”

“That would be my Dad.”

He does not know what to say other than, “You resemble him.”

“So Chasonn uses a Star Trek transporter to get around.”

Cultural nuances can be a barrier to accurate communication. She gets that from her father.

“I utilize particle-beam technology. I am in the early stages of testing.”

“Or Sammy Mac fed you bad info… bad in, bad out. Daddy missed by one floor. I will take you down to him.”

“Please excuse my intrusion.”

“No problem sir,” her response is formal, but her hormonal radar, which has been up and running for Skaldic, reboots with the appearance of yet another attractive alien. Let it be known, not every alien male catches her eye. This must be her lucky cycle. They locate Sammy Mac’s proper position…

… So my lovely daughter has met my Selljunk friend!”

“He is not a traveling junk salesman… at least I don’t think so?”

“No you silly girl, Selljunk is one star cluster over sweetie; that’s where Mom, Deke and me went, using that kick-ass TSF in the Defender. Chasonn here is a primo inventor too. He sent some cool weapons and molecular stuff over to Earth.” Sam is ready to show Chasonn around. “Let me take you over to my son Deke. He and Cerella made a child since we were over in your galaxy. Oh, and then there is my pal Skaldy, he’s a hoot!”

“And I am chopped liver.” A young girl’s fancy is fragile.

Chasonn does not bolt directly. He bows with the formality afforded royalty, “My hope is that we will meet again under better circumstances.” He is speaking the universal language of respect.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 152


page 150

The NULL Solution = Episode 151

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The NULL Solution = Episode 151

…To Chasonn’s dismay, there has been no sign of the notorious Lorgan; perhaps on the return trip…

From Skaldic on Eridanus, to Seljuk, and Chasonn; frankly, you can run a piece of paper between them.


They are both curious sorts and that trait is leading them down similar paths. While Skaldic will not let the Martian gateway quandary rest, Chasonn is losing sleep. He has that left-out feeling, having contributed technology to NASA and spied on Collapsar Axis and receiving virtually no love for either.

So why not hop in your finest space cruiser and pay a visit to those wild & crazy Eridanians. Not! Skaldic maybe and Sammy Mac for sure! Collapsar has come and gone and there is nothing much going on in Seljukland, perhaps the most boring system in its galaxy. At least he would have some new tales to spice up his provincial life.

And what a great way to test out his particle transporter in the Milky Way, as well as promote galactic unity and maybe catch a glimpse of ⃝    along the way. The poor guy is running out of things to invent.

Soon, he is within hailing range of Eridanus, which he does. Some do not require the courtesy, but Sampson McKinney appreciates the heads-up. He is thrilled to rekindle the brief connection, one that never really got a chance to develop. At the time, Chasonn had his hands full and was all about Seljuk business. This trip is like a vacation in comparison.

To Chasonn’s dismay, there has been no sign of the notorious Lorgan; perhaps on the return trip.

“Chasonn you devil, what you’ve been up to?” Sampson has been a little bored his own self of late. The approach of a foreign ship is big doings.

“Greetings Sampson McKinney, I request permission to enter Eridanus orbit.”

“Orbit? Why not land your cruiser? Our Spaceflight Expository would welcome some new blood.”

He glosses over Sam’s slang to get to the heart of the matter, “I would like coordinates to your location for purposes of utilizing my particle-beam transporter.”

“Are you crapping me, a Star Trek transporter?”

Sampson is an expert when it comes to obscure cultural references. That is a barrier for quality communication.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 151


page 149

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 82

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The NULL Solution = Episode 82

…Jean-Luc uses the time away from Switzerland for a sabbatical of sorts, if one considers conversation about speed-of-light or missing cattle a retreat…

The whole Martian affair should not merit any guesswork, fruitless from such a distance, certainly for King Ranch residents Roy, Francine, Gus, Mindy and recent migrants, Princess Cerella and attending physician Jean-Luc Picard.

Babies Marscie & Joyner make for a full house on the Texas prairie. Joyner can talk before he can walk and Marscie usually cannot wait for naptime. She will stretch it out as long as she can for a little peace and quiet. It is not his English, rather the copious doses of olde language melodies. He doesn’t shut up.

Jean-Luc uses the time for a sabbatical of sorts, if one considers conversation about speed-of-light or missing cattle a retreat. He has managed to occasionally slip away to Texas Children’s Hospital to check out stateside medicine, the main purpose of which is to feed his fascination with nurses of the female persuasion. American women are so American and until he figures out that certain someone on the pediatric ICU floor, he will keep coming back.–

“Do you know anything of the Star Trek entertainment franchise?” Back in the day, it was right in Roy’s wheelhouse. It acts as an icebreaker excuse to converse with Picard.

“A film may have crossed a device of mine in the past. It is quite amusing. Why do you ask?”

“Tell me your parents didn’t name you after a certain starship captain. It has bugged me ever since I agreed to take your call.”

“Mon pére et mére are bookworms not video aficionados. I am sorry to disappoint you monsieur.”

Gus McKinney did not have the guts to ask before now, “No? That’s a good thing Jean-Luc. It just took us a while to get used to calling you by name. It just didn’t feel right.”

“My friends call me Locutus.”

It is hard to catch an astronaut off balance.


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Episode 82


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The NULL Solution = Episode 74

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The NULL Solution = Episode 74

… Jean-Luc Picard? You have to be bleeping me! How does a crackpot with a fake name get through to me?…

–Dripping with sweat and exhausted to the bone, Jean-Luc walks out of Surgical Suite #3. He is still not sure what is going on with this alien’s backstory, but one thing is sure, the baby is human – mostly. The mother is definitely not, but does manage to pen the letters M_C_K_I_N_N_E_Y   D_E_K… on the paper provided her, and then passes out.

“McKinney… McKinney… why does that name ring a bell?” While his patient{s} are in Recovery, he dashes back up to search that name of Irish origin. “The damn Space Family McKinney, that’s who I was thinking about!” He does a Wikipedia for detail to augment what he already knows. “Gus M., an astronaut living in Texas – his parents disappeared from Mars in 2030, his brother in 2051. They were adopted by none other than a president of the US – Roy Crippen now of NASA fame.”

It may be a longshot, but Dr. Picard manages to track down a secure line to King Ranch, Waller County Texas.

The last time Roy Crippen took a call such as this, it was some {alleged} lunatic scientist from Talibanistan {aka Fletcher Fitch}, claiming that he knew about a plot to blow up Space Colony 1. He better take this one seriously, just to be safe. “Doctor Jean-Luc Picard? You have to be bleeping me! How does a crackpot with a fake name get through to me?

After explaining the subject matter of the strange call, Roy decides to vet the good doctor, with the vast technical resources at his beckon. “And the woman that you describe as an alien wrote the word McKinney?”

“… With the letters d, e & k at the end.”

“Could that be Deke? No that is impossible. Deke McKinney has been missing for 15 years or more! You’re way over in Switzerland you say? Aw hell, give me your address and we’ll over in… what time is it here? 4A makes it noon by you. We will be there before 4P your time.”

“Speaking of impossible…”

“We, that would be Gus McKinney and I, have the fastest plane on the planet Jean-Luc – like warp 4.”

Picard indeed…’ Roy shakes his head and gives Gus a wake-up call he won’t soon forget.–


The NULL Solution =

Episode 74


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