The NULL Solution = Episode 26

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The NULL Solution = Episode 26

…In the earnestness of the moment, Skaldic inadvertently runs his hand across one of the instrument panels…

Instrument Panels

“That’s it!”

The timestem on the replay screen then advances in increment of cycles, while Skaldic considers the possibilities. In a short while, he glances back at the monitor, where he witnesses the cinematic version of Defender’s previous escape from this very Expository.

He turns to his 2nd, his most trusted compatriot, Offingga, who for better or worse happens to be a female of the Null variety. “Did you see that, Offingga?”

“It appears that one of these ships has gone off-world.” None Null has ever gotten a close look at this spaceship museum of sort.

Skaldic has studied all he could about it. He has also paid attention to the rumor that some aliens had stowed away on that fifth starship on the right. The legend of the Explorer {NEWFOUNDLANDER} bounces off the lofty towers of Eridanus. It has always fascinated him, yet the facts are illusive.

“It may take one-quarter of a cycle, but I think we should do a census of the Gifted. Perhaps one or more of them may be on the ship they call Defender.”

“They will not be going anywhere,” Offingga fails to connect the dots.

“If there is a Gifted who was spared the light, we must know. If it is the strangers of which I have heard, we should know that as well. It would take me one hundred cycles to learn how to make one of these ships fly.” Skaldic is seriously solemn in resolve. “We are currently the hope for all of Eridanus.”

In his earnestness, he inadvertently runs his hand across one of the instrument panels.

“I’m receiving a signal from home,” Sampson formerly of Earth, must be confused. Home is where your heart resides. “I mean Eridanus guys… don’t mean to confuse anyone.”

The collection of explorers from Eridanus has decided to stay aboard what they know {Defender} as opposed to what they do not {Seljuk home world}, for now.

Cerella is the one with the most at stake on this mission: Ekcello is her father. Her father, her people are out-of-order. If they have snapped out of their funk, that would be the best news. She rushes to the communication area to lend her translation skill. #njfurhwwgqfqloda#

She is disappointed and shows it.

“This comes from the Spaceflight Expository. It looks like device-to-device nonsense.”

“Wait a minute Cerella. It may be garbled, but wouldn’t someone have had to initiate it?” Celeste asks a pertinent question.

Cerella goes to doing what she does best – she thinks.

“On the off-chance that it’s intergalactic crapola, why not return the signal, just in case.” Sampson is an expert in dispensing crapola. “And why not make it an audio daily-double?”

“I will do that Sammy Mac.” She is fond of the Earthiest man she knows. She has even learned the subtlety of his euphemisms.

In a fashion all her own, she fires back the following: DEFENDER RESPONDING ERIDANUS#

It is all Greek to Sam. After several minutes, “It must have been nothing after all.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 26


page 30

The NULL Solution = Episode 25

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The NULL Solution = Episode 25

…There must be a clue in this somewhere…

Clues – Painting by Harmen Steewyck (1612-1656)

–The 1st order of business for Skaldic is to look outward, away from the bounds of Eridanus’ clammy atmosphere. Unable to uncover details from the distance past, he senses the need to access the resources available in the Spaceflight Expository, the physical engine of this star system’s view of the Great Expanse.

During his initial glimpse out, with his naked eye, he notices a bright reflection near the old, scorched home world ⃝    . He has never seen it before, but that doesn’t mean much. Nulls have little reason to look up. Before he can get a lock on it, it is gone.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the great Eridanian explorer {not}, Sampson McKinney led his family, Cerella Heiress to the High Council and the Defender out in search of answers to the same questions. But Skaldic has no way of knowing these things, just like knowing what strange things are lurking hereabout.

He does use what is available to him there. Backtracking to the “big freeze” moment, one cycle hence, he fires up the global diary. The diary is an independent recorder of what is/has, present/past goings on for posterity’s sake. As much as the Eridanians want to pretend that they are isolated among the nebulae and black holes in their neighborhood, the warp signature of their Defender has pricked the curiosity from some parties afar.

He references the “big freeze” in the archive. He is surprised at the undistinguished nature of that specific timestem. There is nothing unusual in 2052.50, just the freezing of the Gifted.

“The High Council would not leave us in the dark,” he reasons, “not without warning us. There must be a clue in this somewhere.

When in doubt, you slow things down for a better look, which he does. Hidden in a fraction of a second, the narrowest of elapse, is the briefest torrent of light

“That is it!”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 25


page 29

The NULL Solution = Episode 24

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The NULL Solution = Episode 24

…With the Gifted, white-cloaked & motionless, shut down like some many windup toys, the initial Null reaction is to help themselves to the things reserved for the Gifted…

Wind-up Toy Set – set of mini still life oil paintings by Marilyn Fenn

Much to Skaldic’s dismay, the only period of time resembling this one, was while Eridanian explorers were still roaming far into space. There is even a vague reference to a ship that was lost forever. Much music was composed in the spirit of grief. In a language comprised of melody and tuneage, the collective sigh of a civilization is there for all to hear… but no details, just an untold cycle gap between tragedy and enlightenment.

Just what happened during those many cycles? Nothing, that they were willing to make an accounting of.

So like bees fleeing the hive, the Null come out from their restricted tower. Most every one of them was born non-telepathic. Some were afflicted by a brain short-circuit. All are rejects.

Skaldic the Null, however, chose to be this way; no good reason, he just chooses 100% verbal. Rumors claim him to have a tin ear, which would make it hard to communicate with anyone at all, though he has managed and actually excels to this Related imagemoment.

With the Gifted, white-cloaked & motionless, shut down like some many windup toys, the initial Null reaction is to help themselves to the things reserved for the Gifted, aka personal possessions, food and hookahs. Hookahs are the strange devices the Gifted use to expand their limits.

Hookahs would not help the Null cause whatsoever.  The effects would send their minds past the edge of reality. Skaldic categorically forbids any use of said devices. Looting too is halted posthaste. There may be hell to pay if/when the Gifted revive.

He goes about the process of forming a coalition of trusted Nulls. Though acquainted with most, he counts those he can rely on, on one digit.

This situation requires equals, not peons. The majority of his kind has settled for the status quo, secure in the knowledge that they are taken care of. ‘Why should we struggle to attain anything greater?’ has been the mantra for untold cycles, going back to before the times that Skaldic is looking into.-


The NULL Solution =

Episode 24


page 28

The NULL Solution = Episode 23

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The NULL Solution = Episode 23

Chapter Three

The 64 Parsec Question

…Though Skaldic the Null is equivalent to zero by title, he is the most excellent negative of all the other zilch’s…

Superior Group & Inferior Group by luminita taranu

Maybe it is just as well that Sam & Deke McKinney do not know the goings on back at their home world #one.

Adoptive home world #two is a completely separate issue.

Equally spared and even more in the dark are the people of Eridanus. Their thought-embargo is nearly complete.

The only citizens exempt from mental paralysis are those who are mentally incapable of the Eridanian form of telepathy. As lost souls, they are even more lost, not knowing what is going down and left to fend for themselves for the first time in their immortally deficient lives…

… But even among misfits, there are leaders and so it is with Skaldic the Null. Though he is equivalent to zero by title, he is the most excellent negative of all the other zilch’s.

The others look up to him, mainly because his cube is on the top floor of the misfit tower; the erudite Eridanians call it – well, nothing aloud, but the name “Nulls” is bandied about. They all think of it as a separate colony, not to be a part of the Eridanus experience. After all, the Null are not telepathic.

But what Skaldic lacks in intuition, he makes up for with guile. He would be the elder of the misfit tower, if they were allowed a seat on the High Council. Such is the respect he has among his peers.

Now that the Gifted of Eridanus are silent, it is Skaldic that fills the leadership void. If you clothed him in white robes, you would think he was Gifted. Such a small difference at atop of his body sets him apart, but not in a beneficial way. He and the other Nulls are grossly underrated.

The first thing he does is to check the historic records, those he has access to, for any similar chronicled occurrence in the long and storied past of the Gifted… oh and those others, like him.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 23


page 27

The NULL Solution = Episode 21

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The NULL Solution = Episode 21

…the mystery sphere suddenly disappears from the scene completely, with not so much as a goodbye, how do you do, or clue as to its origin…

Gus McKinney is pondering on where God lives or where in the infinite Universe this relatively tiny round intruder comes from.

Stellar Explorer was never meant to be anything but a point-to-point prototype. Here and now he is being asked it to be a scout cruiser. To complicate matters, he has lost communication with Mission Control. He won’t be speaking with them until he comes from around the bright stationary furnace.

The “dark” side of the Sun never used to be a hazardous place, seeing that at any given time, about ½ of the solid solar system contents lay on opposite sides of the glowing anchor. That the mystery sphere he is spying seems to be concealed contradictory to Earth cannot be a coincidence.  If it were completely stationary, it would have been seen by someone by now.

No human has ever laid eyes on this thing. Even Messenger, the NASA made probe designed to give the world a close look at Mercury and then meter solar flares & such, had not found it because the people who control the cameras weren’t looking for anything else.

Gus’ eyes are young and just fine. His fleet ride’s sensors aren’t attuned to analyze anything other than those related to navigation. “Jeepers creepers, if that isn’t the damndest thing!”

Not only that, it is moving away from Stellar Explorer like it has seen a ghost. The feeling is mutual.

Not only does it move, but it suddenly disappears from the scene completely, with not so much as a goodbye, how do you do, or clue as to its origin.

“Now that is downright impolite.” Out of sight – out of mind, there is no reason to linger. He expresses his suspicions to himself, “I wouldn’t know a wormhole if it bit me in the butt, but that is where that puppy had to go!”

Borrowing trouble is not on today’s to-do list. Roy’s instructions were to do a sun flyby and come back to Earth when Harper Lea Bassett was on her way back to D.C. So, with a wry smile on his face, and the love of a good wife in his heart, Gus McKinney guides Stellar Explorer from out behind the yellow dwarf star.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 21


page 25

The NULL Solution = Episode 20

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The NULL Solution = Episode 20

…Deke, is quietly blown away by how alliances are formed out here, where civilizations are separated by parsecs of naught…

Being and Nothingness No. 4 by Yong Sin

Chasonn is quintessential Seljuk. He and his race are closer to human than is Cerella. For better or worse, they rely on emotion more than logic, which includes a healthy dose of paranoia. Their systemic suspicion is not rooted in delusion, when reactionary retaliation may be warranted. Many of his kinfolk are stranded on those three isolated outposts.

Cerella speaks aloud, in the language of her husband, “We need Sampson McKinney’s instincts and his knowledge of offensive tactics.”

Now that the conversation is out in the open, Chasonn must avail a universal decoder to contribute, “You will need to add weapons to the Explorer. We have a disruptor that should integrate with your sensor array.”

“Great, but do you guys own the patent on a good old fashioned deflector shield?” Leave it to Sammy Mac to get to the heart of matter. “That light wave those blokes use sure does a number.”

“Blokes… I assume you refer to the Ÿ€Ð?” Setting aside his lack of trust, he takes the question seriously. The Seljuk are an inventive sort. “We do possess that technology.”

“Now we’re talking turkey, Chase!” Sampson takes the news one step further. “While you leave the dirty work to us, why don’t you guys work on a jumbo deflector, big enough to protect a planet?”

“We will equip the Eridanian vehicle with disruptors and a deflector shield for now. My historical genii will delve into your prudent suggestion. We do not know how far the Ÿ€Ð, if it is indeed the Ÿ€Ð, will take their aggression.”

The dealmaker in this group speaks. “It is not in my nature to condone offensive hostility.” Cerella makes eye contact with Deke, who is quietly blown away by how alliances are formed out here, where civilizations are separated by parsecs of naught(ness).

No reason for dissent from him, “These are extraordinary times, requiring greater measures of response.”

Cerella ponders making decisions in the stead of the established wisdom on Eridanus.

Sam & Deke McKinney cannot help but ponder the safety of Earth itself.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 20


page 25

The NULL Solution = Episode 19

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The NULL Solution = Episode 19

…Back on Eridanus, they have their suspicions, but eventually choose to quit the space exploration business…

Quitting the Race by Melody Greenlief

It had been a fruitful mission to the Blue Planet, with a brief stopover at the Red Planet. This was going to be their last trip to hunt for and gather representative artifacts from this very young, yet developing civilization. The primitives worship their star, chart the other stars in the sky and they are developing some form of fundamental science. They are/were worth watching, which is easily done from either above or nearby.Related image

It is a form of spying, harmless and stealth. But it is time for Explorer {NEWFOUNDLANDER} to head back to Eridanus.

Just one more thing: the Elder council had determined that the mission should include a closer look at that red/dry planetary neighbor. It seems like the prudent thing to do.

And so they do.

The crew, numbering 50 intrepid space veterans, does not discover anything spectacular there. All the usual universal elements are present, with signs that this harsh planet may once have had a life-sustaining atmosphere and plentiful water. Hindsight forensics pays few dividends after millions of years. There are no cities or thoroughfares left behind.

Without alarm, a bright wave of light suddenly sweeps across the Plain of Xanthe,  ⃝    , is draining the life from every single Eridanian soul.

No one knows if it is caused by a storm indigenous to this planet or something else?

Back on Eridanus, they have their suspicions, but eventually choose to quit the space exploration business. They now fear the unknown. They ground their fleet in favor of provinciality. Perhaps then they will be left alone.

 In the Triangulum Galaxy

Sammy Mac & Son are shut out of the action for now.

Brain-to-brain is the best way here of communicating with Chasonn and his Seljuk brain trust. It is the only way they can assure secrecy and Cerella will take matters from here.

#My people have been deactivated. I cannot be sure if it is all their doing#

#The Ÿ€Ð#

#Perhaps. If Ekcello has withdrawn the population, then he senses impending danger#

#Why are you not affected#

#The younger human is my mate for life#

#Outcast?#

#Different. We came here to warn you. It appears we are too late#

#Not if you confirm that the Ÿ€Ð have changed their tactics. We know they do not condone space travel, but killing has never been a method they use#

#That is not true. Deep in our past, someone terminated one of our expeditions. And then there is ⃝    

#We have been wondering about that, that and the recent return of that ship to your home#

#It has resulted in an indirect alliance between my people and the planet Earth#

#Is Earth of any use to us in our combined efforts to thwart the Ÿ€Ð or ⃝    #

#They are very resourceful and stimulating#

#That you reactivated your fleet and included the humans demonstrates your level of concern#


The NULL Solution =

Episode 19


page 24