The NULL Solution = Episode 14

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The NULL Solution = Episode 14

…there is a shiny spheroid here, close enough to the Sun that it should be melting to its core…

… as a propaganda video put together by Bassett’s people is keeping everyone occupied, Roy is getting unexpected feedback from back in SOL Control.

“Gus isn’t making the turn.”

A simple ‘What?’ will not do. He flees the stage like the prune juice he had for breakfast had suddenly done its job. He commandeers a security hovercraft to hasten his presence where it counts most. Is Gus incapacitated? That’s his stepson out there about 80 million miles + rising. The possibilities are endless.

Once at the interspace communication cube, he tries to get some answers. “Are you there, Gus?”

After a few seconds, he repeats the simple request.

“Yes Roy, I’m here. This thing seems to have a mind of its own.  I checked my heading and it wants to go to other side of the galaxy or somewhere thereabouts.”

“Override the auto-nav. Even at SOL you’re in no man’s land. This mission is over, get back here STAT.”

There are multiple factors at work here.

“I am exactly on the other side of the sun… and there is a shiny spheroid here, close enough that it should be melting to its core!”

Mercury by Maddy P. from Palmcrest Elementary

“Could that be Mercury, we haven’t looked at it much since Messenger back in 20-teens?”

“Negative on Mercury, I passed that hotspot in a flash 5 million miles ago.” Human beings are so adaptable. “I’m back in control of SEx, slowing down to get a closer look. I can tell you one thing, somebody made this thing. It ain’t no run-of-the-mill planetoid.”

“Make sure you get some selfies of that thing and head back,” That is the good news. The bad news, “I know it’s a bitch, being Saturday and all, but land over at Osceola AFB instead… I got them believing Deke is with you.”

There is no response from an astronaut who is anxious to get back to wife Mindy and a carefully planned, long overdue date-night…


The NULL Solution =

Episode 14


page 20

The NULL Solution = Episode 13

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The NULL Solution = Episode 13

…Speaking of supposed-to-be’s {what-ifs and cold days in hell}, President Harper Lea Bassett is closing in on the would-be festivities…

“Take it easy, Fletch. While I was poking around in there last night, I discovered that SEx can achieve escape velocity on its own. The reinforced hull, along with the molecular stabilizer, will allow Gus to take that baby out solo.”

The youngest McKinney {that Earth knows about} is suiting up as he speaks.

“Somebody please inform our President about the change in plans, after the fact.”

“But…”

“I know what you’re thinking. We are going to show file footage of the boys inside the SEx. Nobody will know the difference.”

Related image“But what about taking off without a piggyback? Somebody is going to notice.”

“Gus is going to be past the moon before anyone knows he’s off the pad. We’re all supposed to be on the receiving stand, isn’t that correct.”

Speaking of supposed-to-be’s, what-ifs and cold days in hell, President Bassett is closing in on the would-be festivities. Few things are more important to a figurehead than advertised appearances. There was a “leak” a week back {not weak back} about her welcoming the heroes of hyperspace in person. She has long since laid claim to bringing SOL technology to the light of day, when in fact it is only her pen and the insistence of her political backers that are truly responsible.

“Where are our men-of-the-hour?” is the most asked question.

“This guy Shriver is being a leaky O-ring,” is how Francine Bouchette-Crippen describes him, for everyone in the inner circle with an earbud. She is not as cranky as her husband, but at their station in life, they don’t suffer fools lightly.

All Prez Roy does is point to the unique contrail left behind by the Stellar Explorer. He makes up a non-treasonable explanation, “There they go, Madame President. We wanted to give you a live demonstration. How will that play in D.C.?”

To support his elaborate smokescreen, he summons a video of Gus and Deke waving to the camera, curiously resembling the one from their original roundtrip to the fringe of the solar system – and back – mostly {before Deke vanished}. The screen behind the reviewing stand is innocently playing that recording and another showing long-range footage, which elicits rousing applause from all the space-geeks and political freaks who would not know the difference between an asteroid and a comet.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 13


page 19

The NULL Solution = Cast of Characters

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The NULL Solution

 Cast of Characters

…Let’s meet the people and visit the places you will be reading about in:

 – Primary Characters:

  • Sampson McKinney is the Commander of the expedition to establish a colony on Mars
  • Celeste McKinney is the wife of Sampson and the LT. Commander of the Space Colony 1 mission
  • Deke McKinney – the elder son of Sampson & Celeste
  • Gus McKinney – younger brother to Deke
  • Deimostra Samantha McKinney – sister of Deke & Gus, conceived on the way to Mars and named after Mras’ larger moon Deimos
  • Joyner McKinney – child of Deke and Cerella, heir to Eupepsia
  • ALL THE ABOVEThe Space Family McKinney

  • Braden King – family friend to the McKinneys and voice of Mission Control
  • Roy Crippen – Director of NASA and the SPACE COLONY 1 project
  • Rick Stanley – Commander of the New Mayflower rescue
  • Francine Bouchette – Houston USA television anchor who lands squarely in the middle of everything
  • Aldona Alfridia Talibanistani (see below) scientist who is asked to conspire against SPACE COLONY but refuses — Fletcher Fitch – name given Aldona when he defected to the United States to help with the SOL Project. Fatima – his wife (and 2 unnamed daughters)
  • Nae Tan-DanUnited Korean operative who is cahoots with Talibanistan
  • Shaikh Kamran Khan-Nutkani – Talibanistan leader determined to undermine an otherwise global effort
  • Ekcello – The Supreme Leader of the High Counsel of Eridanus
  • Cerella – daughter of Ekcello and heiress to the High Counsel
  • Fortan – Mate to Ekcello, Mother of Cerella
  • Skaldic the Null – Leader of the non-“gifted” class on Eridanus

– NULL Only

  • Chasonn – Leader of the Seljuk

– Supporting cast:

Fredrick C. Cabell – Human Resources NASA, deceased

Phil Jansky – NASA Spatial Debris specialist, deceased

Mike Judge – Okaloosa County Florida Sheriff

Geraldo Franco – Okaloosa County Coroner

Miles Scheffeldink – Space Colony Mission Physician

Abdullah Ashtaar – the key to Istanbul

Mehmet Ali Erim – Turkish taxi driver

Elliot Deming – Consulate General – US Turkish Embassy

Senator Broyles – Texas legislator

“Larry” – Francine Bouchette’s fiancee & KHST director, VP

Randi Gilbert – NASA test pilot & news source for Francine Bouchette

Steven Sharkey – Francine’s co-anchor at KHST

Karl – NASA Chief Engineer

Grandma Savta Bergestrom – Celeste’s Mother from Sweden

Aunt Sassy McKinney – Sampson’s crazy Scottish/Irish sister

Jimmy D – Silver Seas Bartender

Roger Rodrigues – Roy & Francines’s Jamaican tour guide

Kim Jong-un – United Korea’s Supreme Leader

Silvia Freelove – Bud Cauley – Pres/vice pres candidates 2032

Skip Chandler – Freelove’s campaign strategist

Hector Grisbaum – Susannah Grisbaum – New Mexico Congressman & daughter (who sets up Deke M.)


– NULL only

Harper Lea Bassett – 50th President of the United States of America

Dane Shriver – Bassett’s Chief of Staff


– The Interstellar Transportation

  • Space Colony 1 the orbiting portion of the Mars Colony
  • The Chronicle – the deep-space shuttle that carries the McKinneys to Mars
  • Tycho – the Mars lander where Sam & Celeste are stranded when the orbiting colony blows up
  • The New Mayflower – the mission to rescue the McKinneys on Mars
  • Newfoundlander – the Eridani spacecraft that hijacks the McKinneys (Sam, Celeste, Deimostra)
  • Stellar Explorer {SEx} – the speed-of-light cruiser that takes Deke & Gus on a detour to Orion’s Belt
  • Defender – TSF enabled Eridanian craft used to contact the Seljuk
  • TSF – Time-Space-Fold propulsion/space travel

– The many and varied locales in both THE RETURN TRIP and The NULL Solution:

  • 2030 Earth
  • Talibanistan – the very large country that absorbs all the rest of the “-stans” and is a haven for global mischief
  • United Korean Peninsula – the combined country formerly North & South where the South is consumed by the evil & secretive North
  • Istanbul/Constantinople Turkey
  • Sultan Ahmet Mosque
  • Mars the Red Planet – the fourth planet from the sun
  • KHST Television Houston Texas
  • Jamaica
  • Silver Seas Resort/Hotel
  • Epsilon EridaniA star in Orion’s Belt and where Sampson & Celeste are hijacked to
  • EridanusA planet in the Epsilon star system
  • Eupepsia – The home tower/city of Ekcello and Cerella and THE SPACEFLIGHT EXPOSITORY
  • Triangulum Galaxy
  • Galaxy Sexta A
  • Ÿ€Ð – Have a sketchy history with Eridanus
  • The Seljuk –  An  alien race located in the Triangulum Galaxy. They are previously “known” the Eridanians

 Cast of Characters

The NULL Solution

The NULL Solution = Recap/History of THE RETURN TRIP

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The NULL Solution = Recap/History

…Off to parts unknown – History of THE RETURN TRIP…

The McKinneys are whisked off Mars {Star Date 2031}

“It appears we are going for a ride family!”

“Where are we going,” Celeste wonders?

“I’d like to know, who is driving?” He tries get the feel for some sort of helm, but it seems to be fruitless. “Let’s hope that it hasn’t forgotten the way to Earth, if that’s too much to ask.”

NEWFOUNDLANDER liftoff is smooth and with the exception of the anticipated g-forces, they were soon out of Mars’ loving embrace and headed… headed… unfortunately headed away from the sun, which at this point in planetary alignment, is in the opposite direction of Earth.

The McKinneys spot their destination

As the enlarging emergence of Epsilon Eridani and the heightened anticipation it is producing, Sampson’s demeanor stabilizes; finally a goal is in sight. There aren’t stars around every corner. In the coming of a new orange sphere, he can sense the warmth internally, even though an Earthly comparison would be like spotting the Rocky Mountains from the east while driving an automobile. What seems like a day later, you first get the sense you are going uphill.

The End is in sight

The NEWFOUNDLANDER continues to hurtle toward the planetary system which must surely be their final destination {that would be a muffled please, please, please?}. The ship with a remote control mind uses all the right moves on its approach, like it had done this very move before. A skilled navigator himself, Sam sincerely hopes so, because he is beginning to feel uneasy with the speed at which they going at this late stage. That scary mega planet is looking large and larger, its red-hot surface churning like the gates of hell…..and they have barely dipped below SOL.

The McKinneys arrive at their destination {Star Date 2036}

As NEWFOUNDLANDER shimmies into its pre-destined parking place, something occurs to Sampson’s astronautically trained mind, “Could it be that these people have abandoned space travel? I mean, did you see a fleet come out to escort us in? Have any of us seen any shuttle traffic, weather satellite or space station anywhere on the way here?”

Before Celeste can agree, the closing of the 100 foot tall doors distracts her and once again they are left to wonder what happens next. The enclosure now adds a claustrophobic slant to their rampant speculation. Confinement is a stark certainty, after over 5 years in the vastness of deep-space

Unease, doubt, apprehension: all these begin to consume Commander Sampson McKinney, formerly of Space Colony 1, recently employed NASA astronaut and previous inhabitant of Earth. It is all he can do to merely stand still and wait. The waiting is the hardest part.

An historic chapter of Earth’s history is about to be written.

The folks on Planet X (Eridanus) are in for a surprise of historic proportion.

This concludes our “catch-up” of THE RETURN TRIP

Tomorrow begins The NULL Solution = Episode 1


The NULL Solution

Recap/History


pages 5-6

 

The NULL Solution = Prelude/Recap

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The NULL Solution = Prelude/Recap

…Background scenes from the last book/Where THE RETURN TRIP leaves off…

Book One – The Return Trip – Excerpts

 The Space Family McKinney has been splintered into fragments, flung here and there by forces, some that they control and others they do not.

Back on 2051 Earth

January 9 2051 ending of book one – THE RETURN TRIP

“President Crippen! Stellar Explorer is back on our screens. It made the Pluto turnaround!” The crew of the SLAV revises their previous report. “There is no way they could have made that turn at Sol x3, but they did, Crip!”

Roy Crippen crumples in a heap, relieved beyond measure at this turn of events. He could not bear the loss of more family, adopted or otherwise. “Thank you my dear Lord,” is all he can say.

The entire SOL Project Mission Control, led by Braden King erupts in applause when they hear the voice of Gus McKinney, “Lovell Space Center, this is Stellar Explorer… we’re heading back to Earth!”

Francine Bouchette-Crippen and Mindy McDonald melt into an embrace, as women who love test pilots do.

At that declaration of success, Gus McKinney glances over from the co-pilot seat, to check on how brother Deke McKinney came through the intense G-Forces of the turn screaming, “We did it man!!!!”

The pilot seat is empty ______________

Back on 2030 Mars – History of THE RETURN TRIP

 

Sampson and Celeste discover another spacecraft

January 2030

The very mound they had originally detoured to investigate has been cleared of its dust-cover, swept clean by ill-fated winds of change. It would seem that they are not alone on Mars, as one would assume, as a large spacecraft has appeared alongside and it is not of Earth. For all to see: 50 meters of shiny out-of-this-world metal.

And judging by what is left behind, of the soil/dirt that is, it was like it had been covered in mud; Mud? It sits in a dry creek bed, for what has probably been thousands of years maybe more.

Celeste has already donned an infrared magnification enhancement and focuses in on what are markings, to the left of what is most likely an entrance. The insignia are not decipherable, but judging by the size of the entry, there is a strong possibility that the creators of this presumably interstellar ship were not midgets. It looks like Sampson could pass in without so much as stooping.

There are vertical slits, perhaps windows, placed at various points along its angular lines. Using his naked eye, Sampson swears he sees blinking lights through the largest such window, which Celeste dismisses as a silly notion, that it can only be the reflection of the midday sun.

“I wonder which one of us would be considered the UFO,” Celeste muses.

They find the dead crew of a failed Eridanian expedition

After traversing 2/3 of the rectangular vehicle’s exterior, they find themselves at what appears to be the threshold of the apparent entrance, if it has such a thing. Assuming that nobody is home and the door is locked, gaining access should prove to be futile, with no knife to jimmy the door. The 4 foot wide notch in the ship’s wall runs several feet into its 150 foot expanse. It is away from the sunlight, which does not make all things bright in these parts, as dark as Celeste’s native Sweden during its sunless winter swoon.

“Damn,” Sam galumphs into spread-eagle prostrations. “Maybe we should be using the helmet lights,” he taps the side of his head to do so, to light their way and expose the upright-cancelling offender.

“Whooaa,” he springs to his feet like a wrestler scoring 2 points on a lightning-quick reversal {and low gravity}.

Celeste would have laughed had she not popped her light on, fearfully recognizing the cause of Sam’s fall, “That is a body!”

They discover what the Eridanians were doing on Earth

“Does this remind you of museum storage room, where incomplete dinosaur skeletons wait for missing pieces?”

At the precise moment they near some items, mostly likely activated by a motion sensor, pre-focused shafts of light appear.

“Fourth Dynasty Egyptian.”

“Are you serious,” Sam asks?

His versatile wife numbers Egyptology as an educational pursuit during her college career. “Khufu,” she single out a solid gold bust!

“God bless you.”

“Cheops to you Sam.” He was not making fun, merely his lack of similar expertise. “There are references to this bust, but no one has ever seen it……4500 year old solid gold.”

Another shaft of light is cast upon, “And what is this?”

“Another piece of the Palermo Stone, I don’t think this one has been catalogued. Do you see the similarities between Egyptian writing and the newfoundlian scrpit?”

“English grammar is confusing enough.”

“That is the Code of Hammurabi,” she points to the writing on a Diorite stone tablet, nearby, “Cuneiform writing for damn sure!!!!!!”

And though he is not as versed in Egyptian antiquity, in the manner and scope of his encyclopedic partner, he is not completely devoid of ancient historical knowledge. “The Code of Hammurabi is from 21st Century B.C. Babylon, kind of a wage scale and social

ranking for old-time Near East lawmakers.”

“Very good Sammy Mac and here I thought that space had vacated your unrelated memories; there is more than SOL and time travel up in that brain of yours.”

He is used to her deriding his seeming lack of culture, not that she is entirely wrong.

“The pristine state of this stuff leads me to believe that they are the originals, not poached from a crypt. Whether Egypt or Mesopotamia, these have not seen the harsh exposure of the centuries since.”

“I guess that this explains which direction they were heading?”

“Perhaps, but it seems that they have been going forth and back for a minimum of 5000 years.”

The 1st Earthchildofspace is Born

Deimostra Samantha McKinney was born almost two weeks premature, paradoxically so on April 1st 2030. Deimostra {Deimos} is certainly an uncommon name for such a cute blond-haired blue-eyed baby girl, so named for one of Mars’ reliable, if not fickle moons; Phoebe {Phobos} would have been too easy. As one would guess, her middle name is the feminine form of father Sam, an everyday tag she will carry as “Sammy”, the affectionate term she has already responded positively to.


The NULL Solution

Prelude/Recap


pages 1-4

From The Desk of Gwendolyn Hoff

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From The Desk of

Gwendolyn Hoff

…If you are reading this post and you are one of the hundreds who have also been reading THE RETURN TRIP, I want to personally thank you for the privilege of sharing my very 1st book…  originally written in 1986…

And truth be told, I had to do mucho updating to make the book currently relevant. As I edited and posted and posted and edited, it was an absolute GAS adding in graphics, music and others’ photography and art into each & every Episode.

If you would bother to take the time and click thru the Episode Catalog – from 1 to The End – what a transformation from 100,000 words into a picture-book-potpourri-experience.

When I envisioned posting one of my books in this fashion (original & my way), I thought it would be a convenient way for readers to take in approx. 400 words/day and be entertained along the way… 10 minutes/day and off you go with life. Finding & keeping a repeatable format from episode to episode was important to me… every day it has that consistent, comfortable comportment.

It is also important that I properly credit each artist or photographer if I use their works to enhance the theme of the day’s post. So, if you click the link to the painting or photo, it may take you to THEIR or another website.

Like many of my “original” creations, it probably will not catch on. I am either to far ahead of my time OR better off doing this 30 years ago … or whenever the Internet hit town.

So as THE RETURN TRIP is in the can, so-to-speak, I proceed undaunted by dubious success. The NULL Solution will begin tomorrow 9/20/2017, virtually where the last book ended, as the saga of the Space Family McKinney soldiers on.

I hope that Sampson, Celeste & Co. have the depth of character necessary to make you want to care ABOUT them, as well as what happens TO them. They have been a part of my life for 30+ years and I am writing a 3rd book in the series (Chariot of Chaos) as I am penning this love letter to all of you.

-Gwenny


From The Desk

of Gwendolyn Hoff


 

That’s a Wrap – THE RETURN TRIP Retrospective

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That’s a Wrap

– THE RETURN TRIP Retrospective

That's a Wrap-001

“That’s a Wrap!”

– After THE RETURN TRIP

…You can still read the entire story of the Space Family McKinney with the help of two tools:

  1. The Episode Catalog is compilation post of all 279 “episodes” of the 323 page book. The “episode” format is comprised of approx. 400 words/per, YouTube music enhancements + 3 or 4 of Gwen’s Graphics, pictures, original art or memes that help bring the page(s) to life for the reader.
  2. The Cast of Characters is a reference post that makes keeping track of the story an easier task; People, places & things in our Solar System and beyond.

Every Post features the Table of Contents, so you won’t get (TOO) lost.

The Episode Catalog is posted throughout as well…

THE RETURN TRIP

Make sure to check out the next book:

With all the same features as THE RETURN TRIP

I will be getting into that

more tomorrow – Gwenny


That’s a Wrap

– THE RETURN TRIP Retrospective