THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 187

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 187

…So between now and November we have to hang loose, play it by ear – cool our jets or whatever you astronaut-types say these days”…

“What’s the deal… does Braden cramp your style? You are turning 18 and always the one who insists he’s Mr. Self-sufficient.” Roy is setting up the “you’re the man of the house” speech.

“Don’t worry Gus; I’ve made all your meals for the week.” Francine knows the source of his angst and it starts slightly above his waist. “I won’t be going out on the campaign trail every time, but I cannot have the future President of the United States rooming the streets of New York alone.
“The way it is now, with you guys almost done at the Academy and us stumping the country for votes, oh and Braden keeping track of New Mayflower, we are all too busy to worry about our normal, everyday family routine. So between now and November we have to hang loose, play it by ear… cool our jets or whatever you astronaut-types say these days”

“It is ‘take a chill-pill’ Francine and I get your drift; we have been spoiled by your cooking and we miss our Mom.” No one could have predicted that statement: from selfish news anchor-to-good cook & mother.

“And Braden sucks thruster fumes?”

“Stop it Roy!” Gus gives Francine a bear hug goodbye. “Now let’s go out to the Big Apple and kick some Freelove butt!”

“That would be Freelove/Cauley butt! Oh, that reminds me Francine. Would you proof the podium banner my people have come up with?”

“You mean banner #13? Maybe this will be the lucky one.”

Roy unfurls it, “Yes, this one.”

Today the USA

Tomorrow the Milky Way

“It still needs some work,” Francine has another, “but I liked the other.”

Crippen/Walker

Astronaut/Straight Talker

“I am sure the American people will understand that a space-geek has his fingerprints all over it,” she laughs uncontrollably, not because the logos are so bad, rather that Roy is trying so hard to prove that he is a different sort of politician.


THE RETURN TRIP

Literary Thumbprint Portraits by Chery Sorg

Episode 187


page 224

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 184

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 184

…we have lost not only two of our finest astronauts, but the very first colonists on another planet…

Roy Crippen takes his turn as, mourner, moderator and commemorator.

“I do know Sampson and Celeste McKinney and I can proudly say that they counted me as their friend. To know them is to know the definition of reliability. If I had a dollar for every time I heard them say, ‘You can count on us.’ I would be materially rich beyond measure.

“As Braden King would tell you,” he points at BK sitting between the boys, “there isn’t anything they would not do for their country and their space program. And if we could hear them now, they would be telling us, ‘Do not stop with Space Colony 1. You must press on; you must come out and be with us.”

He pauses to reflect on what space exploration is all about.

“When one decides to become a working astronaut, there are certain things you must come to terms with in your mind. Topping that list and there is little question as to its reality, is that constant companion of dealing with the speculative unknown: d-e-a-t-h. We at NASA, as well as our global partners at the World Space Consortium, deal with technology at its finest, but because of the distances involved and other uncontrollable factors, danger is:

  1. one step behind every single manned mission
  2. when we step out of a vehicle exceeding 100,000 feet of altitude
  3. each time we take that next step baby step closer to the edge of the solar system

“I need not remind you of the Challenger or Columbia and the brave men and women who gave their lives. Did they believe they would return to Earth safely? Yes they did. Did they know there was a possibility that they wouldn’t? Yes they did.

“We have gone 27 years without a fatality in space. We now find ourselves coming to grips with terrible realization that we have lost not only two of our finest astronauts, but the very first colonists on another planet

“…. both were keenly aware of the perils they would be facing. Did they know that Space Colony 1 was destroyed by jealously and hate not a meteor or electrical malfunction? No probably not.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 184


page 220

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 172

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 172

…“I am relieved about Gus!.” Francine is all too aware that Gus is the one suffering most by the loss of his parents…

Suffering by Paula Heffel

“I am not going to waste our time together squabbling over that necktie.” Their 17 month marriage remains solid, as most do, in spite of the ongoing McKinney heartbreak, career shifts, and the blinding glare of the national spotlight. Like those ships in the night, passing near not seeing, “We can’t waste this time.”

Space Academy

“Speaking of not seeing someone, how did Deke & Gus do on their Academy exams?” Co-surrogate father Roy would give anything short giving up on the election to be there to help the boys with the critical Space Academy simulator tests; the single biggest factor in becoming an astronaut candidate. Braden King is a ground expert, but has little to offer the two rapidly maturing space-aspiring young men.

The adults’ combined mission is to help them attain those desired goals.

“Gus barely got by the book test, then A-ced the simulator.” she tells Roy. “Deke lost his gyro-control, hit an asteroid and he will never live it down. It turns out that the professor rigged his test by inserting THE QUARKIAN QUANDARY, I believe he called it.”

NASA Top Gun

NASA“They only pull that on the Top Guns. I bet Deke had already been promoted.”

“I am relieved about Gus!.” Francine is all too aware that Gus is the one suffering most by the loss of his parents.

“The way I see it Francine, Gus knows that his flying skills are the only way he graduates from the Academy; it’s hard to keep up with his genius brother.”

“Whatever the reason,” she concludes as their Ford Hydrogen vehicle pulls up to the Hilton Hotel & Casino, “I think that Celeste would be pleased as punch and Sammy Mac is screaming at the top of his lungs … somewhere out there.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 172


page 207

Contents TRT