THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 72

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 72

…the man he is watching is as cool as a comet in between stars and manning his post like he belonged there…

comet

Jim Scotti’s Comet Artwork

There is somebody in this complex from Nepal, that strange little tech named Gherkin who replaced Phil Jansky. I wonder if there is a connection.”

“And you don’t dare question someone’s qualifications. Political correctness has been the ruin of this world,” Francine adds her opinion about questioning anything about anybody… and the fallout.

Without hesitation Roy brings the room consuming monitor to life. Francine can see that it is not an ordinary one, seeming to follow Roy’s slightest gesture, the picture races through various angles of Colony Control.

A Happy Gherkin

It does come to rest, Roy’s steely blues focused on a shot of Gurkhas {not Gherkin} Shah Dhangotma. Of all the Hindi/Arab/Buddhist, Middle and Far East cultures in of this selective space community, this particular man has left him with an uneasy no-peaceful feeling; replacing a previously healthy and indispensable man in Phil Jansky. And what is worse and more telling, is that he doesn’t even know who is doing the hiring since the death of Fred Cabell. It’s enough to put his spinning head on a swivel.

But if he were the informant or the mole or the mastermind, any of the three, the man he is watching is as cool as a comet in between stars and manning his post like he belonged there. But Roy cannot clear his mind’s ear of the man’s clumsy English in the moment before Space Colony 1’s ruin.

“Keep an eye on that guy,” Francine is told, “if he makes any sudden moves, give a holler.”

She obliges and can actually be helpful after getting a few quick tips about controlling that section of the screen… with a blink of an eye.

2018 Map Before the formation of Talibanistan

Roy turns to text searches that may support his flimsy suspicion, or not. Dhangotma’s personnel file is bland and incomplete, though the Baikonur Cosmodrome is listed as experience. Even his file picture has mug shot written all over it, but it is not viewed by someone who knows a hoot about the man.

In alternating between the files and the live video, comparing it to their meeting earlier in the day, his eyes tell him ‘not the same guy’; his memory screams ‘he had jet-black hair, not dark brown’. He knows that you don’t change Spatial Debris techs like you change passwords.

“What’s he been up to?”

“He raised his hand, got up and came back a minute or two
later. My guess it was a quick pee.”

“Then why has his hair color changed?” On a thin whim he says, “Let’s pay Gherkin a visit.” With time dwindling, hunches played trump hunches ignored.


 THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 72


 

page 89

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 27

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 27

Too many questions and so little time…

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Roy Crippen halts his advance when he is close enough to catch a glimpse of poor Philip Jansky’s former display. It is not for him to know what is or what is not supposed to be up there, but icons & etchings depicting the precise location and path of every piece of galactic wanderer {larger than a baseball} in the Mars parsec, is the responsibility of this man.

“How are things……….Mister Gurk__,” he extends his hand. “Director Roy here.”

Dhangotma stands to respond, but could use a step ladder in order to complete the exchange of palms. His Soviet CosmodromeEnglish is fractured, like many World Space Consortium techs, but this one makes little effort to excel. His answers to questions are choppy and incomplete, but Roy manages to get a thumbs-up, with a couple of references to his involvement in the Russian Spaceflight international-space-stationprogram at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the former Kazakhstan.

Astronaut Crippen had spent some time at the former Soviet Union’s Cosmodrome in the past, as did every traveler to the International Space Station. Did he mention the shortsighted senseless budget cuts imposed by the “myopically socialist President of the USA from 2008-2015 that put in that fix”? No. Those are Roy’s words uttered freely, in a free society, free of oppression, clear of any retribution…probably, though he encrypts all outgoing and incoming Soyuzcommunications with his phone.

Back to the Soyuz experience where Roy seems to recall that fluent English was an uncompromising requirement for program participation. Then why does this Katmandu Tomcat speak the requisite tongue as if he just crawled out of his Himalayan Hut?

Too many questions and so little time. His inspection tour is snipped by Braden King background chatter, which by now is nearly nonstop. It seems things are actually ahead of schedule, a welcome change Image result for drag racing lightsfrom recent events. The Tycho driver is metaphorically honking his horn anxious to get going.tycho-001

Sam McKinney looks like a drag racer; his pride-and-joy muscle car poised and seated next to him, his best girl. Together they are ready to go down and press som

“Are you guys ready to go,” asks Roy Crippen?

“Turn us loose,” they answer as one voice.

The hanger-bay doors of Space Colony 1 slowly widen, exposing a view shared by both Tycho and its distant earthbound counterparts; wide eyes, motivated spirits, and hopeful hearts.


THE RETURN TRIP

Tycho

Tycho

Episode 27


 

page 33

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