THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 210

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 210

…that impenetrable gaseous shield that encases Planet X collapses inward, like the flushing of a toilet, revealing…

DreamySkies-blue1-(Magical)Instead of knifing through the planet’s pea soup ionosphere, to allow that anxiously awaited first glimpse from on high, the NEWFOUNDLANDER nestles into an orbit above the vaporous barrier.

“I really, really hope that is water vapor and not pollution, ‘cause I would greatly prefer Seattle to Shanghai. Or worse yet, that is an ammonia blanket!” Sampson McKinney expresses the palpable anxiety pressure in the cabin, with the trio of Earthlings as presentable as they can be after five years in space. The vagueness of the moment has leveled the playing field between adults and child; so many the questions, so few the answers.

Suffering through two orbits and finding it hard to maintain an upright edge, an unexpected event serves to divert their attention. While on the (sun)lit portion of their revolution, Epsilon Eridani bright rays vanish, eclipsed by one or both of its mates. The harsh return to total darkness lasts several revolutions only. The molten brother and the desolate daughter spin away on their intended paths while restoring a stars’ radiation to the seemingly confused little sister.

Eridanus3

Another trip around the outlying reaches of NEWFOUNDLANDER’S home seems likely. The wait is maddening for the stowaways. After all, if they were in a holding pattern above Honolulu International, at least they would know which hotel they were staying at. They have spent what they believe to be one-half of a decade of their lives aboard a hijacked alien spacecraft, willing hostages of the unknown, but reluctant strangers of uncertainty. That they arrive at this place in the galaxy with a shred of sanity to their names is a testament to their training and the dedication to carry out a mission, no matter what it takes or where it takes you.Related image

Photo by Warner Bros., from Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century

But as another ho-hum orbit ends, much like the earlier eclipse and just as abrupt, that impenetrable gaseous shield that encases Planet X collapses inward, like the flushing of a toilet in the Southern Hemisphere at home. NEWFOUNDLANDER follows in behind the withdrawing cover and as it descends to the altitude of an intercontinental supersonic transport, the planet of their fancy is revealed in its entire splendor.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 210


page 190

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 204

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 204

…Is the NEWFOUNDLANDER a colonizer/scout that is now returning to a burned out home?…

“Get a load of that one,” Sampson to Celeste & Sammy, “it is 2X the size of Jupiter and spinning like a top!”

A NEWFOUNDLANDER monitor dedicated to geological activity reveals a tempestuous surface, three-fourths boiling with volcanism. Elsewhere, raging magnetic storms ripple through a conspicuously toxic atmosphere.

“I think we can cross that planet off our list Sam,” Celeste reasons.

“It may not be what you would call a vacation destination, but a recent course deviation puts us right in line with that monster.” He checks and rechecks his unlikely calculations, each time netting the same results.

“There cannot be so much as a trace of oxygen or a stable slab of ground on that planet Sam. Remember when we speculated that the NEWFOUNDLIANS may have been searching out a new home planet? Or has their world started a geological upheaval after they left? Is this ship a colonizer/scout that is now returning to a burned out home?

“That is a possibility,” he says in a regretting tone, “but what if one of those moons happens to be their home? There is one moon, slightly smaller than Earth and yet another could be Neptune’s twin brother! And Neptune2 looks like it has a moon of its own. Doesn’t that blow your mind?”

Epsilon_Eridani_b

This is an inaugural peek at a solar system through provincial perceptions of conventionality. Hubble had alerted Earthly eyes of the existence of viable planetary systems circling other stars, so odds favor it. But to have postulated the strange and complex menagerie attending to Epsilon Eridani, no super-telescope could have sorted out.

Exhibit One: There four mega-planets in similar orbits, over a billion miles away from their blue-white star, the largest planet owning two moons, one the size of Neptune, and that with a satellite to boot; unheard of.


THE RETURN TRIP

Burned Out by Louise Adams

Episode 204


page 184

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 203

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 203

…they believe the end of year 2035 is near, a conceptual rendering of time, partially reconnoitered by Sammy’s growth and keeping track on an old-fashioned wristwatch…

Painting of Nestor Ferronato

As the enlarging emergence of Epsilon Eridani and the heightened anticipation it is Related imageproducing, 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.

epsilon eridani by arise chicken117

The far-reaching scope of the NEWFOUDLANDER’S viewscreen becomes the hot topic as they believe the end of year 2035 is near, a conceptual rendering of time, partially reconnoitered by Sammy’s growth and keeping track on an old-fashioned wristwatch. The estimated forty trillion, that is the #40 with twelve zeroes, miles of space traveled, where nothing but darkness and tiny white dots dominate the viewscreen, finally there is a tangible celestial objects to train their longing eyes on.

Five (that is the #5 with no zeroes) heavenly bodies they are coming upon. Other than the obvious blazing tangerine fireball, this system’s sun, a star from Earth telescope’s perspective, four immense planets are orbiting Epsilon Eridani at the far-out distance equal to Jupiter’s. They are spaced far enough apart in the planes of their orbits so that their gravitation cancels each other’s out. There are no other significant bodies inside this planetary parade, although there is one nearly continuous band of asteroids, meteors, and comet-like matter circling Epsilon 100 million miles out.

Each of these gigantic spheres numbers many objects as “moons” as an entourage.Epsilon Eridani b.jpg Several of these would make sizable planets on their own merit and perhaps they were before this quartet of gravity hogs drew them into their inescapable clutches.

“Get a load of that one,” Sampson to Celeste & Sammy, “it is twice the size of Jupiter!”

A NEWFOUNDLANDER monitor dedicated to geological activity reveals a tempestuous surface, three-fourths boiling with volcanism. Elsewhere, raging magnetic storms ripple through a conspicuously toxic atmosphere.


THE RETURN TRIP

great destination by henryz – deviatart.com

Episode 203


page 184

Cast of Characters — THE RETURN TRIP

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MCKINNEY - THE RETURN TRIP-001

 Cast of Characters

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

THE RETURN TRIP

 Primary CharactersTHE RETURN TRIP

  • 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

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.)

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 the speed-of-light cruiser that takes Deke & Gus on a detour to Orion’s Belt

The many and varied locales in THE RETURN TRIP

  • 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
  • Sunset Hill – Roy Crippen’s hacienda at King Ranch
  • 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
  • The Seljuk –  An tele-transport alien race located in the Triangulum Galaxy. Has a “history” with the Eridanians

 Cast of Characters

trt-characters-001

— THE RETURN TRIP

The NULL Solution = Episode 154

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The NULL Solution = Episode 154

…Skaldic would prefer keeping an eye on Chasonn’s intentions…

“Enough Sammy Mac! As long as we have Chasonn here, I suggest we act on my solution to the Harmonia Query. The planet Mars is central to the stability of this quadrant. We must consult Ekcello before we take Defender out on a mission.”

Space Trip by B-rad-asQ – deviantart.com

“What say you, Chase? Are you up to a trip to Terran territory?”

“We can take my ship.”

“Do you mind if you drop out of orbit and pick us up? I’ll need to see your transport mechanism work a few times before I can trust it.”

They have been ignoring an interested bystander.

“Can I come along?” Deimostra has watched the men interact, her father being the character-filterer in her life. If he gives someone a nickname, that is a green light.

“Just Chase and Skaldy this time around, honey.” Sampson is oblivious to his daughter’s motives. “Why don’t you show Chase around while we get Ekcello’s permission to leave the planet.”

Skaldic would prefer keeping an eye on Chasonn’s intentions. The lady sure accepted her tour guide assignment without hesitation. Deimostra is more than willing to usher Chasonn around the “hood”. Skaldic has his reservations about the arrangement. That fetching smile gives her away.

“You’ve already seen enough of Eupepsia, if you’ve seen one tower, you’ve seen them all. I’d like to show you the icefalls at the far pole. If we time it just right, we will catch the light refraction as Epsilon Eridani dips below the horizon.”

Skaldic was the first to show Deimostra the icefalls.–

“Ekcello does not trust you?” asks the footloose foreigner of Sam.

“He still thinks I may bolt for home on my own,” Sam admits. He turns to Skaldic, “Let’s pack up some of our own stuff. I don’t know what a Selljunk eats or drinks. I’ve been brewing some special grog for an occasion like this. Kind of like a boy’s night out.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 154


page 152

The NULL Solution = Episode 103

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The NULL Solution = Episode 103

Xat has made himself a shadow-world, just on the other side of the next dimension…

Portal To Another Dimension by techngame

#What are you doing in my world# It seems that Xat has made himself a shadow-world, just on the other side of the next dimension. He waves his arms and suddenly there is his family… and those of his associates… frolicking in an Eridanus with crystal clear skies, no towers; without Gifted or Null.

#I require the knowledge of time-space-fold. My daughter is trapped at a distant star. We need her firstborn to bond with us#

#You and the other Gifted left us here, like a diseased colony. I have used my skills to create a parallel world. We prefer our dimension to yours#

#All we ask is the knowledge to restore Defender’s TSF technology#

#Such a fine ship she would have been#

#As it was until recently#

#To think we were vanquished to a hole in this planet because we knew too much#

#I could bring you back with us, me and The Keeper#

#Why would we give up all this# He is proud of his world, but he produces a thick pile of equations and schematics regardless. #Be aware that there is also an unquantified essence. You must summon that ancient discipline, # yet another art left behind. #We have no use for the Gifted. We live in a dimension without pain, rank or negativity. I will restore the grotto scene to you now. DO NOT RETURN#

Ekcello is unaccustomed to being told what to do.

#It would take a cosmic force to disable TSF# Xat would know.

#We suspect ⃝     is responsible#

#We know both ⃝    #

The dank cavern surrounds them once again. Xat returns to the world he created for himself.

Ekcello and the Keeper return to the surface. One problem solved, while others go unanswered.

#I wonder if Xat could solve the riddle#

#What riddle Supreme Elder? There are two O#

There are things even The Keeper has no knowledge of.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 103


page 104

The NULL Solution = Episode 102

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The NULL Solution = Episode 102

…A man called Xat was banished to this cavern… he and his family and associates for all time and space travel knowledge was to die with him..

Deep below the tower Eupepsia, in a secret place hundreds of feet below the Spaceflight Expository, Ekcello, Supreme Elder of the High Council of Eridanus, meets with the eldest of the Olde. They are the keepers of the Olde Language, so as to preserve it for posterity. They were not, however, charged with the preservation of the olde spaceflight technology, like the hastily abandoned time-space-fold capable ship named Defender back in the day.

Albert Bierstadt (American, 1830-1902) (Painter)

Defender was resurrected for the purpose of giving the Triangulum Galaxy, and the Seljuk, a non-hyperphysical house-call. Granted, it was an open-ended resurrection, but now that the TSF feature is on the fritz, they endeavor to meet with the Great Beyond, Epsilon Eridani style.

The cavern below Eupepsia is a place where no rational Eridanian soul has tread for untold cycles, dating back to the olde home world exodus B.V., Before Vulcanization.

With ancient antiquated written text in hand, thanks to the keepers, Ekcello descends into history, the time when Earth was a place for exploration and a method for collapsing the fabric of space & time was deemed necessary for the sake of “progress”. It is a scary place. Normally he would have Cerella with him to supplement courage. She is, however, the very reason for this séance of sort. Wife Fortan would not be caught dead here.

#Who was the elder in charge of space technology# Ekcello inquires of the Keeper of Customs & Traditions.

#A man called Xat was banished to this cavern… he and his family and associates for all time. His knowledge was to die with him#

#But his spirit lives on. We are here to contact him. We cannot bring Cerella back to her rightful place without his knowledge so-named TSF#

They are not in the grotto but a short time, when it comes alive with activity. Spirits stir and time itself is fractured.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 102


page 103

The NULL Solution = Episode 60

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The NULL Solution = Episode 60

…The Ÿ€Ð commander of the Epsilon expedition ship has the bright idea to kidnap that female offspring of Ekcello the Halfhearted…

— In the foreseeable present, the last 3 remaining Ÿ€Ð cruisers {left in one piece} set out on their missions, one for the Triangulum Galaxy and two to the Milky Way. As sure as a star is born, one of the three will locate the culprit, that one that destroyed what is left of Ÿ€Ð once feared prowess.

One ship wings its way straight for Epsilon Eridani. They need go no further than Orion’s Belt to find a people capable of taking down the meat of their fleet. Leave it to the quiet kids on the block to suddenly change their reclusive ways and take out the competition; competition for one of the garden spots in all of creation – Earth. {No more a habitable place can be found. If it were not so distant, a flotilla of Ÿ€Ð colonizers would have barged their way in long ago}

Just what they really know about the Eridanians is debatable. The last they heard, Ekcello the Halfhearted {their harsh nickname}, had shrunk away in the wake of Ÿ€Ð intimidation – some time back. That makes them an easy target.

But…

Rumors are flying about a royal birth, a female no less.

There are rumors about the presence of Earthlings on Eridanus.–

The commander of the Epsilon expedition ship has the bright idea to kidnap that female offspring of Ekcello the Halfhearted. A well-timed transporter beam should do the trick.

“We have detected a warp deceleration,” Deke McKinney of the Space Family McKinney is on duty, the job of looking out past the mist encapsulating Eridanus.

“That is not good news. Chasonn would have given us a heads-up,” Sampson McKinney speculates. “Send out a warning.”

An Eridanian warning comes in the form of an audible deep-bass disruptor in the key of B#. It will awaken the dead and confound the living, regardless of the specie.

This cosmic occurrence is simultaneous to a pow-wow concerning ⃝    . Hopefully, think-tanking will add a measure of understanding.  Ekcello, Cerella, the McKinneys and Skaldic meet regularly to discuss ideas, both old and new.

“It looks like they are just cruising through, heading away passed the Olde Home World.”

“Ÿ€Ð.” Ekcello’s tone is one of deep disgust. He can smell them a mile away.

Such attention is paid to the passing spacecraft that not one of them notices anything else thereabout, “The sphere!” Sammy Mac spies the enigmatic sphere of much wonder. “Never mind it’s gone.”

The cruiser from Galaxy Sexta A is nowhere to be seen either/anymore; the scene is chaotic.

Without fanfare or tangible despair, Cerella, Heiress to the High Council of Eridanus has vanished… along with her unborn child.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 60


page 62

The NULL Solution = Episode 10

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The NULL Solution = Episode 10

…We are not searching for where, we are searching for what…

Searching by Ralph Harlow

–Just what would a caged animal (let’s say a lion) do when it manages to break out of the confines of zoo’s enclosure? You best get out of the way, because Mr. Lion is going to head for the nearest open country and the sense of freedom.

As pleasant and accommodating as the Eridanians have been, one Sampson McKinney represents that captive lion. On one hand, he has the Universe laid out before him, while on the other, all those planets, stars and galaxies are nothing but raw meat he cannot sample. It feels like a lion’s lifetime since he has tasted the sweet essence of autonomy.

Up until this point in time, Stardate 2052.50, the Defender has been sitting in the Spaceflight Expository certainly appreciated but absolutely unused. It was designed by a long-gone previous generation on Eridanus, when getting somewhere meant something; to an exploratory people that has since waned and the security of the Milky Way Galaxy was not an issue. On Earth, Jesus Christ had yet to take his first step.

Barnard’s Loop

The Space Family McKinney is poised to see what’s up on the other side of Barnard’s Loop.

Much to their dismay, it is Cerella who will pilot Defender once it escapes the gravitational influence of their “home star” Epsilon Eridani.

“Are we headed to the Pinwheel Galaxy, oh wise daughter-in-law of mine?” That would be one guess, Sammy Mac. She shakes her head no.

“How about Andromeda X, at zero point 4 degrees,” yet another suspicion from Deke is shot down.

We are not searching for where, we are searching for what.” Judging by her blank stare, she is not entirely sure. Leading up to this unauthorized expedition she has had a chance to study the ancient/taboo texts that refer to an unknown force that has before upended the Eridanian applecart and that has done so once again. “When we have passed the Orion Nebula, as you call it, I will engage the time-space-fold drive. It is with that invisible impunity that will begin our search.”

“Oh swell. This is like getting a driving lesson, but you’re not allowed to touch the steering wheel!”

Too bad.

“Relax and enjoy the ride Dad,” Deke has 100% confidence in the real driver. “What can we do my dear mate-for-life-wife?”

Cerella decides to concede some control, “Sampson McKinney, please plot a course 15˚ mark 7 to the Triangulum Galaxy.”

“Now you are speaking my language! I love it when you talk navigation to me.”

“Isn’t that the Seljuk neighborhood?” Deke surmises.

“We must check on their safety before we proceed further,” Cerella clarifies.

Sammy Mac cannot resist asking, “And why do you care about them?”

“They are our friends.”

“… the kind of friends that you haven’t talked to in how many years?”

“The passing of time is relative.”

 

Perception is 90% of reality.


The NULL Solution =

Perception & Reality by Cameron Holmes

Episode 10


page 15 (end ch. 1)

The NULL Solution = Episode 7

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The NULL Solution = Episode 7

…all of a sudden every Eridanian in the tower stopped dead in their tracks…

Father & Son discuss the finer points of space travel.

“Tell me again why they never used these things?” Gus points at a dozen idled prototypes.

“Look at what they’ve just done with this whole deal with Gus and you. Never once did your Mother, yes your mother, travel in

a clunky spaceship… it’s so yesterday, right?” Sampson contradicts his own instincts. “Actually, by the time the Ekcello and the other scientists agreed to the TSF program, some of the other Elders were united against physical space travel. That is why they used the auto-recall feature to retrieve the NEWFOUNDLANDER.”

Explorer, Dad.”

“Right, I cannot get used to their name for the ship we spent almost 5 years on… I remember their expressions when they found us on board!”

“How come they didn’t know you were in there, after all that time?”

“Because they weren’t looking… or didn’t bother to check inside, inside their last big disappointing failure. You know, like when we don’t eat anything that your mother cooks anymore.”

Sampson receives a rap on the back of his head for that ill-timed analogy.

“I didn’t hear you complain, actually any time after I learned how to program the food replicators on NEWFOUNDLANDER.” Celeste’s hearing is transcendental. She also uses their name for the ship.

“And look how healthy I turned out Dad,” Deimostra Samantha McKinney, 1st Earth-child of the stars, adds another voice joins this earthly reminiscing chorus.

“Aren’t you supposed to be studying the Olde Language, Sammy?”

“I was, but all of a sudden every Eridanian in the tower stopped dead in their tracks.

“What do you mean,” asks Celeste, who is taken by surprise for the first time in 200 cycles of Epsilon Eridani. She exits the cavernous Spaceflight Expository only to confirm her daughter’s observation. Down to the last individual, Eridanian society has come to a complete standstill; like they have been switched off by a mysterious force.

“What’s the deal Cel, did you have a brain freeze?”

She had been so tuned into family stuff, that she had lost track of the never-ending Eridanus chatter.

“I have never seen anything like this… scary stuff, I’m shut out.”

“So is Cerella,” Deke speaks for his Eridanian mate. “She’s on her way over, claims to know something about what is going on.”


The NULL Solution =

Brain Freeze by DanvenKY – deviantart.com

Episode 7


page 13