THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 31

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 31

Was one of your fares a beautiful woman and two little girls perhaps?…

escape2-001

Aldona Afridi continues his defection to save Space Colony 1

“We must cross the Golden Horn to get reach Galata.”

The Golden Horn is an inlet of the Bosporus, the narrow band of water separating them from the mosque. The main bridge that connects Galata to Stamboul is choked with evening traffic and in the waters below is Image result for the bosporus waterwaynearly as busy, with floating forms of alternative transportation. Boatmen take their fares in the same dinghies driven by a hundred generations, bobbing side-by-side with a number of larger commuter boats.

A certain ferry commands Aldona’s attention. He scans each bow for the name Mother of the Black Sea, the ship of escape for (his wife) Fatima and the girls. It may be either under-sail or moored, are they aboard or are they ashore, in the safe confines of the mosque?

“There are many a ferry tonight, Saied,” the driver notices his passenger’s keen interest.

“Is the Mother of the Black Sea one of them?”

“Oh yes Saied, the largest of them, with the many lights no doubt. It is docked for the night.” He smiles fondly at the thought; the daily visits by the Black Sea ferryboat are a boon to the taxis.

“Docked this afternoon you say? Did you have any fares from that boat?”

“Oh my yes Saied, every docking brings many fares.”

“Was one of your fares a beautiful woman and two little girls perhaps?”

“No, but I may have seen such a group coming down the ramp, more baggage than my humble cab can carry. I think poor Muhammad XXVII may have gotten them, not good for his bad back.

Related image

Turkish traffic

“Can we go faster; I need to get to the mosque yesterday?”

“We will kill more than pecking chickens…The world has gone mad for haste….”

“I don’t care; get us out of this stagnant mess.”

Never let it be said that a good taxi driver does not enjoy a challenge, especially if it involves driving obnoxiously; foot to pedal, hand on horn.

And the race is on!! The resourceful combination of a jet ski and a golf cart squirts through gaps barely wider than a bicycle, prompting Afridi to scrunch his shoulders and close his eyes. But as in old movie sight-gag, they magically appear on the other side, clear of the bottleneck.

So, leaving the trail of tangled auto, with their fist-shaking drivers behind, the Sultan Ahmet Mosque is mere minutes away in Galata, the commercial hub of Old Constantinople.

All in all, Afridi has time to loosen the noose around his neck, having left the hardest roads behind. That he lives to tell the tale is testimony to his firm resolve and evidence of his good fortune. When he was back in that cold river, bullets splashing like rain around him, his long-term welfare was undecided at best. Hopefully there will be sympathetic ears to hear his story, at the end of his cross-continental campaign, ending here in the land of the Great Crusades.

next-time-001


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 31


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 20

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 20

…Out of shear consideration for an ill-advised swimmer, several longshoremen move to hoist Afridi from the frigid drink…

The Longshoremen by John George Brown

The Longshoremen by John George Brown

… Afridi tackles the fifty meter swim to provisional independence; independence not freedom, with freedom attained only with asylum status for him and his family at some rare and highly fortified Western Embassy.

He wastes no time swimming at a record pace, for him, and not overlooked by the gathering swarm of bargemen & dock workers who are up early to start their day. Out of shear consideration for an ill-advised swimmer, several longshoremen move to hoist Afridi from the frigid drink, bantering away in a local unrecognized dialect. Surely they were asking him, What the hell man!”

He nods politely, pretending to understand them, but really only understanding the camel hair blanket given him. Playing dumb is his sole shot at unrecognizability. A single sentence from his intelligent tongue may well tip off any pursuers.

The oldest of these well-meaning men, seems to be on to his plight, considering all the flashing lights on the dusty streetsopposite riverbank. Drawn by the man’s kindness… and his own desperation, he takes the helping hand who leads him away to parts unknown, with the hope of a warm bath, at the bare minimum, at the end of one of these dusty streets.

Once entry is gained, there Afridi meets the better half of his clandestine champion. The ethnic matriarch seems to be upset that her man is not at work, yet somehow gathers some kindness for the stranger in their midst:

cell phone

  • Tepid bath…check
  • Dry change of clothes…check
  • Some kind of meat meal…check

He is worried about his family. ”Do you have a…?” Afridi puts a hand to his ear, the universal cellphone gesture.


THE RETURN TRIP

The Kindness of Strangers by Alberto Ruggier

The Kindness of Strangers by Alberto Ruggier

Episode 20


page 19

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 19

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 19

…May the name of Aldona Afridi hereby be erased from Talibanistan records, as if he never existed!…

meanwhile-caption-001

“He must be dead, Sheikh Nutkani. No one can survive in water that cold… what a fool!” Nae Tan-Dan assumed he would play by the rules, finding it hard to believe that Aldona Afridi would act so rashly.

Shaikh Nutkani

“If he is dead, we must act on our plan sooner than we wanted. If he isn’t dead, he will wish he were.” The former Taliban tribesman is outraged, appalled that this scientist would betray his duty. He is not however, without his wits. “You must find another source for the laser access codes. Surely there is a failsafe protocol built into the system.

May the name of Aldona Afridi hereby be erased from Talibanistan records, as if he never existed!

“The United Korea will honor its end of the bargain, Sheikh. Nae Tan-Dan has the loyalty of all his people.” Third person references denote self-importance.

The reprehensible twosome reassembles their entourage of cars and men, speeding off into the Near East dawn, each to his own clandestine objective.horizontal-line5

Fading automobile noises signal a reprieve for the severely exposed Aldona Afridi. He has spent the last hour clinging to the drive shaft of his ferry refuge, giving e tenuous lease on life. Bleeding from a flesh wound to his upper arm, due solely by regaining dry land, he needs to come with a more well thought out plan. There are signs that he has not been completely forgotten, the fresh siren sounds of activity, likely not from concerned ambulance medics, not mention the helicopters.

Where will he go, is the question of the moment? This nondescript and aptly unnamed tribal village has some 500,000 clansmen/women and not one would open their drafty homes to help a stranger, let alone a hunted one. The logical thing to do is to change his identity, but that is currently a longshot option.escape2-001

He decides that his best chance is on the other side of the river, bridges being few and far in-between, then take his chances from there. He needs to convince himself that lowering his body temperature once again is a good idea.

But that he does with a polar bear’s approach, so he tackles the fifty meter swim to provisional independence; independence not freedom, with freedom attained only with asylum status for him and his family at a rare Western Embassy.


THE RETURN TRIP

No Safe Haven by Larry Selman

No Safe Haven by Larry Selman

Episode 19


page 18

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #175

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #175

 …By the time anyone notices it missing, Clete is thundering up Route 12 and the safety of Quincy, Florida…

“Now go get that Clete idiot, before I elect another sheriff!”

Clete Wilsup is no fool, a little slow maybe, but not dumb enough to think he his in the clear. After he was let go, he made a bee-line across the bridge connecting Blountstown to Bristol, each are seats for their respective county, prepared to put as much distance between him and trouble. He does make one important stop: at the Liberty County Highway Department where he sees the Mack truck parked inside a fenced area, next to the smashed Chadwick. The one thing authorities had not counted on was the spare key in the bottom of his right shoe.

Under the cover of darkness, in a town whose wooden walks are rolled up at ten o’clock, the mesh fence is no match for the Mack truck. By the time anyone notices it missing, Clete is thundering up Route 12 and the safety of Quincy, Florida. He is fearing for Willy with every piston stroke. “I gotta get to Mr. Love. I’m ain’t stoppin’ for nothin’,” is his anthem.

At the Gadsden side of the Liberty County line there is a line of cars blocking the road, two or more private cars being checked inside and out. That tells Clete that they are probably looking for him, but don’t know he has the Mack.

“I ain’t stoppin’ for nothin’, so you best scatter boys,” he advises without letting up on the throttle.

In the range of his headlamps, is a frantically waving constable. The look of terror on his face is priceless, with five tons of 10 gauge steel bearing down on him at full speed. Clete sends him flying, as well as two police cruisers. A hail of bullets bounces off without effect.

Quincy 8 Mi    Just 8 more miles to Quincy.

          At mile seven the engine sputters, bringing the truck to a stop. “You can stop truck, but I ain’t.” It runs on a finite amount of fuel, he is running on adrenaline. In the voiding black of this moonless night, across a long flat expanse, he sees the bobbing headlamps of five cars. It is after midnight and he must assume to be the object of their haste.

Time to test his cross-country skills. He has never been there, but he he knows that Herbert Love lives somewhere to the west of Quincy, north of Route 12; on one of the oldest farms in all of Florida, with two huge equine statues at the head of a mile long driveway. Willy told him that it was a twenty minute walk from the ice plant, just after Seminole Ridge.

Poor Willy. Will he ever work for Love again? Clete cannot fathom the possibility.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Escape2-001

Episode #175


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #43

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Alpha Omega M. D. – Episode #43

…The Flying Bleakers, a Slavic family of acrobatic proportions, is manning the next post. Mile four – versatile performers…

Bleaker Brothers-001

Grandma Lettie’s feet fail to meet a pace that is increasing, slower to faster. 2500 ties into the task, the oldest of the 8 hearts begins to fail, unable to see the journey to the end. Fortunately, Jacques Francoise is stationed 500 feet ahead at the first mile marker. He is the lone member of the Society who remotely resembles a doctor – Mile one – one life at stake.Mile 1-001

“Keep going, please and send Jacques back to me. I will wait for him and catch up. Amanda, you have to keep up the pace!” Jacob does not like the way things are going.

She is fearful for her mother’s life, yet she has to trust the planning and of this liberator.

The longer Jacob remains behind, the greater is his potential for peril. There is no way of knowing when or if the night guards will spot the Campbells’ empty blankets. Will the corn meal sacks work the way they had the day before?

“Remember how we practiced chilens. Steppin’ stones–left foot, right foot, keep yo eyes on the next log and stay close to yo daddy!”

Amanda Campbell senses the urgency.

Mile 1-001Mile two – less eventful; with Jacob regaining his position in the pack as the rest reach station two. “Grandma Lettie is being cared for, go back and combine forces with Jacques,” Jacob tells the Midway village blacksmith, muscularly equipped to carry the 110 pound woman 10 miles if necessary.

Mile 1-001Mile three – aid station, with orange slices and water to keep up their energy. The volunteer, a Negro seamstress, looks at the Campbell girls, imagining herself making wedding dresses for them, free to marry the men they truly love, not bred to the healthiest male to produce the strongest male children.

One minute well spent.

Waiting ahead is quite a pair. Circuses and carnivals are popping up all over theMile 1-001 South, as they have in New York, Saint Louis, and Montreal having been born in Europe. Two of The Flying Bleakers, a Slavic family of acrobatic proportions, is manning the next post. Mile four – versatile performers. The oppression they had fled in the “olde country” is a whiter shade of prejudice than here in Florida, but just as, if not more dirty. The ethnic cleansing that they and their ancestors have survived or participated in for more than four centuries inspires them to lend their unique skills to help right the wronged.


 Alpha Omega M. D.

Episode #43


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THE RETURN TRIP – Next to Last Episode

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THE RETURN TRIP – Next to Last Episode

#The enemies of your United States of America, the United Korean Peninsula would take advantage of Stellar Explorer’s imminent failure…

Bitterness To Enemies – Painting by Nicholas Roerich

Ekcello explains the reasoning behind Gus McKinney’s allowed “escape” from Eridanus.

#When the High Counsel convened, some time ago, we had one specific issue to deal with; the effect of the humans on the stability of our society#

#We were prepared to deal with the introduction of change, until the drumbeat of a young pioneer became deafening. Your son Gus’ reluctance to accept his situation Futureforced us to reconsider some of our positions and we discovered we could solve one problem, the one of temporal tampering.

#We had originally assumed that should Stellar Explorer and your sons be allowed to return to Earth, after we made the necessary corrections to their flaws, that it would destabilize the time-stem they were operating in. What we found farther out in the future changed our minds.

#The enemies of your United States of America and treacherous infection to your planet, the United Korean Peninsula would take advantage of Stellar Explorer’s imminent failure and embark on their own space program, go on to dominate your Solar System, and eventually force its flawed ideology on inferior planets they meet along the way. It is not our practice to tamper with the future, its past or its current, but we could not allow that reality to exist in a galaxy where coexistence is so vital, not dominance#

Memories of the long-past Ÿ€Ð invasion is never far from their minds.

#Gus McKinney travels in a vehicle of which there is no match. He will return to the 2051.025 time-stem without knowing how the improvements came to be. He will experience strange dreams in the aftermath, dreams that will haunt him, taunt him, and cause him to search for their meaning.

#We on Eridanus will be watching and waiting#

Those that Gus leaves behind, the Space Family McKinney on Eridanus stand together, bolstered by the wise Ekcello, pinning their hopes on Gus and his indomitable spirit of exploration.


THE RETURN TRIP

Next to Last Episode


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 276

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 276

May you all live long, laugh often, love hard, with the hope that our paths will cross again someday…

Could anyone possibly trace this comportment back to the root of Gus’ discontent?

Yes. Ekcello and the other members of the High Counsel are collectively aware that Gus is saying goodbye to his family. The young man is conflicted, yet resolute and his hosts have willfully supplied him with the means to leave Eridanus. He is supplying the will to do so.

With that yellow dwarf star {and the blue planet that orbits it} circled on his star chartsescape route and no one manning the security shielding that prevents escape velocity or unauthorized reentry, the new and improved Stellar Explorer is pointed at the other end of the galaxy.

Erroneously believing he needs to be surreptitious, he had positioned the Stellar Explorer in such a way for a rapid route of escape. Everything was set up correctly, except for one nagging detail: Deimostra, his sister had left the party early, exhausted from the excitement, so he had not been able to see her before leaving himself.

Dare he risk being found out because of a sentimental lapse? No, she and he had shared"My dear sister Sammy" in his restlessness privately, though how was she to know how serious it had become. He decides to leave his personal flight recorder behind, with his smiling image and the following message:

My dear sister Sammy;

I’ve only known you for a short time, but I think we bonded over our mutual interest Earth, our home planet, well you know what I mean. It peaks your curiosity, but it nags at me to no end. Tonight I am taking steps to return to Earth, at any cost, because that is where I belong, not here.

May you all live long, love hard, with the hope that our paths will cross again someday.

All my love,

Gus

He places the device in a place he knows she and she alone will find it, alongside her copy of his engagement picture to his dearest Mindy… as he sets his plan in motion.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 276


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 265

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 265

…The Time-Masters have been scanning the future of multiple worlds: theirs, ours and even the dreaded Ÿ€Ð…

Time Masters

“There is a need for a consensus assessment of the growing emotional influence of these earthlings on our world,” Ekcello stresses.

“Have the newcomers caused us trouble? The original three have had a positive effect on my tower, as I believe yours?”

“It is not trouble is the strictest sense, but I fear that the youngest of the newest is unstable enough to possibly attempt an escape.” He speaks of Gus like he was a grandchild, or the Eridanus equivalent.

“Is it possible to send them back without damaging the timestem?” They are discussing many of the very things to be dealt by the Counsel in general, but Fortän’s opinions are valued by Ekcello and hold particular sway.

“That is what I hope to find out this day. The Time-Masters have been scanning the future of multiple worlds: theirs, ours and even the dreaded Ÿ€Ð .”

The far-off and long-forgotten Ÿ€Ð  is an outlaw-outlying-system in Eridanus’ distant past, even though it was the Ÿ€Ð  who Eridanus emulated in their transition to transcendentalism— But there is a rub-of-the-green when it comes to Ÿ€Ð  nature; they are and likely continue to be a paranoid bunch, steeped in a shunted corner of the Galaxy Sexta A.

“The passing of time will always tell,” concludes the wise-and-only Eridanian female Elder.

Side-by-side, mates for life, with years numbering in the many thousands, make their way to the dusty Founder Shrine amphitheater which is now filled with 1500 Elders.

There are notes flying through the audible frequencies, both sharp, flat, and perfect pitch. As confusing as the sung/spoken jumble seems, to have all these Eridanians using telepathy, at once in the same tower, would be a mind-blowing folly.

The appearance of Ekcello and Fortän causes the background noise to cease.

When Ekcello beckons the gathering to order, it becomes: each man, each voice, democracy in its utmost form, “I summon you today, here at Founder Shrine, to discuss the topic of the humans, who have grown so dear to us in recent times.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 265


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Escape

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William S. Burroughs

“Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape. ”
― William S. Burroughs

D.H. Lawrence

“Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized purpose. Not when they are escaping to some wild west. The most unfree souls go west, and shout of freedom.”

― D.H. LawrenceStudies in Classic American Literature

Arthur Conan Doyle

“I must apologize for calling so late,” said he, “and I must further beg you to be so unconventional as to allow me to leave your house presently by scrambling over your back garden wall.”
― Arthur Conan DoyleSherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I

L.M. Montgomery

“There is no such thing as freedom on earth,” he said. “Only different kinds of bondages. And comparative bondages. YOU think you are free now because you’ve escaped from a peculiarly unbreakable kind of bondage. But are you? You love me – THAT’S a bondage.”

― L.M. MontgomeryThe Blue Castle

Escape