THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 116
…We are flying by the seat of our pants, buddy…
No single someone or Earthly thing will hold sway over the current Martian circumstances. As organically vigorous as the planet has evolved, in the span of a single complete orbit around the Terran sun, there are no signs of a human or alien population.
There remains that one soaring structure which screams the word Harmonia from its broad base to the sweeping beacon at its peak.
With the front door firmly locked, with a riddle for a key, the expeditionary goal is to land Solution 180° opposite it, where the way is unfettered and the prairie grasses are knee high before Easter. Just like historic Earth, Mars is healing its crater scars and river bottoms with a fresh coat of vegetation and flows of fresh, spotless water.
In order to navigate the some 6600+ mile overland trip to Harmonia, the rover is a low-to-the-ground/amphibious crawler of ingenious design. During its test drives, the summer creature residents of NW Canada must have been bewildered by how Solution would cross tundra, lake or forest while hardly changing course. Mountains and craters are the primary geographical challenges in this case. Gus and Rick will cross any hurdle when they get there. There are no maps on this road-never-traveled.
Gus is about to launch Solution from out of the synchronistic orbit of the reliable drone, using the vertical thrusters to land.
Rick Stanley wonders about the tow-drone, “Why didn’t we give this thing a name. A workhorse like this cries out for a name… like, like…”
“That’s just the point Rick, there’s no hot buzz to this hummer. It does its job without fanfare, plodding along with either an orbiting colony in tow or two jamokes & an oversized dune buggy inside… same boring difference. Thomas the Tank is 3X more interesting! I guess history will be the judge.”
“How about the Martian Mule?”
“If it makes you happy, record it in our spacelog. We are going to leave it parked here and it better be here when we get back.”
“We may need to bring the Martian Mule closer to the surface for the return trip.” Rick loves the new name. “The atmosphere has increased the escape velocity, since we last did the calculations. Solution may not have the oomph to get us up.”
“We are flying by the seat of our pants, buddy. This is one huge surprise party and we are the guests of honor.”
“Assisted living or outpatient?”
“No, smartass, I’m talking about a pistachio plantation, near the Tehachapi Pass, out by the San Joaquin Valley.”
“Hey don’t jinx us!”
“Getting back in shouldn’t be a problem, right?”
“Kubrick and Clark aren’t writing our script, Lorgan is.”
THE NULL SOLUTION