THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 87

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 87

…“And you found out that I am a sucker for a beautiful girl with a gun pointed at her head!”…

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Big Red Lollipop by Donna Pomponio

“You are bluffing.”

“Am I?”

Perhaps because his ears were burning from the flush of embarrassment, or out of shear frustration, he rips off his elastic face/mask, revealing the fire in his eyes. He is also nobody’s’s fool.

Rather than reacting irrationally, he decides to act on a more limited target, while outwardly staying cool.

Enough time has ticked off the countdown clock that Roy can sense the reversing of fortunes.

His assumption is premature, upon seeing Gherkin Dogman turn calmly, raise his weapon and aim it at Francine’s head. Without hesitating he dives headlong into the man, a tackle with the greatest execution, causing the furious spray of bullets to go straight up.

With the noose of reinforcements closing in around them and Gherkin/whomever intentions clear to his men, they are firing in an instant… not at Francine but in the direction of Gantry #2, with the Russian-made jetcopter rising off the ground, pivoting to fire its lethal boom-001payload.

By the time the copter has turned, a good-guys Image result for good guysshoulder-fired missile takes it down in a fiery heap and not a single hostile bullet finds its mark, while the foreign boots on the ground are mowed down like so many weeds.

Roy Crippen has the lone survivor of the raid pinned beneath him, pretty much alongside where Francine spent those terrifying few seconds. Both she and he are very fortunate survivors, given the fact that they were the only participants without a gun.

Francine is lucky in another sense: 100 out of 100 journalists would have given their right arm to be at the scene of the 21st Century’s most compelling stories. But that wasn’t on her mind right now, “That was the bravest thing I have ever seen Roy, live or on video.”

“Had to save that “space-plane”, right Gherkin?” he says while looking down. And you found out that I am a sucker for a beautiful girl with a gun pointed at her head. In the fog of conflict, Roy reacted the only way he knew how. (Never give a sucker an even break)

He actually was thinking of her first, even before his precious Space Colony.

They are soon surrounded by Mission Control Marines.t-minus-to-launch-001

Braden King declares, “T-minus 00:10.00 and counting all systems go in the launch of the deep-space New Mayflower. The sky is high and we have two important people waiting for us.”


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 87


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THE RETURN TRIP- Episode 85

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 85

…“Gherkin Dogman!” Roy storms the recognized authority figure, the mysterious temporary Spatial Debris tech, but the butt of a rifle stops him in his tracks….

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Identity by artist Nick Gentry

meanwhile-caption-001“T-minus 0:42 minutes, all systems are green and go for the second manned flight to Mars,” Braden King is giving the greater space community an update.t-minus-to-launch-001

In the case of Roy Crippen and Francine Bouchette, intercom chatter is their audible
window into the coming tight launch window, the many stars a’twinkling yet shedding not a useful light on this moonless night, on the grounds surrounding the New Mayflower.

“Everything is alright Roy, perhaps our suspicions were unfounded,” she states, swayed by the positive update so close to launch.

They are pretty far out onto the tarmac when he tells her, “Let’s not take any chances,” taking her by the hand and sprinting toward Colony Mission Control and away from Gantry #2, where the New Mayflower sits brightly lit, launch vapor pouring from its 450 stance.

As they are running, skimming a scant 2 feet above the flat ground a jetcopter sweeps onto the scene, without US Air Force markings and not with the friendliest intent.

“That is a Mil Mi-38 Hind attack helicopter,” charging through the pitch-black
darkness, beneath the radar of a non-military installation. It drops and blocks their further advance.

 

These interlopers know their targets, with the swift effectiveness of a SWAT team, more than 10 armed men leap from open doors, before it touches down. The head start gives them a decided advantage, securing the intended hostages with ease.

Roy’s initial response to capture is to wax heroic, but disadvantageous numbers fly in the face of logic; an automatic weapon held by a familiar face decides the matter and that is that.

“I knew he would be foolish,” the supposed leader of the force speaks in some mischievous blend of Hindi and English.

“Gherkin Dogman!” Roy storms the recognized authority figure, the mysterious temporary Spatial Debris tech, but the butt of a rifle stops him in his tracks.

“No!” Francine pushes aside the assault-weapon-wielding thug to come to the aid of her fallen new friend. Other than an ugly lump at the base of his skull, the stirring new-mayflower-001victim is not seriously injured.

“As you may have guessed, I am not Gurkhas Dhangotma; in fact, my name is not important. What does matter is that we have you and this female as hostages and we insist that you cancel that silly rescue plane to save your imperialistic friends.”

–  A rather simplistic description of the New Mayflower and its new mission.


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Poster from THE RAID 2

Episode 85


page 104

 

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 70

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 70

…the red carpet seemingly rolls out, with Roy Crippen holding the key to this city of geeks and rockets…

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Marcus Glenn- Red Carpet Series Painting. ( THE NITE THE STARS FELT CLOSER )

As her new/old-school speedometer needle exceeds the 250 limit, she has covered the 50 or so miles in an exhilarating 13.3 minutes. She takes the GLF (Galveston Launch Facility) exit off I-45 and travels down the expressly made frontage road for the spaceflight center.

She had been here before, but only once and only to be turned away by a snotty guard. But today the barrier drops below the pavement, the red carpet seemingly rolling out, with Roy Crippen holding the key to this city of geeks and rockets.

“Go straight ahead to Area 3 and hang a right… nice car… you can’t miss it.” Formalities are spared but he does admit, “You are prettier in person than you are on television.”

“Well you are more handsome than your televiewer image.” She is used to gratuitous attention, the kind a lecher or slack-jaw emotes, but hearing it from a dashing astronaut-type is an especially pleasant experience.

As she drives thru the massive complex, a village in itself with streets and speed limits to match. Building heights vary greatly, from ordinary offices to futuristic towers, white coated men and women scurrying back and forth, even at this late hour.

Just as on the Interstate she glides through unimpeded. Crippen tells her to stop in front of a building, which seems to defy gravity or balance. The new Mission Control has been hailed as an architectural wonder and she can see why, with the feel of a combination of a V and X.

“It’s a secret,” he sees that her mouth was agog and ajar, “and don’t disable the start button Miss Bouchette; someone will happily park it for you.”

“I bet he will,” she makes eye contact with the valet while vacating her now well broke-in car.

“You made great time. Good call on your part.”

“Other than feeling like I was in a one car race, I made it here in one piece.” She takes a closer look at the man she had only just met and is so often the case, the voice and face are a disconnect. For a man so slight, he is extremely appealing. ‘I wonder if he’s married,’ a girl is allowed. 


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 6

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 THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 6

…The future is reserved for the dreamer, the past is there for the reminisce(r), but the present belongs to the opportunist, as it is for Roy Crippen. …

Image result for past present future

Image result for early nasaWhile the happily married McKinney’s prepare to inaugurate Space Colony 1 and the whole of Colony Control/Command Com gawks at the spectacular views sent back by the huge orbiting station, the project coordinator still has his head under the hood, so-to-speak. For Roy Crippen, a shuttle astronaut from the horse and buggy days, with the Chronicle currently in place, the task of dispatching the deep-space shuttle New Mayflower now becomes his top priority; a green light has replaced the amber shade which has been flashing on the project status screen for an agonizingly long time.

Mars City Mock-up

Mars City mockup

Here at the Galveston Launch Facility, finishing touches are being applied to the refitted shuttle. The passenger liner type vehicle and its load of astronauts, scientists and miscellaneous personnel must be ready to hit the long and empty reaches of space ASAP; 26 future citizens of Mars City.

Getting the New Mayflower into space is routine, save the very rare and unfortunate exception. All precautions have been taken and were a breeze compared to the 140 million kilometer journey ahead, at the painfully slow space-pace of 50,000+/- km/hour.

Speed-of-Light2It seems like so-much wasted time to Roy Crippen. “We should be able to go much faster than this.” Beside his duties as heart-and-soul of Space Colony 1, a considerable soul by itself, he lays awake nights working out one particular science project in his mind; speed-of-light space travel. 100 physicists and “spacies” are presently taking theory and making it reality in the laboratory, but the physical application of SOL theory is his persistent pet peeve. There resides a completed SOL Cruiser on the drafting board of his soul.

crippen-2036-001The future is reserved for the dreamer, the past is there for the reminisce(r). But the present belongs to the opportunist, as it is for Roy Crippen. This tall, thin man has garnered worldwide attention because of the Colony, the kind usually coveted by more attention seeking men. He has minimized the office of the President of the United States or the ever busy Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency in his mind.

There are reporters from Fox International, Reuters and World Newsmakers assigned to follow his every move. Some suggest he run for President in 2036, a notion he scoffs at, but secretly finds intriguing.


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 133

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 133

“Hey buddy, you’re out in real space Rick, you better be prepared for the unknown…

— Back at Galveston, with the condition of Braden King weighing him down, the well-being of the Space Family McKinney both here and on Mars occupying its regular space, and his unattended new relationship with Francine Bouchette bouncing around the lonely corners of his heart, Roy is forced to put those on back burners to deal with the not-so-clear and present realities that reside in that yawning dark space between the Moon and the Red Planet.

There at the launch facility he can speak directly to Cmdr. Rick Stanley, which is a luxury, considering the fractional parsecs of unknown-ities that surround the situation, “How are you doing young Rick?”

“We are just about ready to hit the hay for a month or so. Without a night and day as guideposts, it has been hard to get any rest at all.”

“I hate to the bearer of bad news, but we will need to put-off your long summer’s nap for a few days; I have a couple of things I need you to do.”

“As long as we get paid overtime….sure thing Boss!”

“I have a meeting with Global 9 Insurance and I’ll see what they cover, but for now I need for you change your heading, enough to take you a couple thousand miles to the right hand side of your flight plan and stick to that course until I tell you to go back to the original.”

“Okay?” The New Mayflower space pilot complies, taking mere seconds to do so. “Are we trying to lose that nagging echo? I know it cannot keep up with our new propulsion system?”

“Good. Now if you check your data banks, you will find a .pdf file named Afridi. Please download it now.”

“Afraid-y? We ain’t scared of nothing out here, ‘cept asteroids and hemorrhoids.”

“a-f-r-i-d-i and do not sit on this. I want you to hotwire it into the circuits of that bucket of titanium you are driving.”

“This looks like a combination of an energy damper and electron scrambler. Is this a weapon or a shield and why are you being cryptic.” These defensive alterations have the rescue mission captain wondering. “And what about the bogey we’re trying to shake?”

Roy wants Rick to stick to the basics, so as not to keep them awake for the final two months of their mission. “And one more thing, tell your buddy AL to wake you guys up if he senses anything else manmade out there.”

AL is the generic, but contiguously used name for the on-board annoyingly expressive interactive computer systems that are built-in to every NASA spacecraft.

“We have AL’s volume muted. Someone, who best remains nameless, decided to give him a sense of humor.”

“Don’t blame it on anyone here Rick. I think AL is doing his own evolutionary augmentations; can you blame him after losing his brother the Chronicle. They       are all interconnected you know.””

“You talk about AL like he is a life form.”

“Hey buddy, you’re out in real space Rick, you better be prepared for the unknown. Is an evolving computer so unbelievable?  No it’s not, so work with AL… and keep your powder dry.”

 

 

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 133

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