THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 253
…“Holy crap Deker, we must be dead!”…
After Stellar Explorer settles into its perch, Celeste wrestles with the techniques she learned from Cerella; the “thawing” of human beings, not the more familiar suspended-sleep-state NASA employed for astronauts on the way to Mars. These are not-so-ordinary lives at stake. Cerella soothes her from the rear, coaching her through the procedure.
Rich oxygen-laden and argon infused Eridanian air replaces Deke & Gus’ Earthly mixture. That they quickly adapt to the hyper- atmospheric combination is important, their parents having had years to do so.
And though she had been present at the out-of-body rescue 30 months ago, it is nothing like sharing the same physical space with her sons; so silent, so innocent, so unaware. She gently, carefully removes the metabolic retardation shroud from around the unconscious men. With the aid of a scanner, which she herself had developed in the interim, a physical human-tailored check created and now performed to detect any temporary or permanent damage to their befuddled molecules.
The hijacked SOL astronauts pass this loving scrutiny like troopers, proving that the timing and placement of the molecular stabilizer had been fortuitous and effective.
In the reverse order of their suspension, the last to succumb is the first to resuscitate. When Deke begins to stir, Celeste hastens her familial onlookers to join her.
Because he was virtually frozen in the moment, Deke’s last conscious impression was of his speaking to what seemed to be his mother. One can imagine the boggling ramifications of now seeing his father and a strange young girl as well, adding to the aberration; the difference being that this time the images are very clear and not translucent.
Déjà vu all over again prompts him to repeat his attempt to revive his co-pilot, “Gus, come on Gus, wake up dude!”
“What do you want?” Like the morning of their test flight, he is in a fog.
Deke merely points to the three unlikely people standing before them.
“Holy crap Deker, we must be dead!”