THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15b

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 15b

…Sampson McKinney found himself rooting for a better outcome for this “girl”, who has a name that he doesn’t know…

…“That doll is the bomb,” one other exclaims!…

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…. 16 years ago, when a 20-something Sampson McKinney stands watching as fellow cadets at the singular Astronaut Preparation—Lovell Space Center, are subjected, in turn, to the dreaded Challenger Control Simulator. You know, just in case one loses control of what you are flying {gravity-less}.

Up until now he found the process mildly entertaining, until an unmistakably tall, blond and FEMALE steps up to take her turn. ‘A Swede,’ he heard a guy in front of him say.

Sam found himself rooting for a better outcome for this “girl”, who has a name that he doesn’t know. “Olga” is the prototypical Scandinavian female name keeps popping into his uninformed mind.

She climbs into the booth, seemingly undaunted by the lack of previous successes. From the outside you do not know what is going on inside. It is supposed to be a un-rehearse-able surprise, which is the point, with varying degrees of achievement.

One thing is obvious, even to the most casual of observers; the simulator hums along as if it hadn’t been started. “What’s the deal,” Sampson utters aloud.”

“That doll is the bomb,” one other exclaims!

Out she comes; standing tall and proud for a few short moments, but the young McKinney can tell her Image result for dizzy gifstability is in jeopardy. He artfully snatches her bobbly-wobbly body before it can reach the ramp floor, guiding her to the outer hallway.

Image result for boy meets girlSeconds later, with her body regaining some perceptive function, she tells her rescuer, “That is one wild ride,”

“It looked pretty smooth to me,” he admits.

In one of those “wow he is handsome” moments, she has to parse her words carefully; sometimes your hearContinuedt takes the lead. “I want to thank you…” her face turns green, words followed by the discharged contents of
her tender innards.

“You’re welcome Miss,” he tells her facetiously. He manages to look past the messy situation.


 

 THE RETURN TRIP

boy_and_girl_by_mykittyjasper

Boy and Girl by mykitty jasper deviantart.com

Episode 15B


 

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 10

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 10

…Fredrick C. Cabell was Human Resources to the civilian employees for the entire Colony project. “He is as mild-mannered as they come and you are treating this like a crime scene?”…

 

“You two are not the bearer of good news I gather?” he speaks to the coroner and the lawman.

“I was called here by the Sheriff, who was called by someone here at the Lovell Space Center, who found an unconscious employee, who called the doctor,” Coroner Franco points to his left.

“Me,” admits the MedLab’s Mission Physician, Miles Scheffeldink, the third man in. “No one knew where you were.”

“Don’t beat around the bush, Miles……who is it?”

The Coroner unzips the body bag to show the dead man’s face.

“Fred Cabell? Damn!” Fredrick C. Cabell was Human Resources to the civilian employees for the entire Colony project. “He is as mild-mannered as they come and you are treating this like a crime scene?”

“That is why deputy Judge called me over, to determine whether he died of natural causes……..or not.” It must be the nature of the beast, because this doctor of the dead is about business and business only, hardened by the general morbidity of his profession.

“I don’t have anything to add here, except that this man is irreplaceable to us. He was like a father to everyone at Lovell, knew our children, and was there when we first stepped on these grounds. If I couldn’t remember something, I’d go to Fred.”

“Even if we could have resuscitated him, and we could not, his brain would have been of no use to him or Image result for cerebral hemorrhageanyone; he died of massive cerebral hemorrhages, several, rapid,” Dr. Sheffeldink of LSC laments.

“Fred had his yearly physical the same day I did—two weeks ago. He did tell me you did a Digital Image of his head and now this?”

“He was 85 years old Mr. Crippen, a brain scan is standard for a man his age,” LSC’s {Lovell Space Center} mission physician explained. “We checking for signs of concussion or Alzheimer’s, you know how nosy doctors are.”

lie_about_age“85, as in four score and five? That rascal has been scamming us all along, said that he wouldn’t reach mandatory retirement of 80 for another 5 years. 75 years old my ass! But of course, he controlled all the records!”

“85 or not, he was fit as an electronic fiddle; blood pressure, serum cholesterol, brain wave, stress factor aptitude, not so much as an irregular heartbeat . I wish I were as healthy,” the attending doctor admits. “What was he doing when he died, you may ask? He was having a cup of coffee in his living quarters here, getting ready to start his day at 4 o’clock AM. That is when I determined T.O.D.”

“TOD?” Crip wonders aloud.

“Time of death,” stated as a matter of fact. “He was entering some notes into his database handheld when the seizure stopped him cold.”

Can I see that thing? Maybe there are some signs of him starting to fail.” asks the Mission Director.

“Do not have it. The security man, who found him, said he had taken care of it.”

“Why was security in Fred’s quarters? How did he know there was something wrong with Fred?” Things aren’t adding up. “As far as I know, no one has ever been inside his room; he was that reclusive in his off-time.”

“Yes indeed, reclusive and disorganized, judging by the mess.” Dr. Sheffeldink was embarrassed about walking into the privacy of a man’s personal space. “The question is, what was he imputing and what caused the hemorrhages.”

“I am going to need some answers Mr. Coroner. Mr. Sheriff, I would like to keep this in house, no public pronouncement,” orders given by a visibly shaken administrator. “Good day gentlemen.”

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The mortician is off to do the autopsy, the sheriff to keep this part of the Panhandle safe and the security guard is nowhere to be found.

To Dr. Sheffeldink he orders, “We’ll be treating Fred’s death as ‘natural causes’. And to be honest Doctor, I am knee-deep in getting 50 more people to Mars; no time to deal with an official investigation.

“Please notify his relatives, if he has some, his wife-ex-wife whomever. It will be on a Image result for damage controlneed-to-know basis only.” Fredrick Cabell knew everything about everybody. But nobody knew anything about him.

Roy was hoping for tranquility around Colony Control, as the most important moments of manned spaceflight are taking place. But that is being replaced by early onset damaged control.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 10


 

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 9

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 9

“This is your Captain speaking. We will be leaving space-dock in 20 minutes and thank you for choosing Martian SubLight Airways,”

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“ROY CRIPPEN IS NEEDED AT COMMAND COM STAT.” An audible text blares from his PDA, tearing him away from thinking about sitting next to the stimulating Riva Riviera at a Red Snapper’s game.

“Gotta run Rick, you hold down the fort while I supervise Tycho’s debut on Mars.” He is off to the Lovell Mars City Mock-upSpace Center to watch the Mars-roving lander and take his part of history. “I will check in with you before we load up your future Mars City colonists on Mayflower.”

Rick mocks him playfully, “This is your Captain speaking. We will be leaving space-dock in 20 minutes and thank you for choosing Martian SubLight Airways,” Roy salutes as he speeds away on the intra-facility people-mover, chuckling all the way.

Colony Control Command Com is bustling with activity, with that time-lapsed, frenetic look to it. Roy’s arrival does not go unnoticed among the other space geeks. Just about every manned station somebody redirects his attention to the Com intercom. It repeats the same vague-but-urgent announcement.

“Come down to the MedLab STAT,” insists the vaguely familiar voice on the other end.

stat

He cannot imagine why the MedLab people would want to see him at such a critical stage in the mission. His mind races with curiosity thoughts…….. ‘Did they find something on my annual physical? Oh my God, please not one of the McKinney’s.’

Rather than his worst-case worries, he is being directed to the Morgue.

“Okay, why am I down here? I am not into dead people.” He is speaking to what appears to be the head physician.

There are two other men in the room, one somber dude with a serious tone and one somber dude with a badge & gun.

“My name is Dr. Geraldo Franco, the Coroner for Okaloosa County, Florida,” followed by, “Deputy Sheriff Mike Judge, Okaloosa County Police.”

“You guys are not the bearer of good news I gather?”


THE RETURN TRIP

Mortuary by Damien Hirst

Mortuary by Damien Hirst

Episode 9


 

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 3

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 3

  …“Thanks for the warning guy,” taunts Sampson McKinney, while turning to his wife and co-pilot to quip, “just what everybody needs, interplanetary caller ID.”…

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At this very minute, supplanting the interplanetary cruise control, Chronicle, the McKinney’s deep-space shuttle’s automated docking systems spring to life. Dormant circuits surge with electrical current, a familiar computer-generated voice starts the show; “YELLOW ALERT. FORTY THOUSAND KILOMETERS FROM DECELERATION. COMMENCING IN NINETY SECONDS.”

The Chronicle’s mainframe speaks in predictable Hawking-like monotone; not the most exciting traveling companion, but artificial companions are better than none at all.

“Nice to hear your rusty voice AL,” not HAL of 2001, “it’s been a while.”

AL the Chronicle’s Interactive Computer

“TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED FITFY-ONE HOURS TO BE EXACT COMMANDER,” the computer states flatly. “PLEASE SPARE ME YOUR HUMOR.”

“Or about 100 days, you precise piece of cr………..”

“INCOMING COMMUNICATION FROM COLONY CONTROL!”

“Thanks for the warning guy,” taunts Sampson McKinney, while turning to his wife and co-pilot to quip, “just what everybody needs, interplanetary caller ID.”

Colony Control

“We heard that Chronicle. It is against international regulations to criticize the on-board hardware…”

The new human voice is that of Braden King, Earth’s mouthpiece to space travelers for two decades.

“Long time no see King. It seems like a year since we heard your dulcet tones.”

“You’ve logged 25 million miles since we had you dodge that rogue asteroid.”

“Yeah thanks for the heads-up old man. That gave me and Cel a chance to get reacquainted, if you know what I mean.”

“I don’t want to hear the details Sam…..and happy new decade to you!” Braden King is more than Director of Communication for the LOVELL SPACE CENTER {formerly Elgin Air Force Base, Florida} and Colony Control Command Com to Sampson & Celeste McKinney. This silver-haired, golden-throated gem of a man has become a surrogate parent figure to them, as well as tending to their teenage sons, Deke and Gus, while they are away.


THE RETURN TRIP

asteroid

Rogue Asteroid

Episode 3


 

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