THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 183

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 183

…If there is a dry eye in the house, good luck finding one…

If there is a dry eye in the house, good luck finding one. Even among NASA critics, closet detractors or flat-out opponents who are there only to be dutifully seen, the moment captures their humanity. What heart can be hardened against the thought of a husband and wife doomed to die a slow death on the expansive plain of a planet millions of miles away.

“I never had the chance to meet Celeste McKinney and I am not a mother, but I can tell you this much; the bravery required to sacrifice your life for the furthering of the greater good speaks volumes of her character.” Francine Bouchette-Crippen speaks  the female voice. “As a news anchor, I poured over hours of video regarding the McKinneys and what that video revealed to me was that two people shared the same dream; the dream of a planet that longs to experience what the Hubble Space Telescope brought to our device screens, from 3×5 to 80” diagonal.

“In her own words, I hear loud and clear, Celeste McKinney speaks to reaching out into the solar system, not just to secure the natural resources we so desperately need, but also strive to answer the irksome questions about whether we are alone as intelligent beings. She speaks to the dreams of her beloved Deke & Gus, to follow in the wake of their travels outside Earth’s atmosphere, past our Moon, and out to the Andromeda Galaxy.”

Francine begins to break down, a side of her few have seen in public. She uses the eerie silence to gather herself and pause for effect, “And tomorrow is Mother’s Day.”

She summons the strength to continue.

“I have been robbed of the opportunity to meet these two fine explorers, but with my time spent at around the people who love them and the precious moments I have shared with Deke & Gus, their fine character and lofty aspirations, I am so very proud to be part of their lives and legacy.”

She weeps as she backs away from the podium, the sad pedestal overlooking two huge portraits, the empty flag-draped caskets – topped with a sign made by Gus.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 183


page 219

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 182

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 182

…”I remember where I was when”…

The Garden of Her Memories by Jamil Afridi.

Though it has been almost two years since the Mayflower Incident and 2+ years out from the last audible words spoken by the McKinneys, no one seems willing to let go of the dwindling hope, admit to their apparent demise, and pay final tribute to the first two true colonists in space. As the country regularly follows the growth into manhood of the brave remaining McKinneys, Deke & Gus, the gloom of the past is set aside for the promise of the future they represent. The pioneering spirits of Sampson & Celeste live on in the persons of the two young up-and-coming astronaut-brats; raised on all things space and flying head-on into its present future. —

— But it is time. With the hot humid days of late spring 2032 settling into the American Southwest, the memory, not the bodies of Sampson J. McKinney and Celeste Bergestrom-McKinney are to be laid to rest.

The stage is being set for one of the most memorable memorial services in recent times. The other notables:

  • 2030 — United Korea wails in shock over the elimination of Kim Jung-Un
  • 2025 — The passing of the ageless Sir Paul McCartney
  • 2018 — All of Britannia mourns Queen Elizabeth
  • Any ISIS reign of terror
  • 2012 — The Sandy Hook school shootings

Before the “I remember where I was when…” eyes of one million+ people in Houston and the billion+ linked by satellite, the grieving heart of the world in splayed for all to see.

The nearest and dearest are here to console each other:

  • The Bergestrom’s from Sweden attend in great numbers,
  • As do the Scottish/Irish McKinneys headed by Aunt Sassy.
  • Braden King whose heart has been torn from his chest.

And of course, the McKinney children:

1.1       Deke McKinney, the oldest son who is the new rock of the family.

1.2       Gus McKinney, the eager, bright-eyed dreamer who has his sights set on the stars.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 182


page 218

Contents TRT