THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 23

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 23

…Two key Mission personnel are dead, in one day at that…

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Mars City Mock-up

Mars City Mockup

“Planetary conditions are stable, touchdown grid confirmed.” Roy Crippen has settled in at Galveston Launch Facility to oversee the crowning moment of 20 years of work. Once Tycho comes back home to roost, after its 18 hour maiden excursion, his stay on the Texas coast will shift gears; to sending off the 21st Century version  of the floating boat filled with Brits, the New Mayflower, the first of three trips; winged people-movers that will add a decidedly human touch to a previously hominid-less planet. Mars City will be filled to the brim with 21st Century groundbreakers.

But that is tomorrow and today is today and other portentous profoundness. The Lovell Space Center’s attention is equally split between Mars and Galveston, with Roy Crippen as the connecting driving force for both. He contemplates those that he supervises, a sea of techs and specialists, tops in their field worldwide, 100 people comprising man’s future as good space citizens.

Spatial DebrisThere is one console, Spatial Debris Traffic for the Colony and Satellite tracking, which has an unfamiliar body seated there. For as long as Roy can remember, Phil Jansky has filled that seat.

“Where is Philip Jansky?” Something has slipped past him. He asks roving security, “Is he taking a break… now!?!”

“Jansky is dead, sir; we found him in his quarters when he didn’t confirm his 04:00 wakeup call.”

Roy’s mind starts somersaulting through any number of questions he could ask. He settles on, “Why am I the last to know?”

The security chief is embarrassed, if for no other reason than not knowing who dropped the ball. “The Coroner said he’d get back in touch with both autopsies.”

Two key Mission personnel are dead, in one day at that.

“I should hire a full-time mortician, set him up with an office,  he spends so much time here lately.” The mission head is losing control of personnel matters and his patience is flagging. “Who is Phil’spickle-b replacement?”

The guard checks his roster, “Gurkhas Shah-Dhangotma, from Kathmandu.”

“Never heard of him.  Who hired him with Fred Cabell gone? My God we have a Nepalese debris tracker. Aren’t they still Sherpa guides? This is space for crying out loud, not the Himalayas!

“Mr. Gherkin better be qualified. I do not like this, not at all!” he punctuates his rant sharply, while walking off a disquieting combination of anger and grief… even though “Gurkhas” in not a pickle.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 23


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #252

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #252

…We have gone through this before, sweetie. Do remember that seven letter word: F-I-C-T-I-O-N…

Constance Caraway Cover-001

Vertical-001     Constance Caraway wasn’t going to let a good hunch go bad. It isn’t a common thing to do in Georgia, but digging up a grave is what she is setting out to do. Exhume is the word morticians use, disinter is another. Dirty job is a more apt description. Constance had read something on the death certificate, several years after the incident, while researching another, unrelated case in Atlanta.

Porter Vito is a funerary agent who resurrects people from the dead

  “Folks ‘round here ain’t used to a woman being in the mortuary, with a body and all.” Take it from someone who knows.

 “How about two women?”

 “This is my associate, Fanny Renwick. She will assist me with the evidence.”

   “Evidence? There is a body inside that box. Not in very good shape, I might add.”

        Vertical-001  “The death certificate indicates that she was to be buried with artifacts from her Indian tribe, namely a necklace she was wearing when she was killed. The report said she had marks from that chain when the body was examined.” Constance is speaking as the lid of a dirty wooden box is pried up and away. She immediately spots the colorfully beaded necklace. “Remove that please. Be careful not to touch it with your bare hands.”

   “Little chance of that, Miss Caraway,” he gently lifts the head of the cadaver, plucking the beads with right thumb and index finger! There is a larger gold scarab dangling on the bottom. Fanny is there with a bag to transport it with, not particularly thrilled with this assignment.

   “I hope you found what you were looking for. Remember, I did this as a favor for that detective friend of yours. You can thank him for this.”

   “I scratch his back, he scratches mine,” relates Caraway.

    “I’ll say!” Fanny affirms.

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“Just look at this,” Sara Fenwick points at the place in Carolyn Hanes’ manuscript. “How can our characters be flirting with a man?”

We have gone through this before, sweetie. Do remember that seven letter word?”

 “F-I-C-T-I-O-N. All right already!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Storytelling by Natalia Moroz

Episode #252


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