THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 103

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 103

…“Is that the last one?” It so happens that Sampson’s mother’s brother’s nephew was an undertaker back on Earth…

mortician_by_ezekielcrowe

The Mortician by Ezekiel Crowe deviantart.com

With Sampson obsessed by the microcosm/engine room, Celeste’s medical training has shouldered the grizzly task of logging/identifying the many vacuous uniforms that held the long-dead Newfoundlian  crew. She was determined to give them a proper burial outside the ship, if that was their custom or not. “We will not lose our humanity out here Sam. If Earth’s flag is to be planted here, we will have given a good account of our kind.”

grave-digger-by-karyn

Grave Digger by Karyn

Sammy Mac does not spend all his time tinkering with other civilizations high-tech machinations, lest he ignore his part in the burial process or his marital good fortune. He does the digging; he does the hauling he gathers rocks for marking the mass grave, made to hold the four score Newfoundlians in total.

“Is that the last one?” It so happens that Sampson’s mother’s brother’s nephew was an undertaker back on Earth and young Sam would help with the family business while visiting. That experience gave him the inspiration to do something else with his life, like join the Air Force & ultimately NASA.

“Yes and no,” she answers.

“Come on Celeste, my bad back is flaring up.”

“You don’t have a bad back and I saved back the one we deemed as Newfoundlian Commander for posterity, he is in their supposed infirmary.

“Also, there is one cabin I could not get into. From what I can tell, the door is jammed.”

“Let’s take a look at it; I don’t want to have to do this again.”

“You were so busy in the engine room, I didn’t tell you about a lower level I found,” she admits as she guides them down a hidden passage.

“But we are on ground level??????”watch-your-head

“I know…….watch your……..”

Thuddddddd!!!!

“…head. It’s pretty cramped down here.”

“Thanks for the warning pal,” he rubs his forehead.

“I figure this is life-support and storage, notice the ducting?”

“My head did.”

At the end of the narrow hall, they come to the jammed door. It was like every other one on the ship, but it does respond to Celeste’s black onyx decoder-scrambler-door-opener or even flinch at the pinging note A of the tuning fork.

“I’ve tried every code I know, or have guessed,” she demonstrates thumb movements she has used before.

A typically male reaction to a stuck door is to use the escalating force method, Image result for samsonwhich his Biblical (minus the “p”) namesake exhibits time and again; this Sampson does not have long hair or the strength needed here.

“Just a second Honey,” Celeste pauses to clear her throat. From out of her voice box comes out an acceptable middle C.

Low and behold the utilitarian slide-by opens w-i-d-e.


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 103


page 125

 

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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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“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

The New Mayflower

The New Mayflower

18 hour maiden excursion on Mars, his stay on the Texas coast will shift gears;

Mars City Mock-up

Mars City Mock-up

to sending off the 21st Century version of the floating boat filled with Brits, the New Mayflower, the first of three 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 ground breakers.

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.

There 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.

Spatial Debris

“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’s replacement?”pickle-b

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

Mortician

Episode 23


 

page 29

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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


page 237

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