THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 86

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 86

…“That’s right you terrorist fools,” adds the previously apprehensive now animated Francine, noticing that the odds may soon even out…

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Dogs Playing Poker, 1903 – C. M. Coolidge

“As you may have guessed, I am not Gurkhas Dhangotma; in fact, my name is not important. What does matter is that we have you and this female as hostages and we insist that you cancel that silly rescue plane to save your imperialistic friends.”checklist-001

The foreigner’s English fluency is markedly better than he recalls, spoken with the conviction of 10 other automatic weapons.


“Sorry Pal! That bird goes off at 11:57 C.S.T. no matter what happens to me, especially since you snakes did such a good job of slithering in under our radar.” Roy is matter-of-fact, having the facts and a lump at the top of his spine.

“You are risking your lives for those of two others so far away? What do they matter?”

“I only speak for me, but I have had it with all you fringe groups trying to have it your way. Jealousy is not a cause to follow; it is a coward’s lot in life… and if you haven’t looked around lately, you may have done-waked-up the good guys.”Related image

“That’s right you terrorist fools,” adds the previously apprehensive now animated Francine rolls the dice, noticing that the odds may soon even out.

With his bluff being called in question, “Gherkin” does not panic or display fear, “We are not terrorists, for if we were such men, we would have opened fire on your rescue vessel with our gunship, instead of bothering with you two. We have no need of furthers deaths when we can accomplish our feat of putting an end to the colonization of space without firing a canon. We will interfere with your silly rescue.”

t-minus-to-launch-001Give the man credit for his utter gall, but as Braden King blares “t-minus 00:20.00 minutes” Roy has achieved his ace-in-the-hole, in gambling terms.

“You are determined Gherkin, I’ll give you that, but at the 20 minutes mark your best laid plans have left you fail-safeempty handed.” Roy walks freely in the brawlers’ circle. “The launch is now in fail-safe mode. Only the mission computers can abort the launch…..and they do not know a gun from a slingshot.”

“You are bluffing.”

“Am I?”



by Mollie B

Episode 86

page 105



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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

…Suddenly, stranded & pregnant in space is trumped by, “Are we taking off?”


“What did NASA tell us about the efficacy of birth control in a semi-weightless environment?”


“Bingo, give that man a cigar!” Celeste can only make light of delicate condition. “I are-you-sure-001believe that I have become the guinea pig for an unscheduled NASA experiment.”

After a flood of possible emotional responses runs its course, he concludes, “I wonder if Engineer Karl had the foresight to build a nursery into (NASA’s rescue ship) New Mayflower’s medical bay?”

“WE don’t need to worry; women have been giving birth in unusual places for four millennia.”

“In space, damn Cel, are you sure you’re pregnant? We don’t need to be distracted by a false alarm.”

The mother-to-be runs her hands through her blonde hair front to back, “It has been about 15 years, but yes I am 100 percent sure and this time feels different, maybe the daughter you’ve been wanting?”

schawonkschawonkabelumphhh !!!!!!Related image

The tender family moment is stunned back into present realities by a vigorous combination of a good healthy belch and a Winnie the Pooh sound effect.

Suddenly, stranded & pregnant is trumped.

“Are we taking off?”

Sampson pauses to identify the cause of the quaking. “No, no we’re not, but I think it is time we more thoroughly assess our newfound sanctuary.”

“Along those lines, I think we should give this thing a name, since we can’t read extraterrestrial and just because we can.” Celeste thinks on it, while Sam starts scanning the bridge of this bucket of unknown metal. “Newfound sanctuary, Newfoundland Province Canada… how does the

“That’s a good one, the NEWFOUNDLANDER! So it shall be newfoundlander-001from this day forward,” Commander McKinney proclaims,
entering it into his continuing log of the newest incarnation of the Space Colony and temporary Mars City. “So let’s check out this galaxy trotter.”–


Episode 78

page 96


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 74

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 74

…Miss Bouchette, can I count on you to help me out here? I will grant you blanket access with Level 1 Security status


“You could barely speak English this morning when we spoke this morning.”

“I have not had the honor to meet you until now; I would like to express the gratitude of all the Nepalese people for being part of the great Space Colony. My government sends its deep condolences for the horrible accident.”

This man was genuinely sincere and definitely not the Gherkin Dogma he had met right before the Colony disappeared from the Mars Mockup.

“Are you saying that you didn’t man this station until after Space Colony was taxi-001destroyed?” Roy is more confused than ever.

“That is correct Director Crippen. I was late in arriving because my taxi driver could not find Galveston Launch Facility; it seems he took a wrong turn as we left George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which is odd because you can see Colony Mission Control from many miles away.”

“Sounds fishy to me Director Roy,” Francine interjects her opinion. “I know that many cabbies are new to this country, but they cannot be blind.”

All the while digesting and deciphering, Roy is finally seeing the handwriting on the wall. As Phil Jansky’s replacement continued to ramble on about other trip delaying travails, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together:

 1)   Philip Jansky, Spatial Debris Specialist {20 year NASA employee} dies of a rare & sudden cerebral hemorrhage

2    That death occurs at a critical time in Space Colony 1’s mission, with the McKinneys on Mars surface

3)   In a scramble to replace personnel, a Nepalese technician is flown in by supersonic transport

4)  Space Colony 1 disappears from its orbit around Mars, cause unknown

“From Earth-to-Mars, no one’s laughing from here-or-there.”

5)  A rescue mission involving the premature launch of the New Mayflower is hastily thrown together

6)  One man, two manred man, blue man. A human shell game has been going on, with sketchy timelines and miss-identifications

“Time is winding down Francine and I do not have time to do a full-blown investigation. Can I count on you to help me out here? I will grant you blanket access with Level 1 Security status.”

“A good reporter never turns down the opportunity to do what she does best.” She is developing more than a casual interest in both this interplanetary intrigue and this intriguing man specifically. “You can count on me….as long as I get the exclusive.”

Roy is going to need the help…no matter what she is angling.



Episode 74


page 92 (end ch. 4)



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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 73

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 73

“What happened to your lousy English and didn’t your hair used to be black?”…


The Plot Thickens by Donna MacDonald

“Then why has his hair color changed?” On a thin whim he says, “Let’s pay Gherkin a visit.” With time dwindling, hunches played trump hunches ignored.

Roy Crippen douses power to the what-not room as he and Francine scamper over to the nerve center of mans’ first colony away from Earth. From scamper to gallop, their pace quickens and if Francine had any doubts as to the seriousness of the situation, all she need do is keep up with the bulldog in front of her.

In a big building with odd angles and unexpected transitions, Roy barrels over an unsuspecting  technician, sending him sprawling. He excuses himself, sort of, while acquiring a limp in the process.

Francine mostly ignores the tech, asking, “Are you going to be alright Roy?”

“What…. Oh yes, come on,” not a complete answer.

“I hope I’m not out of line, but are we chasing a ghost here. You are making a pretty big fuss about one little man.” She is not privy to Roy’s unfolding theory.

He stops to collect himself, address her issues with a glance and a right hand thru his floppy brown straight hair. Francine straightens his tie thereby restoring the look of a man in control.

He speaks, seemingly into the thin air, alerting security as to the nature of his pending confrontation, rejoining the previously frantic pace, with a newswoman bring up the rear.

At this late stage of the approaching launch, less than an hour now, nearly every eye sneaks a peek at NASA’s man of the hour. He looks like a man under the gun, acts like a man possessed, and don’t you dare get in his way.

With Roy grabbing the Spatial Debris tech by the shoulders, spinning him around in-your-face style, the man is startled by the aggressive move, “There is no problem in the launch window, Mr. Crippen, only some small stuff out at 500,000 out.”

“What happened to your lousy English and didn’t your hair used to be black?”

“I do not know what you are talking about, Sir.”

“What is your name and when did you get here?”

“My name is Gurkhas Shah Dhangotma and I have been here all day, except for a short break early this morning. I had been on duty for sixteen hours. Someone relieved me for an hour, no more.”

“You could barely speak English when we spoke this morning.”




Episode 73

page 90


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The prime of Roy’s career was spent languishing through the lean years of the space program. There was a dirty word used back then, “privatization”; a sorry excuse for a shortsighted, budget strapped exploration climate...



It is dawn on the southeast coast of Texas. The same sun the warms the planet Mars, reflects off the still, new-mayflower-001February water of the Gulf of the Americas and Roy Crippen. He stalks about the base of the deep-space shuttle named New Mayflower, expecting to be alone in his vigilance, only to find its Commander going through the same pre-mission routine. Ever since the Challenger disaster, some 5 decades past, uneasiness seems to be passed along from one mission commander to the next.

“What a surprise Rick! You can’t shake 1986 either, can you?” The
current manifestation of Roy was but a 2nd grade schoolboy back then, yet he speaks from a heavy heart, having watched the disaster unfold in a Florida classroom.

Richard Stanley, who was born in 1999, ranks as the number 3 commander behind the two-you-know-who’s presently orbiting Mars. “Yes that and the fact that I will not be strolling around (Heinlein’s) Green Hills of Earth for a couple years. It is an ominous thought, losing 2 years and all.”

“Great genre reference buddy, we all love Heinlein, but I refuse to swallow that ‘losing two years’ stuff. I would trade places with you, like that!” Roy snaps his fingers. “After 52 years I have been labelled a has-been; 52 and not allowed to fly, how fair is that? I could fly a Boeing 967 at supersonic speeds for any commercial air carrier, for 18 more years in the friendly skies and but none in a ship outside the stratosphere.”

Roy is not lying about his desire to fly missions. The prime of his career was spent languishing through the lean Obama years of the space program. There was a dirty word used back then, “privatization”, a sorry excuse for a shortsighted, budget strapped exploration climate. The only government money was spent on, “…….drones and probes, probes, rovers and drones,” he recalls with more than an ounce of disdain.


ediitors-note(Official song and video of the Challenger 7 fund. Flight and crew of the Challenger in 1986. Sung by Jerry Dycke, written by Jerry Dycke and Charlie Whitaker in 1986. The film edited for this project was provide by NASA to John Biffar who produced the video. The song was produced and arranged by Steve Rogers.)


Gobbling up the Commons. Cartoon by Ahmed Abdallah

Gobbling up the Commons. Cartoon by Ahmed Abdallah

Episode 7


page 8



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  …“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.”…


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


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


“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.



Rogue Asteroid

Episode 3


page 5


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The Earth is Flat – WIF Mad Science

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Reasons to Believe

That the Earth is Flat

with the help of contributor 

According to the esteemed font of scholarly knowledge known as,Wikipedia, the Earth is an oblate spheroid. However, according to the Flat Earth Society who have the word “Earth” right there in their name, the Globe is actually a big flat disk, gravity is a lie and NASA is the most powerful commercial entity on Earth, which we think sounds a lot more likely than all of that “science” crap they taught us about in physics class.

That’s why we’ve decided to list the 10 most convincing reasons that the Earth might actually be shaped like a pancake.

(In case anyone was wondering, I’m being super sarcastic.)

10. You’re part of an exclusive club


When you’re one of the sheep who believes that the Earth is shaped like a slightly overweight basketball instead of a kick-ass UFO or mountain covered Frisbee, you’re one of 7 billion other people who’ve been fooled by the man.

However, if you choose to ascribe to the idea that the Earth is actually a giant disk flying aimlessly through an uncaring, godless void, you’re part of an exclusive club of just 100 people. Yes, amazingly, there are only around 100 people on Earth right now who are smart enough to realise that every person with a PHD in the entire world is lying. According to The Flat Earth Society, they had over 3000 members in the 90’s, but a after a fire, that was probably started by some butthole working for NASA, they lost all their records and had to start again. Since then, only 100 people have bothered to join back up, meaning there are less people in this club than there are rhinos left in the wild.

But hey, don’t let that fact fool you into thinking this is just an idea held by random idiots online with nothing better to do, because …

9. A bunch of highly influential people also believe the Earth is flat


When it comes to the Flat Earth argument, you could be fooled into thinking that those who believe in the ludicrous idea of an orb shaped planet have the upper hand because their ranks include: every scientist of the last 22 centuries, the president, the guy who animated What’s New Scooby Doo and probably some other important people. There are some fairly prominent and influential Flat Earthers out there like, Mohammed Yusuf, you know, the former leader of Boko Haram, that group that explicitly says that they hate Western Education and make the majority of their living in royalties from keeping CNN afloat when it isn’t an election season.

If having one of the most repugnant men in history support the view that the Earth is flat doesn’t convince you that it’s a totally legit theory, how about learning that the most repugnant man in history also apparently believed it. Yes, we’re talking about Hitler who is apparently greatly respected by a subsection of Flat Earthers because he’s “allegedly” the only person known to have seen the end of the Earth during a visit he totally made to Antarctica that only Flat Earthers seem to know about.

But hey if Hitler isn’t your thing, you may still want to reconsider dismissing the Flat Earth Theory outright because, if you choose to believe it, you get to …

8. Live in a world like Game of Thrones


I wrote an article a while ago all about how unrealistic some of the elements of Game of Thrones are in relation to the section of history it takes influence from and we’d like to apologise because holy crap, you guys, the wall is a real thing.

You see, according to Flat Earthers, the world rather than being a bloated sphere is actually a rounded disk surrounded by a several hundred foot wall of ice, which is why the oceans don’t just spill out into space and land on Jupiter. Of course nobody has ever seen this wall, because NASA diverts planes away from it as well as stationing guards at the top to shoot anyone (except for Hitler) who gets too close. While we have no idea if any of these guards dress like Jon Snow, we’re going to assume that they do because what in the hell else is a person tasked with guarding the literal edges of the Earth from the top of a big-ass wall of ice gonna wear?

While the existence of a big-ass wall of ice that keeps all of the world’s oceans in place is certainly reassuring, arguably one of the best things about believing the Earth is flat is the fact that …

7. You get to prove Einstein wrong!


Whenever the idea of a flat planet comes up, one of the first arguments against the theory to crop up in conversation is that gravity simply wouldn’t work on a planet shaped like a pizza. Gravity for those of you who aren’t aware is a myth perpetuated by NASA that says all objects emit an invisible force that attracts other objects towards themselves, the larger the object, the larger the force. Rather than believing this twaddle, Flat Earthers instead believe that the Earth is constantly flying directly upwards at a constant acceleration of 9.81 m/s and that’s why when you drop an object it falls towards the ground at this speed. In regards to what happens when the Earth reaches terminal velocity, the opinion of the Flat Earth society is that it probably won’t so don’t worry about it. Where’s you’re theory of relativity now, Einstein!

But wait you ask? If gravity doesn’t exist, how is the moon kept in place? Well the moon does have a gravitation pull and it does effect the tides, but the only reason it moves across the sky is because the Earth is spinning and it stays in place because it just so happens to be travelling the exact speed we do. As for why the Earth doesn’t have gravity if the moon does, the official stance of the Flat Earth society is to just not try to think about how ridiculous that is. Oh and for anyone wanting to be clever and ask how we have things like lunar eclipses, that’s obviously due to an invisible “shadow object” that nobody has ever observed flying in front of the moon at random that you should absolutely believe exists just because we said so. Also the sun, moon and all the stars are only a couple of hundred miles above the Earth.

However, while Flat Earthers whole heartedly think that you should accept everything they say without question or proof, you shouldn’t give NASA the same privilege because ….

6. NASA is like, super evil and corrupt


In the world of Flat Earthers, no single entity is treated with more contempt and animosity than those dicks at NASA. Why? Well it probably has something to do with the fact that NASA is pretty much solely responsible for maintaining the illusion that the Earth is a sphere and they’re also evil and corrupt because sure, why not.

According to Flat Earthers every image of our planet ever taken from space was doctored by NASA, every trip to space, including the ones where people died, were impeccably planned ruses and there’s no such thing as satellites, only giant, NASA controlled radio towers that “lie” to your GPS, television and smartphone. NASA also somehow controls every single plane on Earth, even private ones without GPS, to stop them from straying too close to the edge of the Earth and uncovering the truth.

If you’re wondering why NASA would bother to go to such lengths to cover up the Earth being flat, congratulations, you’re already starting to sound like a Flat Earther. Yes, despite Flat Earthers being absolutely convinced that NASA is a massively corrupt agency dedicated to hiding the truth from the public, they have yet to offer a convincing explanation for why NASA actually cares about maintaining this impossibly elaborate scam. They just know something is up and that’s enough for them because …

5. Flat Earthers are smarter than most ancient and modern scientists


The laughable idea that the Earth is actually a water covered orb being catapulted around an exploding ball of gas millions of miles away is one that has been commonly accepted by scientists and thinkers since about 400 BC. That is just a bit too long for an idea to stand unchallenged for it to not leave a sour taste in our mouth.

Flat Earth Theory by contrast is a relatively new idea that was proposed during Victorian times by a guy using the pseudonym “Parallax” which is just way too badass of a nickname for it to have possibly belonged to a liar. Parallax, who usually went by the objectively lamer name “Samuel Rowbotham,” eventually founded a school of thought known as “Zetetic astronomy” which taught some of the ideas we’ve already mentioned today like the Earth being surrounded by a wall of ice, the sun only being a few hundred miles away and calling everyone who disagreed with you an idiot.

Now come on, admit it, Flat Earth Theory sounds just a little more convincing now that you know the majority of the theory is based on a book written by a guy called “Parallax”, doesn’t it? And quite honestly, if that doesn’t convince you, maybe you’d be swayed by the fact that when you’re a Flat Earther …

4. You don’t really have to understand how anything works


Thinking is hard and Flat Earthers understand that, which is why the entire theory revolves around wild, baseless claims and hand waving anything you don’t want to talk about. No, seriously.

As you can imagine, people who try to insist that the Earth is flat in an academic setting often have to defend themselves against scientists with less awesome sounding titles than “Zetetic Astronomer.” Luckily Flat Earthers have a cast iron system for answering any question they don’t understand without it making them look like an idiot called, “telling people to look up the answer in the Bible.”

This technique was perhaps best utilised by Charles K. Johnson, who up until his death in 2001, was one of the most well-known proponents of Flat Earth Theory. In the hundreds of interviews he gave over the years, Johnson defended Flat Earth Theory like a champ by ignoring any and all criticism and deflecting difficult to understand questions by saying only God had the answer. For example, when Johnson was once innocently asked how solar eclipses worked if the world was flat, he looked the interviewer in the eye and said “we really don’t have to go into all that” and then stopped talking. When pushed for a more satisfactory answer, Johnson relented and simply said “The Bible tells us the heavens are a mystery” and then refused to talk about it anymore.

We think is just fantastic since it confirms our suspicion that when you become a Flat Earth advocate …

3. You can win every argument!


If browsing Reddit has taught us anything, it’s that winning an argument, regardless of how right or offensive you are, is one of the most important things in the world. If you also think this, then you would probably make a pretty good Flat Earth Theorist because there doesn’t appear to be any argument a Flat Earth Theorist can lose as long as they truly commit to being as obtuse as possible.

For example, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Daniel Shenton, the current president of the Flat Earth Society, was able to deftly avoid being proven wrong by insisting that all evidence that proved him wrong was made with “special effects.” And calmly explained that he felt perfectly okay with ignoring a millennium of science based on the fact he felt that he was right. As if that wasn’t delicious enough, Shenton went on to explain that it’s on other people to prove him wrong that the Earth isn’t flat, you know, even though he’s already dismissed irrefutable evidence as lies.

Because when you’re a Flat Earther, no proof is ever good enough and you can always sit there smugly knowing that no matter what your opponent says, you can always ask them if they’ve ever been to space and then cross your arms and say you rest your case. Hell, even if the person has been to space, you’ll still win because there’s no way for them to prove that the image of the Earth they saw wasn’t special effects. And if they ask you to prove that you’re right, well that’s as simple as …

2. Drawing a line on the horizon


As far as we can tell, whenever Flat Earthers need to prove that there theory isn’t just a sack of bovine excrement, all they need to do is bring up a picture of the horizon and draw a straight line across it, thus proving unequivocally that the Earth is flat. If the other person tries to correct you by saying something like “the earth is so unimaginably big that the horizon is always going to look flat to our inefficient human eyes” or “try watching a ship sail out to sea and watch it disappear over the horizon” feel free to ignore them or just draw another, bigger line to prove your point a little bit harder.

If anyone ever tries to trip you up, as people whose mind isn’t as open as yours is wont to do, by showing you a picture taken from orbit in which the horizon is clearly curved, all you need to is tell them that, that’s caused by the camera lens.  Or better yet, just tell them that their picture actually proves your point, like this entire forum of Flat Earthers did when a guy turned up with a picture taken from orbit by a totally independent source that NASA couldn’t doctor that clearly showed a curved horizon. When the flustered poster asked someone to explain to him how a flat planet could have a curved horizon, one poster simply responded “because circles are curved” and that was considered a satisfactory answer.

This gets to the heart of why we think everyone reading this should give serious consideration to believing Flat Earth Theory.

1. Believing the Earth is flat

makes you special!


As far as we’re concerned the main reason to believe Flat Earth Theory over the thing we as a species have considered fact for 25 centuries is because doing so makes you really special. Believing the Earth is flat lets you simultaneously act intellectually superior to everyone you know while also not understanding anything you say on anything more than a superficial level. You can sit around in your exclusive club forums and look down your nose at other people, while never bothering to improve yourself in any meaningful way.

Like with other conspiracy theories, you can use believing the Earth is flat as an excuse to dismiss the opinions and feelings of anyone you’d normally have to treat like a human being as a necessary evil to educate them about the truth.

In short, the main reason you should believe that the Earth is flat is because once you’ve decided to believe it, you’ll never have to put effort into having a meaningful human connection ever again.

The Earth is Flat

WIF Space-001

– WIF Mad Science