THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 164

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 164

…Sampson McKinney is, at most, a spaceship pilot, not some flaky, lab coat wearing, eat & sleep pure science guy that he wishes he were now…

I think we are going to dissect the Orion Constellation, right about at “The Hunter’s” navel.”

“I was just double-checking your numbers Cel and I would guess if we are whizzing our way with a purpose, our destination is a star close to what we call Bernard’s Loop. But yeah, we are going to see if Orion’s belt buckle does indeed twinkle.”

“Do you have any guesses about the time frame we are looking at; I mean are we talking about 10 years? Celeste is well aware that they are not going around the block, but the mental commitment it takes to orientate the human brain for space travel is far from immediate gratification. The one saving grace is that SOL or even multiples of it, are not fractions thereof; at least you have the sensation of getting somewhere very f-a-s-t… zoom-zoom.

Sampson finds himself in a position he never imagined. He is at most a spaceship pilot, not some flaky, lab coat wearing, eat & sleep pure science guy that he wishes he were. That guy would come in handy now. Then again, 21st Century earthly mankind has not been programmed for the parameters they are facing.

“Vell, vell Frau McKinney, das eez a doozy uv a qveston,” he does his best to imitate the stereotypical German rocketeer, like Werner von Braun.

“Spare me the Einstein and give me your best estimates, we are raising a baby here and I need to have some idea of what’s what!”

“Of the five most likely star systems on this heading, Bernard’s Star and Struve 2398, a single and a binary red system respectively are six light-years out. Another red, Ross 154 is at eight. But you have to keep in mind that these red stars are cool by our standards, which means they well past their prime, on the downslide side of life.”

“If you knew your sun was burning out, wouldn’t you go searching for another sun and planet as a bailout?” Celeste submits possible reasons for the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s trips to Earth and eventually Mars.


THE RETURN TRIP

Dying Star by Sammy15

Episode 164


Bernard’s Loop (catalogue designation Sh 2-276) is an emission nebula in the constellation of Orion. It is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex which also contains the dark Horsehead and bright Orion nebulae. The loop takes the form of a large arc centered approximately on the Orion Nebula. The stars within the Orion Nebula are believed to be responsible for ionizing the loop.(Wikipedia)


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 162

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 162

…“It appears we are going for a ride, family!”

“Where are we going,” Celeste wonders?

“I’d like to know, who is driving?”…

“Sit down in that chair over there, strap yourself in and wrap this blanket around Sammy,” he hands it to her and secures his girls.

For his part, Sampson seizes what they believe is the command seat, though there is no crew to instruct or the slightest feeling of control. The king and queen of this mysterious realm are compelled to hang on for an unidentified unknown outcome.

The previously dormant main viewscreen snaps to, filled with a panoramic picture of the Martian landscape. Syrtis Major looms stoically in the background, with Tycho and AL wondering what is going on in the fore. At the peak perfect pitch of A, the NEWFOUNDLANDER pauses, as if to bid Mars farewell, the only home it has known for some 3000 years.

“It appears we are going for a ride family!”

“Where are we going,” Celeste wonders?

“I’d like to know, who is driving?” He tries get the feel for some sort of helm, but it seems to be fruitless. “Let’s hope that it hasn’t forgotten the way to Earth, if that’s too much to ask.”

Liftoff is smooth and with the exception of the anticipated g-forces, they were soon out of Mars’ loving embrace and headed… headed… unfortunately headed away from the sun, which at this point in planetary alignment, is in the opposite direction of Earth. After Sampson proves to himself that he has not figured out the secrets of navigation, he unbuckles himself and what to his wondering eyes does appear a solid boot footing and a stable atmosphere. Space Colony 1 had some measure of gravity, but not anything approaching this downward force.

His first official duty as commander of the NEWFOUNDLANDER is to check on Celeste, who is still in post-delivery recovery, and of course the baby. Both are partially conscious from the shock of the ship achieving what has to be multiples of the speed-of-light. There is no space-speed indicator, but the sun of this sun system is fading faster than the orb on an Alaskan winter’s night.

Martian Sky


 THE RETURN TRIP

Rocket Ferry Leaving Mars by Chesley Bonestell

Episode 162


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 161

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 161

…Systems on the NEWFOUNDLANDER that never made so much as a peep, poop or gurgle are adding their ovations to the emergent chorus…

Chorus by Jacob Rowan

The Space Family McKinney, Sampson, Celeste, and Sammy are strangely content with whatever fate befalls them, but not long after that adorable-Mars/moon-namesake joins the 4th planet party, the NEWFOUNDLANDER seems to be having other ideas. Several times in the recent past, Sampson noted sudden, uncharacteristic computing activity. It seems random and spontaneous, not as a result of anything they or he was doing, but it is incremental in its frequency.

“Here it goes again Sam! Are you sure you didn’t bump something over there?” Celeste is concerned about the electronica noises distracting Sammy from feeding time, courtesy of one of her two milk-filled nursing stations. It is the only dispensary aboard this ship that is certified Grade A.

“I keep telling you that nothing I am doing around this musical chatterhouse is causing any of this. I would not risk upsetting the status quo, although I really think I getting that steering thing nailed.”

During this current cycle of beeps, boops, bops, pops, and hums, the whole ship comes alive at once, in the familiar key of A. Systems that never made so much as a peep, poop or gurgle are adding their ovations to the emergent chorus. It is like the ghosts of its former crew were manning their stations, which was impossible.

When the unmistakable whine of the ship’s propulsion unit, that magical mystery miniature module in the bowels of the lower deck shakes the control bridge and the sheer awesome power is being harnessed and directed with purpose, Sampson acts instinctively.

“Sit down in that chair over there, strap yourself in and wrap this blanket around Sammy,” he hands it to her and secures his girls.

For his part, Sampson seizes what they believe is the command seat, though there is no crew to instruct or the slightest feeling of control.


  THE RETURN TRIP

No Control by Güneş Yılmaz

Episode 161


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 82

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 82

“Maybe it’s not a good idea to poke that thing around, not knowing what the result will be?”…

Careful now!

— Energized and ever curious, the two-remaining visitors on Mars press on to the depths of the alien ship. As they near the geometrical center, there is the palpable lets-go-exploring-calvin-and-hobbessensation of power about, much like being yards away from a pulsating 30,000 volt transmission line. The black hair on Sampson’s forearms stand on end and Celeste’s blond-locks react statically.

Sampson surmises that they are nearing the “engine room”, “Judging by its staying power it has to be nuclear or whatever style of atomic fuels they use. Old Karl at GLF would be drooling about now.”

The technology needed for intergalactic travel is beyond Earthly understanding, though they are currently on the right track. The NEWFOUNDLANDER most certainly did not plod along to get to Mars, like Chronicle did, or like the 21st Century New Mayflower is about to.

 

Brightly coded signs, reading gobbledigook threatening in form, leading them to believe they have found the engineering section with supercharged propulsion onyx-black-001unit/s. Upon gaining entry to the forbidden area, thank you Celeste and your mystically useful black rock, they can only wonder why it is so closely secured.Related image

There are more lifeless Newfoundlian bodies here than the
rest of the ship combined. Gathered in a tight circle, like Uni-Scouts at a Saturday night bonfire, are 10 of the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s crewmen. There is an object/i.e. device in the midst of the fallen bodies, five feet in diameter and eight feet tall. Two corpses are closer than the rest with what looks like tools in their hands, as if repairing something fragile.fork-001

While bending over to relieve one of them of his tool, “Where do you think this goes,” he beckons Celeste to come join him.

Sampson manipulates the tuning fork shaped instrument, twist it at various angle and degrees. He even goes as far as trying to shove it into the middle, where the two cones intersect, in the middle, but the smooth surfaces are not arrow-downreceptive.

“Maybe it’s not a good idea to poke that thing around, not knowing what the result will be?”press_button_receive_bacon

“You have a point; this has more and different juice than the magical-meal machine.”

The “thingy” Sam is handling inadvertently drops to the deck of the engine room from waist level.…..


THE RETURN TRIP

Image result for falling objects gif

Episode 82


 

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Science Fiction Coming to WIF – THE RETURN TRIP

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Science Fiction Coming to WIF

Science_Fiction

– THE RETURN TRIP

Retrun Trip Ad

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Grab some caffeine, open your trusty and ubiquitous computing device and take 5 minutes to read THE RETURN TRIP – every day except Saturdays at WIF.

Below is the “Query” summary sent to literary agents and publishers. This is a good ol’ fashioned Science Fiction book. Set in the near future, it is easy to relate to and somewhat plausible.

 

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THE RETURN TRIP

The Space Family McKinney

Space Colony 1 is a stepping-stone, Earth’s best chance to leave the Solar System – There is a family of space explorers named McKinney. Join them as they colonize the planet Mars…..and are hijacked to the stars.

science fiction from Gwendolyn Hoff

Earth attempts to colonize Mars, but the McKinneys get an unexpected trip to Orion’s Belt instead.

BACKGROUND: THE RETURN TRIP is a book that I wrote in the mid-1980s. In the face of current events concerning the privatization of space exploration and specifically recruiting a married couple to start a colony on Mars, I decided to reach back to my unpublished 1st draft and update my original work. The Challenger shuttle disaster took away my steam at the time, having already included some Space Shuttle trouble in the book.


Astronauts Sampson & Celeste McKinney are first to populate Space Colony 1, a collaborative orbiting space station, towed to Mars by a drone. The eventual goal, once the colony is up and running is to bring in small waves of other colonists and then establish a colony on the now well-known surface of Mars.

But while the McKinneys are down exploring the surface with their lander Tycho, a non-participating foreign power destroys the orbiting Colony, thereby stranding them. They lose their ability to communicate with Earth.

In survival mode and awaiting an anticipated rescue mission (the shuttle Mayflower), the couple stumbles upon an alien vessel, buried in centuries of space dust. To their surprise and convenience, its life support is still functioning. This is good, especially because Celeste McKinney has conceived a child during their 50 million mile trip to Mars.

Just as they settle in and wait for help, the ship  (they name NEWFOUNDLANDER) is recalled by its alien builders and it takes off for home…..at 2x the speed-of-light.

Some 9 light-years (4.5 Earth) later— they arrive at a binary star system located in Orion’s belt

— The Mayflower rescue mission discovers an empty Tycho 

In the meantime, Earth starts its own speed-of-light (SOL) program and McKinney sons Deke & Gus are now pilots in it—but their science is flawed and The Space Family McKinney is reunited on the planet Eridanus, in the star system Epsilon Eridani.

THE RETURN TRIP is so titled because “the end” is only the beginning; as in the year 2051 the United States begins a new era, at the S-O-L, outside its Solar System, and out into The Milky Way.

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GwendolynHoff.com / writingisfun-damental.com

BOOKS PREVIOUSLY BLOGGED (and available thru Episode Catalog links below):

CONSTANCE CARAWAY  P.I.

ALPHA OMEGA M.D.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR (1896-1959)  (ISBN 978 1 4691 9018)


Science Fiction Coming to WIF

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– THE RETURN TRIP

 

 

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 261

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 261

…Gus peers out of the pink sky, wondering exactly just which star out there has that one certain blue jewel in orbit around it…

 

A loving father cups Gus’ face with his hands, massaging his cheeks, wiping away the tears. “I want you to know that it took me a very long time to realize that my {Freudian slip}… I mean our, return would do more harm than good. If we go back now, with everything we have learned, we will screw up everything, every timeline, and we would be using technology that the world cannot properly handle.

Freudian Slip

 

“Gus, it took a monumental effort to cooperate enough to colonize Mars and even then the Koreans were compelled to screw things up. How can we be trusted to crisscross the galaxy?”

“Now, that you know the secrets, why the hell not? We could use the improvements to SOL, fix all that molecule crap and take it from there. You are selling mankind short, aren’t you?” He is expressing the hope of the current generation.

“No, no Gus, you’re not getting it. These Eridanians lost fifty of their astronauts, just like that,” he snaps his fingers. “The very NEWFOUNDLANDER that saved our lives was lost and abandoned. But they learned from that screw-up, four thousand damned Earth-years ago. No other planet or galaxy gave them the technology for that ship, they built it themselves. Trial and error is a Universal precept.”

“Earth-years Dad? You sound like they have you brainwashed.”

“Did I not mention that they brought you back from the dead? Don’t be a pudknocker!”

Gus peers out of the pink sky, wondering exactly just which star out there has that one certain blue jewel in orbit around it.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, you bet…………” Not entirely true.

But life goes on.

Back at the pleasant, earthly living quarters for the first such of the specie to inhabit the sextet planetary system of Epsilon Eridani {two stars-two planets-two moons}, once again are emptied of McKinneys, as is their custom to dine with the native Eridanians, who are enamored by those wacky humans and their stimulating company.

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 261

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 257

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 257

…I knew Crip would come after us…

 

“This is the ship we named NEWFOUNDLANDER, they call it Explorer here. Your mother and I stumbled on it, buried in 40 centuries of Martian dust and it came from these people,” he points at Cerella like she built it.

“”Without it,” Celeste adds, “I hope you realize that we may not have lasted long enough to greet the New Mayflower.”

Mars

“And we had to step over Cerella’s dead ancestors to get in….”

“Sampson McKinney!” Celeste warns. Cerella is amused at their interaction.

“Sorry Queenie,” he continues, “but once we got in and found out life support was still operating, we had it made in the shade; air, water, food {well their version of it}, everything we needed to wait out the rescue mission. I knew Crip would come after us.

“Do you know what happened to Colony?” Deke wonders why the issue had not been broached.

“Frankly it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“A Korean satellite.”

“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Whether mischief-maker or meteor, no differences Deker, but it definitely was an ‘oh-shit’ moment!”

“We just had one of those, Dad,” Gus recounts.

“I bet you did Gussy, I bet you did! Hey, let’s take you on a tour of Explorer, our home away from home for the first six years of Sister Sammy’s life.”

Fingering the perpendicular/parallel lines, just as she had done on Mars twenty-two years ago, Celeste ushers the group in. It looked lived in. The signs that she, Sampson, and Deimostra had indeed spent considerable time here were all over, including Sammy’s first attempts at art.

Space art

 

For a while, when they were allowed, the guys are preoccupied by the mechanics of curiosity; looking at every instrument and device and discussing possible theoretical function, among themselves like kids in a candy store. Sampson has the expertise to correctively intervene, dispelling excusably errant notions from these SOL newbies.

As they tour the more boring lower sections of the Eridanus Explorer, Deimostra takes her turn as tour guide, “This is the room I was born in.”

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 257

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