THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 40

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 40

…Cerella had hoped for an unabridged Ekcello…

Cerella slams the door on the increasingly uncomfortable exchange by changing the tenor of the conversation. She musters up enough decency to concede his reality. She is aware that Skaldic is not your run-of-the-mill Null.

“What is the planetary status, Skaldic?”

“I have completed a census of the Gifted and you are alone in your normalcy.”

“Ekcello?”

“He is in his tower. Like all the Gifted, his essence is functioning. That is all I can tell.”

This news is of little comfort to the Heiress to the High Council. She had hoped for an unabridged Father.

Skaldic continues his report in the 3rd person, like it is his “job”, “Skaldic did see a O stationed near the olde home world,” which is still in volcanic upheaval, “before I could identify it, it was gone.”

After Cerella translates O for the McKinney elder {Sampson}.

The patriarch’s interest is piqued. “A perfectly smooth silvery moon that moves in its own dimension, right…? We spotted that beggar over in Selljunk territory!”

“What is beggar?”

Deke McKinney translates, “… a tramp or wanderer.”

Cerella refines wanderer, “Wanderer.” She ignores Sam’s butchering of the spooked-civilization-from-the-galaxy-next-door, but picks-up on his “own dimension” phraseology. “Your perception is enlightening, Sammy Mac. O operates separately from our timestem. O may be the cause of other occurrences.”

Celeste M. explains the concept of O, as expressed among those in the know:

  • the recently Gifted like her and Deke
  • the always Gifted like Cerella
  • the fringe Gifted like Skaldic
  • Sammy Mac
  • Offingga is definitely not Gifted and thusly clueless.

There is a consensus among them all, every one; they would wise to keep an eye peeled for that perfectly smooth & silvery shiny meddler with questionable intent.

The lone overhanging issue will require a combination of luck and a prayer. If there is a way to fathom/neutralize O {Lorgan}, will it become obvious to them in time?


THE NULL SOLUTION

Overhanging Issue by Mizzi

Episode 40


page 44

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 39

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 39

…You can knock Cerella over with a single solitary puff of misty air. Not in all her upbringing had she ever had contact with the Null…

Of all the inhabitants of Eridanus, the heretofore shunted Null are nearer to humanity, in contrast to the others. With no robes, with visible legs to stand on, they are not whitely colored – rather individually so. On top of that, they are downright approachable.

Skaldic and Offingga see the Defender slide through the massive opening of the Spaceship Expository and they are there to be the official welcoming committee. They stand tall & confident in their newfound independence. Surely they would not be punished for any acts of insolence.

You can knock Cerella over with a single solitary puff of misty air. Not in all her upbringing had she ever had contact with the Null. Now, and that covers considerable Eridanian cycles, she does, not knowing where to look, how to act or what to say.

The youngest McKinney snatches the honor, “I do not believe we have been introduced; my name is Deimostra Samantha McKinney. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”

‘What a dry fresh breath of air are these people of Earth,’ Skaldic thinks, not expecting such simplicity. “They call me Skaldic the Null and my companion is Offingga {translation: the jabberer}.” 

That spontaneous Null irony whizzes past without notice.

“How is it that we haven’t met before now? We {she points to Mom, Dad, and Deke} landed on your planet many cycles ago. Surely we should have crossed paths.”

“The Null tower is on the empty side of Eridanus.”

“There are others like you… so where are they?”

“Many more and it is best that they stay in our tower.”

“You act so different than Cerella and her father Ekcello.”

“We do not possess the ability to communicate with our minds.”

“I can teach you. If my brother can learn, certainly you can.”

“We are inferior beings in the eyes of the Gifted, unfit for interaction.”

Cerella slams the door on the increasingly uncomfortable exchange.

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THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 39


page 44

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 38

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 38

…I thought I saw my reflection in that shiny object…

The Eridanian ship Defender is hurtling back home with TSF dexterity. The experience with The Seljuk is fresh on every one of the five minds aboard, now being shared amongst those who care.

“Daddy – what has happened to make a nice man like Chasonn so paranoid?” spoken by the 1st Terran-child of space, who has yet to experience many “human nature” concepts.

Sampson McKinney happened to have a pow-wow with the leader of the Seljuk, man-to-man, heart-to-heart, just when it seemed that the man was questioning the motives of the Defender crew. The pair swapped history lessons about their respective planets and discovered that they had more in common than not.

“Long ago Deimostra, when Chasonn was away at their place of higher learning, every Seljuk leader was whisked away, including his father, never to be seen again… it took almost two centuries for the Seljuk to recover.” It is not customary to sit a 21 year old girl on his lap like he is doing, but some wisdom needs to be handed down not discarded. “Trust is something that is earned, not given. And they have kept to themselves ever since, not unlike Eridanus, right Cerella?”

“After we have been far and wide and seen the whole of the Great Expanse, there comes a time when keeping private is the logical choice. Until you people of Earth were brought into our keeping, we had no need to borrow the trouble that lurks on the other side of this and other galaxies. Chasonn and his people made the same choice… and then here we are charging directly into their renewed chaos.”

“On top of that, our arrival came right after they lost communication with their sentinel outposts, as well as the appearance of that phantom planetoid – like the one we spotted on the way in.” That shiny unknown still bothers brother Deke.

“How can anything that flawless do any harm? It’s just like the pictures you showed me Daddy, what you called a Christmas ornament. There were blue ones, red ones, green ones and silver ones. In fact, for a moment, I thought I saw my reflection in it.”

That gives some others pause.

“I saw my reflection too!” Celeste admits.

“I thought the same thing,” Sammy Mac confesses. He thought he was the only one seeing things.

“That is impossible. We didn’t get within 250,000 miles of that thing, before it vanished that is,” Deke tries to be the voice of reason – he saw his reflection as well without admitting it.

In the time it takes for Eridanus to complete one cycle, Defender is back in the berth reserved for it in the Spaceflight Expository, after its mission to the Triangulum Galaxy. At first blush, nothing has changed in the meantime; not a single Eridanian figure had moved.

But in the excitement of recent exploits, they forget about the Null, specifically Skaldic.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 38


page 43

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 26

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 26

…In the earnestness of the moment, Skaldic inadvertently runs his hand across one of the instrument panels…

Instrument Panels

“That’s it!”

The timestem on the replay screen then advances in increment of cycles, while Skaldic considers the possibilities. In a short while, he glances back at the monitor, where he witnesses the cinematic version of Defender’s previous escape from this very Expository.

He turns to his 2nd, his most trusted compatriot, Offingga, who for better or worse happens to be a female of the Null variety. “Did you see that, Offingga?”

“It appears that one of these ships has gone off-world.” None Null has ever gotten a close look at this spaceship museum of sort.

Skaldic has studied all he could about it. He has also paid attention to the rumor that some aliens had stowed away on that fifth starship on the right. The legend of the Explorer {NEWFOUNDLANDER} bounces off the lofty towers of Eridanus. It has always fascinated him, yet the facts are illusive.

“It may take one-quarter of a cycle, but I think we should do a census of the Gifted. Perhaps one or more of them may be on the ship they call Defender.”

“They will not be going anywhere,” Offingga fails to connect the dots.

“If there is a Gifted who was spared the light, we must know. If it is the strangers of which I have heard, we should know that as well. It would take me one hundred cycles to learn how to make one of these ships fly.” Skaldic is seriously solemn in resolve. “We are currently the hope for all of Eridanus.”

In his earnestness, he inadvertently runs his hand across one of the instrument panels.

“I’m receiving a signal from home,” Sampson formerly of Earth, must be confused. Home is where your heart resides. “I mean Eridanus guys… don’t mean to confuse anyone.”

The collection of explorers from Eridanus has decided to stay aboard what they know {Defender} as opposed to what they do not {Seljuk home world}, for now.

Cerella is the one with the most at stake on this mission: Ekcello is her father. Her father, her people are out-of-order. If they have snapped out of their funk, that would be the best news. She rushes to the communication area to lend her translation skill. #njfurhwwgqfqloda#

She is disappointed and shows it.

“This comes from the Spaceflight Expository. It looks like device-to-device nonsense.”

“Wait a minute Cerella. It may be garbled, but wouldn’t someone have had to initiate it?” Celeste asks a pertinent question.

Cerella goes to doing what she does best – she thinks.

“On the off-chance that it’s intergalactic crapola, why not return the signal, just in case.” Sampson is an expert in dispensing crapola. “And why not make it an audio daily-double?”

“I will do that Sammy Mac.” She is fond of the Earthiest man she knows. She has even learned the subtlety of his euphemisms.

In a fashion all her own, she fires back the following: DEFENDER RESPONDING ERIDANUS#

It is all Greek to Sam. After several minutes, “It must have been nothing after all.”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 26


page 30

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 24

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 24

…With the Gifted, white-cloaked & motionless, shut down like some many windup toys, the initial Null reaction is to help themselves to the things reserved for the Gifted…

Wind-up Toy Set – set of mini still life oil paintings by Marilyn Fenn

Much to Skaldic’s dismay, the only period of time resembling this one, was while Eridanian explorers were still roaming far into space. There is even a vague reference to a ship that was lost forever. Much music was composed in the spirit of grief. In a language comprised of melody and tuneage, the collective sigh of a civilization is there for all to hear… but no details, just an untold cycle gap between tragedy and enlightenment.

Just what happened during those many cycles? Nothing, that they were willing to make an accounting of.

So like bees fleeing the hive, the Null come out from their restricted tower. Most every one of them was born non-telepathic. Some were afflicted by a brain short-circuit. All are rejects.

Skaldic the Null, however, chose to be this way; no good reason, he just chooses 100% verbal. Rumors claim him to have a tin ear, which would make it hard to communicate with anyone at all, though he has managed and actually excels to this Related imagemoment.

With the Gifted, white-cloaked & motionless, shut down like some many windup toys, the initial Null reaction is to help themselves to the things reserved for the Gifted, aka personal possessions, food and hookahs. Hookahs are the strange devices the Gifted use to expand their limits.

Hookahs would not help the Null cause whatsoever.  The effects would send their minds past the edge of reality. Skaldic categorically forbids any use of said devices. Looting too is halted posthaste. There may be hell to pay if/when the Gifted revive.

He goes about the process of forming a coalition of trusted Nulls. Though acquainted with most, he counts those he can rely on, on one digit.

This situation requires equals, not peons. The majority of his kind has settled for the status quo, secure in the knowledge that they are taken care of. ‘Why should we struggle to attain anything greater?’ has been the mantra for untold cycles, going back to before the times that Skaldic is looking into.-


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 24


page 28

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 23

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 23

Chapter Three

The 64 Parsec Question

…Though Skaldic the Null is equivalent to zero by title, he is the most excellent negative of all the other zilch’s…

Superior Group & Inferior Group by luminita taranu

Maybe it is just as well that Sam & Deke McKinney do not know the goings on back at their home world #one.

Adoptive home world #two is a completely separate issue.

Equally spared and even more in the dark are the people of Eridanus. Their thought-embargo is nearly complete.

The only citizens exempt from mental paralysis are those who are mentally incapable of the Eridanian form of telepathy. As lost souls, they are even more lost, not knowing what is going down and left to fend for themselves for the first time in their immortally deficient lives…

… But even among misfits, there are leaders and so it is with Skaldic the Null. Though he is equivalent to zero by title, he is the most excellent negative of all the other zilch’s.

The others look up to him, mainly because his cube is on the top floor of the misfit tower; the erudite Eridanians call it – well, nothing aloud, but the name “Nulls” is bandied about. They all think of it as a separate colony, not to be a part of the Eridanus experience. After all, the Null are not telepathic.

But what Skaldic lacks in intuition, he makes up for with guile. He would be the elder of the misfit tower, if they were allowed a seat on the High Council. Such is the respect he has among his peers.

Now that the Gifted of Eridanus are silent, it is Skaldic that fills the leadership void. If you clothed him in white robes, you would think he was Gifted. Such a small difference at atop of his body sets him apart, but not in a beneficial way. He and the other Nulls are grossly underrated.

The first thing he does is to check the historic records, those he has access to, for any similar chronicled occurrence in the long and storied past of the Gifted… oh and those others, like him.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 23


page 27

The NULL Solution = Episode 191

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The NULL Solution = Episode 191

…When Celeste tells of the 2 light-year-about-face of NEWFOUNDLANDER, Fortan gives Ekcello the same treatment she is authorized to dispense to anyone else…

“Perhaps we have proven to be a worthy adversary. There is no sign of black ⃝    . Wherever that hole leads has to be better than this.” The Ÿ€Ð can only hope.

They may be disconnected from their previous dimension, but as distant as the beacon may be, at least it can be seen at all. The stars look to have heat and there are no visible boundaries.

Without knowing or admitting so, they have learned a lesson. The Collapsar collective will find their way… eventually… in about 10 lifetimes with just as many Župzïð’s to come. The Harmonia beacon will always be a reminder to mind their manners.

Celeste bypasses Ekcello in favor of Fortan, the mother who had put her reservations about Cerella behind her. She is honestly ignorant of her mate’s mischief. The days of transcendent knowledge has dissipated like the morning fog. She did not think Ekcello would act on his frustrations. That he should not be able to do anything like this on Eridanus, no matter of his status, is currently moot.

When The Earth woman tells of the 2 light-year-about-face of NEWFOUNDLANDER, the new Supreme Elder of the New High Council gives Ekcello the same treatment she is authorized to dispense to anyone else.

“What you have done is inexcusable. You must return with Celeste and restore that ship to its original path. It is the will of the people that decided the fate of our daughter, notImage result for caught red handed you.”

“I do not possess the skills to do so Fortan.”

“Then who does?”

“It is Skaldic {who was following orders BTW}. He reconfigured the navigation.”

The Null, particularly Skaldic, do not own hyperphysical capabilities. Fortan is aware of the quandary.

“You will help Celeste unlock the deepest Gifted skills in him.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 191


page 185

The NULL Solution = Episode 186

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The NULL Solution = Episode 186

…Oh for the days before the McKinneys arrived….

It is Stardate 2059 before you know it. However 2060 cannot come soon enough for those aboard NEWFOUNDLANDER or say, Earth. For some 2057 shaped up to be the worst arrangement of events known; particularly on Eridanus.

If losing two prominent citizens were not bad enough, this democracy thing is proving more difficult to administrate than advertised. It turns out that without the McKinney’s example, the rest of Eridanian society descended into disorganized individualism. Strong leaders are necessary if not required; both leading candidates for that position are otherwise occupied: Skaldic with Harmonia and Ekcello with postpartum depression.

Unfortunately elections are not about to squelch the thirst for one segment of the planet’s population. The Null voting bloc will require 100 cycles to rival Gifted numbers, thus rendering the system ineffective. There may be no turning back, while forward progress is going to be too slow.

Fortan is chosen as Supreme Elder of the New High Council, not the purest form of nepotism, but really close. The sheer unoriginality of her title is evidence of the weighted anchor any progress. Elders will always be, forever the guiders of all things.

Fortan is not Ekcello, Ekcello is not himself, thereby neither is Eridanus.

The Nulls are not so much bent on revolution as they are restless. The Gifted will always have that something-something {extra}. It will take a 1000 cycles and extensive interbreeding to tip the scales toward genomic equality.

The Gifted feel like they have given multiple appendages in an effort to relinquish their stranglehold. If that is not enough, only their slow-moving history will tell the story.

For Ekcello, he can hardly stand the changes that mount like the afternoon humidity of his water-laden world. If only the evaporative moisture could satisfy the longing he is feeling.

Oh for the days before the McKinneys arrived. In the big picture, it has not been all that long ago that begat their immediate impact. Sammy Mac, with his brash grip on Earthly ties, had beguiled a previously sedate planet, whose course had been so steady, as in gone.

As the days of the “departure” approached, Ekcello’s behavior was most curious. Never before had he displayed such interest in the spaceships of the Expository, specifically NEWFOUNDLANDER.

While the humans sleep, the Gifted meditate and Null dream, he spends time there under the auspices of checking every circuit for reliability. His supposed reasoning is that even a mothballed hunk of exotic alloy can degrade over time. That segment of hard physics is universal.

But he would always be there alone… exploring the dark corners of his existence…


The NULL Solution =

Descending into darkness by Des-Schatten-Schelm on deviant art

Episode 186


page 180

The NULL Solution = Episode 155

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The NULL Solution = Episode 155

…All the unending speculation about may be coming to an end…

Skaldic and Sam are impatiently waiting, when Chasonn and Deimostra finally do get back.

“Let’s get this show on the road Chase! We have a planet to save or a code to crack… doesn’t matter in which order we do it.” Sampson McKinney has been waiting for an escapade like this for many a cycle. “Forget that old hookah stuff, Skaldy, I have some grog for you to try. This is going to be fun!”

Celeste, Deke, Cerella, Deke, Joyner, Ekcello, Fortan {and Deimostra} are there to give them a proper Eridanus sendoff. Sammy Mac may be treating it lightly, but this mission is a big deal. Anytime you place the guy anywhere near the Terran system, apprehension cannot be far behind. Even in the company of {over}qualified chaperones, on a ship he is not piloting, the proximity of Earth is low-hanging fruit. ‘Just drop me off at that continent to the starboard,’ would be such a tempting request. ‘Secretly, Gus was always his favorite’, would be the reason most often guessed.

With a Seljukian at the helm and an Earthling as a backseat driver, it is the ex-Null-cryptographer who is the star. All his computations have passed muster, as McKinney-centric as they are. The how & why, is McKinney related. The what, where & who have been assigned to Lorgan; the probable author and gatekeeper.

Irrespective of NASA and Earth’s vested interest, this is going to be an Eridanian show, a story that Skaldic can tell his children about – if he ever has them.

All the unending speculation may be coming to an end.

It turns out that journey over to Mars is worth the price of admission. The weight of intergalactic peace hangs in the balance of what amounts to 3 good old boys on a quest for adventure. Chasonn certainly, Sampson yea and Skaldic absolutely have something to prove to themselves; or perhaps someone else.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 155


page 152

The NULL Solution = Episode 148

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The NULL Solution = Episode 148

…When it comes down to it, Deimostra is not spoiled for choice…

Illustration by Byron Eggenschwiler

Speaking of simplistic, that is the very essence of Skaldic the Null. With all the changes coming about on Eridanus, among, about and in between the populated towers with all their social shuffling, the man behind it all matriculates still, in the original Null Tower, albeit in the lofty penthouse.

He also remains a true friend to the other outcasts, namely the Space Family McKinney. While Gifted Cerella works on the nuts & bolts, he remains properly concerned for the earthly visitors and the dark cloud that approaches their true home.

Skaldic has grown particularly close to Deimostra McKinney. It began with him noticing her rapid maturation into an incredible woman and has accelerated at light speed once he solicited her help in solving the Harmonia Query.

With age being a relative term on Eridanus that she became a viable target for his potential affection is not so farfetched. Here is the way aging works on a planet where immortality is a near reality:

  • An individual comes into biological existence
  • 95% of physical growth takes place in 20 Cycles
  • The final 5%+ takes place in the mind
  • The finished product continues with only marginal aging

In the case of Deimostra, she has grown to the equivalent of an adult in her prime, in her own time. She will remain just so, just as it is with the rest of her family. There is something about the excessive humidity that preserves the organic. It slows the metabolism for all. Deimostra is definitely organic and Skaldic has noticed.

Turn around. A chronologically, but not all that emotionally advanced Eridanian is “falling” into that something-something which defies all sense of time/space. When it comes down to it, the Earth woman is not spoiled for choice. Certain erudite mature men have let their curiosity slip out from time to time, but nothing that particularly tickles a girl’s fancy.

As a tag-team problem solving tandem, the divergent pair simply works at every level. They are equals in intelligence and social stature. They have spent one cycle after another attempting to unlock the door to a planet, that neither Skaldic has been to or even care about. He has long viewed Collapsar Axis as the greater issue in theory, but now he cannot minimize the riddle.

The human heart is not nearly as complex. The female protagonist in this tale is impressed with the Null beyond the bounds of logic. She had always doubted the devotion of his friend Offingga even when she {herself} did not factor into the immediate equation. Unable to explain her envy, Deimostra did ignore her… and him for that matter. He was a chum of daddy’s after all. That was then. This is now.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 148


page 146