The NULL Solution = Episode 94

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The NULL Solution = Episode 94

…There was supposed to be a small colony on Mars, not a freaking skyscraper…

‘I want to see what Tycho looks like after all these years,” Sam suggests. 

As soon as they can sync the viewer with the geographical location of the Plain of Xanthe, it is clear that the neighborhood has changed. Not only are there clouds and oceans and vegetation, there is a towering structure dwarfing the tiny lander that once called Space Colony 1 its home base.

Sampson McKinney, formerly of Earth, Mars and now Eridanus, is as confused as his the Null next to him, “I thought you told me this planet was barren.”

“It was when I left,” he claims. He has to wonder why Celeste did not leave a clue about her hyperphysical trip back. Surely Crip would have mentioned a little thing like a colony on Mars. A friendly heads-up would have been nice.

Sure as Mars soil is red, a mile-high colossus rises up on the spot where humans once tread.

“Something like that would take centuries for Earth to build. There was supposed to be a small colony on Mars, not a freaking skyscraper. I wonder if the Chinese are responsible, they have always had money to burn?” He contemplates possible explanations.

Just as they get close enough to magnify their view, something strange, yet familiar pops into the scene.

“0” Skaldic has seen it before and so has Sampson, if only for seconds at a time.

Reliably so, it gives off a reflection.

“Harmonia,” reads Sampson.

#Harmonia# reads Skaldic in the Olde Language.

Twice read, once gone.

“Why doesn’t that surprise me? I saw that thing over Selljunk way.”

“I saw it out by our olde home world,” to each his own.

The recent visitors to the vicinity have stopped watching where they were going. The planned descent to the surface is met with a blinding rebuke.

The next thing you know, they are found back in Eridanus orbit; SNAP!

“Holy crap!” After recovering from unconsciousness, Sampson has his say.

Skaldic points to the same viewscreen that recently held pixels of the New Mars. It reads instead:

The Null runs the riddle past a comprehensive Eridanian database. It does not compute.

The Earthling utilizes an Earthly version, with the same results.

Nothing about the last few moments seems to add up.

Fuzzy math or bad Dr. Seuss,” Sam summarizes, “We are a full 180° off course, emptyhanded and confused.”

“That is not all Sampson McKinney.”

“Please Skaldy, I can’t take anymore.”

“The TSF drive is unavailable.”

“Swell. You can add going nowhere fast to the list.”

All in a ½ day’s work.


The NULL Solution =

Painting by MICHELE Z FARRIER

Episode 94


page 95

The NULL Solution = Episode 87

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The NULL Solution = Episode 87

…I suspect the United States is attempting to monopolize Mars like they unsuccessfully tried to do with the moon…

Some things are better left unseen {like the Mars metamorphosis}.

The People’s Republic of China has been nosing around the subject of space travel, along with everybody else in the 1950s, but was never a serious contender in the race to the moon. Their focus was on population growth, or rather less of it.

Once the “one child” policy was firmly dictated, the China National Space Administration {CNSA} was formed in 1993. Up until the country filled to the brim with millionaires, China was more concerned with staking their part of a spatial claim and stratospheric spying than launching citizenry into space.

But the times they are a-changing. two pair of space boot tracks can be found {one new set seen removing the American flag} in the Sea of Tranquility, as well as the other five places on the Moon, not an insignificant feat. And recently they placed their dime-store version of Hubble out amongst Earth’s already crowded atmospheric rim. They claim to be watching stars form, but few believe it more than a veiled excuse to keep an eye on solar system goings on.

And just because their own rover and satellite are neutered {like everyone else’s}, no one can accuse them of being blind. Just as Roy feared, someone else has noticed the monkey business going on-on the once barren Red Planet; right up their alley…

“We are going to send our finest astronauts to explore what is happening to Mars,” Zhai Zhigang III, the Comrade General of CNSA, is dying to know, {like everybody else}. “I suspect the United States is attempting to monopolize Mars like they unsuccessfully tried to do with the moon.” He cannot hide his resentment.

Keep in mind that the Chinese knockoff of deep-space travel is akin to their cheap vinyl version of a Coach handbag; it looks the same, but it’s not. SOL technology has eluded their most skilled hackers, spies and thieves. Fitted with their best nuclear propulsion, it will take 2 months, 23 days, seven hours and 10 minutes to reach Mars in the “Year of the Rooster”. Surely they will crow loudly about thwarting those imperialistic space cowboy Americans. —

— 2 months, 23 days, seven hours and 10 minutes later, they encounter this:

我是如何与为何阻止你的方式

2 + 1 = 6

6  –  2 = 9

0  –  1 = 0

解决了什么和在哪里谁,你可以通过

or

Wǒ shì rúhé yǔ wéi hé zǔzhǐ nǐ de fāngshì

2 + 1 = 6

6  –  2 = 9

0  –  1 = 0

jiějuéle shénme hé zài nǎlǐ shuí, nǐ kěyǐ tōngguò

“Is this a cruel American joke?” The Chinese have always been good with numbers, but they soon find out that nothing adds up. “If we cannot gain the surface and find out what they have done or how they did it, we have wasted the Emperor’s time. Tell the commander of the mission that, ‘If you cannot solve the equations, you will return to Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in disgrace!’… and tell him I mean it.”

Never mind, that for the last four months, 11 days and too many minutes, those diabolical Americans have failed to solve the same numerical conundrum.

Do not tell them that however. Misery is best served dry, with a dash of frustration.


The NULL Solution =

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center

Episode 87


page 88

The NULL Solution = Episode 85

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The NULL Solution = Episode 85

CHAPTER EIGHT

Fuzzy Math

Fuzzy Math by Sadie Benning

Pilot Gus McKinney will be on his own out in space, though in no uncertain terms is he to engage anyone/thing. “Go in, collect as much data as you can and get out – got it? Do not – no I forbid you to enter Mars atmosphere under any circumstances. Until we know exactly what is going down out there, we do not take chances.”

NASA photo

— And so it is, with mission guidelines clearly understood, that Gus takes Stellar Explorer out for some old fashioned seat-of-the-pants fact-finding. Just like when man landed on the Moon the first time. The very reason astronaut Armstrong had to jump off the ladder of the lander is because NASA expected the moon dust to be 18” thick not 3. In the same way as good as he is at flying at the speed-of-light, the new/old Mars may hold some surprises.

“No surprises yet Crip,” Gus closes in on the Red Planet quicker than a starving man filing a plate at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“We show Lorgan on the dark side,” Fletcher Fitch reports, “oh wait…”

“… I see him,” he will be cautious this time, “and now I don’t. For a second there, I thought I saw a reflection of the United Nations… flags everywhere!”

“That old cow has been put to pasture years ago, Gussy.” Rancher/Prez Roy uses a Texas-sized analogy for the ineffective alliance {UN} of nations which the United States booted off its soil in 2025 unceremoniously, once political correctness was properly harnessed.

“Yeah, whatever, I saw what I saw and now I don’t. Nothing surprises me about that thing anymore.”

“Keep an eye on the alert screen just in case. SEx’s sensors ignore mirages.”

He is jolted by to a complete stop not long after the following message appears on the alert monitor:

I am the how & why that blocks your way

2 + 1 = 6

6 – 2 = 9

0 – 1 = 0

Solve the what where & who and you can pass through


The NULL Solution =

Episode 85


page 85

The NULL Solution = Episode 58

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The NULL Solution = Episode 58

…I have a disease that the there is no surefire cure…

“I don’t know, ever since these visions I’ve been having, I seem to get these flashes. Today’s flash must be happy,” Gus describes his state-of-mind to his stepfather.

About that time, his personal device tries to vibrate off his handy-dandy utility belt. It is hard to stay in the present, when your mind may be 40 trillion {unknowingly} miles away. The present is very persistent.

“Would you please respond to that? NASA devices do not exceed one alert, unless it is important, like when you are on the other side of the Sun.”

“It’s from Mindy. I’ve got to get back to the house.”

“I never thought I’d see the day when Gus McKinney is a henpecked husband!”

“You had the whole country henpecked for eight years,” that not-so-obscure reference to Francine Bouchette-Crippen is sufficient to silence the critic.–

— Moving at Earth-speed is so boring… until it isn’t.

“Do you remember our date night, the one after you returned from the Sun?”

“How can I forget? That movie we saw… wasn’t it Notebook: The Cure? Incurable diseases are so yesterday.”

“Well, I have a disease that the there is no surefire legal cure.”

She sounds serious enough for him to take notice. Do Earthmen really roll with the flow?

“We have access to the best doctors in the world Mindy. We can fight this!” which begs the question, “What exactly are we fighting?” His concern deepens.

You cannot be married to a McKinney male without having a sense of humor. “What has 4 limbs grows tall & strong and is destined to bear fruit?”

“A lemon tree?”

“Aren’t you sweet?”

“An apple tree?’

“You’re getting warm Adam.”

“I’m Gus.”

“Do you give up?”

Not in the McKinney dictionary.

Does this riddle have anything to do with his previously contented bliss?

“Does your riddle have anything to do with my good mood, before you turned it into a quiz?”

“Time is up!”

Mindy McDonald-McKinney holds up a doctor’s prescription for prenatal medication.

What do you think the expectant father does first?

“Mindy is pregnant, Dad!” He rings up Roy to share the news. Then he ponders her quiz, “4 limbs blah, blah… bear fruit? Does that mean it’s a girl?”

Parents on this side of Stardate 2031 do not get a choice about getting a surprise or not. Oh sure the pregnancy may be, but not the xx or xy factor.

Over on Eridanus

“You look doubly content, Deke,” Celeste notices.

Long after getting his baby news, something washes over Deke McKinney.

“I don’t know…, but I am feeling happy about something else, can’t explain it.”

Outside the Null Tower

“Are things ever going to change for the Null?” Offingga asks Skaldic.

“They already have.”

The future of the Null is NOT void.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 58


page 60 (end ch. 5)

Mind Boggling Crime Riddles

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wif-crime-001

Crime Riddles That

Boggle Your Mind