The NULL Solution = Episode 1

Leave a comment

The NULL Solution = Episode 1

…THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE SPACE FAMILY MCKINNEY…

Chapter One

 The Return Trip Continues {Stardate 2051}

And so it was on that fateful day of the return trip, at 3X the speed-of-light, on an abnormally cold January day in usually arid Galveston Texas that Gus McKinney is trying to explain what is inexplicable. His adoptive father, who also happens to be the heart and soul of NASA’s SOL Project, fears the possibilities. How can the young co-pilot possibly clarify someone vanishing? That he departed Earth’s gravitational influence with his brother, Deke in Stellar Explorer’s pilot seat, only to return without him.

“So you and Deke thought you were in trouble, ‘phasing in and out’ as you put it?” Roy Crippen is in an untenable position. After having experienced the elation about what had been deemed a colossal success, he must now reconcile what can only be described as a handful of nothing.

Gus McKinney knows nothing, at an utter loss for answers, but for some odd reason he parades a peaceful façade.

Former President of the United States of America {#48}, “Prez Roy”, can only be described as befuddled. “I have been getting some feedback from Fletcher Fitch here {lead SOL engineer}, not to mention the crew of the SLAV that clocked your speed averaged around warp 3 — WARP freaking 3, Gus! Stellar Explorer was engineered to approach SOL, not exceed it, could not exceed it… yet here you are in one piece, returning to Earth with a spacecraft that has been souped-up!”

“Look Crip, if I had clue what happened, you’d be the first to know.” Gus is still in shock himself. “All I know is that I have this nagging feeling that Deke is alright.”

“But…”

“Yeah, I know that doesn’t make a lick of sense, but some damned weird stuff was going on in the cabin just about the time we lit the fuse.” The memory is fresh, if not sketchy. “The last thing I remember, Deke said something about Mom.”

“What do I have to do with this?” The former First Lady of the USA, project Spokeswoman and host on The Space Channel, Francine Bouchette-Crippen, has been an insistently ardent observer to the debriefing.

“No offense Francine, but I got the feeling he was talking about our real mom, as in Celeste McKinney, you know, the one who vanished from Mars along with Dad back in 2030.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 1


page 7

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 252

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 252

…Like a puppet on a string, the well-traveled ship from “home” dangles above its new dock…

YouTube Song

“The Stellar Explorer has entered into a descending orbit,” Celeste sense aloud. Her and Sam’s memorable first impressions of Eridanus, the then unnamed planet, flood in. “It is a shame that they cannot be fully conscious, to see the mist parting to reveal the towered cities.”

“Perhaps Ekcello will trust me to take them up in one of these ships, one of these days.” There is a hint of selfish motive and respect in his voice. Nothing would scratch his itch like taking one of these flying machines out for a spin, now that he knows them inside and out {Perchance to circle the Epsilon system at sub-light speeds, or reignite interest in physical space travel, or convince them to use their 5th dimension time-travel talent instead of suppressing it}. None of these notions are probable.

“Not a chance! He knows you know the way back to Earth,” his wife engenders reason aimed at her daughter.

“Do you think I would abandon you & Sammy? No, no, no, I would abduct you both first.”

Celeste cuts him off at the pass.

“Kicking and screaming you would. I’m not sure that we fit on Earth anymore. But I know it has crossed your mind,” she points to her own cranium. “You would make Earth a dominant space power within a year.”

She knows him all too well. —

— The trio steps to the side of the huge receiving doors and strain to catch their first external glimpse of Stellar Explorer. The pink sky parts and they gaze upon the sleek SOL cruiser, which outwardly looks like it had a few in-flight nicks. It is a handsome piece of aerodynamic design, bearing the proud flag of the United States of America on either flank. The mere sight of the Stars & Stripes opens the tear ducts of the elder McKinneys. Deimostra takes in the touching emotional display, now realizing what loyalty to country, and home planet, is all about.

S-E-x… Look at that nickname, I love it!” Sammy Mac in tickled proud.

They stand transfixed as Stellar Explorer defies gravity in its low speed maneuvering which brings it to rest next to Explorer/NEWFOUNDLANDER. Like a puppet on a string, the well-traveled ship from “home” dangles above its new dock, seemingly reluctant and clueless as to how and why.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 252


page 294

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 244

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 244

…for those left behind by Stellar Explorer, it is impossible to learn from the mistakes — when you are not apprised of the actual outcome…

There are no concrete answers let alone solutions, in this speculative world of SOL technology, but man struggles for answers anyway.

When you test drive a new automobile/sky-car/jet-cycle, does one try out every color of your preferred model? Does the red one go faster than the black, or does it only look faster? In the case of the SOL Image result for variablesProject, the only variable being 397 pounds of human beings, could that have changed the norm to such a radical degree?

Many other like questions and some more technical ones has crossed Roy Crippen’s mind. Perhaps the most humble of those drives to the fundamental heart of the matter: Does man belong in space? In other words, are they technically capable of tackling projects such as SOL or going twenty years back, Space Colony 1?

You can have everything right, cover all your bases and this happens:

  1. a killer satellite from a rogue nation blasts the first orbiting space colony out of  Martian orbit, stranding the world’s most prominent and popular married couple and they disappear before they can be rescued
  2. the accelerator on a spacecraft, that has only been on a couple test-drives, gets stuck just as two of your young and brightest test-pilots reach the speed-of-light and those brave young men are related to their folks in number 1

Bad luck–maybe, bad science or bad math—probably, but in either case it is impossible Image result for it doesn't add up gifto learn from the mistakes, when you are not apprised of the actual outcome:

  1. Either branch of The Space Family McKinney tree is alive and well. Without the clueless people on Earth knowing, their math is incorrect
  2. Courtesy of the planet Eridanus, instead of -4, the count of McKinneys in space thought lost currently stands at +5, with the actual addition of Deimostra.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 244


page 287

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 243

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 243

CHAPTER TEN

Where Were We?

…the Stellar Explorer, piloted by the McKinney brothers, is losing control…

“SLAV, we are losing contact with the chrono-link. The ship is breaching the threshold, but it’s like we are watching it via remote hookup…,” Deke tries to explain what is happening.Stellar Explorer

“We have you on our screens, engage the emergency decelerator immediately…” encourages the SLAV.

But instead of slowing, it has more than doubled its maximum velocity. The SLAV crew struggles with what they are seeing and the data that defies description, considering known parameters.

“We were talking with them one minute… they were having problems… we cannot regain contact.”

At SOL Mission Control they are desperate for answers. “How can that be Fletcher Fitch? You never hinted that they could travel that fast!” Roy Crippen’s comprehension cannot possibly keep up with the pace Stellar Explorer was setting.

“No sir. We don’t know if the speed-of-light can be exceeded… and the crew blacked-out just after they lit the fuse.” After reviewing the data, the former Talibanistani-national posits, “But then after reaching SOL 1 and maintain it for a minute, it immediately jumped to SOL 2 and they are now approaching SOL 3. The heliopause {rim of the Solar System} will be breached in five minutes.”

There is only disbelief from Mission leadership.

“What do we do President Crippen?”

“Didn’t that thing have a velocity governor, Afridi — I mean Fitch, can they make the turn going that fast?”

“We are running the numbers now Mr. President. The unmanned test went nothing like this. We are only scratching the surface of exo-WARP conditions.”

“Tell me about it!” President Roy is at a loss for action. The fate of Space Colony 1 haunts him still. “Holy crap! This cannot be happening!”

There are no concrete answers let alone solutions, in this speculative world of SOL technology. How could this be… having tested three unmanned cruisers (the same one 3 times) at these exact speeds completing the mission without a hitch… and now this?


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 243


page 285

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 238

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 238

…Before they lapse into whatever fate awaits them, they reach across and bump their fists; someone had to do it and this is what we signed up for…

warp core

— As Deke & Gus prepare for SOL, all phases are not aligned.

“SLAV we are losing contact with the chrono-link. The ship is breaching the threshold, but it’s like we are watching it via remote hookup…,” Deke tries to explain what is happening.

“Gus,” he urges, “wake up. There is something wrong here!”

Gus snaps out of his funk to check his instruments, “Everything is fine. We have passed Warp One !!!”

Stellar Explorer2

“No, look at the chrono-link, it’s reversing itself, like we are being heading back in time.”

Gus’s image, or Deke’s perspective of his brother’s appearance looks like something their generation never had to put up with; the fading signal from an analog receiver. In the digital realm, when you are losing the frequency, things pixelate, stop and start and rearrange. In the cabin of the Stellar Explorer, everything is wavy, like seeing things through the delirium of desert animated air.

“Yeah, I’m not feeling all here, how about you?”

“… like our molecular structures our breaking down? Try engaging the emergency decelerator.”

“I can’t, my hand gets within an inch, they stop short,” Gus is straining against an unknown barrier. “It’s no use. Our bodies cannot maintain structure at these speeds.”

Atlas 9

“The 3 unmanned went off without a hitch! I absolutely do not get this?”

“That may be the key… unmanned… they didn’t know how the human body would respond when they broke the sound barrier either.”

“Or if man could stand the G-Forces of a Redstone rocket or Atlas 9  liftoff in the Mercury Program,” Deke recounts.

“Or what is was like to experience prolonged weightlessness.”

All of those barriers had been crossed without major incident.

But there is a theme developing at SOL: You can only make your best guess as to what happens, if you have not done it before.

“Well if we cannot slow this thing down and our bodies cannot keep up, something has to give.” Deke’s assessment of the situation is simplistic, but consistent with the philosophy of the test-pilots that had blazed trails before, which means that they can only deal with what is directly in front of them.

But the faster SEx goes the behind-er they get. It is like there are two versions of the same movie playing at once. But which one is the correct reality and can both test-pilots survive the ordeal?

Before a waiting and wondering while, the McKinneys lose all control contact with the SLAV ship and as well as each other. Before they lapse into whatever fate awaits them, they reach across and bump their fists; someone had to do it and this is what we signed up for.


THE RETURN TRIP

Time distortion

Episode 238


page 280

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 232

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 232

…There are 3 very good reasons for Deke McKinney to be relieved that his brother broke curfew…

“What time is it?” Deke McKinney asks, as his eyes adjust to the bright lights of the kitchenette, having been awakened from quality sleep.

“I don’t know, 01:30 I guess, why?” Brother Gus doesn’t think much about it.

“We’re going to dust-off the moon in six short hours Gus!” The elder of the pioneering duo does not want any puerile thing to interfere with their brush with the future of space travel. “Did anyone see you come in? You will be scrubbed from the mission if they find out you blew curfew… you know that Maddox {mission coordinator} has been waiting for you to screw up, he hates you, you know?”

“That sapsack? He’s been pissed since his girlfriend hit on me at the Christmas party,” Gus’ voice echoes inside their small refrigeration unit scouring it for a late-night snack.

“There is leftover steak in the vacuum chamber, you need the protein,” practical advice from one who knows. “I told Dad that we would douse the lights at 2100 {military time}.”

“I have three good reasons for staying out:

  1. “Roy hasn’t been President for 10 years
  2. The SOL test is a 15 minute trip around the block.”

“Hey Buddy, Roy Crippen may not be President, but he does oversee the SOL Project and as for that trip around the block comment, I wouldn’t take it so lightly. And that’s only two, what’s the third?” urges Deke.

“3. I asked Mindy to marry me,” he licks the cold beef fat off his fingers.

There are three very good reasons for Deke to be relieved:

  1. He had not been out partying
  2. He had disabled the security cameras
  3. Mindy McDonald has been a game-changer in his brother’s life

“We are going to have the biggest wedding that Houston has ever seen!”

This post dedicated to © Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) R.I.P.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 232


page 273

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 229

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 229

…Earth must be convinced that Deke & Gus McKinney are yet another major failure in Earth’s misbegotten ventures into space…

Misbegotten Moons by Elena Stone

#The successful test of an unmanned vehicle at sub-light velocities is leading Earth to the wrong conclusions# Ekcello is as emotionally invested as his Eridanian rationality will allow him, #There is a point in time, before they achieve that SOL threshold, that we could make the necessary alterations to their space-drive and bring them here to Eridanus#

Sampson prefers another option, “Why not save their lives, make the test a success and let them slingshot back to Earth? I don’t think Eridanus is in their flight plan.”

#For your technicians to believe that it was by their merit that made the speed-of-light possible, when it clearly is not, would be like us sending you and Celeste back; the damage and confusion would offset the good intentions. They must be convinced that Deke & Gus McKinney are yet another major failure in Earth’s misbegotten ventures into space#

“Now wait a minute here Mister! We may not be the most successful space program going… however many other space programs there are… but you are not letting us learn by our mistakes.”

#That logic is flawed#

“What are you saying Sam? Don’t you get it?” Celeste is adamant. “Either way the results will be the same, in the eyes of our world. Why should the reputation of the SOL Project take precedent over reality? The best possible solution is for the boys to join us here on Eridanus.”

#At this point in the space/time continuum, the people of Earth cannot know the difference between death and disappearance as opposed to perceived success. How will your sons be able to explain the sudden emergence of a completely foreign technology. They could not#

“Excuse me if I find it hard to get used to deciding the outcome of otherwise predetermined circumstances, family or not. They are going to freak out when they, all of a sudden, find themselves here. At least we had 5 years to think about it.”

#We implore you to listen to your mate. She has seen for herself and she understands#

Though outwardly he appears a dissident, Sampson McKinney has internalized and reconciled this matter of morality and mortality. Of all the things usually attributed to the Lord’s mysterious ways, the manipulation of the future by an alien race, raises more questions than those answered; each instance becoming moot and academic.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 229


page 270

Contents TRT