THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 252

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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 is 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

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 244

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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 Simplifying the Apple Watch Breathe App Animation With CSS Variables | CSS-Tricksmodel? Does the red one go faster than the black, or does it only look faster? In the case of the SOL Project, 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 humblest 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


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 243

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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


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 238

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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…

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

“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

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 235

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 235

…This is no ordinary day and the electric atmosphere is equal to the achievement…

Reuters/Gene Blevins

On this day, the 9th of January 2051, Roy Crippen is sending his stepsons, with the legendary name of space travel, McKinney, beyond the reach of known distance and its mythical barrier of speed; SOL.

Roy had long ago resolved his issues of guilt surrounding that other pair of McKinneys, yet he will not be able to free himself from the responsibility about to be heaped upon him with this day’s foray; the exploration of the Black Frontier.

The Black Frontier, so named because space is a vacuum filled with invisible dark matter and light-catching objects scattered sparingly about, is about to have a speeding projectile slip through its tranquility. And nothing but perfection can be accepted. Such is the margin of error.

“The fusion units are online President Crippen,” reports a technician, to a man who longs to be called “just plain Roy”.

“Are the cooling sensors set to maximum Hadley? The vacuum induction will be engaged when they reach 275 miles and we cannot have hyper-generation in the meantime.”

That technician, the engineers, the pilots, and everybody in the room know this, but again, he is leaving nothing to chance. The unmanned test was a colossal success and that exact result is to be repeated.

Three hours later, arriving at runway one-niner, simultaneously with the rising sun, Deke & Gus McKinney step out of the IFOS turbotransport looking alert and wired for the day of their lives. This is no ordinary day and the electric atmosphere is equal to the achievement.

The press/dignitary area is stuffed to overflow with anyone having a handheld PC, camera or microphone (all-in-one these days), even though they will only be witness to the SLAV escorting Stellar Explorer out of eyeshot. Ironically, without the aid of super-duper slow-mo time-lapse, there will be no recorded “footage” once they engage the vacuum induction.


THE RETURN TRIP

Out of Sight by Carmen Guedez

Episode 235


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 234

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 234

…The Stellar Explorer {SEx}, first of three planned SOL cruisers, will be carried piggyback-style into the lower reaches of the thermosphere …

While the SOL Project lead astronauts are finding pillows, Roy Crippen and the rest of the support crew are up working, readying both themselves and the equipment that marks the first major venture into space since the New Mayflower came up empty handed from its rescue mission on Mars.

As one might imagine, security surrounding SOL has not been taken lightly, seeing that the United Korean Peninsula and its allies seldom pass up the opportunity for mischief.

The old adage ’Fool me once, shame on you / Fool me twice shame on me’ may need to be amended with this added, ‘Fool me thrice, a hopeless fool am I’. After Space Colony 1’s demise and New Mayflower’s brush with the same, no space rocks have been left unturned.

The Stellar Explorer, first  SOL cruiser, will be carried piggyback-style into the lower reaches of the thermosphere by a recently constructed sub-light assist vehicle (SLAV); a multipurpose vehicle which can repair orbiting satellites, service the International Space Station, and transport new technology like the SOL cruisers away from Earth’s grip.

Now most former Presidents of the USA, when their term(s) expire, retire to lifelong perks; the easy street of building a library of their own indulgence and staff/security until the day they die. Not Roy Crippen, as he heads the privately funded INDEPENDENT FOUNDATION FOR THE OCCUPATION OF SPACE or IFOS. He leads a vast team of scientists, engineers, and technicians who operate away from overbearing military meddling and partisan bureaucratic balderdash.

So from the ashes of what was his beloved NASA, Roy Crippen’s fingerprints are all over America’s venturing out of the Solar System, with the help of familiar names in the world of Mars and beyond.

On this day, one of excitement and apprehension, he is sending his stepsons, with the legendary name of space travel, McKinney, beyond the reach of known distance and its mythical barrier of speed; 186,282.051 miles/second. Just how much faster than the speed-of-light that Deke & Gus McKinney goes is TBD.


THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 232

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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.


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 229

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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

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 216

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 216

…when you put an end to both wars AND welfare, you  eliminate the need to throw money at them…

Money GIF - Find on GIFER

At “home”, on this movie night, they rehash the good and the bad concerning the fallout from his speech.

“I have been told there is a Defense Department hit squad waiting for you in the halls of the Pentagon.” The First Lady has his back, as it should be.

“Do you mean that just because I have put an end to the infamous $600 hammer in the room? It’s not just the gross cost of the hammer, it’s the brother-in-law of the Army general who makes it… not to mention the fact that the military doesn’t use hammers anymore.”

“I saw a political cartoon in the Post which shows an Army general addressing his troops, telling them, ‘Next week I promise we will have live ammunition for our rifles.’ Yes you are on top of their s**t-list.”

“I’ll tell you what Francine, professional soldiers are like social workers; when you put an end to both wars AND welfare, you  eliminate the need to throw money at them.

“And speaking of spending money wisely, may I present to you the rising star of the SOL Project, who will tell us that the priority spending program is ahead of schedule and under budget: Ladies and Gentlemen, Gus “The Blue Blurrrr” McKinney!” Roy acknowledges Gus entering the room, signaling the end of the movie.

“Actually sir, we are behind schedule, over budget and seeing that I am an up-and-comer, can I buy that new Northrop Grumman LX25, it cruises at 400? {In the atmosphere}”

“I’ve seen your bank account and by 2040 you’ll have enough for the down payment.” Gus hangs his head. “And how many 21 year-olds have general aviation transportation; your car will do.”

Coming in late to the conversation at the White House, whose priorities are radically more serious, is brother Deke.  “Don’t fall for his bull Dad.”

Roy has to blink hard. Seeing the McKinney boys together in one room is rare and you can flip a coin to determine which one is which. The older they get, the more alike they look.


 THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 209

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 209

…The McKinneys are relieved when their space-taxi whooshes past the ominous molten maelstrom and subsequently an uninviting barren exo-world that looks like it would make a great prison planet

The NEWFOUNDLANDER continues to hurtle toward the planetary system which must surely be their final destination. The ship with a remote control mind uses all the right moves on its approach, like it had done this very move before. A skilled navigator himself, SamImage result for speed of light gif sincerely hopes so, because he is beginning to feel uneasy with the speed at which they going at this late stage. That scary mega planet is looking large and larger, its red-hot surface churning like the gates of hell… and they have barely dipped below SOL.

Born to go fast and built for speed, Sampson and Celeste are in white-knuckle mode, each in their own way, praying that the NEWFOUNDLANDER would slow down! Imagine being a passenger in an auto without a steering wheel whose brakes have failed and that would pretty much sum up the situation.

Little do they realize that due to the orb’s enormous mass, the illusion of proximity is just that, an illusion? At a half a million miles out, the stardrive that had relentlessly propelled them past several other stars without a pit-stop begins to back off, freezing the white dots of light behind them. An example: Earth’s sunlight will catch up to the Epsilon Eridani solar system in another year or so.

They are relieved when their space-taxi whooshes past the ominous molten maelstrom and subsequently an uninviting barren exo-world that looks like it would make a great prison planet. Once the sub-light deceleration has taken full effect, and you can DreamySkies-blue2-(Magical)definitely notice the difference.

The only possible landing point is the third largest member of this unique triumvirate, a misty looking sphere, the size of which is hard to judge. There are no clues as to what lays beneath the cloaking shroud; no hints to its close-up appearance.

Instead of knifing through the planet’s pea soup ionosphere, to allow that anxiously awaited first glimpse from on high, the NEWFOUNDLANDER nestles into an orbit above the vaporous barrier.

What lies beneath the clouds & mist?


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 209


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