THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 153

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 153

…What is taking four months to accomplish {the New Mayflower rescue mission}, a SOL equipped spaceship would take 10 minutes, akin to a trip to  a corner store in New Orleans

French Quarter Corner Store by John Boles

— After he had escaped from a treacherous country, had his family risk their lives fleeing to Turkey, managed to  contact the Space Colony Director with scandalous information, only to be shot by an assassin’s bullets while being flown into the United States, poor Aldona Afridi is not an yard closer to applying his trade.

SOL-logo

But now the renegade turned research scientist has been assigned to the SOL Project: the independent foundation, with significant ties to NASA that is dedicated to achieving space travel at the speed-of-light threshold and not a mph less. With the recent stranding of personnel, some 3+ months distant and without a lifeline, efforts have been redoubled in the quest of 670 million miles per hour.

Do the math. What is taking four months to accomplish {the New Mayflower rescue mission}, a SOL equipped spaceship would take 10 minutes. What is presently classified as a time-sensitive mission would be akin to a trip to a corner store in New Orleans.

Another comparison may apply to the situation on Mars. Unknown to anyone on Earth, the NEWFOUNDLANDER would have taken over four years to reach this solar system, assuming that they came from the nearest star.

Such are the daunting numbers that face a small grouping of scientists that does now include Aldona Afridi; and he feels well-favored to have the opportunity. He is making a good wage, not a fortune but sure beats the United Korean blood money by light-years.

His family is safe, though the Afridi family name has been changed. Meet the Fitch’s:

  • Father: Fletcher Fitch
  • Wife: Madonna Fitch
  • Daughters: The Fitch girls

How easy are things when you are under the protection of a benevolent Federal Government such as this? You get an undercover makeover, govt. housing and a new outlook on life, just like that.

Fletcher and Madonna Fitch have that new look, new wardrobes and names that they had no choice in getting.

And still, life is good… so far.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 153


page 145

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 132

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 132

…“Russia is like a rotten cousin; you have to invite them to family gatherings, but you serve them cheap beer instead of fine wine…

“I have fashioned a schematic for you to forward to the crew of the New Mayflower, if it’s not too late. They must construct a circuit in that vehicle with an anti-laser deflection field. I can be fairly positive that Sang-Ashi’s path may be on an intersecting course.”

“They have had a small shadow following them ever since they got a million miles past the moon. Do you have any idea what that could be? Does Sang-Ashi have a twin?” asks Roy Crippen.

“I know that the Russians were ready to launch their own probe, Uralsk I think it’s called, but I only know this because of a launch conflict with an astronaut exchange to the old International Space Station.” ISS is still in orbit, though its usefulness has long since been relegated to space lab experiments. “They claim that it is headed for Uranus, but if that was the case, they’ve missed their mark by 10 million miles, like they were aiming for the elliptical, but used parabolic calculations.”

“Can they be that bad? They are truly like the Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight.”

“They will claim to have had Mars in mind the whole time, who would know the difference. And I don’t think any harm can come from a country whose Soyuz continued to be the workhorse of the ISS, ever since the United States stopped the shuttle program and until privatization came along. Regardless, my system must be implemented.”

Russia is like a bastard cousin; you have to invite them to family gatherings, but you serve them cheap beer instead of fine wine.” United States’ relations with the Great Sleeping Bear has been as chilly as the original Cold War, but has warmed since they put Putin in the ground in 2028.

“Okay Aldona, I will forward this plan to Rick Stanley, before they go into hyper-sleep.” Roy Crippen trusts this man’s insider instincts, even though the verdict is still officially out on the fate of SC1. “As for you, my friend, I am getting you an office at Lovell and your family will be set up here at Elgin—you are officially onSOL-logo the payroll, with an eye on placing you in the SOL Project.”

“Do you mean speed of light?”

“Can you dig it Mr. Afridi?” Roy is retro-hip.

“Working for NASA seemed like a foolish dream to me and now it has come true!”

“We can use your expertise and any tidbits about the Korean factor.” — hipster Roy.


THE RETURN TRIP

Robert McCall, NASA Artist (1919-2010)

Episode 132


page 124

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 66

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 66

We all knew, deep in our souls, that something like this could happen and yet here we are behind the 8-ball….

8-ball

Tell My Troubles to the 8 Ball by Martin Wong

meanwhile-caption-001“T-minus 2.75 hours and counting folks, the nuke propulsion is coming on line for the first time and all systems are go,” the intercom is buzzing with exciting news of stretching out the new souped-up engines, leaving only crew concerns and ground fog from getting the New Mayflower on its way.

Roy Crippen is in full-pace-space-mode. With both midnight and an untimely early-season tropical system moving north out the Gulf of the Americas getting closer, his nerves are starting to show. It is one hell of a time to test a new launch method. It is quite another risking more lives on the enhanced propulsion, even though NASA’s chief engineer has been perfecting things for 2 years, when perfection is impossible.

“If it is the last thing I do in NASA, Karl, I will see us into full-blown SOL technology,” speaking to Karl the engineer. “We do not belong in space if it takes two months to travel 100 million lousy miles.”

“There was no way we could foresee this accident,” insists the aging veteran of metals and motion.

“If it is an accident at all… don’t ask, I’ll tell you later” Some stories have no abridged versions. “We all knew, deep in our souls, that something like this could happen and yet here we are behind the 8-ball.” Roy draws a deep breath to continue, “And we have our two best people out there, having stuck out their necks farther than giraffe on stilts, confident that they would be safe…safe……safe my ass and living in a lander that is not designed for a sleepover, let alone 2 f***ing months.”

“Haven’t you risked your life for the space program? And how about the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts, didn’t they stick their necks out? Remember the two Shuttle accidents?”

“And Fred Cabell and Phil Jansky… shit… and all we can do is wait & see what happens next. I was hired to do a job and I am back here scrambling…”

“Please do not succumb to the ‘it should have been me’ syndrome. Somebody once said, I think it was Herbert Hoover, ‘The older men start the wars that are fought by the young’, you get what I am saying Roy.” Old Karl speaks through a heart of experience, a reliable ticker that has been broken before, only to mend and go on.


THE RETURN TRIP

conqueringthesunsempire17

Conquering the Sun’s Empire by Harry Lange

Episode 66


page 61

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 6

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 THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 6

…The future is reserved for the dreamer, the past is there for the reminisce(r), but the present belongs to the opportunist, as it is for Roy Crippen. …

Image result for past present future

Image result for early nasaWhile the happily married McKinney’s prepare to inaugurate Space Colony 1 and the whole of Colony Control/Command Com gawks at the spectacular views sent back by the huge orbiting station, the project coordinator still has his head under the hood, so-to-speak. For Roy Crippen, a shuttle astronaut from the horse and buggy days, with the Chronicle currently in place, the task of dispatching the deep-space shuttle New Mayflower now becomes his top priority; a green light has replaced the amber shade which has been flashing on the project status screen for an agonizingly long time.

Mars City Mock-up

Mars City mockup

Here at the Galveston Launch Facility, finishing touches are being applied to the refitted shuttle. The passenger liner type vehicle and its load of astronauts, scientists and miscellaneous personnel must be ready to hit the long and empty reaches of space ASAP; 26 future citizens of Mars City.

Getting the New Mayflower into space is routine, save the very rare and unfortunate exception. All precautions have been taken and were a breeze compared to the 140 million kilometer journey ahead, at the painfully slow space-pace of 50,000+/- km/hour.

Speed-of-Light2It seems like so-much wasted time to Roy Crippen. “We should be able to go much faster than this.” Beside his duties as heart-and-soul of Space Colony 1, a considerable soul by itself, he lays awake nights working out one particular science project in his mind; speed-of-light space travel. 100 physicists and “spacies” are presently taking theory and making it reality in the laboratory, but the physical application of SOL theory is his persistent pet peeve. There resides a completed SOL Cruiser on the drafting board of his soul.

crippen-2036-001The future is reserved for the dreamer, the past is there for the reminisce(r). But the present belongs to the opportunist, as it is for Roy Crippen. This tall, thin man has garnered worldwide attention because of the Colony, the kind usually coveted by more attention seeking men. He has minimized the office of the President of the United States or the ever busy Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency in his mind.

There are reporters from Fox International, Reuters and World Newsmakers assigned to follow his every move. Some suggest he run for President in 2036, a notion he scoffs at, but secretly finds intriguing.


THE RETURN TRIP

new-mayflower-001

Episode 6


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The NULL Solution = Episode 99

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The NULL Solution = Episode 99

…“Roger Roy.”

“Not Roy Rogers.”…

Fresh as a daisy in May and as restless as puppy on a string, Gus rushes past the full moon like it is standing still. He will never tire of that moment when he passes the SOL threshold and gravity kicks back in. {They have not solved sub-light gravity {in space} yet, but it is only halfway through the 21st Century}

“No traffic lights, no traffic and no need to stop for fuel; what more can a dark-matter-master ask for?”

“What’d you say?” asks the ground crew of two.

“Nothing guys, nothing, I am a half-million miles out and I swear I can almost see that tower. It appears to be a quiet weather day on this side of Mars, 45 degrees and sunny.”

“Let us know when you drop out of SOL.”

“Done. I do not want to startle the neighbors. I am strapped in and waiting for the riddle to pop onto my screen. It was right about here… and there she is!”

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

 “I am typing harmonia as my response. Send… nothing… sending again.”

“Try capitalizing the H.”

“Roger Roy.”

“Not Roy Rogers!”

This time his screen lights up like a Christmas tree. A mass of flashing colors and Related imagegeometric shapes in a blinding sequence comes and it goes. The words WRONG TRY AGAIN conclude the transmission.

“Did you guys catch that? Harmonia with a capital H did something.”

“Eureka, concrete proof of grammar in outer space, just why we sent you out there!”

“Hey, don’t shoot me, I’m just the piano player,” Gus insists. “I think I can land in the opposite hemisphere?”

“Lota good that will do us; Too long of a walk and that is 87 keys too many McKinney, come on home.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 99


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The NULL Solution = Episode 65

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The NULL Solution = Episode 65

We may be in bigger trouble than we think!

–So with the best of intentions, Gus does what McKinneys do; they do space rather well. The now amazingly “effective” Stellar Explorer {SEx} is off-world and headed on a course that will rendezvous it with NEO 2038DP in a Venusian minute. It is hard to believe that just a year or so ago, that minute would have taken days.

But wouldn’t you know, today is much like the days that precede it, which means expect the unexpected. A funny thing happens on the NEO-way. About the time Gus squeezes off a rock-lambasting disruptor beam, what shows itself but a cruiser from Sexta A. The asteroid crumbles into harmless debris.

And it’s just what the Ÿ€Ð pilot was looking for: aggression by one of the three likely suspects in “The Planet Nine Affair”. Those Earthlings aren’t as harmless as once thought. Once stunned – twice wary is the new approach. If they can destroy an entire fleet, what chance can one cruiser have? The Ÿ€Ð ship makes a dash for home.

“Did you see that SOL contrail Roy?” Gus catches a glimpse.Related image

“You certainly cannot possibly believe in UFOs, can you now Commander McKinney?”

“Seriously?”

“We can’t be blaming the Koreans, Russians, Chinese or Talibanistan anymore, can we?”

“We could, but we’d be wrong. That looks exactly like the one I scared away a while back.”

Lorgan is Lorgan, but what if that thing was just an ordinary everyday interstellar bogie.”

We may be in bigger trouble than we think!

“&%#$+><. What do you mean you ran from your duties? You were instructedRelated image to take retribution against the civilization responsible for destroying our fleet! I could leave you off Collapsar Axis for that breach of duties!”

“But they were only blasting apart a space rock, Great Župzïð. What threat can they be to us?” Yet the pilot still ran scared.

“I, Župzïð the Last, will determine who is a threat to our proud civilization! As soon as we have vacated the Ÿ€Ð home world, we will set our path to the Milky Way galaxy, perhaps solving two problems in one journey!”

That is a policy decision to end all policy decisions. If they do not find a way to increase the speed of Collapsar, it will be a generational undertaking.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 65


page 68

The NULL Solution = Episode 1

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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

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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 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

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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 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

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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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Contents TRT