The NULL Solution = Episode 161

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The NULL Solution = Episode 161

…The Blarney stone, a rabbit’s foot, 4 leaf clover, salt over the shoulder, a lucky horseshoe or crossing fingers and toes, call on anything that encourages good fortune…

Related imageBeepbeepbeep; three napping men react to a computer generated alarm, each in their own inimitable way.

His ship on autopilot, Chasonn rouses to check their navigational position, once his head clears.

Skaldic crawls out from a nightmare about locked doors, wondering what hit him.

The last time Sampson felt like this, it was the morning after his graduation from the Space Academy; different grog, same result.

“We are approaching the Terran system,” Chasonn announces.

Skaldic scrambles to locate his notes. He is anxious to prove himself.

“That last eight hours went by way too fast,” Sammy is a little off his game. He recovers to instruct, “The riddle should show up any time now. When it does, drop anchor Chase… full stop. Then we hand the show over to you Skaldy.”

The matter of Collapsar Axis, a static echo to the portside, is an ancillary concern.

The Blarney stone, a rabbit’s foot, 4 leaf clover, salt over the shoulder, a lucky horseshoe or crossing fingers and toes, call on anything that encourages good fortune. Every culture should have one.

“What do you rely on for luck Chase?”

“We trust in our skill.”

“How about you Skaldy, you must have a good luck charm?”

He pulls out a tiny figurine from his pocket. “Your daughter gave me this before we left.”

Sam recognizes the Unicorn as the object that has been with the family since back on Mars, before she was born. “She must like you… did she give you anything Chase?”

Chasonn pretends he is too busy to hear.

Minutes later this appears on the main Seljuk monitor:

“Full stop!”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 161


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The NULL Solution = Episode 149

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The NULL Solution = Episode 149

…Have you talked to Deke about this, he is the expert on extragalactic relations you know…

Skaldic the Null is no longer considered a black sheep in these parts, even less so, now that her brother’s mate/wife has managed to integrate an entire world. ‘It works for Deke. Why not me? I think he likes me. He is so much like my father; bold not overbearing, adventurous not reckless, smart not smarmy and not too hard on the eyes either.’  She is comparing notes from the experiences related to her by Mamma Celeste, recounting the circumstances that created the person Deimostra is today – the original Earth-child-of-space.

Of course she has that “talk” with her mother. “In case you don’t remember the story, I met your father back at the Space Academy. I always thought he was a bit arrogant, one of those hotshot pilots who think they are the bulletproof. So here I am, space-sick to the max, in a lift-off simulator and this joker is pretending to be a doctor of all things. He takes me to the infirmary… very convincing, but I knew who he really was. He was just trying to get to know me at the time but that didn’t matter. I could never get that guy out of my mind.

“To snip what is a much longer story, when the Space Colony 1 project was being staffed, we got to spend more time together and not long after that we were married. As it

World Space Consortium

turned out the Space Colony Global Coalition or World Space Consortium or INDEPENDENT FOUNDATION FOR THE OCCUPATION OF SPACE or whatever they call it now, was looking for a married couple to go to Mars… and you know the rest of the story.”

“Yeah you couldn’t keep your hands off each other and here I am!”

“I was marooned, pregnant and hijacked, not necessarily in that order. How’s that for a merry 2030?” Celeste can tell her daughter is serious about a “boy”. “Does Skaldic know… Related imageit is Skaldic right… does he know that you have the hots for him?”

“Mother!”

“Well you wouldn’t be grilling me about the love of my life unless you were having similar notions. Have you talked to Deke about this? He is the expert on extragalactic relations you know.”

“He still considers me his kid sister. I am not going to ask him if he knows anything about Skaldic’s physiology.”

“He and Cerella figured it out, honey. I suggest that you let nature run its course; Que sera, sera.”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 149


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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 194

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 THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 194

…“SO what kind of kisser is Deke McKinney, Susannah? Is he as dreamy as he looks?” is a representative sample of the girl talk…

Award-winning Illustrator Alexei Vella

“SO what kind of kisser is Deke McKinney, Susannah? Is he as dreamy as he looks?” is a representative sample of the girl talk.

In reality, Miss Grisbaum possesses a puny portfolio of Deke-isms. Their dates are fun beyond explanation, but the devil is in the details. By every definition, the elder McKinney is a straight shooter, even to the point of, do I dare say, boring? If you were his sister, instead of an aspiring debutante, his idea of fun would be… unpretentious hearty fun.

Oh Susannah, if she so chose to, would accurately relate these intimate facts about her Space Academy 18th Annual “Rising Star Dance” date:

  • He’s a great hand holder
  • He is Sonic Burger’s best customer
  • He drives jet cycles fast (so she can grasp his 25” waist tightly)
  • He rides his horse at a full gallop (so she can hang on to him for dear life)
  • He’s the best cheek pecker this side of the Mississippi

Oh what, Oh Susannah actually says is:

  • “We spend hours and hours looking out at the stars, sometimes waking up the next morning in each other’s’ arms.”
  • “And his kisses nearly drive me to insanity, long and really wet.” (she wishes)
  • “He once told me that he would like us to be like his mom & dad…. partners forever.”

“You are so lucky Suzy!”

“And he is taking me back to his house on the King Ranch after the dance,” that much is true. “His stepdad is running for President, can you believe it?” True again. “They are out of town and I think he wants to have his way with me!” Only if he wants to be grounded for a light-year.

But, as the other girls are swallowing her stories whole, wishing that that young space cadet across the room were with them, Dashing Deker is probably telling his own tales of romance and upcoming conquest to his buddies.


THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 193

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 193

…For the guys, Rising Star is an opportunity to swap boy-stories; huge lies, exaggeration, triumphs and conquests

For teenage girls, it is exchanging: huge lies, exaggeration, sedition and gossip…

“Are you clear on what to do Susannah?”

“But I really like Deke McKinney, Daddy, he’s out-of-this-galaxy!”

“He is four years older than you. Do you really think Crippen would let him date you if he knew you were jailbait?” The deceivingly aged girl has become a pawn in the 2032 Presidential election. “All I am asking you to do is to have your phone on speaker when you are fighting off his unwanted advances.”

“But…”  Her job is to make sure they would not be uninvited.

“Get him to kiss you and the whole country will hear you fight him off.”

“But what if he won’t kiss me?”

“Then pretend you are horsing around, just get us some audio. Don’t you want your father to get that ambassador job for the European Union… can’t you see yourself studying at the University of Bologna or your mother doing what she does best?”

“Shopping?”

“We’re talking shopping, hosting dinner parties… you know, Italy on the taxpayers tab.”

The “Catch a Rising Star” Dance is a long standing tradition at the Space Academy. It is a somewhat frivolous reward for an intensive course of study that requires ultra-serious dedication. The Academy takes the place of a regular high school education, which both Deke & Gus McKinney have signed on to, the former having completed his studies with honors.

And it doesn’t hurt to have a pretty girl or handsome guy on your arm when the big night comes along. Just about every female pledge is wondering who the Dashing Deker (his academy nickname) is bringing to the dance. And much to the chagrin of his female fly-girl classmates, he is bringing that out-of-state girl he has been seen with, riding on his jet cycle and his favorite quarter horse.

For the guys, Rising Star is an opportunity to swap boy-stories; huge lies, exaggeration, triumphs and conquests. And that they do and do and do, instead of dance, dance, dance.

Which the girls don’t like one bit, so they do what teenage girls do best; huge lies, exaggeration, sedition and gossip.


THE RETURN TRIP

Not on this planet!

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 189

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 189

…“Sweet Susannah is 15 years old and Deke McKinney doesn’t know it…

 The Freelove (for President) campaign, even though it is leading by all  polling accounts, is having a hard time gaining any further traction, as September bleeds into October. Incumbency has its advantages, though complacency is an inconvenient byproduct.

“I think we need to muddy the water a bit,” offers Skip Chandler, the Freelove Campaign Strategist. “I have been doing a little digging on that oldest McKinney boy Deke.”

“What do you mean by “digging”,” Sylvia Freelove asks of her chief aide?

Space Academy

“Well he has asked a girl to be his date for the Space Academy “Catch a Rising Star” Dance.”

“He is an all-American 19 year-old male, what is unusual about that?”

“Well she happens to be the daughter of one of my former colleagues in the House.”

“So?”

“He’s a Democrat.”

“So are most New Mexicans.”

“She’s not going to be 16 until December.”

“My daughter has dated an older guy, that’s why they invented birth control.”

“Sweet Susannah is 15 years old and Deke McKinney doesn’t know it. Her daddy told me that because she skipped two grades, she is a senior, but that “hick hunk from Houston” thinks she is or about to be 18.”

“That’s all fine and dandy Skip, but what does all this have to do with muddying the waters? Those McKinney boys were probably raised on the silly notion that you wait to have sex until you get married.”

“Absurd isn’t it? And just like that squaresville Crippen; out of touch and morally pious he is.” Skip Chandler speaks for his new-ageness, as well as his boss’ immoral belief system. “They have gone out on a few dates, but Congressman Daddy tells me she is getting bored with him. I think we can fix things so that we can claim that Deke forced himself on her……at the dance, in public and the poor innocent Susannah ends up with a torn dress and a broken heart.”

“That is quite a story you have there. But that seems a bit risky at this stage of the game.”

“We could use an “October Surprise” Sylvia. If we can’t touch Crippen or Walker, why not go after his step-kids? It will make ol’ Roy look like a bad parent.”


THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 172

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 172

…“I am relieved about Gus!.” Francine is all too aware that Gus is the one suffering most by the loss of his parents…

Suffering by Paula Heffel

“I am not going to waste our time together squabbling over that necktie.” Their 17 month marriage remains solid, as most do, in spite of the ongoing McKinney heartbreak, career shifts, and the blinding glare of the national spotlight. Like those ships in the night, passing near not seeing, “We can’t waste this time.”

Space Academy

“Speaking of not seeing someone, how did Deke & Gus do on their Academy exams?” Co-surrogate father Roy would give anything short giving up on the election to be there to help the boys with the critical Space Academy simulator tests; the single biggest factor in becoming an astronaut candidate. Braden King is a ground expert, but has little to offer the two rapidly maturing space-aspiring young men.

The adults’ combined mission is to help them attain those desired goals.

“Gus barely got by the book test, then A-ced the simulator.” she tells Roy. “Deke lost his gyro-control, hit an asteroid and he will never live it down. It turns out that the professor rigged his test by inserting THE QUARKIAN QUANDARY, I believe he called it.”

NASA Top Gun

NASA“They only pull that on the Top Guns. I bet Deke had already been promoted.”

“I am relieved about Gus!.” Francine is all too aware that Gus is the one suffering most by the loss of his parents.

“The way I see it Francine, Gus knows that his flying skills are the only way he graduates from the Academy; it’s hard to keep up with his genius brother.”

“Whatever the reason,” she concludes as their Ford Hydrogen vehicle pulls up to the Hilton Hotel & Casino, “I think that Celeste would be pleased as punch and Sammy Mac is screaming at the top of his lungs … somewhere out there.”


THE RETURN TRIP

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 165

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 165

… “I have been triangulating ever since we left Uranus behind.

I love it when you talk space-dirty to me“…

“If you knew your sun was burning out, wouldn’t you go searching for another sun and planet as a bailout?” Celeste submits possible reasons for the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s trips to Earth and eventually Mars.

“That would be excellent motivation, but I do not think it applies to our friends. These chaps were just plain curious and that is why I am leaning toward the orange Epsilons — Eridani and Indi. At seven and ten light-years, either of those would be more likely home bases. If you subtract the tracks we are laying down every second, who knows when we would get there.”

“You are talking possibly ten years Sam, and that’s if you are right. I happen to know that Rigel, the white-hot giant of the Orion Constellation is 500 light-f***ing-years away. If it took Columbus 500 years to reach the West Indies from Italy… well you know where that comparison is going.” Celeste’s perspective is that of a new mother, realizing that Deimostra may never set foot on solid ground in her entire space-bound lifetime.

“You’ve got me there Cel, but we must look for the positives in our predicament. Maybe I failed to mention that we may be going much faster than the mere speed-of-light factor of one. As my hero Captain James Tiberius Kirk would say, ‘Can you give me Warp 8, Scotty?’”

“I’ll do what I can Captain, but the strain on the di-lithium crystals may be more than they can take!”

“You remember that episode too.”

Space Academy

“Of course I do. When we were dating at the Academy, we couldn’t go anywhere until that or any of the other bleeping on-demand episodes or movies were finished!”

“Why didn’t we pack the Star Trek z-ray file into our PDAs. The trip would go by quicker.”

“So do you think we are past Warp 1?”

“Exactly. I have been triangulating ever since we left Uranus behind.

I love it when you talk space-dirty to me. Triangulating Uranus must be code for interstellar whoopee,” she puts her sleeping infant down to make a flirtatious flyby of her husband.

“Isn’t it too early… for THAT?”

“Recovery times on the NEWFOUNDLANDER are amazing.”

It is not your average romantic advance, so in the middle of a serious discussion, they achieve Warp 2 to their makeshift living quarters.


THE RETURN TRIP

Warp Speed Mr. Scott by Euderion deviantart.com

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