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

Episode 194


page 232

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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!

Episode 193


page 231

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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

Episode 189


page 226

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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

Episode 172


page 207

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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

Episode 165


page 201

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 152

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 152

“If this is your theatrical way of proposing marriage to me, then I accept…

Francine has been an interested observer during this current visit to a ranch under recent excavation. “It looks like Braden has been busy.”

“I hope you don’t think he is being somewhat presumptuous,” Question and statement. “I know he talked to about me building out here at King, but I am not the one who got this ball rolling. I don’t want you to think I was taking anything for granted,” disclaimer delivered JIC {just-in-case}.

“If this is your theatrical way of proposing marriage to me, then I accept… but I am in charge of the inside of that house!”

The chopper suddenly tilts at 250 .

“Am I the one who is presuming something? I just thought this had to be a plan of some sort.”

“Ask her now Roy!” Braden screams from below.

KR 2022 bounces back to 00.

“I’ve already got the family car,” she prompts.

“Earth to KR 2022, are you still there,” Braden quips from below.

“I have no contagious diseases and love the Houston Rockets,” she adds, looking at his ashen face.

Roy feels like a rat trapped in a maze, but upon further review and instantaneous reflection he surrenders this: “Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with me? I mean I am about to be held in Contempt of Congress, I am wanted in Jamaica for driving 100 miles over the speed limit and I was thrown out of a Rage Against the Machine concert when I was at the Space Academy.”

Just then a flashing red light appears where the fuel gauge is. “We have to set down, that’s an idiot light.” With all the back-and-forth, Related imagethen forth and back, he had overlooked the fuel situation.

“You idiot, what idiot?”

Just as they finally set down, 2 souped-up golf carts come out to meet and greet. Not surprisingly, the one driven by the McKinney boys gets there first, with Braden’s scooting in behind.

Who do the excited siblings run to, once the rotors whoosh to a stop? Francine. And where does Braden head? To the very same pretty lady who used to work for his favorite TV station.

So what is Roy left to do? Watch, as the woman he has fallen in love with is being welcomed into his extended family… just like it was meant to be. —


THE RETURN TRIP

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Episode 152


page 187

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 89

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 89

…The boys could not keep their eyes off the King Ranch linkup with Colony Mission Control, watching the slow visual crawl of the New Mayflower on its way past the moon…

Image result for one-sided conversations

One-Sided Conversations Typography by cheeriosbdr529 on deviantart.com

—Meanwhile, back in the Greater Houston Metroplex, reaction to the Mars bound Image result for metroplex mapNew Mayflower is every bit the equal to Galveston, perhaps having the edge with the mission’s two biggest rooters Deke and Gus McKinney there at King Ranch. The pre-launch drama will not be left out this time, leaving it for it in the hands of local news.

Braden King does not relax until the New Mayflower reaches escape velocity and clears the ionosphere. Then and only then does he join the boys who have exploded their bedtime to bits. Wild horses could not have kept them from watching their parents’ rescue mission move downrange and Braden has learned his lesson about withholding the truth.

“I wish we had a molecular particle transporter,” Gus muses, “and then I could beam Mom & Dad in time for Wednesday.”

He speaks about the big birthday bash that surrogate parent Braden King has had planned for weeks, to treat the McKinney boys who were born within five winter days of each other, one year apart.

Space Academy

“CalTech has been doing some amazing experimentation in that area Gus. One of my friends at the Space Academy has a dad who has successfully scrambled basic molecules and reassembled them.” Leave it to Deke to know so much about the project. “In fact, they say by the end of the 2035 they will be transporting a lab rat to a remote location.”

“That sound cruel to me…what if the rat goes in and comes out a cat.”

“I think he would be happy.”

“Or worse yet, get lost on the way,” Gus being an advocate for all creatures large and small. “They don’t get a vote.”

“If we didn’t use animals for research, the planet would have been overrun by flesh-eating epidemics back in 2018.”

“You were 3, how would you know Deke?”

“He is right,” if Braden says so, it is therefore gospel, “if I remember it spread out of  Africa and never made it across the Atlantic.

Black and White Pattern with Wavy Lines.

“You know I’ve been thinking, maybe it would be a good idea to invite Uncle Roy to the party,” no not blood uncle.  “He could use a day or two in the bunkhouse to wind down.”

“Well, duh Mr. King!” Braden speaks for the boys/transfixed.

super-kidsThe boys could not keep their eyes off the King Ranch linkup with Colony Mission Control, watching the slow visual crawl of the New Mayflower on its way past the moon. It will be tough keeping the rescue from dominating their every thought.

“Well double-duh Braden, I didn’t see his name on the list?” King mentions.

“It wouldn’t be a party without Crip, Mr. King.” He mocks.

“Oh yes, that is an excellent suggestion, we like it when he rides old Hellraiser the bull.” Braden has conducted the conversation for the 3 of them.

Black and White Pattern with Wavy Lines.

11-oclock

“That’s it boys, I think it is time to hit your bunks. Haven’t you heard that a watched spaceship never moves?”

He gets no argument.

“Come on Gus, we cannot stay wake for four months. And Mr. King, Uncle Roy would never ride Hellraiser, he smarter than that.” The brothers are aware of Braden’s needs, “And you deserve to have time with adults of your own age, you know like 64!”

Right now he feels all of 80. —


THE RETURN TRIP

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When I’m 64 by nickel8 on deviantart.com

Episode 89


page 110

 

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