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 64

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 64

…Great, I’m going to save a bunch of goat minders…

Photo from Paula Watts

Not three. Not two. One of the original Ÿ€Ð cruisers is left cruising into Terran System territory.

To be exactly correct, zero may soon leave Collapsar Axis as the only Ÿ€Ð creation in the Great Expanse.

Gus is out for an authorized joy ride in his SEx machine. Without the drag of a formal “launch”, he is flaunting that freedom with the usual McKinney flair. The 1st time daddy is learning about all the new built-in bells ‘n whistles, with a get-a-long in his giddy-up.

Ostensibly Roy has dispatched him to NEO 2038DP to test out a fully charged disruptor blast. That 13-meter, oblong, tumbling big-bang-debris is back again and this orbit promises to charge headlong into the Himalayas next week. The UASI {United Association of Sherpas International} is sponsoring this near-Earth object deflection/destruction in conjunction with Dalai Lama 16.

“Now remember Gussy, you want to aim for the thinnest equator of that beggar.” Fletcher Fitch has narrowed the destructive beam of the weapon. The anonymous gift from somebody, arrived with a not-so-narrow ray, meant for a larger purpose. “For the time being, we want to put this thing to good use.”

Great, I’m going to save a bunch of goat minders.”

“Today’s goats are tomorrow’s llamas.”

“I almost forgot Fitch, those used to be your people!” an ancestry dig.

“Talibanistan is a China away from Nepal, did you fail geography?”

“The only geography I am focused on is a 43 foot hunk of space-rock.”

Mount St. Helens before

“That rock is traveling at 45K kilometers/sec. If it hits on a steep enough angle, it could be a mini Mount St. Helens.”

“Now you are testing my history aptitude? Displaced a billion tons of the mountain’s north face… in Washington State… in 1980… Ronald Reagan was president… and disco was king.”

“Enough already McKinney! Just do the task assigned and accept the gratitude of 126 Everest mountain climbers!”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Mount St. Helens after

Episode 64


page 67

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 61

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 61

…22 years later Sampson feels that same ~~~ immediate rage!…

Rage by Sarah Goodyear

A pall has been cast and no one on Earth can explain what it is exactly.

“I cannot help but feel bad about whomever, whatever, wherever those ships came from,” is Gus’ pilot lament.

“Even though they may have been on their way here to say, wipe us out?” Prez Roy always considers the worst case scenario.

Fletcher Fitch pipes in, “I am only 3 weeks from acquiring enough juice to power the planetary force field!”

“That is comforting to know, but it would have been too late old friend.” Pragmatism is required to spearhead planetary policy. “And no Gus, SEx would not have helped either.” He isn’t through, “Please tell me that Lorgan…” he asks FF.

“… Yes, it was there.”

“Of course!”

Roy Crippen and his merry spacemen are only aware of a 1/4 fraction of the entire scope. How would full knowledge of Lorgan’s clout affect their posture?

“Just be thankful you can go home to Mindy at the end of the day.”

Deke McKinney’s gut reaction to the apparent loss of his mate, is to start sprinting for Explorer, as if it were a horse and he was a one-man posse determined to chase down a bank robbing gang.

Daddy Sam musters enough footspeed to run down his son. He sees so much of himself in the fleeing new father. Just what wouldn’t he do if he were in the identical shoes? What was his own reaction after witnessing the destruction of Space Colony 1? He wanted to jump back into Tycho, the clunky Martian lander and chase whatever was responsible for marooning them. 22 years later he feels that same~~~

{Mars 2030In the moments following that breathtaking {not in a good way} flash of light high above the Martian atmosphere, several seconds elapsed before the ominous explosion could be felt. It was as thunderous as any blastoff of an old Atlas rocket.

If the cornea-singeing light and the eardrum-piercing sound were not enough, the shock wave that swept down to the surface got Tycho to rockin’ as if it were a 150 yr. old oak tree in a tornado. Sampson had all he could handle in stabilizing the lander during the 20 second maelstrom.

Even after these unpredictable twist and turns, light and darks, the real scope of their predicament does not sink in until after the dust settles. It is Celeste who verbalizes the obvious, “My dear God Sam, we are castaways!”

She prevents her husband from throttling up for a wasted chase.

~~~immediate rage!


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 61


page 64

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 36

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 36

A straw that stirs the drink would be an apt depiction of Lorgan…

Known to Earth as Lorgan, that “shiny meddler” seems to have an agenda and the ability to navigate space with impunity. Its effects appear to vary widely, as it applies to any unique affected party.

  • Wipe out an Eridanian scouting mission & drive them into isolation and ultimately, hibernation?
  • Spy on what “it” considers a primitive world by hiding behind Earth’s star & singling out the planet’s most dangerous society?
  • Disable the outposts of the paranoid Seljuk, while stirring their suspicions as to who is responsible?
  • Expose the Ÿ€Ð to the harshness of their proximity of their star & provoking them into an offensive position?

A straw that stirs the drink would be an apt depiction of Lorgan, but you best keep a safe distance.  The drink itself is the Great Expanse. But what exactly are the purposes of the straw? Where does the straw come from? You will likely get four different answers from the 4 affected parties.

“Take a look at this Crip,” Fletcher Fitch has been digging in the recesses of the NASA mainframe, searching for something, anything that will give him a leg-up on that whippersnapper Gus McKinney. Understanding Stellar Explorer’s unexplainable improvements, as well as defining the undefinable Lorgan, has turned into an earnest competition. He points at a complicated schematic that has appeared out of nowhere into the NASA mainframe.

“Is that what I think it is?”

“Some sort of energy field?”

Before the engineer can expand on his thoughts, another diagram piggybacks on the first.

“Now hold your horses. This one looks like a molecular disruptor! I’m not sure where this stuff is coming from, but I can tell you it’s not from any of us.” Fitch would know.

“Somebody must think we may need these improvements in the future.” None of this technology would make sense for an organization in the business of mere exploration, with only fractional knowledge of extraterrestrial entities.

A third program spills into the supercomputer.

“These are the schemes for the molecular stabilizers.”

Davinci 2 by chillara on DeviantArt

“And the answers to how SEx went from warp1 to warp3.”

They are accidental inventors, each one.

This is like discovering every single one of Leonardo da Vinci’s notes or Edison’s drawings of his numerous world-changing inventions. Technology, barely comprehensible by current science, is falling into their laps.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 36


page 40

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 30

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 30

…“I seem to remember your mom & dad telling me about a shiny moon O that they spotted right after leaving Space Colony 1

“Wow that tops your last tale by a bunch!” Prez Roy wraps his brain around this newest tall tale from the prodigious storytelling talents of his remaining star astronaut.

“The Sun trumps Pluto every time,” Gus would know.

It is not just about Deke, Celeste and their cryptic warning.  It is that vanishing sphere that merits close attention.

Roy suddenly has a flashback moment, “I seem to remember your mom & dad telling me about a shiny moon O that they spotted right after leaving Space Colony 1. The excitement of their landing Tycho threw us off that trail… soon after that the colony was destroyed. The rest is history. Let’s see if we can make a connection.”

Image result for wormhole gif“You’ll see what I mean about that jazzy dealeo. It should be all over my visual array, hell, for over a minute… then poof it’s gone into a wormhole!”

“You do know that there are no recorded wormies this close to the Sun. Out past Uranus, yes, we have detected some crazy stuff.” What mankind knows about deep-space pales in comparison to what they do not. “We’ll be looking for volunteers to go through a worm in the future Gus, how about it?”

“That is a one-way road this boy won’t be going down!”

With SOL technology in hand, going around them is the prudent choice.–

–So… it is off to merge Stellar Explorer’s video with the lander Tycho’s Colony last moments in the Mission Visual sector of the mainframe, for that closer look at the largest alien made object in the greater Earth/Mars neighborhood; what it is, who may have made it and what its purpose is {or was} or is still.

Roy Crippen’s experienced eyes have never seen such a thing. From bogies in his flying days, to too many episodes of Star Trek, the object he is zooming in on is as out-of-place in the solar system as any single item. Judging from the greatest magnification, it is flawless in sheen.

“Look at that,” Gus points, “you can see the reflection of SEx!”


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 30


page 34

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 15

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 15

…“But that unusual signature is coming from Earth’s general direction.” Any happening over toward “home” is a cause for Sampson McKinney to pause…

–In a cruel twinkle from a faraway star, instead of Gus being late for a date, he mysteriously drops from the near-solar grid. —

From Earth’s angle, there is no tangible sign of the fastest spacecraft this side of the Orion Nebula. It’s hard to trust the raw physics and the unfamiliar position of Stellar Explorer; there is no dark side of the Sun.

This cannot be happening. The Space Family McKinney is an enigma bound by misfortune.

Once again, Roy Crippen is left grasping for a handful of nothing.

“I’m picking up an odd object signature,” sensors on the Eridanian craft wouldn’t lie to Sammy Mac.

The fuss that a space vehicle makes, hurtling at multiple the speed of light, is quite noteworthy. In comparison the fastest recorded asteroid travels at the relative snail’s pace of 68K miles per hour. There is no such thing as skulking about unnoticed, as it slices thru time and space.

“Odd how?” asks Deke .

Though a quick, study Sampson is a SOL newbie and some of Defender’s instruments make his head hurt, “It’s phasing in and out. I would consider it an illusion, if it weren’t Image result for tick tock gifso darn consistent… and then it isn’t.” Tick tock, “Now it’s gone.”

“We cannot linger with that now. We must contact the Seljuk as soon as we are able.” Laser-like focus is an Eridanian attribute. Cerella’s civilization is paralyzed, the answers they seek are logistically polar opposite in this quadrant and they are gobbling up space in that civilization’s own ship.

“But that unusual signature is coming from Earth’s general direction.” Any happening over toward “home” is a cause for pause.

“Did you think that Crip wouldn’t test out their new SOL technology, did you?” Deke is keenly aware that his younger brother would likely be piloting any SOL vehicle from his home planet… unless those Koreans got hold of {ripped-off} the tech. They’re at a loss to explain.

They don’t see what Gus is seeing from with a bird’s eye view.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Bird’s Eye View by Kyle L. Poirier,

Episode 15


page 19

 

THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 2

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THE NULL SOLUTION = Episode 2

…Deke is gone and SEx {ÊS ÊX, its demonstrative nickname} is off-the-charts fast, with a reinforced hull and a molecular stabilizer that we didn’t even know existed…

–It is currently 2051 and much has transpired in the intervening two decades:

  • Mars has been visited by 17 probes and landers from numerous countries, but remains unoccupied by any human being

    World Space Consortium

  • Thanks to the New Mayflower’s rescue attempt and ultimate exploration, a plethora of firsthand insights about The Red Planet have been executed
  • The World Space Consortium has disbanded due to the distaste of human lives being “lost”
  • There have been 3 more Commander-in-Chiefs since Prez Roy, all of whom have a vested curiosity about the SOL Project

“What about the cabin security? What do those cameras show?”

“Nothing after you guys lit the fuse, Gus, nothing until you made the Pluto turnaround. The funny thing is, we could not access that video feed until after you landed. Either way the result is the same,” Roy recaps, “Deke is gone and SEx {ÊS ÊX, its demonstrative nickname} is off-the-charts fast, with a reinforced hull and a molecular stabilizer that we didn’t even know existed – isn’t that right Fitch?”

The man formerly known as Aldona Afridi tries unsuccessfully to mask his humiliation. Back in Talibanistan, they and the Koreans would have banished him to the rugged winter mountains for his lack of explanation. “We never considered the change in molecular structure of the human body as it crosses the SOL barrier.  I only calculated g-forces. How could I overlook molecular structure?”

“None of us did, Fletch, no need to beat yourself up.”

“What would have happened without a molecular stabilizer,” Francine is cautiously curious, “one body, two bodies or no bodies?”

She turns to Roy, “Look dear, we’ve got Gus and we’ll have to guess the rest.”

His mother by any other name, she hugs Gus McKinney as tightly as she can. He will have to do for now. Deke McKinney is formally considered MIA, however unexplained.

The rest of the world cannot know the puzzling outcome of mankind’s first jaunt to the edge of the Solar System, at least for the time being.


THE NULL SOLUTION

Episode 2


page 8

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 – The End

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THE RETURN TRIP – The End

…“President Crippen! Stellar Explorer is back on our screens, it made the Pluto turnaround…

#Gus McKinney travels in a vehicle of which there is no match. He will return to the 251.025 time-stem without knowing how the improvements came to be. He will experience strange dreams in the aftermath, dreams that will haunt him, taunt him and cause him to search for their meaning.

#We on Eridanus will be watching and waiting#

 Those that Gus leaves behind, The Space Family McKinney on Eridanus stand together, bolstered by the wise Ekcello, pinning their hopes on Gus and his indomitable spirit of exploration.

Back on Earth

January 9 2051 {Eridanus time}

2030 {Current date on Earth}

“President Crippen! Stellar Explorer is back on our screens. It made the Pluto turnaround!” The crew of the SLAV revises their previous report. “There is no way they could have made that turn at Sol x3, but they did, Crip!”

Roy Crippen crumples in a heap, relieved beyond measure at this turn of events. He could not bear the loss of more family, adopted or otherwise. “Thank you, my dear Lord,” is all he can say.

The entire SOL Project Mission Control, led by Braden King erupts in applause when they hear the voice of Gus McKinney, “Lovell Space Center, this is Stellar Explorer… we’re heading back to Earth!”

Francine Bouchette-Crippen and Mindy McDonald melt into an embrace, as women who love test pilots do.

At that declaration of success, Gus McKinney glances over from his co-pilot seat, to check on how brother Deke McKinney came through the intense G-Forces of the turn screaming, “We did it man!!!!”

 

The pilot seat is empty _______________________.

The End of THE RETURN TRIP

Copyright © 2021 by Gwendolyn K Hoff   All Rights Reserved


THE RETURN TRIP

The End


& the Beat Goes On

Coming next @ WIF…

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 277

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 277

…“Settle down folks, Gus is just taking Stellar Explorer out for a test flight……a day earlier than scheduled…

Gus McKinney cannot foresee a viable future on Eridanus, with his reunited family or not. He is the same square peg in a round hole as Sampson – the difference being he is going to take action.

The great doors of the Space Expository open to reveal a sky packed with unfamiliar star patterns. Somewhere out there in the vast mass called The Milky Way, is a little yellow dot, that warms a certain blue planet, just right, just right enough to support a human race; it’s called HOME and that is where he is headed.

Before Gus’ physical presence is missed, the signature roar of a spacecraft in sub-light acceleration can be heard in the distance.

Celeste has had a premonition recently that she did not act upon. “Safe travels Gussy,” she prays.

One minute Sampson is describing a tornado to Fortän, the next his subconscious comes alive. Being non-telepathic he is the last to know that which everybody else does, “The Earth ship has left the firmament,” one of the Elders utters in the Olde Language, Celeste translates for him.

“Settle down folks! He is just taking Stellar Explorer out for a test flight……a day earlier than scheduled,” Sampson reports.

Just about everyone else knows better.

It is an unlikely time to happen, having shown no propensity for it previously, but like a lightning bolt from inside a tornado, Sampson McKinney’s mind is keyed to the telepathic signal meant for him by Ekcello. This is the unforeseen message he receives, #When the High Counsel convened, some time ago, we had one specific issue to deal with; the effect of the humans on the stability of our society#

Sam is astounded at the clarity, minus that annoying sing-song stuff he was used to. Even still, it’s not what he wants to hear.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 277


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