The NULL Solution = Episode 114

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The NULL Solution = Episode 114

…As is the case when a mobilization mentality takes hold, heaven and earth are moved to make it happen…

“What do we have to lose? You can skip my mission bonus. Let’s set up shop on Mars and give Rick a sendoff to remember!” Gus id pumped.

What is there to lose, indeed? Under the pretense of surface exploration, incoming President of the United States Chasin Hedley has no problem convincing congress to pump up the funding for such an ambitious Mars mission. It can only cement his country’s place as solar system frontrunner. Gone is Harper Lea Bassett administration’s stifling oversight and lagging foresight. Though far from ya-ha time, the climate for space exploration is undergoing a renaissance.

{Null Solution Fun Fact about the obscure ironic loose-link between two characters close to this episode: Chasonn of Seljuk and Chasin Hedley, #52 of the U.S. Kismet or coincidence?}

The Martian transformation is front page news around the world. Speculation runs the gamut, from the 2nd coming of Jesus, to a government hoax. The dominant conspiracy theory concerns an imminent alien invasion. Serious science is silent, seeing that all the king’s satellites and all the king’s rovers are on the fritz.

NASA is the only legitimate game in town these days. They control both the mission and the resulting message. The fact that Gus McKinney is spearheading the project enhances support {“poor brother Deke” is still in an induced coma stemming from radiation poisoning – is the story that the Crippens give credence to}, a true rallying point for a nation and the world to focus on.

As is the case when a mobilization mentality takes hold, heaven and earth are moved to make it happen. America’s allies fall all over each other to pitch in; donations roll in by the armload for the Martian payload.

Rick Stanley is one of only three known humans to set foot on Mars back in the day, and his expertise is highly valued. Any captain of a ship named New Mayflower is a sure bet to attain folk hero standing, if not just a plain regular ordinary everyday hero. He should be able to find his own footprints encircling the lander Tycho, that’s if Harmonia’s incursion hasn’t erased them. He is the one who discovered that landing craft from Space Colony 1 was empty, when the elder McKinneys were supposedly desperate and awaiting rescue. Or so NASA thought.

The new incarnation of Rick Stanley cannot wait to return to space. The yearning to be relevant again certainly beats being categorized as a has-been by at least a million miles. He is honored for the opportunity to work alongside Sam & Celeste’s youngest {assumed}. —

— When it comes to the “Harmonia Query”, all possible t’s are dotted and i’s are crossed. How else can one describe the art of guessing the outcome of such a crapshoot, however calculated it may be?

  • Drone is outfitted with improved engines
  • SLAV is resurrected to carry the drone to outer-Earth orbit
  • Rover Solution has been tested in every conceivable mock Martian terrain
  • The 2-man crew is prepared for possible contingencies

The NULL Solution =

Episode 114

page 113

The NULL Solution = Episode 78

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The NULL Solution = Episode 78

…The Eridanians were raiding the pyramids right after they were built and no one knew…

Father & Son are discussing the current state of affairs.

“I’m in favor in going out and searching for Cerella. She should show up on our long-range sensors.”

“And in a few short {million} cycles or so you may find her Dad.”

“Then I vote for taking Defender back to Earth. Without Cerella, why should we stay out on a world where we don’t fit in?”

“It is you who does not fit in! The rest of us have adjusted nicely… even Deimostra is light-years ahead of you.”

 “If you ask me, it’s a lot more dangerous here. Have you ever seen any Selljunk or Yud anywhere near Earth?”

“It’s Seljuk and Ÿ€Ð and how would we know? Personally, I don’t think we’ve been paying close enough attention to know whether they’ve been by this way or not. The Eridanians were raiding the pyramids right after they were built and no one knew.

“Without NEWFOUNDLANDER, we would not have even passed Mars’ orbit yet. There were supposed to be 1000 colonists at Mars City right now.”

Sam cannot help but long for what might have been.

“Maybe there are now. We don’t know because we are so worried about messing with history. Right now I would trade this foggy dump for a deep-space shuttle ride back to Earth.”

“You wouldn’t settle for anything but TSF, would ya, come on tell the truth?”

“If we didn’t know Eridanus from Uranus, I wouldn’t care.”

“But it is too late not to care! Without the NEWFOUNDLANDER, you & Mom only had a tinker’s chance of being rescued by the Mayflower.”

New Mayflower. I almost forgot about ol’ Rick Stanley… good astronaut that boy.”

“Yes. Did I mention that he was the backup pilot for the SOL project? He would have died because the Eridanians would have had no rooting interest in its success or failure. The only… and I mean only reason we are together as a family is because of Ekcello.”

It’s all water-over-the-dam.

Daniel-Johnson Dam in Quebec, Canada

The NULL Solution =

Episode 78

page 81

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 205

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 205

…great pains have been taken to restore the spacecraft to how they found it (minus the dead space-guy dudes) approx. 5 years ago…

For all the tragedy and misfortune that the Space Family McKinney has endured, most astronomers worth their salt would give over the left side of their brain for this opportunity.

This, “plain dumb luck” as Sammy Mac puts it, renews the group vitality. The Sammy Mac tag is a well-earned nickname, born out of sure bravado and worn like a merit badge. Before the sudden disembarking, the McKinney family unit had been sentenced to a potential lifetime on that barren red sphere, with only their resourcefulness as a survival skill. Badge awarded: Planetary Exploration.

They likely will never know that fate actually interfered and whisked them away from a New Mayflower rescue. Perhaps it is just as well.

So now comes the chance, however up-in-the-air, to actually have other beings to interact with; to share knowledge and history, keep company or perchance complete a rewarding life. That which was out of reach 5 years ago has been broached in the unlikeliest of circumstance.

To erase any possible doubts as to their intentions in their awkward capacity as stowaways and reflect positively on their culturally civil nature, great pains have been taken to restore the spacecraft to how they found it (minus the dead space-guy dudes).

“How are we going to explain the absence of their crew?” Celeste wonders while she and Sammy tidy up.

“Hopefully they have already guessed the fate of the expedition, seeing that it had gone on so long and returns only by the grace of automatic recall. If these folks bury their dead, we can show them the pictures of their Martian graveyard. If they do not bury their dead and consider the practice barbaric, then we didn’t see anyone on Mars alive or dead!”

From out of nowhere, a new sound filters into the bridge of the ship named by them, NEWFOUNDLANDER. Celeste is quick to identify it, “That is music played on a recorder! Why didn’t I pick up on that earlier?”

“Recorder, as is recorded music?”

“No I mean recorder….a 12th Century crude version of the flute… a musical instrument.”


Episode 205

page 244

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 200

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 200

…We may be treated like unwanted visitors, stowaways feeling like common squatters on someone’s private property…

Stowaway Peers Out at the Speed of Light by James Rosenquist

Just how long would it be before an Earth produced space vehicle can match the fleeting speed of the outbound NEWFOUNDLANDER?

That very subject is broached by the senior member of the Space Family McKinney, who along with the rest is traveling multiples of the speed-of-light, not by the grace of genius or invention, but by pure dumb (bad) luck, especially since the New Mayflower would have rescued them several years ago.

“Do you realize that we could have made about a half a million round trips from Mars to Earth by now?” Sammy Mac enlightens anyone who bothers to listen. “If only I could steer this thing!”

“Yes dear, you’ve told us at least that many times in however many years it has been,” answers Celeste, who comprises one of the two other pairs of ears on the ship, “but we agreed to let the NEWFOUNDLANDER go its own way, likely with a purpose as we have determined and if we don’t stop where we think it is going to, then we’ll consider turning around.”

“We’ve come this far haven’t we? I guess it would be impolite to turn back right now. Hell, Gus & Deke may pay us a visit one of these years. The only obstacle I can think of is coming up with a hull superstructure that is strong enough to withstand the pressure and skin radiation. AND if they follow the path to cold fusion, which is the heart of the SOL Project, at least in its infancy — they might be zipping along like us in no time.”

“That is a wonderful thought Sam, but we may find ourselves in a tenuous situation soon. We may be treated like unwanted visitors, stowaways feeling like common squatters on someone’s private property.” She climbs into the King Ranch WABAC machine. “Do you remember that house Braden was supposed to look after back in ’23?”

“Yes, he was doing the neighbor rancher a favor, or so he thought, while they went north for the summer… they really hated the 100º  degree weather in the summer.”

“What is 100 degree weather Daddy?” Deimostra Samantha McKinney, the first child-of-space has many questions about a home planet that she has only heard stories about.

“Let Mommy finish her story……….”


Episode 200

page 239

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 171

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 171

…“How do I politely kick the ass of the first female presidential candidate since 2016?”…

To his credit, Roy Crippen has been coached into being an eloquent speaker, once some of that Texas drawl is withdrawn and his quiet ways set aside for super-sized Roy.

His sneakily crafted campaign assault against Pete Sanchez and his policies are working. The once modest crowds are increasing steadily. He seems to be growing in popularity with people who are taking the future seriously, not just along for the ride.

His speech today at Chicago’s Lincoln Park & Zoo expects to draw 100,000; none of them Republican Party plants, as opposed to the Kool-Aid drinking poster-wavers at {Sanchez VP} Sylvia Freelove’s scripted stops. Sometimes it’s hard not to think that he is running against Pete Sanchez.

“How do I politely kick the ass of the first female presidential candidate since 2016?”

“Let me see that tie,” insists Francine and far from the first female first lady hopeful. By virtue of a scheduling snafu, Francine is in the Windy City to speak to the convention of Aeronautic Manufacturing Contractors in her newest/continuing duties as Public Relations Executive for NASA. Today she will wear both gaudy hats, much like her candidate hasn’t completely left NASA behind “Did I pick one out?”

He proudly cinches up his favorite Orion Constellation tie. “I am, after all, “The Hunter” in this campaign…..hunting down an obstacle to social progress and an opponent to a second Mars Colony.”

“I’m not sure the voters are going to make the connection Roy. It looks like you splattered paint on it from 30 feet away. Maybe the one that matches your eyes would be a better choice.”


She completely ignores that comment, spoken by a man with his mind set on his, ‘This is my lucky tie.’

“Wasn’t that the tie you were wearing the day the New Mayflower landed on Mars?”

“Okay it may not be all that lucky, but there is something about it that is consoling.”


Lucky Goldfish by Pan Xiao Ling

Episode 171

page 206

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 168

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 168

…It’s like they hitched a ride from off the planet and we passed ‘em up on the way here, like sub-light-ships in the night.”…

Ships in the stillness of the night, 1888 – Ivan Aivazovsky

— New Mayflower cameras tell most of the story from the outside, however Rick Stanley and his #2 {nameless brand X astronaut} have been inside the seemingly abandoned for some time with a 3rd keeping their ship anchored in the sea of red sand.

Moonlight Stroll by Jay Nottingham

There is a valid reason for the lack of interaction, fueling concerns about what they do not find inside Tycho; neither McKinney. The Mars lander has that “lived-in” feeling, but the residents are not where they were expected to be.

“Doesn’t it look like they come in and out of Tycho a lot…I mean every day?” asks #2. “And there is stuff missing that shouldn’t be…the hard copy of the star-chart is gone, not to mention their EVA gear. Maybe they’re on a moonlit stroll.”

“Yeah and where is the lander interactive tablet? It is portable but you wouldn’t take it out into the dusty beyond.”

The most amazing discovery of all, are the digital numbers on the environmental and power-level readouts.

“Oxygen is at 98.2%. H2 0 is 100% of capacity. And the volts and amps have not dropped below 99% in 2 freaking months?”

No bodies, no consumption, no mischief, nothing is adding up for Rick, who has been through some mysteries of space

Moon Station

{Just like the initial recon/shuttle missions to set up the Moon Station outpost. Mysteriously, they discovered that items, left behind by the Apollo missions, were missing, when no one other than NASA had been there since the 1970’s;  WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?!}

“100% water, what’s up with that? That level should be at 45 by now. It’is like they hitched a ride from off the planet and we passed ‘em up on the way here, like sub-light-ships in the night.”

“Or they ended up with a tour guide who doesn’t know shit about Mars.” —


Episode 168

page 204

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 167

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 167

… I am issuing a gag order, no network feed until further notice. I don’t want Deke and Gus finding out their parents are missing…

“Mission Control, we have a problem,” Rick Stanley reports. “We are seeing some surface disturbance in Space Colony 1 lander’s landing field and it looks fresh, real fresh. Can you see what we see?”

Braden King and Roy Crippen are only separated by their cuffed shirt-sleeves, side-by-side to rely on the other for support.

Braden wonders why neither McKinney is signaling their brave rescuers in any way…. or answering the hails… .or firing a single blast from the quieted Tycho.

Roy is in possibilities mode… they are conserving fuel… they are low on oxygen…that impact crater, maybe a meteorite knocked out their communication gear.

Anxiety levels on Earth can be measured at the Moon Station and the beating of hearts drown out any other sound. Even the successful landing of the New Mayflower fails to break the spell.

“Two of us are going EVA. We can see lights on inside the lander and one of them is the green airlock beacon!”

“Doesn’t that mean they’re out of the lander?” Braden knows enough about procedure to be dangerous.

“You’ll need to close the airlock manually to balance the air and pressure before you enter,” Roy cautions and informs those who have not been around a lander simulator for a while.

Image result for no answerIt seems like only yesterday that New Mayflower had Mars within
hailing distance. Was it too much to ask for Sampson & Celeste jump on the horn and say “hey!”? Shouldn’t monumental effort be rewarded when expectations are being met?

Those damned Koreans officially leapfrog Osama Bin Laden as “Satan of the Century”? It is a very long line of evil and growing.

“It’s a good thing we did not run a live feed to the networks, in fact I am issuing a gag order until further notice. I don’t want Deke and Gus seeing this stuff.”

One doesn’t read a book from back to front, right?–

Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth’s appreciable atmosphere. {Wikipedia}



Episode 167

page 201

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