THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 124

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 124

you have seen what these people are capable of, so do not underestimate their reach or cunning

Image result for cunning

Cunning by Skia on DeviantArt.com

“In opening, my only question for you is, did you recognize the man who shot you?”

That is a stupid question from someone who should already know the answer, considering that the hail of bullets sailed through the closed door of the lavatory, while the victim was seated on the stainless steel pedestal.

“No I do not.”

Related image“Was there anyone on your flight who looked familiar to you, suspicious or otherwise?”

“I did recognize that pop singer my daughters are so crazy for, the one that has all those tattoos…”

When a bad-guy can board an international flight with a weapon and a covert agency of the USA cannot identify him, it is an insecure feeling.

It is obvious that neither Afridi nor his family can be of any help, at least for the Man in Black. He motions to the other non-family interested party, who has her own set of questions.

“My name is Sandi Gilbert, a close associate of Roy Crippen, here at Lovell and at Galveston and we would like for you to tell us about the revelation you flew all this way to share.”

Lieutenant II Gilbert has been leading the Incident Audit Team {Space Colony 1.20.2030} from the beginning and the older sister of KHST’s NASA Expert Randi Gilbert. All the evidence supporting the accidental destruction of the Mars orbiting Colony has been peeling away, one pungent layer at a time. Unlike the Space Shuttle Challenger that exploded on a frosty Florida morning in 1986 or Shuttle Columbia’s re-entry miscalculation in 2003, both of which happened with wide-eyed witnesses in Earth’s atmosphere Space Colony 1 disappeared into the abyss of space, without Earthly observation. NASA has been out of the disaster business since the funding drought began in 2009 and the Mars mission inception a decade ago.}

Aldona Afridi is shell-shocked, both literally and figuratively. What an odd path:

  • He had successfully defected from his Far East homeland, at great risk to life and limb
  • Navigated The Orient Express all the way to its Istanbul railhead
  • Made few friends and many enemies along the way
  • Tried and did to warn NASA about a space probe with bad intent
  • Got a ride out of the Near East for him and his family, for safe asylum in the United States only to be shot to pieces while using a Turkish Airlines toilet

Not a bad month’s work for someone who isn’t employed by anyone in particular.

“You may want to check the flight path of Sang-Ashi. It was never intended to continue on out of the solar system. I believe it used Mars gravity to slingshot itself back in the direction of Earth.”

“I’m still not sure what that has to do with NASA or you ignoring a global manhunt to speak to someone,” Lt. Gilbert is trying to blend compassion with curiosity.

“You have a rescue mission underway, do you not?”

“The New Mayflower is on its way; yes that is no secret?”

The New Mayflower

The New Mayflower

NASA

“You would be well advised to compare the flight paths of your Mayflower and the Sang-Ashi probe.”

“NASA can do that Mr. Afridi, especially since a security breach was uncovered in the Mission protocols.”

“Then you have seen what these people are capable of. Do not underestimate their reach or cunning.”

“I will pass on your concerns.” Sandi Gilbert removes her flight cap to add, “Please excuse me for saying so, but whoever “they” are, have been dogging your ass ever since you left Talibanistan.”

Thank you for noticing…….. now can I see my family?”

— Some lessons can only be learned the hard way and for NASA, a non-warring agency of peaceful exploration, it is difficult to shift mental philosophies mid-mission.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 124


pages 153 + 154

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 102

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 102

…With each successive voyeuristic visual journey, the microcosm reveals more about its workings, in time-lapse speed…

Related image

stardust-acdemy.deviantart.com

“Mission Control, are you seeing what we’re seeing? It isn’t very big Braden but it’s matching our speed right down to a fraction,” Rick Stanley has been trying to outdistance New Mayflower from the object.

“Braden and Roy are out at the ranch, you’ll have to settle for me,” a NASA tech explains. “Can you send us a picture?”

“It is staying out of range, but it isn’t acting very natural, staying ten thousand meters back.”

“It sounds like you picked up an echo Rick. There shouldn’t be any reason for concern, but let us know if it starts acting funny.”

“The thing popped out of nowhere about 3 milldos out.”

Similar false echoes have been plaguing radar for most of its 120 year existence, proving that the human eye or camera lenses are more reliable.

The incident is logged but not prioritized; on to Mars.

meanwhile-caption-001

Sampson McKinney uses a recording of the musical (earth) tone of A to close the door to the NEWFOUNDLANDER’s power plant for the fifth time since stumbling on the wonders’ of its miniature Universe. With each successive voyeuristic visual journey, the microcosm reveals more about its workings, in time-lapse speed.

Image result for time lapse gif

The most profound discovery about this futuristic kinescope has to do with its duality. Not only is it the source of immense power, of which 1/1014  is being used, it also serves as a laboratory to further understand the mechanics of Universal development.

And though he has not mastered anything about it or conceives its technology, he is Image result for pins on a map of the galaxyconvinced that he is dealing with a four galaxy section in this quadrant of space that includes the Milky Way. He theorizes that the Newfoundlians navigate that very expanse both by ship {this} and out of body. There are markings herein, much like old-school pins on a mapRelated image and in other locations, figurinesstar-trek-50th-kirk-and-spock-vinyl-figurine-2 perhaps to indicate solar systems that have developed life.

Whether real or growing in this marvelous vessel, hey isn’t that Earth just East of Canis Major? —


THE RETURN TRIP

canis_major

Canis Major as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825.

Episode 102


page 124

episode-catalog-trtrip-001

You are here

 

THE RETURN TRIP

 

 

 

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 89

Leave a comment

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

Image result for when i'm 64

When I’m 64 by nickel8 on deviantart.com

Episode 89


page 110

 

episode-catalog-trtrip-001

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 88

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 88

…So what does shy and conservative Roy Crippen do next? He utilizes an isolated corner of Colony Mission Control to plant a very intentional kiss on Francine’s unsuspecting lips!…

“T-minus Related image00:05.00 and counting all systems go in the launch of the deep-space New Mayflower. The sky I high and we have two important people waiting for us,”

Braden next-to-last call illustrates the emotional nature of the coming mission and the dedication of the space program as a whole.

“What do you say we find ourselves a front row seat,” he puts an arm around her, “I know the guys in the box office.”

She rests her head against his cozy clavicle and together they walk away from the smoky mess back on the tarmac, like two teenagers fresh from a movie midnight double feature.

double-feature-001

The several hundred yards, indulgingly used to unwind, has eaten most of the time left in the fast-ly fleeting midnight launch of the New Mayflower. As they and their military entourage re-enter Colony Mission Control there is a trifling two minutes remaining until liftoff.

So what does shy and conservative Roy Crippen do next? He utilizes an isolated corner of CMC to plant a very intentional kiss on Francine’s unsuspecting lips!

No inhibition, no resistance, and no time left to speak. Actions always speak louder than words.t-minus-to-launch-001

“T-minus 00:00:30 seconds, gantry is clear,” green and go….”we have liftoff of the New Mayflower rescue mission to Mars with Commander Rick Stanley at the helm.”

A distinct sense of pride washes over Roy as he and Francine watch the deep-space shuttle knife its way into the night sky. To pull this together is such a short period of time is a feather in everyone’s cap. Amid the exhilaration of a successful gantry getaway, each and every person has stowed their prayers in its cargo hold, a petition that includes keeping the McKinneys alive long enough to benefit from NASA’s hasty rescue mission.


THE RETURN TRIP

Image result for first kiss painting

First Kiss by Jeffrey Koss

Episode 88


page 108

 

episode-catalog-trtrip-001

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 87

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 87

…“And you found out that I am a sucker for a beautiful girl with a gun pointed at her head!”…

Related image

Big Red Lollipop by Donna Pomponio

“You are bluffing.”

“Am I?”

Perhaps because his ears were burning from the flush of embarrassment, or out of shear frustration, he rips off his elastic face/mask, revealing the fire in his eyes. He is also nobody’s’s fool.

Rather than reacting irrationally, he decides to act on a more limited target, while outwardly staying cool.

Enough time has ticked off the countdown clock that Roy can sense the reversing of fortunes.

His assumption is premature, upon seeing Gherkin Dogman turn calmly, raise his weapon and aim it at Francine’s head. Without hesitating he dives headlong into the man, a tackle with the greatest execution, causing the furious spray of bullets to go straight up.

With the noose of reinforcements closing in around them and Gherkin/whomever intentions clear to his men, they are firing in an instant… not at Francine but in the direction of Gantry #2, with the Russian-made jetcopter rising off the ground, pivoting to fire its lethal boom-001payload.

By the time the copter has turned, a good-guys Image result for good guysshoulder-fired missile takes it down in a fiery heap and not a single hostile bullet finds its mark, while the foreign boots on the ground are mowed down like so many weeds.

Roy Crippen has the lone survivor of the raid pinned beneath him, pretty much alongside where Francine spent those terrifying few seconds. Both she and he are very fortunate survivors, given the fact that they were the only participants without a gun.

Francine is lucky in another sense: 100 out of 100 journalists would have given their right arm to be at the scene of the 21st Century’s most compelling stories. But that wasn’t on her mind right now, “That was the bravest thing I have ever seen Roy, live or on video.”

“Had to save that “space-plane”, right Gherkin?” he says while looking down. And you found out that I am a sucker for a beautiful girl with a gun pointed at her head. In the fog of conflict, Roy reacted the only way he knew how. (Never give a sucker an even break)

He actually was thinking of her first, even before his precious Space Colony.

They are soon surrounded by Mission Control Marines.t-minus-to-launch-001

Braden King declares, “T-minus 00:10.00 and counting all systems go in the launch of the deep-space New Mayflower. The sky is high and we have two important people waiting for us.”


THE RETURN TRIP

im-a-sucker-001

Episode 87


page 107

episode-catalog-trtrip-001

Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP- Episode 85

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 85

…“Gherkin Dogman!” Roy storms the recognized authority figure, the mysterious temporary Spatial Debris tech, but the butt of a rifle stops him in his tracks….

Image result for identity artwork

Identity by artist Nick Gentry

meanwhile-caption-001“T-minus 0:42 minutes, all systems are green and go for the second manned flight to Mars,” Braden King is giving the greater space community an update.t-minus-to-launch-001

In the case of Roy Crippen and Francine Bouchette, intercom chatter is their audible
window into the coming tight launch window, the many stars a’twinkling yet shedding not a useful light on this moonless night, on the grounds surrounding the New Mayflower.

“Everything is alright Roy, perhaps our suspicions were unfounded,” she states, swayed by the positive update so close to launch.

They are pretty far out onto the tarmac when he tells her, “Let’s not take any chances,” taking her by the hand and sprinting toward Colony Mission Control and away from Gantry #2, where the New Mayflower sits brightly lit, launch vapor pouring from its 450 stance.

As they are running, skimming a scant 2 feet above the flat ground a jetcopter sweeps onto the scene, without US Air Force markings and not with the friendliest intent.

“That is a Mil Mi-38 Hind attack helicopter,” charging through the pitch-black
darkness, beneath the radar of a non-military installation. It drops and blocks their further advance.

 

These interlopers know their targets, with the swift effectiveness of a SWAT team, more than 10 armed men leap from open doors, before it touches down. The head start gives them a decided advantage, securing the intended hostages with ease.

Roy’s initial response to capture is to wax heroic, but disadvantageous numbers fly in the face of logic; an automatic weapon held by a familiar face decides the matter and that is that.

“I knew he would be foolish,” the supposed leader of the force speaks in some mischievous blend of Hindi and English.

“Gherkin Dogman!” Roy storms the recognized authority figure, the mysterious temporary Spatial Debris tech, but the butt of a rifle stops him in his tracks.

“No!” Francine pushes aside the assault-weapon-wielding thug to come to the aid of her fallen new friend. Other than an ugly lump at the base of his skull, the stirring new-mayflower-001victim is not seriously injured.

“As you may have guessed, I am not Gurkhas Dhangotma; in fact, my name is not important. What does matter is that we have you and this female as hostages and we insist that you cancel that silly rescue plane to save your imperialistic friends.”

–  A rather simplistic description of the New Mayflower and its new mission.


THE RETURN TRIP

Image result for raid artwork

Poster from THE RAID 2

Episode 85


page 104

 

episode-catalog-trtrip-001

trt-characters-001

,Contents TRT

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 78

…Suddenly, stranded & pregnant in space is trumped by, “Are we taking off?”

stranded-in-space-001

“What did NASA tell us about the efficacy of birth control in a semi-weightless environment?”

“Dontellmeyouare?!?!?”

“Bingo, give that man a cigar!” Celeste can only make light of delicate condition. “I are-you-sure-001believe that I have become the guinea pig for an unscheduled NASA experiment.”

After a flood of possible emotional responses runs its course, he concludes, “I wonder if Engineer Karl had the foresight to build a nursery into (NASA’s rescue ship) New Mayflower’s medical bay?”

“WE don’t need to worry; women have been giving birth in unusual places for four millennia.”

“In space, damn Cel, are you sure you’re pregnant? We don’t need to be distracted by a false alarm.”

The mother-to-be runs her hands through her blonde hair front to back, “It has been about 15 years, but yes I am 100 percent sure and this time feels different, maybe the daughter you’ve been wanting?”

schawonkschawonkabelumphhh !!!!!!Related image

The tender family moment is stunned back into present realities by a vigorous combination of a good healthy belch and a Winnie the Pooh sound effect.

Suddenly, stranded & pregnant is trumped.

“Are we taking off?”

Sampson pauses to identify the cause of the quaking. “No, no we’re not, but I think it is time we more thoroughly assess our newfound sanctuary.”

“Along those lines, I think we should give this thing a name, since we can’t read extraterrestrial and just because we can.” Celeste thinks on it, while Sam starts scanning the bridge of this bucket of unknown metal. “Newfound sanctuary, Newfoundland Province Canada… how does the
NEWFOUNDLANDER
 sound?”

“That’s a good one, the NEWFOUNDLANDER! So it shall be newfoundlander-001from this day forward,” Commander McKinney proclaims,
entering it into his continuing log of the newest incarnation of the Space Colony and temporary Mars City. “So let’s check out this galaxy trotter.”–


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 78


page 96

episode-catalog-trtrip-001

Contents TRT