The NULL Solution = Episode 49

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The NULL Solution = Episode 49

…Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life…

“By what cosmic law is that possible?” Skaldic cannot explain the strange machinations of the silvery sphere.

⃝    is indeed a uniquely personal experience, whether in this galaxy or the next. Funny thing is, nobody but Skaldic and Sammy Mac makes a big deal about it.

“If it is alive, how does it travel 64 parsecs in the time we walk through a door? Maybe it’s not an individual. There might be a bunch of them, a fleet of shiny bowling balls whizzing around, muting Seljuk outposts and turning your Gifted into pillars of salt.”  Sam references the Holy Bible and tenpin sport in the same paragraph. How foreign these notions must be here on Eridanus, without an overt “god”. “If ⃝    had malicious intent, it/they could have destroyed those planets and turned Eridanian minds into mush. You told me that the Gifted are whole and I can attest to an alliance that was allowed to form between 4 scattered civilizations. I’m telling you Skaldy, we are not alone in the Universe.”

“Where did all the stars in the sky come from? Was there only emptiness before they came to be? And why are there so few planets with intelligent life, like you have been telling me?”

The back and forth has taken a philosophical turn. How can an Earthling convey his belief in the existential? Obviously there are others who wonder about the meaning of life.

“I can only speak for me and my family. Those on our planet, who are of the same opinion, believe that there is one true God, a creator of all things; every star and planet, comet and asteroid, bird and animal, male and female.”

“We call that middle star  {middle star}, the star that caused all the rest to appear.”

“Okay, I get that,” Sam drinks that in. “We have an instruction manual for that, written about and by the greatest man who ever walked upon our world. It begins by telling the story about how our God created the Universe.”

“You have told me, that your planet thought it was alone in what you call the Universe, that Eridanus is the first contact you had with any others.”

“True enough, man. For 66.67 % of my life and probably to this day on Earth, we thought we were the one and only beings.”

“Did not your book tell you about the rest?”

“Not in so many words, but I’m sure the answer is somewhere in there. Not until Celeste and I stumbled upon the NEWFOUNDLANDER did we have proof. Otherwise we had no way of knowing.”

“Just like we know not what ⃝    is or what purpose it serves.”

“That is a real barn-burner my friend!” Sam uses another idiomatic phrase.

“What is a barn?”

They will get to that new word and other subjects in time. The many mysteries of life will remain.


The NULL Solution =

“Mystery” Artwork by Anton Kononov

Episode 49


page 52

The NULL Solution = Episode 48

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The NULL Solution = Episode 48

…“Skaldy”, the moniker that Sammy Mac has bestowed on the lead Null, has much pent-up energy to let out, himself an island of squandered talents…

Not surprisingly, Sammy Mac and the Null named Skaldic get along famously. The Earth/Null Mutual Admiration Society declares Stardate est. 2052, the Year of Galactic Unrest. The preceding retrospective editorial is neither an official declaration nor formal organization, but it is an apt summation of the now strong bond forged by men of like minds.

His other fault{s} aside, Sampson McKinney embraces the normality of the only normal being {other than his family} he has had company of since leaving Earth 20 years ago. {That Chasonn dude was cool, but he speaks yet another strange language and he may never see him again}{Deke is Deke, his married son who spends more and more time with his mother}

In Skaldic, on the other hand, it gives him a fresh foil with which to bandy theories and concepts. “Skaldy”, the moniker that Sammy Mac has bestowed on him, has much pent-up energy to let out, himself an island of squandered talents.

Poor Offy {Offingga} feels like she is being squeezed out these days, retreating to the familiarity on the Null Tower.

Like new lab partners in chemistry class, there is palpable excitement about the next combination of compounds.

Skaldy has thoughts concerning recent Eridanus events.

Sammy Mac shares his thoughts on that +plus+ Seljuk, ⃝    and Earth.

Those thoughts lead to a productive collaboration.

Skaldic is a sponge, sopping up every last drop. In between drops, he plants an original thought on Sampson, “ ⃝    moves like it is alive.”

“I never looked at it that way. When I saw it, all I could think of was a silver bowling ball without finger holes… never mind that bowling bit.”

“Did not you and everyone else see their reflection in it, like it was this close?” he points to a shiny surface not far away. “By what cosmic law is that possible?”


The NULL Solution =

Episode 48


page 51

The NULL Solution = Episode 47

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The NULL Solution = Episode 47

…Skaldic has chosen his own path, he chooses the Null way…

CHAPTER FIVE

Null Not Void

 In times of doubt, when what she sees does not compute, Deimostra McKinney will pursue it to the point of understanding. Just why the Null are labeled as inferior eludes her. And why do the so-called Gifted have the right to lord over them. As far as she can tell the Null she has met are as pleasant, maybe even more genuine than their counterparts.

It is time for Cerella to finish the subject she hurriedly brushed aside when the Null first met the Space Family McKinney. At the time, ⃝    was the topic that dominated any discussion that shed light on the Null and their secluded Tower.

That Deimostra is a societal infant and that she can identify injustice is telling for sure.

“It has always been so Deimostra. It has never been an issue. They are not intuitive of the mind. They are inferior. They are well cared for. They lack for nothing. They are Null.”

“And yet Eridanus’ welfare has been in Skaldic’s capable control until the time we got back,” she takes exception to inferiority.

Skaldic has chosen his own path. He chooses the Null way.

“Then why weren’t we banished to our own tower or the Null Tower when stepped off the NEWFOUNDLANDER? You must have thought us to be less-than-nothing. Stowaways on your precious property… that’s what we were.”

“It was Celeste who convinced us that you were intelligent beings. She communicated in the Olde Language and you were not considered a threat to us.”

“There, don’t you get it Cerella? Why can’t the Null learn what we learned? Or why do they even need to?”

“We have the left old behind and have embraced the new. The Null have no interest in the ways of the Gifted.”

Celeste is near, picks up on her daughter’s argument discussion and adds her perspective. “On Earth, we had people we called slaves. They were savages from the wilds of the continent Africa. They were bought and sold like a commodity… the Null are not slaves.”

“But until The Gifted fell silent, the Null were not allowed out of their tower, like they have some strange disease. They aren’t slaves, but there is a distinct separation going on here.”

Mother raises both arms and shrugs, “She has a good point Cerella.”

Defeating centuries of perception is like running into a brick wall; the inexorable force meets the immovable object.

“All but Skaldic and his attendant will be permitted outside the Null Tower.”

And that, is as they say, is that.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 47


page 50

The NULL Solution = Episode 46

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The NULL Solution = Episode 46

…All suspects are present and have been accounted for; excepting ⃝   …

— The offended {fired upon by one Gus McKinney} Ÿ€Ð weren’t prepared for anything that offensive.

A perceived harmless bug bite turned into a nasty inflammatory welt. Ÿ€Ð controllers retreat to regroup. Their original objective was to find out whom or what was responsible for ⃝    , but instead they run into this, seemingly chaotic and overly defensive world.

But it is not the only unmanned probe that was sent out. The other {distinguishable/known} worlds in this end of the Universe have been scoped-out with varying results.

Suspect #1: Those quiet Eridanians are not merely quiet, but downright silent. On the list of possible suspects, they were the first to be visited and the least likely to produce something such as ⃝    .

To that end, they happen to immediately precede the return of the McKinneys + Cerella to Eridanus, came and went without a trace like shadows passing in the dark. So back it goes.

Suspects #2-3-4 etc..: There are several habitable systems that need to be logged for progress, but none have progressed beyond elemental physiology; plant, animal or sentient. All in all, the empty goldfish bowl remains so.

Prime suspect: The Seljuk are another matter. Before galactic peace, they and Ÿ€Ð imperialists had a healthy squabble over a cluster of Class M planets, which were in free space and ripe for colonization. It got so ugly that it left a bad taste for both groups. Fleets were decimated, billions of lives lost and in the end.

Without a clear-cut victor and not enough incentive for either party to bother continue hostilities, withdrawal to respective galaxies was in order.

Reconnaissance from Seljuk territory yields a disturbing find. The system’s sentinel outposts are electronic wastelands, short-circuited stations of no use to the builders. The force that caused this damage had to be fearsome, prompting yet another prober to head for home. They arrive after Defender leaves. It is just as well, for had they bumped into each other, blame for Seljukian misfortune would have been unduly assigned.

All suspects are present and have been accounted for; excepting ⃝     which they endeavored to clarify most.

The Ÿ€Ð are a reactionary bunch. IF there is a next time, they WILL send out attack crews.

“Are yea friend or foe?” That question has yet to be answered.


The NULL Solution =

Friend or Foe Album Cover – Menomena

Episode 46


page 49 (end ch. 4)

The NULL Solution = Episode 45

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The NULL Solution = Episode 45

…You went and shot the gosh-darn thing, Gus! What the hell were you thinking?…

The number of interested parties is increasing by the minute, with Lorgan remaining the wildcard.

But, that SEx is coming and going like a family transport is not a secret that can be kept. That the Terran system doorbell has been rung cannot be silenced.

The Ÿ€Ð automaton is now proceeding at a reasonable pace, having slowed from the frenzy of intergalactic travel. From space-consuming monster to obstacle dodging snoop, it approaches the fourth planet like it has been there before {perhaps} and it is there that Gus and his souped-up SEx will meet. The Ÿ€Ð operators are not expecting that sort of company.

As a matter of fact, when Gus pops onto their sensors, the interlopers from Galaxy Sexta A  bring their drone to an abrupt halt, like it was pretending to be invisible.

Gus has a front row seat to the maneuver. He is at a loss for what to do. Because the technology for instantaneous communication has not caught up to SOL, he must rely on his instincts. When a bright red light on his sensing instruments shows red, he depresses one of two new choices on his navigation panel. The other selection is the untested deflector shield… which means Gus has unleashed the previously untried disruptor. The already stationary target is rocked. What Gus does not know is that there are no operators on-board.

After several minutes, undoubtedly stunned by the underestimation of the rudimentary Earth ship, the Ÿ€Ð cruiser makes an about-face and dashes away much faster than whence it came.

“That was easy, SOL Control! Whatever it was wasn’t prepared for a fight.”

A minute later, Earth’s response reaches SEx, “You went and shot the gosh-darn thing, Related imageGus! What the hell were you thinking?

“It was going to shoot first… sensors picked up an energy surge… why didn’t blow it up?”

“There is an intensity adjustment he doesn’t know about,” Fletcher Fitch tells Roy.

“Why didn’t it blow up? That is not the message we want to send to extraterrestrial visitors McKinney! Whoever sent that thing can’t be happy.”

“The who in this case turns out to be nowhere near as advanced as Lorgan.”

“But it did come from a place we’ve only seen through Hubble’s eye. That means they have been flying very fast for very long. We will be lucky if we haven’t started an intergalactic war.” There is a measure of perspective in Roy’s voice. “Nukes are flying back & forth like 4th of July fireworks… we just avoided World War III and now this? We may be biting more off than we can chew.”


The NULL Solution =

Hubble

Episode 45


page 48

The NULL Solution = Episode 43

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The NULL Solution = Episode 43

…It’s like we’re getting dragged into the future…

–All this atomic hoo-ha does not go unnoticed in in the 51 states called America. With the possible exception of Puerto Rico, Washington State, North Dakota, Colorado and the other 29 states whose marijuana aura spares them much worry, dusty bomb shelter doors have been opened for the first time since the beginning of the Cold War.

Texas is still part of the U.S. and of course their bomb shelters are bigger, easily big enough to lodge the NASA staff, which has had a front-row seat for the dastardly doings of those hasty Koreans.

Words are few at GLC, though exhales resound in unison.

“Can you say ‘overreaction’?” You can count on Gus McKinney to cut-to-the-quick.

No one in this group could have predicted that UKP would unleash a missile barrage in response to a single incident involving the mysterious Lorgan.

“You reap what you sow.” Former ally Fletcher Fitch gets a manner of satisfaction. Maybe now the death squads that have h(a)unted him all these years will go away. But his death will not happen until sometime long after he assimilates all that forward-looking technology that has fallen into their laps.

“Is it possible that the deflector shield was meant to protect us from Korean nukes?” Gus wonders.

“Unlikely since it came too late. We aren’t going to back-down from our program, not now,” Roy speculates. “Someone, maybe your Mom/hallucination, wants us to have this material and hopes that we won’t let it go to waste.”

“I’ve already outfitted SEx with the disruptor weapon, it was relatively easy,” Fitch assures. “It gloms onto the molecular stabilizer, the same concept in reverse.”

It’s like we’re getting dragged into the future. If not for these enhancements, Gus and Deke are goners, SOL would be a pie-in-the-sky do-over and we’d be scared into a corner – frozen stiff on this merry mess of a planet.”

Gus & Co. are haunted by that empty pilot’s seat aboard the ship about which they ruminate. Is Deke really a goner and was that ⃝    apparition he saw on the way back from the Sun for real?


The NULL Solution =

Episode 43


page 48

The NULL Solution = Episode 40

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The NULL Solution = Episode 40

…Cerella had hoped for an unabridged Ekcello…

Cerella slams the door on the increasingly uncomfortable exchange by changing the tenor of the conversation. She musters up enough decency to concede his reality. She is aware that Skaldic is not your run-of-the-mill Null.

“What is the planetary status, Skaldic?”

“I have completed a census of the Gifted and you are alone in your normalcy.”

“Ekcello?”

“He is in his tower. Like all the Gifted, his essence is functioning. That is all I can tell.”

This news is of little comfort to the Heiress to the High Council. She had hoped for an unabridged Father.

Skaldic continues his report in the 3rd person, like it is his “job”, “Skaldic did see a ⃝ stationed near the olde home world,” which is still in volcanic upheaval, “before I could identify it, it was gone.”

After Cerella translates ⃝     for the McKinney elder {Sampson}.

The elder’s interest is piqued. “A perfectly smooth silvery moon that moves in its own dimension, right…? We spotted that beggar over in Selljunk territory!”

“What is beggar?”

Deke McKinney translates, “… a tramp or wanderer.”

Cerella refines wanderer, “Wanderer.” She ignores Sam’s butchering of the spooked-civilization-from-the-galaxy-next-door, but picks-up on his “own dimension” phraseology. “Your perception is enlightening, Sammy Mac. ⃝    operates separately from our timestem. ⃝    may be the cause of other occurrences.”

Celeste M. explains the concept of ⃝    , as expressed among those in the know:

  • the recently Gifted like her and Deke
  • the always Gifted like Cerella
  • the fringe Gifted like Skaldic
  • Sammy Mac

Offingga is definitely not Gifted and thusly clueless.

There is a consensus among them all, every one; they would wise to keep an eye peeled for that perfectly smooth & silvery shiny meddler with questionable intent.

The lone overhanging issue will require a combination of luck and a prayer. If there is a way to fathom/neutralize ⃝    {Lorgan}, will it become obvious to them in time?


The NULL Solution =

Overhanging Issue by Mizzi

Episode 40


page 45