Pip & Artie in Outer Space

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Cosmos‑Flammarion, Anonymous 1888. Altered image Teagan R. Geneviene
Cosmos‑Flammarion, Anonymous 1888. Altered image Teagan R. Geneviene

Sheiks and Shebas, welcome back to Jazz Age Wednesdays.  Today I have an all new story for you, from the Pip-verse.  It’s a new collaboration with Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape! 

Chris is really busy with huge personal projects right now, so double thanks to him for working on this story with me.  I’m also getting ready to start National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so I will be busy (or overwhelmed).  Anyhow what I’m trying to say is that I left the ending of this story open for a second part, incase we decide to come back to it when things (for both of us) settle down. 

Over the years, we’ve done several short stories for the Pip-verse, adding Chris’ creation, Artie — a most extraordinary ape.  Artie is back!

Pip & Artie in Outer Space

A Trip to the Moon 1

Lucille Ball in Stage Door, as Pip
Lucille Ball in Stage Door, as Pip

The sidewalk filled with happy cinemagoers as they left a screening of “Trip to the Moon.”  Sure, it was more than twenty years old, but being from a small Florida town, I had never seen it.  That was true of a lot of people in Savannah too.

My pal Andy was in town from his job in Hollywood.  He was a screenwriter, so of course, he had seen it.  That didn’t mean he wasn’t keen to watch it again though.  I didn’t nickname him the Astronaute-man for nothing.  He wrote scientifiction stories.

“Pip, I could watch that film a hundred times and still enjoy it.  This was a great way to cap off my visit here.  I love my job, but I could do without the industry politics.  It’s too bad I can’t stay in Savannah longer,” Artie confessed.  “And I’m kinda stuck for a new idea.  You know, writer’s block.”

I gave my friend a pat consoling pat on the shoulder.  He had told me about the things he liked most, and what he didn’t like about his new home in Tinsel Town.

“You tell your big cheese, Manny Mayer the Movie Maker, that he’ll have me to deal with if he doesn’t treat you right,” I told him with an emphatic nod.

“That would be a better threat if it was your Granny Phanny he had to deal with,” Andy replied with a chuckle.

I made a rueful face, because that was the gosh-honest truth.

“We’ve got on our glad rags.  That labradorite pendant looks nice with your dress.  Why don’t we get dinner someplace nice ― on Manny Mayer,” Andy suggested with a wink.

My hand went to that very special pendant.  It was a gift from a faraway friend.  I was inspired.

“I have a better idea,” I told Andy.


Now Over to Chris

Artie sketch thinking color steampunk
Artie, courtesy of Chris Graham

Within seconds of Pip’s labradorite pendant signaling, Artie and his Time Dimension Machine (TDM) appeared in front of her and Andy, causing Andy to squeal and fall onto his bottom, which made Pip snort with laughter and Artie guffaw at both of them.

“That was quick, Artie!” cried Pip between snorts.

“I’ve been fine tuning the link between our pendants and my TDM, Pip.”

“Well, it sure works!  You made a grand entrance.  It was pos-i-lutely the cat’s pajamas!” she added.

“You scared the bejabbers outta me, ya big ape!” gasped Andy as he got back on his feet.

Still grinning, Artie asked Pip why she’d called.

“Andy has writer’s block.  I suddenly thought he could do a screenplay about going to outer-space and we wondered if you could help?  It would be, um, research!” Pip asked, bouncing on her toes.

“I’m afraid I can’t give you technological information that’s not already in your time, but because my TDM stays within a protective force field and has an atmosphere generator built in, so we’d all be safe, I could take you to outer-space and back, so you can see what it’s like,” Artie explained.

“That sounds swell, Artie, but why not take us to the Moon and back?” Andy asked.

“I could, but mankind won’t actually reach the moon for a few more decades and I don’t want to chance us leaving any evidence to show others were there before then.”

“You mean people really will walk on the moon?” Andy exclaimed.

Smirking Chimp, courtesy of Chris Graham
Thinking Chimp, courtesy of Chris Graham

Andy was all but drooling at that knowledge.  Artie looked abashed at his slip.

Pip clapped her hands in excitement.  She hitched up her flapper dress and climbed onto the TDM behind Artie.  Andy looked down at the sidecar skeptically, but he scrunched up in it without much hesitation.

After making sure they all were all harnessed and tethered securely, Artie pressed the Location Displacement Button (LDB) and instantly relocated the TDM to a remote unoccupied Pacific Island, so no one would see them flying skywards.

To give Pip and Andy time to adapt and enjoy the views, Artie made the TDM gently rise, by turning up the Integral Anti-Gravity Device (IAGD).

The island soon changed from green jungle to a green blob, became a dot, then disappeared completely, leaving only the ocean to be seen.

“The ocean looks so blue,” whispered Pip as they continued to rise.

Andy whimpered, but bravely kept his eyes open and stared at the horizon.

By the time they reached 100,000 ft (18.939394 miles) altitude, they started to see the stars, even though it was still daylight. (¹)

Artie's portable time machine, image courtesy Chris Graham
Artie’s portable time machine, image courtesy Chris Graham

“I can see the Earth’s curve!” Andy shouted as his nervousness waned and they gained even more height.

At the Kármán line (2) or 62 miles, 100 Km altitude, Artie grinned.

“Welcome to the official start of outer space, folks!” he cried.

Using his knowledge of the International Space Station of his time, at 200 miles (350 km) altitude, Artie used the TDM boosters to put the them in an orbit, (3) from west to east on an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees, increasing the speed to (4) 17,000 MPH (28,000 km/hr).  In roughly one and a half hours they would do about one orbit around Earth.

Before throttling down the booster, he reminded Pip and Andy not to unhook their tethers, because the TDM would start falling freely, making them experience weightlessness.

Both Pip and Andy squeaked and squealed as they felt themselves floating off their seats, but because the tethers didn’t allow them outside the TDM protective force field, they rapidly gained confidence and started to enjoy the experience.

The 90-minute orbit seemed to flash by as they gazed rapturously at the planet below, with clouds, seas, and land masses speeding past.  As they went from daylight to nighttime, they even saw lightning in some clouds, little glows from major cities, and the northern aurora borealis.

Artie decided they’d had enough to answer Andy’s research questions, so he started a slow descent back to the island they’d used as a launch pad.

Pip and Andy were so busy talking excitedly at each other, they didn’t notice Artie chuckling softly while quietly disappearing back to his own time.


Back to Teagan


Savannah GA Isle of Hope circa 1930

I heard a gentle laugh from Artie, but Andy and I were so busy beating our gums that I didn’t pay attention.  A bright flash caused me to turn.  I gasped.

Artie’s motorcycle-looking time machine was gone.  I ran across the beach to a scorched circle where it had been.  The ground felt hot to the touch.  My shoulders sagged.

“That dirty joker,” Andy muttered, though he didn’t seem particularly angry.

I remembered that Andy had not been enthusiastic about going back to Hollywood.

“Don’t worry.  I can call him back,” I said, placing my hand on the labradorite pendant.  “Since he wanted to play a trick on us, he’ll have to apologize by taking us to the moon next time!”

Andy looked pos-i-lutely giddy with anticipation at the prospect of actually going to the moon.  He even rubbed his hands together.

“Oh, we’d better get a couple of those coconuts over there.  That can be a peace offering to Granny in case we’re late,” I suggested.

As we gathered coconuts and some fresh dates, I could practically hear the wheels turning in Andy’s head.  His eyes were alight.  I knew his writer’s block had disintegrated.

The labradorite pendant began to pulse with light.  Artie was already on his way back.    

“This vacation has been the bee’s knees, Pip.  You and Artie are the cat’s pajamas!” Andy told me.


Trip to the Moon, film 1902, Wikimedia Commons
Trip to the Moon, film 1902, Wikimedia Commons

The end?

If you’d like to read Pip and Artie’s first story it’s Time Travel Esc-Ape.

Real World Links from Chris

(1)  Source https://www.osapublishing.org/josa/abstract.cfm?uri=josa-49-6-626)

(2)  Named after Theodore von Kármán)

(3)  Source https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Tools/orbitTutorial.htm )

(4)  Source http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/ask/282-How-fast-does-the-Space-Station-travel- )


My Vibrating Vertabrae cover
A lovely book of poetry by Chris Graham’s mom

My Vibrating Vertebrae, Agnes Mae Graham

All the Pip stories by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All the Pip books by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. Purchase links: The Three Things Serial Story, Murder at the Bijou, and A Ghost in the Kitchen

Brother Love – a CrossroadTeagan Ríordáin Geneviene


Pip & Artie the Trip to the Moon Copyright ©  2019 by Christopher Graham and Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


68 thoughts on “Pip & Artie in Outer Space

  1. What a fun read I’m sorry I missed it yesterday. I could have used a trip into space yesterday 😏

    It looks like you had fun with the research. I think to reward yourself, there needs to be a second part. I love the way you and Chris play off each other. You guys always work together so well.

    It sounds like you have a lot of writing in November. I’m looking forward to what you can share with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good morning Dan. Don’t apologize, there’s no such thing as late here. WordPress was giving a lot of people problems yesterday, particularly me. At this point, I’m not sure who I visited and who I missed…
      Yes, I’m geared up for Novel Writing Month. At 3AM, getting back to sleep was hopeless (again). But this time I was able to channel my anxieties productively. I got up, fed Crystal, got coffee. By 4AM I was making a template for my November novel, with a day-heading for each of the 30 days. While I was making it, I watched “Film Courage” YouTubes. (I had been watching them now and then already.) Screenwriting is not novel writing, but much of the advice is transferrable. Goseph Gulino is one of the speakers/teachers I enjoy in this series. Today I watched his “How to Write a Mediocre Screenplay.”
      Now 5:30 AM and my energy is kerput. More coffee.

      Glad you enjoyed this. I do intend a follow up, but not until after November. Thanks for your encouragement. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I saw this late last night, but sometimes, I don’t think it’s fair to read things when I’m tired. I knew I’d enjoy this if I was reading it first thing in the morning.

        November 1 will be the first official day of retirement for me, although I’ll be done working a couple of days before that. Not nearly enough time to think about writing. I have so many other things I want to get straight – maybe next year.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Artie, head over to Gemany, i need you. Using the time machine you have to take care. Not every century in Germany has had a funny mood..

    Great story, Teagan! As i just commented on TSRA-blog, you both are the guarantee for fun and highest entertainment. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Its great, Teagan! Congratulations to the re-newed companionship. Have a wonderful week too. By the way, reading your comment testing, WP seems to have some issues again. Since a few days i need several page reloads getting the two important buttons. Best wishes, Michael

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m sorry to hear you’re having WP problems too. Yes, I got slammed with WP issues today. It has been making problems more and more all yeat. Today was extra bad… and what they told me to do, only helped for ten minutes. Good luck to us all. LOL.


  3. Sounds like a dangerous research project but fun – definitely a good jolt for a writer with writer’s block! Best of luck with NaNo ! I have a lot of respect for those who participate in that event.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, Chris and Teagan, that is certainly one way to cure Writer’s Block! 🙂 I loved this. I laughed when Andy mentioned Granny Phanny as being more of a threat than Pip. You guys did a great job with this. Teagan, I too will be scrambling in November as I jumped in for NaNoWriMo too. What was I thinking? 🙂 We shall see. Nothing ventured nothing gained! Thanks you guys, for an entertaining piece!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL, I was feeling the same way about WriMo, Jan. And rather than doing something sensible, like finishing a novel that’s begun, or furthering a barely explored idea or short story… I got fired up about something completely fresh. It’s inspired by a series I was doing in the 1990s, but a different story.
      Oh, and regarding your reply at your post, I’m going to add “tarot card” as a random thing from you for the Delta Pearl.
      You’re the cat’s pajamas!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow! What a fantastic creative collaboration. Kudos to you and Chris. I loved this story and hope to try out that jazzy time machine myself, even if it didn’t time travel, I’d love a ride on that hot machine! Take me to the moon Artie! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I really like these characters, but I love Artie! I don’t personally have any desire to go to the moon, but I’d love to travel with Artie anywhere else. He definitely needs to return and take Pip and Andy to the moon. Maybe squeeze Granny Phanny in too!

    Teagan you must be a great gal to work with because you partner so well with others.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It must have been deleted in the Spam, Teagan. If it’s possible for you to resend it, bring it right here. I moderate the comments which mean only you and I can see it unless I hit ‘Approve’. I can delete and/or edit it as you wish or send it to trash after I’ve read it and then answer you on your site.
        I share that email and don’t always have the time I’d like on it.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Fabulous collaboration and pretty close to my recent reading interests. Lovely to read about Pip, Andy and Artie again. I hope there’s a second part. Thanks, Teagan and Graham!

    Liked by 2 people

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