Wednesday, December 21, 2022
If this sounds familiar, then you’re right. I’m posting a rerun. This story is from 2019 and it’s in my Pip-verse. It’s a collaboration with Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape! How could I resist sharing it again? Over the years, we’ve done several short stories for the Pip-verse, adding Chris’ creation, Artie — a most extraordinary ape. This is one of them.
Pip & Artie in Outer Space
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, Georgia 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 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
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.
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)
“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 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
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.
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If you’d like to read Pip and Artie’s first story it’s Time Travel Esc-Ape.
Real World Links from Chris
(2) Named after Theodore von Kármán)
(3) Source https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Tools/orbitTutorial.htm )
My Vibrating Vertebrae, Agnes Mae Graham
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Universal Purchase Links Pip’s Three Things Books Series
Three Things Serial Story
Murder at the Bijou: Three Ingredients I
A Ghost in the Kitchen: Three Ingredients 2
You can get all the ebooks in one click at this link: relinks.me/B08Z4F4YGX
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Wishing you an easy coast down the other side of this holiday midweek hump. Friendly comments are welcome. Hugs.
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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.
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