Go Beyond

Written by Teran McKinney
/ About Me / Half-time Remote DevOps/Systems Engineer for $40,000 /

Not The Martian - unfinished

The wall was white. Off white, to be precise. Samuel sat up against it, armed with a sly frown. He leaned to his left. "What's the plan this time?", he spoke to his leftward neighbor. Samuel heard nothing, though he caught a glimpse of a shrug.

"Samuel and Eliot, the Principal would like to see you now!", called out a voice just past the open door. A few minutes later, they came out with news of their upcoming detention. To noone's surprise, it was their third this year.


In the dungeon, plans were difficult to make under the watchful eye of the unfortunate teacher left behind. Whispers were audible in the small room and note passing left a paper trail, leaving them vulernable to further abuse. The teacher, however, was not privy to their fluent humming of morse code, with a few riffs of unimportance here and there. The teacher might even join in and hum along, too, which the nearly drove the duo to laughter.

"Mister Alfonso", spoke a desperate-eyed Samuel. "Yes?", the tired Alfonso replied. "May I use the restroom?"

Not long after the nod, Samuel was back in the room. "It's out of"--"Yes, go ahead and use the one upstairs. Now, be back in a jiffy!"

Eliot made a concentrated effort to not be caught smiling. It ended promptly, the moment the fire alarm went off. A hustle erupted in the crowd of several other detentionees. "Now, now. Everything's going to be alright. Line up single file and leave your books." "Yes, Cindy, you can bring your inhaler." "YES! Just get in line already!"

Outside, Mr. Alfonso had a problem. He had all accounted for, except one. He double, triple checked. Someone was missing. From the doors ran a chubby redhead. "I'm so sorry, Mister Alfonso! I'm new here and got lost on my way out."

It turned out to be easy to fool a new teacher who'd been working for ten hours already. Eliot only dared to grace the road with his sinister smile.


Two weeks later, Samuel's parents were delighted with his report cards. "See, Sam! I knew you could do it if you tried!" Samuel was equally impressed, as was the chubby redhead. Samuel spent his $100 good grades allowance as wisely as he could, on an old CB radio.

"Highway 101 closed, Westbound past Redwood City. Alternate route advised.", he told the radio. To whomever might have been listening, it wasn't very convincing. He knew he could do better.

In his most aged voice, he spoke: "Just want to let you all know, I haven't moved for an hour. Accident just past Redwood." For once, the radio replied, "Northbound? Southbound? Give us a clue." "North, into the city." About an hour later, the radio swore at him. Samuel's investment had already paid off.

He heard all kinds of voices. Growly, grouchy, squeaky, foreign. It wasn't always active, but it was very diverse. One night, his heart skipped a beat. "Hello?", she spoke. His hand froze over the handset. For all of the things he got into, a conversation with a woman other than his Mother was simply not a possible occurance.

The line was quiet, still quiet. Samuel, still frozen.

"Hello?", he finally replied. "Hi.", it spoke. After he straightened his darting eyes, he presseed down with his thumb. "My name is Samuel"--his palm struck his head. "I mean Bob. Bob Burns. What's your name?"

She spoke again. "Well, Sambob. My name is Katrina. How do you do?" He had never heard the name before. Nor of most of what she spoke about.

Each evenin from then on was a bit less troublesome. He would wait and hope for her voice. She would always speak, sooner or later. They spoke for ten, twenty minutes at a time. Enough to sedate him from the rest of life.

One evening, peering over the radio, about ready to doze off. "BEEP. Screeeech. Beeep!" It was fast, over in a second. "Did you hear that?", her soft voice spoke. It beeped again. "Yes! I heard it twice." Katrina did not reply.


He did not sleep that night, nor the next. The usually stoic Samuel became angry. Until he cried, a few days later. He still could not believe it. Was she real? Is she okay? He occasionally wondered about the noise.

A month past and there had been no change with him or the sound from the CB. He would lay dozing off for a couple hours, then flop into bed. Until, one full moon night. "BEEP. Beep. Dit dat." Samuel lept up faster than a cat could have. "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? WHERE IS SHE?", his lost and suddenly angry mind spoke. It was silent again, except for an occasional fist pounding on the table.

The next day, he started his post-CB search. The phone book.


"Hello. My name is Samuel. May I speak with Katrina?" Speaking." He apologized and hung up. That Katrina was too old. "May I speak to Katrina?" "Is thre a Kartrina at your residence?" Though his memories of her became older, the fresh attempt to find her energized him. Until the phone book's long list was over.

"Ka...", he muttered. "Kate?" "Katherine?" He felt as though he had a map to treasure, and started on his new list.

Some way down, his doubts returned. Until, he heard from a Katrina's father that she had disappeared.

"Did you know her?", he spoke with a tone of deep sadness. "I... don't know. Did she have a radio?"


Her Father hunched slightly forward and looked about as if he were seein a happy memory. "Yes", his lips spoke with a touch of life. His smile formed into a proud shape. "Katrina, the sharp girl she is, proof read for the newspaper. After a while, they stopped paying her by the mistake because she was just too good! Katrina always had her Mother's tongue. She could.." Samuel's eyes showed intruige. "Say, why don't you come inside and I'll tell you all about her over some tea."

By the time Samuel's tea had lost its warmth, his crush for her had doubled. Katrina saved up for six months to buy the radio. It was an hold one and needed some work, but she evidently was up to the task. Alfred, her Father, didn't know how she did it. He said she checked out a few books from the library and had it working the next week.

"Would you like to see it?", Alfred asked a young man with lost eyes. He looked back at Alfred and raised his eyebrows as he left his daydreaming behind. "The radio.", the Father spoke. "Oh, of course!"

Down the hall they walked. Alfred turned a door knob as Samuel saw a black-and-white photograph. His eyes were fixed with disappointment. The girl of his dreams was pudgy and extrordinarily freckled. 'I guess I just expected too much...' he thought. "Isn't that amazing?" Samuel turned to Alfred and gave his most genuine, false nod. "She developed that herself, right in her bathroom!" Still upset, Samuel tried to smile. "She's my older daughter, Claire.. I guess you've never seen Katrina, have you?" Samuel was relieved, skeptical, and tried to hide both.

Alfred opened the opposite door and walked out with a framed photo. Afred shed a tear, handing it to Samuel. In a single moment, Samuel felt relief, excitement, and like a complete doofus. "She's...", he choked on the word just in time. "Pretty." "Not pretty, she's beautiful!", Alfred exclaimed. "Just like her Mother."

Samuel felt a common theme. "And where is she?", he asked in a voice of empathy.


Alfred turned over to Sam and shrugged. "I think she's just out getting some groceries."

Samuel did not think much of what beauty was. His definition was updated and appended to in rapid succession. The radio was beautiful. He thought it was from the twenties. With the flick of a switch, it glowed into life. The frequency stood out to Sam. IT was the same which they had always spoke on. His doubts were all gone. His pilgrimage complete. Though he wondered, how on earth could he find her?

"Promise me, if you find Katrina", he paused, "However you find her, that you'll let me know." Samuel nodded and replied, "I promise."


The radio had been of no use for three weeks. No strange sounds and no leads. Many remembered the event and spoke well of Katrina, but none had heard her since.


Samuel, for once, had a less than childish goal in mind. He came back from the electronics store with a tape recorder and a few comonents. He set it all together to record on the channel when it wasn't mostly silent.

Usually, planless, he sifted through his planner, checking off a few of his tasks.

Samuel interviewed at the Sunnyvale Radio Station. He got the job, call routing for the shows. He took his time learning the equiptment and how it all worked. They also had some intersting receiving equipment, which he spent an unreasonable amount of time around. He stayed late to monitor, to sniff, anything.

Months had passed by and he was still looking for her. He now had his tape contraption setup at work, home, and Katrina's house. Using a map he plotted the positions of each of them. The setup was not very sensitive, but maybe, just maybe, it might be enough to triangulocate and get a position on the signal.





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