UnusualAttitude

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About UnusualAttitude

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  1. YEAR 14, DAY 82. CAMWISE. Once Prosperity was complete, we had no time to waste. We had a ride home to catch. Jenbles manoeuvred the OUV deftly towards the open cargo bay of the awaiting spaceplane. He had been flying the little ship around the massive, complex structure that was Prosperity for the past few weeks. He had consistently kept it clear of the immense, fragile solar arrays. He had tugged the heavy sections of the centrifuge into position with pinpoint precision. And, more importantly, he had somehow managed to avoid crushing me in the process as I'd waltzed around the utility vehicle on EVA. Indeed, he had very quickly learnt how to turn the OUV on a dime. For a kerbonaut on his first mission into space, he was certainly proving to be a competent pilot. The OUV reconnected with the docking port inside the RLV spaceplane with a dull thunk that resonated throughout the pressure hull of the small capsule. Clamps locked into place. The cargo bay doors slid shut with a faint hum that was barely audible above the white noise of the life support systems, blocking off the stark sunlight of space. The cockpit's service lights blinked on and bathed us both in pale, ghostly light. Farewell... for now. I felt the RLV's attitude thrusters fire to push us slowly away from Prosperity to a safe distance for the de-orbit burn. Jenbles pushed back from the OUV's control console and settled into his acceleration couch. From now on we would be merely spectators of our own fate, as the spaceplane's re-entry profile was automated. If all went well, we would touch down on the short runway at Madang in just under an hour. “Belt up and shut up, Kerski,” he muttered. “We're going home.” Home, as Jenbles called it, wasn't at all where I wanted to be right then. But we couldn't stay on Prosperity. She would have to take her own, slow route up to the new station in high Lunar orbit. With her highly efficient but feeble solar electric drive, she would spiral slowly outwards through Earth's radiation belts over a period of several weeks. The great ship would be remotely guided from the ground during the whole procedure. Her first flight crew was already waiting for her up on the station. We would join them at a later date by means of the tried and trustworthy method of strapping a fancy looking tin can on top of a giant stack full of liquid propellants and lighting the wick. I couldn't wait. The short re-entry burn kicked in. Just under forty metres per second and our RLV was committed to returning from whence she came. Nothing left to do but hang on and enjoy the ride. Watch the altimeter indicate our plunge from vertiginous heights. Survey the control panel's splash of little green lights telling us that we were still alive. Imagine the savage forces that would soon assault our fragile machine as it ploughed into the upper layers of our planet's atmosphere. “Kerski...” said Jenbles after a while. “Tell me... why did you sign up for this?” You could hear the tension in his voice. You could tell that he had been told the horror stories about re-entry. That the most dangerous part of spaceflight was getting home. He was talking in an attempt to forget his own fear. By now, the slow lurch of the spaceplane had been arrested by the attitude thrusters, and we were beginning to feel the first touch of deceleration as the atmosphere thickened. “By 'this', I assume you mean achieving the magnificent dream of flying into space?” I asked. “Uh, well,” he said. “I was thinking more of the risks of spaceflight, and the possibility that at any given moment, something might go horribly wrong... so why are you doing this?” Because the world down there no longer has anything for me, I thought. Because I used to think that our space programme was something that would bring hope to Kerbalkind, and show us that there was a better way; that we could strive for a better future. I somehow managed to keep that spark of hope alive, despite everything that happened to me. But it was finally shattered when the Mars shuttle Quissac broke up and scattered its precious contents across the wasteland of this blighted planet. I've been lying to myself all along. This new dimension we were exploring was just another place into which the greed and corruption would seep through and prove to be tenfold. What a naïve fool you were for daring to believe that kerbal lives aren't just commodities to be exploited for profit. And up here, the punishment for being on the wrong side of the system is instantaneous and deadly. No warning. No appeal or reprieve. Just sudden oblivion. So... better me up here than some other poor fool who has no idea what he's getting in to. I know space. She is my mistress, now. And if she comes to take me today, in the next hour, or in the next minute... then I am ready. But first I must even the score. I blinked, pushed away the dark thoughts and out loud I said, “Well, the pay's not too bad...” Jenbles snorted. “You've gotta be kidding me. I made better money when I was bushwhacking in the Outback.” “Yeah, but it's kind of hard to blow it all on liquor come payday when you're up here.” Jenbles gave a hollow laugh, “It was in the Outback, too.” There was a sudden jolt. Jenbles gripped his seat. The RLV began to bank to the left, but then the thrusters caught it and the craft settled back into a level attitude. I glanced down. Still green across the board. We were descending through the top of the stratosphere. “What about you?” I asked. “Me? I had to sell my bird when fuel costs rocketed back in '12. Couldn't afford to run her any more. So I figured that if I wanted to keep flyin', I'd have to-” - he was cut off in mid sentence as our world suddenly became a whirlwind. Without warning, the RLV broke into a spin, gyrating wildly and pitching up at the same time. The aerodynamic noise became a dull roar that was clearly audible even from inside the cargo bay. An angry red wave swept across the control panel in front of me. Half of the capsule's systems suddenly wanted my urgent attention, but my brain was momentarily too busy working out which way was up to care. I couldn't see the horizon, of course, but the navball showed that we rolling through several full revolutions per second and the gee load was increasing with each passing moment. What the hell was going on? An explosion? Hydraulic failure? One of the guidance computers gone haywire? With effort, I managed to turn my head to the left and look at Jenbles, who was transfixed in sheer terror, staring ahead as held on to his seat with a death grip. “We have to abort!” he yelled, his gaze darting to the large red button protected by a plastic cover on the panel between us. “Can't do it yet, too high, too fast!” “But we're gonna break up, Kerski!” The roaring noise increased, the gee forces spiked, and then everything went black. … The blare of the master alarm cut through the darkness. The fog began to clear as the huge load on my chest lifted and became a strange sensation of falling. I forced my eyes open and looked around. Jenbles was still locked out, his head slumped forwards. I attempted to make sense of what the capsule's display was telling me: flight controls were gone and the attitude thrusters weren't responding to guidance inputs. The engines had spooled up and were attempting to correct our flightpath with the exhaust gimbals. Unsuccessfully. Oh. Also, the RLV was plummeting through 8,000 metres, caught in an almost vertical dive towards the terrain below, doing just under Mach one. We had thirty seconds... “Abort!” I shouted at no-one in particular, flicked the protection cover open, and pressed the panic switch. A distant detonation, a whoosh, and I was suddenly blinded as daylight flooded the cargo bay. The doors were blown back by explosive bolts and then the abort motors beneath us fired with a roar. Another kick, a second of violent movement and - - the OUV collided with the spaceplane and snapped to a neck-breaking halt, pinned to the front corner of the cargo bay and held there by the one of the fuel tank mounts that had somehow managed to hook over the side of the fuselage. The solid rocket motors burned out uselessly and the OUV didn't budge. All I could see through the windshield was the forward bulkhead, but meanwhile the altimeter ticked away, down through 5,000 metres. The jolt had brought Jenbles back, but unfortunately he didn't really have anything useful to contribute, apart from muttered curses and heavy breathing. Our velocity was still falling dramatically as the air got thicker and the RLV's engines stopped once more, but she still stubbornly refused to pull up. We were about to nose dive into the ground at terminal velocity, locked in a deadly embrace with the vehicle that should have brought us home safely. Well, at least this would be over quickly, I thought. I am ready. I'm going to try and settle the score. For us. No, I'm ready. Right now. ...settle the score. Ready. For us! With a flicker of something that felt like annoyance I muttered, “not ready...” and jabbed the abort switch a second time, deploying the OUV's drogue chutes. The airstream caught them instantly and ripped the capsule cleanly from the spaceplane's hull. There was a jerk, a moment of smoother deceleration as the chutes bit into the airflow, and then another massive blow as the vessel hit the rear bulkhead of the cargo bay. The hull rang like a bell. I could see only blue sky through the windshield. Our lives hung on a thread for another heartbeat, then the main chutes deployed. The RLV's tortured hull gave in to this final blow on top of the stresses she had encountered during re-entry. Her tail ripped off entirely, just aft of the cargo bay. With a final screech of metal on metal, the capsule was thrown clear. Fortune had determined that our time had not yet come, and our canopy was not caught by the RLV's tail plane as both main parts of the wreckage fell away below us to their doom. Looking down through the windshield, I watched, mesmerised, as the two sections impacted the wasteland below in a flash and a cloud of dust. Seconds later, the OUV touched down with a final jolt that knocked the breath from my body once more. My head was still ringing and my neck had been tortured by repeated loads in just about every direction imaginable. For a while, neither Jenbles or I were capable of speech and the only sound was that of our laboured breathing. “Did we win?” he asked, breaking the silence at last. Then, turning away from me, he threw up the contents of his stomach onto the capsule floor. Uhm... time to egress, perhaps.
  2. Dammit, Mission Control. You could at least have made an effort and painted it a different colour, or something. At least Donbree got to try out rover ladder surfing on the Moon. Camwise is jealous. I wish them good luck with their ascent. They're going to need it.
  3. Neat little shuttle. Looking forward to seeing more of your craft.
  4. Welcome Mr. Watney. It's an honour and a pleasure. We will learn what happened to Bartdon and his crew soon. But first we must find out what Camwise is planning to do, and why. So we shall stick with him for a few more episodes.
  5. You monster...
  6. totm

    ...with a pretty nice view from what I assume is your back door. Spot of fishing? Beautiful! You guys are starting to change my mind about only growing things that are edible...
  7. totm

    Wow, seven. I don't think I've ever seen that many deer before in one place. On my side, progress in the potato and onion bed is good. (I planted them one month ago today). Also, we have sweetcorn. "With a melon!?" Things aren't going so well in the greenhouse, however. So far, my tomato plants look a bit thin and weedy, considering I planted them indoors back in February... Courgette's are growing just fine, though.... (sigh).
  8. If we knew what we were doing, this wouldn't be called research, would it? From my experience, a crewed mission to Mars is perhaps the most interesting challenge you can undertake in KSP. There are so many different ways of going about it, and without knowing the technology, engines and parts available to you, I can't really give you any practical advice except: test, test, test. Your lander(s), in particular. Forget everything you know about Duna: that Mars atmosphere is slippery. Look at what other players have done and decide what type of mission seems fun for you. This is important, as it will be a huge task, and there will inevitably be some tedium involved. Youtube has many videos of players (winged, Chris P. Bacon, Sparker spring to mind) who have done this using conventional or proposed methods. I know you've been following some of the Camwise Logs, but as a reminder, this is where my slightly more unusual attempt began. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing what you come up with.
  9. What? Some dude went around tampering with every single zircon crystal in the Earth's crust? Before 7am in the morning? I'm still waiting.
  10. There is plenty, if we stick to the scientifically accepted definition of "evidence": radiocarbon dating, Uranium lead dating, redshift, cosmic background radiation, the lascaux caves, the pyramids... the list goes on. If we don't stick to the accepted version of "evidence" then your "annoying question" is just belief. Please provide an alternative explanation for any of the above. I'm waiting.
  11. Cogito ergo sum. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Then, let's talk.
  12. From Year 13 Day 204. Quissac, not Laroque.
  13. Don't know if you guys are old enough to remember this one, but this would be closer to my inspiration for Cam's state of mind right now. "Luck and I weren't on speaking terms..." ...sorry for the dreadful photoshop chainsaw job. Edit: by the way, this was back in the day when game studios had their own soundtracks written and didn't just resort to generic royalty free music (jab intended). Pour a drink, sit back and listen to this masterpiece. Ah.... the moodyness.
  14. Well, you have to admit that the past eight years or so have been pretty rough for him...