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About UnusualAttitude

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  • Location Toulouse, France.

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  1. That's unusual, because many people consider both basil and mint to be effective insect repellants themselves. Some gardeners even suggest planting basil in between rows of tomato plants to keep away various pests, and in window boxes to keep mosquitoes out of your house. I must say, your basil looks exactly like my basil does when I don't give it enough water... just sayin'.
  2. Wow, time flies. Time for a long overdue update... Good news, though. This year looks like it's going to be a good one, despite an early heatwave and temperatures well above 35 degrees. I've put in a lot of work just to keep everything properly watered but it's starting to pay off already... Like the 20 kgs of taters harvested yesterday evening! Sorting for storage... ...in a cool, dark, but above all dry place. The house where I live used to be bar/restaurant, and the bar is still here with refrigerator cabins underneath it, although the actual refrigerators have been removed. Perfect. Inevitably, some potatoes were damaged by fork and spade during the harvesting, so these are no good for storage and will go straight to the kitchen to be cut up for tonight's potato salad. I've also put aside the smaller potatoes and will attempt to seed them later this summer, hopefully for an autumn crop. You gotta love the awesome "free food" aspect of 'taters. Elsewhere in the garden, my tomato plants are already over a metre high... (peppers and courgettes in the foreground) ...and the first fruit are growing. It is worth noting that the plants that are (by far) the most vigourous and precocious actually sprouted wild at the bottom of my garden from fruit left to rot last year. The plants that I grew from seed in my greenhouse are all less than a foot tall at present. They are comparatively weedy and flowers are only just starting to appear on some of them. That's nature for you... Also, sweetcorn is doing just fine... ...as are the melons... And a final gratuitous shot for all you Basil fans, @tater and @Beehelp... "There's something about this that's so green, it's like how much more green could this be? And the answer is none. None more green."
  3. Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit. This is the orbit that was considered as a likely destination for NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission. It is stable over long periods of time (centuries), and getting to it requires less delta-vee than Lagrange points L4/L5. Such an orbit allows you to eject to interplanetary easily, as well as access the lunar surface. Transfer there takes longer than to Low Lunar or L4/L5, though. At least a week, sometimes two. Let's hope Sol's undying light is kind to our Kerbals and blows no solar storms their way. That little capsule has little in the way of radiation shielding....
  4. I'll take that as an awesome compliment, since I find that Cat is the most entertaining writer on these forums. However, no supernatural Kraken beasties here. This is hard sci-fi. Cam's tortured mind is due entirely to the hardships that he has endured. Huh? Sorry, it's late here and my brain hurts. Please clarify.
  5. Yikes! I think Camwise would have noticed if the Kerbelle he was sharing a capsule with smelled like rotten fish, though. Indeed, our hero's only wish is to avoid more of his fellow Kerbals meeting lonely ends while serving the Company somewhere out in the deep black. But, how to go about this without collateral damage? Some infections have to be cut out... and sacrifice may be necessary. Unless... options, Cam.
  6. YEAR 14, DAY 155. CAMWISE. Here I am, floating in the void once more. These days, EVA has started to feel like the only place where I truly belong. I drift fifty thousand kilometres above the pale wasteland of my home planet's natural satellite. Even from this distance, the cold reflection from the Moon's surface softens the shadows cast by the pure, undying blaze of our Sun. The Maria, the impact basins and the various other scars that the long, exhausting aeons have imprinted into the material of this familiar sphere of basalt are clearly visible, even from this distance. What is remarkable, at least on the scale of Kerbalkind, is the massive construction weighing several hundred tonnes floating alongside me. It is, I believe, the largest artificial structure ever to have existed in space, and it happens to be in a distant retrograde orbit around the Moon. For those of you who have been following the developments of our space programme since its beginnings, this may seem trivial to you, or perhaps just another small step in the slow plod towards the stars. But believe me, it's a game-changer. You see, we're nearly there. By there, I don't mean that we're half way to Alpha Centauri. Clearly, that will be a project for another generation, not ours. But up here, we are a merely a gentle push away from hundreds of asteroids harbouring the riches that will unlock the gateway to the rest of our solar system. Water. Fuel. Metals. Given enough time and patience, these resources will be stockpiled up here on the edge of Earth's gravity well. LDRO Station will gradually grow into a vast, sprawling complex of fuel tanks, shipyards and greenhouses, fed by swarms of gossamer, solar-powered ships droning in from the Near Earth cortege. An army of robotic insects, bloating this staging post until it bursts asunder and spawns new offspring, ready to migrate onwards and outwards. And then Sol System will be the Company's new playground. Or not. At least, not if I can help it. For now, I gaze at the station in wonder. At the moment, it is docked to the additional bulk of Prosperity, the mining ship that will depart shortly to carry Jenbles and myself to asteroid Y13-HO3 where we are to set up the first mining outpost and test the hardware. We will spend the best part of a year out there. Our feedback will shape the equipment designed for future missions. Oh, and something I forgot to mention: we'll be packing the most powerful nuclear reactor ever launched to space. This reactor, designed by Froemone's team and built by Kastria, was launched into LEO some weeks ago. Along with the rest of our gear, it hitched a lift up to Lunar orbit on one of the solar tugs that had previously towed the station into position. The package consist of a number of elements. First up were two huge service tanks. Our main task would be to return these to Lunar orbit, each one brimming with nearly one hundred tonnes of pure, single malt asteroid water. Next, a docking hub and a life support module including several year's worth of food for hungry Kerbal miners. The Mining Utility Vehicle, or MUV, a ship I swear will get a proper name as soon as we have five minutes alone together. Sporting large solar panels and temporary living quarters, this will be our run-about once we get to the asteroid. It will enable us to set up our hardware and give us a place to live until we get round to digging holes in the 'roid and lining them with molten regolith. It was sent up with a utility module that will serve as an airlock on the asteroid's surface, allowing us to burrow into the rock, thus giving us living space that will be reasonably well-shielded from solar and galactic radiation. And finally, the mining module itself with the nuclear reactor in question. A massive, multi-megawatt beast of a generator, it is indeed rather overkill for the mere purpose of melting a few thousand tonnes of asteroid rock. But remember, we are nothing if not guinea pigs here. Looking at the bigger picture, this is exactly the sort of reactor that we would pack if we were to head out on a multi-year mission to one of the outer planets. The Company is merely planning ahead. This whole menagerie was dragged gradually up the gravity well to rendez-vous with Prosperity in Lunar orbit. That was the slow boat. We, however, took the Lunar Express. Crew Mission 14-02 was the second Opulence capsule to launch from Madang towards Distant Retrograde orbit. Packed on board for this cramped eight day journey were Jenbles and myself, as well as three other kerbals. They were pilots and engineers for the next mining start-up, and they would inherit the thankless task of caretaking for the Lunar station until Prosperity returned from her maiden voyage to Y13-HO3 and back. Closing my eyes, I think back to the launch sequence. The muffled roar from the cluster of engine bells sixty metres behind me. The gee forces rising to a crescendo and cutting off suddenly upon stage separation. The push resuming with second stage ignition and the sudden blinding light through the forward viewports as the launch escape system was jettisoned along with the capsule's aerodynamic shroud. Space once more. Opulence deploying her solar panels. Chief Pilot Anline confirming successful orbital insertion. After a single orbit of Earth, the upper cryogenic stage re-igniting for TLI, and the sight of our world slipping swiftly away into the night below. For a fleeting moment, it occurred to me that I should feel sorrow, some kind of loss. But the moment passed, and a wonderful sense of calm descended upon me. I had lived through everything that Earth, Luna and Mars had thrown at me so far. I had a purpose. I would not fail. Our upper stage had flung us onto a collision course with Luna. A few hours into our transfer, we jettisoned the remains of our launch vehicle. Opulence was free to make the small correction burn that would bring us low around the dark side where we would burn again in three day's time to intercept the station. Now, there was nothing to do but wait and put up with the week-long journey, the lack of privacy in such cramped quarters, and pray that solar activity would be favourable to us during the transfer. Due to the nature of our target orbit around the Moon, such a journey could last between six days and two weeks, depending on where the station was when we launched. We were relatively lucky on this trip: a fortnight in such a capsule just didn't bear thinking about. In the end, Sol was kind to us and sent no flares our way during our journey. Luna passed us by, our injection burn was successful, and we made a direct intercept of LDRO station at the top of our elliptical orbit. The distinctive shape of Prosperity was visible from tens of kilometres away as we approached at the low velocity that is characteristic of such distant orbits. I had plenty of time to admire my handiwork as Anline manoeuvred our ship gently in to dock with the station. Once on board, Jenbles and I were introduced to the three kerbals who would crew Prosperity during our outbound trip to Y13-HO3. Commander Astrice, Second Pilot Kimet, and Flight Engineer Ering. Raw, fresh recruits who, apart from a short trip to LEO during a test-launch of the first Opulence capsule, had never been to space before. Yet here they were, already four months into their eighteen month tour of duty. Enthusiastic, eager, naïve... We didn't settle onboard DRO station but instead, we took our quarters on board Prosperity straight away and prepared for an imminent departure on the first leg of our journey. Now, I am making a final inspection of Prosperity's magnificent solar arrays, checking the fragile structures for micro-impact damage before we head out into the unknown. I gaze at the mighty ship, and can't help but imagine just how much destruction she would cause if she collided with LDRO station at high velocity. I blinked and shook my head, wondering where such a thought could have come from. Why would I do that? Besides, I would have to neutralise a crew of three, plus Jenbles. Impossible. Think of the setback this would be to the Company's plans. Take them by surprise. Fake an accident during an EVA. They will come for you. Pick them off one by one. No... no.... You can do this, Camwise. In zero-gee, you are superior to them all. You are stronger, and faster. You are an engineer. Use your power tool. Take control of the ship. Destroy the station. It will cost the Company years of work... “Shut up.” I whimpered, holding my gloved hands to the side of my helmet. Futile. Use your power tool. Go for their faceplates... “Shut up!” “Come in, ST. Check status... are you OK, Kerski?” Astrice sounded concerned. The voice vanished as suddenly as it had appeared. “Uh, yeah. Just some static on the link. It got pretty loud. How's solar activity?” “Nominal. Are you done out there?” “Yeah. I'm coming back in. See you in ten.” Not like that, I whispered to myself, and turned to head back to the airlock.
  7. Loads of cool screenshots, interesting probes and a lot of attention to detail. This all gives your report a very realistic feel. Do you have any long-term goals or projects in mind for this? And how is Letayushchi coming on?
  8. The Board and the Resource Companies certainly embody shameless corporate profit-at-all-costs capitalism. There is little room for "fun" if you work for, or live under the rule of the Trans Pacific Company. As you have probably guessed by now, the author finds that such a state of affairs would be (is?) an absolute nightmare, and some of this revulsion is reflected in the motivations and decisions of certain characters, Camwise first and foremost. I'm afraid I can't elaborate on these forums, though (rule 2.2b...). You'll just have to read on. Thank you, really. We'll just have to hope that he stays strong a little while longer. Earth is going to need him, badly. Remember that the Board needs all the victims, uh recruits it can get for the asteroid harvesting programme. As soon as they've ironed the creases out of his spine, Cam is going straight back up there to dig regolith.
  9. Hi. Was a busy week, I'm afraid. Much work to be done in the garden, and the buttock-clenching matter of electing France's new Banker-in-Chief (or Chairman of the Board if you prefer, both titles suit him), and a short weekend off during which my wife and I escaped to that wonderful place, Carcassonne, which is both a fairytale castle, and the ideal place to go in case of a zombie apocalypse. Got some more long burns done, though. We now have hundreds of tonnes of hardware orbiting Luna, ready to launch an assault on the Near Earth Objects and mine them into little bits. For profit!
  10. Indeed, I believe that it is the only airliner on which you can successfully shoot the music video of a rock band and still have headroom to spare. I'm glad to see you are still around, and looking forward to moar, too...
  11. So am I... And we haven't gone past Mars yet. Just wait until he hits the bottom, somewhere out in the cold, eternal darkness beyond Neptune... Once again, the paradox of The Camwise Logs is brought to light. Yes, I am trying to make this mission report feel as close as possible to a hard sci-fi series/novel/whatever, with a gritty background, (all the better to sling some social and political commitment under the radar) and very little of the usual Kerbal canon and characters (which/whom I find endearing, sometimes mildly entertaining, but it would never have kept me interested long enough to write 120,000+ words of this in more than a year). On the other hand, would you have kept reading this story if Camwise instead was a spanner-wielding socialist human engineer from France called Bertrand? And if Bartdon was a conservative gentleman scientist from Salisbury called Graham (with a moustache, of couse)? If their space programme had a proper, realistic timeline that would span decades and generations, rather than just a few years? Spacefaring human cavemen who eat bat paste.... wut? Conclusion: there's plenty of Kerbal ingrained in The Camwise Logs and... ...this is quite true. I'm not sure how my story would fare without its Kerbal-ness. Let's talk about this again when I've finished it.
  12. Thank you. The thing is, I was completely freaking out myself. There was absolutely nothing scripted there, and I've no idea why the RLV spun out of control on this particular occasion: I've successfully re-entered and landed her safely multiple times before. That really was a genuine close call for Cam... sorry, Kerski.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.