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Found 5 results

  1. "Recover Vessel" By: @ZooNamedGames AFTER READING, PLEASE PROVIDE FEEDBACK! Please answer this poll: [Introduction] It had been 4 days in high Kerbin orbit. I had just set the record for the longest duration in space. I also was the first female Kerbal in space. "Jabe, get ready for retrofire in T-3 minutes", rang in Chris Kerman, the mission Capcom. It was the end of a long journey for me. I leaned forward against my restraints and looked out onto the vast ocean of blue velvet below me. The water shined and glistened brilliantly, and formed a blue crest against the blackness of space. It was beautiful, and it was coming to an end for me. So I leaned back into my seat, and set the control system to auto in preparation for retrofire. Then, a minute later, the control system fired to life and aimed me towards retrograde. The planet slowly vanished into the bottom of my tiny window, being swallowed into the vastness of space. Then Chris began the countdown to ignition of the retrograde thrusters, "T- 10, 9, 8, 7, 6...” I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the sudden burst of force. "...5, 4, 3, 2, 1...” Within an instant, I was slammed against my seat as the retrofire systems ignited. It ripped the air out of me. Above the rattling and the intense low rumble of the retrofire rockets, I heard Chris continue to say "Ignition". The longer the rockets fired, the more intense the rumble of the rockets became, as did the rattling. I managed to look at my G meter to see it had only climbed to 4gs. It may have been small, but after so long in space with nothing pulling on me, it felt like a car sitting on my chest. Then it suddenly stopped. The retrorockets had burned out. Several seconds later, I felt a thud vibrate through the craft as the retrorockets were staged away. Then, as the shaking and rattling ended, I heard Chris call back to me, "Your T-15 minutes from re-entry and LOS". "Roger", I called back. I settled back into my seat as I waited for re-entry. As I waited, I started to hear a sound coming from above me. I listened carefully, and as I did, I began to hear a hissing sound. I tried to roll my head up to see what it is, but my helmet made it impossible to see. So I called back to control, "Control, do you have any readings on anything that could be leaking?” Control was silent for several minutes before I call back, "Do you copy Control"? Several minutes later Chris came back and said, "No Jabe, we have no readings on any resources that could be leaking". "I am hearing a hissing sound coming from over the right side of my head; do you have a cause Control"? "Negative Jabe, but we'll get back to you on that as soon as we can". So I sat waiting, in an eerie silence, only broken by the hissing. I sat watching the mission clock, ticking through the minutes, waiting for them to get back to me. I watched as I passed through the T- 5 minute mark, and there was no response from Mission Control. Chris didn't even call out the T minus count to the LOS. So I called back again, "Control"? Nothing. "Mission Control, do you copy?” I passed through the T- 2 minute mark prior to LOS, with still no answer. I started to grow concerned, if they couldn't find a cause for the hissing, it could push my re-entry to someplace far off the predicted landing site. "Control? Do you read me"? Then suddenly, I heard, "Jabe, we copy. We still have no reason behind the hissing. But our controllers say that your still on course and go for LOS in T-30 seconds". I took a sigh of relief. Finally, I had an answer. "I copy control". Shortly after, I heard a crackling on the headset. I had entered the blackout. Just a few feet below my boots, was a boiling inferno building up. It's an uneasy feeling, knowing that someone else has your life in their hands, that if they made even the slightest mistake, that I would be evaporated within a fraction of a second as my capsule was ripped apart. I gulped in concern, but then I closed my eyes and took a deep breathe, remembering that everything would be fine. Then I began to hear a deep low rumbling, as the atmosphere rushed around the capsule. As the rumbling grew louder, the capsule began to shake, and I was being slowly pushed into my seat. I looked down at the G meter to see it crawl to 2gs, then 3gs. Again, I felt the weight on my chest, growing greater. I took a deep breath and forced it into my gut to offset the force. I looked again to see the meter climb to 5gs, 6gs. The shaking and rumbling had become intense as everything shook. Then there was a loud bang from the side of the capsule. The capsule then pitched wildly and began to roll erratically. I started looking around frantically to see what it was, when suddenly the master alarm went off. It was then I knew everything was going wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. I tried to look down, but as the Gs grew I struggled to breathe, and couldn't look down at the panel again. I let out a violent scream in pain. I struggled to take a single deep breathe to push against the force, and looked down again at the G meter to see that the needle was locked at 9gs. I had reached the maximum G forces from re-entry. I was through the worst, however it wasn't over. I held in that breathe as long as I could to fight the forces, but the capsule pitched hard and knocked the wind out of me again, throwing my head to the top of the capsule. There I could see the flames coming from the side, which let me know, I was in serious danger as the heating was hitting the side of the capsule that was not protected. I thought that would be my last. I screamed again in pain, as I panted wildly trying to grasp whatever air I could. As the capsule pitched down, I could see the G meter again, it was at 7gs. I grabbed my harness and used it to push myself against the force and when I got myself to the edge of the harness I took a deep breath and let out one last long scream against the pain. I looked back the meter to see it had reached 5gs. So I continued to hold myself against the harness as I waited for the force of re-entry to end. Slowly the forces began to lessen, and the capsule also began to stop pitching as wildly. I looked at my altimeter to see I was at 15,000 meters ASL. I knew that if the drogue chute did not deploy at 10,000, that the capsule would not be able to correct itself. So I waited and watched as the numbers counted down. Slowly they reached 10,000, and as I passed it, I heard a pop as the pyros fired to release the drogue chute. I took another sigh of relief as I knew that at least they still worked. As it unfurled, and the air caught the chute, it jerked the capsule upright and it broke the chute loose and I began to fall again. I panicked as I hurried to fire the reserve drogue chute. I heard the pop again as the other drogue fired. This one caught the air and opened fine. I held onto my harness as I waited for the mains to fire. Several minutes later they did, and I slowly began to coast back to Kerbin. I then called back to Mission Control, "Con...Control do you copy?" I waited, and heard no answer. All I heard was static. "Mission Control do you copy?". Nothing. There was no response. Suddenly, I was crushed into my seat, as the capsule slammed into the hillside. It knocked the wind out of me again. I struggled to get back up in my seat. I took deep breathes, as I took stock of my situation. Then I released the straps on my harness and freed myself. I pushed myself up in my seat, and pushed my arm over my head to press the capsule hatch detonation button, but I couldn't reach my arm up. So I took one more deep breath and reached up hard above me and pressed the button. When I did, it slammed back and hit me on my finger before flying up and away. I struggled to free my legs so I could climb out of the capsule. I reached my arms up to pull myself up, but I couldn't do it. So I kicked my legs around until I found a foothold, and freed the other one. Then I stood up and climbed out of the capsule to see I had landed in some hills far away from my predicted landing site east of the KSC. I disconnected my helmet and tossed it down into the capsule, and I undid my gloves and began to get out of my space suit. Once I was completely free of the suit, I hopped out of the capsule and took a look around at where I had landed. In every direction was nothing but green hills, with occasional scrub grasses. I was truly lost. Unbeknownst to me, Mission Control thought I was fine and landed at the landing site. They had sent out the Vessel Recovery forces to collect me, however I was kilometers away from where they thought I was. To them, the mission was over, and I was to be collected. They were already celebrating and breaking out the champagne, while I sat under my capsule. I sat there, thinking of everything that happened. Then I looked up at the blue sky, trying to see the world I was just at less than an hour ago. Then my eyes rolled back into my head, and I fell asleep. [Beginning The Voyage] Slowly I rolled back into consciousness. My head was throbbing and aching in pain. I looked around to see it was about noon, with the sun high in the deep blue sky. So I reached my hand up and grabbed onto the side of the capsule to pull myself up. Then I walked around the capsule to where I heard the bang from before, and at the base of the capsule was a massive hole. I kneeled down to examine it, and it seemed to lead to where the battery cells were. Then I realized that it must of been an explosion from the oxygen tanks onboard, but what caused it? I likely would never know. Then I stood up, and walked around to the hatch of the capsule and again leaned in, to reach for the emergency survival kit onboard. It was a cloth sack with a strap. Inside was a flare gun, knife, flint and steel, thin wool blanket, compass, a map, and a week’s supply of food and water. Sadly the rough re-entry must have broken the compass, and the map was shredded, making both useless. I then raised my hand and looked to the sun to find which way was south, but the sun was perfectly centered in the sky. I couldn't tell which way was which. Not wanting to wait around any longer, I started to walk towards the mountain range far in front of me. From there, I could identify which direction was which and possibly, find my way back to the Kerbal Space Center, or at least, any form of civilization. I then started walking towards the mountains, when I tripped over something. I looked back to see my foot tripped over the jettisoned hatch. I stood myself back up and realized I could use it. So I grabbed it and fitted it between the survival kit strap and the bag itself. So I continued to walk towards the distant mountain ranges in front of me. I had no clue how far they were, as the only thing for miles between me and them, were shrubs and occasional trees. The only discernible location was the snowy mountain range in front of me. I just had to walk until either I reached my destination, or my legs gave up, and if they did. I would die in the middle of nowhere, likely to never be seen ever again. I shook my head and tried to push these thoughts out of my mind, but I just couldn't. They were the only things distracting me from the throbbing pain in my head. I pressed my hand to my head, wishing the pain would stop. As I wipe my hand down, I looked at my hand to see it was covered in blood. Then I stopped in my tracks and realized, I likely had a concussion and if I stopped to sleep I could slip into coma and never recover. How I didn't before is a miracle, but I couldn't risk it again. So I knew I had to keep walking, even if it killed me, because if I stopped, I would die. So to keep my mind busy and distract myself from the throbbing pain I started to think back on the days prior. I started to think on day I left home to go to the space center just 4 days prior to the mission. They had me come in several days early and stay there so I could be isolated from any germs I could take into space. It was like any other day, like I was leaving for a doctor's appointment. I never knew that it could be my last chance to see home again. As I thought of home, I remembered my family. How I was a single women, on my own conquering the world. I was always the one to go on my own. My friends always saw me as the extreme one. I only joined the air force to fill my thirst for the extreme. I remembered my first time they let me fly an aircraft on my own, the first aircraft they let me fly was the Aeris 3A. When I saw it sitting on the tarmac, I felt I pride I had never felt before. I felt I became the person I always wanted to be. I walked up to the aircraft, and reached up to grab onto the ladder on the side of the aircraft and I climbed up and in. Then I jumped in and strapped on the flight harness and slammed on my flight helmet and turned on the avionics. Then I heard the voice of one of my closest friends in the control tower, Bonnie Kerman. "Ok, Jabe, your go for runway 4 in 3 minutes. You may taxi to the entrance". I raised the visor in my helmet and looked up at the control tower above and I could see her leaning over her control panel, smiling and giving me thumbs up. I grinned back at her and gave her the "ok" sign. Then I taxied the aircraft to the runway and I patiently waited as I saw a group of aircraft lined up ready for take-off. I looked at then for some time and then I realized, they were the "Flying Four", a group of the best pilots in the air force. I didn't know they're names, but they were heroes in the force. Everyone knew them. I watched as each one of them throttled their engines. Then one of them looked back at me, and nodded at me. I leaned back into my seat, as I was surprised they even saw me, it left me completely blank. Then they accelerated rapidly and before I knew it, they soared into the skies in tight formation. I watched as they vanished into the skies, until I heard "Jabe... Jabe... Jabe!" coming from Bonnie. Then I shook my head as I returned my focus to the aircraft, then I called back to her, "Yes, I'm here". "Jabe, your go for taxi onto the runway", "I read". Then I drove the aircraft onto the runway, and as I did, I felt a tight sense of stage fright. I felt everyone was watching my every move. Bonnie broke the tense silence as she said "Jabe your go for take-off, conquer the skies". I looked back at the tower and smiled. I just remembered what I always enjoyed about flying, and rapidly the anxiety dissipated. I throttle the engine to maximum. Then it seemed all went quiet, in my head all I heard was the engine whirring up to power. Then I released the brakes and the aircraft slowly crawled to speed. However with every second passing it got faster and faster. The long runway slowly grew shorter as I started to increase my speed. As I grew faster the aircraft started to vibrate more and more. The engines whirred louder and louder as they grew more powerful. Then I pulled back on the control stick, and as I did, I held my breath, waiting for the moment I came airborne. I held it back, and slowly I felt the world fall behind me, and then the runway slowly vanished. Then suddenly, I felt the vibrations stop. Everything felt smooth, I had become airborne. For my first time ever, I was free to fly the skies. I climbed into the ocean blue skies, which were only disturbed by the snow white clouds that dotted the sky. I raised my visor and looked around and smiled, as I had achieved everything I have ever wanted. I had never known how beautiful the world was until I was here. So I climbed higher and higher, I pulled the control stick harder and harder back, wanting to climb ever higher. I watched the altimeter climbed over 8,000 meters, then 9,000, then 10,000. Then I saw a warning light flash on that read "Caution! Stall!” I heard the aircraft engine whine as I slowly crawled into the sky. As I climbed higher and higher, slowly my aircraft came to a near stop, and it pitched over backwards as it dove back to the ground. However for a moment before it pitched over, I could see a black void above me as the blue sky darkened into this pitch black space. I was mystified by abyss. I could only think, what is up there? That moment led to a sparked interest to go higher than I would ever be. Never did I know what that desire would lead me here; I especially never knew it would lead me into the middle of nowhere, lost and alone. I looked back into the sky to see the sun slowly falling into what I could only guess was the west. I wiped my forward again, to see the bleeding had lessened, however it may have just been diluted by the sweat pouring from my face. A few meters from me I saw a tall tree, so I walked to it to get some shade. When I did, I tossed the sack and hatch door down against the base of the tree, and then I shuffled through the bag to get one of the containers of water. In the very bottom of the sack I finally found one, but it was extremely hot to the touch, but I couldn't care. So I cracked the container open and sat against the tree drinking the water. Only in a few swallows, I had the entire container drank. I was surprised how little water it had, so I tossed it and then leaned my head against the tree to rest. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine being someplace else. As I started to drift off, I started to hear a noise, what sounded like a low grunting sound. So I opened my eyes and looked around, to see a large boar had stumbled onto where I was. I quickly jumped up in surprise, and it squealed loudly at me and then started to dig its hoof into the dirt. I slowly leaned down and grabbed my bag and searched for the knife. After several panicked seconds of searching I found it, and when I did, I tossed the bag beside me. That however caused the boar to charge at me, and I had to dive out of his way. As I slammed into the dirt to the side, the boar slammed into the tree. As it shook its head, I grabbed the hatch door. Then the boar turned to me and charged again, bearing its teeth and leading with its tusks, but before it could get to me, I slung the hatch door at it which sent the boar sliding on its side. Then while it was down I lunged over at the boar and stabbed it several times in the neck, screaming. Slowly it stopped squirming and finally it died. When it did, I sat down next to it and started crying in fear. I was too scared for what was happening. For several minutes I sat there whimpering. Coming to terms with what I just had to do to survive. Finally, I got the strength to stand up and drag the boar to the tree, which there I cut off several dead limbs from the tree. Then I took the flint and steel and created a small fire. Then I cut several more limbs from the tree and make a weak fire spit. Then I began to skin my recent kill and cut it for meat in the dwindling daylight as the sun peaked over the snowy peaks. Finally after several hard minutes of slicing, I finally had all the meat from the boar, so I put the cuts over the fire. Then I continued to cut the meat from the skin of the boar. I figured I could use it for something. So in the firelight I sat against the tree and cleaned the skin, slowly singing an old air force tune to myself. "From mother's nest we go Together we fall, together we master As we fall, we forego Together we learn, together we spread our wings As our wings open, we overcome For all, we fly, for all, we fall As we soar, we become For all, we fly, for all, we fall. For all, we fly, for all, we fall". Sadly in my reminiscing I had forgotten how dangerous sleep could be due to my concussion, and before I knew it, I had drifted off and fell asleep. [Part 3: The Awakening] All I could hear was the sound of the blood pumping through my head. I could feel nothing but pain running through my body. I couldn't feel, I couldn't see, I couldn't move. I woke up to this painful weak state. I wanted to scream, but my body wouldn't move. Then I wondered to myself, had I slipped into coma? Was this my end? I would die here out in the middle of nowhere. I tried more and more to throw my arms and legs into the air. Inside my head, I was screaming. The harder and harder I fought, the louder the throbbing became. I kept trying to swat my arms into the air, trying desperately to gain any control of my body. I was starting to scream so loud in my head, that I could not hear anything, but that have been because the throbbing also became deafening. Eventually the throbbing became so intense, that it simply became a white noise. The throbbing felt like it was becoming so intense that it felt like it would cause my eyes to pop out of their sockets. I couldn't even hear my screams anymore over the sound of the white noise. Soon it become too much, I could fight no longer. The pain eventually numbed, as I became weak. As I felt my last ounce of strength leave me, I saw a microscopic point of light in the edge of my vision. I tried to focus on it, but I was too weak. Then I believed that I was finally dying, finally being free of my suffering. I continued to watch the light, and as I did, I saw that it slowly grew bigger. Then I had the most cliché thought, was I going towards the light? I never knew what death was like, but I always assumed it was less cliché than this. So as I watched it grow, I eventually saw blue in its center. Then I could focus my vision on the light and I could see I wasn't dying, I was lying on my side, with the sun rising over the hillside. As the light grew, I could slowly feel the numbing becoming a burning. As my vision increased, I closed my eyes to hide them from the blinding sun. Then I slid my arm up and tried to prop myself up on my side, but as I tried to lift myself up, I fell over. I was still too weak. I turned my head to the ground to see it was coated in blood. I must have bled out during the night. So then I looked to my side, looking for the supply sack. I weakly threw my arm towards it. Then, once I had a grip on it, I dragged it towards me. I shuffled through the bag searching for the bandages, but my arm was too numb from the burning to identify anything in the bag. So I lifted my arm and dumped the contents of the sack on the ground, and for a second I saw a bandage fall out, but it was immediately covered up by the other contents. So I pushed myself towards the pile, and then threw my hand through the pile trying to uncover the bandages. After three tosses of my hand, I felt weak again, and I couldn't continue to search the pile. So I just laid there, too weak to save myself from bleeding out. I just laid there, with my eyes closed. In that moment I came to terms with the fact I was going to die there, out in the middle of nowhere. So I simply let my mind drift to think of my old friend, Bonnie, who would never get a chance to see me again. I remembered when she convinced me to join the air force. We sat on her back porch deck, eating grilled cheese she had made me. We had been talking about our time as kids watching the planes fly overhead. "Remember counting how many went by us?" she said nostalgically. "Yeah, of course I remember. We only spent most of our summers doing that", "They were good times... which makes me think, why haven't you gotten a pilot’s license for yourself"? The question shocked me. I always watched the planes in the sky fly by and I was an extreme thrill seeker, but I never thought of getting a pilot’s license. So I replied, "Well a normal pilot's license is too boring for me", so then she looked at me sarcastically and said "Then what wouldn't be too boring? Flying for the air force"? I laughed and she chuckled. So I dared her on, "I'll join if you do". "You’re on Jabe". Her agreement surprised me as Bonnie was an avid thrill seeker like me, but she had an extreme fear of flying. Then suddenly in the middle of a thought the burning came to a stop in my arms and I had feeling again. So I reached my arms back into the pile and quickly sorted through it and found the bandages. Then I managed to just barely prop myself up, and with my remaining strength I wrapped the bandages around my head. Then when I have it wrapped, I grabbed the knife and cut the extra off. Then I rolled onto my back and simply let my body rest. I could see the sunlight reaches each of the leaves in the tree above me. As I laid there on my back, staring at the tree, I could see the light filter them as time went on. Slowly the sun crept up from its low position above the hillside and finally it entered the center of the sky once again. By then I have enough energy to lean myself back up against the side of the tree. From there I see my fire pit, with my cooked boar meat. So I tried to reach for it, but I fell over onto my face. So I had to push myself up and then crawl towards the meat. When I reached the fire pit, I pressed myself up and grabbed the meat and pulled it down towards me. It landed in front of my face, and by that point, I was too weak to pull myself up, so I simply ate the meat off the ground. Every bite was hard and crunchy as well as dry and ashy. It tasted horrible, but I knew it was the only way to replenish my energy and keep myself alive. I kept eating the slab of meat on the ground in front of me, until I saw an aircraft passing near me. So I tried to roll over and reach for the stack of items, but I was too weak. I tried with all my might but I couldn't move my arm. I began to scream, the harder I tried. I turned my head back to see it passing its closest point to me and starting to get further away. So I began to roll myself towards it, but I could only master one complete roll, which left me facing back up towards the tree again. I was helpless; there was nothing I could do. In my exhaustion, I felt tears begin to roll down my face. I tried to roll myself over, but I just couldn't. So I just let one last utter scream out, as I gave up and turned my head to watch the aircraft disappear as it past below the distant terrain. So I just continued to lay there. Rapidly the sun left its high point in the sky and began setting once again behind my destination. As I watched the last beams of light vanish behind the crests of the mountain peaks, I wondered if I was strong enough to stay alive, or if I was too weak. I had no answer, but I just had to hope that tomorrow that I could get my strength back and continue moving. [Part 4: For Miles and Miles] Once again, I felt my mind crawl back into consciousness. I saw the sun piercing my eyes, just above the hills. So I propped myself up once again and look back into the distant mountain ranges behind me. They're snowy caps glistened in the sunlight. So I stood up, and collected the remaining portion of the boar meat as well as any remaining dry sticks and packed them into my sack. I began walking towards my destination, and before I left my camp site I swept up the capsule hatch and packed it with me once again. I knew I had to make significant progress today, because the rations would not hold out forever. I had to find civilization and fast. So I began my journey once again. Slowly I made progress to the distant point. I knew I had only overcome one of many struggles that I would experience on this journey. I knew that climbing the mountain itself would have many threats, but I could not let them stop me. The mountains in front of me were my only path home. So I moved on. Then I suddenly this feeling of rage swelled up in my chest. I started running as fast I could, I felt myself running faster than I ever have. Finally the feeling become too much and I broke out in tears. For the first time ever, I just wanted to curl up and cry. Finally my legs gave out from under me and I tumbled to the ground. I just laid there, sobbing. I just wanted to go home, but I knew there was no home. So I stood myself up again, as I did, I brushed the tears from my eyes. So I continued onwards again. I just continued to walk. I walked for so long that I watched the sun climb behind me, reach its peak in the sky and once again set behind the mountains in front of me. Before I knew it, the sun had completely vanished from the horizon and it was dark. I knew I had to make rapid progress, so I did not let the darkness stop me, however I was stopped. What stopped me was the inability to see, so I stopped and kneeled down and began searching through my sack. I shuffled through the bag to find the shredded map and I also pulled out one of the sticks. Then I stabbed all of the pieces of the map onto the stick and then I used the flint and steel to light the map, making me a simple torch. So I then threw the bag onto my back and continued onwards. As the night crept in on me, I noticed how different the green hills looked in the darkness. The shrubs and trees stopped looking so innocent and began to look like the monsters around me. I simply took a deep breath and then grabbed some water from the sack and drank it. I knew that I could not start hallucinating out here or I would become truly lost. With the sun gone, I could no longer see the mountains, and without that, I had no guide however I knew I could not wait. So I continued towards where I last saw the mountains. As I walked, I looked back to see where I had come, and I only saw the moon beginning the cross the horizon. I saw it light up the ocean behind me, and it made a beautiful bright gray reflection as its light touched the ocean. As I continued, I suddenly heard a loud cracking sound come from in front of me. So I slowed down, and swung my torch side to side to try to see what made that noise. Then suddenly I heard a noise come from my right, so I quickly swung my torch to my right and tried to see beyond the black curtain of darkness in front of me. I started walking towards the sound, but then I heard something else that startled me even more, I heard a howling coming from what must have been the mountains in front of me. But then I heard the snapping sound again coming from behind me so I quickly turned and as I did I saw a giant head. So I jumped and fell onto my back, where I finally saw it was a cow. Somehow I found a herd of cows in the hilly plains. Then I heard the howls again, and I thought only one thing to myself, wolves. I then realized that they could be anywhere, and that during the night they would be prowling anywhere for food. I turned to where the howling was coming from and walked to that direction. I could only hope the howling was coming from the mountains, because if they weren't, I was walking aimlessly in the dark. As I walked, I debated myself as to whether I should make camp and rest for the night or keep going. If I kept going, I was heading blindly anywhere, but if I made camp it would take me that much longer to get home. I was also beginning to feel the pangs of hunger. I wanted to eat so badly, but I knew I had to ration my food, so I couldn't eat. I looked back to the cows and thought if I should try to kill one of them for food, but then I realized that with only a knife, there was no way I was going to put down a two thousand pound cow on my own. It would trample me to death. So I had no choice but to continue on into the night. I looked to my horizons, and as I did, I saw a tiny speck of light fly up and into the sky. I stopped and looked at and watched as it flew over, and by watching it I could tell it was one of our earliest probes. Continuing it's ever lasting voyage in the vastness of space. Then I remembered the journey I had just had. I recalled the day of the launch. I woke early in the morning, as the space center crew woke me so I could get dressed. Once I had, I headed to the crew mess hall. It was a giant empty white room, illuminated by the white fluorescent lights, which stood contrast to the deep black outside. The room was filled with row after row of lunch tables .On one of the tables was 4 plates full of food, on one of the plates was several scrambled eggs, with sausages and bacon. On the other, there were 3 pancakes stacked on top of each other and on the third plate there was a BLT, and it was made the way I liked it with two layers of bacon on top of and beneath a scrambled egg, the tomatoes and lettuce on opposite sides of the egg. Then on the last plate was an omelet with some grits to the side. I caught myself salivating at the memory since all the food was amazing. I just wanted something to eat so badly. I hadn't eaten in over a day, but I had to ration to survive. Then a sudden wind came from behind me and it blew out my torch. The wind left me in the dark, and I had no way of getting it relit as the map had become too fine as a fuel source. So all I could do is search through my survival sack and find the wool blanket. Once I found it, I covered myself in it, and simply curled up and I started to fall asleep, but before I did, I had one last thought. I must go on. [Part 5: Panic] I was woken by the tender beams of light that shone into my eyes. Each beam warmed my cold body, it felt so good after the many hours I spent freezing on the ground. Slowly I leaned up and panned around at my surroundings to see that all the cows had moved on to someplace. So I stood up and looked towards the mountains in front of me, they still seemed hundreds of miles away, but I had to hold hope. I collected all of my things and began my journey again. After a few minutes of walking, I turned back to look at how far I had come, the sun blinded me so I covered the top of my eyes with my hand. The capsule where I started was no longer visible as it was beneath one of the many hills. Everything looked so similar I couldn't tell where I had been or where I had come from. I turned back around and continued my way towards the shining mountain peaks in front of me. I marveled at how each one shined in a different color, one of the peaks was a bright yellow while another was a bright orange, each one of them unique in their color. After many hours of walking, I decided to take a short break and grabbed some water to drink. After a few gulps I started to feel this odd shaking in my feet, so I stopped and looked around. Slowly the rumbling got more and more intense. Then I started to hear this noise which began to peak over the rumbling, it was this indiscernible sound. I couldn't figure out what it was coming from, and then suddenly I see a blanket of little dots coming over a hill to my left, it was coming towards me rapidly. It was then I realized that it was a stampede and in a few moments, it would trample me if I couldn't find a place to hide. I scanned around me searching for someplace to hide and the only thing I could see is a single tree that towered nearly 200 feet in the air, but it was nearly 1,000 yards from me. The stampede would be on top of me within minutes, so I knew I had to run for it. I held everything I had with me tightly, and then I began to sprint as fast as I could. I tried to move myself faster than I ever had before, and slowly my body went numb as my body's adrenaline kicked in. I looked towards the rushing stampede to my left and I could begin to see individual animals. So I continued to move fast, and as I did, I looked back at the tree. I could see that I wouldn't be able to jump on any of the branches as the lowest was over 20 feet off the ground. All I could do is run and hope I could do something when I got there. When I finally reached the tree, I knew I only had a few seconds before the stampede reached me, so I grabbed my knife and slammed it into the tree at eye level and used it as a way of pulling myself up. Once I pull myself up, I begin to wrap my legs around the tree, but as I swing my legs around the knife rips out of the tree and I slam into the ground knocking the wind out me. Then I get back up and lean up against the tree. I grab the hatch and I hold it in front of me in hopes that it will protect me. Slowly the rumbling got more intense, until finally I see animals flying by on both sides of me. As each pass they toss up dirt and grass, which turns into a haze and slowly I can no longer see. I was left in a blind panicking blur. Then suddenly I feel one yank the side of the hatch tossing me to the ground, and then I feel a thud in the back of my head which made everything go blank. I had become unconscious; however I didn't learn that until after I came to. I came back to the sensation of something licking my face, so I shook my head and leaned up to see it was some kind of dog. I pushed it away and begin to stand up. I look around again, to see that the surrounding land had been torn apart by the stampede. Then the dog barked at me, the sound caused a sharp stabbing pain in the back of my head. I felt a wet spot in the back of my head, and knew I had another head injury. I looked for the sun and found it peaking above the mountains; the day was ending. I looked back at the dog; he was standing there with his tongue hanging out. I could tell he was not a wild dog, but rather some form of a domesticated dog, he must of been a herding dog or something and have gotten lost out in this wilderness. I kneeled down and grabbed some of my rations and offered it to him, but he only stood there and seemed uninterested. At least I found something alive that wasn't trying to kill me. Finally I had another living creature with me, something I could talk to. It was a major change for me, something that made me feel so much better, until I looked back towards the mountain range in front of me. I then saw how far, and how large of a task I had in front of me. I had miles to go, and I have barely gotten started, and I've been nearly killed twice so far, what more could this journey have in store for me I wondered? I could only persevere, keep going and hope that one day I would be saved. [Part 6: The True Adventure Begins...] Time seemed to become nonexistent. Every day was the same process repeated over and over. I begin by eating a small portion of my rations and then I get up and pack my things and get moving. I walk until sunset, at which point I make camp at the nearest landmark and I sleep. Once I wake, the process repeats. I've lost count of how many days I've been out here, since each day seems so much like the last one that I can tell them apart anymore. Having a dog with me now also makes things easier especially since he always protects me at night. I don't know where he came from or why he stays with me, but he has. I don't even have enough spare food or water to give him, but he stays. He provides good company considering my situation. When I begin my walk every day he stays close to me, and occasionally bursts ahead to chase after something. I remember watching him dart after some butterflies once and it was funny seeing him jump around in the air after them. For one brief moment, I could forget where I was. After spending some time with him I decided to name him Andy. Midway through my daily trek, I noticed that the grass started to get taller and taller. It didn't concern me much until the grass started to raise up to my hips, and I saw over the following miles it would only increase in height. I know that anything could be lurking in these grasses, and if I were to get injured, there would be no hope of rescue and I likely couldn't save myself as I had burned through the majority of the medical supplies in my previous traumas. So I looked around at my landscape and saw that it was tall grasses in every direction for seemingly forever. So I decided to risk it and continued heading into the deep thick grasses in front of me. As I walk, I draw my knife out of my supply sack and hold it close to me. Slowly I become enveloped by the surrounding grasses, which grow to reach the top of my head, nearly blocking my view. I had no choice but to keep moving, but as I did I steadily got the sneaking suspicion that something else was in the grasses with me. It seemed that I could hear a series of footsteps immediately after my own. After walking for nearly 200 yards and hearing this, I stop and crouch down and pan around in the grasses and listen as closely as I can. All I can hear is the gentle sound of the wind running through the blades of grass, and the sounds of bug calls. The whole time Andy stays close to me, but the longer I stayed crouched down, the more he tried to lick my face but I had to softly push him away. After several minutes crouched down, I hear something move in the bushes behind me, so I whip around to see a deer standing there behind me about 15 yards. I let out a sigh of relief and then stand back up when suddenly I hear a roar coming from somewhere. I quickly turned in a full circle and searched for the roar could've come from, but I saw nothing. So I slowly started backing into the bushes, and as I did, Andy stood firm where I last stood. I tried to call out to him but he wouldn't move. He was firmly focused on the sound, but he likely couldn't be strong enough to fight whatever made that sound. As I slowly backed into the grass, I suddenly heard something sprinting through the grass towards me, so I turned and began to run as fast as I could. However only a few steps in, my foot got caught on one of the roots of the grass and I was thrown to the ground. I was had crushed my face into the ground, and all I could hear was the sound of the grass rustling behind me. I worried about Andy for a split second, but I rapidly forgot about him as I pushed myself up and began to sprint through the grass as fast as I could. I just ran and ran. It seemed endless in the grass since I could see nothing in any direction, all I could do is run and hope that it ends at some point. After what felt like an eternity, I finally reached the edge of the tall grass and I had just entered a forest. I stood there for several moments at the edge of the forest and I just panted heavily, then I turned to look back at the grasslands and listened closely if I could hear Andy, but again all I hear is the sound of the grass moving, the bug calls and the wind running through the leaves of the forest. I could hear nothing, I had lost him. I knew I had to come to terms that I likely abandoned him for death, but I simply curl my hand into a fist and swallow down the pain of losing him and begin to move on. The sight of a forest was a welcome change to the sprawling grasslands that I had to originally trek over, but my view of the mountain was again impeded by the trees. So I walk into the deep forest and only a few yards in I find what appeared to be an old cemetery, with three gravestones in it. I approached the gravestones and looked at them and saw it belonged to Edward Kerman, Robert Kerman and Gus Kerman. For a second I wondered if it was the same Gus as the one who worked at the Kerbal Space Center, but then I realized that this grave was far too old. None of the headstones had any dates, but I could tell they were at least a hundred years old. I noticed to my left that there was a rich patch of yellow flowers, so I grabbed them and laid them on each of the graves. Then I began to move on and see what else this forest had in store. Not too far from the graves was a very old debilitated wooden house, So I approached it and as I did, I could tell the structure had received significant burning to its structure. It appeared to be an old log cabin; I had never seen one of these in person, only in history books. As I entered cautiously to make sure the building didn't collapse on me, I saw a whole bunch of pieces of what I could only guess was old furniture that had been burned, I could also see the remains of picture frames, pots and pans, and in the corner was a large metal chest. I walked over to it and brushes the thick layer of ash, dust and leaves off of it and saw that it was locked by a classic old fashion metal lock, but it had become to brittle that it had already began to fall apart from me brushing the dust off. I take a moment of pause to consider if I should open it or leave it, but considering what I've recently found, I can't help myself. I gentle snap the lock off of the chest and open it up to see a bunch of old papers, pictures and other trinkets inside. One of the first things I find is four pictures of well-dressed men, my first immediate thought is if any of those men are the ones I found in the graveyard, but I am uncertain. I continue to search, and the next thing I find is a old book labeled "Old Edward's Journal" (Side series coming soon). I flip through some of the pages and decide to read it later so I stick it in my sack. Under it was a letter written to a woman named Ariel from Robert Kerman. "To my dearest Ariel... Well my foolish brother has gone too far now, he's likely sent the entire town into collapse as he's gone and pushed this new invention of "explosive powder". He claims he will change the world and takes us to the skies, but he's mad! I wouldn't think much of it if it weren't for the fact that he's taking up all the town’s resources and for nothing. He thinks he's got the magic solution to everything. What's worse is that he's trying to fill his son's head with these dreams of flying. I've seen the kid staring more at the blue than ever, what he should be doing is getting an apprenticeship. He's going to need a real job when he grows up, not become a poor magician trying cheap tricks. As bad as Ed may be, I can't believe my oldest brother, Gus. Papa gave him the deed to the mine just north of town and what has he done with it? Nothing! Blasted idiot is sitting on top of a goldmine but he won't do anything with it. He's too busy living deep in the woods, trying to separate himself from the rest of the world, but he needs to learn he can't separate himself forever, he has a responsibility! As to me, I've moved into this new port town far south of town. It's on a peninsula, and is becoming quite a popular place for boats, races of all sorts and more. People love it since its flatter than anywhere else... granted the soils lacking, too sandy for any farms. The Mayor says he's going to put up a "University" to help educate the youth. I say he should keep the money and use it to make something useful! Like a stinkin' sheriff's house. The only law in this town is the one with a gun. Thankfully, most of them come and go on their own without hurting anybody, but this new town is getting dangerous... I wish I could-" That's where the letter starts to get burned and is no longer legible. Reading that makes me start to wonder if these Kerbals I've discovered had to do with anything significant in history? I wasn't sure, and there was no way I was going to learn lost out here. I stand up, and then look back to the chest and wonder if I should take it or its contents, but I decide against it. I felt that some history should stay history, besides with me they can only get more lost. Then I look around at the inside of the house and wonder what could've caused the fire that burned this house, it was surely obvious that the damage didn't come from the inside, that's all I knew. I walk back outside and for a moment the wind bends the limbs of the trees away so I can see the glistening mountain tops once again. I notice though, that they seem far larger than before, they seem to tower over me, and then I realize I am getting close. No longer is it an distant image from me but rather just beyond me. It instilled a great new feeling of hope as I slowly knew I might just find my way home, granted I knew that I had to get to the top alive and then make it back in time before my rations run out, unless I can find a new food source. So I've made set a new series of milestones for myself today, I am much closer than before and I've found so much more. I just wonder, what else can this journey hold? [Part 7: The Dark Woods] I continued my trek towards my goal once again, but before I completely set off I turn back once more to look at the old burned down cabin. It seemed so lonely and forgotten out in these woods. It made me wonder what else could lie in this forest; I specifically wondered where Gus' mine was? Where the old town would be, that is, if it still existed. My past encounter left me with so many questions. However I had to carry on, for all I know, I could find the answers I'm after on my own. So I continued walking on, with the sound of the wind running through the leaves of the trees, only broken by bird and bug calls. A short while after I began to walk, I see a small opening in the shrubs and grasses, so I decide to rest there for a moment and eat some lunch while I could. So I tossed my sack and hatch against a tree and sat down against the tree and pulled out my rations and some water, and I as I did, I wondered for the first time if I should have stayed with the spacecraft. Did I make the wrong decision? If I had stayed would they have found me? I was surrounded by questions like this, but then I realized that I was extremely off my landing site considering it was a water landing and the predicted splash down point had no land for many miles. By the time they would have realized to check on land, I would've run out of food and water. I have no choice but to keep moving. It's the only way I'll find more food, possible water and maybe even, civilization which with that cabin not too long again, seems to suggest I might not be too far off. As I tear the portions of my rations apart, it only makes me wish I could have real food rather than these rations. I want a real meal so badly; I've been living off of barely enough for so long. I know it's the only way to survive. I pan around to look at my surroundings, and wonder if it would be possible to make a weapon to kill an animal with. I look through my sack and the only thing close to being a ranged weapon, was my flare gun. Other than that, all I had was my knife, but I never became proficient in throwing knives. Then I dug to the bottom of the bag desperately hoping to find something, but then something scratched my hand, so I pushed things out of the way to find the broken compass. Then I wondered if I could make a weak short ranged shotgun from the glass pieces of the compass and the blast from my flare. It could work as a weapon, but I only have one flare and if I waste it as a weapon then I can no longer make a visible signal into the sky for any passing air traffic. Then I realized I could gather some moss and make a smoke signal and hope that could work. It's less obvious but still enough to get somebodies attention. So I decided to risk it, and I grabbed the compass and beat the glass out of it and then packed the small chunks into the flare gun. It's at this point I realize that I am slowly running out of resources. All I have left is the survival sack, a blanket, a knife, a flint and steel, and my supply of food and water, and my capsule's hatch. It was then I realized I had to conserve more than ever, but the flare gun and the compass was a sacrifice was one I had to make, I was starving. With the loaded flare gun in hand, I continued marching deeper. As I walk through the forest, it slowly gets darker and more and more condensed, as if the forest was growing before my eyes. At one point the leaves of the tree almost completely blocked out the sun leaving me in this dark eerie place I've never been before. The deeper I got into the forest, the more I felt like I was being followed again. It was nothing more than paranoia at first, but steadily I began to become more worried. However my drive to escape the forest was greater so I continued on, despite my concerns, or at least I did until I heard a massive limb snap behind me followed by a heavy grunt. I spin myself around quickly and aim my flare gun quickly at it, but I cannot see anything in the darkness. I crouch down slowly as I listen carefully for anything, but again all I heard is the ambient sounds of the forest. I stay there for several minutes waiting, for any sign of what could of made that loud growling sound. After nearly ten minutes of waiting, I begin to consider getting up and moving when I suddenly feel something sliding up my leg. I look down to see it's some sort of snake. I feel my entire body firm up, I want to scream and run but I know if I do, I could get bitten by the snake and possibly attract whatever made the sound I hard. So I sit there, waiting for it to move on when I realize I could attempt to kill it for food, but both of my hands are occupied holding the hatch and flare gun. So I slowly set the hatch down on the ground, as the snake slides across my abdomen. Then I use my free hand to reach into my sack ever so patiently, hoping to not alert the snake, and finally I manage to reach the sack, and begin to sort through it to find the knife, but after several minutes of searching I can't find it. The snake sat on my right leg, with his head staring up at me. At this point my heart is beating in my chest harder than ever, my body still tense. I begin to panic as I can't find it, but finally I do and I grab it. Slowly I move myself to where I can slice the snake's head off, but I began to worry, would it react to my jumping at it? If it did, would I manage to kill it before it bit me? I slowly consider not killing it, but my stomach begins to ache and reminds me again that I have to risk it. So I sit there watching it as it stares back at me. I take a deep breathe, and then I lunge the side of the knife towards the snake as fast I could. Instantly the snake was pinned to the ground, and I could see his head and tail were clearly separated, but his head kept throbbing trying to bite me so I yanked my hand back quickly. I begin to start breathing normally again having saved myself from the snake. I stab the tail of the snake and drag it over to me, and then grab one of my empty ration bags and put it in there for safe keeping. I grab the hatch and then stand up, at which point I hear the grunt again, and it happens to be behind me, but much closer than before. So I turn around slowly, and when I do I see a black bear standing there staring at me. It growled back loudly at me, and I stood my ground and did what I was trained in the case of encountering bears, which was to shout loudly at them. So I screamed "Hey bear! Go away bear!", but he wasn't scared at all, in fact he began to walk closer baring his teeth at me. I back up slowly as it approaches but only after a few steps I suddenly see it charge at me. So I quickly threw up my flare gun and fired it directly at the oncoming bear. I knew that if the ammo of the flare gun didn't work, then I would be dead as my only weapon left to kill it would be my knife or the hatch. So I was very limited as to my weaponry, so all of my hope was in that one very shot. All I could was hope that the shot made its mark and took it down. [Part 8: The Clearing] Slowly I opened my eyes, and as I did so, I saw that the bear began to swipe at it's face before turning and begin to run away. I lowered the flare gun and watched as the bear ran off into the darkness of the forest. At which point I turned and began to run in the opposite direction as fast and as hard as I possibly could. I just wanted to get out of the forest as fast as I could so I could get away from everything that wanted to kill me. My heart was pounding so hard that I could no longer hear anything else; it felt like it was throbbing out of my skull. The trees and shrubs and everything else went by in a blur, and the longer I ran the more they lost form as tears filled my eyes. I was almost completely blinded by the tears in my eyes, but I still ran. As I was running, my foot caught on something and instantly I was thrown into the ground. The impact cleared the water from my eyes, so I pulled myself and looked to what I tripped on. It appeared to be a wooden post or something. So I stand myself back up and then grab it and look it to see that it's an old wooden sign that reads "New Labrek - 1.9 miles". I turned back around to see an overgrown path cleared from trees and other larger obstacles, so I assume that this used to be the path and in time it has become overgrown. So I stand there staring down the path as I catch my breath. It appeared the further down the path went, the less overgrown it became, but yet I could not see the end of the path. After a few minutes of catching my breath, I begin to travel down the path. The grass on the path was up to my waist so I couldn't see where I was stepping and I had to make sure my footing was firm and I didn't trip on anything. Slowly as I made progress, the trees thinned out and finally I could begin to see through the thick woods around me. As it thinned, I saw various small structures and objects scattered through the forest, like wooden carts, barrels and what appeared to be old water pumps. I consider for a moment if I should attempt to use one of them to get myself some water, but then I realize the wells they are pumping from likely went dry ages ago or were contaminated and could make me sick, and I knew the last thing I needed out here in the middle of seemingly nowhere was to become ill. So I moved on, and all I knew at the time was that I was nearing something, as the forest grew smaller and the various scattered objects slowly became frequent. After what felt like an hour of walking, finally I see what appears to be a clearing, and as I get closer I begin to see structures off in the distance. I start running towards them, as my curiosity overwhelms me. When I get to the clearing I see that there are multiple buildings, all in a line, and all abandoned. I had to assume that this was New Labrek mentioned on the sign earlier. I had never heard of a town ever being here yet, so I was completely perplexed. I begin to walk through the town and look at all the buildings to see most of them had the roofs caved in or were obviously no longer structurally sound. I see that one of the buildings was an old saloon, and it looked like as if it was from an old movie set, but far older and more broken down. I walked up to it's front door and peered in to see that the building was mostly empty, with some holes in the floorboards and lots of dust and cobwebs. For a second, I just tried to imagine what the place would've looked like back when this town was alive. For a second, I could see the ghosts of the people walking around in the building, going about their daily life. In a second, when I blink, the illusion is lost and I see again the empty broken building that once might have been a hotspot for the people of this town. Shortly after, I leave the saloon and begin walking past the rest of the buildings and come to the last one on the edge of the town. The building appeared to be the most sound of all, and it sat not too far from what appeared to be a deep crater. I walked towards the crater and saw it was about ten feet deep and approximately 25 feet wide from my guess. I had no clue what could've created it, as it doesn't appear to be from space debris of any kind. I could only assume that the house next to the crater could possibly shed some light on the reason. So I walk towards it and open the door and as I do, the door falls off it's hinges slamming loudly into the floor. I took a step inside and there I could see that the room I entered was some form of a living room, it had a chair, a fireplace and a desk. I look inside the fireplace to see nothing but ash left, so I examine the desk to see that's there's nothing left on it, so I sort through the drawers of the desk to find a dusty book. I grab it and dust off the cover to see it's labeled "The Diary of Edward Kerman", it must have been the same one that Robert Kerman mentioned in his letter. So I open the book and flip to one of the last entries in the book. "Date- 1.1.3 Today's demonstration went disastrously. The rocket I had been working for months on was a complete and utter failure. I don't know if it was the design or how I built it but now I'm a laughing stalk in the town. I woke up this morning at about 6 o' clock in the morning and went out to the shed and with the help of my son Jeb, we carried the rocket onto our launch stand. We quickly began to fill it with my fancy mix of explosives and when we finished, I looked behind me and saw that there was slowly becoming a large crowd of people viewing our work. Sadly the crowd was just the usual bunch from the local bar. One of them loudly exclaimed at us, "You know that's nothing more than a barrel with peg legs filled with black sand?", and I had to simply ignore them and keep working. I had spent the last few years on this incessant idea that I had, so nothing could stop me from finishing it. After several minutes of work, we finally finished preparing the rocket and I pulled out the fuse plug and put in the fuse. I tell Jeb to hide in the house as I lean down and pull out my flint and strike a flame on a stick and I press it against the end of fuse for several seconds as it catches fire. Then I jump up and run towards the house, when I get in I look out the window and see the flame slowly dance towards the rocket. It felt like an eternity before finally I heard a low blasting sound and then suddenly I was blasted onto my back. I was left stunned and with this loud ringing. It was unlike anything I had experienced before. I pulled myself up to look out the window to see that the launch stand was completely gone, and all that was left was a steaming hole. I crawled my way up and stumbled out the door to see pieces of the barrel rocket strewn across the town. I could only stand there in absolute shock in horror in seeing it blown to pieces. So many months work wasted, and to add to my suffering, the drunkards return and shout, "You darned fool! You nearly could've blown the whole town apart!", another said "You could've killed us! You ought to be arrested or shot!". It wasn't long after that I heard the mayor shout from behind me "Edward Kerman! You are hereby expelled from this town for this constant insane nonsense! We can no longer stand this incessant danger from your so called 'rocket powder''. I turned back to look at the house to see Jeb standing there, with a solemn look of disappointment. I had failed. All I can hope is my brother Robert will take us in... because if he doesn't, we have nowhere else to go as I know Gus won't." That's when I wonder if the Jeb in the book is the same one from the Flying Four, could it be the same person? The only way I could know is to ask him and I never will if I don't return home. Suddenly the silence of the town was broken by the sounds of wolves howling from the deep forest. I step back outside to see that the sky was a bright shade of orange, and the day was getting young. I look across the horizon, and only after searching for them, do I see only the peaks of the mountains. I am unaware if I've gotten closer, further or neither as the dark forest may have had me going in circles for the most of the time as I had nothing to provide me with a basis for a direction. Knowing that night was creeping in, I return to the house and I grab the fallen door and place it back in the door frame, and then I slide the desk over so the door doesn't fall back. With that, the house was closed once again, but then I realized it was dark and cold, so I moved the desk again and pushed the door to the side and walked over to the edge of the forest and I found a small tree and I sorted through my bag and grab my knife and begin slicing it down. After several minutes of heavy sawing I finally had logs for the fire, so I returned back to the house and reset my door. I placed my logs into the fireplace and pulled out my flint and steel and light the logs to create a fire. Nearly instantly the small house was filled with warmth. I grab the diary and the blanket then fold up into the chair with the blanket covering me as I began to continue reading the rest the diary had to tell, and as I read, the thick blackness of night swallowed me. [Part 9: Fire On The Horizon] As the warm red fire light slowly entered my vision, I lean up from the chair and look towards the windows to see bright blue skies beaming in from them. As I stand up from the chair the diary falls from my lap onto the floor startling me. I kneel down and grab it and tuck it into my pack. I knew it would be valuable for Jebediah to have, considering it mentions what I could only assume is him. I then turn to the door and move the desk out of the way and kick the loose standing door to the ground, sending a resonating thud throughout the surrounding forest area. I pan my head to the right, examining the crater once again. Now I knew what had caused it. The crater looked so new, yet it was so old. For another moment as I look around it, I could see Edward Kerman standing near it, looking down at the crater in shame. As I stare, I only feel the shame that Edward must have felt when he saw that this crater was the result of months of hard work and planning. Then I took a deep breath and vowed to myself that I would prove his theory would've worked. So I turn back towards the forest and look back towards the sky, looking back at the towering snow capped hills and begin heading towards them. As I near the edge of the thick woods, the sky nearly disappears again, and only a few meters into the woods, I realize how badly I want my compass. I know that the deeper I go, the more disorientated I will be. All I have is my mental bearings. So I pause myself again to take focus, and then I continue to rip through the thick vegetation. With every step, it felt like I was going to collapse as something on the ground breaks or shifts. It's impossible to tell what can give a firm foothold and what cannot. Even when I get a firm foothold, I still have to rip through low lying limbs and tall grasses that are almost as tall as me. I truly was out in the middle of nowhere. I fight them with every ounce of power I have but it's still not enough to clear the path completely. After several minutes of vicious fighting with the shrubs, I finally fall onto a nearby tree. I was exhausted. I knew I had come too short of a distance to quit now. So after a few minutes leaning up on the tree, I finally stand myself up and continue fighting. For a while it seemed the thicket would never end, but after traversing a few kilometers, it finally began to clear out again. I was so exhausted from the trip that I collapsed directly into the flat ground. For several minutes I just laid there as my whole body burned from exertion. So I searched through my sack to find a container of water. As I do that I look up and notice a lot of movement skittering across the ground in front of me. So I drag myself up and lean up against a nearby tree to look, and I see that it's hundreds, maybe even a thousand butterflies all clustered in a tight mound. It was a stunning sight to see. All of them in such a tight circle fluttering. I slowly approached it, and when I was but a foot away, all of them took off at once filling my entire view. It was amazing. I thought to myself, for a second, this might have been worth the trouble this trip has caused me to see something so amazing. Suddenly my thought is broken by the sound of loud banging and rumbling fills the forest, and then I see these shapes rush by a nearby part of the forest. I stand where I am watching as these things continue to rush by. It went on for several minutes before finally the things started to become more few, and eventually I could tell it was more wild cows. For some reason they had begun a stampede back towards the way I came. So after the last few ran past, I walked over to the clearing they created and looked back towards where I came and let out a groan. It was obvious that this trail had been around for a while, and if I knew about it I could've avoided hours of work traversing through the thicket. Then I look back the other way and see that the path they used was a tunnel with vegetation grown over. It was dark and narrow, but it was clear. So I took another look at the clearing around me and wondered if I should risk it through the pathway or just continue to move aimlessly in the forest. If I used the path way they had made, it could lead to something dangerous, or lead to civilization. I stare stumped. I decide to head towards the path, since I don't even know if the route I was taking would even lead anywhere, at least in this direction I can be somewhat certain there's something, why else would the cows come from this direction? So with this new heading in mind, I crouch down under the thick shrubs that surrounded the path. It rapidly becomes dark as the plant life completely block out the sun. It felt like I had left the forest and entered a thick cave as I couldn't see anything. All I could do is crawl forward in the darkness and hope to find the exit. The trip was made worse by the fact that everywhere I went, I heard noises. I heard anything from the loud cracking of twigs, the rattling of snakes and even at one point, a low growl from just above the shrubs. I had to move fast, because if anything happened, I would have no where to escape to, and I certainly would never be found here. I'm miles and miles from any sign of civilization. Suddenly after nearly an hour of crawling, I finally start to see light up ahead of me. It appeared to glow bright red. So I continued to crawl through when suddenly I feel something sting the back of my hand. It's when I look that I realize that an ember had fallen on me. That's when I come to my senses and knew what was happening above me. There was a raging inferno as the forest for some reason had caught fire. So I begin the quicken my pace and rush through the thicket. The further I go in the brush, the more I feel the heat starting to build and the thicket getting heavier and heavier on my back. Despite this I continued on as fast as I could with no thought of stopping in sight. I continue as I stare into this smoking tunnel. Barely able to see or breath. When suddenly part of the brush collapses in front of me providing a large path for me to escape out of the thicket. From there I crawl to my feet and survey the insanity around me. I could see the entire forest burning in every direction as far as I could see, which wasn't far with the intense smoke. It wasn't long before I couldn't take the smoke anymore and I wiped out the blanket from my bag and strapped it around my face as I try to filter the smoke out of my choking lungs. From there I just start running as far as I can away from anything that even appears to be burning. Despite this I continue to run into massive burning piles of trees, bushes and grass everywhere and where there wasn't any, they would fall directly in front of me. It felt like the fire was conspiring against me as it seems no matter where I went or how hard I tried, there was something blocking my way. I keep running aimlessly, hoping and begging for a path when amidst the fire I see a small rocky cave burrowed into the side of a hill. So I begin running towards it. I leap over several massive burning logs which singed my thighs despite my best efforts to leap over it when a large tree begins to fall behind me. I take only a moment to notice, but even then I realize how little time I have before the tree will crush me. So I rush towards the cave entrance and I manage to slip inside moments before the tree collapses, however I did not realize until afterwards, but that I had in fact trapped myself inside the cave as the tree completely blocked the entrance. I run slightly deeper into the cave to escape the smoke, fire and debris before I finally stop and take my first full breaths in what felt like ages. With each breath, I feel my heart shaking my whole body as it throbs. The event made me want to puke, but I managed to keep my composure. From there I surveyed my situation. I realized that I was stuck in this cave with no choice but to explore it. My choice remains as always to continue forward, but at least now my direction is clear. This is new ground and with it, hopefully, a point of progress. To be continued...
  2. Index to the chapters (open spoiler to view): Index to supplemental entries (open spoiler to view): Jool 14, Y003 "I've almost earned my wings..." Well, I wasn't the first, the second, or even the eleventh selected for the new space program. No, I was twenty-third! Today I finally completed my flight simulator training and only one requirement remains before I will earn my flight wings. The training was vigorous, but Gene kept insisting that before we got to fly real aircraft we had to be able to handle any situation that came up. He then told us that it was because of the first four Kerbalauts, Jebediah, Bob, Bill, and Valentina, that the new rules were put in effect. Apparently, out of the first four, only one didn't crash his Knat - and that was Bob. Not wanting to encourage us to copy their behavior, Gene gave us only the highlights. From what Gene did tell us, the object of the flight is to get the feel for how a real craft handles and not to try to buzz the tower, fly at mach 2 through the mountains west of the KSC, or even fly through the abandoned hangars on the old island station. He refused to answer any questions on who flew their craft through the hangar. What a thrill that would have been! Earlier today, Jebediah was a guest speaker at our training assembly. He told us that there was no greater feel than the vibration of a craft transitioning from the atmosphere into the void of space. He told us a few stories and shared a few images of what Kerbin looks like from space. He talked about looking forward to his next few missions where he will be testing a new reusable launch vehicle - which he said would eventually make spaceflight into LKO routine. It's an exciting thought about LKO becoming that easy to achieve. We also watched the telemetry and video feeds from the second Munar expedition. Although the crew did achieve stable Munar equatorial orbit about three hours ago, Gene could be heard telling Matt, Rake, and Aldas that they would not begin the descent to the surface of the Mun for an entire day. Again, Jebediah's name came up as Gene said they didn't want to repeat the mistakes of the first Munar mission. Jebediah accidentally deployed the CM parachutes instead of separating the lander from the CM. I remember that well; we all remember the broadcasted reports of a rescue mission being launched so that the crew could transfer into another capsule for reentry. There's a standing joke at the Kerbalnaut training center that if there's no really good explanation of how something was broken, Jeb had something to do with it! Podget, my roommate from the first of the course, was selected to serve as an engineer. When the assignments came out, he had hoped to continue the Kerbalnaut training, but instead, is serving as one of three engineers aboard the URKN Eeloo, a patrol craft sent out to explore the northern oceans. He left aboard her two weeks ago; today I received a video-card from him telling me of his new assignment. He was told in his briefing, as we were in the pilot's program, that all us belong to the United Republic of Kerbin Defense Forces. We still have no idea why the Council insists on having a defense force since we know we are the only sentient life form on the planet - unless you count that pink wiggly stuff they tend to serve us in the KSC mess. Tomorrow is the first day of my actual aircraft training. No more simulators for a while! I had hoped to be one of the first Kerbalnauts in space, but that didn't happen. Although I had put my application in as soon as the Committee of Aeronautics and Space Flight announced the beginning of the Kerbaled spaceflight program, I was selected at the end of the second year. Now, three months into the third year since the emerging, I am now getting my chance. I won't lie; I was excited when my name was on the pilot's list. I would hate to know that I had to hitch a ride into space as an engineer or scientist.
  3. chapter 1 Get out of your bunk. Get dressed. Climb the ladder through the hub to the kitchen. Call dibs on the next cup of koffee. Say good morning. Report to Gene. The feeling in the air of the Zephyr Kerman was always a little tense on a landing day with the rookies alway suprised by the lack of constant work to do and the veterans looking as if this was just another day on the job. But today was different for the veterans. Jeb took a quick look around and found the same expression on both Bill and Bobs faces. A grimace with just a hint of a smile, no doubt caused by the fact that they were completing the kerbaled exploration of the solar system today. But when he got to Val, he found that she was already looking at him. They both smiled, and Jeb felt the little square container in his pocket press against his leg. He remembered being caught by Gene when he shoved it in his duffel bag on launch day. That sure had been a interesting conversation. His thoughts were disturbed when the centrifuge spun around to face Eeloo, the rock that would launch Jeb the other orange suits into kerbal history as the first kerbals to set foot on every celestial body in the system. Joining them where rookies Mayzee and Anzer kerman. The message came from the KSC, they were go to start pre-landing procedures. The rookies were exited by this and leaped to the lander, only to find the assigned checklists containing "make sure all of this importand stuff is on" The rest of the crew headed to the lander except for Bob, who headed back to the lab to transmit the last points of science. Suddenly, The kerbs at the lander heard Bob scream in terror. "OH KRAP OH CRAP OH KRAP OH KRAP!" The entire crew rushed to the lab to see what was wrong. Bob was frozen, his eyes fixed on the window in front of him. He was staring at Eeloo, and at first Jeb coudent make out what was so scary. but then he started to make out edges. Edges of gaint chunks of ice, and no doubt a shotgun blast of tiny ones, the results of a cryovolcanic event that would change Eeloo's surface forever. Headed strait for them. "EVA SUITS! NOW!" Jeb cried.
  4. Walking out of the Cradle - A post Kerpollo Commentary "Kerbin is the cradle of all kerbals; but kerbalkind can not remain in the cradle forever." -Konstantin Kerman Chapter 01 The Kerbal Space Centre, ever since its initiation, has been the symbol of ingenuity and innovation. It inspired a generation of Kerbals to invest in space travel and scientific exploration if the Kerbol system. Perhaps the crowning achievement of KSC was the landing of a Kerbal on the Mun. This achievement set the course for Kermanity for several generations to come. Kerbals would set up orbital bases and Munar Science Outpost. They would then use the In Situ Resource Utilisation techniques to set up propellent depots on Minmus, thus opening up the entire Kerbol system for the Kerbonauts. A quarter century after the first Mun Landing, Kerbals are still limited to Low Kerbin Orbit. The current generation of Kerbals, unfortunately, does not consider the stars to be its objective. The lack of an inspirational agency like KSC has forced the Kerbals to live a life of mediocrity. There are several reasons for the present situation, but perhaps the most damaging reason is the unfortunate death of Jebediah 'Jeb' Kerman, the first Kerbal to walk on the Mun. Jebediah Kerman was on his 12th mission to the Munar Mission. He completed all of the mission objectives on that day. However the oxygen tanks of his EVA suit failed leading to rapid decompression of the suit. The brave Kerbonaut died on the Munar Surface, a few feet from the Munar Descent module. (Pictured : Munar Descent Camera catching the moment of Jeb Kerman's demise.) All these years later, Jeb's final words still echo today through the empty mission control rooms at KSC. " I am finally home."
  5. Greetings, I've been firing Kerbals into space for 728 hours and finally got the time to work on this little side project of mine. Once 1.2 has dropped and my mod list is back up-to-date I will be writing a fan series chronicling the early years of the Kerbal Space Programme. This isn't the first series of its type but I'm hoping the back story and history I have in mind for it will make it an entertaining read for you. In brief, the series will start in the aftermath of a brief but catastrophic nuclear war between the 4th Kerbin Empire and the fledging Independent Kerbal States (IKS) (Separatists wanting to escape the heavy taxation imposed by the Emperor). Again this is nothing new but I couldn't think of a better reason for the Kerbals to develop rockets other than for military purposes. Utilising aging piston engine aircraft the IKS Pilots wage a guerrilla war against the Empire to damage their infrastructure - facing early jet aircraft flown by the Imperial pilots. With mounting losses the Emperor turns to Dr. Werner Von-Kerman to develop a terror weapon that can bring the rogue states into line. The attacks serve to strengthen the IKS resolve and - enlisting support from sympathetic factions within the Empire - they launch a full scale assault on Kerbin City to remove the Empire from power. Faced with a shameful defeat the Emperor invokes a "Scorched Kerbin" protocol and commits suicide. Though the IKS win the battle and the Empire falls the political and environmental fallout are catastrophic - rendering large swathes of Kerbin uninhabitable. As the Kerbin Reconstruction Authority (KRA - Interim Government) desperately searches for a way to ensure the survival of Kerbal Kind by designating areas of Kerbin Blue, Yellow or Red Zones depending on their levels of radiation. There are very few Blue Zones (Rad Free) and most of the population live in Yellow Zones. As the KRA faces the daunting prospect of having to make some tough decisions an amazing discovery is made in Kerbin's irradiated that may hold the key to repairing the damage to Kerbin's ecosystem. With the clock to extinction ticking the KRA appoint Major Gene Kerman to oversee what will ultimately become the KSP. Bringing together old enemies, new allies...and a thrill seeking scrap merchant eager to leave his mark on history...from Kerbin to the Mun will document the early years of the KSP before the programme was officially founded. Main Characters Lt. Jedidiah Kerman (Former IKS Pilot) - Scrap Merchant, Air Race Pilot, Amateur Rocketry Enthusiast. Capt. Valentina Kerman (Former Imperial Pilot) - Aerospace Technology Reporter for Kerbin City Times Newspaper. Bill Kerman (Civilian Engineer) - Project Leader for KRA. Bob Kerman (Civilian Scientist) - Field Researcher for Kerbin City University. Major. Gene Kerman (Imperial Paramilitary Ops Officer, IKS Sympathiser) - Director, KRA Logistics Division Doctor. Werner Von-Kerman (Former Imperial Scientist) - War Criminal awaiting trial for crimes against Kerbal Kind. Series Goals 1) Provide an exciting backstory and History to Kerbal Space Programme. 2) Provide detailed Spacecraft Plans and Craft Files for Readers to replicate the missions documented. 3) Provide detailed Mission Reports (In Lieu of Creating a Mission Pack at a later date - Currently Beyond My Skill Level) 4) Develop New and Existing Characters to carry the series forward. Community Inclusion It will likely take some time to update my mod library but when its complete I will list the mods used to create the series. This will be a Stock-a-Like series so as much as I love packs such as Bluedog Design Bureau the craft used in the series will be original designs...perhaps inspired by real-world spacecraft but by no means carbon copies. Throwing the forum open, is there anything you would like to see in this series...all ideas are considered as long as they stay true to the plot. Also accepting help and assistance from artists and craft designers as my personal approach is more "Form follows Function" and it would be nice to have a bit of eye candy for people to look at. Mission Patches are cool too! Look forward to speaking with you. Kal