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  1. Kerbal Future is a multithreaded tale which takes place post-FTL. So far, I have two arcs: Wehrcan, a gunner on a cruiser in the Second War, and Edrim, a spacer businessman. These two arcs take place about 1200 years apart. The idea is to unite all the little doodads floating about in my mind into a (hopefully) cohesive story. I'm writing this by the seat of my pants, so if it takes unexpected turns, then that's probably why. Worldbuilding notes found here! Wehrcan Wehrcan stirred restlessly in his bunk. The lights were dim, and he had a dim sense of the locker at the opposite corner of the room, as well as the hatch near it. The window was shut off, and the soft hum of the air vents was soothing. But Wehrcan's mind raced. The apprehension of the upcoming fight was too great to sleep. He thought of the hundreds of scenarios under which he could die. The coolant pumps might sieze, and his gun would fry him. The radiators could get shot to pieces and the crew would suffer a slow, agonizing death. Not to mention the sudden explosion of a laser ripping through the hull, emptying the ship of its lifeblood. Wehrcan pushed such morbid thoughts away, and picked up his tablet. He decided to play a bit of Space Program Management-- that game always calmed him. The complexity tended to draw him in, while the slow pacing slowed his heartbeat. He carefully turned the volume down as the game loaded. "Savegame Five has completed its latest mission," the tablet whispered, "Important decision in savegame two; game clock paused." Wehrcan attended to the relevant details, and eventually began to fall asleep. The Harpoon-class cruiser hurtled through space at high warp, just another ship in the massive escort of the gigantic Reaver-class supercap. A myriad of dreadnoughts, battlecruisers, and destroyers made small adjustments to keep pace with the behemoth, while smaller groups guided carriers. Their destination: A random yellow star, around which orbited several planets. It had been postulated that a great empire called one of these planets its home. This empire, due to various offences, had become an enemy of the Kerbol Federation. And now, thousands of warships came to destroy its heart. Wehrcan awoke to the sound of his bunkroom alarm, warning him of the warp's cessation. He braced against the wall as the warp drive rumbled. It didn't like changing velocity, this warp drive. Once it was in hyperspace, it wanted to stay there. But the reactor nudged it into compliance, as the rearmost ships dropped out of warp. The sickening sensation of jumplag suddenly overwhelmed Wehrcan. He wasn't used to these long, kiloparsec jumps--he'd been trained for far shorter jumps, usually just in layer 5 space. A far-too-small bag waved at him comfortingly from the wall next to him, almost begging him to use it. Wehrcan, however, pressed his head against the wall and breathed slowly, trying to calm his heart rate. The nausea subsided, and he slowly rose. He walked shakily to his locker before suiting up. It was time to report to the briefing room, where a viewscreen would give a canned pep talk followed by his CO telling him (and the other crew) the hard facts and the strategies they would use to destroy as many ships as they could, before they themselves were blasted to bits. After this motivational speech, he donned his AR goggles and followed the green haze on the floor to his turret. It was a massive ten-gigawatt laser, with a crystal that would make the history-book scientists of Old Kerbin leap about in joy, and possibly worship it as a new deity. Now, however, its use was far more sinister. The turret unlimbered its focusing lenses and started pumping the crystal. Soon the whole apparatus was humming in sync with the reactor's carefully modulated output. Coolant pumps whirred, as a mechanical clanking signified the retracting of the deep-space radiators. The shield created a strange rippling and sparkling effect on his targeting screen as it energized. This was it. This was to be the battle to win a war. The enemy star was bright in the sky. But it was not the star that was important. A planet, far closer and far darker, gleamed with a lacework of lights: highways, cities, fields. Billions of souls lived there; enemy or not, they were mostly civilians. And here was the Federation, with a veritable armada, to destroy them. And soon, the opposing fleet began to appear. Wehrcan trained his gun on the first to become visible. The carriers disgorged their drones and their fighters, the drones expanded until all their ordinance had a clear line-of-sight out of their hull. Blast doors clanked shut as innumerable ships covered their vulnerable bridges and hangars. The pilots of the fighter wings, raised and trained in space, held little respect for the planetdwellers' up and down. They formed a huge net, all facing forward, no pair level. The enemy ships were now more than just a radar lock now. They shined and glistened in the light. Wehrcan decided to zoom in. He gasped at what he saw. The ships looked like they had been pulled out of a scrap heap. The once-shiny armour was rent in several places. Turrets had half of their barrels missing. Several seemed to be leaking atmosphere, and some even had radiators still extended. They were under full thrust, burning directly at the armada. They were arranged in a rough cone, with the least-battered among them leading. Suddenly, their engines cut. Wehrcan watched the rangefinder as it ticked down. A deep rumble announced the charging of the huge lance of a railgun on the belly of the ship. Gigajoules of energy surged into capacitor banks which rivaled the heat batteries. The rangefinder made a small sound and passed a critical digit. Wehrcan pulled the trigger. The laser whined as it built up heat, the pumps increasing their pitch sympathetically. The screen darkened as a great gout of fire poured from the muzzle of the laser. His companion gunner had also released his own dragon. Twin beams of death melted right through the armour of the lead ship, its own turrets' fire merely causing the sheild to fizzle. A dull thud announced the firing of the railgun. Two tonnes of steel, with a shell of tungsten, raced out at near lightspeed at the apparent flagship of the opposing fleet. The railgun slug exploded, splitting into a ring of lances designed to penetrate at multiple points of a warship's hull. A hail of steel lances stuck the ships full like giant pincushions. Twenty, thirty of the ships were incapacitated or utterly destroyed. And then, it happened. This day would be marked in the history books of an entire civilization for millenia to come. A great baleful eye opened up at the rear of the Federation's armada. The Reaver-class supercap opened fire. A massive ball of energy spurted forth from the ship's ring. The most powerful force in the universe had been harnessed. And now it was headed directly at the planet. All battle ceased. It took a good fifteen seconds to reach the planet. The atmosphere exploded with fire. The planet burned, sending out wave after wave of shield-killing EM radiation. When it was done, all that was left was a glowing orb. The star paled in comparison to this display of brilliance. Wehrcan wept for all the innocent souls on the planet. He got the sense he wasn't alone in this action. The enemy ships powered up what remained of their fleet's thrusters. The commander gave a ceasefire order. This battle was done. The cataclysm that had befallen the capital planet was enough. The ships limped into low warps, one after another. Edrim Edrim woke from the long sleep. It was time to go planetside. He boarded the descent module, and prepared to venture into this strange land, a land of high gravity and spacious expanses. All his life, Edrim had lived in the cramped corridors of a spacecraft. There was barely enough room to stretch, much less run about. Edrim had only experienced gravity of about 3 m/s2 Now, he was going to feel nearly ten. That was promised to Edrim had heard rumours of this planet. How millions had perished in an instant. How their souls still sang on the polished glass that made up most of this planet's surface. How they wailed when the huge slabs of silica glass were pried out of the earth and shipped away as a commodity. Edrim strapped in and reached for the launch button. He thought about the events of that legend, the legend wherein a great starship, the Reaper or somesuch, destroyed an entire planet. He wondered if that's what had happened here. He shook his head slowly. Probably just old stories and legends, sieved through generations of print. Although, that old history book... The descent pod clanked as it was released from the spaceliner. A dampening field softened the huge acceleration from the pod's engines. Soon, it would get too bouncy for the compensation field to work fully. Edrim waited patiently for the fires and rumblings of reentry. He was not relishing the thought. But, this was the price of going planetside. After a violent descent through the hungry air, the pod touched down in a small village. Edrim felt lightheaded as he slowly lowered the compensation field. It was going to take some time to get used to this gravity. The scientists said that it had roughly the same gravity as Old Kerbin, but Edrim doubted that anyone had lived comfortably under this much stress. Indeed, the planet resembled Old Kerbin in a variety of ways. It had a similar ratio of water and land. Several of its continents were even similar. It was kind of odd to see what looked like a drunkard's rendition of Old Kerbin sparkling all over with glass. Speaking of which, where was the "glassland?" There was no glass to be seen, save what lay in the windows and upon the tables of the village. Perhaps the village had simply been built up to cover the gleaming substance. Edrim could imagine that simply looking at the same side of the land as the sun would blind any kerbal without adequate eye protection. Edrim leapt aside as a strange vehicle bounded past on its mechanized legs. It did an about face and came back slower, and finally kneeled. It proclaimed loudly that it was the taxi of one Edrim Kerman. Fare was prepaid. Edrim, feeling skeptical, stepped in. The quadruped straightened swiftly and galloped off. The cabin was suprisingly static. Internal suspension supported the box and kept it level as the vehicle lept over small houses and skittered around corners. Soon it arrived at what appeared to be a train station. The taxi knelt once more and disgorged Edrim. It gave him a train ticket too, stating the time and platform to expect the train at. Edrim waited once more, and pondered the sights he had seen while in the cabin of that nimble taxi. The surrounding land was indeed glass, as far as the eye could see. At various intervals, huge machines chiseled out slabs of glass. These slabs were loaded onto huge trains, which then delivered them to a different station. Edrim desperately wanted to know what had caused such a huge change in the turrain. Theories included everything from demons to solar flares, although the one most popular with scientists was nuclear warfare. Edrim waited for a couple of minutes at the platform. He heard the low whine of a gas turbine in the distance, and soon the deep hum of an agrav chassis. A huge locomotive hove into view. The turbine changed pitch as the train braked. Car after car slid into the station. The last car entered, with a compliment of several bright braking thrusters. The train came to a complete stop, and the doors opened. Edrim fed the turnstile his ticket. It chimed and admitted him. He entered the train. The doors closed. The tone of the turbine changed again, and the train began to accelerate. The agrav slid smoothly in its channel with a deep throbbing. Edrim was intrigued by the news playing on the train's speakers. "In a recent dig in the northern hemisphere, archeologists have discovered a ruined building. The building seems to be a library, full of paper books and ancient computers. The script is being translated as we speak." Edrim speculated idly as the train barelled across the glasslands towards its goal: a mining complex near the coast of the planet's largest ocean. A couple of hours later, the train once again began to slow. Edrim roused himself. He looked out a window. The terrain was still similar, and he couldn't see very much through the train's darkened glass. He wondered how much this mining complex would net him. Depending on the ore quality, it could be a very lucrative purchase. And clearly, it had to be good, or else it would've been superseeded by low-g programs. By now, a new anchor was reporting. "Linguists have deciphered what appears to be a map from the Northern Library site. The planet was evidentally called--" the anchor paused "--Ee-err-th."