The Battle of Kerbin (Chapter 19: Phased Out)

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Oh, also, I know that it's sort of soon to be thinking about the end (Book 1 ended after 25 chapters, Book 2 ended after 32), I am sort of nearing my projected end point of the story :(. It has been an amazing ride with you guys here, but, as the saying goes, All good things must (Eventually) come to an end. I've got (About) 5 or six more chapters thought about, but after that there's really not much left. I know I'm getting a *tad* ahead of myself here, but I just wanted to give you guys a heads-up.


Chapter 19

Phased Out


Time: 09:30 Hours, 3 Days later

Location: KSC


    Jeb completed his 15th lap of his “Racetrack,” which went around the R&D, VAB, Spaceplane Hangar, and Astronaut complex, at breakneck speed. He had just finished welding together a “Formula Kart” Go-Kart, similar in shape to the Formula K race car. “THIS IS AMAZING!!” Jeb used the built-in radio to call in to Bob, who was also working on the kart. Together, they were going to start the “Kerbal Industries Race Team” and hopefully win some funds along the way.

    “Is the grip okay? We tuned it to maximum wheel settings, but we can still work the wings.” Bob looked over the data. Actually, he hadn’t put the grip all the way up, but if he had, Jeb probably would have killed himself in the corners. “Yeah, Grip’s good. When are we getting those RCS ports for the boost? I feel like that’s just killing our lap time,” Jeb went under the tunnel, and momentarily lost communication.

    “-like they’re arriving soon; Probably in a couple days time.” Jeb gave an audible groan. “Days?! They were supposed to get here last night!” Just relax, Jeb suddenly tried to control himself. The war’s hitting everyone hard; Just have some patience. 

    “Well anyways, your speeds look good. Times are phenomenal through all sectors and you seem to have a good feel for the track; Come on in and we’ll work on the setup.” Jeb expertly maneuvered through the challenging course, and braked the car in the makeshift “Pit Stall”.

    “Jeb!” Gene walked over to him, before looking at the car. “Nice kart; You made it?” Jeb smiled “Yep. Finished her at 3 last night. So, what’s up?” Now Gene scuffed his boot on the concrete, and Jeb immediately knew something was wrong. “Gene,” He said in a warning tone. “What’s going on?” Gene looked up at the clouds, which were turning darker by the minute.

    “Interesting weather…” He trailed off, trying to brush off Jeb’s question like dirt off a shoe. “Gene Kerman you tell me right now what’s happening.” Jeb pointed a finger menacingly at him, trying to look like his parent. Even though Gene was about 30 years older than Jeb, they both treated each other as if they were born at the exact same time.

    “Well… There may have been a…” Gene carefully chose his words. “A what?” Jeb really wanted to get this over with before it started raining. “A.. A small, itsy-bitsy, tiny.. new ordinance passed by the heads at HQ.” Gene rushed out, looking very sad.

    “Which is?” Jeb asked before sudden realization dawned on his face. “No. There is NO WAY they are doing this.” Valentina suddenly walked up at that moment. “Doing what?”

    “We’re being fired.” Jeb said, furious at Gene for telling him this news. “No no no! Not fired. ‘Phased out’ is what they’re calling it.”

    “Which is another phrase for ‘You’re fired; Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.’” Jeb commented sourly, rage and fury growing. “Listen, my job’s on the line too, you know. Now I know you’ve done all you can; Heck, we all have. But sometimes you just have to move on.”

    “MOVE ON?! Gene, this is the only thing I’ve ever done! Even when we had no wars, I still worked in the AF some.” Jeb shouted at Gene, before getting shouted at. “OH, and you’re had it SO EASY, haven’t you? I USED TO HAVE A LIFE TOO, JEB! And I lost it all! Why? Because I love this center and everything it’s done for me and what I’ve done for it.” Gene was panting by the time he finished, stunning everyone that was in the group. No one had seen Gene this mad before; Not even the time Jeb accidentally burnt his favorite vest with a Roman Kandle display.

    “Sorry,” Gene finally caught his breath. “It’s okay. Listen, I’ll talk to HQ and see if we can’t stick around for a year or so; At least until we get everything in order. In the meantime, you are all on temporary Standby until further notice.” Gene walked away, leaving Jeb swirling in a cloud of worry.


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