NISSKEPCSIM

'Kontakt' - A KSP Novel

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Posted (edited)

Chapter 1

UTPKA Territory.

'Phoenix' shuttle on the pad at KSC, with its 'Odyssey' core booster and 'Artemis' side boosters.

a5I67Oc.jpg

Year 1, Day 123, 03:08 PM GMT.

As he turned the tuner on the radio, static crackled across the speakers.

"... I need a hero, I need a hero 'til the end of the flight..."

"... Fly me to the Mun and..."

"... When the sky falls, and the stars rise..."

"... In other news, we sadly mourn the death of Deswin Kerman, one of the best Kerbonauts in the KSA. He died today during an in-flight accident during the circularisation burn of STS-3. A pipe, which was directing fuel into the main engines of the Artemis-I booster, became clogged, and the buildup of fuels burst the pipe. The hypergolic fuel mixed with the oxidizer, and the entire craft exploded in a shower of flames. Streaks of flames were seen in the sky as the debris re-entered the atmosphere..."

Deswin Kerman casually switched off the radio. He spoke into his helmet mic: "CAPCOM, I'm astonished. I can't believe they fell for the flares, over."

"Copy that, Des. Transfer burn T-minus 1 minute 30 seconds, over."

Deswin clumsily removed his clunky suit gloves, before skillfully maneuvering the shuttle to line up with the maneuver node on the black-and-green navball.

"Maneuver node aligned. Burn in T-minus 1 minute and counting, over."

"Copy that, Control is watching your every move. Or, at least, the portion of it that knows..."

The capsule communicator didn't even need to finish his sentence. Deswin understood what he meant. His fingers rested on the throttle.

"T-minus 30 seconds."

"T-minus 20"

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2..."

Deswin rammed the throttle forward, and the shuttle accelerated with a jolt of power. He had his eyes tuned on the fuel balance, and his other finger on the 'Stage' button.

The fuel ran down rapidly.

"Cutoff T-minus 40"

"30"

"20"

"15, 14,13..."

The fuel in the 1st stage depleted, and Deswin flicked the 'Stage' switch. The 6 Thrustmax 200 engines roared to life, giving another half a G of acceleration.

"11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..."

He carefully nudged the throttle lever backwards as the seconds ticked down. The map in his cockpit's LCD screen displayed his current trajectory, on an encounter with the Mun. He couldn't help but smile a sly smile, with the knowledge that he was only one in a handful of people who knew the Artemis Program's true goal.

The 'Artemis' core booster separation during the transfer burn:

dEZ0ZUC.jpg

Day 124, 01:23 AM GMT.

"You're approaching the node for orbital injection, T-minus 3 minutes, over."

"Copy that, CAPCOM. Pre-burn check complete, all systems nominal. However, somebody forgot to pack the sunscreen, over."

Chuckles over the radio.

"No, I'm serious. The guys back at R&D can't afford visors on the EVA suits, so we have to cover ourselves in sunscreen and wear a pair of those huge, blocky sunglasses that a dentist puts on you before they shine a giant light in your face."

More chuckles.

02:50 AM GMT.

The heads-up display showed a small object, highlighted in green, approaching the shuttle at 23 metres per second.

"Capricorn Station approaching, close approach T-minus 50 seconds," chimed mission control.

"I've got my hand on the throttle, ready for velocity match, over."

The gap between the 'Phoenix' and the station grew smaller and smaller, as indicated by the heads-up display.

1.5 kilometres.

1 kilometre.

0.8 kilometres.

Deswin nudged the throttle lever forward slightly. The relative speed on the HUD grew smaller.

"Close approach T-minus 20"

20 metres per second.

15 metres per second.

10 metres per second.

"T-minus 15."

5 metres per second.

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..."

0 metres per second.

"Zero!"

The shuttle, approaching the station after ditching the 2nd stage:

IsDhpdo.jpg

03:00 AM GMT.

The docking ports inched closer. Deswin watched eagerly from the LCD screen, displaying the docking port's camera. He fiddled with the docking joystick as he attempted the align the Latch-o-matic ports with each other. As the distance grew closer, the magnetic clamps kicked in, doing the rest of the work for him. The two ships floated gracefully towards each other, and the clamps safely secured themselves around the shuttle.

"Phew," sighed Deswin, switching off the LCDs and opening up the hatch with a pull of the latch.

"That was tense."

Gene Kerman at mission control smiled carelessly to himself in his office chair.

"Good," he said.

"Phase one is complete."

The 'Phoenix' docking and docked:

3YvTHeS.jpg

k3taBFa.jpg

Author's note:

Please give me your thoughts! I would love to see the feedback these stories get; I have a much bigger project (and I mean HUGE) ready to come this way if you guys enjoy 'Kontakt'.

If you think anything is bad, or needs to be changed, say so. I want the truth, even if it hurts.

        Kind regards,

                N.

                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

 

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Posted (edited)

Chapter 1-B

'CSE-1'on the pad at KSC:

NrjqaNi.jpg

Year 1, Day 129, 07:09AM GMT.

Gene hurried over to the Mission Control building on the KSC campus. His glasses were fogged up from the sudden temperature change as he exited his car, a 1969 Kord Buick. He wiped the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, and swung open the great big doors to the control centre. Rows of smart-looking men and women in crisp, clean, white overcoats, with three Bic pens sticking out of their right breast pockets were seated behind large, blocky computers from 1993. He rushed over to Walt Kerman, the head of Public Relations, who was standing in front of one of the monitors.

"What's our cover story this time?" he demanded. "A lander and fuel tank, to be delivered to Capricorn Munar Orbital Station and Research outpost," replied Walt. "You mean to tell me that we told the public the truth?!" "No, sir. We told them exactly what I told you. The mission objective is still a secret. And they believe us, 'cause the KSSR have already stranded two kerbonauts on the Mun during failed attempts at landing. And they couldn't be half assed to get them themselves, so now we have a 500 thousand Kerbucks contract on our doorstep." "Launch T-minus 2 minutes," boomed a voice over the PA system. "Good," growled Gene. "Because if the secret got out, you would be out of much more than a job." He walked off towards his office. Walt gave him a grim look.

The Mission Control Centre, KSC, Kafrica province, UTPKA:

level9_historic_thumb.jpg

Gene watched the launch from his personal computer, a HD flatscreen TV hooked up to a 1 terabyte hard drive with 16 gigabytes of RAM. The rocket, a direct-ascent style lander with a large fuel tank, mounted atop an 'Odyssey' core booster with 'Artemis' side boosters, was belching clouds of steam from various pipes and arms which were connected to the fuel tanks. The umbilical clamp fed cryogenic fuel into the tanks continuously, so that the fuel didn't 'boiloff.' "T-minus 1 minute," announced the launch controller. "Umbilical detach," called another controller. The umbilical clamp, along with all the other pipes, slowly disconnected from the body of the rocket, and swung away. "Power transfer is complete. We're on internal power with the launch vehicle at this time." "T-minus 30 seconds and counting." "All the second-stage tanks now pressurised." "T-minus 15 seconds, guidance is internal."

The rocket engines spewed out globules of fire and smoke as they throttled up. "12, 11, 10, 9, ignition sequence starts, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, zero." "All engines running." The launch clamps separated, and the rocket blasted off into the sky. "Lift-off! We have a lift-off!" The trail of fire flared out as the rocket climbed. "5 kilometres. 6 kilometres. 7 kilometres..." The plumes of orange, yellow, and red trailed high and mighty behind the huge engines. 'Wow.' Gene still couldn't handle the sense of wonder and awe as each rocket lifted off the pad. Each of those engines nozzles were bigger than him!

"10 kilometres. First booster pair SEP."

The two 'Twin-boar' asparagus-staged boosters violently separated from the main fuselages, the SpaceY 'triple-packed radial SRB decouplers' giving them a boost as they burned through their solid propellant.

The first pair separating:

xsAih9I.jpg

"15 kilometres. Begin gravity turn. 20 kilometres. 30 kilometres. 35 kilometres. MECO!"

The fuel pipes that were feeding two 'Artemis' side boosters that were left, along with the 'Odyssey' core booster, quickly cut the crossfeed, and the engines ceased to produce thrust.

"Coasting to circularisation burn. Node in T-minus 1 minute 30 seconds. Deploy solar panels."

The doors of service bay of the direct-ascent lander swung open, and the KSO 'Standard, Solar Panel Array' extended, replenishing the electricity banks of the 'OTKO' probe core.

"Node T-minus 1 minute and counting. Prepare for engine ignition."

"Roll program complete."

"T-minus 30 seconds."

"20"

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..."

"Ignition!"

The engines of the 'CSE-1' roared to life.

"Cutoff T-minus 1 minute and counting."

"50 seconds. Second booster pair SEP."

The second pair separated identically to the first, and the decoupler's force gave the rocket a small boost.

"30 seconds."

"20"

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.."

"Cutoff!"

Day 130, 09:56 PM GMT.

"Velocity match complete."

Gene was in his dressing down, sitting up in his bed, quietly sipping a cup of coffee, watching live feed from mission control on his kPad. His glasses were leaning preposterously on the edge of his bedside locker, which meant that he had to lean in real close to be able to see what was going on. His eyesight had been deteriorating ever since he had joined the KSA. All those hours as a young, cocky, ignorant mission controller, spent looking at the tiny screens on the outdated monitors that were the only things KSC had been able to afford back then, had taken their toll. Back then, the runway was a muddy track, the launchpad was a concrete slab, and Mission Control was a shed with lampposts welded to the ceiling.

"Activating RCS."

"Full upward thrust."

"Roll 35.8 degrees clockwise."

"Pitch 4 degrees up."

"Yaw 18.65 degrees starboard."

"Pitch 0.56 degrees down."

"Pitch 0.4 degrees up."

"Roll 6.8 degrees anticlockwise."

"Cut upward thrust."

"Full reverse."

"Cut reverse thrust. Yaw 6.78 degrees port."

"Pitch 180.1 degrees up."

"Full forward thrust."

"Magnetic lock confirmed."

"Connection in 4, 3, 2, 1..."

"Contact!"

The fuel tank docked to 'Capricorn':

12MvTtk.jpg

10:04 PM GMT.

"... 6, 5, 4, 3..."

"Magnetic clamps locked."

"2, 1..."

"Connection confirmed!"

The lander docked to the other docking port:

tTiZ487.jpg

But, unbeknownst to all the Kerbals at both Mission Control, and on the 'Capricorn' Station, another Kerbal, Geofbo Kerman, was stowed away in the 'Mk 1-2 Command Pod' of the direct-ascent lander...

Behind the scenes:

Spoiler

Those of you with a forensic eye may have noticed that on the previous station, another spacecraft, something that looked a bit like the picture below, docked to the docking port which the lander is now docked to. Well, it was getting in the way, and was useless since I now have the 'Phoenix' shuttle, with a much higher crew capacity, docked. So, since the ship had a probe core, I de-orbited it, and it crashed into the Mun in a ball of flame and smoke.

The ship in question:

fIfZHOb.png

(Just pretend the transfer stage doesn't exist)

 

 

 

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Posted (edited)

Chapter 2

The lander undocking:

2sWFqUn.jpg

Year 1, Day 132, 11:01 AM GMT.

Deswin carefully aligned the ship with the retrograde marker on the navball. He was approaching the target sight fast.

"400m/s. 300m/s. 200."

"T-minus 10 seconds to decceleration burn," boomed mission control over the speakers in the cockpit.

"7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..."

He rammed the throttle lever forward. The lander violently shook as the 'Poodle' engine blew clouds of dust up from the surface, surrounding the lander in a veil of grey.

"Touchdown!"

11:05 AM GMT.

Deswin cautiously descended down the rungs of the ladder, being careful so as to not graze his EVA suit. He could see the glistening of some silver metal in the distance, and set off towards it.

The object was disc-like in shape, with a small, dome-shaped bulge protruding from the top. Or it could be the bottom. Deswin wasn't sure. The ticks from the geiger counter in his suit grew in intensity as he approached it.

"Deswin, this is CAPCOM, you're getting over 6 rads per second, over."

"Copy that, CAPCOM."

He removed a flag from his kit pack, and planted it in the surface. It would broadcast a beacon for KSC to hear in case of an emergency. The shiny metal reflected the sunlight into his face, blinding him temporarily. A small box was attached to his EVA suit's RCS pack. He removed it, and attached it to the surface of the object. Tiny, magnetic clamps secured the box in place, and the top opened, revealing millions of Kerbucks worth of advanced scientific equipment.

"CAPCOM, this is Deswin here, there are no markings on the unidentified object. Repeat, the object is unmarked, over."

"Copy that."

He touched the surface of the object. It was perfectly smooth, definitely not natural. It didn't even have scorch marks, and there was no visible component that resembled an engine.

"CAPCOM, I'm returning to the lander, the Monitor has begun scanning the object, over."

He used his RCS pack to fly back to the lander.

11:09 GMT.

"Des, this is CAPCOM, you've got a 20 kilogram drop in weight, over."

"Huh. That's strange. Must be a technical glitch, over."

"Agreed. Continue with ascent."

Deswin carefully nudged the throttle forward, and the lander took off in a cloud of smoke and fire. But, little did he know, he was minus one stowaway.

Geofbo Kerman carefully maneuvered with his RCS pack as he approached the object. He noted that a small flag was planted next to it, and that it had no visible entrance hatches. He cautiously landed, and approached the dome-shaped bulge in it's surface. He took off his Outback ESP, an extra pressurised backpack, filled with supplies such as EVA fuel, and snacks. He removed a crowbar and industrial drill from a side pocket, and climbed up to the top of the bulge.

He dug the drill into the dome, and turned it on.  Within minutes, he had created a hole, big enough to shove the crowbar into, that lead to the interior of the strange object. He attempted to pry it open, but the crowbar snapped in half almost instantly. He sighed. It was going to take a long time to drill a hole big enough to fit into.

Deswin standing beside 'the Object.'

KtdyKsq.jpg

11:21 GMT.

Geofbo wriggled through the tiny hole he had drilled in the dome himself, and entered the object. He marvelled at how the interior strongly resembled the interior of a conventional spacecraft. The navball, though using different colours, was situated in the centre, and a seat was bolted to the floor. A joystick was positioned in between a large console and the seat. There was a large, oblong-shaped helmet suspended from the ceiling, and a small LCD screen above the navball. He activated his helmet mic.

"Control, I have entered the object. The interior resembles that of a regular spacecraft, and the exterior seems to be made of some extremely strong substance. It is stronger than titanium. There is no visible engine. The capitalists have already been here, but I can't see what they did with the object, over"

"Shto?"

"Oh." He had forgotten that he was speaking to the KSSR mission control centre, and not KSC. He repeated what he had said in Russian.

"Your mission is complete," came the reply, in a heavy Russian accent.

"Copy that."

Geofbo fiddled with his tongue, looking for the cyanide pill implanted in one of his teeth. He found it, and cracked it open. His mouth started to foam.

He died almost instantly.

 

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Posted (edited)

Chapter 2-B.

UTPKA territory.

Year 1, Day 133, 05:99 PM GMT.

Gene Kerman hurried down the corridor of the Hexagon, the military headquarters of the UTPKA. The corridor was bland, with grey walls, a grey ceiling, and a grey floor. The walls were lined with office doors, each marked with a sign saying things like 'FIB,' and 'KIA.' The corridor seemed endless. He glanced at his watch. It was five fifty-nine. The meeting started at six. He cursed, and continued down the hallway. At last, the corridor came to an end, with two large security doors, with a card reader and a fingerprint scanner built into the doorknob. Gene fumbled with the VIP pass slung around his neck, and slid it across the reader. He pressed his thumb up against the scanner, and the doors opened with a hiss, revealing the Military Council Room of the United Tectonic Plates of Kan Andreas.

On the wall, an enormous plasma-screen TV was embedded into the concrete. In the middle of the room stood a large, circular table, with a ringed light system suspended above the dozens of chairs, in which various military brass sat, all adorned in their flamboyant epauletted uniforms. The President of the UTPKA sat facing the door, with his Vice President, military, and scientific advisors seated to his left. A general, who was standing in front of the plasma screen, was fiddling with a telescopic pole which he had in his hand. He turned to face Gene. "Ah, Gene, my old friend, welcome. Please take a seat." Gene did as he was told. These military-types never liked to repeat themselves.

"Good," continued the general. "The council is now in session."

dr-strangelove-ken-adam-film-set-war-roo

The screen changed to display a bird's eye view of the Mun's south pole.

"As you all know, on Year 1, Day 98, a strange object was photographed by Munsat-1, one of our research satellites. Munsat was launched before the Capricorn was even conceived, and, at the time, no one knew what this object was."
The screen zoomed in on a small patch in the corner, displaying a strange object, reflecting the sunlight into the camera lens.

"This was not a natural rock formation. It is too reflective. It is not an enemy spacecraft. Our agents in the KSSR have proved that. It is not a camera glitch. In fact, we took not one, not two, but three pictures of the object. Each of them has the object in their viewpoint, and it is always as bright as a star. Sadly, Munsat-1 was plagued by technical failure shortly after this, and we could not photograph the object on the next pass.

"We decided to investigate further. We launched Capricorn station, under the guise of a research station. Then we launched Artemis-1, the shuttle on which Deswin Kerman supposedly died. He did not. He continued to journey to Capricorn, and successfully docked to the station on Day 124, 03:00 AM GMT. Then, we launched CSE-1, a lander and fuel tank, and it successfully docked on Day 130, 10:04 PM GMT.

"Deswin then descended, and landed within 200 metres of the object. He planted a flag in the surface, and the 'Observer' prototype on the exterior of the object. The 'Observer' is a tiny box, no bigger than a cereal box, packed full of the most advanced scientific instruments known to Kerb. They include, but are not limited to, geiger counters, sample collectors, mystery goo canisters, infrared, ultraviolet, and conventional cameras, and a tiny drill. At 05:09 AM this morning, the drill penetrated the exterior, and found this."

The screen changed, and displayed the body of a Kerbonaut, lying, dead, in what resembled a pilot's seat.

"The interior resembles that of Test Project #23, an aircraft that is experimenting with neural interfaces. So far, Kerbal trials have yielded sub-optimal results."

The screen changed again, showing an image of a Kerbal, blood streaking from his mouth, eyes, and ears, with a strange-looking helmet on his head. He was surrounded by paramedics, who were fiddling with some complicated looking box. It then returned to the body of the Kerbal in the object.

"This Kerbonaut, who was later identified as Geofbo Kerman, snuck onto CSE-1 in the early hours of the morning, and stayed there until the lander landed, where he exited stealthily, and waited until Deswin departed, where he drilled a hole in the side of the object, and broadcasted his findings to the KSSR. We know, because we intercepted this with our latest spy satellite, the 'Fall-out.'"

An audio clip played from the stereo speakers built into the screen.

"...entered the object. The interior resembles that of a regular spacecraft, and the exterior seems to be made of some extremely strong substance. It is stronger than titanium. There is no visible engine. The capitalists have already been here, but I can't see what they..."

"This audio clip later proved the fact that Geofbo is a KSSR agent. However, the 'Observer' conducted some scans, and revealed something that not even we knew about. There is a similar object located in Kerbin's north pole."

The screen changed, and everybody gasped. It displayed an image of the same strange object, buried under metres of snow, taken from a bird's eye view.

"This image was taken by a drone test flight back during the War. It was the only image we have of it."

KSSR Territory. 

Day 134, 05:57 PM GMT.

'Zaldam-1' on the pad at 'Nyerpa' Cosmodrome.

TnTYuLG.jpg

"T-minus 1 minute to launch. All personnel clear the launch area. Repeat, all personnel clear the launch area."

"T-minus 30 seconds. Ignition sequence start. All tanks now pressurised."

"T-minus 15 seconds. Power transfer complete, umbilical detach."

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, all engines running, 3, 2, launch clamps release..."

"Zero!"

The Electron-K rocket blasted off the pad in a cloud of dust, smoke, and flame, as it ascended slowly towards the heavens.

"5 kilometres. Cutoff T-minus 1 minute and counting."

"7 kilometres, 8 kilometres, 9 kilometres, 10 kilometres..."

"Stage!"

The first stage separated explosively, boosted by the 'Separatron' rockets, and the second stage ignited.

"15 kilometres."

"20 kilometres."

"25 kilometres."

"30 kilometres. MECO!"

After an uneventful launch, the KSSR successfully placed their first space station into orbit of Kerbin.

Meet Zaldam-1:

gNB98cW.jpg

Day 135, 09:13 AM GMT.

Kalin carefully maneuvered the Soyuz to line up with the docking port of the Zaldam. She rammed the RCS throttle forward, and the ship forcefully connected to the docking port.

"Magnetic lock confirmed. Please be more careful next time, Kalin. That thing you just rammed in to cost 700,000 Kerbucks."

"Copy that, control."

She tugged on the gloves of her EVA suit, and secured her helmet. As she entered the airlock, she waved to Bill, who was sitting in the orbital module. He waved back.

09:17 AM GMT.

Kalin carefully secured the last panel into place, slotting the bolts into their sockets.

"Ground control, this is Soyuz-1, pleased to inform you that Zaldam station is now fully operational."

Cheering and applause was heard from mission control.

"Bill, I'd like you do do the honours and extend the solar panels."

"Copy that, Kal. Doing it now, over."

The panel violently extended, quicker than Kalin had anticipated. The edge of the panel slammed into her EVA suit, and sent her spiralling away from the station. She tried to use RCS, but the controls were unresponsive. She soon realised why.

"Ground control, I'm venting EVA propellant into space, RCS controls are unresponsive. I have no control over my current trajectory, repeat, I have no control over my current trajectory."

She watched in horror as the station grew further and further away.

"Bill!" she screamed.

        To be continued...

 

 

 

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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There'll probably be no more chapters posted here until Friday evening, so I'll see you guys then. I hope you'll enjoy the current chapters, and I'm looking forward to the feedback!

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Poor Geofbo! It's one thing to be taken out by a vehicle failure, but wow... Keep up the good work! :)

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Posted (edited)

Chapter 3.

UTPKA Territory.

Year 1, Day 135, 05:03 AM GMT.

The 'Angel' on the runway at KSC:

upadGDE.jpg

Alnie Kerman carefully strapped herself into the seat in the cockpit of the SR-71 spyplane. Originally designed to "monitor" enemy countries, it was discovered to be capable of cruising at over Mach 3. And so, it became the most used aircraft of the UTPKA Air Force.

"Angel-1, this is Control, you are clear for take-off. Maintain radio silence until you have arrived at the target destination, over and out."

She was about to respond, but realized just in time that she wasn't supposed to talk to anyone on the two-hour long journey. She sighed, and rammed the throttle forward. The plane gently took-off, and she settled in for the long trip.

07:08 AM GMT.

The polar ice cap sped closer, and Alnie kept her eye on the tiny dot on the HUD that signified the target zone. She deployed the airbrakes, lowered the throttle, and guided the aircraft down onto the ice.

The HUD displayed: Horizontal speed 70m/s, vertical speed 10m/s, 1000m altitude. The ground rushed towards Alnie, and she pulled back hard on the joystick only a few seconds from touchdown. The wheels screeched, and the plane skidded to a halt.

"Control, this is Angel-1, I have landed at the target sight, no damage visible, permission to EVA, over."

"Angel-1, this is Control, permission granted. Status updates every two minutes. Over."

"Copy that."

She turned the lock on the hatch, and it swung open. The ladder slid down automatically, and she descended towards the surface.

"Brrrrr," she thought. "It's really cold."

As she made her way towards the object, she saw some strange shapes scattered around it. As she came closer still, she realised that they were parts of an aircraft. She rushed towards them, and stopped beside a MK-2 cockpit. It was rusting away, with multiple holes in the exterior. Chunks of metal were missing from the fuselage, and all the flight instrument screens had a fine layer of dust, dirt, and frost over them. The call sign 'Angel-1' was barely visible under the years and years of dirt and rust.

She poked her head through the dilapidated hatch, and gasped. Inside, there was a skeleton. It was adorned in an old, grimy flight suit with bits of it missing. The oxygen mask was clamped tight around the dirty jaw, and a name tag on the shoulder was covered with dirt. She wiped it off, and looked in horror at the words it displayed. 'Alnie Kerman.'

Alnie standing on top of the object, beside some other old debris:

4QPiBrd.jpg

Year 1, Day 135, 09:17 AM GMT.

Kalin spiralled away from the Zaldam-1 space station.

"Bill," she screamed.

"Coming!" came the reply, clouded by intermittent static.

The station grew further and further away.

"Don't worry Kalin, I'm coming to get you!"

She could vaguely see the Soyuz drifting away from the station.

"Bill... what are you doing?!"

"Don't worry! I saw this in a movie one time. It's just like going for a Sunday drive."

"What movie?"

"Newton's Laws or something. Calm down! You're hyperventilating. Your suit only has 20 minutes worth of oxygen for regular breathing, but at the rate you're gulping it down, you'll only have five!"

She could consciously feel herself swallowing down the air like a maniac. The Soyuz was accelerating towards her.

"Bill. What are you trying to do?"

"Make sure your arms are outstretched, and be sure to grab onto the service ladder as soon as you impact!"

"Bill... no. No, no, no, no, no! It's not possible!"

The Soyuz was speeding towards her, coming in fast.

"You're gonna impact in 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10..."

"Stop the counting! It's not helping!"

"6, 5, 4, 3, 2..."

The Soyuz was less than fifty metres from her, and speeding at her like a car on the motorway. The spacecraft rotated to ensure the ladder faced Kalin. The ship slammed into her, and cracked the multiplex of her helmet. She grabbed the ladder, and struggled to maintain her grip as the spacecraft plunged into the darkness of space.

"Come on! Don't lose your grip! Hang on!"

It was unclear who had said that, as they were both shouting now.

"Come on!"

She finally got a firm grip on one of the rungs, and heaved herself up to the airlock. She punched in her passcode, and swung open the hatch, climbing into the airlock and sealing the hatch. The oxygen was pumped into the chamber, and the pressure was equalised. Kalin removed her helmet.

"Bill, that was a serious stunt you pulled there. What does mission control have to say about it?"

"Actually..."

"You disconnected the radio, didn't you?"

"Well... I don't think they would've approved. Would they?"

She smiled.

Day 136, 06:00 PM GMT.

"The council is now in session."

General-Buck-Turgidson-sitting-in-the-Wa

The President of the UTPKA was, as always, flanked by his advisors and Vice President.

"Yesterday morning, at 7 AM, Alnie Kerman made a harrowing discovery. Debris from the exact same plane that she flew was found near the object, and, after further examination, she discovered a decaying corpse. What makes this discovery harrowing, is the fact that, when the corpse was carbon dated after Alnie transported it back to KSC, it was discovered to be 8.5 million years old. And, scarier still, the body had the exact same DNA, genetic structure, bone structure, right down to the last millimeter, the last strand of DNA and RNA, as Alnie."

The President raised his hand.

"What exactly does this mean?" he asked.

"This means that Alnie Kerman, the same Alnie Kerman that is currently asleep in her dorm at KSC, visited the North Pole, crashed, died, and was born again 8.5 million years later. Some of our more religious-inclined scientists suggest reincarnation. The more influential ones suggest parallel universes, time travel, and other physically impossible things."

"But... life on Kerbin only started 4.5 million years ago."

"That's exactly the point, mister President. As of right now, we need to decide what to do with both the object and the information retrieved from the decaying corpse. I suggest transferring all resources and a sizable chunk of the military budget to the KSA."

"But what about defense?! We need to be prepared for any Ruskie attacks!"

"That's why I also suggest merging the Military and the KSA. They would both have the same 600 million Kerbucks budget, and they would get work done quicker, as Wernher would now be working at KSC. In exchange for the much bigger budget, much better scientists, and better research equipment, the KSA would perform an array of military tasks, perhaps designing new ICBMs, or cannibalising old ones to make better rockets. Hell, maybe we could even expand on the 'Star Wars' concept."

Gene stood up.

"I will not stand for this. Though I know we could do with a bigger budget and better equipment, all of our employees, myself included, want nothing to do with the military!"

"I know it is not a favourable compromise, but, think about it. We need the KSA's scientific and technical expertise to figure out what all of this means. Hopefully, we could uncover the bigger picture. Whoever or whatever made these objects. What are they for. How they work. We shall have a vote. The merge or not to merge! All those in favour of merging the two organizations, say Yea."

Eleven of the twenty-five people at the desk said 'Yea.'

"All those in opposition of merging, say Nay."

Eleven 'Nays.'

The general looked at Gene.

"It's your choice. Make the decision. What you say could change the course of history..."

Gene thought about it for a while. Half an hour, in-fact. Finally, he made his decision.

"Let's merge. It's the only option."

PS:

Hi guys, happy St. Patrick's Day! You may have noticed that I used '4.5 million years' instead of '4.5 billion years.' The reason I chopped off over 900 millions was this; the Kerbol system is scaled down hugely - so why not the timeline too? I'll probably be taking a break from these forums for a while - I just got a Raspberry Pi, and assembly starts tomorrow!

 

 

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Here are some teasers of an upcoming spacecraft in the story. You'll probably guess what it is right away!

PdgELbR.jpg

PKboS7D.jpg

bOdCduz.jpg

 

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Got my hopes up for a while; the spaceplane actually cleared the carrier aircraft, and started to climb. But it didn't make orbit. I guess there wasn't enough fuel in the external tank. REVERT! :-)

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM

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Listening to 'Magic Carpet Ride' by Steppenwolf on a two-hour loop as I fine tune the DeltaV of the MAKS and fly it to orbit. :-)

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Steppenwolf and Heart were my favorite bands as a kid :cool:

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