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Posted (edited)

@kraden yeah... I was thinking about adding a new space agency to the plot, mostly because I was getting off track using FMRS and StageRecovery. But then, of couse, the plot had a rethink, and it was left on the cutting room floor. But I thought I should use the name at least once in this story, because I liked it so much. :cool: (quotes not working on my tablet, so I have to mention you instead)

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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A little teaser for an upcoming craft:

MlQ2PYj.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I installed the [REDACTED] mod. (Redacted for Spoiler reasons) Let's just say it was heavy on parts and memory. Fifty attempts to launch a rocket, forty-nine crash logs in my KSP folder. Took about five hours, since it take my game about eight minutes to load. So yeah, I got sidetracked from writing a new chapter that was supposed to be uploaded today. But I'll finish it tommorow. And this rocket wasn't even the main launch! It was just an unmanned test to see if had had enough fuel to complete it's intended mission, [REDACTED].

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM

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Posted (edited)

Chapter 4-C.

Solar Orbit.

Year 1, Day 154, 11:23 AM GMT.

Leake slowly munched on her protein bar. Because the mission was projected to last up to two years, the KSA could not afford such frivolities as meals in sealed boxes - they had to use the space provided. The bar tasted like a mix of nuts and fruit. Artificial flavouring - the bars were just that - protein bars. Simple, brownish-red crunchy bars which were packed full of vitamins, calories, and other necessities for staying healthy - and most importantly - alive - for a long-duration space mission.

"So," continued Deswin, prodding at his water bottle with a small straw, floating upside-down in the cabin. Well, at least, upside-down compared to Leake - there is no 'up' in space. "KBC News came up to Gene with a large sum of money for an interview with one of us - not that much compared to the cost of the KSC extension - I'm still amazed at how fast those construction contractors put it together - but still enough for Gene to put the proposal to us."

"KBC News, you say?" asked Leake. "Yep," replied Deswin. "The Kerbin Broadcasting Corporation - only broadcasting to western countries due to limited satellite cover. But everyone knows the real reason - the UTPKA's icy ties with the KSSR. But at last they're getting friendly together in the past few weeks." "So Jaysef announced the existence of the Mun and Kerbin objects last night, didn't he?" piped in Clauena.

"He certainly did," replied Leake. "I was manning the Comms station when the message came in over the amplified airwaves." "Why did you have the frequency set to civilian radio stations instead of CAPCOM?" inquired Deswin. "I had both CAPCOM and KBC Radio 1 on the Comms simultaneously," replied Leake defensively. "What's with the sudden attitude?" said Deswin.

"It's just prograde!" called Jebediah from inside the Comms cubicle. "Very funny Jeb!" called back Clauena, looking at both Leake and Deswin inquisitively. "I don't know how he finds those kinds of jokes funny," she muttered. "I heard that!" "Shut up Jeb!" "Don't you talk to your commander like that," said Jeb mockingly. "Uh, Jeb," replied Leake. "You're mocking yourself." "Oh - oops!" he said, sliding open the door to the Comms station and entering the combined lab-habitat module. "Leake," he said, "It's your turn for free Comms time."

"Okay," she replied, grabbing hold of one of the interior handrails and pulling herself towards the door. She floated gracefully towards it, like a fish in water. Of all the things she had experienced as a kerbonaut, simply floating around in space was her favourite activity. She slowly glided through the door and into the Comms cubicle, majestically smacking her forehead against the headset floating in front of a huge console situated behind a large porthole. "Ow," she groaned. "So, what's the news..." started Jeb, before Leake slid the door shut. She slipped the headset onto her mop of curly black hair, and strapped herself into the seat. She took a quick glance at the stars. They shone, bright as day, with not a flicker, not a twinkle to be seen. She flicked one of the switches on the console, and the large LCD screen in the middle of it lit up.

It displayed a menu of recently visited frequencies. They included the frequencies for the families of each kerbonaut aboard the Ares-1, along with the KBC News frequency, and an emergency 'Red Phone' direct link to the President of the UTPKA via a specialized frequency that would connect to the White House's video-communications system. Leake used the arrow keys embedded in the console to select 'Tune new frequency.' She turned the tuner. Static crackled across the headset as she searched for the correct signal. She honed in on a steady 'beep... beep... beep...' that resonated quietly across every frequency. Finally, the sound of beeps spiked at a certain frequency, and Leake perfected the signal until she turned on the headset's microphone. She spoke into it in Russian.

"Yevpatoria Deep-Space Communications Station, come in Yevpatoria. This is Agent 22, repeat, this is Agent 22."

"Copy that Agent 22, this is Yevpatoria, we are receiving you loud and we're receiving you clear," came the reply.

"Copy that. Are there any messages waiting for me?"

"Affirmative. One message. Playing it now."

"Recorded on Year 1, Day 152 by Kyril Kerman, head of the Kommunist Committee for State Security.

   Agent 22, as you know, you were scheduled for an extraction within three months. However, because the KSA selected you for a two-year long mission to Duna, this is no longer possible. So you are no longer an agent. All ties between you and the KSSR and KCSS have been severed - you are no longer a KSSR citizen. Your family and friends now acknowledge that they had never seen you before. You are now a permanent citizen of the UTPKA - you'd better get used to flying space missions and air-force prototype test aircraft. Your access to Yevpatoria and other Deep Space Communications Stations, both ground-based and satellites, shall be restricted by Day 160. This shall be the last time you hear a native Russian speak for another two years, maybe more. Enjoy your little space-trip, 'Agent 22.' There's nothing waiting for you back home.

End of recording. Return address Moscow, KSSR, 103073."

"Do you require anything else, Agent 22?"

Leake swallowed, before replying: "No, that will be all, Yevpatoria."

"Copy that." The frequency became a cloud of static once again, presumably as the KCSS Comms relay satellite shut itself down until further notice, in order to prevent Leake from communicating to the KSSR again. She suddenly felt more lonely than she had ever been, even than during the Eve missions - one-person missions designed simply to put somebody into orbit for a few hours - where you lost signal for countless minutes due to an incomplete communications network coverage. She heard faint laughter through the door.

Clauena laughing at one of Jeb's jokes:

zXWmmW8.jpg

UTPKA Territory.

Day 157, 05:46 PM.

Gene was giving a tour of the extended KSC to the ambassadors of Switzerland, Kritan, France, Italy, and Germany. "Here," he said, approaching the R&D complex, "Is where all of our rocket systems are developed. This is the home of many great projects - the NERVA, the F-1, the J-2, the Merkury and Brumbly programs, as well as the all the Artemis program technology - it was all developed here. And over there..." he pointed to three huge roads, which stretched out into the sides of the hills at the Bluerock Peninsula border, which burrowed into the hills and under the ground, huge metal doors blocking the entrance. "... are the escape tunnels. These aren't the only entrances to the bunker that was constructed in the case of emergency - there are entrances on the ground floor of every building on the KSC campus.

"And how do you access the bunker?" inquired the Kritish ambassador.

"There is an emergency override lever built into the wall next to each entrance. You pull it, and the door swings open. As soon as everybody has entered, you pull down on a similar lever inside the chamber, which will close the doors. Then, people shall proceed to the decontamination chambers five by five - there are five chambers. They shall decontaminate the people inside the chamber before they can proceed to the real bunker, going through the airlock. They shall immediately receive pills that shall complete the procedure to remove any radiation from the people inside the bunker. Then, workers and KSC officials shall help guide all of you through the bunker, and out of the mountains west of KSC, where the UTPKA air force shall collect you."

"But I thought that the KSC had become its own country, independent of the UTPKA?" asked the French representative.

"Oh, no," replied Gene. "The KSC is entirely dependant on the UTPKA. This area of land, Bluerock Peninsula, however, in the eyes of the United Kerbin Nations, the UKN, it is recognized as neutral territory - as in, no military activity is allowed on the premises. So we have severed all ties with the military, but the KSC is still very much economically dependant on the UTPKA - if we severed all ties with them, we would lose our source of funding."

"Oh," replied both the Italian and German ambassadors simultaneously.

"Now," said Gene, "If you'll excuse me, Danbo here..." he pointed to his assistant beside him. "... will continue the tour, as I have some important matters to attend to."

Gene rushed off towards down the long road, towards the entrance to the bunker. A large, yellow truck pulled up beside him and rolled down its window. "Need a lift?" asked Walt Kerman, the driver. "Thanks a lot," replied Gene, swinging open the door and climbing inside. The drive to the bunker entrance took about a minute, even with Walt rolling down the road at 70 kilometres per hour! The entrance was surrounded by kerbal of all sizes, each adorned in KSC uniforms or construction overalls. Groups of people were gathered around different parts of the walls of the tunnel, drilling or sealing panels in place, others painting the walls grey with various arrows and warning signs signifying that you were now entering a bunker. Gene pulled down on the manual override lever, and the huge, metal door clunked and clanged as various bolts were thrown out of their resting place. The door swung open, slowly and ominously, as Gene quickly stepped inside it. Various technicians were prodding at computer terminals and other equipment that was built into the walls of the entrance chamber, and an entire wall panel was ripped away, lying on the ground, as an electrician attempted to wire up what looked like a potato to the electrical system.

Wernher Von Kerman was standing in the corner of the room, inspecting one computer terminal for faults. He glanced over, only to see Gene. "Ah, hello Gene," he said, walking towards him. "What a pleasure to see you - I was just about to test out the decontamination procedures for the chambers - care to join me?" "Well, why not. If there is a disaster, I'll be using them anyway," Gene muttered. He entered one metal sliding door, whilst Wernher entered the other. The door shut behind him automatically, and a computerized voice boomed over the speakers.

"Please remove any metal items or objects you may have on you, and place them in the tray to your left."

Gene did so, and placed his watch, his pen, and his glasses into a small tray embedded in the wall of the chamber. It slid into the wall, presumably to be carried into the bunker itself.

"Once you have removed any metal items, please proceed through the entrance to the main bunker."

"Oh, you've got to be kidding me," grumbled Gene. The floor of the chamber slid open, and it revealed a water-like liquid, an pool, with an underwater staircase leading underneath the wall and into an exit. The simplest way to decontaminate someone with a substance, is to have the person walk through said substance. Wernher had mentioned it once during the start of the NERVA program, where he proposed that an entire building using submerged decontamination chambers for the NERVA project, where the nuclear engines could be built and tested without any radiation escaping whatsoever. "Well then, here it goes," he said, plunging into the water and quickly swimming through the submerged corridor, and out the other end. The computerized voice told him to stand still inside a circle marked on the floor in red paint, and huge fans, built into the ceiling, dried him. Then the exit doors slid open, and he encountered Wernher waiting for him inside the bunker.

"Where's my watch and my glasses?" asked Gene. "Incinerated," replied Wernher with glee. "What!?" exclaimed Gene. "Now I can't see anything! Those were my glasses you just incinerated!" "Well," replied Wernher, "I was attempting to simulate the full decontamination procedure. The full one would have included the incineration of your current clothes, and the provision of a KSC jumpsuit-uniform..." "And you also incinerated my 10,000 Kerbucks Rolex watch!"

The extended KSC, as of Year 1, Day 157:

RmQqcAS.png

Behind the scenes:

Spoiler

You may remember that in Chapter 4-B, I mentioned a certain device, the...

... AN/FRX-114 Discriminator...

Well, this name isn't just made up - I used the 'Joint Electronics Type Designation System' - the JETDS. I found this Wikipedia article helpful in naming the thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Electronics_Type_Designation_System

But here's the important part:

First letter: installation

  • A - Piloted Aircraft
  • B - Underwater Mobile (submarine)
  • C - Cryptographic Equipment (NSA use only) (was Air Transportable)
  • D - Pilotless Carrier (drone, UAV)
  • F - Fixed Ground
  • G - General Ground Use
  • K - Amphibious
  • M - Ground Mobile
  • P - Human Portable
  • S - Water (surface ship)
  • T - Transportable (ground)
  • U - General Utility (multi use)
  • V - Vehicle (ground)
  • W - Water Surface and Underwater combined
  • Z - Piloted/Pilotless Airborne vehicles combined

Second letter: type of equipment

  • A - Invisible Light, Heat Radiation (e.g. infrared)
  • B - Comsec (NSA use only) (was Pigeon)
  • C - Carrier (electronic wave or signal)
  • D - Radiac (Radioactivity Detection, Identification, and Computation)
  • E - Laser (was NUPAC, Nuclear Protection & Control)
  • F - Fiber Optics (was Photographic)
  • G - Telegraph or Teletype
  • I - Interphone and Public Address
  • J - Electromechanical or inertial wire covered
  • K - Telemetering
  • L - Countermeasures
  • M - Meteorological
  • N - Sound in Air
  • P - Radar
  • Q - Sonar and Underwater Sound
  • R - Radio
  • S - Special or Combination
  • T - Telephone (Wire)
  • V - Visual, Visible Light
  • W - Armament (not otherwise covered)
  • X - Fax or Television
  • Y - Data Processing
  • Z - Communications (NSA use only)

Third letter: purpose

  • A - Auxiliary Assembly
  • B - Bombing
  • C - Communications (two way)
  • D - Direction Finding, Reconnaissance and Surveillance
  • E - Ejection and/or Release
  • G - Fire Control or Searchlight Directing
  • H - Recording and/or Reproducing
  • K - Computing
  • L - no longer used. Was Searchlight Control, now covered by "G".
  • M - Maintenance or Test
  • N - Navigation Aid
  • P - no longer used. Was Reproducing, now covered by "H"
  • Q - Special or Combination
  • R - Receiving or Passive Detecting
  • S - Detecting, Range and Bearing, Search
  • T - Transmitting
  • W - Automatic Flight or Remote Control
  • X - Identification or Recognition
  • Y - Surveillance (target detecting and tracking) and Control (fire control and/or air control)
  • Z - Secure (NSA use only)
  • Model number
  • Following the three-letter designation, after a dash, is a number, uniquely identifying the equipment. Different variants of the same equipment may be given an additional letter and other suffixes (for example, AN/SPY-1A, AN/SPY-1B, etc.), while entirely new equipment within the same category is given a new number (for example, AN/SPY-3).

  • Systems

    In the JETDS system, complete equipment sets or systems are designated with a sequence of letters and digits prefixed by AN/, then three letters, a hyphen, a number, and (occasionally) some optional letters (AN/AAA-nnn suffixed by (Vn){hardware/software version} or (T){training equipment} . The three letters tell where the equipment is used, what it does and its purpose. For example, the AN/PRC-77 is a Portable Radio used for two way Communications. The numbers for any given type of equipment are assigned sequentially, thus higher numbers indicate more modern systems.

 

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
Leake isn't Clauena!
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Posted (edited)

Not as long as the others, but I was - as said above, working on testing out a new spacecraft. Hopefully a new chapter should be uploaded tomorrow - these next two ones will be big, and packed with action and tension - probably much more so than any other chapter in this thread!

EDIT:

Also, the above decontamination scene blatantly ripped off  inspired by the Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton.

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Posted (edited)

Chapter 5.

Approximately 1 Year Later.

Year 2, Day 147, 09:36 PM.

Jeb stared out of the small porthole. At Duna. A giant, red blob, hanging in among the stars. Clouds swirled and danced above its surface, and an enormous crater stood in the top left corner of the red planet. He could see the ridges and mountain ranges scattered across the surface, and Ike, Duna's rocky moon, peeked out from above the horizon. It was covered in craters from head-to-toe, and some mountains were so high you could see them from the Ares' position in space!

"Ares, this is CAPCOM, GUIDANCE reports Go for DOI, over."

"Copy that, CAPCOM," spoke Clauena into her helmet mic. All of the crew were crammed into the cramped cockpit of the Ares for the Duna Orbital Insertion, the DOI.

"TELEMETRY here, all systems nominal, you are go for DOI."

"EECOM here, everything's looking good, we give you a Go for DOI, over."

"Ares, this is FLIGHT,  you have a Go for DOI, repeat, you have a go for DOI. Godspeed, over."

"Copy that, Gene," replied Jeb. "We're cooking, over."

"Uh... copy that, Ares," called back Gene sheepishly. "We have T-minus 1 minute to loss of signal. Re-acquisition T-minus five minutes and counting, over."

"Loss of signal T-minus 30."

"20."

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

The constant buzz of chatter from mission control was replaced by crackling static.

"We have plasma blackout," said Leake. Jeb raised an eyebrow.

"What?" she replied. "I'm just trying to sound formal."

"Okay guys," continued Jeb, "We are aligned upon the Retrograde vector, altitude forty-five kilometres and dropping. Our Periapsis height is seventeen kilometres, and we're going to continually roll at a speed of 15 RPM to prevent overheats. If you have any prayers to say, say 'em now, 'cause you're not gonna have to time to say them if this goes south."

Clauena blessed herself and continued to say a silent prayer with her hands clasped together.

"Okay everybody, hold on tight, we're coming in at escape velocity into the lower parts of the atmosphere, and coupled with the roll, it's not gonna be pleasant in here," called Jeb. The four of them nodded in agreement, and stayed silent. Jeb maneuvered the joystick to put the Ares into a controlled roll. The kOS guidance computer was old, and slow at the best of times, but it had helped Kerb land on the Mun back in '69, and it sure as hell wasn't gonna fail now! The LCD screen in his console displayed the Ares' trajectory, with a dotted line showing their projected Apoapsis after the aerobrake maneuver. The grid fins on the outer hull of the Ares clunked as they deployed, keeping the spacecraft aligned upon the Retrograde vector.

Flames lapped over the cockpit's two portholes and main window as the vehicle began to vibrate violently. The altimeter slowly ticked down, an ancient piece of equipment compared to the LCD screens and other modern gadgets inside the cockpit, but it was good at it's job - displaying the ship's altitude.

35 kilometres.

30 kilometres.

29 kilometres.

28... 27.... 26...

Leake was grunting under the force of the aerobrake, and Deswin was holding on to his console for dear life. Clauena, however was simply sitting quietly in her seat, praying all the way. Jeb glanced at the LCD screen. Their Apoapsis was within projected levels, 700 kilometres, and they were rising in altitude. After a few more passes, their Apoapsis would hopefully come down to about 60 kilometres or thereabouts, where only a small burn would be needed to circularise.

"Our altitude is at forty-kilometres, a safe height to stop the roll. I'm gonna deploy solar panels once we reach fifty. Re-acquisition T-minus one minute," called Jeb.

"Re-acquisition T-minus 30 seconds."

"20."

"10."

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

"Ares-1, Ares-1, this is FLIGHT, do you copy?!" Gene was shouting over the radio frantically.

"Yes, Gene, Yes! We read you loud and clear - we are in orbit!"

Wild cheering erupted from the crowd at mission control, heard over the Comms.

"CAPCOM? We'll need three more -- CAPCOM! For Kraken's sake, Gene, stop cheering and listen! Yes, yes, we're fine, don't worry. I'm just saying that we'll need three more passes to bring down our Apoapsis, over."

Jeb smiled. They were the first Kerbals to ever visit Duna. The first Kerbals. EVER!

The Ares approaching Duna:

AkgHE63.jpg

UTPKA Territory.

Day 148, 10:19 AM.

Deswin kept his eyes on the altimeter and his hands on the joystick and throttle lever. The Duna lander was descending fast. He glanced through his singular porthole. A vast expanse of red hill, ridges, and mountains lay below, and approaching rapidly. The final flames of re-entry dissipated harmlessly across the outer hull. He felt himself being slowly pushed up out of his seat as his speed grew higher.

"Ares, this is FLIGHT, all stations report Go for landing, repeat, we are Go for landing," called Gene over the radio.

"100 metres per seconds. 20 kilometres altitude," boomed CAPCOM.

He lifted his right hand off the throttle and rested it on the flip-switch marked 'Stage.' He heard the whooshing of wind as it buffeted the lander, and watched the altimeter drop.

"150 metres per second. 15 kilometres altitude."

He checked the parachute status on the LCD screen. It displayed: Safe to deploy? Safe.

"Primary parachute status Green, you are Go for 'chute deployment at 10 km, over," piped in TELEMETRY.

"Copy that, TELEMETRY," replied Deswin.

"Ares, you are at 10 kilometres, speed 170 metres per second, deploy primary parachutes, over."

"Copy that."

Deswin flipped open the safety cover for the 'Stage' button, and flicked the bright red switch. He watched through the porthole how two enormous, 30-metres wide, orange and white striped parachutes billowed open above the lander can, the air rushing in and around them as drag slowed the craft down.

"Ares, can we have a confirmation on primary 'chute deployment, over?" asked Gene.

"Copy that, FLIGHT, we have a successful primary parachute deployment, over," replied Deswin.

"Okay Ares, TELEMETRY here, you are at 5 kilometres, your speed has slowed to 16 metres per second, deploy secondary parachutes at 1 kilometre, over."

"Copy that, TELEMETRY, altitude 3 kilometres and dropping, you'd better get ready to pop the champagne, over," called back Deswin.

The red soil approaching ominously through the porthole, riddled with craters and surrounded by vast canyons that defied belief. Huge boulders were scattered across the landscape, and, as the lander slowly descended, its shadow was cast over the surface. As the altimeter reached 1 kilometre, Deswin once again flicked the 'Stage' switch, and four, smaller, 15-metre wide secondary parachutes, this time with blue and white stripes, flung themselves from their radially attached casings and billowed open above the large 30-metre wide orange and white primary parachutes. Deswin was pushed into his padded seat with the force of the 3G deceleration as the lander's speed slowed to 5 metres per second. Though 3Gs was not much to any experienced pilot back home, spending a full-blown year in space had taken it's toll.

"CAPCOM, secondary chutes have deployed, I'm at 5 metres per second, altitude 25 metres and dropping, over," he called.

"Copy that, Ares. You should see Gene right now. He absolutely beaming - Wernher's got a smile from ear to ear!"

"Good to know," replied Deswin. He smiled. The radio came alive with chatter as the final few metres ticked down.

"50 metres... 40... 30... 20... 10... 5..." The tension in mission control was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. Deswin eagerly watched his flight instruments.

"And.... touchdown! We have touchdown! Repeat, the Beagle has landed!" shouted Deswin into his helmet mic. A cacophony of cheers and shouts and roars erupted from mission control, and, had Deswin been there, he would have seen the crowds of people that weren't mission controllers burst in through the doors in enormous flocks, everybody hugging and laughing and cheering and some even crying with joy. It was quite a sight to behold, and it was a miracle no one was trampled on...

"Okay, Deswin, it's time for the EVA and lidium collection. This needs to be quick and fast - the transfer window for Kerbin opens up in three days, and, as a precaution, we want you ready to ascend with more than two days until the window."

"Copy that, CAPCOM," called back Deswin. He pulled on his suit gloves and secured his helmet, which was loosely on his head during the descent. He grabbed his EVA pack from a small locker next to him, and strapped it to his back. He connected the two umbilicals on the pack to the back of his helmet, which included two small, circular sockets, and turned a lever on the pack, which began the flow of oxygen.

"CAPCOM, I've got the EVA pack on, do I have a Go for depressurisation, over?"

"Ares this is EECOM, we report all systems nominal, over."

"This is the EVA officer, everything is looking good, I say Go for EVA, over."

"Copy that, EECOM and EVA," replied Deswin. "I'm about to depressurise the lander can, standby, over."

"Copy that, Ares."

Deswin leaned over the console and reached his hand down the back of it. He felt for a circular handle, and grunted as he struggled to turn it clockwise. The atmosphere was slowly removed from the interior and transferred to the oxygen tanks. The pressure was violently released, and his suit bloated up. "FLIGHT, this is Ares," he said, "Depressurisation is successful, am I Go for EVA, over?"

"Copy that, Ares, you are Go for Extra Vehicular Activity."

Deswin punched in a code into the hatch, and it slowly swung open, revealing the beautiful Dunatian landscape. The patch of ground he had landed in was riddled with only a few caves and craters, and, as he descended the last few rungs of the ladder, and planted his foot in the soil, his footprint was deep, with multiple tread marks from his heavy Mun boots. The soil lightly churned up around his foot with each step.

"It's one small step for a Kerbal --" he began, but was interrupted when he elegantly tripped over a stone and majestically fell face first into the red soil. "Ow -- one giant faceplant for Kerbalkind," he grumbled. Multiple giggles were heard over the radio. "That is not going down as the first words said on Duna!" called Deswin angrily.

"Sorry, buddy," replied Gene, in a futile attempt to stifle his laughter. "And we have the video footage too!"

Deswin on the surface, after collecting a sample of the abundant resource known as 'lidium' from the surface with a drill tool:

KIhhEWW.jpg

Low Duna Orbit.

Day 151, 08:56 AM.

"T-minus 30 seconds to cut-off," boomed mission control over the radio. All the crew of the Ares, Deswin included, were sitting upright in their seats in the cockpit of the Ares. The lander had been ditched to serve as a satellite for communications to other vessels that might arrive at Duna. The Ares was just completing a two-minute long burn to put the spacecraft on a return trajectory towards Kerbin. The one-fifth-of-a-G acceleration of the 'Poodle' engine was nothing compared to the force of the aerobrake maneuver performed only a few days earlier, but it was still enough to make things fall awkwardly. In fact, one of Leake's many 'C7 Aerospace Space Pens' was slowly floating towards the transfer hatch between the cockpit and the shared lab/habitat module.

"Clauena, what's our engine status?" asked Jeb.

"Engine status nominal, we've got full thrust of 250 kilonewtons, fuel consumption approximately 6 units of liquid hydrogen, 8 units of liquid oxygen per second."

"How's our trajectory looking?" inquired Leake.

"We've got 20 seconds to cut-off, we're already on escape trajectory, we're just completing the final burn to put us on the Kerbin encounter."

"Cutoff T-minus 10 seconds," called CAPCOM.

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

Jeb gently lowered the throttle until the last kilonewton of thrust disappeared.

"Ares, this is TELEMETRY, your trajectory looks good, over."

Jeb leaned forward and spoke into the microphone: "Copy that, TELEMETRY, over and out."

He looked around at the other kerbonauts. "So," he said. "It's time to settle in for the long trip - 367 days until the Kerbin encounter."

---

Approximately 349 Days Later.

Year 3, Day 76, 03:19 AM.

Jeb was jolted awake by the violent lurch the ship made. Alarms were blaring, and, as his eyelids flickered open, he could see the hull itself buckling inwards. Deswin was pulling himself through the tunnel into the cockpit, and Leake was attempting to shake Cluena awake.

"What in the name of Kraken is going on here!?" he shouted unstrapping himself from his sleeping berth and pulling himself using the handrails towards the cockpit. Only when he glanced through the porthole did he understand the true nature of the situation. Shards of rock and metal were speeding over, past, and towards the Ares, and slivers of the outer hull were floating around in the open vacuum.

"Deswin! What's our status?!" called Jeb as he entered the cockpit and strapped into the commander's seat. Deswin was already in the navigator's seat.

"We've got a cloud of meteoroids headed this way, we've been pelted by some of them already - the collisions have created a cloud of debris that's getting impacted by other meteoroids and sent flying towards us!" he replied.

"Leake! Clauena! Get in here!" barked Jeb.

"Clauena isn't waking up," called back Leake.

"Kraken damn it!" shouted Jeb, unstrapping himself from his seat and pulling himself back into the lab/habitat module. "Clauena! Wake up!" he called, approaching Leake. As he approached, he glanced through the porthole. What he saw horrified him. An enormous chunk of debris, presumably one of the science instrument from the service bay, was approaching them at high speed, and was only a few hundred metres away.

"Put your helmets on!" he screamed. "Leake, get your ass in the cockpit, I'll get Clauena!"

"But sir -" she started.

"I hate to pull rank, but do as I say!" he barked.

Leake pulled herself towards the tunnel and slipped through it with amazing speed. She could sense that something had spooked the commander. She'd never seen him this frantic before. Jeb grabbed Clauena, and shook her by the shoulders. "Damn it, wake up, for Kraken's sake!" She didn't respond. She just lay there, in her sleeping berth, snoring away. "Oh, to hell with it," Jeb shouted, grabbing her by the shoulders, yanking her out of her berth, and throwing her in the direction of the cockpit access tunnel.

"Leake!" he called, "Grab Clauena - I'm getting the lidium!"

He turned and fumbled with a latch on the door of a locker embedded in the wall. The walls of the ship creaked and groaned, and continued to slowly buckle as more and more shards of meteoroid impacted the outer hull. He grabbed the rectangular metal box inside, and chucked it in the direction of the cockpit.

"Get the lidium!" he shouted, frantically attempting to secure his helmet. A pair of gloved hands extended from the tunnel, grabbing hold of the lidium and dragging it back into the cockpit. But, just as Jeb started to pull himself forward towards the tunnel, still fumbling with his helmet, the hull of the lab/habitat module exploded as an enormous chunk of debris tore apart the Ares and let the vacuum engulf the spacecraft. Jeb's last thought before everything went black was: "Wha.."

To Be Continued...

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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And nobody mention the improbability of something as small as shards of an asteroid or comet - known as meteoroids - rendezvousing with something as small as a spacecraft and then impacting it - it's a good cliffhanger to leave Kontakt on for a week or two so that I can try and get back working on my proper novel - I'm currently on page 197, and have been since February, since, because a lot of Kontakt is pictures, it has made me lazy, because now my writing has much less detail - so I'm going to give Kontakt a break for a while, and try and get back in the zone for my proper novel.

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What is your "proper" novel about? 

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Say, the odds of a meteor- oh. :wink:

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Posted (edited)

11 hours ago, kraden said:

What is your "proper" novel about? 

Just a sci-fi novel set in the far future (5097), where a megalomaniac attempts to take over the (known) galaxy with an army of robotic... aliens? I hardly think you could call them that when you live in a society where three extraterrestrial species co-exist - but anyway, back to the description - and it's up to a group of people who you wouldn't ordinarily give a second glance, to save the galaxy. (Taken from the summary I've scribbled on the back of the book - it's actually three 120-page copy books stuck together with glue and scotch tape)

EDIT: It's kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy in book form, but with Star Trek-like aliens.

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Probably another update at the end of this week - I'm currently transferring all the craft files from my old career to a new snadbox, specifically for conducting missions for this and other fanfics.

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Posted (edited)

Hold onto your butts...

It's coming back...

62769ef74991cbfe42632a41cb0d6ce7.jpg

June 9th, 2017.

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Posted (edited)

Chapter 5-B.

Year 3, Day 76, 08:00 AM GMT.

Gene rushed hurriedly 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. However, Gene was not interested in any of this. A bead of sweat ran down his forehead as he approached the two huge security doors, flawlessly sliding his VIP pass across the car scanner, and pressing his thumb up to the fingerprint scanner. The device beeped, and the two huge doors swung open with an ominous hiss, revealing the enormous military council room. Gene quickly pulled up a chair and sat down at huge, circular table, around which dozens of military brass and various world leaders sat.

"Gene!" blurted Jaysef Kerman, the president of the UTPKA, who was standing in front of the huge projector screen that dominated the wall of the council room. "I'm glad you could make it." He glanced around the room, to ensure that everybody was sitting in their seats. "Good. Let's begin. The council is now in session." The projector screen switched to display an image of the 'Ares-1' spacecraft, heavily damaged, with only the capsule segment fully intact, the science lab and habitat modules shredded into various different chunks, and the ship's propulsion segment missing entirely.

"Only five hours ago, 'Ares-1,' the expedition we launched over two years ago, to retrieve at special mineral, lidium, from the surface of Duna, to return it to Kerbin for use in the laboratory experiments that shall help us determine the nature of the extraterrestrial lifeforms that have abandoned two strange craft in our solar system, was struck by a meteoroid shower, which failed to be detected by our tracking stations across the globe.

"The spacecraft was, as you can see..." he pointed to the image on screen, "... was heavily damaged, with the structural adapter that connected the propulsion segment to the habitat module having been torn to shreds by the incoming meteor storm. However, the propulsion segment remains intact, and is currently adrift 500 metres from the remaining spacecraft. The joint habitat-science lab module was torn apart by an enormous chunk of space debris, leaving the re-entry capsule the only habitable component of the spacecraft to remain intact. Jebediah Kerman was killed during the crew's frantic attempt to escape the turmoil of the meteoroid shower.

Image result for dr strangelove war room

"And, though Jebediah Kerman, a true hero of the UTPKA, was killed..." Jaysef allowed a moment of silence to be held, with the entire assembly mourning the death of Jebediah kerman, one of the best, if the not best pilot of the Kerbal Space Agency. "... Deswin, Leake, and Clauena Kerman all made it out alive, and are currently sheltering in the descent capsule of the 'Ares-1' spacecraft." "What do we do now?" interrupted one of the attendees. "Well," continued Jaysef, "The lidium is currently safe and sound, contained within a shielded container, within the re-entry capsule of 'Ares-1.' However, there is one, very big, very important, and absolutely irreversible problem with the situation.

"The crew only have 12 days' worth of supplies left." "And what does that have to do with anything?" interrupted the same attendee. Jaysef angrily replied: "What does that have to do with anything!? What does that have to do with anything!? I'll tell you what that has to do with anything - the crew will arrive back at Kerbin in 17 days - which means that every single one of the crew members of 'Ares-1' shall starve and die before they return here!

"And, even if they do survive, their ablator has been heavily damaged, which means that their capsule will be incapable of surviving the rigours of re-entry - and it just so happens that their Kerbin Periapsis is now at 36 kilometres, thanks to the force of the impacts of the debris! Which, in turn, means that they shall starve to death, and then burn up to a crisp in Kerbin's lower atmosphere, and they shall never be seen again, and the lidium shall never be recovered, and we'll be set back from making first kontakt by at least another decade!" Jaysef proceeded to take a few deep breaths, calming himself down.

"And so, our crew of three kerbonauts and one precious and extremely important container of lidium are stranded, drifting, only 500 metres away from what could be their salvation - the propulsion segment of their spacecraft - which is slowly leaking fuel. The crew cannot spacewalk to it, to retrieve the emergency supplies which are aboard, as the EVA suits were all inside the habitat-science lab module - which they can't get to, because it's torn to shreds, and completely open to the vacuum of space - which they can't access without their EVA suits.

"So, after years of planning, after years of successful mission execution, our crew is condemned to sad and lonely death, on a trajectory that shall essentially cremate them in the lower atmosphere - with no way of escape. We have a very short launch window, about two days from now, to launch a rescue mission - and there's no way that we can prepare any kind of mission i that kind of time span." Jaysef fell silent, hanging in head in sorrow.

"Excuse me, sir" piped in a thick Russian accent. It was the Soviet Ambassador, Gerlan Kerman. "But we have a mission ready to launch in two days' time. It's an 'N-1' Mun rocket, to launch a crew of two on a lunar orbit and return mission to test the new 'Soyuz 7K-LOK' hardware to be used for Munar landing and return missions. However, the spacecraft theoretically has the required DeltaV to perform a rendezvous and docking in interplanetary space. And, the descent module can, theoretically, can hold a crew of five - if some of the interior equipment is transferred to the orbital module."

Jaysef's eyes widened as he raised his head. "When can you launch?!" he exclaimed. "Our launch date is scheduled for next week, but the rocket and spacecraft are already on the pad undergoing pre-flight tests. But, we could move back the launch date to a few days from now, and launch a crewed rescue mission."

"Does it have to be crewed?"

"Yes. That particular spacecraft is not fitted with autonomous systems, and it shall take too long to install the necessary systems to allow remote control."

Jaysef sighed. "It's good enough. Let's rescue us some Kerbals!"

To Be Continued...

Edited by NISSKEPCSIM
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Yaaay!

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1 minute ago, NISSKEPCSIM said:

jpicvcQ.png

Made a piece of art to use as one of the three clickable banners in my signature, this one, obviously, to advertise 'Kontakt.'

As I could not finish the next chapter in time to upload it yesterday, as was the plan, I'll just leave you with this ^.

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