Ultimate Steve

Voyage - The Final Warning (Chapter Seven - Daydreams and Nightmares)

46 posts in this topic

 

 

 

Chapter Five - A Hero is Born (And almost dies... again)

Spoiler

“Exiting Kerbin’s sphere of influence in three… two… one…”

 

 

 

 

“We are now the first humans to be in interplanetary space!” announced Marie.

 

 

 

 

 

“Woohoo!” I shouted.

 

“Great work, everyone!” added Alonya.

 

“I don’t know exactly what to say right now, but, YEAH! SPACE!” shouted Jack, while clapping loudly.

 

“Yay,” said Cheng, evidently lacking enthusiasm.

 

“Come on, Cheng! Celebrate a little!” coaxed Alonya.

 

“Yeah, I mean, it’s not every day you get to be the first person to do something, ever!” said Jack.

 

“First, off, Jack, you’re not even supposed to be here, you stowaway! The Kerbals said “Four humans,” not five!”

 

“I’ve wanted to be an astronaut my whole life. The opportunity presented itself, we didn’t end up needing that Jool probe.”

 

“You modified the payload after the time was up! That was a violation of the rules, and we’ll almost certainly be docked points for it. If only those stupid Kerbals would tell us how many points we get in the first place.”

 

“I did not modify the payload. I removed it!”

 

“You technically added an EVA seat. So, modified!”

 

“Guys, cut it out!”

 

“Alonya, stay out of this!”

 

“Come on, Cheng, stop acting like an idiot. We won’t last a week if you keep picking fights with every single person on this ship.”

 

“And every single Kerbal as well,” Announced Jebediah Kerman, who had not said a single word since we had arrived on the spaceship “Voyager.”

 

“You can talk?”

“Well, Cheng. Bill, Bob, Valentina, and I are now permitted to converse with the crewmembers of the ship as per the rules of the test. Finally. I was going crazy not being able to talk for four days. I must say that I honestly wasn't expecting you to get this far. Especially after that one incident Ethan's group had... You literally had to build a module in less than half an hour."

"Well, um, yeah. I thought we wouldn't make it as well!" I replied.

"I grant you all my most sincere congratulations for getting this far, and surmounting the no communication rule. Our initial estimates for success at this stage were as low as forty perce-"

"Alright, you green faced, big headed glorified plant! Teleport us all back to Earth right this second, or I'll kill you!"

"Cheng, I highly doubt you could get through the selectively permeable force field, much less - "

"Shut up, idiot! I want to go home now!"

"Cheng, stop it! Jeb, I'm so sorry about -"

"Quite alright, Alonya, it is to be expected. Cheng, if you wish to get home I suggest that you do your best to ensure that the mission is successful."

"Oh, the all-too important mission! Jeb, I hope your whole stinking species DIES! Who gives you the authority to make us compete for our existence?!?!?"

"Nobody ever once said you are competing for your existence," replied Jeb calmly. "And this test was administered under the authority of the Galactic Council."

"What the heck is the Galactic Council?"

"Want to find out? Complete the mission. Anyone want to learn to play a Kerbal card game known as "Whack-A-Kerbal?"

"I can think of a few Kerbals I'd like to whack right now!" Cheng pulled back his fist and attempted to punch Jebediah. His balled hand struck only force field, and Cheng was sent sailing backwards into the aft of the ship by the recoil, clutching his fist in pain.

"He is a highly illogical human," remarked Bob Kerman.

"Agreed, Bob. Whack-A-Kerbal, anyone? Or, perhaps a nice game of Chess? I've always wanted to learn to play."

 

Ethan here again. As you can see, Cheng's being somewhat of an idiot again. I'm at a loss as to how Jeb manages to put up with him (also, yay! Apparently they can talk now).

You may have noticed Jeb saying that we had to build our module in less than half an hour. Uh, it's a bit of a long story... but then again, so is everything.

During the rest of day three nothing much else happened. I went to bed early, and thankfully nobody tried to murder me.

On day four we got through two more rounds of the so-called "bracket," getting us down to four designs, with one complicated artificial gravity ring, the shuttle based design, and two very similar conventional designs. I also finally got to ride the rocket powered merry-go-fuge (or is it center-go-round?). It was fast. And I mean, crazy fast - I'm told it got up to fifteen gees. I told them to turn it down a bit, as those kind of forces could kill someone.

I mean, I would later regret not shutting it down right there. Just saying - you'll see in a little bit.

On day five, the four designs had a final showdown, which started at about eight AM, after the engineers and scientists had consumed their fair share of coffee. The first pairing - the two similar conventional modules - was wrapped up by nine. Their final design involved three hitchhikers, a MK1-2 command pod, radially mounted static solar panels, a science section, and a small tank of liquid hydrogen just in case fuel got low. There was also four radial docking ports.

The second group - complex gravity ring vs. cool looking shuttle - took a whole lot longer. Both designs, in my opinion, looked seriously awesome. Each had it's advantages and disadvantages - the ring design relied on somebody else sending up a space tug to rearrange the several segments, but offered gravity and a ton of docking ports. The shuttle design completely conformed to my initial specifications, fit in the fairing without orbital assembly required, and was overall more practical. However, it had the off center docking port, and lacked science experiments (although it had a science lab).

I'm ashamed to say that the battle raged on until ten PM, when both groups were so thoroughly exhausted that they both agreed to a coin toss. The shuttle design won (Tails!).

I hadn't been doing that all day, though. That would have driven me crazy. I checked in every half hour or so, but most of my day was spent teaching Obbury piano, playing the piano with Evelina, texting my friends (Apparently Phillip has a girlfriend that he just met), and playing giant floor chess with Oliver.

Now, you ask, what's giant floor chess?

Well, since we didn't need the rover wheels, someone made it their pet project to make humongous chess pieces that utilized about 120 of the small rover wheels - and more batteries than I could count.

As it turns out, Oliver is really good at chess. We battled long an hard, and I was winning, but then he set me up so I accidentally stalemated him... GRR! So, technically nobody won. He won the two other games I played against him.

But the really interesting day was day six (out of about nine-ish, since we started at around midnight on day one), so I guess I'll start there.

Kerbin Day Nineteen (Earth Day Six, 12:00 PM Ethan Central Time) - Launch Minus 11 Kerbin Days (2.75 Earth Days)

So, it was about twelve noon. Life was progressing as normal, and Kerbin had begun offering the aforementioned "Personal Item Transport Service," and I had been waiting in line that day for a while. I was planning on teleporting my art supplies from Earth to Kerbin. Apparently, a lot of people had mostly the same idea (I mean, with stuff other than art supplies) and I happened to be one of the last people to get in line. I had finally gotten near the front only to have the guy in front of me argue with the Kerbal in charge for fifteen minutes about teleporting his cat.

"But he's so adorable!"

"I'm sorry sir, but as I have said many times, Earth and all of the organisms on it are in a state of temporal suspension. It is exceedingly dangerous to teleport a living organism from Earth while it is in a state of temporal suspension."

"How dangerous?"

"It would almost certainly annihilate your precious Fluffy."

"Well, then unfreeze the entire system!"

"You know what would happen if I did that? Planes would come crashing down, cars would careen off the roads, driverless, and who knows what else might happen in the five minutes it would take me to locate your Fluffy."

"I don't care! I want my Fluffy!"

"I'm sorry sir, but the temporal suspension device has a range accuracy of plus or minus one hundred kilometers. I'd have to unfreeze your entire country to get your fluffy back."

"You know what? I'll just get him back myself!" And with that, the man burst forward out of the line and leapt the counter. He charged for the teleporting machine - and before the Kerbals could stop him, he tried to mess with every single lever and button on the thing.

All of a sudden, a large purple beam of light emerged from the machine and created a sort of oscillating rift which floated in midair for about half of a second before moving towards me - and swallowing me whole.

 

It was abruptly silent. Silent, and - weird. Deathly silent. The only things I could hear were my heartbeat, and the blood rushing through my ears. I opened my eyes.

I was in the theater at my high school in Illinois. It was completely abandoned - and completely - I wanted to say frozen, but that wasn't the right word. There was just no temperature of any kind. At all. The theater was tinged purple, and had an eerie, haunted look to it. Nobody was there.

"Hello?" I tried to shout. No sound came out. My mouth was moving, but the sound didn't come out. I began to panic. What had happened? I must have been back on Earth! I attempted to stand up. I found it extremely difficult. The air was the consistency of Jell-O.

"Um, hello? Ethan, can you hear me?" I jumped. I mean, I didn't really, because of the whole Jell-O thing.

"This is Obbury. It's been about an hour since you left, for me anyway." And hour? What? "I realize this must be very weird to you. I need you to do something for me - for the purpose of synchronization, start counting seconds in your head. Trust me." With nothing else to do, I counted the seconds.

"Good. That'll do. Now, for some explanation. The short version is that you've been teleported to Earth. Except Earth is in a state of temporal suspension."

"So, get me out of here!" I thought.

"Sorry, I can't do that right now. If I teleported you while the space around you was in temporal suspension, you'd die. No easy was of putting it. In order to get you out, we have to unfreeze part of the planet. We can't do it to the whole planet or else we'd crash all the planes and stuff."

So, what else do you expect me to do, Obbury?

"Ethan, most of the Kerbals were opposed to bringing you back to Kerbin at all. The risk was too great to unfreeze the whole planet. But Evelina argued with the higher-ups for a long time, and they were able to devise a solution."

So, what is it?

"Our unfreezing device has an accuracy of plus or minus 100km, as you heard earlier. So, we need to get you to a spot on Earth where there is nothing for a hundred kilometers in each direction. You're not going to like this."

Uh-oh.

"If you want to live, I need you to walk to the middle of the nearest ocean."

WHAAAT?

"Um, also, are you able to move?"

Not really! It's like swimming in Jell-O!

"Good. So you can move. You know, frozen planets haven't been explored at all, yet. You're the first contact we've ever had on one. So, Jeb says to be sciencey about it. Uh, I'm really glad you're able to move. The freeze must not work on gases very well. Um, have you had to breathe yet?"

I HAVE TO WALK TO THE MIDDLE OF AN OCEAN?!?!?!?!? Wait, breathe? No, why?

"Okay, good. Hold your breath, no matter what. If you haven't suffocated yet, then your metabolism has frozen, but not your muscle movements. Hmm, the universe is strange. If you breathe out, you may end up breathing in the Jell-O air, and that will make your movements extremely sluggish."

How long do I have to hold my breath for?

"I don't know. How fast can you move?"

I stood all the way up, with great effort, and tried to walk. It was a very laborious task, but I didn't seem to get tired at all.

"Okay, uh, about one kilometer per hour, so, uh, shoot. You're not going to like this."

Oh, no.

"It will take you a month of walking to get to the Atlantic ocean."

I tried facepalming, but it was pretty hard to move my hand.

"Wait, wait! Never mind, actually there's this thing called "Lake Superior" that you can get to in just under two weeks."

Oh. That's still forever! And, genius, how do you expect me to get to the middle of the lake? Is there a boat I can take or something?

"Uh, try to move something solid." I tried to move the movie theater seat up. It didn't work. "Okay, so that's a no. Is there a glass of liquid somewhere?" I walked over to a levitating Styrofoam cup of water that someone had presumably been holding when they teleported to Kerbin. "Okay, touch it and see what happens." I touched the water. It didn't give, similar to the solids. "Okay, that's good! You can walk on water. So, you better start walking. First off, find an open exit to the building you are in. If you can't find an open exit, then you're doomed."

Doomed how?

"Time is literally not moving for you. Even if we unfreeze your solar system, an infinite amount of time will have passed for you before it happens."

Ouch.

"So, get right to it! Yell when you find it, I'll scan your timeline for brain activity. This is so weird!"

I eventually managed to get to the end of the balcony. A stupid idea, as the door was closed. I tried it anyway. It wouldn't budge. I slowly turned my head around. The other purple tinged door on the other side of the balcony was closed. So was the door in the middle of the balcony. Drat. I looked forward and down - the two doors next to the stage were also closed. I would have to jump off of the balcony to see the other doors.

As it turned out, you can't actually jump off of stuff while suspended in purple Jell-O. I tried and immediately froze in the air. I panicked, thinking I was stuck because I couldn't reach anything. But then I realized that you could swim through the Jell-O easily enough, and "swam" to the ground. I looked behind me. The front doors - and the side doors - were closed.

At this point I began to panic. Eternity stuck in a theater? Great. Just great. Wait! There were backstage doors! Yes! I slowly swam towards backstage, managing to squeeze underneath the now rock solid curtain. I looked left. Closed. I looked right. The right hand stage door was also closed. I tried to let out a yell of frustration and accidentally breathed in the textureless Jell-O. Great, now I had nothingness inside of me. I continued on behind the stage area to the set painting area - there was a piano in the room, a full grand piano, as it to taunt me. In the same direction was another closed door. I tried to sit down at the piano desk. I was going to play a song called "eternity," but I couldn't move the keys. Not that frozen air could conduct sound anyways.

Oh, well. Eternity without sound, then! Hooray, I'm dead. Ooh, I've never been in this narrow hallway before - should I satisfy my curiosity now, or wait 8,000 years?

I managed to wait five minutes before I gave into my curiosity. Thankfully - the hallway ended in an - AN OPEN DOOR! HALLELUJAH! Oh. Wait. This was just the dressing room. I mean, cool, I'd never been in here before, but the only door out was closed.

I was fairly confident that that was all the possible exits. So, hey. I mean, I had a good-ish life. I had been somewhat of a nerd. I had been almost murdered once. Been to space. I wonder, how long would it be before I forgot my old life? 100 years? A thousand? A million?

I'd never had a girlfriend. Drat. Something I'd never be able to do. I mean, why had I been such a freaking coward? I bet I could have asked Andrea out perfectly fine. But I am, was, and WILL ALWAYS BE A FREAKING COWARD! I'm such an idiot. Why had I not gone out for a sport at any time? Why hadn't I finished my Rube Goldberg machine? Or released my album? Or actually done something on my YouTube channel?!?!?!?

I looked out the room's only window. Oh, look at the hundreds of stars. Yay. Given enough time, I'd name all of them, forget the names, and repeat the cycle. Hooray. Welcome to eternity, the most boring thing eve-

Wait.

 

 

The window was open.

 

 

=========================================================

The two weeks of walking did not feel like two weeks. It felt like two minutes and two years at the same time. Thankfully, I never was hungry or thirsty, or oxygen deprived. The universe is a funny thing.

Also, water feels really weird when you walk on it. On my trip, the most annoying thing in the world was running into mist particles. They couldn't move, so I had to "swim" above them. Which was a real problem when I ran into clouds.

Eventually, according to Obbury (for whom the whole experience had taken a little over a half hour) I was in position, a hundred kilometers from the nearest landmass.

"Okay, just hold on, Ethan, we're coming for you. We're in the process of priming the unfreezing device, and fixing the teleport. It will take a day or two - for me at least. If I get this right it should pass in seconds for you. We're coming for you, Ethan!"

Please, please, don't miss.

"Okay, we're back. It actually only took four hours. So, just a recap, we're going to unfreeze a ten kilometer radius sphere of space for twenty seconds, locate you, and teleport you out. Got that?"

Um, okay. You said this was inaccurate?

"Yep. Luckily, we found a way to constrain the Y axis, so there's that variable removed. We estimate that there's 1 in 100 chance we'll get you unfrozen the first try. We can't increase the radius, otherwise we have a chance of disrupting landmasses. Actually, we have a 1 in 5 chance of crashing a plane... so, I mean, I hope that doesn't happen. Three, two, one..."

I waited.

"Did anything happen?"

What do you think, genius?

"Okay, we're recharging. See you in four hours."

Four hours?

"Okay, I'm back. Firing in three, two, one... Nope. We may have clipped a beach. We should be fine, though. Again!"

And so it continued for a few dozen tries, until finally...

"Attempt number I've lost count, but more than thirty. In three! Two! One!" There was no flash of light, or anything. Just all of a sudden, the water below me became wet again. The instant I found I needed to breathe, I was plunged into the ice cold water.

"BLGGGGHH!!!!" I shouted, but then I thought the better of it and tried to hold the little breath I had. Why wasn't I floating upwards? Had all of the laws of physics been broken? Was this a side effect? I was sinking!?!?!?!? Come on, Kerbin! Hurry up! Get on with it! I just needed to hold my breath a little longer. Just a little longer. Had it been twenty seconds yet? Did something go wrong on the Kerbals end? Was I going to drown? Or worse - be time frozen in Lake Superior for eternity? Just a little bit longer. I felt unconsciousness coming on. A black tunnel. Whatever was at the end? Just a little lo-

Then there was a WHOOOOOOOOOOSH!

Half a second later, me and all the freshwater within a two meter radius of me had been teleported onto the main floor of Team One's assembly hangar.

Kerbin Day Twenty-nine (Earth Day Nine, 4:00 AM Ethan Central Time) - Construction Cutoff Minus Two Hours

I fell about a meter as the sphere became a non-sphere. The water cascaded across the whole floor of the hangar, and swept away the nearest five people - and the nearest two Kerbals. I sputtered and gasped, drawing the first breath I had taken in two weeks. I was collapsed on the wet floor for about fifteen seconds, before Evelina ran up to me and shouted:

"Ohmygoshareyouokay?"

"*cough* yeah, I'm *cough* fine." *sputter*" She extended her hand to help me up. I took it. I was somewhat surprised when she brought me up straight into a bear hug.

"We were all - well, at least a few of us - were really, really worried about you. I mean, not your other nine commanders, but, wow. You had no idea how hard I had to work to convince the Kerbals to try and save you. They said it would pose a significant threat to the state of the Earth. Even with the revised method, they said there would be a five percent chance of a substantial disruption to the planet."

"Uh, *cough* wow. Are you sure I'm worth that much? I mean, you could have destroyed the Earth."

"Hey. No man left behind. Especially you, the first friend I met on this strange new world." The hug ended.

"Wow. I have no words to describe how thankful I am. I've only met one person so far who would risk destroying a planet for me." She blushed slightly. "So, what did I miss?"

===============================================================================

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Apparently, I had arrived back on Kerbin just in time to witness the stacking of the payload. It was now about cutoff minus 45 minutes, and there was a crane preparing to lift the habitation module "Skywalker" onto the Ariane 5. In my opinion, it looked a little large compared to the lifter, but that was probably just Earth mass ratios playing tricks inside my head. Obbury and Evelina had wheeled the spinet out of my apartment and were playing music for everyone. They appeared to be taking requests.

"Hey, Ethan! Permission to lift?" asked the crane operator. The cables had been attached to the module.

"Granted. What's you're name again?"

"Ron. How was time traveling?"

"It wasn't time travel. It was more of being the only thing moving through time on a world where nothing did."

"Huh. Lifting now!" The cables slowly grew taut, and with a groan, the Skywalker left the ground. There was a chorus of cheers from the 800 engineers. I walked over to Evelina, who had stopped playing momentarily to witness the spectacle.

"Hey, Evelina. A few days ago, didn't you say that the top two modules would be built?"

"Well, that was the plan, but we didn't have enough time to build both, so we took a vote. The shuttle design won."

"Ah. Okay." I glanced around the room. The countdown clock on the wall showed 43 minutes. The rocket powered merry go round/centrifuge was running. There was nobody in the passenger seat, but there was one in the middle seat. I took it that there was some kind of game going on - "How long could you go in the middle without getting too dizzy?"

I walked around until I was almost directly beneath the "Skywalker." It was now only a dozen or so meters from the Ariane 5, and the crews that would attach the last bolts and fairings were already in position.

Then, I heard it. That high pitched whining sound. Something was wrong. I looked in the direction of the centrifuge. It appeared to be oscilati-

All of a sudden, the centrifuge arm ripped off from the base. Almost as if in tragic slow motion, the arm careened through the air like a tomahawk - flew above my head - and made the most terrible noise of metal on metal I have ever heard in my life - as the heavy metal plates embedded themselves into the hull of the Skywalker. The wires snapped - and the sixteen ton piece of metal came crashing down onto the factory floor, pieces of the arm flying everywhere. One of them hit me in the head, and I blacked out.

==============================================================

I came to with a groan. Before I opened my eyes I remembered the whole thing. I could hear the crowd's panicked whispers and desperate vulgarities.

"Oh, my head."

"Oh, good. You're alive," said Evelina. "How many times have I said that? Three? Four?"

"Yeah, I think we have bigger problems to deal with. What's the time?"

"Thirty one minutes. We're doomed."

"No kidding."

"I'm officially out of ideas. It's been fun."

"These parts are modular. What's to say we can't try to build another Skywalker in half an hour?"

"You have got to be kidding! Those mark three parts aren't cylinders, and require large forklifts to transport."

"Can't we throw something together?"

"You're being delusional, Ethan." She buried her face in her hands. "That was the only design we ever thought of building."

"Wait, that second design that tied with the shuttle. The Apollo ISS."

"It'll never work."

"Do you have the schematic on your phone? Mine got destroyed by the water."

"Ethan, just give up! This is a lost cause!" I was silent for thirty seconds.

"Evelina, there is a two percent chance that this will work. Just like there was a two percent chance that I would have ever become an astronaut. A two percent chance that we would meet. A two percent chance of the Skywalker being destroyed. Less than two percent chance that I would be teleported to Earth. I mena, out of the hundred or so spaceplanes, ours crashed! I mean, I could list them all but it would take the rest of our half hour! My point is, for two percent chances, we've been doing awfully good so far. So, why should it stop here?"

She looked up at me, her face freshly tearstained. Wordlessly, she lowered her eyes, smiled a little, and handed her phone to me. I sprung up, and ran towards the stage and microphone, while at the same time sending the schematic to everyone in our group.

"Attention everyone. At this time, we have exactly twenty-nine minutes and fifty-two seconds to get something on top of that rocket! I have sent you all a schematic of the second place design. It is round, and thinner, and should be easier to assemble."

"You're insane!" shouted a voice from the crowd.

"We lost, can't you see, kid!" shouted another.

"Look, I know things look bad. But, all I'm asking of you is that we at least try. The fate of humanity could be at stake here! And, look! The design work is done, and the parts completely prefabricated! If everyone works, we just need to connect, what? One part a minute? There are EIGHT HUNDRED of us! We can do this!"

How do I put this? Uh, well, I was booed off the stage at that point.

I was frustrated, and hopping mad. I wanted to do something. I couldn't just stand here and watch the last chance at completing the mission evaporate away! So, I marched right up to one of the hitchhiker modules that was next to the giant chess board and began trying to roll it towards another one. I struggled to push the two and a half ton part. It didn't budge an inch. I must have looked stupid as heck. I was crying and sobbing, trying to drive my willpower into that large metal cylinder. Please, I screamed inside my head, just move an inch! Then I will know I have done something! That I have at least tried!

"Easy, mate. Let me help you with that," said Oliver, as he approached the huge part. "On three. One, two, three!" We both shoved the cylinder. It moved - but only an inch. "One! Two! Three!" He shouted again. We shoved. It moved another inch. More laughs from the crowd at our pitiful attempt to save humanity. I didn't see any of them even try to do anything.

But then that rude Chinese man who had called me a ten year old idiot came out of the crowd and started pushing with us. We could now consistently gain an inch every second or so. The crowd grew quiet as two more people stepped out and began shoving along with us. The cylinder rolled faster. We were now only a meter or so from the other hitchhiker. Another five or so people stepped forward from the crowd to orient the other can in the right direction. another stepped out holding a handful of connector bolts. He lined up two of the holes and shoved bolt through. It made a deep, resonating "Clang" going in. The room suddenly got deathly quiet. Then, one member of the crowd shouted four words that would save all of us.

"For Earth! For HUMANITY!"

The crowd broke into a triumphant roar. Someone shouted "WE CAN DO THIS!" Everyone ran for their tools, or for another spaceship part. I looked up from my work, saw the tsunami of people raiding the workhouse, saw the multitudes of people - saw them putting aside their differences, their prejudices, and their cares and worries - saw them coming together, no matter how crazy the idea was, to save the mission. To save the Earth.

Twenty Three Minutes

We had the hitchhikers fully connected by this point. The crowd was going crazy. I saw a line of men and women lugging giant thermometers, barometers, and other experiments over to a work station. Across the shop a group of people were wheeling a science bay towards the same people.

Twenty Two Minutes

The third hitchhiker module was nearing the stack of two we had. Someone else a few tables down was bolting two large batteries together.

Twenty One Minutes

This might actually work! Evelina had joined the group preparing the science experiments - the science bay had been hoisted on top of the table and the engineers had bolted a couple science experiments to the side. Someone was rolling a tire sized probe core down the aisles.

Twenty Minutes

Someone was driving a mini-crane down to the fuel tank section, presumably to grab the fuel tank that would be placed below the hitchhikers. Speaking of which, the third one was nearly in place!

Nineteen Minutes

Someone had lugged a can of mystery goo down to the science table. The battery group had built a stack of two batteries and a probe core. They were preparing to attach the top docking port. The third hitchhiker had been attached. Obbury, wanting to help but having been forbidden from doing so, had taken the microphone off of the stage and had set it in front of the piano. He began playing The Final Countdown.

Eighteen Minutes

We have assembled a team of two dozen people to lift the cone shaped command module. We are trying to locate one at this point, as we only had four to start with. The science section was coming along fine, with only a few more experiments needing attachment.

Seventeen Minutes

The mobile crane has gotten the fuel tank off of the pallet. They are trying to find four unbroken static solar panels. We have found the right command module. The battery team has attached the docking port and are now wheeling their assembly over to the science team.

Sixteen Minutes

That one group found the solar panels! They're attaching them right now. They've also found a large lower docking port. Huh, interesting. We've divided into three or four teams with little to no communication. We're carrying the four ton command module to the stack of hitchhikers. The battery thing is being attached to the nearly complete science section. We have a shot at this!

Fifteen Minutes

We're still carrying this super heavy weight down the floor. The science section is completely finished - and the battery is almost attached to that. Two of the four solar panels are attached to the fuel tank, and the docking port is almost on. YES! It's working!

Fourteen Minutes

We've set the command module down next to the hitchhikers. We're trying to figure out how to tilt it sideways without crushing anyone. The battery is now attached to the science experiments, and they're busy hooking it up to another mobile crane. The fuel tank section is nearing completion.

Thirteen Minutes

Command module has been tipped over. The fuel tank section is complete. We've sent a hundred or so people over to the rocket to build a new fairing, as the old one isn't long enough.

Twelve minutes

Evelina just came over here to say that whenever we can get our section vertical, the science slash battery section is ready to attach. The fuel tank module is being flipped right side up.

Eleven Minutes

The old fairing has been taken off of the rocket and the command module is attached to the hitchhikers!

Ten Minutes

We've decided that we'll use one of the ceiling cranes to lift the habitation section upright. Hopefully it won't swing around and hit anyone.

Nine Minutes

A bulldozer (didn't know we had those) has cleared away the wreckage of the Skywalker and the fairings. The crane has attached to the habitation section.

Eight Minutes

Hab is vertical! The science section is being lifted onto it right this second!

Seven Minutes

The science section has been attached! We are actually going to do this!

Six Minutes

We have attached the large mobile crane to the habitation module. We are going to briefly set it down upon the fuel tank to attach it, and then we are going to put it on top of the rocket. We have about one third of the fairing built.

Five Minutes

Someone is running around with a large section of fairing and a sharpie marker, asking people to sign the fairing. I gladly oblige, then hand the marker to Evelina. The fairing is half built and the hab module is in the air. We have made sure that the centrifuge/merry-go-round is OFF.

Four Minutes

The volume of Obbury's Final Countdown has intensified. The hab module is being connected to the tank - and the four radial docking ports are being welded in hastily.

Three Minutes

The fairing is two thirds built, according to an engineer. Three of the four docking ports are attached. The fuel module is connected to the hab module!

Two Minutes

The last docking port is on and the completed module is in the air. The driver of the crane is that Ron guy. I really hope he doesn't drop it...

One Minute

The habitation module is meters away from the completed fairing of the Ariane 5.

MV34VvH.png

The fairing is currently being opened up for insertion of the module.

Thirty Seconds

"It's on!" someone shouted, as the four explosive bolts were inserted into the base of the module.

PB6MPJl.png

"What should we call it?" exclaimed another.

"How about "Heroism?""

"That sounds good!" shouted another.

"Heroism! Heroism!"

"Ethan's a hero!" shouted yet another person out of the crowd.

Ten Seconds

The fairing had been replaced around the payload.

t3BIcah.png

The crowd began chanting "E-than! E-than! E-than!"

I stood atop a small fuel tank. Never before in my life had people chanted my name. I had simply never expected it to happen - me? A hero? Never in a million years.

But here I was.

And here was Evelina, appearing on the fuel tank beside me.

"So, two percent, eh?" she said. "At this rate, you'll get to go to Jool!"

 

 

Zero.

 

As the clock hit zero and the buzzer rang, the crowd cheered louder than they ever had before.

This was the best I'd ever felt in my entire life - relief, adrenaline, joyfulness, accomplishment, and awe - all at once. So, what's next you ask?

 

Space!

 

 

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A "normal" day when Kerbals are involved: 

  • Playing a card game named "Whack-a-Kerbal." 
  • Being teleported because of a pet named Fluffy to a planet that's frozen in time. 
  • Walking for two weeks to get to a lake. 
  • Walking on a lake. 
  • Being teleported from the surface of the lake to the middle of a hanger. 
  • Building a spaceship in 29 minutes and 52 seconds. 

Question. Is part where he keeps going "Again!" a reference to @ShadowZone when his rockets crash? :D 

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Brilliant again! First launch, let's go!

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I want even MOAR!!!!!!

:D

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On ‎5‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 0:21 AM, max_creative said:

Question. Is part where he keeps going "Again!" a reference to @ShadowZone when his rockets crash? :D 

No, at least not on purpose! If you want to see it that way, then be my guest!

On ‎5‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 0:49 AM, Skylon said:

Brilliant again! First launch, let's go!

Not quite, you'll have to wait a few more days for that! But, definitely in Chapter Seven!

On ‎5‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 4:22 PM, Shadow Wolf56 said:

I want even MOAR!!!!!!

:D

Okay, then!

 

 

Chapter Six - Trust Me, I'm An Engineer

Spoiler

*static*

Hello, is this thing on? I really hope it is. I mean, I'd feel sort of silly if I was talking to nobody.

We've been out of the Kerbin Sphere of Influence for a few days now and are approaching our plane change burn. Also, I got to bring this really cool synthesizer into space with me - more on that later. I mean, maybe this chapter, actually. Wait. This one will be the engineering montage. I'll get to the synthesizer next chapter. Unless I forget.

So, why is my microphone so weird today?

Yla63kX.png

 

Yeah, that. I'm sitting in a tin can, far above the world. That story starts about two days ago.

"Will you cut that racket out?"

"Cheng, I'm using headphones."

"Exactly, the Kerbals couldn't spring for a good enough pair of headphones. I can still hear you playing "Dr. Wily's Castle" over the noise of the life support systems."

"Cheng, that wasn't Dr. Wily's Castle. That was "My Heart" by Different Heaven."

"Stop, or I'll toss your precious synthesizer out the airlock!" He began moving towards me. Everyone else was asleep, so I didn't have much choice. He was way stronger than me.

"Okay, sheesh! I'll stop."

"And you won't play another note during your time on this ship?" On this ship. And idea crept into my head.

"Not unless someone tells me to."

"Good." He floated away.

And I floated down the hallway to the airlock, put my spacesuit on,  EVA'd over to the John Cena, our Bop/Pol lander, and undocked it from the Voyager.

P4U9uqM.png

So, yeah. It's now my personal music studio. Now, you're probably thinking "BUT YOU'RE WASTING PRECIOUS FUEL!" Yeah, but only a little bit. I figured out how to override the docking port magnets. So, I undock with basically no relative velocity, play my heart out for two or three hours, and then (usually) just reengage the docking port and I'll float right back. Sometimes I'm too far away for that to work, so then I go EVA and shove the ship back into the (alarmingly magnetic) docking port.

And as you probably guessed, I'm recording this section from the John Cena. I'm really resisting the urge here to play the John Cena theme. I mean, seriously, who's idea was it to name the lander after a pro wrestler dude?

So, that's why my microphone is so messed up today. We good now?

Okay. Good.

 

A few seconds after the countdown timer hit zero, we were all teleported to a gigantic underground movie the theater. And, by all of us, I mean all ten thousand engineers from all thirteen teams. It was vast, even vaster than our construction hangars had been. There was a stage up front. The Kerbals wasted no time in getting things started.

"Hello, everyone. This is Jebediah Kerman speaking. I have to say, congratulations to all ten thousand of you. We were, sub-optimistic to say the least, that things would fall into place as perfectly as they did. Yet, here we are, and each team has succeeded in building some sort of module. Some faced incredibly - impossible odds - and, uh, wow. I'm just still in disbelief at - well, you'll see in a few minutes."

At that point, I was pretty sure that when he said "impossible odds," he had been talking about us.

"Before your modules are prepared for liftoff, we will show a short five minute video, or "engineering montage," for each team, which will hopefully answer all of your questions about the other teams' progress, and if, indeed, your mothership will function as expected. Without further ado, we will progress in order, from team one to team thirteen. And then we will - " Suddenly another Kerbal ran onto the stage and tried to whisper something to Jeb. Unfortunately for him, the microphone picked up everything.

"Uh, Jeb? Because of the last minute twist, Team One's video isn't ready. We'll have to play it last."

"Ah, well. Saving the best for last, then." Jeb turned back to face the microphone. "There has been a slight change of plans - we will start with team two's video, then go down the line of numbers, and then play team one's video. It might also be useful to note that these videos are also being sent to all of your fellow humans. Enjoy."

With that, the massive curtains on the stage opened, the microphone retracted into the stage, and the lights dimmed. Team two's video started.

 

Note: I'm just going to summarize each video, as I am currently in space and don't remember them all. I'll just do overviews.

 

Team Two - Atlas V 441

There was a verbal battle scene once the "commanders" had been teleported from the meeting. After one of them had been declared the leader of the group, she tried to explain to the crowd of engineers how the meeting had gone terribly, downplaying my proposition saying it was "ludicrous," proposing an alternate spaceship plan, and lying about everything in general. Not a good start.

Fortunately, after a day of analyzing the situation, the engineers on Team Two realized that her statements had been weird and oddly negative. She had bribed the other commanders to keep their mouths shut. A day later they had decided that although the plan I had given was not the best, it was the only one they had. So, they built a fuel tank module. Later, they realized that they did not have the parts to build a robotic arm. So, they built a small space tug with a "KLAW" device instead. They had completed their stack with two days to spare.

2iOQ5kp.png

 

They spent the rest of their time playing Separatron darts. Man, I wish I had thought of that. As long as none of them hit the rocket.

They called their payload "element one" in reference to the Hydrogen fuel it carried.

 

Team Three - Delta IV Heavy

Unlike team two, the person declared team leader was very supportive of my "shell of a plan," and set the engineers to work on the large fuel tank module as well as the Bop and Pol lander (that I'm currently recording this from). However, in my opinion they overanalyzed the parts, spending the first four days calculating exact mass ratios, as well as other stuff. That left them with little time to design and built. However, fuel tanks are pretty straightforward. The Bop/Pol lander was also pretty simple. It was determined that the lander did not actually need landing legs. Thankfully, they included four more docking ports. Later we would nearly run out.

opoddh8.png

Later, about ten minutes before the buzzer went off, someone shouted "Hey, what should we call them?"

"How about "Avenger" and "John Cena?" Everyone appeared to be thinking that it was a great idea.

"Yay! John Cena, planetary lander!"

"No, I meant that the fuel tank would be John Cena!" said the namer, but nobody heard him.

 

Team Four - Falcon Nine

This team did not initially agree with my plan. They rejected it and tried to form their own by logically dividing the lifters. However, they realized that my plan was actually fairly practical, and that in their plan the Falcon 9 would have ended up carrying the Tylo lander anyway, which is exactly what I told them to do (yay, humanity!).

As shown in the video, the lander could carry one person and had two stages. The first stage was designed for landing, and had drop tanks, and the second stage was the orbital stage. A solid design overall.

They decided to call it "Revelry."

KRFDzLP.png

It was a bit hard to tell from the video, but it looked like they may have chosen the tiny docking port and added on a "just in case" adapter. It was also nice, because the final stage could be used as another Bop or Pol lander if the need arose.

 

Team Five - H-IIA

So, if you regularly follow anything space exploration related, you've probably heard of the Delta, Atlas, Falcon, and Ariane. However, not many people have ever heard of the H-IIA. The H-IIA is a Japanese built carrier rocket, and it has actually carried a space probe to the planet Venus (it failed but then succeeded, google "Akatsuki," that mission also tested out a solar sail). The human version looks like this:

H IIA No. F23 with GPM on its way to the launchpad.jpg

If I remember correctly, I told this group to devise a crew return pod and a Laythe lander. Somehow, both of these fit in their mass budget. This group was skeptical of my idea, but the leader said, and I quote, "If we're the only ones who don't follow this plan, we'll look like idiots. If we're the only person who follows this plan, everyone else will look like idiots."

They called the combined spacecraft "Lost Dreams."

0DPa6Jvu.png

That's an eight person return module. Note: Eight. That becomes important soon. The Laythe lander is a sort of two stage plane thing that can hold one person. The team has requested that the astronauts name these once they have to use them.

They built this thing FAST, like, by the end of day three. And what did they do with the rest of their time? They built... A ROCKET ENGINE PIPE ORGAN!!!!! I really want to play it!

 

Seal Team Six - Long March 2B

Oh, this group made a whole ton of puns according to their "engineering montage." Sparing you the grief, it culminated in naming their Vall lander "Valliance."

lRhsNqu.png

Oh, yeah, there's also that Jool probe "Firebreather" shown on top. This team was completely supportive of my idea, thankfully. I wondered at this point if anyone didn't follow the plan. The Vall lander was designed to be a two seater. However, I noticed one flaw: It did not appear to have power generation of any kind onboard.

But, hey! Odds are, we'd have bigger problems than that. I remember thinking "Well, it's the astronauts' problem now, not mine!" Heh. Heh. Heh.

 

Team Seven - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

I had assigned communications to the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. How stupid of me. The Kerbals had made it into a 1.25 meter design, and no suitable antenna would fit in that fairing.

Obbury had once told me that "Kerbal" could also be used as an adjective, which would have a definition in our language as "awesome" and "ramshackle" and "by the seat of your pants." The way in which the antenna had been mounted probably qualified as "Very Kerbal."

LHkthmh.png

I could see that being a big flipping hazard.

Also, they put some fuel in the top of it as well. Great, extra oxidizer for the landers!

 

Team Eight - Soyuz

Team eight had an alarmingly high concentration of anime fans, which is probably the reason why they had named their spacecraft "Nightcore." (It's basically what it's called when you speed up and increase the pitch of a piece of music. Like "The Final Countdown," some people love it and some people hate it.)

Oh, well, a crew transfer vehicle by any other name would fly as well, I suppose.

opzIOfQ.png

Five crew up (because three would launch on the hab), and it also carried some fuel. Hey, as much fuel as we could get was useful! Like the PSLV, though, I could see this being a flipping hazard.

 

Team Nine - Proton

WHAT WAS I THINKING? The Proton is one of the least reliable rockets in operation today. And I told the Proton team to launch the nuclear engines.

*FACEPALM*

8X8uvaQ.png

But, hey! they delivered!

A lot of engineers had been worried about the possibility that the payload would be off center and the mothership would list to one side. However, the Proton team had made the propulsion section have three engines that could be independently throttled to counteract any off-center center of mass that might present itself.

 

Team Ten - Vega

We are so going to lose points for this one.

Remember what they said about "not modifying the booster?" Well, this is what Vega looks like in real life:

Image result for vega rocket

This is what the Kerbal version originally looked like:

Iy9lD2Z.png

This is what Team Ten made it into:

wXWX9jA.png

Well, too late to change it now, so let's talk about the payload. Teams ten through thirteen I told to "make something up," and I think team ten had the best idea out of the four. Enter Emerson - The video played on its capability as an ion tug, that could be used so the mothership wouldn't have to be moved between moons. It could function as a light lander, a solar power array, and an impact probe as well.

But the real thing it was designed for was as a "just in case." We all hoped it never had to be used for its true purpose.

In the official rules for the mission it said "If no human returns to Kerbin, the test has been failed." Emerson was a single man interplanetary escape pod. In case the ship broke, ran out of fuel, or everyone died (or all three), one person would be able to return to Kerbin strapped to a cylinder of gas in an EVA suit and complete the mission. However, that meant everyone else would be abandoned to the depths of space.

The name? Well, it just so happened that Martin Molin was on team Ten. Now, chances are you're like "Martin Who?" Martin Molin is the guy who built Wintergatan's Marble Machine. And the modulin. And he's an expert vibraphonist. And a whole lot more.

It was named Emerson because one of his songs, "Emerson," was in his opinion "not to be released." He actually stated that he wasn't satisfied with it (Are you KIDDING ME?!??!? That's like, my third favorite song of all time!) and did not release it until he made a video showcasing the "90 degree Kick Drum" (and the music video for Emerson had the drum in it). So, Emerson, a song never to be released = Emerson, escape pod never to be used.

 

Team Eleven - Antares

Ay3SjEZ.png

They made a missile.

A missile.

It was officially classified as an "emergency extraterrestrial deterrence device" with the added functions of "forcibly removing large sections of the mothership if necessary" and "Planetary science impactor."

*Missile.*

I mean, seriously? The most popular theory here is that the Kerbals are trying to test us to see if we're violent or not. Way to go, team eleven. Just the vibe we need to send to our new galactic neighbors.

At least they named it "contingency," which shows that it will hopefully never be used.

 

Team Twelve - Shavit

For those who don't know, Shavit is an Iranian launch system. Google it if necessary.

So, their group discovered the Kerbal Wikipedia entry on anomalies and decided to make an antenna module for anomaly scanning - and resource mapping if necessary. They checked with the higher-up Kerbals, who said they could use their initial orbital survey results to make the scanner work (I mean, the data was I-don't-know-how-many years old, anyway).

MYEoo33.png

 

Team Thirteen - Pegasus

First of all, the rocket portion of Pegasus was emulated very well by the Kerbals. The plane part?

ZSE4BjR.png

I've heard of RATO but not RAVTOHLCPFALTO (Rocket Assisted Vertical Take-Off Horizontal Landing Carrier Plane For Air Launch To Orbit).

One of the most Kerbal things I've seen today.

You can't see it in the fairing, but it is a very small Jool entry probe (hey, we have two of something!). This group of engineers literally had it done within two days. They would have presumably built something more entertaining than separatron darts or the center-go-fuge, but their team leader forbade them from doing it, fearing some unknown rule.

 

And, of course you know about Team One. Out video drew the most gasps and applause by far. I'm pretty sure that at this point everyone was drawing mental images of the spaceship in their heads. We felt that it would actually work - we had done it - designed a mothership with little shared information. We could do this!

I mean, we all thought that until four seconds later Jeb said "And here are some additional rules you may not have noticed: Each team will have their own mission control staff. You probably should get to putting one together. The launches will start in about one hour. The Ariane is being rolled out to the pad as we speak. Oh, and also, you must select one member of your team to manually pilot your rocket. Except for the manned Soyuz. That will be flown from inside the rocket."

There was a blast of "WHAT?"'s and profanities from the crowd. Manually pilot a rocket through the atmosphere of an alien planet? With flipping hazards? And no simulations? This shouldn't happen! It had never been done before! WHAT?!?!?!?

"That will be all. Team one, you have about fifty nine minutes to prepare your launch team. Good luck. The future of humanity depends on you."

 

"Humanity is doomed!" shouted a crowd member.

"Wait, do we have to find each other or do we get a teleport?"

"Where's mission control?"

"So, no simulations? Great, we're playing Russian roulette! Which module will be shot in the face?"

 

Evelina had managed to find me in the crowd. She said to me "Well, it's a two percent chance, isn't it? We got this! I mean, we built a spaceship in less time than we have to get a launch team."

"Um. Yeah. So, uh, should I steal the microphone and ask for volunteers?"

"Only if you feedback the whole thing first. And you can shorten your list of needed volunteers by one."

"What do you want to do?"

"Well, what is there to do?" Instantly I forgot most of the mission control positions I knew.

"Uh, well there's the capsule communicator. They talk to the people inside the thing, and there's Kerbals going up on our hab. There's also the FIDO, but I have no idea what he does. Oh, yeah, and there's that guy who says all of the positions and waits for the "Go's." And there's the photographer, and in this case, a pilot."

"Heh. I'd like to be the person who waits for the "Go's." Might be fun."

"Well, we'll see."

"Oh, and you can be that guy who pilots the rocket!"

"Me? Pilot a rocket? No way. The only time I've ever flown anything was when I was allowed to take control of a small airplane for a few minutes. That and playing Orbiter. There is, without a doubt, at least ten people on our team more qualified than I am to fly a rocket into space."

 

 

 

I just had to jinx it, didn't I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

They spent the rest of their time playing Separatron darts. Man, I wish I had thought of that. As long as none of them hit the rocket.

:D 

10 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

They built this thing FAST, like, by the end of day three. And what did they do with the rest of their time? They built... A ROCKET ENGINE PIPE ORGAN!!!!! I really want to play it!

HAHA!!! I want one of those! 

11 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Obbury had once told me that "Kerbal" could also be used as an adjective, which would have a definition in our language as "awesome" and "ramshackle" and "by the seat of your pants." The way in which the antenna had been mounted probably qualified as "Very Kerbal."

If that's a "Very Kerbal" rocket then he's never seen a "Very Jeb" rocket... :D 

13 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

WHAT WAS I THINKING? The Proton is one of the least reliable rockets in operation today. And I told the Proton team to launch the nuclear engines.

*FACEPALM*

*also facepalms* 

15 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

They made a missile.

A missile.

It was officially classified as an "emergency extraterrestrial deterrence device" with the added functions of "forcibly removing large sections of the mothership if necessary" and "Planetary science impactor."

*Missile.*

I mean, seriously? The most popular theory here is that the Kerbals are trying to test us to see if we're violent or not. Way to go, team eleven. Just the vibe we need to send to our new galactic neighbors.

At least they named it "contingency," which shows that it will hopefully never be used.

:0.0: *dies laughing* 

16 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I've heard of RATO but not RAVTOHLCPFALTO (Rocket Assisted Vertical Take-Off Horizontal Landing Carrier Plane For Air Launch To Orbit).

One of the most Kerbal things I've seen today.

I cannot see anything good happening here. At all. 

19 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

"Me? Pilot a rocket? No way. The only time I've ever flown anything was when I was allowed to take control of a small airplane for a few minutes. That and playing Orbiter. There is, without a doubt, at least ten people on our team more qualified than I am to fly a rocket into space."

No there isn't! :D 

20 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I just had to jinx it, didn't I?

Oh. Maybe there is then... AGAIN! 

Also, fail better, right? :) 

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*hype intensifies*

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IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!!

Also: 

Quote

You are only allowed to give 25 likes per day. You cannot give any more likes today.

 

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The spacecraft is a hodgepodge. 

But when life gives you lemons... 

ef69d65289a530716c3c274c636fe180.jpg

Also: All in favor of dumping Cheng out the airlock, say "Aye!"

Aye!

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MOAR BOOSTERS... MOAR ROCKETS...MOAR ULTIMATE STEVE, MOAR!!!!!!!

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@KAL 9000 The combustible cake is in fact, not a lie.

@max_creative Well, Project Intrepid is sort of like 50's and 60's NASA - fail better. The teams in VOYAGE have one shot at this - sort of like modern NASA. Failure here is not an option! At least, not major failure...

@Skylon MAXIMUM HYPE!

@Shadow Wolf56 Moar? Okay!

 

 

Chapter Seven - Daydreams and Nightmares

Spoiler

So, you know how mission control rooms are supposed to be orderly, calm, quiet, and 110% serious?

Image result for mission control

Well, to put it nicely, if mission controls were desks, this would be NASA:

Image result for organised desk

This would be Team One:

Image result for disorganised desk

And we weren't even the worst team! That would be Team -

 

"IMPACT!" Shouted Jeb as Harvest impacted Planet Steve.

"Shoot! I'm basically out!" I shouted.

"One down, two nearly there, and three to go!"

"WHACK-A-KERBAL!" shouted Alonya from across the table as Voskhod hit Jilknisia, Jebediah's secondary base.

"NOOOO! I didn't see that coming! That's an extra 50% then!"

"Now, for the rest of you!"

"Who, exactly?" asked Bob.

"Well, Bill's out, Jeb, Ethan, and Marie are close, so that leaves only you, Val, and Jack! I won't be telling you!" Wait a second. Nobody had noticed my secret base on Stratovogmnolia. If I could launch my final asteroid just right, and I mean a 1 in 10 chance here, I could hit Draggnad. And my out-of-fuel colony ship that was in an elliptical Infernis orbit had a 50% chance of hitting Jeb's ring of suicide moons according to my console! So, I could make a comeback if Jeb didn't notice!

"WHACK-A-KERBAL!" shouted Marie as she launched her final reserve moon from her store, along with a swarm of colony ships. It was heading for Alonyarnia, Alonya's main planet.

"No! Missiles! Launch all the thingies! Come on, come on!"

"NO! I missed! I guess I'm out now. No more reserve moons, just a lone miner out on a depleted asteroid. Good game!" I looked carefully at the array of spheres arranged in space in front of me, and judged the timing - I would only have one shot at this. A rogue asteroid would hit Stratovogmnolia next orbit. I had a two second window. And... NOW!

"WHACK-A-KERBAL!" I shouted as I pressed the big red launch button. An asteroid shot out of Stratovogmnolia, which turned grey, signaling resource depletion. It began a gravity ballet, maneuvering through the hundred or so bodies in the Infernis system before crossing the void to the Creen'chalah system - and impacting Draggnad, turning it momentarily red, then white - a signal of neutrality.

"NOOO! My headquarters! All I have is the ring of moons with no control center!" As Jeb said that, my elliptically orbiting colony ship shot through the moons orbiting the now barren Draggnad, before hitting one of the moons, turning it green, the color of my team.

"Haha! And my bonus?"

"Forty percent."

"No way, I basically took Jeb out! Fifty, at least!"

"No, you forgot about his outpost around the third star."

"The one Alonya named? It's been dead for ages!"

"Oh. Fifty it is, Ethan!" My currency level went upward.

"WHACK-A KERBAL!" shouted Valentina. "My research is complete! Behold - the power of the DEEP SPACE KRAKEN!" Valentina raised her hands to influence the planets and moons, maneuvering her own base out of its unstable orbit of Infernis. However, suddenly, the Voyager shook violently (drat, I thought we fixed that reaction wheel!) throwing Valentina off balance - which had catastrophic results on the Infernis system. Moons and planets went everywhere - colliding and destroying everything. Valentina's planet plowed into the star Infernis, and Bob's planets were completely annihilated by a barrage of wayward moons. The Infernis system was as good as gone.

"No!"

"Minus twenty percent."

"I'm out anyway! I concede!" said Val.

"Me, too. No coming back from that," said Bob.

"My secret base was orbiting Infernis!" said Jeb.

"Wait," asked Jack, "Who is actually still in?"

"Me!" I shouted. All of a sudden, a moon thrown from Infernis plowed into Draggnad's ring of moons (of which I had taken over four), creating a domino effect and destroying them all. "Never mind, I'm out!"

"I'm in, and so is Jack," replied Alonya.

"Ah, so, this is in fact the final battle!"

"Until we play again. Hey, Cheng! Want to join in next game?"

"No thanks, losers. You're from Russia, you're African, you're a kid, you're a gamer, and you four are aliens. Why should I associate with you?"

"Hey, I tried!" I said.

"He's such a jerk."

"Remind me again why we can't throw him out of the airlock."

"Because, Jack, he's the only person actually qualified to be on this mission, and we need him to land on Tylo for us."

"Ah, good point. Also, WHACK-A-KERBAL!" shouted Alonya as she launched an entire barrage of moons at Jack's home planet. Everyone gasped. The moons arced closer and closer... Until, suddenly they pushed out of the way by... one of my old abandoned planets! This was going to be a good finale!

 

Hey, uh, it's Ethan again. Did I just accidentally turn on voice to text? I probably did. It caught quite a bit of the game, I'll presume. *checks* Yep. I'll edit what's happening into there later.

Okay, it's edited, time for some explanation. You just witnessed a game of Whack-A-Kerbal, my new favorite game ever. It's sort of half video game, half *board* game, the board being a three dimensional patch of space on a table.

It's a bit confusing at first, but I'll try to explain it the best I can.

Whack-A-Kerbal is a game that can only be played in zero gravity. I know, right? That already makes it awesome and I've not even scratched the surface! The players sit around a table that has a few reference markers on it to stop out of bounds planets. The game focuses on large magnetic spheres. The largest are stars, up to 15cm in diameter. The smallest are ships, which are about the size of a B.B. Each sphere is a certain color, the smallest ones are just painted, while anything moon size or larger changes colors depending on what happens to it - and each piece is connected to the main computer unit which controls all of the inputs that people give from their control consoles. The goal is to eliminate the other players by destroying the planets. It's really, really, REALLY cool!

It actually simulates orbital mechanics fairly well, for magnetism. It's also very fast paced, which makes it very hard to keep up. It's really cool to see the system of 100 magnetic spheres orbit each in zero gravity a few feet from your face.

Enough of that, I'll explain it more in depth later. I do have six months until Jool, I'll get to it sometime. So, I was talking about mission controls. Our setup was... uh...

 

"Okay, you got it?"

"Can you go over that one more time, Dongun?"

"It's not rocket science!"

"It actually is!"

"Okay, fair point."

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"So, Ethan, you have your keyboard in front of you."

"Why a keyboard? Since when are rockets flown with keyboards? Can I at least have a joystick?"

"Joystick functionality is buggy at this point. We had to write this code in less than forty days, you know! So, WASD controls the rocket. Pitch is W and S, but it's flipped if you're not a plane flyer, normal if you are. Q and E are roll. Space advances the staging, and T toggles the sickness avoidance system - sorry, stability assistance system. The bottom blue thing is what direction you're pointing, shift and control control the throttle, the left is your staging, top is altimeter and a few other things, and top right is resources. Bottom right is me, but I'll show you the astronauts in a second. That big window in the middle is your engineer, also known as "easy mode." It was agreed that you could use it for this mission. If you touch the button marked "H," the whole planet dies. Got it?"

I made a mental note not to touch the "H." "Um, can you say that all again?"

"No. I've already said it ten times. You've got about a dozen people trying to backseat drive. You'll be fine! Just, don't kill Jeb!"

"Okay, Ethan! You've got this!" shouted Evelina from across the room, at her chair position as "Assistant Senior Mission Controller Chief." "Are we ready to begin the countdown?"

"Nope, but the launch window is in about two minutes, so, begin flight polling!" I shouted back across the noisy room. There was a shuffle as Evelina dropped her checklist onto the ground and picked it back up.

"Booster!"

"Ariane five is go! I mean, as far as I can tell," shouted a Japanese woman from across the room.

"Range safety!"

"Uh, I think so?"

"Go, then! Payload!"

"Go."

"Life support systems!"

"Included in payload."

"Okay, then! I have no idea what I'm doing!" At that moment, Evelina accidentally held the checklist a bit too close to the fan. There was a ripping sound as it was chopped up by the blades.

"Uh, launch abort system?"

"We don't have one of those."

"I may or may not have lost my list! Ethan, are you go?"

"Nope, but I'm as ready as I'll ever be!"

"Astronauts!"

"Kerbonauts. And they aren't answering, but they appear to be alive."

"Payload!"

"You said that already. Man, those Kerbals packed some pretty weird stuff... a hundred kilos dedicated to this weird game called "Whack-A-Kerbal!""

"Um... countdown clock!"

"What does it mean if it's at T+4?"

"AGH! Ethan, launch!"

"I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOIIIIIIIIIIIIII-" I shouted as I held shift and pressed the space bar. "...IIIIIIIIT'S NOT MOVING!"

"Because the boosters aren't on!" shouted a voice behind me. "Press space again!"

"GERONIMOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

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The mission control building shook dramatically as the twin solid rocket boosters ignited, launching the Heroism off of the launch pad. There was a chorus of clapping, accompanied by several screams - joyful, frightened, and Spartan.

"AAAAAAAAAAA-" I screamed, still (rather foolishly) holding down the shift key.

"Ethan, start the gravity turn!" shouted someone from my right.

"Which way?"

"Turn East, to the 90 marker!" I tried to obey.

"THAT'S NORTH! PRESS D, NOT W!" I scrambled to correct my mistake. The building was still shaking.

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"Good... now hold it steady! Keep turning right..."

"No, that's left!"

"Right!"

"Left!"

"Prograde relative to the rotation of the planet!"

"Wait, don't we need the right inclination?"

"Kerbin doesn't have axial tilt! That makes it easy!" I was white knuckled, finger still on the shift key. After a few more tense seconds, I managed to get the hang of gravity turning. I had played Orbiter before, so, it was going well. Ish.

"Booster burnout in five seconds. Wait, I mean, it happened five seconds ago! I think!"

"AAAHWHATDOIDO?"

"Press the space thing again!" So I pressed it.

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The two solid rocket boosters were jettisoned from the core. More people were nervously shouting. I continued the gravity turn, making small corrections as the people behind me told me to do so (the one point in life where backseat drivers are appreciated).

A minute or so later, people were telling me to press space again to release the fairing.

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And from there, the first stage burnt out, I lit the second stage, and I sort of forgot everything that happened. Eventually, however, I managed to get the thing into an orbit (or so they tell me).

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I slumped back from my monitor, both exhausted and exhilarated. Mission control erupted with the sound of clapping.

"Did I actually just do that?" I heard myself say.

"Unless I'm still dreaming! And I think that's not very probable at this point!"

"Yeah, we did it! Take that, Gravity!" It was at this point that I became aware of the cramps in my shoulders. I tried to raise both of my arms to massage myself, but my left hand was still glued to the control key (I had throttled down the last stage. It would have been bad if I jettisoned it still burning).

"Never. Ever. Again. Will. I. Do. That." I mean, with the way things had been going, I probably would...

"You did great, Ethan!" said Evelina, who was now beside me.

"I feel like I just ran a marathon."

"Coming from someone who has tried to run a marathon, I know how you feel. Come on, we have to let the next team use mission control. They only have half of an hour to get ready for their launch."

"Ow," I said for lack of something better to say. I pried my hand away from the "Control" key.

"At least you don't have to dock like the next guy has to."

"Oh, no." Evelina escorted me out the door. Team two was congratulating us as they made their way into the room. I saw someone I recognized from the video as we passed by. Several people congratulated me as they passed by. I was too out of it to reply - wait, was that Elon Musk?

===================================================================

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It was only after watching the replica Atlas V launch that I realized how ironic it was - Elon Musk working on the Atlas V team.

Oh, and I was sitting in a specially designed viewing area that was a few hundred meters from the launch pad. I had found it wandering around after Ariane launched. Nobody else was there, so I camped out there and watched the launches.

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I mean, well, I watched the Atlas V launch then fell asleep.

Let's see, the math: I had been up 6-ish hours (?) the day when I went into the space rift. The time I spent on Earth doesn't count, as my metabolism had been frozen in time, and when I got back it was three hours until the time limit. There was about an hour between the presentation and when we went into mission control, and then an hour between us in mission control and the Atlas launch.

So, I had been awake for eleven hours. Not that terrible, as I regularly stayed up more than that on Earth, but in these past eleven hours I had been teleported to a planet frozen in time, built a spaceship in less than half an hour, and piloted the said spaceship into an orbit of an alien planet.

So, sleeping ringht the was understandable.

Unfortunately, I didn't sleep long. Half an hour later I was awoken by the thunder of the Delta IV Heavy.

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It shook the entire viewing area and I was startled awake.

"Just in time!" shouted Evelina over the roar of the rocket (That's at least the second time she's snuck up on me like that! Not that I'm really complaining).

"Ah! You have got to stop sneaking up on me like this!" I said half jokingly.

"There it goes!" Evelina shouted as the orange beast rose skyward. We both sat and watched it for some time.

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"His gravity turn looks a little off."

"Yeah, no kidding. I think something is wrong. He's, what? Two kilometers up?"

"And already forty five degrees," she said.

"How important is this module again?"

"This is the fuel and the light lander. It is also half of the docking ports. We can't afford to lose this one."

"Oh, no."

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"Evelina, tune in to the livestream on your phone." She obeyed, trying to work her phone and watch the dangerously tilted rocket at the same time. "It's up!" she said as she maneuvered the phone (displaying the mission control livestream) so we could both see it easily. The people surrounding the pilot were in a panic. The pilot herself was holding the "A" key as if for dear life.

"Heating at eighty percent of maximum! Whose idea was it that you fly this, Alonya?"

"Yours. I'm doing perfectly fine, Reginald. Apogee is rising. We're just a little close to the horizon, is all."

"Twenty degrees above is not "a little" close! We're at ninety percent of maximum fairing temperature!"

"I'm throttling up the center engine and detaching the boosters now."

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"How can we still communicate with it? It should be impossible due to the ionization! Why is the ionization showing up so slow anyway?"

"Reginald, you obviously didn't look up anything on how to fly Kerbal rockets. Heating up to 90 percent is perfectly normal."

"Alonya! Pull up!"

"I am pulling up, you - "

And then Evelina's phone died. We both blinked, and looked upwards. The Delta was now a thin orange streak in the sky. We couldn't tell anything else.

"Hooray for these batteries," I remarked sarcastically.

"Yeah, I was actually talking to Obbury while you were on Earth," she said. "Apparently, the humans have developed batteries about two times more efficient than any non-graphene battery in the entire galaxy - and way more efficient than anything on Kerbin."

"Yeah, Kerbin batteries aren't that efficient. They have this one the size of a trash can that can't even run a computer for an hour." We both chuckled.

"Well, it's good to know that we're good at something besides killing each other." There was a silence for a while after that.

I cleared my throat a minute or so later and said "Okay, so, uh, I sort of fell asleep a little bit after the Atlas launched. It docked okay, right?"

"Oh, yeah. Perfect docking. Those docking port magnets are a lot stronger than they look."

"Should I pull up the stream on my phone?"

"Sure, you can go ahead and try. I doubt it will last another six hours, though."

"Well, I can plug it in somewhere."

"Negative on that, this viewing place is ancient. Most modern maps of the space center don't even include it. Not an outlet in sight."

"Not that Earth outlets and Kerbin outlets look the same at all. Should we move to another viewing area, one that has outlets?"

"No, I like it here. It's mostly quiet, which emphasizes the volume of the rocket launches." I smiled as she said that.

"Yeah, I like it here as well. We'll just use my phone sparingly," I said. We sat and watched as the next rocket, the Falcon 9, was rolled out onto the launch pad.

"Sometimes I really wish Sweden had a space program," Evelina said, her voice near a whisper. "You're really lucky, being an American."

I wasn't quite sure how to respond, so I went with "Well, you've got Wintergatan. That's got to mean something."

"And you guys went to the moon. And sent robots to every single planet. And built a space station. Guess what Sweden has."

"Nothing?"

"Well, close to nothing. We at least have the SNSB, or Swedish National Space Board. It only has a dozen or so members, and we've built a whopping six satellites. Two of those were so small they shouldn't count, and one was a joint mission that included a few other countries. The last time we built anything was seven years ago, and we've never seriously considered a launch vehicle. The closest thing we have to a launch vehicle is our two percent ownership in the ESA."

"Ouch."

"You said it. At least we have one astronaut, Christer Fuglesang, who flew on an American shuttle. I've dreamed of space my whole life -"

"As have I."

"And I never thought I would be able to actually go there. Then aliens abducted us all, and an hour later, I'm in space. I could get used to this. I wonder if the Kerbals will let us use the launch facilities after the Jool ship has left. That would be awesome."

There was a loud rumble a few seconds later, just as I was about to reply.

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"You see what I mean, Ethan?" she shouted, elated. "I mean, look at that! Where on Earth could you go and see rockets launch every half hour from less than a kilometer away? In a way, I'm glad that the Kerbals found us. Nothing on Earth compares to this."

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"It looks like that person's gravity turn is also overly harsh. I hope this will make it - this is the Tylo lander."

"Oh, my! The Falcon is the one that lands, right?" she asked.

"Yep."

"Does the person controlling it have to land it?"

"I mean, he can try!" We sat there and watched the stars cross over our heads.

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One of the Falcon's engines exploded due to an incorrect gimbal setting. Nothing it couldn't handle.

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I turned on my phone for the landing. It was looking good, but it tipped over a few seconds before it was due to land.

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There was also no barge, so...

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==============================================================================

We sat there and talked.

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We sat there and laughed.

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We sat there on the edge of our seats as new stars ascended into the sky.

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We sat as the sun rose above the strange world we found ourselves upon.

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We sat as my phone died. Then the only things to focus on were the launches - and, of course,

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Each other.

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We sat.

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We sat, slightly closer now, as the aerodynamically instable PSLV rocketed precariously skyward, first gravity turning the wrong way, then correcting at the last moment right before aerodynamic forces would have made the pitch uncorrectable.

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We sat as the antenna reached space, and as a very stressed out former fighter pilot exhaled after wrestling with the forces of aerodynamics.

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And then, the Kerbals ruined the moment by teleporting everyone back into the theater room.

 

"Good evening, engineers, scientists, and pilots alike," announced Jebediah Kerman, who was actually in the spacecraft, and was streaming to the theater's giant screen.

Image result for jebediah kerman

"You have all probably noticed that the next launch will be the crewed launch. And that none of you know who is going to space yet." There was a general murmur of agreement. Nobody had screamed - it looked like people were starting to get used to being teleported with no notice.

 

"Those of you who looked up know this already - but the four space travelers will be chosen from the ten thousand of you. Provided you are chosen, you will have an hour to gather your personal items - we will wait two more orbits before you are required to launch. Your selection is mandatory unless you have a really good reason. Without further ado, everyone raise your right hand." Everyone in the room raised their right hand, confused as to the purpose. "Oh, yeah, and Stephanie Howardson, you can raise your left, seeing as you have no right. Another hand went up across the room.

"I will make a statement. If this statement does not apply to you, you will put your hand down. The last person with their hand up will be the an astronaut. This process will be repeated four times. We have predetermined the astronauts, so this is not random selection - just dramatic buildup. If you do not understand, say so." Nobody said anything.

"Good," said Jeb. "The first space traveler is a native to the continent of Africa." Most of the hands in the room went down right away. Only a handful remained. "Well, that was quick. The first space traveler is a woman." Only about twelve hands remained. "This person is from the country of Liberia." ten more hands went down, leaving two. "The first space traveler - out of four - is an Ebola survivor." There was a squeal and a cry of frustration as one more hand went down.

"Let's have a round of applause for Marie Reeves, our first space traveler!" There was a round of applause and whistles. Marie was teleported to the stage, a shocked expression on her face. She appeared to be middle aged, a bit on the younger side, and was still standing there, shocked. "Tell us a bit about yourself, Marie."

She still stood frozen for a few more seconds, before picking up the microphone. "Uh, hello. I'm Marie, as you heard. I am from Liberia and, um, I'm very shocked to say the least. Oh my gosh, I'm GOING TO SPACE! Like, actual space! I have dreamed of this for quite a while - I mean, Liberia does not have a space program. At all. I was a military engineer for a while - and then, oh, my... Ebola hit." Her face fell. "My whole family died. Besides me, of course. I mean, the past is the past, but it still affects me to this day, and, um..." She shrunk back away from the microphone. "Well, uh, yeah. They would have wanted me to be... happy, right now, I guess. I hope to uphold humanity the best I can. Thank you. I won't let you down!" There was a fresh wave of applause, and some tears as well, as Marie was directed to the side of the stage by another Kerbal. She appeared to be crying. I would, too, if I didn't have my parents. I mean, I hadn't seen them for a week and a half, so...

"If you would all raise your right hand again," announced Jebediah. "The second space traveler was born in the country of China." Most of the hands went down. "The second space traveler is a male." About a third of the remaining hands went down. "He was taken into North Korea at a young age." There were only two hands left up. "And the second space traveler has been in charge of a test launch of a prototype Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. We welcome our second space traveler, Cheng Zhou!" There was more applause as Cheng, a tall and skinny pale Chinese man, was teleported onto the stage.

"Wait, what? Space?" Cheng was obviously flustered. "But, I can't go to space! I have important government business to attend to!"

"Sorry, Cheng. This offer is mandatory unless you or a relative is going through severe trauma at this moment. And, looking at your file, you lost your family when you were taken to North Korea. So, tell us a bit about yourself."

"No! I will not be pushed around by you glorified vegetables!" The whole crowd gasped. There were, unfortunately, a few cheers. They were hushed up quickly, though.

"Cheng, if you won't tell us about yourself, I will have to," said Jeb.

"Fine, then."

"I could start with the spaghetti incident in year eight -"

"No, there's no need to do that!" exclaimes Cheng as he scrambled for the microphone. "Hello, everyone. My name is Cheng. Like you all, I  was abducted by aliens on April 29, 2017. Like you, I have been forced to live among foreigners and assemble a spacecraft so that mankind can compete for its existence. Like you, I hate the -"

"Cheng, your early life."

"I was a jet pilot, if you needed to know, and you didn't need to know, you green skinned piece of trash!" This insult drew more gasps from the crowd.

"That will be all, Cheng. Please take your position next to Marie." Cheng, with some grumbling, walked across the stage, and took his spot - noticeably farther away from Marie than he should have been. The crowd was deathly silent. Why in the world had one of the rudest people in the group of ten thousand engineers and scientists been picked?

"Raise your right hands again." Everyone rose their right hand (except for the aforementioned amputee). "Our third space traveler is from the country of Russia." Again, most of the hands dropped. "She is a woman." Two thirds of those hands dropped. "She works as an engineer in the aerospace industry." About half of the hands went down. "Specifically, she works on the Proton lifter." About five hands remained. "And finally, our fourth space traveler has piloted the replica Delta IV Heavy into orbit! Give it up for Alonya Chadova!" An excited looking Russian woman was teleported to the stage. She looked to have been about sixty years old, and was obviously very excited at the prospect of going to Jool.

"What? Me? Oh, my... I'm... I'm...!"

"Yes, Alonya, you are going to Jool!" Jeb replied. "Tell us about yourself, Alonya.

"Well, uh, I was born about the same time that the space race was picking up steam, and I vividly remember hearing the news of the American moon landing when I was about ten years old - Being a Soviet, one would expect me to be disappointed that we had been beaten. But, I wasn't! I was elated! I thought that within a decade or two I could go to space! But, as you all know, that never really happened. Uh, I have a twin sister, Vasilisa! Oh another interesting fact, my name was supposed to be Alyona, but the name got written down wrong, and it had been Alonya ever since. I like it, it brings in a certain uniqueness... It's really weird how misspellings get transferred between Russian and English. I know both, actually, but we have that fancy translation thing... Hey, have I ever told anyone about how I met Svetlana Savitskaya? Oh, I could go on for hours about that! And - "

"Thank you, Alonya, you may share that story with the world after we perform the launch. We do have about an hour, you know."

"Right, yes!" She ran across the stage, a joyous look on her face, and joined Marie and Cheng.

"Right then. Our final astronaut is a girl." A lot of the hands dropped, including mine.

"Hey," said Evelina, who was standing next to me now. "This is the first time I've actually kept my hand up past the first question!"

"Our final space traveler is from the country of Sweden."

"OHMYGOSH! I mean, I probably won't get it, but, hey!"

"Well, lucky you! I haven't raised my hand more than once at all!"

"She is under the age of eighteen."

"AAAAAH!" Around five hands were up at this point.

"And she lives on the island of Gotland!"

"Oh. Aww."

"You got close, Evelina."

"Let's all welcome our final astronaut, Isabela Jeanette!" There was clapping. But no accompanying scream, and no teleport. "Uh, Isabela? I saw you here for the Atlas launch, are you still here?"

One member of the crowd spoke up. "Her mother was injured earlier today and she had to leave. Something to do with a revolt in one of the cities." A murmur passed through the crowd.

"Well then, I guess we'll have to go with out backup space traveler."

"Oh, so she gets out of it and not me!" shouted Cheng, whom Jeb ignored.

 

Well, that threw a wrench in the works, as the humans said. The entire plan hinged on having someone youthful and innocent on the flight team. Someone that the lower age range could look up to. Drat. The next eight people we considered for that role had not applied to the engineering team. The next few people on the list had proved to be... less than ideal candidates. The plan directed Jeb to choose Noah Brown, an elderly Australian. However, he could not see Noah contributing anything to the mission. It left the youth of Earth without anyone their age to look up to. It was a really bad idea, now that he thought about it. He had an idea for a new candidate right then - it felt right and wrong at the same time. The Galactic Council would metaphorically kill him for changing the plan at the last moment - but sending Noah would be a disaster in every other way. Jebediah made one very important decision right there - that would affect billions of lives in a very big way.

 

"Our new final space traveler is from the United States of America." Hands fell. Mine stayed up. "He is a boy - also under the age of eighteen." My hand remained - along with two dozen others.

"Hey, you have your hand up still!" said Evelina.

"Yeah, surprising! Maybe I'll even get as close as you did!"

"Hey, two percent chances, remember!"

"Our final space traveler wears a watch." There were three hands left. Was this actually happening? My heart beat faster. And faster. And faster still.

"Ethan?" said Evelina.

"He considers himself a space nerd." One more hand fell. Two left. What? No! I wanted to go to space - but at the same time I didn't - I had a new life here. I may or may not have agreed to watch the rest of the launches with Evelina! My family was here! My friends! But - out there, the mystery that had been calling out to me ever since the day I was born - "

"He lived in Illinois." Was that me - no. The other person's hand remained up.

 

Jebediah thought "Drat!" when both hands had stayed up. He knew nearly nothing more about his candidate. He would have to take a reasonable guess - Did he have brown hair? Blonde? Why couldn't he remember? He had already used the "Piloted a rocket" for Alonya, and didn't want repeats. The Earth rift would be a dead giveaway - and would make him into a "too special" lucky person that everybody would envy. GRR! And just then, Jeb remembered something really important that he had found out earlier, and went with it. "Here goes nothing," he muttered under his breath. He hoped he wasn't making the worst mistake he had ever made. Admittedly, it would be pretty hard to top almost sending the entire Galactic Council into Sagittarius A.

 

"Our final space traveler has taught a young Kerbal to play the piano."

 

0_0

 

Time moved in slow motion. The room spun around me. I heard Evelina calling out to me, but I couldn't comprehend what she was saying at all.

WHAT?

 

I could not have heard that right. I couldn't have been him! But there was the clapping - the people around me cheering. I distantly heard Jebediah's voice, as if I were in a dream. I would wake up any second now. My dreams always ended at the best part. I would wake up and remember very little, if any of this, struggling to remember the details. Maybe I would even write a story about it, who knows! I would wake up. Any second now!

 

Which would be more terrifying - having your best daydream and worst nightmares at once and then waking up into reality? Or waking up from reality into your best daydreams - and worst nightmares?

 

Yeah, I think I'll go with the latter.

 

 

"We would like to introduce our fourth and final space traveler, Ethan Edwards!"

 

 

 

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:0.0:

Okay, okay, I kinda saw that coming. Your flashbacks kinda spoiled it for me. :sticktongue:

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SPAAAAACE!!!

MOAR!!!

BOOSTERS!!! 

AWESOMENESS!!! 

IN SPACE!!! 

BELIEVE IN STEVE!!! 

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Posted (edited)

HPYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Edited by Shadow Wolf56
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I just know this is going to happen:

9vz4jN.gif

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Just a quick update, things have been busy for me (finals, art shows, mother's day, tornados, etc.) and it may be a while before Chapter Eight. Mostly because at that point in the mission I didn't think it would be a mission report and I wasn't taking screenshots so I have to redo part of each launch.

More coming soon-ish! It's not dead!

 

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Ok...

Cool!!!

I can just imagine Jeb flying on top of a missile.:cool:

"Woo Hoo!!!!" ( and bob screaming XD )

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WE BELIEVE IN YOU, STEVE!

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maxresdefault.jpgWE BELIEVE IN YOU, STEVE!!!!

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I had a dream that chapter 8 came out, but i had to go to school and ran out of time. Don't worry if you've got other stuff to do, I'm still hooked!

Also, tornados? Where do you live?

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On 5/9/2017 at 6:16 AM, KAL 9000 said:

The spacecraft is a hodgepodge. 

But when life gives you lemons... 

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Also: All in favor of dumping Cheng out the airlock, say "Aye!"

Aye!

Aye!

BTW-2 years after the sucessful Jool mission, humanity joins the galactic council. 

2 years after that...

"Oops! We may or may not have destroyed Kerbin, and teleported the kerbals to Sedna!" (walks away humming)

The ultimate dropping of the mike.

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