MarkWatney

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About MarkWatney

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  1. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Val's Fiery Descent Valentina stirred herself from her sleep and floated over to the computer display to check for any incoming messages from Kerbinside. Glancing at her watch she realised that it was the day when she would finally leave the station and return to Kerbin. "Thank Squad! I'm finally leaving this old tin can!" she sighed. After a few days of occupation the station already smelled worse than before and it was almost becoming intolerable for Valentina so she was extremely glad she would be departing in a few hours. Looking at her messages she noticed a few from Bill and Jeb. Most of Bill's messages composed of requests to check the station's systems. Like she would ever do that! While Jeb's messages mostly were selfies of him and Mismera on various dates. Val gave a sigh of longing she would love to try and do the civilian thing but she thought to herself that it woukd be extremely boring and not full of enough action. Anyhow she comforted herself she was perfectly happy being a kerbonaut. A few hours passed and Valentina once again became very bored. In an attempt to relieve her frustration Val decided to go on a quick EVA and take a lot of pictures to show to everyone back at Admanatium Tech. Val sealed her helmet and prepared to depressurise the airlock taking care to switch off her radio so that Bill wouldn't be squawking in her ears the whole time. She took a deep breath in and stepped into the inky darkness. She felt neither hot nor cold, although that was mainly thanks to the suit, and the world stretched out before her. It was absolutely magnificent. She took some pictures then hurried to the capsule's airlock and quickly got inside. After pressurising the ship she prepared to disconnect the capsule from the station. She felt a small pang of regret that she would be leaving it behind after all it had been her home for the past few days. Her oasis in a desert of black and stars. She blew the connection locks and gently thrusted back from the station. After backing up a reasonable distance away from the station she gunned the thrusters and fired the engines in a retrograde manner aiming to place her ship' s landing trajectory in the landing zone in the grasslands. The engines completed their task and shutdown and Valentina drifted into the atmosphere. There was loud thump. Then a loud clang. Then a huge rumble sounded. On the thermometer in her suit it registered an unexpected high temperature. Outside the ship was being engulfed in flames. Val muttered a few curses and gritted her teeth all throughout this and kept a watchful eye on the heat displays praying to Squad that the heat shield wouldn't fracture under these extreme temperatures. But after a while the noise and heat all went away and was replaced with a loud whistling sound. Val couldn't figure out what the sound was until she realised it was a sign that she was going too fast. "Oh karps and krakens!" she yelled, "Give me a break!" Improvising quickly she restarted the engines in order to slow her speed down as much as possible She also manually triggered the parachutes hoping to land as softly as possible. She glanced back at her speed altimeter. "Karp still too fast!" she cursed. There was a splutter indicating that the engines had run out of fuel and Valentina cursed again and braced for impact. A few moments later...... Valentina woke up with an aching head and realised that once again she had survived. She gave a sigh of relief and triggered the emergency beacon for the recovery team to come and pick her up. Until Next Time
  2. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Val Meets and Greets the Station Val wriggled around in her acceleration couch again cursing Bill for not designing a more comfortable ship. After a few minutes of wriggling she gave up namely due to the fact that a message had come up from AT Mission Control informing her that the BDB 2 had completed its automated rendezvous burns and would be soon ready to dock with the Immersion Station. Val gave a sigh of relief as she was just about fed up with the cramped and uncomfortable confines of the BDB's capsule. Glancing out of the window she noticed the world roll by like a blue and green carpet covered with scatterings of clouds and shadows. She began to cheer up and said aloud, "At least the view makes up for the rubbish couch." A loud chime emmenated from her computer warning that she was approaching the rendezvous point. Val quickly decided to throw all protocol out of the window (figuratively speaking as that could possible smash the glass causing the ship to depressurise) and switch to manual control for the deceleration and docking. The main reason for her deciding to this was just so she could wind up Bill Down on the ground in AT Mission Control Bill went into a panicked frenzy when he realised what Val was doing and immediately yelled into the communication system, "WHAT IN SQUAD'S NAME ARE YOU FRAKING DOING VAL!!!???". Val replied in a calm and controlled manner saying, "Bill I'm fraking bored I'm going to fly this baby in and dock her by myself with no automatics." "WHAT!!!" At this point Val simply muted the communication system and focused on docking. Counting silently in her head the seconds until she would need to burn retrograde to the station so she could slow down the ship just enough that it matched speeds with the station and she could dock to it. The appointed time came and Val gently squeezed the thrusters slowing her little craft's speed to match the station. Slowly but surely she turned around the capsule lining the capsule's docking port with the station's main airlock and slid the docking probe smoothly into the station's docking port and engaged the docking clamps which hauled the BDB 2 into position with a loud clunk. Val quickly unstrapped herself from the acceleration couch and floated into the station. It smelt like a new car and old socks and there was a constant buzz in the backround but it was her home for the next few days. She floated over to a sleeping bag and wrapped herself in almost instantly falling asleep. Outside the station continued to circle around Kerbin with its new occupant fast asleep.
  3. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Val Flies BDB 2 Val sighed inside the cramped capsule. Why the hell did she have to be the first to fly an experimental and potentially dangerous spacecraft? The reason for Val's crabby mood was due to the fact that Val was flying the company's new prode and joy a.k.a the Big Dumb Booster 2: Val sighed again. Instead of spending a relaxing afternoon flying with her former sqaudron from the Air Force she got to fly the BDB 2 and rendezvous with the Immersion Station. The launch control announcer steadily counted down the seconds with a clear and crisp pronounciation: "10" "9" "8" "7" "6" "5" "Main Engine Start" "3" "2" "1" "Lift Off!" The BDB 2 leapt off the launch pad faster than a bat out of hell and faster than Val's beloved KAF-23 fighter jet. Inside the capsule Val gritted her teeth through the extreme acceleration cursing Bill for designing such an uncomfortable ride. After a few painful minutes the first stage seperated and Val primed the second stage for ignition. A few seconds later she heard the loud beep in her helmet telling her to pull the priming handle. Then she felt a large force pressing her deeper into her seat as the craft built up speed and then finally it cut out. Through her window she could see the red and white flames of plasma licking the outer hull of the ship as it passed into space. As the ship was drifting towards the apoapsis she decided to call Bill to give him an earful regarding the ascent of the BDB2: "Bill what in the name of Squad made you decide to use SRBs on a freaking kerballed spacecraft!" Poor Bill on the other side of the line nearly jumped through the ceiling when Val yelled at him. She then proceeded to call him a few choice names which were too vulgar to be included within this narrative. Val then noticed that the ship was getting rather close to the apoapsis so she ceased her verbal bashing of poor Bill and gunned the four engines to power the small little ship into orbit. Bit by bit the ship nudged itself into orbit with every moment filled with Val cursing Bill for being such a cheapskate. To be continued
  4. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Jeb Talks to The Board "By Squad!" yelled Jeb, "Why do I need to be hauled into another Squadawful Board meeting!?" "Calm down Jeb!" pleaded Bill, "They're only conducting a review on the program." "Only conducting a review!" snorted Jeb, "Ha! If they find anything out of place they'll have my head!" "Whatever you say Jeb..." sighed Bill. The two of them walked into the Board room once again and Jeb began the laborious process of recounting what events had recently happened in the program. Clearing his throat Jeb began his presentation. "Regarding the Board's worries about the Kerbin World Firsts Society we have intelligence, provided by my contacts in the Kerbian Air Force, that their operation is not exactly going to plan and their schedule is slipping week by week..." However what Jeb had neglected to mention is that he had recently sent Wernher to deliberately sabotage the KWFS' rocket production line by replacing all of their rocket fuel with melted cheese and snacks. Wernher later commented when he returned back to the space centre that: "It vas like being back in ze Kerman Bomb Squad! Ah those vere the days!" Returning back to Jeb's talk... "Regarding our own program it was decided that we would cancel the Immersion reusable vehicle program and instead focus on Bill's new low cost Big Dumb Booster project...." At this there was some grumbling among some members of the Board who were slightly miffed they had poured several thousand funds into the Immersion program only for it to be cancelled. Jeb then proceeded to flash on the projector screen a picture of a new launch vehicle which quickly piqued the interest of the Board members. Continuing on Jeb said, "We have made extensive modifications to the original Big Dumb Booster design allowing this bad boy to reach LKO for a cost of around 8000 credits making it one of our cheapest Kerballed manned orbiters...." At this there was some polite but large amount of applause from the Board. Ignoring this Jeb pressed on, "This Big Dumb Booster Mark II is also partially reusable with the command module able to be reused multiple times with minimal repair and servicing drving down the cost even further.." There was even more applause from Jeb's enthralled audience. Ignoring them once again Jeb concluded his talk, "This vehicle in combination with unmanned fuel/ supply tankers and our recently launched space station will be able to reach a variety of destinations in the Kerbol System! In fact in a few days to prove to you the applications for this new vehicle we will perform our first ever manned docking and crew transfer with this vehicle and the Immersion Space Station!" There was now a thundering of applause as the Board realised the implications and applications for this brand new vehicle. Jeb took his bow and quickly dashed out of the Board room with Bill. Sighing out loud Jeb said to Bill, "Thank Squad all of them forgot about the Immersion stage crashing into the ocean!"
  5. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Another Station?!?!?!? Part II Valentina glanced up anxiously at the Imersion 2 Station the successor to the ill fated Angel Station. "Bill I still think this is a bad idea." said Valentina. "Nonsense Valentina this whole mission will go great and Jeb will be extremely pleased." replied Bill. "Hmmm..." muttered Valentina. A few minutes later "Standby for launch."came the loud voice of the launch commentator. "T-minus 10" "9" "8" "7" "6" "5" "Main Engine Start" "3" "2" "1" "Lift-off of the Imersion Station successor to the Angel Station!" Inside Mission Control there was a frenzy of activity as the mission was underway. There was currently a running bet to see if either the ship would explode upon reaching space or the station would not fulfill the contract at all. "Beginning gravity turn" continued the launch commentator. At the hospital Jeb watched the launch in his bed with his fiancée Mismera. Jeb was visibly sweating and muttered to Mismera: "By Squad this launch better be successful or the Board will have my head!" "Don't worry my love the launch will go according to plan." consoled Mismera. Jeb felt the thumping in his ears reduce by a little bit after hearing that comment. Back at Mission Control everyone was preparing to recover the experimental reusable first stage which had yet to go successfully..... "Flight we have 1st stage seperation and re-entry into the atmosphere." announced the Booster Systems Engineer. "Copy that Booster." replied Valentina who had decided she needed to be personally in control of this whole affair. On the Main Screen at the front of Mission Control the booster was diving through the first layers of the atmosphere. While all of this was happening the second stage, i.e the station was continuing onto orbit. "All right everyone," said Valentina, "Let's prep for parachute depolyment." Everyone's gaze returned back to their own individual stations and instruments then suddenly the Booster Systems engineer called out, "Flight we have drogue chute deployment....now we have main chute deployment," There was a collective sigh of relief in the room as there was a higher chance of the mission succeeding. On the screen the booster drifted downward.... Suddenly there was a loud shout from the Booster Engineer, "Oh karp! Flight she's falling way too fast and the ship's out of any more fuel to slow down!" Valentina calmly replied, "Booster what's the stage's current speed?" "Approximately 35 m/s" came the reply "Karp!" exclaimed Valentina, "The whole stage is going to crash!" The whole of Mission Control watched helplessly as the rather expensive reusable first stage plummeted into the North Kerbian Ocean. Valentina rubbed her forehead trying to relieve the pounding headache she had just developed then she spoke the words that every flight director hoped to never say: "Gc lock the doors....". To be continued
  6. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Another Station!!!?!?! Jeb was sipping his morning coffee while looking through the large amount of paperwork and budget reviews that had been dumped on his desk. Suddenly someone or something burst through his office door nearly knocking it off its hinges said person was in fact Bill. Jeb sighed and said, "What is it now Bill, if it's another accident at the VAB I'm not sure our insurance can keep covering ,"injury while handling experimental rocket fuel"...... "No it's not that Jeb!" exclaimed Bill, "I just came along to talk about my new brilliant idea." "Oh what is it?" Bill then plucked a hastily drawn sketch out of his bag and showed it to Jeb. Jeb took one glance at it and promptly fainted. Making it Bill's cue to once again call the ambulance to collect Jeb. You see this is what Bill's brilliant idea was: Don't recognise it.? Well here's a picture of another spacecraft from earlier in the narrative: Well if you didn't you might remember the aborted Angel Station that wasted a significant amount of the company's money. Bill's brilliant idea was to launch a second iteration of the station for use as a training and target vehicle in addition to being used as a laboratory and construction outpost. So it was quite understandable that Jeb fainted namely because he didn't want to launch the same type of station that wasted a significant amount of the company's funds....
  7. Life Looks for Life - (Prologue Continued)

    This is great looking forward to seeing more!
  8. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    The Big Dumb Booster Jeb sat rather anxiously in the cramped capsule and muttered to himself, "How the hell did I end up here......?" A few weeks ago.... "Ok Bill what hair brained idea do you have now ? " sighed Jeb as he plonked his large cowboy boots on his large mahogany desk. It was now a few days after Jeb had gotten engaged to Mismera and he was hoping to not end up dying before his wedding. "Well Jeb I was thinking..." "You're always thinking Bill and it usually ends up with me in some contraption of yours that nearly kills me!" "This is different it's important and it will be exciting." "How so?" Bill then proceeded to take a large blue print out of his briefcase and smoothed it down on Jeb's desk. Jeb peered down at the blueprint and then said to Bill, "What exactly are we supposed to use this for?" "Well Jeb I was thinking that we could use this BDB..." "BDB?" interrupted Jeb. "Big Dumb Booster." "Ah." "Anyway" continued Bill, " We could use this BDB as a form of low cost orbital tourism and/or transportation. If we exploit this the right way we could drastically lower the cost of rocket launches!" Jeb pondered this large deluge of information in silence he then exclaimed, "My Squad Bill. The whole thing is made up of SRBs how is this in anyway safe?!" "Well that's why I"m asking you to pilot a test flight..." Back to the present (but a few minutes before Jeb end up in orbit) Jeb gritted his teeth as the g-force acceleration slowly built up as the SRBs roaring thrust increased. The acceleration was nothing like he had ever felt before even when he was flying the first spacecraft for the company. The noise was overwhelming and it seemed like his head would explode from the vibrations and din the SRBs were causing. Suddenly there was a loud clunk then a bang as the first stage, composed of five clustered SRBs, seperated and the large second stage ignited. The noise and chaos built up even further and Jeb was finding it hard to keep his eyes open. Finally the second stage sperated and Jeb drifted in a moment of relative peace. Jeb let out a relieved sigh that at least he had made it this far. Then he groaned as his computer informed him that the orbital kicker stage was about to ignite. A slight rumble and acceleration occured significantly less compared to the chaos that was the launch of the BDB. Finally everything stopped and Jeb was able to relax once again. The present(as in the present where we have finally caught up with the main narrative) Jeb was reporting back to Mission Control about his current observations and was sneaking in a few selfies of him with Kerbin in the backround to show to Mismera. While he was taking his one hundreth selfie a loud beep sounded inside the capsule indicating that Mission Control wanted to speak to him. "BDB 1 this is AT Control prepare to begin reentry and splashdown." Jeb smiled as he realised that it was Mismera speaking to him and replied, "Copy that AT Control and I'll be home in time of dinner darling!" "You better be." replied Mismera. Jeb then seperated the depleted orbital kicker stage and prepared to fire the retrorockets that would deorbit the capsule and land him back on Kerbin. Jeb fired the first pair of retrorockets which lowered his orbit by a little bit however not enough to enter the atmosphere. This procedure was all part of the mission plan. To save weight Bill had designed the BDB to have just enough retrorockets so that the capsule would be able to skim the atmosphere then finally enter it via the use of several long aerobrake passes. The light outside the capsule vanished as the craft passed into the dark side of Kerbin and the first pair of retrorockets had been depleted. For several hours Jeb and his capsule spun around Kerbin bit by bit lowering the velocity of the craft to allow it to reenter. Jeb then fired up the second pair of retrorockets which gave the push for the capsule to properly enter the atmosphere and allowing Jeb to safely return home to see his fiancée.
  9. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    A Few Interludes Valentina was sitting at her desk sifting through the mound of paperwork that had surely but slowly accumalated on her desk. As she was about to get started she heard a suprised yell come from the reception room of Mission Control. Sighing she got up to see what all the fuss was and to her amazement there was Jeb sitting on one knee and raising a ring to a rather young looking female kerbal called Mismera. Valentina couldn't believe her eyes. Jebediah Kerman of all people was proposing to someone?! A large party insured and everyone quickly became intoxicated after the large amount of hydrzine present. Wernher in particular was wobbling quite a lot and was jabbering on about his childhood in Kermany. The morning after Jeb woke up in his office and quickly noticed that a) he seemed to have lost his shirt and tie. And b) he was on the ceiling. As this registered he fell down with a loud thump thankfully not breaking anything. The Intensive Care Unit at the local hospital was starting to get tired of Jeb's increasingly frequent visits. Jeb glanced to his desk and noticed that someone had left a large parcel there. He brushed himself off and opened the package inside there was a picture of the new RLV and signed at the bottom was the message: "My love one day you'll touch Duna...Mismera" Jeb smiled and got dressed ready to continue the road to duna
  10. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Sorry for the wait guys I've just had a few busy weeks of exams new posts will be coming soon!
  11. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    A Space Race Valentina rubbed her forhead in a vain effort to relieve some of the pain from the headache she had developed after Jeb had been incapacitated again... So all the usual tasks of running the space centre were handed over to her. Under normal circumstances she woukd have been thrilled but she was under sever pressure from the Board to get ahead of the competition. She glanced at some of the intellegence reports regarding the Kerbin World Firsts Society. Frankly she had no idea how the Board had managed to come by this information and nor did she particularly want to find out. But in any case it looked like the KWFS was off to a good start (good news for them but terrible news for Adamantium Tech). They had managed to place several satellites in orbit Valentina chuckled at the crudity of their design but also admired their genius. Using several SRBs coupled together they had managed to lob a 0.218 ton satellite into Low Kerbin Orbit. She then examined an aerial shot of their space centre noticing that it was remarkably similar to Adamantium's space centre. She supposed it was because it was designed by Wernher's twin brother Wernher. But the buildings and facilities were not as advanced as Adamantium's and she hoped it would stay that way... Turning her attention away from the reports she glanced at the mission summary of Adamantium Tech's unkerballed Minmmus orbital return probe. From what she gleaned it was rather successful...
  12. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Hey guys I've been a little busy due to the onslaught of exams coming. But the next post should be coming soon!
  13. Crossed Fingers - Insanely valuable rocks

    Quite an interesting story and lots of awesome ships keep up the good work!
  14. The Road to Duna - Val's Fiery Descent

    Sorry for the wait but here's the next chapter! Another Board Meeting "For Squad's sake Bill do I have to see the Board again!" "Jeb appparently they want to tell you something rather important.." "Important my behind they wouldn't be able to tell what important was even if they looked up from their budget sheets!" After Jeb completed his little rant he headed to his appartment to have a stiff drink and a change of clothes in preperation for the Board meeting. A few hours later Jeb walked into the Administration Building carrying various files and a medium sized projector. As he walked in he noticed that most of the Board members looked like that they had all simultaneously suffered a severe stroke but one of the members spoke up and said "Mr Kerman give us a status update on all our current operations." Jeb was slightly puzzled as to why the Board looked so worried but he set up his projector and began his presentation. "Well since the test flight of the new Reusable Launch Vehicle we have modified it and added a bit more fuel to the first stage. Allowing a softer landing upon touchdown. Moreover we have added some stabilisers to the second stage to increase stability and prevent any tumbling during re-entry..." "Also the VAB team and the R&D Depatrment are busy working on a second version to be used as a refuelling tanker for various spacecraft..." "Finally the Minmmus orbital probe is under the final stages of construction and we're beginning pre-flight simmulations..." After Jeb had completed his presentation a junior member of the Board stood up and said to Jeb, "Mr Kerman what do you know of The Kerbin World Firsts Society." "Well only what's heard in the press. That it's a small government funded charity for space programs. Why do you ask." The Board member ignored the question and then asked Jeb, "Mr Kerman how sure are you that you can get us to Duna..." "Almost one hundred percent sure that we can land a kerbanaut on Duna in around five to eight years." The Board member nodded and said, "You might need to rethink your schedule." He then slid a small file down the table to Jeb. Who opened it and then proceeded to faint to the floor. What had made Jeb faint you ask? Well in the seemingly harmless file Jeb had saw images and classified articles stating that the Kerbin World Firsts Society had managed to assemble its own funds and started its own space program with the intention of landing kerbalnauts on Duna. Below are some of the images that were in that file: CLASSIFIED KERBIN WORLD FIRSTS SOCIETY PROPERTY LEVEL ALPHA SECURITY CLEARANCE TO ACCESS THIS INFORMATION Jeb was again rushed to the nearest hospital and the rest of the Original Four was left to sort out the situation the Board had dumped on them....
  15. So are you going to end up flying an apollo like craft to mars? If so that's awesome if not interested to see what's planned