Mars-Bound Hokie

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About Mars-Bound Hokie

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    Admiral of Dres Colonization Fleet

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  • Location U.S.S. Defiant, Low Dres Orbit

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  1. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Captain Red's Log

    STARDATE: Y4-D370-4H55M Jayme, Andrew, and Kyle are back in the Defiant with no problems to report - and a note that Colorado Base and the mini-bus are working perfectly. Doctor Chyna also said that so far, neither they not Bruce, Lizard, or I have any health problems. I advised Mission Control that we need to send a truck to the foot of the Canyon to make refueling easier and faster, and they plan to send one when the next transfer window - along with Captain Mason and his crew. Also, Andrew was able to pilot the ore transport remotely from Colorado Base. I seem to find that the biggest "blind spot" is located near our first surface relay and Dresden Base. Bruce and Jayme have advised me that we need more stationary coverage in not only that particular blind spot, but in strategic locations between Dresden and Colorado Bases. While I informed Kerbin that we need more surface-based relays, I cancelled my order for an extra battery pack as the Defiant seems to be doing fine with power for some reason. Maybe it has something to do with orientation, or the fact that I have a lander still attached to it, but I'm glad it's working out. Speaking of which, how do I disable crossfeed with a claw? I need to convert my ore to fuel and oxidizer before my next ore run, and I don't want the lander to steal some of it. This is especially important if I decide to convert to pure liquid fuel, as the lander taking in fuel without the necessary oxidizer is just hauling dead weight. Back home, we're trying to send another resource scanner to Moho after our first two tries failed. I know the official plan is to save Moho for last (or second-to-last) on Kerbin's solar system expansion list, but we can at least get things set up. And if that goes well, who knows - we may move Moho higher up on the list. Michael also got a promotion to master sergeant and $250,000 in compensation for Mission Control neglecting to inform him of the extended stay... and, basically, neglecting to pick him up AND obstructing all efforts to do so. Alex also got $50,000 in damages, since he was fired and subsequently charged with sabotage when he told Michael how to hack the Mun-Minmus lander. All charges were then dropped when it was learned that Mission Control had no plans to pick up Michael. So, anyway, back to the Dres events. Everything seems to be working fine except for occasional blind spots, and all the bases are working operationally. The return window opens in four days, but the plan was to wait until Mason's crew gets here to refuel his pod and use it to go back home. Plus, I owe his chief science officer, Tayo, a satellite-view map of the Canyon as well as a scenic photograph after losing a bet.
  2. CHAPTER TWO: INITIAL HYPOTHESES “POISONED?!” “I’m afraid so, Captain,” said Commander Gustov. “I will order all cadets and base personnel tested to see whether or not this is an isolated incident.” “But… how?” gasped Jeb. “She was acting fine this morning.” “Once we find out what she was poisoned with, we’ll find out how that was possible,” explained Gustov. “Either way, this was a planned hit.” “Somebody TRIED to kill her,” said Jeb. “You think he tried to kill me, too?” “We don’t even know if the poisoning and Moonjet sabotage are even connected,” sighed Gustov. “Heck, we don’t even know if Agaden was the intended target – or even you. Whatever the case may be, Eeloo is on total lockdown.” “But my friend Bill is coming here from Duna,” reminded Jeb. “Hopefully, this matter is resolved before his ship gets here,” said Gustov. “However, if it’s not, he’ll have to make a parking orbit and stay there – no rendezvous unless otherwise ordered.” “Okay,” sighed Jeb. “Just so we’re clear, you’re not blaming me for this?” “Not unless you poisoned Agaden, which I highly doubt you did,” said Gustov. “As for the virus… well… remember the last time you tried to reprogram a spacecraft?” “Yeah, we had to wait for days for Mission Control to send us the source code before I could use it again,” Jeb recalled. “This particular virus went unnoticed until your Moonjet was active, which meant whoever hacked it was good… whereas you’re terrible at coding.” “Hey, if it were up to me, we’d have good pilots on the force instead of half-witted fools with copycats doing our job,” complained Jeb. “From what I hear, your friend Admiral Val uses it all the time,” commented Gustov, “except, maybe, for the docking autopilot, but that function wastes more time than a base converting ore into monoprop – like they need it.” “Does Agaden have family or friends?” asked Jeb. “I shall inform the cadets,” said Gustov. “Eeloo Command should have already notified Kerbin, and they’re supposed to notify her family.” “Thank you, Commander,” replied Jeb. “Don’t you think they should hear her final words?” “I’ll tell them,” offered Gustov, “along with the corroborating evidence that you did not crash the Moonjet. The doctor also let me know that, had Agaden not been poisoned, she would have walked away from the crash with just a broken rib and a mild concussion – nothing fatal.” “Thanks,” said Jeb. “You know what, take a few days leave,” said Gustov. “The death of a student on your watch can be quite traumatic… not to mention it will be a while before we can figure out what’s going on here.” Jeb thanked his commander again and returned to his quarters. After he sat down on his bed, he saw that he got a text message from Bill. It was protocol that interplanetary communications, even to ships in transit, would be in text or email messages since direct video or audio communication could get messed up along the way. There was also the issue of how long it took signals to travel across the Kerbol system, despite strong relay coverage for the parties in question. Hey, Jeb, how’s it going? Bad. What now, you crash another lander? First of all, it was a Moonjet. And technically, I did NOT crash it. Let me guess, you’re gonna blame the engineer for some unforeseen design flaw. If that flaw was a lack of an antivirus program, then yes. Antivirus? You mean the Moonjet was HACKED? Yes. What’s worse, my student pilot’s dead. That’s weird. You’ve been in poorly designed spacecraft and planes before, yet you always managed to walk away fine. Your passengers may have had vomiting and/or broken bones, but no fatalities (that I know of). Some of those planes were YOUR design. Agaden was poisoned – even if the Moonjet was perfectly fine, she would have died anyway. Agaden – the student who died? Yes. My condolences. Well, this puts a dent in my ski trip. Ski trip? I tested new skis designed to fit my EVA suit’s boots on Duna’s polar ice caps. If they work on Eeloo, our program will make a buttload of money out of tourists wanting to go to other planets for ski trips. How long until you’re within Eeloo’s SOI 30 days, 3 hours, 54 minutes If all goes well, they’ll lift the lockdown before you arrive. Hey, how can you fix a plane that’s been hacked? You could try plugging the infected probe core into a disconnected computer that’s not real valuable (e.g. DO NOT PLUG IT IN TO THE LIFE SUPPORT CONTROLS). Then you can get into the virus’ code itself, finding out how exactly it made your Moonjet lose control. If it’s too risky to examine the probe core, wipe its memory clean. All planetary commands are required to have base codes for all spacecraft types within their sphere of influence, so they can plug in a fresh new source code for the Moonjet (assuming it can be fixed). Maybe Mission Control screwed up on a new software update Possible, but highly unlikely. They always test their new software updates before sending the software package. Yeah, you’re probably right. I seriously doubt that testing in an atmosphere vs vacuum use should affect whether or not the drill deploys while stowed. Wait, the drill actually WENT THROUGH the bay doors? No kidding. What’s worse, we lost our oxygen through the hole. Good thing we put on EVA suits before we crashed, otherwise we would have suffocated to death. That’s just messed up. The cargo bay’s supposed to depressurize before opening, and the drill’s not supposed to deploy while stowed. Why does the drill bay even allow oxygen flow in the first place? Duh, in case we need to fix it while in transit. Even if you repeatedly hit the switch for the drill, it’s not supposed to turn on while it’s stowed – or while you’re flying, for that matter. There’s a passcode you need for that drill to turn on while you’re in space, but that’s only for when you’re docked with a space station and you need to mess with it. That’s not all, dude. - When I hit the off switch for the drill, the converter turned on (and no radiators to go with it) - I pulled the landing gear lever, but the main engines fired and almost killed me. Man, you’re lucky to be alive. I seriously doubt that it’s a software update gone bad. If it was, we’d be hearing about more Moonjet crashes pretty soon. Was your jet working fine before it started to act up? Yes, which is weird. Agaden was circularizing her phasing orbit at periapsis when the Moonjet decided to go on a crashing trajectory. She tried to fix it, but nothing – same case when I tried. Huh. It’s a long shot, but you might wanna check what she was trying to rendezvous with in case its computers are infected too. Manual control always reigns supreme unless it’s an emergency (pilots unable to perform, hijacking, etc), but even then, you’ll get notified and the drill shouldn’t puncture the cargo doors. Watch your back, buddy. You said Agaden was poisoned, right? Yes. It’s clear that some psycho tried to kill you – or at least Agaden. You should tell your commander to get all spacecraft checked for functioning software IMMEDIATELY BEFORE USE, or else there may be another incident like the ones you have. - Any one of them start glitching or acting up, that’s a sign it’s infected. I’ll watch my back, dude. Have a safe flight. We will. My pilot has a lower accident liability record than you, I’m the designated mechanic, and I have a base code for the pod in case of a hacking incident I can’t fix. Hey. Suddenly, Jeb heard a knock on his door. “Come in.” “Captain Jebediah,” said Dr. Marie as she opened the door. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything.” “Not really,” said Jeb, putting away his kPad as Dr. Marie closed the door. “I was just texting my friend, Bill.” “I believe I neglected to give you a follow-up exam after your arrival,” Dr. Marie told him. “I’m fine,” sighed Jeb. “I won’t believe that until I see proof,” said Dr. Marie, taking a medical scanner from her bag. “Take off your shirt, please.” “Okay… what for?” “To check for internal injuries you may have sustained during the crash,” said Dr. Marie, “or at least for your upper body. I’ll look away as you do the lower yourself, but I will know if you didn’t scan everything.” “How do I use it?” asked Jeb as he removed the upper section of his uniform. “Watch.” Dr. Marie carefully waved the scanner around Jeb’s head, arms, and upper body – finishing with his torso. “Huh, nothing seems to be broken.” Jeb took the scanner and Dr. Marie looked away from him. “How come I’m fine while Agaden got broken ribs and a concussion?” wondered Jeb while he scanned his legs. “It is possible that the toxin that killed her also weakened her and slowed down her reaction time while you two bailed out of the jet,” conjectured Dr. Marie. “You done?” “Yes,” said Jeb as he gave her the medical scanner. “No injuries there either.” “Commander Gustov said that she would have died anyway even if the plane was working correctly,” added Jeb, sitting on his bed next to Dr. Marie. “Well, depending on the kind of poison, her chances of survival would have increased if she had sought medical attention,” said Dr. Marie. “How was she acting before she died?” “Come on, think… oh, she said she was feeling kinda dizzy while we were crashing,” Jeb recalled. “I didn’t really think that was important since A LOT of people get dizzy whenever they fly with me – or in this case, fly with me in malfunctioning SSTOs.” “Go on.” “She also sounded kinda weak under the EVA suit,” added Jeb. “Until you said that she died, I thought she was just another weak-stomached student who passed out.” “How many of your students passed out during behind-the-wheel training?” wondered Dr. Marie. “Four, but all of them were VERY MUCH ALIVE the next day,” answered Jeb. “Still have no idea how Agaden got poisoned; it’s not like we were carrying chemicals in the Moonjet.” “A lot of Moonjets carry science,” reminded Dr. Marie. “My ex-boyfriend pilots one on Ike.” “Yeah, but this one was made specifically for cadet training,” added Jeb. “No science there.” “You think atmospheric composition, or even a leak, had something to do with it?” asked Dr. Marie. “Maybe not, since I’M still alive and, as you pointed out, perfectly fine.” “That remains to be seen,” said Dr. Marie, producing a syringe from her bag. “Hold still, please.” “What are you… OW!” said Jeb as she poked his arm with the syringe. “What’d you do?” “Taking a blood sample. I want to make sure you’re not poisoned as well,” explained Dr. Marie. “Commander Gustov also wanted me to tell you to see a counselor within the next 12 hours.” “Troy, but he’s in orbit on Hades Station,” complained Jeb. “I can’t get up there until the lockdown ends.” “You could just videochat him,” suggested Dr. Marie. “He is in the same sphere of influence, after all, and we have good coverage here.” “Thanks, Doc,” sighed Jeb. “Please, call me Marie,” the doctor replied. “If you need anything, you have my kPad number.” “So glad those are standard-issue,” said Jeb. “Too bad the mechanical copycat is standard-issue, too.” “Oh, MechJeb?” wondered Dr. Marie. “My job has been WAY easier thanks to that, not to mention we save plenty of fuel that way.” “If we only had GOOD pilots instead of mid-level ones, your patient count would still be low,” complained Jeb as Dr. Marie left his quarters. Suddenly, his kPad beeped. It was another text message from Bill, only it was on a group chat with two more of his friends: Admiral Valentina, and a scientist named Bob. Bill Any ideas why anyone would want to kill Jeb and/ore his student, Agaden? * or Val Wait, someone sabotaged Jeb’s plane? Jeb Yes, someone sabotaged my plane. They also poisoned Agaden. Bob POISONED? Bill Yes, @Bob. His plane was also hacked. Val HACKED? For a while, I thought somebody forgot to turn on the ore converter or the drill. Bill Why would you think that, @Val? Val I can’t tell you how many times launches got delayed because somebody forgot to turn on the drills/ore converters. Some people even forget the radiators or the panels… or even all of them. Bob She’s right, that happens all the time in Jool. Jeb Does this also happen in Jool? · Drills destroying their own cargo bays. · Spacecraft mistaking landing legs for thrusters · RCS turning on when they’re not supposed to – or ore converters for that matter. Bob Well, I read about one Moonjet on Minmus blowing up after the drill was switched on, but that was because of a faulty fail-safe program combined with some idiot forgetting to turn on the radiators. Val @Bill, that was you, wasn’t it? Bill @Val, I was in a mini-bus kilometers away when Carl was supposed to be monitoring it. Jeb @Bill and @Val, can you please knock it off? Badass pilot with dead student here. Bill @Jeb’s right. Any one of us could be next. Bob @Bill, I seriously doubt any of us are going to be poisoned. I mean, if it happened on Eeloo, odds are that he or she will stay on Eeloo. Val I also checked Transfer Window Alarm Clock – the next transfer window from Eeloo to anywhere doesn’t open for another 83 days (and that’s for Jool). Unless your killer doesn’t care about saving delta-V, he’s not going anywhere for a while. Jeb FYI, @Bill’s arriving in Eeloo in 30 days. Bill I was talking about being trapped in a malfunctioning spacecraft, which can happen ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. Also, FYI, when fully gassed up, the Interplanetary Travel Pod Mk. IVb can have up to 6950 m/s of delta-V. 6950 > 6250 (from Eeloo to Moho) Jeb It’s not going anywhere, neither are any ascent vehicles – not as long as we have a lockdown in place. Val It will take more than a simple SOI lockdown order to keep the killer contained. He could probably jailbreak the ascent vehicle and get out of there unnoticed (or at least too late for anyone to take action). Bob Assuming the hacker and the poisoner are the same person. Regardless, you could also send another ascent vehicle to rendezvous with the getaway craft/s and make sure he doesn’t escape. Or remotely pilot the interplanetary pod to alter the orbit and make the killer’s getaway far more difficult. Bill Assuming the other ascent craft aren’t grounded due to a spoofed lockdown order (or at least messed-up code) Val @Bill, don’t be a scaredy-naut. They’ll catch the killer AND the hacker. Besides, erasing bad software and replacing it with the source code WHILE IN TRANSIT shouldn’t be too hard for an engineer. Jeb I’m gonna find who framed me for being a bad pilot if it’s the last thing I do. Val I think he just wanted to kill Agaden and not necessarily make you look bad. I mean, how was he supposed to know that Agaden would be piloting with you in THAT SPECIFIC SSTO? Bill Duh, he could hack the roster and find out who would be taking what training craft at what times? Jeb How would you know that? Bill Because I conducted the program survey to see what age group and gender would be the most likely to cause vehicle accidents, both non-fatal and fatal. - Males aged 18 to 26 are the most likely to cause fatal accidents – BY FAR. I also wrote an algorithm to determine the best order of incoming cadets to be trained based on the probability that he or she would cause a fatal accident (lowest probability first, highest last). Not even the instructors want to die. Jeb Thanks a lot, @Bill. I’d have just gone randomly. Suddenly, Jeb got another email. He closed out of Kerbtext and saw that it was from “Jebediah Kerman Senior.” “What now, Dad?” sighed Jeb as he opened it. There was nothing in it but a video attachment on it. When he opened it, he saw his father, Jebediah Kerman Senior, standing in front of the launch pad at night. “Hey, Jeb, it’s your dad,” said Jeb Senior. “My secretary said I should probably write an email, but, as you know, I’m kinda old-fashioned. I eventually compromised and decided to send you a video attachment.” “Why is Dad in front of the launch pad?” wondered Jeb. “So, here’s the deal. Jeb’s Junkyard has taken up a contract with the space program to construct a bridge to go across this big hole on some planet. And, wouldn’t you know it, I’m going to supervise it. It’s some place called Moron… or North Pole… dang it.” Jeb Senior then took out a kPad from his blazer. “Hey, Stephen, what was that place called again?” “Moho,” a male voice replied from the kPad. “Stephen” was the kPad’s voice activated assistance system. “Oh, yeah,” said Jeb Senior. “Anyway, I’m going with some spaceships to supervise the construction of a big bridge across a giant hole in this place called Moho. When it’s done, you can drive a rover across it without wasting power trying to go around it. You know how many rovers were lost because some crazyheads thought they could jump it? Lots.” “Let me guess, you’re gonna blame me for starting a creed of daring pilots,” sighed Jeb. “You probably had something to do with that, but those days are over,” continued his father. “This is the second time I’ve been in space since that time I went with you to the Mun while you were on leave. So, anyway, how are things going on your end? I hear that you’ve become some kind of flight teacher or something. Well… don’t fly like your mother.” Jeb then remembered how his father constantly reminded him that his mother used to be the best, and craziest, pilot back home on Kerbin. “Please send me a video file when you get this, I’d like to see my son’s face. Thank you, Dad out.” “What do I tell him?” sighed Jeb. “Hey, Dad, how’s it going? A plane crashed – totally not my fault – and a student was POISONED to death. Hope your fleet is okay, love your son.” He played some Angry Vipers on his kPad before there was a knock on his door. “Oh, come in,” he said as he hastily put his shirt back on. “Hey, Captain,” said Hadgan. “Sorry if I was out of line back there. Commander Gustov told me that your plane was hacked, and the cadet’s death was not your fault.” “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be piloting an ore converter?” wondered Jeb. “Meh, I got an hour and a half before I make my Hohmann transfer,” sighed Hadgan, checking his watch. “Anyway, Mission Control just sent us the latest season of The Kerbsons. Those of us not on duty are going to the rec room to watch, wanna come?” “Sure, whatever,” sighed Jeb. “Oh, and P.S., your shirt’s on backwards.” Hadgan left Jeb to his privacy as Jeb adjusted his shirt. “How did you escape unscathed?” he asked while he and Jeb walked to the rec room. “Agaden was poisoned,” said Jeb, and Hadgan gasped in shock. “Did you say she was POISONED?” he wondered. “Yes, so don’t be surprised if you get called over for a blood test,” added Jeb. “Frankly, I think I’d rather face death from a malfunctioning jet than toxins; at least I can crash-land or bail out of lost causes.” “Oh… dear,” said Hadgan. “What is it?” “Oh… nothing.” The two of them walked silently to the rec room, where several cadets and crewmembers were laughing at Barf Kerbson’s latest prank.
  3. A MYSTERY BEYOND SCIENCE A Kerbal Mystery Thriller Prologue: The Trial Chapter 1: Fallen Student Chapter 2: Initial Hypotheses Chapter 3: (STAY TUNED) To be continued PROLOGUE: THE TRIAL As the sun set over the town of Krakopolis, its inhabitants were gathered around the town square. The evening was their favorite time of day; not only were they off work at this point, but the photosynthetic Kerbals could charge their cells’ chloroplasts at their pleasure. Nobody knew exactly how the people of the planet Kerbin became this way, only that it provided an evolutionary advantage as well as turned their skin green. However, they were now more interested in what was going on in the city courthouse. Sitting in the defendant’s chair was Misty Kerman, a scientist in the recently-formed Kerbal Space Program. It had not yet sent anybody into space, but at least it sent small probes – such as the Stayputnik – and some relay antennae into low Kerbin orbit. Aside from government funding – which was really low compared to its massive military and entitlement programs – the program had completed contracts from private citizens and corporations for money. Almost 30 days ago, it had accepted a contract from the Koyota automobile company to research self-charging electric cars – that did not require any fuel cells (or fuel, for that matter). One of its engineers, Debra Kerman, had eagerly hopped on board to accomplish this task. Until she died when the rover collided with the research and development building. Director Werner Von Kerman thought it was just another design flaw in the vehicle, as several other volunteers have died in rover accidents, until further investigation proved that the rover was tampered with before the accident. Besides the seatbelt mechanism missing several crucial components – all of which were included in Debra’s final design report – the brake lines were cut and so were the controls enabling the rover to go in reverse. Believing that this was sabotage intended to kill Debra, the police later found evidence that Debra’s science partner, Misty, was having a heated argument with Debra the day before she died. After finding an oil-stained shirt Misty’s size in the garbage near the vehicle assembly building, they executed a search warrant in Misty’s quarters and found a shrine centered around Debra’s then-boyfriend, a pilot named Dilford. Believing it to be a crime of passion, Misty was arrested and charged with Debra’s murder. “Has the jury reached a verdict?” asked Judge Ruth. “We have, your honor,” said the foreman. “On the sole charge of the indictment, how do you find?” Misty almost looked nervous, as the evidence against her seemed pretty strong. “We find the defendant… not guilty.” Misty and her lawyer, Thurgood, embraced in relief. Misty had also been charged with vehicular sabotage in the first degree, but the judge decided to tie it with the murder charge as the sabotage was intended to be fatal. “Assuming no other holds, Misty Kerman, you are free to go,” said Judge Ruth. “No, you’re making a mistake!” shouted Debra’s father, Dwight. “How much did she pay you?!” “Order in the court!” said Ruth before banging her gavel. “I know you killed her,” continued Dwight. “How much did you bribe the jury?!” “That’s enough, Dwight. One more word, and I’ll have you forcibly removed.” Dwight continued ranting at Misty as she left, but she ignored him. “Thanks for being there for me,” said Misty as Dilford ran into her outside the courtroom. “I know you and Debra were friends,” started Dilford, “but I’m only going to ask you one more time and I want you to be honest with me.” “Okay, shoot,” said Misty, hinting enthusiasm in her voice. “Did you kill Debra?” asked Dilford. “Of course not,” answered Misty, “don’t be ridiculous.” “Even if you did, they cannot touch you anymore,” reminded Dilford. “Remember: double jeopardy is against the Constitution.” “Why would I bother confessing to a crime I didn’t commit?” said Misty. “Maybe someone higher up, or even the cops, were on the oil industry’s payroll when they killed Debra.” “Why would the oil industry want Debra dead?” wondered Dilford. “If Debra succeeded in making an electric car, pretty soon nobody would bother buying gas,” explained Misty. “I… don’t… understand,” stammered Dilford, then Misty put her hand on his shoulder. “The important thing is that the corrupt have failed to put an innocent woman behind bars for a murder she didn’t commit,” she told him. “I’ll be there for you… always.” CHAPTER ONE: FALLEN STUDENT (28 YEARS LATER) Jebediah Kerman had just woken up after a good two hours of sleep in his quarters. He had requested that he sleep next to the base’s ore processor so that he could get warmer off the extra heat generated. Despite Frosty Base’s insulation and immense power generation capacity, Eeloo could get extremely cold – especially in the nights. Not only did the planet have no atmosphere, leaving it exposed to the cold vacuum of space, it was the farthest away from the sun in the Kerbol system. He had a busy day ahead of him. 24 hours ago, an interplanetary transport pod had arrived with 6 elite pilot cadets awaiting the final phase of their training. Jeb had been assigned to train these pilots one-by-one in the Moonjet, an SSTO designed to take people anywhere on a moon and mine and convert its own fuel. Frosty Base’s Commander Gustov had also ordered Jebediah to fly with the female cadets first since Mission Control had informed him that, on average, male pilots aged 18 to 26 Kerbal Years were far more likely to cause fatal vehicle accidents than females. Though Jeb had wanted to choose his student order randomly, Gustov told him that he wanted Jeb to live to teach as many students as possible before one of them possibly killed him. “So, you must be the famous Jebediah Kerman,” said his first student, Agaden. “That’s right… Agaden,” acknowledged Jeb as he checked the roster. “You cleared your medical exam after your arrival, right?” “Yes, Captain,” said Agaden. “Takes a while to get used to reduced gravity when you’ve been floating in a can for who-knows-how-long.” “Yeah, well, better get comfortable,” said Jeb. “From what I hear, the transfer window back home to Kerbin opens once every few years – and it takes years longer to make the trip.” “So… MJ, fire up…,” started Agaden. “Oh no, you don’t,” interrupted Jeb. “We will not be using that sorry excuse of a copycat today, Cadet.” “But, sir, don’t you know that MechJeb has reduced the amount of takeoff and landing accidents since they became standard-issue to all vehicles?” reminded Agaden. “Any half-witted tourist can use MechJeb, but us pilots are trained to do better than that,” argued Jeb. “We use both training and instinct when flying… plus, we can control the ship in case we run out of power. Now fire up the engines and get us up to… let’s say… 10 kilometers altitude. Inclination… oh, 25 degrees.” “Right,” sighed Agaden, then she did her routine pre-flight checks. “Fuel and monopropellant up to the maximum, batteries good, landing gear and brakes on drill and converters off and stowed, radiators and panels off and stowed, docking port stowed… yep, everything seems good to me.” She then punched in the activation code in the control panel. “Clearance code approved,” a female computer voice spoke. “Welcome, Agaden Kerman. Instructor’s voice authorization required.” “Shut up and let’s fly,” replied Jeb. “Processing… accepted.” Agaden then applied some power to the throttle and took off before her navicomputer predicted her apoapsis to be 10 kilometers above “sea level.” “Good,” said Jeb, checking the plane’s orbital inclination. “Now, do you know what to do next?” “Cut off the engines until I reach my apoapsis, then burn prograde until my periapsis reaches 15 kilometers,” answered Agaden. “Excellent,” said Jeb, checking off some items off his kPad as Agaden cut off the throttle. “Initial orbit circularized,” said MJ. “Inclination is…” “Zip it, MJ!” barked Jeb. “It can also give you the specifics of your orbit better than any cockpit navicomputer,” sighed Agaden. “It can also shut up,” said Jeb, then a light started flashing between his and Agaden’s seats. “Just rendezvous with a space station or something.” He pressed a button with a phone on it, and Gustov’s face showed up on a screen. “Oh, Commander Gustov, what a surprise.” “Did you get into low orbit yet?” asked Gustov. “Yes, Commander,” said Agaden. “I was talking to your instructor, but thanks,” sighed Gustov. “Did he let you use MJ?” “No, Commander, and we were all supposed to simulate using it while on our way here,” complained Agaden. “Captain, is this true?” wondered Gustov. “Yes, and so what? What’s the point of going to pilot’s school if you’re gonna leave your fate to some computer?” argued Jeb. “Jeb, do I need to remind you again that pilots are required to demonstrate proficient use of MechJeb as well as their own skills?” said Gustov. “For the record, I did not agree to this,” snapped Jeb. “Your father did,” said Gustov, “and so did your old partner, Admiral Val.” “Fine,” sighed Jeb before hanging up. “MJ…” started Agaden. “Not yet, Cadet,” said Jeb. “You can use MechJeb to rendezvous with a space station and dock if you want, but you have to change your inclination to zero by yourself first.” “Okay,” said Agaden, waiting twenty minutes before she reached the equator to change her inclination. “MJ, rendezvous with Hades Station.” “Okay, adjusting planes in T-minus seven minutes and four seconds,” MJ replied. Jeb reluctantly checked some items off his checklist. “Back before the MJ took my job, we just planned our maneuver nodes and did the rendezvous… ses ourselves,” said Jeb. “Man, Val was the best. She could bring a moon lander to within five meters of an old booster in orbit… and that was before MechJeb was even thought of. Now, people are too chicken to get within twenty meters of anything… or even make maneuver nodes that work the first time. So what, we all make mistakes, and I’m sure MJ does too.” Several minutes passed before MJ automatically adjusted planes to match that of the Hades Station, in orbit 40 meters above Eeloo. “Planning Hohmann Transfer to intercept target after 0.27 phasing orbits,” said MJ. “We’ll be there in no time,” cheered Agaden. “If Val was training you, she would have made you done everything on your own,” sighed Jeb in disappointment. “Are you sure?” wondered Agaden. “She’s the greatest pilot in the program, and she uses MechJeb all the time. That’s why it’s a requirement.” “No, it’s a requirement because Dad’s being OVERPROTECTIVE OF ME,” countered Jeb. “The only reason his opinion matters is because he happens to be the CEO of one of our contractors, even though everybody knows I can make my own decisions now. Have I killed anybody yet as a result of bad piloting? Of course not; some vomiting and broken bones, but NOTHING FATAL.” “Can you stop ranting, please?” requested Agaden, then Jeb calmed down. All was silent as the Moonjet eventually got within 20 meters of Hades Station. “Hades Station to Moonjet 314, identify yourself,” a woman’s voice said. “This is Captain Jebediah Kerman, I’m training a student to rendezvous with this thing.” “You may proceed,” said the woman. “Oh, look, an asteroid,” said Jeb, pointing out Agaden’s window. “Asteroid, where?” wondered Agaden. While she was distracted, Jeb aimed the SSTO toward retrograde and snuck his hand on the throttle. “Oh, I’m sure you… psych!” To Agaden’s surprise, he fired up the engines and brought the craft further away from the station. “What are you doing?” “We’ll see you again soon,” said Jeb as he put his hands off the throttle. “Now try that without MJ.” “Warning: T-minus 15 minutes and 39 seconds until catastrophic failure,” said MJ as Jeb taped the manual override switch. “14 minutes… 13 minutes. Adjust orbital trajectory immediately.” Agaden quickly cut the engines and burned in the radial direction until her periapsis reached 7.5 kilometers. “What was that for?!” yelled Agaden. “Motivation, my pupil,” answered Jeb. “If you want proof that you made a rendezvous with Hades Station, take a picture with its crew after you get inside. Now, try and rendezvous with it without using mechanical me.” “You almost got us killed!” “Relax, you pulled through,” assured Jeb. “Look, another asteroid.” “I’m not falling for that again.” “Okay, you got me; changing your orbital plane is the easy part, anyway. Now, for the hard part.” “Fine, I’ll… circularize as soon as I reach periapsis,” sighed Agaden. “I won’t have to wait as long to make my Hohmann transfer if I have a shorter orbit and go at a faster velocity.” As soon as the Moonjet reached her orbit’s periapsis, she aimed toward the retrograde marker and fired up the engines. “Time to do this the wasteful way.” “Warning: T-minus 4 minutes and 39 seconds until catastrophic failure.” “What?!” gasped Jeb. “I thought you wanted to rendezvous with the station, not land.” “This isn’t me,” objected Agaden as the SSTO’s engines continued to burn. “T-minus 2 minutes… 1 minute.” “This is obviously not part of the lesson,” said Jeb. “Hey, why’d you turn on the monoprop?” “I didn’t…,” complained Agaden, then Jeb hit the diagnostics button. “The monoprop engines are being fired!” he shouted. “I’ll switch them off,” said Agaden, hitting one of the buttons. However, a loud crashing sound came from behind the cockpit, followed by a section of the plane’s lower fuselage blinking red on the diagnostics screen. “Structural integrity compromised,” MJ replied, sounding casual. “What do you mean COMPROMISED?” asked Jeb. “Moonjet 314, you’re losing altitude,” a male voice said. “Everything okay.” “No, everything’s not okay, the plane’s going nuts!” yelled Agaden in fear. “We can do this!” shouted Jeb. “Just gotta… get it together.” “Zooming in on your position,” the man acknowledged. “Why is your drill out?” “Drill?” asked Jeb before turning on the lower landing leg camera. To his and Agaden’s shock, he saw that the drill had punctured right through the holding bay doors. “Uh oh.” “Impossible!” gasped Agaden. “You can’t turn on a drill while it’s stowed.” “Tell our drill that,” sighed Jeb sarcastically. “Oxygen at 85 percent capacity.” “WE’RE GONNA DIE!” panicked Agaden. “Hang on, sending help to your estimated landing position,” said the man on the radio. “Is anybody physically hurt?” “Not yet, and nor will there be,” said Jeb confidently. “Time to…” “Oxygen at 70 percent capacity.” “EVA me!” yelled Agaden, and an EVA suit flew out of a closet in the cockpit and landed on Agaden. When it finished with a helmet, Agaden was fully encased in an EVA suit. “Shall I depressurize the airlock?” “Belay that,” ordered Jeb. “I can do this!” He grabbed a hammer from the glove compartment and smashed a piece of glass on the control panel, which revealed a large red button labeled “DO NOT PUSH BUTTON.” “Is that the cut off all power button?” wondered Agaden “Oxygen at 50 percent capacity.” “EVA me!” ordered Jeb before he got an EVA suit. “Good, my suit’s fine. How about yours, Agaden?” “Everything’s operational,” replied Agaden. “Good,” said Jeb before hitting the big red button. “Shutting off power now.” “Is this… part of the lesson?” wondered Agaden. “Absolutely not. I don’t know how that drill turned on, but I’m pretty sure the buttons were clearly labeled. Now strap in, I’m about to make an emergency landing.” Jeb quickly pressed some buttons on the control panel before the cabin lights got back on. “Reboot sequence activated,” replied the onboard computer. “Oxygen level at 30 percent, immediate action required.” “We have EVA suits on,” said Jeb before turning on the reaction control system. “Okay, this should soften our blow.” “Wait, are we crashing?” asked Agaden. “Any landing you can walk away from is a good one,” reminded Jeb. “Now, to retract the drill.” “Ore converter activated,” said the computer. Agaden thought Jeb had pressed the wrong button, until she saw her hand near the switch marked “Drill.” “What the…?” gasped Jeb. “Does that look ANYTHING LIKE an ore converter?” “Warning: radiators not active at the moment. Chances of overheating increased.” “You know what, forget the drill. It’s broken,” cursed Jeb. “Let’s just get this bird on the ground.” “Then how do we fly back, Captain?” wondered Agaden, who began to sweat under her helmet. “We don’t, someone’s coming to pick us up,” said Jeb, using the RCS system to slow down his downward velocity. “I’m sure as heck not getting blamed for this, since you pointed out the drill was not supposed to do that while stowed – and I’m pretty sure ore converters aren’t supposed to activate when you flip the ‘Drill’ switch.” “Captain,” said Agaden, “I feel… kinda dizzy.” “That is to be expected. Now, let’s… come on, come on,” stammered Jeb. “Okay, now to lower my landing gear.” However, as soon as he lowered the lever marked “Legs,” the main engines fired. “Whoa!” “Agreed, something’s definitely wrong with… the ship,” moaned Agaden. “Great,” sighed Jeb. He tried to use RCS to slow himself down, but the main engines’ impulse was too strong; he couldn’t cut the main engines since the throttle was unresponsive. So, he tried to spin the opposite way to gain some altitude, but that resulted in the Moonjet started to spin out of control. “What… now,” “Impact in ten seconds.” “BAIL OUT!” yelled Jeb, and he opened a hatch before dragging Agaden out through it. When he was clear of the Moonjet, which exploded upon smashing into the ground uncontrollably, he turned on his jetpack and safely landed on Eeloo’s surface. “Agaden, you okay?” “I… not okay,” stammered Agaden. “This is Eeloo Mini-bus Five, can anyone hear me?” another man’s voice replied on their suits’ radios. “This is Captain Jebediah Kerman,” he responded. “I’m here with Cadet Agaden Kerman. We just bailed out of a malfunctioning SSTO.” “Jeb…,” moaned Agaden weakly, “t….s n… no…” “Does anybody need medical attention?” said the mini-bus’ driver. “I have a doctor en route to your position right now.” “Not… your… fault…,” Agaden managed to say before her commlink went static. “This is Doctor Marie,” a woman spoke. “I’m accessing your EVA suit’s bio monitors now.” “SOMEBODY HELP AGADEN!” yelled Jeb. “Take it easy, Cap,” the rover driver requested. “ETA to your position is one minute.” “Don’t rush it,” said Dr. Marie. “Jeb’s fine for now, but… Agaden’s dead.” “No… NO!” shouted Jeb before holding Agaden in his arms. “Computer, give me her vitals!” “She’s gone.” “Her suit’s integrity’s intact,” explained Dr. Marie, “but her heartbeat’s at zero and her breathing stopped. I’m sorry, Captain. She’s gone!” Three hours later, Jeb was back in Frosty Base feeling gloomy. When the rover arrived, he took Agaden’s suit-encased corpse to Dr. Marie, who then confirmed that she was dead. The driver, a former racecar driver named David, had alerted Eeloo Command about the wreckage and Agaden’s death and gave their coordinates. Hades Station had dispatched a three-man lander to pick up Jeb, Dr. Marie, and Agaden’s body – which had been kept in her EVA suit to preserve evidence and to maintain sanitation standards (she didn’t bring body bags with her) – and take them back to Frosty Base. Though it was protocol that Eeloo Command notify Mission Control back on Kerbin about any and all deaths that occurred, David felt compelled to supply as much on-the-scene details as possible to Kerbin. Besides refueling the lander, he stayed behind to monitor the wreckage for when another Moonjet arrived to investigate. “Not my fault,” he said to himself over and over again, repeating his student’s final words. “Uh… Captain?” said a male cadet. “Is there a problem?” “Well… let’s just say… you guys will be getting more simulation time before you get behind the wheel,” answered Jeb. “But we wanna fly now.” “Look, kid, Eeloo’s on total lockdown,” explained Jeb. “Nobody gets on, off, in, or out.” “But I hear that a pod from Duna’s arriving some time,” the cadet’s friend complained. “You can’t just brake before you get in Eeloo’s gravitational pull.” “Hopefully, by then, the SOI lockdown will be lifted,” said Jeb, turning on his kPad. “I should know, I have a buddy in that pod.” “Hang on… I hear that a Moonjet crashed,” a pilot named Hadgan announced. “Why would that warrant a lockdown?” “I didn’t make the call,” sighed Jeb, “but I can name two reasons why. One: a student died. Two: the plane was acting up after a while.” “Wait… Agaden’s dead?” gasped the cadet. “Oh, God!” He ran off, about to cry. “Well, well, finally Jeb’s crazy flying killed somebody,” sighed Hadgan. “I didn’t kill her… wait, when was the last time the Moonjet’s software was updated?” “Why ask?” “Because, for some reason, the drill punctured THROUGH THE CARGO DOORS,” explained Jeb, surprising Hadgan. “And when I hit the retraction switch, the ore converter activated – without the decency to turn on the radiators, too. What’s worse, the plane couldn’t tell a landing leg from a main engine.” “Are you sure you hit the right buttons?” “Duh, they’re labeled,” said Jeb. “I did not kill Agaden.” “Last time I went flying with you, I lost a leg,” reminded Hadgan, showing his left metal leg. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you DID kill her.” “Are you calling me a liar?!” “They should have thrown you out,” snapped Hadgan. “Take away your rich dad, what are you?” “Perfect,” said Jeb, “since all Dad did was HOLD ME BACK!” “You two, that’s enough!” shouted Commander Gustov. “Hadgan, get back to working the ore delivery robot.” “Yes, sir,” acknowledged Hadgan before leaving the room. “Cadets, GET,” ordered Gustov, then all the cadets left, giving Gustov and Jeb some privacy. “Wow… first time a fatality happened while you were flying.” “Commander, you can’t blame me for this,” protested Jeb. “The plane’s controls were acting crazy, and Agaden’s last words…” “Easy, Captain,” said Gustov, “but first, what were Agaden’s final words?” “She said that the crash was NOT MY FAULT!” answered Jeb. “Please, sir, honor her dying…” “And we will,” said Gustov, “and I’m sure you’d like to hear why.” “If you so much as even… wait, what?” “The recovery team got the black box and the probe core from the wreckage,” started Gustov, reading his kPad. “The black box corroborated your statement that the SSTO was, indeed, acting funny. It went as far as to note the ‘Structural integrity compromise in the drill bay,’ and ‘Sudden reduction in oxygen levels,’ not to mention the sudden spike in temperature when the ore converter was turned on. Hades Station also sent a telescopic photograph of the Moonjet with its drill sticking out mid-flight. “The probe core, however, was the biggest clue. When the recovery team plugged it in to find out what the heck’s going on with the plane, it just… shut off. We have reason to believe that your SSTO was infected with a virus.” “VIRUS?” gasped Jeb. “AM I GONNA DIE?” “Not that kind of virus, Captain,” assured Gustov. “The worst part is that they don’t just happen, they’re artificially created.” “Oh… so, how is that worse?” “It means some wacko TRIED TO KILL YOU,” sighed Gustov. “Additionally, Doctor Marie mentioned that Agaden’s body showed no signs of crash-related injuries when she arrived at the scene. The full-body autopsy hasn’t been completed yet, but we have a preliminary tox screen report.” “Tox screen?” wondered Jeb. “What’s a tox screen.” Gustov then showed Jeb the preliminary data, which surprised him. “Agaden Kerman was poisoned.”
  4. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Captain Red's Log

    STARDATE: Y4-D359-1H00M Bruce, Lizard, and I made it back to the Defiant with no problems. Doctor Chyna checked us out one-by-one for any health issues we may have unknowingly come across on Dres' surface (saving me for last, ). We then sent an ore transport probe for another run to Rosly's Whim, where the fuel truck loaded it up with ore for conversion on board the Defiant. I tell you, that station is in serious need of a power boost. Maybe the next additional module Mission Control sends should be nothing but A LOT of batteries, panels, and RTGs (and monopropellant for docking, of course). While Mission Control dealt with the fallout from rescuing Michael - and I'm damn sure they're the ones who need a court martial (not Alex and Michael) - three more crewmembers were sent to Colorado Base located at the foot of Dres Canyon. Andrew and Kyle flew via jetpack from their lander to the base, while Jayme stayed with the lander to ensure the refueling process worked well. In the following picture, you can see the three-man lander attached to a mini-bus while it's getting refueled. We unanimously agreed that we would prefer our landers gassed up via refueling truck since the process is SO DAMN SLOW with a mini-bus. Even if the mini-bus was at full capacity by touchdown time, it would run out of gas and ore in minutes and still not be able to refuel the lander. So, we kept the rover docked with the lander and mined ore while converting it at the same time. We were lucky the rover is loaded with RTGs, otherwise it probably would have run out of batteries when the sun wasn't shining on there. Fully loaded refueling truck --> less than 5 minutes. Fully loaded mini-bus --> about 4 days (depending on power availability and ore concentration). Additionally, Jayme noticed that the ablator on the lander's heat shield was dropping. In case whoever's reading this report isn't aware, the three-man Dres (originally Eeloo) lander is just a Mun lander that was slapped onto a new delivery rocket. After Jayme notified me about this, I did some math about what this means for future use of the three-man lander. 1600 (originally) - 1582 (after landing) = 18 units lost 1582 left over / 18 lost per mini-bus refueling ~= 87 more uses. If the mini-bus is used to refuel the lander. To sum up, we can't keep using the mini-bus too many times to refuel the three-man lander or else... something bad may happen that's caused by a depleted ablator. Additionally, we need to remove the decoupler, heat shield, and parachute from the Eeloo lander's design since they're completely useless here. Meanwhile, Jayme accessed Andrew's and Kyle's suit cams to see how things were going in Colorado Base. For parts of the inspection checklist that needed an engineer, they relayed their camera feed to her and she told them what to do and check off. All systems are perfectly operational in the base (except we have a lack of action group labels, but Mission Control can just email us and we can write that on a sticky). We even get a nice view of the canyon from the bottom while sitting in the front cupola. Back in orbit, Chyna's still monitoring Lizard, Bruce, and I for any long-term health consequences the elongated stay in Dres had on us. To be honest, Chyna's spending a little too much time monitoring me. Yes, we're boyfriend and girlfriend (and even if we weren't, I'm the captain), but I don't want either my rank or my relationship to potentially jeopardize the health of my crew. She will have all the time we need to monitor me when we're in transit back home. Well, time for me to go to sleep. To test Colorado Base's remote control capabilities, Andrew will be piloting the ore transport for another run to Rosly's Whim. I have full confidence he can do it.
  5. Mars-Bound Hokie

    SPACE STATIONS! Post your pictures here

    Well, my first idea of a Moho Space Station failed miserably. But I didn't give up. I realized that, to build a space station above Moho, I needed to do it in pieces - which means I needed multiple launches. The screenshot below slows what I have so far (yes, it's incomplete and unoccupied at the moment, but that will be fixed in time) Only three launches left before Moho Station's complete. With batteries, solar panels, and RTGs everywhere, I seriously doubt it will run out of power anytime soon - even if the ore converter's running. Moho Station also has empty fuel and oxidizer tanks for when I finally get ore - and, eventually, refuel craft that come here. It may take a while to make the rest of the Moho fleet (lander, return pod, ore transport vehicle, et cetera), but at least I got the station piece delivery crafts down. What do you think?
  6. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Captain Red's Log

    STARDATE: Y4-D352-1H25M After collecting a surface sample and compiling our EVA reports for the ascent, we were given orders from Mission Control to check out Dresden Base, located 9.4 kilometers from the landing spot. Since nobody was going to be landing in Rosly's Whim while we were there, we took the fuel truck there. Except for a few seconds of it tipping over the side (thank God it has stability control and reaction wheels to prevent it from getting completely tipped over), the drive there was good. I would have preferred that we drive during the daylight, but Lizard got sleepy and wanted to sleep in more comfortable settings besides "an oversized car." So, I drove us to Dresden base in the dark. Hopefully, the lander didn't tip over while we're gone. * Dresden base, with the fuel truck parked close to it. It's aimed away from the back in case the brakes fail. When we arrived, we found some missing kids' skeletons in the EVA suit closet. Just kidding. Everything was running fine, except for the fact that the drills had been shut off. Bruce and I agreed that it was due to the base not having sufficient power capacity to run the drills in the dark, not to mention the chance that the radiators are blocking the solar panels for a good portion of the day. Now that Bruce brought it up, I don't know why the fuel truck has a significantly higher power capacity and better drills than the base. I'm guessing it's because the rover needs power to move as well as harvest and convert ore, not to mention it's higher off the ground than the base (reducing the chance of bouncing). Everything's full now, and all systems are operational. When the second crew gets here, they will spend some time in Dresden conducting surface operations Next time, before you send one of these bases, please install some fuel cells. If a small delivery rover needs it, then just switch off the fuel cells. Also, please label the action groups. Just like with the fuel truck, I had some trouble figuring out which button was for the solar panels - ended up deploying ladders instead. You're probably wondering why I'm writing after 22 days. Well, in the meantime, someone allegedly gave Michael instructions on how to hack a Mun lander and remotely send it to Minmus. I don't exactly know the specifics of this mutiny, but I don't care since Michael's back home now. Bruce, Lizard, and I wanted to do some things in the base while watching how Michael was doing - and so did the rest of the Defiant crew, from what I heard. I also heard that the Moho Station is undergoing some progress in its construction. It would be constructed in eight pieces: parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 are all attached, 5 is in Moho Orbit, we forgot to make the transfer for 6, and Mission Control's waiting until the Moho crew is ready for Part 8. Anyway, we're about to leave Dresden Base to return to the Defiant. Now that Mission Control knows Dresden Base works, Dres colonization can officially begin. Good luck, Mason.
  7. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Captain Red's Log

    STARDATE: Y4-D330-2H20M Well, we did it. Took a lot longer than we thought, as the fuel truck took longer than expected to fill up the ore delivery probe, but we finally landed in Rosly's Whim. Lizard and Bruce were too nervous to go out first, so I volunteered to "step my toes into the pool;" or in this case, step foot on Dres' surface to see if it's safe. After planting a flag on it, I signaled Lizard and Bruce to come down and take a photo with me. Below is a picture of the three of us standing in front of the three-man Dres lander, around our flag. * (from left to right) Lizard, Red, and Bruce While on the surface, we will collect some data and a surface sample while we wait for daylight. During that time, the refueling truck will gas up the lander for the trip back to the Defiant when we're done. Good thing we have boots on the ground in case of a signal loss. Speaking of which, several of our probes have been getting a lot of signal losses lately - particularly when they're on the dark (non-sunny) side of the planet. As soon as I'm back in the lander and en route to the Defiant, I'm writing Mission Control to send more relays to Dres. Yes, I'm the pilot, but these days all you have to say is "MJ, do this," and the autopilot will do my job for me. If Lizard and Bruce give me crap about "writing text-based communications while piloting," I can wait until getting back with the Defiant - or better yet, have someone else do it on my behalf. Aside from relays, the Defiant seems to be running low on batteries rather quickly. Meanwhile, my crew has heard rumors of a "mutiny against Mission Control," soon after Mason was denied a (cheap) rescue mission to get Michael. Unofficially, I'm glad somebody decided to break red tape and get him back home. If such a mutiny exists, however, I know for sure Mason's NOT GUILTY; he has too much to lose if he got caught, including his command of the second Dres crew. If I get blamed for it, I can assure Mission Control that I had an alibi - aside from my interplanetary communication log. Chief Engineer Bruce's second-in-command, Jayme, was with me the whole time when I was remotely piloting the probes and rovers - and so was Doctor Chyna (my girlfriend). I also bunked with Sergeant Andrew, the Defiant's second pilot, during lights-out, so they can all vouch for me. That leaves out Science Officers Lizard and Kyle, but I seriously doubt they're even capable of hacking Mission Control all the way from Dres - or even remotely piloting a lander to and from Minmus without wrecking it. And even if they were, I'm trying to save power on the Defiant now.
  8. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Captain Red's Log

    STARDATE: Y4-D317-4H55M Colorado Base and the second mini-bus have landed past the Dres Canyon entrance. Since the ore concentration there is higher than expected, my crew and I - and, to no surprise, the guys back home - are debating on whether or not to send the first landing party to the canyon or Rosly's Whim. ROSLY'S WHIM (7.06%): Already have a large fueling truck ready - with the same crew capacity as a mini-bus - and located in the planet's equator, making a rendezvous with the Defiant much more efficient. Though I'm definitely landing an ore converter there, we're not entirely sure if we should send our first landing party there too (not at the same time, of course) CANYON (10.11%): Have a mini-bus in standby (no fuel trucks), and in visual range of Colorado base. Ascent out of the canyon, even near the entrance, may be tricky, though; not only because of the walls, but because of its position south of the equator. One time, I forgot to turn on the radiators for the base and the drills shut down. I really need to write down the action group numbers for the bases and trucks. To anyone who reads this log within the next 30 hours of this entry, where do you think I should send the landing party? Speaking of which, it will consist of one pilot, one scientist, and one engineer; myself, Lizard, and Bruce* respectively. The chief medical officer, who also happens to be my girlfriend, wanted to go with me, but I ordered her to stay in the Defiant in case one of the other crew got sick or injured. She insisted that she came in case someone in the landing party got injured, but... that's what return trips are for. Plus, all the mini-buses and fuel trucks are equipped with medical supplies, first aid instructions, and relays to talk to the nearest medical officer in case of emergencies. Aside from my Dres mission, I've been emailing my friend Captain Mason about what's going on back home; due to the long signal travel time and strength loss across planets, it's protocol that we send each other text messages or emails to each other. If we need to speak or show video, we attach it in an email; phone calls can get fuzzy or misunderstood. Anyway, he said that "those bureaucratic fools," still have no plan to extract Sergeant Michael from Minmus. I agree fully: it's not like we need to wait for a transfer window to get to one of our own moons, and we can send a Dres Mini-Pod to get him back home at almost two-fifths the cost of a Mun to Minmus lander. When Mason finally thought Michael's family would get him back, Mission Control launched two more relays to Jool and Eeloo. I get that they want maximum coverage when it's time to send people there, but why send them now? Don't we already have enough crap ALREADY en route to Jool and Eeloo just for standby? Mason then send me this meme he and Michael made, and I showed it to my crew. They didn't get it until I told them how long Michael's been on Minmus stuck in a mini-bus, and we all laughed. If you're reading this, Mission Control, well, you deserve it. A GOOD KERBAL NEVER LEAVES A TEAMMATE BEHIND. Any other day, I'd ask Alex to hack Mission Control and give total probe control to me so I can send a craft up to Minmus to get Michael, but I gotta focus on landing on Dres now. If you're reading this, Michael, we're not giving up on you. It shouldn't be hard, actually, since your mini-bus is fully loaded with ore and gas - not to mention you're sitting in an ore-rich flatland. * though "Red" is not my real name (it's my YouTube and GeoFs name), the names of my crew are nick/names taken from my friends in real-life. "Lizard" is a gag name one of my AOE classmates decided to go by on GroupMe, and Bruce, Mason, and Michael are other classmates of mine. Alex is my roommate's name, and he's awesome with computers.
  9. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Captain Red's Log

    I would think so; after all, you replied to some of my posts and reacted to more of them. You also suggested that I try and get more Commnet coverage in my Eeloo fleet - which later became my Dres fleet when the Defiant's Delta-V dropped. Because of you pointing out this flaw, my ground relay saved my mini-bus from dying while preparing to land near Rosly's Whim. * which reminds me, my Vall Weather Satellite died en route to Jool. Though its batteries are charged, it currently has no connections to KSC. If I'm lucky, it's antennae will get in range of an "Ultimate Relay Antenna" (1 RA-100 and 4 RA-15 put together) before hitting Jool's sphere of influence; I'm not counting on it, though. Odds are that it's done for, but that's another story. Thanks for the landing zone suggestion, by the way. I had originally planned to have Colorado base overlook Dres Canyon, but exploring the canyon itself will be a great thing for the Dres colonists to do there.
  10. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Captain Red's Log

    Oh, @obney kerman my friend, I'm just getting warmed up - and that's not counting asteroids and debris (that I'll have to clean up). Though I'll drop some of the items on the surface (Colorado Base near the Dres Canyon, MINI-BUS 002 in a location I have not decided yet) - and will frequently rendezvous landers and the ore transport with the U.S.S. Defiant - several more orbital craft will come as soon as the next Kerbin-->Dres transfer window opens. Follow this log for my next entry, where I will finally set foot on Dres. * you got any ideas on where to put MINI-BUS 002? I made it myself, by the way.
  11. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Captain Red's Log

    STARDATE: Y4-D303-4H25M The third Dres Fleet has arrived and are now captured in Dres' sphere of influence. So far, our Dres colonization fleet - whether they're orbiting the planet or already landed - consist of: The U.S.S. Defiant (and it's crew). Though it has plenty of liquid fuel left for the return pod, it has run out of fuel for itself and very low on monopropellant. That can be fixed. 2 permanent self-sustaining bases Dresden Base is within 10 kilometers of the designated landing spot (Rosly's Whim) for incoming landers, chosen for its rich ore deposits Colorado Base is in orbit. I have ordered it to wait until the Dres Canyon is in daylight to land it. 1 ore-scanning satellite in polar orbit 1 Interplanetary Escape Pod The next crew will come in another one, but I already have one stationed in Dres orbit in case of emergencies 2 mini-buses DRES MINI-BUS 001 already within range of Rosly's Whim and Dresden Base DRES MINI-BUS 002 in orbit, as I have not yet decided where to put it 1 large fuel truck in spotting range of Rosly's Whim. 1 surface relay, planted on the opposite side of the planet from Rosly's Whim 1 three-man surface lander, equipped with science. 2 one-man surface landers. Though they have more Delta-V than the three-man lander, they still need refueling after each use - not to mention I can only take one person at a time in them. 1 Ore converter module. I shall dock it with the U.S.S. Defiant so that the station can produce its own fuel. 1 Ore Delivery probe. It shall land in Rosly's Whim and collect ore to bring back to the upgraded Defiant for conversion. I made sure it had PLENTY of Delta-V ready so that it won't need to refuel itself once it reaches the Defiant. * screenshot of our progress. My crew has been itching to get down to Dres' surface and explore, and I assure them they will get their chance. But first, I need to: Dock the ore converter with the Defiant. Land the delivery probe at Rosly's whim to collect ore and take it up. Take the three-man lander (myself, one engineer, one scientist) down to the surface after the ore collector's clear of Rosly's Whim I don't want any incidents involving two vehicles in the same spot. Return to the Defiant with a surface sample and scientific data for processing. Either inform Mission Control that's it's more efficient to send three people at a time or one. Mission Control tells me that there's a fourth fleet coming to Dres in about one Kerbal year, and it involves a self-refueling ore delivery module and the Defiant's replacement crew. From what I hear, this crew will start living permanently in Dresden Base while finding other potential landing sites. Personally, I hope Mission Control finally figures out how to build an SSTO to send here; that way, we can explore Dres as we would Kerbin on a plane without the hassle of using a legged lander. I also requested Dres gets an ultimate relay antenna stationed there, as we had an incident where we almost lost our first mini-bus due to a signal loss. To anyone who reads this entry, let it be known that we're paving the way to plant Kerbalkind's feet on other planets - starting with Dres.
  12. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Moho Fleet

    MISSION: ABORTED I realized that, though the MechJeb Delta-V calculator seemed to make the mission feasible, it was not with the way I was doing it. Worse, the U.S.S. Tarawa "got hit with an asteroid" some time after I "coincidentally" realized that not only were the nuclear engines too weak for it, all the fuel did was slow it down - even with the infinite fuel cheat, there was no way I was going to circularize my orbit in time to stay in Moho orbit. Sorry, everyone. Looks like the Moho show is cancelled (for now) And furthermore, since I got a good set of missions going to Dres, I figured I'd start establishing a permanent TWO-WAY presence there before I move on to other planets. Here's the list of planets I plan to start colonizing - IN ORDER Dres Eeloo * Jool (at least get one station in Jool orbit and good coverage before moving on to other planets) (I haven't decided an order for the moons yet, but I'm definitely saving Laythe for last) Duna Eve ** Moho * #2 and 3 may get swapped due to transfer window frequency ** 5 and 6 may get swapped too, since it is much harder to get out of Eve than Moho.
  13. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Sand box or Career?

    Same here, until my career save file crashed and over half my ships got wiped out. No matter. I'm using Sandbox to make cool ships and prepare for an amazing comeback. Not only that, I use Sandbox to film myself for my YouTube channel
  14. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Dres Canyon Coordinates

    Good luck with that, @Pecan. Do you plan on assembling a miles-long (oops, I meant kilometers-long) STRONG bridge in orbit before landing it across the canyon? I'll be sure to check out the canyons on the Mun and the Tylo cave, but I'm sure as hell NOT going down the Mohole. Anything cool to venture into on Duna or Eeloo (Eve's surface is a one-way trip with the craft I currently have )?
  15. Mars-Bound Hokie

    Yandere Val

    I'm about to start a "Kerbal Yandere/CSI" story right now. 25 years ago, Debra Kerman was killed in a rover crash on Kerbin's beaches. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the rover's brakes were tampered with. Though the police suspected Debra's science partner, Misty Kerman, of murder, she was acquitted in the following trial. Even though the killer was never identified, the Kerbal Space Program has flourished since. On Eeloo, Jebediah was teaching a cadet named Agaden how to use the suborbital moon SSTO - a craft designed to get up to six people anywhere on a moon (or at least a celestial body with no atmosphere) - when he lost control and crashed. Jeb survived, but Agaden died before the mountain rovers arrived. Initially, Jeb was blamed for it; the MechJeb module was tampered with, and everybody in the Kerbol system knew of Jeb's contempt for "that sorry excuse of a copycat." However, an autopsy of Agaden's body proved that she was poisoned before her SSTO training flight. Though Jeb was cleared of the murder, as Gus' statistics showed Jeb was most likely to kill himself and/or others via vehicle crash (and Agaden might have survived if she wasn't poisoned), he wanted to find out who killed his star student. Meanwhile, on Laythe, Sheri Kerman drowned near Froze-up Beach. Though her boyfriend, Bob, was suspected of the murder, he had an alibi for the time of her death; Bob was taking a surface sample up to the U.S.S. Oregon in orbit of Laythe (and several crewmembers vouched for him, and he was on the crew manifest for the ascent vehicle) and the launch site was five kilometers away from the crime scene (and the surface sample was taken farther away). He could not have used a rover to get there and back in time, as his driver's license was suspended earlier for speeding and the rovers were programmed to shut down and alert command if anyone with a suspended license tried to control it. Being a scientist who always asked questions, Bob contacted his three best friends - Jeb, Bill (in transit to Eeloo from Duna to test new skis), and Val (in the U.S.S. Zeus, orbiting Jool) - and asked them for help in hunting down the killer. The boys eagerly agreed; Val was reluctant at first, but eventually decided to help out the three. WILL OUR HEROES FIND THE KILLER? ON WHAT PLANET WILL HE OR SHE STRIKE NEXT?