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Index to the chapters (open spoiler to view): Index to supplemental entries (open spoiler to view): Jool 14, Y003 "I've almost earned my wings..." Well, I wasn't the first, the second, or even the eleventh selected for the new space program. No, I was twenty-third! Today I finally completed my flight simulator training and only one requirement remains before I will earn my flight wings. The training was vigorous, but Gene kept insisting that before we got to fly real aircraft we had to be able to handle any situation that came up. He then told us that it was because of the first four Kerbalauts, Jebediah, Bob, Bill, and Valentina, that the new rules were put in effect. Apparently, out of the first four, only one didn't crash his Knat - and that was Bob. Not wanting to encourage us to copy their behavior, Gene gave us only the highlights. From what Gene did tell us, the object of the flight is to get the feel for how a real craft handles and not to try to buzz the tower, fly at mach 2 through the mountains west of the KSC, or even fly through the abandoned hangars on the old island station. He refused to answer any questions on who flew their craft through the hangar. What a thrill that would have been! Earlier today, Jebediah was a guest speaker at our training assembly. He told us that there was no greater feel than the vibration of a craft transitioning from the atmosphere into the void of space. He told us a few stories and shared a few images of what Kerbin looks like from space. He talked about looking forward to his next few missions where he will be testing a new reusable launch vehicle - which he said would eventually make spaceflight into LKO routine. It's an exciting thought about LKO becoming that easy to achieve. We also watched the telemetry and video feeds from the second Munar expedition. Although the crew did achieve stable Munar equatorial orbit about three hours ago, Gene could be heard telling Matt, Rake, and Aldas that they would not begin the descent to the surface of the Mun for an entire day. Again, Jebediah's name came up as Gene said they didn't want to repeat the mistakes of the first Munar mission. Jebediah accidentally deployed the CM parachutes instead of separating the lander from the CM. I remember that well; we all remember the broadcasted reports of a rescue mission being launched so that the crew could transfer into another capsule for reentry. There's a standing joke at the Kerbalnaut training center that if there's no really good explanation of how something was broken, Jeb had something to do with it! Podget, my roommate from the first of the course, was selected to serve as an engineer. When the assignments came out, he had hoped to continue the Kerbalnaut training, but instead, is serving as one of three engineers aboard the URKN Eeloo, a patrol craft sent out to explore the northern oceans. He left aboard her two weeks ago; today I received a video-card from him telling me of his new assignment. He was told in his briefing, as we were in the pilot's program, that all us belong to the United Republic of Kerbin Defense Forces. We still have no idea why the Council insists on having a defense force since we know we are the only sentient life form on the planet - unless you count that pink wiggly stuff they tend to serve us in the KSC mess. Tomorrow is the first day of my actual aircraft training. No more simulators for a while! I had hoped to be one of the first Kerbalnauts in space, but that didn't happen. Although I had put my application in as soon as the Committee of Aeronautics and Space Flight announced the beginning of the Kerbaled spaceflight program, I was selected at the end of the second year. Now, three months into the third year since the emerging, I am now getting my chance. I won't lie; I was excited when my name was on the pilot's list. I would hate to know that I had to hitch a ride into space as an engineer or scientist.