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Whispers of the Kraken (Epilogue: Revelations of the Kraken)


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Oy. Yeah, it's going to be a bit. Might end up splitting things up to at least keep it moving.

On an unrelated related note, can y'all tell me what font the following passage comes up as? I've probably asked before but it's buried somewhere.

 

Courier, like an old typewriter:
Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 

TNR, old newspaper:
Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 

Comic sans:
Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 
ER, nevermind...

 

Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 

Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 

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7 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Oy. Yeah, it's going to be a bit. Might end up splitting things up to at least keep it moving.

On an unrelated related note, can y'all tell me what font the following passage comes up as? I've probably asked before but it's buried somewhere.

 

Courier, like an old typewriter:
Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 

TNR, old newspaper:
Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 

Comic sans:
Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 
ER, nevermind...

 

Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 

Distantly, she heard the muffled, rather distinctive scream of one who had just unexpectedly taken a cold, wet frog to the face. 

I'm on my Android tablet so might be different for others (Chrome Browser if you need to know) and the last entry doesn't match courier or Times New Roman. My guess would be true type variant of Courier with varied spaces as apposed to the constant width normal with that. Might be Arial as well. More likely the latter.

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Chapter 83: ...And Onto the Pyre

Someone who was absolutely not Valentina Kermanova stepped into the gantry elevator, and slid the door closed. It was an easy enough ruse. She didn't look like herself anymore, and she certainly didn't feel like herself. She was still unconvinced that she wasn't strapped down in a padded room somewhere drooling on herself, and all this was just an elaborate dissociative fugue. So for lack of anything else to do, might as well go along with it. 

It would be nice if her damaged brain could hallucinate sleep soon, though. She still hadn't slept, but spent the entire night in a broom closet learning how to land on the Mün. Just giving the silly idea thought was clearly madness. Yet here she was, inching up the expansive flank of an Urugan-class booster. Sleep deprivation was medically proven to cause madness. The fact that none of the technicians busying themselves around her paid her the slightest mind, as if she were invisible, also played to that. 

It was all very... convenient. 

Of course, these technicians were probably under rather explicit orders not to see her, and Ussaris could be very good at not seeing things when told to do so. That didn't make it any less unnerving, they way they twittered on with each other as if she weren't even there. 

The elevator jerked to a stop. With a sigh, and not the slightest hint of challenge from those around, she stepped up to the waiting hatch. It was another Zarya capsule, an old Blok F static test unit that had been refurbished and stripped down, leaving it little more than a flying fuel tank. Valentina caught a glimpse of herself in the reflective glass of the hatch window. Huge, dark bags under her eyes, her short hair hidden away beneath a white technician's scrub hat, and a couple of new cuts already fading into scars. No, she certainly didn't look like herself, either. It was an easy ruse. 

With practiced grace, she swung through the hatch and settled into the pilot's couch, next to a huge drum of water ballast in the other one. At least her back had stopped hurting. Surprising, but she would take any break she could, at this point. Come to think of it, all of her wounds seemed to be healing very quickly. They were just superficial, anyway. It certainly wasn't due to radiation exposure from that nuclear explosion. At least she hadn't started glowing in the dark yet. Much. 

Thunk!

Valentina jumped as the hatch slammed shut. It brought an odd sense of finality. And, really, it was final. Sitting atop thousands of liters of flammables, it was a virtual pyre. And soon, she would be dead. As far as anyone else knew. Dibella... Valentina tried not to think that direction. Suddenly, she felt very, very alone. The thought had occurred to her, frequently, that this whole thing was just a cover to actually get rid of her. 

She sighed. Nothing to do now, but wait. Not even a checklist to go through. She wasn't actually here, after all. On the panel in front of her, MechIVAN, Revision 8425, was running through prelaunch routines below its big, green... light. Gone was the flickering CRT display with its ring of push buttons, this new update had a very convenient touch screen. According to what she'd read, it was capable of operating entire missions autonomously and adapting to unexpected conditions through a neural-network 'learning' CPU. She still couldn't shake the feeling it was... looking at her. 

Two hours to launch. This would be maddening. Not even a launch suit to fiddle with; the Münar EVA suit was stowed down in the lander. Supposedly. After all, this pod was empty. If the cabin ruptured during launch, there were only two ballast barrels aboard. She wasn't even sure if the abort motors were real or not. 

This waiting was always the worst, and nothing at all to distract her, this time. Valentina checked her straps one more time, and laid her head back. Maybe she could at least get a couple hours of rest. She closed her weary eyes, and waited for sleep to come. 

It didn't. 

Despite her exhaustion, Valentina's overloaded mind simply refused to shut down. Competing questions and thoughts ran roughshod through it, like armies unsure if they were charging or routing. Maybe this was finally madness, or maybe the whole point of madness was you never actually knew if you were mad or not. 

The Kommissar... if he had not been a distillation of her own madness before, then now... 

A Kermanni. Probably the last one in the world. It was so beyond unthinkable that just thinking about thinking about it should be unthinkable. In the glorious Ussari Union, there were many things we did not speak of. And then there were those things we really, really did not speak of. Which, of course, were spoken of all the time, with hushed voices in darkened corners, perhaps after analyzing a bit too much rocket fuel. Everyone knew what happened - declared enemies of the State during the Troubles, the Kermanni were systematically rounded up and made to disappear - but no one, not even the high-ranking circles Dibella moved in, knew why.

Dibella... best not let her mind wander that direction at all. Tercella was gone, and poor Vasily...

Valentina slammed a fist against the armrest. At least it was sturdy. She needed something, anything, to distract her. She reached around and began rooting through the storage bins behind her couch. Most of them simply had small lead blocks labeled BALLAST bolted inside. Panic was just starting to creep into her mind when she mercifully found something not lead in a drawer. Someone had simply scribbled ballast on an old book of some sort. Looking closer it read:

IMPERIOUS MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND YURTS 
COMPLIANCE REGULATIONS, PERMITS, AND BUILDING CODES
REVISION 3.14159

She sent up a silent orison of thanks to whatever glassy-eyed, mind-numbed engineer had stuffed it in there, likely desperate to be rid of it himself. And also hoped it didn't throw the trajectory calculations off too much. Opening it to a random page, she began to read feverishly. 

---------------

Some time later, the engines ignited into a maelstrom of flames and drew Valentina back from her fixated stupor. There was no countdown for her, no oddly calming drone of voices marking off procedures, all at once the world--

--the world became sound--

--and she felt the enormous construct of fuel and metal lurch sideways, as was the custom of the unusual asymmetric launch vehicle, before it slowly lumbered skyward. She gave the book one last glance and tossed it aside lest it get any heavier. Within those pages was surely an expanse of madness - really, why make such a kerfuffle over retroactively permitting a freestanding noncomplying secondary dwelling when the preexisting fiduciary already had a circumstantial exception? It's not like the extemporaneous equity was a factor in a financial disclosure. 'Kerfuffle' was certainly an odd word to appear in such an official publication, too. But it had drawn her away from those dark places that could trap a mind. 

The rocket thundered onward. No checklists, no communication, no training - this time, Valentina well and truly was cargo. She watched the numbers scrolling on the displays with a strange sort of detached horror. All she could do now, was watch. She watched, as the indicators marked the boosters falling away. She watched, as the stack slowly leaned over in its gravity turn and the ground became visible in the hatch window. She watched, as the gauge numbers rose higher and higher, the gentle push of the main engines urging the beast on. 

Finally, she watched other numbers taper away, the rumble of thrust ending as abruptly as it began. There was a distant thunk as core stage separated, its Separatrons casting a silent glow in the front window. MechIVAN wasted no time in plotting the transfer burn, the craft was drifting in a slightly suborbital path that would eventually dip into the atmosphere on the other side of the globe if the engines failed to light. 

Some hidden part of Valentina almost hoped they would. The other Kerbonauts often bantered about going to the Mün, wished the Union had an official program to match if not exceed the KSA's achievements. Valentina never wanted any part of it. The Mün was quite possibly the last place she ever wanted to go. She wondered if it would be the last place she ever went. 

Nevertheless, the engines fired right on time, once more pushing her gently into her couch. In the hatch window, she could see the ship was approaching the customary overflight of the Kerbal Space Center, an ironic twist of orbital mechanics. Not long after, she would become the most isolated person alive. She wondered if anyone else had ever felt so--

Alone.

A gasp escaped her lips. It was just a flash, like a shooting star across the sky, but it was there. Though distant and weak, that troubling sensation like she was feeling someone else's emotion.

Just nerves, plenty of nerves today. Perhaps a bit of indigestion...

How long are you going to deny it? a voice whispered in the void. 

Can't be real. It's not logical. Sounds like some fairy--

You believe in monsters. If you believe in monsters, you must also believe in Heroes... or else you truly have gone mad.

Valentina... didn't really have a response to that. 

Further consideration was quickly cut off, however, as the engines did the same. She watched the instruments, watched the numbers count down. She felt a thump as the transfer stage decoupled.

MechIVAN's screen flickered for a moment, then a new display appeared:

EXECUTING ORDER 66.

192 SECONDS...

Now, she had tasks to do. She reached around the cabin, pulling circuit breakers for various systems the disturbing little green-eyed box couldn't control. Radios, recorders, telemetry transponders. All in a carefully derived sequence, timed as the numbers counted down. As the digits ran out and she pulled the last knob, Valentina wondered what an explosion in space would be like. 

Rather anticlimactic, really. There might have been a flash, or there might not. Then the disquieting sounds of debris clinking off the hull. Sparkles and glints as bits of it tumbled past the windows. A scan of the panels confirmed nothing important seemed to be leaking. Then her eyes fell on the altimeter. 

Five hundred and seventy-nine kilometers, and rising incredibly fast. Above the orbit of TINKAN 13. Now, Valentina truly was the most isolated person alive. In the hatch port, its fat crescent grinning like a skull, the stark face of the Mün beckoned. 
 

 

 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure
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So we've been out of the frying pan (but onto the pyre) and now explosions in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are. Check the storage lockers Val - there's gotta be some meatloaf in there somewhere! :)

On a serious note - great chapter. Very atmospheric and as a lighter moment, I did like the idea of some crazed (and possibly hunchbacked) construction engineer sending his, no doubt extremely heavy, copy of the Regulations on a one-way trip to the Mün just to be rid of the flarping thing.

Edited by KSK
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I'm not great at recognizing fonts. The page says Trebuchet MS and Georgia, and that looks about right.

10 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

She gave the book one last glance and tossed it aside lest it get any heavier. Within those pages was surely an expanse of madness - really, why make such a kerfuffle over retroactively permitting a freestanding noncomplying secondary dwelling when the preexisting fiduciary already had a circumstantial exception? It's not like the extemporaneous equity was a factor in a financial disclosure.

The books in this story are fictional and any resemblance to real manuals and regulations, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. And uncannily accurate.

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9 hours ago, vsully said:

Dun dun dun....
So is there now a good entity to fight the Kraken... or is it the Kraken being.... kraken-y? We shall see....

It's the Kraken being the Kraken because it's the Kraken and praise the Kraken and the Kraken said let there be life and there was life Kraken Ftagn Kraken Ftagn praise the Kraken and the Kraken will be the Kraken and...

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17 hours ago, KSK said:

So we've been out of the frying pan (but onto the pyre) and now explosions in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are. Check the storage lockers Val - there's gotta be some meatloaf in there somewhere! :)

Snagged for later use. :D Meatloaf is always better left over, anyway.

17 hours ago, KSK said:

On a serious note - great chapter. Very atmospheric and as a lighter moment, I did like the idea of some crazed (and possibly hunchbacked) construction engineer sending his, no doubt extremely heavy, copy of the Regulations on a one-way trip to the Mün just to be rid of the flarping thing.

See, now this ended up being one of those I really didn't like, tho it came out better than I was expecting. I hate it when real life gets chaotic and flow gets broken up, it always feels like I'm missing something or it's too dis-jointed or repetitive or some such. We are always our own harshest critic.

And to top everything off, now I'm quite sick too. It's almost like...something doesn't want the story told :sealed: <cue waterphone> 

8 hours ago, CSE said:

I'm not great at recognizing fonts. The page says Trebuchet MS and Georgia, and that looks about right.

 

Seems like it's Comic sans/flowey something that's not coming out the same. I can work with that.

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So, Edgas begins the final part of his heroic journey by pretending to be a celebrity, whereas Valentina begins hers by pretending to not exist. And so both characters end up reflecting the societies that birthed them. That was a nice touch. :) 

19 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

I hate it when real life gets chaotic and flow gets broken up, it always feels like I'm missing something or it's too dis-jointed or repetitive or some such.

This sounds very familiar. I've had a few chapters where each individual scene was fine, and they read okay as a whole, but I just could not find the threads that were supposed to try the whole thing together. The chapters just felt "boneless".

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9 hours ago, Ten Key said:

So, Edgas begins the final part of his heroic journey by pretending to be a celebrity, whereas Valentina begins hers by pretending to not exist. And so both characters end up reflecting the societies that birthed them. That was a nice touch. :)

This is... brilliant. I absolutely did not intend that, yet there it is. 

All Things Serve the Beam. :D

9 hours ago, Ten Key said:

This sounds very familiar. I've had a few chapters where each individual scene was fine, and they read okay as a whole, but I just could not find the threads that were supposed to try the whole thing together. The chapters just felt "boneless".

Boneless... yes, that's the word. Like... floppy. And choppy. And I'ma stop now before I bust a rhyme (my insurance won't cover that).

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Rhymalore: We cover so you don't have to bover. Why bust a gut when we can get your cut. Don't delay, get a policy today.

 

*Spoken quickly, sotto voice:* Actual insurers do not rhyme, will delay interminably, cause you loads of grief and rarely leave much money for claimant.

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One more coming up in a few minutes, before this "historical" storm hits the Puget Sound. If ya'll don't hear from me by Monday... just wait a little longer. Or better yet, send help. Or pizza. Pizza is always good.

and once again very special thanks to @Ten Key :cool:

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Chapter 84: A Memory of Darkness

The corpse-like grin of the Mün leered at Valentina through the window. More than ever, she hated it. As if picking up on this, MechIVAN yawed the ship away, until the azure curve of Kerbin came into view.

COMMS ERROR: NO CARRIER. WIDEBAND COMMS FAIL.
SELF-DIAGNOSTIC: NO POWER.
EXECUTING CONTINGENCY 1138: ATTEMPTING NARROWBAND DIRECTIONAL UPLINK.

Kerbin. Already, it was growing smaller in her meager window. She had always loved seeing the planet from space, never thought she would not want to see it; but now, it was just another reminder of her isolation.

COMMS ERROR: NO CARRIER. NARROWBAND COMMS FAIL.
SELF-DIAGNOSTIC: NO POWER.
WEIGHING CONTINGENCIES: DONE.
EXECUTING CONTINGENCY 99: PROCEED IN BLACK. CYCLE COMMS SELECTION.
CALCULATING CORRECTION BURN: DONE. NODE IN 3:34:19. EXPECT MÜNAR ORBIT INSERTION IN 19:69:21
EXECUTING THERMAL DIFFUSION MANEUVER.

The stack shuddered just slightly as the thrusters fired again, pointing the ship away from the blue planet and off into the void, rolling slowly to distribute solar heat. Nineteen hours. Nineteen hours until she reached the Mün, without even pre-launch anxiety to season the boredom. Valentina pushed away from the window and settled as best she could against her couch. She wondered when they would make the announcement about her tragic, heroic death. The Ministry of Truth knew its trade well, they wouldn't disclose it right away. They would let the rumors spread underground, like fungal fibers, gorging on nosy foreign media. Finally, when the caps broke the surface and began to spread their spores, the Ministry would have a ripe harvest. She wondered if someone was already planning her funeral, locked safely away in some dim room in the Fortress.

Funeral. With that, came the dawning realization that even if she came back, she could never go back. She would be a lost soul, unable to move on or return to life, left to wander in limbo. People went away all the time in the Union. How many such specters had she passed in her days, unaware, cursed as they were to wander the land for all eternity. Or until true death took them.

She pushed the dark thoughts away. That was an ordeal for another time. Already, it would seem, her mind was beginning to crawl up the walls. With a sigh, and lack of anything else to do, she pulled on the chains around her neck. Two twinkling objects floated out from the neck of her scrub shirt. She was still amazed they'd let her keep them. The NKOTB had taken everything else from her, but strangely, they had avoided these. Almost as if they couldn't see them.

The piece of Anastasia's münrock. Valentina hoped she was still all right, then pushed the thought away. Nothing to be done for that, now. What she had left was a small oval of rock, not more more than a sliver. She found it incredible that the rock had split as it did, not at the natural weak point where the hole for the chain went through. She ran a thumb over the tiny, rough crystals on one side, marveling at how they sparkled in the pallid cabin lights. They seemed to throw little, dim points of light themselves all around the cabin, but that was probably just a trick of the illumination. And this edge...

The rim of the ovoid sliver was wafer-thin and looked incredibly fragile, yet wasn't even chipped. Even pressing her thumb against it didn't crack it. Best be careful about that, though, probably sharp as a—

Valentina paused. Very gingerly, she ran the pad of her thumb along that razor-thin edge studded with jagged crystals. Then she pressed down hard, and drew it—

The most peculiar, undignified sound escaped her lips.

She peered at the rock, looked back at her finger, then did it again.

The same noise filled the tiny cabin. The sensation was... well, it was quite indescribable. The sliver should cut like a serrated knife, but it only... tickled? No, that wasn't quite right. More like... an in inversion of pain. And her thumb...

It should have been torn open, but there were only two distinct lines along it. Staring at them, the skin there looked... younger. Across the leathery callus two shallow canyons of soft, pale, new skin had been wrought. Where old scars crossed them, the former simply disappeared. Valentina stared in amazement. 

What on Kerbin...?

Straining around to see her own dim reflection in the hatch window, she tried dragging the flake of rock over a healing cut there. She didn't have much luck with it. The bizarre sensation left her squirming and twitching and giggling like a little girl, which was completely undignified. She couldn't hold still enough, and just wound up with an odd-looking scribble on her face. 

Valentina settled back to her couch, floating just above it. She stared at the incredible, beautiful piece of rock.

If you believe in monsters, you must also believe in Heroes...

With that thought, she took Dibella's Münstone from where it was floating on its chain.

"Heroes, yes," she said softly as she regarded it, "the world could use a few more heroes." The polished metal felt warm to the touch in the chilly cabin. That, itself, was odd. It was usually as hot and dry as a desert in a Zarya capsule. She couldn't remember specifics from what she'd read, but surely they'd upgraded the cooling systems for such a long voyage in direct sunlight. This nip seemed a bit overkill, though. Or perhaps, it was her destination.

She drove the thought away, and clung to the pendant instead. Warm as if heated from within, and the stone...

She rubbed a thumb over it, paused, then rubbed her thumb and finger together. Then she did it again. The stone always felt slick, almost wet, but now... it really did feel wet, yet Valentina's fingers remained dry.

"What..?" she peered down into the crimson stone, watching the light refract and dance inside. The stone seemed to go on forever, filled with fragile shafts of light... She felt it again, that sense of falling into it... rising... surrounded by shafts of light, ominous shadows... drifting away... drifting back...

With a gasp, she jerked upright. Or would have, save for the lack of gravity. Instead, she just banged her knees on the instrument panel. She could feel... or...

The world could use a few more heroes...

I am no hero. But... I am here...

Valentina pursed her lips for a moment, then looked back into the stone. With effort, she pushed away everything else... and let herself feel like falling... rising... drifting away...

***

She knew this place. It was beyond imagination, her mind struggled to comprehend it at all, yet... she knew it. As well as her own hand. From somewhere, she looked up. Ethereal, luminous Beings floated about, slender and delicate. Beyond, grand crystal spires towered up into a black sky, and dominating that sky...

A planet. A planet of incredible size. Distinct yet chaotic bands of pale tans, dark browns, and brilliant whites stippled its flanks, their fringes churning in eternal maelstroms. Beyond the edge where the distant sun reached, lightning arced and webbed amongst the clouds, and between the myriad of glowing points hung there. 

To either side of her, the brilliant spires curved away, wrapping the entire planet in a gossamer ring of shimmering light. This place was light. This place was peace. This place was home. 

This place was... doomed. 

As the thought passed her mind, the ground shook and the spires trembled. The Beings, once so graceful, now darted about in unfamiliar panic. 

IT COMES.

IT COMES. 

IT COMES!

Shadowy lines crept between the bands of the looming planet above. Pulling, ripping, tearing; drawing matter inward. Chasms of darkness split the face open along the lines. It collapsed in on its self, black like rot, then ripped itself in half. Dark tendrils reached out for the crystal spires...

FLEE! 

WE MUST FLEE!

TAKE THEM TO SAFETY, PREPARE THE GATEWAY. THIS PLACE IS LOST. 

She felt herself drifting away again, darkness and light swallowing her. 

***

Falling, rising... the passage of time seemed to settle into her bones. A day? An eon? She couldn't tell. Once more she felt herself rising, becoming...

The world coalesced again. Valentina was standing on real ground, amidst bizarre blue trees that mingled with the towering spires. They seemed less brilliant, now. Worn. Strange flying creatures sailed across the the yellow-tinged sky, and this sky...

Three suns hung above: one bright, and one dimmer, and one so small it was a barely discernible red point some distance from the others. The Beings were here, too; they seemed worn like the spires but no less luminous. A group of them argued, Valentina could... not hear, exactly, yet voices came to her. Ideas... concepts...

THE DARKNESS SPREADS. WE ARE ALL BUT POWERLESS TO STOP IT. 

LET US GO, THEN, THERE ARE OTHER WORLDS THAN THESE. 

IT WILL FOLLOW. IF THIS UNIVERSE FALLS, ALL OTHERS WILL. THERE IS NO SANCTUARY. 

THE SERVANTS GATHER TO STRIKE BACK. WE MUST GIVE THEM TIME. 

A whispy, delicate finger pointed toward Valentina. 

THEN LET US USE THEM. 

THEY ARE NOT READY, YET! THEY WILL BE DESTROYED. 

THEY ARE WEAPONS. 

THEY ARE LIVING BEINGS!

As before the ground shuddered, and billions of voices suddenly cried out. Light dimmed, as one of the stars overhead was consumed by shadow. 

WE ARE TOO LATE, IT IS HERE!

IT IS HERE!

WE MUST FLEE!

A third time, darkness rose, and swallowed her up. 

***

She was... somewhere. There were no more spires here, no more sense of multitude. Only a vague feeling of... containment. Above... below? an incredible sight filled her vision. An entire galaxy was spread out before her, its twisted spiral arms appearing to sparkle with billions of points of light. The Beings here seemed to wait in hushed anticipation. 

BEHOLD... THEY CHARGE.

Before Valentina's... eyes? A great flash spread across a twinkling arm like lightning in a cloud. Then another. And another elsewhere. Flashes of darkness answered, pushed back against them. 

The light and the darkness clashed back and forth in a visual spectacle that shouldn't have been visible at all, hanging here light years away. Occasionally titanic bursts of power would scatter whole star clusters and send them careening across the fold. The tide ebbed and flowed, first one side gaining, and then the other, jumping across the galaxy and slowly spiraling in toward the center. Finally, with a whimper rather than a bang, the last blasts ceased. What had been an object of incredible celestial beauty, speckled with blazing points of light, was now left little more than a glowing whitish smudge across the firmament. 

IT IS FINISHED. THE PRICE... WAS STEEP.

Again darkness rose, and covered her.

***

Light... light drew her forth. That same feeling of containment, as Valentina witnessed another unimaginable sight. Radiating the heat of a young star, a glowing protoplanetary disk bathed her in warm light. A dozen ruddy lumps swirled among the crimson clouds of gas and dust. Now, only a few Beings remained. 

WE ARE ENDED. OUR TIME GROWS SHORT. LIKE ALL THINGS, WE SHALL DIMINISH AND FADE. 

THE INFERNAL CROWN HAS BEEN SET. NOW LET US CHARGE A DRAGON TO GUARD IT. 

NO, DO NOT DEFILE THAT NAME! IT WILL BE AN ABOMINATION FROM THE DARKEST ABYSS. 

NOT A DRAGON. A KRAKEN.

THE KRAKEN, THEN.

THE KRAKEN. 

THE KRAKEN. 

MAY THE LIGHT SEND, IT NEVER SEES BEYOND ITS CAGE.

What?

Something... Valentina wanted to say something, do something, but once more was drawn inexorably away. 

***

Drifting.... floating....

Grass. Soft green grass beneath her feet, tickling between her toes. Warm sun on her face. Birds chirping in the sky and flitting between mundane trees. 

There is only one Being left. Somehow, Valentina knows this.  As it kneels down before her, for the first time she sees its face. The proportions are strange. It is bizarre, alien... yet in some way, like all else she has seen, familiar. And beautiful. It reaches out, and brushes her cheek with a mother's touch. It smiles, and for the first time, speaks:

"Our world is ended. Now yours begins. Use it well."

She wants to respond, wants to ask why, wants to ask how, but is only pulled away again. Again she floats, submerged in red light... now green... 

...rising amid shafts of light and terrible shadows... 

...rising, her lungs bursting for air...

***

Valentina gasped as her head broke the surface. She looked around, bewildered, afraid. She was... she was...

She was back in the capsule. With a hand, she wiped the water from her face... only her face was dry. So was her hand. Dry, the kind of uncomfortable dry skin that comes after several days in—

Her eyes flicked to the mission clock in panic. Three days. She scanned over the instruments, trying to force the fog from her mind. 

The braking burn... days too late...

She looked up to the window, expecting to see nothing but the endless void of space. Instead, the stark, grey surface of the Mün leered back at her. A few dozen meters away, the spent Münar Orbit Insertion stage tumbled slowly. 

She gave the MechIVAN box a considering gaze, "not bad," then let out a long breath. 

Three days... did I really... sleep? for three days?

Another realization hit, did... did I just see...

Again she caught her reflection in the window, cast over the stars beyond. No, not stars... only for a moment, the tiny, iridescent flecks in her eyes she saw and dismissed every day... she could swear they were glowing.

Valentina rubbed at her face with a dry palm, feeling a headache blooming behind her eyes, glowing flecks or not. Feeling that... and more.
 
The Mün. She did not look back to the window. She could feel it. Down there, there was something.

Something wrong.

Something monstrous.

...if you believe in monsters, you must also believe in Heroes... 

...the world could use a few more heroes...

"I am no hero. But... I am here."

Valentina set her jaw, and opened the hatch to the lander. 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure
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dun dun Dunnn!
OK, that was a cool chapter.

And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note....
I wonder what the next .... of the kraken will be? Hisses of the kraken? You should publish these two and a third as The Kraken Trilogy.....

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4 hours ago, vsully said:

dun dun Dunnn!
OK, that was a cool chapter.

And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note....
I wonder what the next .... of the kraken will be? Hisses of the kraken? You should publish these two and a third as The Kraken Trilogy.....

Since it was shadows, then whispers, next might be the STENCH OF THE KRAKEN, or CARESS OF THE KRAKEN.

 

What would the Kraken smell like, anyway? My best guess is something between a frog, the sensation your nose feels when the are you're in is -20 degrees F, and old socks.

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7 hours ago, vsully said:

And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note....
I wonder what the next .... of the kraken will be? Hisses of the kraken? You should publish these two and a third as The Kraken Trilogy.....

Tendrils of the Kraken. :cool:

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WHO WILL SLAY THE KRAKEN? WHO WILL TAKE THE CROWN? THESE QUESTIONS MUST BE ANSWERED!

So speaks the beings. The human beings. You must answer the human beings.

Edited by Alpha 360
"Kouston, we have several problems, but that doesn't matter so we want to continue on with the mission."
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On 10/14/2016 at 5:52 AM, vsully said:

dun dun Dunnn!
OK, that was a cool chapter.

And on a COMPLETELY unrelated note....
I wonder what the next .... of the kraken will be? Hisses of the kraken? You should publish these two and a third as The Kraken Trilogy.....

Surprisingly, no one has yet guessed it. And here I was worried my hint was too obvious. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

On 10/14/2016 at 10:26 AM, Omegagoldfish said:

What would the Kraken smell like, anyway? My best guess is something between a frog, the sensation your nose feels when the are you're in is -20 degrees F, and old socks.

Lol, ok I will officially confirm that the Kraken does, in fact, smell like old socks. In that fleeting moment before your sinuses implode. :confused:

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The horrors of old sock smell are so great, it only makes sense the Kraken would smell so.  For those who want to know what exactly the Kraken is (or isn't) and what beings are fighting / have fought / will fight it, it can all be deduced from this, as can everything else: 

Spoiler

You sure you want to know? It'll spoil it...

Spoiler

Are you sure you're sure?

Spoiler

Really sure?

Spoiler

Final warning...

Spoiler

42

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/17/2016 at 6:13 AM, CatastrophicFailure said:

Surprisingly, no one has yet guessed it. And here I was worried my hint was too obvious. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Lol, ok I will officially confirm that the Kraken does, in fact, smell like old socks. In that fleeting moment before your sinuses implode. :confused:

Memoirs of the Kraken: An autobiography?

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On October 16, 2016 at 11:13 PM, CatastrophicFailure said:

Surprisingly, no one has yet guessed it. And here I was worried my hint was too obvious. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Lol, ok I will officially confirm that the Kraken does, in fact, smell like old socks. In that fleeting moment before your sinuses implode. :confused:

So... Whimpers Of The Kraken? Cause it will, after Valentina's through with it! Or on the old socks theme, Stench Of The Kraken? Or Unsterilized With Green Hair And A Really Bad Smell of the Kraken?

Edited by vsully
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Umm, I think the best we can hope for is that poor Val actually gets back from the Mun with her brains more-or-less unscrambled by the experience. :( The ol' Kraken was still going strong in the sequel after all.

I'm guessing 'Cage of the Kraken' for the third story. We've seen the end (or at least the end of the beginning - lots of flags left to plant on other worlds around other stars), we're seeing the prelude to that ending - but we haven't really seen the beginning. There was a lot of stuff in 'Heavy is the Head' for example...

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