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


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47 minutes ago, KSK said:

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...

Remember there isn't a strict sequel-and-prequel thing going on here, but the two stories overlap some. Events from Shadows have been told to us, even witnessed by Val herself. So of course the Kraken is still going strong, but may not feel so good for much longer. Depends on what exactly @CatastrophicFailure has in mind for Val's storyline.

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10 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

Chapter 1:

I was born to proud parents: Cthulhu and The Devil...

....One day I got liquided ticked off because Mama Cthulhu made me do extra homework on kerbal-possessing. So I ate her. I mean come on, homework sucks, and I was about to play my favorite video-game, Destroyer Of Worlds! Anyways, then Papa Devil came home and punched me in the face for eating Mama, so after I stopped crying I ate him too. Eating yo mama can work up an appetite, and I HATE getting punched in the face! After considering my evil deeds for awhile, I decided that Mama and Papa weren't bad enough. The universe needed a evil-er villain. Evil-er than evil. Evil-er than evil-est! I decided that I would be that villain. My new name (because Bo isn't bad enough) would be..... THE KRAKEN! It was perfect! THE KRAAAAAKENNNN! DUN DUN DUNNNN! SO that's how I became the evil villain you see today. Now, let me tell you how a little gassy called Edgas (GET IT? EDGAS THE GASSY! HAHAHAHA IM SO FUNNY HEEEHEEEHEEE) punched me in the face! I mean, what a JERK! All I did was say Boo! Well, okay, maybe I said a few other things.....

Edited by vsully
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NO! It has been more than two weeks since the last chapter, DO NOT GIVE UP ON VAL!!!!!

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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Good luck with the moving! Make sure that the Kraken isn't hiding in the dryer - you never know about those things. Or in the U-Haul. Or in that old sock drawer that you don't want to empty out and just throw in a bag and stuff in some cranny in the car. The smelly ones are the worst. Also, be careful with that old trench coat you found in the corner of your closet - it may contain Val, and she doesn't like guys watching her while she sleeps. Especially human ones.

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22 hours ago, KSK said:

Sooo - you sold out Val then? :)

Just kidding - congratulations on the sale! Hope the paperwork and the move go smoothly!

 

Purchase, actually. :D:D We are now the proud owners of 2.25 acres of real land! (Well, actually, the bank is, I suppose, but still... They'll get their money, even if it takes me 30 years! Er, wait..) 

But they took down the darn sign before I could get a proper picture! :mad:

I'm going gush here cuz the wife has the whole facebook thing handled, and it's my thread, darnit! 

THIS was the cause of all the headaches:

1WLhZYl.jpg?1

The Imperium Vogons bank decided to make quite the kerfuffle about this unpermitted freestanding noncomplying secondary dwelling on the back acre despite the fact that it's been there longer than I've been alive (probably, no one could say for sure) and we're just gonna use it as a fancy storage shed.
Might be a Kraken underneath there. Haven't checked yet. There certainly is a Creaken, tho.

Quote

I hate politics!

Found a cool safe inside!

zf0neil.jpg

Nothing very interesting inside, tho. -_-

Zz2vEUM.jpg

Just an old dog toy and a big magnetic ball bearing. That's mildly interesting, I suppose...

 

MxwVOHW.jpg

Is absolutely storage shed! No dwelling of any kind going on! And I have the papers to prove it!

 

GXXDdBU.jpg

A garage and a barn! 'Scuse me, my 'Murica is showing... :blush:

QfGZ1SE.jpg

100% Guinea Pig approved! :funds:

 

Soooooo.... back on topic...

Sorry for the long delay, it's been a perfect storm of delay-causing things. The next chapter is going to long, like very long, like @Ten Key at his best long. 3700 words in and I don't think I've even hit the halfway point, but it wouldn't be right to cut it and break up the emotional momentum. So all that, and now I have to flarping move, too. Only two days in and I already feel like I've been hit by a freight train. Bits hurt that I didn't even know I had. I actually feel about like Val does ATM, which would be helpful, except it's left me nearly zero time for writing. The new place doesn't even have internet or phone service yet, and cell reception is so bad it's like the 1980's, so I couldn't even check up on the forum and have been coming home and basically falling into bed. Then staring at the ceiling wide awake thinking of all the crap I still have to do.

Finally having our own house is awesome. Moving sucks. So there will be a new chapter along eventually, my plan to release it for Hallowe'en has been reduced to a bad joke, tho.

20 hours ago, CSE said:

More spacious than a Mk I pod! Tidier than Burdous' Hitchhiker! Cosier than comrade peasant's yurt!

Deals bargains pacts of the kraken? :D

Paperwork of the Kraken. So much papers, so much.... :confused:

16 hours ago, KSK said:

And guaranteed - no yaks!

Hopefully.

Yaks might be a bit much but we wanna get goats eventually. That's kinda-sorta like a yak. If you squint & stand upwind.

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Ahhh, sounds like RT5 levels of paperwork. :) From  @JakeGrey's story of the The Next Frontier:

"Since a couple of people have been asking, the stuff that got spilled? Chlorine trifloride, which we use for recycling the cores of the LV-Ns and never, ever under any circumstances load onboard a rocket. That is not an optical illusion, the sand someone threw over the spill really did catch fire. We did look into the stuff as a propellant once, just after we got federalised into the KSA; I think the details are still classified, but suffice it to say that the stuff was responsible for some of the Propellant Research Complex's more memorable explosions before we gave up on it as too damn dangerous.

And no, I don't know what it was doing in VAB 4 either, but I don't envy whoever put it there when Gene gets his hands on them. I don't think I generated that much paperwork after the RT-5 Incident!"

Comments:

July 21st, 22:47
Not quite, but it was a close-run thing. I'm still mad at you.
- Gene

July 21st, 22:50
The owner of that yacht was looking for a good tax write-off anyway, we found Bob in the end, the trailer really wasn't all that badly damaged and I bought you another car with my own money. Will you let it go already?
- Jeb

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This is a chapter that we want, NOW! We want to have answers, NOW! We want to be entertained, NOW! As you have probably guessed, I am suffering from lack of self-control, entertainment, and fun, NOW!

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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cy3KFHN.jpg

After agonizing over it for far too long, I think I'm going to go ahead and break this next chapter up. It's starting to get away from me while evolving in ways I didn't quite expect. Which means I should have something up some time this week. The early sections still need a lot of editing. But rest assured things have been slowly creeping along still. 

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So, there will be chapter 85 this week? YESSSSSSS! I'm tired of waiting. No offense to you catastrophic faliure

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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The good thing about this longer break between chapters is that I closed the gap between the next chapter by learning how to build spaceplanes. I mean real space planes, not orbiters stuck on top  to the side of a huge rocket.

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Chapter 85: One Small Step

Ka-chunk!

Valentina watched her only lifeline home drift slowly away through the lander's tiny docking window, still spinning slowly. It was an unnerving feeling. Through all her past missions, there had always been the reassurance of a reliable Zarya capsule standing by to make a quick return if something went wrong, even though she realized catastrophes were rarely that simple. Now, even that had been denied, as she floated in orbital darkness. If she made it back this far, she would have to find that tiny metal construction controlled only by a computer running far beyond its design specs, and even on the Mün, it was a very big sky. 

But first, she faced the more pressing task of finding another metal construction, this one abandoned and derelict for two years, and whatever... else, was down there. MechIVAN would be little help here, this revision had never been updated with landing subroutines. And yet, she found an odd sort of anticipation floating around her mind. She had once made a career out of landing things with dubious expectations, now, after all these years of flying cargo, she was a pilot again. Clinging to that thought, putting out of her mind where she was going, Valentina checked her numbers one last time, and fired the thrusters. 

***

The lander settled to the surface with a light bump. Valentina busied herself safing the engine and throwing various switches before a wave of vertigo nearly made her stumble. The gentle downward tug did not abate with the loss of thrust, and it took her brain a moment to recognize and rebel at the odd sensation.

Fortunately, there wasn't enough room to stumble in here. There was barely enough room to stand in here. Valentina had just enough space to stand before the controls in her bulky EVA suit. The rest of the hull was filled with equipment. In the tiny space, she vainly wished for claustrophobia, to feel the hull closing in. Or anything to make going outside seem preferable. She could feel the press of this place, every cell in her body was screaming at her to leave. Now. While she could. 

Awkwardly, she turned around toward the hatch as another wave of dizziness washed over her. Valentina was beyond comfortable in microgravity; she had spent more time in orbital freefall than anyone else alive. The crushing acceleration of a launch barely registered anymore, it was simply part of the job. Steadying herself, she held a pen in front of her face, and watched as it fell to the floor in slow motion. She knew why it did, she understood all the physics behind it completely. But that didn't make seeing it any less wrong. Despite her comfort in zero gravity and excess gravity, this one-sixth gravity was affecting her in ways she hadn't anticipated. 

Or perhaps, she thought, glancing back toward the derelict Münbase framed in the landing window, it was this place. She kept expecting some change, some measure of excitement, perhaps a feeling of profundity, even simple curiosity. After all, only seven other people had ever set foot here. Yet all she could feel was a pervasive sense of wanting to be anywhere other than here, and a cold dread that seeped into her bones like the taiga winter. 

So no sense in drawing it out any longer than she had to. Valentina made her last few checks, and hit the cabin vent switch. She felt her suit inflate as the noise of equipment died away, until the only sound left was her own breath thundering in her ears. With one final check, she swung the mercifully large EVA hatch open and stepped out onto another world. 

She paused on the cylindrical shroud over the huge toroidal fuel tank. It gave her a moment to collect herself as this other world spun while she clung helplessly to the lip of the hatch. If the vertigo didn't pass soon, she was going to have a big problem. It was a long walk. 

After a while, Valentina's brain and eyes finally agreed on the situation, and she was able to take in the surroundings. She raised a hand to shield against the glare from the stark, grey desolation beyond, then remembered to slide down her copper-tinted sunscreen. The landscape looked no less foreboding tinted orange-yellow. 

The walls of the expansive crater stretched high on every side, leaving no discernible horizon. That and the sheer emptiness of it all battered her with a bizarre mix of claustro- and agoraphobia. Valentina looked up, and gasped aloud in spite of herself. The gibbous blue globe of Kerbin shined down on her. As always, it was beautiful, but looking unarguably up at it only reinforced the feeling of being down, as if she had descended to some stark underworld. 

She shook the thought from her head, and instantly regretted it as the entire world seemed to shake along with it. Slowly, all her movements loose and uncoordinated, she made her way onto the ladder and began the short descent. She paused again at the last rung, glancing down to the grey surface below. Ordinarily, this was the part where the intrepid explorer would say something profound and gracious, for all Kerbalkind. There would be none of that for Valentina, after all, she was already dead. Even her familiar snarkiness had evaporated with the last of the air in the lander cabin, lost in the conflicted gravity of this place. No, there was no humor here. 

Without a word, stepped off the ladder. 

She worked her way around the fuel tank, feeling very wobbly, a hand braced against it as if stumbling in the dark. From around 300 or so meters away, she surveyed the facility. The cylindrical base itself towered above the surrounding terrain. It was painted in a broad checkerboard pattern, the black patches melding with shadows, dark as pitch, cast by the sun hanging low in the equally black sky. The rest had once been white, but two years exposed on the Mün had left it coated with dust, turning it a dingy tan. The odd contrast gave Valentina the impression of a dilapidated building that had partially collapsed. 

Finally, with no more support to cling to, she set out across the open surface. She toppled over right away, having an unusually long time to contemplate the powdery grey dust before her faceplate hit it. Working shakily back to her feet, she pushed on through sheer will. It was maddeningly slow progress. The prototype EVA suit was stiffer than she was used to, it worked with the low gravity to turn all her motions into clumsy flailing. Trying to watch the landscape was no help, either. Objects didn't fade and blur in the distance, everything seemed absolutely crisp. These strange perceptions made it hard to judge distance; she tripped over a rock that still looked meters away, stumbled across flat ground while expecting a shallow crater. Even based on all she'd read, everything seemed off. Exaggerated. Dream-like. The surreal proportions, her awkward motions like she could barely move, it was like a—

Breath caught in Valentina's throat as she whipped her head to the side. She stood motionless, not even daring to breathe, staring off towards a hill. For a moment, just a moment, she could have sworn she saw...

A long sigh escaped her lips, leaving just a hint of fog on the plexiglass. She shook her head. Just her mind, playing tricks. Looking again at the ominous structure ahead, Valentina realized what was so familiar. This place, it was like a nightmare. The one where the monster chases, and you can't run away. 

When she finally made it to the base proper, sweat was clinging to her face like a greasy syrup in the low gravity. Here, much of the regolith was disturbed with footprints and trails, making it a little easier to get her bearings. The shadows were still wrong, though; still too dark. She went out of her way to avoid walking through any. 

Staying here during the long Münar night must have been horrible.

Rising nearby like silent sentinels were two enormous descent stages. Isfjell landers. The solar-powered one still had its floodlights on, she noted. A large rover was parked by the main ladder, good. She would need it to get to the anomaly. Hopefully it still ran. Everything here other than that one lander stage was nuclear powered, but none of the exterior lights were on. She could see light in one of the base windows, however, so some systems must still be--

Her breath caught again. Despite the sweat, a chill chased up her spine. 

In that window... something moved. 

No, impossible. No one had been here in two years. Without maintenance, the whole place probably depressurized months ago. Something in the window shifted again, and she could see it was just a flickering light. There. Nothing to worry about. Perfectly expected, why, the place was probably filled with flickering lights. 

The weight of that thought slowly sank into her. An abandoned, crumbling building filled with flickering lights. A certain word kept trying to worm its way into her mind. She dared not even give it thought. 

Come now, if you believe in monsters, it's no stretch to also believe... in ghosts.

She tried to push the thought away. Besides, no one actually died in there. 

No, if even half of what you've heard is true, what happened in there was far, far worse.

Valentina tried to swallow, only to find her mouth suddenly dry. Must be this dehumidified, recirculated suit air. Again she gave her head a hard shake, stumbling over to the ladder as vertigo surged once more. Once everything stopped spinning, it looked like a long way up to the hatch. Taking the uprights in her gloved hands, she clawed her way up. 

You are not welcome here. You are alien. You are trespassing. Trespassing in a hau—

She smacked her helmet so hard the world spun again.

PЦTIЙS ЗДЯS,* I nearly thought it out loud!

Dibella always loved foreign movies, especially scary ones. Valentina had sat through many with her, quietly trying not to giggle. Now, every single one came rolling through her mind like a macabre parade. They didn't seem so funny anymore. 

Stop it, you're just scaring yourself, giving your mind leave to play its tricks.

That's exactly what someone in one of those scary movies would say, right before the ghoul appeared!

Voices chided back and forth within her mind. 

"Shut up!" Valentina cried out, squeezing tears from her eyes. As she flailed, her boot slipped off the ladder, and for a brief instant she was weightless again. Even in the low gravity, the mass of her suit and its equipment pulled her down, wrenching at her arm as she caught herself. She swayed there, scrabbling, trying to find purchase before embracing the ladder once more. Panting, just trying to hold herself up, she looked around at the shadows, as if expecting something to have heard. 

Finally, she managed to climb up to the outer hatch. Maybe... maybe the hand crank wouldn't turn. Yes, maybe the base didn't lose pressure, maybe the departing crew deliberately repressurized the lock to keep anyone else from entering. If it was still pressurized, the crank wouldn't turn and there'd be no way in. Just give it a little nudge, and she could forget this whole nonsense and go--

The crank spun effortlessly, smooth as glass. 

Silently, she cursed. 

Too smooth. Maybe... the mechanism was broken, and the hatch wouldn't even--

The hatch swung inward, creaking ominously. 

Wait, did she really hear..?

This isn't like you. You're doing this to yourself, letting some silly movies and a stressful situation get the best of you. You didn't hear that hatch creak open, you didn't see shadows move. Stop being ridiculous.

"Yes, of course. Ridiculous..." Valentina gave a weak laugh, and hauled herself into the airlock. But not before taking another uncertain look at the shadows outside. They seemed... longer. The lander was little more than a speck across an empty sea of grey. Empty, except for the shadows. She could almost see them... no, that would be ridiculous. 

She stepped back from the open door, watching it, as if afraid it might close on its own. The lock was dark, of course; several lights had stopped working. There was no telling what color the walls had been originally, in only a few weeks of service they had been scoured and coated by mündust until they simply blended into the darkness. Off to one side was a pile of worn-out handtools. 

There was a window in the inner hatch. With one last glance to the open outer door, Valentina approached with caution. This, too, had been scoured by the abrasive dust, frosted until only vague shapes could be seen in the other room. Breath thundering loud in her ears, she stared into it, moving her face closer.

Something moved.

Valentina gasped and jumped back. No... no that's quite impossible. Nothing could possibly be alive in there. Just more mind tricks, shadows, perhaps another failing light. Steeling herself, she crept close once again. Her breath sounded like the pounding of the ocean in the small space of her helmet. She craned her head this way, then that, trying to peer into the murky space. There, see? Absolutely nothing to—

Something thumped against the glass. 

She stumbled back, a scream barely contained. For a moment she flailed, helpless and off balance in the low gravity. Her head whipped around just in time to see the outer hatch slam shut with a resounding, shuddering crash. 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure
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