[Updated 2016-09-30] A Planet Divided: The Story of Kerbin's Kold War

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4.0 AWD --- Bob forms Advanced Projects Division

Chapter 4-01

With the absence of Jeb, and Bob not providing sufficient direction for the Program, Bob Kerman takes it into his own hands to create a seperate research team of the Space Program, the Advanced Projects Division. Unbeknownst to most, it also works on projects for the USKK's spy division.


This Bob should be Bill right?

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On 3/5/2016 at 0:18 PM, superstrijder15 said:

4.0 AWD --- Bob forms Advanced Projects Division

Chapter 4-01

With the absence of Jeb, and Bob not providing sufficient direction for the Program, Bob Kerman takes it into his own hands to create a seperate research team of the Space Program, the Advanced Projects Division. Unbeknownst to most, it also works on projects for the USKK's spy division.


This Bob should be Bill right?

Ah thank you, it should. Fixed now.

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On 12/1/2015 at 1:34 PM, CalculusWarrior said:

Do not worry, the next part is on its way. All I can say about it is that it's one of the original parts of the story, before I, ah, extended the outline from 12 or so parts to 12 or so chapters. Thus, I've been planning this one for a very, very long time.

This is great! Who Made this?? I want to make a video series based off this awesome story, but I need permission from the author..

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Wow, this is.. really good.

I might just try writing my own. Although if I did, I'd have to refine it many times, in order to avoid ripping you off constantly...

Nice job, though. I love how the whole thing is structured with the flags and such. Really neat. :D

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It's been a very long time, but the next chapter of Kold War is at last completed! As stated previously, I've been waiting for this for a very long time, basically ever since I first discovered that you could create custom launch sites in Kerbal Konstructs.

I hope you enjoy the chapter, and feel free to comment with your thoughts!



CKFN flag

CKFN: Vehicle Assembly Building, Facility for Space Research

Two Weeks Later

Danford walked briskly through the halls of the VAB, getting ready to depart for another Advisory Council meeting. Then he paused. Better check on the engineers, make sure they don't need anything, he thought.

From Dilbrett's reports, Jupiter I was apparently nearing completion, and the engineers were currently testing its integration with payloads. If all went well, they should be able to make their final test flight by the end of the week, and start manufacturing the Aurora capsule.

As he turned the corner and entered the main construction bay, the familiar shape of Jupiter rocket towered before him, however it was now topped by a fairing, its contents unknown.

*Jupiter I* with fairing atop

As Danford looked on, a swarm of engineers bustled around the rocket, evidently attempting to get it out the door and onto the launchpad. Looking around, Danford was unable to find Dilbrett, so he settled for a random technician.

"Hey, what's going on here?"

"Well, sir, as you can see, the engineers are trying to get the rocket out the doors, but with the payload on top, it's too tall!"

As Danford looked again, he indeed saw that the payload fairing indeed made the assembled vehicle unable to exit through the doors.

"Can't they just tilt the rocket a bit? Fit it through nose-first?"

"Oh, one engineer proposed just that, but the others said that the engine needed to remain vertical at all times, otherwise it's engines or whatever might get out of alignment. Said things along the line of 'pointing down' and 'going to space today,' but I'm not sure what they meant exactly. It's much too complicated for me, I just keep the elevators running!"

"Okay, uh, thanks. Do you know where Dilbrett is? I need to ask him something."

"Oh yes, he's just behind the rocket engine there, checking something out, I think."

"Thanks," Danford said with a nod, heading towards the specified engine bell. Sure enough, Dilbrett was there, surrounded by a clique of other engineers, all poking and prodding at the massive engine.

"Dilbrett!" Danford did not want to wait for the engineers' discussion to reach a natural conclusion, as he'd witnessed them prattle on about fuel mixtures for well over twenty minutes before.

"Ah, hello Danford!" Dilbrett appeared pleased to see him.

"I was just on my way to an Advisory Council meeting, and just wanted to know if you guys needed anything from me before I left."

"Advisory Council, eh? Can you ask whoever is in charge of funding to give us enough to get bigger bloody doors?" one engineer piped up.

Dilbrett's eager expression changed to one of concern, with a touch of embarrassment. "Do pardon Camrim over there, tensions are running pretty high over the door issue right now."

He paused. "Though...I do believe you'd mentioned that you were going to talk to someone about fixing our financial woes several times now before today. Unfortunately, I don't think the VAB has really seen much of an effect."

"That's because he's taking all the money and using it himself!" Shocked at this rather blunt accusation, Danford was momentarily speechless. Dilbrett looked to be torn between feeling embarrassed or annoyed by this remark, and appeared to settle on a combination of both. "I, ah, think it's best if Camrim gets some fresh air. Donsby, do you mind escorting him outside?"

Danford finally found his voice, speaking quietly to Dilbrett. "I can assure you that every penny we receive goes straight into the Programme."

Just as quietly, Dilbrett responded. "I absolutely believe you, as does most of the staff here. It's just with the recent financial woes, and unfulfilled promises in terms of expansion of the facilities, that belief is starting to break down in many."

Danford sighed.

"I give you my word I will get you that funding, Dilbrett," he said, a bit louder so that nearby workers could hear. Dilbrett beamed at this news.

"I think this will make a lot of kerbals very happy. Thank you, Danford!"

Danford smiled and nodded, deciding to leave quickly before anyone could question him as to exactly how he was going to get that funding. While he had utter faith in Dilbrett's ability to complete Jupiter I, that may all depend on the mood of which Bilcas was in at the time.


CKFN: Council Meeting Room

Four Hours Later

"Right, so a slight tweak to the cabbage import tax from Caspil, and this should set our economic policy more in line with your intentions, ma'am."

With that, Bilcas Kerman finished the topic he had talking about for most of the meeting, that of advising the economic changes necessary for President Adming's term in office. She was in particular more lenient about the issue of trade between the CKFN and USKK, and intended for a relaxation of trade restrictions between the nations over time.

However, it appeared only Bilcas had any interest in the finer details of making this work, as to Danford, all other members of the Advisory Council—the President included—looked to be bored to tears.

As Bilcas sat down, General Geoffnard stood up. "Things have been quiet on my front since our last meeting, Madame President. The USKK continues to occupy Malentia, but they have assured all surrounding nations that their aggressive actions stop there. As per your orders, we have also declared that the CKFN will respond militarily, should they break their word."

"How has this been received in Kolus City?"

"Surprisingly well. While their President continues to maintain that they were invited into Malentia legitimately, they have admitted that full deployment of their military into the country was an overreaction and detrimental to the stability of the region. "

"Excellent, I am glad the situation hasn't spiralled out of control. It looks like us kerbals have indeed learned a thing or two from the Great War."

"One would hope, ma'am. I do believe conflict in that area is over for the time being, aside from various partisan activities."

The President's eyes narrowed. "While I do know that you wish to capitalize on any weakness of the USKK, I do not believe it is in the CKFN's best interests to support rebel scum. We do not have significant enough interests in that region of the world to make it worthwhile. Best to stick to the home front, hmm?"

"Yes, ma'am," the General affirmed, sitting back in his seat. Seeing he had finished, Adming brought the meeting to a close.

"Enough of this then, we've run the meeting too long as it is!"

Danford realized that the President had apparently forgotten about him, and moved to speak. Before he could though, she spoke.

"My apologies, Danford! I have several lobbyist groups in my office right now who I desperately need to meet with. I promise you that next week we will definitely take a look at the Space Programme."

"Thank you, ma'am, I didn't have anything major to report this week, anyway."

"Excellent. Additionally, I am a kerbal of my word, and so I will demonstrate the support my office is prepared to offer the Programme during our next meeting."

Danford dearly hoped the support in question was financial, and thanked Adming. Before he could say anything else, he spotted Bilcas leaving the meeting room. Giving a quick goodbye, he jogged after the kerbal.

By the time he caught up to the Finance Minister, the kerbal had exited the building and was getting into his private car.


Hearing the shout, the balding kerbal stopped and reluctantly turned to face him. "Yes?"

"I want to know why you've not approved any of my budget requests for the past few months! The Space Programme can't go on like this."

Bilcas' face settled into a condescending expression Danford had been on the receiving end of all too often. "Really, Danford. All three of your requested budget increases for the last quarter have been received, approved, and implemented."

About to let loose a carefully-rehearsed speech, Danford stopped in his tracks. "Wh-what?"

"Are you failing to grasp this simple concept? All the paperwork is in order and you may view it at any time at my office. If, for some Squad-forsaken reason, you have managed to lose track of these funds, I cannot help you. I am far too busy to count your pennies for you."

With these scathing words, Bilcas entered the vehicle and slammed the door, leaving Danford speechless, and more than a little annoyed at yet another unpleasant encounter with the Finance Minister.

If the funds had indeed been approved, then they had certainly never crossed Danford's desk. Despite Bilcas' condescending remarks, the Director of the Space Programme did know a thing or two about finance, and already kept track of a great deal of funding, distributing it to the various departments at the Facility.

He knew enough, in any case, that the only way the funding would have been doled out, yet not received by the Program was that if something prevented them from reaching him. And that something would have had to be within the President's office itself, for only they had the required security clearances.

A rush of excitement replaced his annoyance from before. He may have just caught an embezzler! Siphoning government-approved funds for their own nefarious deeds—why it could even be one of those USKK spies General Geoffnard always was talking about.

He quickly turned 180 degrees and walked quickly back inside the Advisory Council building. Perhaps he could catch the President before she left for her meeting with the lobbyists and relay this information quickly?

However, 'quickly' and 'government' were evidently two words that shouldn't be mixed, as Danford's efforts to see the President were stymied by her office secretary.

"I am sorry Mr. Danford, sir, but the President has left strict orders not to be disturbed; she is in a very important meeting."

"Look, I'm aware of that, but I am the Director of the Space Programme and I have very important financial information for her."

The secretary's face formed a condescending expression eerily similar to Bilcas' five minutes ago. "See here, the President must deal with a great deal of important information from very many important kerbals throughout her day. She will hear your information as soon as she is finished with her current meeting, I assure you."

"And how long will that be?"

"Approximately three hours, unless they get into in-depth discussions, as then it could run longer."

With a snort of annoyance, Danford turned away. He was wasting his time here. He needed to find this embezzler now, as—

A tall, well-dressed kerbal interrupted his musings. "Car for you, Mr. Danford sir."

"No, sorry, I didn't order a car. You must have the wrong kerbal."

What a strange mix-up. Danford thought to himself, turning away as he turned his mind to how best to get to the bottom of his financial situation. He needed to act quickly, in case the embezzler found out that Danford was onto his nefarious acts.

"No really sir, I must insist." The kerbal stepped closer. Before Danford could react, he had pulled aside his suit jacket to reveal a holstered handgun. The threat was very clearly implied.

Gulping, Danford agreed to follow the kerbal, and was led towards a large black car. Tinted windows obscured its occupants, and Danford felt a sense of forboding as he was ushered inside. Perhaps he was going to meet the embezzler after all?

On the other side of the CKFN, Dilbrett returned to the VAB after a brief coffee break, mug still clutched in hand. The happy sight of Jupiter I inside the building at last greeted him. However, it was accompanied by a large hole in the wall above the VAB's large vertically sliding door, a decidedly less enjoyable sight. Evidently the engineers had grown tired of trying to fit the rocket through the too-small door and had taken matters into their own hands to expand it.

"Oh for the love of..." Dilbrett found himself saying, searching around for those responsible. He quickly found those kerbals, as they were the only ones surrounding the hole, attempting to patch it up with duct tape. They too caught sight of Dilbrett, and looked down guiltily as the Lead Engineer looked up at them for a long moment.

Finally, Dilbrett spoke up. "At the very least, use a tarp or something to cover the hole first, that tape isn't going to last long against a rainstorm."

The various engineers' faces broke into relieved expressions as Dilbrett began to turn away, obviously they'd been worried about disciplinary action. Truth be told, Dilbrett was just happy they'd got the rocket outdoors, the engineers' methods be damned. It was awfully close to the USKK's infamous 'kerbal' technique of just winging it and hoping for the best, but as long as the hole was patched up, Dilbrett didn't much mind. This time.

Danford's eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness inside the vehicle. Its windows didn't let in much light, and it was difficult to make out the sole occupant of the passenger area. However, as the kerbal greeted Danford, his gruff voice immediately gave his identity away.

"General Geoffnard?"

"Yes, hello Danford. I apologize for the circumstances in which you were acquired, but one can never be too cautious in this political climate." He leaned closer. "USKK spies could be anywhere."

"Yes, well, ah... why did you er, 'acquire' me in the first place, sir? I was just inquiring with the President's office about missing funds from our budget. I believe there may be a case of embezzlement in the flow of Space Programme-allocated funds."

"But of course! Danford, I am pleased to report that it is I who was responsible for the missing funds from your budget. I daresay you'll be quite pleased when you see the results of this little endeavour."

Danford still had no idea what the General was talking about. Did the kerbal really just admit that he'd been stealing from the Space Programme's budget? Nevertheless, he chose his next words carefully.

"So, uh, what exactly is this project you've spent the Programme's money on?"

"Never fear, you will see shortly. I prefer to let results speak for themselves!" At this, the General grinned proudly. Danford leaned back in his seat. He wasn't as confident as the General appeared to be that he'd be overjoyed by whatever he was spending the Space Programme's missing funds on. Still, it was nice to get to the bottom of this mystery so quickly.

Three Hours Later

Danford looked out the window. The extreme tinting obscured the view somewhat, but he could see that the vehicle was in the middle of the vast Central Desert of the CKFN. All around were sand dunes, and the car travelled over a narrow, but well-worn road of compacted sand.

Danford personally hated sand, finding it coarse, rough, and it had a tendency to appear in places it really shouldn't. Still, he was quite curious as to see what this mysterious project could be. As the vehicle rounded a corner, Danford was treated to the site of a cluster of buildings far below, by the sea. While it certainly was not unthinkable, Danford was fairly certain that kerbals did not tend to live in the middle of the desert. Whatever this collection of buildings was, it must be what the General intended to show him.

long-distance image of the Space Launch Centre

"What's that over there? Some sort of hidden base?" Danford wondered aloud. Whatever it was, it was most certainly secretive, for the General to go through so much trouble to keep it hidden.

The General responded. "You're closer than you realize, Danford. This was an abandoned military base dating back to before the Great War. I simply procured some funds from your budget, and spruced it up a bit."

"With all due respect, General, I'm not sure exactly how a military base would help the Space Programme. What we need now is better facilities, not a new..."

Danford trailed off as the revelation washed over him. This base was for the Space Programme, but did it have the necessary facilities the engineers needed?

As they drew close enough for him to make out fine detail, the base itself answered that question. Danford observed a towering VAB, as well as a research complex on par with cutting-edge labs across the CKFN.

beautiful shot of the SLC

Danford stared out the window with the wonder of a child given free run of a toy store, taking in the details of every single building.

"Now, I must warn you, Danford, the base is still under construction, but I should be able to give you a tour to familiarize you with the main facilities."

Still speechless after his initial realization, Danford could only put a hand over his open mouth and nod, a wide smile stretched across his face.

Several hours later, Danford had finally been through the entire complex. While construction was still being finalized, the workers were very helpful in showing him and the General around, and he now had a pretty good idea of the size of the base.

overview shot of the base

"Really, General, I can't thank you enough," Danford was saying, for at least the tenth time. "This is all too generous of you, and really, if there's any way for the Space Programme to repay you, just let me know!"

The General stopped, by a large window which offered a wonderful view of the landscape to the west. The sun was setting, tinting the desert a fantastic colour, while painting the two kerbals in red.

He turned. "Well, Danford, I merely ask one thing of you in return. Do you recall that engineer you sent to help out when my research team helped launch your refuelling ship half a year ago?"

Danford was somewhat confused, having expected the General to name some sort of military payload to be launched into orbit, or even simple monetary compensation for the new Space Centre. "Yes, ah, Dilbrett, he's one of my best engineers. Why do you ask?"

"In return for granting this new Space Launch Centre for exclusive Space Programme use, I merely request that Dilbrett be transferred to the military's rocket research and development division."

"You want Dilbrett? But why? Don't you have plenty of engineers to choose from already?"

"I am a kerbal who recognizes talent, and is quick to make use of such talent when I see it. Dilbrett was extraordinarily helpful to my team when he was at the base. I wish to see exactly how helpful he can become when he works there full-time."

"I—you—take anyone but Dilbrett, please," Danford pleaded, stuck in an impossible situation. He couldn't give up Dilbrett, not now, just as Jupiter was about to come to completion. "You can even take multiple engineers, I've many who I don't mind—"

"I'm sorry Danford, you're an excellent Director, but you still have things to learn about the art of the deal. I will have Dilbrett."

Danford's shoulders slumped. The General was right, of course. He had just undertaken the colossal task of constructing a brand-new space centre for the Programme, and if he wasn't satisfied, could no doubt pull some trickery to make it the property of the military. He would probably even sidestep the fact that this was technically paid with Space Programme funds. It was either lose Dilbrett, or stay in their current buildings and never even get a rocket out the door, let alone to the Mun. Danford sighed.

"You can have Dilbrett, General. Just—just please, not now. We're so close to a breakthrough with a new rocket design which can take us to the Mun. I—we just need more time."

The General cracked a smile. "But of course, Danford. You should realize that I of all kerbals would recognize the tactical advantage of reaching the Mun before the USKK!"

He held out his hand. "Very well, you may retain Dilbrett under your employment until a kerbal has landed on the Mun. The day of, however, he will be transferred immediately to my research team. Do we have a deal?"

Danford held out his own hand, and with a heavy heart, shook the General's. "We do, sir."

"Excellent, I'm glad we came to an agreement. Now, I really must get back to the capital. There should be transportation options around, feel free to ask any of the construction crew members when you wish to return to your team."

With that, the General strode away, leaving Danford to watch the sunset alone. He remained long after it had slipped below the horizon, plunging the corridor into darkness.

sunset on the SLC

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It's nice to see  a new bit! Your screenshots are looking good in this one, and references buried in the text with delightful finesse! 

That general has some tricks up his sleeve, pulling of a thing like that! 


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Ooh! A new one! Yaay!

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Another chapter has been completed! This was originally meant to be a quick part about how the USKK gets its groove back, but I don't like things to be too easy for our kerbals, and so I managed to extend it to over 8000 words somehow. Be thankful I decided to cut a segment of Bill's backstory, that pushed it to over 10 000! :P


uskk flag

USKK: Bob Kerman's office, Space Center

One Month Later

establishing shot

"So Dundun, what's the status of the rocket?" Bob Kerman spoke to a member of the VAB engineering teams, who had been chosen to report in on their progress to himself, Bill, and Jeb.

"Things are proceeding well. Command and control systems have been wired up, all fuel tanks are in position, decouplers have been primed, and the fuel lines and pumps have been fully installed. The main body of the rocket is ready to fly, all that needs completion are the engines."

"How are they?"

Bill noted that Dundun paused very slightly before answering. "Work is...proceeding slower than expected. There's been a slight delay."

The only move Bob made in response was to narrow his eyes. "Delay? What sort of delay?"

"The company we are buying thermal baffles from, Rocket Parts Inc., has just been bought by a larger company. In the chaos of the buyout, they have had to temporarily cut back on the number of orders they can fulfill, but this should be cleared up within the next few weeks."

"That won't do at all. The scheduled date for the rocket launch is in two weeks, we can't miss it." Bob replied, very firmly.

"Are these baffles critically needed? I mean, could we just leave them out of the final rocket?" asked Jeb. "What exactly do they do?"

Dundun looked annoyed. "Without these components, the engines could suffer a catastrophic overheating incident." Despite speaking to Jeb, he refused to look at the kerbal. "This would lead directly to a situation like what happened aboard Uranus IX." Those last words dripped with venom, and Jeb's shoulders slumped at hearing them.

Bill quickly moved to Jeb's defense. He reflected on the irony, as until a few months ago, he too had been attacking Jeb with that disaster. "Well, maybe we could make our own on-site? Substitute those baffles for something else?"

Dundun frowned, mulling it over. "We are using top of the line baffles, the increased quality provided by Rocket Parts probably isn't helping us any, especially with the quality of the salvaged engines we're using. Still, it is better to err on the side of caution."

Bill privately agreed with the kerbal, but kept his mouth shut. He knew exactly what Bob would say should he agree verbally, and it would be nothing good. Bob looked at a technical diagram of the rocket, as if reaffirming all sections had been accounted for and spoke once more.

"All right then. Thank you for your time, Dundun, we will discuss this matter and get back to you very soon."

As the kerbal left, Bill knew he had to say something. They couldn't just plunge blindly into this situation hoping for the best, especially with the potential failure mode being a Uranus IX-type scenario. He took a deep breath, preparing himself for the fallout.

"With these new delays, coupled with another third of the engineering staff leaving, I just don't see how we're going to do this. We might have to push back the launch after all."

Right on cue, Bob replied. "Bill. We've been over this. If we're going to launch before Parliament passes their damned bill, we cannot afford any more delays. The launch needs to happen within two weeks, and not a second later."

Bill's eye twitched. They were right back to where they'd started, back when Jeb had just returned. Bob the unyielding stone, utterly convinced that he was correct and could do no wrong. "What good will another rocket which explodes mid-ascent do for our cause? I thought the point of this was to impress the government with our return to form?"

"Which we very well cannot do if we launch past the date of the Bill! I doubt launching an illegal rocket will impress many MPs!"

Bill sighed. As much as he hated to admit it, Bob did have a point. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place; either launch early and risk another explosion, or take their time and watch as the Space Program came crashing down around their ears.

"Hang on. Isn't the point of this launch to be one last hurrah for the Space Program?" Jeb, who had been silent since Dundun had left, cut in. "One rocket launch won't make a difference as to Parliament's decisions---nor should it."

Bill paused. This certainly wasn't something he was expecting out of Jeb's mouth. Bob appeared taken aback as well.

"Jeb? What are you talking about?"

"You two know as well as I do that Parliament takes ages to decide on the smallest of issues. If they're getting ready to vote on something as large as this Bill, I don't think there's any changing their minds."

Bob and Bill exchanged glances. This almost defeatist attitude was certainly nothing like the old Jeb, who had always seen the positive side of a situation and believed they could do anything if they worked together.

Which wasn't a bad attitude to have! Personally, Bill had a feeling that once the Prime Minister took a look at the progress the team had made, he would convince Parliament to give them a break. From his meetings with the Prime Minister a few months ago regarding the Space Program, Bill had the impression that he was a reasonable kerbal, and one who was reluctant to throw away the progress they'd made on the Program thus far.

Seeming to push away the cloud that had crossed his face when Dundun had spoken to him, Jeb continued, cracking a smile. "Still, we've got two weeks. What do you say we find a substitution for those baffles, and launch one last rocket?"

Pushing thoughts on the Prime Minister aside, Bill chuckled. This was more like the old Jeb.

Bob too, appeared to have been given a dose of good cheer by Jeb's words. "I agree. Whatever we do, we ought to finish our run strong. Let's launch this rocket on schedule, then worry about what comes afterwards when it hits us. As you said, Jeb: one last hurrah."

True to his word, Bill followed up with Dundun later that day. He, Bob, and Jeb examined some makeshift thermal baffles the engineer had dug out of a large pile of odds and ends lying around.

"They're certainly a primitive design, but they look like they'll work," Bob mused.

"I doubt these were made to any standard of precision, and the amount of time they've been sitting in the Pile surely hasn't done them any favours," responded Dundun, still digging around. "We'll definitely have to inspect them to make sure they don't exhibit any major flaws. Still, I have a good feeling about this!" His face broke into a broad grin as he uncovered another baffle from the Pile.

Bill matched the grin as he turned to examine the rocket taking shape in the centre of the floor. Christened Selene 1, it resembled no other rocket yet built by kerbal hands.

Six fuel pods surrounded the central core, interconnected in intricate ways. This fuel line technology, while tested extensively on the ground over the past few months, had never before been used in any sort of flying vehicle. This simultaneously excited and worried Bill, as he examined the rocket's silhouette.

selene 1

After a few moments of inspection, Bill noticed something quite unexpected. He questioned a passing engineer. "Wait, that looks like a Mark One capsule up top. You are aware that we're not sending a kerbal up in this rocket, right?"

The kerbal perked up at hearing this. "Of course! We were having difficulties designing a proper probe control system, so we just linked two pods together." He pointed at an identical capsule on the floor of the VAB, partially cut open with wires sticking out. "We'll just stick a kerbal in that pod when it comes time to launch, maybe move it to Mission Control or something. The controls he presses will be exactly mirrored in the rocket-mounted pod, thus controlling the rocket as if he was inside!"

"That's genius!" remarked Bill. "Who came up with that idea?"

"That would be me," the kerbal said, quite proudly.

"Don't believe anything Lars tells you," a passing kerbal spoke up. "Sure, he figured out how to connect the pods, but all he did was accidentally slave them together while trying to cobble together a control circuit."

Bill looked at Lars, whose proud grin had evolved into a sheepish one.

Bob, hearing the commotion, walked up. "Well, it doesn't matter how it was conceived, it's a damn good idea. We're going to launch this rocket on schedule, and save the Space Program!"

While this was not quite the same tune the three had been singing back in his office, the engineers did let out quite the cheer at this. And if this narrative kept more engineers from leaving, Bill certainly couldn't complain.

uskk flag

USKK: Outside Administrative Center, Space Center

Two Weeks Later

A long, black limousine pulled up to the Space Center. Its occupants began to exit the vehicle, which consisted of several black-suited kerbals, followed by the Prime Minister of the USKK himself. He blinked a few times, shielded his eyes against the harsh midday sun, and motioned for his staff to continue inside.

Barely a minute later, a pair of smaller vehicles pulled up and parked behind the limo. Unlike the sleek lines of that governmental vehicle, these jeeps were decidedly military, with halfhearted camouflage patterns painted on their sides. They also sported enough dust, dirt, and dents to suggest they both had seen significant action.

Coming to a stop, these vehicles disgorged just as many kerbals as the Prime Minister's limo had contained. In contrast to the muted dress of the Prime Minister's attachés, these kerbals wore full uniforms and shiny medals which glinted against the harsh glare of the equatorial sun. Accustomed to moving in formation, the mass of kerbals moved together towards the doors of the Administration Center.

administration center overhead view

Inside, the two groups merged as best as they could. The well-organized mass of military kerbals refused to let any others into its ranks, and moved through the rest much as a plow moves through a snowbank. At the same time, security kerbals fanned out to the edges of the room, inadvertently blocking any Space Program staff members from moving through. The lobby was packed full of kerbals, and the volume steadily increased as kerbals had to raise their voices higher and higher to be heard above their neighbors who in turn, were also raising their voices.

It was into this chaotic environment which Bill Kerman appeared, summoned by the secretary at the Administration Center, who had been overwhelmed by the number of kerbals appearing before her.

He too froze when confronted by the horde of kerbals the lobby of the Administration Center had become, but quickly regained his composure and strode towards the center of the room, in hopes of finding whoever was in charge.

However, the kerbals inside had that same goal, and upon Bill's entrance, as the first kerbal from the Space Center who displayed even the barest hint of authority, they flocked to him, as iron filings attach themselves to a magnet.

And just as iron filings transform from a jumbled mess to straight lines when exposed to a magnetic field, miraculously so too did the mass of kerbals. In the blink of an eye, Bill found himself in the middle of a pathway formed by security kerbals. Even the clump of military kerbals had dissolved. With little other choice, Bill followed this path, and found its endpoint was none other than the Prime Minister himself.

This kerbal turned around, and noticed Bill for the first time.

"Ah, Bill! I believe I just sent someone to find you. I do apologize for the lack of notice, this was somewhat of a spur of the moment decision."

Cautious, Bill advanced. The Prime Minister of the USKK very rarely left the capital, and when he did, it was only for matters of great national importance.

"Not at all sir, it is an honour for us here at the Space Program to receive you. What brings you here?" Bill ended his trip towards the Prime Minister with a formal bow. He had a sinking feeling that this visit coincided with the upcoming Bill, and so he would show every gram of respect he could.

"Now as I said, this is a very spontaneous thing here, but I heard through the grapevine that you were preparing for another rocket launch, is that right?"

Bill nodded. "We are making final preparations now, Selene 1 should launch in a few hours."

"Ah excellent. Regardless, I was just meeting with the general staff of the military only a few kilometres away, and our discussion turned towards the future of military technology. I think we can all agree that the rocketry you are pioneering here at the Space Center will be crucial to the success of future battles, so I offered to show them a first-hand experience of a rocket launch."

"The military, sir?" Bill froze. Long ago, he had called their ranks home, but no more. Never again. Still cautious, he questioned the Prime Minister as to what he needed to discuss.

"Yes. While the military's main goal here is to examine this rocketry technology, I do intend for them to also become familiar with this facility, as it will be turned over to them following the passage of Bill UK-67."

Bill felt as though a litre of icy water had just been poured down his throat. Cautiously, he moved to correct the Prime Minister.

"Take over the Space Center, sir? It was my understanding with the passage of the Bill that we would be continuing operations at this facility, only reduced to atmospheric probes?"

The Prime Minister laghed. Unlike most laughs Bill had heard, this one was devoid of any actual good humour. It was not a cruel laugh, nor a mocking one, simply neutral. A laugh which satisfied all the criteria of being a laugh, yet not actually requiring humor to be found in what was said. All in all, the perfect politician's laugh. This only served to deepen the chill in Bill's stomach.

"Now Bill. Surely you can't imagine that an atmospheric test agency would need facilities as large as this one? No, it would be much preferred by all if the military was able to take over the place, and continue your work with this rocketry technology. I have promised that they can conduct any future rocketry development experiments here. Besides, I'm certain your somewhat reduced operation could relocate without much difficulty."

For the second time in less than ten minutes, Bill was rendered speechless. Fortunately, he was able to recover quickly from this gap in communication and put on the appearance of calm once more.

"Of---of course, thank you for clearing that up, sir."

Behind the walls of his hastily-constructed façade, Bill was panicking. The Prime Minister seemed dead-set on dismantling this Space Program with these words. Sure, back in the capital a few months ago, the Prime Minister had been confident that the Bill would pass, but to offer the Center to the military before any decision had been made in Parliament? Was the Bill all but guaranteed? Bill thought back to Selene 1. Suddenly the rocket seemed very small and very crude. Perhaps Jeb had been right after all---maybe this was the end?

afternoon sun on rocket, maybe crawler


The afternoon sun shone on the dull metallic body of Selene 1, as the crawler slowly moved it out to the launchpad. Aldely Kerman checked the throttle settings on the massive machine, ensuring that it wouldn't exceed a safe speed while carrying its precious cargo.

She had sat in this very seat almost a year ago, carrying Uranus IX out to the pad. At the time, she hadn't known what was about to happen---no one had---but she still felt responsible. Almost like one of those old executioners, leading a prisoner out to die.

She had been over her actions again and again, and had found no fault. Still, she found herself dreaming about what would have happened had she discovered the faulty strut, or improperly-aligned control surface, or whatever it was which claimed those kerbals' lives.

She resolved to not just do her job perfectly today, but keep a watch out for any and all small details that could turn into disaster. They still had a few hours before launch, so she could take her time getting to the pad. She would not be an executioner, not today.

rocket on pad


Billy-Boblan Kerman double-checked the pressures on the fuel pumps currently pumping their load into the tanks of Selene 1. The rocket's non-standard fuel tank assembly made things slightly more difficult when fueling, so he carefully watched the readouts before him, in the case of a catastrophe.

Billy was a new hire to the Space Program, and hadn't been around when Uranus IX exploded. He wondered if the explosion had been caused by an improper fuel loadout? Despite himself, he shivered. The older members of the team all mentioned that infamous disaster with such dread and awe, one couldn't help but worry. Even worse, he had just learned yesterday that this ship would be the first to be launched since the ill-fated Uranus IX had gone up.

Unconsciously, Billy began biting his nails. Perhaps he ought to double-check the fuel line connections for the fuelling process. He knew that the engineers were planning a live-fire test of the fuel lines while the rocket was still tethered to the ground, and it was not inconceivable that something could have been connected up wrong. He'd be quick, they only had a couple of hours until launch, after all.

Mission Control





Gene Kerman paced around, calling out the different stations and receiving their single-word reports as to the readiness of the rocket for liftoff.

He double-checked with his pilot for this mission. "Doodbert, you ready?"

"Yes, sir!" came the response. Gene was not accustomed to having the kerbonaut in the same room has him, though he had to admit that it simplified a great number of things. He watched as Bert climbed into the pod, strapping himself in. He snorted. Despite the fact that this facsimile pod was bolted to the floor and Doodbert would have no need for straps, old habits were hard to break. Either that, or the kerbal was a supremely dedicated method actor.

So far, all looked good, but appearances could be deceiving in this business. Gene knew all too well what had happened the last time this room had been filled with kerbals, and recalled exactly how quickly things had gone sour. Indeed, he'd be surprised if any of his flight controllers didn't have a small part of their mind thinking of Uranus IX and those poor kerbals who had died aboard her.

He pulled his mind back to the task ahead. This rocket was by far the most complex his team had attempted to fly; its higher-than-average stage count had confused several technicians and had resulted in a few failed rehearsal sessions. If he wasn't on top of his game today, they could have another such incident, with the Prime Minister in attendance as well!

Half-hoping for another pep talk from Bill, just like all the way back on Aether 7, he glanced over at the knot of government officials peering at the consoles. But Bill, who was leading the tour, was fully occupied showing off the control terminals. Gene was on his own. But pep talk or no, he resolved to make them all proud of his team's performance. Gene checked his watch. Less than an hour until liftoff.

view from mission control to rocket

"Launchsite is clear!"

"Final countdown commencing, stand by,"

Bill wrung his hands, trying not to make his nervousness obvious. This was it. This was the culmination of the past few months of hard work. Nearly a year had passed since Uranus IX had exploded, a year of uncertainty, doubt, and worry.

The group stood in a special room inside Mission Control. A large window opened out towards the launch site. This had been commissioned months ago, to provide a less-exposed viewing area for spectators. It had all been part of those agreements with the government made immediately after Uranus IX had been destroyed. Agreements which were meant to ensure the Space Program could continue operating, but Bill wondered now if that had all just been smoke and mirrors.

Gene's voice crackling once more over the speaker positioned above the mass of kerbals' heads broke him out of his reverie.

"All checks are green, we are ready to launch in tee minus three minutes."

Selene 1 stood on the pad, monolithic. The umbilicals connecting her to her launch tower had retracted and the rocket was running on battery power, waiting for that brief electromagnetic signal that let her know it was time to shed the bonds of Kerbin and leap for the sky.

selene, waiting

The rocket's patience paid off, as before too long, a signal came from the control room, relayed through one of the massive Tracking Station dishes. Throttle to 82%, it whispered. Ignite centre engine.

Dutifully, Selene did as she was told. But the rocket remained grounded. Metal claws held her fast to Kerbin, cruelly denying her the destiny which awaited skyward. For she was not to leap upwards just yet, as the engineers who had built her wished to test her fuel lines just once more.

With her centre engine lit and firing, fuel now rushed through these pipes. The kerbals who had built her were taking careful note of their performance, watching closely for any anomalies. Upon finding none, they gave the go-ahead for the next phase of testing.

The electromagnetic whisper came once more. Throttle to full, ignite remaining engines. With flawless precision, Selene did so. She now strained at her bonds, creaking and moaning, as she strived for the heavens. Even though her engines spat fire, her tanks remained full. Additional fuel lines connected her to tanks on the ground, ensuring she would have a full load of fuel when she finally took off.

At long last, the engineers completed their final checks and the long-awaited command came. No kerbal could hear the whisper that came once more from the control room. No, this was meant for Selene, and Selene alone.

The launch clamps released their grip, and she flew free.

Still standing in the observation room, Bill worried. The topic of worry varied, as new and increasingly terrifying scenarios sprang to mind. From if the rocket would decide to detonate on the pad, to whether or not the rocket's engines would simply fizzle out, Bill envisioned countless things that could go wrong.

Though he wondered if even the best-case scenario, that of a functional rocket which performed to expectations, would be enough for the Prime Minister, who was standing at the front of the room, with steely eyes.

Based on their conversation earlier that day, the Prime Minister didn't seem to have changed his stance from six months ago, when he'd first told Bill about the Bill to shut down the Space Program. It sounded like everything had already been decided.

The Bill would pass, the Space Program would be cast aside, and the military would take over the Center. In the end, this rocket meant nothing. Still, Bill reflected, at least the staff here got to build one last rocket. He knew that all here at the Program truly loved what they did, and he had no idea how they'd react once they were cast loose.

He pushed this from his mind, though, and worried instead about more timely matters, like whether he'd misread the time for the rocket's launch and instead had brought the audience here several hours too early.

Fortunately, that turned out to not be the case, as the small digital readout on the wall showed only minutes to zero, rather than hours.

With three minutes remaining, the rocket fired its main engines. The roar, though muffled by the building's soundproofing, washed over the crowd, which led to several gasps at the sheer presence of the rocket's power. Already, the military kerbals, while doing their best to appear disinterested, had directed all their focus onto the distant rocket.

At last, the timer reached zero. As soon as it did so, the rocket positively lept off the pad, speeding skyward. Any facades of disinterest immediately dissolved at this, and Bill saw nearly all kerbals present watch the rocket speed skyward with great excitement, craning their necks as it reached higher and higher into the sky.

All kerbals but one, that is. The Prime Minister had observed the moment of launch, yet made no attempt to follow the rocket's trajectory. He instead nudged a military attache and in a low whisper, pointed a feature of the launch pad out to her. Unbidden, the chill in Bill's stomach from earlier returned.

Selene 1 flew free. Under the acceleration of seven engines, she was subject to g-forces not seen by any previous rocket on Kerbin. Her pilot quickly recognized this, and whispered to her to throttle the engines to half their original thrust. This did not matter, as soon the icy claws of the atmosphere would release their grip on Selene, just as their distant metal cousins had done so on the ground. Then she could fly free once more. The key was patience.

selene flying

Bill motioned the Prime Minister and his entourage out of the viewing room. The rocket had escaped their sight, travelling too far and fast for the naked eye to track. Fortunately, a kerbal stationed on the roof was equipped with a high-tech telescopic television camera, and was tracking the rocket himself.

This clearer, albeit shakier, view was broadcast to an adjoining room's television set. Mentally, Bill kicked himself for not having the feed moved into the viewing room itself, but the Prime Minister's visit had been too unexpected to allow for much preparation.

Still, despite its optical flaws, the image showed very clearly Selene 1, with a nose ringed by fog, indicating it had just gone supersonic. Bill noted that Mission Control hadn't begun pitching the rocket over just yet, but supposed they were waiting for something. Surely this was nothing to worry about.

another shot of *Selene* flying, just cause

Gene Kerman leaned over the shoulder of one of his Mission Control staff members seated at a console, reading altitude numbers as they flicked by on a readout. As they reached the familiar pitch-over point, he almost casually called over to Doodbert.

"Begin pitch maneuver,"

It was undeniably useful to have the pilot of the rocket in the same room as Control itself, as one didn't have to speak through a CAPCOM and the like. Still, Gene felt like he was dealing with a communications delay after all, as he waited for his pilot's response.

"Bert? Any day now."

"Sorry, sir. The pitch controls aren't responding. The rocket is fine, and responds fine to roll, but pitch and yaw are non-functional."

Gene's eyes widened. The last time he'd stood in this room, Uranus-Squad-damned-IX happened. He wasn't going to let history repeat itself.

"Is there a manual override you can send?"

Doodbert looked worried. "I don't think so, sir. This pod has really seen better days and I worry that the systems are starting to become desynched."

Those damn engineers. Gene made a mental note to get the lot of them fired should they mess up another one of his rockets. Still, this situation wasn't unsalvageable.

"Right, so if the systems are unstable, I want you to avoid unnecessary control inputs. Throttle to full and give it a constant roll command."

"Any particular direction?"

"Pick either. All that matters is we're spinning fast enough that we don't drift off course."

Doodbert's nod let Gene know this particular kerbal knew the basics of gyroscopic spin-stabilization. Now that he didn't have to worry about losing control of the craft, he had to make sure that it didn't wind up burning itself to a crisp.

"Thermal Control. How are we looking?"

"Sir, the rocket is deep enough in the atmosphere that we are starting to see a larger-than-expected thermal spike. Fortunately, the ship's skin is absorbing it well enough, and we should exit the atmosphere long before it becomes a problem."

Gene allowed his body to relax, which then tightened up again at another kerbal's words.

"Sir! I'm getting a temperature spike on Engine 2!"

It was if the kerbal spoke through his nightmares. That was the same problem which had killed Uranus IX. The engineers had assured him countless times that clustered engine overheating was fixed. Fixed on their ramshackle test rigs maybe, but not in reality.

Mere threats would not be enough. After this launch, he was going to march down to the VAB, find the lead engineer, and grab him by the---

"Sir, we really need to do something!"

Gene brought his mind back to the present. Fortunately, he'd had just this scenario in mind when first briefed on the asparagus design. He had made very certain that a small, almost trivial design change had been made to the rocket's design in order to prevent anything like Uranus IX from occurring again.

"Decouple stage two, on my mark."


"Trust me, Bert. Mark."

"Yes, sir."

Selene 1 had received no commands from the ground for some time after decoupling her first stage. If an intelligent being rode aboard the rocket, it surely would have wondered if something was wrong, but Selene continued serenely onwards, her automatic stability systems attempting to keep her on-course.

These systems, built into the command pods, were designed to assist a pilot in maintaining a direct heading while in space, not to fight against the turbulence atmospheric flight generated. Kerbal assistance was required, or else more advanced control algorithms.

Still, the systems fought valiantly. Just as they were about to lose their battle entirely, surrendering the rocket to the whims of Kerbin's upper atmosphere, the command from the ground came. Roll, roll as you've never rolled before. And so Selene did.

As a drill bit eats through a wooden beam, the rocket spun its way through the atmosphere. But the air would not relinquish its grasp so easily. The other command, that to throttle Selene's engines to full, led to a buildup of waste heat on the engines themselves. While the makeshift thermal baffles did their best to dissipate it, their imperfect craft was not enough.

Engine 2, the hottest engine, was nearing a catastrophe. Its combustion chamber was designed to withstand extreme temperatures, certainly, as long it was regularly cooled, either from the surrounding air, or the thermal baffles currently installed.

The clustered arrangement of the engines prevented the first option, as instead of relatively cool air, the combustion chamber was surrounded by three other hot ones. So the task fell to the baffles to evacuate this heat, which as mentioned, were failing to do their duty.

Mere seconds before the combustion chamber melted, which would lead to rocket fuel and oxidizer combining all the way back up into the tank, Gene's command came through. Its electromagnetic caress belied the urgency of the order. Stage now, if you wouldn't mind.

Selene, as always, obliged. Decouplers on either side of the rocket's core triggered, and two of the fuel tank stacks were now separated from the main rocket. If one was to try this at home, they would notice that upon doing so, said decoupled fuel tanks would nearly instantaneously collide with the main rocket body, generally at relative speeds enough to do significant damage.

However, these were no ordinary fuel tanks. The small, almost trivial design change Gene had pushed for so many months ago was a tiny pair of solid rocket motors in the tips of these boosters. They fired for not much more than a second, but these tiny motors were able to punch far above their weight level in terms of thrust. Oriented as they were, they pushed the errant boosters apart and safely away from the main rocket as they burned out.

stage sep

All the audience on the ground saw were two iridescent plumes as the separation motors fired to bring the still-firing second stage safely away from the main rocket.

It was at this moment that Engine 2's combustion chamber failed, and in spectacular fashion too. A breach in this secure chamber meant hot gas suddenly had a great deal of choice as to which direction it was allowed to exit the rocket. This naturally, led to an expanding cloud of fire, which grew enormously once it ignited the fuel tank itself.

Bill saw nothing but white on the screen as the camera attempted to compensate for this thousand-fold increase in brightness. Unconsciously, he chewed his nails, desperately hoping that this didn't mean a catastrophic failure for the rocket. Visions of Uranus IX danced in his head, as he recalled looking at a very similar image during that disaster.

His fellow kerbals didn't seem to know exactly what had happened, looking around in a bit of confusion as to the cause of this lost signal. The military members of the audience, however, had seen more than one explosion via television set and watched the set with quiet certainty.

As the glare faded from the screen, the rocket could be seen, flying triumphantly through the expanding cloud of gas the detonation of the fuel tank had created. Scattered applause rang throughout the small crowd, as the various kerbals worked out what had happened. The Prime Minister, on the other hand, did not react to this event whatsoever, instead remaining staring impassively at the set.

high-flying rocket

The still-rotating Selene 1 flew ever higher, at last shedding the tenuous grasp of the atmosphere. Her three engines, combined with the emptying fuel tanks of her third stage, meant that she endured truly crushing levels of acceleration, levels which would render any kerbal unconscious. Fortunately, Selene's solid-state electronics did not care for the intense force acting upon them, and so continued forward at breathtaking speeds.

For as the third stage spiraled away below her, she very quickly became the fastest-traveling object yet launched by kerbals. Her unique upward trajectory, coupled with her fantastic speed meant that an age-old saying by kerbals had just been disproved.

What goes up, must come down. While Selene certainly went up, her speed was so great that she exceeded Kerbin's escape velocity entirely. Rather than coming back down to burn up in the atmosphere, she was to continue skyward, destined to orbit the sun for all eternity.

Back in the control room, this fact was discovered by one of the kerbals assigned to track the rocket's trajectory. Her console suddenly spat out nonsensical numbers and refused to produce a valid trajectory. This event was unprecedented, yet not unpredicted, and to handle it, key software was quickly rewritten behind the scenes.

Hence, within a few hours, all kerbals present at the Space Center were able to see the rocket's future path into the inky black depths of space, before Selene 1 had even made it past the Mun.

rocket trajectory

By this time, most of the Prime Minister's entourage had vanished, most growing bored with the unchanging line on the screen and opting instead to prepare for the group's departure. Once the final staff member had left, the only kerbals which remained were Bill and the Prime Minister himself. Inside that small room with only a small flickering screen for company, the two silently sat, each contemplating this monumental achievement; that of breaking free from the bonds of gravity and sending something into the darkness beyond.

In any case, Bill was contemplating this. He doubted the Prime Minister was thinking anything nearly as grand, probably just ways to spin this in order to get his Bill passed. A few additional moments passed before Bill realized this silence was getting rather awkward and resolved to say something. However, Prime Minister beat him to it, by speaking up first.

"Congratulations, Bill. The Space Program has a habit of exceeding limits, doesn't it?"

"Thank you sir, I suppose it---er, we do."

"It certainly makes one think, this act of leaving Kerbin itself. A pity indeed, for I cannot imagine the military continuing such endeavors following the Program's reassignment."

Despite himself, Bill felt a spark of hope. Perhaps the Prime Minister, moved by the spectacle of such a launch, was having second thoughts to his decision to gut the Program?

"Though it is important to keep in mind that our enemies do not lie out in space, so it is prudent indeed to focus on Kerbin-centric applications for this technology."

Bill's spark of hope quickly died. He supposed it was too much to hope for. He always had had an overly romantic mind, he supposed.

"You are correct sir. I'm just glad we got to show how far we've come in these past few years."

The Prime Minister smiled. Unlike yesterday, this was a genuine, warm expression which served to thaw the ice in Bill's stomach. "I too, am glad. Thank you, Bill."

With that, he was gone.

Welcome back to UNN, the world's finest news network! I'm your host, Erdan Kerman. Tonight, Parliament is poised to vote on Bill UK-67, a piece of legislation poised to downscale the Program and place it under greater governmental control, opposed to the privately-run institution its been up to now.

Following their *Uranus IX incident a year ago, the Program immediately halted all activity and barred all journalists from making inquiries. Analysts were divided on the activities of the Program at that point, some wondering if the place had shut down entirely, or if they were merely conducting safety procedures in order to ensure that this didn't happen again.*

Regardless the reason, not two weeks ago one more launch took place from the Center, its purpose unknown as the media blackout continues. Still, rumours persist that this was a test of experimental new technology, which wound up exceeding all performance expectations.

That may not be enough to save the Space Program though, as interviews with MPs have shown the Prime Minister, as well as much of Parliament to be outright hostile towards the Program, citing that it is a step in the wrong direction and we should be focusing on exceeding the CKFN in ground-based matters.

To get a sense of the conditions surrounding this Bill, let's examine this footage of my interview Macwell Kerman earlier today. Mac is a Member of Parliament and is voting for the passage of this Bill.

At this, the camera cut away from the news studio and to a small room inside the Parliament buildings used to conduct interviews like the one happening now.

"So, Macwell, what do you have to say about your stance on this Bill?"

"The deaths of those two kerbals a year ago proved that the Space Program is unable to work properly. Their conspicuous lack of kerballed missions in the past few months has only compounded their failure; betraying their own lack of faith in their flawed methods. Greater restrictions, control, and direction provided by the government will improve matters significantly."

"So you think the Bill will ultimately be a good thing for USKK spaceflight?"

"If spaceflight is a good thing for the USKK, then yes. However, I have spoken with the Prime Minister, and he appears to be unconvinced that anything of much value lies out in that void. Better to let the CKFN waste their resources in a foolish quest for space while we attain mastery of Kerbin itself, I believe he has been saying."

"That is quite the controversial view, Macwell, the Prime Minister certainly isn't mincing words when it comes to the policies of our great nation."

"No, but I do believe---as does he---that only bold actions and words will lead us forward to a brighter tomorrow."

"Speaking of which, is the Prime Minister giving much thought towards re-election in a few years? With as strong viewpoints as this, he risks alienating Northern voters."

"I'm afraid I can't speak as to the Prime Minister's future election plans, as it's a ways off and I'm not a member of his staff. Besides, I should be getting to the vote."

"Understood. Thank you for your time today."

As can be see, positions such as the Prime Minister's and Macwell's do reign supreme over Parliament. That said, there is a vocal minority speaking towards expanding the Space Program, and ushering in a new era of technologies. A general from the military had this to say for Parliament earlier today. Let's go to that footage now.

The footage cut to display the lavishly-adorned interior of Parliament. A kerbal was speaking, obviously a high-ranking military general with the number of medals he had pinned to his uniform.

"And it is again I must stress the importance of not giving the CKFN any advantage when moving forward. It doesn't matter if we focus efforts on the ground if the CKFN decides to rain down weapons and troops from the skies! Time and again, it's been proven that ignoring new technologies leads to doom for those who prefer the old ways."

A resounding cheer erupted from the House.

A most rousing speech there, and in fact, it appears that many of those who had previously promised to vote for the Bill are cheering wildly. We may see a divergence in the vote from previous projections.

With enough dissenting voices it could be either voted down entirely, or simply taken off the table temporarily in order to gather more support.

Hang on ladies and gentlemen, I'm getting a message from Kolus City. It looks like Parliament's just finished voting on the Bill! The final result was 48% in favour of canceling the Space Program, with a whopping 52% against. That's more than double the votes against from only three weeks ago!

Based on these results, it appears that the Prime Minister has ordained that the Bill should be taken off the table for the time being to gather more support for either side. We could still see its return in a few months, but this is a major victory for the Space Program.

And that's all we have time for today, ladies and gentlemen. It's time for a few messages from our sponsor, the EnergMax Corporation!

uskk flag

USKK: Undisclosed Location

One Week Later

Joliana Kerman sat in a small room, with only a single other kerbal keeping her company. This room was one of the most secure locations in the USKK; situated behind half a meter of sound-absorbing materials, swept for electronic devices every hour, and enclosed in a conductive cage preventing the escape of any sort of transmission. Despite all this, both Joliana and her companion spoke in hushed voices. A simple unconscious reflex from espionage work, she supposed.

Joliana leaned back in her chair, looking at the other kerbal across the smooth obsidian slab which doubled as a table, as he shuffled several papers around. The kerbal's name was incredibly classified---a natural consequence of being an extremely high-level operative in the USKK's espionage agency, United Secret Intelligence. The only name she knew him by was Xi. The two of them had just finished an extensive ritual of greeting codewords and operations, in order to ensure each of them was indeed the other. Meetings such as this were very rare, as relatively low-level operatives such as herself did not often talk directly to their superiors. To meet with a top-clearance agent with the ear of USI's Director herself was nearly unheard of, and only occurred in very sensitive scenarios.

Xi spoke. "I have been reviewing your work done with the Space Program, Joliana. Excellent work, the Director is pleased with how the situation has turned out for our organization."

"Thank you sir. I trust the first blueprints have arrived?"

"Indeed. The designs this 'Advanced Projects Division' have come up with are intriguing. Such as this one, for a clustered munitions launcher?" Xi indicated a blueprint in his stack of papers.

"Ah yes. A design the Division came upon while researching their 'asparagus staging'. Using compressed air through a series of interconnected tubes, it should launch explosives at least twenty percent further than the military's current hardware."

"Indeed, the military will be very interested in this design. It should be enough to quiet their grumbling over having to glorify the Program last week."

"So that was USI then? I suspected as such."

"Technically, any suggestions we provide to the military are strictly confidential, however given your proximity to the Space Program and your performance thus far, I do believe it's appropriate to inform you that the military leaders of the USKK did not feel quite as strongly towards the suspension of Bill UK-67 as their remarks may have indicated."


"I believe initial consensus was to dismantle the Space Program utterly and replace it with a military-run venture, producing rockets solely for use in the military itself."

"And this is not in the interests of USI?"

"Nor the USKK, I'm afraid. The military may be a useful tool, but I think we all know how disruptive they can be if given free rein in a situation, such as that disastrous Malentian invasion."

"I heard from my colleagues that working overtime became standard for months following that incident."

"Indeed. It was a nasty piece of business covering that up, and public opinion towards the military really took a dive. Just imagine if the news broke that the military was taking over the Space Program as well?"

Joliana nodded. "I see. However, you didn't bring me all the way out here for a discussion on the state of public opinion around the Space Program, hmm?"

Xi grinned. "You are most astute, Joliana. No, the Director wishes you pulled off the Space Program assignment for a few months. You are being sent on a very special mission---to the heart of the CKFN itself."

Despite herself, Joliana gasped. To infiltrate the CKFN itself was considered a task for high-level operatives only. The political mess a captured agent could cause would be significant, and that was the best-case scenario in the event of a discovered operative.

Her fellow kerbal took note of her dumbfounded expression. "As I said, your recent successes with the Space Program have caught the attention of my colleagues. Consider this assignment a...test. Upon your return, I would not be terribly surprised to see you promoted, perhaps very highly indeed."

Still somewhat astonished, Joliana pulled herself back to reality. "Thank you, sir. Is there anything else I should know?"

"Just that this mission may be more closely related to your work done at the Space Program than you would otherwise think." He returned her salute. "For the USKK!"

With those words, the meeting was complete, and the two began the process of exiting the private room, Joliana's mind filled with thoughts and speculations.

last shot of *Selene 1*, as she leaves sight of Kerbin forever


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Great chapter!! Let's hope the program continues!:D

Is Bill as in government policy thingie supposed to be with a capital letter? In my opinion it's quite confusing when they go from talking about Bill person to talking about Bill policy thingie:huh:

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15 hours ago, superstrijder15 said:

Great chapter!! Let's hope the program continues!:D

Is Bill as in government policy thingie supposed to be with a capital letter? In my opinion it's quite confusing when they go from talking about Bill person to talking about Bill policy thingie:huh:

The Bill (that is the governmental policy) being capitalized is a joke that sort of ran away with itself; I'll try and keep a lid on that in the future. :P Glad you're enjoying the story!

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On 02/10/2016 at 1:05 PM, CalculusWarrior said:

The Bill (that is the governmental policy) being capitalized is a joke that sort of ran away with itself; I'll try and keep a lid on that in the future. :P Glad you're enjoying the story!

I suspected that..

A thrilling chapter. A result hoped for, yet done imperfectly, yet with different gains all together. The tension. Perfect. Worth the wait. 
Deserves a million views.



Edited by Tw1
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Do I detect a hint of Section 31 going on here?

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