adsii1970

Kerny Kerman's Journal (mission reports from a Kerbal's point of view) [Chapter 71: "Not only is it something, but it isn't our something!"]

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[adsii1970 has posted a new post in Kerny Kerman's mission reports]


Me:

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3 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

One of those Emiko the Kerbalnaut stories sent to you from J. Jim?"

OMG.... too funny!!!!!!  :D

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17 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

OMG.... too funny!!!!!!  :D

I couldn't resist...

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5 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

A private army that reports to the Prime Consul sounds a lot like attempt at creating a dictatorship. Fabricate an emergency- or just wait for a KSP upgrade- suspend the Articles, and declare martial law. Then you just have to deal with the KDF members who won’t stand down, but you’d have your dictatorship. Preventing that sounds like a job for your frienfly neighborhood Section 31... :)

Not to mention the fact that the civilian populace will be inside colonies on the surface most likely designed to facilitate her regime.

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oh boy, everyone is interrupting everyone now. I was feeling a bit unsettled that no one was finishing their --

sandwiches. 

Edited by Thedrelle
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50 minutes ago, Thedrelle said:

oh boy, everyone is interrupting everyone now. I was feeling a bit unsettled that no one was finishing their --

sandwiches. 

Too funny! :D

Are you going to eat your pickle?

Edited by adsii1970
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35 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

3000 posts! Proud of you @adsii1970!

 

Also, LOVED the new chapter!

I've not been paying attention to the post count. :) But thank you for your acknowledgement! And I am glad you liked the new chapter. I was kind of worried on how it was going to turn out. But rest assured, I am already working on the next chapter!

Spoiler

Moving into position for final approach...

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22 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

Too funny! :D

Are you going to eat your pickle?

I always save my pickle for last!

I just hope it's dill

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Moho 26, Y003
"
Maintain our current distance from Kerbin, Lieutenant..."
MISSION DAY +4.75

Chapter 70

Today has a lot of special meaning for all of us. It's the next-to-last Kerbol eclipse of Coqueelaa, the season of harvest. From today until the 33rd of Moho, every Kermam enjoys this special time of the year. Earlier this morning, Commander Karloff began the day by opening a cargo container labeled "engine spares". What was in that container was far from engine spare parts -- it was golden maize cakes! He spent the morning dressed in a costume of bright colored plumes and bells, making sure every member of the crew had at least one of the traditional cakes for the beginning of Cha'an.

Not only will my crew be celebrating the next seven days of Cha'an, but we have another reason to celebrate - earlier this morning we were able to achieve our mission's primary goal. About two and a half hours ago, we were able to rendezvous and dock with the Discovery IV.

++++

"Captain," Obion called out. "We are now 10 kilometers from the rendezvous point."

"Yes, thank you, Lieutenant." I began. "Full acceleration burn in one minute. Burn for twenty seconds, then come about one-eight-zero degrees."

"Aye, sir," he replied. "Full acceleration burn in 45 seconds and counting -- "

"Captain," Hildi cut in. "Commander of Discovery IV is signaling he will begin orientation burn upon our signal."

"Ensign, text only flash message," I ordered. "Understood, will signal again once our burn is completed and orientation established."

"Burn in three... two..." Obion continued his countdown.

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"Engines on full, burn complete in fifteen... fourteen..." Obion continued the countdown.

There's a certain excitement I feel when the mains come on line and acceleration becomes obvious. The acceleration of one of the Mün Explorer series rockets is pretty impressive. But even that rush isn't as intense as the rush of the Excursion's engines with full throttle.

"Zero." Obion's countdown ended, and just like that, the vibrations running through the Excursion ended. The burn was completed and the main engines were cut. For the next few minutes, Obion and Gilti worked to bring the ship around for the braking burn.

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"Captain," this time it was Commander Karloff. "We are now  passing the Discovery IV at a speed of 300 meters per second -- "

"Braking burn, Obion!" I ordered. "Then bring us about to one-three-five degrees."

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Aye, sir!' He replied. The vibrations filled the ship as the main engines engaged again. briefly. "Speed is dropping. 210 meters per second... 180 meters per second... 150 meters per second... 110 meters per second..."

"End the burn when we hit 50 meters per second, Lieutenant."

"Aye sir. Cutting main engines in five... four... three... two..." Obion called out. Even without his announcement, it was obvious when he cut the engines. Just as suddenly as the vibrations started, they ended when the engines were powered down. For all practical purposes, we were now drifting in space at fifty meters per second. By the time we were within 100 meters of the Discovery IV,  our speed would drop to around twenty meters per second.

Obion and Gilti worked together to swing the ship around to make the rendezvous and capture of the Discovery IV easier. Knowing the Discovery has a limited supply of monopropellant, the consensus was to orient the Excursion along the axis of the Discovery. Once that was accomplished, both the Discovery and the Excursion would use monopropellant thrusters to dock. A straightforward plan which every Kerbalnaut certified pilot can successfully accomplish even under the most difficult conditions.

"Captain," Hildi began, "I've signaled the Discovery IV. They will be matching our axis once you give the command."

"Good," I began. "Let's get into position."

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Now comes the hard part -- waiting. Both Obion and Gilti remained fixed on the monitors on their consoles. Occasionally, I could hear the sounds of monopropellant discharge as they worked hard to keep our ship on a heading corresponding with the vertical axis of the Discovery IV.

"Captain," Hildi began. "I'm getting a voice message from Commander Orvin."

"Put him through, Ensign."

"Captain, you're definitely a welcomed sight." He began. "I never realized how big the Excursion is!"

"Well, after capture and docking, we'll have to give you the tour," I added. "Could you update your status for me, Commander?"

"Aye, Captain," he said. "We have engaged our MechJeb computer. According to it, we are on course to dock with the Excursion's nose port, as your data packed stated we should do."

"That's correct, Commander." I knew that the unbalanced symmetry of having the Discovery IV on either side of the vessel could have. Symmetry needed to be preserved and the best way to do that was to utilize the nose port.

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"Captain," Obion chimed in, "we are -22 meters from position. Do you want us to take control of the Discovery?"

"Commander," I asked. "Do you want us to tie into your computer or do you want to fly her in?"

"We'll bring her in, Captain." Orvin replied. "I need the practice."

"Alright. Commander, on your mark, you may begin docking maneuvers." I answered.

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As the Discovery moved closer, our command deck became filled with the bone-jarring sound of an alarm.

"What of the underworld is that?" I asked. "Status report! --"

"Captain," Karloff interrupted. "It's a collision alarm. It's one of the changes Dr. Angelo did -- "

"But how is this helpful now?" I asked. "Docking procedures isn't exactly like we don't know what's going on -- "

"Aye, sir." Karloff yelled to be heard over the alarm. "I'll disable it, reprogram it... or something! It's automatically set to come on when something enters the magnetic field of the ship -- "

"Well, I began, "when performing docking maneuvers the last thing we need is that thing adding to the tensions!" And with that, the collision warning ended. I am definitely going to have to talk to Dr. Angelo about the practicality of this warning system. It doesn't need to go off during docking procedures. There should be some sort of override.

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"Two meters..." Obion was already into another countdown. "One meter... We have contact!"

The Excursion shook as the two ships came together. Even from our location on the command deck, we could hear the metallic clamps sealing the connection between the two craft. With all the excitement of capturing the Discovery IV, none of us - except Gilti and Karloff - were aware of what else was happening in our galactic neighborhood.

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I had been so focused on the rendezvous and docking I hadn't noticed the dimming of Kerbol light - at this moment in time, Kerbol, the Mün, and Kerbin were perfectly aligned. The eclipse which begins Cha'an had begun and we were the furthermost Kermen to see the eclipse!

Commander Karloff passed out more golden maize cakes to our crew and the new arrivals from the Discovery as a part of the celebration of the success of our mission and Cha'an. As things were beginning to return to normal, Gilti told me I had a priority four message from Dr. Angelo and the daily data packet had been forwarded to the command console of my station. "Lieutanant Gilti," I began. "Thank you. I will be in my quarters and you have the conn."

Within a minute or two, I was in my quarters and barely had the hatch shut when Dr. Angelo appeared on my screen.

"Captain," he began in his western plains accent. But before he could begin his next sentence, the cabin lights began to give off a blue light, indicating a secure connection had been established. "How are you and how is the mission progressing?"

"Ah, Dr. Angelo," I began. We've got the Discovery crew on board and Commander Karloff is passing out golden maize cakes -- "

"Oh, congratulations on a successful mission!" But then his facial expression changed. "How did he get fresh golden maize cakes on the Excursion? While you do have snacks, I believe all the food is pre-packaged -- "

"He had them hid in a container marked engine spares --"

"Hahaha!" It seemed Dr. Angelo was caught off-guard. "So, that's what he wanted with the empty cargo container!"

"Well, Doc," I said, trying to hide my own amusement, "he is very resourceful. He's surprised me a few times since our first mission together. And to be perfectly candid, the golden maize cakes are so much better than the prepared rations!"

"I can imagine. But I need to change the conversation," I could hear the tension rising in his voice. "Dr. Zarkov told me to contact you directly. He said with me being Ah Cuxtal, I had access to anyone else in Section 31 - and I was to share this with you only."

"I understand." I still do not know who all knows about my position within Section 31. But as Dr. Edmund had said in the video message on the data stick, I wasn't to offer information about my position within the Section unless I was asked by another Section member or it was made known by the other members of the Ohoroxtotil. As far as I know, the only other Kermen who know what I am are Maxbas, Dr. Zarkov, Gene, Bobak, and the late Dr. Edmund. No one else knows.

"Earlier this morning, when I was still aboard the Orbital Station Zebulan Kerman, I received a Kerman-to-Kerman priority two message from Prime Consul Katrine."

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"Ah, Dr. Angelo, I am so glad to have caught you..." she began.

"Yes, Prime Consul." Dr. Angelo replied. It was obvious he was uncomfortable with the conversation. "Is there something I can help you with, madam?"

"Yes. I am afraid I am going to have to cut your stay aboard the Zebulan Kerman short, Doctor." She began. "I'm sending an official summons for you to meet with myself and the Committee of Five later this evening."

"Well, Madam Prime Consul," he nervously answered, "I did have my return scheduled for tomorrow evening. May I ask what it is you want?"

"Most certainly," she said, ending her phrase in a welcoming smile. "We need to discuss plans for the next mission of the Excursion and the changes to that ship you think you will need to make in order for the mission to be a success."

"Oh?" Angelo responded most uneasily. "You want my input?"

"Yes, frankly, I do. General Gene and others thinks I want to scrap the space program. You see, I don't want to scrap it. I want to help it succeed. But I think it should be more focused rather than just flinging Kermen out into space. You were highly sought by Gene, Dr. Wernher, and Dr. Haywood before you even bid on your first contract. You are innovative and have an open mind." After a brief and uncomfortable pause, she added, "and that's exactly why we would like to see you appear in front of the Committee today."

"Yes, Madam," Angelo replied. "It is an honor for you to think so highly of me -- "

"I have taken the liberty of sending orders to the commander of the station regarding your immediate departure. From what I have been told, the shuttle Tsoolik is scheduled to return to Kerbin today. I'd like you to be on that shuttle."

"Yes, Madam." What else could Dr. Angelo say? "I will be delighted to meet the committee in New Kerbin City tonight."

Without any sort of warning, the screen image changed. The short communication with the Prime Consul was over.

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"So, Captain, let me tell you, it was certainly an adventure. Before I could even switch off the communications panel, I was notified all my gear had been transferred to the shuttle. And what's more, the departure was scheduled so quickly I didn't even have the chance to tell the crew and commander of the Zebulan Kerman thanks for their hospitality. I literally had to go directly to the shuttle! Within twenty minutes, Commander Moty had completed his pre-dedocking checklist and we were on our way.

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"Captain, there wasn't much for me to do other than just sit there and enjoy the ride and scenery!" He added.

"STS Tsoolik, this is Station Operations, you are clear and free from the station. We are transferring telemetry to your onboard computer system."

"Roger, Station Operations," a young female Kerman's voice replied. "Commander Moty sends his regards. He wants to know if you'll save his parking spot?"

"Negative, Tsoolik," the voice from the station replied. "We already have another inbound, the STS Jala Kerman -- "

"Understood -- "

"STS Tsoolik, this is KSC Control," Gene's voice cut through the chatter and static of the open channel. "We're sending you reentry telemetry. See you when you get here..."

"Roger, KSC Control," the female Kerman voice replied. "Tsoolik out!"

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"You know, Captain," Angelo continued, "Those cargo shuttles - the space transportation shuttles - designed by Dr. Wernher and the late Dr. Von Braun are really something. The reentry was so much more inspiring and easy than the reentry in the slimline passenger shuttle I designed!" And he continued to tell me about his first reentry on the shuttle.

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"It was exhilarating!" he continued to explain. "The slim line shuttles bump around a lot more because they are lighter and the center of mass is a bit different. But once we broke through at about 16,000 meters, it was the smoothest flight back from space I've ever experienced! Before I knew it, we were lining up for a final approach at the space center."

"STS Tsoolik, this is KSC Tracking," Bobak's voice said. Please use secondary designated landing zone south."

"Roger, Tracking," Commander Moty replied. "Reasons for the -- "

"The Old Man said so," Gene's gruff voice came across the communications console speaker. "Your orders are secondary designated landing zone south."

"Roger, Tracking..."

"What does that mean," Dr. Angelo asked the flight crew. "Why does Gene want us to land there instead of the runway?"

"Doctor," Lieutenant Keralla answered, "we don't really know any more than you do. But whatever it is, it must be a good reason. Dr. Wernher hates us landing on the secondary runways. He says it's hard on the main landing gear."

"Kerny, when they began their turn, that shuttle smoothly changed directions. It was like riding one of those eggs around the space center roads. It was incredibly smooth."

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"Before I knew it, we had touched down and I could feel the main braking chutes firing to slow us down."

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"Oh, and I hope you and your crew are having a happy Cha'an!" Dr. Angelo added. "The eclipse this morning was spectacular! Did you happen to catch it?"

"Yes," I began to explain. "I think we had the best seats in the system. So where are you now, Dr. Angelo?"

"Well, as soon as we stopped, Gene had a ground vehicle waiting for us. The crew were dropped off for debriefing at the flight operations center. But I was taken to the tarmac. Gene already had Wild Blue's craft fueled and ready for my departure. I found out this was why he didn't want the STS Tsoolik to use the main runway -- "

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"The eclipse was just becoming visible by the time I arrived in front of the space plane hangar. Major Thompberry was waiting for me, told me he had told the pilots to start the engines and prepare to taxi to the end of the runway as soon as I was on board. But Captain, that's not the strange part -- "

"Oh?" Like anything that's happened already isn't ordinary. Today has been anything but ordinary.

"He told me to be careful with the Prime Consul." Angelo acontinued, in almost a whisper. "He told me he doesn't trust her."

"Well, he's not the only one," I added. I certainly didn't trust her. And I agree with Thompberry. She's up to something.

"I'm about thirty minutes into the flight to New Kerbin City. I'll contact you when I know anything else," Dr. Angelo said right before he closed the channel. Almost instantly, the normal white, dim light filled my cabin. What ever Prime Consul Katrine had planned, Section 31 needed to know. And based on what I've studied in the materials sent by Dr. Edmund, I needed to know.

++++

The data packet sent by Bobak was filled with the latest information from the space center and beyond. There wasn't really anything out of the ordinary. But just as Dr. Angelo had overheard in the conversation between the station staff and the crew of the Tsoolik, this morning, before Kerbolrise, the STS Jala Kerman made her maiden flight to the orbiting space station.

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From the information contained in the data packet, the shuttle went from launch to orbital insertion within fifteen minutes. Although I do not know any member of the crew personally, the shuttle's commander, Lieutenant Commander Calul has already made a name for himself. But today's launch added a new dimension to his fame. Instead of jettisoning his tank according to procedures, he kept the external fuel tank until his last orbital insertion burn was completed. He then transferred as much of the remaining fuel and monopropellant into the shuttle's tanks as he could. And when all that was done, he ordered separation from the tank.

Because the tank is fitted with Separatron engines, the tank's orbit was altered considerably when it was jettisoned and they fired. Although the engines are meant to shove the external tank out of the same orbit as the shuttle, it did more than that this time. It altered the orbit enough that the tank reentered the atmosphere and survived! According to the report, the external tank is now sitting at the end of the main runway of the KSC - another reason why the Tsoolik was told to use one of the two secondary landing zones. 

The other thing of interest in the data packet is the continued trials of the KAI C-130 cargo aircraft. Yesterday afternoon, the second stage of testing began. The mission was pretty straightforward. Take off from the main runway, fly to a predetermined altitude, and while over the secondary landing zone to the south, drop simulated cargo from the rear of the craft.

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As a part of yesterday's test, the rocket assist take-off system was used. The report and the video show that the cargo craft was able to launch with just one quarter of the length of the runway carrying a cargo of 500 Kilograms - the average weight of an emergency survival payload.

"Hello, Kerny," Maxbas said over the hatch speaker. "Can I come in?"

"Sure, I'm just watching the video report and going over the results of the latest cargo craft test."

"Why are they using those old propeller engines?" She asked. "Aren't jets and ramjets faster?"

"Yes, it would be faster, but what we've learned from Colonel Ralph's expedition is faster isn't always better when it comes to cargo drops. Slower flying aircraft allows greater accuracy for cargo drops -- "

"Mind if I watch it with you?" She asked. "You know, if I hadn't have gone into politics, I would have stayed in the Kerbin Defense Forces as a career."

We watched as the KAI C-130 climbed to 8,500 meters. The cargo ramp at the rear of the plane opened and within a few seconds, the simulated cargo was dropped. For a brief second, I thought I saw the parachute deploy from inside the cargo area of the craft and the drag of the chute, while not sufficient enough to slow or stall the craft, was plenty enough to drag the cargo out of the craft.

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"Wow, can we watch that again?" Maxbas asked. "It looked so -- "

"Totally amazing!" I added. "Sure, we'll watch it again. I want to pay more attention to the cargo being dropped..."

Maxbas sat beside me, her head resting on my shoulder, as we sat on the bunk in my cabin. I backtracked the video report for at least two more times, trying to figure out how they had overcome the problems of deploying cargo from a craft in flight. I think I'm right - the chute is deploying while the cargo is still in the aircraft. Feeling pretty amused with their solution, it was time to see what was on the rest of the video report on this mission.

"Ok, I'm going to let the rest of the video report play, okay, Maxbas?" But there was no answer. Sometime between her sitting next to me and now, she had fallen asleep. Great... now how do I peel her off of my shoulder without waking her up? After a few seconds of outright panic and fear of being caught by Commander Karloff, I was able to get her off my shoulder and firmly on my bunk. Had Commander Karloff caught her asleep on me, I would have never heard the end of it. But before I could leave my cabin and report back to the command deck, Gilti's voice came across the communications panel speaker.

"Captain, We've received a flash message, text only" she reported. "It's encrypted. Want me to send it back?"

"Yes, Lieutenant," I replied. "That will be fine."

The message was encrypted with bio-metric identification keys and voice authorization. I entered the voice combination and the eye scanner did its job of temporarily blinding the vision in my right eye. But the message on the screen is what really caught me off guard:

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Immediately I reached over and opened the communications channel to the command deck. "Maintain our current distance from Kerbin, Lieutenant. Belay my order to begin return trajectory calculations. Please tell Commander Karloff to meet me in the conference room in twenty minutes."

"Aye, sir." was her only reply. I could hear the disappointment in her voice. I was a little disappointed, too. But we have our orders and here, at the edge of Kerbin's sphere of influence we'll stay.

Edited by adsii1970
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Nighttime launch of a shuttle! Nice to see you finally got the bugs worked out of the system. And interesting development with maintaining orbit from Kerbin, I wonder what's going on...

Reading about the WBI jet immediately reminded me of this:

Spoiler

a4355922-86-Stark%20Jet%201.jpeg?d=13189

 

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3 minutes ago, Angel-125 said:

Nighttime launch of a shuttle! Nice to see you finally got the bugs worked out of the system. And interesting development with maintaining orbit from Kerbin, I wonder what's going on...

Reading about the WBI jet immediately reminded me of this:

  Hide contents

a4355922-86-Stark%20Jet%201.jpeg?d=13189

 

For some reason, the mobile browser won't let me copy just the image. Anyhow... If I had the parts to do it...

But right now, Wild Blue is using a kerbalized DC-10.

Anyhow, I'm still in 1.3.0 for now. I am, however, getting closer to 1.5.

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14 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

Reading about the WBI jet immediately reminded me of this:

  Hide contents

a4355922-86-Stark%20Jet%201.jpeg?d=13189

 

Angelo Kerman is  literally Tony Stark in both this story and in Emiko.

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Yay! Kerny is back again! I like how you included an image of Kerny adjusting his headphone volume:

16 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

mxLe73J.png

:P

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3 hours ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Yay! Kerny is back again! I like how you included an image of Kerny adjusting his headphone volume:

:P

Yeah, about that... I have a mod I absolutely love. It's "Docking Sounds" and I was adjusting the volume to hear them better - and of course, right as I snapped the screen capture, the danged volume indicator showed up! I guess I could PhotoShop it out... :D

3 hours ago, obney kerman said:

Angelo Kerman is  literally Tony Stark in both this story and in Emiko.

@Angel-125 has become a friend to both me and @Just Jim. And we love messing with his mind giving his mods and his characters that extra edge. But don't worry... Dr. Angelo will be put through his paces!

Edited by adsii1970
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4 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

Yeah, about that... I have a mod I absolutely love. It's "Docking Sounds" and I was adjusting the volume to hear them better - and of course, right as I snapped the screen capture, the danged volume indicator showed up! I guess I could PhotoShop it out... :D

Heh. I really need to have a look at that mod...it looks fantastic :cool:

Just a question: what KSP version are you using in Kerny's universe at the moment?

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1 minute ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Heh. I really need to have a look at that mod...it looks fantastic :cool:

Just a question: what KSP version are you using in Kerny's universe at the moment?

I am still in 1.3.0 for now. Starting Monday, I have to really work on my planetary system, Nohochacyum, as it is the ONLY mod left holding me back from going to 1.5.1. I've got to recalculate the light curves since Kopernicus has updated. Then, I can do the rest of the mod work and continue Kerny at the same time...

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2 minutes ago, adsii1970 said:

I am still in 1.3.0 for now. Starting Monday, I have to really work on my planetary system, Nohochacyum, as it is the ONLY mod left holding me back from going to 1.5.1. I've got to recalculate the light curves since Kopernicus has updated. Then, I can do the rest of the mod work and continue Kerny at the same time...

OK. Good luck...you always have to cross your fingers when making the jump to a version two major updates ahead.

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28 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

OK. Good luck...you always have to cross your fingers when making the jump to a version two major updates ahead.

I've actually brought a copy of Kerny into 1.5.1 and there's going to be no major issues. I will be able to get rid of a couple of mods, though.

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“Dr. Angelo” is already being put through his paces, heh. Trying to get Pathfinder’s Sandcastle release done before end of year, work stress, and finding a new home to lease..

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Just now, Angel-125 said:

“Dr. Angelo” is already being put through his paces, heh. Trying to get Pathfinder’s Sandcastle release done before end of year, work stress, and finding a new home to lease..

And that's in real life...

Don't worry, you will feel equally stressed in my Kerbiverse! :cool:

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Images for the next chapter have been uploaded. I'll sort through them this weekend. New chapter is coming!

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2 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

Images for the next chapter have been uploaded. I'll sort through them this weekend. New chapter is coming!

Serendipity! I was just re-reading the last chapter the other day..

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9 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

Images for the next chapter have been uploaded. I'll sort through them this weekend. New chapter is coming!

Looking forward to it :)

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Time for baseless speculation!

In the next chapter, Kerny and his crew will rendezvous with an alien spacecraft.

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