adsii1970

Kerny Kerman's Journal (mission reports from a Kerbal's point of view) [Chapter 75: "Captain, we've achieved orbit."]

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Some teasers from tonight's session... already working on the next chapter!

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Edited by adsii1970

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11 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

Oh, yeah. The last chapter... I summoned the Kraken five times trying to do the planes flying in formation screen shots. :0.0:

I learned that quick saving and then reopening the quicksave simply summons multiple Krakens.

Just a word of warning to you- never quickload while parachutes are armed. It cuts them, leaving your Kerbals to fall to their doom.

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1 hour ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Just a word of warning to you- never quickload while parachutes are armed. It cuts them, leaving your Kerbals to fall to their doom.

You're a year late on that advice! :blush: The mod I used for chutes did the same thing!

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23 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

You're a year late on that advice! :blush: The mod I used for chutes did the same thing!

I've only been playing KSP since December last year. That happened just a few days before the 1.4 update, which really annoyed me because the EVA parachutes could have helped save Jeb!

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I just wanted to give everyone a quick update...

I do not want to go into a lot of details for obvious reasons, but this past week I had to make the decision to completely drop a mod from my game. The mod's author made it crystal clear that he was no longer going to continue the mod. So, the choice was stay where I am at in 1.3.0  and keep the mod as is, OR go forward to 1.4.2 and do it without the mod and find another mod to replace it with.

I made the decision to continue to prepare to update to 1.4.2 - and will be replacing the mod with one of @SpannerMonkey(smce)'s great mods. He's been really good at helping me adopt his mods for my use.

Right now, I have five models I need to replace but those models fall into three classes. I'm going to have to redesign the Dres Type I patrol craft, the Harvester Kerman research craft, and the Sinaan Type I light cruiser. And then there are the learning curves associated with using a new mod...

But in the meantime, I will still be looking to push out a chapter this week... :)

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19 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

But in the meantime, I will still be looking to push out a chapter this week... :)

AH, the dark matter spewage continues. 

Easy on the Kraken!

(spewage? what was I thinking, that sounds decidedly unhygienic!)

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45 minutes ago, Thedrelle said:

spewage? what was I thinking, that sounds decidedly unhygienic!

I searched it up, Spewage is a death metal band. So yeah, definitely unhygenic.

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9 hours ago, Unturned_Fighter said:

Just out of curiosity, what mod are the towers from in New Kerbin City, Tulum Station, etc?

Hahaha... you noticed my abuse creative use of mods, eh? The towers belong to this mod by @Angel-125. It's his DSEV mod...

 

 

 

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Moho 15, Y003 
"General, there's something not right in New Kerbin City"

Chapter 58

The meeting yesterday afternoon with Gene didn't go exactly as I expected. Once I landed my craft and climbed out of the cockpit, Gilti was waiting for me.

"Captain!" she could barely conceal her excitement. "That was awesome! You know, by the time you rounded the VAB, Wow! You had to be going mach 1! You shook the whole center!"

"Yeah," I replied; she was right. It was awesome.

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"But Wow, did you hear Gene?" she asked. "He's pretty mad at you... he even started to call you Jebediah!"

"Yeah, about that..." And she was right. Turning towards KSC Operations, I began a walk that Jebediah had taken many times - leading to Gene's office to be yelled at for doing something completely stupid. She was right. It was pretty awesome. So, knowing that Gene was not in any mood to be messed with, I decided to leisurely stroll to his office in the tracking center. After about twenty-five minutes, I was finally at my destination.

"Woah, that was great! Captain," and of course, Kuzzter said this loud enough so that everyone in the control room level of the tracking center heard him. "Hey, Gene wants you to see him. He's kinda -- well, let's just say that I haven't seen him that mad since Captain Jebediah flew through the space center courtyards at three meters above the ground and approaching 280 meters per second! You were less than three meters away when you buzzed the tower!"

Apparently overhearing this, a loud and angry yell filled the control center. "Dammit, Kerny," Gene began, "you get in my office -- and I mean immediately."

At this point, I am pretty sure that buzzing the tower and the vehicle assembly building was not such a good idea.

"Dammit," Gene continued to yell, "You know better than to do some stupid stunt like that!" It had been a while since most of us had seen Gene this mad. His office, on the second-floor, had a great vantage point overlooking the first-floor control room. Although I hadn't made it to the stairs in the back of the control room, I knew that Gene was standing against the railing, facing the stairs. And it seemed that each step I took towards the second floor balcony, it triggered another angry response from him.

"Captain, I haven't got all day," he continued to yell. "Are you going to get here sometime today, or do I need to have Bobak help you find your way?!"

Even as I made my way to the second floor, Gene's rants continued. "I mean, come on, Kerny," he continued to yell. "You even took part in a search and rescue mission a while back..."

I was now standing face to face with Gene. The veins on either side of his neck and forehead were pulsing with every heartbeat. A dark green splotch on his forehead and a greenish tint covered the sides of his face. Yes, there's no mistaking it. This is the angry version of Gene.

"Captain, get into my office, NOW!" Gene snapped.

I didn't expect what happened next as he slammed the door as he entered into the office.

"Kerny, your stupid stunt... this thing you just did -- " Gene began, no longer yelling, but obviously still mad.

"Yes, General?" Um, yes. This was one of those occasions where it is simply better to remember proper formal courtesy. Never poke a Kerbite when they are angry. They will attack!

"Your stunt," Gene began, letting out a large and audible sigh. "Your stunt gave me the perfect opportunity to have this conversation with you and it not get back to New Kerbin City. Every Kerman down there will simply assume you're getting yelled at for your stupid, and did I say s...t...u...p...i...d stunt."

Now I was more confused than ever. The veins which once pulsated on his neck and forehead were gone. What was I seeing?

"Kerny, Dr. Edmund is growing concerned about the Prime Consul," he began. "Once they were back in session after your departure, some things came up in --"

"Gene, she did ask me some pretty pointed questions about you," I threw in, just to let him know I was aware of some of her actions.

"Yes, I can imagine," he continued. "Dr. Edmund didn't mention it but I can only imagine. We'll talk about that later. But right now, listen, Captain. Later this evening, the URKN Dres is being put back into service. The overhaul was complete; one of the new naval engineers, Loring Kerman, wanted to really demonstrate what he and his crew can do. During your last mission --"*

"But..." I began. "Gene, I thought that Fengist Kerman was the chief naval engineer? Wha --"

"During your last mission," he continued, "it was discovered that Fengist had added a component to the main radio and navigation systems of the vessels he built. Essentially, at the flip of a switch, he could monitor ships' communications and where they are --"

"Why would --" before I could even ask my next question, Gene continued with an answer.

"Fengist is a son of Katrine. He gave her a back door to monitor naval operations --"

"So," I began, "The Prime Consul has access to real-time information --"

"Yes," Gene said, his anger beginning to appear once again. "She does. And to think, it makes sense why she became angry when I informed her that the Excursion's refit was already being handled by Dr. Angelo Kerman. She wanted her son to oversee the refit --"

I understood where Gene was heading. If Fengist had overseen the refit of my ship, the Prime Consul would have the ability to know nearly everything about the vessel, the messages we were sending back to the KSC, and could have even tap into the video feed. She would be more informed about our missions than Gene and the rest of the Kermen at the space center.

"Do you think there is any dang --" I had to know.

"No, Kerny." Gene interrupted, "we don't know the extent of the damage done to the defense forces but we are sure your communications to the space center were secure, especially with the system put into place by Dr. Angelo."

"Does Commodore Valentina know, sir?" This was one question I had to know the answer. There were several conversations she and I had which were relating to Section 31.

"No, not yet." Gene added. "But we're sending you out to meet with her. Dr. Edmund wants to conduct a surprise visit to the Sinaan and has requested you accompany him as the pilot. He's planning to inform her of this breach in the defense forces security, among other things. You and he will leave tomorrow afternoon; he'll be arriving here in two days. You both will leave in three."

"Understood, Gene." This new wrinkle would leave me a little under two weeks to begin preparing for our return to the Excursion. "But won't the Prime Consul figure it out?"

"No, not a chance," Gene said, followed by a chuckle. "Remember, Dr. Edmund is the senior consul - the chair of the Triune Committee overseeing the defense forces. He's authorized by the Grand Committee to conduct visits and inspections as he sees fit as a part of his duties. He'll start here tomorrow and then the next morning, you'll fly him to the Island Airfield. After that, then off to the Sinaan. It will appear, by the time he returns to New Kerbin City, that all he has been doing is an annual visit."

That made a lot of sense. But what I didn't expect was what Gene would say next.

"Kerny, when you leave here in a few minutes, here's what you need to do. Slam the door as hard as you can behind you, mutter something about me that will make every Kerman in the control room believe you are angry, and for the sake of the gods, watch what you say around Kuzzter --"

"Wh --" I had no idea what Gene was going to say next, but I knew it wasn't good.

"He's a twin; he's Fengist's twin brother. He cannot be trusted --"

"Then why keep him around here?"

"Because," Gene began, "if he's here, we know what he's doing. For the most part, we can also control the information he gives to his mother. Now go take some time off and come back towards Kerbol-set."

And just as Gene told me to do, I slammed his office door as hard as I could. "That damn Gene," I said, doing my best to mimic the anger I had seen on Gene's face earlier. "I'll show him..." I continued to rant as I walked down the stairs. As soon as I was on the main floor heading towards the hallway and to the door, Kuzzter stopped me.

"Man, he must be angry at you!" Kuzzter asked. But as he continued, I could sense what Gene was warning me about. "So, did he ground you? He had threatened to ground you after the windows shook! What are you going to do now? Are you going to go see Dr. Haywood?"

"Right now," I sneered, "I'm heading to my quarters in the Kerbalnaut complex. I really don't want to talk about it. And I'm not going to stay around here!"

+++

Little did Gene or I know we were going to have a visitor this evening. About two hours before Kerbol-set, Senior Consul Maxbas decided not to risk another video call from New Kerbin City. Static is common on the longer-range communications wavelengths, like her and my conversation on the 12th of Moho. But she, too, had grown uneasy with many of the issues discussed within the Committee of Five. So, with a feeling she needed more answers than what she was being given, Maxbas decided to head to the only place on Kerbin where she could get what she needed.

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Within a few minutes, the Sparrow left the makeshift runway and took to the air. The flight from New Kerbin City was only a 45-minute flight, but for some reason, Maxbas thought the flight felt a lot longer. All she could do was try to relax before her arrival at the space center.

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With nearly forty minutes of flight time behind her, she knew she was close to her destination as the Sparrow did a banking turn to the right.

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Within moments of the turn, the Sparrow landed and taxied to the designated passenger disembarking area. From the moment a pilot begins the program, one thing is made well-known from the start. The area in front of the VAB doubles as an area for passengers.

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As I was returning to the tracking center for my late afternoon meeting with Gene, he met me outside the building. We watched as the Sparrow landed on the runway and began to taxi to the area in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building.

"Kerny, come on," it was clear that this was something unexpected.

"What's going on, Gene?" The first thought I had in my mind was Dr. Edmund had arrived early.

"We've got to go meet Consul Maxbas," Gene answered. "I'm not sure why she's coming here, but she hates to fly. So, whatever brings her here, it must be important."

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Gene and I headed towards the Buffalo ground excursion vehicle, and without much thought, we both climbed in, charged up the Buffalo's power module, and headed towards the passenger disembarking zone. We would be there about the same time Maxbas would step onto the tarmac apron.

"Dammit, Kerny," Gene yelled. "For the gods' sake! Stay on the muncrete and stay off the grass!"

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We arrived at the apron nearly the same time the Sparrow took her spot. Gene did calm down during our drive over, especially once I did manage to get to the muncrete pathways. Rather than powering down the Buffalo, Gene told me to initiate the wheel lock and disengage the transmission. Now all we had to do was to wait for Senior Consul Maxbas to get off the plane. From there, Gene suggested we take her back to the tracking center. As we were preparing to leave the cabin, the communications panel indicated we had a call coming in. It was Bobak.

"General," Bobak's familiar voice called out over the communications panel speakers. "The sparrow's pilot indicates a restricted manifest."

"That's right, Bobak." Gene replied. "I'm taking care of this personally."

"Watch out, sir," Bobak added. "Kuzzter's trying to figure out who it is and why they are --"

"Gene, out" Gene snapped. It was clear he didn't want to risk Kuzzter discovering the identity of the aircraft's passenger.

"Roger, Control out." Bobak's cool and casual voice responded.

Not even five minutes after the call ended, we watched as Maxbas got off the craft and headed towards us.

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About the time she began walking towards us, the entire space center was blanketed in the mechanical sounds of a crawler with a heavy load. As Gene had said earlier in our quick trip from the tracking center to here, the Dres was being taken to the ocean. Her initial refit and reclassification to a Duna Type II Patrol Craft was complete. Starting its journey at the far end of the runway, it would be nearly thirty minutes before it would reach the coastline. It would also be another ten to twenty minutes after that before she'd be freed from the moorings and under her own power.

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It was Gene who began the official reception. "Good evening Senior Consul and welcome to the Kerbal Space Center."

"Thank you, General," Maxbas replied. "I wish it could be under better pretenses, but, we need to talk. General, there's something not right in New Kerbin City!"

"Would you like to go back to the Astronaut Complex, so we can talk?" Gene asked, in a loud shout.

"What are they doing?" Not realizing or not hearing Gene asked his question.

"They are putting the Dres back into the water this evening." He shouted back, trying to answer her question.

The entire time he spoke, the metallic groans of the trawler grew louder as it came closer to us. Soon, we'd be shouting at each other to be heard over the near deafening noise.

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"General, may we go watch? I've never seen them do this... launch a vessel before." She didn't know that no one had ever seen this kind of vessel launch before. Under Fengist's leadership of the Naval Contracts Division, ships had wheeled gear, much like an aircraft's landing gear, which would be used to get the boat to the ocean. Once the boat was in the water, the gear were retracted, But Loring had expressed his concerns over this method - there were too many variables which could go wrong and cause a ship to sink.

"Yes, ma'am" he responded. "Captain, you're driving. Consul Maxbas, please take the co-operations seat. I'll sit in the back."

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It was a quiet and slow ride to the coast. The ground surveyor is easily capable of traveling nearly 80 meters per second; the crawler was straining to keep its 10 meters per second pace. Soon, the awkward silence was broken when Senior Consul Maxbas began to ask questions.

"General, does this thing, is it secure?"

"Yes, ma'am" Gene answered from the back compartment. "Not only does it have the capability to scramble communications channels, but it is equipped to swim! It can travel in water for short distances. If you're interested --"

"No, General, that's not what I meant." She answered, not happy she wasn't understood. "Can we freely talk without our conversation being broadcast or overheard by others?"

I continued to drive as Gene explained how the ground surveyor's communications panel worked.

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"Good," she added after he finished his explanation. Captain, what are they doing now?"

"Ma'am," I began, "I've never seen this process, I'm not sure --"

"Kerny, let me answer this one," Gene answered, just in time. "Senior Consul, this is a new process and, in theory, should work. Once the entire apparatus is in the water and the tracks are no longer touching land, they will begin to pump water into the ballast tanks of the crawler. This will cause the entire platform to sink --"

"Oh, I get it," she excitedly interrupted. "It's easy to understand! Once it is submerged, the Dres can then simply float off, right?"

"Yes, ma'am. Kerny couldn't answer your question because he was unaware of this. This is one of the changes Loring has implemented in the Naval Contracts Division. It's quite revolutionary."

The conversation continued between Gene and Maxbas as the crawler, carrying the Dres, began to enter the water for the first time.

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And once the crawler was in place, we watched as its crew began pumping water into the ballast tanks. Slowly it began to sink into the sea. Once enough water had covered the surface of the crawler, the moorings which held the Dres in place were let lose. The ship was now floating on its own. The crew of the crawler could be seen scurrying over the superstructure. I overheard Gene as he told Maxbas of how the crawler would remain here until tomorrow evening. The Eeloo was scheduled to return to the peninsula at that time to begin its own refit process.

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"So, General," Maxbas asked, "what's next for the ship?"

"Ma'am," Gene began, "she'll remain on station until tomorrow at 30 minutes after dawn. At that time, she will start what's known as sea trials."

"Sea trials? What are those?"

"Ma'am," he had forgotten that Maxbas wasn't familiar with much of the terminology of the defense forces. "It's where the captain of the ship and her crew test every part of the ship out while they are still within operational range of the center. Once the ship passes these trials, then she'll be placed on the active roster."

"Does that ship have... weapons?"

"Yes, ma'am. Most of the defense forces ships are weaponized. Dr. Edmund requires it --"

"Good, I guess." As we watched the crawler pull itself out of the water and back onto the shore, she continued. "I know that Dr. Edmund is coming here tomorrow, and I need to talk to him and to both of you, Commodore Valentina, and Captain Kerny. There are some statements made by Prime Consul Katrina which I find... disturbing to say the least."

"Disturbing, how --" Gene began.

"I found her whole line of questioning about Gene disturbing --" I added.

"Kermen, I need to tell you something before we talk," it was apparent that whatever she felt she had to tell us wasn't going to be easy. An uneasy and deafening silence filled the cabin of the ground excursion vehicle. I watched her as her gaze seemed to be affixed beyond the Dres, but somewhere out there, beyond the horizon and in the darkened twilight sky of the east.

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"General, Captain," she said, almost in a whisper as we watched the Dres move herself into position for an overnight anchorage. Then she said something that caught both Gene and myself off-guard. "The four-pointed yellow star represents the Grand Committee which governs Kerbin freely. It is the blue diamond which ties us to our past..." and then she paused.

"And the green chevron, in the center, upon which the government of the republic stands. We are the blue chevrons which bind it all together. " Gene and I said together, finishing her statement. And at that moment, there was no doubt. Maxbas was a member of Section 31.

*Loring Coes is the inventor who, in 1841, designed and manufactured the first screw wrench, more commonly known as the "monkey wrench". This character is named in honor of the mod maker, @SpannerMonkey(smce), the creator of the mod I am now using for construction of ships. For those of you who do not know, spanner is another term for the adjustable properties of the wrench. And as a side note, the adjustable wrench is actually a development patent of the original concept of the "monkey wrench".

 

Return to the OP (Index) Previous Chapter Next Chapter  

 

Edited by adsii1970

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The new ship looks great! Interesting deployment method too. I thought Senior Consul Maxbas’ secret meeting was to, um, hook up with Kerny as some kind of arranged thing.. :wink: Now we know she is also Section 31!

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6 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

The new ship looks great! Interesting deployment method too. I thought Senior Consul Maxbas’ secret meeting was to, um, hook up with Kerny as some kind of arranged thing.. :wink: Now we know she is also Section 31!

Who says that won't happen as well? :wink:

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Does anyone know if the plot is thick enough to qualify as a solid?

Edited by roboslacker
oops, forgot an I

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On ‎4‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 3:12 PM, roboslacker said:

Does anyone know if the plot is thick enough to qualify as a solid?

If the plot thickens any more it will be so dense not even light can escape.

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27 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

If the plot thickens any more it will be so dense not even light can escape.

And then it will be like the perfect cup of coffee... nice and black! :D

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15 hours ago, obney kerman said:

If the plot thickens any more it will be so dense not even light can escape.

This conversation sounds soooo familiar....:sticktongue:

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Just a quick update...

This week and half of next week (April 21st through May 2nd) are the last two weeks of the semester at the community college and universities I teach at. While I do have the forum on in the background as I grade, my KSP play time will be restricted to about 30 minutes an evening. I just wanted to warn you that the next chapter won't be out until the end of this upcoming week. (April 25th through 27th). But here's a couple of teaser images to whet your appetite:

The UKRN Eeloo returning for refit, as seen from the reworked UKRN Dres, still awaiting clearance to begin sea trials...

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Approaching the crawler...

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Moving into position...

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Edited by adsii1970

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Moho 16, Y003 
"
Ah Cancun is down! Repeat -- Ah Cancun is down!"
Chapter 59

This morning began the way that most normal mornings begin. About an hour before Kerbolrise, I met Consul Maxbas for breakfast at the cafeteria over in the research and development center. Being her first visit to the space center, I wanted to make sure she had the best breakfast she could have while here. It was obvious she's not a morning Kerman. Overall, considering what happened today, I still think we both had a good time.

"So, Captain," she began, "what made you want to become a Kerbalnaut? Why space?"

"Consul," yeah, this is going to be fun, I thought. "Ever since I finished primaries and watched the early training missions with Jebediah, Bob, and Bill, I've wanted to go into space. I always dreamed of walking on the surface of the Mün. of seeing its beauty with my own eyes..."

"Please," she softly answered. "You can just call me Maxbas. Please continue, Kerny."

"Well, ma'am --" oh, this is uncomfortable. I think I began to have skin water. "Maxbas --, well, yes. Anyhow -- Ever since I first saw those early images from the Mün, I've wanted to go into space. It's all I've ever wanted to do."

"Was the Mün all you thought it would be?" She asked. Her eyes fixated on my face.

"Yes, it was" why is she smiling like that at me, I wondered. "But the real beauty was Minmus. I never knew how far that it is from us. Did you know --"

Before I could finish my sentence, the space center intercom tone went off, followed by the unmistakable voice of Kuzzter. "Attention all Kermen, attention all Kermen. Loring has requested that the Naval Contracts Division report to the space plane hangar immediately. Repeat, Naval Contracts Division report to the SPH immediately."

"Kerny, what's going on?" Her facial expression had totally changed during the interruption. I was a little disappointed to notice the change. I've never had any Kerman look at me the way she did before the interruption - and it was exciting and a little concerning at the same time.

"Ma'am, it's the Eeloo," I began.

"You mean the small satellite of Sarnus? Why --"

I couldn't suppress the slight chuckle. "No, ma'am." What's that look on her face, I wondered. "It's the URKN Eeloo, a patrol... craft like... the Dres, only before... what's so funny?" Yeah, in the middle of my explanation she began laughing.

"Kerny," she said, her eyes beginning to water from her fit of laughter. "You forgot I am the second Senior Consul on the Triune Committee, right? I was that believable?"

What's going on with me? I thought. How could I forget that she's Section 31 and a member of the Triune Committee? "Uh, yes ma-am!" I began. "I'm sorry, I..."

As we continued our breakfast, the crew of the crawler and the Eeloo were already busy, starting the next part of the ship's journey.

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The URKN Eeloo, the second oldest ship of the fleet, was scheduled to be refitted. Having been in service for over three years and with the new developments in technology, Dr. Edmund had ordered her back in. And now, under the leadership and the new vision of Loring, she would be completely overhauled. But before that could happen, she had to be taken out of the water and brought back to the SPH. From there, she'd have her weapons and ammunition removed, engines removed, and Loring would begin the process of breathing new life into the ship.

I would have loved to watch the extraction; I didn't want to risk losing time with Maxbas. For some reason, I was enjoying this morning with Maxbas. There was something about her that was refreshing and exciting. Something I've never experienced before.

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Once the Eeloo was over the crawler, the crawler's crew began the process of flushing the water from the ballast tanks. As the crawler slowly came to the surface, the Eeloo was lifted gently out of the water. Now the crawler would begin it's slow journey to the SPH. In a couple of months, she'd be returned to sea duties and the Sinaan would be the next ship to undergo refit.

Once we finished our breakfast, I escorted Maxbas to the tracking center briefing room for the morning briefing. What I didn't realize was that because of my -- slight distraction -- I was twenty minutes late. And Gene certainly knew how late I was.

"Captain Kerny," Gene began, "so nice of you to finally show up for this morning's briefing. What's that stupid smirk on your face --"

"General," Maxbas interrupted. "Is it protocol to belittle a field grade officer who was performing in an official capacity of an officer escort to a Senior Consul?"

Realizing he had just been outranked, Gene decided to continue with the morning's briefing and ignore my tardiness. "Now listen, Dr. Edmund will be arriving today. Captain Kerny, you and Lieutenant Gilti will be flying Senior Consuls Maxbas and Dr. Edmund to rendezvous with the Sinaan. You will remain under the direct command of Dr. Edmund until your return to the space center."

"Understood, sir." I responded. But why Gilti? I wondered. She's not Section 31. Wouldn't it be better to fly without her?

"And your departure will be about an hour after he arrives. Oh, and Captain," Gene continued, smiling, "I'm pretty sure he's going to pass on the officer escort --

And with that, laughter erupted from all over the briefing room. I caught a quick glance of Maxbas and was surprised to see her laughing, too. And her cheeks had  a slight hint of a greenish color. She was embarrassed. It was just breakfast! I'm not sure why she's embarrassed or why this is so funny to Gene and the others. It was then she reached over and gave my arm a light squeeze. 

After what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was less than five minutes, the laughter died down. "Captain," Gene began. "Bobak has ordered a sea goose to be prepped for your journey. When you get back, you and your crew will begin simulator training to familiarize yourself with the new systems in the Excursion."

"Thank you, sir," just the thought of returning to space, to my ship, changed my whole mood. "I'm looking forward to it!" And it happened again. Maxbas reached over and gave my arm another light squeeze. Her hand lingered on my upper arm much longer than it did the first time. Without thinking about it, I took my other hand and lightly touched her hand still holding onto my arm.

The intercom tone went off again, but this time, while Gene was finishing the morning briefing. "General Gene to operations center immediately! Again, General Gene to operations center immediately!" the voice was unmistakable. It was Bobak. Normally it is hard to distinguish any emotion in his normally cool and calm voice. But today, it was clear that there was something important happening.

Gene walked over to the small intercom panel and hit the button. "This is Gene, what's going on, Bobak?" It was clear from his tone Gene was irritated with a second disruption in this morning's briefing.

"Ah Cancun is down! Repeat -- Ah Cancun is down!" Bobak's response filled the briefing room. Almost instantly, the room became extremely quiet.

"What do you mean, 'Ah Cancun is down", Bobak?" Gene asked. "Is this a drill?"

"No, sir!" This time it was Kuzzter's voice over the speakers. "Ah Cancun is down! This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill!" In the background we all could hear Bobak giving orders to the various Kermen working in the tracking center.

Just as it had started off as a normal morning for us, it started as a normal morning for Kermen everywhere. Little did we realize that just twenty-five minutes before we heard the panicked reports coming from the tracking center, things today began to change, to make things far different than normal.

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The flight left New Kerbin City, as did the numerous flights which connect New Kerbin City and Tulum Station. The Dart, carrying a crew of two and a single passenger, left the city heading towards its destination at the space center. There's nothing special about the route and the flight, normally.

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The Dart's crew had flown this flight many times before. Lieutenants Agay and Senfry had charted the flight plan and filed it before the plane took off. Having flown that route for nearly a year, they could fly the route without the plane's navigation equipment. There is a joke that they would sing certain Kerman folk songs and knew, after so many repetitions, the right course corrections to make to keep them on the flight plan. This was a routine flight they flew every day, and sometimes, three times a day. But then again, today was far from the normal day.

Maxbas and I followed Gene into the command center and listened to the playback of the audio recorded. Bobak was already plotting points on the map of Kerbin, now on the overhead screen. What I heard was something I'll never forget.

/static/ "...alling NKC, this is Ah Cancun flight..." In the background, it was clear the master alarm was sounding. We all listened as a very scared Agay called out to the air control officer of New Kerbin City.

"Ah Cancun Flight, go ahe... /static/ ...atus?"

"/static/ ...omething wrong. We have a /static/ Oh, gods... we have a maste.../static/" We all heard as the transmission from the Dart come to an abrupt end. Only static filled the channel.

"Ah Cancun Flight, this is NKC," the air control officer's voice replied. "We are no longer tracking you. Please repeat your status..."

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"/static/ an explosion!" the voice of Lieutenant Senfry breaking through the static. "Repeat, we've suffered a mal -- /static/ ...et the old Kerman out!"

"Ah Cancun Flight, this is NKC, what's your status?"

"Can't! the door is jammed!" the voice of Agay cried out. "/static/ NKC... /static/ we are going down! Repea..." And with that, the only transmissions on the channel were the ones sent by the air control officer from New Kerbin City.

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"Kerny..." Gene softly said as we both heard the replay.

"On my way, Gene." If the sea goose was already ready, this would give us a head start in beginning the search for the downed craft. While the rest of the Kermen in the briefing room may not have known it, Ah Cancun is the code name given to any flight containing the Senior Consul of the Triune Committee. The code name is actually after our ancient god of hunters and the protector of all animal creatures. But more importantly, it is the code name for Dr. Edmund.

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With a quick sprint, I was near the space plane hangar and heading towards the ladder to climb into the sea goose standing by. Instead of it being for a flight out to the Sinaan, it was now going to be a flight to find Dr. Edmund and the Dart's crew.

"Kerny," a voice called out behind me, "you're not flying alone..." Maxbas called out.

"Ma'am, this is..." I began. I really didn't want to debate right now.

"Captain, I'm going. He's my friend and mentor, too!" Maxbas said, clearly trying to hold back the tears.

"Well, get in..." and with that, we prepared to leave the space center.

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Within moments, we were in the air and heading for the last known coordinates of the Dart when contact was lost. At over 87 kilometers away, the sea goose was the fastest asset in the area. Maxbas turned on the signal scanner so we would be able to monitor communications as we flew to the crash zone.

"Roger, Tracking," an unfamiliar voice said. "I've informed our captain and we are now changing course -- "

"Roger that, Dres," this time it was Kuzzter's voice. "The old Kerman wants you to continue to monitor channels and make best speed to the zone."

"Roger, Tracking," the voice said. "we're on our way..."

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"Kerny, this all seems unreal," Maxbas began. "I just don't --"

"Captain Kerny, this is Tracking," Bobak's voice came out over the speaker on the communications panel.

"Go ahead, Tracking," I replied, motioning with my hand for Maxbas to be quiet.

"Gene wants to know if you've got a passenger," Bobak continued, "more specificially, Senior Consul Maxbas --"

"Roger, Tracking, Senior Consul Maxbas is on board." I replied.

"Gene says for me to remind you," Bobak began, but with a much more serious tone. "She's now the Senior Counsul of the Triune Committee, that is until we find --"

This time, it was Maxbas who replied. "You mean temporary, I mean, 'acting' Senior Consul. We will find him!"

The rest of the flight was quiet as we made our way to the last known location of the Dart.

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Twenty minutes passed before Maxbas asked a question. she had to yell to be heard over the noise of the craft's engines. "Kerny, are these planes always so noisy?"

"Yes, ma'am --"

"You can still call me Maxbas," she interrupted. "My position has changed temporarily but that doesn't mean I've changed at all. I'm still Maxbas...!" It was nearly funny to watch her have to nearly scream to be heard over the sound of the turboprops. Yes, the sea goose is normally a noisy aircraft. But even more so today as I've kept the throttles on full since leaving the space center.

"Yes, Maxbas," I continued. "This is a turbo-prop. And you think they're noisy now, wait until we land on the water! Now that's an experience."

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"Well, I've never done that before!" she exclaimed. "This will be a new experience. It's just a shame it couldn't be under better circumstances."

"There'll be other times, I'm sure" I began. Wait... am I asking her...

"If you feel that way, Kerny," and apparently that's exactly how... Maxbas began, smiling, "I'll gladly accept your offer!"

Within another 30 minute, we were nearing the coordinates of the last communication with the Dart when a pinging began to fill the cabin. I could tell Maxbas was a bit nervous, so I decided to calm her mind.

"Maxbas, that's a transponder signal --" But before I could finish my sentence, she saw the same thing I did - something floating in the ocean.

"Kerny, that's a -- " she exclaimed.

"Yes, we're going to circle around and I'm going to put 'er down. We'll taxi to the swimmer. I need your help, Maxbas."

"Sure, Kerny," she asked, "what can I do?"

"When we are landed, go back to the door and help 'em into the goose."

Within a few minutes, we were landed and Maxbas was in position. The first Kerman we came to was Lieutenant Agay.

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At first, Agay didn't recognize who had helped her into the sea goose. But after being asked about Lieutenant Senfry and Dr. Edmund, she quickly realized who one of her rescuers was. "My gods, ma'am," she said, in a hushed and panicked tone, "Senior Consul Maxbas! I --" Agay was fighting back the tears.

"Lieutenant," Maxbas said, in a quiet and reassuring tone. "It's ok, Captain Kerny and I need to know, where's Senfry and Dr. Edmund?"

"Ma'am, I'm not sure," Lieutenant Senfry and I weren't able to get back to Dr. Edmund. I think he's..." Her voice trailed off into nothingness. "And I was right behind Lieutenant Senfry..." She was now sobbing into her hands. "I didn't see where he landed; his chute opened, but I didn't see where he landed..." her voice trailed off back into nothingness as the tears and sobbing grew louder.

Out the cockpit window, I thought I saw a bright point of light - a flash - in front of our craft.

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"KSC Tracking," I called out over the radio. "We've found Lieutenant Agay. She's shaken up, but appears to be okay --"

"I'd say she's far from okay, Kerny!" Maxbas shot back. "She's --"

"Roger, Kerny." It was Gene's voice. "Have you --"

"No, Gene," I still had no idea who the other person was. "I've got a bright light flash, similar to a survival pack flash. I'm going to throttle up and go see. Will update. Stand by..."

"Roger, Kerny." Gene responded. "KSC Tracking standing by."

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Within ten minutes, we were pulling alongside what turned out to be Lieutenant Senfry. He swam over to the sea goose and climbed into the passenger compartment, aided by Maxbas.

"Gene, this is Kerny, we have located Lieutenant Senfry. We are beginning to search for Dr. Edmund."

"Roger, Kerny." But it was clear I hadn't relayed all the information Gene wanted. "How is Senfry? You didn't tell me his status?"

"Gene," yeah he was right. It hadn't even crossed my mind to relay his status. "He is ok, so far. Seems to be shaken up a bit --"

"Shaken up?" Senfry began. "No, not shaken up... I'm --"

"Kerny!" Maxbas was clearly upset about something. "He's shaking and... Kerny! I don't know what's happening... What do I do...?!"

"Gene," I called out on the radio. "We've got a medical emergency!"

"Did you find --"

"No, Gene," Maxbas called out. "Something's wrong with Senfry!"

"Of course there is," Gene responded, with a matter-of-fact tone of voice. "He just fell out of the sky, landed in the ocean, and survived some sort of catastrophic craft failure --"

"Gene, no --" I began.

"Kerny, he's got foam coming out of his mouth!" Maxbas exclaimed. "Gene, what do we do?"

"Dr. Haywood is contacting medical now," Gene said, his voice filled with horror and rage as he realized how helpless he was.

And then it happened, what we all didn't want to hear. "I'm not sure... if... Dr. Edmund survived. I didn't see a third chute... and most of the larger parts.. the plane... sank pretty quickly after hitting the surface." Lieutenant Agay said, in a defeated tone, sobbing as she tried to explain to us exactly what she saw after her parachute opened.

"Kerny, the Dres will be there in another hour and a half." The radio came back to life as Gene began to relay the latest information. "Dr. Haywood says that the medical division, Dr. Xanab, has suggested keeping him warm, getting him out of the wet clothes, and keeping him as still as possible. Doesn't recommend flying him back. The change in altitude could cause more problems --"

"Kerny, he's got some sort of pink... what are those?" Maxbas was now even more upset by her latest discovery. On his hand was what looked like pink slime. "What are you doing, Kerny?"

"I'm going to get a sample of it," I began to explain. "One thing that they drill into our heads in the Kerbalnaut program is to take samples of anything we can't explain --"

"So was that what the cook meant at dinner last night in the Kerbalnaut complex when Gilti threatened to take a sample to Dr. Haywood?" She asked. "What --?"

I couldn't help but to laugh. "Yes, it is exactly that." Being in space, my crew ate some strange food; some of it barely seemed like food. But that stuff they served us last night... I agree with Gilti --"

"So do I," Maxbas said. "That stuff couldn't have been food!"

"Yes," I continued, "but anything we cannot explain, we take a sample of it. And once we've cataloged the sample, we bring it back to Dr. Haywood once the mission is complete. And why not do it here? If this pink slime is dangerous --"

"Then we need to know it." She added. "Do you think we need to get it off him?"

Maxbas opened the first aid kit and took a pair of the artificial skin gloves for herself and handed a second set to me. Carefully we checked Agay for the pink slime but didn't find any. But Lieutenant Senfry had a patch of slime on the back of his hand, on the back of his neck, and a small patch on the left leg of his suit. But every place on his skin touched by the pink slime, an ugly dark green and grey rash was developing. We used the wound cleaning kits to remove the slime off his skin and as much of it off his suit as we could. And unfortunately, any large scale decontamination would have to wait for another hour - when the Dres would arrive in our area. But where had the pink slime come from?

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The radio came to life again. We were listening as the tracking center was clearing Gilti for take-off and flight operations to join the search. "Roger, Sparrow Hawk, this is tracking." Bobak's voice, calm but still very serious, was heard over the communications panel speakers. "You're cleared for take-off."

"Roger, tracking." Gilti responded. And with that, I knew it would be a matter of time before we saw her streaking past overhead.

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"Tracking," we could hear Gilti's voice coming through he speaker of the control panel, "I've spotted the sea goose. And there's a small debris field to the north-northeast of the sea goose."

And by the time of her transmission, we could hear the sound of a Koos engine as Gilti flew overhead. This was the third aircraft that had flown over our position since we were able to recover Lieutenants Agay and Senfry. And I am pretty sure it will not be the last one either since we've been ordered to remain on station until the arrival of the Dres. I just hope that Lieutenant Senfry won't get any worse until then.

Return to the OP (Index) Previous Chapter Next Chapter  

 

Edited by adsii1970

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Pink slime? Ew! But if the pilots also have missing time, then you know something is really wrong, and it could be..

 

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It also looks like the temporary Senior Consul has the hots for Kerny! I wonder if he'll find that more difficult to navigate than his upgraded ship...

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9 minutes ago, Angel-125 said:

Pink slime? Ew! But if the pilots also have missing time, then you know something is really wrong, and it could be.. 

Hehehe, nope. Not aliens. And no missing time. Think about it... one affected, yet one not even 500 meters away is affected...

9 minutes ago, Angel-125 said:

It also looks like the temporary Senior Consul has the hots for Kerny! I wonder if he'll find that more difficult to navigate than his upgraded ship...

Yeah, I thought about that. I can actually see it in the future... some dialog between Gene and Kerny:

"Gene, you've got to get me back out there..."

"Where, Kerny?"

"Space. I'd rather go through another anomaly while in space than to have Maxbas mad at me again!"

"Hey, Bobak, tell her we found him!"

"Gene... not you too!"

:D 

Edited by adsii1970

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OK... first off, I got serious goosebumps when the Ah Cancun went down... well done...

But you seriously blind-sided me with the Pink Slime!

WHAT???? :0.0:

I've watched far, far too many sci-fi movies to know that can't be good! 

I just hope it's nothing like... Green Slime... <_<

 

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