Cydonian Monk

Forgotten Space Program

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An Update

I had hoped to get the next part of this mission report posted by now, but... [insert your excuse of choice].

I really am getting things back on track here. So much of 2017 was eaten up preparing for and then taking a month-long road trip through the Western US (in August), and then returning to find the Shire seriously Scoured and Houston seriously Flooded. Free time? Whazzat? Well, now I'm finally finding said free time, just... not the energy. Too much ill'n going around in 2018. And the weather needs to calm the eff down, if only to allow my head a few days to clear. (It was in the mid 70s yesterday and it's 37 right now on my patio with a daytime high of 40-something.... I just don't even.)

Anyway, this already rambling post is actually something of a mission report. This past week I launched the first craft in the Forgotten Space Program save since May of 2017. (Everything I've done since May used craft already launched; in some cases craft I launched four years ago.)

Except what I should really say is: This past week I attempted to launch the first craft in the Forgotten Space Program save since May of 2017, only to discover that maybe those engines are a bit gimbley-wobbly, and maybe I wasn't actually using the kOS script I thought I was, and maybe building a rocket isn't really as simple as I once thought it was (aka: BARIRASAIOTIW). For a few minutes I wasn't entirely unconvinced I hadn't accidentally loaded Forgotten in my install of KSP that includes BARIS..., or maybe RSS. Turns out I'd just forgotten how to fly a forgotten rocket. And used the wrong kOS script. And left the gimbal range of my engines at 100%, which always leads to fiery death. Mucho rust to shake off here.

So with those troubles behind me I can safely say that everything is updated for KSP v1.3.1, everything works, and you'll get to read more about all of that in the next week or so. (Of course KSP v1.4.0 and Making History are just around the corner. I'm so deep in the Mods on this save that I expect it'll be April before everything is updated and I can start using said expansion in this save. Or maybe The Machine will decide to change some things....)

 

So, long story short: Next update isn't ready, I'm too beat to be able to write what needs to be written right now, and it's bloody cold here. Here's some screenshot candy to tide you over until said post is actually ready. (Featuring a mix of craft launched in KSP 0.23 (4 years ago), 1.0.4 (3 years ago), 1.0.5 (2 years ago), and one station launched and then "hacked into" this save around 1.2.1 (1 year ago).):

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Oh, and this shot that for some reason I rather like, even though it makes me feel very cold right now:

20170930_ksp0020_laythe_1960.jpg

Cheers and stay warm,

Edited by Cydonian Monk
Edit: errant it.

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And here I was concerned @Cydonian Monk was simply swept up in a new cycle since I don't think you've gone to space :).

Yeah, KSP can be tricky to get back into after a long hiatus esp. w/ a fairly heavily modded install. KSP 1.4/Making History will be interesting when it drops.

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8 minutes ago, NCommander said:

Since I don't think you've gone to space :).

Not as far as I know.... :wink: 

8 minutes ago, NCommander said:

Yeah, KSP can be tricky to get back into after a long hiatus....

Agreed. I've actually been playing quite a bit of KSP with BARIS (and too many other mods) over the last month, so I've not entirely been out of it. Just... out of it. (And something like 90% of the craft I "launch" in BARIS never leave Kerbin. Or when they do they don't stay gone for very long.) Sometimes it's easier to launch a rocket Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick than it is to let a kOS script handle everything for you, which has been one of the staples in this save. Amusingly it was the first time in YEARS I made a rookie staging error, and the silicon heart of kOS is cold and unforgiving when it comes to such mistakes. 

Edited by Cydonian Monk

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I feel you...I had to walk 50 m to get into school this morning and it's 0° F.

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8 hours ago, Cydonian Monk said:

And the weather needs to calm the eff down, if only to allow my head a few days to clear. (It was in the mid 70s yesterday and it's 37 right now on my patio with a daytime high of 40-something.... I just don't even.)

No kidding.  Middle of last month, we had nearly a week in the teens and 20s with snow, then suddenly it was 60 for a couple days with rain.  Yet somehow the tree frogs (or "rain frogs" as we call them here) survived and were singing loudly in the warm snap.  Since then it's been alternating with a few warm days then a few cold days, or several days of cold nights and warm afternoons.  And rain scattered randomly throughout.

Needless to say, this has played right into the hand of the flu epidemic, which is so bad here that they're running out of hospital beds and having to ship folks as far as Shreveport and Jackson, MS.  The flu finally caught up with me Friday evening so the weekend wasn't restful.

 

8 hours ago, Cydonian Monk said:

Turns out I'd just forgotten how to fly a forgotten rocket

I know what you mean.  I hadn't touched KSP for about a year when I restarted last fall, so was quite rusty :) 

 

8 hours ago, Cydonian Monk said:

And something like 90% of the craft I "launch" in BARIS never leave Kerbin. Or when they do they don't stay gone for very long.

LOL!  BARIS is something you love to hate.  I assume you're busy tweaking the settings to find a combination that works for you.  I'd be curious to compare settings with you once you settle on something.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Starslinger999 said:

@Cydonian Monk 1.4 is finally out. Now we wait for Making history...

@Cydonian Monk 1.4 is finally out. Now we wait for Making history...

@Cydonian Monk 1.4 is finally out. Now we wait for Making history...

@Cydonian Monk 1.4 is finally out. Now we wait for Making history...

You can say that again.....

 

Not much of a wait. 5 days. I’ve already started poking at a few plugins to see what underlying things have changed inside of both KSP and Unity. Most things seem to be straight-forward and just need a recompile, but some of our favorite mods are going to need quite a bit of work to fix them. 

1.4 is finally out. Now we wait for Mods. 

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1 minute ago, Cydonian Monk said:

You can say that again.....

 

Not much of a wait. 5 days. I’ve already started poking at a few plugins to see what underlying things have changed inside of both KSP and Unity. Most things seem to be straight-forward and just need a recompile, but some of our favorite mods are going to need quite a bit of work to fix them. 

1.4 is finally out. Now we wait for Mods. 

I have a feeling it won't be long. Maybe two weeks or so...

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Where There's A Whip....

The departure from Bop was routine and transpired without comment. All four members of the Sulphur 5 crew were glad to be free of the strange little moon, and each avoided discussing the severe anomaly encountered at the monolith. In an unusual departure from his norm, Macfred omitted mention of it from his daily report to Kerbin. They had learned their lesson from many similar events over their careers, and felt there was no reason to encourage other kerbals to taunt the dark forces at work on Bop.

It was best for all that Bop kept its secrets.

20170917_ksp0414_bop.jpg

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The Silicon fuel depot had just enough fuel remaining in its tanks to boost them to a highly elliptical Bop orbit. It was discarded once empty, and left in its lonely circuit around the tiny moon. Simulations suggested it would be ejected from the Joolian system many years later, after countless perturbations from Tylo, Vall, and Laythe. The Sulphur 5's engines burned a final time in a higher Bop orbit (mostly to account for inclination), and the conjoined shuttles were cast back into Jool's mighty arms.

Thomlock had cooked up a nice surprise for the transfer down to Laythe. After experimenting with a few options, he discovered one which used a whip around Tylo and placed them into a near-approach at Laythe. Aside from the escape burn they had just finished, another short burn to gain 264m/s in space near Tylo was all they required to reach Laythe.

(Thomlock had visions of writing a book entitled "Abusing Orbital Mechanics for Fun and Profit", only to realize the futility of it as memories of such a book to be lost to the Cycles.)

20170917_ksp0420_tylo.jpg

This 238km approach to Tylo was the closest they would come to a Jool 5 award. Gletrix once more suggested they create a new award called the Jool 4.5. This suggestion was later revised down to a Jool 4.25, as they had only flown past Tylo, not captured into an orbit. (They were within a few dozen meters per second of a capture, but they needed to spend their precious potential in the opposite direction.) They all jokingly agreed this was now a Jool 4 and 1/4 mission.

Observations of Tylo were limited, both by their high-altitude pass and by leaving in the moon's shadow. For a moment Agake thought she had spotted a face on the surface, but later examinations of photographs proved it was just another case of pareidolia. Of course there was no mysterious face on the surface of Tylo, alien or otherwise.

The cratered surface of the moon suggested it was one of Jool's custodians, cleaning up all wayward debris and rogue asteroids that passed through the system. Landing there would require a great deal of planning, as finding a flat surface could prove challenging. And if the number of craters were any clue, there was a high likelihood of being struck by some piece of debris while on the surface.

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Soon enough their time at Tylo had passed, and the beast of a moon slipped away into the darkness behind them. (Whips cracked as the orcs and goblins disappeared into the ash clouds of Mount Doom....)

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--

 

... There's A Laythe


20170930_ksp0018_laythe.jpg

The burn and whip at Tylo had tweaked their orbit sufficiently to place them into a closer approach at Laythe. Their initial periapsis was a nice 150km, and was only 3.9 degrees off of the inclination of the Jumble of Parts. Unfortunately their station would be a third of the way around Laythe when they arrived, well ahead of them in their orbit. Catching up in a timely manner would require a periapsis inside Laythe's crust, so they opted to capture into a higher orbit and wait instead. This allowed them to adjust their nearly 4 degrees of relative inclination down to 0 from a far more efficient position high over Laythe.

As luck would have it, their higher-orbit inclination burn took place in the pitch-black eclipse of Kerbol by Jool. As is only fitting and proper. The universe and their chosen orbital ephemera provided a nice view of a crescent Laythe and a thin limb of Jool shortly before they were plunged into that inky black abyss from which there is a ready escape. 

20170930_ksp0020_laythe.jpg
(1960x1080 version)

Agake noted the cloud cover of Laythe had increased somewhat since they left for the outer moons. None of them were sure if this was normal, based on their limited observations, but still recorded the apparent anomaly. There was a good chance the heavier cloud cover was due to the increased volcanism they had observed while on the surface. The would check the data from the Laythe Calcium probes and the observations being made by The Forgotten.

Their final two capture and rendezvous burns took place nearly a quarter of the way around Jool later. (None of them had yet devised names for the "days" of Jool orbits. Kers and Sols had never sounded right, and all other options trended towards difficult to pronounce or borderline obscene. So they settled on fractions of orbital positioning as their datum. What else is a kerbal to do?) 

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Their "Little Hut at the Laythe" appeared as only a tiny speck when its communications systems linked up. The usual stream of past-due notices and junk mail filtered into the Sulphur's computer as the Jumble of Parts synced back up. No further communications had been received from Kerbin, which was not unexpected and no longer out of the ordinary. The station was so tiny to be nearly indiscernible from the other pieces of junk they had tossed into Laythen orbit, but soon outshone the other flares. 

The station seemed to each of them to be rather a bit smaller than they remembered, though none could quite figure out why. Nor could they recall when they had last visited the Jumble of Parts. Five Minths? A year? Longer? (A Minth being the synodic orbital period of Minmus, as all young kerbals know. "15 Minths makes 2 Years, high and low, and roughly so." Years, then, occur in pairs, with "High" years and "Low" years, depending on where Minmus appears at the start of the year. Only once in recorded history have two High Years occurred simultaneously, an unlikely event that remains unexplained to this day.)

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Near as they could tell all the "parts" of the Jumble of Parts were still here, and nothing seemed amiss. Nothing aside from that nagging feeling that something was terribly wrong and they should run far, far away. 

Gletrix brought them in to dock, the final time they would return to their tiny tent in its track around Laythe. There would be a bit of shuffling as they moved ships and science data round, but otherwise their tasks here were complete. They had a few days before meeting up with the Forgotten and their promised trip back to Kerbin. More than enough time to relax, take in the sights, pack up all of their belongings, and prepare to head home.

20170930_ksp0034_laythe.jpg

Their vacation at Jool was finally coming to an end.

--

Navigation: Next Post

Edited by Cydonian Monk

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1 hour ago, cubinator said:

Dres when?

At this rate, sometime in 2020. (Don’t worry, it’s on the list. Probably as the “Unobtanium” mission... :D)

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3 minutes ago, Cydonian Monk said:

At this rate, sometime in 2020. (Don’t worry, it’s on the list. Probably as the “Unobtanium” mission... :D)

That's only two years from now!

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7 minutes ago, Cydonian Monk said:

At this rate, sometime in 2020. (Don’t worry, it’s on the list. Probably as the “Unobtanium” mission... :D)

Oh, I love the reference... :D In the planetary system mod I am making, I am actually thinking about adding it as one of the resources!

Another great chapter and I love the simplicity of your craft design. I think that sometimes I have a tendency to overthink mine...

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13 minutes ago, cubinator said:

That's only two years from now!

Scary thought. 

Quote

Another great chapter and I love the simplicity of your craft design. I think that sometimes I have a tendency to overthink mine...

Thanks. 

Although, there’s something coming down the production line that’s in many ways the opposite of simple.... And is perhaps a bit overthought. 

Edited by Cydonian Monk

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37 minutes ago, Cydonian Monk said:

Although, there’s something coming down the production line that’s in many ways the opposite of simple.... And is perhaps a bit overthought. 

hehehe... Too much 1970s sci-fi binge watching again, eh?

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Just now, Angel-125 said:

The Jumble Of Parts seems less jumbled somehow...

So many of its parts are down on the surface. Now it’s really just a “Jumble, Apart.”

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On ‎20‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 3:03 AM, Cydonian Monk said:

The station seemed to each of them to be rather a bit smaller than they remembered, though none could quite figure out why. Nor could they recall when they had last visited the Jumble of Parts. Five Minths? A year? Longer? (A Minth being the synodic orbital period of Minmus, as all young kerbals know. "15 Minths makes 2 Years, high and low, and roughly so." Years, then, occur in pairs, with "High" years and "Low" years, depending on where Minmus appears at the start of the year. Only once in recorded history have two High Years occurred simultaneously, an unlikely event that remains unexplained to this day.)

Another great chapter! Thank you for your story! :D

One thing I didn't get was how 15Minths made about 2 years... When I checked the numbers against the wiki (it that out dated again?), 15 x minths (about 49.87 Kerbin days) and found I'm still 2 Minths short of a year.

Gah - Nevermind - Mixed up Sidereal and synodic again

Edited by wile1411

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25 minutes ago, wile1411 said:

Another great chapter! Thank you for your story! :D

Thanks! I was hoping to have the next post ready tonight, but... I’m shot right now. Should be ready sometime tomorrow though. :) 

Quote

One thing I didn't get was how 15Minths made about 2 years... When I checked the numbers against the wiki (it that out dated again?), 15 x minths (about 49.87 Kerbin days) and found I'm still 2 Minths short of a year.

It’s a question of synodic vs sidereal. For Minmus’ sidereal period (based on its 360° orbit around Kerbin), you would be correct - there are ~8.5 such minths in one Kerbin year. For Minmus’ synodic period (based on its motion and/or phase as observed from Kerbin), there are only ~7.5 minths per Kerbin year.

A primitive calendar would more than likely be devised based on the synodic period, which is why I chose that. Our lunar calendar is a good example. A synodic lunar month, full moon to full moon (a lunation), is 29 days 12 hours and some change. A sidereal lunar month, with the Moon in the same position against the background stars (completing one full orbit), is 27 days 7 hours and a bit more change. I’m not aware of any lunar calendars in use in a non-scientific setting that are not based on lunation (synodic).

Edited by Cydonian Monk

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On 3/19/2018 at 1:48 AM, Cydonian Monk said:

The usual stream of past-due notices and junk mail filtered into the Sulphur's computer as the Jumble of Parts synced back up. No further communications had been received from Kerbin, which was not unexpected and no longer out of the ordinary.

Wait, so they can get junk mail but not messages from Kerbin? Where does the junk mail come from then? Monoliths? :o

In other news, I've got another interesting Vallhenge thing you might like.

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2 minutes ago, cubinator said:

Wait, so they can get junk mail but not messages from Kerbin? Where does the junk mail come from then?

Where does any junk mail come from? Where do telemarketing calls come from? Nobody knows anyone that directly creates that stuff, therefore it must all appear from out of the void itself. :D

3 minutes ago, cubinator said:

That's actually quite nice. Thanks for the link!

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Will the Last One Leaving Jool....

The time had at last arrived for Macfred and his crew to discard the Jumble. 

There were a few minor housekeeping chores to finish before heading to the Edge of Infinity, and then they would be off. First, the Sulphur 5 LDAV was being left at the Jumble of Parts. Its landing legs and other attachments made it heavier than the Sulphur 3, and every gram mattered. Gletrix took the task of undocking it from the Sulphur 3 and moving it to another available port atop the Jumble. Once there she shut down its main computer and safed its other systems.

Perhaps some future Laythe explorers would find a use for their well-traveled lander.

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Next, the science results and samples collected during their time at Jool had to be transferred into the Sulphur 3. Thomlock went on EVA to tackle this bit. It was a task that for some reason could only be performed by a kerbal while outside of the ship. Something he would fix if he ever designed another deep space mission.

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Lastly, Macfred had a mission update to send to Kerbin. He still had no idea if anyone was receiving these, but felt compelled to continue regardless. The Boss didn't sound very stable or safe the last time he spoke with her, back on Vall, and considering the silence that followed their brief contact he could only assume something bad had happened. After recording his thoughts he scanned the message a couple of times and then hit the send button.

With those tasks complete their mission at Jool had met its end. No further instructions regarding the station had been received, so they left the Jumble's static experiments running. Hopefully they could continue to read the data generated by the Jumble and the many Calcium probes in the system once back at Kerbin. 

Everything else was cleaned and left in a safe state. No reason to leave a mess for the next kerbals.

Gletrix had the honor of undocking the Sulphur 3. She nudged them away from the Jumble just as they emerged from the night side of Laythe. They watched as the sunrise cast it warm colors across the watery moon's skies. Their trip to the Edge of Infinity was routine, a short boost to a higher orbit, a change of inclination, and another burn to complete the rendezvous.

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The Forgotten had contacted them shortly after their return to Laythe. They informed Macfred that the Jool Jester had arrived some time ago, and they could leave whenever he and his crew were ready. Instructions had been included as to where the Sulphur 3 would be placed in the stack of ships returning to Kerbin. 

The station appeared out of the dark behind them, illuminated by its own lights. A soft glow lit the many ships moored to the Edge of Infinity, and the station's radiators were a soft red.

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There were no docking ports available when they arrived, so The Forgotten made room. The Jool Jester undocked, pulled back, and allowed them to dock between it and the station. Matching the rotation of both the station and this large ship was somehow easier than just matching the station. 

This old ship was clearly something from an earlier generation. Its design was nearly as alien to their multipurpose shuttle as a sailboat would be to a submarine. Macfred was tempted to have Gletrix splash their lights across the Jester, but he knew there would be many opportunities to explore the much older ship while dropping back to Kerbin.

The other ships of The Forgotten, the Onepake and the Lakeweketon, were docked opposite of them. Only one of the two would return with them, the other would be cast off to forever drift in Laythe's orbit. The Onepake was little more than a tin can with a flight computer, a ship which Jeb and Bill had held together by duct tape and force of will. Its flight computer was long dead and it provided minimal living space, so they would have little choice by to abandon it here.

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The shuttle shuddered as the Jester pushed them in to dock at the station. Macfred wondered if their ship was qualified to take such stress, the Jester was fully loaded after all, and much much larger than them. Thankfully they had a few hours to relax at the Edge of Infinity before reassembling the ships and burning for home, time he could spend inspecting the Sulphur and worrying about all manner of engineering failures. 

At least he knew the radio worked.

--

... Please Turn Off the Lights

"So the old kerb is still alive?"

Thomlock had struck up a conversation with the other lost souls aboard the Edge of Infinity while waiting for their chosen departure window. He was just getting to his stories of Albro and the Anzol System when some unfamiliar kerbals walked in. That question about Albro's well being had come from one of them. An unfamiliar voice, old and commanding, but he answered as he would any other kerbal.

"Albro? Yes, he's still living."

"Pity. We figured that thing on Vall vaporized him. Thought we were rid of him."

Lobo stopped the conversation to introduce these new arrivals. "Thomlock, this is Maclie, Captain of the Jool Jester. He and his second in command Kening were on the original Jool mission. Ellie is the third member of their crew, also a former Continuum member. All three worked with Albro."

"Nobody works _with_ Albro," Maclie chirped back. "He does what he wants and works hard to keep it that way. He has his own plans, and he'll see through his vendetta regardless of who or what gets in the way. Ask Shelzon if you get the chance. He worked for Albro too, and for nearly a decade before the old kerb sold him out."

"Vendetta?"

Maclie nodded. "Against the Kraken. For as long as I've known him his sole purpose has been to exterminate the beasties. Anchorpoint Station was a trap he set, a trap that almost got the rest of us killed. You can bet anything he told you is just a ruse to set an even larger trap."

"I'm not so sure. He claims he wants to help all of us, all kerbals everywhere. To move us into the caves on a habitable moon in a nearby star system."

"Well there's your first clue that something's up. Crazy idea that sounds technically impossible? It's gotta be a scam."

Several of the others took up the debate in Albro's favour, with Maclie and his crew remaining staunchly on the opposing side. Another conversation had splintered off and eventually caught Thomlock's attention. He listened as Agake was talking to Bob, showing him a sample she had collected on Bop. The green sliver of stone which had fallen into her lap.

"Is that...? Is that Exorem?"

"I think so, yes." Agake held the sliver up to the light, revealing its semi-translucent dark green composition. "If I'm right it came from the monolith on Bop." She handed the sample to Bob.

"Wow." He turned it over in his hands, also holding it up to the light. "How? I tried for years to extract a sample. Nothing would break the stone. How on Kerbin did you get this? Did anything strange happen when you took it?"

Agake paused, obviously considering her response. She glanced over to Thomlock briefly. "No. My field hammer broke, but otherwise," she looked to the rest of their crew, both of whom had also abandoned the Albro debate and responded with a decided no. "Nope. There is absolutely nothing weird going on at Bop. Definitely no missing stretches of memory or strange time anomalies. Nothing at all." 

Something clicked deep in Thomlock's mind. 

"Hey Bob?"

"Yeah?"

"Back when we first met you said something about all the previous Jebs and Bills and Bobs being sent here to do research. How do you know the notes you found were from earlier Bobs, and not from you?"

"How would that make sense?"

"What if the Edge of Infinity slips backwards in time each time you return to Kerbin?"

Bob shook his head. "No way. This story is confusing enough with the black hole planets, the secret societies, the creepy abandoned stations, the lost kerbals, and all these krakens trapped in asteroids. We're not throwing time travel into it too."

Thomlock chuckled. "Fair enough. It's still more rational than Jeb's simulation theory."  

"You're right there."

In the distance a soft exclamation of "hey" was heard from Jebediah.

Suddenly Maclie spoke up, his aged voice silencing all other conversations. "Ok folks, we'll have plenty of time to talk about old friends and future enemies on our way back to Kerbin. Right now, I need everykerb to gather their belongings and make their way to the ships. Say your goodbyes to this magnificent monument of kerbal engineering and lets all go home.

"Pilots, we've got a bit of work to do. Suit up and let me know when you're in your ships. Dismissed."

--


20171215_ksp0078_laythe.jpg
(2048x1152 version)

It took about half an hour for everyone to get the last of their things transferred to the three ships making the trip back to Kerbin. It was evident very quickly how space would be at an absolute premium, with twenty kerbals crammed into 32 seats. Jonbald and his crew had already packed the Sulphur 3 to the brim, so the others filled up the Jester and the Lakeweketon as well as they could. 

The final configuration of ships would have the Jool Jester at the bottom of the stack providing propulsion and sleeping quarters, the Lakeweketon in the middle serving as the "common area" with a bit more sleeping space, and the Sulphur 3 atop the stack, serving as yet more bunk room. Flight control would be handled from the Jool Jester, with auxiliary control in the Sulphur 3. There were only 16 beds outside of the two cockpits and the common area in the Lakeweketon, so either they would need to shut down some of the common area to all sleep at the same time, or more than likely they would end up swapping a few bunks and sleeping in shifts.

Before any of that could happen though, there was an important bit of work to complete: Rearranging the ships. The Sulphur 3 was still docked ahead of the Jester, while the Lakeweketon was docked to the Edge of Infinity with the Onepake behind it. They stripped the Onepake of useful parts and then started the final shuffle.

The Jester undocked from the Sulphur first. It was the largest ship, meaning it would be more efficient for the others to dock to it. The Lakeweketon released its latch moments afterwards, Valentina giving it a push back from the Edge.

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Next, Thomlock moved the Sulphur to intercept the Lakeweketon and the Onepake. Using their combined RCS they pushed the Onepake into an orbit that would hopefully not intercept the Edge of Infinity at any time in the near future. Jebediah took the honors of disconnecting the Onepake from the back of the Lakeweketon, waving goodbye to his crew's well traveled and highly abused tin can.

"Hard to believe that thing carried us from Kerbin to Eve and all the way out to here."

With that task done, the Sulphur and the Lakeweketon moved to rendezvous with the Jester. Maclie had pushed his Jester to clear the side of the station, and then pulled it towards the other two ships while they were busy working. A few thumps, a few hisses, a few bumps, and then it was done. The various captains moved about to secure the docking nodes and bulkheads between their ships, while the others found their seats for the long drift back. 

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In all the hubbub of rearranging the ships they somehow lost a kerbal. Ribzor was still aboard the station. He had moved all his belongings into the Lakeweketon earlier, and had returned to the station to clean up a bit more and secure the science labs. He only noticed everyone was gone when he came back to the station's common rooms and found them empty. His heart sank a bit when he also noticed they had already undocked. He hailed the Jool Jester over the radio just in time, and EVA'd across to the ships from the now empty station.

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And with that, all of the kerbals presently in the Jool system were aboard the Jool Jester, and were ready to head down-well to Kerbin.

--


Year 100, Day 336, Hour 2

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There was no lack of astrogators aboard the Jool Jester, and each prepared a different program for the burns. In the end they settled on a single-burn departure of some 1100m/s with a plane-change correction somewhere near the orbit of Duna. To properly hit Kerbin they would need to dip under its orbit, and instead rise up to meet it from below. This was the fastest intercept they could plot with Kerbin that didn't involve more fuel than they had on hand or some extremely unorthodox abuse of the other planets.

Departing on day 336 of the 100th year, Macfred, Gletrix, and Agake had spent some 419 days in the Jool System, Thomlock a few days fewer. All four were just a münth (or two) short of a full Kerbin year at Jool. They would arrive at Kerbin on the 14th day of the 103rd year. 2 years and 104 days out, some 6 years and 80 days after they had left.

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Kerbin being an inward planet, the escape burn had to start at night, on the dark side of Laythe. 

As was only fitting and proper. 

Actually, the burn didn't need to happen in the dark. This was just the best place to start given Laythe's position and the placement of the other moons. They could have waited to conduct their nearly 14 minute burn until they were a bit further around in Laythe's orbit, but there was really no reason to wait.

Shortly into the burn the, Sun slipped around Laythe, a sight only Thomlock could enjoy. Perched in the cockpit of the Sulphur, his was the only seat with an unobstructed forward-facing view. Perks of being the most senior of the citizens aboard the ship.

Even with their full stack, the Jool Jester was able to produce 1/3rd of a G of acceleration. Impressive, really, and very comfortable. They wouldn't be climbing around inside their motley assortment of ships while under acceleration, but they also wouldn't be forced to split their burns up over several passes. This beast could do it in one go.

The Jester was an older ship, but still powered by the same LV-Ns that drove the Potassiums and other gear out to Jool. The Forgotten had talked briefly about how they rebuilt their small fleet of ships, converting the older mixed-fuel tanks into liquid-only ones and adding radiators to cope with the increasingly old reactors. They couldn't haul as much fuel as before, but the ships were still quite capable of moving about the Kerbol System as they wished. 

Their lightly developed network of mining rigs and refueling depots certainly helped. He wondered if it would be possible to expand their fuel operation, assuming Maclie was right and they weren't all going to move to the Anzol System. Probably best to start with some refineries and a mining operation on Minmus or the Mün, and then transport their refined fuels back to Kerbin orbit. Maybe he7d make a go of it. Maybe not.

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Laythe was already visibly shrinking away when the departure burn completed. The loss of acceleration was not as sudden as in the newer ships, the Jool Jester tapering the last portions of its burn and slowly returning to microgravity. Thomlock watched as specks of some unknown detritus drifted forwards and away from their ship. Hopefully that was nothing important.

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He pulled up the flight computer to begin exploring their Kerbin capture options. The plane adjustment burn at Duna would require some 180m/s, barely a cough for the Jester's main engines. That would bring them into a 40km periapsis at Kerbin, most likely too low to be survivable in their rig of a ship. Assuming they committed to an aerobrake at such an insane altitude, it would need to burn off 2,605m/s from their velocity. 

As that number was well within the 4,900m/s of ∆v the ship's computer was reporting as still available, Thomlock assumed they would skip the aerocapture and go for the more conventional propulsive capture. Or perhaps a saner mix of the two.

The ship shifted suddenly as the Jool Jester turned. When it came to rest the main antenna was aimed roughly towards the Sun and the ship was aligned laterally to Laythe. Thomlock knew instantly what Maclie was up to, as now every kerbal in the ship could watch as their home away from home slipped unnoticeably into the background stars.

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Thomlock watched as Laythe cast its shadow across Jool and then slipped behind its parent and out of his view. It was the last time he would ever see the moon, its oceans would live now only in his memories. They had brought so much to Laythe, and left much of it behind in the sands and under the oceans. The mission had not gone according to anyone's plan, and had unraveled almost as soon as they left Kerbin. 

Yet here they were. Homeward bound at last. They had landed on four of the moons of Jool, collected enough samples to fill every museum on Kerbin twice over, and discovered many secrets of their reality. Perhaps more than Thomlock had ever wanted to know. He had come to Jool filled with questions, and was leaving with yet more. Perhaps none of them would ever be answered. Perhaps it was all a game. Perhaps they were just pawns in somebody else's war.

None of that mattered now. He was headed home. Again. And this time he had a crowd of kerbals to keep him company. For once he was looking forward to drifting through empty space for years on end. It had all the makings of being a good trip.

A trip he would kick off with a good long nap.

--


End Kerbal Space Program v1.2.2
 

--

Navigation: Next Post

Edited by Cydonian Monk

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1 minute ago, insert_name said:

will this be going straight to 1.4?

No. I did skip v1.3.0 as it was basically unplayable (and wasn’t there a v1.2.9 or something?), but back in February I started into v1.3.1 before we had a set launch date for 1.4 and MH.

I’m somewhere around 24 launches into the v1.3.1 save, and have roughly another 10 planned. I’ll likely get through those this week.

The two weeks after Easter I’m away from home, or back home depending on your point of reference, though I’m planning to continue posting while away. Most likely all of the pertinent mods I use will be updated by the time I get back to Houston. (Most of them are in a _working_ state right now, so if I wanted to I could already jump into v1.4.1.) I’ll move into v1.4.x then. 

1 minute ago, insert_name said:

will making history be involved?

Yes, most decidedly. I’ve been stabbing at the LaunchSite controllers in an experimental plugin, so..... :wink: 

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Very fun to see the evolution of your story! Kinda sad that they're all done and going home though. What new adventures await? Will we see any of the characters again?

Great read! :)

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