Just Jim

The Saga of Emiko Station - Volume I - Complete

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4 hours ago, DualDesertEagle said:

Something just popped into my mind, since all of ur kerbals have their helmets off while being on the ground on Kerbin:

I'm guessing u are taking the shots of Sanny in space to have her spread out her arms like that, making KIS force the helmet on. Now I'm wondering if u wouldn't actually prefer to have her take the helmet off aswell and that's a simple thing to achive while still keeping her afloat.

If I had to achieve that I would import her into a new sandbox save with nothing in it yet (reason for that in a few moments), take her outside somewhere (helmet taken off of course), then hack gravity and infinite-EVA her into the air quite a bit before switching the EVA controls off to get her to spread her arms out. Then take a screenshot with let's say clear sky as background (Make sure the lighting is right before tho!). Using an empty Sandbox game for that gets rid of everything that could break in hacked gravity.

You're really close to how I do it... but I put her in orbit over Jool, and quite literally use Jool itself as my green-screen. From there it's just a matter of using Photoshop to remove the background, layer her over whatever screenshot I'm adding her into, and setting her to about 40% transparent.

As for the helmet, I could remove it if I wanted, but this is exactly how she died in @Geschosskopf's Outer Planets Travelling Circus, in that unique blue suit, and with a helmet. And her flag-patch is accurate as well... I made sure of all the details match the original Sanny as best possible. So while I could remove her helmet, I want her spirit to stay exactly the way she was at the moment of her death. 

Weird as it sounds, Sanny is sort of like the astronaut ghost in one of the original Scooby Doo's... it probably doesn't need a helmet on Earth, but it looks so much cooler!  :0.0:

(I Imagine this is how Sanny thinks she looks when she's trying to be scary... hehehe)

 

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6 hours ago, Just Jim said:

As for the helmet, I could remove it if I wanted, but this is exactly how she died in @Geschosskopf's Outer Planets Travelling Circus, in that unique blue suit, and with a helmet. And her flag-patch is accurate as well... I made sure of all the details match the original Sanny as best possible. So while I could remove her helmet, I want her spirit to stay exactly the way she was at the moment of her death.

Ah, ok, that explains it very well.

Anyway, hoping to find a new chapter here tomorrow.

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On 10/21/2017 at 7:46 AM, Just Jim said:

(I Imagine this is how Sanny thinks she looks when she's trying to be scary... hehehe)

Yeah, but with a dash of Galadriel being tempted by the One Ring :) 

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OK, I'm about 90% done writing the next chapter, and I think y'all are gonna like this one. But it's getting late, and I've been typing all day... and my hands are tired...

"I got blisters on my fingers.... <twanggggg> "  :cool:

Anyway, I quit for tonight. I'll finish it in the morning... it should only take an hour or two to wrap up, plus proof-read.

Edited by Just Jim

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31 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

OK, I'm about 90% done writing the next chapter, and I think y'all are gonna like this one. But it's getting late, and I've been typing all day... and my hands are tired...

"I got blisters on my fingers.... <twanggggg> "  :cool:

Anyway, I quit for tonight. I'll finish it in the morning... it should only take an hour or two to wrap up, plus proof-read.

Almost there... Stay on target...

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32 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

OK, I'm about 90% done writing the next chapter, and I think y'all are gonna like this one. But it's getting late, and I've been typing all day... and my hands are tired...

"I got blisters on my fingers.... <twanggggg> "  :cool:

Anyway, I quit for tonight. I'll finish it in the morning... it should only take an hour or two to wrap up, plus proof-read.

Goodnight, and enjoy the amazing dreamland called sleep. :)

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2 hours ago, Lo Var Lachland said:

Goodnight, and enjoy the amazing dreamland called sleep. :)

O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

-Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2

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All Dead, All Dead
All the dreams we had
And I wonder why I still live on

                                           Queen, "All Dead, All Dead"
 

Chapter 88
On The Beach

It was about an hour before dawn at the Kerbal Space Center when Lieutenant Obney Kerman pulled up in front of the astronaut complex with a small transport rover, lowered the ladder, and patiently waited for his passenger, a half-asleep Werhner von Kerman, to emerge. 

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Obney was fast on his way to commanding his own ship someday, and under normal circumstances wouldn't be driving a shuttle anymore. But these were not normal circumstances, and the fact they called for Obney himself spoke volumes. But one of the things the young officer learned early was at times like this it was best to follow orders and not ask questions... and so he waited for Professor von Kerman to climb aboard, and kept his curiosity to himself.

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As he walked out to the waiting rover, Werhner glanced up to see Emiko's Magic Boulder calming sitting by the flag pole, and sighed. At least that was still there... nothing happened to Emiko.

Then what was wrong with Gene? von Kerman thought to himself. Kerenna Kerman had woke Werhner not an hour ago, concerned because Gene had spent the night down by the beach, and now wasn't returning her calls. 

"Something happened," Kerenna had told him. "Just after you retired. Gene received a private message, and then... well... he just left... took a rover and went down to beach. All he said was I need to be alone."

Werhner agreed this was bad, and called down for Obney to meet him out front with a rover ASAP.

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"Take me down to Sanny's dome, please, Lieutenant." von Kerman said as he fastened his seat-belt. "Let's hope he's still down there."

"Yes, sir"

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Once they were close enough, Werhner was relieved to see Gene's rover parked near the small base, and even more relieved to see Gene himself standing out in front of the dome, looking down at the beach.

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But his relief was short lived when Werhner walked out and saw Gene... looking tired and strained and at least 10 years older! Clearly something terrible had happened, that much was now obvious. But what could be so bad that Gene would look so forlorn? Had something happened to the Platypus... to Emiko?

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"All I wanted was to go to space," Gene said softly, looking out over the eastern sea. "I... I just wanted to be an explorer... I... I never wanted this... responsibility. I never wanted to have to make decisions... decisions... that could cost... so very much..."

"Mein Gott," von Kerman said softly. "What has happened, my friend?"

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Gene said nothing. He just turned and handed von Kerman his K-pad. And when Werhner looked down and read the brief message, the green seemed to drain from his face as well, his blood turned to ice, and he knew instantly what was so terribly wrong... and why Gene was so torn apart.

"Have received distress call from Dr. Herbert Kerman, <coordinates classified> We're going in. -Jeb"

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"Donnerwetter... Baikerbanur?" von Kerman whispered. "How long ago?"

"Too long now to stop them," Gene voice was wracked. "How could I? If I order them to turn around, I condemn the most brilliant Kerb in history to certain death... But... but if something happens to Jeb and the crew... Oh, Werhner, what have I done?"

Werhner turned and looked out over the water for several seconds before answering.

"You did what you had to, my friend," von Kerman whispered softly... sadly. "May the Gods protect them."

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Just a few short hours earlier Jeb and Val found themselves asking the very same question, and called the crew together for a quick meeting before leaving the polar station for Baikerbanur Valley, now Ground Zero.

"I know all of you have faced dangerous situations before," Jeb began. "But what we're about to attempt could very well be... well... it is quite likely none of us will come out of there alive."

"Neither of us can order you to come along," Val continued. "This is strictly a volunteer mission... no-one will say a word if anyone wants to remain here."

"Dr's Froderick, Zelberta," Val turned to the older couple they had just recently rescued. "You are more than welcome to stay here where it's safe. We can send word to have a jet sent up to take you onto to the space center in a matter of hours..."

"With respect, young lady," Zelberta smiled. "My husband and I have been friends with Dr. Herbert far longer than you've been alive. We've already discussed it, and we're coming."

"Pappy," Bill Kerman turned to his old friend, Poddon "Pappy" Kerman, whom they had just brought down from the refueling shack at the north pole. "The same offer goes. I'm afraid we can't afford the time to take you back to the pole, but you're more than welcome to stay. It's quiet and private, there are plenty of snacks available, and I can guarantee no-one will know you're here. And there are hundreds of things you could tinker with."

"Oh, is that right?" the scruffy old Kerb huffed. "Tell me this, boy, what will you do if you go into this "ground zero" and blow a tire in a radiation pocket... 'eh? You gonna fix it? Look, boy, you might be some hot-shot engineer, but you ain't no mechanic... and you're gonna need speed, boy... speed!"

"So you're coming with us?" Bill asked as Pappy turned and began gathering up several nearby tools.

"What?" Pappy huffed even louder as he pulled an old cigar from his pocket and stuffed it unlit into the corner of his mouth. "Didn't you just hear me? Now don't just stand there, we're going to need to bring along some things... Is there a decent welding touch anywhere in this dump?"

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In the end none of the crew hesitated to volunteer. In fact, the only one who voiced any concern whatsoever was Theo, and that was only for the safety of his garden. But it would have taken far too long to transfer all the plants to the polar station, and... well... he was going to do radiation tests on them later down the road anyway... So he just shook his head and did his best to prepare the hydroponic garden for the upcoming trial.

And without further hesitation, Gem brought the Platypus reactor up to full power, activated the large tornado fans, and set course for Baikerbanur Valley and Ground Zero.

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As the Platypus headed south, the crew all prepared as best possible for what lied ahead, including Jandolin and Harfield, who's primary role in the mission was to care for Dr. Herbert once he was safely aboard. But about an hour after their departure, just as they were leaving the polar region and heading onto the vast northern tundra, Harfield's K-pad bleeped, and he gave Jandolin a worried look.

"DNA test complete," he said to his wife softly. "Shall we go take a look?"

"I don't know if I want to," Jandolin replied. "What if the results are the same?"

5 minutes later, when the two had crawled up to the empty briefing room and brought up the results on the screen... Jandolin gasped...

Before them was a comparison DNA scan of both Emiko and Chibi... and the results were... well...

"Impossible," Jandolin whispered. "How... how can this be?"

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"I don't know," Harfield answered slowly. "I think we need to show the boss." 

A few minutes later, when Bob had crawled forward up to the briefing room, Jandolin again brought up the DNA scans... and watched as her mentor read the computers conclusion... stopped... re-read it... and the green began to drain from his face... 

"Sisters???" Bob could barely speak.... "What??? This... this is a mistake.... How... did you re-run the test?"

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"No, sir, no mistake" Harfield answered softly. "This is why Jandolin and I really came along on this mission. We got the same results just before we left. Sir... this is the second test, and the results are the same. Emiko and Chibi's DNA scans are so close the computer is reading them as sisters... possibly twins."

"Twins?" Bob could barely breath. "Have you... do they know?"

"No, sir," Jandolin whispered, as if she were afraid Emiko might somehow hear here through the bulkhead. "You're the first we've shown this to. We... we really weren't sure how to proceed."

Bob sat back and tried to wrap his brain around this newest revelation, then spoke quietly.

"No..." he shook his head slowly. "I'm not fond of secrets, but you were right to keep this quiet. I think best we not say anything, even to Emiko or Chibi... Not until we know more." 

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The rest of the journey south was relatively uneventful. Gem forged the Great Serpent River with ease, and by dusk the great Baikerbanur mountain range was coming into view.

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Once they were withing eyesight of the Baikerbanur Mountains, Val instructed Gem to stop for a few minutes. The Platypus had now traveled nearly 1500 kilometers, and she wanted to over their mission one last time before entering Ground Zero. 

In the briefing room, Jandolin brought up the latest map of the immediate area.

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"These are the evacuation zone as set up by the Grand Kerbal," Bob explained to Gem. "No-one has survived the innermost area, so we have little information what to expect, except sketchy reports the landscape itself has been... altered."

"We will be monitoring you from back here the whole way," Harfield continued. "And hopefully we'll be able to use our instruments to help avoid the worst radiation pockets and find a path in. But it's almost guaranteed we'll be receiving a lot of electromagnetic interference, so our readings may not be entirely reliable."

"Gem, I'm letting you stay at the wheel," Val turned to her prodigy. "I've never seen such a pilot. If anyone can get us in and back, it's you."

"I'll do my best, ma'am," Gem choked, then regained her granite composure.

"Let's do this."

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Baikerbanur Valley was small, and almost completely encircled by the larger mountain range, so the Platypus would be circling the mountains surrounding Ground Zero from the north and west, and enter the valley itself from the south. But the further south they traveled, the darker and more gloomy it seemed. Val was heartbroken to see the once beautiful snow-capped peaks looking grey and lifeless, and soon they reached a point where the trees all but vanished, and the grass turned brown and dead.... and then vanished entirely.

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The closer they got, the darker and more desolate it got, until Gem brought the Platypus over a small rise into what used to be beautiful Baikerbanur Valley, and Val let out a horrified gasp.

"Stop... stop... oh, oh no.... no...."

Before them, like some horrific scar, lie what remained of the beautiful valley.... now blackened and torn asunder... and completely dead. Even the mountains seemed gouged and deformed.... nothing was recognizable... and with a start Val suddenly realized they were nearly 100 meters lower than they should be... if they were where she though they were. It was hard to tell...

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Above them in the VIP gondola, Emiko began sobbing uncontrollably...

"What... What did Kraken Queen monster DO???" Emiko screamed thru her tears... then went deadly silent as an even more horrified look crossed her face...

"Chibi... Oh... Chibi... help me," Emiko seemed paralyzed. "Emiko... Emiko can hear them... In her head... crying... weeping... the poofed... Thousands of poofed... Emiko HEARS THEM!!!"

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"Go slow," Val whispered to Gem... "We should be picking up a signal soon..."

"Yes, ma'am," Gem answered just as softly. "Ma'am... I've never been here. But the pictures I've seen of this place... It looks like an completely different planet... What could have done this?"

"I don't know," Val answered after a moment. "But we can never, ever let it happen again.... Wait, I think I've got... yes, about 10° to starboard... I'm picking up a small debris field... but something isn't right."

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In the back Bob, along with Harfield and Jandolin were having a hard time getting a clear reading of the area around them, and also seeing something... odd. A sort of darker circular patch... perhaps a radiation field... but the scanners kept cutting out, and it was hard to tell what they were looking at, other than the debris field seemed to be in the middle of it.

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Suddenly Bob realized what he was looking at, and slammed his intercom...

"Stop!" he yelled up to the cockpit, then lowered his voice. "Whew... I'm sorry... It's so obvious, but I never expected to see one here... Gem, use extreme caution. I believe that's a crater in front of us!"

"A crater?" Gem replied in a shocked voice. "You mean crater... like on the Mun?"

"Yes... yes," Bob answered slowly. "I'm afraid that's exactly what I mean. And apparently Dr. Herbert is down there."

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It was almost impossible to see... the very air seemed scorched and blackened. but now that she knew what to expect, Gem was able to carefully maneuver the Platypus up and over the crater's edge, and then slowly down towards their destination. The slope wasn't too bad, and Gem had no problem bringing the Platypus down into the crater...

But as they got close, she stopped the huge rover once again, and looked ahead in horror at the carnage that lie before them...

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For a few seconds Val was too stunned for words... this twisted pile of junk was once... a Chariot? How? All around them there was nothing... everything for 20 kilometers had been completely vaporized... buildings, trees, ground... even the mountains themselves... Nothing but emptiness and death as far as the eye could see...

Yet... even as mangled as it was... this Chariot somehow... survived???

"Signal is coming from the big section... there to the left," Gem's voice cracked. "I'll swing around and back up as close to the hatch as I can."

"Yes..." Val tried desperately to sound calm, despite her mounting fear that no-one could still be alive in there. "Very good."

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Once Gem had maneuvered as close as she dared to the wreckage's top hatch, Bill donned one of the Platypus's heavy radiation suits, which Angelo had designed in case of a reactor malfunction, and headed outside to survey the situation. But once he had climbed atop the Platypus and looked over at the chariot wreckage, his heart sank.

"Not good..." Bill radioed inside. "The latch has been flattened into the door and there are large gouges along the side... even if we could get it open, we'll never get a good seal. I'm going to look around... there may be another way in. Jeb, suit up, I'm going to need your help."

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"There," Bill yelled as he walked to where one of the Chariot sections had been sheered away. "The lower access hatch... we may be able to get in from there. But it's pretty far up. I just saw a ladder that looks usable, give me a hand unbolting it."

With Jeb's help, Bill was able to pile up a couple large pieces of debris and reach one of the Chariot's side ladders and unfasten it with relative ease, considering the situation. And again with Jeb's help Bill climbed up one of the massive chariot legs high enough to get a bolt started, then secured the ladder near enough to access hatch to climb up and take a look.

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"Yes... excellent," Bill smiled when he reached the short hatchway and looked inside. "The fuel-tank appears to have torn away cleanly, and the inner hatch appears intact... and I believe I can attach a tube from here."

"Excellent," Jeb smiled. "Gem, we need you to bring the Platypus around to this end, please?"

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Once Gem had the Platypus re-positioned, Bill and Jeb grabbed to ends of the rovers two "Mineshaft" tubes, and secured them into place as fast as they could, creating an airtight passageway for the crew to enter and get to Dr. Herbert...

If it wasn't already too late...

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Once the tube was secured, Jeb and Bill listened anxiously as Pappy cut his way through the Chariots hatch, and then after an agonizingly long pause, Jandolin's voice suddenly cried out.

"He's unconscious... but alive!"

"Thank the Gods," Jeb breathed to himself, then called into the ship. "How long do we have?"

"About 10-12 minutes, sir," Bob replied. "We really should be getting out of here ASAP."

"Understood... what the???" Jeb suddenly shouted and jumped back as a  glowing greenish figure suddenly appeared in front of him and screamed.

"Boo!!!"

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Then he realized who it was, and let out a chuckle...

"Sanny... OK, that time I'll admit you startled me... Sanny?" Jeb suddenly paused, and realized something was very different about their resident ghost.

"WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Sanny screamed and did a spiraling backflip before floating back in front of Jeb. "This place... the energy... it's so... so amazing!!!"

"What?" Jeb asked suspiciously. "And why are you glowing like that?"

"It's the positive energy... duh!" Sanny giggled....

Wait... giggled? Sanny didn't giggle, Jeb thought... for that matter, she almost never talked to him at all... What is wrong with her???

"Sanny, look, I'm glad you like it here, but really, we don't have time for this." 

"Sure you do!" Sanny screamed with apparent glee... "We should stay here! Tell Sparkles to come out and play with me in the energy.... the wonderful energy!!!"

"What?" Bill cried out. "Are you mad, you dingbat ghost? The radiation out here is lethal!"

"It's positive energy, duh! You stupid Boffin!" Sanny scolded, but then began grinning like a 3 year old on a sugar-high and began doing back-flips again... and then started glowing even brighter... which in turn caused Jeb's personnel radiation detector to start pinging ominously.

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"Sir, we have 7 minutes," Bob radioed from inside. "You need to get inside now!"

"I know," Jeb growled, trying to think of a way to get rid of Sanny, until Bill suddenly called out.

"Cap'n, the monolith."

"Wait..." Sanny seemed to freeze in mid-air. "What monolith, boffin?"

"That's right," Jeb smiled. "Sanny, in this valley... or what's left of it... There's a monolith right near here somewhere, or at least there used to be."

"A... a monolith? In this wonderful place?" Sanny whispered excitedly... For the first time in nearly 1000 years, Sanny wondered if she could actually move back to Kerbin... to this magnificent energy filled valley... or at least stay here with this monolith until she could get back to her own Ovok. But then she paused, and looked at Jeb suspiciously.

"You... you're not just trying to get rid of me, are you?"

"No, Sanny, I'm being totally sincere," Jeb smiled. "There used to be a monolith somewhere near here, and I would really like to know what happened to it, if you want to go find it."

"Yes... YES!!!" Sanny howled with glee, and for a second seemed to burn like a super-nova before shooting high into the sky and out of sight. 

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"Well, that was certainly weird," Jeb chuckled, then turned to an equally amused Bill. "Let's get out of here."

"Agreed... nutty ghost," Bill smiled as he climbed up to the rear airlock. "What was all that about positive energy?"

"I'm not sure," Jeb shook his head. "But I... I think she was talking the radiation."

"Seriously?" Bill let out a snort. "That's a really, REALLY nutty ghost! Are you coming or what?"

"Yeah," Jeb turned for a second. "I... I just want to go check something out." 

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Once Bill was inside Jeb turned towards something he saw out of the corner of his eye when they were talking with Sanny... There, just ahead of the Chariot wreckage, loomed the dark, mysterious shape... of a large floating boulder!

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Jeb knew they had to leave quickly, but for just a minute he stood and stared and wondered how this could be just a coincidence... Or did... could this mysterious floating giant somehow have something to do with Dr. Herbert's miraculous survival?

"I... I don't know if you can hear me," Jeb whispered up to the boulder. "But if this was your doing... then thank you."

Then, knowing he had just seconds to spare, Jeb turned and ran as fast as he could back to the Platypus, yelling up to the cockpit as he secured the rear hatch.

""Gem, get us the hell out of here!"

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Without hesitation Gem released the parking brakes and headed up and out of the crater, doing her best to match exactly how they came in, and silently hoping they could make it up the incline. But her mood was lightened slightly when Jandolin announced over the intercom.

"Dr. Herbert is awake... and wants to thank everyone."

"We're not out of this yet...." Val said softly before reaching over and switching on her intercom. "That's wonderful news, Jan. Everyone make sure you're strapped in tight."

Then they hit the crater edge, and Gem smiled grimly as she engaged the tornado fans... and hoped they still worked.

"Here goes nothing."

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For a moment the fans seemed to sputter, but then crew let out a collective cheer as the Platypus toppled forward and out of the crater, and back onto the horrid, scorched plain that was once Baikerbanur. Up in the VIP area, Chibi was doing her best to comfort poor Emiko, who was desperately trying to shut out the cries of the poofed... but with little success.

"Too many... too many..." Emiko sobbed and sobbed.

"Gem, we need to get out of here... fast!" Chibi cried into her microphone. "This place... it's killing Emiko!"

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After hearing that Gem went into a sort of auto-pilot mode, and pushed the Platypus to it's limits, until they were far away from Ground Zero and heading out into the southern deserts. Well past the quarantine zone she drove, until they were more than 100 kilometers from Baikerbanur, and the sky was beginning to glow with the oncoming dawn.

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Gem wanted to drive even further from that hideous place, but Val looked over and said gently.

"It's OK... Gem... It's OK... we're safe now.

"But.." Gem tried to protest through her exhaustion.

"No... no... it's all right, dear. Slow down... slow down" Val tried to smile. "That's it. We can stop now... We... we made it!"

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Exhausted as they all were at this point, Bill managed to get the base camp assembled before it got too light outside, and one by one the crew fell into the nearest available bunk, while Jeb and Val did one last thing before retiring.... The one thing neither was looking forward to, reporting in with Gene at the space center.

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But much to their surprise, Gene was far to grateful to hear they made it out successfully to give the pair only the briefest of chewing-outs before he smiled broadly.

"I'm just glad you're all safe." Gene sighed into his microphone. "Now... tell me everything!"

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Jeb and Val both knew the crew were physically and mentally strained to the breaking point, and let everyone sleep nearly 6 hours, until the following dawn, before continuing on their journey. From here they would be heading further south into the desert, around the small range of mountains they saw before them now, and then back up northwest to the Great Implodium Crater, and the CODEX ground-station, located along the eastern edge.

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As morning rolled on, and the Platypus headed further into the deep desert, Chibi looked over at Emiko, and was greatly relieved to see her best friend starting to return to normal. All morning Emiko had been silent, and Chibi knew instinctively to just let her be. But now Emiko's old, familiar smile was starting to return, and Chibi let out a huge sigh of relief.

"Are starting to feel a little better, sweety?" she asked Emiko as gently as she could.

"Yes... yes, a little" Emiko replied weakly. "Emiko so... so sorry. There were just too many... too many... Emiko couldn't block them all out."

"Oh, sweetheart, don't be sorry," Chibi reached over and grabbed Emiko's hand. "I'm sorry I couldn't help you... I tried."

"Emiko knows... felt you reaching out..." Emiko smiled. "Chibi did help... thank you."

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Below them, in the command cabin, Gem was also starting to feel more like herself, and as they pushed deeper into the desert, where the dunes were soft and relatively flat, she was able to do what she liked best to put her mind at ease... go really, really fast!

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In the back, Dr. Herbert was up and starting to eat some snacks, and still in disbelief that he was alive.

"I... I thought I was a goner," the older scientist smiled gratefully. "I don't know how I'll ever be able to repay you."

"Nonsense," Harfield laughed, but was quickly interrupted by Jandolin. 

"No... no, wait," Jandolin gave Harfield a sly smile, then turned to Professor Herbert. "There is something you can help us with, in fact... Something I think you'll find extremely... interesting."

"Oh... Oh, yes! Excellent idea, my dear" Harfield nodded enthusiastically at his wife as he picked up on her train of thought, and turned to Herbert with a grin. "Professor, just before we rescued you, Jandolin and I encountered something... fascinating. And we are at quite a loss to explain it. Sir, you owe us nothing for getting you out of that horrid place, but we would be grateful if you would take a look at what we've found, once you're feeling a little better. And like my wife said, you may find this quite interesting... quite interesting indeed."

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Actually, the only one still having a hard time dealing with what occurred at Baikerbanur was Theo... who was back in the hydroponic section with Dr. Froderick, and looking around in grief and despair.

"Look at them... they're all wilted," Theo sighed sadly. "I knew I should have left them up north."

"To do what, freeze?" Dr. Froderick tried to make the best of the situation. "Now look, not all of them are wilting. I suggest you stop moping and start being a biologist, and observe which of your plants survived and which are faltering, and learn from this!"

"Yes, sir," Theo replied meekly. "You're right... I... I'm just a little shaken up still..."

"I understand," Dr. Froderick said in a much gentler tone. "I think we all are."

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As Kerbol climbed higher and higher into the noonday sky, the Platypus reached the southern most extent of the mountains, and Gem was able to turn and head north once again. Soon they were leaving the desert, and entering another wooded area, and not long after they came within sight of the Implodium Crater mountain range, and their next destination.

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Much like the first ground-station, this one was most easily approached by swinging around and coming at it from the south, only this time they would be riding the mountain tops for the last few kilometers, which promised a spectacular, if not harrowing, view for all on board.

Gem doubled checked her monitors one last time, looked over at Val, who gave her a smile and a nod, and headed out and up the mountain before her.

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As the huge tracking antenna came into view, Gem sat back and throttled the fans down and grinned over to Val.

"That was too easy." 

"Just be careful," Val smiled back. "That last slope looks a little steep."

"Not as steep as the first ground-station," Gem looked ahead at the final peak. "And not as much ice. I think we'll be all right."

And just as she promised, Gem soon had them across the rocky mountain top, and climbing the peak up to ground-station CODEX, and the next scientist they were to rescue, who heard the Platypus fans from several kilometers away, and was waiting outside with an anxious grin.

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"My dear, it is wonderful to see you!" The silver haired Scientist grinned as Val climbed out of the Platypus to meet him. "A couple more days alone up here and I might have started making some sort of artificial companion from station parts, just to have someone to converse with!"

"Ahhh, Dr. Frank N. Kerman," Val smiled back. "It is good to see you are well. Shall we go?"

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But before Val climbed back into the command cabin, she walked over and looked down the cliff face, and to the great Implodium Sea beyond. She and Gem had discussed their next move, whether to return the way they came, which would cost them an entire day driving around the mountains once again, or attempt to descend the much steeper western slopes. It was clear they could not proceeded forward, but the mountainside just a couple kilometers south looked promising, and as long as they were careful, should be manageable. 

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"It's too bad you came up here during the day," Dr. Frank N. Kerman said as he walked up behind Val and looked out at the small island off in the distance. "I wouldn't have believed it, but what they say is true... Sometimes, late at night, you can see lights out there."

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Crater Island was the central peak created millennia ago when a huge asteroid impacted Kerbin and formed the vast Implodium Crater, and soon after became an island as the seas returned after the catastrophe and filled the monstrous crater. Once a popular tourist attraction, many would pay handsomely to send an afternoon on the small, grass covered island.... but no more.

A few years ago tragedy struck when a huge vacation liner, the Reliant, mysteriously capsized and sank just off-shore with all hands on-board, and was later swept back up and onto the beach, presumably by a large storm... although no storms that large were ever recorded at the time.

After that the island earned a reputation for being haunted by the Reliant's poofed, and as far as Val knew, no-one had gone out there in years.

"It would be interesting to go take a look," Val finally replied. "But we're on a bit of a tight schedule." 

"Yes, I understand." the older professor sighed and turned to the waiting Platypus. "And it's most likely just some sort of natural phenomenon, like swamp-gas, or a flock of firefly-birds... Still, it would be interesting to visit someday."

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Once she was back on-board and strapping herself in, Val explained to Gem the easiest way down, and with a final yell of "Don't ride the brakes!!!" from Pappy Kerman in back, who now apparently thought the rover was his and his alone, Gem carefully maneuvered the Platypus to face the southern slope, and slowly started down the huge mountain.

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The decent was relatively easy, when about half-way down, what should suddenly appear in front of them but another floating boulder? Jeb was starting to take these as a good omen, and watching from his dashboard monitor, he couldn't help but start to wonder... Were these just random encounters? Or was this the same boulder he saw at Ground Zero? And if that was the case... were they being followed?

But then he shook it off... After all, there were plenty of floater sightings all over the planet... This was just a lucky coincidence.

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Then Gem reached the final bottom slope, which was steeper than the rest. But with a devious grin, she edged the Rover forward, and quick looked over at Val.

"Theo is SO going to hate me for this..."

And gently she nudged the Platypus over the edge, while Val held on for the ride...

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"GEMMMM  <blurp> I'll getttt you for... <Blurp>  thhhhis!!!" Theo screamed from the hydroponic lab... while Gem and Val did their level best not to break up in hysterics... and failed miserably!

And in just a couple minutes, which seemed like centuries for the motion-sick Theo, the Platypus was once again leveling off, and Gem brought her to a gentle stop just a few klicks from the beach, and within sight of the old Kilton hotel, once the center of the Crater Island tourist industry, but now nearly abandoned and struggling for what little business it could still muster.

"Shall we?" Gem asked over to Val.

"I don't see why not," Val replied with a smile. "We can decide how to proceed from there, and maybe rustle up some fresh snacks... if anything is still open." 

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Now, even in what seemed a friendly environment such as this beach, SOP was for a member  or members of the senior crew to make an assessment of the area, just in case, before the crew could disembark. But as Jeb and Val were climbing out of the platypus to have a quick look around, Dr. Frank N. Kerman looked out his side window, and with a loud shout, headed outside and started running towards what looked like a small snack wagon.

"Fritz... FRITZ!!! the old Professor yelled down towards a small picnic table, where a darker haired Kerb was eating a sandwich. And when he heard his name, Fritz threw down his lunch and came running up to the Professor, Jeb & Val.

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"Doctor... Sir!" Fritz beamed. "I... I thought I'd never see you again!"

"It's good to see you, too, lad." the professor smiled, then looked around. "Wait, where is Karl?"

"Left, sir... everyone left... wait..." Fritz suddenly stopped and looked at the Platypus with facination. "It... can't be.... the shape of the front... Is that a rover or a ship?"

"Both," Jeb smiled and stepped forward. "I'm Captain Jebediah Kerman, and this is Captain Valen..."

"BOTH?" Fritz interrupted with a shout. "It... it can travel on water?"

"Yes," Val smiled, a little amused at Fritz's fascination. "She can do just over 25 m/s in calm waters."

"Wait... Wait right here..." Fritz motioned for the crew to stay put, the turned and ran shouting towards the snack trailer.

"Bridgett... BRIDGETT!!!" Fritz yelled. "Come quick... you have to see this, now!!"

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A moment later Fritz cam walking back up to the group with an older, somewhat hardened looking Kerbal, who also eyed the Platypus with interest.

"Professor, Jeb, Valen, this is Bridgett."

"Captain Vanetina Kerman, at your service," Val said with a light huff. "And this is Captain Jebediah. Glad to make your acquaintance."

"Likewise," Bridgett said somewhat coldly, then looked back at the Platypus again. "This one tells me your vehicle can maneuver over water, is this correct?"

"Yes..." Jeb answered with a little more interest than Val liked. "The Platypus is fully amphibious."

"Tell me," Val asked. "Why are you both so interested?"

"Bridgett needs a ride to the island," Fritz blurted. "She's one of the survivors of the Reliant shipwreck!"

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"What???" Jeb and Val both were stunned. 

"I thought there were no survivors.," Val said incredulously.

"It's a long story," Bridgett looked over and gave Fritz and annoyed look. "If this impatient one will let me, I will gladly tell you what I remember. But first... I beg of you... can this vehicle... this Platypus... of yours make it out to the island and back safely?"

"It's what, 80 kilometers or so out and back?" Val estimated in her head. "Sure, we can make easily.... wait... why?"

 "Because..." Fritz began, then stopped when Bridgett shot him another look, this time much colder.

"Because," Bridgett turned back to Jeb and Val and replied softly. "Despite stories and rumors to the contrary, I believe my captain is still alive, and has been shipwrecked out there all this time."

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Later that evening Val was sitting alone in the Platypus, catching up on her logs, and trying not to think about this Bridgett. It was bad enough Jeb almost jumped at offering to take the Platypus out to investigate the island... True, Dr. Frank N. Kerman also said he saw lights out there at night, so if there was a chance of someone being stranded, it was their duty to go take a look. But parts of her story... just didn't seem to fit into place... and Jeb swallowed it anyway. 

No... there was something about Bridgett that just rubbed Valentina wrong...

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It was getting late, and the rest of the crew had found rooms in the old hotel when Val finished up her log and decided to say goodnight to Emiko before retiring. Unlike the rest of the crew, Emiko and Chibi slept together in the same VIP cabin they rode in, but when Val peeked her head up to see if they were still awake, she found both their bunks were empty... as was the cabin. Even Emiko's teddy bear was undisturbed.

Then Val spotted her grandmother and Chibi standing out by the beach, and climbed down and out of the Platypus to join them.

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It wasn't her intention to eavesdrop, but Val couldn't help it when she got close enough to hear her grandmother... ranting!

"Emiko NOT stupid!!!"

"No-one said you were, dear," Chibi replied gently. "So you're sure Bridgett is..."

"Name not Bridgett!" Emiko started to snap, but suddenly stopped when she realized Val was walking towards them, and turned to greet her granddaughter.

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"I'm sorry, Gramiko," Val smiled warmly. "Am I interrupting?"

"No... no, not at all, dear," Chibi smiled at Val. "But... well, there is something your grandmother and I think you need to know..."

"Not-Bridgett big fat liar," Emiko stomped and stuck her tongue out towards the hotel. "Liar, Liar, Spacesuit fire!"

"What?" Val gasped. "Gramiko, are you sure?"

"She's sure... trust me. No-one can lie to Emiko..." Chibi started to say, then stopped suddenly. But it was too late... Val had suspected this for a while, and couldn't hold it in any longer.

"Gramiko... please, I... I now you've been through a lot, more than anyone can truly imagine, and I understand there are things you cannot speak of..." Val tried to ask as gently as she could. "But I need to know... you can't be lied to... and you always know when someone is near... or if they're in pain..."

Val paused, afraid to ask what she suspected since the day Emiko had returned.

"Gramiko... are... are you a telepath?"

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For several agonizing long seconds Emiko stood and said nothing, until Chibi finally broke the silence in a hushed whisper.

"It's hard for her to talk about," Chibi tried to explain, "Or to even put into words... but your grandmother is more... empathic... than telepathic..." 

"An empath???" Val looked at Emiko in awe.

"Yes..." Emiko nodded sadly. "Emiko not hear, but Emiko feels... everything."

"That's why you were sobbing so at Ground Zero..." Val suddenly realized. "All those poofed... Oh, Gramiko... I am so, so sorry. If I had known, I would have never taken you into that horrible place!"

"No, don't be sorry," Emiko smiled. "Little Tina didn't know... even caught Emiko by surprise."

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"We can talk about this more later," Chibi suddenly interrupted. "Sweety, tell Val about Bridgett."

"Not-Bridgett." Emiko snapped again. "Not her real name... Emiko would know."

"Wait.... I see now." Val suddenly realized just what her grandmother was saying. "Gramiko... you're an empath, and can feel other Kerbs... Ahhh, I think I understand. You're saying that, quite literally, no-one can lie to you... or you would know!"

"Yes, exactly," Chibi nodded emphatically. "And Emiko is sure this Bridgett been lying to us from the moment we got here."

"Stupid not-Bridgett so full of kraken-krap..."

"So if she's lying..." Val suddenly wondered. "What is she really after? Why get us to go out to the island? Do you think this is some sort of trap? Are real Krakens behind this somehow?"

"Real Kraken-queen monster?" Emiko shook her head. "No... not that one. Emiko not picking her up anywhere..."

"But this does smell a lot like a set-up," Chibi continued. "However... we have the advantage."

"Oh, yes," Val suddenly realized. "If she doesn't know we're onto her...":

"Exactly..." Chibi smiled. "We just have to play along... for now... and wait for her to slip up."

"Emiko will know..." Emiko smiled wickedly, getting into the mood.

"Then it's settled. Tomorrow we go out to Crater Island," Val smiled back just as wickedly. "And see what this not-Bridgett is really hiding out there..." 

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The Saga of Emiko Station... and the Tale of Emiko and Chibi Kerman, is far, far from over...

Go to Chapter 89
Return to Index

Edited by Just Jim

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Emiko Kerman can feel your thoughts. No lie is safe. Emiko Kerman will know the truth. 

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3 hours ago, Just Jim said:

"BOTH?" Fritz interrupted with a shout. "It... it can travel on water?"

"Yes," Val smiled, a little amused at Fritz's fascination. "She can do just over 25 m/s in calm waters."

"Wait... Wait right here..." Fritz motioned for the crew to stay put, the turned and ran shouting towards the snack trailer.

"Bridgett... BRIDGETT!!!" Fritz yelled. "Come quick... you have to see this, now!!"

Reminded me of this:

I may have posted this somewhere on the forum before.

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2 hours ago, ProtoJeb21 said:

Emiko Kerman can feel your thoughts. No lie is safe. Emiko Kerman will know the truth. 

Big Emiko is watching you.....

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1 hour ago, qzgy said:

Big Emiko is watching you.....

Just like Ceiling Cat :wink: 

@Just Jim, great update!  Even Sanny liked it.  Can't wait to see what not-Bridgette has in store.

But will the influx of "positive energy" make Sanny more powerful and thus more spiteful?  

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7 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

But will the influx of "positive energy" make Sanny more powerful and thus more spiteful?  

Quite possibly... Right now I figure she was so surprised and overwhelmed by the huge amount of "positive energy" at Ground Zero, she's in a sort of "sugar-high"... and completely loopy.... But everyone knows after the sugar-high comes the sugar-crash.  :mad:

Sanny will be back in a couple chapters, and then we'll find out what happens to her at Ground Zero. :wink:

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48 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

At this rate there won't be any room left in the Platypus!

Pretty close! :)

Luckily that office section can seat 10. But if I remember right (I have to doubly check my notes) there will be only 1 or 2 empty seats left by the time they head home.

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Item #: SCP-191141

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-191141 has not been contained as of ██/██/████, but can be lured to regions of "positive energy" (see Description) or certain Euclid-class SCP anomalies. Research on how to properly contain SCP-191141 is underway, and is currently being led by Dr. ██████.

Description: SCP-191141 is some sort of being made of pure energy, similar to a ghost in popular media. SCP-191141, at first glance, appears to be a nondescript female Kerbal wearing a white-and-blue spacesuit, but on closer examination, the facade is shattered, as SCP-191141 floats approximately 1.5 meters above the ground and is slightly translucent and immaterial. SCP-191141 is sentient, and identifies itself as "Sanny". SCP-191141 prefers being near regions of "positive energy", which typically correspond to regions with high ambient radiation flux. SCP-191141's attitude toward living beings swings between "apathetic" and "hostile", although they have taken no actual action against a living thing. Some individuals, such as ████████████ (not affiliated with the Foundation), have won SCP-191141's affection. The extent of this appears to be SCP-191141 giving said individual a diminutive nickname (e.g. "████████") and having a more positive attitude towards said individual. Strange muttering about "Boffins" and "the Circus" occasionally emanates from SCP-191141. The reason behind this is unknown as of ██/██/████.

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Quote

"All I wanted was to go to space," Gene said softly, looking out over the eastern sea. "I... I just wanted to be an explorer... I... I never wanted this... responsibility. I never wanted to have to make decisions... decisions... that could cost... so very much..."

 

Seems we both have Gene pegged similarly... In mine, he seems all tough but he doesn't like putting his crews in danger. Nice touch!

Quote

"Twins?" Bob could barely breath. "Have you... do they know?"

Dun dun duuuun!

Quote

"Chibi... Oh... Chibi... help me," Emiko seemed paralyzed. "Emiko... Emiko can hear them... In her head... crying... weeping... the poofed... Thousands of poofed... Emiko HEARS THEM!!!"

Empath? Telepath? Are you going to have fun in the Kerbin afterlife? Do her and Chibi share this ability? This has so many possibilities for more rabbit trails! Never mind...I have gotten into the habit of having two windows open - one to read and one to write my comments on.  :D It helps my feeble brain remember things.

Quote

m had the Platypus re-positioned, Bill and Jeb grabbed to ends of the rovers two "Mineshaft" tubes, and secured them into place as fast as they could, creating an airtight passageway for the crew to enter and get to Dr. Herbert...

If it wasn't already too late...

Question - Maybe I've missed something, but exactly how long are we talking that he's been there for? I got the impression it was probably close to a year...

Quote

"About 10-12 minutes, sir," Bob replied. "We really should be getting out of here ASAP."

+++

"Sure you do!" Sanny screamed with apparent glee... "We should stay here! Tell Sparkles to come out and play with me in the energy.... the wonderful energy!!!"

"What?" Bill cried out. "Are you mad, you dingbat ghost? The radiation out here is lethal!"

+++

"Sir, we have 7 minutes," Bob radioed from inside. "You need to get inside now!"

+++

Gem wanted to drive even further from that hideous place, but Val looked over and said gently.

"It's OK... Gem... It's OK... we're safe now.

"But.." Gem tried to protest through her exhaustion.

"No... no... it's all right, dear. Slow down... slow down" Val tried to smile. "That's it. We can stop now... We... we made it!"

Ok, I get this... :D Reminded me of the scene in the original Independence Day... Bad radiation can do bad things to your hair... :) As Dan Aykroyd said in Spies Like Us, "what can ten megatons do? It will suck the paint right off your house and give you a permanent orange Afro!"

But seriously, should there have been some sort of decontamination process for the Platypus before reaching base camp? Please don't get me wrong, I am not meaning to nit-pick, but if the radiation levels are that high, there would be residual radiation on space suits and on the Platypus as well.

Quote

"Not as steep as the first ground-station," Gem looked ahead at the final peak. "And not as much ice. I think we'll be all right."

Famous last words. Was expecting to hear the next phrase so often spoken by anyone who was in the military" "Well, that didn't quite work out like I thought it would!" :D

Quote

And gently she nudged the Platypus over the edge, while Val held on for the ride...

Hehehehe... Did something like this while in the service... was exciting and scary at the same time. However, I will NEVER do that again...

Quote

No... there was something about Bridgett that just rubbed Valentina wrong...

"Not-Bridgett." Emiko snapped again. "Not her real name... Emiko would know."

"Wait.... I see now." Val suddenly realized just what her grandmother was saying. "Gramiko... you're an empath, and can feel other Kerbs... Ahhh, I think I understand. You're saying that, quite literally, no-one can lie to you... or you would know!"

"Yes, exactly," Chibi nodded emphatically. "And Emiko is sure this Bridgett been lying to us from the moment we got here."

"Stupid not-Bridgett so full of kraken-krap..."

"So if she's lying..." Val suddenly wondered. "What is she really after? Why get us to go out to the island? Do you think this is some sort of trap? Are real Krakens behind this somehow?"

"Real Kraken-queen monster?" Emiko shook her head. "No... not that one. Emiko not picking her up anywhere..."

"But this does smell a lot like a set-up," Chibi continued. "However... we have the advantage."

"Oh, yes," Val suddenly realized. "If she doesn't know we're onto her...":

Dun dun duuuuun!

Great chapter! There are so many things you've left open enough that could really be amazing rabbit trails!

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1 hour ago, adsii1970 said:

Empath? Telepath? Are you going to have fun in the Kerbin afterlife? Do her and Chibi share this ability? This has so many possibilities for more rabbit trails! Never mind...I have gotten into the habit of having two windows open - one to read and one to write my comments on.  :D It helps my feeble brain remember things.

Well... Sanny's appearance suggests at least some kerbals have an afterlife... :wink:

As for Chibi, she said she tried to help Emiko block them out, but couldn't, which suggests she may also have some ability, but not as powerful as Emiko.

1 hour ago, adsii1970 said:

Question - Maybe I've missed something, but exactly how long are we talking that he's been there for? I got the impression it was probably close to a year...

No, it's only been about 5-6 days since the actual Baikerbanur disaster. It took about a day for the Annabel Lee airship to return to the KSC after learning what happened, then a couple days while Emiko and Chibi told everyone more of the backstory, and now a couple more days driving to get there. 

1 hour ago, adsii1970 said:

Hehehehe... Did something like this while in the service... was exciting and scary at the same time. However, I will NEVER do that again...

So did I, but that information is classified... lol.... :rolleyes:

1 hour ago, adsii1970 said:

But seriously, should there have been some sort of decontamination process for the Platypus before reaching base camp? Please don't get me wrong, I am not meaning to nit-pick, but if the radiation levels are that high, there would be residual radiation on space suits and on the Platypus as well.

I was going to leave out that part... the language got pretty bad...

Spoiler

"Stupid #*&#$*%% decontamination," Bill grumbled as he unreeled the Platypus freshwater hose. "Everyone else gets to go to bed.... But not me... Oh, no... Bill, set up camp... Bill, tear down the camp...  Bill, do this... Bill, do that... Bill, go wash down the *&#$*%% Platypus.... Hey Jeb... Wash this!!!"  :sticktongue:

 

Edited by Just Jim

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"Liar, Liar, Spacesuit fire!" and "Stupid not-Bridgett so full of kraken-krap..." :D That is great!

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34 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

I was going to leave out that part... the language got pretty bad...

  Hide contents

"Stupid #*&#$*%% decontamination," Bill grumbled as he unreeled the Platypus freshwater hose. "Everyone else gets to go to bed.... But not me... Oh, no... Bill, set up camp... Bill, tear down the camp...  Bill, do this... Bill, do that... Bill, go wash down the *&#$*%% Platypus.... Hey Jeb... Wash this!!!"  :sticktongue:

 

Yup, sounds like you have also experienced decon training while in the service... :D But I still think Bill's language is probably more tame than ours was...

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2 hours ago, adsii1970 said:

Yup, sounds like you have also experienced decon training while in the service... :D But I still think Bill's language is probably more tame than ours was...

Actually it wasn't so much decon as regular training. One of things about being a driver (armored personnel carrier), we washed our vehicles down whenever we took them out... a lot of times before we went and took a shower ourselves. All the drivers did, and quite a few of us tried to get up to the watering hole as fast as possible to get it done and over with, because guaranteed, there would be an inspection in just a couple days... and the longer you waited, the more crowded it got.

As for the language... Oh yeah, Bill was actually quite tame compared to real life... especially if you were trying to chisel dried mud off from the road-wheels, or replace a blown track. :mad:

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You know, it would be kinda funny if Bill or Bob suddenly went rogue from being underappreciated. Like you know, like in the Disney film The Incredibles or something along those lines..

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1 hour ago, qzgy said:

You know, it would be kinda funny if Bill or Bob suddenly went rogue from being underappreciated. Like you know, like in the Disney film The Incredibles or something along those lines..

That's kinda happening at my school actually. Kids feel they aren't getting enough play time in football so they're just quitting left and right. Our Offensive Line has taken the most hits, with 1 going to Varsity, and 4 quitting since the start of the year; one quit today in fact

 

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