Just Jim

The Saga of Emiko Station - Volume I - Complete

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6 minutes ago, Torgo said:

Emiko and crew are near some warm water. Her tacos are missing. Jim lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida... I'm betting it was this guy:

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Awwwww crap! I just ran out of likes for today!

LIKE!!!  hehehe  :D

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On ‎11‎/‎15‎/‎2016 at 12:45 PM, DMSP said:

Oh Moho. You guys have any M16s? M202s?

Tell Emiko to bring out the Davy Crocket.

"Well...I have some M80s from the last fireworks party..."

"WE'LL TAKE THEM!"

I suspect 'This Island Kerbin' is on for movie night. (Popping enough corn to boggle the mind of the late Orville Reddenbacher!)

:cool::cool:&):o:sticktongue:

 

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After letting the story stew in my head for a bit, I have some thoughts as to why Emiko and Chibi share as much DNA as they do.

When Emiko first went to Earth, her DNA was edited to make her more human. Someone (the ETs, I think) had to have a template ready to go and knew Emiko's transition would go smoothly, aside from green skin and her new speech patterns.

To allow Chibi to become kerbal, it was a matter of mixing Emiko's DNA with Chibi's and applying lessons learned from Emiko's transition. Chibi so far seems to have no side effects from her transition, but maybe in time they'll appear?

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10 hours ago, SchwinnTropius said:

To allow Chibi to become kerbal, it was a matter of mixing Emiko's DNA with Chibi's and applying lessons learned from Emiko's transition. Chibi so far seems to have no side effects from her transition, but maybe in time they'll appear?

Or maybe it was like the old movie "The Fly".  A few hairs of one were left in the Magic Boulder when the other went through.  But given the time-travel, it's unknown which was was in there first.  But anyway, this mixing process is compounded each time they go through the thing, so that now they've pretty much averaged out :wink: 

Edited by Geschosskopf

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Screenshots for the next chapter are done and uploaded... finally!!! Whew... There's a little over 350 (again) so this chapter is looking to be about as long as the last one. I'll start writing it up tomorrow morning.

Until then here's one I can share. Doesn't really give away anything, just one of those cases the game itself was feeling really generous! 

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9 hours ago, Just Jim said:

Until then here's one I can share. Doesn't really give away anything, just one of those cases the game itself was feeling really generou

Ah, you're far enough off the equator to get an "eye in the sky" eclipse instead of annular or total like at KSC.

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22 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

Ah, you're far enough off the equator to get an "eye in the sky" eclipse instead of annular or total like at KSC.

Yeah... I'm guessing she's about 15-20° south of the equator, more or less. But still, finding a floating boulder, then turning and seeing a partial eclipse in progress...

Score!!!  hehehe :D

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I've never seen a partial eclipse in-game, though I don't fly a lot of in-atmo missions (i.e., your rover drive to KSC2 way back when). Very cool to see that handled well. I do hope I can get my own story/mission reports 10% as epic as emiko station :).

(though I have learned that the "plot" related updates more than anything suck time like anything. Doing a plot update for exploring the Island Runway took more time than three regular updates since my thread has missions in .0 chapters, and plot in .1 ones). Course, I actually need to decide a title for my adventure :)

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OK, I'm about half done writing, but I quit for tonight... I'll wrap it up tomorrow.

12 hours ago, NCommander said:

I've never seen a partial eclipse in-game, though I don't fly a lot of in-atmo missions (i.e., your rover drive to KSC2 way back when).

Yeah, this was a good partial... but I'm not sure how far north or south from the equator you have to be to lose the effect.... And now I'm curious... lol...

12 hours ago, NCommander said:

I do hope I can get my own story/mission reports 10% as epic as emiko station :).

Awww, thank you! I need to catch up on yours... sorry. I've been too wrapped up getting this next chapter done. Once it's finished... :wink:

12 hours ago, NCommander said:

...though I have learned that the "plot" related updates more than anything suck time like anything. Doing a plot update for exploring the Island Runway took more time than three regular updates since my thread has missions in .0 chapters, and plot in .1 ones).

I hear ya... lately it takes me 3-4 weeks to hammer out the plot, plus the game-play time, for a nice, long chapter. Very time consuming.

12 hours ago, NCommander said:

Course, I actually need to decide a title for my adventure :)

While the Saga has a title, truth is I spend a lot of time thinking up chapter titles... sometimes almost as long as think up the chapter itself. 

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Rats... I'm not gonna be able to finish this tonight... real life just isn't giving me a break. I'm guessing it's about 2/3rds done... Hopefully I'll get it wrapped up tomorrow... if reality leaves me alone. :P

 

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1 hour ago, Just Jim said:

Rats... I'm not gonna be able to finish this tonight... real life just isn't giving me a break. I'm guessing it's about 2/3rds done... Hopefully I'll get it wrapped up tomorrow... if reality leaves me alone. :P

 

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I, too, know this pain. :rolleyes:

Oh, and belated congrats on crossing the 10k mark. :D

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Wellll....

I had to do some stuff this morning, then took time off this afternoon to finally watch Wonder Woman...

Best freaking movie I've seen in so many, many years!!!  :0.0:

And now I am SO PUMPED!!! I couldn't be more in the zone... :D

I'm gonna make some coffee and wipe this chapter out... It might be late, but it will get done tonight...

I have to now... I think it's the only way to get this out of my head...

 

 

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2 hours ago, Just Jim said:

Best freaking movie I've seen in so many, many years!!!  :0.0:

I have to agree. Good luck with the song, you've just given the earworm back to me after months of trying to get it out of my head!:cool:

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I heard someone mentioned Kokomo... I know people who live in/near Kokomo Belize! Oh wait, This might be the wrong Kokomo.

Oh well.

 

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Crap... I nodded off in my chair just after midnight last night... 

I only need a couple more hours of writing to finish this up, then proofreading... probably by lunch time... But I need a couple cups of coffee first, and maybe a fried-egg sandwich... that sounds yummy.

12 hours ago, Starslinger999 said:

I heard someone mentioned Kokomo... I know people who live in/near Kokomo Belize! Oh wait, This might be the wrong Kokomo.

Oh well.

Actually there's a funny story about Kokomo. Now there are half a dozen or so Kokomo's scattered around the world, including Belize... But the Kokomo in the Beach Boys song, which the chapter is named after, refers to a Kokomo in the Florida keys... which doesn't actually exist! 

So if you want it to be Kokomo, Belize... I'm good with that!  :)

 

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4 hours ago, Just Jim said:

Actually there's a funny story about Kokomo. Now there are half a dozen or so Kokomo's scattered around the world, including Belize... But the Kokomo in the Beach Boys song, which the chapter is named after, refers to a Kokomo in the Florida keys... which doesn't actually exist! 

Allegedly, after this song came out there was a flood of calls to travel agents from people wanting to vacation in Kokomo. They were a bit surprised when the response was “Kokomo, Indiana?” which was the only Kokomo at the time. Or maybe it was Ohio. Something like that. :D

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And no one sings me lullabies
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.
                                                         Pink Floyd, "Echoes"

 

Chapter 92
Echoes

Note: Not long ago my good friend and fellow author @Geschosskopf added a wonderful new element to his writings, and to the Kerbal fan-fiction multi-verse. Now I had been toying with a similar idea for quite a while, but honestly I didn't know how to bring it to fruition. However, after several private discussions with @Geschosskopf on how to make something like this work, I'm thrilled to say he's graciously allowing me do my own twist on his brilliant idea.... but in a slightly different "Emiko" sort of way. 

This chapter is therefor dedicated to you, @Geschosskopf
Thank you... again!!!

 

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The terrified voice of a trapped Kerbette ripped across the speakers of the amphibious rover, Platypus.

"Rick... you MORON! Get me out of here!"

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In the cockpit, Gem and Valentina Kerman sat for a moment in complete shock, while Emiko and Chibi, above them in the VIP cabin, were still shaking their heads in utter disbelief.

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"A... T-Rexasaurus?" Emiko whispered... "How?"

"I... I don't know, dear" Chibi whispered back... "I really don't know..."

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"Ahhhh, RICK!!!" the Kerbette trapped in the monsters mouth bellowed again. "Turn it off... TURN IT OFF!!!"

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"Wait.... what?" In the rear command cabin, Jeb suddenly shook his head and zoomed his monitor in as close as possible... then let out a shout!

"It's... that thing... It's mechanical!"

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"Mech... Mechanical?" Val shook her head a second as well. "Who would build???"

"Helppppp!!!" The Kerbette screamed again... then next to Val, Gem suddenly screamed even louder.

"It's a ROBOT!!!" Gem yelled into her microphone. "Get it, Uncle Thompy!!!"

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High above them, Thompberry was already zeroing in on the weird contraption, and just needed a couple more seconds for his capacitors to fully charge...

"Wait for it, young one... wait for it..." he called back down to Gem and the rest of the crew... "Hold on tight... Three... two... one...."

Foom!!! 

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"Yaaaa, Uncle Thompy!!!" Gem squealed as the horrifying robotic nightmare was suddenly torn apart from the inside out by Thompberry's devastating EMP blast...

Only this time Thompberry was delighted to see nothing actually explode!!!

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For a couple seconds nothing happened... the night was utterly silent... and for a moment Gem and Val wondered if it had worked or not.

"Wait for it... wait for it..."

Then... slowly... so, so very slowly... the monstrous T-Rexasaurus began to tip backwards, and Thompberry let out a devious chuckle as it came crashing down, shaking the ground and sending up a huge cloud of dust and sand!

"Now that's how it's supposed to work!"

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Once the dust had settled, Gem slowly moved the Platypus forward towards the now immobile hulk, and was startled to see it wasn't the only mechanical... thing... wandering around Dr. Rick's ramshackle hut.

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"What the..." Val began to say, then noticed a lone figure walking around the T-Rexasaurus, and shaking his head.

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Then the old scientist turned and began to run up to the Platypus, shouting the whole way!

"What... what did you do???"

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"Are you all right?" Jeb asked as he walked around to great the now panting scientist.

"Fine!" The old scientist scowled between pants... "You... <wheeze> broke <wheeze> my... my... newest... creation!"

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"Creation? Val gasped. "Why would you build such a hideous... thing?"

"I.... I.... saw it in a book once..." Dr. Rick stammered. "Never mind that..."

Then to both Val and Jeb's amazement, Dr. Rick turned and stared up at Thompberry, and let out a shout.

"You! That's you... isn't it??? Has to be..." Dr. Rick yelled, ran back towards one of the Platypus ladders, and began to climb up to Thompberry. "I said to myself, Rick, I said... it's got to be the Professor... has to be... no-one else can build an EMP burster like the ol' Professor!"

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"Nuclear fusion core..." Dr. Rick grinned as he checked out Thompberry's rover. "Side mounted planetary scanners... Oh, anti-gravity pods! Nice, nice..."

Then Dr. Rick climbed up even further, and began banging on Thompberry's pod itself!

Hey... boss... you in there?" Dr. Rick continued banging. "It's me, boss!

And to Jeb and Val and now everyone else watching from inside's utter astonishment, Thompberry replied slowly...

"Yes, Rick..." Thompberry sighed... which was a little weird considering he didn't actually have lungs in which to sigh with... "I'm in here... In a manner of speaking"

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"Boss???" Jeb, Val, and everyone inside the Platypus all gasped at the same time...

"Captain's Jebediah and Valentina, and my fellow crew-mates, may I introduce Dr. Rick Kerman," Thompberry paused a moment, then sighed again weirdly...

"I'm his assistant!" Dr. Rick laughed... and for a moment Val seriously thought she might faint... but just then they were cut off by the almost forgotten Kerbette the T-Rexasaurus still had wedged in it's mouth...

"Ummm, hellooooooo..." the trapped Kerbette huffed. "Is someone going to get me out of here, or what???"

"I'm on it," Bill laughed as he climbed down from the Platypus and walked over to the fallen T-Rexasaurus. "I want a closer look at this... thing... anyway."

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After a quick inspection Bill realized the immobile hulk wasn't quite so immobile, and slowly sliding down towards a nearby pond. So the first thing he did was to fasten a makeshift tie-down, to hopefully prevent the T-Rexasaurus from sliding any further until he could free the trapped Kerbette. Then he look around and spotted a nearby drop-pod, calculated it might be just about the right height for him to reach the cockpit hatch, and walked over to it retrieve it.

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Once he had the drop-pod positioned so he could reach the cockpit hatch, Bill grabbed a crowbar and began prying the door open. It was wedged tight, and for a moment he thought he might need help...

... and then he grinned when he heard the pilot, whoever she was, begin kicking at the hatch from her side as well!

"Yes!" Bill shouted inside... "That's it! Just a few more..."

And with a mighty groan, Bill pulled and the Kerbette stomped, and the door opened just enough for the her to crawl out, and fall into a laughing heap at Bills feet...

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"Whew..." the Kerbette laughed as she got back to her feet... and Bill felt his heart skip a beat!!! "I don't know who you are, but you have my eternal gratitude... My name is Fayray."

"Uhhhh..." Bill stammered... "Bill... I'm... I'm sorry... I'm Bill... Bill Kerman. Are you all right?"

"I am now, Bill Kerman," Fayray beamed, then reached over and kissed Bill playfully on the cheek. "Thank you for rescuing me."

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For a moment the two just stood and looked at each other, then they both started laughing...

"I..." Bill began. "How about I give you a lift back to the rover?"

"That would be lovely," FayRay smiled and grabbed hold of the ladder. "I can ride back here."

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But once they reached the Platypus, Bill was a little surprised to discover they wouldn't be staying.

"It's unanimous," Val began.

"No-one wants to spend another night on an island," Jeb chuckled.

"And can you blame them?" Val concluded.

"No, no I can't," Bill smiled down from the rover, then called back to Fayray. "Is there anything here you need to bring?"

"Yes!" Fayray nodded emphatically. "All my gear! I'm not leaving without it!"

"That's fine," Bill smiled. "Is it in the hut over there? I'll drive you..."

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Bill was a little surprised to find Fayray had so much stuff, until she explained it was all her camera equipment, which she would gladly show him when they had time. But for now Val asked that he pack it away someplace safe on the Platypus, the turned towards the T-Rexasaurus with a frown.

"So what do we do with... that?"

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"What, that piece of junk?" Dr. Rick grinned, pulling out a K-Pad. "Easy, Peasy..."

And with a laugh he pressed a big, red button on the screen...

BOOM!!!

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"Self-distrust button...." Dr. Rick smiled, then turned towards the huge, robotic Bolf that was standing near the mad-scientist's hut, and called loudly into his microphone... 

"Play-dead, Goddard!" Dr. Rick shouted with a grin...

And once again...

BOOM!!!

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"OK, we can leave anytime," Dr. Rick nodded, then turned and climbed aboard the Platypus like he owned the thing. "Are we going, or what???"

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Once everyone was on-board, and Bill had secured Fayray's equipment in the hold, Gem fired up the Platypus's massive tornado engines, and turned her back towards the beach, while Val did a quick estimate of their time.

"If we circle around this island, then set course at 195°, we should make landfall right about dawn!"

"Excellent," Gem smiled. "To be honest, Auntie-V... I'm getting a little tired of the water."

"Me, too, sweetheart" Val smiled back. "Me, too..."

And without another word, Gem guided the Platypus out onto the beach and into the still, dark water of the vast Sea of Snark.

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The water was so still, and the night so quiet, for a time neither Emiko nor Chibi said a thing, until Chibi noticed her best friend was stairing out the window... and softly crying.

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"What's wrong, dear?" Chibi whispered softly.

"Emiko... Emiko misses Badie..." Emiko sniffed. 

"I know," Chibi smiled sadly. "I miss everyone, too. But you and I both know they've been gone for centuries now..."

"Emiko knows..." Emiko whispered, then got up and walked back to her bunk, while Chibi sat and said nothing... 

But inside, Chibi was starting to get a little worried. This was the third... no, fourth... or was it five times??? Yes, five times in as many hours that Emiko had mentioned Badie Noir by name. True, Emiko and Badie had become remarkably close in the short time they knew each other on Earth... but Emiko had made several really close friends... Why mention just Badie over and over??? Was it just longing for her long-dead friend? Or was something more going on? And if so... what?

Why Badie???

Then Emiko sat back down, guitar in hand, and began to pluck out a series of devastatingly beautiful arpeggios... Chibi recognized it instantly, and her eyes widened, but she said nothing as Emiko began singing softly...

"She close her eyes, only for a moment
And the moment's gone
All her dreams pass before her eyes... a curiosity"

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"Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind"

Down below them Valentina listened quietly to the haunting Earth song, and was afraid she might start crying at any second when Chibi softly joined in...

"Same old song, just a drop of water
In an endless sea
All we do crumbles to the ground
Though we refuse to see..."

"Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind"

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Back in the hydroponic section, Bill and Fayray were also listening, and felt waves of emotion washing over them at the stunningly sorrowful melody...

"What... what is that?" Fayray whispered in awe...

"A song from another world.... " Bill whispered back, not wanting to interrupt the haunting solo Emiko was now playing... "Another planet... called Earth..."

"Amazing..." Fayray sighed as Emiko and Chibi began singing again...

"Now, don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy"

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"Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind...."

"Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind.....
The wind..."

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Down in the computer section, Pappy Kerman looked up at the speakers and growled...

"Well... that was depressing..."

Across from him the Rocklady just sat back and said nothing... and tried desperately not to laugh... 

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The sky was just stating to glow red as land came into sight, and Gem drove the Platypus up onshore, looked around for a nice, flat area, and pulled to a stop for a brief rest and strategy meeting back in the office.

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"So, here's where we are now," Val brought up a map on the office main monitor. Seated around her were Emiko, Jeb, Gem, Bob, & Bill.

"We're here, the marker on the upper-right." Val continued. "And the marker to the west is our next destination."

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"Whoa..." Bill interrupted. "You're not suggesting we go through... there?"

"And why not?" Val asked, trying to sound innocent enough...

"Are you insane?" Bill reached over and highlighted a region in the center of the map. "That there's the badlands! We can't go in there!"

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"Now Bill..." Val tried to sound reasonable. "Tales of the badlands are just that... folk tales. And we can be through in just a few hours."

"But..." Bill hesitated, then his voice dropped to a low whisper... "What about... the Pony-People???"

There was a brief pause, then the room erupted in howls of laughter!

"Po... Po... Pony... People???" Bob choked. "Seriously??? That's just a nibling's tale!!! Bill... you???"

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But down at the other end of the table Emiko wasn't laughing... and looked at Bill with disappointment written all over her face.

"Not ponies!" Emiko frowned. "NOT!!! Emiko proved it!!! What, no-one read Emiko's books? Seriously? Emiko not gone that long!"

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"Now calm down, Emiko," Bob smiled over. "I have all of your books, and I will make sure they all get a copy."

"Bob better..." Emiko grumbled, but let him continue.

"You see," Bob explained. "On Emiko's third expedition to the pyramids of Tut-Un Jeb-Ahn, she discovered several scrolls that quite clearly show our friends, the ET's, visiting the ancient Kergyptians. And in a few illustrations there appears to be some other... beings... traveling with the ET's. Beings that are remarkably similar looking to the fabled "Pony-People" we know today."

"Wait..." Val looked over with amazement. "I'm so sorry I haven't read this, Gramiko, and I promise I will the first chance I get. But are you saying the Pony-People stories might have been inspired by real aliens... traveling with the ET's?"

"Emiko has learned over the years most myths have some sort of basis in fact," Emiko nodded. "And Emiko knows ET's are fact... Perhaps these other... travelers... were real as well?"

"Oh... wow!" Val was really intrigued now, and looked over at Jeb with a wide grin, which he immediately interpreted... 

"I think we have to go investigate these badlands now..." Jeb smiled back at Val. "I doubt we'll find anything... But I have to admit, I'm more than a little curious."

"And I calculate it would take an additional three days to circle around the area, and surrounding mountains," Bob pipped in, also curious to see the badlands for himself.

"Then it's agreed!" Val nodded, ignoring the still frowning Bill. "Let's all grab a quick breakfast, and we'll be on our way."

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The morning was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and Emiko was singing song after song... even getting the rest of the crew to join in on a few occasions.

But Chibi was getting a little worried about Emiko.. again.

Yes, she knew Emiko had an amazing photographic memory, despite the... side-effects... she suffered travelling back in time to Earth. But the more Emiko played, the more Chibi wondered... how could she remember so many songs??? There were a couple now Chibi was fairly sure Emiko had only heard once.. yet she was belting out one after another perfectly!

Well... the music was perfect... Emiko still struggled with lyrics... and just couldn't stop referring to herself in the 3rd person...

"So bye, bye... Emiko say good-bye...
Drove her Chevy to the levy, but the levy was dry..."

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But Chibi kept her concerns to herself as the Platypus rolled on through the morning. And just as Kerbol was reaching it's peak, Gem pulled the rover to a stop, and the crew looked out over the vast expanse known as the Kerbin badlands...

...where all Kerbs fear to venture... 

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Meanwhile, Kerbol was just beginning to set back at the Kerbal Space Center, and the mighty airship Annabel Lee was finally home from her trip to Kokomo Island, and Ground Zero, and had just been taxied around behind the Space Plane Hanger, where Gene and Werhner von Kerman anxiously awaited Captain Kerenna and the crew.

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But as Kerenna climbed down from the cockpit, flanked by Captain Kuzzter and Geschosskopf, Gene saw the dead-serious look on Kerenna's face, and whispered quickly over to von Kerman.

"You were right, old friend."

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"Captain Kerenna, reporting, sir..." Kerenna said as she walked up to Gene, and stood rigid as possible. "I... I am prepared to receive whatever disciplinary action you deem necessary... sir!"

For a couple seconds Gene stood silent, trying his best to keep a straight face... but then von Kerman snickered, and the whole group burst into laughter!

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"Kay..." Gene reached out and gave his fiance a huge hug. "You are not in trouble, dear!"

"But... Saffron... Sanny... I was responsible..." Kerenna started to protest, but was interrupted.

"We've been trying to tell her," Geschosskopf gave Kerenna a rare smile. "There was no-way anyone could have predicted what that nutty ghost would do..."

"But I was still responsible for Saffron's return..." Kerenna still objected.

"True..." von Kerman chimed in. "But it was Sanny... not Saffron... who was in control of her body... at the time... Wow, that sounds pretty weird coming from me, doesn't it?"

"Yes... yes it does," Gene laughed. "And that's the point, this whole this is so very weird, Kerenna, no-one is going to hold you responsible."

"But..." Kerenna tried one last time.

"No!" Gene cut her off. "No more buts. Now all of you go get cleaned up, and I'll have snacks sent to your rooms ASAP. We can worry about Sanny/Saffron later."

"Yes... sir," Kerenna giggled, then reached over and gave Gene a huge hug and a kiss, and whispered softly... "I missed you so much!!!"

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Back in the badlands, the Platypus was making excellent time, and it looked they might be clear sometime after sundown...

... Until Thompberry picked up a blip ahead of them... one he couldn't really identify... 

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"You might want to take it a little slower, Gem..." Thompberry called down as Kerbol dropped below the horizon, and they reached a distance of about 20 kilometers from the unknown signal. "I'm not sure what's ahead of us, but I'm picking up massive gravioli spikes..." 

"Understood," Val called back. "I've got it on my HUD now."

"Are we stopping?" Gem asked over to Val.

"I suppose we have to," Val nodded back. "At least long enough to figure out whatever that is..."

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Gem dropped the Platypus to half-throttle, while Thompberry relayed data down to Bob and the rest of the scientists on board as fast as he could.

"Amazing..." Thompberry whispered... "I'm detecting gravioli... massive amounts... almost as if..."

And just then, as they came within a kilometer of the strange signal, which appeared to be coming from just over a hill they were climbing... Thompberry's signal split!

"Woah!!!" Thompberry called out quite uncharacteristically... "I'm now picking up six... no, no seven... repeat, seven distinct signals!!!"

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Then the Platypus crested the small hill, and Gem's jaw dropped.... then she slammed on the brakes as hard as she could... 

"I... I don't believe it..." Val whispered...

"Remarkable..." Thompberry seemed to agree... "I... I don't know... what that is..."

"Seven Sisters..." Emiko whispered... "Emiko knows... It's the Seven Sisters!!!"

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"Seven Sisters..." Val whispered into her microphone... "But that's..."

"Just a legend???" Emiko replied... "Apparently based in fact..."

"Yes..." Val was still stunned... "But... this? This is the fact behind the legend??? The Seven Sisters are.... are... Magic Boulders???"

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"Seven Sisters?" Chibi looked over at Emiko curiously.

"Yes... Oh....." Emiko smiled. "Not like Seven-Sisters star-group on Earth. Kerbin legend of Seven Sisters goes back almost as far as Kergyptians... which suddenly makes more sense..."

"It is said," Val picked up where Emiko left off. "The Seven Sisters are boulders of solid gold. But there is a curse, and the fool that gets too close and tries to steal the gold..."

"Goes Poof," Emiko finished. "Poof..."

"Well," Chibi peered out at the seven massive boulders. "They're not solid... but those definitely look like veins of gold."

"And given what we already know of Magic Boulders," Thompberry chimed in excitedly, totally caught up in the moment. "I think I begin to understand the curse's basis in fact....

"Yeah... so do I," Val agreed, and called into the back. "Jeb, I'm inclined to stay here for the night, and not try to get any closer for now."

"Agreed," Jeb replied. "We have to investigate, but these are apparently Magic Boulders... Let's not push our luck and accidentally find out how much of this curse is based in fact, as you all put it. I agree it's best we wait until morning, and do this the right way. "

And with that Gem shut down the Platypus engines, and the crew set up camp for the night. Bill also tied down the Platypus, at Thompberry's request, as a precaution. The Platypus was far, far heavier than his hover-rover, and under normal circumstances would have stayed put... but these were far from normal circumstances, and the gravioli waves pouring off the Seven Sisters was already playing havoc with Thompberry's anti-grav pods, even when he had them totally powered down. It was best to err on the side of extreme caution, especially when Magic Boulders were involved.

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Once that was finished, Bill and fetched Fayray's equipment, and within just a few minutes, Jeb, Val and Bob realized Bill's interest in having Fayray joining them wasn't just personnel... Fayray was not only the best photographer on the planet, she also had the very best camera and video equipment, some rivaling Thompberry's own triple camera-lens array!

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"With these we can safely monitor those... things," Fayray explained. "And with the precision motion detector camera, we can scan them for any signs of movement, while still being able to wander around the campsite... Just don't walk directly in front of the cameras, please."

"Outstanding," Thompberry remarked from atop the Platypus. "Would it be possible to connect me into the tower, Robert, so I can tie in my processors?"

"I... I suppose it would be safe enough," Bill answered back nervously. "Just let Fayray and me show everyone how the monitor menu's work, and I'll get on that."

"Thank you, Robert," Thompberry chuckled weirdly. "And there is no need to be apprehensive, I mean no ill will. I merely wish to collect data the moment anything happens, and having a direct link to the motion detectors could gain us valuable microseconds..."

"Yeahhhhh," Bill answered slowly, then saw Val and Jeb nodding, and gave in. "OK, fine... Give me 10 minutes."

And with a huff he led the crew inside, and quickly showed them how the monitors would be set up throughout the night.

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Finally, barely able to stay on his feet, Bill quick ran a heavy duty jumper cable from the base to the Platypus, so Thompberry could interface with the cameras.

Then Bill stumbled back inside, crawled into the first empty bunk he found, and slept like the poofed...

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The next morning, after a scrumptious cheese omelet, Fayray went out to check on her cameras, and found Bill, Bob, and Pappy, already hard at work assembling a small rover... apparently to take a closer look at the Magic Boulders before any of the crew got too much closer. 

Once she made sure the cameras were all running properly, Fayray went over to watch, and gasped in surprise.

"Is that a Tarsier Space Tech chemical analysis camera system?" She asked excitedly. "I've been trying to get my hands on one of those for years!"

"That it is," Bill smiled. "We took it off of the Platypus a little while ago, and are just waiting for the battery packs to fully charge up."

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"Sooo.." Fayray frowned. "You knew you'd find these things?"

"The Seven Sisters?" Bob shook his head. "No.. No, this is just... an added bonus... if you will."

"We were actually half-expecting to find another of those weird monoliths," Bill explained. "We've come across a few already, so we've had this little explorer packed away, just in case we stumbled across another one."

Ahhh, I understand," Fayray grinned. "I've always wanted to photograph a monolith up close... Mind if I tag along for a while?"

"Absolutely," Bill beamed, trying his best to ignore Bob and Pappy, who were both rolling their eyes. "I think this is fully charged, is everyone ready?"

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Bob switched on his microphone and called out. "Is everyone inside ready?"

"Everyone is at their monitors and standing by," Jeb radioed from inside.

"Harfield and I are in the science dome, and standing by," Jandolin called in.

"Dr. Rick and I are standing by in the Platypus lab as well," Dr. Herbert reported.

"And I think I am as ready as ever, Robert," Thompberry sounded excited... the scientist still inside him clearly showing. "We await your command."

"OK... I'm going to move her in about 25 meters, no closer..." Bob pulled out his K-pad and began remotely driving the rover forward... forward... slowly... slowly...

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As the rover crept forward, the crew were surprised to hear Thompberry start... talking to himself!!!

"Astounding... astounding! Robert... the gravioli readings... the suggest... waves!!!"

"Waves?" Bill asked. "I thought Bob said gravioli were particles?"

"They are, sir William!" Thompberry practically squealed with unexpected joy. "I am most impressed. Gravioli do, indeed, exist as positive, and much more rarely, negative particles in normal space. But somehow, there is something interacting between these boulders that suggests a wave like phenomenon..."

"You know," Bill chuckled. "I think I almost understood you that time."

"Oh, now that is, indeed, the most amazing phenomenon yet!" Thompberry laughed, then grew a little more serious. "I think we have all we can get from this distance, Robert. I suggest moving it in closer, then take all the readings we can before attempting a chemical analysis."

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"Are you expecting a problem with the chem-cam? Bob asked as he began to maneuver the rover closer.

"I'm not sure..." Thompberry answered slowly. "But doing a chemical analysis requires firing a laser directly into a Magic Boulder... Need I any more reason for... apprehension?"

"No... No you don't." Bob had to agree. "I think it's wise to follow your advice, and save the chem-cam for last."

So Bob brought the little rover to a stop 10 meters from the nearest Magic Boulder, while Thompberry and the crew gathered all the data they could.

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After a few minutes silence, Thompberry finally spoke back up, sounding even more excited than before!

"Oh, my dear friend Robert," Thompberry sounded practically giddy. "My friend, you and I are going to spend many joyous nights analyzing all this..."

"I look forward to it," Bob answered back... and the truth was, he really did look forward to it. But now was the moment of truth, and Bob called back one more time before proceeding.

"Is everyone set?"

"Roger," Val called back for everyone.

"Let us see if curses are real..." Thompberry chuckled.

"OK... On my mark... three... two... one..."

Bob pressed the button on his K-pad,..

The Chem-Cam fired off it's laser... which touched the Magic Boulder....

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And WHAM!!!

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The explosion was far, far larger than any of the crew's demolition packs, and rocked the ground beneath them.

"I'll be damned..." Bob said uncharacteristically... "Apparently some curses are real!"

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The data the crew gathered was still fascinating, and the entire science staff got right to work trying to interpret all of it, while Jeb and Val radioed back to the KSC their findings. Gene wasn't happy learning they had lost another chem-cam, as well as the other test equipment, but had to agree with von Kerman it was probably worth the sacrifice, and set about scheduling an airdrop with new science equipment ASAP.

In the meantime, Emiko and Chibi went off by themselves, and whipped up a huge batch of fresh tacos, to be sealed and stored for the final leg of the trip. Once she was done, she put them into their own storage container, and for good measure, taped a sign she had printed out. Then she looked out at Bill and Fayray, who were the only other ones outside with Emiko and Chibi at the time, and called out with a laugh.

"Now Bill and Fayray stay away from yummy tacos," Emiko tried to sound serious. "Tacos for the trip."

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"I don't know..." Fayray laughed back... "I'm feeling pretty hungry... hehehe"

"Hmmmm," Bill joined in. "Our Emiko makes amazing tacos... Not sure if we can resist...

"Oh, no!" Emiko laughed back, then jumped down from the cargo container and walked over to Bill and Fayray. "Here, Emiko brought extras..."

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The next evening at the KSC, Kerenna and Obney had just taxied a newer cargo plane, called the Stratowing, out onto the runway, and were awaiting final clearance before take off. This time they would be flying east, not west, and it was estimated would reach the badlands around noon the next day.

Finally, after what always seemed like forever to Kerenna, she was cleared for take-off, and with a thrill she always felt at this moment, pushed the throttles to full... and took off into the night sky with a roar.

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The flight was routine enough, and the Stratowing made great time, reaching the eastern shores of the Origami Ocean by sunrise, and their only scheduled course change by midday, where they would turn and head south over teh badlands on their final approach to the Platypus camp.

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By now Obney Kerman had done more than 8 successful air-drops, but because of the Magic Boulders, they would be deploying higher than any drops before this, and Obney double-checked his targeting computer as the base came into range, while Kerenna hit the switch to open the rear cargo hatch.

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"Steady... steady... right on course..." Obney called out as they passed overhead. "Steady.... three... two... one... Deploying!"

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"Oh, looking good!" Obney grinned a little uncharteristically. "Right on target."

"Platypus, this is Stratowing," Kerenna called into her microphone. "Pod has been deployed, you should be seeing the parachute anytime."

"Roger that," Val called back... "Oh... wait, I see it... oh... Oh no... Oh no, no, no, no...."

"Awww Kraken Krap!" Jeb chimed in... "That's just perfect!"

"What's wrong?" Kerenna asked from the Stratowing. "Did the parachutes malfunction?"

"Oh... Oh, no," Val just shook her head in disbelief. "Just tell Obney his aim... was a little too good..."

And with that Val and Jeb, along with Bill, Bob, and Fayray, watched the drop pod drift ever so gently down to the ground...

... right smack dab in the middle of the Seven Sisters...

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"Yeah..." Jeb just looked over at Val and shook his head. "I have a feeling Gene's head is about to explode as well."

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Later that afternoon Emiko wandered out to the storage container with she had stored the tacos, to fetch her guitar. She had been playing outside the night before, and after she and Chibi had exhausted themselves performing several more Earth songs for the crew, Emiko stuck it into container, rather than walk all the way back to the Platypus, and then crawled into dome nearest her, and collapsed into the first available bunk.

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But when Emiko reached inside to retrieve her guitar... she noticed the unthinkable...

Several of the tacos were missing!

"Oh... Oh, it's on..." Emiko whispered, looking over at Bob and Fayray, then walking quietly back to the domes to find Chibi, and explain the situation.

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"So let me get this straight..." Chibi was excited at Emiko's news of the missing tacos. "Some of the tacos you stored last night, and specifically told everyone to leave alone, are gone?"

"That's right..." Emiko looked around. "But why?"

"Oh, Emiko, don't you see?" Chibi giggled. "Whoever it was didn't take anything terrible important, did they?"

"Well... Emiko thinks tacos very important... Oh, Oh wait..." Emiko suddenly clapped her hands in glee. "Tacos NOT important... not like science equipment, or gold bars in front of the Platypus..."

"Yes... go on," Chibi encouraged her best friend. "So???"

"So... someone..." Emiko was getting really excited now. "Someone is playing Murder-Poof Mystery with Emiko?"

"I think so, dear," Chibi nodded emphatically. "Think about it, we're stuck here for at least another day or two... what better time?"

"Yes... YES!!!" Emiko jumped up. "And Emiko bought just the right hat before she left... Oh, but Chibi..."

Emiko seemed to hesitate, but Chibi immediately interpreted her awkward pause, and she smiled warmly at her best friend.

"Yes, dear, you may try and solve it by yourself first."

"Yippee!" Emiko squealed, and ran off to find her Murder-Poof Mystery hat, and begin her investigation!

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A few minutes later Bill & Fayray looked up when Emiko called out in her most serious voice... and Bill did his absolute best not to start laughing!

"Where were you two on the night of last night???"

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"What in the..." Fayray started to ask, but was immediately hushed by Bill.

"Shhhh, I'll explain later," Bill whispered, then looked back at Emiko. "We were with you and Chibi, listening to your beautiful Earth songs, Miss Emiko."

"Uh, huh..." Emiko nodded. "Flattery will get Bill no-where. Did Bill or Fayray see anything suspicious after concert?"

"No, ma'am," Fayray shook her head, not know what else to do but play along. "We were out here maybe half an hour longer then the rest, but we didn't see a thing."

"May I ask, Inspector Emiko is it?" Bill asked. "This is a Murder-Poof Mystery, isn't it? Might I inquire as to what the crime is?"

"It is... and it is," Emiko laughed, then tried to be serious again. "What happened last night is so unthinkable... so hideous..."

"What?" Fayray whispered, now totally caught up as well. "What's happened?"

"Someone..." Emiko whispered back... "Someone stole Emiko's tacos!"

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"No... the horror!" Fayray laughed, desperate to get Bill alone so he could explain the rules of this game to her in detail. "I'm so sorry... But it wasn't us."

"I see," Emiko jotted down a couple notes onto her K-Pad, then turned towards her next suspect, Pappy Kerman, and called out behind her. "Bill and Fayray free to go... But Emiko is watching!"

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Now Pappy was busy at the time inspecting the front wheel assembly (again) and didn't know anything about Murder-Poof Mysteries, but Bill had already warned him to expect anything just about from Emiko and/or Chibi, so he also played along with her game as best possible.

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But while Pappy did admit to being awake late in the night, he insisted he was just up to get a glass of water.

"Emiko sees... hmmmm..." Emiko mumbled to herself... "Pappy never came outside?"

"No, ma'am," Pappy shook his head. "On my honor as a master mechanic..."

"Ahhh, very good, very good," Emiko nodded. "Emiko thinks she can believe you... for now..."

Then she spotted Gem and Theo, along with the Rocklady, near a tall clump of grass, and headed off to question them next.

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"Oh, my, Auntie Em, I love that hat!" Gem squealed.

"Yes, just answer question, please," Emiko tried again to act serious. 

"No, Auntie Em, we went to bed after you stopped playing," Theo replied. "And I know my sister slept like a boulder... she snores, you know..."

"Hey!" Gem shouted and punched her brother in the shoulder. "You promised not to tell!"

"Stick to facts, please," Emiko tried not to giggle. "Madam Rocklady saw nothing either?"

"No, ma'am," The Rocklady replied solemnly. "Piper and I both turned in after the concert as well, and I don't recall anyone getting up during the night."

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Then Emiko headed inside the domes, only to get the same answer over and over. Jeb, Val, Bob, Jandolin & Harfield... the rescued scientists... not one admitted to taking the missing tacos.

So Emiko reasoned her next course of action was what Chibi had called "a stake-out", and she headed back outside to ask Bill if he would set up a chair atop the Platypus for her.

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"Here you go, Miss Emiko," Bill smiled as he fastened down the last bold holding the command chair in place. "You know, we don't have a chem-cam anymore... It might be fun riding up here..."

"Yes, super, great fun!!!" Emiko giggled, then did her best to be serious again. "Emiko means... no time for that now. Emiko must spend the night, and see if anyone tries to take anymore tacos!"

Once the chair was secure, Emiko, Bill and Fayray headed in for a bite of supper, then Emiko came back out, and settled into the command chair, prepared to spend the entire night if she had to.

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But once everyone else was inside for the night, Thompberry switched over to Emiko's headset, and asked quietly.

"Madam Emiko, if I may... isn't spending the night out here a little... extreme?"

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"Perhaps," Emiko whispered back. "Maybe... Emiko thought Chibi playing a game with her...But not now... Now Emiko isn't sure what to think..."

"Oh?" Thompberry was suddenly intrigued. "Is there something more going on here I should be aware of?"

"Emiko... talked to everyone... wait, did Thompberry see anything last night?"

"No, I'm afraid I didn't." Thompberry replied. "But I have to admit, it was quite an exciting afternoon examining all that data, and I needed to shut down for a couple hours after everyone else retired."

"And the motion detectors?" Emiko looked down at the camera assembly below her. "Let Emiko guess... all pointed at the boulders?"

"Correct..." Thompberry trailed off... "Wait, Emiko... Are you suggesting someone else took the tacos?"

"Emiko interrogated everyone..." Emiko paused a moment, then continued even softer... "And everyone denied it... everyone!"

"Hmmmm... Oh... OH!" Thompberry suddenly understood Emiko's concern. "Your empathic ability... Are you saying everyone was telling you the truth?"

"Exactly," Emiko nodded slowly... "And if no-one lied to Emiko..."

"Then who took them?" Thompberry was also quite curious now... so curious he didn't notice a strange figure sneak up, and try to hide in some of the tall grass where Emiko had questioned Gem and Theo that afternoon!

No, it was Emiko who... felt... the strange being grow closer, and she froze in her seat with excitment!

"Thompberry..." Emiko breathed into her microphone as soft as she possibly could. "Starboard!!!"

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"I see it..." Thompberry quietly replied into Emiko's earpiece... "But... I honestly don't know what that is..."

"Shhhh..." Emiko hushed. "Neither does Emiko... Let's just watch it... Emiko thinks it may be taco thief!"

And sure enough, the strange figure... which Emiko was a little delighted to see was colored bright pink, her favorite color... slowly walked up to the container, just as Emiko suspected it would, and immediately ate two more of her tacos!

"Emiko knew it!" Emiko was thrilled not just to be right... but to also have discovered something quite unexpected!

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But then the strange figure did something Emiko didn't expect... It pulled a socket wrench from it's battered, old suit, and proceeded to unbolt the entire container of tacos, and take the whole thing with it!

"No... NO!" Emiko huffed, but it was too late... The strange creature took off at a rapid pace to the south... carrying not just Emiko's tacos...

But also her precious guitar she had left in the container as well!!!

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"OK, now Emiko mad!" Emiko jumped from her seat, and fixed a holo-eyepiece into place, so she could track the mysterious taco thief. "Emiko is going after... it. Is anyone else still awake inside?"

"One moment," Thompberry quick checked everyone's vitals, then answered quietly. "No... everyone is asleep at the present time... Shall I wake them?"

"No... no..." Emiko watched the weird taco thief continuing to the south. "Take too long... and probably make too much noise. Emiko will follow the taco thief."

"Are you sure that's... wise?" Thompberry sounded genuinely concerned. "I'm not one to believe in Pony-People stories... but... you saw what it looked like..."

"Emiko will be fine..." Emiko laughed softly. "Does she really have to say it?"

"No, ma'am, you don't," Thompberry chuckled. "You were exploring the deserts before I was born... and there is no such thing as Pony-People."

"Emiko will be fine..." Emiko grinned. "Will radio everyone when Emiko can. Until then... keep them all safe... promise?"

"That, Miss Emiko, is one promise I can absolutely guarantee," Thompberry answered warmly. "You stay safe as well."

And without another word, Emiko jumped from the roof of the Platypus, and ran after her mysterious taco bandit.

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The next morning Jeb woke to the sound of screaming, and emerged from his dome to find Piper Kerman atop the Platypus, completely blowing a gasket at Thompberry!

"... and you let her go?" Piper pounded Thompberry's pod as hard as she could. "How... how could you???"

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"OK," Jeb called up. "What happened?"

"This... THING-IN-A-JAR let Emiko go off chasing someone late last night.... alone!" Piper growled, then smacked Thompberry's pod again. "And this one didn't lift a... Well, he didn't wake any of us!"

"It's true," Val, who had been trying to talk Piper down, called to Jeb. "Someone snuck into the came last night and made off with the container of tacos... someone, or something!"

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"Explain," Jeb prompted. "Something?"

"It was pink!" Piper shouted. "Bright pink!"

"Now, Piper, my dear, that very well could have been a mask," Thompberry tried to sound reasonable. "And I'm sure you are quite aware of Emiko's skills as an explorer..."

"But that was years ago!" Piper still complained.

"True, quite true. But physically, Emiko is in better shape than anyone on-board, including yourself..." then Thompberry chuckled a little mischievously before continuing. "Plus, darling Piper... I'm tracking her GPS signal as we speak..."

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"WHAT???" Piper roared. "You've been tracking her this whole time... and didn't say anything??? Why you... you... Arrrggggg!!!"

"You really didn't give me a chance, dear," Thompberry chuckled. "She's approximately 7 kilometers south of our position, heading towards that small clump of mountains."

"Seven Kilometers? Already?" Val gasped. "What is she doing... running the whole way?"

"I calculate at least halfway, yes," Thompberry answered, more than a little impressed himself. "But I haven't received a signal from her yet."

"All I'm getting is interference from those boulders," Val agreed... "Weird... clicking. But like there's almost a pattern to it..."

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Then a thought occurred to Chibi...

"Clicking? May I hear that, please?"

"Be my guest," Val smiled as she handed her headset to Chibi, who put it on and listened carefully for a few seconds, then let out a laugh...

"That's my girl..." Chibi grinned, then turned to Val and explained. "That clicking... that is the message!"

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"What?" Val frowned. "I don't understand."

"It's an old Earth code... I'll explain later. She's probably tapping her microphone... let me listen..."

Chibi went quiet for a moment, then began to call out...

.. -.- --- / --- -.- .-.-.- / - .-. -.-- .. -. --. / - --- / -... . / ... -. . .- -.- -.-- .-.-.- / .-. . .--. . .- - --..-- / -.. --- / -. --- - / ..-. --- .-.. .-.. --- .-- / -.-- . - --..-- / . -- .. -.- --- / --- -.- --..-- / ..-. --- .-.. .-.. --- .-- .. -. --. / - .- -.-. --- / - .... .. . ..-. --..-- / - .-. -.-- .. -. --. / - --- / -... . / ... -. . .- -.- -.-- .-.-.- / .-- .. .-.. .-.. / -.-. .- .-.. .-.. / .-.. .- - . .-. .-.-.- / .-.. --- ...- . / .- -. -.. / -.- .. ... ... . ... --..-- / . -- .. -.- ---

What does that mean?" Piper was totally confused, and still annoyed, and had little patience for games.

"Translating," Chibi smiled.

"...iko OK. Trying to be sneaky. Repeat, Do not follow yet, Emiko OK, following taco thief, trying to be sneaky. Will call later. Love and kisses, Emiko"

"So what now?" Piper growled... again. "Do we go after her?"

"No..." Jeb and Val answered simultaneously, then Val continued. "If Gramiko says stay put, we stay... And if there is any sign of trouble... Well, then we let Gem show you just how fast the Platypus can really go..."

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Now about this same time, had anyone at the Platypus been paying attention, they would have seen what Emiko was now watching, a morning eclipse... And not just an eclipse, Emiko had already stopped to examine and hide behind a large floating boulder when the Mun began to pass in from of Kerbol!

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"So pretty," Emiko whispered to herself, then looked around for her pink friend, who was maybe half a kilometer further south, and making remarkable time!

So remarkable that Emiko was starting to suspect a couple things... First, it had been a few hours, now, but if the taco thief was wearing a large, pink mask, then why hadn't it removed it by now? There was no-one for kilometers in any direction, and it must be horribly hot under a mask... so why continue to wear one?

And again the speed it was walking, especially with a cargo container on it's back, was astounding! Thompberry had been correct, Emiko had run more than walk, just to keep up with the taco thief...

But if it was stronger than the average Kerb or Kerbette... and wasn't wearing a mask...

"No..." Emiko shook her head. "Emiko jumping to conclusions... Needs more facts first."

And so she took off after the strange pink headed creature, running behind it, and hiding behind any large boulder or clump of grass she spotted.

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It was around mid-day that Emiko finally guessed what might be their destination might be when she spotted what looked like a gap in the mountains just ahead of them... a gap the strange, pink, taco thief seemed to headed right towards.

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And after an exhausting afternoon chasing her quarry, Emiko finally reached the gap in the mountains. Kerbol was just beginning to dip behind the jagged peaks, and Emiko stood astounded at what lie before her!!!

"Oh, my..." Emiko whispered to herself... "A hidden valley??? How did Emiko not know about this???"

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Back at the camp, Chibi was standing atop the Platypus, watching Kerbol set, and waiting for Emiko to radio in. She was also watching the Seven Sisters with complete fascination, when suddenly her receiver began clicking...

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"There she is," Chibi smiled... but then frowned just as fast. "That's it??? Just one word???"

"Oh?" Thompberry was also puzzled.

"Yup, just one word..." Chibi shook her head. "She said... Wow."

"Wow???" Thompberry chuckled. "Well, it's rather unspecific, but encouraging."

"How so?" Chibi asked without turning around.

"It could have been Help..."

"Good point," Chibi sighed. "I suppose we should tell everyone. Would you call them to the briefing room, please?"

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"So this is where she is now," Chibi explained to the command staff a few minutes later. "We're here to the north, and Thompberry is picking up Emiko's signal just a little over 20 kilometers south of us."

"Did you say 20 kilometers?" Val asked in awe. "In just one day? Go, Gramiko!!!"

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"It appears Emiko is now at the edge of a small depression or valley, nestled in the mountains," Thompberry explained. "Unfortunately, this region is mostly unexplored, so we have little information other than what we already know... that Emiko appears to have stumbled onto something... interesting."

"And all she said this time was Wow?" Jeb asked again.

"That's correct," Chibi nodded. "And she did it over and over, really, really fast, which suggests to me that she was excited about whatever it is she's found."

For a couple minutes Jeb just sat and thought about what to do, then looked over at Val, and to everyone's surprise, let his feelings for her slip right into the open!

"You know I love you, sweetheart," Jeb smiled over at Val. "But sometimes your grandmother can be... well...."

"...Can be really frustrating?" Val smiled back. "Oh, I know... I know..."

"So we wait?"

"I think so," Val shrugged. "I don't know what else to do... Well, except have Gem plot a course between here and there, just in case."

"Agreed," Jeb nodded. "Have her figure out the fastest way to Emiko's location... within reason, obviously. I want to be ready to roll at a moments notice. If we have to, we can always leave the camp and come back to it later."

"Agreed," Val smiled back. "And thank you."

"No thanks needed," Jeb grinned. "I love your grandmother, too."

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But for the time being Emiko didn't appear to be in any real danger, and was still following the strange taco thief into the deepest part of the hidden valley.

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About an hour later, as the stars began to shine brightly overhead, casting as weird glow on the mysterious valley, the strange pink taco thief suddenly slowed down... and to Emiko's relief, finally stopped!

Emiko skittered up to a nearby grass clump, and watched... listened... but for a couple minutes saw nothing...

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Then, much like the night before, Emiko felt the presence of other... beings... a few seconds before she saw a small group of them emerge from what appeared to be a small burrow, and trot over to the waiting taco thief...

But as to what they were... Well, Emiko could barely contain her excitement! There was no denying it now... these... creatures... they were the same beings Emiko discovered illustrated on the ancient Kergyptian scrolls!!!

And what an assortment of creatures they were!

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Wow! Emiko had thought Earthlings to be multi-colored... But these creatures took it to a whole new level!

Purple, pink... an orange-tan one that apparently found an old hat... A yellow and pink one... this was amazing!!!

But then it dawned on Emiko, as she watched the pink one hand out tacos to it's companions, these creatures were making no sound what-so ever!

Instead Emiko could feel them... quite strongly! Feelings of fear, hunger... relief at the sight of food...

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Then Emiko witnessed something quite moving, when a snowy white creature with gorgeous purple hair looked over at the pink and yellow one, who Emiko could sense was much more frightened then the rest... And Emiko couldn't help but smile when the white and purple one walked over and handed it's taco to the terrified yellow one, and then went and got itself another one.

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"Awww..." Emiko whispered... and then froze when she realized the strange creatures heard her!!!

"Opps," Emiko bonked herself on the head, then took a deep breath, and walked as bravely as she could walked over to these mysterious creatures...

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As she got within about 10 meters, Emiko stopped, and smiled. And the purple being, which Emiko sensed might be some sort of leader, walked over and looked at Emiko curiously.

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"Emiko," Emiko said slowly, pointing to herself...

But the strange creature said nothing...

"Em-I-Ko..." 

Still nothing... wait... wait... no, not nothing! Emiko suddenly got several impressions in her mind... 

Name... label... bizarre... useless.... alien... alien... alien...

"Woah..." Emiko whispered. It was quite weird, but she knew... or suspected she know... what just happened. She had encountered it before, on Earth...

These creatures... these beautiful creatures who made no sound... they must be telepaths!!!

But then Emiko frowned, and said sadly to the purple one.

"Emiko so, so sorry... Emiko's mind sort of... fractured." Emiko said softly. "Must be hard for pretty ones to communicate."

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For a moment she got a myriad of mental flashes... and knew she was right. She sensed they were trying to communicate... but for them it must be like looking into a broken mirror... and Emiko could easily feel their confusion.

Then she got an inspiration, and walked over to the cargo container the pink creature was still carrying on it's back... and pulled out her guitar!

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"Emiko... Emiko doesn't know if this will work," she tried to explain. "But singing helps Emiko focus..."

The colorful group just looked on... but Emiko felt them pause... as if waiting to see what Emiko would do next.

"OK, Emiko needs to think a second," Emiko smiled, then tried to sort through the vast library of songs in her head, when it happened again! There, in the back of her mind, was the image of Badie Noir! Singing, laughing...

It was Badie, more than anyone else, that had taught Emiko how to play guitar, and piano, and violin... And now, whenever Emiko thought about playing, Badie was right there, like some sort of psychic muse... singing along with her.

How Emiko missed her.. and wished she was there to... to... to...

"Oh... Oh yes," Emiko smiled sadly... "Emiko knows now..."

And softly she began to play what she knew was the perfect song to reach her colorful new found friends...

"So, so she think she could tell
Heaven from hell
Blue skies from pain
Can she tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Does she think she can tell?"

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Then Emiko felt the walls of confusion slipping, and the strange and wonderful telepaths reaching out...

Emiko played on, feeling herself being drawn into a sort of dream... a telepathic vision... and doing absolutely nothing to resist in any way...

"How she wish, how she wish she was here...
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year..."

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For several seconds that felt like centuries, reality seemed to... slip... and everything around Emiko went blurry....

Then her vision began to clear, and Emiko was not terribly surprised to find herself... well, she didn't know where exactly she was... But it was clearly daytime, when it had just been midnight.

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Everything was blurred and strange, and Emiko again reasoned this was some sort of telepathic vision... Perhaps this was their way of communicating to Emiko who they really were???

Emiko looked around, and tried to focus... and discovered the little group was now on what appeared to be a beautiful island, covered in huge gorgeous trees... but the gravity felt... off... and Emiko knew she wasn't on any Kerbin island...

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Then Emiko looked off to her right, and spied two large moons in the sky, one grey, the other...

Emiko tried to focus better...

The second was a sort of weird bluish green that was somehow... familiar???

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Emiko stood looking at the blue-green moon for several seconds, trying to remember where she's seen something like...

"Oh... Oh, no... NO!" Emiko shouted, remembering suddenly the reason she recognized it... was because she had once been on it!!!

"NOOOOO!" Emiko screamed, and spun around to see what she already knew would be looming in the morning sky...

Jool!!!

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Oh, Gods no... please...." Emiko began to sob as the truth became agonizingly clear...

These beautiful, wonderful, kind creatures... they were... were...

Laytheans!!!

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"Nooooo," Emiko wept... realizing this was a memory of long, long ago... before the war... before...

And just then, as if on cue, the sky darkened... and Emiko knew the whole truth as she saw a unspeakably horrific image fill the sky..

An image of three... nightmares... she recognized all to well...

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"You... YOU!" Emiko howled through her tears at the Krakens in the sky... "YOU.... YOU MURDERED THEM ALL!!!"

Then Emiko felt the vision breaking, and reality started to violently spin around her... and for a moment Emiko felt she might be sick...

...until a comforting voice filled Emiko's mind, and she slipped into merciful unconsciousness...

"Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Once in a lullaby..."

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The Saga of Emiko Station, and the Strange Tale of Emiko and Chibi Kerman, are still far, far from over...

Return to Index

Edited by Just Jim

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1 hour ago, Just Jim said:

This chapter is therefor dedicated to you, @Geschosskopf

I'm flattered, but I didn't make the Space Ponies :wink:

 

9 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

Adopting a bit of @Geschosskopf's mythos, are we?

Not at all.  This is all @Just Jim's own idea.  We just happen to be using the same mod, which is unavoidable because it's about the only one there is for an alien race.  it's the same as many of us using Pathfinder.  The mod doesn't matter, it's what we do with it.

In this story, the ponies are true aliens, ancient and advanced, the product of a completely separate evolutionary process on another planet.  They had their own civilization and everything.  In my story, they're just the few mutant descendants of accidental Kerbal castaways, but still mostly Kerbals, so aren't really aliens at all :) 

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Wow, no wonder why this chapter took so long! Each time I think I've read the very  best chapter you've written, you surprise me with another one! :)

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U might wanna go ahead and correct that whole lot of typos and repeated words spilled all over this one.

 

Nice T-tail on that Stratowing btw, never thought about arranging those wings in that manner...

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1 hour ago, Geschosskopf said:

I'm flattered, but I didn't make the Space Ponies :wink:

No, but you were the one with the idea of using the MLP mod to represent them, which I agree was a great idea.  :)

1 hour ago, obney kerman said:

Adopting a bit of @Geschosskopf's mythos, are we?

1 hour ago, Geschosskopf said:

In this story, the ponies are true aliens, ancient and advanced, the product of a completely separate evolutionary process on another planet.  They had their own civilization and everything. 

Yes, it's like @Geschosskopf said... We've got parallel universes, but not parallel evolution!

What happened, now that it's written, is this. 

I've been playing with the idea for the longest time that the Krakens would go for Laythe first, not Kerbin. Krakens, no matter how advanced, are still cephalopods... and would naturally target an ocean moon first. But I had no idea how to bring it to life, until @Geschosskopf came up with the idea of using the MLP mod to represent the Laytheans... which seemed to really work.

But I also didn't want to just take the idea, so I pm'd @Geschosskopf first, and we talked it over quite a lot the last couple weeks... and he also helped me develop a completely different version, one I think is a little more suited to the Emiko universe.

Edited by Just Jim

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9 minutes ago, DualDesertEagle said:

U might wanna go ahead and correct that whole lot of typos and repeated words spilled all over this one.

Going to be sorta nice here... Mistakes do happen from time to time; it is a natural part of writing.  And to be completely honest, this forum software is not the easiest to do fan-fic based writing in. Adding a picture can screw up your format. If the Internet service provider has a hiccup, you can literally lose hours of work and no recovery. And if that's not bad enough, sometimes you've got to go redo a screen capture because once you've uploaded the one you've taken, you notice that it's not quite right. There are also times when you have a "what if I did this..." moment while you're typing the story. And that can lead to a need for more screen captures.

And... finally, you're done. You begin to proofread and life happens. Or you realize you've got a character in conflict - and the more characters you have the easier it is to get confused. I have a stack of index cards and a huge excel spreadsheet to track who is on which mission, where the settlements are at, etc. Sometimes you have to search the chapter with a fine-toothed comb to get rid of the logistical and character errors... and it is very easy to overlook something. Believe me, @Just Jim and I critique each other. And I am always grateful for feedback as he is with mine. But we give that feedback to each other and other writers on the forum in private messages. Never on the thread itself - it would make us look petty and unthankful for the time invested in what the author has decided to give us.

 

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