UnusualAttitude

THE BARTDON PAPERS - "Cancel all previous directives."

Recommended Posts

On 12/22/2017 at 6:06 PM, HamnavoePer said:

And THIS is why being a teen is rubbish... Want to do everything, but can't do ****... idc that I quoted myself

Well, with you being about the same age as my stepson, I suppose I should to lecture you sternly about the responsibility and hardships of being an adult who has to put food on the table, pay the rent and wash his own dirty socks...

Nah, just kidding. Instead I'm about to post the Camwise 2017 Christmas Special, with thrilling action scenes and guaranteed excitement. Stay tuned.

Edited by UnusualAttitude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

YEAR 15, DAY 330. CAMWISE.

And so, as Prosperity swings past the Moon and brakes into the transfer orbit that will bring her up to rendez-vous with Station LDRO, I sit in one corner of the bridge and consider my options.

7HzWoZB.png

During our three-month return journey, I had often made my way to the bridge to look out through the ship's windows and escape the crushing gravity of my quarters in the centrifuge. Prosperity's crew had very thoughtfully reduced the spin rate by half when we had come aboard, but after a year of constant microgravity, even a quarter of a gee was still almost unbearable and we were still readjusting slowly.

Tonight the view is magnificent. From our perilune of ten thousand klicks, Luna's brilliant disc is as stunning as ever. Constant and unchanging, she remains the ever-faithful companion of Earth throughout the aeons.

On such timescales, the Blue Planet's continents flow like a viscous fluid that pools or is scattered by the whims of plate tectonics. The oceans wax and wane, over and over again. Luna watches and waits, unblinking, the purity of her pale face blemished only by the dark scars of the Maria. It is this imperfect face that Luna turns to us when we look up to her in the night sky. Seas of basalt that had been pulled from her innards billions of years ago by the gravitational tides of her parent planet.

Dark, solid basalt that was guaranteed to destroy any spacecraft that happened to impact it at orbital velocity. This was good.

RB5F4pW.png

Spoiler

 

gLyNEGl.png

GeCzSZw.png

dVU7I9T.png

mKBYpvz.png

pxqtaYw.png

pQE8NCB.png

2tbQJ2Q.png

1ihUNK4.png

RB5F4pW.png

9DeaY3l.png

 

 

 

Special Investigator Samrod, his pilot Svetlana and Engineer Orrick had arrived at Station LDRO two months before us. Although the details of their mission were highly classified, I guessed that they had been busy preparing their first descent to the Lunar surface. They would be studying potential landing sites close to their target, wherever it was. Orrick would be hard at work, making sure the Station's electrolyser cells and cryocoolers were fully operational. These would be vital in order to convert the water we had harvested from Y13-HO3 into hydrolox fuel for their lander.

With more than one hundred and fifty tonnes available, it would be possible to refuel the lander many, many times. This was good.

However, the craft itself was still on its way. It had been launched some days previously, and had clawed its way slowly out of Earth's gravity well, towed by one of our eTugs. By chance, it was scheduled to arrive and dock at Station LDRO just hours before we got there ourselves on Prosperity.

BEp1hxD.png
 

Spoiler

 

vuF4ker.png

WBtEzsM.png

ig8lcBZ.png

S7J5Yhg.png

7FlVWMl.png

tkBmKnP.png

GZaqOaR.png

BEp1hxD.png

UBA12rb.png

QXNftCX.png

 

Samrod and his team would still be busy inspecting the lander and making final preparations. In his eagerness to depart, he might even recruit our help to speed things up. This would provide the only opportunity I needed, and it was also good.

I looked down at the Moon once more. Prosperity was winging her way across the dark seas and would reach our destination as the station drifted round to the Lunar farside.

If everything went as I intended, every single Kerbal of planet Earth with a sufficiently large telescope would be watching and waiting to witness the fate of Station LDRO as it reappeared one last time.

This was not only good, it was also absolutely essential to my plan.

 

YEAR 15, DAY 333. CAMWISE.

As it turned out, Samrod and his crew were still in up to their necks in preparation work when we arrived.

wESy6u4.png

Station LDRO was still the same mess of modules and fuel tanks it had been when I had left it more than a year previously. But this time round the tanks were full, and the prototype version of Froemone's new land-anywhere monster sat proudly docked to the tail end of the main truss.

fOypy8d.png

From the little information that trickled through to us while we were in deep space, I had already heard that it was an impressive machine, but I was still blown away by its size, regardless. It dwarfed all previous designs I had worked or flown on, be it the two-stage Cirq landers that had allowed us to land on the Moon for the first time, Karanda's pile of trash that had nearly got Catbeth and I stranded, or the tiny hopper Céré I had flown on down to Phobos.

The Reusable Lunar Lander (or RLL) was simply in a league of its own.

Once manoeuvred into Low Lunar Orbit by one of our eTugs, it was capable of reaching the surface with fuel to spare. Its multiple equipment racks contained science experiments, a long-range rover that could be unpacked and assembled on the ground, and a miniature nuclear reactor of the latest generation.

For short-stay missions, it could land anywhere on the Moon and return to low orbit without additional fuel, as long as it abandoned its equipment on the surface. In this case, replacement packages could be launched from Earth via spaceplane, and be tugged up to Station LDRO cheaply.

For longer missions lasting days or even weeks, the nuclear reactor could be set up on the surface and power the lander's life support systems through the long Lunar night. The containers also contained a small drilling rig and converters that would be able to top up the fuel tanks, as long as the craft landed inside one of the icy polar craters.

One of the solar eTugs was already present, no doubt there to tow the RLL into position, I noted. Another minor annoyance I would have to deal with, but a manageable one.

TFGuW68.png

Prosperity docked at last and Samrod wasted no time in summoning us to the station's main crew module to hear our report. The five of us floated in a ragged line as Samrod hung on to a bulkhead and appraised us one after the other with his piercing gaze.

“Commander Anline?”

Prosperity is ready for handover to the next crew, SI,” said Anline. “I had Raelyn make a full inspection of the solar panels and propulsion unit before we arrived. Everything is in good shape, and fuel consumption for the journey was as expected.”

“Very good, Commander. You will return to Earth with Raelyn and Dundous onboard Opulence Three as soon as the replacement crew arrive. Their launch is scheduled in ten day's time.”

“Thank you, SI.”

Samrod turned to address a tight-lipped, mirthless smile at Jenbles and myself. “And you must be the first of our intrepid rockhoppers...”

“Yes, SI. Senior Technician Kerski and this is Pilot Jenbles.” I replied, as smartly as I could.

“Well, ST. I'm sure the Board will be eager to hear your debriefing as soon as you two are planetside. I hear that your operations on Y13-HO3 were a complete success.” His gaze was icy, but he could not hide the relish in his voice as he continued. “I'm sure that you will both have plenty of experiences to share with your respective debriefing officers. Trans Pacific and Kerbalkind as a whole will be excited to learn firsthand that the colonisation of space is both feasible and practical. Living on an asteroid for a year... what an amazing achievement!”

Jenbles squirmed uncomfortably at my side. Memories of our dark dwelling in the bowels of Y13-HO3 came flooding back. The dank, dripping walls that had been carved into the ancient rock and plastered with a molten regolith that had an acrid smell, like gunpowder, that never really went away. The close confinement of our tiny prison from which no escape was possible. The feeling of being trapped, despite the vast emptiness surrounding us. The absence of any normal day and night cycle that made the passage of time meaningless and turned the whole experience into an endless nightmare...

“Indeed, SI. I can't wait to share what we've learned.” I said, looking Samrod squarely in the eye.

“Good! You will return to Earth with Commander Anline's crew. And Kerski,” he said, holding my gaze for a moment longer, “I understand that you're somewhat of an expert on nuclear reactors. I need your second opinion on ours. It's still packed in the RLL, but I would like you to have a look before we go down. I just want to be one hundred percent sure that the radiators and the cooling system weren't damaged during launch. The last thing we want is a meltdown while we're on the surface.”

“Of course, SI,” I said with the warmest smile I could muster. “That would indeed be... unfortunate.”

The smile wasn't even fake. I had just got what I wanted the most: a chance to take a good, close look at that lander...

 

YEAR 15, DAY 338. CAMWISE.

My chance to act came at last as Station LDRO slipped behind the Moon. For a few hours, Earth would be completely hidden from view. Most of the station's occupants – including Samrod – were resting.

Raelyn was pulling second watch, and I kept her company, feigning lack of sleep.

Two hours into her watch, an alarm rang out from Prosperity's bridge. Raelyn hurried over to see what was amiss, and I followed, pulling myself through the docking node behind her.

“One of the accelerometers was just triggered. It's the starboard solar truss,” she said, looking up at me from the engineer's station.

“Micrometeorite impact?”

“Yeah, probably. I'm gonna have go out there and take a look. Damn, I gotta go and wake Anline now.” She turned towards the hatch that lead back to the Station, hesitating.

I counted slowly to three before answering. “Look, don't wake anyone. I've got this. Go back to the station. I'll suit up and check it out. It may be a false alarm. This way, nobody gets disturbed in the middle of downtime unless it's necessary.”

“You sure, Kerski?”

“You know me.” I winked. “Space is my home.”

“Whatever you say, fella.”

Raelyn sealed the hatch between Prosperity and the Station as I pulled on my shabby space suit.

Thus, I was granted a free spacewalk with no-one else watching. This was all I needed.

I flipped a few switches on the console in front of me and vented Prosperity's bridge before slipping out of the hatch into space. Raelyn spoke to me just once from LDRO's com station.

r7xS8k1.png

“Let me know if you need anything, ST.”

“Uh, yeah. Just keep the coffee warm, OK? I'll be back in five.”

That last part would eventually go down in history as being one of the most wildly inaccurate statements in the history of spaceflight.

jxY7DCd.png

I made my way aft towards Prosperity's propulsion unit, but instead of making my way past the fuel tanks and along the solar truss to inspect the solar panels for damage, I paused at the port that connected the truss to the main structure of the ship.

There, attached to the docking port itself was an auxiliary power unit that could allow, amongst other things, for an emergency manual jettison of the module in question.

02ECwzi.png

I paused for a moment, my gloved hand resting above the jettison switch. This was the point of no return. Once I'd flipped it, I had already committed myself to years of loneliness in space.

Are you really up to this, Cam? Are you..?

Yes I am. Maybe. I don't know. Oh, to hell with it all.

With a flip of the switch and a dull thud, Prosperity's starboard truss decoupled and began to drift away, oh so slowly.

I jetted around to the port side of the ship and repeated the same operation, allowing the second massive solar truss to float free.

igeec8I.png

ZagHKR0.png

Alarms were no doubt blaring inside Prosperity's command module by now. And blare they might: since I had left the hatch jammed open and the bridge was in hard vacuum, no-one could hear them.

yu8EnxD.png

This would give me the time I needed to make my way around Prosperity's centrifuge towards the Station's main fuel tanks where the eTug was docked.

5KZwtq1.png

I flipped a few more switches, and in moments the main components of the solar tug were drifting away from the station on their own subtly different trajectories.

ids7BhU.png

xVOnQxt.png

Finally, as I continued my way aft, I wrenched the station's main dish closed and secured it hastily with some space tape.

Time was now of the essence. My sudden dismantling of the tug had evidently set off additional alarms onboard the Station itself. Raelyn went crazy and started yelling at me. I muted her voice in my headset and made a beeline for the RLL.

XyAH4ov.png

My EVA to inspect the lander's nuke and accessories (which where in perfectly good shape, by the way) had allowed me to familiarise myself with the craft's overall design. I had the hatch open in seconds, and hauled myself into the cockpit. I didn't bother to pressurise and simply pulled the hatch closed behind me. Moments later, I was at the controls, and I began looking around frantically for the auxiliary power system.

Froemone, help me. You designed this massive, beautiful pile of junk. I'm about to use it for something it was never designed for. But I know how you like to over-spec things. Right now, I just need to know how to turn this thing on...

C'mon... What could possibly go wrong?

As I looked at the pilot's control panel, things began to click into place. There, there and there. The lander's cockpit came to life, and the whole station shuddered as the attitude thrusters provided ullage for the main engine. I grasped the throttle in my left hand and flicked the volume of my headset back up to normal.

By now, the entire station was awake and by the sound of things, Samrod was going ballistic.

“...damn it, Kerski, come in! What the hell do you think you're doing out there?”

“I'm stealing this space station, Special Investigator. What does it look like? By the way, I suggest you all find something to hold on to right now.”

nMJOJyn.png

KPKlElL.png

I flipped the lander's throttle fully open. The main engine rumbled into life below me, pushing on the massive station with nearly twelve tonnes of thrust. Not enough for violent acceleration, but sufficient to send anyone caught off guard spinning into the nearest bulkhead. I couldn't help but smile as I heard Samrod's grunt of surprise, and the other crew members shouting in the background.

Station LDRO – with Prosperity's core modules and centrifuge still attached to its forward docking node – ploughed forward through the mass of debris that my undocking frenzy had created minutes before. Most of it had floated clear of the station, but one of Prosperity's mighty butterfly wings got momentarily snagged on one of the station's own solar arrays. A few seconds more, and it scraped its way to freedom, miraculously leaving both arrays intact.

xtLNTJG.png

2nmO7Nv.png

I looked down through the lander's forward window at the mess that I had just made. I saw tonnes of complex, expensive hardware that had taken months to build, launch and assemble in orbit. Now, it was just useless scrap, abandoned to spin endlessly in cislunar space. For the first time since I could remember, I laughed.

Samrod was shouting again. “Orrick, get suited up now! We're going to have to take him out!”

“Tut tut, SI. EVA safety 101. Never attempt to perform extravehicular activity from a spacecraft that is under thrust. That would be very, very stupid.”

I could almost hear Samrod's mind racing over the roar of the RLL's engine. “Commander Anline, get your crew over to Prosperity. You must find a way to undock and save the ship..!”

“Nope, Samrod. Nice try, but you can't do that either. I must confess that I left the hatch open. Very careless of me, I know. The bridge is depressurised. Besides, if you take a look out of your nearest window, you will see that Prosperity is now missing a few rather vital components.”

There was a pause as my words sank in. Samrod roared. “What the hell do you want, you crazy freak?!”

“Here's the deal, Samrod. I am currently thrusting retrograde and I will continue to do so until the perilune of this station drops beneath the Lunar surface. If my calculations are correct it will impact a ridge between Mare Nubium and Mare Humorum at two-point-three kilometres per second. I'll welcome your company if you want to come along for the ride, but I do suggest you leave if you want to live.

Grab your suits and take to the capsules right now. In three minutes time I will stop thrusting for exactly two minutes to allow you to clear the station. If anyone comes near this lander during that time... well, let's just say that I still have my hand on the throttle.”

For a moment, I could hear only the sound of Samrod's heavy breathing.

“Two minutes and fifty seconds, SI. Do it. Now.” I insisted.

It was enough. Samrod began shouting orders and dispatched the seven Kerbals that remained onboard to the two Opulence capsules. They had been designed, amongst other things, for just this sort of emergency, and could be prepared for launch within seconds.

True to my word, I cut the lander's throttle when I heard both Anline and Svetlana announce that they were ready to undock. The capsule's little attitude thrusters puffed jets of hypergolics, pushing them free of the station until I could see both craft through the lander's upper windows.

g3ON0Pm.png

Ej4LbDU.png

tB6jXqp.png

7sL6Bgy.png

Good call, Special Investigator. So long, Jenbles. It was nice working with you... I breathed to myself, and slammed the throttle forward again.

CjgLKzb.png


 

Edited by UnusualAttitude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

will the landing legs be able to support such a big lander? Id imagine if cam wanted to keep the station he would put a lot of stress on them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

“I'm stealing this space station, Special Investigator. What does it look like? By the way, I suggest you all find something to hold on to right now.”

Crowning Moment of Awesome. We've literally waited years for this.

So, what does lithobraking a space station into the Moon accomplish, exactly? Does he actually plan to land it? Or just ruin the hard work of the Resource companies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Well, with you being about the same age as my stepson, I suppose I should to lecture you sternly about the responsibility and hardships of being an adult who has to put food on the table, pay the rent and wash his own dirty socks...

Don't grow up.  IT'S A TRAP!

 

2 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

I looked down through the lander's forward window at the mess that I had just made. I saw tonnes of complex, expensive hardware that had taken months to build, launch and assemble in orbit. Now, it was just useless scrap, abandoned to spin endlessly in cislunar space. For the first time since I could remember, I laughed.

Brilliant story, brilliant strategy (although I haven't quite figured out how Cam will manage to land or what he'll live on if he does).  But hey, the SPACE MADNESS is beautiful to behold :)   Still, I can't help but feel some regret at the deliberate destruction of such wonderful assets.  You make amazing stuff and do it in RSS, so it seems like defacing fine art.  Still, the KSP gods do need a real sacrifice sometimes, not just the scraps we usually throw them.  So well done.  And an awesome Christmas Special :wink:

Anyway, I suppose the whole Company Plan is pretty well scuppered here.  The station's gone, Prosperity's gone, so the asteroids are gone until all this can be replaced.  If there's budget to do so.  And in any case, the prospect of getting to Jupiter in time for tea seems to have vanished.  Yes, this is definitely more effective than crashing the asteroid into Kerbin.  But the long-term consequences of missing tea time seem rather gloomy....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, greenTurtle1134 said:

Crowning Moment of Awesome. We've literally waited years for this.

So has Camwise!

But yeah, thanks. That was so much fun to play through and write, and most liberating after the many previous moody episodes that were required to set up the situation.

7 hours ago, insert_name said:

will the landing legs be able to support such a big lander? Id imagine if cam wanted to keep the station he would put a lot of stress on them

 

7 hours ago, greenTurtle1134 said:

So, what does lithobraking a space station into the Moon accomplish, exactly? Does he actually plan to land it? Or just ruin the hard work of the Resource companies?

 

7 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Anyway, I suppose the whole Company Plan is pretty well scuppered here.  The station's gone, Prosperity's gone, so the asteroids are gone until all this can be replaced.  If there's budget to do so.  And in any case, the prospect of getting to Jupiter in time for tea seems to have vanished.  Yes, this is definitely more effective than crashing the asteroid into Kerbin.  But the long-term consequences of missing tea time seem rather gloomy....

I can't really say anything that won't spoil the fun of the next couple of episodes. All will be revealed. Never underestimate Camwise's awesome engineering powah!

7 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Still, I can't help but feel some regret at the deliberate destruction of such wonderful assets.  You make amazing stuff and do it in RSS, so it seems like defacing fine art.  Still, the KSP gods do need a real sacrifice sometimes, not just the scraps we usually throw them.

I was a bit reluctant to dismantle Prosperity, in particular, 'cause I was quite pleased with the way she looked. In one draft of the story, I had Camwise just undock her, point her prograde and jam the throttle open with some space tape before jumping ship. She would have become the first interstellar (ghost) ship launched from Earth, and I would have been able to switch back to admire my creation drifting off into the void. Sadly, this scenario didn't work out...

In the end, Camwise dismantling Station LDRO reminded me of the destruction of the Arbogast in the Expanse. So beautiful...

Spoiler

93FxMbz.gif

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Never underestimate Camwise's awesome engineering powah!

Well, he's said he's got a plan and it no longer seems to involve murder-suicide since leaving the gloomy asteroid.  And now that I think about it, 2300m/s isn't a large number in RSS, and Froemone went overboard with RLL, so I'm sure Camwise will be able to land.  Maybe even refuel.  AND he'll have a set of wheels.  So I guess he'll be able to cause further trouble for some time to come :)  I wish him the best of luck in his endeavors.

 

3 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

I was a bit reluctant to dismantle Prosperity, in particular, 'cause I was quite pleased with the way she looked. In one draft of the story, I had Camwise just undock her, point her prograde and jam the throttle open with some space tape before jumping ship. She would have become the first interstellar (ghost) ship launched from Earth, and I would have been able to switch back to admire my creation drifting off into the void. Sadly, this scenario didn't work out...

In the end, Camwise dismantling Station LDRO reminded me of the destruction of the Arbogast in the Expanse. So beautiful...

Yes, very beautiful.  And there's now the Camwise Memorial Debris Cloud to always remind you :) 

 

3 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

That was so much fun to play through and write, and most liberating after the many previous moody episodes that were required to set up the situation.

I know what you mean.  Sometimes it's just fun to smash stuff you've spent a lot of time building.  This episode was a real Up Helly Aa, and thus quite appropriate for the season!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/23/2017 at 10:47 PM, Geschosskopf said:

And in any case, the prospect of getting to Jupiter in time for tea seems to have vanished.

Who are you kidding? The reconfigured Prosperity and LDRO station likely still constitute a viable interplanetary craft. If Camwise can cut a deal with the Companies before it slams into the moon, we'll be perfectly back on track.

Since it's altered past the point of recognition, I suggest we rechristen it the Lisabeth.

On 12/23/2017 at 10:47 PM, Geschosskopf said:

Still, I can't help but feel some regret at the deliberate destruction of such wonderful assets. 

He just disconnected them, he didn't destroy anything. If he ever makes peace with Trans-Pacific, he'll likely mount a salvage mission and incorporate them into a new lunar orbit station.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, greenTurtle1134 said:

Who are you kidding? The reconfigured Prosperity and LDRO station likely still constitute a viable interplanetary craft. If Camwise can cut a deal with the Companies before it slams into the moon, we'll be perfectly back on track.

Doesn't look like he kept many fuel tanks in the Great Shedding of Parts, nor many solar panels, so Prosperity's engine and all is just dead weight.  And I get the impression that the RLL is more of a TWR than an Isp thing what with its "land anywhere" hype.  And this is RSS.  So I'm not too confident that what Camwise has at his disposal is a viable interplanetary ship without adding some more stuff.  Like from the suppesedly dead Mar mission that's probably been hiding out on the Moon the whole time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 24/12/2017 at 3:47 AM, Geschosskopf said:

Don't grow up.  IT'S A TRAP!

Copy that :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 24/12/2017 at 12:39 AM, UnusualAttitude said:

“Here's the deal, Samrod. I am currently thrusting retrograde and I will continue to do so until the perilune of this station drops beneath the Lunar surface.

Nothing like a good retrograde burn to put some action into things, right guys? No? I'll just disappear back to my corner then

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, HamnavoePer said:

Nothing like a good retrograde burn to put some action into things, right guys? No?

Indeed. Prograde is for sissies. If you burn radial or anti-radial it's obvious that you don't have a clue what you're doing, you noob. Normal and anti-normal are for the obsessive, and hold maneuver node is for control freaks and nerds.

Retrograde is definitely where it's at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Indeed. Prograde is for sissies. If you burn radial or anti-radial it's obvious that you don't have a clue what you're doing, you noob. Normal and anti-normal are for the obsessive, and hold maneuver node is for control freaks and nerds.

Retrograde is definitely where it's at.

Good, you're learning. Now give me the next chapter already! I must see this retrograde burn's result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2017 at 6:55 PM, greenTurtle1134 said:

Ooh boy.

I would not like to be a Company employee right now.

Engineering + Anger = Problems. Possibly massive. Possibly energetic. Possibly both.

Like I said (and will continue to say) pure science beats pure bureaucracy any day of the week.

Image result for small asteroid hitting earth

Energetic? Check. 

Massive? Check. 

CamwiseKerski will be around some asteroids in the near future.

Get ready for problems.

Will 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, HamnavoePer said:

Now give me the next chapter already! I must see this retrograde burn's result.

I was working on it, got a couple thousand words done and then got distracted by songwriting for my new band. Soon.

 

5 hours ago, Laythe Squid said:

Get ready for problems.

That's a beautiful picture you have there. A bit smoky, though. It looks just like a Balrog re-entering over the Atlantic Ocean. I imagine in the next picture, Gandalf appears wielding Glamdring and shouts "You shall not impact!"

Edited by UnusualAttitude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

I imagine in the next picture, Gandalf appears wielding Glamdring and shouts "You shall not impact!"

Edited 15 hours ago by UnusualAttitude

I'm just gonna pretend i didn't read this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...By the way, I almost forgot.

W1lm8ss.png

A rather disarticulate Lisabeth would like to join me in wishing you all the best for 2018.

Thank you for sticking with this for nearly two years, now. With luck, we have only another three or four to go... :D

Anyway, next episode will be up tonight if the electrical storms don't take out my power. Enjoy it in all its wordyness!

Cheers, UnusualAttitude.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

YEAR 15, DAY 339. CAMWISE.

You know that feeling you get when you're trying to get a good night's sleep but you are the sole occupant of a spacecraft on a suborbital trajectory around a body with no atmosphere..?

...Yeah, I thought not. (Hint: it's awful, and you don't get any sleep whatsoever).

b395Iqs.png

After the initial excitement of stealing more than half of Trans Pacific's total space assets and flinging them towards what looked like certain doom, there was the small matter of dropping from a fifty thousand kilometre retrograde orbit to Lunar datum. This dizzying plunge took more than two days to play out, and I'll be damned if I managed to snooze fitfully for more than half an hour during the whole process.

Maybe this was for the better: I had work to do.

The initial burn that had put Station LDRO on a Moon-grazing trajectory had used almost all of the hydrolox fuel in the lander's tanks. Twenty-five tonnes of liquid hydrogen and oxygen expended for a measly three hundred metres per second of delta-vee, plus small change.

My first priority was therefore to make more fuel.

I had vast quantities of water to crack sloshing around in the station's tanks, and I had already calculated that I had more than enough to get where I wanted to go. I soon realised that the amount of water I had wouldn't be the problem.

The problem would be converting it into rocket fuel fast enough.

As soon as I'd cut the throttle and shutdown the RLL's main engine, I made my way back over to the main crew module of the station to check out LDRO's own system. It consisted of a single electrolysing cell to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen, and a single cryocooler unit that would then chill these elements into their liquid state and pump them into the RLL's tanks.

C2oedvd.png

Samrod's engineer Orrick had very thoughtfully tested them for me the previous day, so I knew for a fact that they were fully operational.

The whole system was controlled from a small console attached to one wall of the crew module. I flipped a few switches, waited for the system to power up.

I frowned at the console anxiously and made a few quick calculations.

Nine days to fill the tanks completely once they were dry. Nine days! This wasn't an immediate problem, but I planned to perform some much longer burns further down the line. If I could only produce enough fuel for a couple of minutes of thrust per day, I was in serious trouble.

I glared at the console angrily.

Looking at the figures, I identified the two bottlenecks in the process: the slow pace of electrolysis, and lack of power. I slouched back against a bulkhead, scratching my head for a while, then I put my helmet back on and made my way back over to the RLL.

Rummaging through the lander's equipment racks, I soon found what I was looking for. Froemone had provided the RLL's with not just one, but two electrolysers. Not for the first time, I breathed a sigh of relief and silently thanked my old friend for his almost fanatical commitment to safety and redundancy. I then proceeded to mount the two units on one of the RLL's trusses, before returning to the station to route them into the system.

q3gmxY5.png

With everything working again, hydrogen and oxygen production increased threefold initially, until the station's batteries ran out of juice, and the electrolysers tripped out automatically to avoid the life support systems going dead. The station's solar arrays simply couldn't cope with all three running at once. I was faced with a choice between making fuel quickly and being able to breathe.

I ignored the console disdainfully, just to show it how disappointed I was with it.

My thoughts turned to the small nuclear reactor that I had inspected, still nestling in storage in the lander. It was designed to be set up on the surface of a planetary body, at least a hundred metres away from the craft itself. Shielding would be provided by a few cubic metres of regolith, either by digging an artificial mound, or by using the natural shape of the terrain to put some solid ground between the source of radiation and the craft's occupants.

Unfortunately, I had no regolith with which to shield the station's crew modules. I would just have to find some other way to protect my fragile DNA from the reactor's ionising wrath.

Well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

I also made the decision to camp out inside the RLL until further notice, figuring that I preferred to be close to the throttle of the only main engine I had left. I therefore had to rig up a remote command station for the station's resource conversion system so that I could monitor it from the lander's cockpit.

JGpYjLL.png

The RLL was comfortable enough for just one Kerbal anyway, as it had been designed for a crew of three on month-long missions, and could seat six at a pinch for shorter durations. Its lower crew quarters, surrounded by chunky toroidal water tanks, also provided the best protection from solar and cosmic radiation of any area of the ship. Now that I could no longer rely on advanced warning of solar activity, it would be better for me to sleep down here rather than relying on my dosimeter to wake me.

Choosing one of the bunks randomly, I stripped off my suit and lay back, trying to get some rest. I knew that another long day awaited me: I still had to strip Prosperity of everything that might possibly of use to me, food in particular. They would be no resupply missions where I was going.

My thoughts turned to Earth and I found myself wondering what was going through the minds of my friends back there.

Would Froemone have guessed the true identity of Kerski the rogue asteroid miner yet? Would the Board be tracking Station LDRO with every single radio and infrared telescope that was available to them? Probably. This was my greatest concern, since the rest of my plan relied on everyone involved being absolutely convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was about to dash the Station – myself included – into the Moon.

Sleep did not come, so in the end I gave up and began hunting through the crew module's lockers for a pencil and paper. After several drawers full off dehydrated food and first aid supplies, I eventually found what I was looking for, and I began to write.

Hours later, my watch beeped softly, letting me know that just 24 hours remained until Lunar impact. I rubbed my eyes, exhausted, and read back through what I had written with satisfaction.

I was ready to become immortal.

zJgYoKm.png

 

YEAR 15, DAY 340. CAMWISE.

Seen from Earth, the Moon would be gibbous waning.

When my watch ticked down to zero, marking the precise moment at which perilune would occur, Luna would be casting her cold light across the west coast of America, as well as most of Africa and Europe. I hoped that the weather would be kind to my audience, and that Earth's clouds would not obscure what was about to play out. If I was to die, I wanted lots and lots of witnesses.

My watch beeped again. Half an hour until impact.

It was time.

Spoiler

 

lZlvbKV.png

 

Station LDRO was about to sweep across the Lunar disc. Once it did, it would become completely invisible to any telescope attempting to track it in the visible spectrum, concealed by the glare of our natural satellite.

As the station plunged towards the surface from its highly elliptical orbit, backscatter from the Moon's surface would also hinder any attempt to see the station with radio waves. In theory, at least.

However, the impact of a one hundred tonne structure travelling at hypersonic velocity would be clearly visible to anyone who happened to glance at the Moon at the right moment, even with the naked eye.

Firing the attitude thrusters, I reorientated the station and opened the main antenna for one last transmission towards Earth. I cranked it up to full power, hoping that the rumours of my defection had spread across the globe already. Remote research stations, independent prospecting companies, isolated settlements... all of these had antennae that could conceivably listen in on the message I was about to transmit. And I counted on it falling into as many ears as possible.

xhSglJM.png

I held the notes I had prepared in one trembling hand, and flicked the microphone open nervously with the other.

“Fellow Kerbals...” I began. For a moment, I hesitated as I looked up (down?) at the Earth through the lander's viewport, and the implications of what I was about to say began to strike home. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and continued anyway.

“My name is Camwise. I was the Senior Engineer of Omelek Space Centre in the Pacific Ocean, but some of you may remember me as a member of the first crew to orbit Mars.

I am speaking to you from the Lunar station funded and launched by the Trans Pacific Resource Company. I do not have time to explain how, but two days ago I took control of this station and forced the rest of the crew to evacuate. As I speak, they are safely on their way back to Earth.

I then modified the station's orbit so that it will crash into the surface of our Moon and be destroyed. This impact will occur within a few minutes. If you look carefully, you will all be able to see a brief flash of light between Mare Nubium and Mare Humorum: that's just below the Kerb-in-the-Moon's mouth for those of you who are not familiar with our satellite's topography...

The resulting crater will be visible with most decent telescopes for all eternity, at least for all practical purposes. I apologise in advance to the astronomers amongst you. You're going to have to make a slight correction to some of your maps. Sorry for the extra work. But look on the bright side: it's not like I will be bothering you again.

But before I run out of time, I must tell you why I'm doing this.

rIE3ueb.png

By now, I'm sure that many of you will have understood that the Resource Companies don't have your best interests at heart. In fact, they don't give a damn whether you live or die in the most miserable conditions imaginable. As long as you pay for their oil, their gas, their metals, and as long as the price is right, their race to the bottom will continue.

I have seen this with my own eyes. When I got back from Mars, the Resource Companies accused me of misuse of their property and sentenced me to serve on board an Icecrawler in Antarctica. There, I witnessed firsthand the cruelty of a system where those who are complicit live, and those who are unfortunate enough to be insolvent die.

The Resource Companies will not hesitate to eliminate those who question their methods. The second crewed mission to Mars failed to return, and this was no accident. It was never the Board's intent to get them home safely. Let me remind you of their names. They were Principal Investigator Bartdon, Chief Pilot Munvey, Chief Engineer Karanda, Assistant Investigator Desfal, Second Engineer Mitzon and... Second Pilot Lisabeth.

Remember them, please.”

My voice came to within a fraction of breaking point. Tears came and floated away across the lander's cockpit, uncaring physics robbing me of their warmth. But I found new resolve.

“Whatever your beliefs are, and regardless of whether you are the top of the pyramid or deep down in the basement, you must have realised by now that there is a better way of doing things.

You see, I'm trying to show you that the Resource Companies are not invincible. Their plans can be thwarted. Look, I'm just one poor guy with a grudge acting on my own and making all of this up as I go along, and I managed to bring down their greatest asset. A station that they have been working on for years.

But this is just the beginning. Once I'm gone, it's your turn.”

JWZYs3l.png

I looked up at Earth once more: from here the planet looked so distant, so uncaring, so aloof. I suddenly found my self shouting.

“Rise! Rise, Kerbals! You must resist!

We have a deadline, and the Companies have already wasted too much time! They are only interested in applying their business model to the rest of the Sol system. Remember the Martian Transmission. You must reach the outer planets, and you have only six years left.

Forget Jupiter. It's impossibly hostile. The radiation belts would make any crewed mission there sheer insanity. Go for Saturn. There are many moons there where one of the alien constructs may be hiding.

This station is not at all necessary to accomplish that goal. Take Madang. Use the new thrusters and nuclear reactors that we have developed. Waste no time. Launch and assemble a craft in Earth orbit directly. Sun-dive at the next opportunity and get a delegation of sane Kerbals to the ringed planet. If you can do this, we might yet avoid becoming extinct as a species.

I'm counting on you all. Citizens, settlement governors, independent company employees... but most of all I'm counting on all of you who are on the payroll of the Big Three. You are the only ones with the power to bring down the Resource Companies from the inside and make this happen before it is too late.

Camwise, out.”

I cut the microphone and closed the dish. At least I had tried. I was on my own now.

Firing the attitude thrusters again, I flipped the station so that the remaining core modules of Prosperity were facing downwards. As the Moon loomed into view through the top of the window I was startled at how much closer the surface appeared compared to when I had last looked, mere minutes previously. Perilune was not far off.

h16Inu2.png

It was time to see if my calculations were correct, or literally dead wrong.

I tripped a switch on the remote command station that I had set up to release Station LDRO's forward docking port. The immense bulk of Prosperity floated free and began to inch away from the station on her own trajectory.

w2OgtAy.png

Ijl3CuJ.png

There was no time to lose. I used the feeble thrusters to push away from Prosperity with agonising slowness, and then flipped the station one last time so that the lander's main engine was facing downwards.

7s3U3Lh.png

By the time this whole procedure had played out, I began to see the details of the Lunar surface through the window at my feet: the very smallest craters and individual boulders all gliding past at improbable speed. The lander's radio altimeter, which until now had been pointing silently into space, began its rhythmic ping with vengeance.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

I grabbed the lander's throttle and prepared to expend the small amount of fuel I had managed to squeeze out of the cryocoolers in the previous two days. If it wasn't enough, there would soon be two more craters on the Moon for the astronomers to map. In the nightmares that had haunted me during the previous night, the had engine had failed to fire...

Beep...beep...beep...

rTWRgkQ.png

...but the reassuring push of thrust kicked in straight away and the station began to pull away from Prosperity. Rocks and dust whirled past in a grey blur just hundreds of metres below. The relative speed was twice that of a hypersonic airliner, but up close and personal and in complete, deathly silence. I had never witnessed anything like it.

Ten Seconds... Twenty seconds... and the rockets sputtered out. Bingo fuel already? Dammit, that was a short burn. Would it be enough?

plYVKq1.png

Beepbeepbeep...

I gazed down in horrified fascination as I realised that the two dark marks that I had noticed a few moments earlier were the shadows of Prosperity and Station LDRO, creeping closer across the surface with each passing second. When they caught up, it would be like matter touching antimatter, canceling each other out in a flash of instant oblivion.

dBPtgNZ.png

Whose stupid idea was this already, Cam?

Bipbipbipbip...

OICcwv5.png

The shadows chased us, closing in on Prosperity first as they danced up and down on the rough terrain of the highlands. Then the slope became steeper, and in a final surge Prosperity's shadow hunted her down.

eB2R8eq.png

Her docking lights illuminated the dust for the briefest of moments. Then she was gone, swept away astern in a blinding flash of light that was quickly obscured by a wall of regolith spewing out into the void...

0PP2lQ7.png

Bibibibibi..!

...but it wasn't over. With the great mining ship down, the second shadow danced closer still and showed no sign of giving up the chase.

YKtUUWg.png

When at last it seemed like I could almost reach out and touch it, a great calm descended upon me. I then knew without a doubt that I had cut it too close, and was about to be snuffed out of existence unceremoniously within the next tick of the great cosmic clock.

7ecdKhs.png

Beeeeeeeeep!

Perilune.

Station LDRO swept over the final crest and into the Sea of Humidity. The ground fell away abruptly, the dizzying motion blur receded and sanity was restored once more.

I spluttered and retched as my ability to breathe was restored after what seemed like an eternity. I looked out across the Mare towards the highlands beyond, and sobbed in wonder at the stunning landscape that unrolled before me.

6ijFY1j.png

In that moment, I was just a tiny, stupid Kerbal sitting in his puny little ship, unworthy of beholding such majestic beauty.

But a living Kerbal.

I had made it. The flash and the crater left by the demise of Prosperity would be apparent proof that I had executed my threat. My egress from Lunar orbit would be covered by a cloud of rocks and debris from the impact, dashed out along a similar orbit to my own and rendering any attempt to track the remaining modules of the station fruitless.

uaKJRFn.png

All I had to do was burn and escape once I was hidden on the farside.

MfJ9RaO.png


YEAR 16, DAY 6. CAMWISE.

In a single stroke, I had become both the perfect martyr, and free to roam the Sol system unnoticed and unhindered.

Which was good, because I was already planning to go steal more of the Company's stuff.

My short burn on the farside had pushed me out into a wide geocentric orbit that swung past the Moon once more just over a month later. During this time I busied myself with making more fuel and assessing my choice of escape burns. After disconnecting the antenna's transmitter, I also tuned in to mission control every day in an attempt to glean information on what was happening back on Earth.

GT5ephO.png

Samrod, Anline and the other Kerbals who had escaped from the station had made it back safely. Apparently, no revolution had yet occurred from within the Trans Pacific Resource Company. Had I really expected any other result from my plea for rebellion?

Spoiler

 

esvQjxx.png

wn5j1yQ.png

8B6MbZD.png

 

And beyond this, nothing. The radio chatter I listened in to gave no inkling that mission control even acknowledged that something had gone wrong. If they had new projects now that their station was gone, they were keeping it tightly under wraps.

After much cursing and struggling with the auto-navigation console, I had determined that my best option was to eject from the Earth-Moon system during my next close pass over the Lunar surface, and then make a small correction burn in deep space.

8oNRMCY.png

nqkZKfk.png

Then, because I was so far from the optimal transfer window to my target, I would have a massive three klick per second burn to accomplish to slow down when I got there. How the hell I was going to squeeze such a large amount of delta-vee from this sorry excuse for a spaceship within the space of a few days was anyone's guess. The only good news – the fact that I had another eight months to figure it out – was also bad news. I had the best part of another year to go before I even got to pick up the gear I needed.

Well, whatever. It's not as if I'm looking forward to see that dump of an asteroid again. Let's just hope that it's still where I left it.

Cf8cnwf.png


 

Edited by UnusualAttitude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Woah, clever. Very clever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel sorry for Froemone, everything he builds seems to get slammed into a planet or moon and destroyed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Camwise plays the long game very well. Glad to see these keep coming! Hopefully you have many more left in you before they stop :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

“Rise! Rise, Kerbals! You must resist!

L'étandard sanglant est levé!  Aux armes, citoyens! 

(crickets)

Damn....  Well, it was a good try, Cam.

 

5 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

When they caught up, it would be like matter touching antimatter, canceling each other out in a flash of instant oblivion.

That is a great saying worthy of all kerberos to be received.  I shall have to steal it :wink:

 

5 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Station LDRO swept over the final crest and into the Sea of Humidity

"Sea of Humidity"..?  I thought that was the Gulf of Mexico :D

 

5 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

In a single stroke, I had become both the perfect martyr, and free to roam the Sol system unnoticed and unhindered.

Which was good, because I was already planning to go steal more of the Company's stuff.

And Hell followed with him...

 

5 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

The only good news – the fact that I had another eight months to figure it out – was also bad news. I had the best part of another year to go before I even got to pick up the gear I needed.

Well, whatever. It's not as if I'm looking forward to see that dump of an asteroid again. Let's just hope that it's still where I left it.

Hopefully, in that time, a few friends will emerge from the shadows.  In the meantime, Cam, I hope you moon Earth out the window every daycycle :wink: 

Edited by Geschosskopf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After watching The Martian for the second time I realized something:

Camwise has hijacked and taken control of a ship, as well as several billion dollars worth of equipment and is operating it without authorization in outer space (international waters).

Space-Pirate-Smaller_Fotor.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Greatness101 said:

After watching The Martian for the second time I realized something:

Hmmm... we might be on to something here... What if Camwise only used pirate speak until the end of part five...?

“Aaaaar! I'm plunderin' this 'ere space frigate, Special Bilge Rat. Be ye blind? I say ye all find something to anchor yerselves to right now, savvy?”

“Here's th' deal, Samrod. I be sailin' westwards and I will continue t' do so until th' perilune o' this ship drops 'neath th' Lunar waves, we'll keel-haul ye, to be sure! If me calculations be correct t'will strike a ridge betwixt Mare Nubium and Mare Humorum at five-thousand two 'undred knots. I'll welcome yer company if ye want t' come along fer th' voyage, but I do suggest ye weigh anchor if ye don' want' visit Davey Jones Locker, ye Earthlubber!"

15 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

L'étandard sanglant est levé!  Aux armes, citoyens! 

(crickets)

Damn....  Well, it was a good try, Cam.

I think I've (mis)quoted this before, but here it is again:

"Des kerbals poussaient, une armée verte, vengeresse, qui germait lentement dans les sillons, grandissant pour les récoltes du siècle futur, et dont la germination allait faire bientôt éclater la terre."

It's the final paragraph of Emile Zola's Germinal. In the original quote, I assume that he meant that social progress is a long, slow process, but an inevitable one. Patience, cricket. The seeds have been planted.

Edited by UnusualAttitude

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.