Ultimate Steve

Voyage - The Final Warning (Chapter Twelve - Jool, in its Majesty)

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Posted (edited)

 

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Three Planets.

Two large, one small.

Two Species.

One on a path to destruction, one on the road to the stars.

One chance.

One chance for a future.

 

 

Prologue: This is Planet Earth

Spoiler

Jebediah Kerman was standing on the stage at the front of the council chamber. Not just any council chamber. This was the chamber of the galactic council - a tremendous space station orbiting just above Sagittarius A. The space station was comprised of four modules - a reverse time dilation device invented by the Illasticonians, a docking array several kilometers long, a simple quantum device to derive power from the black hole below, and, of course, the council chamber - a room with four tiers of 25 seats each, for a total of 100 seats. There was also the aforementioned stage. Atop it stood a podium and microphone. This is where Jebediah Kerman, member seventy nine of the Galactic Council currently stood, nervously.

The council itself was composed of eighty-six members, each a representative of their species. The council had been established eons ago after the great war between the Illasticonians and the Ziquunods. Neither of them won the war. They eventually decided to band together all of the intelligent life in the galaxy and attempt to maintain the peace. It worked. Most of the time.

Fast forward a few hundred years. The council had eighty-six members. Meetings were held at Sagittarius A every Ziquunodian year, or somewhere around that time. Which, Jebediah concluded, must really stink for the Jslans, who lived 0.8 Ziquunodian years on average. This meeting was different, however. It had been called on short notice only a few Kerbal days before the actual annual meeting was to occur. It was nearly unheard of, which is why Jebediah was so nervous to be standing before the Galactic Council.

"Members of the Galactic Council," boomed the Quiiiiizniuvo representative, "There is no point in delaying this announcement any further. You are all eager to hear what I have to say." There was a brief pause. "For the first time in twenty nine Illasticonian years, the stargazers at the Galactic Observatory have discovered another planet where intelligent life forms exist." There was a long chorus of gasps. Someone shouted "Why didn't you follow protocol and wait for the actual meeting? Then we could prepare the welcoming armada and do this properly!"

"Representative Hess, no questions please. That does happen to be exactly what I was going to talk about, however. This species has been seemingly hanging on for years, turned against themselves. Their world is rampant with discrimination and injustice. The seven billion members have divided the planet up amongst themselves, into territories. Some of these territories coexist in peace. Others? Not so much. Their entire planet has been involved in at least two massive wars, and possibly more. The second ended with the use of one of our forbidden weapons - the type which unleash the power of the nucleus!" The crowd let loose another tremendous gasp. "As if this wasn't enough, after the war these territories began assembling more of these forbidden weapons - Peaking at over fifty thousand warheads!" Another gasp. "And today, some of those are mounted on tremendous missiles - and given the right circumstances, they could annihilate everyone on the planet in a matter of minutes! This world is indeed sitting on thin ice."

"Excuse me, representative Xanth," spoke Jebediah into the microphone, "But I would like to know exactly what I have to do with this."

"Of course, representative Jebediah. I believe I have gone on enough about this specie's shortcomings. We have determined that our traditional welcoming method will not work on them. We intend to bring them to a peaceful state and include them into the Galactic Society of United Planets.. This is where you come in."

"Me?"

"Yes, representative Jebediah. Way back when the Council was established, it was determined that every violent species that we encounter would be given a test - a Final Warning, if you will. A test to see if they could unify themselves to accomplish a common goal - and become peaceful. Fortunately, we have only encountered four species violent enough to be considered for this method. Three of them have now been integrated into the Council."

"And the fourth?"

"They failed the test sent for them. It was the easiest test out of the four, and it ended with the species rebelling, declaring anarchy, and stealing the Hiuuns spaceships. They ended up destroying themselves. No intervention required."

"I'm sorry, sir, but I still do not understand what I have to do with anything."

"Jebediah Kerman, whenever this happens a species from the Galactic Council is randomly selected to create and execute the test. When you return to Kerbin, you will find the full guidelines for this test in your personal office. The test will start in forty of your Kerbal days. If the species of that planet succeed in the test you administer, they will be integrated into the Galactic Council. If they fail, but become more peaceful as a result, we will leave them alone but monitor them. If they become more violent as a result of this test, and begin to reach for the stars with their violent ways, we will have no other choice. They must be eliminated." Thousands of thoughts raced through Jebediah's head. Why? He didn't want to be responsible for the death of the species. But what if he made it too easy? What if he made it too hard? There were so many ways this could all go wrong. He secretly hoped to himself that this was all one nightmare.

"Jebediah, you are dismissed. I expect a report on your proposed test in thirty-five days. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir." Jebediah was handed a small piece of paper with some of the information about the species in question. They called themselves humans, and they lived on a planet they called Earth far out from the Galactic Observatory. They had two arms and two legs, were about twice the height of Kerbals, and had the same overall build as Kerbals, but they had much smaller heads and existed in a variety of colors, ranging from dark brown to pale white. Their system was home to either seven or eight other planets - the humans were even divided about that.

But the thing was - they had an extraordinary amount of creativity. They had created massive buildings and monuments even in their state of near destruction. They had gotten surprisingly far on the Galactic Index of Technology in the last two hundred years of their history - twice the previous record. The only problem was that it was not applied properly - instead of focusing on ensuring a future by building renewable energy plants (or quantum plants, but that was beyond their technology) they spent billions of their monetary units - called dollars, euros, pounds, yen, or whatever. each territory (called countries by the humans) had a different system for everything. The closest thing the countries had to a unified system was their measurement system, and yet one of the most powerful countries on the planet had completely rejected this idea. That same country spent over forty times as much on bullets and bombs than they did on space exploration. And the initial strive for space exploration had been because of political tensions - and earlier, the need to bomb targets from far away.

The galactic council seemed convinced that they were savages without hope. Jebediah was too, until he saw at the bottom of the paper, a single sentence.

"The humans of planet Earth have not only managed to land a few of their own kind on the Earth's natural satellite, but have managed to do it with a lower technology index than in all of recorded history."

When Jebediah Kerman returned to Kerbin from the council meeting a few days later, he made a speech to the entire planet. It began with four words.

"This is Planet Earth."

Image result for earthrise

 

 

 

Okay, the dramatic prologue is over!

Hey, I'm Ultimate Steve, and you may have seen me around here before, from my (many) posts, or maybe from my other mission reports, Project Intrepid and Nightmares. (BTW this is completely separate from Project Intrepid, which will continue.) This is my third mission report/dramatic story, Voyage - The Final Warning.

A few things to note:

  • This story takes place in a fictional universe where Kerbin and Earth both exist in the same galaxy.
  • There is also 85 other species in the same galaxy (including a few from the Magellanic Clouds).
  • Also, in this parallel universe, the game "Kerbal Space Program" does not exist.
  • The story will primarily be told from the perspective of a teenager from America named Ethan. There will also be scenes told as flashbacks in Italics, but if italics are too hard on anyone's eyes I can change that if people want me to. All you have to do is ask, I can divide the text up another way. :D
  • All of the parts are stock, and the mission (I know what you're thinking, "What mission?") will be done without cheating that actually affects the mission. I may use HyperEdit for special effects, as well as Kaboom! I also use KER and KAC although those won't play a big part in the story.
  • I'm going to somewhat exaggerate the problems we have on our planet for a bit, so please, don't take offense!
  • Any and all feedback is appreciated!
  • I was originally going to call this story "Odyssey," but I realized that there are at least two other active mission reports with "Odyssey" in the title.
  • The mission in this story was originally not going to be a mission report, but then I realized it would be nice as one. Some of the screenshots will have to be reconstructed, as I had no real reason to take many screenshots early on.

 

Enjoy!

 

Chapter One - The Earth is (not) a Sphere

Spoiler

"Ethan, are you ready?"

"Alonya, stop asking me that!" Sheesh, the truth was, the only reason she kept asking me that was because she was so nervous herself.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Alonya!" I really hope that she will stop. I mean, I am going to spend the next two-ish Earth years (About 6 Kerbin years) stuck inside a tin can with Alonya, Marie, Cheng, Jack, and, of course, Jeb, Bill, Bob, and Val. And the last four hadn't said a word to me yet.

Cheng began the countdown. "Second ejection burn starting in three. Two. One."

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My name is Ethan Edwards. I am fifteen Earth years old, and until recently I lived on planet Earth. Long story. I don't even know all of it. And I guess the only reason you are here is because you want the long story.

So, I'll start from the beginning.

It was April 29, 2017, and I was watching my school's performance of "The Seussical." In my opinion, it was well worth the five dollars I paid to get in. And I happened to be lucky enough to have been invited to sit next to - don't tell anyone - two of the girls I really, really, like. And then between acts, that idiot John tried to convince me that the moon landing was faked and that the Earth was flat. I replied as only a nerd could, trying to be reasonable but at the same time funny (hey, remember who I'm sitting next to!). So eventually, I said "I agree with you. The Earth is not a sphere." And he said something like "Finally, you see the truth! The Earth is fla-" and then I interrupted with "The Earth is in oblate spheroid, not a sphere nor a plane. I'm willing to bet ten bucks you don't even know what that means." (Yes! Giggles from Andrea and Winter!) And then he said something like "Well, if the Earth is round and there are more planets out there, which I doubt, then where are the aliens?" And then I was like "Either they haven't found us yet, or they are ignoring us. How do we know they won't show up in the next ten seconds?" And then he went "Because they haven't already!" (What an idiot. Poor kid.) "No aliens are going to show up in the next ten seconds, nor the next ten million years because the Earth is flat!"

And then guess what happened two seconds later? The aliens showed up.

Or, rather, they teleported everyone on Earth to their planet, which they call "Kerbin." We all panicked for a few seconds before gigantic holograms appeared. The holograms were of a strange alien person called "Jebediah Kerman" (who is now sitting a few feet away from me). He began a speech.

"People of Earth, my name is Jebediah Kerman. I am what you call an alien, and this is your Final Warning. I come from planet Kerbin, a small, super-dense planet on the other side of your galaxy. You are, in fact, currently standing upon Planet Kerbin." There was a pause as a ton of people looked down at their feet. "You are probably wondering what just happened. I, unfortunately, do not have the clearance to tell you exactly what has happened. I can tell you this: You are on planet Kerbin. All seven and a half billion of you. And the only way you can get home is to complete the test we have set before you. I ask that you will be kind to the planet you are on. You will be treated well by the inhabitants, the Kerbals, provided you treat them well. You will stay in the cities we have built for you. You should note that while you stay here, you will not age. When you complete the test, you will be sent back to your home planet. I am not allowed to disclose what will happen if you fail. Get settled in. I will present the details of the test to you in an hour."

At that, the holograms vanished. That hour was a bit of a blur for me, but I can tell you that there was a whole lot of fighting. Eventually, most of the people realized that they should stop. A few of them tried to convince the fighters that we were reflecting badly upon the human race. However, it was a bit hard to communicate, as all of the people from all of the different countries appeared to have been mixed up. For example, a Chinese person (I think he was Chinese, at least) spent a good deal of that hour trying to argue with me. It didn't work. Wait, how did we all understand the hologram? Was it some sort of universal translator?

About 45 minutes in, I decided to actually pay attention to my surroundings. We were standing inside a giant circular enclosure ringed by a cylinder of skyscrapers. I'd imagine that there had to have been dozens more of these cities - they were huge, yet they were nowhere big enough to hold seven billion people. It was about then that I realized I was alone. I hadn't seen a single person I knew. None of the people in the theater. No parents. No teachers. No sister. No - no Andrea, or Winter. Not even John.

Eventually, I ended up in an apartment in one of the skyscrapers. I don't know how I got there, but shortly after that, the holograms turned back on.

"Jebediah Kerman here, I am back. As I was saying, here is your test: You will send ten thousand of your best engineers and scientists to the stations at the edge of your city. There must be at least one from each of your old countries you had back on Earth. These people must be of all ages. The rest of you will live in these cities - you will be free to move between them. These ten thousand people will be in charge of building a spaceship that will travel to the distant planet Jool. The spaceship will visit all five moons, and return the eight crew members alive and well. You will have thirteen rocket launches. The rockets have already been manufactured - they are replicas of the active lifters you had on your planet, scaled down to have similar payload to orbit capacity on Kerbin as the real ones did on Earth. You may not conduct additional launches, and you must use all thirteen launches. All thirteen launches must contribute a piece to the spaceship you will build, and the spaceship may not break apart until it reaches Jool. The payload has not been designed yet, that is your job. There are more specific guidelines, of which I will go over when I talk to these the ten thousand people. For every guideline you break, you will be docked points. If you fall below a certain point value, you fail. I realize I am being very vague. Any specifics you desire will be provided on your communications device, which your species refers to as a "computer." These computers are located in your living units, which are located in the skyscrapers ringing your city. If I were you, I'd try to get to the top of the skyscrapers before anyone else does - the tops of the skyscrapers have very good views, I'm told. You may communicate between cities using your computer, and move between cities should you desire to. You are not our prisoners. You are our guests. You will send your engineers and scientists to the gates of your city within an hour. Kerbin wishes you all luck."

And then the hologram switched off, and there was once again stunned silence, followed by a roar of voices, some angry. Very angry. And me? The first thing I did was run to the elevators and snag the top apartment. It was a nice view - and, what? You could see the curvature of the planet from the building. I got on the futuristic looking computer in the corner of the room and looked up a few things, such as "radius of Kerbin" and "height of skyscrapers. Wow, Kerbin was tiny. Then, I tried out the communication features - and attempted to send messages to the people who I knew. Then I got a bit nauseous as the gravity of the situation hit me full on.

Every single person on Earth had been teleported to an alien planet, whose inhabitants have challenged our species to a space mission.

I got more and more nauseous at the thought, and I eventually threw up. Good thing these "Kerbals" had provided a bathroom with a toilet, sink, and shower. Whoever these Kerbals were, they had certainly gone through quite an effort to make the humans comfortable. These cities must have taken a ton of effort to build. The question was, why? Were they going to eat us? Were they trying to confine us to one planet? Wait, that didn't make sense. We were tasked with conducting a manned mission to Jool - whatever the heck Jool was.

I quickly searched Jool. It was a large, green gas giant and the fifth planet in the Kerbol system. I searched "Kerbol system." The Kerbol system had five planets and two dwarf planets. There was Moho, Eve, Kerbin, Duna, and Jool, with Dres and Eeloo thrown in there.

I searched "Moons in the Kerbol system." Gilly, moon of Eve. Ike, moon of Duna. The Mun and Minmus, moons of Kerbin. I quickly poked my head out of the window, and sure enough, there was the Mun. It looked a little bit like the Moon, but way bigger. Then I hit moons of Jool, the ones we supposedly had to conduct a mission to.

There was Laythe, a moon with an oxygen atmosphere and oceans made of... ammonia and water? There was Tylo, a Kerbin sized body that also looked like the Moon. There was Bop and Pol, tiny asteroids, and there was Vall, an ice world.

At that point, the power went out and my computer shut off. I looked out the window and there appeared to be a riot going on across the city, near what appeared to be a power conversion station. Suddenly, a bunch of flying things appeared, and used - force fields of some sort to repel the people. Almost as quickly as it had gone out, the power turned back on. Wait, where was this power even coming from? I took another look out the window. Upon closer inspection, the exteriors of the skyscrapers appeared to be completely covered with solar panels.

I have no idea what I was thinking, but for some reason I decided to go and check the situation with the engineers and scientists. Ten minutes later, I was at the so-called "station" at the edge of the city. It existed in a huge arch in the city wall. There was a single - Kerbal? Standing on a floating stage addressing the crowd.

"Attention everyone, we have now met our quota for engineers and scientists in the age range of 60-80. We have one hundred openings for people under 20, as well as two hundred openings for those over eighty. Those numbers are now 92 and 187. 84 and 162. Space is limited."

That was what the Kerbal said. Then, someone approached me and said, "Hey! Are you an engineer?"

Well, I sort of play orbiter, and I like legos, so I replied "Sort of."

And then he said "Well, right this way!" and then I was ushered into the station. Up until this point I had put no thought into what kind of station this was. I had subconsciously imagined it as a train station. But, oh, was I so wrong. As I entered the station, I was greeted by three rather large winged vehicles. A Kerbal took my name and age, then ushered me onto one of them. I was in shock the whole time - I couldn't believe - were these vehicles really -

And then my train of thought was interrupted by the pilot saying "Hello, Scott Kerman here, and this will be the first flight of the "Hype Plane" serial number 37. Please do not fasten your seatbelts, seatbelts take away from the experience. We will arrive at Kerbal Space Center in approximately thirty minutes after a brief suborbital hop. Standby for chamber ignition in three, two..."

What the...? Suborbital hop? Chamber ignition? Countdown? Was I actually on a -"

"One!"

And then, there was a roar as the rocket engine - An actual ROCKET ENGINE - ignited and catapulted the spaceplane out of the city limits, and into the air.

Little did I know, my adventure was only getting started.

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Edited by Ultimate Steve

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Ooo! This has a ton of potential, and i'm quite excited to see where it goes! I'm definitely hooked! :) 

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*frantically scrambles to like the post and follow the thread* 

I CAN TELL THAT IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!!! :D:D:D 

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This is going to good. Very good.

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Posted (edited)

:cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool::cool:

AWESOME!

I have never hear of ANY story like this, this is one of the most original Ideas I have ever heard. you are second on my list of favorite authors, first of course is CatastrophicFaliure:blush:

Edited by Alpha 360
"Kouston, we have several problems, but that doesn't matter so we want to continue on with the mission."

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This is a very unique twist.... nice! I look forward to more!  :)

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Can't wait to see how it goes...

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Wow... thanks for all of the kind words and support! It really means a lot to me, thanks!

@Alpha 360, thank you especially!

Oh, yeah, and here's chapter two. :D

 

 

 

Chapter Two - Pinch me, I'm Dreaming

Spoiler

"And, we have engine shutdown."

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"Shutdown is right! We barely have any fuel left over, Cheng!"

"Yeah, who's idea was it to make everything so heavy? We don't have nearly enough Delta-V to get home!"

"Both of you, we are doing perfectly fine on fuel! And it was Ethan's fault, not mine!"

"I don't consider having 1.5 kilometers per second remaining as "fine". I don't even think we could do it with three!"

"Calm down, Alonya! Remember the rules? We can reconfigure the ship once we get to Jool and ditch the empty fuel tanks!"

"It won't be enough."

"We can get a Tylo assist into Jool orbit easily enough, so capture is free. From there we need to enter a stable orbit and carry out our mission using the ion tug. Then, we'll still have 1km/s of delta v to get home with, which should be plenty given that we'll ditch the command section - "

"Ditch the command section? You're crazy!"

"It's seventeen tons we don't need! There are eight seats in the return module, and we can stand the cramped seats for six months - sorry, two Kerbin years - because all of Earth depends on it."

"And what about Jack?"

"We covered this already! He'll return on the Emerson!"

"You mean the one we repurposed as a space tug? Bad idea! We won't have any contingency for a low fuel situation, which is what we built Emerson for!"

Hey guys. Ethan here again, back to reality. As you can probably tell, we're running a bit low on fuel, but once we get to Jool, we should be fine. Should. You're probably wondering what the heck "Emerson" is. It's a long story, but I'll get to it eventually. I promise.

Where were we? Oh, yeah, we were on that spaceplane. Right before I met Evelina.

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I was screaming my head off for two reasons. One, it was generally a terrifying experience being in an untested spaceplane built by an alien race (the pilot did say "first flight"), and two, I was screaming with some amount of Joy. I was actually going to go into space! And I had a window seat! So I looked out the window and saw that Kerbin was definitely curving away. I tried to do some quick math in my head. If Kerbin was ten times smaller than Earth, then it should reasonably have an atmosphere to ten kilometers. Wait, but the gravity is roughly the same on Kerbin... What was Kerbin made of? Whatever it was, it must be denser than osmium! So, where did that put the edge of space?

"Hey, can you move your head?" asked someone from my right. "It's not every day you get to go into space, and I'd really like to see out of the window!"

I spun around in my seat to find a girl about my age, maybe a year or two older sitting in the seat next to me. "Oh, sorry," I said, "I've been really distracted these past two hours. I mean, who hasn't?"

"Yeah, I think a bit of window hogging is forgivable. Let's see, in the past two hours we've been abducted from our home planet, transported to an alien planet, and challenged to a space mission to compete for the survival of our species."

"Wait, go over that last part again?"

"We don't know for sure, but that's what I think it is. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?"

"You really think it's that sinister? I mean, they're being awfully nice to us. For example, I'm about to enter space!"

"This is your captain speaking. We have engine cutoff, and we have entered space!"

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"If this were a real plane, I would encourage you to fasten your seatbelts as we are currently spinning and in a zero gravity environment. However, as this is a spaceplane and you have never been to space before,"

"Actually, my name is Peggy Whitson, and I have been to space before!" shouted Peggy Whitson from a few rows back.

"Correction, most of you have not been to space before. Please do not fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your four minutes of zero gravity."

After that it was silent for a few seconds, and those who were not already by a window floated over to the windows. And half of the people in the plane vomited. Luckily, the Kerbals had stocked the plane with barf bags.

The seats were a bit cramped, as they appeared to have been made for Kerbals. The girl beside me got up out of her seat with a "WOOOOOHOOOO!!!!" and tried to do a zero gee backflip in the aisle. However, the ship was slowly spinning and she hit a wall and began to fall down the corridor due to the centrifugal force. And then she grabbed one of the overhead bins and pulled her way back to her seat, where the centrifugal force only pulled outward instead of down the corridor.

"Hey, can I have the window now, uh, what's your name?"

"Sure thing. It's Ethan."

"Evelina." With that, I switched places with Evelina and then she looked out the window the same way I had - with a sense of wonder and amazement.

"So, Evelina, where are you from?"

"Sweden. I mean, Kerbin now, I guess. We all are."

"Well, you speak excellent English."

"Thanks! You also speak excellent English, but that's understandable. You are an American, right?"

"Yes, I come from Illinois."

"That's a state, right?"

"Yep. Does Sweden have anything like states?"

"We have - well, had - 25 provinces and 21 counties. I think. Sometimes people also make a reference to the four historical Lands of Sweden."

"Thanks for the information, I don't really know anything about Sweden besides the fact that Wintergatan is based there."

"You know Wintergatan? Oh my goodness, I love Wintergatan! I went to one of their live concerts once! It was amazing! Favorite song from them?"

"Easily Starmachine 2000!"

"Me too! But the original where they used the modulin. I prefer it to the live version using the melodica after the key change. But, really, any live Wintergatan performance is awesome! And what a coincidence! One of the band members has the same name as I do!"

I was about to reply with something like "If I could have any instrument in the world, it would either be the marble machine or a modulin," but then the captain said:

"Attention passengers, we have entered the atmosphere."

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"You may experience gee forces up to ten times normal gravity. You may feel heat emanating from the forward section of the craft. I assure you that this is normal and you need not fasten your seatbelts."

I'm going to be completely honest, I almost fastened my seatbelt right there. Unfortunately, I got distracted a few seconds later when the airframe began vibrating and I thought I could see the melting wing out of the window.

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Scratch that, I'm pretty sure everything was melting at that point. Everyone began getting nervous.

"Scott Kerman, your pilot here, and we are experiencing heightened G forces. The maximum you may expect is now fifteen."

"Uh, Evelina, do you know how these "Kerbals" measure gravity?"

"Their gravitational units happen to be nearly the same as ours!"

"Well, then, I suggest that we - "

"Brace ourselves?"

"Yeah, that would probably be a good idea."

And then the whole plane sort of tilted sideways in a matter of milliseconds and I felt around fifteen gees. I think half of the people on the plane passed out. That lasted for about ten seconds. Evelina was one of the ones that actually did pass out, and her head ended up crashing into the seat in front of her. I really wanted to help her somehow, but I literally couldn't have moved if my life had depended on it. I feel really sorry for that poor guy who ended up in the aisle during all of this.

"This is your captain speaking, we have had a bit of a structural failure."

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The plane was now upside-down and I was on the roof, as was everyone. I shifted my eyes briefly towards the window and saw that one pair of wings had completely sheared off.

"This is your captain speaking. Thank you all for tolerating that minor turbulence. Due to an unfortunate turn of events, we have lost our neutral dihedral and it is now negative and we cannot roll back to vertical. We are going to landing mode eight and will attempt an upside-down water landing."

WHAT?!??!?

"Please fasten your emergency seatbelts located on the ceiling."

At the time I was thinking "We're all going to die! What idiot thought it would be a good idea to transport us on an untested spaceplane? What is the logic in that?!?!?"

Then Evelina came to and moaned "Ow, my head," shortly followed by "It's all a dream. It's all a dream. It's all a dream," before opening her eyes and looking at me and saying "Dang it. What did I miss?"

And I said "Fasten your seatbelt if you don't want to die!"

And then she looked out the window and screamed. I think. I'm not sure it was her, it might have been me.

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Most of the 128 humans on board were either screaming bloody murder or unconscious at this point. Thankfully, the plane wrecked plane was still watertight.

After things calmed down a little bit, the captain announced "I believe there is a saying on your planet, it goes something like "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing." Unfortunately, as far as I know, none of you can walk on water..."

"What the heck just happened?" asked a seriously freaked out Evelina.

"We just rode an alien suborbital spaceplane into space, which then crash landed in an alien ocean."

"Pinch me, I'm dreaming." I pinched her. "Ow! Nobody is ever serious when they say that!"

"Well, now you know you're not dreaming, Evelina."

"Well, Ethan, I'm pretty sure this will go down in history as the weirdest day of my life."

"Really? Just "pretty sure?" I think that's pretty much a given for all seven billion of us."

And then we both started giggling. It grew into uncontrollable laughter. From the back of the plane someone yelled "Hey, pilot! Why haven't they fired you yet? Nothing should crash this badly this often!"

Scott Kerman's response was "Here on Kerbin, crashes aren't disasters. They are Tuesdays."

=======================================================================

Eventually, the boat showed up and we were all brought onto land near the space center. It was the first time I had been to any sort of actual space center - and the design of it made almost no sense whatsoever. I mean, there was only one launch pad. If it got destroyed, then nothing could launch for a few months as it was repaired. And if the pilot was right, and crashes were "Tuesdays," it must happen often. There was a giant vehicle assembly building - only a few hundred meters away from the pad. It could also be easily destroyed. And all of the other important buildings were within two kilometers of the pad! It literally made no sense! The runway was literally used to store planes, as well. Fifty of the so called "Hype Planes" were sitting on the runway, crowded in there. As I watched, another one landed on the runway and stopped a few meters short of the plane in front of it.

We were being herded towards the flagpole area, which was in front of some sort of arc shaped building. There was a flag on the flagpole.

120px-Kerbinmunflag.png

Once all ten thousand of us were in front of the building with the flagpole, a stage rose out of the ground with four Kerbals on it. Three of them looked alike and one of them looked different - At the time I guessed that she was a member of the other gender of Kerbals. I was right.

"Attention all engineers, this is Jebediah Kerman speaking. These are my good friends Bill, Bob, and Valentina Kerman. I realize you are all very angry and confused. I know you want answers. Some of the answers can be found on the provided computer devices after I am done with this speech. Please use good conduct. You may regret it if you don't."

There was a murmur from the crowd. Some of them appeared to be considering the option of fighting. It was ten thousand versus four.

"Welcome to the Kerbal Space center, where you will work on the test we have set before you. First off, you will be divided into thirteen teams, and each team will be in charge of designing one section of the Jool mothership. This mothership will be constructed in a low Kerbin orbit below 120 kilometers and must stay in one piece between when the engines are lit for the escape burn and the arrival in Jool Orbit. Also, don't consider trying to fight your way out of here. We have taken certain precautions. For example, we are not really here, we are merely holograms. Each of the thirteen teams will be assigned one of the carrier rockets we have built. Each team will have thirty days to build a piece of - "

Everyone went into outrage at that. Thirty days? Nobody had ever built a spacecraft in such a short time. This was looking more and more hopeless by the second.

"Silence! As I was saying, each team will have thirty KERBIN days, which are only six of your hours long to build their part of the spaceship. Each section will be made up of parts we have prefabricated - engines, structural beams, etcetera. It is up to you to assemble them in any way you see fit. A few more important things, you may not modify the lifters unless you clear it with us, each module will be subject to inspection by us, and each module will launch over a two day period, one module every thirty minutes as your mothership orbits the planet. The mothership will contain eight beings - four humans, and four Kerbals. The four Kerbals will be Bill, Bob, Valentina, and myself. Bill, Bob, and I will launch into space on the first module. The rockets we built for you have been given numbers, and you may only launch one of them out of order. In order to successfully complete the mission, a human must have walked on each of the five moons of Jool. Samples of the surface are preferred. It does not have to be the same person for each landing. The four space travelers from the human race will be selected by us at a later date. It is also important to note that none of the objects launched on this mission should interfere with Kerbin's own space missions. After the thirty days you may stay at the space center at mission control, or you may travel between any of the hundreds of cities we have built for you. In case you were curious, most Kerbals live underground."

The murmuring continued during the pause in Jebediah's speech. Some thought the prefabricated parts would make everything easier. Some still thought that the task was impossible. I personally thought it could be done - wasn't this close enough to what we did with the international space station?

"One final thing - there will be no communication allowed between the thirteen teams beyond a five minute meeting of 130 select members - ten from each team. "

Wait, what?

"You all heard me. You all will find a custom built cellular communications device in your pockets. It will tell you what team you are on, and if you have been selected for the 130 member meeting. The meeting will start in about thirty seconds. That is all. Jeb out."

With that, the hologram disappeared, leaving everyone slightly more confused and hopeless than they had started out as.

"Ethan?" asked Evelina, who I had honestly forgotten was beside me.

"Yeah?"

"What team are you on? I appear to be on team one, with the Ariane 5 rocket, whatever the heck that is."

"Oh. One second." I pulled out my "cellular communication device" (alien smartphone) and the first thing it decided to tell me was that I was indeed on team one, Ariane 5, and that I had been selected for the all-too-important planning meeting. I briefly wondered why and then opened my mouth to tell Evelina that I would be on the same team as her. I would have told her how glad I was to be working with her, and that I had to go to the meeting that was starting in a few seconds. But then I was teleported into the meeting room. It had a long table with presumably 130 seats. There was a large countdown timer hanging from the wall. I, and the other 129 members of the meeting, were sitting in surprisingly comfortable chairs. Almost instantly everyone stood up and began arguing, not at all about the design of the spaceship. About thirty seconds in, the first punch was thrown. And it became somewhat of a free for all.

The next three minutes made me ashamed of my species. Absolutely no productive work got done. Unless somebody did something, we would almost certainly fail. And then, I thought "Hey! I'm somebody!" and made my way to the head of the table, dodging punches all the while. During some of that I found a piece of paper that had (presumably) been teleported into my pocket.

1. Ariane 5 - 17t
2. Atlas V 441 - 12t
3. Delta IV Heavy - 30t
4. Falcon 9 - 10t
5. HII-A - 13t
6. Long March 2F - 6t
7. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle XL - 3t
8. Soyuz 2 - 5t
9. Vega - 1.5t
10. Antares - 2t
11. Proton M - 30t
12. Shavit - 1t
13. Pegasus - 0.25t

I mean, I didn't memorize it all right then and there. That would have been a waste of time. I could tell a few things from the short glance I got. It was a list of the thirteen lifters, along with presumably payload to low Kerbin orbit. And although the payloads were close to the Earth values for the lifters, they weren't the same. I made my way towards the microphone at the front of the room, which nobody had seemed to notice.

"EVERYBODY SHUT UP!"

That certainly got a few people's attention, but the vast majority of them thought winning their fight was more important than the future of humanity. So, how did I get their attention?

Image result for microphone feedback

Yeah. Ow. I think everyone in there lost a year of hearing. But it needed to be done. Then I started screaming like a drill sergeant.

"Now that I have your attention, we have less than two minutes to plan this mission! So, common sense. The heavy lifters will lift the propulsion modules. The lighter ones will deal with landers. I don't know what size docking ports we'll be able to use, 0ut the core, which will be the fuel, engines, and crew quarters will use a medium to large prefabricated port size. Use your best judgement when choosing, I don't know what parts we'll get. On top will be a docking port the next size down for mounting antennas and stuff. There will be radially mounted ports of that same size around the ship! Everyone got it?"

"What gives you, an idiotic underage American, the authority to tell us how to conduct a space mission?" shouted a large Chinese man. Wait, how did translation work in here? I could hear everyone in English. Oh, well. Not the time. We had about a minute left.

"I don't see you helping. So, everyone listen up."

"Objection!" said another person. I ignored her for the sake of humanity.

I quickly glanced at the list in my hand and made some hasty assumptions based on launch order and payload to orbit. I screamed "Assignments: Ariane 5 will launch the living and command section. Atlas will launch a large fuel tank and a robotic arm to dock things. Speaking of fuel, if it is available, we will use a hydrogen fueled nuclear thermal rocket for propulsion. If there is something more high tech that is not as low thrust as an ion engine, we will use it. If none of those exist, we will go with cryogenic hydrolox!"

"Nucelar thermal rockets? I want to know what he's drinking!"

"Delta Four! More fuel and a small lander for Bop and Pol! Falcon Nine! Tylo lander! H-II-A! A Laythe lander of sorts, and if you have space, a crew return vehicle!"

"Again, we are not going to let our plan be decided by a ten year old babbling idiot!" I ignored him again. Ten years old? I was easily five foot ten and a high school freshman!

"Long March team, you've got the Vall lander." We had about fifteen seconds left, so I tired to speed up. "PSLV, communications! Soyuz, the crew!" At this point, someone tried to wrestle the microphone out of my hand. It was about five seconds before I managed to get it back with just enough time to say "Protonlaunchtheengineseveryoneelsemakesomethingupgoodluckthefutueofhumanitydependson-"

And then we were each teleported to our respective teams, with no communication allowed between the teams for the next thirty days. The ten people, including me, who played witness to the meeting were now on a stage at the front of a giant underground hangar, hangar number one, according to the giant sign hanging from the ceiling. Throughout the room there was a multitude of pallets - full of the aforementioned prefabricated parts. 297 pallets, to be exact. Some of them contained dozens of a part, like the solar panel pallet, and some of them contained a single part - like the one with the giant fuel tank on it. They each had plaques in front of them with a part name, number, manufacturer and description inscribed into them. Along the side of the massive room were around eight hundred... apartments? There were about four hundred per side. There were also forklifts, meeting rooms, tool tables, and at the very back of the room, there was the replica Ariane 5, standing on the ground, and a movable scaffold a few meters away.

BNTg8vN.png?1

I observed all of that in about five seconds, still frozen about to say "-you." Everyone was eagerly staring at the stage. Evelina was standing at the base of the stage. She asked me "So, how'd it go?"

I replied "Umm..." and then all of a sudden a Kerbal appeared alongside the ten of us that were onstage.

"I need the name of the person in charge of Group One." The same man that had tried to discredit me as a "ten year old idiot" raised his hand, as did six of the other members. Darn, why did I have to be in a group with him?

"Woah, that's a lot of you. New question - who here is the least qualified to be in charge of a space mission?"

 

Every single person on the stage pointed to me.

 

The Kerbal looked at me and said "What's your name, human?"

"Ethan Edwards." The Kerbal paused and turned to address the crowd.

 

"Attention everyone, this is Ethan Edwards. He will be the leader of Team One."

 

This day was simultaneously becoming the weirdest, worst, and best day of my life.

But that title would change hands many times during the rest of that month.

Oh boy, so many times.

 

 

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Haha! Upside down emergency water landing! 

If a crash is a Tuesday, is an explosion on the pad a Monday? Also, WHO NEEDS SAFETY WHEN YOU HAVE SCIENCE?! 

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Scott Kerman's response was "Here on Kerbin, crashes aren't disasters. They are Tuesdays."

:D

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Brilliant. 

*cue applause* 

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This is definitely a weird twist... I like it!  :D

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Such a kerbal way of management! 

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Someone should launch some adapters. There's no guarantee that they'll all use the same size docking ports. 

Also, what about launch failures outside the humans' control? Do they get a backup rocket?

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Again, thank you all for the kind words! I wasn't expecting such a response!

On ‎5‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 6:13 AM, KAL 9000 said:

Someone should launch some adapters. There's no guarantee that they'll all use the same size docking ports. 

Also, what about launch failures outside the humans' control? Do they get a backup rocket?

For your first question, yeah. Someone should. Either that, or everyone will think someone else did, and nobody will! :D

As for your second question, I suppose if the rocket gets Krakened or something (Hmm, I wonder how the humans will explain that!) then they would get another try if it's truly a freak of the universe. But, otherwise, nope. They will have "simulators," though.

 

If at any time I offend anyone, please let me know and I can change the story. I promise that my intent is not to offend anyone.

 

 

Chapter Three - Follow the Leader

Spoiler

8vBBAHf.png

“See? Problem solved, Cheng. We still have 2.5km/s of Delta V.”

“How? I had the computer run the calculations four times, Marie! We have about one and a half!”

“Uh, I pumped all of the fuel from the forward tanks to the rear tanks. It appears we forgot to turn on crossfeed on a few of the docking ports.”

Jack interjected “Man, these Kerbals are engineering wizards. If only Earth had tubing that could transport liquid hydrogen through narrow spaces with zero boiloff.”

“And yet the Kerbals can’t make fuel tanks that have a wet to dry mass ratio of more than fifteen," added Alonya.

“Uh, are we supposed to encounter Minmus in two minutes? I didn’t see anything about that in the mission profile," I said.

“Agh! Cheng, plot a course correction burn.”

“And why should I take orders from you, Marie?”

“Because plotting a course correction is the logical thing to do, of course.”

“Marie, your kind are idiots.”

“Woah, woah, woah! We all specifically told you to tone down your racism, Cheng! Don’t make us toss you out the airlo-”

“Can it, Jack!”

"Anyone who thinks Cheng should stop bugging Marie about her skin color, raise your hand." Everybody in the ship raised their hands, including the Kerbals (except Bill, who appeared to be sleeping).
“You’re reflecting badly upon our species. And, sorry to break it to you, but Marie is way smarter than you.”

“Oh, really?”

“What is the formula for delta-v?”

“I doubt you know it, Jack.”

“I asked you a question.”

“Uh… cheese is equal to the square root of how much the thing weighs?”

“Delta-Vee is equal to the velocity of the exhaust multiplied by the natural logarithm of the full mass divided by the dry mass," replied Marie.

“Any idiot can memorize that!”

“Exhaust velocity squared is equal to the ratio of the specific heats times the exhaust flow specific gas constant times the combustion chamber temperature times open brackets one minus open another set of brackets the nozzle exit pressure divided by the combustion chamber pressure, end subbracket, to the power of the ratio of specific heats minus one divided by the ratio of the specific heats. End bracket. Divide that all by the ratio of specific heats minus one.”

“What?”

“That is the simplified formula for calculating exhaust velocity.”

“You show him, Marie!”


Hi, Ethan here again. Welcome back to my really long story. Uh, as you probably guessed, we sort of fixed the fuel problem, but we have a Minmus problem now. Also, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, our pilot, Cheng, is really racist. And Marie just happens to have a dark skin color, and Cheng can’t seem to get over that.

Hopefully, by the time we get to Jool it will all be sorted out. I have no idea what was going through those Kerbals heads when they decided to put Cheng on the same mission as Marie.

If he doesn't change, I think there's a strong chance that Jack will throw him out the airlock. If I don't first.

Just kidding. We'd only lock him in the light lander for a few days.

 

So, the long story continues.

 

I was onstage still and the other nine people with me all thought it was a good idea to try and tackle me.

"Get the kid!" shouted the big Chinese dude who thought I was ten years old.

And, oh boy did they get me. I was underneath the pile for a solid ten seconds, struggling to breathe, until someone made them stop with the very same microphone trick that I used. Apparently, there was a microphone on the stage that I hadn't noticed, which was perfectly understandable under the circumstances of the last three hours.

"Hey, first off, pick on someone your own size! Second of all, punch him one more time and I drop this." At this point, I couldn't see what the person was holding, but my attackers all got off of me right then and there. When I opened my eyes a few seconds later, I saw Evelina standing over me hefting a large white cylinder that said "BIG ROCKET THING - DO NOT DROP" in big red letters on the side.

Part image
"Hey. You okay?" she asked.

"Owwww," I said with a groan."

"You owe me one. Psst. Everyone's looking at you. You might want to tell us all what we're going to do. Nobody here has a plan. At all."

"Nobody anywhere has a plan, except for the one I came up with in five seconds, and I'm pretty sure nobody will follow it. Also, I think we're even now. I did give you the window seat."

"Save my life, then we'll talk. Better to have a bad plan than no plan. So, your inspirational speech?"

"Uh... Yeah. What the heck are you holding?"

"Long story. Plan first, story later. Got it?" She gently set the "big rocket thing" down and offered me her hand to help me up. I accepted it.

"Got it." I stumbled over to the microphone. My legs and arms and, well, my everything hurt all over.

When I was almost to the microphone, the Chinese dude reached over, grabbed me by the collar of my shirt and said "This isn't over, Kid!"

 

A few seconds later, the microphone was in my hand and 800 pairs of eyes were on me.

"Uh, hi. As you probably heard, my name is Ethan." I probably sounded like an idiot. "Uh, I realize I probably sound like an idiot right now," Oops. Did I say that out loud? "But, uh..." Crud. I had no comeback for this at all. "So. During the meeting, the other engineers and I created a vague plan for how this spaceship will be built." There was a few coughs and facepalms from the other nine engineers who had just beat me up. "This mothership will involve a core module with radially mounted docking ports for the return craft and moon landers. The fuel source is currently in dispute, but I gave the teams specific directions as to what fuel we should choose once we know about the parts." More facepalms. I needed to turn this around fast, and get the focus away from the lack of a plan. "Our job is to make the living quarters and command section. I will send a detailed description of the plan to your alien smartphones (I mean, I hoped I could do that. I really didn't know) sometime in the next day. For now, however, I believe we should all familiarize ourselves with the task at hand, and with the parts we have been given. Everyone, when you have a spare minute, search "Jool System" and "Kerbol system Delta V map."" Hey, I was doing a bit better.

"So, what should we be doing now?" asked a voice from the crowd.

"Um, uh... We should familiarize ourselves with the parts we have." I could see fourteen different colored zones on the floor, with pallets in each. From the ceiling hung fourteen color coded signs. They read "Pods, fuel tanks, engines, command and control, structural, coupling, payload, aerodynamic, ground, thermal, electrical, communication, science, and utility." "You see these nine people standing behind me? These nine, as well as Evelina here, will be my second in commands. You!" I pointed to the closest of the nine. "You are in charge of the pods section. You! Fuel tanks. You, engines. You, uhh..." The command and control section looked tiny. I would have to rope it in with something else. "Structural. Hey, you, the guy I assigned to pods! You're also command and control! You, coupling and payload!" I went on for about two minutes before I had listed all the categories.

"Everyone not onstage, get into groups of two or three and find a pallet of parts. Your job is to find out exactly what that part does. You will report the description and function of the part to the supervisor of your group. You have thirty minutes. Dismissed!" Phew. I was sweating enough to fill a whole Olympic sized swimming pool. But my job was not over yet. I still had to address the nine people standing behind me.

"I'm going to be completely honest with you guys, I only have a general idea of what I'm doing. I'd also like to say that - "

"Haha! You admit it! Your idiotic plan wasn't even worth bringing up!" It was that Chinese guy again.

"Okay, first off, my plan was pretty dumb, but considering I thought it up in about thirty seconds, I think I did fairly well. Second of all, someone needed to make a plan, and everyone else was busy trying to kill each other. And right now, do any of you have a better idea?" It got quiet for a bit.

"I support you, Ethan, but not because you have a good plan. I support you because you were the only person with enough sense to make one." It was an old man who had an Australian accent.

"Thank you. What's your name?"

"Oliver. G'day, Ethan. Sorry for the whole fight thing."

"Okay. Everyone, find something to write on and start taking part functions. I want a full list within the hour. Dismissed." Miraculously, everyone listened and went to their sections.

"Well, that certainly went well," said Evelina from behind me.

"No kidding. I have no idea what I'm doing at all."

"No, I'm serious. At the very least, you're very good at pretending you had a plan, at least to the actual audience. I was sold until you talked to those guys. And, with any luck, you will be able to fool those 800 engineers long enough to come up with an actual plan. No pressure."

"Yeah, it's not like the future of humanity depends on me having a plan, or anything." Ooh, I got a giggle out of her!

"So, I guess we should find a part or something."

"Good idea."

=============================================================================

"I... think this is a jet engine, but I'm not sure."

"Ethan, look on this side. The plaque literally says "J-33 "Wheesley" Turbofan Engine." Manufactured by the C7 aerospace division. Stationary thrust, 120 kilonewtons. Hey, they converted their values into metric for us! How thoughtful!"

"Hmm. What does this do?" I pressed the button marked "reverse thrust." A giant cone moved backwards and the contraption made a strange sound. "Uhh... I think I might have broken it."

"Hey, look at this cool thing!" Evelina was now on the other side of the aisle in the "ground" section. "Rove-max model XL3. Hmm. Wait, it says something on the back of this... "The RoveMax Model 3 was developed in total secrecy by Kerbal Motion's R&D team over the course of a year and a half. When it was finally revealed to the company's chairman, he stared in shock, screamed 'WHY', and subsequently dropped dead on the spot." Uhh... Okay, then. Ooh, what's that!" Evelina then ran over to the next section, utility, and proceeded to observe the plaque in front of another pallet. "Mark sixteen parachute. Manufacturer: Found lying by the side of the road? What? That sounds, uh..."

She kept running around, with that grin on her face. Like a kid in a candy shop, or like a space nerd at the Kennedy Space Center, or, well, like an engineer in a rocket parts warehouse.

Then, something exploded over in the coupling section. It was really loud and echoed for quite a long time. Whatever it was shot up towards the rock ceiling, hit it, and knocked out a few of the lights. But then it fell downwards. It was heading straight towards Evelina.

"EVELINA!" I ran towards her. She was engrossed in reading another plaque, and had jumped at the explosion but had not looked up. Just as the thing was about to hit her, I slammed into her and knocked her out of the way. The thing - whatever it was - slammed down in front of us with a very, very loud noise. All was silent for a few seconds.

"Excuse me, but did I just almost die?"

"Yep. Now, we're even."

"Oh, so that's what a "hydraulic detachment manifold" does!" shouted a voice from across the hangar.

I shakily stood up and offered my hand to Evelina, who took it and started giggling again. Soon, we were both laughing our heads off.

======================================================================

Well, 45 minutes later we were done collecting all of the part information. Some of the nine, uh, I'll call them "commanders" from now on, decided to write down some of the funnier quotes they heard.

"But that's impossible! A 2kn ion drive?!?!? What sorcery is this?"

"What drugs are these reaction wheels on? These are impossibly powerful!"

"What is this, an engine for ants?"

"This yellow sewer pipe is pure magic."

"Why is this command pod so darn heavy?"

"An actual NERVA? I am in HEAVEN!"

"Dude, don't touch that! It's radioactive!"

"Bro, you've got that song stuck in my head now!"

"I have no idea what we're ever going to use this micronode for."

"What the heck would you need RCS thrusters this powerful for?"

"These aliens have force fields, but can't figure out how to make a battery that will last for more than half an hour. Logic!"

"Mystery goo? Can I drink it?"

 

So, that happened. We now had a full parts list and 29 days, 5 hours remaining. Which would be 7 days, 11 hours remaining in Earth time. I needed to come up with an actual module plan. So, I told my commanders to ask the people to prototype designs for the proposed habitation module. At least, that's what I thought I'd asked them to do. Somehow, we ended up with a reaction wheel powered merry go round (I'll get to that later).

I locked myself in one of the apartments for a few minutes to get some things straight. I took a look at the parts list, and sent it to the other 800 members of my team using the alien smartphone. Thankfully, there was a "Send to all team members" button. From there, I took out a notepad and paper and wrote a few key points down.

1. I had divided up the lifters and payloads in a mostly logical way. My plan wasn't as stupid as I thought it had been.

2. There was indeed Nuclear Thermal Rockets, with hydrogen for fuel. This, if people had listened, would be the source of propulsion.

3. There were only three sizes of docking ports. Thank the lord. If the other teams had any common sense whatsoever, they would realize that the core would be made from the large size, and the landers should use the normal size. But someone should probably launch some normal to tiny adapters just in case.

4. Speaking of sizes, there were a few main sizes. There were the tiny parts, which happened to be very close to 5/8 of a meter. The next size up appeared to be close to 1.25 meters, then 2.5 meters, then 3.75 meters. There were a few other odd shapes thrown in there, which appeared to be designed for spaceplanes. Man, I wish one of our lifters could have been a spaceplane.

5. Speaking of lifters, all of the lifters were ones that were in active service, one from each family. The only exception appeared to be Delta II and Delta IV Heavy, which were technically in the same family. If only the Kerbals had found us two years later. Then we would have Falcon Heavy, and if we were lucky New Glenn. Electron would have been cool to have, but about as useful as Pegasus, which had a useful payload on Kerbin of less than half a ton.

6. I had told one group to make a robotic arm. There was absolutely nothing to make a robotic arm out of. I hoped the other teams would realize that and equip their modules with docking capability.

7. Every part had a terrible mass fraction, but had electromagnetic fields for radiation protection and nanocamera suspension (neat!), extreme structural integrity, and the ability to transfer fuel through itself, which was the neatest thing ever, and made in-orbit refueling simple enough.

8. Speaking of fuels, the only available fuels were liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, a variant of Alluminum Perchlorate Composite Propellant (referred to as solid fuel), hydrazine, and xenon, along with niche ones like "ore" and "ablator." I guess that made the fuel choice easy.

9. The crew modules used a mostly regenerative life support system.

10. The parts can attach in a stack by using specially made bolts. Radial attachment is done using welding, or in some cases drilling a hole in the skin of the pa-

I had to stop writing at that point, because I heard another explosion. I scrambled to the door and tried to unlock it (missing the handle three times) before getting it right and stepping outside. Then I realized that the explosion was actually a rocket engine firing. I looked to where the plume of smoke was coming from, and saw that a few of the other teenagers were using one of the smaller rockets to roast marshmallows over (where did they get marshmallows? I wanted some!) before looking to my right and seeing the reaction wheel powered merry go round.

It was very crude and rickety, being a few plates bolted together around what looked like a cluster of reaction wheels. It was hooked up to a giant battery, and appeared to have a few of those wheels that made that guy scream "why" and die hastily bolted to the bottom.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?" I shouted.

"FASTER! FASTER!" shouted Evelina, who was currently in the rider's seat. The operator that sat in the center, who was in some sort of external command seat, appeared to be getting very dizzy. He obliged and pushed his control stick further to the left.

"TEN GEES! ELEVEN! TWELVE!" And then, the thing started vibrating and tipped over and exploded. There was a chorus of gasps which continued for a few seconds until Evelina shouted "I'M OKAY! CAN I DO THAT AGAIN?!?!?!?"

To be honest, I would have loved a ride, but we had a planet to save.

=========================================================================

An hour later, I was back on the stage again. Thankfully, nobody had tried to roast marshmallows or make a reaction wheel powered merry-go-round. People had, however, tried to build an ion drive grill, an iron man suit, and a rocket powered merry go round. I was tempted to let them continue, but one of the Kerbals politely informed me that these were all of the parts we would get, so I had to put a stop to the solid fueled version, as we were quickly running out of "Big Rocket Things," which I later found out were called "Separatrons." The liquid fueled version of the merry-go-round, however...

"Attention, everyone. I would like to say a few things." Everyone got silent as I stood in front of the microphone. "First of all, I know this has been a weird day for everyone. Alien abductions don't happen every day. But I have confidence in our mission. We will complete our module!" There was some cheering, at least. "I have sent you all a few things on your alien smartphones, including a list of parts, a list of things you should know about the parts, information about the Kerbol system, the list of lifters and teams, and of course the preliminary plan for the mothership. I thank you all for your dedication to the project so far, and I look forward to working with all of you tomorrow. An important thing to note is that Kerbin days are six hours long, although you probably already knew that. Depending on what time zone you came from, you either just woke up or have been awake for eighteen hours straight. So, do what you must, but I am officially synchronizing our team's clock to my watch here, it is currently eleven oh nine PM, so synchronize your watches." There was a chorus of beeps from the crowd. "So, thanks again for your dedication and cooperation. I suggest we all get some rest. We will begin design work on the command section of the mothership tomorrow. Good night everyone. Also, the restrooms, kitchens, and recreation areas are at the far end of the room. Oh, I almost forgot! I figured out that we can all communicate because of this really weird translation device. Sleep well, everyone."

With that, I walked off the stage and to my "apartment." I felt pretty good about the day's events. I felt confident. Important. Cool, for once.

 

Of course, that all changed when someone tried to murder me that night.

   

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve

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I was literally rolling on the floor laughing while I was reading the part where the humans were trying to figure out how the Kerbal's parts work! :D 

1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

"I... think this is a jet engine, but I'm not sure."

"Ethan, look on this side. The plaque literally says "J-33 "Wheesley" Turbofan Engine." Manufactured by the C7 aerospace division. Stationary thrust, 120 kilonewtons. Hey, they converted their values into metric for us! How thoughtful!"

"Hmm. What does this do?" I pressed the button marked "reverse thrust." A giant cone moved backwards and the contraption made a strange sound. "Uhh... I think I might have broken it."

"Hey, look at this cool thing!" Evelina was now on the other side of the aisle in the "ground" section. "Rove-max model XL3. Hmm. Wait, it says something on the back of this... "The RoveMax Model 3 was developed in total secrecy by Kerbal Motion's R&D team over the course of a year and a half. When it was finally revealed to the company's chairman, he stared in shock, screamed 'WHY', and subsequently dropped dead on the spot." Uhh... Okay, then. Ooh, what's that!" Evelina then ran over to the next section, utility, and proceeded to observe the plaque in front of another pallet. "Mark sixteen parachute. Manufacturer: Found lying by the side of the road? What? That sounds, uh..."

She kept running around, with that grin on her face. Like a kid in a candy shop, or like a space nerd at the Kennedy Space Center, or, well, like an engineer in a rocket parts warehouse.

Then, something exploded over in the coupling section. It was really loud and echoed for quite a long time. Whatever it was shot up towards the rock ceiling, hit it, and knocked out a few of the lights. But then it fell downwards. It was heading straight towards Evelina.

"EVELINA!" I ran towards her. She was engrossed in reading another plaque, and had jumped at the explosion but had not looked up. Just as the thing was about to hit her, I slammed into her and knocked her out of the way. The thing - whatever it was - slammed down in front of us with a very, very loud noise. All was silent for a few seconds.

"Excuse me, but did I just almost die?"

"Yep. Now, we're even."

"Oh, so that's what a "hydraulic detachment manifold" does!" shouted a voice from across the hangar.

I shakily stood up and offered my hand to Andrea, who took it and started giggling again. Soon, we were both laughing our heads off.

======================================================================

Well, 45 minutes later we were done collecting all of the part information. Some of the nine, uh, I'll call them "commanders" from now on, decided to write down some of the funnier quotes they heard.

"But that's impossible! A 2kn ion drive?!?!? What sorcery is this?"

"What drugs are these reaction wheels on? These are impossibly powerful!"

"What is this, an engine for ants?"

"This yellow sewer pipe is pure magic."

"Why is this command pod so darn heavy?"

"An actual NERVA? I am in HEAVEN!"

"Dude, don't touch that! It's radioactive!"

"Bro, you've got that song stuck in my head now!"

"I have no idea what we're ever going to use this micronode for."

"What the heck would you need RCS thrusters this powerful for?"

"These aliens have force fields, but can't figure out how to make a battery that will last for more than half an hour. Logic!"

"Mystery goo? Can I drink it?"

Wait... 

1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

7. Every part had a terrible mass fraction, but had electromagnet fields for radiation protection and nanocamera suspension (neat!), extreme structural integrity, and the ability to transfer fuel through itself, which was the neatest thing ever, and made in-orbit refueling simple enough.

So is every part made of hydrogenated boron nitride nanotubes with carbon nanotubes in between them which generates a magnetic field? :) 

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*cue applause* 

MOAR! NAO!

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This has to be one of the best novels for ksp ever.

I want MOAR!!!:cool:

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*sees author*

*immediately subs*

I just binged from the prologue to Chapter 3, and I have to say:

THIS. IS. AWESOME.

MOAR!

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This is a riot... and I loved the last chapter's ending!!! Too funny!

Please keep up the good work! :)

 

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Posted (edited)
On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 0:06 AM, max_creative said:

So is every part made of hydrogenated boron nitride nanotubes with carbon nanotubes in between them which generates a magnetic field? :) 

I'll admit, the solution in my head was much lower tech and less cool than yours, so if it's alright with you, this is my new explanation. :D

Way cooler than "solid iron parts with embedded copper coils."

 

On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 7:17 AM, KAL 9000 said:

MOAR! NAO!

 

On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 7:47 AM, Shadow Wolf56 said:

I want MOAR!!!:cool:

 

19 hours ago, TotallyNotHuman_ said:

MOAR!

Coming soon! :D

I wanted to get chapter four out yesterday, but life happened. It's about half-ish done.

I probably would be farther along, but I subconsciously went off on a five page tangent that has nothing to do with space exploration whatsoever. Also, I realize that it's more of a fanwork than a mission report at this point, but I promise, that will change really soon! (Around part 6 or 7, if I don't go off on another long tangent.

So, it should be done by the end of today, unless something else comes up again!

 

EDIT: I have to mow the lawn. Drat!

Edited by Ultimate Steve

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5 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I'll admit, the solution in my head was much lower tech and less cool than yours, so if it's alright with you, this is my new explanation. :D

Way cooler than "solid iron parts with embedded copper coils."

Although also BNNTs are really light and BNNT parts wouldn't make sense if you look at the parts weight in game, so maybe they're just iron. :( Or maybe Kerbol just makes no radiation and it's the only star in the universe. Because we don't see any solar flares or auroras, right? Also, if they were solid metal with a magnetic field then ships would stick together without docking ports. The magnetic field also might mess up the antenna a little bit. I DON'T KNOW! ASK GUS! HE'S THE GUY WHO PUTS THE ROCKET TOGETHER! OR ASK ROCKOMAX! OR KERBODYNE! :/ 

7 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Coming soon! :D

MOAR!!! :D:D:D 

7 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I wanted to get chapter four out yesterday, but life happened. It's about half-ish done. 

What's a life? :) 

7 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

So, it should be done by the end of today, unless something else comes up again!

YES!!! GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR BIG ROCKET THINGS! DON'T DROP THEM! :D 

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Note 1: Some of this is copy-pasted from google drive, so the formatting is a bit weird for some of it.

Note 2: This chapter doesn't have much to do with KSP, so bear with me for a while. It will become an actual mission report soon, I promise!

 

 

 

Chapter Four - Dusty, Old, Out of Tune Spinet

Spoiler

Jebediah Kerman, Galactic council member

Earth Testing Log, day one

Personal journal, entry #432

 

As much of the Galactic Council had predicted, the humans did not take kindly to being teleported to a planet many light years away from their home. When they found out about the test, a few of the cities (Most notably Drakesville) revolted. In Drakesville, one human stood atop the fountain in the middle of the city square and tried to shift the crowd’s view to one against the idea of Kerbals. He succeeded, and 90% of the population of Drakesville began attacking the Kerbals, and destroying anything they came across. Fortunately, the Kerbals were equipped with force fields. The greatest injury sustained by my people was a broken arm (and that was because Mayl was pushed off of a building. Fortunately, Kerbals are very resistant to high speed impacts. Humans, not so much). My kind are doing their best to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for these humans. We have gone as far as to divert half of the planet’s power to force fields, some of which are designed to catch humans in the event that they would be pushed off of tall buildings (which has happened dozens of times, already).

 

I really just wish that Stratovogmnolian force field technology wasn’t such a closely guarded secret. Then, we could have precision fields that could protect anyone, anywhere. But currently, if someone is being suffocated under a pile of bodies, the risk is too great to involve force fields. I shudder at the thought of what would happen if we got the location a few centimeters off…

 

On to the actual test we have created, the behavior of the “cream of the crop” engineers and scientists was terrible at the best. I still can’t believe that one of their youth (that are often discriminated against) was the only one with the willpower to do anything. (I mean, well, on the non-rebellious path. Most of the humans consider winning a war with the Kerbals as a way out of this entrapment. Sadly, this is not an option.) Representative Hess gave me an emergency Iushihnicvak device that would cause temporary paralysis to everyone on the planet, and another device… that one, we call “The Genocide Button.” I shudder at the thought of the circumstances that would be required to use it. I hope and pray that I never have to use either. I am not a monster. Or, at least, I try not to be…

 

About half of the thirteen “payload teams” made progress on their payloads in the first day. The other six are still arguing about whether to follow the boy’s loose plan. The most interesting thing that has come from the engineers so far was some sort of reaction wheel powered centrifuge. I should add one of those to the Mun's amusement park.

 

Drat. I have to end this here, I have to go talk to representative Hess. One last thing. I know these Humans have been disruptive and violent, but all things considered, they have just been teleported to an alien planet, and away from everything they have ever known (note to self - start a service that can teleport sentimental items from Earth to Kerbin). I - cannot guarantee that I would not do any better in their situation.

 

The test continues…

 

It got awfully quiet after Marie totally roasted Cheng. Because of that, I guess I have time to tell more of my story now. Here we go again!

 

I was in my little apartment, sound asleep, dreaming about how the White Witch from Narnia took over my school’s mock interviews and teleported us into Minecraft.

 

Believe it or not, that’s not the strangest dream I’ve ever had. That one involves a giant lava powered spaceship, a strange man, an antique television that looks like a toaster, a pallet of eggs, and Harry Potter’s magic wand.

 

Gah, getting sidetracked again. So, the whole murder thing. I was eventually woken by the sound of something hitting the floor with a thud.

I sat up really quickly with a yelp, as it had been a really loud “thud.” There was a tall man standing a few meters from my bed, jumping up and down on one foot, obviously trying not to scream.

 

Here is the slightly abridged conversation (mostly me editing out all the swearing):

"AAH! Who are you, and why are you in my room?"

"He's awake! Help me with this!" The strange man bent over and tried to pick up what he had dropped. A large, muscular man came out of the shadows and quickly ran forward to help the man with whatever object he had dropped. A third man appeared (he had evidently been hiding on the other side of my bed) and grabbed both of my arms from behind - I screamed.

"Stand still, and this will be over soon, Kid!" shouted the man behind me. The two in front of me had managed to pick up the object (a hefty looking metal cone) and were proceeding to charge toward me, screaming like Spartans. I was screaming and kicking and thrashing around (and also swearing) to no avail. They got closer and closer - time seemed to move in slow motion. They raised the cone above their heads - as if to bring it down upon my head. I was going to die. I was actually going to die. I had only just started high school! I'd never had a girlfriend! I'd never been to a Wintergatan concert! I'd never hit a soccer ball with my head! So much on my bucket list had yet to be fulfilled! I couldn't die this soon!

"DUDES! What are you doing?" My three attackers hesitated and spun around to look in the doorway. I looked up, too, at the man at my door. He was nothing but a silhouette with a cowboy hat at this point. The only thing I could discern about him was that he had an Australian accent.

"Get outta here, this ain't none of your business!" sneered the man behind me.

"I can see you're trying to murder Ethan, here."

"Yeah, and if you don't wanna be next, I suggest you turn around right this second. You didn't see nothin!"

"Pshaw, you know, if you want to kill him, there are better ways to do it than by blunt force." The shadow stepped forward. It was Oliver, the Commander that had apologized for the fight. Wait, what? Wasn't he on my side?"

"You ain't got no right to tell us what we're gonna do here, Aussie!"

"Just saying, if someone were to find him beaten to death tomorrow morning, then it would be awfully obvious that someone did it on purpose, and you probably wouldn't want the crowd to get suspicious of you." He took another step forward. "You know what wouldn't be suspicious around these parts? An explosion." Another step. I could make out his face better now. He wore a sinister grin.

"Explosions ain't commonplace."

"Pshaw, I've counted a dozen or so in the past few hours. It's a miracle someone hasn't died yet!"

"Well, if what you say is true, what would you do? Not that were considering it."

"Go grab one of those big rocket things. The sepawhatchamacallits. Rig it up to this fellow's watch and tie him to the bed. Boom. No more Ethan. No more idiotic ten year old leader." Another step forward. And another. He was only a few feet away from the first of the three.

"Uh, okay then, wise guy. How about you go grab it, then?"

"With pleasure. Just hand me that. That one OCD dude may be suspicious if he finds one of these missing. Also, tie him to the bed now. That way he can't escape." I watched helplessly as my attackers tied me to by bed. The metal cone was now in the hands of Oliver.

"Okay, then. Go get the bomb."

"Sure thing. Just one more tip, though." All four of them were now on the door side of my bed. I was still kicking and screaming. "Never take your eye off of him. He's trouble, I tell you. Never turn your back on anyone you don't trust." The three men turned to face me.

And then, in one smooth move, Oliver hefted the metal cone as if it were a baseball bat, and swung it at the three men's heads. It glanced off of all three in quick succession, and all three of them crumpled to the ground, out cold.

"I mean, I specifically told them not to turn their backs on me," said Oliver.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"Let's get you untied, mate! Also, a quick tip, lock your door next time! I'm not always going to be around to protect you!"

So, in the space of less than twelve hours, I had been abducted by aliens, been to space, survived a crash of a rocket powered spaceplane, met a girl from Sweden, and a man from Australia (who had both saved my life) and had survived an assassination attempt.

It was like if you combined the horror of one of Mrs. Kimball's English tests, the adrenaline of a Kingda Ka rollback, the awesomeness of a SpaceX rocket landing, and the weirdness of every meme in existence.

Yeah, it was that kind of day.

====================================================================

I couldn't sleep after that. I mean, who would? So, after Oliver untied me (and gave me a few more warnings) we brought the three (thankfully still alive) unconscious bodies out to the main hall.

I think the universe has a sense of irony. You know that weird metal cone thing that they were trying to kill me with? I originally said it made a loud "THUD" sound when it hit the ground. Apparently, it was actually a nozzle from a "Thud" rocket engine.

It was about two AM by the Ethan Central Time Zone. I had gotten less than four hours of sleep. Oh, well, better than nothing. There were still a good deal of people up and about, presumably those who had just woken up before the aliens teleported us. It was night for Kerbin as well.

I didn't have much else to do, so I fooled around on my alien smartphone. (We really need a better name for those.) I found this one app called "VABuilder" that was basically CAD, but with all of the prefabricated parts built in. I tried building something cool looking, and came up with a weird solid fueled rocket.

KEOYLyl.png

Hmm. This might work for designing the habitation module.

The only problem was that the program did not include any simulation software. Tapping on the green "Launch" button would bring up a message that said "This feature has been disabled."

I sent a message to my group members saying that the next Earth day would be dedicated to iterating several designs of the proposed habitation module.

At that point I got an extreme feeling of homesickness, so I decided to try to send messages to my friends and family. I entered my mom's name into the device and a message popped up that said "Messages sent outside of your team will be read and censored accordingly. Do not send any information about the test or rocket designs."

Not that I was really going to anyway.

Dear mom,

I just wanted to let you know that I'm completely fine, and that I haven't died (yet). I am currently at the Kerbal Space Center, working on the spaceship designed for the test. I'm not allowed to say anything more for the next thirty Kerbal days, but I just wanted you to know where I am, and that I'm okay.

Love,

Ethan.

I sent a similar message to my dad, and then I hammered out messages to my sister, Andrea, Winter, and Phillip (one of my friends from school).

 

Dear Stephanie,

I AM ALIVE! Just to let you know. I am at the Kerbal Space Center working on the rocket thing (not allowed to say more). I really think that you should try and contact Mom and Dad if you haven't already.

Don't die,

Ethan, your annoying brother.

 

Dear Andrea,

I really hope this is getting to you, I can't really be certain about anything right now, given the circumstances. I am completely okay, and I hope you and Winter are as well. Just so you know, I am at the Kerbal Space Center (Oh my! We literally went there in these giant rocket powered spaceplanes - I WAS IN SPACE!) working on the Jool ship. I wonder what John is thinking right now (after I totally roasted him. Take that, flat Earthers!).

-Ethan

P.S. AGH! The play ended on such a cliffhanger! Once we get back to Earth I look forward to finishing watching it with you!

 

I sent a similar message to Winter.

 

Hey, Phillip!

TTYL, but I WAS IN SPACE! AND I ALMOST GOT MURDURED! And I met this cool girl named Evelina! And WE'RE ON A FREAKING ALIEN PLANET! BTW, I'm at the space center working on the huge spaceship (top secret at this point, sorry) and I hope you haven't been attacked or anything (happened to me at least twice so far).

-Your bro Ethan

 

Dear John,

DA ERTH IZ ROWND!

-E

 

It was at this point that I realized I hadn't eaten in quite a while. So I made my way down to the cafeteria section of the warehouse. I tripped over at least ten strewn about parts, as someone had turned out the lights.

When I finally got to the cafeteria, I found it deserted, spare one Kerbal at the counter. He looked young. And Exhausted. And bored.

"Hey, uh, what are the food choices here?" I asked, trying to be somewhat polite.

"Pretty much everything you want, we have food synthesizers in the back."

"Thanks. Uh, I'd just like a sandwich at this point. Peanut butter and jelly, if possible."

"Coming right up. Hey, you're the leader here, right? What's your name again?"

"Ethan. Yours?"

"Obbury."

"Aubrey?"

"No, Obbury."

"Sorry, it's just... Aubrey is a girl name on my planet. Not to offend you, or anything. I actually knew an Aubrey on my planet..."

"No offense taken, thanks for being polite about it. Today was terrible. I got a lot of rude remarks from the rest of your kind."

"Well, on the behalf of the human race, I apologize for the way you were treated today."

"Thanks. That's nice of you."

"No, it's just - well, should be common courtesy in my opinion. It's just that some people can't see beyond the end of their noses."

"Kerbals don't have noses."

"Oh. Sorry again!"

"No offense taken. Funny, everyone else who said that was extremely rude. Yet, here you are, the one nice human I have been privileged to meet."

"Well, thanks. Uh, sandwich?"

"Oh, yes, coming right up. It takes a while." There was silence for a while.

"You look like you're begging to ask me something."

"May I?"

"Go right ahead, Obbury."

"Is it true that, on your planet, you live in huge cities above the ground?"

"Haha, yes it is! I see your kind was thoughtful enough to replicate the effect."

"Our planet had a nuclear accident a few decades ago. Ever since, we've been living underground. If we want to go to the surface, we have to use special suits. Your species is way more tolerant to radiation than mine, so that's why nobody's died due to that yet. I'm not old enough to remember the age of cities."

"Nuclear accident? Like an act of war?"

"No, silly. My ancestors never even considered using nuclear devices as weapons. The accident was this giant spaceship that hit Kerbin."

"Ah. That would make sense."

"Tell me something else about your planet!"

"You first."

"Well, uh, the deepest points in the ocean are in these weird trenches in the shape of a smiley face."

"Huh."

"Your turn!"

"On my planet, we have this one musical instrument called the piano."

"Oh my goodness, I heard about that! It must be so cool! On Kerbin, we didn't have any concept of music until when we joined the galacti - oh. You're not supposed to know about it. Anyway, we're not that great at Music."

"Today has been the weirdest day of my life. Its been so chaotic - I long for one constant I can hold onto. I would do anything to have a piano right now."

"Tell you what, I have been given permission from Jebediah Kerman himself to test out their new object teleporter service on a few Earth items. And because you've been so polite to me, uh, where exactly is your piano?" I told him where it was. "Of course, you'll have to teach me some."

"Sure, if you tell me why you all have the last name "Kerman.""

"Nobody can remember. It might have started off as a polite gesture like your "Sir" or "Mr." or maybe it is a last name, and every other name died out."

"Hmm. Interesting."

"And your last name?"

"Edwards."

"Nice name."

"One more question - when you teleported us away from our planet, what happened to all the planes and trains and everything? It would be a real shame if they crashed."

"Actually, your planet is frozen. Don't ask, it's all very complicated, only a few people understand it. When - if you return, it will be unfrozen and you all will be put right back where you were! Oh, the piano is arriving!" All of a sudden, there was a flash of energy accompanied with a muffled "BOOM," and sitting in the middle of the cafeteria was my old, dusty, out of tune spinet.

"Oh my goodness. Thank you oh so very much."

"No, Ethan. Thank you. You are the one person here who has treated me with any kind of decency all day. So, what do these things do?"

"Ah, these are the keys. Most pianos have 88 of them. For every key to the right you go, the pitch - that's how high or low the note is - goes up by half a step. You'll notice there's black and white keys. The black ones are called sharps - or flats, depending on what type of key you're playing in - a key in this sense is like a selection of notes you use to play a song. There are about fifteen of them - can't remember at this point. I mean, there are more, but those are just the regular ones."

"Can I touch it?"

"Go ahead, Obbury." Obbury stepped forward, as if afraid, and pressed one key - g sharp, I think - and then stepped back as if frightened. He cautiously stepped back and pressed a few more keys, before basically pressing as many of them as he could at once. It sounded awful - to me at least. But for someone who had nearly no concept of music...

"THIS IS SO AWESOME! MUSIC IS SO COOL!"

It was like being an engineer in a warehouse of rocket parts.

"Can you play an Earth song for me? PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE?"

"Yes, most certainly!" I sat down at the bench with my hands hovering above the black and white keyboard and began playing my favorite song ever.

"What is this called, it sounds AWESOME!"

"It's called "The Final Countdown." Some people love it, some people hate it."

"Play another one!"

"But I'm not done with this o-"

"I want to hear them all!"

"Um... okay, then." I played the opening sequence to "Dragonhearted," another song I knew well.

"More!" I played Wintergatan's Starmachine 2000. Then 99 Red Balloons. Then Seven Nation Army. Then "My Heart" by Different Heaven. Then "Heart and Soul," that piano song that everyone knows. After a good half hour, I had completely exhausted my supply of songs I knew.

"So, have you written any songs yourself?"

"Sort of. Fragments, mostly - I've only ever written and recorded one complete song."

"Ooh! Play it for me, please!"

"Um, it's a bit personal."

"Is it like a love song or something?"

"Um, yes."

"Who for?"

"I'd prefer not to say, but there's a decent chance she doesn't know I exist."

"Story of my life as well, but without the song. Which, if you don't want to play it, then..."

"I'll play it."

So I played and sung my heart out. I hammered the very fabric of my soul into those white and black keys. For a whole six minutes - from the double chorded intro to the articulated transition - through the second and third verses - and through both key changes - all the way to the most beautiful conclusion piece I had ever written.

"Wow. Just - wow. I wish I could play like that."

"Well, that's what I am here for."

And that's how I spent the next four hours teaching an alien to play the piano. Then he fell asleep. He had been awake for almost two of his days straight, so I can't really blame him.

I carried Obbury back into the kitchen, then wheeled the piano back to my atpartment. I fell asleep playing "Starman."

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich sat uneaten on the counter.

 

======================================================================

 

Kerbin Day Three (Earth Day Two, 12 noon Ethan Central Time) - Launch Minus 27 Kerbin Days (6.75 Earth Days)

 

I woke up to the tune of Wintergatan's "Sommarfågel." I briefly remained in bed with my eyes closed, absorbing the melody for a few seconds. I reached over to turn off my alarm clock, and my hand hit empty space. I reached further, thinking "Where is it?" and trying to recall a funny dream I had. Something to do with space aliens. Funny, it felt like that had actually happened. I reached further, my eyes still closed. I thought "Wait a second, my alarm clock doesn't play music!" a few milliseconds before I reached too far and fell off the bed and yelped.

"Hey, you're up now!" said the voice from behind the piano.

"I guess I wasn't dreaming then, Evelina. Why the heck are you in my room? How the heck did you get in here?!?"

"Never underestimate what I'll do for a piano. How'd you get it here in the first place?"

"That's a really long story. Uh, did you hear about the-"

"Murder attempt? Yeah, Oliver told me. He is currently in the process of building a better lock for this place. I was able to get through that one in a matter of seconds." She could pick locks? "Hey, do you know the accordion part for "Emerson?" I don't have eight hands, you know."

"I didn't know you played piano. Uh, if I remember correctly, that song was actually around eighteen hands and two feet at it's height. But with some tweaking, you could get that down to - "

"About twelve if you combine the two drum parts and the two accordion parts, as well as only using one hand for some of the other instruments. But in case you didn't notice, all we have is a piano, and no precussion section. The accordion and modulin parts, thus, can be played one handed, the dulcimer part is mostly the same as the vibraphone part, and the glockenspiel part is pretty simple. So, four hands."

"Uh, forgive me, but first off, I still can't play Starmachine 2000 all the way through without messing up and Emerson is orders of magnitudes more complex, second, we have more important things to be doing, like designing a spaceship, and third, how did you get the sheet music for that? It's an unreleased demo!"

"Um, by laboriously staring at the video and writing down what notes he hit. And, yes, the spaceship. Speaking of which, meet me downstairs in five minutes. I've got a few things to show you!" She got up from my piano and walked out the door, closing it before I could respond.

"Uh, okay, then!"

So, I went to change clothes, as I had fallen asleep in the previous day's outfit, but then I realized that I didn't really have any more clothes. However, that problem was solved when I found the stash the Kerbals had left for us (they're surprisingly good at sewing and stuff, considering our body shape is literally alien to them).

Four minutes later I was on the warehouse floor, which had been transformed over the past six hours into a spacecraft design studio. Most of the pallets had been moved to the side of the gigantic room, the ones we shouldn't need (like rover wheels and jet engines) had been moved into the back. The engineers had assembled massive tables out of some of the structural panels we had been given. Around each table sat a few dozen people, sitting on whatever they could find - chunks of wood from the pallets, small fuel tanks, micronodes, and those weird cube shaped probe cores. The teams worked around large sheets of paper which had been covered in sketches, mathematical equations, and coffee stains.

"Pretty neat, isn't it!"

"Yeah, it all changed overnight!"

"No kidding, Ethan. Uh, I gave these guys some general criteria for the habitation module, basic stuff like "must comfortably seat eight crew," "must be under seventeen tons," and "must have a lot of docking ports." Anything else we should know about?"

"Uh... not much right now. I mean, we should probably have some sort of power system - D'oh! I forgot to mention that during the initial meeting!"

"The engineers thought about that already."

"Oh. Uh, can I see some of the designs?"

"Sure!" Evelina led me over to one of the nearest tables and introduced me to the leader of that specific group, Dimitri, a middle aged Russian. His team's design was a very compact, space effective module composed of eight of the Mk2 spaceplane seat modules, arranged in two layers of four each. Unfortunately, it lacked actual control capacity, and only had two docking ports. Dimitri assured me that the design would be refined greatly over the next day or so, and that it would be much better.

"Evelina, how will we choose which module gets built?"

"Well, our current plan is, that after a day of design, we'll combine design teams using a bracket system. The two teams will debate over which design is better, then they will choose one, or combine elements of both modules to make a better design. After this has been done several times, we'll end up with two final designs, and we'll build both of them, just in case something happens to one."

"Wow - you came up with all of that yourself?"

"Well, to be honest it was mostly Oliver."

"It was all her!" shouted Oliver from across the room. Evelina rolled her eyes, blushed a little, and then led me to another table.

The leading design at this table looked insanely cool. It had this large cockpit (that looked strangely similar to the cockpit of the Space Shuttle) in front of a crew compartment (that looked similar to the ones that were on the spaceplane we got here in). Behind that were two six way nodes - the first housing the solar panels, and the second being a four way docking adapter. It was, in my opinion, a better design than the first one, but it still had its shortcomings. The shuttle cockpit's forward node was off center, and anything mounted there would be off center. The other four docking ports were close to the large rear port, and looked a bit obstructed. It would be terrible to get it to orbit and then realize that it would be impossible to dock to.

But it's biggest problem was that it wouldn't fit inside of the fairing. Until I said that, none of the engineers appeared to notice.

The third design we witnessed was a more conventional design, which looked sort of like an Apollo capsule attached to a module of the ISS. It had a cone shaped command module above three "Hitchhiker" storage pods, with two sideways docking ports, as well as one on the bottom. It also had a basic deployable solar panels, plus a hefty antenna on the front. I kindly reminded the team that the top should have an open port, and that I had assigned communication to another team.

And it went on, design after design. There were about forty in total. Most of them looked promising, except for that one group that got the decimal place wrong. (Bro, 17 tons! Not 170 tons!) Minutes blurred into hours, and before I knew it, it was eight again, and I hadn't eaten (or drank) in an entire day. I told Evelina this, and she immediately said "Oh, it's funny how time flies when you've been teleported to an alien planet. I haven't eaten anything in a while as well, if you don't mind, I'll tag along!"

 

So, we walked and talked. Ate and laughed. Then we went and played the piano. I taught her "We are Number One." She taught me part of "Emerson." And when it came time for her to leave, she told me good night with a smile on her face.

 

I sat at my desk in my "apartment," staring at the schematics that people had sent me. Everyone was making great progress, considering that this was the fastest anyone had ever had to design a spacecraft. It reminded me of that one part from "The Martian," where NASA had just a month to build a spacecraft.

It was then that it occurred to me that my life could just as well be a novel right now. I mean, a ton of awesome stuff was happening! There had been an alien invasion, I had been to space, I had been named the head of a spacecraft design team, I had almost been murdered, and I had met this really awesome girl who liked all the same stuff I did.

This was the sort of stuff people would write stories about back on Earth. I mean, nobody would now, as I was nothing really special now - everyone had been abducted by aliens. Ten thousand people had been to space. Ten thousand people were designing an interplanetary spaceship. There were twelve others who had been appointed to the position of team leader. And, with the Earth's population scattered and the language barriers removed (I was told that after a Kerbin day the translation device was turned on for the entire planet), a good deal of people had probably made new friends as well.

When - I mean, if - we get back to Earth, the stories will be written about the four lucky people who get to go to Jool. Not me, who would almost certainly stay on Kerbin for the time being.

But I'd always have my own story - one that I'd tell if anyone was willing to listen.

 

I heard another large explosion that shook the entire warehouse. I quickly undid the complicated locking mechanism Oliver had devised and exited to see the long arm of the rocket powered merry-go-round (Or is it merry-go-centrifuge?) firmly embedded in the wall of the hangar. You could actually see another hangar through the hole - wait, was that team two?

"Nothing to see here!" announced a Kerbal from over the loudspeakers as they removed the arm. A large metal panel appeared out of nowhere, obscuring our view of the other team. I later learned that the rocket centrifuge was undergoing a (thankfully) unmanned test.

Kerbin Day Six (Earth Day Three, 6:00 AM Ethan Central Time) - Launch Minus 24 Kerbin Days (6 Earth Days)

Today was the first round of design bracket elimination. I'm going to be perfectly honest, that part of the day was fairly dull. Since this was the first round of a 5 round bracket, with 32 competing designs, the most diverse designs were brought together, and there was - well, war. The most notable was the battle between the generic eight docking port station core, and the two pronged science-oriented module. This ended up taking most of the day, because the two teams of engineers were fully convinced that they needed to win. I tried to tell them multiple times that this process was to make sure we ended with the most practical design possible, but it seemed that these people were more concerned about getting their name on the final report. It ended with a design compromise - it would be a two pronged generic science station module. It would not have fit in the fairing by a long shot, and was two tons overweight, but I let it pass, knowing it would be eliminated eventually. The argument had been going on for twelve hours, and I wanted it to end.

Some of the designs had easier times - the Apollo/ISS hybrid I mentioned a while back happened to be paired with a very similar design - and compromise was much easier. The final design had a revised solar panel layout as well as four radially mounted docking ports, instead of two. In fact, that was actually one of the more popular designs. The aforementioned shuttle group had gone for a nuclear powered design (Apparently the Plutonium Problem doesn't exist on Kerbin) instead of a solar powered one, making it so their spacecraft could just barely fit inside the fairing. Their main compromise had been to replace the huge mark three module with a hitchhiker, and adding room for more radial docking ports. All in all, I thought it was becoming a great design.

Oh, yeah, and the two worst designs - Dimitri's cluster of crew cabins and the 170 ton monster - were pitted against each other. They also entered a long argument like the first guys did, but the difference is that their design didn't end up looking like either of their initial designs. It somehow ended up *shudder* worse.

 

In other news, I got messages back from Andrea and John. Andrea told me how much she had missed me, and that she had indeed found her family and Winter. John was all like "This is all a hoax, you idiot. This is a government conspiracy to make us believe in aliens. Even your message was a fake scam!"

Plbbh. I'm not wasting any more of my time on convincing him the Earth is round.

 

But what really happened today? I introduced Evelina to Obbury. We all three played the piano for a bit. I taught Evelina a fragment of "Smiling at the thought," another song I had started writing but never finished. She taught me more of Emerson. Even with how many wrong notes I played (and there were a lot) Obbury still thought it was the best thing ever. I tried to teach him about keys and chords. He got it pretty well, but that was mostly because Evelina could explain it way better than I could.

Of course, every five minutes I had to poke my head out the door to make sure nobody had exploded yet. The funniest incident was when one guy tried to build a test rig for docking ports to test how well magnetic docking really worked. But, uh, he sort of put the docking ports on backwards.

Oh, and there was this guy who tried to open one of those giant solar panels, but it was facing the ground, so when it deployed it lifted him off of the floor. A few seconds later, the panel tipped over and the poor guy fell right onto the table of Dimitri's engineering group, which led to coffee spilling all over his design. Oh, well, it wasn't really a good design anyway...

It was nearing six o clock. Evelina had to go deal with some business regarding the rate at which the separatrons (IDK if I spelled that right) were being used up, and I had to go review some of the designs that had made it to round two. That lasted an hour or so, and during that time I let Obbury play my piano.

When I got back to my apartment, Obbury was still in there, and evidently had not heard me come in. He was working on a sort of melody. It sounded nice enough.

"Hey, play that again, will you?" I said, startling him.

"Oh, uh, sure. You sure startled me!" He turned around and tapped out the one hand melody again.

"That sounds great. Almost like a sort of march. All we need is a snare drum."

"What's a snare drum?"

"Long story."

"Those four measures are really all I have. It's not much yet. I know it's really nothing compared to any of our Earth songs."

"Well, to be fair, you've only been playing for, what? A day or two? Write that down, it could end up becoming something awesome soon!"

"Okay, how do you do that again?"

"So, first you make a five lined staff..." I explained it to him the best I could, and five minutes later we had the beginnings of a song.

I wish I could have learned piano in two days. Obbury's a smart kid. I can't wait to see how the song will turn out.

 

ZErGjH0.png?1

Little did I know that day, that those four measures would not only change the word, but multiple worlds.

 

 

Special thanks to the reddit user Wisear, as that is his sheet music. I was originally going to write it out myself, but this chapter had already taken long enough, so, thanks, Wisear!

Also, thanks to the owners of all the videos I linked, as well as all of the stuff I referenced. No copyright infringement intended. :D

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

The most interesting thing that has come from the engineers so far was some sort of reaction wheel powered centrifuge. I should add one of those to the Mun's amusement park.

:D 

1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Dear John,

DA ERTH IZ ROWND!

-E

SO IS KERBIN! :) 

1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

"Nuclear accident? Like an act of war?"

"No, silly. My ancestors never even considered using nuclear devices as weapons. The accident was this giant spaceship that hit Kerbin."

"Ah. That would make sense."

I blame Project Intrepid! That totally wasn't my fault! :D 

1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

"What is this called, it sounds AWESOME!"

"It's called "The Final Countdown." Some people love it, some people hate it."

I'm one of those people who love it. IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!! 

1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

But it's biggest problem was that it wouldn't fit inside of the fairing. Until I said that, none of the engineers appeared to notice.

Are you sure the engineers are Humans and not Kerbals? Humans never forget that kind of thing. Kerbals forgot that, and struts, and fins, and aerodynamics, and a few dozen other things pretty much every single launch. :P 

1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I heard another large explosion that shook the entire warehouse. I quickly undid the complicated locking mechanism Oliver had devised and exited to see the long arm of the rocket powered merry-go-round (Or is it merry-go-centrifuge?) firmly embedded in the wall of the hangar. You could actually see another hangar through the hole - wait, was that team two?

"Nothing to see here!" announced a Kerbal from over the loudspeakers as they removed the arm. A large metal panel appeared out of nowhere, obscuring our view of the other team. I later learned that the rocket centrifuge was undergoing a (thankfully) unmanned test.

Something tells me that you've already somehow made the rocket powered merry-go-round part of your actual Jool 5 attempt... Maybe a rocket jet propeller merry-go-round for Laythe? :cool: 

1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

In other news, I got messages back from Andrea and John. Andrea told me how much she had missed me, and that she had indeed found her family and Winter. John was all like "This is all a hoax, you idiot. This is a government conspiracy to make us believe in aliens. Even your message was a fake scam!"

Plbbh. I'm not wasting any more of my time on convincing him the Earth is round.

THE WORLD IS ROUND! ALIENS (probably) EXIST! PUT HIM ON THE HYPE PLANE 2.0 WITH SOME KERBALS AND SHOW HIM THAT THE WORLD IS ROUND! Or just try to make him explain how orbit works. :P 

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The humans are being violent idiots (as anticipated). 

MOAR NAO!!!

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