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Voyage - The Final Warning (Interlude III - A Brief History of Galactus The Cow)


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7 minutes ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

Ooh, I'm in! Can't wait to see this!

Working on it. Ran into a hurdle with college applications though so it's been delayed a bit.

Also if anyone has any advice on how not to procrastinate that would immensely improve my life because it's become a real problem recently.

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19 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Working on it. Ran into a hurdle with college applications though so it's been delayed a bit.

Also if anyone has any advice on how not to procrastinate that would immensely improve my life because it's become a real problem recently.

Oh, I completely agree on the latter point. Don't have to worry about college for a few years yet, but procrastination is definitely a problem!

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12 hours ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Also if anyone has any advice on how not to procrastinate that would immensely improve my life because it's become a real problem recently.

I only have unrelated tips on how to fall asleep, and how to write a sentence without be verbs.

I do however suggest placing a deadline that no other important things take (like, for example, try over the weekend at a point in which no other things happen), and following that deadline (pretend it's as bad as if you miss your homework or an appointment).

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On 1/13/2020 at 8:03 AM, LittleBitMore said:

I only have unrelated tips on how to fall asleep, and how to write a sentence without be verbs.

I do however suggest placing a deadline that no other important things take (like, for example, try over the weekend at a point in which no other things happen), and following that deadline (pretend it's as bad as if you miss your homework or an appointment).

Sleep? YEEES PLEEEEEEEASE

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7 hours ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

Sleep? YEEES PLEEEEEEEASE

The method I do (which works for me) is looking at the clock, and saying "I am not allowed to open my eyes until *time 2 minutes away*." Repeat this over and over, but as you go, make 2 minutes 3, and 3 minutes 4, and so on and so forth.

If you get to 10, you might have insomnia.

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  • 2 weeks later...
3 minutes ago, έķ νίĻĻάίή said:

I just found out about this and

  Hide contents

Did I just spend several hours reading Ksp fanfiction?

 

We all did. And for a good reason, too-- it's epic! We're currently working on growing it into something bigger and much more amazing.

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1 minute ago, έķ νίĻĻάίή said:

I know! I saw the thread above.

Great, we need all the help we can get with it (especially if you have a usable microphone or animation skills, we need animators and moar voice actors).

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7 minutes ago, LittleBitMore said:

Great, we need all the help we can get with it (especially if you have a usable microphone or animation skills, we need animators and moar voice actors).

Honest, have neither of those... but if you need help with the craft that you need, I'd be happy to help! And I've also got some ideas if you need them.

Spoiler

I live in China (sucks). Which also means that I've been reading the story rather "blind" (without the pictures), as well... the pictures don't show up unless I've got the VPN on (another issue for another day). Which means that I have no Idea of what happens in some parts of the story (sad). Which can be good or bad.

 

Edited by έķ νίĻĻάίή
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16 minutes ago, έķ νίĻĻάίή said:

Honest, have neither of those... but if you need help with the craft that you need, I'd be happy to help! And I've also got some ideas if you need them.

We might need some good craft for modeling. But our most stressing needs are animators, and to an extent, voice actors.

17 minutes ago, έķ νίĻĻάίή said:

I live in China (sucks). Which also means that I've been reading the story rather "blind" (without the pictures), as well... the pictures don't show up unless I've got the VPN on (another issue for another day). Which means that I have no Idea of what happens in some parts of the story (sad). Which can be good or bad.

At least with this problem, you learn a bit about networking. (Basically my pep talk to myself whenever I have to file dive to see where I misplaced a file so KSP can start. "Oh, don't worry, you're gaining valuable tech savviness!")

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4 hours ago, 53miner53 said:

I think we all are... except @Ultimate Steve. I have a feeling he might know something we don’t...

Obvious statement is obvious, but yes, you are correct. I hope the time at which the circumnavigating Kerbal saves the universe is soon.

I forget if it was specifically saving the universe...

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On ‎1‎/‎31‎/‎2020 at 8:47 PM, LittleBitMore said:

Obvious statement is obvious, but yes, you are correct. I hope the time at which the circumnavigating Kerbal saves the universe is soon.

I forget if it was specifically saving the universe...

As I recall, it only said it would "change" the universe, not save it.

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  • 3 months later...
9 hours ago, Pikapolar said:

 I don't mind waiting, but is the story continuing?

Eventually. My energy to work on this sort of thing comes in bursts. Sometimes I'll be really into this for weeks, and then nothing for months. Apologies for that. However, school is over now, so the next time the energy comes, I should get more done than usual.

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  • 5 months later...

Don't you love it when life gets in the way and motivation drops out and you drop a project for nearly a year?

Yeah, me neither.

Chapter 29 - Journey To The Centre Of The Galaxy, Part 2

Spoiler

We came out of warp above a planet that was being disassembled by giant, dark, ominous spaceships.

"Oh sh- "

"LEFT!" I jerked the control column to the left and spammed the jump button. The few seconds the drive took to reset felt like eternities.

uKTK4Cw.jpg

"Do you think they are following us?" panicked Evelina.

"No way of telling!" We popped out of warp around a large orange star. I waited the few seconds of cooldown sweating and pressed the button again.

"The lines! They were curved!" shouted Evelina.

"We're not aiming towards a beacon so we are probably being nudged towards one."

"Right. I think Samley said something about - "

"That!"

Image result for solid black 1080p wallpaper

"Ethan?" she asked. I blinked. Almost no difference. "Where are we?" I looked down. The control panel was still lit, but if it weren't for that I would have been unable to see my hand if I had waved it in front of my face. I leaned forwards and looked out of the cockpit's main window.

"If I had a clue I'd tell you." Evelina switched the cabin lights on and went up to the window with me. Our eyes had adjusted enough now that we could, in fact, see stars.

"Okay, good, there are stars... So we're not dead or anything."

"If the afterlife was this cockpit, I swear... I guess we just didn't hit any of the beacons that time, and we got spit out into deep space."

"Ethan?" she asked. I blinked. Almost no difference. "Where are we?" I looked down. The control panel was still lit, but if it weren't for that I would have been unable to see my hand if I had waved it in front of my face. I leaned forwards and looked out of the cockpit's main window.

"If I had a clue I'd tell you." Evelina switched the cabin lights on and went up to the window with me. Our eyes had adjusted enough now that we could, in fact, see stars.

"Okay, good, there are stars... So we're not dead or anything."

"If the afterlife was this cockpit, I swear... I guess we just didn't hit any of the beacons that time, and we got spit out into deep space."

"Yeah I guess so."

"We should get going. Where's the next beacon?"

"Wait," she said, turning off the cabin lights and covering up the control panel.

"Evelina, what are you doing?"

"We've never had a sky this dark and we probably will never again."

"True, but they could be following us."

"If they wanted to kill us, they would have already. No sense coming all this way to kill us when they could have just put a metal plate in our way back during one of the warp jumps."

"Unless they wanted us to think that so we would sit still for a moment." She offered no counterargument as we both let our eyes adjust to the extreme darkness that surrounded us. The only light pollution up here was the residual glow of the ship's engine.

We both sat there for several minutes as more and more stars came into view. There is nothing I can do to describe how amazing the view was. During that whole experience neither of us said anything.

"Right," she said. "Probably time to go."

"Yeah." I moved back from the window into my seat. "Where to?"

"Hold on... Another star whose only name is a number. The information is on your screen."

"Okay then." I looked once more at the seemingly infinite number of stars out there... Stars each with their own story. Some giving birth to worlds with life.

"Ready?" she asked.

"Well... Sorry... I just realized... What we're seeing is what we're fighting for."

"Well that's deep."

 

========== Space Ethan's Journal

 

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"The strange storm has nearly covered Laythe," observed Alonya apathetically as she boarded the Emerson, which had finally reached low Laythe orbit after several engine burns. "Just mainly this area that only has spotty coverage."

"I mean, frankly, I would not pass up the chance to have an entire moonwide storm signaling my, frankly heroic passing," interjected Jack.

"Not the time," I said.

"Sorry."

The ship is quieter without Cheng. And not just because we're all still in mourning - during the admittedly narrow window of time between when he was a complete jerk and when he became obsessed with saving Alonya by any means possible, he was genuinely enjoyable and added a lot to the crew. He was a formidable opponent in Whack-A-Kerbal, a surprisingly good cook, and a man dedicated to his job. I am proud to have served with him, and he will be dearly missed. If there is a God, I hope Cheng is up there doing his best to beat him at Whack. Godspeed, Cheng.

 

 

========== Space Ethan's Private Journal

 

Marie is being too quiet. Alonya can barely hold a conversation without bursting into tears. Valentina is as vague as ever. Bob is too busy trying to poke and prod me because of my unprecedented recombination of consciousness to talk on a meaningful level. Jack wants to help us cope but doesn't know how. Bill keeps trying to fix things that aren't broken to distract himself, and Jebediah won't talk to me at all unless he has to. He was already stressed enough because of the invasion, he is mad at my clone for running off, and he doesn't know I know, but... Meros.

 

I want to do my best to console him so badly... But I can't. I can't let him know about the escape. I can't let him know I know about Meros.

As for good news, well... well...

We've been plotting the return burns and it is looking like if we time it right then we will actually have some fuel to spare when we get home. We may even be able to brake into low Kerbin orbit before re-entry.

And then we have a long transfer to kick back, relax, mourn Cheng, write music, write poetry, write stories, grow lonely and bored, and wait for the day when we are evacuated from the galaxy.

 

 

========== Star-Ethan's Private Journal

 

During our travels we passed dozens and dozens, probably hundreds of stars. I lost count.

 

We only stopped to look at eight of them.

One was just really cool, some weird tidal and solar forces on one of the planets made it so that one side was lava and the other ice.

Another was a fairly boring red dwarf star. There wasn't anything really special about it, its just where we ended up when the ship started overheating again. We took the opportunity to rest, cuddling in the cockpit under muted starlight.

We also refueled at a blue giant, a normal-ish yellow star, a white dwarf, and this one frozen world out in the middle of nowhere that had been ejected out of its solar system.

The other two were substantially more interesting.

 

The Fires of The Lost

 

Ethan Edwards

 

We dropped out of warp next to a lava world, lonely as could be.

All the barren rocky isles, and not a single tree.

We basked in the bright light of the fire below,

Then stopped to think of all we didn't know.

 

The world, she looked up, I waited with awe

At the fires which have convinced even rock to thaw,

And she tells me that this world had a name,

"Tepik," she said, I was never the same.

 

We visited station in what seemed a repeat

Of those 'round Meros that we found and meet,

A museum about the world down below,

And the events that caused it to burn and glow.

 

Sefik was a world consumed by war,

Torn 'part with rage, scar after scar,

They battled 'til found by the union of peace,

Then battled as one so the union would cease.

 

 

We had long known about the planetary acceptance test to some extent, but the floodgates of information opened. The Galactic Union was committed to many things, but peace above all. Upon the rare discovery of a violent intelligent species, the Union would do all it could to solve things through relatively subtle means. In most cases, the mere entry into a mostly post-scarcity society and diplomatic guidance was enough to solve most of the problems on most of the planets. However, five times in history, a planet has been so far gone that they must be converted through one of these such tests. Failing the test was not the end of the world, the Union would still try as hard as they could to help the said species, but if they grew to be a threat, well...

 

 

 

The Hiuuns were chosen to host the fourth test.

The Council, by the planning, was impressed.

But he most violent men known by man did not stay

In the courts of the Union beyond the fifth day.

 

The Sefiks rebelled, escaped into space,

On board the spaceships of the Hiuunian race.

But united the Sefiks were never once more,

As they splintered and bickered, fought, and murdered once more.

 

The Sefiks turned the weapons back on their own,

And Sefik and the Sefiks to bits were blown.

The skies disappeared and lava seas rose,

No Sefiks were left, only ashen snows.

 

But the weapons, only there just in case

Would have had to be used just once to erase

The Sefiks, so lost and so full of hate

And the Humans may very well meet the same fate.

 

 

========== Kevin/Ground Ethan's Private Journal

 

Hour after hour or rigorously answering the same questions over and over again, but to different people from different species. Hour after hour of being poked by various pieces of machinery. Hour after hour knowing Evelina is in the next room over but not being allowed to talk to her. I asked the guards, and apparently they said that we will not be allowed to meet up.

 

But after a while of this hopeless monotony, something entertaining happened.

I heard a clang from the outside. I perked up, straining to pick up anything discernible.

"Hey, hello, guards? Your lock is a piece of crap."

"AAAAH SHE IS ESCAPING!"

"No, chill out, I was just bored. There's nothing to do but mess with the locks. Look, closing the door. See? Now go grab yourself a better lock."

Fifteen minutes later

There was another clang. "Good lord, again?"

"I’m bored, what can I say? It’s either this or sit in a corner and stare at the wall for hours. Another lock, please!”

Another fifteen minutes later

“I’m sorry, is this really the best you’ve got?”

“It’s our top of the line product!”

“The innocence of your species is really showing. Either keep replacing the lock or give me something better to do.”

 

==========

 

 

This warp jump was different.

 

FnCGxtZyESnP20aLThxm6MlfSgEPQ0WLkJ53Ai4-V151sfZO__dsnx4nIBRPwJGXFKTYGy2li5bHpcYeNbhWHPUfWjZFv9rMZSJRWKOy8jB-kTbcjef2AHHpx5_jrLRyW09Auxu-

“Evelina, there’s a bunch of red lights and - “ All of a sudden, the Abracadabra! was thrown sharply to the side. The cabin filled with sparks, and then we suddenly dropped out of warp - right into the atmosphere of the planet we were aiming for.

“AAA!” We shouted. I grabbed at the control stick as the spacecraft swung wildly around, frantically flipping any switch vaguely related to atmospheric flight. I managed to stabilize the craft to prograde. The window was filled with re-entry plasma, beyond which were thick, dense clouds. Why were there clouds up this high? I don’t know, and it was the last thing I was focusing on at that moment.

“That was quite the entrance!” remarked Evelina.

“Please tell me that this isn’t another gas giant, I don’t know if I can stand falling into a second one!”

“The data system is down, I can’t check!”

“Well then we’re going to have to assume the worst. Powering on the atmospheric engine,” I said, as I powered on the atmospheric engine. There was a loud bang from the rear of the craft, causing it to ferociously tremble.

“Where’s the fusebox?” asked Evelina.

“The fusebox?!?” I asked incredulously.

“That’s what went wrong on the Wyvern, right? A fuse. With all the absurd situations we’ve been in, it is worth a shot!”

“Unless their fuses are made of dynamite, that’s probably more than a fuse.” At that moment, the Abracadabra! broke through the vast cloud layer just as the majority of the re-entry heating subsided.

Before us laid the most beautiful planet either of us had ever seen. Beautiful forests, majestic mountaintops, and mighty, pure blue rivers, all beneath a joyful blue sky speckled with heavenly silvery-white clouds. Evelina and I stared speechless at the sight before us as a triple rainbow materialized right before our very eyes.

“Wow… It’s like New Zealand… And Switzerland… And - “

“Nepal,” interjected Evelina.

“Yes, and - “

“This is the most beautiful place I have seen in my life, but we should really be focusing on landing!”

“Right!” I snapped out of it. “We have no atmospheric engine and no jump drive. Control authority is fine though. Help me look around for possible landing sites.”

“Roger. I see trees… Mountains… And wait a second, is that a… a village?”

“Tower to unknown vessel,” cackled a voice over the radio. I jumped a bit, although it was a calming voice. Evelina froze for a second, surprised, before responding.

“Unknown tower, this is the vessel Abracadabra! This place is inhabited?”

“Roger, Abracadabra. We saw you come through the atmosphere suddenly and aggressively. Please state your status.”

“Due to an engine malfunction we accidentally crashed into this planet’s atmosphere. We currently have no operational engines, and are in need of a place to land.”

“Roger. There is a runway sixty kilometers from your current location approximately 130 degrees to your right.”

“How long is it?”

“300 meters.”

“300 meters???” I turned away from the microphone. “Evelina, do you know how long the shuttle runway was?

“At least four times that.”

“I know!” said the controller. “It’s a pretty long runway!”

“Long?”

“Second longest on the planet.”

“Evelina, how long is the Abracadabra?”

“I don’t know, at least twenty meters?”

“This thing’s landing speed is going to be too high…”

“Evelina to tower. Do you, by chance, have any aircraft carriers with arrester hooks stationed nearby?”

“What would we need aircraft carriers for?!? You’ve been reading too much about human history, haven’t you?”

“Right, no war, no carriers,” she said to me.

“Abracadabra to tower, we read you, diverting to the 300 meter runway. Our aircraft is approximately 20 meters long, and our minimum landing distance is... Evelina, what’s our minimum landing distance?”

“I don’t know, we haven’t found the owner’s manual!”

“Hmm, it was a custom craft… Our landing distance is unknown but likely longer than the runway.”

“Roger, the airport has been notified, they are deploying emergency nets. ETA?”

“Maybe four minutes, but we won’t be able to circle long because we are dropping like a rock!”

“Environmental readings show 0.8g and 0.5atm,” reported Evelina. “That would explain why.”

“Can we breathe here?” I asked.

“Looks like it, there's a lot of oxygen," she responded.

"Alright, work on equalizing our pressure with the outside, there's a good chance we'll need to get out of this thing and I'd rather not have to do that during or after a crash."

“Tower to Abracadabra, we have visual. You seem to be smoking pretty badly!”

“Roger, tower.”

“Where’s Jebediah when you need him,” she said.

“The man who landed a moon,” I nervously chuckled.

“I never got to ask him about that… I might never get to.”

“Well, even if we crash and burn, we do have clones.”

“But we still die. Unless there’s a God who specifically said “Yeah let’s re-merge souls if you die while cloned.”"

“Good point. I’ll ask him.”

 

==========

 

 

“Hey, Jeb?” The Voyager version of me asked the Voyager version of Jeb.

 

“Yes? What’s wrong, you look nervous?”

“You know that time you landed a moon?”

“Shh, nobody in this ship is supposed to know about that!”

“Right. We could go into the return module and close the door if you’d like.”

“...It is an interesting story, I guess… A story and a half… Do you have a few hours?” he chuckled. I was a bit relieved that our relations had repaired enough for him to chuckle.

“Can you give me the three minute version?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Uh... Brain scan soon? He’d like to know.”

“I thought the next one wasn’t for a few hours.”

“Oh. Maybe I am misremembering.”

“It all started a long time ago, in the distant Krie system, around the planet Marlok…”

 

==========

 

“He says it’s a long story.”

“About God?”

“No, about the moon. I think he told me a while back that the question of God is still unanswered.”

“Well then, let’s hope their nets are strong, otherwise we might find out the answer.”

“I see the runway!”

“Where?”

“There!” she pointed over my shoulder.

“That’s the runway? There’s no way I can land on that! Not in this thing!”

“And there’s trees everywhere… And not an ocean in sight…”

“Wait a second…”

“What?”

“Tower, are there any large lakes around here?”

“Not for many kilometers. We do have a river, though. Do you wish to sightsee?”

“Where and how wide?”

“A bit to the west of us, up the cliffs of Calhoon, and the width varies, but I’d say a few dozen meters average? There are narrow bits… Lovely overviews of the cliffs.”

“Roger, tower, I see it.”

“You do see the runway, correct?”

“I see my runway.”

“You sound cryptic.”

“I see a long straight bit in the river. I’m going to attempt landing in it. Your runway is far too short.”

“You’re mad!”

“The river is water, right?”

“Correct, but you can’t possibly - “

“I can’t possibly land on a dime either.”

“Roger, Abracadabra. We will send a rescue party by helicopter. What species are you?”

“Kerbal.”

“Hmm, average mass thirty kilograms… We may be able to take you one at a time if we send our best helicopter stationed here.”

“One at a time? Is there any other way to evacuate us?”

“By boat, but nobody would ever take a boat up - “

“No possibility?”

“Why risk it when we can send the helicopter?” By now, I was lining up for a landing in a long stretch of the river, with under a minute to go until splashdown. Up ahead was a dangerous looking series of bends, followed by another long section. It was going to be close, but I might be able to put it down safely.

“Evelina…”

“We will have to ride down the river until we hit the shoreline, then.”

“Do we have emergency rafts on board?”

“With the amount of planets this thing had to visit during it’s racing days, I wouldn’t - “

“Hold that thought! Numbers!”

“Roger. Fifty meters.” The bend in the river closed in, and the trees grew ever closer.

“Forty meters.”

“I must caution you, Abracadabra, the river Agricis may be beautiful, but is extremely dangerous.”

“Twenty five.”

“We’re not going to make it!” I pulled back on the stick and the Abracadabra! rose back above the tree line, right as we passed by the first bend in the river. The craft nearly stalled, but just barely banked to the next straightaway.

“What hazards are expected?” I asked.

"Five meters! Brace!"

“The waterfall, for one,” the tower said. I froze.

“Oh no.” The craft shook violently and there was a huge crash as it collided with the surface of the river Agricis, bouncing once, then crashing down so hard that the nose went underwater. After a few seconds, we surfaced again, down on the surface, but still not out of danger.

“Tower, we have splashed down. Where is that waterfall?”

“Judging by your current position, approximately two minutes away. The helicopters should be there in a minute and a half.”

“How much can they lift?”

“Maybe 45 kilograms on a good day. Less at high elevations, which you are at.”

“Evelina… We have to tell them. Humans are far heavier than Kerbals. They won’t be able to save us.”

“Ethan, we can’t do that! Our cover would be blown!”

“But we would be alive!”

“And everyone, the council, The Species, would know about the human escape. Regardless of whether or not we are the all-powerful main characters we are theorized to be, it is bad for us either way!”

“Do we have any other options?”

“Tower, this craft is of great importance to us. Is it possible that the helicopters could latch onto it and drag it to shore before reaching the waterfall?”

“No.”

“Evelina, where are the escape rafts?”

“I’m looking.” By now I could see the edge of the waterfall. How hadn’t I seen it earlier? I began looking for the fuses.

“Aha!” she held up a tattered mess of rubber that fell apart immediately.

“Aha!” I said, holding up a fuse.

“Ethan, the back end is pouring fire! It’s not a fuse!”

“I wouldn’t put it past The Species to cause the same failure twice.”

“We don’t know it was them!” I popped open the cockpit door. We were above the water level, but only just, so water splashed in.

“I’m going to the engine section. Give me your knife.”

“There is no time!”

“There is time for me to get there and pop it out and back in.”

“But not enough for you to get back.”

“When you can, fire up the engine and get to that airport.”

“The engine exploded! It isn’t a fuse!”

“But it could be!”

“But it’s not!” The waterfall got ever closer.

“See that rock? Let’s make a break for it.” The helicopters had arrived and were dangling hooks downwards. “Tower, it’s no use. Our suits are hard to take off and weigh more than the limit. Thank you for your help, but I am afraid it was for nothing.”

“Ethan… I… I can’t swim.”

“Well then… These suits can withstand long falls, right?”

“Yeah, but not into water.” The waterfall was now seconds away. Everything went quiet and time seemed to slow, as I somewhat relaxed, partially accepting what was about to happen.

“Well, have a nice fall, then,” I said nervously. I reached out with my hand, and she took it.

“Oh, you.” She went in for a kiss. My heart leapt. But before it could happen, we hit a rock, violently shaking the craft, pulling us away, as we pitched over the edge.

“AAAAAAAAAaaaaa… Oh. This is tall. Really tall.” The Abracadabra! regained stability and I pulled out of the dive with plenty of distance to spare. “Huh.”

“Tower to Abracadabra!, are you alright?”

“How tall is that waterfall?”

“Three kilometers, a deadly fall.”

“Not in a glider.”

“Okay, that’s even more suspicious… How many times have we cheated death now?”

“I’ve lost count, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

“Hey, is that the airport?”

“Looks like it… But we’re not making it. We can’t.”

“Yup, one kilometer and falling… In a crashed, exploded, waterlogged ancient spacecraft.”

“Tree landing time,” I sighed.

 

==========

 

 

“And then, the Carisais were like “Get off our moon, it’s our moon!” and I was like “You’re the guys who called us here to investigate the quantum tunneling anomalies!” and then Xanth was like “Guys what is that purple glow?” and -”

 

“When do we get to the part where you land a moon?”

“I’m getting there, you need the proper context. Now as I was saying, in the weeks leading up to - “

“Weeks!” I nearly said out loud.

 

==========

 

 

As I sat outside the crashed spacecraft on a nearby rock, I surveyed the trail of downed trees in its wake and pondered how I’d gotten there. I had just wanted to go see the school play and maybe talk to a few cute girls, maybe have fun messing with a flat Earther. And I had gotten a lot more than that. Sure, the space stuff is cool, but all of this dodging death was getting old. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep in my bed for a good long time, even if it meant forgetting all of this ever happened.

 

“So. Trees the consistency of marshmallows. Who would have thought? Maybe we should make all of our runways out of marshmallow.”

“If, hypothetically, you took your knife and stabbed me in the heart, I would not at all be surprised if the blade vanished into thin air.”

“We are invincible.”

“Where is that airport? While it is nice here, I really wouldn’t want to spend the night.”

“I mean, as far as places go, it’s pretty nice. The air is a bit thin, but it’s beautiful… And the wildlife is great, look at all the adorable fluffy white bunnies!”

“Actually, we are Jslans.” We jumped, turning around to face the source of the sound, the adorable fluffy white bunnies.

“But You’re… You’re…”

“Tiny?”

“Well, that does explain the short runway and small helicopters.”

“No, it’s just… Well, yes, but… You have airports and helicopters? Built with the bodies of bunnies? How do you… Do stuff?”

“Wait until you see our solar system sized particle accelerator,” one of the Jslans chuckled.

“So… Jslans?”

“Yes, welcome to the Heavenly Body of Great Beauty and Jslans. Or Jslan for short if you like.”

“It is certainly beautiful.”

“And you, my friends, are humans.” My eyes widened. I looked down at myself. My disguise was still on. I looked at Evelina, and so was her’s.

“We are Kerbals.”

“We see more wavelengths of light than most species, we can see right through that hard hologram.”

“Oh no.”

“Please don’t tell anyone.”

“Why do you back away? You need not be afraid of how we view you. We are accepting and loving of all life here, regardless of however dire their past may have been.”

“Even The Species?”

“Evelina, they don’t know!”

“We… We do know. It is difficult, at times, to see the best in everyone, but we certainly try. How do you know? What brings you out to Jslan? Are you not confined to the Kerbin system?”

“It is a long story.”

“Hold up… That’s… That’s Ethan Edwards! One of the members of the Voyager Endeavour!”

“Endeavour?”

“These translation devices, I swear… The Voyager Test. Ethan, I have been following your journeys for two months now, I have got to say, you are having quite the time up there on the Voyager. My deepest condolences and grievances for Cheng. I assume this is Evelina?”

“Correct. Just two months?”

“An entire two months. It is a long time, I know… Well, for me, at least. It is my deepest regret that I will not live to see the end of your journey… But then again, meeting you has topped anything I’d ever dreamed of.”

“What’s your name?”

“Jerauld the sixty first.”

“We will talk later, I promise. But please, first of all, I need you all to keep this a secret.”

“For what reason?” There was something in their eyes… I couldn’t bring myself to lie.

“It’s a long story.”

“You are a wonderful storyteller.”

“Also, we’re the rescue team by the way.”

“Right, thank you.”

“Anyway, you were saying?”

“Well… It is potentially a matter of Galactic security. It is not an understatement that what is said here could change the fate of the galaxy.”

“If we are satisfied with what we are told here, our lips are sealed until the grave.”

“Can we trust them?” I asked Evelina. We both looked around, around at them and each other. The disturbing thought crossed my mind that if they snitched, we could simply kill them. They were bunnies, and we had a knife. I felt nauseous at the prospect and pushed that dark, dangerous thought from my mind.

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes.”

“I get the feeling they are more trustworthy than I am. You swear not to tell? Till the grave? All of those years?”

“Years,” one of them chuckled. “You know nothing of the Jslans, do you?”

“No. I had no idea this place existed until I crashed into its atmosphere.”

“We only live a bit under one human year on average, we will not have to keep your secret for long.” My insides went all weird again. How did these people live, with such a short life, on such a beautiful world, with such grand ambitions and such little capability?

“Oh my. I’m so sorry.”

“No, do not be. Take those years and make something out of them for the people that can’t. Now, Ethan, the story of a lifetime.”

“...Right. So. You know everything of my spaceflight... Everything changed the night after party on Pol, when I jetpacked up to the Voyager…”

 

==========

 

 

“And BOOM. That is how I landed a Moon.”

 

“My gosh, they don’t call you a badass for no reason.”

 

==========

 

 

“And all of this is true?” asked Kareen the seven hundred and first, the current Galactic Representative of Jslan.

 

“To the best of our knowledge.”

“Then it is imperative we keep this a secret and get you back into the sky as soon as possible.”

“How will we fix the Abracadabra!?”

“...By fixing it.”

“You can fix it?”

“Look, I know all that our appearance projects to your species, but I assure you, we are not only competent, we have the added bonus that working on such a unique spaceship may be the highlight of many of the workers’ lives.”

“Representative Kareen, I apologize if this is offensive, but may I ask a question?”

“Of course.”

“How do you do it? How have you prospered, living with such a short life? Not on a biological or technological or societal level, but on an emotional level?”

“A question often asked. The short answer, we just do. You may as well ask how humans cope with living eighty years, or how the Draftignitaron Monks cope with living ten thousand. It has just been normal for us. But, my theory, at least… We see how short of a time we have, and because of that, we don’t waste it. We see the beauty around us, recognize transience, realize that it simply isn’t worth it to be anything but kind and loving, and do our best to protect that beauty both in spite of and because of transience.” Kareen’s words resonated with me. I wondered whether it would be better to live like them. From what I had seen of the planet so far, everyone seemed so cheerful, so kind, so caring, so… loving.

“I do imagine the beauty of the planet may have taken a part in this desire to protect beauty. I am so… moved by it.”

“This is the ugly part of the planet, believe it or not!”

“How did you manage to build a solar system sized particle accelerator with such a short lifespan? And accumulate enough knowledge to do so in general?” asked Evelina.

“Well, the answer to your second question, lots of specialization. As for your first question… There are substantial downsides to having such a short lifespan, as you can imagine. Paramount among these is that, often, our kind are deeply saddened that in their time they may not get to leave much of a positive impact. Because of this, we tend to aim far higher than most species, well above our capabilities. But, alas, our capabilities often surprise us. The accelerator is one of the ways in which this high aim manifested itself. At the time it was built, it was the largest one ever. It took hundreds of generations, but each and every worker’s name is carved into the side, and at night, they could look up into the sky and see a faint white ring splitting the aether in two, and could look to their grandchildren and say “See that? I helped build that.” And for those workers, that was all they needed. Of course, not everyone is into space or particle physics, so we have other, less visible megaprojects, but - ” Kareen was interrupted by another high ranking official who came in through the door (tremendously oversized for the Jslans who).

“Ah. Rikardos the one hundred and fifth. What news have you?”

“Repairs to the Abracadabra! are progressing well, we estimate we are twenty percent done. A more difficult problem will be finding somewhere to launch it from. Our longest runways are not long enough, and it is far too wide for our roads.”

“Is there another waterfall near here?” I asked.

“You’re not seriously suggesting doing it again, are you?”

“It worked the first time.”

“True… We are near sea level, however. No waterfalls accessible.”

“Could we launch it vertically?” asked Kareen.

“Yes, actually,” said Evelina. “This world’s gravity combined with the fact that this was a racing ship mean almost definitely… Provided it is fixed well.”

“Alright, assuming we can get it on its tail, I think that’s what we’re going to do. Hey, by the way,” I asked, “What exactly broke?”

“Several things, but the root issue was, well, a faulty fuse.”

“Son of a - uh, a... Kraken.”

“In the meantime, I must invite you to our high diplomatic facility, you must be very tired, the views are nearly as grand as you can get on this side of the planet, and our species have not officially commenced relations.”

“With all due respect, Representative Kareen, I do not believe either of us are up to the task of being Ambassadors for our planet… And we are trying to keep this as secret as possible.”

“True. You’re still welcome to the view.”

“One of the guys on the rescue team, Jerauld the sixty-somethingth… I promised him we could talk.”

“Roger. Since he already knows, we will send him right up.”

 

==========

 

 

“So, what’s it like being practically immortal?” he asked me under, by far, the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen.

“I don’t consider myself immortal by any sense of the world, but I suppose, from your perspective, I definitely would be.”

“Yeah, imagine if we met someone who lived a few dozen times longer than we did,” Evelina replied. “We would ask them the same question.”

“I asked your Representative quite the opposite, and he… she… Is Kareen a he or a she?”

“We have four genders, Kareen is a Jsli.”

“Ah. Of course.”

“Would you like a more detailed description of Jslan reproduction?”

“No, no thank you!”

“Nope, we’re good.”

“As I was saying, I asked… Kareen… How you all coped with living so short. I believe our answers are similar. It is normal for us, so we really don’t notice it.”

“I can only imagine what the Jslan who made first contact felt like when they learned how short they lived…”

“One thing that really strikes me about this place is how… Perfect it all seems.”

“For us, it’s just normal,” sighed Jerauld.

“Wow. So going anywhere else must be a letdown.”

“To some extent, everywhere has its own beauty… But how would I know, I’ve never been offworld.”

“Aha. Well, if you -”

“No, we are not offering to take him with us.”

“Never mind.”

At that moment, Rikardos entered the room. “I am sorry to interrupt,” he said, “But you must leave now.”

“I thought the ship was only twenty percent fixed?”

“We’ve managed forty two, maybe we will get to forty five before liftoff, but it should be flyable and it will have to do. Come, quick.”

“What for?”

“We have detected Species scouts 2 systems over.” I froze. Evelina jumped up.

“Is this an invasion?”

“We don’t know. The invasion could come in seconds, or never. But we do know that every second you spend down here is a second they could find you.”

“I am sorry, Jerauld, we have to go.”

“I wish you luck, Ethan and Evelina.” We quickly took off following Rikardos.

“Are you sure it will fly half fixed?”

“Yes, because it will have to.”

A few minutes later, shortly after sunset, we were at the airport, as the Abracadabra! stood vertical, with many Jslan technicians still crowded around it on scaffolding, repairing various subsystems.

“We managed forty-six percent,” Rikardos reported.

“Sir, if I may ask…” I asked, “What is your plan for an invasion?”

“If there is any good in them, we will stay and appeal to that. It’s what we’ve always done, and it has yet to fail us. But if there is truly no goodness, then there is no hope, and we gain nothing from desperately clinging to survival.”

“So you’re just going to sit here?”

“We do not wish to survive, we wish to live. Your spaceship, Sir and Madame.”

“Thank you so much for all you have done for us, Rikardos.”

“It was our pleasure.” Another Jslan popped up behind Rikardos.

“Sir, scans show that the scouts have advanced to the nearest star system.”

“There is no time for formalities. You must go.”

“And what of you?”

“If we die, we die knowing we gave you a chance to save the galaxy.” All of the Jslans began backing away from the Abracadabra! which had been mounted on a makeshift launch platform. Evelina and I quickly climbed the long precarious ladder, trying not to look down. The last bit of scaffolding was pulled away as we entered the cockpit.

“Are we go?” I asked.

“It’s not like we have a mission control up here.”

“Right. Just felt like the right thing to say.”

“Looks like the jump point is right above us. Should be a straight shot.”

“Roger. Looks like all of the Jslans are clear… Here goes nothing.”

“One more thing,” cackled Rikardos over the radio, “Try not to stress the engines too hard. They should be enough to get you there, but we can’t guarantee much more than that.”

“Sir, they blew up Teries!” we heard faintly in the background.

“Go, now!” I did not know what or where Teries was, but I fired up the Abracadabra’s main engine, and with a roar we leapt skyward, quickly rising higher than the cliffs, clouds, and mountaintops. A few tense minutes later and we were ready to jump.

“I hope they will be okay,” Evelina said worriedly.

“Me too. They are just so… so wonderful. It would take a monster to willingly hurt one of them.” My stomach sickened, remembering my earlier thoughts. That was before I met them, I told myself. But why should that devalue a life?

“Ethan, look.” Evelina gestured towards a metal panel on the back of the cabin. “They carved their names in.”

“Just like the particle accelerator.”

“Rendae the 549th… Serran the 6th… Jsdika the 39th… Grace the 1st... Godspeed, humans, for you carry our dreams with you  -Erijs the first.”

“Well, Erijs, we will protect them the best that we can.”

 

 

The hours passed as we got closer and closer to the galactic center. After what seemed like an eternity, yet no time at all, we had arrived at the final jump beacon.

 

wc-zSzOPFxCkMrCziYcaLr9QVh55SzTSKZhm52yJyf1bGDQou5b7sLRiDZPju-ML-eBRTXnIMSpRP20FwwhDMfSLD8mwwOuNeZjGp1GM9ThZyZSm_x1abWKCoBA61LuJ92Y3oGku

“Whoa!” I exclaimed.

“Whoa is right. And we’re still a few light hours away.”

“Is there not a closer point we can jump to?”

“Doesn’t look like it, it would be dangerous to put an unprotected jump beacon that low.”

“Well then how do they protect the council chamber? And how are we supposed to get down there?”

“We could chance it and jump hoping we come out at the right spot.”

“And risk falling into a black hole?”

“It’s obvious that this ship was not designed for this.”

“Well, it probably wasn’t designed to land in a river either, and we did that. How much Delta-V do we have left?”

“We have… Wait.”

“What?”

“The council chamber orbits just above the event horizon, right?” she asked.

“That’s what I remember,” I replied.

“Then how the hell do they orbit?”

“Wait… Yeah, something isn’t adding up here. If right above the event horizon, a photon fired straight upwards at the speed of light would only just barely escape, you would have to be going superluminal sideways to orbit at that altitude.”

“Exactly. And we can’t sustain superluminal flight, we can only do it in mostly uncontrolled bursts. It’s been a while since I read about it, but I think the closest we can get is one and a half times the radius, and the closest we can easily get is two times the radius.”

“Hmm. How do we get there?”

“We just fall at the right speed, and relativity will do the rest.”

“And just put us in a circular orbit?”

“If I remember correctly.”

“Well if you didn’t, we’re gonna find out what’s on the other side of a black hole.”

“Hmm… I don’t want to try this, but we could fall in, and then jump out.”

“Nope, definitely don’t want to try that,” I said. “Why on Earth did they decide to build the most important space station in the entire galaxy in the most dangerous and hard to get to part of the galaxy? They have relativity, impending doom, radiation, time dilation, all that near lightspeed dust… Why?”

“It looks cool.”

“And that’s supposed to outweigh all of the dangers?”

“Well, no.”

“Okay, then. We’ll coast in to twice the radius and see what we can do from there. If we are in danger of falling in, we jump out. Ok?”

“Sounds good to me,” she said.

“Evelina, you sound nervous. Are you sure?”

“As cool as it looks, I do not want to be here, but it appears that something bigger than us really wants us here… I’m not nervous about the black hole, I’m nervous about whether that something is a good something or a bad something. But given that we’ve got a bad something already, well… We should go. We’ve come all this way, we’re not going to let a few laws of physics stop us.”

“Alright then. Let me know if your opinion changes.”

“Roger,” she nervously replied. The trajectory display did not account for relativity, at least not this much relativity, but it seemed to be okay.

Doing my best to not sound nervous (terrified), I pointed the ship forwards for a better view and said “Here goes nothing.” I caught a glance of the names on the wall. "For the Jslans."

 

 

==========

 

 

Twenty-seven meters above Sagittarius A* (The altitude had been increased due to safety concerns), the Galactic Council Chamber’s Space Station loomed, swarming with technicians, scientists, politicians, and surprisingly, even warriors. They were scrambling to put the final touches in place for the meeting.

 

It was not known how exactly this meeting would go. All that was known is that a final surrender agreement would be presented, the last ever, and that any representative not in attendance would have their planet destroyed.

While whether or not a surrender would be accepted was dependent on the final terms, which were not yet known, most agreed that the Council would refuse. It was uncertain what The Species would do after this refusal, but it was highly probable that the Space Station would not survive.

Escape ships were docked, tested, fueled, and ready to go.

Thousands of sensors were primed, ready to capture every detail from the presence of The Species.

The Ziquunodian Flagship was docked, and had been outfitted with weapons galore. If The Species were to attack, this ship would attempt to draw their fire long enough for the others to escape.

The crew at the time of the meeting would be at a minimum. Only the representatives and vital support staff would occupy the station, and only vital support staff would remain on the docked ships.

Representative Jebediah Kerman sat nervously in the council chamber, as did many of the other Representatives who had arrived early. The meeting was only a few hours away now. Typical of politicians in times of crisis, they did not argue about surrender policies, they argued about whether they should give The Species a chair.

The minutes crept by, second my second, and more and more representatives trickled in. Only fifty-four were expected to attend, the others, which were hopefully exempt from the attendance rule, have had their worlds destroyed or enslaved and are no longer in power and/or deceased.

The time drew near, and the station was evacuated besides all essential personnel.

 

==========

 

 

-f7hhf8kSVGaaFcw4E6jSrKy3qe1kEwJJ728WRbBfgaiiOPlH4fzufNgtiAxrfVzKY8x-yDLrx3CnKVLO92wB5E6HGc9F9pJK-5RJbnhXeqyt4sM7y2kJ12dFV6GNqxGAtoIk-31

“I can’t go any lower!”

“We’re still far from the limit!”

“I’m not talking about relativity, I’m talking about the swirling disk of relativistic death! We’re already feeling its effects! Look!” I turned off RCS, to the ship’s disapproval, and engaged the control surfaces. “Look, I can roll just like we’re in a plane! We are essentially flying through a relativistic atmosphere! We’ve measurably lost mass due to the erosion!”

“What else can we do?”

“Go above the ring maybe? But the orbit would just pull us back down, and any maneuver here, we’re not talking about meters per second or kilometers per second, but fractions or even multiples of C!”

“Can’t we try to jump closer like we proposed earlier?”

There was a wave of turbulence, if it could be called that, as the ship was thrown up and down. “And risk jumping into more of that? Evelina, I hate to say this, but… but.... I think we need to abort the mission. Stop falling in and jump away.”

“We can’t do that, we need to try and throw off The Species’ plans!”

"And it's looking like we can't!"

"What about Kerbin? Earth? The memory of the Merosians? What about The Jslans? They are counting on us to try!"

“Who says we have to be at the meeting to make a difference? Maybe we just need to be around here.”

“I mean… You have a point. But what would we do here?”

“I don’t know, but we would accomplish more by not becoming part of an accretion disk.” Just then, a bunch of warning lights lit up. “IMPACT IMMINENT! BRACE!” showed on the main screen.

An impact at these speeds was unsurvivable. Given the range of the scanners and the ranges involved, I knew I only had a fraction of a second left to live. I turned back to Evelina, about to speak, but before I could, it happened.

*Bonk*

Wait, what? We were alive?

Something had gently hit us.

“Oops, my bad,” a voice said over the radio. I looked out the window.

eHTN7lV.jpg

Was that… No, it couldn’t be!

rN2dgUeAbLpS27gBJN2MWzMuCF42enGCR6CpKzjiXnS9WoEb3F3Minc07S6bepwtpRN0JgLfdLP_WKuF_let0e8X2D1JJ_govR1IFca_RW-XUHRLPw2gjml8QxWYueS347iRQCvm

“Hello there, you appear to be in some trouble. Galactus the Cow, ready to assist.”

“G-Galactus the Cow? The Galactus the Cow?” I stuttered.

“No, the other talking Space Cow named Galactus who rides TNT powered rockets across the galaxy!” He laughed. “Yes, I’m The Galactus the Cow!”

“You know Jebediah Kerman?” Evelina asked.

“Of course I do, we are representatives. And you are?”

“...”

“Should we tell him?” I whispered to Evelina.

“...Are you familiar with Jebediah’s most recent journey?” she asked.

“His journey here?”

“No, his… big… journey.” We could see his eyes narrow from here.

“I can neither confirm nor deny.”

“Legacy.” I said. His eyes widened.

“Unclear.”

“Wyvern.”

“WHAT!” he shouted.

“ISS Lega-”

“QUIET! They could hear you! How do you know of that… Journey?” I looked at Evelina. We both looked back out the window at Galactus and deactivated our disguises.

“...Dear Great Wizard Ladstini! What in the Mycelian Wasteland Volcano are you two doing here?” We passed through another great wave of turbulence.

“Galactus, do not tell a soul.”

“I swear by the river Yote that I will not. Where are you headed?”

“The meeting. But in secret,” Evelina said.

“Well not in that piece of junk, you’re not. Come aboard!”

qDWDJjZiSUT_o9DBffiEHO82Dwpz9Skxi_Pr63qc7Q8uajNWJ-kgHg_BK72Jftdd1vag1W4tpuJLQDpJwBYxmjYd7svCHnPpdCIDM_kJRMnDrspWh1MbCxGQlUIzRZ3H9_y_yBzs

“We’re here to - “

“The less I know about your plan the better. I’ve read the reports, I’ve heard the stories. You are potentially both our greatest asset, their greatest asset, or anyone's greatest coincidence. I’m just a talkative cow from a long lost planet.”

“Right.”

“Hey, I think Jebediah said you numbered your rockets.”

“Ah, yes. I did.”

“Why isn’t this one numbered?”

“I lost count somewhere in the 5000s range.” The 5000s range???

“And it’s actually powered by TNT like the legends say? How would it get to the chamber?”

“It’s a hybrid.”

92iAxCU.png

"A hybrid?"

"Some TNT, some (untranslatable gibberish), some quadquantum, some, some nuclear fusion, some cold gas, some nachos, some nacho cheese, some nacho bowls, some nacho cheese bowls… The first one was TNT though.”

“But why TNT?” I asked. “That’s like the worst fuel ever!”

“And I managed to go interplanetary with it!” He smiled.

“HOW?”

“I HAVE NO IDEAAAAAAA!” He laughed maniacally as he accelerated away towards Sagittarius A*.

HuiAiS7.png

"You're concerned about the TNT and not the nachos?" Evelina whispered.

"Oh yeah, do you want some?" Galactus held out a bowl of nachos.

“Helmets,” I said.

“Speaking of which, where’s yours?” Evelina asked.

“I HAVE NO IDEAAAAAAA!”

“You’re crazy!” I shouted. He chuckled, put on a pair of sunglasses, revved the engine (spaceships can do that???) and accelerated even faster.

“YOU HAVE NO IDEAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!”

mUahsDOOOCU5Ud3_STOfgaP-y0fQtYnULjC9jFXGnKqORk4SbvYA84uq_AWS9bqTiNEfYcE43tNQih1hnWyB8zC3ch4j0ZyGDEPGf4R9WCJIcStcXvwkl71cV1W1btYXC-5I3Q1_

“Hey, do you wanna hear my story?”

 

 

 

 

 

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