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


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4 minutes ago, 53miner53 said:

Moar? 

I have started Chapter 10, but it might not be ready for a while. My family was in a car crash and we're still trying to get everything sorted out. Everyone is alive, but I am now the most able person in the household, so I'm not going to have a ton of spare time in the next few weeks.

It's definitely on the list, but I'm about 99% sure this takes priority over writing. Thanks for your patience!

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1 hour ago, Ultimate Steve said:

I have started Chapter 10, but it might not be ready for a while. My family was in a car crash and we're still trying to get everything sorted out. Everyone is alive, but I am now the most able person in the household, so I'm not going to have a ton of spare time in the next few weeks.

It's definitely on the list, but I'm about 99% sure this takes priority over writing. Thanks for your patience!

Oh no!:0.0: I hope everyone recovers well!

and yes, that definitely takes priority over this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My goodness, it has been quite some time. Let's try and get back into something vaguely resembling a routine, shall we?

 

Chapter Ten - "AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!"

Spoiler

 

(Author's note, this is supposed to be in italics but it won't work for some reason)

 

"Representative Jebediah, you know that diquantum thingy that we sent to your system?"

 

"Yes, Representative Xanth?"

 

"Well, some curious intern decided to turn it on. Long story short, that vessel has a clone of itself on the other side of the galaxy."

 

"Woah."

 

"Quantum is weird. Diquantum is weirder."

 

"Let's just be glad we don't know much about triquantum yet."

 

"So, we're getting two scanning machines?"

 

"Correction. You have two scanning machines."

 

"What?"

 

"The replication event induced a slight bit of light time travel."

 

"Time travel?"

 

"Nothing too dramatic. The whole "Instant quantum communication" thing breaks more rules than this does."

 

"So, when can we turn it on?"

 

"It already has been turned on. The replication made it go backwards through time for a bit. They are fine now, but a few days older."

 

"Hmm, a device which can reverse time for a little bit? If I was writing a novel, that would certainly come in handy around the climax."

 

"So, what were the results of the, uh, scan that happened in the future but has already happened?"

 

"Well, that strange object was definitely emitting negative whatever quantum - you know what I'm talking about. I'm a representative, not a particle physicist. And the signal definitely had a pattern to it, like a message."

 

"Okay. So, what course of action do we take, representative Xanth?"

 

"We have no idea what we are dealing with. We have our top cryptographers on deciphering the message, and we're doing our best to contact the sender."

 

"Good. Keep me updated. Representative Jebediah out."

 

 

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

 

I am going to Vall.

Vall.

Let that sink in for a minute.

I, Ethan Edwards, supreme nerd of my tiny school in Illinois, destined at best to become a mere third-level engineer at SpaceX for a few years, am now the planet's youngest human astronaut and am about to walk on the surface of an alien moon thousands of light years away from my home planet.

I AM GOING TO VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!ONE!!!!!!111!!!!1!

1Gop73z.png

.....WITH CHENG?!?!?!?!?!?

"Cheng, what are you doing here? This is Alonya's spot!"

"Too bad, so sad. Onwards!"

"Hey, Cheng! Get back here!" shouted Alonya.

"We had a deal. I got to go to Vall - "

"If you shut your mouth for a while. And you didn't."

"Too late! Goodbye!"

"Ethan, don't die!" shouted Marie.

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I DON'T CARE I'M STILL GOING TO VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL111111!!1!1!!!1!

Okay, enough with the spamming. Alonya was mad, obviously, but as Cheng had said - it was too late to do anything. We were suborbital by that point. Because Alonya was mad, she wanted to distract herself a little bit and checked on the weird scanning thing which we hadn't really used much.

"Cheng, I'm reading an anomaly near your targeted landing zone."

"An anomaly?"

"Yes, an anomaly. And it is near your touchdown zone. Here are the co-ordinates." Alonya read off the co-ordinates.

"Okay, altering landing zone. I'm going to be even more famous now!"

"Cheng, be careful, we have no idea what it is."

"Careful is for losers!"

"You do realize what we are saying is being broadcast to everyone?"

"Hello, everyone! I - BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP"

"Wait, why can we hear the censor bleeping?" I shouted.

"That's not a censor, that's a sensor!" said Alonya.

"Oh. What sensor, and why is it making that annoying sound?"

"You tell me, Ethan! You're the one who can see the control panel!"

QKdORU2.png

Oh, right. I had completely been dazzled by the sight of an alien moon passing beneath me, a totally normal experience. /s.

I looked down at my control panel. There was a blinking light that said "BATTERY WARNING!" I remembered what Marie had told me about the Kerbals' power systems. I put the probe core into hibernate mode again.

"-SSIBLE!" yelled Cheng, as I could hear him because the bleeping had stopped.

"You finished?"

"Yeah. Why did you turn the probe core off, idiot?"

"To conserve power. We're pilots, and we don't use much electricity. The probe core is also a pilot, and it does use electricity. And, since we're already piloting this thing with two out of three pilots," I looked resentfully down at the locked control stick in front of me, "Why don't you just pilot it all the way?"

"Good point. I am the most qualified person to be here, anyway," said Cheng arrogantly.

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As Cheng lit the engine, the terrain passed rapidly beneath me. I was forced into my seat violently. The surface drew nearer and nearer. The engine cut out as our horizontal velocity hit zero. We fell towards the surface from there. The surface got closer and closer until it was alarmingly close.

"Cheng?" I said, panicking slightly. "We're getting awfully close to the surface now."

"Oh, look! This kid doesn't know what a suicide burn is! How pathetic are you?"

"I know what that is, but you're cutting it kind of close."

"I know what I'm doing, Ethan."

"BLEEEEEEEEEEEEP! BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!" The low altitude alarm went off.

"Cheng, STEP ON THE GAS!"

"Wait a moment... Okay, fine."

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"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!" I screamed, thinking that Cheng had taken the phrase "Suicide burn" a little bit too literally. But, to my surprise, we slowed rapidly, and hit zero velocity at exactly the same time as we hit the surface. The impact I felt was about the same as if someone hit you in the back with a pillow.

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Except Cheng forgot to turn off the engine. And the SAS was locked to retrograde.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"

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"And that's how you land a spaceship!" said Cheng, as his first words spoken on Vall. I mean, I don't really like Cheng at all, but you've got to admit, that's quite a lot better than "Probably because you're still sideways." I got out of my seat and stood on Vall, admiring the mountains surrounding me. In the moment, I had completely forgotten what my first words would be, so I did my best to make something up.

"Humans of Kerbin, I now stand -"

"Nope!" shouted Cheng, as he pushed me over.

"Hey!"

"Now you no longer stand."

"What did you do that for?!?"

"Oh, come on! It was funny!"

"You're a jerk," I muttered as I stood myself up. The angriness soon passed, as, well...

I AM ON VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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

 

"Representative Jebediah?"

"Yes, Representative Xanth?"

"Our cryptographers finally have a lead."

"What do you mean, finally? It's been days at most!"

"This message is of the highest importance. A team of Draftignitaron monks went into the negative time zone. From their perspective, they spent three thousand years trying to crack the code."

"Three THOUSAND years?" Jebediah jumped out of his seat and hit the bar above his head.

"Thankfully, their average lifespan is ten thousand."

"When can we expect to see the message?"

"Within hours, Representative Jebediah."

"Keep me posted, Representative Xanth. Representative Jebediah out."

 

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

 

VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I promise I'm done with the spam. I will not break that promise for another twenty letters.

12345678- Oh, wait. Those are numbers.

Hey, those are letters!

VAAAAAAAAAAAAAAa- Oh, something important is happening in the story, I should probably get back to that.

XevSCev.png

"Buuuuuuuummmmmm-Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum-BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! DUN DUN!!!!! !DUN DUN!!!!!"

"Ethan, will you stop humming the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey?"

"That thing over there is literally a monolith. On an alien moon. How can I not?"

"Okay, fine. Let's just try to be sciencey about this."

"Hello, this is Voyager, Jack speaking. We just came over the horizon. We're requesting an update on Vall Anomaly One."

"It's a monolith," replied Cheng.

"OOOH, A monolith! Is it 1:4:9?"

"No, Ja-"

"I AM GOING TO HUM THE 2001 THEME ALL DAY AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!" Shouted Jack. Cheng sighed.

"Marie speaking, is it completely inert? Is it square? Any writing? Is it magnetic? Is it anything like the movie?"

"No, it's sort of greenish," I replied. "It is almost 1:4:9, but it has sloped sides. Oh, yeah, and there's an insane monkey picture on it along with the word "SQUAD." Pictures are being uploaded now. If you get the angle just right, the "SQUAD" changed to "TAKE TWO." Weird."

"My other questions?"

"None of the sensors see anything except for the camera."

"Is it solid?" I threw a rock at the structure. It bounced off.

"Yep."

"Okay, which one of you is going to touch it first?"

"I nominate Ethan," said Cheng.

"Wait, what? You don't want to -"

"So you are scared of it! Hey, Kerbin! Ethan's a scardey cat!"

"I am not!"

"Prove it!" shouted Cheng.

"I will!" I said as I walked up to the weird green object.

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I gulped. Maybe I was slightly scared. Only a little bit. Maybe. Okay, now that I think about it, I was pretty terrified.

9kAkU56.png

I took a deep breath, and raised my arm up to the dark surface, before gently setting my hand on the emerald black surface. The instant my gloved hand met the smooth material, something strange happened - I was suddenly floating in blackness. I looked down at myself - I was not there. There were several ever distant doors floating past faster than I could comprehend. And there was this colorless triangle floating in front of my face. The doors suddenly stopped - One of them opened.

I saw myself in what was left of a 2007 Toyota Corolla, sitting still on the interstate. As soon as I understood it, the doors began moving again. The Corolla was nowhere in sight.

A few seconds later, yet an eternity had passed - another door opened. This one showed me, a few years older, dancing with Andrea at senior Prom (!). As soon as I saw it, the doors moved again. The colorless triangle opened another door - I was in my thirties, nervously staring at a strange computer awaiting the launch of a massive rocket - way bigger than the proposed ITS. The image split. One of them showed the rocket exploding. One of them showed the rocket entering orbit.

The doors moved again.

I was a year younger, setting off a model rocket. I remembered this - this is the one where my sister got curious and set it off two inches from my face. Except this time, it was driven straight through my brain.

I fell off a cliff in South Dakota.

My school bus drove off of a bridge into a river.

I met Neil Armstrong before he died.

So many paths. So many.

I saw myself walking on the Moon - Earth's moon.

I was orbiting a black hole.

I was doing backflips on Pluto.

My hometown was nuked accidentally by China.

How many paths. They passed faster and faster.

The triangle remained still.

A realization fell upon me. These were all possible futures - and pasts that had not happened.

I was president of the United States.

An icicle pierced my head killing me.

The Voyager was attacked by a laser beam.

I saw myself and Jeb sitting in a tiny, ancient, but futuristic spacecraft.

The doors flew by faster still - one future per second. Two. Four. Eight. Sixteen. Thirty-two.

I save the universe.

I end the universe.

I marry Bailey.

I marry Winter.

I marry Evelina.

I accidentally break Wintergatan's Marble Machine X.

My album is released.

My album is deleted and I am so devastated that I never do anything of importance ever again.

A piano falls on my head and I die.

A piano falls on the head of the person next to me. He dies.

I stop and pick a flower.

The futures become indistinguishable from the pasts. The realities become indistinguishable from the fantasies. 64. 128. 254. 2048. 131072.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-"

The images form the shape of five monoliths. One for each Joolian moon. The first one - the one on the left - fills up with images of my possible futures - and my impossible pasts.

The space I'm in gets brighter and brighter. I scream - yet no sound comes out. Just as the light becomes unbearable - and the images pass by infinities at a time - I am deposited back into the universe I know and love.

I am thrown back twenty meters from the monolith, skidding to a stop on the icy surface of Vall.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA......................."

fEn2BNn.png

"Uh, Ethan?"

 

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

 

"Representative Jebediah."

"Representative Xanth. Hey, I was just going to talk to you! Ethan found the first of the five mono- "

"Representative Jebediah, that might not even matter anymore. "

"Do you come bearing news?"

"Yes. One of those monks I told you about? He completely decoded the message." Jebediah jumped out of his seat - and hit his head yet again.

"Fantastic, Representative Xanth! What is the message?

"That's the thing, Representative Jebediah. The monk worked alone. After he decoded the message, he promptly began screaming - and he didn't stop for a whole twenty minutes."

"And then?"

"He shouted, and I quote, "THIS GALAXY IS GOING TO BURN! THE END IS NEAR! PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR THE FINAL HOURS OF THE ONLY WORLDS WE HAVE EVER KNOWN!""

"O-kay. Did he say anything else?"

"He's dead."

"What?"

"He teleported himself to a random planet on the other side of the universe, Representative Jebediah. He decided that life infinities of light years away was better than the fate the message offered."

"What?"

"You heard me. The other monks are more dedicated than ever to revealing this message. They even made a pact that even if the message was worth killing oneself over, the galaxy would hear the message beforehand."

"Oh. I have no words for this. If this situation is as dire as the monk made it out to be..."

"Representative Jebediah, I can assure you, these monks are trained for two thousand years on asteroid cathedrals as old as the Illasticonian civilization. He would have taken his job with the highest level of sincerity. If something can be bad enough to cause a Draftignitaron to isolate himself from everything we know, it is probably something we should be very, very concerned about. But, in the case that he did overreact and that the 3,000 years had gotten to him, then we may have nothing to fear. We had seen signs of insanity in this one before. But, we need to be alert."

"Roger. Representative Jebediah out."

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

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"And you're sure you weren't hallucinating?"

"For the last time, Marie! It was real!"

"You didn't feel anything the second time you touched it. Neither did Cheng. I think you can understand my skepticism."

"Well, fine! How about we get an independently verified report? There should be one monolith per moon. Five moons, five monoliths, five of us. We're going to Tylo next. And, the hardest of us to convince, Cheng, may be landing next to that anomaly."

"I'm still going to remain skeptical, but, Cheng?"

"Yeah?"

"Good luck with precision landing on Tylo. I wouldn't want you to have to walk twenty kilometers to be able to verify Ethan's claim."

"I don't need luck. I have years of flight training!"

"Alright, Cheng," I said. "I bet you exactly zero dollars that you will blow up at least one part upon landing on Tylo."

"I mean, what do I have to lose, exactly, here?"

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

Simon the Monk sat at his desk, inside a time compressed zone of the universe. He had been in here 3,067 Earth years. Four years ago, he had witnessed his friend and colleague randomly teleport himself away over the contents of the message he had decoded. Simon and the other monks had been tirelessly working to recover the decoded message.

Simon the Monk keyed in one more set of parameters to the decoding framework they had set up a hundred years ago. Simon sat back in surprise. The answer was coming out in straight Uyggn, a language a computer had spent thousands of years perfecting as "The Most Logical Language." Simon could not read Uyggn, so he ran it through the translation algorithm. He paused to think for a second - his colleague had basically ended everything he ever knew over this. Simon didn't want to keep the information from the world - He had a pact to maintain. He called over his entire work team and they all read the message together.

 

They immediately wished they hadn't.

 

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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It's not impossible, Cheng. It's UNPOSSIBLE.

For the record, the monolith was 1:4:9 (the squares of 1, 2, 3, the first three positive nonzero integers) 

Wait a minute... 

"THIS GALAXY IS GOING TO BURN! THE END IS NEAR! PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR THE FINAL HOURS OF THE ONLY WORLDS WE HAVE EVER KNOWN!" 

That's really cryptic. REALLY cryptic. That could only mean... 

No... That's impossible... Wait... Of course... 

CI'I CEDZ KZUBTH, JLH'B PF?

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23 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

For the record, the monolith was 1:4:9 (the squares of 1, 2, 3, the first three positive nonzero integers) 

Ahh, Sorry, Editing now. Everyone makes dumb mistakes sometimes! :D

23 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

CI'I CEDZ KZUBTH, JLH'B PF?

I have absolutely no clue what you're trying to say.

Spoiler

No, I was not trying to make a Gravity Falls reference in case you interpereted it that way. It just came out like a reference.

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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21 hours ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Everyone makes dub mistakes sometimes!

"makes dub mistakes" 

"dub" 

Don't you mean dumb? PROVED YOUR POINT!

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On 8/15/2017 at 0:22 PM, 53miner53 said:

DUNNNN DUNNNNN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why not use the kettledrum? 

"I never learned how to play it."

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Chapter Ten And A Half - Total Eclipse of the Heart

Spoiler

Oh, yeah, I just remembered: Some more perks of living on Kerbin are the daily solar and lunar eclipses. That must be really, really cool, especially if you live on the equator. Hmm, I wonder why nothing in the Kerbin system has axial tilt... Hmm...

That is all.

 

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Thanks once again for your support, it means a lot! I never thought this many people would enjoy my story!

Oh, yeah, and here's Chapter 11:

 

Chapter Eleven - All we've ever known

Spoiler

First off, I'm sorry, I had a brain fart. Eclipses on Kerbin do not happen daily. They happen every orbit of the Mun - which is still incredibly often.

 

Tylo. The second frontier.

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These are the voyages of the spaceship Voyager, and its (I don't know how long) mission:

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To explore strange new (to us, anyways) moons, to seek out (wait, what are we seeking out, again?) and new (IDK).

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TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT HAS GONE BEFORE!!!!!

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"Later, losers!"

"Cheng, focus on the landing, not the insults!" said Marie.

"Relax, I'm just de-orbiting. It's not that hard."

"It may not be hard, but walking is also not hard. We all trip and fall sometimes," I said. "So, if I were you, I'd pay attention."

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"There, low Tylo orbit achieved. See? Piece of cake. Even Ethan could do it with his eyes closed."

"Hey!"

"Okay, now... I think I'm going for the red anomaly. I'm feeling good about it being a monolith. If Ethan is correct about there being five."

"I'd almost bet my life on it." I said.

"You would be so foolish, Ethan."

"Guys, seriously, stop with the insults!" said Alonya.

"Yeah, Ethan! Shut up!"

"I mean both of you!" snapped Alonya. "Now, we need to wait, what, four days until the site is below the orbital path? Does that seem right?"

"If he wants to go for Anomaly Red," said Marie.

"And I do."

"Remember your training, Cheng. Especially because we are in an extremely elliptical orbit due to lack of fuel in the mothership," I said.

"See, I told you we'd run out of fuel!" replied Cheng.

"We won't run out of fuel, Cheng! We'll break the ship apart when we reach Pol, saving mass. As I was saying, if you absolutely nail this landing - "

"And I will."

" - then you should have just enough fuel to reach a very low orbit. Then, the Emerson will come and get you. You may have to use your jetpack - "

"I will need to do no such thing! You losers might - but I'm a -"

"A pilot, the only person qualified to be on this mission, we get it," interrupted Jack.

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"Okay," said Marie, "Who's up for more Whack-A-Kerbal?"

"Me!" said everyone who was on the ship."

"Oh, don't tell me you're going to play with those stupid magnets again!"

"Captain Jack, permission to turn off the radio?"

"Wait, you're calling him "Captain Jack" now?" replied Marie.

"It's a bet I lost, I have to call him that for the next week because I couldn't find a way to turn the Whack-A-Kerbal laser grid green."

"Hey! There's a mod for that!" interjected Valentina.

"As Captain Jack, I hereby dictate that the mod shall be installed! And, yeah, turn off the radio!"

"Bye, Cheng!"

"Wait, I need to sa-"

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

Four days later, many thousands of light years away, at the center of the galaxy, the Galactic Council had called for an emergency meeting at the council chamber.

Image result for sagittarius a*

Orbiting mere meters above the surface of Sagittarius a*, inside the Schwarzschild radius due to the power of technology, was the four module space station that had been built shortly after the First Great Interstellar War.

Inside that station, several dozen representatives (Not all of the 86 members were able to make it on such short notice) prepared to hear a message that would change their lives.

Several other representatives, including Representative Jebediah, watched from their own planets on a faster than light lagless livestream.

"Greetings, representatives," announced Representative Hess. "You probably all know why we are here today, and you are all especially anxious to hear this intergalactic message. As such, I'm going to enact clause 572b and skip the introduction, as this is potentially the greatest and most dangerous discovery in the history of our galaxy. I have not heard the message yet, but I have heard from the monks who have decoded it. It is apparently... scary. Members of the Galactic council, brace yourselves. The message will follow."

Representative Hess stood nervously onstage. The rest of the council sat nervously in their seats as a pair of Jerbisak engineers carried in a secure locked box.

Once positioned centerstage, they opened this box, of which the inside was covered with extreme amounts of padding, and extracted a device which looked suspiciously like a smartphone. They tapped a few buttons on it, and the message began to play.

"CALLIBRATION CODE 01000101 01000001 01010011 01010100 01000101 01010010 00100000 01000101 01000111 01000111-" However, all of a sudden, an absolutely tremendous spaceship roared past the domed end of the Council Chamber, ramming the force field, knocking the audio playback device into the air.

"AAAAAAA!" screamed everyone as the lights flickered. The message abruptly stopped playing.

"Emergency code 8-0-7-3a, enact stabilization!" shouted one of the engineers near a control panel. The shaking of the room began to subside, and the lights came back on. Suddenly, the doors to the chamber opened and Representative Galactus the Cow entered, followed by his assistant Phil the Pig.

"Did I miss it?" shouted Representative Galactus. Everyone stared at him. "What, did I accidentally blow something up again?" There was a long pause.

"Is it a requirement to have your ceremonial spaceship powered by TNT?" asked another Representative, slightly angry.

"Hey, it's for history's sake! The first and last spaceship to leave Planet Pock was powered by TNT."

"Representative Galactus," said an annoyed Representative Hess, "Take your seat. Now, the message - wait, where did the player go?" There was a bit of a panic until one of the engineers noticed that the player was floating directly in the center of the artificial gravity chamber, rendering it stationary.

"You've got to be kidding me."

"Okay, enact and alter the emergency gravitational fields, to r=0.001 y. That should make it fall gently. Someone calibrate the sensors! Let's get that player down!"

"Or, you know, we could just use a ladder."

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

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"WOOOHOOO!" shouted Cheng as the auxiliary fuel tanks exploded.

"Cheng, our sensors show that your auxiliary fuel tanks have exploded!" yelled Alonya.

"I can see that, Sherlock!"

"Well, is anything broken?"

"Besides the auxiliary fuel tanks? No. I didn't need those anyway. They were empty. Which is why I detached them."

"Okay, um, uh... what was I going to say?" I said.

"YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" shouted Jebediah Kerman from a few modules over.

"What?" I shouted back. Jebediah entered our module.

"Uh... the thing I was watching sort of failed. So, now I'm free to oversee the landing. How are you doing, Cheng?"

"Just fine, you unprofessional green lightbulb."

"That's a new one," said Bill Kerman.

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"Just remember, Cheng," I said, "Jeb once told me that Tylo is the hardest body in the system to land on."

"Besides the sun," interjected Captain Jack.

"He also said that early Tylo landings were accompanied by a high rate of swear words."

"Piece of cake, Ethan."

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"Uh, what's this lander called again?" asked Marie.

"Revelry," everyone but Cheng said at the same time.

"Ah. Thanks."

"Landing site is directly ahead!" announced Cheng.

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"Careful with your TWR," I cautioned. "Tylo has a deceptively strong gravity well."

"Blah blah blah. I know, stupid!"

"Alonya," I asked, ignoring Cheng's insults, "Is there any chance you could keep tabs on his Delta-V?"

"I can't, I'm busy. Marie?"

"I'm to busy monitoring the targeting. Cheng, a little more east would be nice."

"Roger, turning westward, moron. I knew that already!"

"Okay," I said, "Captain Jack? Can you provide updates on these two numbers every few seconds? The ones marked "Velocity" and "Stage Delta-V."

"Okay, sure!" he replied. The reason I couldn't do it myself is that I had been assigned to the position of "Systems monitoring." That meant that I had to alert Cheng if anything looked off-nominal.

"Velocity 1.6, Delta-V 1.7," announced Captain Jack.

"We're reading one issue in the second stage TVC systems," I announced.

"Everything's fine on my end, dummy!" replied Cheng.

"Or it could be that this indicator here is broken," I said. Upon closer inspection, it had, in fact, been broken.

"Velocity 1.4, Delta-V 1.5."

"Excellent," said Alonya.

"Okay, Cheng, you will really have to turn eastward if you don't want to walk several kilometers to the anomaly," prompted Marie.

"Wait, I don't think that would be wise - " I interjected.

"How so?" she replied.

"Well, it's because of the fact that -"

"Velocity 1.0, Delta-V 1.05."

"Exactly my point! If he turns he might not have the fuel to make a safe landing."

"Good point. Cheng, maintain current course," said Marie. "Bingo fuel, I guess? Don't do anything stupid."

"Like I ever would."

"Captain Jack," I requested, "Could you add altitude above terrain to your callout?"

"Absolutely. Velocity 800, Delta-V 840, Altitude 10."

MQbSK7V.png

"I have a visual on the anomaly!" shouted Cheng.

"Wow, you can see the monolith from that far away?" I asked.

"No, stupid. It's a gigantic cave."

"A cave?"

"Aw, man! I don't get to see a monolith!"

"Focus on landing, please, we can sort out the anomaly-"

"Velocity 600, Delta-V 610, Altitude 6."

"He's not going to make it!" announced a shocked Alonya. "The margin combined with gravity losses - "

"Yeah, I figured that," said Cheng.

"Velocity 500, Delta-V 500, Altitude 4."

"Well, what's the plan then?"

"Wait for it..." said Cheng.

"Oh, no, is this going to be another close call that gets resolved at the final second?" said Captain Jack.

"Wait for it..."

"Just tell us already, Cheng!" shouted Marie.

"Velocity 300, Delta-V 285, Altitude 2.5."

"Cheng, what are you doing?"

"200, 170, 1.5."

"Just a few more seconds..."

"150, 115, 1000 meters."

"Cheng?"

"CHENG!"

"Almost..."

"500 meters!"

"Engaging fuel crossfeed!"

"Wha- oh."

"But your ascent fuel!"

"3... 2... 1..."

ULGTaPb.png

6RXj6NU.png

 

"...Touchdown?"

"Well, that went well."

UGHbh5y.png

"Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing," proclaimed Cheng, in the first words spoken by a human on the moon of Tylo.

"You're already outside the ship?" asked an incredulous Marie.

"Nevermind that! Is the ascent stage okay?" shouted Alonya.

"Velocity 0, Delta-V 0, Altitude 0."

"You can stop now, Captain Jack!" I said.

"Relax! The ascent stage is fine, I'll just have to push it vertical when I decide it's time to leave," replied Cheng.

"Are you sure? That thing probably weighs more than a ton!" asked Captain Jack.

"You're forgetting that I'm Cheng. Now, where's that cave?" he said. I looked at a map that was on a screen.

"Twenty-two point two kilometers eastward," I said.

"Yeah! I get to be the first person to run a half marathon on another celestial body!"

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

Back on Kerbin, there was a runner named Jackie. She heard the news about Cheng (who everyone thought was insane) and decided to make a bet with her friend Dimitri that she could run an entire marathon in the time it took Cheng to reach the cave.

She ran beginning from her city of Argalothia, which was located in that mini South America looking subcontinent on the far right upper side of the map.

Image result for kerbin map

 

Her destination was the city of Greendale, which was slightly further up the coast. As she was running, she remembered a story about a guy who ran around the entire planet of Earth (or at least the parts of it that weren't ocean). She pulled up a quick reference image on her phone.

Image result for kerbin vs earth

 

As she did that, she realized it might be feasible to run all the way around Kerbin within a semi reasonable amount of time.

Jackie left the city limits of Argalothia and ran across the empty, grassy plains of planet Kerbin. About four hours into her run, the sun had set and risen again, and her idea was nearly finalized. 

Three hours later she reached Greendale and stopped. Only for a few hours, though. By this time she had ran about fifty kilometers, and Cheng had not yet reached the cave.

She kept running, further north, to the next city. And after that, she rested a little more. Then she ran to the next city. And she planned to continue. She decided she would attempt to be the first person to run the circumference of Kerbin. She figured that if she ran a marathon a day that it should only take her 100 days.

She didn't know it at the time, but her decision to run that distance would impact the lives of everyone in the universe.

 

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

"Not so tough now, are you, Cheng?" teased Alonya.

"Shut *gasp* up."

5SyABYy.png

"Why are you climbing it again?" I asked.

"Because *cough* I *wheeze* can *pant*!"

BHbnSyj.png

"Don't fall, okay?" said Jack (It's been long enough I can stop calling him "Captain Jack" now).

"I *GASP* won't! I'm almost *PANT* there!"

"He's right," I said, "just another dozen meters... and... he's there!"

jGzlu76.png

mWmreF7.png

"Seriously, don't fall down!" cautioned Marie.

"I won't! I'm invincible! I'm like, Iron man or something!" boasted Cheng as he planted a flag at the exact highest point on the cave.

TNEcoDf.png

"Wow, this flag is sort of slipping downhill... the cave material is sort of crumbling... It's a decent view, though."

"Exactly how crumbly is the surface?" asked Alonya as the flag broke away and slid down the cliff face.

AzkrLYJ.png

"Obviously, very crumbly."

"I'd get down to the ground as fast as possible if I were you," I said. "The surface could break beneath you."

"And why should I listen to yo-AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!"

VAXxob6.png

"CHENG!" we all shouted at once.

"AAAA-OOF!-OUCH!" Cheng yelled as he slid down the steep cliff, desperately searching for a handhold. We all screamed in shock, unable to do anything but watch and listen to his screams. He began rolling as the slope evened out. He spun faster and faster for a time - but then he began to slow as he entered a more controlled slide, slowing down - but it was too little, too late.

T8XnzYL.png

n0cicWt.png

s8j6FdC.png

"Oh, no. I'm going to die, aren't I?"

VNb4KkH.png

"Funny, I've always wanted to go skydiving. What is this - spacediving?"

"Cheng, turn on your jetpack!"

OfP7ypI.png

"IT WON'T DO ANYTHING, YOU STUPID LITTLE IDIOT! GRAVITY HERE IS TOO STRONG AND - oh, well, this is pointless. Goodbye, you idiots. Good riddance and -" There was a loud THUD as Cheng impacted the surface of Tylo helmet-first. Everyone gasped in shock as Cheng hit the surface of Tylo traveling near 50 meters per second. Everyone stood in shocked silence for a few seconds.

Then, Bob Kerman burst into laughter.

"SERIOUSLY?" I shouted. "Bob, Cheng IS DEAD! What the heck is so funny about that?"

"I agree," said a teary-eyed Marie, "Cheng was a total jerk, but, Bob, his death does not merit that sort of response." Bob was still laughing hysterically.

"I'm sorry," he said after he calmed down enough to speak. "It's just - you really don't know, do you? Cheng is perfectly fine, those suits were designed to protect the wearer at impacts of up to twice that speed, especially from helmet impacts! I think you'll find that Cheng is alive and well, he'll just have to realign his antenna!" Moments after he said that, Cheng's voice came on over the radio.

"-And by now, Bob or Bill will have told you how I'm not dead, and, oh! There's the alignment."

rG0Q4Cz.png

"CHENG! You're alive!" shouted everyone.

"Woah, you actually fell for that? You all are even bigger idiots than I thought you were, not reading the suit's safety ratings." Our enthusiasm rapidly declined.

"You know, it could help to be a little less rude," muttered Alonya under her breath.

"I heard that!" said Cheng.

"Okay, uh, any injuries of any sort? You basically hit the surface at, like, 100 miles per hour!" asked Jack.

"Injuries? Nah, this suit is basically an Iron Man suit, but without the flying. I'm perfectly fine. Except for the fact that I can't feel my right big toe."

"Okay, according to medical procedure - " began Alonya, only to be interrupted by Cheng.

"Just kidding! You fell for that one as well! Now, look at this cave!"

"Okay, Cheng, just remember to be somewhat scienecy about this. Take soil samples as you go in, every few dozen meters or so," I requested.

a02Et1R.png

"No time for that!" he said. "I'm noticing a strange sort of glowing spot on the walls of this cave."

"Where?" I said, looking at Cheng's camera feed. "I don't see anything."

"I'm approaching it now."

IcMD3kM.png

"Cheng, is this another one of your pranks? I seriously don't see anything on my camera feed," I said.

"Really? The wall is glowing purple over here."

"Okay, if you are being serious," said Alonya, "Please do not touch-" I pulled her off to the side, cutting her off.

"Alonya," I whispered, "He always does the opposite of what we tell him to. If we tell him not to touch it, he'll just touch it. So let's tell him to touch it."

"Hmm, that might work." Alonya turned back to the microphone. "Cheng, make sure to touch it."

"You know, I was going to do that anyway, even if you told me not to," he replied.

fcEHmX6.png

"Well, that backfired," muttered Marie.

"Are you sure you can't see this bright purple glowing thing?" asked Cheng.

"We're 100 percent sure," I said. "The monitors show gray, gray, and more gray."

NRWQZBP.png

"Okay, Cheng, I'll need you to take measurements of the local radiation in case the so called "Purple Spot" is radioactive," requested Marie.

"Okay, sure," replied Cheng. "Just a moment."

"Wait, you're actually listening to - " began Jack.

"NOPE!" shouted Cheng as he placed his left hand on the purple glowing spot on the wall. "Hmm, nothing appears to be happeni-"

 

*POOF*

 

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

After a few annoying hours of searching for a ladder, the Galactic Council resorted to sending a fast runner to run around the artificial gravity chamber at the exact speed of rotation and then jump. After many attempts, he finally managed to grab the device which housed the recording.

The playback began where it had left off.

...00110100 01100101 00100000 00110110 00110101 00100000 00110111 00110110 00100000 00110110 00110101 00100000 00110111 00110010 00100000 00110010 00110000 00100000 00110100 00110111 00100000 00110110 01100110 00100000 00110110 01100101 00100000 00110110 01100101 00100000 00110110 00110001 00100000 00110010 00110000 00100000 00110100 00110111 00100000 00110110 00111001 00100000 00110111 00110110 00100000 00110110 00110101 00100000 00110010 00110000 00100000 00110101 00111001 00100000 00110110 01100110 00100000 00110111 00110101 00100000 00110010 00110000 00100000 00110101 00110101 00100000 00110111 00110000...

The calibration code then proceeded to end. An ominous voice began to speak.

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

"We lost Cheng!" Announced Alonya.

"His radio signature just vanished!" I said, astounded.

"Is he dead again?" shouted Jack.

"Wait!" said Marie. "He's still here, he's... no, that can't be right!"

"What?" I asked.

"He teleported about a hundred kilometers east!"

"Attempting to reestablish radio contact... hold on..."

HmC3GSm.png

"-really weird, if you ask me," said Cheng.

"Cheng! What happened?!?" shouted Jack.

"Teleportation, dummy."

"Where did you - what?" asked a confused Alonya.

"Do you think I know? I am slowly being lowered towards the ground at about one meter per second. The moment before that I was in the cave!"

"Do you see anything?" I asked.

"Besides gray, gray, and more gray? No! I can't even move my head!"

"How are we getting him back to the lander now?" asked Marie.

"Okay, I can move now that I'm on the ground. See, nothing for as far as I can see!" said Cheng as he turned around. "Oh - never mind. Hello, there!"

sfi0zs3.png

"What is it, Cheng?" asked Alonya.

"It's a monolith, just like Ethan's!"

"Exactly?"

"Yes, exactly!"

bqhnt6W.png

"Haha, Ethan! You're no longer Mr. Special! Now, I'll be the one, the discoverer of something! Haha, loser!"

dzvA9Ya.png

"Cheng, be careful!" I warned. "If this one is anything like the last one, you'll get thrown back pretty dramatically. And brace yourself, it's a sudden experience!"

QXA5URU.png

"Careful is for losers, loser," said Cheng as he reached out - 

yaaYKW3.png

-And touched the monolith.

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

And so the message played.

Creatures of the Laniakea Supercluster, we are The Species. Our mission is a simple one - to save ourselves from the eventual heat death of the universe. Ten billion years ago, the members of the Original Council united an entire cluster to accomplish this feat. We have grown so large now that even organizations the size of that first council are mere specks of dust to us.

In order to accomplish our mission, we require the help of your own species. Chances are, seeing as you have decoded this message, you have mastered a basic level of Quantum technology and are able to help us in some small way. Should you find yourselves listening to this message, your species will soon be assimilated into ours at the most basic level. Any improvement you may bring, whether intellectual or physical, will be coded into the genetics of The Species (although this is incredibly unlikely). Those of you suitable enough we may run a full conversion on (again, this is very rare). Those of you who are not we may put to work on simple tasks like stripping planets of their natural resources. Those of you that are not of any use whatsoever will be {VIOLENT, TORTUROUS EXPERIENCE THAT DOES NOT TRANSLATE}. Your home planets will also be converted to suit our needs, whether it be logistics, weapons testing, or most likely removal for natural resources. This process may seem incredibly damaging and even immoral in the short term. However, we can assure you, it is the only way to ensure the future of the universe. Your contribution means our survival.

In the event that we encounter a species that offers no advantage whatsoever, it will be destroyed without hesitation. Even spacefaring civilizations rarely offer anything of importance and will suffer this fate.

Should you by any means refuse to take part in contributing to The Species, you will be mercilessly destroyed. Should you choose to hide, don't bother. If you are hearing this message, it means we have already begun to scan your sector. We have completely removed galaxies from existence. It would be no problem removing yours. We have already assimilated tens of billions of species into our own - not one has escaped. You will not be the first. We are technologically and physically superior to you in every way.

To those of you who are even thinking of refusing, we currently control {AREA LARGER THAN THE OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE}. We are ten billion years old. We have the capacity to destroy entire systems in a single instant. You are inferior to us in every way possible. To wage war against us would be trying to redirect an asteroid using a single photon. Should you not fully submit to our cause, you will suffer a fate much worse than death.

Please send your reply using the inverted septquantum codec shown above. We look forward to assimilating your system for the good of the universe.

-The Species.

 

There were several seconds of silence as everyone processed the words that had just been said.

"So, basically," one representative said, "We're all going to die."

"Yes, pretty much."

And then the whole room descended in to chaos.

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

Cheng was thrown back from the monolith at a rapid velocity and struck the ground with a thud.

hhDSxAi.png

The pain did not bother him at all - for he had seen things, things he could not forget in a million years. No amount of pain could have affected him more than the revelations the monolith had provided. He glanced off into the black abyss of space. His lander came into focus.

d3WEQK4.png

Any normal day he would have wondered how he had gotten back to it. But today, he had much, much bigger things to worry about.

He had seen the future - and many things he did not understand. Many things he did not want to understand.

But, the one thing he did understand was that he could not speak any specifics of what he had just seen - or else the galaxy stood an even smaller chance of surviving.

"Cheng, this is Voyager. Come in, Cheng!" he heard Alonya yell. "Your radio signature has jumped back to the lander! What happened?" Cheng rolled over and slowly got to his feet. He stared at the stars above, and swore silently to himself that he would never be the same person again.

"Voyager, this is Cheng, I am alright."

"What happened in there?"

"Well - basically the same thing that Ethan described. Doors, the white triangle, the future."

"Any specifics?"

"I would prefer to keep those to myself, if that's alright with you."

"If it's alright with me? Sure, then."

"Alonya?"

"Yes, Cheng?"

"Be careful when you get to Laythe."

"Cheng, of course I'll be careful, but your jeering and laughing is not going to help. Now, if you'd be able to provide more information on - "

"Laythe, Alonya. Be careful - "

"I can't tell if you're joking around or actually trying to be serious or even - "

 

 

" - Please."

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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Ah, the Borg have showed up. And they want to assimilate us. And survive/stop the Heat Death. 

I fully support both. 

Wait, "Creatures of the Laniakea Supercluster"?! Our SUPERCLUSTER is a tiny thing to them?! HOW VAST IS THIS EMPIRE?! 

We do have a secret weapon, however! A GIANT DEATH LASER- Er, the power of love/friendship/hippie stuff!

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/27/2017 at 12:24 AM, Ultimate Steve said:

00110100 01100101 00100000 00110110 00110101 00100000 00110111 00110110 00100000 00110110 00110101 00100000 00110111 00110010 00100000 00110010 00110000 00100000 00110100 00110111 00100000 00110110 01100110 00100000 00110110 01100101 00100000 00110110 01100101 00100000 00110110 00110001 00100000 00110010 00110000 00100000 00110100 00110111 00100000 00110110 00111001 00100000 00110111 00110110 00100000 00110110 00110101 00100000 00110010 00110000 00100000 00110101 00111001 00100000 00110110 01100110 00100000 00110111 00110101 00100000 00110010 00110000 00100000 00110101 00110101 00100000 00110111 00110000...

I converted this calibration code from binary and got a string of numbers and letters that were hexadecimal for  "Never Gonna Give You Up"

Very clever, @Ultimate Steve, very clever.

:P

Edited by JK_Kerbineer
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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 11:24 PM, Ultimate Steve said:

She didn't know it at the time, but her decision to run that distance would impact the lives of everyone in the universe.

Remember this? What could this have to do with The Species...

*Tinfoil hat on*

Edited by obney kerman
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19 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

Remember this? What could this have to do with The Species...

*Tinfoil hat on*

Top secret for now, unfortunately. :D And, yes, it is somewhat related to The Species.

Also, time is a very rare commodity right now, but besides stuff that I have to do, Chapter Twelve is, like, third on the list at this point!

Wait, it's been two months?!?!?!? I didn't realize it had been that long! Sorry to keep y'all waiting.

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At long last... 4300 words (!) and 2 months later (I don't usually make chapters this long, but I couldn't find a way to tie it up early)...

 

Chapter Twelve - Jool, in its Majesty

Spoiler

Okay, hey again. I’m on the way to Pol right now, as you will have seen on the news. So, you’ve probably seen how Tylo turned out on the news and stuff… but, hey! You’re reading this because you either want an inside look at our mission, or you actually enjoy my terrible writing skills.

ANYWAY…

 

For you all back on Kerbin, they have set up a roughly Earth-analogue calendar, as well as set up the school system… and we all know what time of year it is… It’s almost time for Homecoming!

 

Wait, where was I going with this? I’m not one to give Homecoming advice… I’ve literally never been to a dance, gone on a date, or done anything remotely like that… so, uh, yeah. It’s not like I’m going to go at all this year… I’m literally the only person my age in this entire spaceship… And although I appreciate the fact that my email inbox is now overflowing with invitations to random Homecomings across Kerbin:

 

  1. I do not know many of you, if any.

  2. 99% of you are asking just because I’m “that famous astronaut guy.”

  3. I can’t be there. Orbits do not work that way. Unless you have a warp drive, which I do not.

 

OKAY, now that that (I’ve always wondered, are double thats grammatically correct?) bit of slightly off topic information is over with, last you heard from me, Cheng was on Tylo.

 

One Tylo day later, Cheng (who had been oddly silent), having completed his science mission, prepared to make the ascent back into Tylo orbit.

 

JdPDVcapOMfSjVvuRx0LN6dGZysyZ8TcvVvp9cOYyU_RSNgeezZdrKHIWfbM4JceQvjT6iRhc9TKR2RCAZwOnT7Atkm87WnRSUt2SgkPz-BYbmiPPOda8tvymozQAWTx4R_kr673

 

Cheng to Voyager. Would you mind running me through the whole thing again?”

 

“Of course,” replied Alonya. “Step one: Get the lander standing up.”

 

“Working on that right now.”

 

“Step two: Achieve low orbit around Tylo. According to the mission plan, we would have the mothership in a low orbit, but we did not have enough fuel and this ascent profile is just barely achievable with your current Delta-V margin. And you will have to use your jetpack.”

 

“Great. How did they manage to pack so much fuel into this backpack again?”

 

“Well,” I replied, “it’s a bit dangerous - the EVA propellant is an obscure substance with a specific impulse of about six to eight hundred newton seconds, giving it the oomph. However, if you have more than about twelve kilograms of it in one spot at once, it achieves critical mass and explodes.”

 

“Really? Hmm. So my spacesuit is radioactive?”

 

“Yes. However, it’s half life is high enough that you don’t need to worry about it. Unless it exploded, it would take about 752 years to absorb a lethal dose of radiation from wearing the suit.”

 

“Okay,” said Alonya, “Step three is we send the Emerson to come and retrieve you, as we are in an elliptical orbit and you are not. Got that?”

 

“Yes, thank you, Alonya.”

 

“Uh - yeah. You’re welcome. So, what’s your status on step one?” There was a loud *KLA-THUD* over the radio.

 

“Already done!” he said.

 

OVsTCr2jYwqMUCwiHNMrz26MoD6V8JksZlge0g59EuYBRC91JUsuBN3WiGCR5SGa8WFe2dLtT5gi-4SWhaMU9sXneNsUJaSxf6PSrbsAPOkbs77rs-xqZOLsXptOtpIvr1Io1RuY

 

“Marie,” said Alonya, “What’s our status on the launch window?”

 

“Well,” she replied, “We’re sending Emerson anyway. It will take it several orbits to reach Cheng’s altitude, so we don’t need to time it down to the second. Really, whenever the inclination matches… so, in about… uh, negative eighteen seconds. Cheng, I’d get going if I were -”

 

“Got it, thanks for the heads up, Marie! Going, uh, well, now!”

 

3A7be-ZxXPVaZ8TnIrVXx069T6uWBQ1ZranUxr_O6qETcj_Sw-PSRsmn5YHHdipvLPmUI8qBq_j3aqb2DhQNK6_WXZnyapz6bdmgO6fa99p5NBk_N8pR570YT7csBjDxew3BdXdw

 

Two turbopumps sprang to life and flame erupted from the base of Cheng’s Tylo lander, causing it to slowly rise above the dusty grey (okay, for real, is it grey or gray?) surface. Immediately we realized something was wrong, the lander was rising terribly slowly.

 

“Cheng, are you at full throttle?” asked Jack.

 

“Yes, Jack, I believe I am. I am going a tad bit slower than we expected, aren’t I?”

 

“Uh, yeah!” said Marie. “At this rate, you’ll burn most of your fuel just combating gravity! Abort liftoff, Cheng, and we’ll come up with something.”

“Sorry, too late for that!”

 

koIvOUHy3hnZ6wpoBwjtSfCxBkcn0Q2P-jgl88GmsCam-qX1ofz2SW0FSFAUP6-gIhN1YaCp20yW1pVcXWI7oDh03_G6aglwPOJT5TejYsuiqliZZgkcufgV0eopgXyVPxg0mbh1

 

“Cheng, what are you doing? If you stay, we might be able to save -“

 

“Yes, I am wasting half of my fuel on vertical velocity. However, there is a gigantic basin over this way - if I can just clear that ridge, I can tilt to just a few degrees above the horizon and accelerate to a great enough velocity that I can pull out before I hit that crater rim!”

 

“There’s no way that could work!” I exclaimed.

 

“Wait, hold on… It might actually just work!” said Marie. “Okay, Cheng, if you would pull up by -” Alonya pulled her aside for a second.

 

“Remember what we talked about?” whispered Alonya. “He’ll just do the opposite of what we tell him to. Got that?”

 

“Got it,” replied Marie. “Cheng, can you point to pretty much exactly on the horizon?” she said, hoping he would pull up a bit more.

 

“I mean no offense,” replied Cheng, “but can you check your math on that? I think about twelve degrees above might be a better fit for that.”

 

fl8R7lKBwtkWg1P1nIyOtWEOwr8VHvUCEow2XqLJmVo16quwRrPRgSNAYtmzH6bK-0Sldl-b9Bw7sEAjlOkP_S86UUUXpvwFvybsffWlCyLLgR44ougYeDUWnXRPmpB9FTfs28yE

 

“Uh…” stuttered Marie, not expecting that response, “Yeah, you’re right. Although my displays are showing closer to 12.5, so - “

 

“Okay, then we make it thirteen. Wait, that’s a bad idea. I’m going with twelve. Wait, I -”

 

“Guys!” shouted Jack. “I may not be a rocket scientist like the rest of you, but if you wait too long, I think Cheng might crash into the hill.”

 

o4ECvoOJ6loOii3uRmhVE2mf64tsDtPZF6pSrPESoOJYssbdbQi69PmcRhsKy2fc5_08c-7kpnwPMrPhqrXY7p-YuZjTwOmf9fPsblghiIJ5fE2yMFOyRN7Ow07RL3_-ZZrfB-NE

 

Sure enough, the crater rim was coming up fast.

 

“Cheng, how is the view through your window?” asked Alonya.

 

“Well, it’s pretty hard to look upwards in this thing, so I’m going to pitch up to check, and - WOAH!”

 

SlG-VCKUK_wGU7pI4jTCc9eDrgQAmcAc7DRsHFybsTmQ-MLqEOd46gkKFIQt6pyssPeczRpZXAigL_eFcamJDgq-D4I--5TM2CxhF9u6GnEUrOgvpt40IwtjWVF1l4g4Z5se1Qr1

 

The terrain flashed by as Cheng frantically pulled up. The grey rock got closer and closer. After what seemed like an eternity, the surface receded back down to a safe distance. Cheng had avoided certain death by only a few dozen meters. Everyone, including Cheng, sighed with relief.

 

“Okay, you’re basically good to go now, you may point at the horizon.”

 

“Got it, and -- *PHSS-KAWK!* Okay, then. I’m out of fuel. Switching to EVA mode now.”

 

“Don’t forget to grab the scientific samples!” I said.

 

Thanks for the reminder, Ethan, I nearly forgot!” replied Cheng.

 

7WqxSYvWZVJAPREtGdkJTlelRs6CZ2MWuC6ynpXqSd9gBWt4w-kdSweVm8d9_6W__Ab5OLMivli5Nyzg0Ib3ca48wJEzf5W66l8EPdpU8UYV3F6yyPgYsOaKndG9t9KqG2xnDPc2

 

“Okay, thrusting forwards with my jetpack. Anything anyone wishes to say?”

 

9dmaWqKL5eTd3SGWqDH4BKRiWmbeOH-694LlpMPBck194_gdlUvXYdVtaH8PapUnYSzKSuOLkC-q4r4PJkkIkvUe3KGftQN401gWA0RhhM66LNFGHcqItgYwNz19AChjIvD29yRK

 

BTW, the emphasis was mine.

 

Okay, this was just plain weird. Cheng was actually being, well, not Cheng. Like, halfway-nice. Scratch that, any nice for Cheng is basically infinitely nice… Wait, what if every monolith is different? What if I got the future monolith and Cheng got the niceness monolith? What if there’s an awesomeness monolith? An Evil monolith? What if -

 

“Cutoff!” interrupted Cheng.

 

sX9ybVMeykp5gE61enxIp88Nj-hmHDyBLeGpGR2YOulkefB03KkbFiVIAUFTFEEOsTMxxaeuJFqnWBXavfQZEoCNOXuHNgmKpH1ybBvo2VU_YY5bfL6341oZAJROY2tubTR48uM5

 

“...And 2.69 units left. More than expected. Okay, at apogee you should circularize,” said Alonya.

 

“Thanks for the reminder,” responded Cheng. “Oh, cool… i can see the lander from here!” Cheng proceeded to point the camera towards the lander, which was rapidly approaching the surface.

 

dy2w160fmdhOA-bL8VVgBj5SMDLYvtmTB1q38WlqN-t9e2vuxWcFeFZCqWG0FjYoQygvEKQtMgwtZ5skSCvXxSC2kMp-Mh_z-2UDCrlt3_Nv1Rx7EYsqn_0jPeeCciupfVvvMBMQ

 

“Wow, it’s moving pretty fast - and, it’s gone.”

 

F6ZRWZHcg8GtIsCkhr-pzervO6ZqAiUg0SL7qxVdQgBNJMhRmA_ikiw2mPQKl9kyE_kZIqicVSQ2RhzqisoY-nkjcX4CrvewKfg3RQMLXMNKvhn5lWChyiQhfjbKrDhcLZx_yPgH

 

“Rest in peace, Tylo Lander Revelry!” Shouted Jack (I mean his real name is Sean but he wants us to call him Jack). “YOU SHALL BE REMEMBERED!”

 

“Cheng, our sensors show that you’re spinning around a little bit,” I said.

 

“Yes, I certainly am. It’s rather pleasant, actually. In a few more spins, Jool will rise above the horizon.”

 

Wu8rRGf_UqU_v58hzVrkaNJ0BXcoRlUBeuQegnK72D0gl3B5OfQqq6yt_KiUys_rCQ3QeQGEVwu2LtoARPJzlV8hCHvunmyDkfoJzBbciJmYOhyUJeNcXIiI-HgvLzNz1Q7J8P7p

 

“Okay, I’m officially weirded out now,” whispered Marie away from the microphone. “Cheng is… well…”

 

“Man, I wish you guys were here to see this!” said Cheng. “It’s one heck of a view!”

 

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"Well,” whispered back Alonya, “I’ll take it. If Cheng’s going to stop being, you know, Cheng, then I’d say this is a good thing.” Alonya turned back to her microphone and said “Okay, Cheng you should start your insertion burn right about - “

 

“Already done.”

 

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“What? It’s barely been thirty seconds!” I said.

 

“My time shows about four minutes, Ethan. Although, you do tend to space off a lot, that might be the culprit.” He was right, I did tend to do that a lot… I remember one particular point in time when I had been late to school for the entire week, then got to school early one day and stared at my locker for about three minutes straight thinking about stuff, and then the bell rang.

 

“Alright, then. Cheng’s in orbit, let’s send Emerson to go get him!” said Jack.

 

“So who is going to remotely control this one?” asked Marie.

 

“I’m not qualified,” said Jack.

 

“And we’re not allowed to help,” added Bob. Actually, all of the Kerbals had been pretty quiet lately… Hmm, I wonder why.

 

“Ethan could,” suggested Alonya.

 

“I would,” I responded, “But I was sort of going to work on that one song I was writing and -”

 

“I’ll do it, actually,” said Marie.

 

“Okay, then. Emerson is ready when you are, then,” replied Alonya.

 

“Great! Undocking now!” said Marie as she turned to face her control station.

 

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I’ll admit, I’m pretty sure the monolith broke Cheng. I’m not sure how (even though I've been through a monolith as well). I’m not even sure it it’s a good thing or a bad thing yet…

 

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

 

Back on Kerbin, many multitudes of kilometers away, sat Evelina at her mission control desk, still relieved after hearing that Cheng’s Tylo ascent had gone well. That had been a few days ago. The crowd had celebrated, numbers were crunched, and then everyone had left. Some came back the next day for more number crunching, but most of them, upon success of the ascent, had assumed everyone else would cover their jobs. Which, you couldn’t really blame them for, there really wasn’t that much to do.

 

Evelina sat in the middle of the room facing her computer, thoroughly exhausted. She sat up and looked around to see nobody in the room except for her. All of the lights but one had been turned off.

 

Evelina saw this sight often. At the beginning of the mission, everyone had been so into things. Even at night there were always at least a dozen people in the building. But, during the long transit to Jool, things had calmed down, mission control never needing more than a skeleton crew. Evelina had never really left except for miscellaneous trips to visit her family and friends (although she never really had been that close to her family anyways).

In the meantime the town near the space center had grown. They named it “New New York.” It was one of the cities the Kerbals had built for the humans, and as such it boasted a massive, futuristic school building which Evelina couldn’t attend often due to the fact that she really wanted to maintain her position in mission control.

 

The school tried to give her a tutor. However, once it was discovered that Evelina knew more than the tutor, Evelina was allowed to skip. However, Evelina sometimes went to the school whenever she had spare time (rarely) just to go out and make some attempt at socializing. She ended up befriending Riya, an Indian girl who had a big interest in oceanic exploration. The Kerbals had permitted Riya to design a robotic submarine - and it worked. Riya sent it to explore a series of giant underwater canyons in the shape of a smiley face.

 

In Ethan’s absence, she had taken up the job of teaching Obbury piano - and he was doing pretty well.

 

Oliver (that Australian guy who saved Ethan’s life) had long since moved away to an island elsewhere on Kerbin.

 

Evelina looked around once more and thought to herself “Well, monitoring the Emerson’s rendezvous can be done all by computer anyway… and if anything goes seriously wrong the crew can probably handle it. I think it would be perfectly understandable if I went to bed now.”

 

Evelina began to collect her possessions, but then the door opened, revealing the figure of an all too familiar person. It was Jared, an entitled, self obsessed Jock from the school she had gone to for a few days.

 

“Hey, Evie.” Somewhat startled, Evelina turned to face him.

 

“I told you to stop calling me that, Jared,” she replied, somewhat annoyed.

 

“So, whatcha doing here? Monitoring some sciency thing?”

 

“Well, yes, namely the systems on the Emerson space tug - “

 

“BOOOO-RING! Evie, come on! You need to get out more, have some fun!”

 

“This is fun for me. I’ve been interested in space exploration since -”

 

“And you need to try new things, and meet new people. You know, everyone’s been talking, Evie, and -”

 

“It’s Evelina. Cut to the chase.” She turned back to the monitor as Jared approached her station.

 

“Have you ever been to a Football game?”

 

“I’m from Sweden We have football, but not usually your football.”

 

“Well, any sport at all?”

 

“No, I’m not really into -” Evelina started, only to be interrupted yet again.

 

“You should come watch me play sometime. It’s way more exciting than this stupid science thing you seem so obsessed with.”

 

“You know, you could be a bit nicer,” said Evelina somewhat angrily. “I can completely understand your passion for Gridiron Football, but calling others’ passions “stupid” is a bit, well, rude.”

 

“Evie, I -”

 

“Evelina.”

 

“I can call you whatever I want, and I would like you to come out to the game next weekend.”

 

“Jared, I don’t want -”

 

“And maybe we could go to the dance together afterward.” Evelina stood and turned to face Jared, obviously extremely annoyed by this point.

 

“Okay, first off, no, I will not go to Homecoming with you. Second, if you want someone to like you, try, I don’t know, maybe not calling their passion stupid? And not in general being rude?”

 

“Evie, I -”

 

“Call me Evelina.”

 

“Why do you hate everyone?”

 

“I don’t hate everyone, Jared. You’re just being a tad bit rude. And, plus, it wouldn’t last. You’ve had six girlfriends in the past month.”

 

“I did not!”

 

“Lina, Adriana, Madison, the other Madison, Madison’s twin sister, and Rosa.”

 

“You’re dead wrong. It’s seven so far. Her name was, uh… Oh, shoot. I forgot.”

 

“Out. Now.”

 

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

 

Jackie Kerman was on the other side of Kerbin at this point, still running, and enjoying the run. She had made remarkably good progress. It was a nice day out. Birds in the air (weird green birds), green trees (there were, oddly, no seasons on Kerbin) and the occasional earthshattering roar of a Hype Plane passing overhead. However, all of a sudden, to Jackie’s immediate left, a massive chunk of the planet below, several meters in diameter, opened rapidly. Jackie jumped back in surprise, and then in fear as a loud siren began sounding. Jackie sprinted to the nearest large rock and dove behind it as the sound of a massive explosion hit her ears, shaking the ground. Jackie felt she would go deaf. And then, a massive rocket rose up from the underground silo.

 

Jackie panicked. Missiles launched from silos. But, what use did the Kerbals have for missiles? They were supposedly peaceful, right?

 

RYlwhdToSJRLCWIGNiOEFVLdtWJQzuoAQvGJgM5CFsadLuwqnyjybzU9FxrizwJNlHh3Fd4oDUf61zetJ0cgCVOgAcjtqJ007Acfhw5rmhXT6lmFfY12cFLfXRNV17aYYn-0fmnA

 

The noise had subsided and Jackie risked a glance upwards. She saw a massive rocket ascending into the blue sky.

 

T762mkhXbc3HpbfKGwg4KCxUTG2iHfXW3comJ5KdYignlmFFUhHoIC072BQWYVTdfyHZ-KwlGYHfVU0tpbWUJ0TTuXY60rQQXmVxzoCF2PQtMX--IPeNG0YqJ1tN4QzE1xNqSiJ-

 

“WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT, YOU SCARED ME HALF TO DEATH!” she shouted to nobody in particular. Suddenly, a Kerbal clad in a construction outfit climbed out of the hole in the ground and approached her.

 

“You there. What was that thing that nearly killed me?”

 

“Miss Jackie -”

 

“How do you know my name?”

 

“Long story. But, to put it nicely, this is a bit of a restricted area. We don’t have many of those, but when it comes to our planetary protection equipment -”

“Your what?”

 

“In simple terms,” explained the Kerbal, “If we detect an asteroid on a collision course with Kerbin, and if it’s dangerous, we just launch one of those to redirect it.”

 

“And this happens often enough to warrant having a silo?”

 

“There are hundreds of these silos. There are many asteroids, we have to launch one of these on average every few weeks.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“As I was saying, you’re not supposed to be here, but the odds that we have to launch another one so soon are low, and you can’t really do any harm… carry on, Jackie. Just head north and you’ll be out of the silos.”

 

“Oh,” said Jackie, evidently satisfied with the reason for the sudden launch. “Thank you, uh,”

 

“Camfrey.”

 

“Thank you, Camfrey, I’ll be on my way, then. Nice meeting you.”

 

“You as well.”

 

icSVuEY9Vp6D5PN8SvAwSilBk8BBuArMzjdKdfEDpm4NxSymk9WEmpuOY_6uFL-fsOxRhXWoz0v8oSguiHcoNW0SKd7_iB60FjsoOfLMrfqorEWgtpoHP6IIzjSXakQTusphJR_I

 

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

 

Evelina woke up at her desk, after she had fallen asleep there the night before. Next to her sat a Kerbal. Weird, she thought, they rarely came in here. The Kerbal noticed her.

 

“Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just tracking one of those asteroid defenders. The actual mission control got crowded.”

 

“Asteroid defender? Cool, I missed the last one,” said Evelina. “Which ‘roid is this?”

 

“AST-934A, class F.”

 

“Class F? From what I hear, those are pretty rare.”

 

“Yeah. It will make a great fueling station once we get it into Duna orbit.”


“Duna orbit?”

 

“Yeah, we drew up a mission plan. If we nudge it right, we can use a Kerbin gravity assist to send it to Duna. Interestingly enough, it will pass right over the atmosphere, this weekend. It will be quite a show.”

 

“Yeah,” said Evelina as she turned back to her monitor. The Emerson was performing another periapsis burn.

 

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There had been an unforeseen problem with this whole arrangement - the Emerson had to do all of the burning in the dark. Due to limited battery, and the fact that the probe ran on an ion engine, the one planned burn spiraled into several.

 

_rw8YHlr-q6qgYqCnO_7d169O-azugNBtCnSyK-f2p-UDZhXDy8oRzHcZJqmp3Pcr2mp5AVOCZE2F_tQMOjBW74cEF6s9htH51_uDkeYQsPwm7QldHffu6vbp8-i6XIvaqz-wX6Y

 

Evelina began to think more about what Jared had said to her last night. He was a super big jerk and he wasn’t the sort of person to be right about things. And for the most part, he had been abysmally wrong. However, a broken clock is right twice a day, and she reluctantly agreed that she was indeed being a bit too much of an introvert.

 

She realized that the dance might actually be a good idea - obviously not with Jared. Maybe with… who, though? She hadn’t met many people during her short time at the Kerbin school, and if she was going to be brutally honest with herself - the only person she had been interested in that way at all was currently located millions of kilometers away.

 

She wondered what he was up to right now. Probably something epically heroic, boldly proclaiming something historic about space in a dramatic voice...

 

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

 

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! SPIDER!!! GET IT AWAY FROM ME!” I screamed.

 

“SPIDER?!?!?” screamed Jack/Sean. “I’M OUT!” he said as he retreated through the hatch into the light moon lander. I myself was hugging the edge of the hitchhiker module farthest away from the location of the spider I had seen lurking beneath the miscellaneous boxes of cargo. Bob Kerman entered the module.

 

“Silly Ethan, there aren’t any spiders onboard the ship! It was sterilized before we left Kerbin!” he said.

 

“Explain that, then!” I said as I pointed towards where I had last seen the spider. “It was several inches wide and had red eyes!”

 

“Oh, that? That’s not a spider.” I noticed Bob was holding a remote control in his hand. He moved it around a bit, and the huge spider crawled out of its hiding spot and up Bob’s leg, up his back, and into his hand. “This is Mike,” he said as he held out an incredibly realistic looking robotic spider. “Say “Hi.””

 

“Why did you -“

 

“I got bored. It’s something that affects most species,” said Bob. “I was going to make a robotic animal similar to what you Earthlings call “Cats,” but I didn’t have the parts so I decided to go with an Earth spider instead.”

 

“Oh. Nobody saw that, don't tell anyone.” I said. “Thankfully, the mics and cameras were off.”

 

“I wouldn’t put my money on that,” called Valentina from a few modules over.

 

“You can come out now, Jack,” I called towards the lander hatch. “It’s just a robot!”

 

“A robotic spider?” he replied, muffled due to the hatch. “I’m still out!” I went upwards (well, in space, direction is relative) to the command deck, where Marie and Alonya were sitting (again, sitting is weird in space).

 

“So, what’s new?”

 

“Well, we’re almost there,” replied Alonya.

 

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“Wow. Just a few more minutes?”

 

“Looks like it,” she replied, still staring at her monitor. “Just one more orbit.”

 

“Good. How’s Cheng?” I asked.

 

“I’m doing just swell, thank you,” replied Cheng over the speakers.

 

“Good to hear,” I said with just a tad bit of sarcasm.

 

“You know, Jool is extremely majestic. Like, amazing. I can’t really describe it. With Tylo and the other moons in the background as well, it’s just - epic.”

“He’s been going on about Jool for a while,” said Alonya. “He’s also admitted he sort of misses Earth.” At that moment, Jebediah came in with a distressed expression on his face.

 

“What’s the problem, Jeb?” I asked.

 

“Oh, um… just need to get a few files off of the main computer, don’t mind me,” he said as he squeezed into the lower seat of the MK1-2 command pod. “Should be just a few seconds.”

 

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

 

Thirty-four minutes later, Jeb was still trying to get those files. Cheng was still going on about Jool. Jack was still in the lander, barricading the door against the robo-spider. The only thing that had changed was the fact that Emerson had reached its destination.

 

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"Decoupling complete,” announced Cheng. “We’ll have to use the Klaw tug to attach it to the Voyager now.”

 

“Thanks, Cheng, I hadn’t thought of that,” said Marie.

 

“You’re welcome, Alonya,” he said.

 

“That was me, Marie, not Alonya,” corrected Marie.

 

“Oh. Sorry, my mistake. Thank you, Marie. It's a bit hard to tell with this audio quality.” Marie pulled away from the microphone and whispered to us.

 

“Okay, is it just me or is this getting a bit… weird?” she asked.

 

“Don’t jinx it,” said Alonya. “I’ll take weird over rude any time.”

 

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“Hallelujah, I have a seat again!” proclaimed Cheng.

 

“Good to hear you’re glad, Cheng,” said Jack, who had finally come out of his anti-spider fortress (AKA light moon lander John Cena) after much persuasion from Bob.

 

“Maneuver has been plotted. Cheng, prepare to ignite ion engine,” said Alonya. “Not now, but in a few minutes when the burn timer is at about a minute.”

 

“Roger that. Man, the view though… it’s as inspiring as - as - well, as only a planetscape can be. Also, is this parachute supposed to be digging into my helmet?”

 

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“We designed a spacecraft in a week. Give us some slack,” I said.

 

“Only asking, not criticizing,” he replied. A few minutes later, the ion drive was spewing ions at maximum thrust (which wasn’t a lot, but it was amazing considering the fact that it was an ion engine).

 

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At that point, Jeb, who we had forgotten was down there, came back up from the lower deck, muttering something under his breath, and returned to his cabin. I wonder what he was up to…

 

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

 

Jebediah Kerman had, in fact, just checked the results of recent Kerbol system diquantum scans, after a request from the Galactic Council had prompted him to. The council had calmed down, but only just. The prevailing idea they all had was that they could hide from The Species, and if that failed, attempt to ally with The Species through diplomacy and “gifts.” That, in Jeb’s own words, would be like a 5 year old showing up at the space center giving them a small model rocket engine to try and “help.” The council was being somewhat idiotic in his own opinion. But, really, they couldn’t be blamed. This was a problem of, well, intergalactic proportions. Nobody could have been prepared for this.

 

Jebediah, however, had his own plan. He would not go through with it unless all else failed, but he had a plan.

 

Who was he kidding, it would undoubtedly fail as well, but, desperate times, desperate measures. He just had to make a few calls...

 

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

 

“Hello, Ethan! I see you through the window!”

 

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A few days later, Cheng had finally arrived at the Voyager. The rendezvous had been slow, but after many orbits we could finally progress.

 

“Okay, Alonya?” I asked. “Are you going to pilot the tug?”

 

“Sure, Ethan,” she said. “I can do that.” A few minutes later, the tug had been dispatched.

 

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And, after a brief rearrangement of the modules, the Voyager was ready to go again.

 

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Cheng entered the airlock, and after a few seconds, came out into the Voyager. He took his helmet off and breathed once more.

 

“Wow. It smells nice in here.” I, myself, thought it had started to stink a bit, but Cheng had been in that suit for a week or so, so it was understandable. “Where to next?”

 

“Probably Pol,” said Marie. “We can actually leave in a few hours. We’d have to wait about a month for Bop. Oh, yeah, and mission control will be mad if we don’t go to Pol next.”

 

“Isn’t mission control mostly Evelina now?” I asked.

 

“Not really, recently has been the exception. There’s usually five to ten people there, forty to fifty during an important moment.”


“Ah. Thanks. Whack-A-Kerbal, anyone?” I asked. There was a unanimous “yes” from the crew. Even Jeb, who had come out of his cabin looking utterly exhausted and frustrated. “Great, I’ll set up!”

 

 

A few minutes later, I was merrily chucking metal spheres into orbits around the star Alpaca Prime, which had existed for only a few minutes. It looked like Jebediah was going to win this one, either that or Alonya (she was dangerously close to fitting a group of moons with a propulsion system).

However, then Cheng came over to the playing area and began making some inquiries into how the game was played. This is unusual - before, he loathed the idea of the game. We offered the best explanation we could while playing (it is fast paced and a few seconds of not paying attention could cost you a win, actually Bill lost his headquarters due to Cheng asking about controls and stuff). However, then something unexpected happened.

“Hey, Jeb?” said Cheng cautiously.

 

“Yes, Cheng?” he responded, concentrating on his bombardment of one of Valentina’s planets.

 

“Do you mind if I join in next game?”

 

There was a general chorus of startled agreement. The mood was good, and Marie was about to bombard my planet with battlecruisers. And then the Tylo escape burn started, bringing the metal spheres crashing down at about 0.25g.

 

"Oops, I forgot to disable autopilot," said Alonya.

 

"Ehh, it could happen to anyone," said Cheng. "Don't stress about it too much. We're orbiting a majestic planet in a majestic ship, on an incredibly majestic mission. We don't have time for anger. Wait a moment, get the nanocameras online, this is going to be epic," he said as he went up to a window. I followed suit, and witnessed a brilliant burst of light as Kerbol rose over Jool.

 

"I completely agree with you, Cheng," I said in awe as the amazingly majestic scene unfolded in front of me.

 

 

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And so, we left one majestic moon for another... But, unfortunately, we realized we were running dangerously low on fuel.

 

But I think I'll save that for next time.

 

 

 

-Ethan

 

 

 

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