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


Ultimate Steve
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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, mrhexed said:

MAKE THIS A MOVIE!!!!

 

Just now, The Minmus Derp said:

MAKE THIS A MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm having trouble just making it a story! Last post was over 2 months ago. I'm working on another Intrepid chapter right now, and then I have a big trip coming up, but I'll do my best to make Ch. 15 a priority when I get back.

But I do agree, if done correctly this would make a pretty good movie, not to brag or anything.

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Just now, Ultimate Steve said:

 

I'm having trouble just making it a story! Last post was over 2 months ago. I'm working on another Intrepid chapter right now, and then I have a big trip coming up, but I'll do my best to make Ch. 15 a priority when I get back.

But I do agree, if done correctly this would make a pretty good movie, not to brag or anything.

Not bragging.

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On 6/26/2018 at 5:57 PM, Ultimate Steve said:

 

I'm having trouble just making it a story! Last post was over 2 months ago. I'm working on another Intrepid chapter right now, and then I have a big trip coming up, but I'll do my best to make Ch. 15 a priority when I get back.

But I do agree, if done correctly this would make a pretty good movie, not to brag or anything.

You, My good Sir, Have extreme bragging rights

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  • 4 weeks later...

 

Chapter Fifteen - Homecoming

 

Spoiler

Ethan here again, less than an Earth week from the previous update! Although you're all probably used to Kerbin's 6 hour days by now.

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The Pol crew have all EVA'd back up to the Voyager, and we have begun our long transfer to the moon of Bop, our second to last Joolian moon! The journey is over halfway over!

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And that's all. Sorry for the mundane update, but I guess everyone wants my virtual autograph now... Cost is 1 dollar, your story, picture, whatever, will be emailed to me and I'll sign it with this touch-screen and stylus thing. I signed a contract with YouTube so they can try to convince you to buy YouTube Red or something by throwing ads at you and are giving me 70% of the income... And it became a big thing, apparently, I've been spending most of the past 2 days signing stuff, and, hey YouTube? Can we get a little filtering or censorship on some of the things I sign, okay? Some of this stuff is downright disgusting or weird. Although most of it's good.

So, my point is, if you don't pay for my autograph, you can have longer updates.

Back to signing stuff, then! Bye!

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

Ethan 1's Private Journal

I swear, if I have to sign one more picture of Rick Astley's face photoshopped onto potato chips being eaten by Shrek wearing a bikini while running from Robbie Rotten... Seriously, has every single memer collaborated to send me the EXACT SAME THING?

Also, I tried to get Ethan 2 to sign some to speed it up, but he's travelling at God knows how fast, shaking everywhere, making any attempt at writing legibly futile.

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

*BEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP*

"Yes? Oh, shoot! How could we have forgotten? Sheesh, the sheer stupidity of this whole thing... Okay. I hope we can afford the delay!" Jeb 2 hung up.

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"Deactivating engine in 3... 2... 1..." The engine of the 4-16 Memories turned off, still glowing and probably emitting 17 different types of cancer causing radiation. This also meant, that for the first time in 2 days, the ship stopped vibrating.

"Wait, what?" I asked. "We've stopped!"

"Yes, because some idiot forgot to pack all of the biological material." The ship did a 180.

"So we need to slow down again and go back?"

"Yep. Enjoy your few seconds of peace and quiet."

"Ahh, peace and - " the ship jumped to cruising acceleration again. "Well, there goes that idea! Hey, Jeb, I've been meaning to ask you!"

"Yes, Ethan?" He said back, his voice louder than usual to cut through the shaking of the ship.

"Why can't you just hook up, say, 4 of these K-drive things to a wheel and use it to produce power?"

"Ah," he said. "That's complicated. The whole thing's like a giant flywheel. Once you spin it up, it's moving for good. It takes a lot of energy to spin these flywheels, or K-drives up. EG it takes a lot of energy to make the element that powers the drive. When we engage the drive for real, it creates both positive and negative mass. Both matter and antimatter. The positive and negative masses are hyper-dense and invisible, and are what actually bend spacetime to move us. However, without a containment method the masses will explode or implode and cause bad things to happen."

"How bad?"

"Early models could blow up cities, now failures are unlikely and would probably be contained to the core but might cause a mini-black hole."

"Ah, great! Just what I wanted to hear strapped to an antique warp drive!"

"K-drive. Warp drives are different entirely. As I was saying, we vent a tiny amount of these masses, apply a bit of friction to the flywheel, if you will, and use the matter-antimatter reaction to produce enough energy to activate the time loop that preserves the masses the way they are. The weird element that creates these masses slowly runs over time, but with enough of it you never have to worry about it. With a big enough ship, or a nuclear reactor, you can power the time loop entirely with electricity, netting 100% efficiency."

"Okay, I think I'm getting it... But you haven't answered my question."

"Right. The element that allows for K-drives to work, the one that makes the negative mass, is very hard to make and rarely occurs naturally. Luckily, we have managed to get the production energy efficiency to 99%. However, that means that attaching the K-drives to a generator wouldn't be worth it, as you're better off just using the energy that was required to make the fuel.

"Oh, that makes sense... What about using naturally occurring K-drive material to power the generators?"

"It's been done. But it's a limited and very useful resource, and we have plenty of better ways to generate large amounts of electricity."

"Like what?"

"Dyson spheres and stuff. I think the entire Galactic Union is up to a few hundred by now, actually."

"A few HUNDRED Dyson spheres?"

"Yeah. After you tap the energy from the first one it's rather easy to build the second. We're not actually using most of that energy though, it's just in case we need it."

"Could you cover the inside with reflectors, make an aperture door and - "

"Make a supernova to harness all the energy at once? We've done that. It's inefficient, but if you need a ton of energy at once - "

"Actually I was thinking more towards using it as a giant laser beam for use against The Species."

"All that power, all that potential energy, and the first thing you think of is a weapon!"

"Well, our galaxy is being attacked!"

"...Well... Err..."

"We can't run forever."

"Actually, we've run the numbers. The species may be expanding at an accelerating rate, maybe a high enough acceleration to maintain a constant increase in radius despite the larger volume. But we're accelerating at several thousand G's right now. They can't be advancing that fast."

"One more question. Could you use the time loop to generate - "

"Here's my Kpad, with most of the files unlocked. I shouldn't be doing this, just don't get into any files marked "Level 4" or above. Google away," said Jebediah, already tired of Ethan asking questions.

"Aww, sweet! Thanks, Jeb!"


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

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On second thought, if I can do a signature every 10 seconds (breaks, neatness, etc.) I can make $250 an hour. College, here I come! Well... if by some incredible stretch of odds that we're spared by The Species... We probably can't defeat them, I'll admit that... Maybe they'll just attack us a bit, then tell us "build X machine for the rest of your life, here's a quota!" and then leave us alone. Maybe.

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

The KSC area Homecoming dance had begun, as had dozens of similar parties across the whole of Kerbin. The actual football games had also taken place, although with mixed amounts of participation as the American population had been scattered around the planet... The tradition of real football games at Homecoming time was started by the non-Americans. There were actually more Football games played then American Football games that week.

Evelina had not gone to any games, be it Football or Football. She had in fact hung with her few, nerdy friends at a local restaurant that had been set up by an American in one of the cities nearest to the KSC (although trying to recreate American cuisine with Kerbal food proved to be rather challenging, and almost impossible without the use of food synthesis technology).

There, she ate with Riya, whose date had dumped her (she planned to go anyway) along with two couples, Darrin and Janicka, and Savaria and Zemel. While these people had incredibly unique and funny personalities, and were to the utmost importance to Evelina, they are not very important to the current events in the story.

After the meal, the six took a flying taxi over to KSC and were dropped off in front of the Astronaut Complex. Evelina briefly ran over to mission control to check that the Voyager had not exploded, and ran right back to the group for pictures. After that, everyone watched the sunset from one of the research and development buildings, and then proceeded to the ground level of the Vehicle Assembly building where the lights went out, the disco balls dropped, and the DJ began playing actual decent music, which was very unusual.

And everyone went crazy, enjoying themselves - Even Riya, who had been dumped, was having the time of her life. The atmosphere was just as contagious as it could possibly be, but about halfway through the celebration, Evelina still hadn't really "gotten" it. So instead of halfheartedly dancing the night away, she decided to sneak off, up the several dozen flights of stairs (try doing that in a dress), in an aim to see what the view was like from the top. However, the Vehicle Assembly Building was really tall - she stopped halfway up, and looked upwards out of one of its larger windows. And there, she saw, was a shooting star.

"Make a wish," she whispered to herself.

 

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

Ethan 2's Private Log. Things get weird.

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"AAAAAAAA!" I shouted, as the ground was approaching very quickly. I heard a bang coming from the side of the ship.

"Don't worry!" shouted Jebediah, trying to regain control of the ship. "That was just a nose cone! Everything is under control, and the heat resistant coating can almost withstand the temperatures at the surface of the sun!"

"We're reentering at interstellar velocities!"

"Well we are slowing down at impulse 100! Or at least we should be - oh, there, that switch wasn't on."

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"See, Ethan?" said Jeb. "No more fire. Huh, it looks like there's light show going on in the VAB."

"Wait, light show? Jeb, what day is it?"

"On an Earth Calendar, Friday, September 29, 2017," he said.

"Oh, it's Homecoming night!"

"Oh, I vaguely remember hearing about that. How do you know?"

"Literally every single teenage girl on the planet asking me over email."

"Aha. It would appear you're popular now, Ethan. Now, listen closely."

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"Wait, what's a Hyper-Edit?"

"It's a K-drive control software, an old one. As I was saying, I'm going to land, grab the extra biological material, and run right back to the ship. Don't wander off, understand?"

"Got it. Don't wander off."

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"Can I at least get out and stretch my legs a bit?"

"Absolutely. You've been in this ship for days, not to mention off-planet for months." And then we landed, and both got out.

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"Uhh, Jeb? I think you forgot to turn the cloaking device on." His face turned to one of panic, frantically trying to find his remote control before pressing one button.

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"Please tell me nobody saw that," he said.

"Well, everyone's probably pretty distracted. Are the VAB windows frosted or tinted or something?"

"Most of them have variable frosting, I don't know if it's on or not right now. I'll be right back, DON'T WANDER OFF!"

"Right." And Jeb left, running towards the runway.

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So I proceeded to look at a monument that was nearby. Reading the fine print on the plaque, I was able to gather that this was a statue of the command pod that the first Kerbal space mission had launched in, carrying Jebediah, Bill, and Bob - or the first versions of them, at least.

And then a door opened behind me, letting a lot of sound from the celebration out of the VAB. I turned around to look at the people who came out - it was three friendly couples, laughing and giggling, presumably exiting the building to get some fresh air.

"This is awesome!" exclaimed one of the guys. "I mean, we've got lame-o homecoming back home, but this? KA-BLAM! This is amazing!"

"I know!" shouted another. "The indoor fireworks, the floating walkways, anti-gravity area, EPIC music, and - there's really no words, so I'll have to dab!" He dabbed. His date facepalmed.

"You're so weird," she said. "In the best way possible."

"You know, the only lame thing about this party is all the people who tried to cosplay as Ethan Edwards. I'm all for it but you can't just dye your hair the right shade of blonde, stick a painted fishbowl on your head, and call yourself the most famous guy in existence."

"Yeah - wait. Hey, you over there!" he said, pointing at me. Oh no. I had been spotted. I turned and began to speedwalk away.

"Hey! you don't have to run!" said one of the girls. "Did you make that suit yourself?" One of the guys caught up to me and put his hand on his shoulder. I turned around to face him.

"Whoa!" he exclaimed. 

 

Note to self - Apparently Whoa is the correct spelling and I've been using Woah this whole time. I'll try to change over now.

 

"Oh, hi!" I said.

"You know, your cosplay is really good!" he said.

"Uhh... Oh, yeah, the cosplay. How could I forget?" I said, with a nervous chuckle.

"What are you doing out here, everyone in there's drooling over Ethan cosplayers, even the terrible ones! They've even got a giant statue of Ethan and the other crewmembers on Voyager!!"

"I'm actually not here for - "

"Ooh!" exclaimed one of the girls. "Look at these gloves!" she said, grabbing my glove. "They're even covered with dust that looks like it's from Pol! You certainly paid attention to detail!"

"Well that's because - " I said, backing up.

"It looks just like a real spacesuit!" said another one. "Come with us! she said, taking my hand and dragging me toward the VAB. Everyone kept encouraging me, and that's not something I'm used to, so I might have... wandered off.

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

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"Hullo, Jeb," said Scott Kerman, pilot of HypePlane airlines, an old-fashioned suborbital spaceplane company mostly operated for nostalgia purposes. They had come to life after the planes used for human transportation had been offered for sale after they had been used once for their intended purpose.

"Hello, Scott. No time - the Snijorfa genes?"

"Right here," said Scott, holding out a high tech fancy case the size of a small cereal box.

"I came all the way back for this?" said Jeb. "Just this? We have so many samples already, why can't we just put them on another ship?"

"Well, uh..." he said, lowering his voice. "The Species has zapped any and every ship that has passed further than two galactic radii from Sagittarius. Except one - it was a special stealth ship with advanced Quadquantum cloaking."

"Quadquantum?" exclaimed Jebediah. "We barely know anything about Triquantum!"

"Illasticonian top secret time dilated research program, as a last resort. But the ship was travelling in the wrong direction and went straight back into species conquered territory."

"Oh no," said Jeb. "So you invented a reason to call me back so I wouldn't die. Don't worry about it, I have clones and - "

"The point is - The Species is now blocking quadquantum ships as well. So we used up another big mass of energy for dilated research - 4,000 years in 2 weeks. They were unable to produce a pentaquantum cloaking device, but they were able to produce a new type of cloaking, one not connected to the quantum spectrum. We don't even know what to call it, so they came up with "bloaking device" after this one device from an old comic that - "

"Not a comic, Graphic Novel," he responded.

"Right, sorry." Scott handed Jeb a tiny, pitch black shard made of who knows what. "The device. We want you to test it - your current ship is so old school that they might not notice it leave Kerbin, and this device is so high tech it should let you escape their vision. Just get to the edge of the Galaxy and then pop right back in. And then we'll send several thousand ships equipped with these at once, along with a lot of decoy ships."

"Wait a minute... This could work!" Jeb said, his face lifting. "Assuming we're not surrounded on all sides, and they're not listening to every word we say, we might actually be able to escape!" Scott smiled as well.

"I know! It was all hopeless, but now? We actually have a workable plan, with a nonzero chance of success! But -" he said - "It's tippity top secret right now. Don't lose the device. Be careful. And don't tell anyone. The other representatives and a few head guys from each planet know. The only reason I know is that I'm an ex-quantologist. Good luck, and Godspeed, Jeb."

"What should I do with the rest of the biological material?"

"Keep it as a cover story. I understand you have Ethan with you - don't let him know the true plan until absolutely necessary. And don't pick up anyone else."

"What if I just left Ethan here?"

"He'll succumb to being famous and blab. He knows that The Species is attacking. He'll inevitably tell, so it's imperative that he has NO in person human contact, except for the unavoidable conversations on Voyager. Got it?"

"Got it. He won't have any human contact."

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

"Ethan!" shouted everyone in the VAB who saw me. I was enjoying it, I had taken my helmet off, and a lot of people had signed it.

"Who are you actually?" asked one (very hot) girl who had appeared by my side. "That's a very good costume, this might be the closest thing I'd get to meeting Ethan!"

"Jonathan Stuart," I said, "Pleasure to meet you!" Oh, if only she knew!

"Ethan's soooo hot!" said another girl. "I'd date him!"

"Oh, you're just saying that!" I said nervously. "Besides the whole space mission thing, he is just an ordinary guy, right?"

"The fact he was chosen to be astronaut is a sign enough he's not ordinary!"

"I'd date him too!" said another. There was a chorus of agreement, much to the dismay of some of those girls' dates.

"I'm just like, soooo attracted to fame!"

"But I can't date the real Ethan, and you're really close... Soooo, Jonathan, would you date, say, me?"

"Hey, no fair, Susan! He's mine!"

"No, he's mine!" At this point I began trying to back out of the crowd. I grabbed my helmet back from someone.

"JONATHAN I LOVE YOU!"

"Hey, what's your number?" shouted another. And then I backed into someone. I turned around and it was a very large guy, with a lot of muscles, not wearing a shirt, with his arms crossed.

"I admire your dedication to detail," he said, "But you're attracting the attention of my Girlfriend," he said. "If I were you, I'd tone down the act a little bit."

"Josh, I'm breaking up with you!" said a girl to the guy (apparently Josh) as she threw her arms around me. I tried to back away further, awkwardly.

"Maria, we've been together two whole months!"

"But Jonathan can do better!" she said.

"You've known him for two minutes! Gah, Ethan's a cool dude but he's ruining my life from millions of miles away due to the stupid guys who steal MY Girlfriends! He threw a punch at me. I ducked. He began running after me. There was a chorus of agreement from a log of guys. "Well, who else isn't going to stand for this?"

 

And that's how I began running from a crowd of fifty really angry jocks.

 

I ran through the dense crowd, many angry people, many overly affectionate people, and a few Kerbal security guards as well. I managed to get my helmet back on right before someone nailed me in the faceplate, knocking me into the DJ's setup, shutting off the music. I yelled "SORRY!" and continued to run - the exits were all blocked, everyone was closing in on me, so I went for the nearest escape route I could find - up a ladder.

I was quickly followed by the crowd. The ladder ended and I began running like my life depended on it (it probably did) up the stairs, jocks in close pursuit. they were getting closer and closer, and I thought they were going to catch me. There was a spotlight on me at that point, and much to my annoyance, the sound system was already (!) back up, and playing the Benny Hill theme.

And then I saw it - and elevator, dead ahead, the doors about to close, just vacated by two security guard Kerbals. I ran even faster, and managed to slide inside right before the doors closed. I slammed the control panel blindly, and the elevator started moving upward. The doors were ripped back open briefly and I saw Josh and several others right there, trying to get into the elevator, but before they could do so the elevator rose out of the doorway and the doors shut again.

I sat back against the elevator wall, sweating, panting, and panicking, for a few seconds before I heard someone say "Wow, you look just like Ethan Edwards!" I turned my head, and to my left there was a small, young Kerbal that I had not noticed - it was Obbury. Talk about coincidence!

"Oh, it's you, O -" I stopped myself. "Who are - I mean, uh, hi!"

"You must have done something really bad to make those guys angry."

"Well, I'm , uh, I mean, everyone thought I was Ethan," I said, maintaining my disguise as a cosplayer. "And apparently every girl there wanted to date him, and by association, me. Their boyfriends weren't happy with that.

"I knew Ethan for a little bit. He's a really chill, down-to-Earth person, ironically. He seems more of a friend than a boyfriend, really, too awkward around girls."

"True."

"How would you know?"

"I, uhh... Just from his updates he seems that way."

"Oh. I'm Obbury, by the way!"

"I know," I said.

"What?"

"Oh, sorry," I said, trying to recover from my mistake, "Uhh... I meant to say that I - "

"It's okay. People are always startled by my weird name."

"I knew a friend with the last name "Scheuyrman" once. He'd always smile on the rare occasion someone pronounced it right after reading it."

"Haha! You know, you sort of seem like Ethan, in a way. And your costume is very good, I was almost fooled for a second!" I smiled. I was about to say more, but then the elevator door opened and a strong breeze blew in. I was on the VAB roof.

"Do you know any hiding places?"

"There's a broom closet up here near the helipad, and there's a weird plane someone crashed up here. But be quick, those guys know you're up here, and I don't want to be up here when you find out. Do you have a name?"

"Ethan Edwards."

"You're getting into your character a bit too much!" replied Obbury.

"Oh, sorry... I'm Jonathan Stuart. Nice to meet you, Obbury!" I waved goodbye as the elevator door closed and I jogged over to the center of the top of the VAB. I decided to go up to the helipad.

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However, as I peered around the corner, I saw that there was one other person up there, obviously a girl (not too many guys wear dresses I'd imagine) standing at the edge of the VAB. I initially intended to just run on by and not really bother her at all, so I crept stealthily across one of the ledges below the helipad towards a door marked "BROOM CLOSET."

And then I slipped and fell off the ledge, very loudly screaming while i slid down the slope and then dropped a few feet onto the VAB roof with a loud thud. The girl turned around - and by impossible odds, it was Evelina.

"Oh my gosh, are you okay?" she said, running towards me.

"Yes, I'm fine, E -" I stopped myself. I wasn't supposed to know her name. I was just a cosplayer.

"And you," she said, as she saw my face, "Are yet another Ethan cosplayer!" She turned around in annoyance.

"Oh. Yes, just a cosplayer."

"Trying to gain popularity from the latest trend?"

"No, just thought I'd stop by for a bit and check out the atmosphere."

"You're a really bad liar, you know," she said. I mean, I guess she was right.

"Evelina I - " Oops.

"And you know my name, which means that Patton sent you!"

"Patton?"

"Don't try to deny it. Patton paid you to dress up as Ethan and come here to cheer me up because he knows I miss him... Tell Patton it was a nice gesture, but it didn't work. Just like the first five times he tried. Although you have the best costume so far."

"I'm sorry, I don't know a Patton, I'll just leave now," I said, trying to retain my anonymity. Jeb might also be waiting for me at this point.

"Then how do you know my name?" she demanded.

"Oh, that Patton. Sorry, I call him, uhh, Pat, I don't usually use his full name." I stood up and followed her. "Yeah, I consulted with him, and I thought it wouldn't work, but fifty bucks is still fifty bucks, so I came anyway."

"Wait," she said. "You stole an actual spacesuit, sneaking past Kerbal security, risked getting severely reprimanded, for only fifty bucks?"

"Uhh... I'm just borrowing this from a Kerbal friend," I said. Technically, this was the truth.

"Oh. You must be close with him, then."

"Yeah."

"I'd quite like to have a spacesuit. Do you think there's a chance you could introduce me to this Kerbal eventually?"

"Oh, he's... not really the most social Kerbal out there..."

"Well, can I get his number or email or something? I'm sure I could make it work."

"He doesn't use many methods of contact, I only know him in person."

"Well, can I get your email or something so I can contact you and bug you to contact him?"

"You don't even know my name yet!"

"Oh! Sorry. Was I being too invasive? I really didn't mean to. I'm just... really into space and stuff. I'd really like to go back there and -"

"I understand. I'm E-" Oops. "Jonathon Stuart."

"Ejonathon?"

"No, just Jonathon, I stuttered there. You can contact me at [email protected]" She wrote it down.

"Thanks! I hope I won't pester you too much."

Neither of us talked for a bit. "Well, you've found me out, so..." I said, trying to instigate further conversation. Even if I had to keep my identity a secret, I was still talking to Evelina. I hadn't done that without a multi-minute delay in months.

"No, I'm not going to kiss you."

"What?"

"I said I'm not going to kiss you."

"Why would you think I wanted a kiss?"

"Because according to the entire internet, I have a crush on Ethan. Didn't Patton tell you anything?"

"Uhh, no, forgive me if it's common knowledge, but I didn't know," I said.

"Uhh, have you been living under a rock for the past six months?" she said, chuckling. "Literally ALL of the gossip was about me for the month following the launch, except for one article focusing on a supposed relationship between Marie and Jack, which is total BS if you ask me."

"It must be hard living with everyone having that misconception about you," I said.

"It's not a misconception, though," said Evelina. If I was drinking something, I would have spit it out. I settled for coughing.

"Wait, you - "

"Hold up, agh, I shouldn't have said that... What I mean is, I value him as a friend. Extremely. And if a relationship could work, then, yeah, I might have gone for it back when I first met him... But the thing is, I look around me and I see all these people dating on and off, semi-seriously. And the thing that really gets me is that it always ends in anger. The two people hate each other and never talk again, for the silliest reasons."

"Yeah. If they are compatible enough to consider... dating... then... you know, it's a bit silly that if it doesn't work, they can't legitimately be friends again."

"Exactly!" she said. "I think it's because so much weight is placed on attractiveness that people forget about the other qualities in a person, like sense of humor, personality, shared interests... All of the things that also make a friendship work."

"Which is why most relationships only last a few days."

"Yes. So, what I'm saying is, I do like Ethan a little bit... Okay, a lot... but right now, especially because he's millions of miles away, I'd much rather have him as a friend then risk losing him for a relationship that might only last a few days."

"Does he seem like the type of person who would do that?" I asked. "You certainly know him a lot better than most.

"No, but I'm a bit worried that the fame is going to his head. He hasn't responded to my emails recently and his updates have been... weird. He'll probably go for one of those girls that only like him because he's famous."

"What if he's just busy signing Shrek memes for seventy cents each?"

"Yeah, I heard about that. Poor Ethan..."

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"You know, it's a bit unfair," she said. "I met my best friend ever, and probably my biggest crush ever, we're just starting to really have fun in a reality straight out of a dream - and then he leaves for some tremendous length of time."

 

 

Okay, hold up.

SHE likes ME?

And not because I'm famous?

And actually agrees with me on what's wrong with modern relationships?

And referred to me as "my best friend ever" and "my biggest crush ever?"

...To be honest, I, well, I like her too. Sort of in the same way she likes me. And I agree with everything she just said about friend and relationship stuff. And then, I realized, she doesn't have a clue that I'm actually Ethan Edwards. I know I may sound like a jerk at this point, and that's probably true, but I decided to push my luck. Even though Jeb was probably wondering where I was.

 

 

"What if he likes you back? In the same way you like him?"

"Then I'll eat my hat. Fame gets everyone, and he's just about the most famous person on the Planet."

"But what if it doesn't? He hasn't actually been exposed to masses of fans just yet, and won't until he returns."

"If he returns. Voyager was always very low on Delta-V. Dangerously low. And the Laythe plane... Ugh, I give it a 50/50 chance of working. And reentering from an elliptical Laythe orbit to save fuel... And maybe needing many gravity assists... You probably don't know what any of those words mean."

"Right."

"So I hope he'll come back, and I hope we'll stay in contact... But even if he does like me back, the friendship thing is still... And we're only fifteen, for Pete's sake! It won't last! Do you know what it feels like to be trapped between being a friend and liking someone? Especially someone as prominent? Someone with the best sense of humor anywhere, those stunningly handsome blue eyes, and just the right amount of spontaneity?"

"Yes," I answered truthfully.

"Someone as famous as Ethan?"

"Well, no, but in my eye's, she's - "

"Why the heck am I telling you any of this anyway?" she said, with a sudden burst of anger. "Forget sending you to comfort me, Patton sent you just to get a news story!" she threw her hands up into the air in frustration. "And he just sent you to PRETEND to try to comfort me! What idiot would actually fall off the helipad?"

"No, no, I'm not -"

"And Patton knew I wanted a spacesuit, and I fell for that and opened up - You may have a good costume, but you are a disgrace to Ethan!" she shouted. But at this point, I had a bigger problem then being a disgrace to myself.

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"Evelina, why don't you come over here and - " I was frantically trying to signal to Jeb to go back down or re-cloak at this point.

"I better not see this article on any websites tomorrow! Or ever!"

"You have my word and - "

"I have the word of a liar, who came here only to make fifty bucks. I wished on a shooting star that I'd see Ethan sooner than expected, and arguably, I got really close, but I guess you can't even trust the stars these days! Fraud!" She started towards me as I backed away, still trying to signal Jeb to get out of sight. She slapped me (I had taken my helmet off at some point). Hard. I stumbled backwards from the shock.

"Ow!"

"You got what you deserve, creep!" She shouted, and turned to walk away. Which, of course, meant she caught a glimpse of Spaceship Memories. She turned all the way around, stopped, and went slack jawed.

"ETHAN!" boomed Jeb over a loudspeaker. He hadn't seen my signals, I guess.

"What the - " said Evelina.

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"Evelina, I - " I said. Jeb poked his head out the airlock.

"Ethan, I told you not to wander off and - oh. Hello, other person. Don't mind us, we're just, uhh, cleaning the windows! Right, Ethan?" I stood, slightly mortified. Evelina looked at Jeb, then back at me. Then back at Jeb. Then back at me again. She realized that I, in fact was Ethan Edwards.

"Oh no." Her face went pale. "Ethan, I - " She couldn't finish the sentence. She turned and ran away.

"Evelina!" I shouted, running after her. "It's fine! I feel the same way about - " At that point, one of the doors loudly burst open. Out poured several dozen winded, but still very angry jocks.

"I thought I lost them!" I shouted.

"That many people know you're here?" shouted Jeb from his perch in the airlock.

"They think I'm a cosplayer named Jonathon!"

"There he is!" shouted one of the jocks. "And that's his friend! Get her!" Then we both ran back towards Jeb's spaceship. I jumped the gap onto the ladder, and then Jeb started to pilot the ship upwards.

"Hang on a minute, Jeb! We can't leave her!"

"I am under orders from the Galactic Council not to involve anyone else!"

"So you're going to let her die?"

"They're not going to kill - well, on second thought..." He quickly lowered the spaceship back down to roof level.

"Evelina, I highly suggest you get on the spaceship!" I said. She weighed her options... An extremely awkward discussion and potentially losing a friend plus the chance to go into space again, versus getting beat up by fifty angry jocks. She jumped the gap and grabbed on the ladder. The jocks were right on her tail at that point. Jeb flew slightly upwards, revealing the whole of the spaceship to the crowd to keep it out of reach as Evelina climbed the last few rungs and entered Spaceship Memories.

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"Ethan - "

"We've got bigger problems now, Evelina. We're going to drop her right back off, right, Jeb?"

"No, she's seen too much! We have to take her with us."

"I haven't seen anything!" she argued. "What is this ship? Why are those guys mad at you? Ethan, why are you even here? Aren't you on Voyager? JEBEDIAH KERMAN?!?!?"

"No time!" shouted Jeb. "Let's get out of here!" The ship began to shake, and shot up into the night sky, accelerating at incredible rates.

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"Why wasn't the cloaking device on?" I asked Jeb.

"So you could see me!" shot back Jeb.

"You and everyone else on the roof!"

"We can pass it off as a sky-taxi! Anyway, jumping to cruise acceleration and lightspeed - "

"Lightspeed?" asked Evelina. "We're on a spaceship capable of LIGHT SPEED?"

"Yes, keep up!" said Jeb. "Jumping in 3! 2! 1!"

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"Oh no."

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
2 hours ago, Scorpiodude said:

I just had to start reading this the other day and the last chapter ends on a cliffhanger. :/

Okay - just for you, I promise that the next one will not end on a cliffhanger. I don't know when it will be, though, there's at least 2 KSP things I should finish first (done within the week hopefully) 2 IRL things I want done (editing a video and spamming people I know with emails) and then school starts... But after those 4, Ch. 16 takes full priority.

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I'm just going to point out that  Whack-A-Kerbal seems awfully similar to an actual videogame called Planetary Annihilation...

They both have planet moving engines(PA having the Halley) , the both have orbital cruisers capable of orbital bombardment, they both have decent orbital mechanics, and they are both 'RTS' games based on metal resources.... PA even has a literal Death Star and a DLC adding giant mechs and a doomsday device....

I'm just saying...

I am in no way sponsored, I just love that game....

@Ultimate Steve so you notice...

Edited by Starslinger999
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/22/2018 at 11:02 PM, Starslinger999 said:

I'm just going to point out that  Whack-A-Kerbal seems awfully similar to an actual videogame called Planetary Annihilation...

They both have planet moving engines(PA having the Halley) , the both have orbital cruisers capable of orbital bombardment, they both have decent orbital mechanics, and they are both 'RTS' games based on metal resources.... PA even has a literal Death Star and a DLC adding giant mechs and a doomsday device....

I'm just saying...

I am in no way sponsored, I just love that game....

@Ultimate Steve so you notice...

Hmm, I might have to check that out sometime.

Also chapter update, while I was in Europe I came up with this really cool system that helps to make Kerbin seem more realistic for the time period, but I wish I hadn't because it involves several craft with custom interiors and if it's one thing I'm burnt out on building, it's custom interiors.

So I've spent the weekend on and off working on them but I'm afraid it's going rather slowly.

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Chapter Sixteen - The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Kerbals

 

Spoiler

Preemptive journal entry update. I'm writing this in a relatively small enclosure right now as to not spoil anything. Sort of cramped. We're stuck in here for a while. Stepping out of chronological order a bit, wow that was awkward. And fun. And scary. In hindsight, well... I probably should have talked to Evelina about the whole... you know... thing earlier, but as you'll see I did not get the chance to. The past hour has been insane, and you've already heard part of it... I can talk to her now, but I'm procrastinating. I will talk to her about it once I am caught up to the present. She is only a few feet from me... We can't both remain silent forever.

This is going to be of the most awkward conversations of my life.

But you know, because you're the only one who will ever read this, future me, so here goes nothing.

 

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“Well, that’s certainly not good,” said Jebediah as the cabin spun around in the aftermath of the blast. He turned his attention to one of the consoles and began fiddling with several knobs.

“Not good? NOT GOOD?!?!?” shouted Evelina. “Our spaceship just exploded. And it was a spaceship! An honest-to-God Spaceship!”

“Yes, Evelina, Keep up!” said Jebediah as he slipped a headset on.

“And I heard you right, light speed?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Well how does it work?”

“It doesn’t anymore!” said Jeb. “Calling R5 and R7! This is an emergency, priority Beta, ship call sign is I-O-V-0-1-6-M-R-S Memories in need of rescue. Are there any skyhooks available?”

“R7 control here, the skyhook system has been shut down due to the power shortage.”

“Skyhook?” said both Evelina and I at the same time.

“Any rescue ships nearby capable of reaching our orbit, suborbital with six minutes to atmospheric contact?”

“Please hold.”

“Wait, you’ve got warp ships and skyhooks?” asked Evelina.

“Come on, you didn’t actually think we launched into space using those old vintage rocket parts anymore, did you? Those mass fractions are something awful even for early standards. Even one of your primitive launch vehicles could do Laythe and back if it weren’t for boiloff. And communications. And power. And landing. And a lot of stuff, actually.”

“I…”

“R5 B3361 copies, undocking now.”

“Good news!” said Jebediah. “We’re being rescued!”

“Wouldn’t we be able to see the skyhooks if we tried hard enough?” asked Evelina, still overwhelmed. “I hope I’m going to wake up any second now.”

“We teleported seven billion people across half the galaxy and you think we don’t have the technology to cloak certain things?”

“Well, I  guess so… So why don’t we just teleport now?”

“Because it takes a lot of energy and is extremely impractical unless you need to create dramatic effect.”

“Where did you get the energy for - “

“We blew up about a dozen stars at once. Now if you’d be quiet for a second -"

"IOV-016 - "

“It’s pronounced 4-16.”

“Right. 4-16 Memories, this is Samley Kerman, pilot of the CS Twilight Rhapsody. We have visual, please confirm.”

“What were you doing with Ethan? On Kerbin? And you blew up STARS? How?”

“Evelina, this can wait,” said Jeb, “I really need to find another low tech warp ship. Copy that, Twilight Rhapsody, we have visual and - oh.”

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“Yes?”

“Sorry, Samley, I was expecting something a little more high tech.”

“Coming from someone who just crashed literally the oldest spaceship not in a museum.”

"Ah, so you know your history!"

“Yup, my family has been in the spaceship trading business for four generations now! And the Twilight Rhapsody is probably the oldest thing we still own - second generation, five meter diameter main body, ten meter width, charged particle antimatter driven cargo ship.”

“Wait, antimatter?” I said, astounded.

“And you’re calling THAT low-tech?”

“Evelina, I promise I’ll explain later.”

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“Samley to Memories, range fifteen. Ten. Five. Closing bay doors, aaaaannnddd… Capture! Also we should probably do something about the Krakenium Drive Core.”

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“It was designed to fall from orbit and survive, so hopefully it will after the explosion.”

“Alright. I’ll send for a recovery team, then. Engines firing, we should be in a stable orbit in a few seconds. Welcome aboard the Twilight Rhapsody! What are your names?”

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Jebediah hesitated for a second. “There are three of us. Jebediah 9 Kerman -”

“Jebediah 9? Whoa, I didn’t know the most famous Kerbal in all of the worlds was onboard my ship! It’s a pleasure to meet you! And you now have 9 active clones? Last I counted there was 8.”

“Sometimes you just need to be in 9 places at once,” he said.

“Wait, you’ve got cloning technology?” asked Evelina.

“You think I’d spend all my time around Jool in the Voyager? And you think I’d just remove Ethan? Okay, we have a bit of a dilemma now. We cannot let anyone up here know that you are humans. So, regrettably, we have to commit a wrong for the right reasons - I’m sorry, I seriously regret this, but you’re going to have to lie.”

“Okay?”

“...You’re not upset about that?”

“If it’s for the right reasons -” I began.

“And you’re okay with just lying like that?”

“I guess so,” I said.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get why humans are so open to the idea of committing wrongs. Alright, keep this behind your ear,” said Jebediah as he held out two earpieces. “It will provide a hyper-realistic hologram of a Kerbal that will move as you does and will completely obscure you. Just crouch a lot, you’re way taller than the average Kerbal. And we need to get you some Generation 8 spacesuits, no sense sticking with that Gen 4, Ethan.” Both Evelina and I accepted the earpieces as Jebediah pulled some very futuristic looking spacesuits out of an overhead compartment. Evelina and I were now, for all intents and purposes, Kerbals.

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“Samley to Jebediah, do you have any passengers?”

“Yes, two of them. Ethan Kerman and Evelina Kerman, both first time space travelers, unbelievably.”

“Please, will someone explain what is going on!” said Evelina.

“Well, in the simplest terms, the world is ending,” said Jebediah as he was focused on another area of his control panel.

“What?”

“Ethan and Evelina, you say? What a coincidence!” asked Samley.

“No, I got bored and looked around to find two people with those names and decided to show them the sights. Unfortunately our ship exploded, so we’ll have to stop at R5 for a while.” Jebediah turned away from the microphone. “Hold on, Evelina, we have a plan!”

“Had a plan,” I corrected. “Our ship exploded. And it wasn’t a good plan!”

“Well that wasn’t the real plan!” shouted Jebediah. “We’ve got a better plan now!” He reached into his pocket and felt the black shard that had been given to him by Scott Kerman. “But no ship. I’m working on that.”

“The world is ending?”

“More like the Galaxy,” I responded.

“THE GALAXY?”

“Yeah, and Ethan found out and wanted to come along so I cloned him. And then he snuck off and found you. And you’re here now so -”

“Wipe my mind.”

“Did I hear you right, Evelina?” asked Jebediah.

“Yes. Wipe my mind. You can teleport entire populations. Surely you can wipe my mind.”

“We can’t actually -”

“This has been the wildest ten minutes of my life. And now you say the Galaxy is ending! I don’t want to know! Just plop me back down on the VAB roof with no recollection and I’ll be fine!”

“We can, but it doesn’t work on humans! Human brains are weird!”

“Of course,” she shook her head. “Mind telling me what the new plan is and how it’s going to work?”

“I can’t,” said Jebediah. “If they catch you and interrogate you, you’ll tell them. Trust me, I thought our last plan was good, but this one allows for everyone to live instead of just a few people.”

“Who are “They?””

“Oh boy. The Species is this crazy empire of beings who want to escape the heat death of the universe by utilizing its resources with maximum efficiency, which often appears to mean enslaving races, mining planets out to nothing, and other immoral acts. They showed up at our galaxy’s doorstep saying to let them do their business, but obviously very few in the entire galaxy wanted that.”

“I agree with their goal,” I said, “But few could ever agree with their means.”

“...How strong are they?”

“They control an area many times the size of the observable universe.”

“No!”

“But the square cube law,” I said. “They can’t expand as fast as our fastest ships.”

“How fast are your fastest ships?”

“So fast that there’s no reason to develop anything faster. If we wanted to we can cross galaxies in less time than it takes to make lunch, but that takes a lot of energy.”

“And -”

“I understand, Evelina, you’re freaking out, as all people would, but most of the 87 united races in this galaxy are working together on this plan and -”

“87?!?!?!?”

“You thought your species was the first one that we found? Don’t worry, we all get along well, our core value is peace.”

“And you have to fight aliens now.”

“Not fight! Some wish to, but it is futile and against our morals. Running may be our only hope. As I was saying -”

“Samley to Jebediah, we are closing in rapidly on our berth on R5. We are also pressurizing the cargo bay, you may egress in just a few minutes.”

“Roger. As I was saying, the top scientific minds of 87 races are working together to defeat this threat. It is not your job to worry about it, they have got you covered.”

“Well, it’s pretty distracting, how am I supposed to not worry about it!”

“Think about the intellect of people who consider technologies you’ve never dreamed of to be obsolete. You’re in their hands. And then forget all of that and then remember that you’re LITERALLY IN SPACE!”

“...Oh. OH!” Evelina looked out of one of the windows. “...And, we’re in a cargo bay.”

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“The external monitor is here,” said Jebediah showing her the monitor.

“I’m in space again! Look! Kerbin!”

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“Now both of you, this is important, you can’t let on that you know. Very few people know. To prevent panic, we have elected to not tell most of the Kerbals just yet. Most species have done the same. So, Evelina, can you keep the biggest secret in the galaxy?”

“I wouldn’t dare tell anyone, I think I’m doing far above average with the panic thing. I would hate to see anyone truly freak out.”

“Okay, good, then we’re sending you back to the VAB roof, but we’ll be closely watching. Don't tell or there will be consequences.”

“How soon will I be going back?”

“Hmm, we can have you back in fifteen minutes if we try?”

“What? No way! I Can I stay here a few days? If not, then I’m coming with you!”

“No, please, don’t go full Ethan!”

“Hey!”

“Clone me! One stays on Kerbin and one comes with you!”

“Out of the question. I already made that mistake once with Ethan. If it were up to me I’d be going alone.”

“Well then I guess I’m going to have to come with you then.”

“We will discuss this when we have time,” said Jebediah. “I have looked all over, but there are no suitable spaceships at R5. I’m checking R7 now.”

“You’ve said R5 and R7 several times,” I asked. “What are they, space stations?”

“Sort of.”

“Samley here, we are 10 meters from R5. Five. Three.”

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“Wait, I can’t see the station on the display!” said Evelina. I couldn’t either.

“Oh. Right,” said Jebediah.

“One meter.”

“The humans were all implanted with a microscopic chip that tricks the eyes into not noticing certain programmed objects.”

“And this is the first we’ve heard of this?” I asked.

“It’s perfectly safe,” insisted Jebediah as he turned to his computer once more. “Okay, disabling optical filters for the R system. Alright, can you see it now?”

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There was a loud thump. "Samley here. We are now docked to R5, Berth number 3361!"

“That’s no space station,” she said.

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“That’s an orbital ring.”

 

 

 

 

There were two rings. The inner one was the one where we were docked, moving very fast between several purple glowing “gates” mounted on the outer ring, which was several times larger and appeared stationary to the surface. Which also meant it was disconcertingly moving at two kilometers per second probably thirty meters from us. Not that we could see it in person. We were still inside the spacious, but now tiny 5 meter cargo bay. All of a sudden there was a clang as the hatch of the Memories - now nothing but memories - opened. There stood a Kerbal in a spacesuit.

"Hello, there, I'm Samley! Welcome to my segment of Ring Five!"

"Greetings, Samley," said Jebediah as he floated forward and shook Samley's gloved hand. Samley was obviously trying to contain his joy - he had just rescued the most famous Kerbal in existence.

"Anything I can get for you, Jebediah?"

"No, I will be fine. I am in a quite a hurry." He pulled out his Kpad, a model many times more advanced than the one that had been given to me, and continued searching for a suitable ship.

"Nice to meet you too, Samley," I said. "Thank you very much for rescuing us!"

"Oh, don't mention it! Jebediah, I - "

"I know you'd love to sit down and talk a little, but we need to take care of the regulations first. I do greatly appreciate your act of heroism, but unfortunately time is of the essence."

"Right, regulations," said Samley. "Evelina, Ethan, Jebediah. Please follow me." He led us out of the hatch of our ship and to the 5 meter diameter docking port, which had both large and small hatches. We went through the smaller one, and we were then - amazingly - onboard what was apparently Ring Five, an actual legitimate orbital ring. There was a tiny window that we passed, so Evelina and I were able to get our first real view of the ring, but only briefly. She appeared to still be in shock due to the events of the last ten minutes, but it appeared to be in a good way now.

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"If you'd please take a seat," said Samley, gesturing to Evelina and I, still floating around, "Firstly we need to check you in. You are both first time visitors to the Rings, am I right?"

"Correct," we both said at the same time as we took our seats.

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"I apologize for the antiquity and tightness of this facility."

"It's no problem, believe me, this is amazing!" I said.

"I take it you're easily impressed. Unfortunately, I do not have either an Ethan or Evelina that matches your description in the system. What are you doing, Jebediah, taking unregistered passengers into space?"

"I'm sorry," said Jebediah, somewhat embarrassed, "We did not anticipate stopping at the Rings. Here," he said as he passed an official looking document on his Kpad to Samley.

"Passenger clearance form, issued by the Department of Near Space Transportation in the grand city of Kerlington, valid for Jebediah Kerman and any valid clones, for any number of passengers, issued an extremely long time ago, valid forever. ID number matches. History matches. Portrait matches. There's the seal... I cannot check this with my antiquated computer system, but I believe you, Jebediah. And you look valid as well, although your ninth active clone doesn't appear to be in they system yet either. But, hey, you're Jebediah Kerman! Galactic Representative of all Kerbalkind! You literally make the rules!" He took out a strange device and pressed it to the Kpad, leaving a virtual green stamp on the papers.

"Glory to Arstotzka," I muttered.

"What?"

"Nothing. Just a reference to something obscure."

"These computers are almost stupidly old, I really should get them updated at some point. Next order of business, antimatter. Unfortunately, due to the energy shortage, the price of antimatter is pretty high. The bill is 129 MA."

"Wow, I didn't think the diversion of power to Duna would cause such a drain. Do me a favor, get yourself some new computers," he said as he did something on his Kpad. Samley's machine dinged. He looked at the monitor, in shock.

"...Sir? Are you sure that's the correct number?"

"Yes, Samley."

"You didn't accidentally add a zero or two?"

"150 Allotments. You can do more with it than I can. And in exchange can we skip the rest? I've heard it a thousand times. Jeb 3 is literally doing the exact same thing right now."

"...Right. Thank you, sir! Oh, thank you so very much!" He looked elated.

"No problem," he said as he got up from his chair and began towards the main hatch.

"Oh, one more thing! I'm required to warn you that due to structural issues we're all required to wear helmets in the ring for the time being."

"Structural issues?" asked Evelina, worriedly.

"Due to the power shortage, R5 is not as strictly constrained as it is usually, so there is a small danger of collision with R7. Not a big deal, but small scrapes have happened with empty transfer craft. It's fully precautionary. That and the usual threat of Tower 3 collapsing."

"R7 is the big one right there, right?" I asked.

"Uhh, yeah. What did they teach you in school?"

"Oh, we were... Homeschooled."

"Hmm, odd, I thought that died out a long time ago. I guess I was wrong! Also, don't forget to change your jetpacks from EVA to ambient pressure! Don't want to be spewing exhaust into the ring's atmosphere!" Jeb showed us how to switch the jetpacks. It was a small switch on the side. And we all followed Samley through the main hatch into his section of the ring.

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"It's a bit dark in here!" said Evelina. She bumped into something. "Ow!"

"They are both from a bloodline that has traditionally had problems with their night vision capability," said Jebediah. It was technically the truth. Apparently Kerbals have night vision.

"Oh. I'll turn the lights on, then! Power shortage, you know. The kids are in school, my wife's talking to a client, there's nobody here."

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"Whoa, this place is massive!" said Evelina. I was as equally astounded by how large the interior volume was.

"Sorry for the clutter. Obviously R5 has the default elevators, particle accelerators, power, oxygen, water, supply, electrical, and other supply lines taking up a third of the volume already, and I run a business, so it's sort of cramped with all the equipment."

"No need to apologize," I said. "This is already larger than I ever thought you could get!"

"Jebediah, you're taking them to R7, right?" asked Samley.

"Yes, they have been living under a rock for a while and are in for a shock, or the time of their lives... And it looks like there aren't any suitable replacement ships on R7 either, so we'll have to go all the way to R8."

"R8?" asked Evelina.

"Yeah, R8, the one I told you about!" said Jebediah, silently begging Evelina to play along.

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"Hey, Jebediah, what's B2H6?"

"Diborane?" asked Jebediah, shocked. "DIBORANE? On Ring 5? Do you have a permit for that?"

"Oh, yes, hold on a second, let me go look in my living area."

"What's diborane?" whispered Evelina to Jebediah, who was near her.

"To explain it in human terms," whispered Jebediah, "On that weird diamond thing it has three fours. And it explodes on contact with air."

"Aaaa!" she said as she backed away from that container and towards another container.

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"It's somewhere in here!" said Samley.

"What's An?"

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"Probably nothing good," I said, "Take a look at the symbol."

"AAAA!" Not good!" She backed away from that one as well.

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"Soap, Soda, Mugs, Trash, Rocks... The permit is somewhere!"

"Got a permit for storing radioactive material?"

"It's in here too!"

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"Please tell me standing over here is safer," said Evelina.

"That's just an old nuclear reactor, probably long dead," said Jebediah. "It's only marginally more dangerous to sleep next to it than to be in a ship powered by a K-drive."

"And in my thirty seconds onboard a K-drive powered ship I almost died."

"You are a statistical anomaly, Evelina," replied Jebediah.

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"You know it's bad when a nuclear reactor is the safest thing in the room."

"What's that red container?" I asked.

"That's an antimatter storage unit."

"That's it! This place is as weird as a black hole, as dangerous as an exploding star, and well regulated as a pile of -"

"Hot sauce!"

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"I had forgotten I had a hot sauce drawer! Ooh, Hot and spicy Tohihbazilhyh8y8y302j0u09883883838383838383838338838338383838388338388383838388383. Really packs a punch!"

"What?" asked Evelina.

"I see you are not versed in the Illasticonian language!" said Samley. "It's probably the most potent hot sauce in the galaxy. Some species would die from consumption, including most humans. Want some?"

"What's an Elastic Cone Ion?"

"This is why homeschooling is a bad idea. And turn on your universal translator! Games, Dice, Rope... Logbooks! It has to be in here... Wow, there's so many old papers in here... Ah, here they are!" Samley pulled out several dusty official looking papers (to the dismay of Jebediah who probably preferred electronic recording over physical) and exited the habitation section which appeared to be made out of old yet futuristic space station parts. "Permits for the storage of antimatter, radioactive material, pyrophoric substances, and Illasticonian crystals."

Jebediah immediately returned the antimatter permit. Apparently antimatter is pretty common, given that a market price was referenced earlier. "Your pyrophoric substances permit was issued because the Twilight Rhapsody uses it as its reaction mass. Because this is such a dangerous substance that we have no other way to get rid of it... Thank you for helping Kerbalkind use up the last of it. But please upgrade to tank inspections every thirty days. It would be a disaster if this blew."

"Roger." Jebediah returned the permit.

"This radioactive substance permit expired yesterday."

"The power shortage has shut down the low level alert system. I was unaware."

"Well then get to the renewal office within a few days. And your Illasticonian crystal permit is good, although I do not want to know what you are doing with them. Everything is in order, we need to leave now. Thank you for your services, Samley, I wish you luck. May the Infinities smile upon you."

"And you, Jebediah!"

"Alright, Evelina. Ethan. This way, to the elevator. No, Evelina, that's not the elevator, that's the particle accelerator! Don't worry, it's usually inactive, but we're trying to make all the antimatter we can right now. So it is active. Just don't bump it."

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"Bye, Jebediah! I'm a huge fan! And good luck, Ethan and Evelina! May the Infinities smile upon you!"

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The elevator ride was a bit weird. The contrast between the insanity of the recent events and the silent magnetically driven elevator was just too much. Jebediah acted like this was normal. Evelina was still somewhat in shock. I think I was the only one that noticed the creepy empty spacesuit. I felt the need to break the silence.

"Ring Five? What happened to the first four?"

"Well, uh, the first was a giant cable that we attached a few rooms to. The second was another cable, but in an inclined orbit, the third was another cable in a polar orbit, and the fourth was a 5 meter diameter ring which fell back to Kerbin halfway through its construction. Elements of the first cable are on display in the museum at Tower 1."

"And where exactly are we going?" asked Evelina.

"To a station which will allow us to transfer between Rings 5 and 7."

"What's ring 6?"

"A giant particle accelerator in high Kerbin Orbit that isn't really a ring, but more of a path. Most of our ringed accelerators are just there to make antimatter, but that one is for ultra high energy physics. Yes, the Jslans have a solar system sized accelerator and the Fenemotians are trying to build a Quantum Relativity Accelerator... But ours is still useful. Ring 7 was built when it was determined that Ring 5 was getting too cluttered internally with stuff that could have been built in a vacuum. As a result most of R7 is unpressurized. R7 is also a stationary ring, it has most of the surface gravity. It was built on top of eight giant towers made out of incredibly advanced materials -"

"Carbon nanotubes?"

"No."

"Graphene?"

"No."

"Illasti-whatever crystals?" Jebediah looked appalled by the notion.

"NO! Are you trying to make me question your sanity? As to what the towers are actually made of, it will suffice to say that your Superman would have a hard time bending a straw made from this stuff. The word is in the Kreah'' Dialect of the Carreeek language, it's alien technology. Kerbals can barely pronounce it, and doesn't translate into English as more than clicks."

"Let's call it Kryptonite, then," suggested Evelina.

"And R8 builds upon four of the towers, the odd numbered ones, and is at Kerbostationary orbit, meaning there's no gravity on that ring. It has the main antimatter creation accelerators, and is where we park most of our spaceships. We're taking an elevator there to get a ship."

"Okay, and where are we going once we get a ship?" asked Evelina.

"Now that's top secret. And both of you should stay here, but apparently I cannot talk you out of that... So Evelina, we're cloning you. You'll be able to read your clone's mind. Once this is all over we can re-merge you."

"YES!" she shouted.

"It's really painful," I said.

"That's because we didn't have the time for a sedative, Evelina will feel no pain." Well, lucky her. Poor me.

"And that "May the Infinities smile upon you" thing?" asked Evelina.

"Just a traditional Kerbal farewell, like your "See you later!" or "Have a great day!" sayings. Maybe a bit deeper."

"I like the ring of that," I said. Jebediah went back to his tablet. "You know, I'm actually surprised at how much this falls into predicted sci-fi. I haven't encountered many things developed by Kerbalkind that weren't predicted by human sci-fi."

"You haven't seen anything, yet. Wait until you see the giant competitive Whack-A-Kerbal arena orbiting Minmus. Except you aren't going to see that. And that's just Kerbin. The oddest technology can be found near the planet Dagnard."

"Okay, I know most of my questions can wait," said Evelina, "But I've been asking you a lot of trivial things by your standards. How about a bit of a fun question. Who is the weirdest alien you have met?"

"Hmm..." said Jebediah. "That would have to be Representative Galactus the Cow. He comes from the planet Pock, which was destroyed by a giant meteor launched by the evil Francine Fleugenhass from her world, one of the few non-peaceful worlds we have encountered. He was the only member of his species to escape the planet, on a rocket powered by TNT. He flew that spaceship to a strange moon, where it crashed and burned, and another species of aliens, the T's, shot him in a cannon towards the planet below, where he found Phil the Pig, and together they built TNT-02, the second TNT rocket to try and find the legendary Magic Boulder, a mythical rock with the ability to turn back time in order to save his planet. He went to the planet Mycelium, which is a trade center which happens to have a hundred kilometer tall mushroom created by the great Wizard Ladstini, also rumored to be the protector of the Magic boulder. They were confronted by Francine who tried to kill them because she wants to destroy everything, and the volcano on Mycelium explodes, but Galactus and Phil built a spaceship out of old machines and launched using the volcano as a first stage. They meet an old guy on an orbiting space station and he gives them TNT-03, which uses a more efficient fuel. They set off on their quest for the Magic Boulder."

"Did they ever find it?" asked Evelina.

"Phil has moved on. Galactus is still searching. He's crashed several hundred TNT spaceships by now, and those are only his ceremonial ships. He has crashed many more normal ships. He has an insanely long lifespan... I sort of feel sorry for him, he's the only one of his species left, but he takes it like a boss and is generally extremely comedic without meaning to be, although he can be cowardly at times. Since he's the only one left, he's representative by default, and gets a lot of privileges because of that. Hence how he was able to buy and crash hundreds of spaceships.

"So what about the Magic Boulder?" I asked. "Is it real?"

"It's a bit like religion. Nobody knows for sure but there are convincing arguments both ways."

"I was just about to ask that," said Evelina. "So nobody knows?"

"Nobody knows. The calculated chance of a God or Gods existing is almost exactly 50/50 all known variables considered, and almost any reasonable belief is accepted. We got around those differences centuries ago."

"Huh. Okay, that answers most of my pressing questions." The elevator slowed to a halt. "Okay, what now?"

"We get out of the elevator."

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The three of us emerged from the elevator to find one Kerbal passing through the uninhabited piece of Ring 5.

"Jeb? How much of Ring 5 is occupied?"

"Lengthwise, maybe two thirds. We're in the least used section right now." I snuck a peak out of one of the gigantic windows. Kerbin was beautiful.

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"Okay, Ethan, Evelina, this way!" Jeb led us through the massive hatch. The hatches appeared to be every 20-30 meters, presumably in case of a depressurization. He then led us through a node with nobody in it into a large ship with room for maybe 200 Kerbals if you squeezed.

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"So how is this ship going to get us to that ring? That's moving at two kilometers per second, I don't see any fuel tanks!"

"Transfer 5-7 325, now departing. 3 passengers. Magnets, Ethan! Very precise magnets! Now, if we aimed correctly, we should end up somewhere near Tower Seven, which will be a big hub and we should be able to find a ship there. Although I have gone through 80% of R7 and I cannot find a single ship with the requirements for the mission."

"Which are top secret."

"Correct." There was a loud clang as the docking ports sealed and the ship rocked back and forth before settling on the apparent magnetic tracks and moving backwards relative to R5.

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"Ethan, turn your seat around. I know it's a window, but I promise you a view fifty times better in the coming minutes. This wasn't designed for humans, Kerbals are way more G-force tolerant. You're going to feel about 7g for about 30 seconds. Oh, I almost forgot." I turned around. "Kerbal days are NOT exactly 6 hours long. They are 5 hours, 54 minutes, and 19 seconds, ish. We adjusted your perception of time a bit so that you would have an easier transition. I'm turning that off now for you two, you shouldn't notice much."

"Alright, I -" the spacecraft pushed back from its magnetic rails and moved abruptly away from R5, close to R7. I panicked, I thought we were going to collide with it.

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Another set of purple magnetic stabilizers passed us at over 2 kilometers per second. "Brace yourself!" Right before I turned around I saw another set of magnetic tracks approach the vehicle, mounted on R7. I turned and braced, before the entire ship was shoved backwards with the force of a thousand elephants. Ten thousand, even. I could not lift my arms, but almost as soon as it started, it was over. Our transfer pod slowed, now coasting at only a few dozen meters per second relative to R7, and it was now R5 that passed by at 2 kilometers per second.

"Well, that's not something you do every day," I said, surprised and elated.

"Yeah, nobody goes to R5 for much anymore, the Munar commute is even more common than that."

"What?" I asked.

"Hey, Jeb? What is the Kerbal money system like? I heard you mention Allotments and MA."

"Ah. So this is going to sound crazy to you, I did some research on human history. The Kerbol system could be described as part capitalist, part socialist, and part anarchist."

"Socialism?" I asked, surprised.

"Yes. It's actually relatively common throughout the galaxy."

"And you got it to work?" asked Evelina, equally surprised. Our pod slowed down all the way and docked to R7. We could feel gravity now, about 80% of normal.

"Yeah, the whole government corruption thing usually isn't a thing, but Earth is an extreme case. As I was saying, we promote competition, development, free trade, free speech, and a lot of other things, hence the capitalist, we collectively produce exports that we sell to the galaxy and give everyone who works a certain amount of money which is enough to buy a year's worth of basic necessities and maybe a vacation to somewhere, called an allotment, hence the socialism. You can earn more than just one allotment per year by doing more and by trade, but we want to provide for everyone at least a little. And we know we can mostly trust each other to not take advantage of the system. Milli-Allotments, called MA, are 1/1000 of an allotment and are used to measure medium levels of expense. Finally, funds are our base unit, the amount that goes into a MA fluctuates and is updated daily. Lastly, we try to let everyone do their own thing because we have created a very nice society in which there is little to gain from not obeying the simple and reasonable rules. Thus we can have as little government influence as possible, hence the anarchy. I understand the word has negative connotations in English, but we mean it as "hey, we don't have many rules, do what you want as long as you aren't hurting anyone.""

"Hmm... A very interesting government and monetary system," said Evelina. "And it works?"

"Has for decades, very few complaints."

"What's the conversion between dollars and Funds?" I asked.

"Impossible to know. We have cheap space travel, varied price in food, all electric vehicles... It's nearly impossible to make an accurate comparison, our economies are too different, but I believe a fund is worth several times what a dollar is." We emerged from the transfer pod and stepped out into a fairly large chamber where there was several dozen Kerbals in line for a door.

"Jebediah - " Asked Evelina.

"You said you were done with questions. Two questions ago, I think?"

"Yeah, but doesn't it seem a bit weird? You find the humans and press your ideals upon us, and then the Species - "

"SHH!"

"-finds you and presses their ideals upon you. What's to say there isn't another 8 layers?"

"Nothing. We'd better hope. ATTENTION! I have a permit, level 9 urgency, so I'm sorry but we're going to have to cut." Some Kerbals in the room groaned but most accepted and some even smiled, glad crucial stuff was getting done even if they didn't know what the crucial stuff was. We followed Jebediah through the chamber to a larger set of doors - standard push doors in a circular hatch - and he showed his permit to an employee supervising the line. He nodded and we went through the hatch into the core of R7.

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"A river? In space? Is that real?"

"You better believe it, Evelina," said Jebediah as he quickly walked off to the left. The room was massive, just this alone was probably more volume than the ISS had many times over! And it was filled with greenhouses, desks, and a river!

"But why?"

"Why not?"

"All this space, you could use for experiments or something useful or - "

"Or something emotional and cool! We've got an abundance of space, it is space, after all!" we approached one of the counters.

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"Excuse me, ma'am, I'm afraid we're going to need to delay you a few seconds. Official business, you should receive compensation."

"Of course! Oh, are you Jebe-"

"Yes. You can interview a clone later, we're short on time. Thank you." He shook her hand. "Three tickets for the Tower 7 elevator to Ring Eight."

"We have two elevators departing, one in 3 minutes and one in 20."

"Hmm, slow day. Three for the sooner one."

"1.4 MA."

"Here you go, thank you. Ethan, Evelina, this way!"

"But it's cool in here!"

"I promise you it's about to get a whole lot cooler, and we have an elevator to catch." He took us across another bridge.

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"A river! In space!"

"Yes, come, we have two and a half minutes to get to our elevator!" I was now over the bridge and I attempted to reach down to touch the water to ensure it was real, but I was ducking to maintain my disguise as a Kerbal and I couldn't reach far enough without it looking suspicious. We were already attracting a lot of attention, mostly because of Jeb.

"Ethan! Keep up!"

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"Okay, we're entering the main hub on Tower Seven, the elevator terminal is on the left. Don't stare, please."

"Don't stare, what do you - "

"Evelina, left!"

"Whoa."

"LEFT!"

"..."

"That's right, Evelina! It's to the left and we've got two minutes."

"..."

"Evelina," I began, "We need to... to... to... Wow."

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"I can see my house from here!"

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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1 hour ago, The Minmus Derp said:

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love this fanfic. Uh... can mine crossover?

Glad you are enjoying the story, but I'm afraid I must respectively decline. I have planned out this story to the end basically with little room for new tangents... Making this happen during the span of this story is probably out, afterwards *could* work but I haven't gotten the details of the ending set in stone yet, and before hand could end up messing up details and creating inconsistencies.

Please don't get your hopes up, but you can PM me your idea if you want.

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