Geschosskopf

Alternis Kerbol Travelling Circus -- Episode 34: Over the Hills and Far Away

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On 11/20/2017 at 2:28 PM, Geschosskopf said:

With all eyes focused on Laythe, it was several hours before anybody noticed that the missing ships hadn't been vaporized, but merely thrown out of their orbits into Jool's SOI.  And not just at Laythe but at Minmus and Mun as well.  All ships, even spent boosters, were accounted for, except LE-1 CLOD and its jolly crew.

I had a similar bug while testing my own mod. All ships in orbit around Kerbin were suddenly flung in orbit around Kerbol, which I can assume is a result of moving Kerbin to orbit a different celestial body.

Blame the Laytheans for this outrage!

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On 11/21/2017 at 9:04 AM, KAL 9000 said:

Huh. Space fart.

I don't care. 

 

On 11/22/2017 at 7:06 AM, Just Jim said:

Never, ever let a good bug go to waste!  :)

 

4 hours ago, EricL said:

I had a similar bug while testing my own mod. All ships in orbit around Kerbin were suddenly flung in orbit around Kerbol, which I can assume is a result of moving Kerbin to orbit a different celestial body.

Blame the Laytheans for this outrage!

@KAL 9000 & @EricL:  The Circus can't blame the Laytheans, because it hasn't met them yet.  If the Circus did blame the Laytheans, they'd "nuke the site from orbit---it's the only way to be sure." :D   But I've put FAR too much work into the Laytheans, including hours spent learning their language, to vaporize them without a fair bit of Kerbal-Laythean face-to-face dialog.  So (at least for now), it was all a "space fart".

@Just Jim & @EricL:  My main annoyance with the recent scrambling of ships is that it significantly delays the epoch-making meeting of Kerbals and Laytheans.  But for that, the 1st Ambassador to Laythe would already be en route.  But as it now stands, first I have to rebuild the comms network, send another SpySat on general principles, and also send a replacement SLOP to scout a good LZ for the 1st Ambassador.  Then wait a bit to see if any of that provokes a response.  And then, of course, send the Ambassador .  All of which things might have to be done several times due to BARIS, plus will take quite a while due to integration times.  But such is life :)

Still, I'm going with my rule of rolling with glitches.  Most of them at least provide inspiration for narrative, something I usually lack, so I regard them as good things.  And for those keeping score at home, the loss of LE-1 CLOD evens the body count between BARIS and glitches at 8 each.

  • BARIS:  2 in pod explosions, 2 in training accidents, and 4 in total rocket explosions
  • Glitches:  1 to a runway pot hole, 3 to a bad surface collider, and 4 to an orbital hiccup

I played New Horizons a while back, where Kerbin is also a gas giant's moon.  Back then (this was about 1.5 years ago), the only problem was that Kerbin's own orbit was unstable, and this was a Kopernicus issue.  Nowadays, that no longer seems to be a problem.  But then this happened.  The game crashed in the process.  But that's happened many times without this happening so I'm not sure there's a connection.  Nor am I sure which mod caused the ships to teleport.

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I played a bit in New Horizons in 1.3.0.  I had a few cases of ships which where in stable and nearly circular orbits of the gas giant suddenly changing orbits to highly elliptical orbits.  I'm guessing that there is a Kopernicus bug there somewhere, however I could never reproduce it, so it seemed pointless to report it.

Edited by AVaughan
Fixed typos

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Been rather busy in real life lately so this is a bit lagged and also rather on the small side.  It's also pretty boring stuff.

EPISODE 22: Pick up the Pieces

Spoiler

 

So the Circus got busy replacing the stuff it needed to replace at Laythe and salvaging what it could from the ships scattered by the tempest.  And to pay for the rebuilding, the Circus also snagged some rather low-hanging contracts.  One of these was to reposition the practically dead Bop MagSat Mk 5.  It took a while because the engine was by now rather gimpy, but it did bring in a little cash.

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Then it was time to launch the Laythe SpySat Mk 2, essentially identical to its predecessor, including the unique asymmetrical combo of spy camera and SigInt / relay dish.  Not only was this deemed necessary to provide early warning of a possible interplanetary attack, but there was also a contract to spy on Laythe for 50 days which paid pretty well.

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And there was a bit of new business.  Rounding out Tylo Expedition 1 was the Tylo ConSat, destined for a very wide equatorial orbit outside even Duna.  It managed to get up OK and soon boosted into its parking orbit between Kerbin and Mun with the rest of TE-1.

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Another gimpy old probe, the Bop Relay, also managed to limp into a new orbit.

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By now things were getting a bit complicated as the Laythe SpySat Mk 2 and the Laythe Relay Mk 3-2 were both arriving at Laythe within less than an hour of each other.  First came the spysat, which was able to capture into a wide, elliptical parking orbit while the Circus dealt with the relay.

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Then it was time to get the spysat into its contract orbit.  The main issue here was a major plane change, or actually 2 of them.  In the ecliptic plane, the spysat had arrived nearly 90^ off the target inclination.  In the vertical plane, it was about 30^ off.  Fixing this took about 1200m/s and exhausted the probe's transfer stage.  But the upper stage had plenty of smash, including enough to boost into a highly elliptical polar orbit opposite the one the relay had just entered, although that won't happen until the contract is complete 

Once in the contract orbit, Laythe SpySat Mk 2 deployed its various sensors and began monitoring Laythe for any signs of electronic emissions.

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Back at Mission Control, everybody waited anxiously through the first few orbits with fingers poised over big red buttons and telephones.  But the new spysat detected no more evidence of technology than its predecessor had.  It looked like the tempest had been a natural phenomenon after all.  Around the control room, several handfuls of money and/or bottles of whiskey changed hands with ill grace as various bets were paid off.

At this point, the Circus performed its first maneuver in interplanetary space.  The Laythe Relay Mk 3-1 (as it was now called since there as an identical Mk 3-2 in its former location at Laythe) had been ejected from the Jool system by the tempest and now had an orbit with an Ap essentially at Jool and a Pe down between Moho and Eve.  But it had 2 mid-sized relay antennae that still worked and about 1500m/s of fuel left, so could still serve a useful purpose.  The Circus decided to spend most of that fuel right now, at Ap, to give the relay as much inclination relative to the ecliptic as possible (which turned out to be about 30^), then use the rest in 153 days at Pe to pull the Ap in a bit from from Jool, so that hopefully the relay would never encounter Jool again.  The result will be an interplanetary relay that should, most of the time, be far enough off the ecliptic to provide a bank shot around the sun.  At least if the ranges are within the capabilities of its antennae. 

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Speaking of interplanetary relays, the Jool UberRelay Mk 2-3 completed integration at this point and launched into a polar parking orbit.  There it will need to wait for a few days until the plane of its orbit is pointing at Jool.  Then it will do like the other UberRelay and get into a highly inclined Joolian orbit at a far distance from the gas giant, to provide a sure means of talking above/below/beside Jool.

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Finally, there was some more new business, a contract to put a SENTINEL between Jool and Eve (but rather closer to Eve).  This pays HANDSOMELY.  It also provided the opportunity to toss another medium-sized relay antenna into interplanetary space for the benefit of future missions.  So, the first Circus ship specifically designed and intended to leave Jool's SOI rode up on the 1st launch using a 3.75m stack.  It immediately shifted into the customary parking space between Kerbin and Mun, there to await the moment when it can use this position for burning inwards towards Eve.

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In a few days, PE-1 SCRAPER and its jolly crew will begin the 8-day trip home to Kerbin.  And the ships of Laythe Expedition 2, including the space-going embassy, have been designed and are now being integrated.  So hopefully things will get more interesting in the near future.

 

Tune in next time for more of the slow spiral into damnation.

Edited by Geschosskopf

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21 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Laythe SpySat Mk 2 deployed its various sensors...

Or: “Hey, how big can we make a dish? And still get it into orbit?” That’s one big dish. 

 

21 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

This pays HANDSOMELY. 

Presumable HANDSOMELY here isn’t another mission name acronym. :D

 

Don’t know what glitch your tempest took the form of, but it was quite nice to leave you a probe that would work as an interplanetary deep space relay. I half expect BARIS to put up a stop sign and say “hey now, not so fast.”

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On 12/4/2017 at 12:33 PM, Cydonian Monk said:

Or: “Hey, how big can we make a dish? And still get it into orbit?” That’s one big dish. 

That's the "Little Brother".  The "Big Brother", as put on the UberRelays, is rather bigger and nose-of-the-stack-mounted instead of sticking out the side.  You'll see some pics of that shortly.  As you've probably guessed, these dishes can't be retracted once deployed.  They also have a significant effect on the ship's CoM and MoI.

 

Quote

Presumable HANDSOMELY here isn’t another mission name acronym. :D

As in "HAND SOME Loot, Yo!" ?  That was the name of the tragically misnamed getaway car of the would-be bank robbers who ended up in the last draft of Circus pressees.

 

Quote

Don’t know what glitch your tempest took the form of, but it was quite nice to leave you a probe that would work as an interplanetary deep space relay. I half expect BARIS to put up a stop sign and say “hey now, not so fast.”

Well, the thing is still at the mercy of BARIS.  It probably won't last long.  Hopefully long enough to be replaced by something deliberate, though.

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

EPISODE 23: I'm Going Home

Spoiler

 

So, moving on with the re-establishing of communications infrastructure at Laythe the Laythe Equatorial Relays soon set off. This was exactly the same ship as the previous (and now scattered) Mun relays, a stack of 2 identical probes each with 2 medium relay antennae, all schlepped to the intended Joolian moon by a simple carrier vehicle with its own probe core.  But, whereas the originals at Mun had gone into highly elliptical polar orbits which had been easy enough to arrange, these commsats were going into equatorial orbit and needed to be spaced properly.  Mission Control demanded they be either 120^ or 180^ apart, it didn't care which, so long as there as no messing with Mr. In Between.  Anyway, the carrier and its 2 probes got to LKO OK and settled for a few days to transfer to Laythe.

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Talking about communications, the original Laythe SpySat (and it's HUGE, although not entirely functional Little Brother dish), which had also been ejected from Jool's SOI, did a plane change to become another semi-useful interplanetary relay.  It did less of a plane change and will do more of an Ap change to get out of phase with the other ejected potential relays.

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The recent tempest had also tossed away the original Laythe MagSat, which had accomplished all its contract goals other than remaining in a 75^ inclined, 0.45 eccentric orbit of Laythe for another 150 days.  Thus, a replacement was necessary, so the Laythe MagSat Mk 4 went up.  BARIS let it reach an LKO parking orbit priot to its departure.

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Soon thereafter, SM3 Shepgard went over the KSC fence and disappeared.  A few days later, the Circus received this postcard, which was puzzling because to its knowledge there was nothing on the surface of Kerbin but KSC.  Goon squad were immediately sent off on a wild goose chase lacking any direction, as there was no information on where to send them.

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By then it was time to put the Jool UberRelays to bed in their final orbits, and to deploy their "Big Brother" dishes.  With these in place, the Circus should have no problems talking anywhere in the AK system, at least until BARIS kills them.  Or if Mission Control forgets to point them so their huge dishes don't block their solar panels.

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Then at long last it was time for PE-1 SCRAPER, with its jolly crew of Trilock, Shelbas, and Harbree, to lift anchor for home.  Many saved grog and beer rations were drunk on this day and expended on a traditional capstan shanty.  And they left in the dark, as is only right and proper.  However, PE-1 SCRAPER continued to have potentially deadly glitches.

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About this time, the Circus received word that Shepgard was no more.  Whether he died of excessive partying or whether he resisted the pressgang too strongly is not known.  Either way, he's not coming back.  A funeral was quickly arranged and again noted continuing poltergeist activity with the flags of Melfurt and Wilnie.  And so BARIS reclaims the lead, 9 - 8, over mundane glitches.

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The Jool-Eve SENTINEL now burned away from its parking orbit to become the 1st intentional Circus ship to leave Jool's SOI.  It was suffering from a wandering interstage fairing, an issue that would become a theme as things progressed.

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Meanwhle, the replacement Laythe MagSat got underway.

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By now, the Laythe Equatorial Relays were coming in.  The carrier captured into an orbit with a 391km Pe and an 804km Ap.  This, just guesstimated from largely illegible scrawls on a soggy cocktail napkin, was expected to result in the 2 relays being about 120^ apart once they circularized at 400km.  This was considered better than having them 180^ apart, especially when there were several other relays at or en route to Laythe.

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By now, PE-1 SCRAPER was doing its mid-course correction en route to Kerbin.  The ship continued to challenge the talents of AM2 Harbree but he managed to stave off total disaster.

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Meanwhile, back at Laythe, the Equatorial Relays were being deployed as their carrier continued its elliptical orbit.  As it happened, the 2 relays ended up 120^ apart in 400km orbits.  Perfect.

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Once the commsats were in their orbits, the carrier vehicle attempted to crash into Jool. After all, apparently 2 Circus ships has suffered that fate without witnesses so the Boffins wanted to see how the death throws played out.  Unfortunately, the carrier's remaining dV was only sufficient to get a 1.2Mm Pe.

Then it was time to launch Eve SCANsat as the transfer window to that planet was coming up shortly before that to Tylo.  So the Boffins quickly threw something together but its solar panels disintegrated upon staging from the lifter off the OMS stage.  It was thought that the LV-N's shroud nicked them but hey, it probably had insufficient dV anyway.  Regardless, with no way to keep the probe alive while coasting, Mission Control immediately decided to de-orbit the thing in the middle of the ocean, so its LV-Ns wouldn't bother anybody who mattered.

After having seen a lot of Laythe, the Kerbals began to wonder why their own clouds looked so much like oil slicks.

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PE-1 SCRAPER was by now getting close to Kerbin''s SOI and things were not going according to plan....

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Just before PE-1 SCRAPER returned, the LE-1.5 Replacement SLOPs made it to LKO.  This had 2 new SLOPs stacked under a fairing atop another 3.75m lifter.  The Circus as yet lacks the tech to have bigger 3.75m tanks although hopefully the Science! inbound on PE-1 SCRAPER will rectify this.

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At last, PE-1 SCRAPER entered Kerbin's SOI and captured into a 90km orbit without benefit of aerobraking.  Harbree continue to keep them all from exploding.  The interstage fairing had rejoined the ship by now, but was sitting a bit low, leaving a gap between the OMS stage and the heatshield.

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Using right-clicks instead of staging Mission Control then jettisoned the questionable OMS stage into the middle of Kerbin's Central Ocean and the capsule came down.  Decoupling the stage finally jerked the fairing back into is proper place.

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And soon its jolly crew of Trilock, Shelbas, and Harbree were whisked away to their debriefing / dissections.  Not counting the numerous training fly-bies of Bop, which is so small and close it might as well be one of Kerbin's own mountaintops, the Circus had sent 13 kerbs to other worlds with actual missions.  So far only 6 had come back, and only 3 of those had touched an alien surface.  3 died trying to land on Bop, 4 died at Laythe (or more probably Jool) following the tempest, 3 had skimmed Mun and survived, and 3 had set foot on Pol and returned alive.  The Pol mission had lasted about 50 days, plenty of time for the effects of prolonged space exposure to set in, and they'been exposed to Pol-stuff.  Besides, the Scientists hadn't had anybody to bebrief / dissect for quite a while.  Thus, Trilock, Shelbas, and Harbree didn't have an easy time of it.  Especially Trilock, currently the last surviving bosunsmate on the Circus roster.

But soon, the Ambassadorial mission will be en route to make contact with the Laytheans.

 

Tune in next time for more of the slow spiral into damnation. 

Edited by Geschosskopf

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w00t! My Ambassador mission idea is confirmed!

---

My prediction on how it'll turn out:

"3... 2... 1... Liftoff!"

*BOOM*

"CURSE YOU, BARIS!!!"

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4 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

w00t! My Ambassador mission idea is confirmed!

Well, of course we have to send an ambassador.  But I don't think I've explained the details yet....

 

4 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

My prediction on how it'll turn out:

"3... 2... 1... Liftoff!"

*BOOM*

"CURSE YOU, BARIS!!!"

There is a good possibility this might happen.  The post-integration reliability prediction for the ambassadorial ship is not promising, only 61.  Most of my rockets these days have 90-100 which is why so few blow up on the pad anymore.

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23 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

only 61.  Most of my rockets these days have 90-100 which is why so few blow up on the pad anymore.

I was about to comment "this mod is a lot like the game Buzz Aldrins Race Into Space" and then I realized...

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1 hour ago, DAL59 said:

I was about to comment "this mod is a lot like the game Buzz Aldrins Race Into Space" and then I realized...

Yeah, definitely inspired by that game.  However, mod acronym means "Big, Angry, Ravenous Ingester of Spacecraft", or maybe "Building A Rocket Isn't Simple", I forget which.

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3 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Well, of course we have to send an ambassador.  But I don't think I've explained the details yet....

 

There is a good possibility this might happen.  The post-integration reliability prediction for the ambassadorial ship is not promising, only 61.  Most of my rockets these days have 90-100 which is why so few blow up on the pad anymore.

BARIS is designed to let rockets become more reliable as time wears on and missions progress- strangely, the amount of complaints I got regarding reliability when I released BARIS in September was nearly enough for me to kill the mod altogether. People wanted a failure mod that didn't fail. Anyway, even when maxing out reliability, there's still a small chance that things could fail, and of course parts are designed to wear out eventually just from normal use. So your converters and drills will break down and fail, but they can be fixed almost as good as new again. Of course, there's only so many times that you can repair a part before it becomes untenable...

Edited by Angel-125

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49 minutes ago, Angel-125 said:

BARIS is designed to let rockets become more reliable as time wears on and missions progress- strangely, the amount of complaints I got regarding reliability when I released BARIS in September was nearly enough for me to kill the mod altogether. People wanted a failure mod that didn't fail.

There's no point in having a failure mod if you're not willing to accept the consequences.  It definitely has made me play this save differently than I usually do things, which has been an interesting experience.  And mostly enjoyable, although it has been rather frustrating a time or 3.  Still, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it and can usually find something to laugh about or at least use as something to talk about in this thread, which would otherwise be even drier than it is :)  Of course, it helps that I'm not at all attached to my Kerbals :)

But even with all that, I won't be using BARIS in every game I play from here on.  Sometimes I just want to do a specific thing and not have it get buggered up after all the effort I put into it. 

 

49 minutes ago, Angel-125 said:

Anyway, even when maxing out reliability, there's still a small chance that things could fail, and of course parts are designed to wear out eventually just from normal use. So your converters and drills will break down and fail, but they can be fixed almost as good as new again. Of course, there's only so many times that you can repair a part before it becomes untenable...

So, does the reliability of small parts from early in the tech tree every improve?  While the general trend is for bigger and bigger lifters, you still need the small parts for probes later on.

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1 hour ago, Geschosskopf said:

There's no point in having a failure mod if you're not willing to accept the consequences.  It definitely has made me play this save differently than I usually do things, which has been an interesting experience.  And mostly enjoyable, although it has been rather frustrating a time or 3.  Still, I knew the job was dangerous when I took it and can usually find something to laugh about or at least use as something to talk about in this thread, which would otherwise be even drier than it is :)  Of course, it helps that I'm not at all attached to my Kerbals :)

But even with all that, I won't be using BARIS in every game I play from here on.  Sometimes I just want to do a specific thing and not have it get buggered up after all the effort I put into it. 

 

So, does the reliability of small parts from early in the tech tree every improve?  While the general trend is for bigger and bigger lifters, you still need the small parts for probes later on.

All parts can improve their reliability up to max. All it takes is flight experience and/or test bench testing.

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22 hours ago, Angel-125 said:

All parts can improve their reliability up to max. All it takes is flight experience and/or test bench testing.

Well that's a ray of hope :wink:

So, what's up with the interstage fairings?  It''s just cosmetic, no actual effect on anything, and it gives the Kerbals something to talk about besides their daily grind of instructional videos, but...

Edited by Geschosskopf

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11 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

Well that's a ray of hope :wink:

So, what's up with the interstage fairings?  It''s just cosmetic, no actual effect on anything, and it gives the Kerbals something to talk about besides their daily grind of instructional videos, but...

It's just a glitch with KSP, as far as I know. Shows up in my game too.

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45 minutes ago, IncongruousGoat said:

It's just a glitch with KSP, as far as I know. Shows up in my game too.

Ah, well that's comforting.  Sorry Angel :)

 

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INTERLUDE:  The Turkish Song of the Damned

NOTE:  Be sure to watch the above video by itself.  It's a pretty cool comic strip that brings the song to life.

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

Having decided to send a mission to make contact with the Laytheans, the Emperor took the unusual step of specifying some of the mission parameters.  These were that the mission be small and have no means of returning to Kerbin.  Small so as A) to appear weak and harmless, and B) to risk as few of the Emperor's taxpayers as possible.  And one-way to A) prevent any possibility of bringing some Laythe plague back to Kerbin, and B) to give away to the Laytheans as little as possible of Kerbal technology.  If things went well, eventually the Circus could develop a means of retrieving the embassy staff and perhaps bring one or more Laytheans to Kerbin.  OTOH, if things went bad, the harm would be minimized.  With these specifications in hand, the Boffins set to work designing a suitable ship, a story for another day.

Meanwhile, the Imperial Bureaucracy slowly ground its wheels trying to decide on who would represent the Glorious Kerbal Empire to the Laytheans and hopefully get something positive out of this epoch-making venture.  It having been over a millennium since the Wars of Unification had finally ended, the Glorious Kerbal Empire had long since disbanded its diplomatic corps.  Still, the empire was composed of numerous entities that had long ago been independent kingdoms and city-states.  While many centuries of cultural assimilation had largely homogenized the populations, the old joints in the imperial skeleton were preserved somewhat in the structure of the regional and local governments.  As the Glorious Kerbal Empire had absorbed its rivals, it had usually left their existing administrations largely in place.  Thus, there were many differences in regional government throughout the empire, the rights and powers pertaining to each of which were set down in dozens of ancient peace treaties, which kept alive faint echos of former nationalism.  Furthermore, the many treaties, having been drawn up under a wide variety of circumstances over a period of several millennia, frequently conflicted.  As the Kerbal economy became more globalized, these conflicting terms increasingly created problems that had to be negotiated.  This led to the creation of BUNGLE, the Bureau of Unifying Nationalistic GoaLs under the Empire.  BUNGLE was the obvious (and only real) choice as the source of an ambassador.

BUNGLE's staff were Lawyers, members of the same general bureaucrat caste as the Boffins and Scientists of the Circus, the lowest literate stratum of the social hierarchy.  The BUNGLErs were highly trained in the constitutional and contract laws of the empire itself and some of its component parts.  They were also the only Kerbals still able to read the many non-Kerbish languages of the ancient treaties, those languages all having died out (except for the odd loan word) through cultural assimilation.  If the Laytheans could speak, then perhaps a BUNGLEr could learn to understand them.  And if the Laytheans wanted to trade, perhaps a BUNGLEr could work out a deal.  After all, "Travelling Circus" was just a nickname for "Trading Company", and it would be nice if it could actually do some real trading as opposed to merely paving the way for domestic exploitation.

These considerations led to the expansion of Mission Control to allow a team from BUNGLE to monitor events on Laythe and assist their stranded colleague.  After all, none of them alone could master the intricacies of all the ancient treaties, nor speak all their dead languages, but a collection of the most senior BUNGLErs would make a vast library of knowledge immediately available.  Of course, getting a quick answer out of them might not be easy, as they'd likely start arguing amongst themselves, but it was the best the Glorious Kerbal Empire could do.

It was then a matter of picking the specific BUNGLEr to maroon on Laythe.  This would obviously have to be a relatively junior and expendable functionary, but still reasonably skilled.  Given that the mission involved spaceflight and an alien planet, it was considered advantageous that the chosen BUNGLEr have a technical background.  Thus, attention fell on BUNGLE's small and obscure Patents and Licensing Division, the members of which had previously failed in careers as Scientists or Boffins.

Members of the bureaucrat caste enjoy slightly better treatment than the general laborers of the worker castes.  As a result, rather than simply knocking a random victim on the head and locking him into a capsule, choosing which Patent Lawyer to send to Laythe involved an actual selection process.  First, BUNGLE's middle management reviewed the files of their subordinates, looking for just the right combination of talent and expendability with the latter weighing more heavily in the decision as the middle-managers sought to cull their herds of undesirables.  This ultimately resulted in a pool of 8 potential ambassadors, who were immediately summoned to BUNGLE HQ, where their historic meeting was recorded for posterity.

**************************************************

The Fated Eight were herded into seats around a large conference table, at the head of which sat the Lord High BUNGLEr in person.  The Lord High BUNGLEr held up their dossiers and announced, "Gentlekerbs, you all have been deemed the most worthy to undertake a very special new assignment, but only one of you will actually get the job.  For the first time in centuries, the Glorious Kerbal Empire..." (here all paused to raise their whiskey glasses and toast "Glory to the Empire!") "...finds itself in need of an actual ambassador.  This ambassador will depart for Laythe forthwith for a tour of indefinite duration---Yes, what is it?"  The LHB paused to look at the eight confused faces before him.

"Excuse me, Your Excellency, but what is 'Laythe'?" asked the one who had raised his hand.  The others murmured their equal ignorance.

"Laythe is the 2nd moon of Jool.  Anyway, this---Now what?"

"Your Excellency, what is a 'moon'?" asked one, and "And what's 'Jool'?" asked another.

The Lord High BUNGLEr dropped the dossiers, buried his face in his hands for a moment, then pushed the intercom button on the arm of his chair.  "Get the Assistant Director of Patents and Licensing in here now!  Oh, and purge the Middle Managers who recommended this lot."  Turning back to the Fated Eight, the LHB smiled and said, "Well, good news all around.  Not only does one of you get to be First Ambassador to Laythe, the rest will now be moving up in the world."

In a moment, the door opened and a nob of a junior lineage entered.  "Your Excellency wanted to see me?" he asked.

"Yes, AD.  Nobody's briefed these functionaries on the whole 'space' thingy.  You're more in touch with the goings on up there than I am, so please fill them in on what Laythe is and why it needs an ambassador."

"Yes, Your Excellency!  If I may use the projection equipment?  Thank you, Your Excellency."  The Assistant Director fiddled with a small control panel on the wall and a holographic display appeared over the center of the table.  "This is the Emperor's..." (all paused to raise their whiskey glasses and chant "Glory to the Emperor!") "...latest infomercial on the Kerbal Space Program.  It's been airing every hour on the hour on every channel for the last 3 days.  Why haven't you all seen it?"

There was a mumble of uncomfortable excuse-making featuring things like "that's when I de-snack/re-snack" and the like, but one of the Fated Eight said "I've been working too hard to watch TV."  The other Seven gave him dirty looks.  But neither of the higher-ups had noticed because the infomercial began running at high volume just at that moment.

The infomercial began by informing its viewers, by means of cunning CGI which zoomed out and upwards from the main street of Kerbin City through Kerbin's crust to the surface and a view of the space beyond, that Kerbin was in fact a vast sphere floating in space.  Then it showed a clip of the Jool system as seen from the Tracking Station, showing Kerbin, Laythe, and the other Joolian moons all in their orbits, putting Kerbin into local context.  Next came an aerial view of KSC with a rocket launching, explaining how this "space" was being explored, then back to the map to follow the rocket's progress to Laythe.  The infomercial concluded with actual footage from the SLOPs, culminating in the grainy footage of the Laytheans themselves and stating how the Glorious Kerbal Empire would soon be making contact with these beings on another world.  However, due to the numerous obligatory toasts triggered throughout the narration, nobody in the room got the full story.  Still, the Fated Eight got enough of it to have their confused expressions replaced by utter shock tinged with mild inebriation.

The Lord High BUNGLEr refilled his glass and said, "My my, AD, this space thingy gets more astounding every day.  Such times we live in, eh?  Thank you, AD, that will be all, lovely video BTW."  The AD bowed, shut off the projection equipment, and left the room.  Then the LHB looked back at his audience, smiled, and asked, "So, who wants to volunteer to be the First Laythe Ambassador?"

The only sound heard was muffled meeping.

"Come lads, don't be shy.  Besides, if nobody steps up, you'll all have to fight to the death to see who gets the honor.  Then others will be moving up in the world instead of yourselves.  Think of the impact on your careers, such as they are."

Finally, this mention of careers connected the dots in the dazed brains of the Seven, reminding them who'd made the comment about "working too hard to watch TV".  Suddenly one of the Seven tossed back the rest of his whiskey, pointed across the table, and said in a trembling voice, "Your Excellency, I nominate Geoflan.  He's obviously the hardest-working one of us all."  Immediately, the other Seven joined in with predatory glee.  "I second the nomination!"  "I third it!"  Soon they were all chanting, "GE - O -FLAN!, GE - O - FLAN!"  Meanwhile, Geoflan looked around in terror, seeking an escape route, but none was available.

The Lord High BUNGLEr held up his hands for silence.  "Nomination accepted.  Let's put it to a vote.  All in favor?"

"Aye."  "Aye."  "Aye."  "Aye."  "Aye."  "Aye."  "Aye."

"All opposed?"

"meep"

"The 'ayes' have it.  Congratulations, Geoflan!  You are Kerbalkind's first ambassador to an alien species.  You'll be famous even if they eat you.  And in the unlikely event that you return alive, I'm sure the Emperor..." (another obligatory toast) "...will be quite pleased with you.  That's always good for one's career!  Ah, if only I was younger, with fewer responsibilities, I'd have fought you for the job!  HAH!  Just kidding, heheh.

"Alright, Gentlekerbs, meeting adjourned.  Geoflan, you are now seconded to the Alternis Kerbol Trading Company as the Emperor's..."   ("Glory to the Emperor!") "...personal representative to the beings of Laythe.  You'll be taken up to the surface where they launch those rocket thingies, receive the necessary training about this whole space thingy and a briefing on the Emperor's..."  ("Glory to the Emperor!") "...instructions, and then be on your way.  May Kerbin and all the Saints protect you and grant you success in your endeavors! (everybody paused a moment to make the Sign of the K on their chests).  The rest of you lot, report back to your department and take up your new positions on the next rung of the hierarchy.  Congratulations to you all, too!"

*****************************

Geoflan duly arrived at KSC where all that the Lord High BUNGLEr had foretold soon came to pass.  Geoflan was issued special spacesuits in the Imperial Purple, he watched the standard instructional videos for sciencemates, and he also received a special bundle of papers.  At the top of the pile was an imposing piece of expensive parchment with fancy, illuminated calligraphy inscribed all over it.  It said (in about 3 dozen languages in 2 dozen scripts, all but 1 of each long dead) the following:

"His Most Ostentacious and Magnanimous Imperial Majesty by the Grace of Kerbin the Most High of the Uncaring Gods, Sovereign of the Glorious Kerbal Empire and all Its Possessions and Territories, does hereby Command that..." (here, the name 'Geoflan Kerman' had been hastily penciled into a blank space) "...be recognized by all Beings of the Known Universe as Our own Personal Representative and Ambassador to all Beings inhabiting the Second Moon of Jool, known to Us as 'Laythe'."  Then there was some more boiler plate, the Emperor's signature (in 3 dozen languages and 2 dozen scripts), and the whole thing covered with fancy wax seals and ribbons.

There was a sticky note stuck to this priceless and historic document which said "Geoflan:  show this to everybody you meet off- planet.  -LHB"

Under this document was an envelope with the words "DEEPEST SECRET:  Eat contents of this envelope after reading them" scrawled in purple ballpoint ink across its face.  Not being hungry at the moment, Geoflan tossed the envelope aside.  He'd eat its contents when he got back from his jog.  It had been a mind-numbing day of watching the same videos, geared for the low intellects of the worker castes, over and over, and he needed to clear his head.  He changed into his purple sweats and took the stairs to the ground floor of the Astronaut Complex, which he suspected he was now coming down with.  "What are the symptoms of Astronaut complex, and is it treatable?", he wondered.

When Geoflan stepped outside, Kerbin was in the midst of its "daily" eclipse behind Jool, meaning everything was in a creepy blue-ish twilight.  Just outside the front doors of the Astronaut Complex, Geoflan instinctively stiffened to attention at the sight of the flagpole bearing the Proud Banner of the Glorious Kerbal Empire, and threw his regulation bureaucratic salute.  But then he noticed a cluster of similar banners half-surrounding the base of the main flagpole.  Except that 2 flags seemed to be levitating above the others, one higher, the other lower.  Intrigued, Geoflan jogged over and examined the ground-level flags. The first he came to, closest to the Astronaut Complex door, said:

"SM3 Shepgard, Y2 D358:  Went on unscheduled vactation to Malaclypse Resorts and had too much of a good time."  Hmm, curious.

The next flag said:

"BM1 Adaid, Y2 D336:  Lost with Bill, Bob, and Jack in LE-1 CLOD when everything in Laythe orbit suddenly ceased to exist."

Where was he going again?  Laythe, wasn't it?  This didn't sound good.  As Geoflan continued around the crescent of memorial flags reading them in reverse chronological order, the next 3 all referred to the same disaster at Laythe,  "Hmm, Y2 D358, a bit less than 2 years of operations, then".  Geoflan counted the flags.  17 of them.  Suddenly Geoflan realized that being eaten by the Laytheans or never escaping from Laythe were the least of his worries.  In morbid fascination, he continued reading the flag plaques from last to first,  After reading the fates that had befallen the most recent 9 fatalities, he came to the 2 levitating flags.  These struck him as particularly morbidly fascinating.  However, they were floating too high for him to read their plaques.  And by now having walked farther than he had in years, Geoflan sat down on the flagpole plinth next to the lower floating flag, pulled out his flask, and took a swig.  He asked himself out loud what horrible fate could have befallen these particular astronauts that caused their flags to hanging, obviously, on wires.

"It's not wires, its poltergeist activity" moaned the wind as it blew Kerbin's oily clouds, which looked more oily than usual in the eclipse light, overhead.

Geoflan felt a chill and looked around.  Nothing had changed, nobody else was around.  Oh well, maybe he wasn't drunk enough.  Yeah, that was it.  Too much stress since his interview with the Lord High BUNGLEr, not enough time to drink.  He took another swig and raised his flask to the closest levitating flag.  "Here's to you, ya poor bastid."

"Thankee mos' kindly, Sir..." whispered a dry, rattlintg voice from nowhere, yet still sounding like it was just behind him.  "Me an' Melfurt 'ere, we been feelin' a bit ignored since even afore we died.  Pour us a wee dram, if ya can spare it, good Sir."

Geoflan jumped up and looked all around.  The weird eclipse lighitng, with Alternis Kerbol somehow visible through the disk of Jool, made it hard to see very far but he was definitely sure there was nobody but himself in the immediate area of the flagpole.  And Geoflan was bureaucrat caste, after all.  Workers were of no concern to him, not even their ghosts.  So he quickly recovered his composure, sat back down on the edge of the flagpole plinth, and held up his flask.  "You want some of this?" he asked.

"YYYYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!" hissed 17 ghostly whispers, but 2 stood out as sounding particularly thirsty.  The floating flags suddenly starting flailing around the area, accompanied by spetral shrieks and wails from all directions.  Eventually, deathly silence prevailed and the floating flags returned to their former places.  Geoflan filled the cap of his flask with whiskey and poured it on the ground below the floating flags, then took another swig himself. "OK, ghosts of the floating flags, what's your story?"  The spilled whiskey disappeared much sooner than it would have naturally evaporated.

"Cor, the good stuff!  So much better'n spacer grog, innit?" croaked a voice that might have been just in Geoflan's mind.  Another distinct yet equally disembodied voice, agreed.  "Tha' hit is! An' cor, this 'ere ex-Boffin'll 'arve ta get used ta the ol' grog, eh?  That'll toughen 'im up, innit?"

Geoflan shook his flask to regain the attention of the ghosts, and said, "There's more here if you tell me why your flags are levitating."


"Politics!" hissed both voices in unison, with obvious malice.

"Which is why I'm here, too" said Geoflan.  "Tell me something I don't know."

"We died in an 'orrible trainin' accident, Sir," came the voices.  "The video tape player kep' resettin' 'arfway trew so the bell ta en' our session never rang, an' nobody never came ta unbuckle us from our learnin' chairs.  For weeks.  We starved ta death, Sir!  An' nobody noticed 'til months later when the nex' class came in."

Geoflan considered, then said, "But they did put up flags for you."

"But we should be SAINTS!" the voices wailed in unison.  "We've been performin' a bloody miracle non-stop for o'er a year, an' the more we do it, the more the livin' shun us.  An' ain't nobody died in trainin' since us, thanks ta us!  But meantimes, that 'arf- caste Jeb, an' that bourgeoisie Crisdous, they gots themselves canonized day 1 for pure politics.  It ain't fair, that!"

"Well," said Geoflan as he took another drink, "maybe we can make a deal."  He poured out another capful of whiskey and watched with interest as it disappeared before quite touching the ground.  "What do you want to be saints of?"

"Astronaut trainin' o' course, Sir!  It's only fittin' an' all the good saint jobs'r taken already anyways."

"What can you give me to make me recommend you to the Great Heirophant?"

"Cor, Sir!  We can guarantee you'll survive trainin'."

"That might work for your fellow workers but not for me.  I need more."

"Well, we can't guarantee yer launch nor return as them jobs'r taken, an' Saints Jeb an' Crisdous ain't 'appy wi' us roit now bein'
as we jus' roughed 'em up a bit."

"How about teaching me to levitate objects, like you do with the flags?"

"Blimey, Sir!  It's a ghost thing.  We ain't even sure 'ow we do it our own selves.  But if we figure it out, we'll sure as death
tell ya, for the rest o' what you got in yer flask."

"Done!" said Geoflan as he dumped his flask.

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

Tune in next time for more of the slow spiral into damnation.

Edited by Geschosskopf

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I have to say, I love the Pouges. Great music choice- especially finding one with forum-appropriate language!

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9 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

The Turkish Song of the Damned

That, my friend, was fun!!!

Oh, loved the chapter as well... :D

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4 hours ago, Dman979 said:

I have to say, I love the Pouges. Great music choice- especially finding one with forum-appropriate language!

Yeah, I love the Pogues, too.  I'd use more of their stuff but as you say, it's hard to find one of their songs that's OK here :) 

 

27 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

That, my friend, was fun!!!

Oh, loved the chapter as well... :D

Thanks!  I had a lot of trouble coming up with a way to introduce Geoflan, who is a different type of Kerbal than the familiar astronauts.  This required way more backstory than would fit in my standard report format.  Ultimately, there was nothing for it but a wall-o-text.  To make that palatable, it needed a catchy sound track.  This particular song, especially with the comic strip, is indeed fun, and allowed me to tie up a loose end as well as demonstrate Geoflan's negotiating skills.  Plus, the comic is the same color as the Jool eclipse :) 

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So, they sort of worship the Emperor. Do I sense a Warhammer 40K reference?

Anyways, Geoflan sounds fine... for a bureaucrat.

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10 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

So, they sort of worship the Emperor. Do I sense a Warhammer 40K reference?

Not really WH40K.  The Kerbal Emperor is neither an undead demigod nor an object of worship.  The Kerbal species is divided up into castes rather like ants and termites, however, so there's the same sort of viewing the lower orders as expendable.  That said, though, the Emperor is actually quite benevolent; he created the space program, for example, simply to develop spin-off technology and economic development to improve the daily lot of all Kerbals, even the worker castes.  It's just that no great enterprise can happen without much suffering for those at the sharp end.  Still, the sacrifice of a few pawns is a small price to pay for the benefits to the vast majority.

The obligatory toasts to the Emperor and Empire are simply traditions dating back to the Wars of Unification and the various rebellions that happened along the way and for some time afterwards.  It originally was a political indoctrination sort of thing, to get Kerbals to associate the Empire with desirable things like booze, so they'd come to accept being part of it.  Plus, of course, especially during the rebellions, those not toasting the Emperor at every opportunity were suspect.

In my other games, the Kerbals have been pretty atheistic but this time around, they're religious.  They have a pantheon of Uncaring Gods, the names of which they're applying to the other planets they've recently discovered.  These gods are Uncaring because they have bigger issues to deal with than Kerbals, who regard themselves as an unintended byproduct of Creation.  The chief of the Uncaring Gods is Kerbin, embodying the planet itself, not surprising for a species of troglodytes.  However, because Kerbals are asexual, the whole concept of "Mother Earth" just doesn't occur to them.  Instead, the Kerbals view it as more of a host-parasite relationship. so spend most of their time in church praying they never aggravate Kerbin's immune system.  They feel rather guilty for existing at all, you see :)

This is why they have saints.  The spirits of most Kerbals are viewed as amalgamating into generic "Ancestors" that go into the Below World, mirroring how their spores swap genetic material in the ground and eventually sprout as unique individuals with no family ties or knowledge of whose DNA they ended up with.  But some spirits hang around as ghosts for a while (this happens more often in the Circus because these spirits often don't know how to get from space or the surface to the Below World).  And a few others take a wrong turn and end up heading towards the Above World, although they don't get very far without help.  These latter sometimes make helpful interventions with the living, so the Church of Kerbin recognizes them as saints and prays them the rest of the way to the Above World.  There, it's hoped they can better get the attention of the Uncaring Gods to swing things for the benefit of Kerbals.  

Sainthood is thus the only form of individual immortality available to Kerbals.  The rest lose their individuality in the Below World, although opinions differ as to whether they become part of a vast "hive mind" or simply fade into the background spiritual radiation, from which bits and pieces of numerous former spirits are reassembled when a new Kerbal sprouts.  Therefore, if a spirit is strong enough to linger as a ghost for a while, it definitely wants to become a saint.  But most have no chance because they're not on the path to the Above World, although they try to fake it as best they can.

Needless to say, a degree of madness and despair permeates all Kerbals, living and dead.  In both cases, they're all about the present and looking out for #1.  Thus, it was nothing short of amazing that the Glorious Kerbal Empire even happened, let alone that it has benevolent intentions :) 

 

Quote

Anyways, Geoflan sounds fine... for a bureaucrat.

Don't you applaud the idea of sending a lawyer on a 1-way trip to another planet?  Even if he's a just a relatively harmless patent attorney instead of an ambulance-chaser, it's still a good start :D

 

Edited by Geschosskopf

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EPISODE 24: Road to Nowhere

Spoiler

 

(Which you probably knew had already happened.  I wouldn't have wasted so much time on Geoflan's backstory if he was just going to explode 10 feet off the launchpad :D )

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

After his conversation with the ghosts of Wilnie and Melfurt, Geoflan returned to his quarters feeling as if he already had 1 foot in the sproutbed.  But being exhausted, stressed-out, shocked, and slightly buzzed, not to mention having ghosts owing him a favor, always made him hungry, and eating always made him feel better.  Fortunately, he had a snack waiting for him.  So he picked up the envelope that had come with his fancy credentials, opened it up, and examined its contents hungrily.  It was his favorite, recycled antique fax paper absolutely dripping with the old, blue ditto fluid.  He almost ate it at once but, fortunately for both his career and the future of Kerbalkind in general, he paused to read his instructions first.

Geoflan Kerman, you shall proceed to Laythe by the first available ship.  Upon arrival, you shall immediately seek out the native leadership and establish diplomatic relations with them.  The desired outcomes are, in order of priority

  • Obtain guarantees of peace between the natives and the Glorious Kerbal Empire.
  • Obtain an agreement to exchange ambassadors in the future.
  • Obtain agreements for trade between Kerbin and Laythe, assuming Laythe has anything of value to us.

In addition to the diplomatic mission, you shall also gather as much information as possible on all aspects of native civilization, including but not limited to, their total population, structure of government, level of technology, space capability, military capability, and economy.

You shall also function as mission commander and shall supervise and assist your crew in gathering all possible scientific data about Laythe itself.  You shall pay particular attention to the Monolith near the known native settlement and ascertain its importance to them.

At all times while on Laythe, you and your crew shall wear the provided glasses and headsets.  These provide nearly real-time 2-way video and audio communications with Kerbin as long as they remain within 1km of your ship.  This will enable Mission Control to monitor your mission continuously and to provide advice and orders to you and your crew.  You shall also, on a daily basis, summarize your observations and opinions in a report, to be transmitted to Kerbin using the diplomatic cipher provided.

Consider your ship and all equipment aboard it as "trade secrets" of the Glorious Kerbal Empire.  As an IP Lawyer, you know what that means.

In accordance with KDA and KOSHA regulations, this document is certified to contain no preservatives, GMOs, sodium, glutin, or peanut products.  Eat at your own risk.

Geoflan sighed.  This was about what he'd expected.  Fortunately, as a seasoned business traveller, he always had a can of "Khachere Kerman's Kreole Spice Mix" in his suitcase.  This powdery mix was certified to contain nothing except preservatives, GMOs, sodium, glutin, and peanut oil.  He now sprinkled some on the paper, rolled it up like an empty tortilla, and gulped it down.  Ah, that hit the spot!

The rest of his documents were just the dossiers of his 2 cell mates crew members, AM3 Alice and SM3 Lizeny.  Lizeny was the more experienced, having done a month-long ground-based MOLE mission and then been aboard the MOLE 2 station for all 200 days.  Alice, in contrast, had only been to MOLE 2 for the last 100 days, relieving the late Bill so he could go die aboard LE-1 CLOD, but that was still rather impressive from Geoflan's POV.  He was glad to be travelling with experienced hands who could certainly handle the daily routine.  Besides, they were living proof that spaceflight wasn't always fatal.  That thought made him feel slightly better.

This feeling went away quickly the next morning when the lessons switched from general spacer skills to the specifics of Geoflan's ride, the LE-2 FORLORN HOPE (Finding Out the Reality of Laytheans Or Returning Not, Heavy On-Planet Embassy).  Simulations had shown that it was next to impossible to hit a specific spot on Laythe with a conventional rocket lander.  Various other ideas had then been tried but the only one that could reliably get the necessary mission equipment (which included a portable embassy suite) to the desired spot was a glider-delivered rover.  Only problem was, there was no pilot to fly it down.  The only surviving bosunsmate at KSC had not yet recovered from her debriefing / dissection following the Pol mission.  Geoflan was told not to worry, however.  Mission Control had already been quite successful flying the SLOPs around Laythe via remote control, and autonomous drone brains had improved markedly since then.

Of course, no actual landing site had yet been selected.  It wouldn't be right on top of the Laytheans by the Monolith--that would be rude.  But finding a good landing site for the flying gliding embassy would require more close-in recon.  With SLOP-4 now being part of Jool, the Circus had to send out another and decided to send 2 just in case.  Thus was born the LE-1.5 Replacement SLOP Carrier with SLOPs 5 and 6 aboard.  It was in fact departing for Laythe that very day.

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Next morning, Geoflan met Alice and Lizeny for the first time (Alice and Lizeny were old shipmates) as they were being herded into LE-2 FORLORN HOPE.  The presence of a member of a higher caste forced Alice and Lizeny to switch to their 2nd language, "Deferential Worker-speak", an archaic dialect retained due to tradition.  Geoflan, of course, must himself switch to "Superior Caste-speak" for the same reason.  Alice and Lizeny,, having ended up in the Circus for being ne'er-do-wells and only dealing with other workers since, were badly out of practice.  And Geoflan had also only dealt with his peers all his life.  Thus, none of them did a very good job of following society's norms.  Still they gave it the effort, at least for this episode.  Maybe they'll get more relaxed under the bonding influence of shared hardship?  Your humble narrator, at least, certainly hopes so.  They all speak the same language amongst their own kinds, after all, which would make his job a lot easier.

Anyway, LE-2 FORLORN HOPE was, in typical Circus fashion for lifting large winged vehicles, a bass-ackwards SSTO rocket.  Once in orbit, the payload would go to Laythe under nuclear power, which would also de-orbit the lot.  Then the rover would glide down to a currently undetermined location, shed its wings, and go see the Laytheans.  Once the center of Laythean authority had been located, the crew would erect an inflatable embassy, leaving the rover free to explore more of Laythe if circumstances permitted. 

And as usual with Circus bass-ackwards SSTO rockets, LE-2 FORLORN HOPE did not inspire confidence when sitting on the pad.  Geoflan was also worried that at least one of his crew might be infected with Missionary Zeal, the cause of more wars than Kerbal history could count.

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LE-2 FORLORN HOPE flew about as badly as all other bass-ackwards rockets, but had been designed expecting that and had the muscle to wrestle gravity and the atmosphere to a draw.

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Staging off the SSTO lifter, of course, was a further poke to BARIS.

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Thanks to Alice's deft spanner work, LE-2 FORLORN HOPE survived BARIS' attacks and soon boosted out for Laythe.

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When the transfer burn was over, Geoflan watched Kerbin start to recede in the Buffalo cab's windows.  The enormity of it all suddenly hit him.  4 days ago, he'd been just another obscure BUNGLEr only worried about how one imperial province was pirating the inventions of another.  Now here he was rocketing away from all that on what was probably a 1-way trip to another planet, moon, or whatever, that he hadn't even known existed until 3 days ago.  He briefly felt sorry for himself which was necessary because, with the gods being Uncaring and most  Kerbals not having families, only competitors, there was nobody else to do it for him.  Thinking the others might be feeling the same way, he said something silly.

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It was not a long trip to Laythe, only about 1 day, but that was enough time for Geoflan to shake off his mood and return to the normal Kerbal mental outlook of confident despair, locked in the present.

Meanwhile, LE-1.5 Replacement SLOP Carrier arrived at Laythe.  It deposited SLOP-5 and SLOP-6 in slightly different low orbits, then boosted itself up to 400km to join the sloppy equatorial relay constellation.  Between these and the 2 other relays in polar orbits, Mission Control considered it had more complete communications coverage of Laythe than ever before, which should make landing LE-2 FORLORN HOPE no problem even without a pilot in the area.

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However, finding a landing site for LE-2 FORLORN HOPE with the 2 new SLOPs would have to wait because the former was even now entering Laythe's SOI.  Geoflan had by now recovered his composure somewhat and was stepping, falteringly, into his expected "Superior Caste" role.

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Shortly after completing their capture burn, their initial target came into view.  Again, Geoflan felt a nostalgia for his seemingly long-lost past.

25119688198_5b5778aec3_b.jpg

 

Having arrived at Laythe safe and sound, and the general outlines of the future now in sharp focus, the crew also returned to their normal in-space behavior.  With their landing site still to be determined, Lizeny and Alice made a bet on where they'd come down.  Geoflan, of course, joined in, but in a manner befitting his station.

25119687758_4f7329107b_b.jpg

 

And so things sit.  Next up, finding a landing spot for LE-2 FORLORN HOPE, maybe checking back in on the Laytheans to see how they've reacted to all the "UFO" activity, and, if time permits, the landing of LE-2 FORLORN HOPE.

 

Tune in next time for more of the slow spiral into damnation.

Edited by Geschosskopf

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I see that this crew will be the one that we follow and learn to like before they all become zombies.

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34 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

I see that this crew will be the one that we follow and learn to like before they all become zombies.

I already did zombies :)   This time around, assuming BARIS stays quiescent and the crew is just marooned for all eternity as the mission plan dictates (returning them is WAY down on the list of contingencies), then there are several likely outcomes, such as this

food-drink-explorer-exploring-missionari

or this

Sydney_King_settler_dead_in_the_swamp.jp

or this

491493229.jpg

 

But yeah, I don't encourage emotional attachment to my Kerbals until the end of the story, when we know who's still standing :)

 

 

 

 

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