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Kerbiting System: Revelation and closing of Thread


Alpha 360
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5 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

the famous Geschosskopf

Oh bah!  If I'm famous for anything, it's merely having been here since 0.20 and still not learning how to do things right.

 

5 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

I mean, there's no longer any reason to use stock engines, right?

Well, most mod LFO engines seem to concentrate on the lifter side of things, and also towards the bigger side of things.  There aren't many mods featuring vacuum-oriented LFO engines, so you'll still find yourself using a lot of Rhinos, Poodles, Terriers, and Sparks for the bulk of the ship's life after it leaves Kerbin's atmosphere.  Most mod vacuum engines tend to be nuclear thermal or some type of electric.  There are exceptions, but they're few and far between.

But, of course, even if you replace all lifter and vacuum engines with mod engines, there's 1 stock engine you'll ALWAYS have a use for:  the Sepratron.  This is my all-time favorite engine because it has so many wonderful uses, plus you can sometimes do the boring thing and use it to push spent boosters away cleanly.

 

5 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

This is the cargo. Ignore the apparent floating of the cargo from the transfer stage. The picture has been distorted by a solar flare which occurred after the launch.                         

Glitches like this always make me worry that the connection will either fail with no warning or will refuse to decouple when i want it to.  Scary stuff.

 

5 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

And it happened. The Minmus Orbital Outpost is now constructed and Mission Control goes wild

That was a docking without RCS, right?  Bravo!  Nicely done!  That's something I did once long ago due to oversight and swore never to do again if there was any other alternative available.  It's definitely not something I do intentionally as you seem to have done here.  That makes you more famous than me :D 

Edited by Geschosskopf
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2 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Oh bah!  If I'm famous for anything, it's merely having been here since 0.20 and still not learning how to do things right.

That was a docking without RCS, right?  Bravo!  Nicely done!  That's something I did once long ago due to oversight and swore never to do again if there was any other alternative available.  It's definitely not something I do intentionally as you seem to have done here.  That makes you more famous than me :D 

Oh bah! I do dockings without RCS 90% of the time. 5% of the time I use RCS, the other 5% MechJeb/RCS. By that record I should be one of the most famous people around here. 

 

2 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Oh bah!  If I'm famous for anything, it's merely having been here since 0.20 and still not learning how to do things right.

2 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Well, most mod LFO engines seem to concentrate on the lifter side of things, and also towards the bigger side of things.  There aren't many mods featuring vacuum-oriented LFO engines, so you'll still find yourself using a lot of Rhinos, Poodles, Terriers, and Sparks for the bulk of the ship's life after it leaves Kerbin's atmosphere.  Most mod vacuum engines tend to be nuclear thermal or some type of electric.  There are exceptions, but they're few and far between.

But, of course, even if you replace all lifter and vacuum engines with mod engines, there's 1 stock engine you'll ALWAYS have a use for:  the Sepratron.  This is my all-time favorite engine because it has so many wonderful uses, plus you can sometimes do the boring thing and use it to push spent boosters away cleanly.

 

7 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

This is the cargo. Ignore the apparent floating of the cargo from the transfer stage. The picture has been distorted by a solar flare which occurred after the launch.                         

Glitches like this always make me worry that the connection will either fail with no warning or will refuse to decouple when i want it to.  Scary stuff.

 

7 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

 

 

 

I agree.

 

@Alpha 360, wonderful mission report here. I love the missions, the narration, everything. And I agree @Geschosskopf and @CatastrophicFailure are two of the most famous people around here as well as @Kuzzter and @Just Jim!

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Oh, that little thing with the faring. What happened is that in the VAB, I connected the payload to the second node on there instead of the first, causing that interesting problem the Kerbals call "Fake Physics".

3 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Oh bah!  If I'm famous for anything, it's merely having been here since 0.20 and still not learning how to do things right.

You must have remembered when the first kerbal forums went online! You literally are a KSP artifact! And when the old man with experience pops in, it causes a lot of heads to turn. Thank you for supporting this thread!

Will be traveling soon so that means the 10th installment will be happening in a couple of days. See you all then!

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10th Installment: The Epic of the Neptune Initiative Part 1- The Beginning

Spoiler

This was all real. No quicksaves were used and no reverts. The next four or five installments will continue the story of about 2 1/2 hours of game time. Also, these should come roughly every other day because travel and school. Hope you enjoy this break from the boring missions of the past. 

My name is Ronie and this is the story of Neptune-2 and those who helped the crew of that vessel, including me, to return back to Kerbin.

Mortimer Kerman orchestrated the Neptune Propagative to act as a main-stream capsule and heavy-lifter in one bundle. But, the propagative failed its objective of being safe, reliable, and non-expensive almost as soon as it was launched.

The Neptune rocket was designed to be modular, and to be reliable at the same time. What happened is that the first trials of the main booster showed that it was much too heavy for the current launch pad to handle. The KSC had to spend 500,000 funds to upgrade the launch pad to launch these new rockets.

Next, we found ourselves almost broke after the launch pad upgrade the hiring of a new pilot to take the controls. Mortimer launched a very cheep satellite mission which saved the bacon. The pictures from that mission failed to be developed and are not presentable at this occasion.

Now this was the back-ground for the Neptune-1 launch to test the systems in low Kerbin orbit. The rocket was to be stripped down to essentials and launched with much fan-fare. They needed a pilot to get the spacecraft up to space, so that is where I came in.

50 days earlier.......

"Your Name is Ronie Kerman?" The secretary for Gene Kerman looked questioningly at my face. What she saw was an average kerbal face, maybe except the paler green set it off from average.

"Yes. I have been an airplane pilot for ten years, since I was 17. I am qualified by the Northern Mechanics University to be an expert pilot, as well as Southern Engineering. My last cargo plane crash-landed so I am out of a job. So I decided to see if I cannot become a kerbonaut." I waited expectantly.

 The secretary looked through some more papers, and then shuffled through them. 

"Just a minute. Ah. Here is the sign-up list." He flipped to a page of a notebook, then reached his hand out to shake mine, "Congratulations. You are the first person to come here today with you name starting with R. That qualifies you." 

I stood aghast for a minute. The smile was beginning to fade off his face when I finally shook his hand. 

"Go into the astronaut complex to get outfitted with a space suit and then join up with Bill in the simulators. He's the last kerbonaut on the ground."

"Um, sir? Why is the kerbonaut complex called the astronaut complex?" I raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, Gene likes the letter A, so he came up with Astronaut and called us that for a few days until the word kerbonaut finally took precedence. That was one surly day in the office." He waved me onward towards the complex. 

When I was outfitted for a suit, I was then waved onto a simulation. It was a mock command pod I failed to recognize because of its size. It was massive. I stepped inside, and closed the cockpit door. Then the lights and dials and buttons all lit up at the same time, almost blinding me.

"Ouch!"

When my eyes recovered,  I saw that the sim had already started. There were no windows, but I could read off what everything did and quickly I formed a simulated image of where I was supposed to be.

I was sitting up in space and I was to preform a maneuver to get myself to Minmus. I need not tell of this simulation, only that instead of getting a Minmus encounter, I ejected into solar orbit and died of thirst. As soon as the sim stated that was supposed to be dead, the cockpit door popped open and I climbed out.

There was a kerbal waiting there for me, probably the director of said sim.

"You're the newbie?" I nodded.

He nodded himself, as if congratulating himself on remembering that piece of information, "If you don't know, the sims are there not to give you cut and paste simulations, but to prepare you for similar situations. There is no such thing as a simulated flight because every time there will be numbers different, give or take."

He paused to let a cloud of cigar smoke out of his mouth, and then continued, "One thing to remember is that the simulations are kerbal-made. The situations you will face are created by the Kraken himself. He does not play nice." He shook his head. 

"What's your name?" I asked.

"BillyBob. The brother of Bill Kerman, the engineer." He was called away by a cry somewhere else in the simulation room, "Got to go, see you around."

I met BillyBob's brother  a couple days later on the grounds fiddling with some mechanical nightmare he called a kar. 

"It works, promise." He grabbed my hand and led me onto the kar.

"Strap in. This uses jet engines so it starts off with a bang."

I frowned at him, "Jet engines don't start with a bang. They start up slowly."

"Oh, I mean there are solid rocket boosters which are necessary for the jet engines to get up to speed."

I suddenly was flung back in my seat as he activated the Kar's SRBs. It almost flew down the road near the Astronaut Complex, heading for the VAB.

"ISN'T THIS AWESOME!?" He screamed.

"We're about to crash!" I replied in turn. And indeed the VAB was zooming towards us, or were we zooming towards it? It didn't matter.

"Don't worry. This is a test drive. They know that we are coming."

Sure enough, he slammed on the brakes right afterwards. Sparks flew from the pavement as rubber burned onto the road. A door opened in the VAB, and we kept going through it. Then we stopped, the tires bald.

"AWESOME!" Bill unstrapped himself and preceded to do a jig of delight. I was slower to come out. We had stopped at the base of a rocket larger than anything I had seen. It was almost half as tall as the VAB. Engineers were welding things together, creating showers of sparks raining down from above. Lights shown on the metal body of the beast. 

Bill was being congratulated on the success of the kar test over in the distance. I walked up towards the rocket. I touched a cool engine bell and examined the mad nest of wiring and pipes.

"Its called Neptune." I looked around to see that Bill had extracted himself from his fans and come over to the rocket. He likewise stroked the engine bell hanging over him.

"That's a pretty name." I replied, sounding the word out over my tongue, "Neptune."

"This is the future of rocketry. Right here we are to launch the biggest rocket ever launched, then the next launch will hold the same title and the next until we find the median. The point from which we can explore the entirety of the solar system. Neptune." 

"So this is what I have to fly." I walked out from underneath the rocket and looked back on the magnificent body of the spacecraft. 

"This is what will fly our dreams up to space. And you will get to steer it in its course through the heavens." 

I smiled, "This is what I signed on for, for changing the world." Well, changing my world. My world consisted of me, myself, and I. This job gives me new interests to occupy myself and new ideas to grow for my benefit. It was a dog eat dog world, where only the rich and famous got on top. 

I worked my way up to this point from the bottom. I was going to make sure I got on top no matter what it took. No matter what the cost.

"I think I will be training for the launch." I backed out of the VAB

40 days ago

"Count-down of Neptune-1 is at 20, 19 18, 17." the loud-speaker counted down the numbers on the board. I flipped the staging button shield, and prepared to hit the button. Bill was strapped down beside me, running his eyes over the dials and the lights. 

D71IMxr.png

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5. 4, 3, 2, 1. Lift-off!" The speaker continued down the numbers. I hit the staging button once. The engines fired up, and the rocket blasted off. Tublence hit and the rocket's nose darted downwards. 

a3kOOtI.png

"Shoot!" 

I wrestled the controls, sweating as the rocket felt like it was going to fall. It wavered from its course, and then pulled up once more.

jeMLQ4T.png

I fought with the controls, struggling to stay on course. 

"This thing is a monster!" I cried, angry that the simulations had been completely wrong on the behavior of the Neptune rocket. It was one of many situations that did not match the simulations.

Edited by Alpha 360
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11th Installment: The Epic of the Neptune Initiative Part 2 - Failure

Spoiler

Warning. The story narrated in this thread is heavily dramatized and may or may not accurately represent stock KSP. Another warning, most failures documented in this story were created by the writer including.........(Blank) 

Spoiler

This is a spoiler for the story beware.....

Spoiler

Are you sure. This is a bad idea........

Spoiler

Just read the thread!

Spoiler

WHY, JUST WHY?

Spoiler

WHY WOULD I TELL YOU, SNEAK PEAKER!!!!!

Spoiler

:wink: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RbRadSs.png

Neptune continued skyward. As it got higher and higher up out of the atmosphere the gimbals and the RCS made the rocket easier to control. As the first stage burned out, I gratefully sighed. 

"Will you fire up the second stage." Bill asked. I glared at him, my body sore from some of the first g-forces I had felt. Bill was an old-hand at launches, so he wasn't bothered.

"One second." I was going to relax my right arm before pressing that button. Sweat still poured from it, wetting the spacesuit. 

I pressed the button again and the second stage decoupled from the first stage and fired up to full throttle.

YkfrSgA.png

The second stage was much more controllable, but it felt underpowered. 

"Bill. We are above the atmosphere and going at 1,000 m/s. This isn't good." I warned him. He gestured with his hands angrily and muttered something.

He caught me looking at him quizzically and then answered, "The engineers who designed this rocket focused on efficiency than thrust. The problem is that they didn't put enough thrust."

I put the nose of the spacecraft in a higher orientation to keep the highest point of the orbit above us. 

hEFZnYb.png

"That's more like it." said Bill as the g rose from 1 to 1.5." We rode the orbit up higher, past the safe 80 kilometer zone where the predetermined orbit was placed. Past the 100 kilometer maximum height for low orbit. 

As I watched the numbers on our altitude rise steadily higher, I cursed under my breath. Bill did his fair share of cussing, but his were not under his breath. 

"Mission Control. We are at 140,000 meters. If we make orbit, we may not have enough fuel to reenter. If we do not, we probably will burn up in the atmosphere."

There was silence on their end. And then the radio crackled and a few unrecognizable words slipped out. 

Bill swore heavily, "The radio wasn't designed to work at this altitude. The Von Kerman Radiation Belts are disrupting the signal."

"Do we go for orbit?"

"Your decision. I'm not the pilot, just the engineer." Bill handed me the responsibility. 

I waited a second to make my decision, "We'll go for orbit." The engines fired up and the second stage pushed us higher and faster. 

"Reaching 2,000 m/s. Running on Empty!" cried Bill. The engines pushed out for a few more seconds and went silent. 

"Firing main propulsion bus." I pressed the button again and the second stage separated and the engines fired up.

I0KEzaY.png

It decoupled and the engines pushed us farther into orbit.

jq23cko.png

"We made it!" I cried. I watched the periapsis climb higher and higher until it breached the atmosphere. I slammed on the button and the engines stopped.

I pumped my fist in the air. Bill just kept saying yes. We had a minute of celebration, and then we started to ready the ship for long-term habitation. It didn't take too long, and then a picture was taken of the Neptune.

jdYp2nu.png

There were supplies for 77 days on board but the mission plan had given them about 15 days in orbit. The days passed slowly. Preforming science experiments and testing out the vehicle's capabilities. Space walks were taken every two days to check up on how Neptune held up.

There were multiple engine test fires to certify that the Neptune's primary monopropellant motors did not clog up and explode. That was one of the primary worries with the new monopropellant engines designed for LKO.

I finally relented to Bill's constant pestering to lower the orbit down to 100 km so that communication could be re-opened. I liked the freedom of making decisions out in the cosmic void, even if they weren't overly important. 

At the end of fifteen days, the radio crackled for the last time, "This is Mission Control, you have permission to return to Kerbin." 

Bill waited patiently for my reply. I breathed deeply and replied, "Understood. Will be coming back in 2 hours. Please give us a trajectory." 

The radio was silent for another moment, and then Gene Kerman himself said, "Neptune has been experiencing some mechanical problems. Small things like delays in circuits and small cuts of information. This has been growing terribly fast. I need to say this, if you stay any longer than one more hour up there, then we can't safely say that you will return in one piece. If you don't wait for two hours for us to get a trajectory for you, then you have a risk of burning up."

"Shoot." I muttered. The decisions really do come down to me." 

I went the option that my gut agreed with, "We'll wait for an hour for a quick trajectory to follow. Is that possible?"

"Yes. Very much possible." The radio cut out.

Bill hit himself hard in the head, "Idiot. Why didn't I tell them about the throttle."

The throttle could now only go max or go out. There was no regulating it. 

"It isn't a big problem. We can still get home." 

"Jiffery is going to be worried sick. She's pregnant now, and startles at every shadow." He sighed. He occasionally told me of his life down on Kerbin and about his fledgling family.

"We'll get back. I still have some rungs to climb." He looked quizzically at me, then shook his head. He did not care he was one of the most under-appreciated kerbonauts Gene, and therefore Mortimer, employed. 

An hour later the trajectory was up-loaded and the engines barked. The periapsis lowered and Neptune started to descend into the waiting arms of the atmosphere. Bill decided to climb down to the rear of the spacecraft to check how things were going there. 

The hatch cracked open and Bill's face stared up at me as we started to go down, "This hatch. The hinge doesn't work any more." He banged the hatch with his fist. It gave a rich bong.

"We waited too long. Half of the red lights down here are on. I'm going to strap in.

wbb81xR.png

The atmosphere started to grab at Neptune. The capsule rocked and shock as fiery arms flexed their muscles over the spacecraft. 50 kilometers into the atmosphere an RSC port clogged up.

"This is going to get rough!" The Neptune started to spin. I deactivated the opposite port, then attempted to turn off the entire RSC system. The button broke from underneath my hand.

"Shoot!" I tried to isolate the fuel sources, but those were broke too. 

Bill screamed in pain from below me. Boiling hot steam emerged from the hatch, why would there be boiling steam on board anyway?

"WHY WOULD THOSE BLASTED ENGINEERS PUT STEAM INTO NEPTUNE!?" Bill protested loudly. The radio in front of me shattered on contact with the steam. As did most of the controls.

"Shoot!" I repeated again. The RSC ports were spewing RSC which burned up inches away from Neptune.

"I WILL STRANGLE THE KRAPPY ENGINEERS WHO DESIGNED THIS ROCKET!" Bill uttered his ultimatum with much vibrate words repeatedly. The speedometer still worked, blessedly. 

We slowed down to 1,000 m/s. The steam stopped flowing from the hatch. We were silent for a couple seconds, then I pumped my fist.

Bill broke out cheering, "We made it!" 

I clapped my hands with him. He broke out into song, while I found the parachute button. As luck favors the bold, the button was intact. 

"Firing parachutes!" I cried as we reached 10,00 feet. I waited for the button to turn green. It didn't. 

"What's wrong?" asked Bill from below. 

"The parachutes aren't firing." I hit the button again, then again and again. The button broke under my fourth stroke. 

"Shoot everything!" Bill started swearing down below. A couple seconds later he was banging on the hatch. It stayed shut. 

"Roni!" He screamed. I unbuckled my seat belt and stood over the hatch. Every thing from that moment on was like a dream

9,000 feet

I banged on the hatch with him, but it failed to open. I turned, thinking it a lost cause and rushed to snatch a life-vest. 

7,000 feet

"Roni! Help me!" He held his hand out of the hatch. I grabbed a floater and rations as well.

5,000 feet

"Roni!" He slammed the hatch harder. It creaked, but stayed shut. I turned to open the outer hatch. 

3,000 feet

"Help me!" He cried. I hustled open the hatch. The wind whipped my hair around my head. I squinted to see a ship below us, floating on a tranquil sea. The light reflected off of the sea into my eyes.

1,000 feet

I turned back to see his eyes. There was acceptance in them. "Tell my wife I love her." I nodded quickly, and leapt. 

500 feet 

Bill broke through the hatch at last. I saw a glimpse of his face at the hatch. I pulled my parachute. I flew above Neptune. The ship waited 200 feet to the right. I saw Kerbals moving around on deck expecting to fish the capsule out of the ocean. 

100 feet

I saw a glimpse of green leaving the capsule. And then the capsule collided into the ocean shattering into a billion pieces. The green dot I saw disappeared into the blue sea.

0 feet

I wept for Bill, I wept for the family man who died, I wept for the engineer who was content with his work. I wept for a friend who I had left behind. I cursed myself for my selfishness and for the survival instinct that overwhelmed me. And I swore that something like this would never happen again. Never.

 

 

 

Spoiler

What happened is that I forgot to put parachutes on it. I used all the tricks I could to slow down Neptune and then I attempted to transfer Bill into the command pod. It didn't work. The bottom half of Neptune was destroyed, but Roni Kerman survived to tell this tell. And the story is not over yet......... 

 

Edited by Alpha 360
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12th Installment: The Epic of Neptune Part 3 - Trauma

"Roni! Are you okay?" I stared blankly at the surgeon on the ship. "Please answer me!" He protested. I slowly shook my head.

He stood up from his crotched position and said to the captain, "She's in shock. We need to get her to a better facility."

He grabbed my hand and pulled me onto my feet. I stubbed my toe against the metal, but I was beyond pain. We shuffled along the side of the destroyer, the sea which had swallowed Bill over on my left. Swallowed Bill forever. Like a mouth. 

I saw a hatch ahead of me. I then also saw it creak open. Bill's hand stretched out at me and waved around. I heard his cries over again. I shied away from the hatch.

"Hey, where are you going?" The surgeon had a firm grip on me. 

"Home." I attempted to leap over to the land on the other side of the railing. I escaped his grasp and dropped into the water. It swallowed me and it did the body of Bill.

I let myself sink for a couple meters, hovering in the void. The water was cold on my skin and burned my eyes. The sea was black as the Kraken's maw. In fact it became the Kraken's mouth for a second. I saw an eye of fire racing towards me. It was fate. I let myself limp. Then a strong arm grabbed me and pulled me from the waters onto a life-raft. 

It was Bill, sitting there smiling. 

"Bill!" I cried. I tried to move to the other side of the raft, but it kept expanding further and further. It started to turn a metal grey, then I realized I was back on board the ship. 

I slumped against the side of the railing. A towel hung over my shoulder and my clothes wet with the ocean. 

"Hey!" The surgeon caught up with me. He was clinching his fists in anger at me. I turned away, then looked back. He had transformed into my father, the bane of my life in his usual position.

"Dad! Don't hit me! Please!" I sunk to the steel floor and wept. My mind whirled once more and all was black, all was silent. All was quiet and peaceful. I lingered in this unconscious state, and dreamed fantastic dreams where the Kraken caught Neptune in his mouth, and gave the pod to me.

I raced inside to find that Bill had shoved open the hatch and waited to embrace me. I did so. He kept saying, "Its okay. Nothing bad will happen to you again. It's Okay."

I wept into his shoulder, "I'm sorry,  I'm sorry I left you to die. I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you died because of me."

My consciousness flew once more from my body and dove all around the transforming ship. Once it was a pirate ship with the name Fart of the Wind. The next it was Neptune with Bill under every hatch. Next it became my home town and I wandered in disguise all over it, seeing how it had industrialized and turned into steel.

Finally, I could point at a single minute in time where I completely knew my surroundings.  

"Roni. Its me. Gene Kerman." I raised my face to see my director and looked a question.

"I was helicoptered aboard. I am told you have been in serious trauma." I stared into his face wide eyed in shock. He moved away uncomfortably, but stayed in my sight. 

"Roni, Its me. Gene Kerman." He waved a hand in front of my face. I winced and slapped it like a high-five. Now he winced in pain. 

"Bill didn't make it from the crash. We found his body floating a kilometer away from here and it is now on board. I have been told that if you were to see it, you might go crazy and you might not." I turned my head to look at the fresh beard sprouting from his chin, just like Bill's. Then it was Bill returned from the grave.

"Roni? Roni can you hear me? Roni?" I descended back into blackness.

Days or weeks later I arrived at KSC without much fanfare. I know because they were restraining me to lash out at GeneBury Kerman, my tormentor in the days when I learned to fly. The belittler, the mocker. My fists want to have five minutes at him to show him how a girl can whip his *beep*.

Finally, at last I was knocked to sensefulness. Yes. I had just stolen a kar from the space center and was racing down a street when a kar hit me side on, toppling my kar. A piece of metal hit me over the head leaving a gash. 

The kerbal who ran into me quickly opened his door and climbed out. 

"Are you okay?" he asked. My mind couldn't place him anywhere, just that he was cute. Insanely cute. With curly black locks which covered his head and a clean shaven green face. He wore a hippy's outfit of old, and colorful rags and a pair of sunglasses with one lens missing. The left one.

"Yes." I answered simply. I managed to crawl out of the wreckage which was the remains of my kar. 

"Let me drive you to a hospital." I nodded, and then climbed into the passengers seat next to him. Finally I was reliving the past two weeks. Not the fake past I had convinced myself existed. I had been going through trauma counseling. Everything stored in my brain from that finally clicked into place and I now banned myself from my other world.

I saw the world clearer than ever now. I just devoured the nature views around the kar while the cute kerb beside me endlessly rambled about his job as junior technician and the spectacular 1,000 a year credits he earned.   

I was delivered at the hospital on the KSC grounds and got my wounds stitched up. During that phase I realized the severity of the trauma I had contracted from the crash. I was told to stay in a bed at the hospital and I did so. \

Gene came by and I surprised him by getting out of bed, "Roni, who am I this time?" he asked sadly.

"Yourself, sir. I think everything up here has been fixed for the most part." I tapped my temple twice. 

"Are you sure?" He looked elated.

"Positive."

"Yes!" He pumped his fist, turned all the way around and sized me up again. 

"Its about *bleep* time." He continued, "Neptune has been modified and test flown. It all checks out now. There will be a mission to Minmus Orbital Outpost in a couple of days to pick up the crew and science there. You are our last pilot on the ground so you must go. We have found a scientist who wants to come with you. Name's Assey. She's new and fresh so show her the ropes once you leave this prison." He added a sly wink to that remark.

"Yes sir!"

5 days

"Hello. My name's Assey." The scientist shook my hand then sat down on the other side of the desk Gene provided for the purpose of breaking her in. 

"I'm the pilot. Roni."

There was silence, then I started the conversation, "I have seen your credentials. They show you have scored very high on the KAT." Assey smiled an embarrassed smile.  

A good sign, "But we want to know what makes you mandatory on this next Minmus mission."

She was quick to answer, almost interrupting me, "Kerbin's radiation belts actually reach out to Minmus. That in combination with the sun's radiation will pose a hazard to any kerbonauts we send down to the surface. I have an experiment which we can use to approximate the amount of radiation on the surface and to see if the radiation differs on any part of the surface."

She paused for a breath. I thought that was it but she continued, "Also the Neptune is designed to have two Kerbals minimum on it. As I have dual science and engineering degrees, I can help with that."

She looked about 40, probably old enough for her claims.

"Alright, these are good reasons. But something you don't know is that 3 tourists are coming on-board to see Minmus close up. We have room enough for them and for Jeb, Val, and Irfred on the way back."

"Neptune can hold 8?" she asked in wonder.

"There have been some modifications and yes. Now it can hold 8. You can go back to the simulations." I leaned back in the chair. 

"Am I on the mission?" asked Assey nervously.

"Yes, yes you are. Just arrive on time and the rocket will carry us to Minmus." She got up to leave. 

"Wait for a second though. Has BillyBob talked to you about the sims?"

She stopped at the door, "No, not yet."

"Well, here is what he says about simulations. They aren't trying to simulate every situation. They are trying to give you pointers so that you can solve anything the Kraken throws your way."

She nodded, "You believe this?"

"Yes I do."

She shut the door. I waited a minute then the phone rang as I was about to leave. I picked it up, "This is Roni. Who is it?"

"Roni, something happened with The MOO." I listened to the phone for a couple more seconds, then slammed it back down on the receiver. It clanged, but that noise was quickly overwhelmed by the sound of my running out the room and slamming the door. My footsteps echoed along the abandoned hallway. Underneath the noise of the footsteps was the sound of my sobs.

 

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On 1/13/2018 at 9:36 PM, Alpha 360 said:

I wept for Bill, I wept for the family man who died, I wept for the engineer who was content with his work. I wept for a friend who I had left behind. I cursed myself for my selfishness and for the survival instinct that overwhelmed me. And I swore that something like this would never happen again. Never.

Remember when the ship went down?  You left me on the deck.

I drink to Bill's shade and hope it doesn't come to claim a debt from Roni.

 

Edited by Geschosskopf
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13th Installment: The Epic of Neptune Part 4 - Disaster

Jeb and Val were dead. A freak of mechanical failures detached the Minmus Mission 1 from the MOO, leaving Irfred on board. The science left with them. 

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It took a couple minutes for them to realize that they were drifting away. What they didn't realize at the same time was that the nav-ball flipped as well. As Jeb plotted an aggressive approach, he insisted to Val that he could do it on his own and not contact KSC.

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He fired retrograde for 100 meters per second. Or he intended to. He burned an extra 100 m/s. He had only 100 m/s left. He flew away from the station. It was only at 10,000 feet above Minmus when they realized the cruel trick of fate which was going to kill them.

After a bit of luck, they managed to contact KSC and tell them of their plight. In mission control they watched as the rocket slammed into Minmus and disappear in a pile of shrapnel.

Funding started to decrease. Money was allocated to the funeral which Jeb and Val were given full honors. I stood beside the pair of graves with the hundreds of KSC employees. I watched as the soldiers carried the coffins over to the holes in the ground. I wept as they were lowered into the ground. Dead. The figure heads of the entire space program. Gone. Stocks in the space program descended 50%. Employees left and new ones needed to be found. 

The program started to spiral into disaster. 

1 day

"We can't launch anything. We have 50,000 credits. That's not enough to get us to Minmus. MOO is running out of supplies for Irfred. We are dead." announced Gene. He stood up. The rest of the Kerbonaut Corp stayed silent. 

"We need 50,000 more credits to launch a modified version of Neptune. This new modified Neptune uses unstable solid rocket boosters. It will be unlikely that such a mission would succeed."

He looked into the eyes of ever employee, "I know I am asking for too much. But we need to keep this dream going. No matter what the cost, the end result will be worth a hundred times more."

A weighty silence settled in the room. I thought of stepping forward. Of pledging 50,000 credits right there and then. But a shred of my former self kept me back. I wasn't free from the selfishness of the past.

Assey stepped forward. She hadn't even received her pay check yet. 

"I can give 7,000 credits for the rocket." She scribbled her name on a check and laid it on the table. 

"I can second that." BillyBob Kerman laid a similar check on the table. Then the money started flowing. Money in checks, and bills and even change. 

The numbers rose from 14,000 upward. But it wasn't enough. By the time it ended, there was only 35,000. I looked from one face from the next. They were all happy to give to KASA, to continue their work. I shook my head at myself, chiding my inner selfishness and asked, "Does anyone have a check-book?"

Gene handed me his own, and I wrote carefully down a sum of 20,000 credits, "Here are twenty-thousand credits." The room broke into cheering as Gene named the final sum of 55,320 credits. 

2 hours

Will this take us to Minmus? I thought when I saw the SRB stages strapped to the Neptune. It was a giant tower of boosters. 

"Yes. This was Gene's idea. Mor Boosters, he said." An engineer working on it explained, "There is twelve of the largest solid rocket boosters on the outside connected to the mother of solid rocket boosters in the center." He gestured at the 2.5 meter solid rocket booster, standing at least 10 meters tall.

"The SRBs will carry the rocket half-way into orbit, then the second stage will get the spacecraft fully in orbit. Then the third stage will carry Neptune to Minmus and the built-in rockets will carry it back."

I shook my head, "It looks terrible."

"Hey, it might be ugly, but it is servable."

This conversation replayed in my head as I sat next to Assey inside the main command pod. I waited for the command to launch. This time it was in the middle of the night. To avoid reporters.

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"10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Lift-off!" I slammed the staging button and the clamps released as the SRBs kicked on.

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The rocket lurched upward at 2 Gs. I struggled to start the gravity turn but there was not enough gimbal to start it. The VIPs were screaming in delight as they were shoved into their seats. 

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I looked down to see Kerbin quickly fading below me. Assey groaned, reminding me that she never had flown before. To think I was like that only 40 days ago. 

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The outer SRBs gave out. I hit the separation button and they detached in a incomplete cross. A cross consisting of six SRBs? No, more like a six-sided star. 

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The main mother of a SRB kicked on. The G forces rose like mad. 3, 4. The tourists below were silenced, knocked unconscious by their own weight. Assey almost screamed in pain. I kept my hand on the joystick, moving it more and more towards the horizon. 

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Fire streaked across the cabin. The outer layer of material started to smolder. Then as soon as it started, the mother booster ran out of fuel and stopped. 

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We glided up into space, where the SRB detached. 

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A maneuver was set up and the second stage fired up. 

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The four terrier engines' thrust was pitiful. Again our budget didn't allow for engines with more thrust and less ISP

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I pointed the spacecraft along a 45 degree vector and started the power glide into orbit. 

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"Second stage about to detach." I warned as it started to burn the last drops in the bucket. It ran out. I hit the staging button twice more and the terrier engine on the third stage ignited. 

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"We're in orbit!" I cried. Assey and the tourists had recovered at this stage and joined in with the cheers.

"KSC. We are waiting in orbit." I radioed down. The radio crackled, and then, "Good job Neptune 2. Keep up the good work."

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We waited until the day-lit side of Kerbin for KSC to give us our instructions. They arrived on time. We were to preform a inclination burn in Low Kerbin Orbit, and then launch out towards Minmus. 

The inclination burn went smoothly.

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Then the departure burn was plotted. 

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And the maneuver preformed. 

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We were flung towards Minmus, the place were the figureheads of the space program perished. I looked out the window at the pale, green dot in the sky. Its icy slopes had enamored the space program, promising an easy landing, and easy arrival. But, it had given nothing but despair. So far. 

Spoiler

What happened with Jeb and Val is that I detached with the science, then I plotted a course back. Through Minmus. You know the rest. :( 

 

 

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14th Installment: The Epic of Neptune Part 5 - A Bargain with the Damned

"Mission Control. Our maneuver node lied to us. We are burning as fast as we can, but it is unlikely that we can rendezvous with the Minmus station and return to Kerbin. Please council us."

I stopped the message and leaned back in the seat. Assey nodded beside me, "You needed to do that." The noise of the tourists playing a game of poker down in zero-gravity echoed up the hatch. 

"We have 800 m/s right now and dropping since the engine is firing. I estimate that we will burn about 300 m/s to reach Minmus, 150 m/s to orbit, then another 150 for the rendezvous. From there we will need 300 m/s to reach Kerbin. We don't have enough. We could lose the life support on our final burn and hope we don't die of asphyxiation."

The radio crackled, then Gene spoke, "Roni. At Mission Control we realize that you are pressed for fuel since the launch trajectory wasn't efficient as projected. But even then we have one message for you, bring our kerbal back." It went silent. The burning of the tiny terrier engine purred in the background.

I turned to Assey, "We can't. We don't have enough fuel. We will fly-by Minmus so that the tourists are happy, then we return to Kerbin. That's the plan."

She nodded slowly, "Can we just try?"

"You may fiddle around with trajectories, but unless you can prove definitely that we can do it,  we will just pass by."

She nodded, taking it better than I expected. She suddenly stood up and climbed up into the airlock. I could just hear her trying to contain her tears. 

"If only you had followed those instructions when my life was at stake." I didn't turn to see the phantasm of Bill standing over the hatch. It was purely a figment of my imagination. Surely.

"When I begged for help you ran away. When I needed you, you left me behind. To die."

I felt his ghostly hand around my neck, "Do you realize that you took everything away from me, my family, my job, my life. You sent me to Hell! I have come to make you pay your debt."

I could feel his mouth right next to my ear. I broke out a cold sweat. My body trembled, "I'll pay anything. Just don't send me to Hell."

"I could do so in a flash. I wish to do so. So that you will know the pain of losing everything." He stalked around my chair, his hand still around my neck. He thought deeply for a minute or more, then he said, "I so wish to do so. The Kraken will rejoice at the death of yet another Kerbonaut. But, I have a mission."

He looked out the window with the shadows of eyes. Minmus hung there, suspended from the cord of the Kraken himself. Gravity. 

"Roni. You deluded, sad excuse for a kerbonaut." He thought out his next words, "You are still the selfish, self-serving kerbal that you were before you joined the space program. You came to the KASA to climb up the next social rung of the ladder. Why do you persist. Why aren't you content?"

I stayed silent. Not saying a word to correct him. He was dead. I was to wake up at any moment. To speak was to break the spell of sleep. 

"Because you came from the bottom? Because the common people deserve somebody to stand up for them? These are just childish fantasies, Roni. They never happen. When a commoner climbs the ladder up, he is despised by his fellow companions for climbing it and despised by the people higher up for attempting to climb up there."

"You are belittling me. I have done what no other kerbal has done, from a beggar to a kerbonaut." I muttered. I wished I did not say that. And he gave me no mercy.

"Roni. For what reason? To become better than your friends, to spit on them when you are up here and they are down there? Or to spit in the faces of the rich, showing that a commoner can become rich as well? Or are you simply a greedy kerbal who cries for more?"

"No. I did not come here for any of those reasons."

"Then why is your father languishing in prison broke as my body when you left it inside Neptune!?" I stared absently through Bill.

"But my father is dead......." I murmured. 

"You are disgusting, Roni. Filthy. I'll be sure to see you down here soon. Actually I should finish the job right now." The hand tightened its grip on my neck. 

"Wait!" my windpipe expanded once more. 

I coughed, then answered, "Kerbals can change. I can change, Bill. I promise."

He scoffed, "A Kerbette such as you can never change. Never!" He slammed his nonexistent foot through the floor. I wondered if the poker plays from below noticed the white foot protruding from the ceiling for a second. 

Bill turned his eyes from to the controls, changed for a second, "Turn off the engine." I reached over and shut off the engine. The purring stopped.

"Here is my bargain." He said with his clinching my throat, "Save ten souls in the next munth. As soon as you do so I will leave you until the blessed day arrives when I show you the gates of Hell. For you are damned!"

He disappeared in a blinding flash of light. Assey exited the airlock module and sat back in her seat. She started to say something when she saw my face, "Roni. You look like you seen a ghost."

"Oh, its nothing." I waited for a second, then the two of us in unison said, "We should change our plans."

"Sorry, you go first commander." I waved it aside, "No, say what you have to say."

She took a breath, "I believe we cannot leave Irfred on the MOO. It would kill her to know that we decided not to come and get her just because of fuel requirements."

"Assey. I agree. Let us find a trajectory to rendezvous with the station."

1 day later

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"Just you look at that Kerbinrise." I stared out the window. Assey looked out the opposing window. 

"Its beautiful."

We embraced the moment, then we returned to work. The Neptune 2 had entered into a equatorial orbit of Minmus while the MOO was in a Polar orbit of Minmus. We were planning a maneuver to get an encounter with the station and change our inclination at the same time to save delta-V.

"Yes! I found it!" cried Assey a moments later. She showed me her paperwork. It all checked-out in my head.

"Preforming rendezvous burn in five minutes!" It was a 120 meter per second burn. After that we would only have 425 m/s. Was it enough?

An hour later we were coming in sight of the Minmus station. We were down to 374 m/s. 

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Approaching the target. The clock was ticking down. As well as the mono-propellant. 

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"Coming in to dock." We inched the docking ports together. The mono was also running down. Down to 350 m/s. 

"Turn off the mono and glide into the docking port." I ordered. The red light appeared over the RSC switch. 

We slid closer. Were we on course? 

"Come on!" I also screamed. 

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There was only a couple of meter between us now. It looked solid enough. We might have done it. Then the docking ports kissed and we were docked. 

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The hatch opened and a haggard Irfred Kerman floated out to greet us. 

"Thank you." She embraced me, then started to cry. I let her cry for a five minutes straight. Then she was saying how she should have spotted the error which killed Jeb and Val, and how she had felt so lonely on a station around that icy moon called Minmus.

"There was nobody but the echo of my voice." She summed it up. She swiped her face on her arm, then said one more time which almost broke my heart, "Thank you for saving me."

My mind traveled to Bill and his last words. What would have happened if I had let him escape the falling capsule with me? 

"Bill. I can change. I have just showed you." Bill stood beyond Irfred at the hatch.

"The change is temporary." He turned his shadowy back on me and a invisible shadow fell over my face.

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15th Installment: The Epic of Neptune Part 6 - Saving Private Ryan

Two days later all the kerbonauts, excluding the 'busy' tourists, met in the largest space in the space station. 

"We have ran the numbers and we cannot return to Kerbin using the Neptune." I nodded to confirm I understood. Irfred and Assey had been working on the trip home. But they had came too a dead end. You just couldn't leave Minmus from a polar orbit with 350 m/s.

"So we are stuck in this station with you, Irfred." 

"I'm afraid so. But at least we won't starve." she replied. 

We called it a day and everyone went to their respective bunks. 

The ghost of Bill reappeared by my bunk. 

"What are you going to do now? You have arrived at MOO, but you have been unwise in your fuel reserves and you can't get back. You haven't unlocked the technology of fuel transfer so the station is useless."

"We are trying to get our butts off this station trust me."

"KASA as no money whatsoever to get you home should you fail. You are their last hope and failure is not an option. If you don't figure something out soon, then all of you will die!" 

I realized something then about the ghost of Bill, "Bill, you are on our side, right?"

"Of course, I always on the side of the KASA. I might be against you, but that is because we needed the genius of Jeb or Val. Not a selfish pilot who just wants fame."

"But I have to do."

Bill sighed, "Yes, you'll just have to do. That's why I can't kill you."

"I have changed. I came here to pick up Irfred, even if my fuel margins were nonexistent."

"You were afraid that I would kill you if you didn't."

I shrugged in bed, "That happens if a ghost decides to threaten you." My hackles had failed to rise on his return. That was a bad thing if I was getting used to his haunting me.

"Anyway. You will be launched back out here soon as KASA scraps together enough funds to land on the moon. If you return."

"I will survive. That might be all that matters to me, but I will survive."

"You have to survive." Bill passed his hand through the bed. He rolled his eyes, still not getting used to being a ghost. "You are KASA's last hope."

"What about Assey or Irfred?"

"They are just scientists. They don't have the knowledge or the training to become a pilot. No. You are going to be the sole pilot of the administration for a while."

"Are you taking my side?"

"No, hell forbid. I am supporting your evidence that you are needed for the space program to continue. Because the only way the gates of Hell can open is when you reach the surface of Eve. That is where we all are. Jeb, me, Val, and Bob. It is the Kraken's domain and we are imprisoned on that forsaken rock."

"We can get you back!?"

"Yes. Or I hope so. We are seem solid around here."

"Alright. Then can you see a solution out of my problem here with Delta-V issues?"

Bill shook his head, "No. I don't see any solution. But you must try!" With that he was gone.

The next day we all met, even the tourists, in the stern cabin of the Neptune.  

"Has anyone gotten any ideas of how to get out of Minmus orbit."

There were general mutterings in the tourist crowd while Assey and Irfred shook their heads.

"There must be a way." I scanned each face, "There always is."

"No, sometimes you just have to give up."

"NO!" I hit my fist on the wall. I regretted it. I showed a sign of anger which now discomforted the crew, meaning that their ability to come up with an idea had weakened.

That night Bill reappeared again.

"Why is it you, not Jeb or Bob or Val?" I asked interested.

"Because if you are indirectly responsible for killing somebody, the Kraken gives permission to that kerbal to haunt them. I imagine that some poor engineer who designed the docking mechanism down on Kerbin is being haunted by Jeb and Val presently, and that Bob haunts the kerbal who placed the wheels on backward on his plane when the accident happened."

"We haven't found a way yet to get out of orbit."

"I've listened. You have a lot of madcap ideas up here. None of them work though."

"If only we could get more monopropellant. All we have here is that stupid liquid fuel for the engine attached to the back of the station!" It dawned on me. 

"Assey! Irfred! I figured it out!" I cried. Soon everyone was awake and the plan was made. The station was to use its engine to flip the orbit into a equatorial one, then we would detach with everyone aboard and burn 220 m/s to arrive at Kerbin in a day after that. It would work.

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"The engine on the Station will work." Assey reported that same day after a brief EVA, "We have roughly 500 m/s in that tank. Much more than enough."

"Good work." We hugged, then moved on to our other tasks.

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"Station Engine firing up in 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1!" I slammed down the button. The engine roared to life and shoved the station into an equilateral orbit.

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We cheered inside. I believe even Bill joined into the clamor. Then we detached and burned away to set our node to return to Earth.

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Then the engines on the Neptune were fired up and it pushed on. Beyond Minmus' SOI. Lower than LKO. And finally inside Kerbin's atmosphere. Again we cheered victory over the delta-v problem. 

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We were going to make it home!

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We fell towards planet Kerbin. We joined into the poker games the tourists played onboard and regulated everything onboard. As we turned in to rest for reentry, Bill appeared by my sleeping bag.

"You did it. You have defeated my challenge. I believe that you have changed now." Bill admitted.

"Did I?" I asked, not understanding this new turn of events.

"Yes. I now believe that we have some hope left for the space program. I believe that you will help carry the program to Minmus' surface and Beyond." 

I went to sleep with that encouragement in my ear. 

The rest of the story I will gloss over for now. We did reenter cleanly and land on the plains near the KSC

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The parachutes deployed high up in the atmosphere to ensure that we would land safely.

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We had one scary moment after touch-down when the heat shield and the life-support tank both exploded. We were travelling at 15 m/s, which made the landing VERY uncomfortable. More parachutes will be added, but to a new generation of safer, and better designed capsules than the Neptune. 

We were recovered, and this was the money we had left over from the tourists.

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Plenty to start over with a new rocket design. Now, KASA looks forward to interplanetary probes as Me, Assey, and Irfred train for the Minmus landing in the near future. 

End of The Epic of Neptune

Spoiler

Now, I will be continuing on from here in the usual format. Plans are to land on a moon of some planet near-by and to milk the remaining funds off of Minmus. Then things will go into overdrive. But that will all happen after a particularly long session of KSP on the computer. Expect the next post around Thursday, if not Friday. 

Sincerely, Alpha360

 

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8 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

You sent me to Hell! I have come to make you pay your debt."

I'm hearing that Pogues song again :)  Nice!

 

2 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

Because the only way the gates of Hell can open is when you reach the surface of Eve.

That is a horrible afterlife, certainly.....  I believe I can hear the screams of the damned from here...

Anyway, a very enjoyable yarn :) 

Spoiler

But FWIW, you can come home straight from a polar orbit.  Just wait until your polar orbital plane lines up with Kerbin and then do a hook shot (if you go up) or a Massé shot (if you go down).  You can also do a mid-course burn en route to a moon (or other planet) to get into a polar orbit upon arrival.

  

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8 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

But FWIW, you can come home straight from a polar orbit.  Just wait until your polar orbital plane lines up with Kerbin and then do a hook shot (if you go up) or a Massé shot (if you go down).  You can also do a mid-course burn en route to a moon (or other planet) to get into a polar orbit upon arrival.

Thanks for those tips. I did not want a repeat of the Minmus Mission Disaster and attempt to fly through the moon. Both times, though, I was on the "farside" of Minmus and every maneuver node from there didn't work so I came up with the creative solution of using the Station Engine to move into an equatorial orbit and leaving from there.

Just to tweak your curiosity, here are two interesting pictures.

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I'll get the 16th Installment to y'all in a day or two!

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16th Installment: Can Rockets Be Responsible Enough to Land Themselves?

The answer to that question is yet to be seen, even after this Installment....

So, we are low on cash and our new rocket costs 100,000 credits. So the engineers decided to try out reusability. This is part one of three parts which contain the reusability experiments. Will they work, saving hundreds of thousands or will they fail, ending the program forever? 

Try 1

We built a new capsule which can carry about 8 kerbonauts to orbit with Docking, Life-support, and Power generation. We call it Trio. 

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We then shoved all of our kerbonauts onto this new, untried rocket to see how it would do. 

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Surely it has enough Delta-V to reach orbit. All the numbers check out. 

And Trio rockets into the sky.

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Um. Could you move just a little bit faster? Oh shoot. It has exactly 1 G of acceleration. Who would have guessed that?

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1 minute later.......

Ah, that's better. You might be half-way out of fuel but still, you're going up. Slowly but surely......

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ANNDD we are out of fuel. This is NOT good. Eject!

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Good thing that the ejection went cleanly. The KSC engineers have decided to try to land the booster stage, lets watch the scene unfold...

I had set the Trio to retrograde and fired up that engine and pulled the chutes. Then I switched over to the booster to see how it would land.

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Luckily I had a bit of fuel left over for the landing. About 200 m/s.

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After watching it descend, I pulled the parachutes on it. But it still fell at 20 m/s. So I prepared for the ocean landing an hit full throttle. This is what happened. 

(Hint to self - Just use central engine for landings.)

After leaping around I finally failed to hit Z and the rocket smashed into the ocean. After screaming to appease the tearing of my heart in two, I switched over to the Trio command pod in a dark mood. 

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There I had put TOO many chutes on. Well, anyway it ended up like this below.

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The recovery of the booster failed, but at least I recovered 60,000 funds from the upperstage + capsule. Man that is expensive.

The first launch of Trio was a partial failure costing us 40,000 funds. Ouch. Now our engineers decided to strap solid rocket boosters to the sides of the rocket and see how it preforms. 

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Unfortunately,  the camera man could only get so for back. And look at that price tag. Ouch once more. Again we placed our kerbonauts inside and whooshed away into the sky.

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I have no idea how Kerbal Alarm clock got into that photo. That has got to be a bug. 

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Oh, those are not dangerous explosions. Just the flashy ones. That explode. 

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Now we cross our fingers to see if the second stage can get Trio into orbit before the first stage smashes into the ocean. Well the first stage did crash into the ocean. The engineers controlling the physics-less camera rage quitted so we don't get any pics other than this beautiful sunset from orbit.

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Now that we were in orbit, we decided to test out Roni's rendezvousing skills and rendezvous with a satellite in high Kerbin orbit.

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Well, that looks pretty good. Lets go with that.

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Positioned for the second maneuver. Roni hits the button and the engine fires up and put them at a 1.3 kilometer intercept. Could be better but pretty good.

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Here is the comms sat zooming towards Trio.

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AANNDD closest approach to the Trio. Except there is no Trio on the Trio. I probably need to fix that....

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After firing up the engine at the highest point in the orbit, the Trio is going to come down fast and hard back to Kerbin.

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Just about to hit the atmosphere at 2,500 m/s. With a peri of 16 kilometers. With the second stage. I'm starting to rethink this..... Well, too late now. Roni, your hands hold the fate of the Trio. Except that there are two of you. I MEAN THE ROCKET, NOT A THIRD GHOST PERSON LIKE BILL!

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This is at 50 kilometers. This is not good. The engine is starting to overheat. Roni started to burn the engine to slow them down. It helped, but the bar was slowly rising higher.

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It explodes. Roni quickly detach the second stage and starts to panic. Fire rages over the entire exterior of the capsule. The second stage starts to overheat and explode rapidly. 

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But the crisis has passed. After slowly down pass 2,000 m/s the going is easy. 

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The parachutes are pulled and the Trio descended on the east side of the KSC Peninsula. 

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And touchdown of the Trio. THE ROCKET! NOT THE TWO OF YOU! I KNOW THAT A TRIO IS THREE KERBALS NOT TWO SO STOP TELLING ME ABOUT IT, RONI!!

Anyway, they were recovered for 44,000 funds. They also completed a contract to put a station with a docking port, antenna, and power generation in orbit for 50,000. Finally, we got 40,000 funds for launch something over 120 tons from a Stratego mod goal or whatever you call it. 

The next launch will go to Minmus, dock with the station there, recover a specific kerbal in orbit to make the Two a Trio at last, and return with more glory and money. Also we will recover the booster from that launch as well. Hopefully. Expect this next Installment tomorrow or the next day as per usual.

Happy Explosions Until Then!  

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16 1/2 Installment: To Narrate or Not to Narrate

I'm going to set up a brief poll lasting the day while I gather the stuff for the 17th installment. Here was the link - http://www.strawpoll.me/14872400 - canceled

I need to know what the readers thought about my change to first-person in the mind of Roni Kerman and whether or not they want to do so again, back with Roni. I am fully prepared to go either course, but the first-person mode takes about twice as long to show the progress. Would folks want to wait about a week until the end of the mission from Roni's point of view, or would they want to do the narrated version in two or three days. You decide. 

 

 

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17th Installment: The Responsibility From Messing Up

"Roni, look at this!" Assey hurried me into the VAB once more. There stood the largest rocket I had ever seen. I had a feeling that they were just getting bigger.

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And more expensive. 

"Isn't 175,000 a lot of money to spend?" I asked, in awe of the rocket.

"Maybe, but the contracts we are going to accomplish will make it worth it all. And to infrastructure. The lander carries a science lab on it so it can process the reports from Minmus before sending it back to us. Can you imagine the science we will harvest from Minmus. It will launch us on a trajectory to reach Duna, or Eve, or even Dres."

"Bah." I waved aside the comment about Dres, "Nobody wants to go to Dres."

"Every planet we visit will send us farther and farther, do you realize that!"

"Now you are starting to make castles in the clouds. Come back to reality." I held onto her shoulder to keep her from bouncing off the walls.

"How are we going to fly that forest of boosters?" I gestured towards the 16 boosters circling the rocket, "It must have a high thrust-to-weight ratio."

"Its at 2.2 gs. The highest TWR since when we used solid rocket boosters instead of liquid fueled ones."

"Will it get us there to Minmus? I mean, last time was a near disaster because of lack of Delta-V."

"This one has 6,000 m/s. I believe that is enough. Anyway, there is the station in Low Minmus Orbit in case we need anything."

"You realize we don't have fuel transfer yet?"

"Oh, it'll come from the profit made on this mission."

"Alright. You win." I shrugged my shoulders, "Why didn't you become an engineer, Assey, they could have used you well."

"Oh, you see. I'm a rocket scientist, half-engineer and half scientist. Well mostly scientist. I work on engineering research while the engineers do all the on hand stuff."

I nodded, then returned to the exterior of the VAB. There a dozen engineers were around a kar, wishing fare-well to a person who purposed to go around the globe with it.

The Kar fired up its seperatrons and zoomed away towards the distant mountains.

"To think that I have inspired such enterprising kerbals to risk their lives." I whirled around to see Bill floating just above the ground.

"Yes, I am getting used to being a ghost in gravity. It is very interesting how I am still affected by gravity when I am a ghost."

"Why have you reappeared?"

"Because, you are about to rescue a kerbal in Minmus orbit. Once again, it will stretch out your fuel reserves, but I have faith that you will do the right thing and rescue this kerbal. I am particularly interested in him because he might be my long lost brother."

"You had a long-lost brother?"

"Yes, Billy-Bobmon Kerman. He was the youngest of our Trio, me and Bob included. Or so I was told. He disappeared by the age of 2 and neither me or Bob remembered him. I hope you find him alive, for it would be a pity for my parents to lose all their sons."

With that, he disappeared. Into thin air. Literally.

2 days later

"This is Roni, Assey, and Irfred on the launch pad, ready for lift-off." I reported to the radio.

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"This is Mission Control. Launch in T-20 seconds."

20 seconds later the rocket engines ignited, thrusting the rocket upwards. It was a very shaky lift-off, with the entire rocket vibrating, numbing my arms and legs.

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"This thing packs a kick!" cried out Assey. I heard Irfred moaning in the background, the noise of the rocket motors though concealed most of it. 30 seconds into the flight the first stage was detached. The SRBs.

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A picture of the SRBs spiraling down from above appeared on our screens.

"Wow. Look at those boosters." breathed Assey.

"Its a waste, they were strapped on for 30 seconds and then detached to smash into the ground at 500 m/s. That cost us 10,000 credits right there." Irfred commented.

A minute later the second stage detached.

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The rocket shook, and then fell back into pace at a lower G.

"This is Mission Control. There was an explosion. We are checking to see if it harmed anything."

After a few seconds, they replied, "Nothing damaged."

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Another minute and another vibration of the rocket signified that the third stage detached.

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"Trio, you are now on the final core stage. We wish you luck on the journey." And they tuned out.

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Two minutes later, a massive thump propelled us even further into orbit as the core stage detached. We were nearing orbital velocity now. The second core stage kicked in, carrying the Trio fully into orbit.

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"Mission Control, we are in orbit with 2,300 m/s left in our tanks. Do we have permission to continue our mission?"

"Sure, we have another kerbal to save, Roni. Bring him home." 

A maneuver node was created. It was a 700 m/s burn to extend our orbit to Minmus', then a 100 m/s burn to intercept Minmus. 

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The burn was started 2 minutes before the actual node for the next stage to finish it. The second stage exhausted its 100 m/s, then detached. As it detached, it knocked the Trio into a tumble.

"What in the world is happening!" The engine kicked on, further exaggratating the spin.

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"We're wasting propellant!" cried Irfred.

"I'm trying to stop it!" I bit back in return. I hit the RSC and struggled to align the engine prograde. 

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I shut down the engine to continue the aligning. The window for the transfer burn had passed but I didn't care. I was not waiting another damned orbit. The poodle engine ignited, finally pushing us further on in the orbit. Irfred and Assey were yelling at me for something, but I didn't care about that either. I closed off their radio channels, and continued firing the engine.

As our orbit crossed Minmus' orbit, I stopped the engine and unstrapped my helmet.

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"Roni! You absolute idiot! You could have just ruined the mission completely!" Irfred attacked me

"Roni! You have nearly destroyed our Delta-V margins! We have almost no reserves left, and we only have 20 minutes to come up with a maneuver node or we will miss the descending node!" Assey supported her, angering me further.

"Roni! This is Mission Control. You have been remarkably short-sighted and risked this mission completely. Why did you do this!?" This just was the cake.

"SHUT UP!" I screamed. I glared at the two others in the capsule. Then I returned my glare to the radio.

"Mission Control, I was attempting to complete the node which you arranged for us to use." I turned the radio off. 

"Roni! We need them to calculate our next node!" Irfred looked at me as if I was crazy.

"We can formulate it ourselves. We almost always do it that way."

"Roni, please." It was Assey this time. I groaned irritated.

"I don't care!" I shouted. My voiced echoed inside of the tin can we sat in.

Assey and Irfred were both as far a way from me as possible in the capsule we were in.

I shoved pass them down to the next habitation section, nearly crying in irritation and anger. All these reactions in me were to the same accord, to blind me from the responsibility from messing up.

Edited by Alpha 360
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11 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

I need to know what the readers thought about my change to first-person in the mind of Roni Kerman

I didn't vote because I thought it needed a 3rd option.  I like a back-and-forth between perspectives.  After all, Roni might not last forever :)

 

5 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

"I don't care!" I shouted. My voiced echoed inside of the tin can we sat in.

See, Roni hasn't changed a bit, and there's a vengeful ghost out there waiting for this....

 

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No strong opinions on the presentation style, but I like the all in one launch to the Minnus analog. The last time I built a station there, I would haul the components up to LKO one by one, and then launch crews that would dock with a component and tow it (the station core was the exception, it got a dedicated booster since it was also the primarily fuel dump). I rotated the crews about one a month so each crew would go up, grab another piece of the station, and resupply the life support at the same time.

Edited by NCommander
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Wellll. Sorry if I didn't meet the expectations of the crowd. I had only received one vote, which was to dive back into Roni's perspective. 

11 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

I didn't vote because I thought it needed a 3rd option.  I like a back-and-forth between perspectives.  After all, Roni might not last forever :)

Though I didn't mention that, that is my intention. When there is a "big, important mission" I will switch into Roni's prespective, then afterwards, there would be some chapters narrated from the third person. I'm sorry again if I am disappointing anybody, but I have to continue on with the current perspective until the end of the mission, but when that happens I will stick to narration until the first manned interplanetary mission. Compromise?

11 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:
17 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

"I don't care!" I shouted. My voiced echoed inside of the tin can we sat in.

See, Roni hasn't changed a bit, and there's a vengeful ghost out there waiting for this....

Roni has changed, she used to be like this most of the time. Now she is like this when under the immeasurable pressure from everybody telling her that she has killed herself and her crew. I would be like this if this happened to me. And about the vengeful ghost..........That will be covered in the next chapter. 

 

2 hours ago, NCommander said:

The last time I built a station there, I would haul the components up to LKO one by one, and then launch crews that would dock with a component and tow it (the station core was the exception, it got a dedicated booster since it was also the primarily fuel dump). I rotated the crews about one a month so each crew would go up, grab another piece of the station, and resupply the life support at the same time.

Well, you see. I am an "expert" of one-launch space stations. Its one of my favorite things to do, because its simple, easy and usually completes the contract. For example, when I launched the rocket into orbit, I had picked up a contract to put a station into Kerbin orbit, and so I completed that contract and earned Fifty Grand. Soon though, I will be adding more to the Minmus Convertible Lander once it had fully transformed into a space station, and use it to, well. I shouldn't be sharing secret information about future plans that will be revealed.

Happy Explosions Until Then!

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18th Installment: Being Second Never Hurt Anyone

I was flung against the wall, far below my fellow crew.

"You killed him! Do you realize you have deprived my mother of all her sons! You were supposed to save people! Not kill them with your idiotic decisions"

"I'm sorry Bill. I couldn't give up on the mission." I protested. His hand was once more around my neck, but it had materialized much more. It now was almost a hand now, but see through.

"You gave up on the mission when you made that stupid decision to keep the engine burning because you couldn't deal with the stress!" Bill screamed. I wondered if Assey would come down to see what was the fuss. She didn't.

"You killed him!" He repeated, his grip on my neck continued to tighten. This day was really going badly. 

"I didn't kill him intentionally! I was trying to save him, but I might have failed. It was not my doing! I was incompetent!" I pleaded. 

"You are the last pilot of KASA! You have to be competent all the time. Failure is NOT an option! I repeat it to you because you seem to have forgotten! Failure is NOT an option!"

He banged my head against the wall, making my head ring. I deserved it.

"Okay, I made an idiot of myself, nearly costing a kerbal's life, but as long as we rescue him. Everything will be okay?" I asked.

Bill withdrew his fingers, and sighed a disappointed sigh, "Yes. That is the kerbal's philosophy, but we must be beyond kerbal. We must be able not to shrug off incidents, saying that they are repairable. They must never happen."

"Okay, Bill. I'm sorry." I answered, "I really am."

He sighed once more, then said, "I shouldn't have roughed you up. Since you are KASA's last pilot, you are vitally important. But you seem to need roughing up in order to get the point across. You need to go up and help your crew." 

I nodded, and climbed back up the ladder to reach the command pod.

Assey and Irfred were both working on the next maneuver. They didn't notice that I had entered.

"I'm sorry for losing my nerve." I said, slightly embarrassed to apologies to my crew.

Assey leapt up from the floor and gave me a hug, "We're sorry for losing our temper with you. we understand that the weight of the entire mission is on your shoulders. right Irfred?"

Irfred gave a little shrug, and continued with her work.  

"What do I need to do?" I asked, moving over to the pilot's console.

"Position the Trio at ........" and we were a crew again, granted a little resentment from Irfred, but still a crew. 

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"Ready for burn, Mission Control." I announced into the radio.

"Alright, burn on my mark." I noticed they brought in a different Capcom. 

"Fire!"

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The Poodle engine purred to life, pushing us into an intercept with Minmus. Hopefully. 

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"Where's Minmus?" I asked. 

"It, it should be there." Irfred pointed to a nondescript part of space.

"It's not there."

"Aren't we supposed to be in its SOI?" 

"The Nav-ball hasn't flipped yet......"

"Mission Control, aren't we supposed to be in Minmu's SOI?" I asked into the radio.

"Yes. The Nav-Ball hasn't flipped yet."

"What!?" there was silence on the Mission Control's side.

"Minmus is no where to be found."

"This doesn't make any sense." he unhelpfully pointed out. 

"It has to be the Kraken. There is no other explanation."

"Is there anything we can do?"

"Well, I'll check." It took him ten minutes to check. 

"Well, I'm told to tell you that you might intersect Minmus if you put yourselves into an orbit very similar to Minmus'. I agree with them on that." I nodded. Usually the Capcom was a junior kerbonaut who knew what he was talking about. 

We did so. As we orbited around Kerbin we saw glimpses of Minmus.

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But when we were scheduled to intercept it, we missed it by hundreds of kilometers. We once attempted to burn towards it, with Mission Control's permission, but we failed to reach it.

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10 days later

"Bill. We have tried, but we just can't rendezvous with Minmus."

"Blast and Damn it!" Bill punched through the wall of the capsule again. 

"I'll need to petition the Kraken for this." Bill looked up into the sky. Through the capsule.

"What does that mean."

"It means, that if you all come down to the surface of Eve, I won't be there to you to pick up."

"WHAT!? This is just a simple mission! Don't sacrifice yourself just so we can reach Minmus!"

"My brother, my long lost brother is in orbit around Minmus. You would do anything to save a sibling, would you." I nodded.

"Alright. Expect Minmus coming your way in a few days." 

"Don't do this! I save your brother no matter what you do. I will do this for you, you don't have to sell your soul permanently to the Kraken. I swear I will deliver your brother back down on Kerbin."

"Alright Roni. I will hold you to your promise." 

The next day Assey woke me up in a hurry, "RONI! Minmus is just right there!"

"What!?" I unzipped myself from the wall and floated towards the pilot's consol. 

"We're on a collision course with it. The nav-ball has flipped as well if you wanted to prove it."

I looked out a window. There was Minmus in all of its icy glory.

"Wake Irfred. She needs to see this!"

"Mission Control. We have sighted Minmus. We are ready for a landing and already on a suborbital trajectory. Tell us what we need to do."

I heard cheering coming from the radio. We done it. We reached Minmus at last. 

It grew larger and larger in the window. I was ordered to do a suicide burn to conserve fuel usage. 

"1 kilometer before burn." Assey's eyes were glued to the window. 

"500 meters before burn." I broke out in a cold sweat.

"100 meters before burn." Irfred strapped herself in.

"NOW!" I hit the button, the poodle below firing up.

"Detach the transfer stage and use the main engine!" I hit the staging button twice, and the transfer stage fell down towards Minmus.

"100 m/s." I relayed.

"50 m/s at 200 meters." 

"20 m/s at 50 meters." we were inched away from landing.

"5 m/s at 10 meters!" I cried out in joy. Then I cut the engine, allowing the Lander to fall. I hit the button retracting solar panels in case of a hard landing. It was. 

The lander landed on its engine moving a meter per second to the right. It tipped the entire lander over onto its side, smashing a pair of solar panels.

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"We needed those." Irfred observed. 

"Don't be a wet blanket! We landed on Minmus!" Assey scrambled to the airlock. I waited inside. I was going to be the last kerbal out, I knew that. Assey deserved the title of first kerbal on a body other than Kerbin.

Irfred patted my shoulder, "Being second never hurt anyone." I nodded slowly. I understood.

"This Assey. We have landed on Minmus! We have completed the greatest goal in Kerbal kind. I ask all those watching to complete their own goals, as we did ours. For life is for completing the goals we set out for ourselves. I say this as my footprints are placed on the surface of Minmus."

I could envision the audiences cheering Assey on. The first kerbal on the surface of another world. She would receive that title. I wouldn't.

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We all exited with our own speeches to kerbalkind, but those weren't received as well as Assey's. She was the one who planted the KASA flag on the moon, and who all kerbettes would look up to. I will not regret my decision to let Assey go first. I never will. 

Edited by Alpha 360
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5 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

Failure is NOT an option!"

In my universe, it's "Failure isn't an options, it's standard equipment" :D 

Anyway, good job getting to Minmus finally.  That's a very unconventional lander you have there.  I hope it can take off again from lying on its side.

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34 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

Anyway, good job getting to Minmus finally.  That's a very unconventional lander you have there.  I hope it can take off again from lying on its side.

Well. I have landed more unconventional landers before. I am a person who views landers as a crew modules with an engine with extra delta-V. In other words, there isn't much designing for a lander other than basic landing functions or none at all. 

About 25% of my landers land with landing legs. The others flop on the ground where I struggle to get them up right using all the "cheats" in KSP, including opening solar panels, service bays, antenna and using RSC to attempt to flip the rocket upwards. You can tell I haven't landed on anywhere other than Minmus or the Mun. 

 

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4 hours ago, Alpha 360 said:

Well. I have landed more unconventional landers before. I am a person who views landers as a crew modules with an engine with extra delta-V. In other words, there isn't much designing for a lander other than basic landing functions or none at all. 

About 25% of my landers land with landing legs. The others flop on the ground where I struggle to get them up right using all the "cheats" in KSP, including opening solar panels, service bays, antenna and using RSC to attempt to flip the rocket upwards. You can tell I haven't landed on anywhere other than Minmus or the Mun. 

 

I've got the opposite problem. I design one mission and I somehow end up with it exceeding my performance requirements by a stupid margin; I blame playing RSS. I decided I wanted to send a probe Duna despite not having a launch window. The "best" possible launch would require ~5000 m/s just to get there. I was trying to work out if I could reasonably aerobrake at those velocities, and then suddenly, a few clicks later, I end up with a probe that has 8000 m/s in orbit. That sucker can go to Moho and back (which I'll probably end up doing).

It should be noted that I did this was the basic R&D Level 1 parts NOT the LV-N. My designs get stupid when I have those because I end up with absurd amounts of fuel in orbit (I've sent probes on interstellar trajectories before)

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19th Installment: Bring Him Home

“Everything checked out?” I asked Irfred.

“Everything is ready, commander.”

My respect from the crew had returned. Irfred now called me commander and trusted me to my decisions. Assey constantly burst with happiness at being the first person on Minmus, hugging me or Irfred spontaneously.

“Take-off in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Blast-off!” The service bay doors opened, catapulting the Trio up into the perpetually night sky. 

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"500 meters above Minmus, commander." Irfred announced. 

"This is Mission Control, we are wishing you well on your return journey." the radio crackled. 

We rose like a graceful bird above the icy plains. We stopped the engine burning after 20 seconds on full throttle. We watched below the landscape circle away beneath us.

"Injection burn in 50 seconds." Assey now announced. I hit the throttle and we rocketed into a circular orbit. 

"We can pull up the maneuver node for a return trajectory to Kerbin." 

"Wait, what about Billy-Bobmon Kerman?" I asked. 

Assey breathed in deeply. Silence filled the capsule. Even Irfred didn't say anything. 

"Mission Control, what about Billy-Bobmon Kerman?"

There was silence on that end as well.

"Can we rescue him?"

"Roni, we just don't have the Delta-V margins."

"Then we'll make them, we did it last time to save you, Irfred. And we did it successfully and returned home. We can do it again." I pleaded. They looked guiltily at the floor. 

"Roni, you have 300 m/s delta-v, less than that actually. You have just enough Delta-V to squeak by into the upper atmosphere. We've done the calculations down here. Trust us."

"What about Billy-Bobmon's parents and friends. Will they accept that he died because our delta-v margins were too slim?"

"Death happens all the time here on Kerbin. It is a part of life, it is acceptable for a kerbal to die because of a failure."

"It is not acceptable to me!" 

"Roni, you're outvoted this time. There's nothing we can do." Gene was on the radio now. 

"I won't allow a kerbal to die because we failed to pick him up!" I was raging now. Back to my old selfish self. Only that I was campaigning to save a life, not to pass it by, to let it die."

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"Roni. Just let us do it." Gene consoled me, "You accomplished all your objectives."

"I don't care about objectives! I care about kerbals lives!"

"I am caring for your lives! You are our only crew! If we lose you, we are finished. Forever. Are you going to risk this entire investment just to save an insignificant life!?"

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I looked back at Kerbin hanging from gravity in the night sky. I thought of all the kerbals on that planet. They were ordinary, who did not worry about living or dying. It was apart of life back there. 

Now I was losing a battle to save a life. A kerbal life. 

"I will resign from this mission as commander if we don't go get him! We need to bring our kerbal home. No matter the cost."

"Miss Roni Kerman. You are disobeying the rules set in place by myself when I founded this space program. If you don't stop this nonsense, we will be forced to fire you when you return to Kerbin."

It was Mortimer Kerman himself. What a surprise.

"I resign from this mission as commander." I said it quickly, and then hurriedly flew down to the science module. 

Ghost Bill was waiting there for me.

"You don't have to go fetch Billy. You have to get back home. It is in interest of the program,."

"Bill! Did you influence the Kraken to have Minmus appear the next day? Please say no."

He smiled, "No, no I did not. I looked up at the orbits, and apparently they just needed a little time before it happened."

"Bill. I am going to get Billy-Bobmon. He deserves it."

"Roni. I act in the interest of the program. This is a bad idea."

"The goal of the program is to save lives through technology, right?" Bill nodded to this assertion

"We have the technology to save this kerbal's life. Your brother. And you tell me to forget him when you yourself had made me vow to bring him home."

"I will overlook that vow. Your life is at stake her, Roni."

"Then I will chose to sacrifice it for this poor kerbal's sake."

Bill stayed floating through the air, his mouth shut. Finally he said the three words which would spur me on when the going got hard latter on, "Bring Him Home."

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I had armed myself with a wrench as I crept through the passage ways towards the command module. I saw Assey in a room, almost crying to herself. 

I dropped the wrench and floated in, saying, "Its a pity that we have to leave him behind."

She looked up, "I agree. Well. Our departure burn is in a couple of hours."

"Can you come up with a maneuver node which would intercept with his debris?" I decided to tell her the truth, "I'm willing to sacrifice myself to save this kerbal."

"Are you, Roni?"

"Yes. Now help me convince Irfred." 

We both arrived at the command module. Irfred was running through some finally calculations for the maneuver node.

"Irfred. We want to rescue Billy-Bob. We need to."

She looked up from her work, "Alright. Can you show me some math to tell me we can pick him up, then leave on our engine?"

"No. We can't."

"Then why are you two petitioning me?"

"Irfred. Please let us get the poor kerbal. He needs us."

"Assey. Listen closely. We are the Program's best and brightest. We can afford to be a little immoral and let this kerbal die because he will die for a good cause."

"No we can't. He is still a kerbal like us." I protested.

"No. You are not dragging me into this!"

"If we are going to do this democratically, it is two against one. We win."

"On board this ship, I have been just nominated commander of this vessel. That gives me three votes, it says so officially. It is two against three. Guess who wins."

"Well, I'm sorry." I launched out and snatched her from the air. She screamed. I attached myself to the floor and wrestled her into a seat and Assey started to duck tape her to it.

"We're sorry, Irfred, but this had to be done." Assey apologized. 

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We turned off the radio, then started to get to work. An hour later we had the window of opportunity to reach the stranded kerbal. 

"Its all yours, Roni."

I smiled thinly, then hit the throttle. We were burning away from home to save a kerbal who could be asphyxiating right then

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Thirty minutes later we arrived at a piece of junk metal. I burned our precious fuel to slow ourselves down to 0.5 relative meters per second.

"Hello? This is the Trio, standing by."

We waited, afraid that he was already dead and that we wasted our fuel for nothing. But then the hatch opened, and vented out a kerbal in a space suit.

"Yes! He's alive!" cried out Assey.

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He jetpacked over to our ship, and climbed onto it.

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We already pumped out the interior oxygen in our command module, so we opened the hatch for him. Assey then closed the hatch and I turned on the oxygen pump. (We moved Irfred to the science module to review our science points.)

When it was pressurized inside, we took off our helmets. 

"Thanks. Thank you for saving me." He thanked up profusely. He then stuck out a hand, "I'm Billy-Bobmon Kerman, but you can just call me Billy."

I started to tear up. Billy looked exactly like Bill, plus a small brown beard which he had probably grew in isolation.

"I met your brother before. You look just like him." I commented.

He laughed, "Ah, is the old boy still kicking? I still haven't met him personally, but I have many, many second hand reports on him."

I started to tear up further.

Assey answered for me, "Roni here was on the mission which Bill died on. She managed to survive, but Bill didn't make it."

He looked crestfallen. 

"Excuse me." I said hurriedly. I pushed myself down to the stern module. 

Bill again was waiting for me.

"Bill. I saved him. He looks just like you and everything!" I almost started to cry.

"There, there Roni. Everything is going to be alright. You know that I saw him the moment he entered this spacecraft."

"Yes. And now, and now we can't bring him home, back with us!" I finally broke down into sobs. 

"Don't worry. You'll bring him home somehow. Somehow you will bring him home."

Spoiler

Don't worry, I will wrap this up in the end, but there has to be a few more plot twists until then. Stay tuned!

 

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