Alpha 360

Voyages Extraordinaire: The Fate of Munar-5 - Part 1

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Voyage Extraordinaire 

In @Gameslinx's Planet Pack!

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(Sneak Peak for the Third Chapter)

Table of Contents

0.1 - The Voyage Extraordinaire  

0.2 - Enter Kerbonaut Ally

0.3 - Enter Kerbonaut Stable

0.4 - Enter Kerbonaut Bill

1.0 - Flight of the Freedom part 1

2.0 -  Flight of the Freedom part 2

3.0 - Flight of the Freedom finale

4.0 - Project Valkyrie

5.0 - "Blue is the most beautiful color."

6.0 - K- Prize Challenge

7.0 - The Fate of the Munar-5 / Part 1

Settings

Spoiler

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BARIS is disabled

Mod List

Spoiler

1. Gamelinx Planet Pack - I had tried this before, but it failed pretty quickly. This time I want to explore all 28 planetary bodies. 

2. Kerbal Engineer Redux

3. Kerbal Alarm Clock

4. Kerbal Reusability Expansion 

5. Kerbal Planetary Base Systems

6. Kerbal Inventory System

7. Kerbal Attachment System

8. Deep-Freeze Continued

9. BARIS - Building Rockets Isn't Simple, I want to try out this mod and have some specular failures!

10. BetterTimeWarp

11. BetterBurnTime 

12. Connected Living Space

13. Kopernicus 

14. Ampyear

15. USI Life-Support - I like this life-support mod a lot :wink: 

16. Transfer Window Planer

17. Ship Manifest

18. Environmental Visual Enhancements/Scatterer- Beauty shots galore :) 

19.  Recovery Controller

22. TakeCommand

23. Almost-Free-Launch clamps

24. Kerbal Atomics (I need to get around the place)

25. Cryogenic Tanks

26. Kerbal Foundaries

27 - 32. Near Future Mods (Electrical, Solar, Spacecraft, Construction and Propulsion)

0.1 - The Voyage Extraordinaire 

I have created this thread to replace the Mr. Kerman or Roland series. Here once a week I will publish a Journey Extraordinaire chapter which would be a part of a series of chapters. These series will (hopefully) no longer than maybe 4 to 6 chapters long. I am still using Gamelinx's planet overhaul so things will stay pretty. The collective goal of the Journeys Extraordinaire is to do everything which I haven't done before. There will be an Asteroid Station, stations around other planets, SSTOs to other planets, and many other things I haven't done yet in KSP. Below is an introduction to a couple of reoccurring characters. I hope the reader will have an entertaining time reading the Voyage Extraordinaire. 

P.S I kinda took this from Jules Venre's Journeys Extraordinaire, please don't sue me. :( 

0.2 - Enter Kerbonaut Ally

I'm Ally.Yes, that is my real name. My mother was tired of having raucous sons, so she vowed to name the next baby, Ally. The name must have worked because I have been accepted as the physiologist for Freedom 1, the first interplanetary mission ever! I am so excited to be on this mission. As the Freedom 1 has a massive nuclear motor, it is likely to partial irradiate the crew. It is my job to make sure our kerbonauts don't get sick on the job and also make sure they don't suffer from too much radiation poisoning. 

If you want physical description, I am on the smaller side but my hair really does add to my height. Once in space and when my pony tail floats upright, I can be as tall as the command module! Kinda. Anyway I view myself as pretty with a decently pale shade of green, as well as a spotless face unlike Stable Kerman. Opps, I guess I have said too much. 

*Shuffles off stage embarrassed*

0.3 - Enter Kerbonaut Stable

Hey everyone! My name is Stable M. Kerman, *Takes a bow*, the most important crew member for this mission. I am the pilot of the Freedom 1! This was only because I am the best pilot that ever walked the flight deck. I was an ace in the Kietnam War who transferred over to the kerbonaut corps because I wanted to be the fastest kerbette alive! In this mission we will reach unbelievable speeds of up to 5 kilometers a second. 5 kilometers a second! That's travelling around Gaia in 80 seconds! Unbelievable. 

Ally might have made a couple of rude comments about my facial features. That is only because she is jealous of my unbelievable beauty. *winks at the crowd*. I fancy myself one of the most eligible bachelors since Batman. Yes I read the comics thank you very much for your time. 

*Flutters eyelashes at camera crew member who falls over in a faint. Stable actually was fluttering her eyelashes at the camera.*

0.4 - Enter Kerbonaut Bill

I'm here to provide mechanical services to the nuclear engine and the hydroponic gardens, and the deep-freeze unit. If any of those fails, then our mission will be terminated. So I have a heavy job on my shoulders without having to deal with two crew members which could have been chosen for better cohesion. Anyway, unlike the other two, I'm not a bachelor so I should be able to stand the nonsense I'm expecting to happen on this journey. Anyway I am going to play Mr. Levelheaded. 

 

LET THE VOYAGE EXTRAORDINAIRE COMMENCE!

Edited by Alpha 360
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Looking forward to this - seeing how a new planet pack works.  Good luck!

Peace.

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First Chapter of Voyage ExtraordinaireFlight of Freedom, Part 1

"How do you know how to pilot this thing?" asked Bill.

"Because I am obviously smarter than you." Stable replied, looking down her nose. If she had one. 

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Bill rolled his eyes, then asked, "Why isn't there some sort of booster to get us up? We just have 8 Kickbacks strapped to the side of the Freedom. Surely the Freedom doesn't have the Delta-v to get to orbit and to Olu'um." 

Stable tossed her un-tied hair rebelliously as she explained, "The Freedom 1 is powered by a nuclear engine. The Freedom has a thrust-to-weight ratio of 1:05 and 9,000 m/s in space. We have calculated that the exit burn to Olu'um will be roughly 1,750 m/s, then the breaking burn at Olu'um will be negligible because of a gravity assist with Fume, Olu'um's largest moon, will get us an easy orbit. So once we reach Olu'um's orbit, we will have roughly 6,000 m/s, with 2,000 m/s for the burn back to Gaia, means we can easily visit every single moon and moonlet orbiting Olu'um."

"What is the scientific benefit of going to Olu'um." Bill asked Ally. 

Ally replied in a monotone voice, "Olu'um is a protostar orbiting at roughly Jool's orbit. We haven't ever observed a star system with both a main sequence star and a protostar. It will be our task to look at the star and the moons and moonlets orbiting it to enhance our predictions at what our solar system used to look like. If we know that, then we can accurately predict where life will be possible in the future."

"Wow." Bill said. "I didn't know this mission was that important."

Both Ally and Stable stared at him. 

Bill explained, "I mean, this is just a mission to prove what kerbalkind is possible of completing, right? We have been given no scientific instruments, no extra luxury, not a spare kilogram. If science is the main reason behind the mission, why not send a probe?" 

Stable glared murderously at Bill while Ally shrugged, glad to have a case against pilots. 

"This is Mission Control, is everyone strapped in? We are about to launch." 

Still glaring at Bill, Stable replied, "Everyone is strapped in, Mission Control. By the way, thanks for the deepfreeze pod on-board. I can't wait to force Bill into one of them."

"You'll get your chance." 

After the checklist was followed out, Stable started the countdown. 

"3........2........1......Liftoff!" 

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"Freedom's flight has begun!" cried out Stable. 

The Freedom rose into the air powered by the kickbacks. The plan was to reach space and then kick-in the nuclear drive to reach orbit. From there, they could plot the intercept burn to Olu'um. 

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The kickbacks carried enough punch to get the bulky spacecraft high above the low atmospheric layer before anything....broke exploded self-destructed rapidly dissembled unexpectedly. 

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"Its a bit bumpy, but it seems we have a lot of delta-v here. Also, just a little something your engineers forgot to think about, the hydrogen is boiling off because you didn't put enough batteries on this dratted thing." commented Stable. 

There was some swearing on the other side at mission control which could roast a chicken a mile away which captured a sliver of what was being said. In other words, it goes something like this $&*#*@(&$%*#%$%#^@*$$^&%^#$*@@^%#[email protected]^%#[email protected]&*@^@#^$%*#*%@^@^#% Whatever that.......thing is, its probably not pleasant. 

"Boosters have reached 100% depletion! Detaching SRBs and firing up the nuclear drive." Stable reported. 

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"Deploying radiators, Man that nuclear motor is hot." 

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"Reaching orbital velocity. Everything looks good. You can also tell the egg-heads on the ground that we lost about 600 m/s to boil off. Looks like we won't be visiting some moonlet or other."

Again language spilled out of the mission control that traumatized a mother who was showing her son the memorial to Jebediah, the first kerbal out of the atmosphere........10 miles away. 

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"Mission Control. We are in orbit! Send up the calculations for the intercept burn. I'll get Bill to review the reactor data and unfold the solar panels. Its all he can do competently." 

"Thanks for the compliment, Stable." Bill replied, "Just keep us above the atmosphere, and I'll leave that comment be."

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An hour later the data arrived and the solar panels were also unfurled. A secondary purpose of the solar panels was as radiation shield once around Olu'um. The ship would return to a position where the solar panels would be between Olu'um and the crew quarters. 

The crew quarters were made up of a pair of garden habitats and a three-person deepfreeze-pod. The Mk1-2 command pod was designed to be detached at the end of the mission and the rest of the spacecraft would burn up on reentry. This was wasteful, but the eggheads wanted to visit every single planetary body around Olu'um. The next mission was going to be a lander mission using a special.....surprise.

"Its sunset now, Mission Control. Burn will occur in 2 minutes, 12 seconds." Stable reported. 

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"Good to know. Godspeed, Freedom."

Stable felt her hackles rise. She was piloting the first ever interplanetary mission and their exit burn from Gaia's SOI was coming up in the next few minutes. 

"Reactor looks good. We can only run it for a short period of time before it has to rest. We didn't pack enough radiators for the job."

"But we fired at full thrust for at least 2 minutes getting into orbit."

"This type of reactor weakens every time you use it. Granted it has the best thrust-to-weight ratio and ISP, but I still wish they set us up with a nuclear areospike. Those are much simpler, much more reliable."

"What about our burn home? How long do you think we can burn once we leave Olu'um?"

"It will probably be two one minute burns, if we're luckily and don't have to maneuver much."

Maybe this engineer wasn't as dumb as he appeared to be, thought Stable. 

A minute later the countdown for the burn.

"3......2......1...Ignition!" cried Stable. 

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The spacecraft shook around them. 

"This motor is a bit bumpy. Next time you could load twice the fuel for twice the delta-v." advised Stable. 

"Okay, thanks for that gem." Mission Control answered with a heavy voice.

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"Burn 50% complete!"

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"Aaaannnnndddd SHUTDOWN!" cried Stable. 

The Emancipator Nuclear Engine shut down and the Freedom was on its way to Olu'um! 

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Happy Explosions!

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Second Chapter of Voyages Extraordinaire: Flight of the Freedom Part 2

"Getting into the cyro-capsule now. Wow, its cold in here." Bill watched his icy breath float in front of him. 

"Its meant to be cold. We don't have much life-support, so the goal is to lengthen our budget by keeping at least one kerbal frozen at a time. In the middle of our transit, two of of us will be in hibernation and one will monitor the craft for 90 days, then they will switch out with another kerbal and so on and so forth. Everyone will be awake during our treks into Low Olu'um orbit and...." 

"I get it, Stable. I also know you made the decision for me to be put in this can first." 

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"We're past Gol now. Our cameras will take all the photos you can look at, so there is no reason to stay awake now. We need to save all the supplies possible." 

Grumbling, Bill opened one of the upright caskets. Ice floated out of his new home for the next 180 days. He sighed and shivered. Then he turned around and backed into the container. The door slid over him. A needle poked into his arm and he fell unconscious, not to wake for a long time. 

4 days later an alarm went off. 

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"We have passed through Gaia's SOI. What's gone wrong?" Stable said to herself. She glanced over at the temperature readings. 

"Holy Crap!" The temperature readings zoomed higher than reasonably imagined. The crew inside the cycro-pods could die if not kept under the correct temperatures. 

She hit the button, starting the thawing process. She then turned to spacecraft so that the solar panels would block out the sun. 

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"Mission Control! We have an emergency here! The deepfreeze pods are thawing!"

"Have you done everything possible to get Bill and Ally out of there?"

"Yes, please let them be alright." 

She watched the camera showing the interior of the deepfreeze pod expectantly. 

"Radiators are at 100%" relayed Stable. 

"We're watching everything."

"Can you see the bio-signs from the deepfreeze?" asked Stable hurriedly. 

"Ally is waking up now. We can't get a signal on Bill's bio-signs, blast them!"

"What happened?" Ally asked from the deepfreeze container, "Why is it so warm in here?"

"We're figuring it out. Is Bill okay?" asked Stable. 

"No. No no no no no no!!" Ally screamed. Stable leaned back shocked at the image which came up in her screen. 

Bill floated in his pod, his open eyes staring into space he could not see. He was dead. 

"Bill........Bill is dead."

"What the &#%@!?" Mission Control exclaimed. There was a long silence on both sides of the microphone. The KASA had lost their nuclear specialist on their first interplanetary journey.

Stable left the command module and got into the deepfreeze module. Ally floated in front of the pod which claimed Bill's life. 

"He drowned. He drowned in the ice which preserved him." Ally spoke, her eyes still wide in shock. 

They both stared at the limp body in the pod. Stable broke the silence, "What are we going to do?"

Ally stayed silent. Then she turned to a button on the wall. Her breath began to condense in the dropping temperatures. She hit the button. The pod made a whirling sound. Stable moved away from the pod. The cyro-pod began to freeze over. 

"We'll....we'll keep him frozen until we get back."

"But the extra mass..." Stable protested weakly. 

"&#%@ the extra mass. He just died. We'll give him a proper, heroic burial once we get back to Gaia and NOTHING you can do will change that." Ally stated vehemently. 

Stable, still cowered by the revelation that a crew member died on her watch, nodded sadly. 

"I'm not going to get into that deep-freeze again. I'll stay in the garden module." Ally walked through the hatch into the garden habitat. Stable floated in the now cold space. She shivered, partly with fear. She would be infamous now. She let a crew member die. She was completely and utterly responsible, at least in her eyes.

With a sigh, Stable climbed through the hatch separating the deepfreeze module from the command module. Stable sat down in the pilot's chair. She looked down at the buttons and flashing lights that covered her console. 

"Dang it." she muttered to herself. She breathed in deeply, calming herself. She then glanced upwards. Space stared back at her. Thousands of stars filled her small window. She could see faint nebula and even a glimpse at other galaxies. The glory of the cosmos awed her. Maybe they would be able to push through. They had to. If they failed, kerbal kind would never venture beyond Kerbol. 

That night was a restless night for the pair of kerbettes on the Freedom. Stable dreamed of micro-meteorites smashing into the nuclear reactor, tearing it to bits in seconds. Ally dreamed of cold, hard, icy, white places....very similar to the poles of Gaia. 

After that long night the two met in the command module. 

"We have to keep going. We can't allow Bill's death to slow us down. We need to reach Olu'um." Ally punched her fist as a clarification. Ally unlocked some vault of character from Bill's death. Now instead of being timid, she changed to the opposite mentality. 

"Alright. I agree. We will both stay awake during the transit. Deal?" she held out her hand. 

"Deal." They shook hands and then parted. 

2 years later.........

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 "We have entered Olu'um's SOI!" cried an older Stable gleefully, "Do you hear that, mission control! We are here!" Two hours later Mission Control replied, "We understand and we celebrate with you! We'll tell the news to Gaia! We have succeeded!"

"We have adjusted our course so that we will fly-by Fume on our way in, and then Telos to finish the capture. There will be no delta-v expended!" Again, two hours later mission control responded, "Great!" Conversation lagged considerably for the next while, but then they reached Fume. 

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 "We have reached Fume's SOI! Wow its pretty!" exclaimed Stable. 

"I can't wait to get the science from here! Its going to be a treasure trove!" Ally added excitedly. They reached their destination perfectly well. They still had 5,000 m/s delta-v so that meant that they could visit all the moons orbiting Olu'um.

"We are getting a load of electricity from Olu'um! Each solar panel is giving us 600 units a second! Unbelievable!" Ally again added with a trill in her voice. They had been waiting 2 whole years to reach Olu'um, an huge amount of time in a single spacecraft. They had broke all endurance records ever taken. Two years in null-gravity had taken its slow toll though. 

"My legs are like jelly. I have taken body scans, and I have lost 25% of my bone mass, and Stable has lost 23% bone mass as well." she recorded and sent to Mission Control. 

"We are now approaching our PeriFume. Fume is so pretty with its green atmosphere. The amount of methane in it is incredible! In fact, I'll take an EVA." Twenty minutes later, Ally floated above Fume.

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"Wow." She gasped. She gazed down upon the large moon. Aurora covered the surface, not only at the poles. With Olu'um behind Fume, Stable could see through the hazy atmosphere at the land. 

"THERE"S LIQUIDS!" She screamed. "LIQUIDS! MAYBE EVEN WATER! EUREKA!" 

"Ow, my ears, Ally. Its not that big of a deal is it?" Stable asked, attacking her stress point. 

"OF COURSE ITS A BIG DEAL, YOU IGNORAMUS!" 

Ally came in later as Olu'um rose from behind Fume.

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"Orientating spacecraft to block Olu'um radiation. The sun is just as bright of Olu'um, if a little dimmer." commented a milder Stable. "Look at that, the sun is about to fall behind Fume."

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"Fume's atmosphere is gigantic. We are predicting that it has 1.4 times the atmospheric pressure of Gaia, while having 82% Gaian gravity."

After a few hours, the Freedom reached Telos' SOI

"Telos has a moon, Mission Control! It has a moon! Its very icy and silvery. I can't believe the discovery!" Ally exclaimed to Mission Control. "We're beginning to reach PeriTelos. We had high passes with both Telos and Fume to get us an orbit that will not place us into the protostar." 

"Olu'um is so bright we can barely even see Telos, its incredible how bright it is!"

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"Only by blocking out Olu'um with the solar panels, we were able to see the little moon." 

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"We have reached PeriTelos! Unbelievable!" The last word had quickly became Ally's most used word over the course of their mission around Olu'um.

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"TELOS ALSO HAS LIQUIDS! ALMOST CERTAINLY WATER! DO YOU HEAR THAT?! I DISCOVERED WATER!"

"Um....no you didn't. The cavekerbs discovered water thousands of years ago." Stable commented. There was a brief struggle, but no one was harmed.....mortally. 

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"Ally. Are our radiators supposed to be working 100% here? And are we supposed to be losing Ablator?" Stable asked Ally, gesturing to a panel covered in red lights.

"Oh dear." 

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"ABORT!!!!!!"

 

Will our heroines survive the heat of Olu'um?? Stay tuned till next time :cool:

Happy Explosions!

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That is actually a bug with Fume caused by either EVE or Scatterer. I'll have a go at remedying it, thanks for pointing it out

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Right. I assumed it was a bug, but it fits in nicely with the story line. I hope you fix it soon so that no more kerbals will die while in stasis. Also, just so you know, I LOVE GPO! It is my favorite planet pack ever. In the next chapter, I will display some of the most beautiful views in GPO to confirm my last statement.  

Happy Explosions!

 

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Chapter 3 - Flight of Freedom - Finale 

Spoiler

Since I had alot of spare time today, I decided to throw this together so that I can precede with the writing of the next chapter. I hope you will enjoy this one! I will hopefully post another Voyage Extraordinaire this weekend, but be prepared for disappointment.  

"Olu'um is so bright! Unbelievable! We have had to put up shades in all of the windows because of all the light!"

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"Even the sun is blocked out by such magnitude of light."

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"Let me say I had very little idea of what the word bright meant until we reached periOlu'um. Its....unbelievable."

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"We have passed the periOlu'um and are leaving Low Olu'um Orbit. Studying the accretion discs orbiting the protostar has proven to be a interesting pastime. It appears to be formed by rock pellets, combined with weird substances giving it its purple color. Stable thinks that the purple color comes from the same substance that makes Eve purple. We probably need to visit Eve at some point anyway, better now than never, right?"

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"We have plotted our course now. Unfortunately, we are constricted by our diminishing Delta-V budget. We have decided to skip visiting the innermost moon and Volux. However, we will orbit the moon Vulcan as to study it in further detail."

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"We are completing the maneuver which will set us up with a fly-by of Sheathe which will then give us a Vulcan encounter. I must say dallying with orbital mechanics is quite fun and time consuming. Stable considers it a partial nuance, but as I said, it provides another interesting pastime."

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"A week later and another close fly by of Olu'um, and we have reached Sheathe's SOI.  Its a small moon, I would compare it to a larger Pol or Bop which orbit Jool, another destination to visit in the near future. Granted, the Olu'um system is arguably more beautiful than the Jool system, but what Olu'um doesn't have is Laythe. Ah......Laythe. The closest to paradise on can ever come. Thanks for sending up the data about that amazing discovery, but tell the astronomer that I was the first to discover liquid on another planetary body." 

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"We have reached our closest approach to Sheathe now. Our radiators are chugging through the heat, though we haven't figured out why they do this......Maybe some technical glitch or bug is in the system."

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"I can't believe how large the Olu'um system is! It has taken us 70 days of travel from Sheathe to Vulcan's SOI! Unbelievable! We can just see Vulcan's moon orbiting it, just a tiny speck. Vulcan on the other hand is a dark, almost black mass of rock which seems to be covered in lava. We can safely assume all the rock on Vulcan is volcanic in nature. But there is more, Mission Control. Vulcan has rings!"
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"Oh my gosh, yes Vulcan has rings! These rings are so...unique! They seem to be made out of lava, spewed from gigantic volcanoes on the surface. These are the most beautiful rings I have ever seen! Oh my goodness, yes, they are spectacular! Even Stable agrees with me. She just keeps staring at those rings. Unbelievable!"

"Also, Mission Control. We will send you the technical updates after we leave Vulcan. We'll be too busy researching and admiring the view. I don;t think you'll get many words from us after this. "

Mission Control was sent a digital package, containing 15 milibytes of pictures. They opened it and then projected the following pictures on the screen. This album was then posted all over social media where it was devoured by the public. 

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"In all, we spent two weeks orbiting Vulcan. It was some of the most beautiful moments in my life. You saw the pictures. It was......Unbelievable!" 

"We have made many scientific theories and such, but that is boring stuff to read, so we'll attach it to this voice recording."

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"After two weeks orbiting Vulcan, we decided to leave Vulcan's SOI to process all of our data collected. We put ourselves in a high orbit around Olu'um and then discovered that our transfer window back to Gaia was coming up. We adjusted our orbit enough so that we would have a good exit from Olu'um."

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"We were also dwelling on philosophical questions for example: why are red and purple and blue and green and slate in the same solar system? Maybe because when the colors, red and blue combine to form purple and green and grey form......slate maybe? In other words, the blue Telos and the red Vulcan and the green Fume and the grey Sheathe together form apart of the purple and slate and solar system? We might be exhibiting signs of space madness so don't listen to this message." 

After listening to the message, alot of KSC engineers scratched their heads and wondered whether or not the kerbonauts were mad or not. Most voted in favor of sanity.

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"Our departure burn is planned out. It seems like we have a small margin of error, no more than 400 m/s. If we mess up on this exit burn, it could mean we would need to be rescued."

"Starting up the main drive. Let's hope it doesn't burn up on us." 

"Don't worry, Ally." Stable's voice crackled through the radio, "Bill was a little too cautious about this nuclear motor. Its designed to be thrown away, so as long as it survives two more massive burns, we'll get home." 

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"The sun is just brighter than Olu'um. Not by much though. I can't wait to see the sun at its usual size and color. Out here its a large, white ball of fire." 

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"The burn is completed!" announced Stable, "We have 2,000 m/s still kicking around in the tanks. We'll get back to Kerbin, no doubt about that." 

The transit to the periKerbol went with a hitch.  They had a year and a half of travel before them, so Ally and Stable settled down for the long wait. 

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After a year and a half of waiting, the maneuver is plotted. 

"Ready for the Burn?" asked Ally.

"You bet." Stable replied. "Can't wait to be under the blue skies of Gaia!"

10 seconds later the nuclear engine fired up for the last time. 

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"Everything looks stable. We'll we returning home soon!" Stable punched the air in delight. Then a red light turned on. 

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"Um, Mission Control. We have a problem here." Beeping started to fill the cockpit. The nuclear engine began to vibrate. Red lights popped up all over the dash board. 

"STOP THE BURN!" ordered Mission Control

"No! I will finish this!" Stable resisted. 

"STOP!" 

It was too late. The nuclear drive which sustained them for so long failed. The reactor scammed, and the nuclear engine exploded. 

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There was silence. The lights went out in the cockpit. The red glow of all the red indicators provided enough evidence for what happened. 

"This is Mission Control, to Freedom 1. Do you copy? What's the damage?"

"This is Freedom. We have lost our solar panels, our batteries, our fuel, and our engine. We are stranded here, and we don't know what to do." Stable whispered the last words in shock, "We're going to die." 

"Not on our watch, Freedom 1." Mission Control promised, "We have a plan........" 

 

Will our Heroines survive long enough for a rescue mission to be attempted!? Stay tuned till next time and Happy Explosions!

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Woah - that fire planet is insane. I think I'm going to have to try a sandbox of this planet pack.

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Posted (edited)

@Alpha 360 Thank you so much for writing this, I would have never found GPO if not for this amazing mission report! I await the next part, that's quite the stopping point for a chapter.

@Gameslinx This is going to be moderately long... KSP was the first game I've ever bought, and due to me being 11 when I bought it I didn't really know what I was doing and the only thing I could play it on a was a Windows XP laptop that got 2FPS with a 4 part rocket, so most of my KSP experience early on consisted of watching other people play the game and browsing the wiki... So I never really got that "exploration" feel. I went to each and every planet knowing everything about it. BUT... Going into your planet overhaul I on purpose limited my knowledge of anything I might find, and I didn't even install KER (I might, later, though). I flew a plane around for a bit (then uninstalled KS3P because it was messing with me) and then launched a lander which would normally have enough fuel to visit The Mun and Minmus. Even as I entered orbit I did not know how many moons Gaia had! I went to the one that looked like the Mun (again, not knowing what it was called) and saw orange spots and I was like "cool, I'll check those out!" and then I got closer and realized they were oceans, maybe lava! I still haven't checked them out yet, I will do that in a second... And then I looked up in the sky and was like "That's a lot of rings" and "Wait, the moon has a moon?"

Long story short, this planet overhaul finally gave me that "Kerbal Exploration" feeling that I never got before. Thank you very much for that, this will keep me occupied for a great deal of time.

EDIT: Note to self, do not land crewed ships near the lava. RIP Bob, Bill, Val.

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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Chapter 4 - Project Valkyrie

Spoiler

@Ultimate Steve, I am glowing from your praise! Thanks for reading this series, and I hope you and all the readers will enjoy this shorter chapter.

"Alright Jeb and Val, here are the goal for the mission." Gene leaned over the table towards the two new recruits. They were twins, which explained their identical taste for spaceflight. 

 Jebediah Kerman was prone to be slightly more reckless than his sister, but he also carried a little bit more knowledge about orbital mechanics. Valentina was only slightly less reckless than Jeb,  and what she lacked in orbital mechanics, she made up for in engineering sense. 

"The Freedom is in a difficult-to-reach elliptical orbit around Kerbol. They have 250 days of supplies. You must reach them within that time scale. We believe it to be possible, because the Valkyrie has 20,000 m/s delta-v. Get to the Freedom, and come back as soon as possible. As the Valkyrie is disposable, you will just set your periGaia within the atmosphere and you're clear. Understood?"

"Understood!" They answered simultaneously. 

"Get on board the Valkyrie then, we have 30 minutes until launch." 

The twins left the room. A kerbal in a business suit entered. 

"Ah, Nylon Kerman!" Gene shook Nylon's hand. 

"Good to see you, Gene. To cut this meeting short, I'm busy you see, I have three words." He paused for dramatic effect, "I've done it!"

"The ITS!" Gene exclaimed, "If only it was so outdated, you see Nylon, we have just sent a spacecraft with 20,000 m/s of delta-v to rescue the Freedom. I just can't see how people will prefer your liquid fueled ship to our nuclear vessels."

"Have you planed to visit Duna yet?" 

"No, that's on the back-burner right now."

"I have three ITS waiting along with their boosters. A Duna window is approaching soon, and when it comes there will be a fleet of colonization vessels headed out there! With your permission to use the launchpad, of course."

"Have you tested the ITS before?"

"Yes! In fact we launched a miniature base over there as well as a rover. I'll send you the pics later."

"Did you use my launch pad."

Nylon Kerman looked sheepishly down at his shoes, "Its the only launch pad available."

"Get out of here."

"Look! I even paid you 50 million credits! Why can't I use it again!?"

"GET OUT."

"ARE YOU RESTRICTING SPACE EXPLORATION JUST BECAUSE OF YOUR STUPID PREFERENCES!" Nylon attacked back.  "ARE YOU ENDING THE DREAMS OF THE 200 COLONISTS THAT WILL SETTLE THERE!? JUST BECAUSE OF YOUR STUPID PREFERENCES!" He twisted the dagger. 

"Alright, alright, alright. You can use our launchpad." Gene grumbled cuswords underneath his breath as Nylon Kerman left with a smile on his face. 

Thirty minutes later the Valkyrie blasted off the launchpad, assisted by a pair of Mammoth engines and 3.75 meter fuel tanks. 

"The G-force is insane!" cried Jebediah.

"It'll get alot worse, Jeb." Val replied as the G-meter reached 3. 

After a nominal ascent, the last burn with the Mammoths put them into orbit. 

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"Booster Shutdown!" announced Val, "Detaching boosters."

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"Boosters detached, radiators and solar panels unfurling now. Drawing up a trajectory to reach Freedom." 

An orbit later the trajectory was plotted. 

"How massive is it?" asked Mission Control.

"4,000 m/s." answered Jeb.

"......alright." 

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"What will be the G-forces for this mission?" Jeb asked Val.

"2 gs for 4 minutes. Its going to be crushing." 

A minute later Valentina switched on the reactor, "Reactor is on, ready to fire up. We're all strapped in here, Mission Control."

"Good to know. You maybe proceed with the burn." 

"Thanks, Mission Control." Val switched off the radio. 

Together they began the count-down. 

"10!" Jeb announced.

"9!" Val took her turn.

"8!"

"7!"

"6!"

"5!"

"4!"

"3!"

"2!"

"1!"

"BLAST-OFF!" Valentine hit the throttle and the Valkyrie lurched forward. 

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"Everything looks stable." Val commented to herself.

"I can't believe we're about to leave Gaia." Jeb looked down at the blue sphere of Gaia. He looked longingly, he wanted to be back already and they had just been an hour in space. 

"Don't worry, old chap. We can do it." Val patted him on the shoulder, grimacing with the extra force required to move. 

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"Reaching Mid-point of Burn. Our trajectory has escaped Gaia's SOI."

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"Burn almost complete!" Val said. She then spoke to Jeb, "We're now the fastest kerbals alive, Jeb. 5,000 m/s while in Gaia's SOI."

"How about that." Jeb said, surprisingly unenthusiastic. He stared down 

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"BURN COMPLETE! We have a rendezvous with the Freedom!"

 

Happy Explosions! 

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Chapter 5: "Blue is the most beautiful color"

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"'You know what, Val?" Jeb asked. 

"What, Bro?" Val returned. 

"I have decided to become a poet. As we have 257 days until our rendezvous with the Freedom, I need something to occupy the time. So, I have decided to try poetry."

Val looked at him. 

Jeb looked back innocently. 

Val stared accusingly at him. 

Jeb returned with a glance of purity. 

Val's hard frown began to crack, and then she completely lost it all together. 

When she recover from her outburst she stuttered, "Poetry! Poetry! You, Jeb, are NOT a Poet. You drove away your girlfriend with your atrocious poetry."

"I meant to drive her away." Jeb replied, dead serious. "She wanted me to do things with her like eat out without you, or do other things without you. If I ever marry, I want my wife to be perfectly fine with me spending time with my twin. Don't look at me like that," He added, "You turned down a boyfriend because he disliked me." 

"And therefore, I disliked him." Val stated. 

"Alright, now would you like to listen to my poetry?"

"No."

"Please?" Jeb looked patronizingly at her. 

"No." 

"Please?" Jeb's face turned more grave. 

"No." 

"Do you like my poetry?" Jeb thrust up his lower lip, sadly.

"No." Valentina replied for the third time flatly. 

"Then you don't like me?" Jeb sniffed.

Val whipped her head back and laughed, "Bro, you do know how to make me laugh. I'm glad you went to drama school after all, it made you hilarious."

"So, are you sure that you don't want to hear my poetry?" 

Val shrugged, "Fine. Read your poetry." 

Jeb moved over to a desk in the wall and then opened the laptop. A word document opened up, with the words, "My 23rd Attempt At Poetry". 

Jeb coughed, and then read in a dramatic voice,

Ashes to Ashes,

Dust to Dust,

Everyone said something

so I reckon I must

Val stared at Jeb for a moment, then she said, "Plagiarist"

Jeb looked offended at her, "No. I'm not plagiarizing! See at the end of 'something'. There used to be a comma there. I removed it. This means that this is an original work." 

"Really Jeb." Val shook her head.

"I was kidding Val. This is what I plan to say when we dock to the Freedom." Jeb coughed once more, and then started reading dramatically, 

No need to fear

For Jeb is here!

"That's it?" Val looked quizzically at Jeb.

"What! I've been working on this for the last 6 hours! The entire day!" 

"Surely this is not the only poem of your....labors."

"No it isn't." Jeb stuck his lower lip up again. 

"Read your other poem." Val teased, "Maybe it will be shorter than your other one." 

"No. Its longer." Jeb deleted that poem and then pulled up another word document. On it said, "Poetry attempt number 24." 

Jeb in grey 

has come to save the day

"I'm disappointed, Jeb." 

"WHAT! You do not like my hard work! Here's another poem."

Hey Sis

What do you think about this?

Val shook her head sadly. "You spent 6 hours and you came up with three poems, each two lines long, and successfully plagiarized another poem. That is a lot of time wasted."

 "I need to waste time. There's plenty of time to waste." Jeb thought a second and then he brightened up, "I know what I can do! I'll be an author!" 

Mercy closes the curtain on the intercourse afterwards. Anyway, the Valkyrie moves on and reaches the first maneuver node.

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"In 7 seconds, we will start the engine." Val announced to Mission Control

"7 seconds after you said that sentence, or 7 seconds when you said....." Jeb attempted to clarify, but was cut off by Val's scream, "FIRE!" 

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The nuclear engine fired up and the Valkyrie moved closer to its goal. 

At the end of the maneuver, Val looked at the closest approach. 

"Bro, our original intercept was 6.6 kilometers, now its 40 kilometers and we have expended 1,200 m/s and we are going to arrive later than expected."

"Val, Val, Val." Jeb repeated, "Val, listen to me. This isn't a big deal."

"I'm not making a big deal about it." Val glanced a query at Jeb. He remained impassive. 

"Val, listen to these two words." He took a breath, "Orbital Mechanics." 

Val stared at him disapprovingly. 

Jeb stared back soothingly. 

"I know Orbital Mechanics." Val replied exasperated. 

"Then you will understand what I am about to tell you."

Jeb launched into a monologue, "You see, the way our orbits were aligned, we had a high inclination and our orbits were out of sync. It was a freak accident, and the way our orbits worked, we couldn't have gotten it any closer. We changed our orbit to place our inclination node right where the intercept is, so that we don't have to equalize our inclination at the lowest point in our orbit. That would have been a waste of delta-v. Secondly, we synced our orbits so that it would be possible to play with our radial in and out nodes in order to get a closer intercept. Before hand...."

"Blah blah blah blah! I get it." Val shoved herself away from Jebediah. 

"Val, are you angry with me?" Jeb put on his innocent face once more. 

"That look, that look is getting very old, Bro. VERY OLD." Val then proceeded to the opposite side of the massive cockpit. 

Thirty days after the first burn, there was a second burn. At the end of that, the intercept distance was 20 kilometers. Thirty days after the second burn, a third burn was preformed. Now the intercept distance was down to 6.5 kilometers at a relative speed of........3,129 m/s. 

"Val, we are about to preform the hardest rendezvous in history. We are about to wipe off the same amount of velocity which took us to orbit. I can't believe the speeds we have accumulated. Its insane."

"You're insane." Val answered back irritated, "Why do you always have to do something. You aren't coming down with hyperactivity, are you?"

"No! Why do you call me those things?" Jeb asked surprised. 

"Jeb, you have literally not stopped talking. You have even talked in your sleep. You have also written at least a hundred of your terrible poems and sent them back to Kerbin. You have at least a dozen drafts of half-a-dozen novels you started and never finished. You have kept yourself busy all the time we have been gone." 

Something snapped inside Jeb. He strapped himself into a chair and sniffed. Val looked unconvinced.

He turned around, tears floating in his eyes, "Val. You know why I keep busy?" He didn't wait for Val to answer, "Val, we are floating in a tin can, flying faster than any kerbal alive AWAY from Gaia. There's a reason its called Gaia. Its paradise. I keep busy, I try to make you and myself laugh, but I long, yes I long for Gaia. I'm homesick. I know you aren't, but everything I have known and loved is back there. I just can't face it. What if we don;t come back. What if we die along with the Freedom 1's crew? What if....what if."

Tears floated away from Jeb's cheeks. Val felt a tumult of emotions inside her as well. She pushed herself over to Jeb and hugged him, her eyes also filling with tears. 

"I know, Jeb. I know I've been a little hard on you, but that's how I dealt with the stress. I don't understand why they picked us. We literally were almost thrown out by our scores on homesickness, but they kept us on. They are testing us Jeb, lets not give in and lose. Let's live up to their expectations, shall we?"

Jeb nodded slowly, "Thanks, Sis. I don't know what I would do without you." 

Val smiled a little, and hugged Jeb a little tighter, "Same here, Bro. We...we must be each other's anchor. We must keep each other in reality." 

Val released Jeb. Jeb wiped his arm across his face and then breathed in deeply.

"I just want to see blue again." Jeb say cryptically. 

10 days later the rendezvous burn was about to begin.  

"In 3!" Jeb bellowed. 

"In 2!" Val screamed. 

In 1!" Jeb yelled. 

"FIRE!" Val hit the red button. The nuclear engine pushed them back into their seats as it churned out 2 gs of thrust. 

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"This engine is powerful!" Jeb yelled over the vibration of the ship."

"Yes it is!" Val affirmed. "Its funny you didn't notice it when we left Gaia." Jeb did not answer.

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"It looks like our rendezvous is going good. Just throttling the engine up and down to make sure we don't stop too soon." Val said. 

A little over a minute later the Freedom came into visual range. 

"Oh my gosh." Val gasped as she saw the ruined remains of the freedom. 

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"There's almost nothing left of it." Val continued. 

The Valkyrie stopped about 100 meters away from the Freedom. Val put a little bit of thrust towards the Freedom. 

"How are we going to dock to the Freedom?" She asked, "We aren't receiving any contact from it. I hope nothing bad happened." She looked over to see no Jeb. She unstrapped herself and then pushed herself over where Jeb used to sit. 

Everything looked to be in its original place. A note stuck to the wall read, "I'm going to greet the gals in the Freedom, which is garbage."

Val took the note off the wall and shook her head. Why did Jeb attempt at rhyme in every single note he wrote? She didn't know. 

Anyway, Jeb was half-way to the Freedom. After a little while he grabbed onto the ladder of the command pod. 

He knocked on the command pod. No one answered. He moved to a greenhouse, and then bust open the door with a crowbar he brought. Everything was sucked out, but luckily no kerbals came out along with the plants. He then moved into the greenhouse and shut the door. After looking around in the dark, he found a re-pressurization button. 

He pushed the button and air rushed back into the greenhouse. He waited five minutes, and then unscrewed his helmet. He breathed in a massive breath. The air smelt cold and musty. The lights flickered back on. Jeb then pushed himself to a door in the wall. He opened it and then entered. 

He entered an old command-pod model. The Freedom was the best tech of its day, but no longer. A sleeping kerbal sat in the command pod, strapped into the captain's seat. 

Jeb coughed, and then he announced, "No need to fear for Jeb is here!" 

He waited for the results expectantly. 

The kerbette shook herself and then turned to look at him. 

Everything about her looked tired and exhausted. Jeb felt his heart go out to the poor crew member of the Freedom. 

"I'm Jeb, I came with the Valkyrie to come and rescue you. I just need to get the ship up and running in order to start docking." He smiled at her. 

"Nothing works." She shook her mangy hair, "Nothing, electrical charge is all gone. We're running on the reserves, but we don't have nearly enough to last a few more minutes." 

She spoke in a monotone voice, exhausted beyond recognition. 

"Where's your other crew member?" Jeb asked anxiously. 

"She's sleeping in the green house below the one you came in." the kerbette replied in the same toneless voice. 

"Aren't you Stable Kerman?" Jeb asked, struggling to keep the conversation going. 

"I used to be called Stable. I used to be a pilot. Now I am just another kerbette attempting to survive in an electrical starved spacecraft. I've been here for 7 long years, and I can hardly remember what Gaia looked like."

Jeb felt tears coming to his eyes. Stable almost forgotten the blue skies and the rings of Gaia, and here she was still living. He would have died, rather than forget Gaia.

"I don't know if I want to go there. The Freedom has been my home." Stable slowly looked over the dimly flashing red lights covering the pair of consoles. 

Jeb strapped himself into the seat next to Stable. He looked into Stable's once stunning face sadly. She once had a life outside of the space program. Now her life was in space, literary.

"Stable, you want to go home. You want to see the blue sky of Gaia. You want to see the rings of Gaia floating above your head, ah so beautiful." Stable stared back at Jeb, not fully comprehending the words. 

"Blue? What is blue? The only colors are grey, green, yellow and red." She reached back two years in the past in her memory, and then added, "and purple." 

"Blue is the most beautiful color in the universe." Jeb looked around to find an example of the color. There was none. 

"Blue is the color of water, the color of an atmosphere." Jeb looked into Stable's eyes, and then grinned as he said, "Blue is the color of your eyes." 

Stable rubbed her face, and then looked in the window. Her green reflection stared back with blue eyes. 

She smiled, and then laughed, "That's what blue looks like! Its....so beautiful."

Memories flooded back to her. Memories of a blue planet. Memories of a blue sky. 

She started the cry, memories of her parents flashed before her eyes. Memories of family and friends. Memories of tearful good-byes, for she didn't know when she was coming back.

"Stable, I'm sorry." Jeb apologized, seeing the tears in her eyes. 

"Whatever your name is," Stable smiled weakly as she blinked away tears, "Don't feel bad. These....these are happy tears." A fresh burst of them gushed out of her eyes. 

Jeb smiled warmly, "Stable. The Valkyrie is waiting to dock. We need to be orientated correctly for the docking to occur. Can you do that?" 

Stable nodded, and then wiped her eyes. 

She set the Valkyrie as her target and then moved in with the Freedom's RCS. It didn't take 10 minutes before the two ships were joined.

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After a few days of being docked, Stable moved into the Valkyrie. Ally Kerman was in a comma in the greenhouse. Val moved her over to the freedom and put her in a medical facility on-board. 

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Stable watched the inert form of Ally strapped to the bed. 

"Will she be alright?" she asked Val.

"Don't worry Stable," Val smiled reassuringly, "Everything will be alright."

Stable nodded her head and then retreated around to the other side of the cockpit. 

Finally Jeb set up a maneuver which put them on an encounter with Gaia. 

"Val! I got it! We can get back to Gaia now!" 

"Yippee!" Val and Jeb hugged in the zero-g. 

Stable floated near-by with a smile on her face. It was time to go home now. Time to see blue once more. 

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An undocumented year later, and they reached Gaia's SOI.

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"Its beautiful." The four of them stared out of the massive windows of their cockpit at the sight. Gaia spun above them. Its rings and moons perpetually in motion. 

"Its home.Oh its home alright." Jeb said. 

Stable smiled at Jeb's remark. 

"Oh, Jeb." She looked over at Jeb. Val felt uncomfortable, as she was between Stable and Jeb. 

'No' she thought to herself, 'not Jeb'

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Three days later they prepared to enter Gaia's atmosphere.

"Its so blue!" Stable exclaimed. "So beautiful." Jeb embraced her. 

They floated in the cockpit for a few moments, then Val entered.  

"Oh....." she said shocked. Jeb and Stable quickly disengaged and sat back in their seats blushing. 

No more incidents occurred on that voyage after that. The Valkyrie flipped around and burned full throttle, wiping off orbital speed in a minute. 

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They didn't entire wipe their speed though, just so they would have horizontal velocity which would allow them to pull the chutes before they crashed. 

"Good-job Valkyrie." Val patted the side of the spacecraft. 

Jeb also patted the wall behind them. 

"Time to detach." The Valkyrie's CM detached from the spacecraft, on course with Gaia's atmosphere. 

Then they hit the atmosphere. It shoved them all back in their seats, groaning as the gs rose ever higher. 

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"Hello gravity." Stable said, grimacing. 

"It'll hopefully not be as bad on the surface." Jeb said. 

Val glanced over at the two of them and wondered if she finally lost her brother. It made her almost cry.

They dropped below the upper atmosphere. Then a few seconds later the chutes pulled. 

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The sun was just rising over the horizon. The orange horizon stared back at them. 

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Gaia's rings floated above their heads, providing one of the most beautiful backdrops known to kerbal kind. 

Everyone waited breathless for the moment when they splash-downed. 

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"SPLASH-DOWN!" they all cried when the cockpit hit the ocean. Stable gazed all around her and saw blue. The blue sea glittered with the early morning sunlight. The outer rings flashed with the color, flashed with the color of life. 

"What a beautiful color." Jeb said, gazing around at the sea.

"Its not only beautiful, Jeb." Stable replied, "Blue is the most beautiful color." 

 

Spoiler

I know its a jam packed chapter, but its the finale. Anyway, would you guys like this style, except strung out over the rest of the series? Comment below and tell me your opinion. 

End Voyage Extraordinaire!

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I loved it. Great style, poignant ending...good work! :)

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Chapter 6 - "K - Prize Challenge"

Spoiler

This is a challenge I have decided to take up for an orbital SSTO. I'm sorry for the lateness, but I couldn't decide on what to do. In fact I have spent at least 4 hours un-doing things that I didn't want done in the first place. 

Anyway, @boolybooly, I hope this counts!

"Jeb, we have an SSTO we would like you to try out." Gene announced. 

"Sure! I'll take a shot at it." Jeb looked through the file Gene handed to him over the desk. After glancing through, he picked up one sheet of paper and then examined it.

"What is this mission?" asked Jeb.

"The mission is a complex crew training operation. We have given your 220 days of supplies and 11 trainees. The goal is to get everyone top level by visiting all of moons of Gaia. Including yourself." Gene added. 

Jeb frowned, but shrugged, "Alright Gene. Can I take a companion?" 

"Sure. But only one. We need to maximize the amount of crew which level up."

"Why didn't you chose one of the returning heroes to lead the mission, or Val?" Jeb insisted. 

Gene walked over to Jeb and put his hand on his shoulder, "Jeb. The reason I want you out there, is so that I have someone out there. Unfortunately, the space program has been dividing up. There are three major factions right now. My faction, which calls for space exploration on a major scale. Missions to all the planetary bodies. Then, there is Mortimer's faction which calls for extensive colonization of the Gaian SOI. They will have a lot of supporters on this mission. Finally, there is a group of kerbals under Nylon Kerman who want to colonize Niebos, Telos, and Sonus. They want massive spacecraft sent to those planetary bodies in fleets to start colonization."

"The problem is that there is only one launch pad, which I have personal control over. Mortimer Kerman has control over the funds, and Nylon over public support. We have to work together, but since our agendas are difference, there's a lot of shoving going on. I can trust you being on my side, right?"

Jeb nodded slowly, "Alright. I'm on your side. But why not Val, she's in favor of space exploration, isn't she?" Jeb frowned. 

Gene sighed, "She signed up on a roster of people who want to colonize Sonus." 

Jeb looked flabbergasted, "Why! I mean, why would she do this without telling me!" 

"You can't trust even your closest friends nowadays." Gene whispered in his ear, "Trust no one. The only person you can trust is me, or yourself. Understood, Jeb?"

Jeb drew away a little, but replied, "Understood, captain."

"Do not call me that again. I left the military far behind me when I entered the space program. If you call me captain, I will have to call you sarg. Dismissed." Gene turned around and faced a large screen. This screen documented all of the transfer windows in the solar system. A transfer window to Sonus approached. If Jeb got back after the Munar-5 mission before the launch, he probably would get on it. If not, then a fully Nylon-sympathetic crew would head over there. 

He heard Jeb's boots clomp out of the room. Jeb was his most solid contact, having been his commander in previous wars. The list didn't extend much farther beyond that. Only 5 or 6 more kerbonauts were sympathetic, and not to a point of loyalty. Gus and Werhner were his though. That was worth something. 

He picked up his phone and dialed to Werhner. After a minute a heavy accent confronted him, "Ah, Gene." Werhner drawled. 

"Werhner, I must tell you I'm in a hole right now. Public opinion about exploration is dropping and the funds are becoming a little but more restricting. I need you to focus on a technology that requires exploration of all the planets." 

"Gene, I must tell you something." The heavy voice crawled through the phone. "I might be on your side, but I will not make up ANYTHING."

"I'm not asking you to. What technologies would require visiting the non-habitable planets?"

Werhner thought for a minute, and then drawled, "I think.....there are hypothesizes about planetary information. We could suggest a mission to visit all of the planets in the solar system and take surface samples. I think for some of the larger planets we will have to take multiple surface samples from different biomes. It will take some time to elaborate on this theory, but expect it in the next 200 days. Good-bye Gene." Gene put the phone down and started to pace. It looked like in two hundreds days, a lot of things were going to clash. Only the best prepared would win. 

Anyway, the Munar-5 mission would only occur after the SSTO mission. As that is the primary focus of this chapter, let us skip ahead to when Jeb is sitting down in the cockpit of the SSTO, Chris Kraft. 

"Why did you name it, "Chris Kraft?" 

"Oh, I was looking through some things, and this great science fiction author wrote a book called, "Failure isn't an option". One of the main characters in it was the first flight director, and his name was Chris Kraft. I decided to name the SSTO after that guy." Jeb explained. 

"Alright." Debney Kerman shrugged his shoulders. He remembered back in the day when they were the closest of friends, only Jeb was superior in most things. Including nerve for Debney's knees knocked together as Jeb throttled the engines up while engaging the brakes. 

"Its so that they can spool up and help us use this runway to its full capacity." Jeb explained further. 

Debney nodded his head, staring straight forward as the rumble of the whiplash engines reached fever-pitch. 

"Come on, Debney. Nothing will go wrong." Jeb grinned as he disengaged the brakes. 

Debney was flung backwards into his seat as the Chris Kraft rocketed forward. 

"YIPPEE!" Jebediah screamed in delight. 

"ARRGGHHH!" Debney also scream, but in an entirely different reason. They now were 2/3 down the runway and had only reached 70 m/s.

"Why aren't we lifting off right now!" Debney yelled over the clamber of the wheels bouncing unsteadily down the ever shrinking runway. 

"We're at 4,000 meters above sea level! The air is much thinner than down below us so our take-off speed is also much different. This runway is designed for sea level activity so its much shorter than it needs to be!" Jeb replied. 

Then they reached the end of the runway. 

"COME ON!" Jeb grinned ear to ear as the SSTO pointed nearly vertical and just missed slamming into the ground. 

"ARRGGHHH!" Debney repeated, and then threw up in a disposable baggy. 

The SSTO by then crested the ridge of the mountain and preceded to gain speed.

"We have reached Mach 1!" Jeb announced. 

"Why did I sign onto this mission?" 

"Everything alright, Debney?" Jeb asked concerned as the SSTO hit Mach 1.3. 

"Y-y-y-e-e-s-s. E-e-v-e-e-r-r-y-t-h-i-n-g i-s f-f-f-f-i-n-e." 

Debney had covered his eyes and ears with his hands to block out reality. It didn't work very well for when the flames started to appear on the outside of the spacecraft, Debney temporarily lost it. 

"ARRGGGHHH! WE'RE ON FIRE!" he screamed in terror, his eyes bulging. 

"We're supposed to be burning through the atmosphere. If not, then we wouldn't have been going fast enough." 

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Debney was suddenly slammed into his seat as the vector engine blasted the SSTO up higher into space. The spacecraft jerked around, and finally Debney's nerves got the better of him as he fell unconscious. 

"Poor fellow. Too bad he didn't enjoy the fun." Jeb looked ruefully at his passenger's limp body floating loosely in his straps. 

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They then coasted up to a sutiable altitude to begin the final orbital insertion. 

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"And SHUTDOWN!" Jeb punched the air as Debney came awake at this outburst.

"What happened?" He asked, his glance darting all around him.

"My friend, we are in orbit!" 

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"Is that a good thing?" 

"Debney, you have no idea how much of a good thing that is." Jeb looked over to see the engineer retching. 

"Oh, is your stomach bothering you?"

"This journey is bothering me."

"I can't hear you, Debney, what are you saying?" Jeb inquired with a thoughtful look. 

"Yes, my stomach is bothering me."

"Could you still speak up? I can't hear much after the Vector stopped firing." Jeb placed a finger in his ear and scooped out some gunk. 

Debney's face returned to the waste bag. 

Finally after a few minutes, Debney recovered and placed the now-full waste bag in the waste locker. 

"Why did you come up here if your stomach is so....unsteady?" Jeb asked. 

"I work with Mortimer." Debney said, "You see, an SSTO is very valuable asset because of its re-usability. It can launch and land repeatedly without much refurnishing like a SSTO rocket. Such an SSTO like the Chris Kraft would be invaluable for colonization of the Gol, Olei, and Gullis and their moonlets. By the way, who do you work for?" 

"Um. I work with Gene Kerman." Jeb made a little grin. 

"Oh, Gene. He keeps holding on to the spirit of exploration even when there is no need for it." Debney commented. 

"Okay....." Jeb looked sideways at Debney, a frown forming on his face. 

"Yes. The world doesn't need explorers or pioneers. The world needs colonists to stretch the reach of kerbal kind. An explorer plants a flag, then leaves. A pioneer suffers in silence in cramped and uncomfortable conditions, but colonists strive to make their place bigger and therefore better." 

"Alright....." Jeb answered coolly. 

"Surely Jeb, you can't feel uninterested in colonization." 

"Um....Well colonization only happens to near-by places." Jeb answered trufully. 

"There is no need to go any further. We can stay content with whatever valley, or crater, or lava tube we can live on. Also there is the prospect of money. Exploration missions delivers very little funding, while with colonization one can make bucket loads." 

"Well.....I need to plot the maneuver node back to Gaia." Jeb cut off the subject, slightly disturbed. 

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"The funny thing about the Chris Kraft is that there is at least 12,000 m/s delta-v left in liquid fuel." Jeb commented later on, "The designers could cut down the liquid fuel to oxidizer ratio by so much. Once we get down landing at the KSC, then this SSTO could carry much more to orbit."

"Yes." Debney replied, "I'll be sure to mention it to the engineers." Debney Kerman felt uncomfortable, remembering Mortimer's words about Gene's supporters. 

"Just imagine them as conservatives. They dislike the change in objective, from exploration to colonization. I admit its a large jump in focus, but Gene's workers are inflexible, unwilling to change with the times. Such an attitude like that decreases efficiency and productivity." Mortimer had said. 

Debney was uncomfortably drawn back to the present by the vector engine slamming him into his seat.

Ten minutes later and the Chris Kraft hit the atmosphere.

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"I think we're going to overshot the KSC." Jeb said. "Well, live and you learn." 

"Yes." Debney replied, starting to feel sickly once more. 

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After an interesting reentry, where Debney's focus was mostly about how small the plastic bag was, they overshot the KSC wildly. 

"Glad we packed the extra fuel." Jeb changed his tune quickly. 

"Yes, Of course."

The Chris Kraft withheld reentry quite well, only losing control once when Jeb tried to do a dive to reach KSC's from the west. The SSTO tumbled and Debney promptly fell unconscious after hitting his head on the ceiling. Jeb stayed calm and finally reached sonic velocities. 

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"We have a long journey back, Debney." He commented. Debeny still was unconscious, and a large red lump was growing on his head. 

To cut the 15 minute long flight back to KSC short, they managed to land safely without any damage what-so ever. 

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"Mission Successful!" Jeb yelled in delight.

"Yes, I believe we have." 

Spoiler

I think this counts as an Advanced Pilot Precision Award for landing back on the runway, granted I nearly ran out of liquid fuel getting back. Please tell me if it doesn't, and I'll retry this privately and send it to you, @boolybooly.

Happy Explosions!

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Chapter 7: The Fate of Munar-5 P1

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"Ready to launch in 3. 2. 1. Lift-off!" 

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Jeb felt the thrill of the rocket launch fill him. Beside him Stable was strapped into the co-pilot's seat. 

"Yippee!" She cried out in glee at feeling greater than 1 g again. 

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"What were those explosions?" asked Orbee Kerman, an engineer. 

"Nothing serious." Jeb replied. "Just the solid rocket boosters colliding with the main fuel tank." 

"I can't believe I'm on a rocket!" Bob Kerman cried out, seated on Jeb's left. 

"Um....didn't you sign up so that you could get on a rocket?" asked Jeb puzzled, rubbing his ears after Bob's outburst.

"I'm a scientist! I expected to stay on the ground, but when this opportunity came up, I took it." Bob replied.

There was a brief silence while Jeb activated the next stage. 

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Then Orbee asked, "Um.. will be out of the atmosphere when we fire the nuclear drive?"

"Yes, we should be." Jeb felt his patience slowly wearing away. 

"Jeb, I assume that the funds from the first stage and second stages will be wasted?" asked a fellow in glasses. 

"Yes, we have almost infinite resources to draw from." 

"Still....shouldn't there be an effort to work towards reusablity?"

"That will be a waste of time." Jeb answered crisply. 

"How are you so sure?" 

Before Jeb could answer, the fuel tank on the Rhino stage ran out of fuel. 

After fumbling with the controls for a few seconds, the nuclear engines turned on. 

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"We're still in the atmosphere and the nuclear engine is firing. Won't there be nuclear fallout over some of Gaia?" 

"I wouldn't think so." Jeb said. 

He looked back at his displays and quickly shut down the engine. 

Suddenly warning alarms blared. He glanced at the displays showing schematics of the pair of nuclear generators on board. They were both reaching max temperature. He hurriedly turned down both of the generators to a 10th power output and activated the radiators. 

He looked sideways at Stable, who was engaged in conversation with the guy in glasses. He wiped the sweat off his face, and then adjusted the stupidly hot air-conditioning. 

"Wow! That's cold." Bob winced. Jeb fiddled with the buttons and succeeded in dumping a bucketful of burning air on himself. 

Jeb grumbled a few words underneath his breath as he preceded to ascertain what happened. Stable still was engaged in conversation with Glasses. 

After pushing a few random buttons the air-conditioning problem was solved. 

"I'm heading down to the hydroponics bay." Jeb said to Stable. 

"Alright, I might come later." she said. Jeb nodded and then descended down to the hydroponics bay. 

After lounging around the plants for a few minutes Stable climbed down the ladder into the bay. 

"What's up?" She asked.

"Cooling down. I was really stressed out with that launch." Jeb replied. "Not just with the talkative newbs. Have you heard of the....fracturing of KASA?"

"Yes. It's not a big deal or anything." Stable said hastily. "Every precedes like business. It doesn't effect us." 

"Us?" Jeb was taken off guard by the pronoun. 

"Jeb. Tell me the feelings I feel for you are mutual." She smiled. 

"Um...yes." Jeb answered, taken further off guard. 

"Jeb, no matter what organizational nightmares happen or even if KASA disbands, I'll be on your side." 

If only Val could say this, Jeb thought. If only Val could stand with him here on the Tutor. If only she wasn't training for the Sonus mission in the near future instead of riding to all of the munar bodies. 

Stable embraced the preoccupied Jeb. They floated again for some moments, and then a loud bang woke the two lovers. 

They quickly left each other's embrace and preceded to mimic looking at the leafy greens which carpeted the walls. Jeb glanced at the hatch, where Bob was floating. He was looking in the reflection of a window at a large red lump on his forehead. 

"Um..what happened?" Jeb asked. To say he was clearheaded would have been absurdly incorrect. 

"Oh...I came in a hurry and then discovered that metal really does hurt the head." Bob winced again as he attempted to scratch his head. "Blast Kerbal Anatomy."

"Bob?" Jeb asked, trying to pick up Bob's voice. 

"Oh I said 'Blast Kerbal Anatomy." 

"Why?" 

Stable rolled her eyes behind Jeb's back. He could still be dimwitted. 

"My head throbs something dreadful. Anyway, we got a message from mission control. The mining rig is coming in to dock in 20 minutes."  

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"Alright. I'll be there."

Spoiler

Sorry for the long delay. I needed to slog through the story outline and all that jazz, as well as the fact I could never decide on how to build the Tutor. I must have launched at least 3 craft by the name of Tutor, all of which had to be terminated. 

Happy Explosions!

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