RocketSquid

Seeking Prometheus: Now with 180% more kerbals!

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So, by this point I suspect everyone has forgotten about For Science, but that save is more or less a museum piece at this point. I have made a new install, on a new computer, with a similarly dizzying array of mods, and begun production of a brand new, somewhat more story-heavy story. Enjoy.

Prometheus, they say, brought god's fire down to man

And we've caught it, tamed it, trained it since our history began

Now we're going back to heaven just to look him in the eye

And there's a thunder 'cross the land and a fire in the sky.

-Jordin Kare

 

Chapter 1: The Tale of Muniy I

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"Engines?"

"Chek"

"Guidance?"

"Chek"

"Comms?"

"Chek"

"Am I forgetting anything?"

"Don't think so"

"Alright, Muniy I is cleared to launch. I'll start the countdown now."

"T minus ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, liftoff"

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"That's the circularization finished. Jeb, grab the MEM." said Bob

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"Just swing it around like so..." Said Jebediah

"JEB! WE NEED THAT ANTENNA!" Bellowed Bill, spitting on the microphone.

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"Relax, Bill. I didn't hit anything important." 

"Are you sure it's locked on correctly?" 

"Extremely sure"

"Alright then, next stop, Munar orbit!" 

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"Ugh, why does it have to take so long to get to the Mun?"

"Jeb, it's been two hours"

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"They really gave us too much rocket on this one, I haven't had to touch the Service Module yet"

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"Whoah" said three voices in unison

"I'd better get the MEM warmed up" said Jeb.

"I may as well get in now" said Bob

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"Are you doing alright, Bob?"

"Yeah, fine, why?"

"Because that was the gentle bit"

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"It's really dark. Any idea where we are relative to the anomaly?" asked Jeb

"No clue, they didn't include a proper scanner." replied Bob

"Guess I'll have to look around."

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"I don't see anything"

"Oh karp, the thruster isn't...kzzzht"

"Jeb? Jeb? Are you still there?" Bob whirled around to look through the viewport, but saw only a cloud of dust. Jebediah had vanished entirely."

Bob climbed out and loaded the science into the capsule before walking away from the capsule, and planting a flag with unnecessary force.

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"How dare you, you stupid rock!"

He felt a tremor, and ran, terrified, back to the MEM.

"Come on, orbit, orbit, where's the button for orbit"

"Ascent autopilot, got it"

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"Out of fuel? How can it be out of fuel? It's supposed to be able to make it back!"

"Maybe if I use the RCS fuel?"

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"Still not enough, I need to get home somehow. I can't go back there"

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"It's not enough, oh god, I'm going to die up here, and the whole mission will have been for nothing"

"Bob? Is that you?"

"Bill! Bill! Oh thank god, you've found me. Mun is haunted."

"What?"

"It ate Jebediah!"

"Look, I'm guiding the ship towards you, can you grab on?"

"Sure, you know what, I can explain on the way home."

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"So he just vanished?"

"He crashed into the ground at a speed that should've been survivable, he tumbled a bit, and then he vanished"

"Did it have something to do with the anomaly?"

"Maybe. All I know is that I'm never going back there."

"Don't worry, buddy, we're almost home"

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So yeah, Jeb got spaghettified while I was trying to find an anomaly. My quicksave was far enough in the past that I decided to roll with it for the story. On the bright side, he didn't suffer any of the negative side health effects of being cramped into a tiny capsule with grossly inadequate radiation shielding, but on the dim side he didn't get experience so I'll have to send him back up on a later flight. 

Edited by RocketSquid
Title change

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Chapter 2: Muniy, Take II:

Some thirteen kerbals clustered around the revivification chamber. Creating an entirely new body would take weeks, and would need to be monitored by a team of scientists the entire time; but they'd long ago learned to keep a spare body for Jebediah at the ready. With this, his thirty-third revivification, he had died more than any other kerbal to date.

The tank slid open, and Jebediah crawled out, looking good as new.

"Happy Birthday!" Shouted the gathered guests

Jeb blinked and rubbed his eyes. "How long was I out? What killed me this time?"

"Just vun day. Ve haff gotten the revivicators vorking at maximum theoretical efficiency."

"A...and I don't really kn... know what killed y... you. You j... just... popped." said the nervous voice from the comm panel.

Jeb grabbed the nearby kPad and logged in.

"I'll just put it down as 'Mun Ghost'"

"Why do you have a spreadsheet for this?"

"Well, Val, I take pride in my accomplishments."

"Anyways, Jeb, in a couple days, you get another shot at landing safely on the Mun. You should get ready."


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Muniy II sat on the pad, securely held by eight clamps around the base.

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Jebediah sat in the front seat, with relative newbies Maclas and Ircas flanking him.

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With a furious roar, the M1 rocket leapt for the sky.

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The array of... a few dozen? engines shot it skyward, munward.

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The verniers guided the rocket through the upper atmosphere.

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"Yikes!"

"Don't worry, it's just the old stage. If there was a real problem we'd have exploded already!"

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"Almost in orbit"

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"And done. Now I'll just remote control the lander"

"They've automated it"

"Phooey"

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"Alright, to the Mun we go!"

"Can you... ugh... not spin so fast? I'm... ugh... getting sick" said Maclas

"Sorry!"

"Say, how is this ship still connected to the launch vehicle?" said Ircas

"You're the engineer here, I just fly the ship"


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"So, Maclas, you got that checklist?"

"Yeah, right here. Not much on it. The whole craft was built for reliability, and neither of us could fix it even if we found something. Ircas gave it a look-over while we were still docked to the CSM."

"I just want to be sure, is all."

"What happened to the reckless Jeb, the one who crashed a plane while giving an orientation?"

"This is my last chance at a Mun mission. If I screw this up, or if anything screws this up, I don't get another chance at it. Gene already had to pull the strings."

Maclas didn't really have anything to say to that.

"Hmm, I don't like these coordinates"

"Why not?"

"Well, first of all, it isn't near anything useful. There's an anomaly to the north, but it's too far away for us to investigate. And second, just look at the slope map"

"Oh, yikes."

"We'd slide, what, a kilometer into the crater, and the lander would end up on its side."

"Can we change the coordinates?"

"I think the manual's over by you"

"Hmm, 'Anatid Robotics Mechanical Jeb System Version 2.18 Operations Manual'"

"Of course"

"What's wrong, Jeb?"

"Do you know what it feels like to live in the shadow of a giant for your entire life, and to be reminded of that fact at every turn, whenever you see the manufacturer's logo on a fuel tank, or read up on kerbal history, or look at... well, the exact style of facial hair you're currently wearing?"

"Well... no, not exactly." said Maclas, self-consciously twiddling with his mustache.

"On the plus side, I think I have an idea of how this system works now"

"Landing site change: Confirmed. New coordinates now onscreen"

"God, they even copied his voice."

"Well it could be worse..." ventured Maclas

"Oh, really, how?"

"They could've copied his volume."

There was a pause. And then, without warning, Jebediah burst into laughter.

"They really couldn't, it would break the whole ship!"

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"Oh, we're burning"

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"The landing site changed definitely worked"

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"This path feels risky."

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"Relax, the new site should be flat enough to build a base on"

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"Welp, time to have a look around."

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"Wait, is this thing on?"

"I think you just used up the film"

"Well krud"

"Just plant the flag and take the surface sample so we can get home"

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"You got the science?"

"Yeah, of course."

"Then let's go"

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"Lower tanks depleted, time to get rid of the stage"

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"Now we need to get on a rendezvous track"

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"Just need to wait"

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"Do we just ditch the lander here?"

"That's what the checklist says, but we could probably bring it back with us."

"Ehh, nah. It's done its job. It can stay."

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"They really gave us too much launch vehicle."

"Yeah."

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"We can actually shed almost all of our velocity"

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"Wow, yeah"

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"We're really falling now"

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"I... I did it! I... I landed to the Mun, and I left a flag. I'm... I guess technically the first and third? Fourth? Kerbal on the mun."

"And I think we have enough science for the next stage of Munar exploration!"

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Welp, I'm back with another chapter, and I've finally remembered how to write. Hooray!

Also, there's been a bit of a time skip, because frankly I didn't want to edit all the Muniy mission images, and I'm not sure anyone else wants to see what was essentially the same mission three times.

Chapter 3: Citizen Kane (pronounced 'khan-ay'):

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The mood in the Muniy VII was tense.

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Neilwig looked at the other two kerbals in the Kane capsule. Shepbree, the pilot, and Lagerbrett, the engineer. They both had a look of mild concern on their faces.

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Unlike its predecessors, this mission didn't carry a lander or any substantial station components, and could thus afford a smaller launch vehicle, if such a term could even be applied to the K-1A. 

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Shepbree breathed a sigh of relief as the Sverdstav second stage cut out. Even if everything else failed, they wouldn't plunge into the ocean. The next step was moving into orbital configuration.

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After splitting from the launch vehicle and ejecting the LES, they had to turn the ship about and dock with the crew module. In addition to giving them more living space, this helped test the new Docking Port Alignment Indicator software in a safe environment.

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Once the docking procedures were complete, Neilwig slid over into the OM. 

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The sunrise reminded Shepbree to deploy the service module's solar panels.

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He gleefully plotted the transfer burn while the other kerbals admired the brilliant blue-green planet below them.

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After completing the rather uncomfortable eyeballs-out burn, Lagerbrett slid into the OM as well, since the seats were rather more comfortable. Shepbree had to stay in the pod to keep the craft under control.

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Before long, the Mun loomed large on the screens

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As they approached their munar periapsis, it was time for one last eyeballs-out burn.

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Despite the discomfort, the crew was excited to finally enter a munar orbit.

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"This is your Kaptin speaking" said Shepbree. "We have reached our cruising altitude, and you are now free to move about the cabin"

"Sure thing, Kaptin" giggled Lagerbrett, who was currently trying to determine whether hydrazine was classed as "Food" or "Not food"

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"You'll feel a slight motion in the capsule as I separate us from the upper stage"

"Why leave it behind if it still has fuel left?" asked Neilwig

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"So it doesn't hic hit the station, dummy" replied Lagerbrett, who had conclusively determined that hydrazine was considered "Not Food"

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And speaking of hydrazine, Shepbree was just discovering that the RCS ports on the Kane capsule were decorative. Nonetheless, he managed to get them away from the upper stage.

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Once they began burning to a rendezvous, a silence fell over the craft. There were a lot of rumors circulating about the Muniy Program, and everyone was eager to investigate them.

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Shepbree's curiosity was mostly focused on the MEM-X. Had Valentina really ripped out the autopilot with her bare hands before it could even be used, or was that just a myth? 

Neilwig was wondering about the Mun itself. Was it true that it was haunted? Was there still a golf club in the MEM-X that he could defend himself with? Should he have brought his own?

Lagerbrett was looking forwards to her stay on the MERRS. All the rumors said it was the coziest place not on kerbin, with real plants, artificial gravity, and possibly a hot tub. She was pretty sure there wasn't actually a hot tub, which was just as well, because she despised hot tubs. Why would anyone voluntarily put themselves into a soup, even if it was just for a bit?

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The ship drifted serenely, until...

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"I SEE IT" shouted Shepbree. "I'll get us closer"

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"It's... beautiful" said Lagerbrett

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Unfortunately, the unfavorable RCS configuration made docking difficult.

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With the help of DPAI, however, they managed to dock.

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"Howdy!" Came the shout from the station. Floating in the MOH to greet them was a kerbal who looked uncannily like an older Neilwig. 

"I'm Harwin, the commander in these parts. Now, I'm told you three already know some folks on our station, but if y'all will just head down to the centrifuge we can all shake hands in half a gee"

First, he led them to a kerbal with his dirty-blond hair in the "Jeb Sr." style. "Now, Shepbree, I'm told you already know Tomcott, but for the rest of you he's our pilot. Top of his class at remote piloting, but wanted to go to space. In theory, he's in charge of remote piloting on any probe in the area. In practice, the damn command system is too complicated for less'n three kerbs to run, so for now he's helping with the hydroponics"

Next, he brought them to an irritated-looking kerbal with her black hair swept to her left. "This is Barlock, head scientist aboard this station. She's still got data to analyze from Muniy V, so I imagine if we keep her any longer she's liable to take full advantage of the half-gee in beating the snacks out of us." Barlock nodded, then scampered off.

Then came a older-looking kerbal, his skin a darker green and his blond hair cropped regulation-short. "Not sure any of ya know Gersted, but he's the assistant head scientist, and well, he's done things none of us can rightly explain."

After that, two kerbals. The one on the left kept her hair in an exceptionally tight ponytail, and the other had her red hair in the same "kerbfleet classic" style as Lagerbrett's. "On your left is Wenbin, and on your right is Virlas. They're our resident engineers, so they're not assigned to any place in particular, just wherever something might be broken."

"Anyhow, It's time for you two to get to the MEM-X"

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The MEM-X fell between the cramped Kane and the spacious MERRS. With its height limited by the need for stability, its mass inflated by the load of scientific equipment, and its engine limited by the age of the craft, it was an anemic, one-lung vehicle. Originally, it was incapable of landing anywhere not right near the equator, but the MEMORIE (Munar Excursion Module Orbital Retrieval Independent Expansion) vehicle brought in with the previous mission could drag it to the desired orbit before landing, then retrieve it from a parking orbit afterwards. 

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Unfortunately, the mission checklist hadn't yet been updated to include an inspection of the MEMORIE. Its 48-7S engines had degraded far faster than anticipated, and it was all Shepbree could do to keep them from falling apart. The reaction wheel was also quite damaged, and he wasn't sure it would last until they made it back to the station, even if he kept a careful eye on it. 

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Shepbree let out a sigh of relief when it was time to detach and land.

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The pockmarked surface loomed large below the lander. This was the first time a crewed vessel had even attempted to land on the Mun's far side.

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"Touchdown"

"Alright, time to collect some science, and plant a flag."

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"This place really isn't that exciting."

"Really makes you appreciate just how special Kerbin is"

"I'm gonna head back to the lander"

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"Ready to leave?"

"Yeah, sure"

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"And now we wait"

"Yep, and hope the tug's brain isn't half as damaged as its engines"

Kilometers away, the MEMORIE recieved its signals from kerbin and began orienting itself.

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By the time it reached the MEM, both vessels had passed to the night side of the Mun. 

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"Neilwig, can you add a note to the logs that I'm manually deactivating the MEMORIE's engines until they can undergo maintenance"

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About halfway through the scheduled burn, the craft abruptly shook. Shepbree half expected to hear a crunch. The panels were blaring with alerts, but he didn't need to look at them to know the reaction wheels on the MEMORIE had finally broken. All he could hope now is that they wouldn't need the wheels to get back. 

When they pulled into the station, he breathed another, longer sigh of relief as he climbed back into the station and the engineers used the arm to examine the engines for defects, and made some quick repairs.

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"Okay, let's go. We have the science, and I'm scared this station will explode."

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"Why did we leave the OM behind?"

"It won't be long before we're home. They need it more than we do."

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"Okay, we've gotten the periapsis inside of the atmosphere. Time to buckle up. We'll be losing solar and supplementary life support when we disconnect, so get your snacking in now"

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Shepbree actually ditched the service module slightly earlier than necessary so as to avoid a scenario like the Muniy VI had experienced. They were just lucky they had hit the solar panel and not something sturdier.

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"Preparing to deploy parachutes"

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"I really hope this capsule floats"

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"Oh, good"

 

This is probably going to be the last Muniy mission. There are still biomes left to explore, but the missions are just tedious at this point, and I have some plans for further development of the MERRS, exploration of minmus, and colonization of the Mun. The next chapter, though, will be closer to home. 

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