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Beyond Hope Travelling Circus -- Episode 10: The Show Must Go On


Geschosskopf
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EPISODE 00: Dust in the Wind

As always the episode title is a link providing mood music for the associated post.  Anyway, on with the show.

(ahem)

Spoiler

 

BACKSTORY

Thousands of years passed.  Glorious Kerbal Space Empires rose and fell, often burned back to bedrock with depressing frequency by nearby supernovae (what else should you expect when your stars defy the Laws of Physics as us humans know them by their very existence?).  Yet always the Kerbals survived safely underground and those few who were aware of the goings-on topside, but not involved in those proceedings, occasionally wondered, in VERY private thoughts (as making such thoughts public was heavily frowned upon) what His/Her Nibs (as it might have been at the time) was doing with all this "space program" stuff  Yes, the occasional spin-off technology filtered down to the warrens and became a staple of daily life but really, was it all worth the expense?  The Nobs didn't deign to notice,, the bourgeois made fortunes from space-tech so didn't question it, and the Kerb on the street developed a taste for Kang and kPods, so was appreciative.

But one day, it was the turn of Kerbin's own star to go nova, the best it could manage as it wasn't big enough to go supernova.  This was an event long foretold, which is why countless generations of the ruling elite had sunk so much blood and treasure into redeveloping the space program over and over, so it would be ready come the day.  As it happened, the crisis came when the space program was fairly advanced but not as far along as it had been on other occasions, so was still bound by the speed of light.  But it was otherwise well-equipped for short-range interstellar trips so set about finding a new home for the Kerbals.  The best the scouts and orbital telescopes could find was right next door in the binary Tempus star system, where the scouts found the planet Rhode to be a suitable new home.  Not ideal but any port in a storm, which soon came.  The Imperial Government and a few thousand of all critically important castes in appropriate proportions to provide a balanced population went in the first wave. their plan being to set up shop for subsequent waves.  However, Kerbol went nova sooner than expected so the 1st Wave was the Only Wave.  Those left behind in the tunnels learned a final lesson in tandoori cooking.

Having arrived at the height of then-current Kerbal technology, the colonists soon established a subterranean civilization on Rhode.  And, given the frequency of fatal accidents inherent in such work, many spores were tended by the Gardeners, so the population quickly expanded.  Soon, the loss of about 95% of the Kerbal population was not missed.  And, because Rhode was almost, but not quite, exactly unlike Kerbin, the colonists quickly realized it would not do for the long term, so attempted Kerbaforming likely moons and plants in the Tempus system.  They met with varying degrees of success and failure, the which is not surprising as they'd never tried before.  And, of course, the local supernovae continued, interrupting The Great Work as always, at the least convenient moment.

Thousands of years passed.  Glorious Kerbal Space Empires rose and fell, often burned back to bedrock with depressing frequency by nearby supernovae.  And they never got any further along than when the Only Wave had arrived  Usually much less.  The nascent Kerbaforming projects started by the Only Wave never got any farther and were continually disrupted, so have produced very mixed results.  But the Only Wave exists only as an ancient legend even amongst the few LIterati.  Surviving technology from ancient and more recent days long ago re-reduced the general population to complete illiteracy, being able to comprehend only icons and emojis, and the Kerb-on-the-street has no knowledge his species came from elsewhere.  And thus, by convergent evolution, the Travelling Circus was born again, this time going under the local moniker of "Beyond Hope Home Trading Company".  Rough measures for rough times.

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

This is a career game set in the marvelous "Beyond Hope Home" system created by @Gameslinx.  

pt4GQVI.png

The home planet is Rhode, 3rd rock from the 2 suns of Destiny (bigger and brighter) and Fate (small and red).  Rhode has 0.78G, an atmosphere only going to 50km, and not much surface water.  Rhode has 3 moons:

  1. Lua:  close and fairly big, also a failed Kerbaforming experiment.
  2. Armstrong:   not too far away, small, airless, and rough
  3. Ash, medium-sized and largely molten.  You can see the glowing lava from Rhode.

RcBvH6a.png

The whole system is reasonably small and looks like this.  Not far away lie the remains of the original home of the Kerbals.

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The nova event of the original Kerbal sun has produced a disturbing nebula in the surroundings.  From certain angles, it resembles The Kraken. shown here on the 1st orbital flight of the BHTC.

P7rLBGP.png

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

And with these preliminaries out of the way, it's time to get on with the show, the 1st BHTC mission to another world.  Tamfrid (coxswain) and Jersted (sciencemate) set out to do a fly-by of Armstrong. 

Oh1S4Iu.png

Of course, there was the obligatory gratuitous explosion of the transfer stage immediately after its last burn.

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Tamfrid and Jersted had to dodge the closest Rhodian moon, Lau, on the way.  This provided an opportunity to take a pic of all 3 moons, with Ash's glowing lava visible even at this distance in the right background.  Armstrong is in the left background.

H7LYTyQ.png

A bit later in the trip, Lau unsuccessfully attempted to eclipse both Fate and Destiny.  Note that the days are longer than the nights on the surface of Rhode, due to having 2 separated light sources.

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Soon, the jolly crew entered Armstrong's SOI.  This little moon has an interesting topography and color scheme.  A closer investigation is warranted.

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A fly-by trajectory being inconvenient for all the science the crew needed to do, due to no relays yet being in position, the mission instead went into a very low orbit..  Sometimes too low.  The peak in this pic was named "Ha Ha, Missed Again! Mountain".  

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The jolly crew got a last look at Armstrong just prior to their departure burn.

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And soon (1 day travel each direction) Tamfrid and Jersted landed back conveniently near KSC and were loaded into the black maria taking them to their debriefing/dissections.

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

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

Table of Contents:

00 Prologue:  Dust in the Wind (this post)

01: Set Sail and Conquer

02: Bark at the Moon

03: Ezekeil Saw de Wheel

04: You Can Dress 'Em Up (But You Can't Take 'Em Out)

05: I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday

06: Neuromancer

07: A Whole Lot of Nothing

08 Deep, Dark Hole

09: Ashes to Ashes

10: The Show Must Go On

 

 

Edited by Geschosskopf
Episode 10
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7 hours ago, fulgur said:

THE GRATUITOUS EXPLOSIONS ARE BACK!

And now I am arresting you for Making Me Laugh And Look Silly In A Public Place.

Glad you like.  I'll try to keep the explosions coming along regularly ;) 

 

6 hours ago, KSK said:

Depending which version /mods you're playing, I have three words which may hasten that slow spiral:

Boffins and robots.

Yeah, given my limited success with making much of practical value with the robotic parts so far, I'm sure there's plenty of opportunity for disaster that way ;) 

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

And now, a bit of information about this save..

Other than all the mods needed to use Beyond Home and make it look as intended (Kopernicus, EVE, Scatterer, Kerbal Konstructs, Sigma Replacements - Skybox), I don't really have that much.  Quite a few things I used to have mods for are now stock and the planet system is full of big-ticket items.  So basically the usual suite of Wild Blue stuff (MOLE, Pathfinder, DSEV, and Snacks!), and a few creature comforts like the surface-mounted lights and, of course, TAC Self-Destruct for gratuitous explosions.  A few more might be added along the way as the story progresses.

The Beyond Hope Home is rather small--everything's pretty close together.  For instance, the trip from Rhode to Armstrong shown above was only about 650 m/s, less than Kerbin to Mun even though Armstrong is the 2nd moon of Rhode.  So OT1H, you can say this makes things easier.  But OTOH, it also means you can go see the sights sooner, which is good.  The whole point of using a different solar system is to see and do new stuff.

As  you can see from the pics here, this system is a very beautiful place with fantastic planets.  Some of these planets are rather whimsical in places, too---one might even say "magic"---but hey, that makes them more interesting.  And that's where some of my nascent ideas for a story of sorts is going to come from.  Due to most things being reasonably accessible, hopefully you all will be able to see some of this fairly soon.

As to the state of the Glorious Kerbal Space Empire, as mentioned above it's pretty much traditional Travelling Circus.  Involuntary, illiterate astronauts forced to do the Circus' bidding for an uncaring, ignorant population.  But there are a few differences.  First off, the government knows there's life on other planets because their ancestors put it there.  So the main goal of the Circus is to try to restart and repair some of the ancient terraforming projects because Rhode really isn't an ideal place for Kerbals (even though they've largely adapted by now).  Along they way, they hope to regain some of the higher technology of the ancients.  A stretch goal is to return to the Kerbol system in search of anything useful that might have been left behind, like the Legendary Lost Imperial Wine Cellar of the old palace.  Assuming the game lasts that long.

Anyway, strange things are quite likely to happen.  I myself have only the vaguest ideas of what's out there and how they'll fit in.  This is as much a journey of discovery for me as it is my Kerbals.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Geschosskopf said:

one might even say "magic"

Are you going to continue the strange animism of the famous OPMTC? Or will this be something new? (Or can you not tell us yet?)

3 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

there's life on other planets because their ancestors put it there

By which do you mean kerbals, or Pony People? Or something even stranger?

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1 minute ago, fulgur said:

Are you going to continue the strange animism of the famous OPMTC? Or will this be something new? (Or can you not tell us yet?)

Good questions.

I'm thinking the animism of the OPTC is best left in that universe, which I might get back to someday.  Basically, I don't think there's enough room between the Tempus and Kerbol systems for all the OPM planets anyway :)   Besides, Beyond Hope is VERY far in the future compared to the events of in OPTC:  thousands of years for Kerbol to go nova, thousands more in the new system.  And the exodus was just 1 of the countless major traumas Kerbal civilization suffered in all that time, so even if these stories were in the same universe, everything would have been overwritten many times and there'd be little direct continuity.

The "magic" I referred to was the whimsical terrain features of some of the planets.  Fairytale stuff.  These will certainly attract much attention and lead the Kerbals into new ways of thinking :) 

 

1 minute ago, fulgur said:

By which do you mean kerbals, or Pony People? Or something even stranger?

Well, the ancient Kerbals who settled the Tempus system tried terraforming pretty much everything.  It took hold better in some places than others.  So there's definitely at least plants on several planets and moons in Beyond Home---you might have noticed this on Rhode's closest moon, Lua, in the pics above.  Might be some marooned Kerbals, too.  But probably not Pony People.  I just can't handle their anime eyes :) 

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On 7/18/2019 at 2:44 PM, Cydonian Monk said:

At least the important technologies survived!

Quite.  One of many essential mods maintained by the mighty @linuxgurugamer:)

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

EPISODE 1: Set Sail and Conquer

Spoiler

 

After the successful return of Tamfrid and Jersted from orbiting Armstrong, the Circus shifted into high gear, filling the Rhode system with satellites built to customer specs.  The Boffins thought it strange that the customers would pay so much to use the satellites for only 10 seconds each but the Scientists didn't mind at all because this allowed them to repurpose the probes for their own purposes.  Given that nothing is very far away (in dV terms)) in the Rhode system, and that the Boffins always heavily over-engineer Circus spacecraft, the Scientists were able to add extra instruments to most of these probes and send them elsewhere.  As a result, a primitive relay system linking Rhode, Lua, and Armstrong hap-hazardly accumulated and these worlds were also mapped.  These probes shared a common low-tech design distinguished by 4 high-gain relay antennae surrounded by a box of WBI solar panels (the best then available).  Cubesatst the size of cars, basically.  But they did the job, paving the way for more ambitious missions later.  Here's a typical example of this family mapping Rhode with a nice view of the aurora australis.  

0vT1O6l.jpg

Several of these "car-sats" also went to Lua, previously unexplored.  The Circus is much more interested in Lua than Armstrong due to it being 1) bigger, 2) closer, 3) partially Kerbaformed, and 4) is, according to legend, the site of one of the bases of the ancient Only Wave Kerbals.  Thus, the possibility of finding high tech goodies in a semi-friendly environment close to home is a powerful draw.  Here, one of the car-sats moves into position at Lua to provide this episode's gratuitous explosion.

2GNGLPs.jpg

Lua turns out to be an interesting place.  The atmosphere only extends to 10km and has a sea level pressure of 0.1atm.  Given that sea level is in the bottoms of a few large craters, much of the moon's high terrain sticks up into space.  The crater lakes are ringed by thin strips of mossy growth, also found in a few other low-altitude, boggy areas, doing its best to maintain what atmosphere there is.  Most of Lua, however, is still bare, virgin regolith and rock. 

The mapping probe at Lua also detected an anomaly on  the shore of one of the crater lakes.  This location is right on the leading edge of Lua as it makes its tide-locked orbit around Rhode, so the Boffins suspect the legend of an Only Wave base is true.  Logically, this location would make the base a old launch site.  Launching straight up from that position would put a ship directly into Rhode orbit with very little effort.  Needless to say, the Boffins are currently designing a mission to study this anomaly.

Another project in these early "lunths" was creating a station in Rhode orbit (for a nice paycheck).  This led to the launch of the Rhode MOLE to which Tamfrid and Jersted, as the most senior sciencemates* then available, soon crewed (more paychecks for rendezvous, docking, and crew transfer).  When they entered the MOLE itself, however, they discovered that none of the experiments loaded into it in the VAB had survived launch--only the 2nd batch in the aft storage lockers had survived.  And most of these required parts that hadn't been added to the station yet.  So, at present, Tamfrid and Jersted are mostly just lab rats for long-term tolerance to Space Madness, at  least until the Circus can be bothered to give them more to do.  Still, the Rhode MOLE station looks reasonably OK.

(*NOTE:  Unlike Kerbin, Rhode has very little surface water so the Kerbals there have never seen fit to develop a navy or even a merchant marine.  Still, the nautical traditions of their distant ancestors live on in things like rank structure, sea shanties, etc.)

LDGJo2D.jpg

With these preliminaries out of the way, it was time to go for the several big paychecks involved in landing on Armstrong.  Nobody at Mission Control really wanted to do this but needs must when Mammon drives.  Somewhere in the brainstems of the Boffins were horrific ancestral memories of futzing about on extremely low-G worlds so they instinctively knew before going that they'd be in for a long, frustrating trip, which the 80m/s orbital velocity of the recent Armstrong orbiter had only confirmed.  The Boffins' mood was not improved after studying the biome map created by their even "recent-er" car-sats.  Another dim, hard-wired memory was of a fabled place called "Minisculus" in the Really Our Home System system which supposedly had Flats, Flatter Flats, and Even Flatter Flats.  Armstrong turned out to be the polar opposite of this.  It had Gradual Slopes, Steep Slopes, and Even Steeper Slopes with their percentages of total surface area increasing in inverse proportion to the distance between contour lines in a given region of the map.

Thus, Mission Control considered the Armstrong landing virtually a suicide mission or, at best, a dreadful experience for all involved, including Mission Control.  Therefore, the Boffins designed a single-seat lander to be crewed by an expendable science-striker, gave it their best autonomous probe core to handle sudden crises, and made it as low and wide as possible hopefully to hold still in microgravity on sloping terrain.  As is usual with such things, it made for a butt-ugly, top-heavy rocket but such does form follow function in the Circus' part of the Kerbal universe.

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Selected for the suicide run honor of crewing the Armstrong Lander (no numerical suffix as nobody thinks it's worth the trouble to go back, at least for the time being) and, thus, being the 1st Kerbal in a Long Time to set foot on another world, was science-striker Tisted.  She was selected on the basis of having the lowest aptitude scores.  The other pressganged recruits called her "Twisted Tisted" because she was even stupider than they were, which Tisted hugely resented.  She preferred rhyming her name differently, "P*ssed Tisted".  Naturally, this just made the bullying good-natured teasing worse and reinforced her own choice of pronunciation, and her cleverer compadres, familiar with the Urban Dictionary of Slang, thought the irony of it all (in both noun and verb forms) was hysterical.

(WARNING:  4th WALL BREACH!  EVACUATE ALL SERIOUS PERSONNEL IMMEDIATELY!  By sheer coincidence, Tisted's trip occurred 50 years to the day after a human of the same name as the planet Tisted was bound for landed on The Moon.  News is only getting just now getting to our universe due to various relativistic effects of wormhole travel real life time constraints, however.).

Anyway, as expected, Tisted had a very long, slow descent towards an small patch of "Gradual Slopes".  However, the 1st sign of real trouble was when the surviving fragments of the traditional Circus crasher stage bounced much higher and much faster than expected, some bits even achieving escape velocity.

hym5r2E.jpg

Prepared for the worst, Mission Control set the lander's probe core to touch down at 0.9m/s.  It also used the Circus' standard leg settings of max damper and 0.5 spring.  However, this proved quite sub-optimal.  The lander bounced several hundred meters back up and hung there for a while.  While the lander was up, the Boffins quickly adjusted the legs to have zero spring and max damper, and set the touchdown speed at 0.3m/s.  This proved even worse--the lander catapulted up again, this time with escape velocity.  It required heavy thrusting nose-down to arrest the unwanted take-off and keep the lander over the "Gradual Slopes".  For the 3rd landing, the Boffins elected to keep the landing legs reacted and just sit on the heatshield at 0.1m/s.  The lander bounced only a few meters up several times in slow-motion, then slid at 0.1m/s downhill for a ways, but finally ground to a halt.  And there was, finally, great rejoicing in Mission Control as the money started to pour in.

jWOs0fm.jpg

Tisted quickly accomplished her assigned tasks and managed to reboard the lander without sending it cartwheeling to its doom, much to everybody's surprise,.  And then it was time to head home.  On the way back to orbit, Tisted snapped a pic of some of the more formidable terrain of Armstrong, backlit by one of the frequent bolts of cosmic lightning always flickering in the surrounding nebulousity.  

UtQupyZ.jpg

And on the way home, she got a good view of the Kraken Nebula seeming to entangle Armstrong in its tentacles, as is only right and proper for such a cursed place.

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Tisted, much to everybody's surprise, eventually returned to a safe landing in one of Rhode's few expanses of surface ocean.  The bouncing of the waves was nothing to what she'd experienced on Armstrong.  But this would not last.  The Boffins had determined that Scatterer the bounding waves made Rhode unstable so put a stop to such shenanigans.

oMBML9V.jpg

As Tisted was undergoing her debriefing/dissection, the Scientists analyzed the handful of gravel she'd stuffed in her pocket.  They determined that Armstrong was made of a hitherto unknown element they named Trampolinium.  This had the marvelous property of violating the Conservation of Momentum, repelling all objects touching it with much higher momentum than they'd started with.  Sadly for the space program, however, this property only manifest itself when you had a huge amount of Trampolinium on hand, about enough to make Armstrong in fact.  This news caused disaster amongst the manufacturers of basketball shoes, who all had mortgaged their futures on early leaks of the properties of Trampolinium, before the full results were in.  As such, the players of the KBA all had to go barefoot the next season, until new shoe companies arose to fill the void.

 

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

Edited by Geschosskopf
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On 7/18/2019 at 1:09 AM, Geschosskopf said:

But one day, it was the turn of Kerbin's own star to go nova, the best it could manage as it wasn't big enough to go supernova.

Psst nova isn't the sun-mass version of supernova. A Nova just means "new" or "visiting" star, and as a phenomenon these are usually used to refer to the outbursts caused by white dwarfs as material from a binary companion falls onto them. Sunlike stars do not explode at all, they simply shed their outer layers into a nebula and their core collapses into a white dwarf, non-violently. Supernova are when massive (>8 Msol) stars die and turn into neutron stars or black holes, or when white dwarfs collect so much material at once they completely explode. (>1.44 Msol) These are much more luminous, hence the "super."

Just a nitpick.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, GregroxMun said:

Psst nova isn't the sun-mass version of supernova. A Nova just means "new" or "visiting" star, and as a phenomenon these are usually used to refer to the outbursts caused by white dwarfs as material from a binary companion falls onto them. Sunlike stars do not explode at all, they simply shed their outer layers into a nebula and their core collapses into a white dwarf, non-violently. Supernova are when massive (>8 Msol) stars die and turn into neutron stars or black holes, or when white dwarfs collect so much material at once they completely explode. (>1.44 Msol) These are much more luminous, hence the "super."

Yeah, I know, although I figure that "shedding the outer layers", which end up moving away at decent speed, has to be a reasonably energetic event..  Of course, the planets would already have been cooked by the preceding red giant phase, too, but the wave of starstuff coming out afterwards can't help whatever's left ;) 

But that's in the real universe.  In the Kerbalverse, all the fundamental forces and, therefore, matter itself and all the laws of physics, are different.  Thus, I figure stars have rather different lifecycles there than here, and I have to explain why there's so much nebulousity strewn about already.

 

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This system looks amazing! It seems like a perfect place to get Space Madness. And 'Minisculus' made me Laugh And Look Silly In A Public Place. I'd try Beyond Home if I hadn't started a Mission Report.

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6 hours ago, fulgur said:

This system looks amazing! It seems like a perfect place to get Space Madness. And 'Minisculus' made me Laugh And Look Silly In A Public Place. I'd try Beyond Home if I hadn't started a Mission Report.

Glad you like :D

Beyond Home really is a beautiful place.  @Gameslinx has made a family of systems showing different stages of the far-future evolution of Kerbal space due to major events like other stars passing nearby and Kerbol itself dying.  All are quite lovely and tell an interesting story in themselves.

Sadly, a lot of the beauty comes from Scatterer, which my computer has great difficulty with.  I'm talking load and exit times both reaching 30 minutes with the computer more or less locked up for much of that, plus some other annoyances.  Without Scatterer, load time goes down to about 5 minutes with no long lock-ups.  But I wanted to see (and show) this system looking as its creator intended, so I put up with this for a while. 

However, things rapidly got worse as I started getting more flights going until eventually I had to uninstall Scatterer.  This took away the hazy substance of the atmospheres, so now Rhode no longer looks blue from space.  Instead, you can clearly see the harsh, arid, brown terrain it mostly has in reality, so it's no longer nearly as beautiful.  In fact, it looks like a completely different planet.  Please keep this in mind as this goes along, and try to see it as it looked originally.

But hey, at least I have a way to explain the change.  It's the result of Boffins experimenting with ancient Kerbaforming technology they really don't understand :) 

6 hours ago, Ultimate Steve said:

OOoooooo It's back! This is gonna be good!

I hope to live up to your expectations.

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1 minute ago, Geschosskopf said:

Sadly, a lot of the beauty comes from Scatterer, which my computer has great difficulty with.  I'm talking load and exit times both reaching 30 minutes with the computer more or less locked up for much of that, plus some other annoyances.  Without Scatterer, load time goes down to about 5 minutes with no long lock-ups.  But I wanted to see (and show) this system looking as its creator intended, so I put up with this for a while. 

I'm still working on the atmospheres when Scatterer is not installed - It's still quite an early mod :)

I might create an EVE alternative to it as well, because EVE can do minimal atmosphere haze.

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58 minutes ago, Gameslinx said:

I'm still working on the atmospheres when Scatterer is not installed - It's still quite an early mod :)

I might create an EVE alternative to it as well, because EVE can do minimal atmosphere haze.

Those of us with gimpier computers would greatly appreciate this :) Love your work, BTW.

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EPISODE 2: Bark at the Moon

Spoiler

 

After the surprisingly successful return of Tisted from Armstrong, the Circus had a few housekeeping things on its agenda.  First, some old business.  The Rhode MOLE Shiftchange rocket get a test-drive to deliver another batch of experiments to the Rhode MOLE station, along with some extra parts to do several experiments already aboard, and to bring back the single experiment already completed.  This went quite smoothly and the exiled sciencemates aboard the Rhode MOLE could now do something besides wait for Space Madness to strike.  Also in this category was putting up some purpose-built MK 2 relays in highly eccentric polar orbits to replace/augment the primitive car-sats currently filling that role.  In the course of this mission, the Boffins learned that 600m/s from a low Rhode orbit just barely kept the relays in Rhode's SOI.

CGdt5bu.jpg

Then new business.  First, a rather lucrative contract for a very cheap, simple, never-to-be-used station in Armstrong orbit.  And then something for the Circus' own endeavors, the launch of the DOLT Carrier.  This carried 2 DOLTs (Drone Observers of Lua Targets) to do what their name said.  The DOLTs were small, Juno-powered aircraft intended to look at the Lua anomaly (suspected Only Wave base) and a crater that unusually (for Lua) had no visible lake in it, just a lot of moss.  The other purpose of the DOLTs, of course, was to see just how much jet-powered flight was possible in Lua's thin atmosphere.

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Mission Control aimed DOLT-1 to overfly the anomaly and come down near the center of the adjacent crater lake so it would have access to the densest atmosphere with plenty of elbow room all around for the Boffins to learn to fly the thing (if they even could) before coming back for a closer pass at the anomaly.  But if DOLT-1 didn't fly, they would still get a distant look at the anomaly on the way down.

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DOLT-1's overflight of the Lua anomaly showed that it was, as predicted, an Only Wave launch site.,  It' looked quite similar to KSC, in fact.  It definitely needed a closer look and looting of any Only Wave high-tech gizmos but it had a reassuring familiarity.  And then the atmosphere started getting thicker and it was time to see if DOLT-1 would actually fly.

hlCJN9X.jpg

As it happened, DOLT-1's navball orientation was totally hosed and the roll and yaw axes were switched on the control panel. But the steely-eyed missilekerbs at Mission Control rolled with this and persevered.  It turned out that the Juno and its associated intake only worked at 0-795m ASL but that was enough, combined with the low wing loading of the design, to give controlled atmospheric flight.  The lowest possible speed to maintain altitude was 75m/s and control was more like surfing than flying.  Turning was all vector math.  Roll the wings broadside-on to the current direction of travel to slow down in that direction while pointing the engine exhaust in the desired direction and always giving a bit of up-thrust to maintain altitude.  In this manner, DOLT-1 managed to do a U-turn and start flying around the north shore of the crater lake back towards the Only Wave base.  Along the way, the Scientists noticed that the liquid in the crater lake must be blue ink because it stained the shores below the high tide mark.

LPksZlJ.jpg

Unfortunately, it turned out that the Only Wave base was on a terrace considerably higher than 795m ASL.  The Boffins gave it their best shot, diving down to just over the liquid and attempting to zoom up over the ridge to the anomaly, but  DOLT-1 just couldn't manage the altitude and fell short.  Thus, the initial view during DOLT-1's descent was the closest look Mission Control got of the Only Wave launch site.

Ou5jrFa.jpg

Mission Control then waited a few days for Lua to swing around enough for the light of the twin stars to fill the mossy crater about 170km west of the Only Wave base.  Mission Control wanted a look at this crater because it was noticeably different from the rest of Lua, a crater with no lake but lots of moss.  Because there was no visible liquid, Mission Control assumed the bottom of this crater was a bit higher than the others but still low enough for moss, so they expected DOLT-2 to be able to fly there.  The crater's floor, however, had a number of higher terrain features so again the Boffins aimed for the middle.

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As DOLT-2 descended over the west rim of the crater, though, it detected a bizarre and obviously artificial structure of huge dimensions.  It spanned mountains!  What could it be?  Especially as it had not shown up on the SCANsat maps.

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DOLT-2 managed to begin flying with very little altitude to spare and turned south toward the crater edge with the intent of circumnavigating the crater.  The big, spiky structure seen during the descent was obviously far above DOLT-2's operational ceiling so the plan was just to scout the crater.  Along the way, DOLT-2 discovered there was indeed a small lake in the lowest part of the crater's bottom.

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Mission Control was in for another shock when DOLT-2 neared the SE quadrant of the crater's perimeter.  There, jutting up from and dwarfing the surrounding mountains, was another of the huge, spiky things, only this one was obviously broken and collapsed.  So enthralled were the Boffins and Scientists at Mission Control with this thing that they zoomed DOLT-2 up to it as close as they could get.  Sadly, the drone's forward momentum carried it well beyond the lowlands were its engine could function so there was no possibility of regaining thrust once the Juno flamed out. DOLT-2 thus splattered on the slopes kilometers short of the colossal ruin.  Still, everybody at Mission Control thought the sacrifice was worth it.

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The Circus now faced a tough choice.  The Boffins had been designing a lander/rover combination for Lua and the question was whether to send it to the Only Wave base or to the Mossy Crater to investigate the huge, spiky things.  In the end, greed for Only Wave high-tech carried the day.  While their might be some cool stuff left lying around at the base, it didn't hold out as much hope of being revolutionary as did the huge, spiky things.  What the Hell were they?  What were they made of?  How had the Ancients managed to build such things?  It was thus decided to send the 1st Lua Lander to the Mossy Crater.  Jenmore (coxswain:  red), Samski (artificer-striker:  yellow), and Billy-Boblong (science-striker:  blue) were duly shanghaied, locked into the capsule, and sent on their way.  The base could wait a while.

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The probe core, powered by the best AI the Circus had at its disposal, duly brought this jolly crew to a safe landing somewhat SW of the Mossy Crater's center.  There, the astronauts quickly set up their equipment and posed for the obligatory flag-planting photo.

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With the portable seismograph all deployed, the Boffins brought the DOLT Carrier in to crash nearby.  It landed a mere 3km away but generated exactly zero Science!, and the crash wasn't even visible from the landing site, so everybody was bummed.

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Samski then climbed back up into the lander while Jenmore and Billy-Boblong got into the rover and headed west towards the 1st huge spiky thing, the one that appeared to be intact.  it would be quite a long trip but they had plenty of Snacks!  The rover gave continual trouble, always stopping and tumbling forward at each slight up-tick in the local terrain slope.  Jenmore eventually learned to anticipate these slope-changes by popping a slight wheelie just before reaching them, but faceplants were still quite frequent.  Fortunately, no damage was done and the rover continued on its way, it's just that progress was quite slow due to frequent involuntary stops at the slope changes.  Along the way, they climbed a large hill on the crater floor and found another biome, the "Atmospheric Midlands", so stopped to grab some Science!.  They didn't get much further, however, before the twin suns of Destiny and Fate dipped behind the western mountains and Mission Control called a halt to conserve batteries.  All told, they'd managed only about 10km, about 1/3 of the way to the huge, spiky thing in the mountains.  Now they had to wait the better part of a week for daylight to continue the trip.  Good thing they had plenty of instructional videos to watch.

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

Edited by Geschosskopf
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I particularly like "Ha Ha, Missed Again! Mountain".  This is such an ominous looking solar system, yet it somehow reminds me of both Spore, and Extrasolar.
Just like I said in my thread. You must have whole dictionary of insultingly named spacecraft by now. 

Edited by Tw1
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7 hours ago, fulgur said:

Those folding wheels are seriously awful. In any craft I have built, they are no better than the tinfoil ones. That rover looks quite cool though.

I dunno.  I've used this same rover design on Mun and Minmus all through 1.7.0 - 1.7.3 with great success.  The only difference in the design here is that the scanning arm on the nose is stowed parallel to the ground with its elbow joint to the right.  Always before, I'd mounted it vertically with the elbow up, or hung it on the side of the main pod.   This rovers on Mun and Minmus could easily make 25m/s and never did faceplants when the terrain sloped up.  This rover, however, has trouble reaching even 6m/s.

So, I'm thinking the problem is the arm's collider.  My theory is that the collider is dragging, causing friction and keeping the front wheels from getting much traction, thus the low speed.  And I think the collider also sticks out in front so trips on the upslopes.  As a result, I'm going to see if I can scrap the arm as there doesn't seem to be any ROCs in this system yet anyway.

10 minutes ago, Tw1 said:

I particularly like "Ha Ha, Missed Again! Mountain"
Just like I said in my thread. You must have whole dictionary of insultingly named spacecraft by now. 

I do.  It's getting hard to remember which names I've used already ;).

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Maybe it's just my craft then. And about ROCs, Kerik_Balm (author of Rald planet pack) said in the Kopernicus thread that he is having trouble putting copied ROCs on his mod planets, let alone new ones, so I think that Somebody will have to find & share a solution.

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33 minutes ago, fulgur said:

Maybe it's just my craft then. And about ROCs, Kerik_Balm (author of Rald planet pack) said in the Kopernicus thread that he is having trouble putting copied ROCs on his mod planets, let alone new ones, so I think that Somebody will have to find & share a solution.

Bummer.  But oh well, I've played for 6 years without ROCs so I can go back to not having them ;)

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EPISODE 03: Ezekiel Saw de Wheel

Spoiler

 

NOTE:  I hated Journey back in the 70s when I was in high school and they were a thing, and I still hate them today, mostly because I hate really high-pitched male lead singers.  So yeah, I hate Rush, too.  I know, I'm a heathen.  But anyway, that's why I didn't use "Wheel in the Sky".  While the title is fitting, the song is actually just another version of songs done by every popular band about how hard it is to be on the road making millions of dollars.  Call it jealousy, call it stupidity, call it utter lack of musical ability, but I hate it.  So instead I chose Satchmo's ironic gospel song about prophecy which, as it happens, fits the story better anyway.  Also, I sing MUCH more like Satchmo than Steve Perry.

Anyway, on with the show...

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

Lua seems to be in approximately Rhodesynchronous orbit as when the twin suns of Destiny and Fate rose again in the Mossy Crater, only 1 standard Rhodian day had passed.  Jenmore and Billy-Boblong thus got less of a nap than they'd expected and, roused by their shock collars, powered up their rover and continued their trek.

The Huge Spiky Thing (henceforth HST and, no, not like  Harry S. Truman but more like Hunter S. Thompson) seen by DOLT-2 during its descent somehow could not now be seen from the ground despite its huge size.  However, Mission Control, by comparing pics from DOLT-2 and map data from SCANsat and Rhode Lander 1 came up with a best guesstimate on its location.  This was in the 2nd mountain ridge west of Mossy Crater and WNW of Rhode Lander 1's position.  The best way to the HST seemed to be heading mostly west to a pass in the 1st mountain ridge, then NNW up a long valley between the 1st and 2nd ridges to the general vicinity of the HST, then up the 2nd mountain ridge (through a convenient pass) to the HST's presumed position.  This route took the rover through several new biomes where Science! was ruthlessly pillaged.  But the HST remained invisible and questions were raised both at home and abroad as to whether the HST really existed.

Finally, halfway up the valley, the HST suddenly appeared.

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The HST was every bit as big as advertised.

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Still, the size of the HST was an unknown quantity so Mission Control had the rover stop at a point in the valley where it was aligned tangentially with the Southern-most point of the HST's circumference and then go to a point further up the valley where it would be aligned with the northern-most tangential point.

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Eventually, the rover reached the desired point and Mission Control ordered a halt.  As it happened, this point was in a new biome and also positioned to head up a pass in the 2nd mountain ridge towards the HST itself.

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This revealed that the HST was between 4.5 and 5.0km wide.  Then there was nothing for it but to head up the pass to the HST itself.  Jenmore, driving the rover, was a bit less than enthusiastic.  And as the trip up the mountain wore on, Billy-Boblong also began to have doubts.  The Boffins back home had to use the shock collars.  And then the full horror of the situation became clear....

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Finally, the Kerbals stood at the edge of the force field comprising the hub of the HST.  Their rover's bow-mounted scanning arm had sniffed it.  There was nothing left to do here but go home.  But Mission Control had other ideas.

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So Jenmore pick up a rock and heaved it into the eerie blue column of light that was, after being refracted by the blue thingy way overhead, holding the main part of the HST overhead.  And nothing happened.  But then the Kerbals noticed something disquieting.  And then things got even worse.

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After being motivated by his shock collar, Billy-Boblong took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and stepped into the shimmering blue column.  And again, nothing bad happened.  Still, it took some "persuasion" for Jenmore to follow him in with the rover.  Despite all the omens, everything worked out OK.

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Soon Jenmore had the rover hustling down the pass back to the valley between the ridges, desperately seeking to get out from under the the collapse radius of the HST should it suddenly wake up and object to having been violated.  Billy-Boblong took this opportunity to question authority.  And Authority did not answer.

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The trip back down the valley went much faster than the trip up, as there was no longer a need to keep an eye out for the HST.  But this ultimately led to an almost-disaster.  The Rover crested a small ridge in the valley at too great a speed and fell all the way down to the bottom where it crashed into a boulder.  It took a while to reboot the rover and assess the damage, during which time the rover balanced on 2 wheels.  A Court of Inquiry was quickly convened to assign blame for the damage to the rover and was unanimous in blaming Jenmore.

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But that was the worst that happened on the trip back to the lander.  Strangely, the HST remained visible for a much longer distance on the trip going away than it had been on the trip going towards.  As the rover crested the final hill of the pass in the 1st mountain ridge,, the HST was still in sight although it had been invisible on the outward trip when the rover had traversed the ridge in the background closer to it.

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In due course, the rover returned to the lander where Jenmore and Billy-Boblong hurriedly changed their skivvies.  Samski, left alone with her thoughts the last few days, was too zoned out to notice their return.

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The rover had travelled a bit over 60km on this trip and was still fully functional despite much abuse and the loss of a couple of non-essential parts.  It would soon set out on an even longer trip but with less-difficult terrain to the broken HST in the SE quadrant of the the Mossy Crater.  

 

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

Edited by Geschosskopf
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On 7/28/2019 at 3:02 PM, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

Cool!

Glad you like ;)

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

EPISODE 4: You Can Dress 'Em Up (But You Can't Take 'Em Out)

Spoiler

 

With clean skivvies in place, Jenmore and Billy-Boblong got back in their mud-splattered, somewhat battered rover and headed off in the opposite direction from before, this time east.  They were going to try to pick up DOLT-2's trail at the small ponds it had seen in the bottom of the crater and from there head SE to the presumed location of the broken Huge Spiky Thing (HST).  Again, Samski was left to mind the shop but she didn't mind.  She could binge-watch her favorite reality shows.  After emplacing the solar panels for the deployable science set-up, she'd really had nothing to do, not yet knowing how to change rover tires.

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The trip to the ponds was an uneventful drive across the rolling hills of Mossy Crater.  The last hill, however, had a rather steep slope which Billy-Boblong, remembering the crash earlier, dreaded.  Jenmore, however, crested the ridge at a safe speed this time and made a perfectly controlled descent.  All in all, the rover performed quite well since the software update (a Kopernicus file tweak) during the previous night.

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Mission Control, of course, expected the the ponds to be a different biome so ordered an investigation.  They were a different biome but not a new one.  Anomalously, it was a biome the Kerbals had already encountered up on the mountains by the functioning HST.  Of course, they did need a second set of samples from that biome so it wasn't a total waste of time, but it was disappointing.  Most interestingly, however, was that there was no liquid in the ponds, it was just blue-stained mud.  Because Billy-Boblong's spacesuit had blue trim, only he was allowed to go out and collect samples.  If Jenmore had gotten blue mud on his suit, it would have defeated the purpose of color-coding the Kerbals.

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With a layer of blue mud all over the bottom of the rover, the crew headed off SE in the general direction DOLT-2 had flown.  Sure enough, they soon saw the broken HST looming over the mountains ahead.  Interestingly, different pieces of it blinked into existence the closer they got.  And the size of the HST was really driven home with the mountains below to provide proper scale.  The HST was immensely impressive even in its ruin.

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Eventually, the rover approached the closest fragment.  Disconcertingly, most of it was cantilevered out over the ground, supported by only a small section further up the hill.  And with the weight of the other fragments leaning on it precariously.  Mission Control was quite eager to get up close to this thing as the spiky ring of the functional HST had been hopelessly out of reach so they'd only been able to examine the energy field.  But first, they wanted to measure the thickness of the ring.  Fortuitously, the time of day aided this endeavor.

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 The ring turned out to be nearly 600m thick.  Meanwhile, the rover's instruments analyzed what they could about the material and Jenmore managed to chisel off a fragment of the ring.  However, due to the crash on the previous trip, there was no longer a scanning arm.  The gizmo on Billy-Boblong's helmet could substitute a little but needed to scan a MUCH larger surface area.  And the area of ring available at ground level wasn't enough.  Thus, there was nothing for it but to have Billy-Boblong climb the ring fragment, scanning as he went.  This new mission did not go over well with Billy-Boblong.

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The higher Billy-Boblong climbed, the more resentful he became.  Because it was pointless to be angry with the unreachable Circus, he focused his anger on Jenmore who was, after all, arguably the cause of his current predicament.  Maybe it was simply that the short trip to Lua hadn't given enough time for the Kerbals to become chemically indoctrinated and "tamed".  Maybe it was the accumulated horrors of the trip so far finally reaching saturation levels.  Maybe it was the onset of Space Madness.  But something caused Billy-Boblong to utter the traditional words used to initiate an all-out blood feud amongst the rougher characters of the lower orders, and something caused Jenmore to accept enthusiastically.

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Unlike the pressganged astronauts, however, the Boffins and Scientists at Mission Control were NOT rough characters from the lower orders so did not at first realize that Jenmore and Billy-Boblong would now stop at nothing to utterly destroy the other (that's what "burning your spores" means).  So for a while they figured that things would calm down with a bit of separation and kept urging Billy-Boblong ever higher.  Eventually, he got even with the top of the lowest spiky arm, by which point he'd scanned more than enough of the surface to satisfy the Scientists.  Now the Boffins wanted to have him plant a flag on the spiky arm as a monument to exploration so had him jetpack along the face and over to the upper surface of the arm.

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Unfortunately, Billy-Boblong was unable to stick the landing on the steeply sloped upper face of the spiky arm.  He slipped, fell, and started to slide down the slope, unable to regain control.  Soon, he slid off the vertical edge of the spiky arm and plummeted back to the ground.  Sliding down the vertical face for a while (not to mention the low gravity) helped, but he still had a couple hundred meters of total freefall.

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Billy-Boblong hit the ground hard, bounced several times while spaghettifying slightly,  but somehow did not pop.  Ultimately, he slid to a halt and lay there regenerating his abused body, fueled by his intense hatred for Jenmore.

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Jenmore, of course, had watched all this with great glee.  Now he saw a chance to kick his hated enemy while he was down.  So Jenmore's plan was to jump in the rover, dash down the hill, and run over Billy-Boblong multiple times.  But fortunately, Mission Control finally realized the Kerbals' murderous intentions and took immediate corrective action.  Much high voltage coursed through not just the collars but the full suits of both Kerbals. 

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Then Mission Control laid down the law on them.  Ordered into silence, the Kerbals dared only nob when asked questions.  Once in the rover, their harnesses locked to keep them in their seats.

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Mission Control decided the mission was over.  The crew had become dysfunctional and that could not be allowed to jeopardize the hoard of Science! collected.  Also, Jenmore and Billy-Boblong had to be returned to KSC to face justice in front of their peers, to serve as an example against such behavior.  So, with the 2 hateful Kerbals secured and constantly poked with low voltage to remind them to be on their best behavior, the rover began the long trip back to the lander.  Again, the Boffins marveled at how long they could see the wrecked HST once they knew where to look for it.

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The trip out and back had been about 50km, so about 110km in total for this rover.  Upon the rover's return, Mission Control informed Samski of her new responsibilities while Jenmore and Billy-Boblong, continually jabbed with electricity, hastily got the ship ready to leave in sullen silence.  In fact, there was no talking at all on the way home.  Samski couldn't talk to the others and was afraid to talk to Mission Control.

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However, as the lander's capsule and Science! payload separated for re-entry, Samski had to ask a question.  When they'd left, Rhode's atmosphere had been crystal clear except for a few clouds and the stark, arid brownness of the planet was plain to see.  Now the atmosphere had a comforting amount of smog again and a bluish tint.  Samski wanted to know what had happened.

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Samski, of course, didn't have a need to know the details.  But the Boffins were proud enough of their accomplishments that they did admit that there had been some advances in Kerbaforming technology during the mission (revised EVE patch to replace Scatterer).  What they didn't tell Samski was that the HSTs were in fact Kerbaforming machines built by the Only Wave, and that the investigations on Lua had provided the breakthrough.  Thus, Samski could have claimed some credit for the blue sky but would never know it.

Soon, the capsule came to safe landing and gathered a bit more Science! from this particular Rhodean biome.

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But no flags was planted to mark the occasion as this was not a happy return.  Despite all that had been accomplished and all the Science! gained, Mission Control considered this mission a failure.  A failure of their ability to control astronauts adequately even no further from home than Lua.  Steps would be taken immediately to address this.

In the meantime, Jenmore and Billy-Boblong were court-martialed in front of the other astronauts.  Jenmore's attorney argued that Billy-Boblong was a mutineer and that Jenmore was only defending himself and his authority.  The Court, however, wanted to set an important precedent so rejected this.  Instead, because the Kerbals were wards of the state and indentured to the Honorable Beyond Home Trading Company, itself an arm of the state, the Court found both guilty of making threats against the Company and, by extension, the Imperial Government itself.  Branded as traitors, they were sentenced to 100 years in the oubliette, cut off from all reality TV shows.  The message was clear.  Fussin', fightin', an' feudin' between astronauts would not be tolerated in the Circus.

 

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

Edited by Geschosskopf
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