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Untangling the Web: A KSP Story (Chapter 10!)

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Well, it finally happened. After three years of reading people's fanfic on this site, I finally got around to making my own. I hope you enjoy it. So, here goes!

Chapter 1:


a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...

"Anomalies". This was the largely agreed upon name for phenomena that the Kerbals were largely unable to understand, which came at predictable intervals, and brought with them changes to their world that none could explain. Some brought them the planets, some brought technology, and some changed the very laws of physics. With each one, Kerbal science advanced further. A space program came into being, and its members, in time, would travel the great expanses between worlds. Many thought that the anomalies would eventually bring interstellar travel, that they would one day walk in the light of other suns. But, eventually, they stopped entirely. After eighty-seven anomalies in total, they stopped coming, and no one knew why.


In lieu of newer technologies, Kerbals still progressed as much as they could with what they had. A colony was established on Duna, and missions were undertaken to the moons of Jool. But, for the most part, the Kerbals were confined. Trapped by their limited knowledge, which they had only been able to advance through these long gone anomalies. Many hoped that they would return. But as the years drew on, most seemed resigned that the age of technological advancement was behind them, and their destiny now was to be accomplished only with the tools they had already been given.


One day, however, tracking station intern Karen Kerman noticed something odd. A high concentration of negative gravioli particles, detected near Vall. She looked at the data that the telescopes had given her, frowned, and checked again. The second time, it came back with the same odd concentration. She looked at telemetry from the satellites over Kerbin, and they confirmed as well. Puzzled, she opened her manual and looked up anything that could result in these readings. Some were immediately ruled out, like wormholes or ships crashing. Some she didn't understand-- what was a "fourth-wall breach" supposed to be? One in particular, however, stuck out to her. "Each of the Anomalies that have been recorded as of Year 48 of the program's operation have been accompanied by an increase in negative gravioli particles in the Jool system, often reported as beginning several weeks prior to the actual commencement of the anomaly."


The board of directors of the space program had been in a meeting at the time the discovery was made. The scheduled components of the meeting were simply a negotiation of delivery of resources to the duna colony, but the unscheduled interruption that Karen Kerman was about to provide would prove to be far more important.

Karen burst through the door, panting heavily from running all the way from the tracking station. The board, understandably irritated, turned to glare at her. Many started murmuring to each other.

"What is the meaning of this?" shouted Walt Kerman, longstanding PR representative of the program.

"I *pant* have *pant* something to *pant* show you!" gasped Karen.

"Whatever it is, It can't possibly be more important that what we're doing right now," Mortimer Kerman, financial advisor, incorrectly assumed.

"I think the anomalies are coming back!" Karen shouted.

The board stopped talking. All eyes were on her. Karen gulped nervously, then began talking.

"Right. So, I was looking at the telescopes, and I noticed a lot of negative gravioli particles in the Jool system, near Vall. And, like this was a lot. Like, ten, twenty times more than normal background stuff. So, I looked at the manual, and it said that one of the reasons that there would be a lot of graviolis there is if there's an anomaly coming. But, I looked at the records, and those readings were way less than what I was seeing, so like--"

"Do you have a point?" Mortimer interrupted.

"We haven't had an anomaly in, like, forty years, right? So I saw that on the telescopes, and I'm thinking: What if the anomalies weren't done? What if they were building up to a really big one? And I think we're seeing that big one now. If you'll just look at these, I think you'll see it too."


Karen had been right. A new, greater anomaly was coming. However, further observation over the next few weeks showed that it was progressing more slowly than previous ones. Analysis confirmed that it would take almost three years for the concentrations to come together as previously seen. The board saw an opportunity: three years would be ample time to mount an expedition. For the first time, they could see up close what happens during an anomaly. And if this was going to be as big of a change as Karen had guessed, it would be worth seeing. Over the next six munths, a ship was assembled, and preparations were made for an expedition to Vall. A mothership, two landers, and a rover which would be launched separately. Soon, all that was needed was a crew.



Edited by obney kerman
need to remember to update the chapter number
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6 minutes ago, Just Jim said:

Well this is an awesome surprise!  :D
I am so happy to see you take the plunge into writing... and what a great start!!!
I am really intrigued, and look forward to moar!!!  

Thank you!

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Chapter 2:




Interviewer: Can you state your name and occupation for the record?

Adsey: Adsey Kerman, scientist.

Interviewer: And, just to be clear, do you consent to the recording of this interview?

Adsey: Yes.

Interviewer: Good. Now that that's out of the way, we can begin with the questions. So, to begin, why did you join the space program?

Adsey: I grew up on all those stories of the early missions, putting kerbs on the Mun, Duna, Dres... I wanted to be a part of that. So, I applied to join. It was probably the happiest day of my life when I got the acceptance letter.

Interviewer: Thank you. Second question, you know what this mission is about. What do you hope to find?

Adsey: I want to know why these anomalies came in the first place. I read a theory, a while ago, about how we all live in some kind of computer simulation, like a game, and the anomalies were updates to the game. I want to see what's triggering the updates, like, who's playing the game. Does that make sense?

Interviewer: It does, thank you. So, for our last question, what's your greatest fear?

Adsey: Well, I think it would be rejection. You know, like if my friends gave up on me. You understand?

Interviewer: To be honest, I think this was supposed to be about more tangible fears, like heights, or snakes, but that works. Thank you.

Adsey: No problem.



Interviewer: Please state your name and occupation for the record.

Sigtop: Sigtop Kerman, engineer.

Interviewer: Do you consent to the recording of this interview?

Sigtop: Yes.

Interviewer: Thank you. For our first question, why did you join the space program?

Sigtop: I always admired what you did here, working even with the old technology, setting up colonies and bases even with tech that hadn't been refreshed in decades. It really inspired me.

Interviewer: Alright. Question 2, What do you hope to find on this mission?

Sigtop: You mean with the Vall anomaly?

Interviewer: Yes.

Sigtop: Well, I hope that whatever new anomaly comes gives us new tech, new things to work with. I want to be able to go farther, maybe build ships on other planets. Maybe even go to other stars. I don't know, I just think new parts and stuff would be pretty cool.

Interviewer: Thank you. One last question, what's your greatest fear?

Sigtop: I would probably say that my greatest fear is something going wrong while we're up there that I don't know how to fix. Just, knowing that everyone's life depends on me fixing this one thing would be really terrifying.

Interviewer: Well, thank you.

Sigtop: You're welcome.


INTERVIEW 3: Jenmore Kerman

Interviewer: Welcome, please state you name and occupation for the record.

Jenmore: Jenmore Kerman, pilot.

Interviewer: Thank you. Before we begin, do you consent to the recording of this interview?

Jenmore: Yes.

Interviewer: Good. Now, for the first question, why did you join the space program?

Jenmore: Well, I have to admit, I wanted the thrill of it all. All those daredevils of the early space program, like Jeb, Val, all them, It just looked like so much fun, to be able to pull off all those stunts, and make it out safe. I wanted to fell that thrill.

Interviewer: I understand. So, second question: What do you hope to find on this mission?

Jenmore: I think that seeing an actual anomaly, in progress, would be amazing. We've never seen one from anywhere that's not millions of kilometers away, so it would be a new experience. And I want to be able to see that.

Interviewer: Thank you. For the last question, what is your greatest fear?

Jenmore: My greatest fear? Well... okay this seems kind of specific, but hear me out: you know that old graphic novel, the one with the Jool 5 mission?

Interviewer: I think so.

Jenmore: Well, in that, they had the training simulation where you couldn't possibly win, they just wanted to see what you did when faced with defeat. And I think that, the concept of a no-win scenario, scares me most of all.

Interviewer: Well, I guess that works. Thank you for your time.

Jenmore: No problem.



Interviewer: Alright, let's begin. Please state your name and occupation for the record.

Theodin: Theodin Kerman, Command pilot.

Interviewer: And do you consent to the recording of this interview?

Theodin: Yes.

Interviewer: Thank you. Well, starting off, why did you join the space program?

Theodin: Well, I wanted to do work that really meant something, so I could make an impact somehow on the world. I think that we all want to make our mark somehow, and I figured that this was the best way to do it.

Interviewer: Alright. Second question, what do you hope to find on this mission?

Theodin: Well, I guess I want to see how all the anomalies work. I mean, they're the reason this space program got started in the first place, so finding out how they work could keep the program going farther, maybe get them to work for us.

Interviewer: I see. So, for our last question, what's your greatest fear?

Theodin: Well, I think I'm most afraid of letting people down. I want to do the best I can, and I'd feel terrible if I couldn't help the people I work with.

Interviewer: Well, thank you.

Theodin: No problem.



Interviewer: Welcome. Please state your name and occupation for the record.

Danson: Well, I'm Danson Kerman, and I'm a scientist.

Interviewer: Thank you. Do you consent to the recording of this interview?

Danson: I do.

Interviewer: Alright. For our first question: why did you join the space program?

Danson: Well, space has always been a major interest of mine, and I wanted to know more about it. So, of course I jumped at the opportunity to be the one discovering things, and learning all I can about the universe.

Interviewer: Thank you. Second question: What do you hope to find on this mission?

Danson: Gosh, where do I begin? I want to know what's causing the anomalies, of course, and also why they stopped, and why they're starting up again now. I want to see what an anomaly looks like, and of course with one this big, it'll bring all kinds of new stuff... There's just so much I want to learn about.

Interviewer: I see. So, last question, what is your greatest fear?

Danson: Probably my greatest fear is that people I'm close with see me different than I see them. Like, I might see them as a friend, but they see me as a colleague or something, I don't know, but it worries me.

Interviewer: …thank you, that will be all.

Danson: No problem!



Interviewer: Could you please state your name and occupation for the record?

Kimsby: Kimsby Kerman, engineer.

Interviewer: And do you consent to the recording of this interview?

Kimsby: Yes, I do.

Interviewer: Alright, for the first question, why did you join the space program?

Kimsby: I wanted to get away from everything, and try to make a difference on my own terms. And I saw, there was an open spot, so I went for it because it seemed like it would work perfectly for that.

Interviewer: Alright. Second question: What do you hope to find on this mission?

Kimsby: Well, I think that there's got to be some reason that these anomalies keep coming, and I want to see what that reason is. It could be aliens, we could be in a simulation, I don't know, but I'd sure like to find out.

Interviewer: Well then. Last question, what's your greatest fear?

Kimsby: I think that it's losing loved ones, whether it's because they died, or they left, but it really terrifies me that people I care about might just... be gone one day.

Interviewer: *sigh* Why do none of you have normal fears, just deep existential stuff?

Kimsby: Ohhhh... well if we're doing tangible fears, then probably drowning.

Interviewer:... thank you. You can go.

Kimsby: No problem!



With the crew chosen, and the rocket prepared, the mission could finally begin. The rocket was rolled out, crewed up, and prepared to launch.

"Flight control, preparing for liftoff, preparing go/no-go. Pilot."

"Go. Remember everyone, they're recording this for their live broadcast, so keep it family friendly." Laughter filled the cabins.


"Go. And to all our adoring fans out there, don't worry. We're going to be fine."

"Lab 1."

"Go. Adsey here, and I can't be the only one nervous about this, right?"

"No, I think it's just you," replied Sigtop.

"Lab 2."

"Go. Kimsby here. Mom and dad, if you're watching, guess what? Your daughter", she put considerable emphasis on the word "daughter", "is about to go to Vall!"







"All systems go, beginning countdown. Ten, nine, eight, seven..."

"Here goes nothing!" shouted Jenmore.

"...four, three, two, one."


Well, there's chapter two! Thank you so much for all your support, it really made my day. I hope you enjoy the new chapter!

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Chapter 3:


The rocket accelerated upward at frightening speed, quickly gaining altitude. The crew shook in their seats.

"I THINK I'M GONNA BE SICK" shouted Adsey.



Danson laughed. "SCIENTISTS, AM I RIGHT?"

"AREN'T YOU A SCIENTIST?" said Kimsby, struggling to be heard over the drone of the engines.


"AAAAAND... ENGINE CUTOFF!" shouted Jenmore. "Booster separation!"

"AAAAAAAaaaaaa… oh, it stopped."


"Apoapsis 86 kilometers, circularization burn plotted. Can you guys be a little quieter back there? I can barely concentrate with Adsey screaming."

"Sorry, I got a bit nervous."

Sigtop snickered. "A bit."


"And we are in space!" Theodin announced.

"YAY!" Danson immediately turned to the window. "Do you think I could find my house from up here?"

Kimsby chuckled. "I doubt it. We're only flying over the ocean right now."


"Circularization burn in three, two, one!"


"Adsey, are you alright?" Sigtop asked.

"Yep, totally fine. Not at all about to scream in fear."

"Don't worry. Worst case scenario, we run out of fuel, crash into the ground, and die."


"Cutoff! We have a stable orbit!"

"Oh, we're fine. Why did you have to worry me like that?"

"Because it's fun."

"Booster separation... now."

"So... now what? Do we just wait for the burn?" asked Kimsby.

"Well, the KSC will give us orders for how we're getting to Jool once they figure it out." explained Theodin.

"So, we just... sit around until then?"



Two hours and three games of kards later, the KSC's burn calculations came in.

"So, what did they come up with?" asked Jenmore.

Theodin shrugged. "Well, we're pretty far from the regular Jool window, so It looks like they've got us burning inward to near eve's orbit, then outward at periapsis to reach Jool in... over two years."

"Well, that'll put us there right on time for the anomaly."

"We'll also have to do a third burn to get us on a course to reach Vall, where we'll meet a lander that they're launching separately. The first burn is in 20 minutes."

19 minutes and 48 seconds later, everyone was in their seats and ready for the burn.

"Alright everyone, we're almost there. No screaming this time, Adsey."

"Got it."

"Three, two, one, and we're off."


I'm probably not going to be posting new chapters as often here, but the next chapter should come within the next week or two.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 4:



"And... cutoff. We're on our way!" exclaimed Jenmore.

"Nice to actually be going somewhere for a change," said Sigtop.

"Well, get used to it. The next burn's already planned out, we just have to wait until we get there."

"So, what do we do now?" wondered Kimsby.

"I still have the deck of kards!" said Danson.

"I still think you're cheating."

Danson gasped in mock surprise. "I am appalled that you would even suggest that!"

Kimsby laughed.



Danson laid her kards down. "And I win again!"

The rest of the crew sighed.

"Yeah, she's definitely cheating" muttered Theodin.

"Eh, maybe she's just extremely lucky." said Adsey.

Kimsby nodded. "Well, if she is that lucky, it's good for us that she's on our mission. We could use a good luck charm."

Danson blushed. "Well, if I'm so lucky, I hope it rubs off on you guys." She looked around. "But anyway, what are you guys' love lives like?"

Kimsby sighed. "You don't have to change the subject when I'm trying to compliment you. However, I'll indulge you. Not much. I haven't wanted to date anyone recently, since I'm leaving for Vall, and that's about as long-distance as a relationship gets."

Most of the others murmured assent.

Jenmore spoke up: "I never really was interested in dating in the first place. I guess I just... never saw the appeal. I don't know, is that weird?"

Adsey shook his head. "I think I knew a guy in university like that. Never dated anyone. When I asked him about it, he told me he just didn't feel that way about anyone."

"Yeah, that makes sense, I guess. I wonder if there's a word for that. I remember my parents were just confused when I told them about it."

Kimsby snorted. "Well, that isn't the worst that could've happened."

Jenmore turned toward her, frowning. "What do you mean?"

"My parents hate me." she said bluntly. "They don't agree with anything I do, and they find a way to criticize every choice I make. They hate my hair, my friends, my clothes, my name--" she paused. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to one-up you or anything. Just... it could be worse. You should try talking to your parents. I'm sure they would understand."

Jenmore looked down. "I'm sorry."

Kimsby shrugged. "Don't be. I shouldn't have heaped this on all of you."

Sigtop spoke up: "Well, now it's out there, so all we can do is try to move forward, together. You can talk about this, both of you."

"Well, we've got about two years until we get to Jool. Plenty of time for you two to go over your different experiences," pointed out Theodin.


The crew was now well on their way. Soon, the rover and lander would be launched on the same trajectory, to rendezvous at Vall. All was moving forward exactly as the KSC had planned.

Well, that took longer than expected. As always, be sure to tell me what you think! I'm not sure when I'll have the next chapter up, but it should be within about 1-2 weeks.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/8/2020 at 3:58 PM, obney kerman said:

I just want all 5 people who've read this to know that I haven't forgotten about you. I'll try to get the next chapter up on Friday, but no promises.


18 minutes ago, Kerballing (Got Dunked On) said:

Yay, someone hasn't forgotten me yet! *humor*

Me who just started following this thread: :/

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Chapter 5:


While the mission's crew was sorting out their issues, there was still work to be done at the KSC. First, the Vall lander was launched.


After the launch, it burned towards Jool, with it's arrival set to be after roughly two years.


A rover was also launched, to assist with the planned surface operations.


(author's note: I may have overbuilt the rocket for this one. It's actually very small underneath that fairing)



"So... what are we supposed to do until the next maneuver?"


Short update, I know, I'll try to give you guys more next time. Please continue leaving your comments, they give me life.

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35 minutes ago, Misguided_Kerbal said:

This is stupid and completely unrelated, but why don't you drop a rover from orbit onto Kerbin's tallest mountain?

That's stupid and completely unrelated and I'm definitely going to do it now, thanks.

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1 hour ago, Misguided_Kerbal said:

This is stupid and completely unrelated, but why don't you drop a rover from orbit onto Kerbin's tallest mountain?

Good question.

1 hour ago, obney kerman said:

That's stupid and completely unrelated and I'm definitely going to do it now, thanks.


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  • 1 month later...

Hey, so just a little update, I guess. I haven't forgotten about this. I've got the screenshots and a vague idea of what I'm going to do for the next chapter, and now that finals week is over, I should have time to actually write some soon. I'm sorry for leaving this for... a month and a half? Wow, my writing schedule sucks. But anyway, I should have the next chapter out soon, for real this time.

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Chapter 6:


"Uh... hey Jenmore. Can I... talk to you for a second?"

"Sure, what's up?"

Kimsby sighed. "I wanted to apologize for what I said yesterday. I was really rude, and you didn't deserve it. I feel like I kind of ruined your whole... big moment of telling us about yourself. I just... made you feel bad for no real reason, and... I'm sorry."

"Well, thank you."

There was a pause, and then Kimsby said: "So is it like, no romance at all, or-"

Jenmore laughed. "No, no romance at all for me. Why? Interested?"

"Ha-ha. No, I'm not interested in you, or anyone on this ship for that matter."

"Are you suuuuure?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"


Some time later, the rover and tug made it's burn to intercept Jool:


And afterwards, the Atlas and it's crew also made their burn:


Finally, the lander made it's own burn:


And once the burns were all finished, one of the ship's engineers noticed that the lander tug's fuel was running rather low. But that's a problem for next time...

I'm sorry again for my once-a-month upload schedule. I'll try to do better in the future.

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38 minutes ago, obney kerman said:

I'm sorry again for my once-a-month upload schedule. I'll try to do better in the future

It's okay. There's a thing called real life, which I think you are aware of. Take your time. A update is better than no update, am I right?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 7:


       Sigtop nervously walked into the Cupola. "Uh... hey Theodin- I mean Captain! I have something to talk to you about."

       "What is it?"

       "It's the lander. I was looking at the fuel numbers, and... the delta-v it has might be a little off."

       "How little?"

       "Well, we need about 1500 meters per second of delta-v on the transfer stage to get it into a stable Vall orbit."

       "And how much do we have?"

       "A little over half that."

       "Oh. Oh no."

       "Now, this isn't good, but-"

       "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"

       "Because I didn't have a PLAN sooner!" she exclaimed.

       "...alright. What is it?"

       "I'm glad you asked!" She turned on a screen, revealing a slideshow. "So, we need more Delta-v for the transfer stage, but it's not like we can get a fuel tanker out here. So, we'll take the fuel from the lander itself!"

       "Wait, what?"

       "The lander has 552 units of liquid fuel. If we move that from the descent stage into the transfer stage, we could have just barely enough delta-v to make it to a Vall orbit!"

       "But what about the lander? How will it-"

       "Hush, I'm getting to that!" She was practically buzzing with excitement now. "So, we've got the lander in Vall orbit, now what? Well, the lander may have been underbuilt, but the other ships were equally overbuilt. The rover's transfer stage has about 5 kilometers per second of Delta-v right now, which means it'll have around 3-and-a-half thousand once it's in Vall orbit. And, when those engineers designed the rover, they included a docking port."

       "So, what, we dock the lander and the rover?"

       "Pretty much! We use the extra fuel to get the lander into any Vall orbit we can, and then we send the rover to come fetch it. The rover acts as a tug to pull it over to the Atlas, and then the lander can use it's monopropellant engines to dock with the Atlas. Then we take a little bit of Atlas's fuel and refill the lander, and presto!"

      "...wait, when you say any Vall orbit we can-"

      "Yeah, it's probably gonna be really eccentric, not to mention high up, but that doesn't matter! The rover should be able to get up to it and back down to us, with it's insane delta-v. And the Atlas has a pretty big surplus of fuel, so we can refuel it here."

      There was a brief, uncomfortable silence, and then Theodin spoke up. "Is that everything?"

      "Yep, that's the whole plan! What do you think?"

      "...as risky as it is, it's probably our best shot. Make it happen."

      "YES! I mean... yes sir."


      After the fuel was transferred over, the three ships made their correction burns.




      Now, all that was left was to wait.










       Two years. The Atlas and its crew had been in space for two years. Two years of board games, of small talk, and of looking out the windows into a vast, uncaring emptiness. Two years of laughing, and talking, and romantic tension building but not being acted upon, and of wondering what they would find on Vall (though I'm sure some of you readers have already guessed at least part of it). After two years, the crew gathered at the windows of the ship to look at the growing view of Jool and its moons.

       And what a view it was.


          "Okay," said Danson, "I see Tylo, and Jool obviously, but where's Vall? And Laythe?"

          "I thought it was pronounced Laythe, like pronouncing the e at the end." said Adsey.

          "No, I think Danson's right," said Kimsby. "It's Lathe- you know, like the tool."

          "Of course you'd take her side," mumbled Adsey.

          Kimsby blushed. "Anyway, Laythe," she emphasized her (correct) pronunciation of the word, "is up there, just above and to the right of Jool. See it?"

          Danson squinted. "Oh, there it is! And there's Vall, too!"

          As the ships entered the Jool system, they each entered Vall orbit. The Atlas burned first, entering a roughly 100km orbit.




The rover arrived next, entering a polar orbit. From there it would use its inbuilt sensors to try to find the source of the new anomaly.


Finally the lander arrived, and everyone held their breath.


Fortunately, the lander managed to enter Vall orbit with barely 300m/s left in the tanks.


(apologies for the poor lighting--the lander is in the image I promise)

Now, the next part of Sigtop's plan began. The rover burned to reach the lander.


And after a nerve-wracking rendezvous, the rover and lander docked safely.


The rover's excessive amount of fuel was more than enough to get the lander near the Atlas, and the monopropellant thrusters of the lander allowed it to safely dock.




        As the fuel from the Atlas was transferred over to the lander, Jenmore spoke up: "Wow. Sigtop's plan actually worked."

        "Don't sound so surprised," Sigtop said.

        "I'm not! I mean, I am, but not because it was a bad plan or anything, it was just... a bit out there."

        "Well, it worked. Now, all we have to do is find the source of the new anomaly," said Theodin.

        "And then what?" asked Jenmore.

        "We find out why."

Me? Posting a new chapter? It's more likely than you think.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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