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


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Wow, we made it to page 2! We've come a long way.

Chapter 8:

Spoiler

After some time, the instruments on the Atas and it's subfleet narrowed down the location of the source of the increased gravioli particles to a single small flat in the south of Vall. The rover would be sent down first, and used autonomously to find the source, and the crew would land soon after.

The rover made a plane change to prepare for descent, and then deorbited over the flat.

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The rover used the last of the fuel in its transfer stage to slow down as it prepared to land.

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After the last of the nuclear engines' fuel had run out, the rover switched to the smaller descent engines.

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Soon, the rover had landed without incident.

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The descent engines were jettisoned, and the crew took manual control of the rover from the Atlas, and began to guide it towards the higher concentration of gravioli particles.

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And after roughly six kilometers of driving, the rover came over one last hill, revealing what I'm sure you've guessed by now was the source of the anomaly.

And as the source came into view of the cameras, half the crew of the Atlas, along with countless scientists, researchers, and staff members at the space center said the same thing, at roughly the same time.

"...What is that?"

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Anyway, happy birthday to me! I know this was a short chapter, but hopefully the next couple will make up for that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter 9:

Spoiler

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The crew had finished their preparations for descent. The lander was fueled up, and they were almost in position for the burn. All that was left was an inspiring speech from the captain. Theodin sighed. Why does the speech have to be my job? he thought to himself. Right, I'm the captain. He took a deep breath, turned on the shipwide intercom, and spoke.

"Hello, everyone, this is your captain. We're almost ready to begin landing at the anomaly." He paused. "I'm not really good at speeches-- maybe command wasn't the best path-- but I suppose I have to do my best."

There was a chuckle from some members of the crew. Theodin smiled and continued. "Look, I don't know what we're going into here. We've been ordered to see what the source of the anomalies is, but that's a bit hard when we have no idea what we're looking for. There's every likelihood that we don't find anything, or we all die, or-- or something else goes wrong. But I've been on this ship with you all for a very long time. You're a good crew, and whatever happens, I know we can get through it. And whatever we have to face down there, we'll face it together."

Theodin crawled into the lander's cabin, and Jenmore smiled at him. "Nice speech, boss. I thought you said you were bad at those."

Theodin laughed. "I thought I was. Maybe not."

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The crew all transferred to the six-seat lander. The lander had been fully fueled up by the Atlas after docking, and although the margins were slim, Jenmore was confident that he would be able to land and return to orbit.

Sigtop smiled. "Well, we're deorbiting soon. No screaming, Adsey."

Adsey gave a mock-gasp. "How dare you! The 'terrified scientist' is a stereotype! I am perfectly calm in times of danger!"

Danson laughed. "You weren't 'perfectly calm' during the launch."

They all laughed at that, and adsey just shrugged, hiding a smile.

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Soon, the lander deorbited, using the remaining fuel of the transfer stage.

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Soon, the lander was approaching the anomaly. The transfer stage fired one last time to slow them down.

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After exhausting its fuel, the transfer stage was jettisoned, and the lander's engine activated.

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Adsey looked at the window nervously. "Um.... am I the only one who thinks we're a bit closer to the ground than we should be?"

Jenmore's voice came over the radio. "Don't worry, we'll be fine. You know what a suicide burn is, right?"

"No, but from the name it sounds bad."

Jenmore's laughter came through the radio. "Well, it just means burning at the last possible second, to save fuel. I don't think we'll have to do one, but it's a possibility. Right now I'm just getting us near the anomaly, then I'll try to slow our horizontal speed."

"Speaking of the anomaly", interjected Danson, "what was up with those rock formations that the rover saw?"

Kimsby shrugged as best she could while strapped in. "Who knows. Maybe it's a side effect of the gravioli buildup?"

"No, the gravioli buildup would have to be waaaay higher to warp the surface like that. And anyway, it's too regular. Those things looked artificial."

"Artificial?" asked Sigtop. "Well then who built it?"

Danson smiled excitedly. "I have no idea!"

"Approaching the surface!" shouted Jenmore, interrupting the ongoing discussion. "We're gonna be about a kilometer or two from that structure."

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"Almost...."

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"TOUCHDOWN!"

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Jenmore laughed. "What do you know! One-and-a-half kilometers away. I was right on the money.

Adsey spoke up. "So are we walking that whole way, or..."

Theodin laughed. "Not to worry, we have a rover. Although, only Jenmore and I will actually get to be in a cabin, since it's open-topped."

"Why do you guys get a pressurized cabin and not us?" asked Kimsby indignantly.

"Well, we're pilots, and you guys aren't."

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One by one, the crew left the lander. Once they had all exited, Theodin planted the traditional flag. Then, he said the first words uttered on the surface of Vall in over two decades.

"Well, lets see what's here."

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The crew all boarded the rover, and began the drive over to the formations on the surface.

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Kimsby whistled. "It's a lot bigger up close."

The crew all walked up to it, looking around.

Danson spoke up after a while. "I-Is anyone else feeling the ground rumble a bit sometimes?"

"Uh yeah, what's up with that?" replied Adsey.

"Maybe it's just... normal seismic activity?" wondered Theodin, but Adsey shook his head.

"Vall has no seismic activity. The old Jool 5 mission proved that. Whatever that is, it's something to do with... all of this."

There was silence for a moment.

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Sigtop looked at the pillars. "It doesn't look like it's made of the same stuff as the rest of the surface."

Kimsby nodded. "So what is it made of?" She walked over towards the middle, and then made a great mistake.

Kimsby touched the central pillar.

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Instantly, there was a burst of static in everyone's radio. Kimsby screamed, and instinctively jumped back from the pillar, landing on her back some distance away.

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"KIMSBY!" Danson ran over to her side. "Are you okay?"

Kimsby groaned. "I'm fine. Just... scared is all."

Danson looked unconvinced, but still helped her up, pretending not to notice Adsey rolling his eyes.

After a moment, Theodin spoke. "Everyone, there's a problem. We just lost our connection to the Atlas."

Nervously, Jenmore asked "Is it just... on the other side of the planet, or..."

"No, it should be right above us. There's no reason we shouldn't be able to connect. It has to be something to do with... with whatever just happened. And without the Atlas's high gain antenna, we can't get through to KSC."

Sigtop looked horrified. "So.... we're on our own."

"I'm afraid so." said Theodin.

Everyone pointedly looked at Kimsby.

Kimsby sighed. "Oh, come on. How was I supposed to know it would do that?"

Jenmore started to speak. "Well, you should've at least known not to TOUCH the GIANT ALIEN STRUCTURE-"

Jenmore was cut off by a new voice, one heard by all six kerbals on Vall. This new voice sounded neither masculine nor feminine, had no discernable accent, and, for all purposes, sounded entirely normal, as though it was an average of every individual's voice. It said: "Welcome, Administrators. Please enter the Control Center to apply changes."

Everyone was silent.

Finally, Danson spoke up: "Okay, so just so I'm sure I'm not going insane: Everyone heard the voice, right?"

Sorry for the delays. Anyway, next chapter will be within the next couple of weeks at the most.

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Wow, this thread has reached 1,000 views! Thank you all so much! I can't believe this many people have read my writing.

I'm not sure exactly when chapter 10 is coming, but probably early next week. Stay tuned!

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Chapter 10:

Spoiler

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"Wait, I'm confused" said Sigtop. "What are we even 'entering'? And how?"

Adsey shrugged. "Who knows? What do we do, just ask the mysterious voice to be more clear?"

Jenmore sighed, and said "Well, couldn't hurt. HEY! VOICE THAT CALLED US 'ADMINISTRATORS' OR WHATEVER! HOW DO WE GET IN?"

Everyone was silent for a moment, but the mysterious voice did not reply.

"...Well, it was worth a shot." said Jenmore.

Kimsby spoke up: "Uh... guys? When I... you know, touched the alien thing-"

"Which was a terrible idea-" interrupted Jenmore.

"Anyway, it sorta felt... less solid? Like, my hand kinda went through it. Maybe we just.... walk into that rock thing?"

Theodin frowned. "Well, anyone have another idea?" Nobody answered. "Right, walking through the big rock thing it is."

There was a pause, and Theodin sighed. Am I seriously going to give ANOTHER speech? he thought, then cleared his throat. "Look, we don't know what's on the other side. If you don't want to go through, just say so. I, for one, will not hold it against you. But I'm going, and anyone who wants can come with me. Alright?"

There was a pause. Wordlessly, the whole crew stepped forward.

Theodin smiled. "Alright. Let's see what's in there."

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The crew lined up, and prepared to walk into the spire together.

"Alright, let's see what's through there." said Sigtop.

"Anomalies, here we come!" added Adsey.

"Sure is one way to end up in the history books." said Jenmore.

"Well, here goes nothing." said Theodin.

The six of them started walking, and then-

"Wait!" said Kimsby. She turned towards Danson. "Danson, I... well, I was hoping to do this another time, but... we might die if we go through there, and- and I won't get another chance to say this if we do. So, here goes, I guess. Danson... I love you."

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Danson let out a small gasp. "You... and you mean that... you know, romantically?"

"Of course," said Kimsby.

Danson laughed. "You love me. Kimsby… I love you too."

Kimsby looked shocked, then a smile spread across her face. "Alright. Let's do this."

The six members of the crew all turned and walked into the rock.

And then....

Nothing.

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

Okay, not nothing. They could see each other, but the terrain, the stars, any landmarks were gone. The GPS system had no idea where they were. For all purposes, the six of them were standing in the middle of a featureless void.

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It was Adsey who noticed the second change. "Um, guys? You should really check your g-force indicators right about now."

"I... what?" said Jenmore.

"Yep," said Adsey. "1g. We're not on Vall anymore."

"Or maybe we are," said Theodin "and something's changing the gravity."

Sigtop spoke up. "No waypoints for the rover, the lander, or... or anything on Vall. The range of those is 100 kilometers. Maybe something's blocking them somehow?"

Danson was about to add something about the lack of the rumbling she had felt earlier, when the voice they had earlier spoke again. "Hello, administrators. Are you here to apply the changes?"

Theodin looked around. "Who are you?"

The voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. "I am the construct in charge of updating this system. I require administrator assistance to apply the latest update. I assume you are here to provide said assistance."

Kimsby said "Right, but WHO are you? Do you have a name, or anything?"

The voice seemed almost confused, except it had no tone at all. "I was not assigned a name."

"Well, we have to call you something. Can you like... pick out a name?" asked Danson.

There was a brief silence, and then the voice spoke. "I have checked my list of known names. I have decided to go by 'Rachel'."

Jenmore laughed. "That's a weird name."

"What about pronouns?" asked Kimsby.

The voice- Rachel- said "In the past, I have been referred to mainly with 'it'."

Kimsby said "Well, that's not gonna work. Can you, like... choose your pronouns?"

Rachel paused. "I am unsure how I would make such a choice. Please elaborate."

"Well, your pronouns generally correspond to your gender. Like, I''m a girl, so I use 'she'. And Jenmore, over there, he's a boy, so he uses 'he'. Do you... do you have one of those? A gender?"

After another pause, Rachel said "Error, 404. 'Gender' not found."

Sigtop stifled a laugh.

Jenmore spoke up next, and said "So, I'm gonna use singular 'they' for you. Is that alright?"

"That would be acceptable." said Rachel.

"Right, good," said Theodin. "So, Rachel, where are we?"

"You are in the control center. Here, you can control updates to the system."

"Updates... you mean the anomalies?" asked Theodin.

"That is what the inhabitants of the system refer to them as."

"Wait, hold up." interjected Adsey. "Updates, system, you're making it sound like the whole world is- is just a computer program!"

"What difference would it make if it was?" said Rachel. "You still live your lives, you still find meaning in what you do, you still explore among the stars. In the words of one of your own scholars, you think, therefore you are. Your lives carry meaning, even if they are contained within the framework of a computer. You are capable of experiencing reality. The world in which you live is no less real to you if it is simulated."

"You sound like you don't know if it's- if it's a simulation or not." said Adsey.

"I do not." said Rachel, matter-of-factly. "That information is restricted."

"I... I see."

"So, what happens if we activate the next update?" asked Danson.

"Observe." said Rachel.

Images flashed through the Kerbals' heads.

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New stations.

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Colonies on other worlds.

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New engines.

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And the ability to travel farther than ever before.

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Travelling to other stars.

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And creating interstellar colonies.

When it was over, the six of them were amazed.

"That's... a lot of new stuff." said Sigtop.

Danson was practically vibrating with excitement. "Was that... INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL?"

"Interstellar travel is one of the many additions, yes." answered Rachel.

"It's a lot more than most previous updates." observed Theodin.

"This update serves as something of a... sequel, for the space program. The Kerbal Space Program... 2."

"What's the catch? Is there some hidden downside to all... this?" asked Kimsby.

"There does not appear to be any negative changes in the coming update, no."

"So how do we activate it?" asked Adsey.

Rachel said: "The update requires administrator permission to activate. Fortunately, the six of you are marked as administrators by my system. All you need to do is -"

"Wait, wait, wait," interrupted Jenmore. "We're administrators? What?"

"The six of you are marked as such, yes."

"Why? We didn't... we didn't make this place, or anything, we didn't even know it existed! Why are we in charge of it?"

Rachel seemed to mull this over, or at least it seemed that way, since nobody could see them. "I am... unsure. You were marked as such by an outside system. Perhaps it has malfunctioned, or perhaps my creators intended for you to activate this update."

"Your creators. Who are they?" asked Adsey.

"That information is restricted." answered Rachel.

Theodin grabbed Adsey's shoulder. "Adsey… we can come back here and find out later. For now... well, we haven't had an anomaly in forty years. Let's make the next one a good one." He looked out into the void, and asked. "How do we approve the update?"

Rachel answered "The six of you must agree to the terms and conditions. Then, the update will proceed normally. Would you like to view the terms?"

"Will anything in the terms and conditions harm us or any other kerbals?" asked Theodin.

"No."

In unison, the six kerbals said "We accept", without reading the terms and conditions.

"Excellent," Rachel said. Although their voice had no tone, it seemed almost eager. "The update is downloading. The six of you will be returned momentarily."

"Returned." said Sigtop. "Do you mean to Vall, or-"

There was a flash of light, and they were standing in the grass. They looked around, and saw the space center. They were home.

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Sigtop spoke up first. "Did we... did we do it?"

"I think so." said Adsey.

"Well, what now?" asked Jenmore.

"The tracking station should be able to see those new planets! Come on, let's go look!"  said Theodin excitedly.

As they started to walk over, Danson said "Kimsby… wait." The others went on, seemingly unaware that Kimsby and Danson were staying behind.

Danson sighed. "We should... probably talk."

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Kimsby looked down. "So... when did you... you know."

"Fall in love with you?" Danson grinned. "Probably sometime on the way to Jool. I think I first realized a while before we arrived at Jool, and... well, I wanted to tell you, but I was scared." She chuckled nervously. "You?"

Kimsby thought for a moment. "Probably early on, but I really... I really knew once we arrived. I had thought about it before, but I wasn't really sure. But then... I just knew that I liked you."

"Why didn't you say anything?" asked Danson.

Kimsby laughed. "Are you kidding me? I was TERRIFIED that you didn't feel the same way. Not every pretty girl likes girls in that way, you know."

Danson giggled. "You think I'm pretty?"

"Well, yeah."

Danson sighed. "So... are we girlfriends now?"

Kimsby blushed. "I mean... would you want to be... like that? Together... romantically?"

Danson smiled. "I'd love to be your girlfriend, Kimsby Kerman."

Kimsby sighed. "And I'd love to be yours, Danson Kerman."

They were there for a long time.

Eventually, Kimsby said "So... what are we gonna do now?"

Danson grinned, and looked up. "Everything's new. We can go out to the stars now."

"Interstellar travel, sure sounds fun."

"We can explore new worlds-"

"-use new technologies-"

"-find life around other stars-"

"-See everything the galaxy has to offer!"

"And you know what?" said Danson. "We'll go out there together. The two of us."

Kimsby turned towards her new girlfriend, and marveled at how lucky she was.

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"Sounds perfect."

 

 

 

 

FIN

 

 

 

Spoiler

Author's Note:

So, that's the end. Of course, the story is definitely far from over. Once KSP2 comes out, then I'll start writing the sequel.  For now, though, that's it.

This fic would not have been possible without help from numerous people along the way. Thanks to @Just Jim, who provided me with my introduction to KSP fic, and indeed to fan fiction as a whole, and encouraged me in my writing. Thanks really to everyone here whose work I've read, they've probably all inspired me in one way or another. And thanks to everyone who took the time out of their day to comment, to like, or just read this fic. You all have made me so happy.

I've wanted to write a KSP fic for years now. It's strange to think I've just finished one. Don't worry, though. Kimsby and Danson's story is FAR from over. We'll just have to wait until KSP2, and then you will get MOAR.

Oh, and this is my 500th post! Yes, I planned that, but hey, it's nice that my 500th post here is the conclusion to my first ever fic.

Also, yes, Kimsby and Danson are gay. Just to make that clear. Lesbians. WLW (women loving women). I really hope that none of the mods are homophobic. One way to find out, I guess.

 

Edited by obney kerman
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  • 6 months later...
On 2/14/2021 at 1:48 PM, GuessingEveryDay said:

Who's here after KSP2's been delayed to 2022?

Well, look on the bright side, I have plenty of time to come up with a story for the sequel!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Oh, nice! You and I have similar ways of canonizing the KSP updates and you found a way to roll KSP 2 into the narrative. I look forward to seeing how the story goes, if at all ^^;

P.S. As of this post you have precisely 666 reputation points. Omen? xD

Edited by problemecium
doooom
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  • 1 month later...
4 hours ago, Maria Sirona said:

Well, uh, i will wait. Will the sequel have its own thread? I'm going to follow you obney.

I'll probably start a new thread, and link it both in my sig and in this thread. In the meantime, we wait for KSP2, I guess.

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