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Anomaly: Chapter 4: On hold (for now)

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I've been working on this for a while now, and decided I wanted to share this with the KSP community. It takes place in the far future, where all of Kerbin has united and started a planetwide space program, the Athena Initiative. There are also other universes with other space programs.


I already have the prologue and the first three chapters, but I have to spend most of my time writing and the formatting is a nightmare here. I should be able to put each chapter up a few days apart, but when all this craziness is over I won't have as much time and will hopefully be able to do a chapter a week. Writing takes me a relatively long time, and it also takes me a while to get images and edit them. But I will try my hardest to make a chapter a week and should be able to do it most weeks.

The prologue should be finished in about an hour, but I'm hard at work on Chapter 4 and need to focus on that for a while.

Edited by GummiRevolution
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Sorry, I lied about it being out in an hour. Here it is.



Now that the Backyardigan had reached Jool, Jeb was prancing around the centrifuge like it was Kristmas. He had been so excited reaching Jool's SOI, he almost didn't notice the anomaly.


Unfortunately, his joy was cut short when the alarm started blaring.
"What's going on?"
"I don't know!", replied his crewmate Thompgun, an astrophysical engineer.
They both rushed to the command module. He could have sworn he saw the lights flicker.


They both stared at the displays.
"It appears that we have come across a gravitational anomaly", Thompgun squeaked.
"What does that mean?", Jeb responded, trying to stay confident despite the obvious terror in his voice.
"KSC, are you hearing this?", Jeb screamed over the radio.
The radio just crackled. The lights flickered once again.
"maybe if we fire our engines, we can get out of it!", Thompgun suggested.
"Do anything we can!", Jeb said back, his body cold and shaking.
The comms crackled louder.
"We can try jettisoning the hydrogen tanks!"
"But then we wouldn't have enough delta-V to get home!"
"Doesn't matter, we have plenty of snacks. And besides, if we fall in, we die!"
Jeb hit the "undock" button so fast, he nearly broke the command module's touchscreen. The hydrogen tanks sailed off into the void.


The ship accelerated faster, but not nearly fast enough. Seconds later, both of the displays flashed the Blue Screen of Death as the electromagnetic interference grew stronger.
"Well, I guess I'll just have to fly manually then", Jeb said.
"We could burn radial out to give us more time!", Thompgun said in his shrill voice.
"Good idea!"
Jeb yanked the joystick sideways with newfound strength, the fate of both of them determined by this simple movement. The RCS thrusters turned on, then stopped. The lights now had trouble staying on. The crackle of the comms now sounded unnervingly like laughter.
"fifteen seconds!", announced Thompgun, not even trying to mask the primal fear tearing into them like a knife.



Side note: Most chapters will be written in first person and will be much longer, but I wrote this from third person because Jeb doesn't even show up again until the end. I will post Chapter 1 tomorrow.

Edited by GummiRevolution
The formatting here really is a nightmare.
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Unfortunately, I didn't have any time yesterday and most of my time on Saturday was spent cleaning out my 98% full OneDrive. I will post Chapter One later today.

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Sorry that took so long. Here it is.


Chapter One

Malcolm Kerman


I'm going to space!!!
I mean, seriously. I AM GOING TO SPACE!!!
After being grounded too many times to count, I finally convinced Val to give me a mission. And not just any mission, but an INTERSTELLAR mission!


I was on the Artemis Multi-Purpose Krew Capsule, which is powered by a gas-core nuclear thermal rocket engine. I wasn't so jazzed about the nuclear part, but at least it was better than lying around the Kerbal Space Center with nothing to do. Over the radio, the CapCom said, "KSC, we are go for launch." We all cheered, but I was still slightly unnerved by the fact that we were sitting atop a giant bomb full of enriched uranium gas.
"Launch in T minus ten seconds."
I barely managed to fight back the scream that would inevitably come.
My entire body shook with apprehension.
"All systems nominal." Nominal isn't saying much for a rocket, so it's nothing to celebrate for.
The knot in my brain grew tighter.
The entire rocket hummed and shook.
"And we have liftoff!"
Yay! It didn't blow up!
The rocket accelerated faster, and was nearly sideways. I looked out the window just in time to see the bluish hue of the atmosphere disappear behind me. The rocket was now covered in a fine sheath of plasma. I glanced at the console, and learned that we had now reached an acceleration of 2.6 gees.
"All systems nominal, engine cutoff in T minus ten seconds," the voice said on the comms.
For some reason, the hydrogen tank glowing orange was considered "nominal".
The engine shut down, and the booster slowly thrusted away with its RCS thrusters. At least we were done with the nuclear part. I gazed out the window, and saw the surface of Kerbin sprawled out before me. It was just incredible seeing the face of the world with my own eyes.

Suddenly, a force knocked me back into my seat. I had almost forgotten about circularization.
A crackle came over the comms. "Artemis, you have achieved orbit!"
We all cheered. It felt like my entire life had been building up to this. I was in SPACE!!!
A whirr echoed through the capsule. Artemis  unfurled its two Gigantor solar arrays, and two short burns later, we were on our way to the Epsilon.

The Epsilon is the flagship of Kerbal interstellar exploration. It had been used for two previous interstellar missions, and when fully fueled has enough antimatter to reach the nearest star in less than a month. Instead, we were going to the star KIPS-41, which had two planets that held the possibility for complex life, unlike the single-celled fungi swimming in Laythe's oceans. As we approached, its four Z-Pinch fusion drives glinted majestically in the sun.
As we made our final approach, Alex, the artificially intelligent guidance system, retracted the  centrifuges and angled the docking port towards our capsule. Burbas, the pilot, tapped a few icons on the console, and the capsule fired its control thrusters to align itself with Epsilon's port.

But they didn't stop. The spacecraft spun faster and faster. I could barely lift my head out of the seat, and the monopropellant reserves were rapidly dropping. It almost reminded me of my experience on Endeavor 13, the last mission I was on before being grounded for years.
Suddenly, an idea popped into my head.
I could barely talk due to the intense centrifugal force. "We can try restarting the comms! Maybe that will fix it!"
A glob of vomit forced its way up my throat, but I managed to hold it in.
A groan echoed through the hull. I looked out the window, and a solar panel sailed off into the black void that consumes all things.

I grabbed the console and held on to it for dear life. I slapped the "shell" icon so hard it nearly broke the screen. A familiar green console appeared before me.
I typed furiously, almost forgetting that I weighed 500 kilos. This was our only hope if we wanted to survive. The monopropellant reserves were now at 30%, and we had about 50 seconds left if we wanted to have enough for docking. My head spun like a top, but I regained focus.
Come on! Apparently I needed a password to get in. That Val! She always made everything so hard for everyone else, and right now was no different. The comms were having trouble connecting, so I couldn't ask her. Not that she would even answer. And besides, now the gee-forces were so strong, I couldn't even talk to the crew.

The console was now a diffuse green dot at the end of a long tunnel. I found myself growing drowsy, and Maya was already asleep.
After trying a few passwords I remembered, I realized this was just going to lead us to our doom. Across the cabin, Mikebart screamed, "Do something!"
I then knew exactly what I needed to do. It would be risky, and we probably wouldn't be able to dock, but never mind docking! By now it would take a miracle just to get home.

I typed a command into the console:
"I'm shutting down the SAS!", I screamed across the cabin. I could barely see, and had to trust that I was typing it correctly.

The thrusters stopped. We had only 8% of our RCS fuel remaining. Not much, but at least enough to do something with. Unfortunately, the spacecraft was still spinning rapidly, and I just barely managed to avoid vomiting on the console.

I screamed, "Burbas!"
Thankfully, he responded. Thank the Kraken he was still here. I felt the force decrease, and the white jets of fuel that nearly killed us reversed and slowed the capsule down. A strange thought occurred to me.
"Doesn't it bother you that a rocket is just a controlled explosion?"
"That's weird. I've always thought of it as more of an 'open cycle heat engine', but I guess you're right", responded Maya, who had just woke up.
"So a rocket is a kind of double-edged sword."
"Yeah," said another voice. It was Neldon, who was just floating up the tunnel between the crew module and the cockpit, carrying a box of Kow-Fresh freeze-dried ice cream.
"Anybody hungry?"
After we ate, we did a few burns to dock with the Epsilon, trying to conserve what little monopropellant we had left. Thankfully, Burbas had trained for years as a pilot, and was at the top of his class in spacecraft maneuvering at the Mun Akademy. By the time we finished our Minmus-flavored ice cream, he had docked perfectly to the Junior port on the Epsilon.
On a typical interstellar mission (as if anything interstellar was "typical"), we would have six days on which to set up the ship and recieve a resupply tanker to refuel and restock, so I had plenty of time to explore. It was enormous!

At the front of the spacecraft was a large command module and airlock, along with several labs, a briefing room, and a radiation shelter. Due to the effects of prolonged weightlessness, the designers included a pair of centrifuges to generate artificial gravity, and each had several sections devoted to sleeping quarters, recreation, exercise, and science. I was just skimming through a few manuals I had found in the greenhouse section when I heard an announcement.
"All crew please come to the command module. We have an important transmission from Kerbin."
The voice startled me. It sounded cold and robotic, nothing like Alex's soft synthesized speech. I climbed the ladder to the central core so fast my hands hurt, and shoved the door open when I reached the command center.

Maya tapped a few buttons on the screen and brought up the message. Gene was speaking to us directly, not through the CapCom that normally sent us transmissions.
"Hello. I know this might sound a little odd to you, so I decided to tell you this myself. Your mission has been changed."
All six kerbals in the room stared intently at the screen, worrying that the mission would be cancelled.
"I know this may be a lot, so if any of you object, you can come back down with the capsule tomorrow. We want you to explore the anomaly."

The same anomaly that swallowed Jeb and his ship? Impossible! But no one objected.
He continued on to say that we would leave in two days, and the resupply would arrive tomorrow. So I guess we're going to a black hole, which is definitely more interesting than a trip to look for complex life on Nepsong. But at least we still have a mission.

We all slid down the ladder to the sleeping quarters. I couldn't sleep, so I decided to look out the enormous window that covered the side of the centrifuge.
Kerbin had been the only home I've known my entire life. In two days, we'd be leaving it.
Hopefully it's good! If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. And yes, I know that the solar panel is still attached to the Artemis-X in that last image, but when I got Mikebart out to remove it I realized I had forgotten a drill.
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If any of the KIS folks are reading this, I know that the 'drill' is actually called an electric screwdriver. Sorry.

Chapter Two

Malcolm Kerman



Jool was now a visible green dot, swirling with writhing storms and yanking Dresteroids our of their orbits. I looked up from my computer and stared at it out the main window of the centrifuge.
"It's amazing, isn't it?"


Newtop walked over and sat beside me.

"You see that bright dot over there? That's Vall. And the smaller one beside it is Pol."
"What's that bluish one in the corner?", I asked.
"That's Laythe. Tylo is too dark to see, and Bop is behind Jool. That's where we're going."
"Why aren't we just going straight to the anomaly?"
"We need supplies. There's no saying what it will be like over there, and besides, we're almost out of ice cream."


I climbed the ladder to the core of the ship, and for a few seconds, my head spun like it was trying to jump out my ear. I had mostly gotten used to it on the trip, but the transition in gravity still gave me the jiggles. Newtop followed, and we floated down the tunnel to the command module.
"We need to start slowing down pretty soon. Capture burn's in a few hours," announced Neldon confidently. Neldon, the commander, quickly ran through a systems check.
"Mikebart, status?"
"Command is go."
"Attitude control?"
"Go," replied Mikebart again, the ship's engineer.
"Go," Mikebart said again. Not like it mattered, as the ship had not been filled with antimatter like a normal interstellar mission.
"Reactor is go," Mikebart responded.
"And we are go!", I said, after checking my console.
"I wonder if it'll be like that movie where they all go through a wormhole and Kerbin blows up?"
"Maybe, but hopefully without the 'Kerbin blowing up' part," replied Maya. She floated over to her seat and sat back down in it, gazing out at the cosmos.
"There's really no way to know what's on the other side," Maya added. "All we know is that it was never supposed to exist."
"They sent a probe to pass by it. It's definitely a wormhole. But where does such a thing come from?"


Suddenly an alarm blared throughout the ship. I glanced at my console and saw one of the engines flashing red, a banner at the top saying, "Plasma containment system unresponsive. Z-Pinch integrity lost."
"Alex, what's going on?", I screamed.
"Engine 03 has sustained a structural failure. The main propulsion system is offline," replied the AI, its soft, calm voice oblivious to the true danger.

The entire crew was in complete panic. Mikebart was doing loops around the cockpit, and Maya and Newtop, the scientists, were both staring intently at their consoles. Neldon was obviously trying to stay calm, but in reality, was far from it. I typed a few kOS commands on my console, but nothing worked.

"Everyone, calm down!", yelled Burbas over the commotion, but to no avail.
If we didn't fix the engine in four hours, we would sail out of Jool's gravity well and be shot out of the solar system.
"We can fix it. I am confident that this is a problem we can solve," I said, trying to contain the immense dread.

Everyone stopped.

Burbas spoke up. "There's no use freaking about it if we don't even try. If we continue like this, there's no doubt that we will freeze and die in interstellar space."
Despite this, he was shaking.


"Malcolm, you know the engines more than anyone else on this ship. Mikebart, you're an engineer. Can you help him?"

We both said yes, and floated down to the airlock. We suited up and filled up our thruster packs with hydrazine, triple-checking the seals on the helmet and gloves.


After climbing out of the airlock, Mikebart activated his jetpack. I stared at the lettering in the walls.

"Who's Manley?"
"Apparently some guy back during the Jool missions touched a monolith, and claimed he saw the supposed 'god of the universe', who called himself Cot Manley or something," said Maya over the radio.
"They've never proved it to be true, but some Kerbals certainly believe it."
The doors slid open, and the view was breathtaking. It almost seemed to be calling me, drawing them to the unknown.


I activated my RCS jetpack and floated out the hatch. We would first have to get a drill from the back, then we would attempt to fix the engines. I cleared the display on my visor and stared out at the trillions upon trillions of stars.

"Come on!", yelled Mikebart on the radio.

Soon, Newtop's voice filled my ear, telling us that the centrifuge had stopped and we could now safely float through it. Mikebart flew outside the ship, and we both stared at Jool in all its majestic beauty.


It almost felt eerie how the entire spacecraft was frozen in place, as if we were floating through a void filled with ghosts. I coasted through the warp drive, and Mikebart followed. The many trillions of stars stared at us like they were hungry. The pitch-black void tried to lure us from the Epsilon to join the multitude of stars.


At this immense distance from the Sun, the vast nothingness stood in silence, as it always was and as it always will be. Stars will be born and entire galaxies will die, but this infinite void would never change.

We floated through the centrifuge ring, and then I could almost feel the red-hot glow of the radiators next to me. The hydrogen tanks glowed in the little sunlight that made it this far out from its mother star.


We floated down to the reactor, and Mikebart opened the access panel. I continued to the engines and inspected the magnet rings. All the rings were fine, and it appeared nothing was broken!
Mikebart finished with the reactor and jetted over to join me.
"It doesn't look like anything is wrong!"
"Malcolm, you could try checking the firmware!", Burbas said over the comms.
Suddenly, I had an idea. I pulled out my electric screwdriver and aimed it at the fusion drive like it was a death ray. All of the screwdrivers also had built-in infrared thermometers, EMP antennae, stud finders, and many other useful tools. The latest model even supported screws! The only thing it couldn't do was drill into things.


The entire engine was about the same temperature, but as I stared at my visor's thermal overlay, a small box glowed significantly hotter than the rest. I grabbed the box and unfastened the screws with my screwdriver. Inside was a very sophisticated set of electronics, but something was wrong. The input wire had somehow gotten stripped of its insulation, and a small glob of plastic had floated over to the side. One of the chips had melted, and it was sparking wildly. Thankfully, Mikebart had a spare and installed it where the old chip had been. Now that the problem had been solved, we both flew back to the airlock.


Something didn't feel right. Was the centrifuge... spinning? We proceeded to cross through it anyway.
Suddenly, I was swept away from the ship by something very heavy. I tumbled into deep space, and my radio crackled incessantly. Mikebart flew after me into the vacuum, but there seemed to be an intense yearning to reach out to the stars and touch them.


But before I could look back on the reality I was leaving, something slammed into my side. It was Mikebart! I tried to stabilize myself and cancel out my velocity, but I was out of monopropellant fuel. Thankfully, Mikebart had just enough to drift back to the airlock. I looked outside and was glad I didn't accept my fate. I was alive!


As I drifted to sleep in the centrifuge, something was nagging me about that shorted controller. The chip was specially designed to avoid damage, but even if it was accidental, it couldn't possibly be a coincidence that the centrifuge had broken less than an hour afterward. I felt a slight force to the side, and the ship gently hummed.


We had set a course for the anomaly.

Edited by GummiRevolution
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19 minutes ago, GummiRevolution said:

"Apparently some guy back during the Jool missions touched a monolith, and claimed he saw the supposed 'god of the universe', who called himself Cot Manley or something," said Maya over the radio.


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On 4/2/2020 at 9:52 AM, obney kerman said:


Thanks! I just needed to explain why the IXS Command Module in KSP Interstellar has "KSS Manley" written in the airlock. I'm sorry I haven't updated this in a while, but I have a lot less time than I previously thought. Chapter 4 should be done on Friday, but Chapter 5 will take a while, possibly up to two weeks. I somehow need to learn how to use GIMP (I'll be needing much better image edits than I can get with the lowly Google Drawings I've been using) and use it to "create" a nonexistent planet. And sometime soon I'm planning to redo my first few posts to fix all the crazy formatting issues. Copying and pasting from Word Online is relatively buggy.

Anyway, here it is.

Chapter 3

Malcolm Kerman



"Wake up!"
It seemed as if Alex had turned his volume up extra high, and his cool synthesized voice didn't take to being amplified very well. I groaned and opened the door.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Maya requested you come to the control module. For what, I don't know," droned Alex, our artificially intelligent guidance system and antagonist.
All five of us groggily climbed the ladder and floated down the tunnel to the control module. At first, I forgot that we were in zero-G and tried to walk across the tunnel. It ended up about as you would think. I tripped on a bundle of wires and sailed through the tunnel without any simulated gravity to slow me down. I finally ended up snagging my shirt on the front centrifuge ladder and fell down the tunnel, grasping madly for the ladder. Thankfully I only fell to the top level and nearly crashed into a case full of plants. Newtop tried to catch me, but ended up falling to the second level where he ended up sprawled on top of a table. We then tried not to look embarrassed and climbed the ladder back to the centrifuge hub.
Maya spoke up.
"While you all were dozing off in the centrifuge, I decided to investigate that 'very bright relay' you found when we entered the wormhole yesterday."
I couldn't tell if she was concerned or intrigued. Probably both.
"The only objects we have in that low of an orbit are a few commsats. None of them are supposed to shine that brightly."
She pointed at her computer monitor, and we all crowded around.
We all stared at the screen in amazement. What was that? All of our stations were in a much higher orbit, and some of the modules looked nothing like our own engineering. And nearly all of our Jool stations were nuclear powered. Look at those solar arrays! No wonder it was so bright.

She tapped the screen.
"When I made a flyby to get this, we also passed very near to Laythe in order to stabilize our orbit. That's when I saw this."
A ball of liquid floated out of my mouth, wriggling and pulsing. I didn't realize it had been hanging open the entire time.
"Those jet engines are our own!", Mikebart said. I added, "It looks almost exactly the same as our old Laythe SSTO!"

Maya spoke again.
"Several of the parts I recognize. But what are those engines? They're definitely gas-cores by the look of them. But we never developed gas-core nuclear rockets that small. And all of ours run on hydrogen."
"What is that command pod? It looks the same size as our Amalthea, but it couldn't possibly be..." Newtop said.

Maya interrupted again.
"I wasn't able to get a good look at Tylo, but I definitely don't see any cities there. Maybe the wormhole didn't bring us home..."

Suddenly, it dawned on us. I was unable to speak as the realization came over me.

We were in a parallel universe.

The entire crew was shocked. Even Maya was glancing around nervously. Mikebart and Newtop were mumbling quietly, too dazed to speak up.

Finally, Neldon spoke.
"Come on! We have to try to contact them!"
"Ugh!"I shouted, glaring at my laptop like it tried to murder me.
"What is wrong with this networking? It's almost exactly like KSCII, but apparently it hates me!"
"Try to just send a message. You don't need to encode it perfectly," Neldon suggested.
It was difficult to overcome the urge to figure out this parallel universe's networking protocol, but I did it anyway. The ship slowly turned towards alternate Kerbin and activated its backup antennae, attempting to contact it.

The waiting grew unbearable. The entire crew crowded around the monitor, forming a sort of kerbal cave. Finally, the screen flickered. It filled with numbers and symbols, scrolling down for several minutes before stopping.

"It's the encoding! Alex, can you convert the message?" Neldon said again.
"It does look a lot like KSCII, but with a few extra bits on the end. Why do they make it so complicated?"
The crew was silent.

Was that... Gene Kerman? He obviously looked completely shocked, righteously so since we looked almost exactly like him. He stared at a second monitor, likely looking at the image we had sent him. Several kerbals came over, staring at his screen.
Finally, he spoke. "Hello. This is Gene Kerman, director of the Kerbal International Space Program. We are assembling an elite team of kerbals to meet you and welcome you to our solar system. They should arrive from the Jool system very soon."

We were all dazed. We had successfully made contact with an alien civilization from another  universe. How had a "routine" interstellar mission accomplished this much?

Just before the video ended, I caught a kerbal murmuring, "How could you do this, Gene?"

We were all extremely tired, and all of us but Newtop decided to try to get more sleep. Newtop was instead playing Human Space Program on the one of the command module's terminals. As I descended the ladder to the centrifuge, I noticed something moving outside the window.

It was certainly not a star. It was clearly moving, and seemed to gradually be getting brighter. It looked almost like... a spacecraft?

I climbed back up the ladder, and pushed off a handhold to get to the command module. Unfortunately, Newtop was using my console to play video games. After asking several times, he grudgingly got off the console, complaining that it was his break time and that he should be able to play Human Space Program in peace. As soon as he left, I logged in to the console and pointed the telescopes at the object.
It was enormous. Its huge hydrogen tank gleamed in the sunlight, a gas-core nuclear engine extended behind it. It had several cartridges of... was that... enriched uranium? It obviously was the payload, and was likely large enough to blow Class E asteroids straight out of the sky.

The mysterious spacecraft was slightly over 200 kilometers away, but was closing that distance fast. I had a sinking feeling that it hadn't been sent to stop asteroids.

I called the crew, and Burbas, Maya, and Neldon came surprisingly quickly considering Maya had woken us up in the middle of the night. Mikebart was likely asleep, and Newtop was still playing video games. I pointed at my terminal.

"What is that?" Neldon stood in awe of the spacecraft that was hunting us to our doom. "Why is it following us?"

"It looks like some kind of asteroid defense weapon!" Burbas answered.

Maya screamed over the intercom. "Everyone, get to the radiation shelter!"
I screamed back. "That doesn't matter if we get blown up anyway!"
Neldon tried to collect himself, but was beyond the point of no return.

The object was now only 198 kilometers away.

"We can't fire our fusion drives, the neutrons might set it off!" Burbas warned.
"If we fire our nuclear engine, we won't have enough fuel!" I responded.
"It's fine! We just need to get back to our own universe, and we can get someone in the Jool system to pick us up! But to do that, we have to survive!" Neldon finally said.

194 kilometers.
"If it gets below 150 kilometers, the ship will be destroyed by the radiation!" Burbas said.
He grabbed the terminal and throttled up the nuclear engine. A glowing red exhaust plume streamed from the nozzle.
The nuke was now 189 kilometers behind us. We were safe, for now. Unfortunately, it fired its own nuclear rocket to pursue us.
"We need to find a way to set it off!"
The bomb had managed to reach 144 kilometers behind us, and we were rapidly burning through our hydrogen reserves. Slowly, an idea began to form.

"I can try to set it off remotely! We can use a probe to trigger the klaw, and it should automatically detonate!"
"We don't have time!" Newtop said. Apparently he had finally finished his Human Space Program Moon mission.
"I can try to get us more time by stunning its processor!" Maya said.
"Our fusion drives also work as antennae. They should be able to jam the bomb's sensors, if I do it right!" She tried to look confident in her plan, but we were all terrified. She typed furiously at the console, trying to reprogram the comms. I floated down to the airlock and suited up.
The engine stopped. The slight tug of inertia that had slowly been pulling me to the rear of the ship lessened, so Maya's plan must have worked. Since she had reprogrammed the antennae, I couldn't talk to anyone until I got inside. The doors slid open, and I floated outside.

The Epsilon  had two small probes, each designed to be released once in orbit of KIPS-41. They were intended for scientific purposes, but they would also make perfect detonators. I floated to the back where the tools were stored and grabbed an electric screwdriver. I then flew up to where the probes had been attached and spun the screwdriver's configuration knob. I definitely didn't want it set to "supernova".
I carefully slid the tip of the screwdriver into a small hole on the decoupler holding the probe in place. I hoped with all my heart that the bomb hadn't rebooted yet. The probe silently separated from the ship, and its status LED blinked orange, then red. The probe had booted up, hopefully in time to save us.

After the probe was deployed, I coasted back into the airlock and came inside, not even bothering to take off my EVA suit. The others had also grabbed their suits from the airlock, just in case something went wrong. Burbas was currently controlling the probe that I released, and Newtop was watching the readings.

The ship hummed as the engine came to life again, trying to outrun the now-active nuke following us. I watched the images from the telescope as the probe neared its deadly target.
Soon, the probe's five arcjet engines shut off, having put the probe on a trajectory straight for the grapple and nearly run out of power. The bomb was 156 kilometers away, so we burned for another minute and shut off our engine. We had 36 percent of our fuel remaining, enough for about 7500m/s of delta-V. We all floated down to the radiation shelter, and we watched the probe on Burbas' tablet. It slowly drifted into the klaw.
The screen filled with static, and the ship rattled. Burbas switched to a different camera and angled it towards the bomb.
We had survived.
Note: if anyone has feedback, I would love to take it.
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2 hours ago, GummiRevolution said:

Just before the video ended, I caught a kerbal murmuring, "How could you do this, Gene?"

So Gene lied about welcoming them to their system so he could send a nuke at them? Not the warmest welcome to this parallel universe.

Anyway, amazing work!

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19 hours ago, obney kerman said:

So Gene lied about welcoming them to their system so he could send a nuke at them? Not the warmest welcome to this parallel universe.

Well, they were already pretty terrified about something else... And it has to do with mysterious signals, their interstellar probe project, and... hackers! I'm really hoping I don't run out of time, but so far this has been going great!

Here's a preview:


Unfortunately, formatting everything is really buggy and takes a while. I should be able to release it tomorrow.

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I'm sorry I haven't updated in like a week, but I am seriously running out of time. I'll have more next week, but expect Chapter 5 to take a while.

Anyway, here it is. It takes place in a different universe, told from a different perspective. They aren't as advanced as the Athena Initiative is, but they have NTRs and have been to Duna a few times.


Chapter 4

Leo Kerman


It was a beautiful day at the KSC, and the sun shone brightly overhead. Near the launchpad, a rover quietly drove on the grass, unaware of anything amiss. In the bed of the rover were twelve kerbals, some of the most powerful names in the communication industry. Elon Kerman, founder of the Nebula corporation, gazed over at the runway, thinking of how great a place it would be to launch a SpaceLiner from. Next to him sat Hudley Kerman, a game designer looking to get rich on a satellite network. In the cab, the drivers gave a tour of the space center and quietly drove ahead, oblivious to the strange device mounted on the roof above them. Suddenly, the strange object erupted in a ball of fire, blowing the rover apart.

It was finally here!
For the first time in a year an  a half, I could finally get some fresh air that wasn't toxic. At least the air at Red House, our Duna base, had smelled better. The Red Flame had just slowed down into an orbit a few hours ago, and the capsule that would take us back to Kerbin was only a hundred meters away.


The Red Flame had been used for four previous Duna missions, and it certainly smelled as such. At least on our mission the four nuclear rockets that propelled the ship hadn't broken like last time. I floated through the docking tunnel to the command module and stared out the window. A stunning panorama of Kerbin floated through the void far below us.

The capsule opened its docking port shrouds and approached the ship, little white jets of hydrazine streaming out of its massively oversized RCS thrusters.


A screech echoed through the port. The port's actuators whirred, and soon the hatch slid open. The rest of the crew floated in behind me, and soon we were all sitting in the extremely cramped Draco Orbiter, the Red Flame  falling behind us. Once we were a few kilometers away, the cryogenic Hecate engine on the capsule fired to send us back into the atmosphere. The hydrogen tanks detached, and soon we were enveloped in a shell of fire.


Once all the plasma had dissipated, I looked out the window at the scene below me. We were just above the KSC when the parachutes deployed, and after the initial jerk I was able to look around at the space center. Gene and several other Kerbals waved at us from the Astronaut Complex.

I glanced at the radar and saw that we were only 400 meters above the ground. Wait... that wasn't the ground! We were going to land on the Administration Building! I yelped in alarm and fired the braking thrusters to move away. Touchdown would be bumpy, but at least it was better than when I had crash-landed on the Mun during the Gray Torch 3 mission. Suddenly, I heard a splash. Milgy, the commander, tried to open the hatch, but the capsule tipped on its side. We had landed in the Administration Building pool!


After the engineers fished us out of the pool, Gene pulled me aside behind the VAB.
"There's something I need to tell you. Come."
We both walked up the stairs to the top of the VAB, and Gene pulled out his tablet. I gaped at what I saw.


A technician has supposedly been walking near the launchpad when a nearby tour rover exploded. All fourteen occupants were injured, and a team was still investigating what happened.
"Why would anyone do that?" I said.
"Remember those spacetime anomalies we found near Eve?"
"Yeah. Didn't one of the scientists say they were mini black holes or something?"
"Yes, those ones. But they weren't mini black holes. They never were. Now what you're about to hear is not to be shared with anyone."
"Okay," I said, waves of apprehension crawling down my throat.
"You know that probe we launched to Moho? The soil sampler? Well, it wasn't actually designed to sample soil. We just synthesized some fake Moho dirt and put it in a reentry capsule, which has been placed in orbit by a CubeSat launch."
"You faked a mission? How could you?" I interrupted.
"Let me go on. The probe we did launch actually travelled to Eve, carrying a comprehensive set of nuclear measurement instruments. It is currently in an Eve polar orbit, and has been researching the anomalies ever since. It appears that atoms are splitting more easily, and the process is speeding up."
"What does this mean?" I asked.


Gene paused in thought, his face contorted with worry. I backed away, nearly tripping on the stairs. Finally, he spoke.
"We believe that, once the effect reaches high enough levels, the uranium-rich core of Kerbin may go critical."
He continued, "We have calculated that, in four years, Eve will explode. Shortly after, Kerbin will as well. But, based on our simulations, Jool and it's moons should be safe for over 800 years."
His entire body twitched, and his neck was red from rubbing his shirt. I could still barely comprehend what he had told me.
"But we have hope," Gene said, but his expression said the opposite.
"We are planning to set up a self-sufficient colony on Laythe, but first we need to learn more about this instability, and if it can be stopped. That's where you come in. We need you to find out what's happening. All of Kerbin needs you."


I nearly fell over with shock. Why would Gene set the fate of the world on, of all people, me?
Gene looked at me as if he read my mind.
"I have met with several other astronauts and scientists, and together we have come up with a plan to save Kerbalkind. We have funding for five Jool probes, one for each moon. We swapped them out, and now have a network of Jool relays waiting for the next transfer window. We also have 120 new interplanetary relays set to launch to Duna in about a hundred days, arranged in 10 launches of 12 probes each. But instead of 120 small relays, we have six large Laythe probes and a station module planned to launch. They will simply wait around in orbit for the next transfer window and burn then. And you know our plan for a Duna space station and fuel depot? That's when we'll launch our first colony modules."
"What's the deal with all this secrecy? Why can't anyone know?"
"We will tell people, but not yet. We have to give people hope. Otherwise, the world will collapse into chaos, and that will do us no better than ignoring it."
I paused to think about this, and realized he was right. The wind howling past the roof of the VAB made me glance around, scanning for someone trying to ambush us.
"But someone obviously knows, right? Otherwise, why would they try to kill our clients? And if it needs to stay secret, what do people think about the rest of these rocket launches?"
"They think it's a new space station, a cooperation between several space agencies."
"How do you fake a space station?"
I stared at him, awestruck.
Gene responded, "You don't. At least not normally. But desperate times call for desperate measures."
"But someone will notice, won't they? Satellite watching is now more popular than astronomy, thanks to the Nebulink constellation!"
"That's easy. You make a giant reflective sphere and call it a station!"
We both burst out laughing.


The ground rumbled under our feet. I looked down over the railing, and the VAB doors slowly slid open. A massive rocket mounted on a crawler slowly rolled its way out of the VAB. It looked exactly like the one I had launched on for the Duna mission, a tall Draco vehicle with an Orbiter mounted on top. We stared at it as it was deposited on the pad and technicians connected the launch clamps and fueling hoses.
"What are they launching now?" I asked.
"This all has to be kept as secret as possible. We still have no idea who tried to murder those kerbals, but I have a feeling it's someone we trust. While the public knows this as an emergency repair mission to the station, the group putting together all this knows it as the crew launch for the Eve exploration mission."
"But how come I'm not on it?"
"We think that someone will try to sabotage the launch. I set up signal trackers and sensors on the rocket, and the entire control software will be broadcasting everything back to us. I need to go over to the Astronaut Complex to watch. Do you want to come with me?"
"Sure," I replied, and we climbed down the ladder. We walked over to a room in the Astronaut Complex and sat down, transfixed at a large TV on the wall.


"KSC, we are go for launch!" a controller said through his headset.
The room erupted in a cheer.
"All systems nominal, launch in T minus ten seconds."
The air itself seemed to tense up.
Would the launch go as planned? Or would it spiral out of control at the moment it ignited?
The base of the rocket erupted in a ball of fire and the great lumbering beast slowly crawled out of its restraints. The building shook.


"All systems nominal. Altitude 200 meters."
"Flight, we're getting a bit of a roll!"
Sure enough, the rocket was slowly spinning. The guidance software should correct it though.
Unfortunately, the guidance software wasn't working as it should. The rocket spun out of control, then started pitching back... towards the VAB.


Mission control fell to complete chaos. The screen showed each and every system and subsystem of the rocket coming offline, some with an alarming bang. The entire room of kerbals stared at it in horror. The communication feed seemed to roar at them before finally tearing the connection to bits. The rocket was still very much under control. The question was whose.


"It's going to hit the administration building!" the flight controller screamed.
"Range Safety, can you get it?"
"It's not responding! Nothing is!" said a young controller in the back row.
"Try the capsule! Can you reach it?"
"Yes, but it says 'Access Denied!'"
The rocket continued on its path. Once it passed the VAB though, it ignited its engine once again. The doomed rocket was barreling straight at the astronaut complex.
"Run!" I screamed. All around us people were sprinting for the door. An explosion rocked the building and massive barrels of flame leapt across the structure. The glass shattered, and the world seemed to spin around itself like a centrifuge. Massive concrete blocks flew tens of meters above us and the vending machines disintegrated in a volley of fireballs. An RCS thruster nearly hit Gene in the head! We leapt above steel beams littering the floor and dodged flaming bricks from above. At last, we emerged into daylight.


Gene led me back to a small rover parked behind the Administration building.
"We need to leave. Now!" he yelled grimly.

As we drove away in the sunset I wondered, "Who it could possibly be?"


Note: I did not actually land the capsule in the pool. I did that using a crazy rover that managed to break twelve of the large Buffalo MSEV wheels before reaching the admin building.


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In case anyone wants to see the rover, here it is.


I have absolutely no idea why I mounted SRBs on it, but here is a Kerbal pushing them off.


A rather weird wheel setup, but it works.


preparing to drop in the pool.


Unfortunately, I couldn't get it out again. I eventually figured it out and turned down the gravity, flipping it out of the pool with its reaction wheels and breaking at least three wheels doing it.

Chapter 5 is still going to take a while, especially since I only just figured out the sequence of events. I decided to take a bit of a break to actually play KSP, but I expect to continue working on the story next week. So it could be a while before I'm done.

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  • 2 weeks later...

THIS IS NOT DEAD! I just needed to fix a bunch of errors and now I have no time. Chapter 5 coming probably in 2 weeks with the amount of time I have.

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  • GummiRevolution changed the title to Anomaly: Chapter 4: Chapter 5 in progress
  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter 5 coming next week. This is the last week that I don't have very much time, and next week I should be able to finish it.

Some progress:


You will not go to space today.


Here's a better banner I just made with Pixlr.


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  • 4 weeks later...

It might be a while. I have way too much to do and not much time to do it, so for now I've been working on my sandbox save. And I need more RAM. 8 GB probably isn't gonna cut it.

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  • GummiRevolution changed the title to Anomaly: Chapter 4: On hold (for now)
On ‎6‎/‎4‎/‎2020 at 4:04 PM, GummiRevolution said:

It might be a while. I have way too much to do and not much time to do it, so for now I've been working on my sandbox save. And I need more RAM. 8 GB probably isn't gonna cut it.

Take all the time you need.

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I think I'm going to do the Shuttle Challenge and go to Eeloo and Dres (don't tell anyone, Dres isn't supposed to exist), then I can probably work on this 2 or 3 days a week. Now that I realized I could do the writing offline, I have Chapter 5 written. I just need the screenshots, which I have to redo because my screenshots folder got eaten by the Kraken.

Thanks for understanding!

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5 hours ago, GummiRevolution said:

I think I'm going to do the Shuttle Challenge and go to Eeloo and Dres (don't tell anyone, Dres isn't supposed to exist), then I can probably work on this 2 or 3 days a week. Now that I realized I could do the writing offline, I have Chapter 5 written. I just need the screenshots, which I have to redo because my screenshots folder got eaten by the Kraken.

Thanks for understanding!

Of course! Any progress is good.

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Oh, that's fine. My old KSP install was so unstable that I wrote a batch script to copy my entire GameData folder from a backup and I literally trimmed every part I didn't think I would need. I managed to free up quite a bit of RAM using DX11, so I don't have to anymore.

But I should stop before I jinx it.

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